The One Fundamental Freedom of Which We Are All Entitled

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Guest Article by Adam Shake

My brother once said, “If our family had a family crest, it would be a skinny guy standing on a soapbox, fist in the air and yelling into a bullhorn.” Yup, that’s the Shake Men. Ready to mix it up at the slightest provocation of a dissenting opinion. Ready to espouse upon an idea and even more than ready to defend an argument. The problem is, the Shake Men don’t see eye to eye on all subjects, which makes for some VERY interesting family get-togethers!

This being said, I’m a little flummoxed at my current state of nervousness, given the opportunity to Guest Post for Wendy.  You see, my bio says things like writer, activist, environmental advocate, member of professional business sustainability panels and Co-Founder of an online media company with seven environmental websites and some of the worlds best writers. It’s full of accolades and highfalutin verbiage that really serve no other purpose but convince people that I might, kinda, know what I’m talking about. To me though, it speaks of my passion.

So why am I nervous? Because to me, Wendy, and her zeal to make a difference for her girls, her family and herself, are what inspire me. It’s Wendy (and people like her) who keep me going, keep me passionate and make we want to make the world a better place. Because that’s what environmentalism is really all about, isn’t it? Making the world a better place for our children and theirs? So if I write an article for Wendy, it’s a little different than writing an article for some big, huge website with millions of readers. It’s different than being interviewed on the radio. It’s different than speaking at a conference. Wendy is a friend, and this, is personal.

But I digress. What I really want to talk about is community and what draws us together, and how our environment is a catalyst for what I’m finding to be, a warm, vibrant and caring group of people.

Just a few years ago, we were called hippies. But now we’re wearing suites and ties to work while taking the Metro train to our jobs on Pennsylvania Avenue. A few years ago, we were called TreeHuggers, and now we are proud to wear that label. A few years ago, we were protecting spotted owls and the loggers were mad. Now we are protecting whole swaths of forest so that they can act as carbon sinks to absorb excess Co2 and lessen the impact of Global Warming. Yes, a few years ago, we were sitting in trees to keep the trees from being cut down. Now we’re sitting in trees to keep mountain tops from being blow off to extract the coal in what is one of the most devastating acts to our environmental and human health. Yes, we’ve gone mainstream, and in doing so, we’ve made connections and communities with people who care about everything from corals dying from ocean acidification to children dying desertification.

You are part of this community. You may have a cause, an ideal, an area of land, an ethos, even an animal that you think is worth fighting for. But whether you care about Acid rain, Bio-fuel or Coal, Diesel Hybrids, Energy or High Fructose Corn Syrup, we are a family. A family who cares. A family united in one single cause, creating a better world for our children and theirs.

My message to you is this. When people start to care as much about others as they care about themselves, they will start to care about the environment. Because the environment is what care for us all.

We must move forward. Our community must demand that the health of our planet be placed above the profits of Corporations. Only then, will we gain the one fundamental freedom of which we are all entitled to by virtue of birth – the freedom to live. To Breath. To Drink. To Eat. Without fear of sickness or death.

Keep up the good fight and Alter the Eco!

Thank you Wendy, for allowing me the honor of adding to your wonderful site. Thank you also for being a friend to our lovely planet, your great community and to myself.

Editor’s Note: I am elated to have Adam Shake, the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Simple Earth Media and founder of Twilight Earth and EcoTech Daily, bring his point of view to My Green Side. Not only is Adam a noted environmental writer, advocate, entrepreneur, speaker and Washington DC-based activist; he is my friend.

Cartoon courtesy of


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  1. Oakleigh Solargroupies’s avatar

    Thanks Wendy for getting Adam to write this down. I for one am happy to be one of this “family”.

  2. Alison Kerr’s avatar

    I’m here and I guess that makes me part of the family too. What a wonderful from-the-heart post, Adam. I’m proud to call Wendy a friend too.

  3. Outdoors2’s avatar

    I’m the one we all hate, the destroyer of habitats, the tree knockerdowner and yes the paver of paradise! I’ve been involved in more land rape-ings than I can count with all digits 4x’s over! But, in my heart I am and always will be an environmentalist. I’ve saved trees when possible, carried turtles to safety, chased mice and rabbits out of harms way. I’ve climbed into dumpsters and recycled enough lumber to build a two story barn and several other outbuildings, been knee deep in mud cleaning up silt run-off from hurricanes. Hydraulics is an unstoppable force! But progress goes on. There will always be a new subdivision, stripmall, highway or office park and I’ll be right there with those diesel burning stump plucking huge ass environmental destroying earthmovers. That’s what I do. Partly because that’s what society wants me to do! No one wants to put their offices in the closed down Wallyworld that was made obsolete by the New Super D Duper one they built 3 miles down the road that closed down 4 other retailers nearby, nor in the empty offices across the street. No! We want new fancy buildings better than the Wachoverya’s Bank or , more stylish than a Lloyd Wright’s of days gone by. Until this “want” is curbed, I and many more like myself will enjoy having the environment as our officepark. (Frankly, I enjoy having my morning coffee in the truck, watching deer catching their last morsels, before disappearing into the brush)
    My peeve’s are plastics and bottled water. A deposit on all plastic bottles should be mandated nationwide and an all out ban on those despicable plastic shopping bags that end up everywhere they shouldn’t be. Kinda like old Black Label beer cans. I can walk a couple hundred yards into the forest and assure you I’ll see all three of these ugly bits of trash.
    As far as the bottled water goes, I just find it ludicrous that people are to lazy to fill their own “jug” and much rather pay these big bottlers billions of dollars to use energy to produce WATER!. ( Thats $???,000,000,000.00 – LOTS OF ZEROS) For substandard drinking water, that better can be had for FREE!! Just befuddles me!

    OK I’m done
    Anyways great article Adam and as always I’ll do what I can to keep our air clean and waters fresh.

  4. Zachary Shahan’s avatar

    great piece! ditto & ditto & ditto & … ditto.

  5. Roberta’s avatar

    I love this personal post and I share your passion, Adam. Thanks for shaking that fist. It inspires us all and makes us think. You are right– it’s all about the people like you and Wendy and the rest of us and every little thing we do every day like using cloth bags and recycling and blogging and talking. Keep up the good work. You rock– and so does Wendy:-)

  6. Becky’s avatar

    What a wonderful post, Adam! I agree…it’s all about community!!

  7. Marghanita’s avatar

    A wonderful post Adam. You and Wendy are an inspiration to us all.

  8. Wendy Gabriel’s avatar


    Words cannnot express how touched I am that you agreed to write an article for My Green Side. You are an inspiration. Thank you!

  9. hannah’s avatar

    If only more writers were speaking from the heart as you have, Adam. And to the tree-knocker-downer above, thanks, also for your post from the heart. I hope you can be involved in the creative re-use of the littered strip malls and wallyworlds that are a sick symptom of our throwaway society.

    tree-hugging hippie forever,


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