Today’s post comes along with a story, or a rant. But my reasons for making a chessboard are contained in this reading, if it sparks your interest.

Yesterday I received yet another envelope in the mail from The Nature Conservancy. I get something from them, I’d estimate, about four times a year. It could be more, but I will not exaggerate. Receiving so many letters asking for more money certainly gets obnoxious based solely on the principle that this “charity” cannot be pleased with my contribution and leave it at that. I choose to bestow gifts in life unsolicited. If memory serves me, I was struck at the time to choose to send money (and my energy) for the well – being of my home planet. This was the way I chose how to do it. I sought them out.

Then I end up on their mailing list of desperation! I looked back to my records, and found that in August of 2009, I sent them a check in the amount of a whopping $25!! So, that means that for the last three years, They’ve mailed me pleas for cash at least 12 times. They tempt me with gifts, actually. In fact, I did receive a *free garden tote for my 25 dollar contribution, a membership and if I remember correctly, a magazine that came four times in that membership year.

That was the only time I gave them money, so now it feels like they’re harassing me for more, enticing with more gifts. Sometimes they send them freely. For example, the calendar and return address labels come every year. Now, it’s a green and white umbrella they will send you with a contribution of at least $15. So immediately, I know this umbrella was mass-produced cheaply, and I wonder in what type of working conditions? But guessing that it cost about $2 to make, package and ship, that leaves $13. Maybe another $1 for the calendar and stickers, and another $1 to pay for all the paper and postage over the last 3 years, keeping in mind they are getting a bulk rate non-profit postage rate. So, that leaves about $11. Add in some administrative and operating fees, I’ll guess maybe $3 for the last 3 years and I figure you’re left with $8 for the sake of “Conservation.” (According to their website, though they say 80% goes to the program, the other 20% to administration and fundraising.) Well, in my estimate, only 50% goes to the “program” because there have been 3 years they have not gotten a return on their investment in effort to get more of my money. Perhaps the people who donate regularly even that out. But 80% of $15 is still only $12. I’m sorry if I feel like planting a raspberry bush is a much better $12 investment in conservation.

I am in no way bashing the efforts of this charity and the many caring and loving people who are involved and care so passionately about preserving our beautiful planet and its species.

I can’t help but feel like these charities rely on psychological conditioning and putting a glossy and polished look on their work. Anyone can achieve that now with the capabilities our computers have.

And simply put, I cannot flat out accuse anyone of anything because I have no proof; I’m just sharing what is my own gut reaction to what I see and experience in this situation.

My general observation about all these charities that continually ask for more and more also are at the same time promoting the practice of wasting paper (trees that wildlife, humans and the earth need for survival) that goes to landfills or recycling plants, wasting resources to produce their cheap gifts and magazine (gas and oil for the running of plants and for shipping, more trees) and so on.

At this point in our time of evolution, I feel our energy and time is better spent actually IN nature. For $12, I’d rather pack up a nutritious lunch and spend the day connecting with the elements in nature, feel the energy that is there and assure nature of my love for it. Tell it to the trees and to the growing plants. Observe and be in awe of the creatures on our planet. I go there myself. I say HELLO to the sun and the stars. Guess what, Nature will notice and communicate back in its way. Nature HEALS and LOVES us, too. The more people that are doing this, the better we will heal our ecosystem, because we are all connected. The Nature Conservancy will not speak to Nature on my behalf! I can, and do it myself already!

You want to give a gift for nature for the hopes of acknowledgement and expectation of something in return, then give the gift directly to nature and involve children in this practice!

What has prompted this? Look at the second image. This was the envelope it came in.

“Second Request” (I drew in the arrow)

This was the breaking point for me. Now is it feeling a little compulsory? I just got really annoyed by this.

He’s my “Request” from humanity: To ask:

Are you going to keep continuing to choose to ease your conscious with a check, a “gift” in the hopes that it will prove you’ve done your good and made peace with nature? Nature needs us to individually find our peace within. We all have an important and unique place in nature. “Nature Loving” is not just an interest or “Like” on your profile. It’s not like you like it or you don’t. You’re part of it. And your care and concern for our collective well being hinges on you doing your part and living in the divine nature of life. It’s called the “Art of Living,” in my opinion.

People, if you don’t already, it’s time to start asking questions, deeper questions. It requires being able to think and to understand impacts of decisions and how it affects EVERYTHING. If you do not know how to do this I suggest you learn how to play CHESS, where you can develop the skill of forethought. We are all one on this planet. We cannot let the dish run away with the spoon!

So, we come to today’s art project. A chessboard made out of poplar wood. Actual playing board is 12” x 12” Hand painted and stained.

In the spirit of gifts, the first person who beats me using this board I made, will receive it as a gift from me.