Nick Heyming, co-owner and co-founder of The Emerald Village and Disaster Tools has a long history with disaster relief dating back to Hurricane Katrina. He has recently brought together his passion for interactive gaming, strategy and disaster relief to bring innovation and support across the globe to help millions in need.Here is what he had to say about his work and how it impacted our community when we were faced with the Lilac Fires:The Emerald Village has been a source of constant challenges and opportunities. Since we founded it 7 years ago, we’ve all had to deal with balancing our private lives, our professional careers, and the many obligations that come from owning and maintaining a large property. Over the last few months this became particularly clear, as circumstances in the outside world confronted us in unique ways.I’ve been working on an app to teach people gardening called Seeds for the last few years. We developed a prototype for it and have tested it around the village. This past fall, after a slew of hurricanes had devastated the Atlantic, and fires were raging in Santa Rosa and Ventura, my team decided to pivot and take the engine we’d developed for Seeds and use it to coordinate relief and information before, during, and after disasters. We call the project Disaster.Tools, and after working out the engineering and data architecture were contacting relief organizations from Texas to Florida to the California Wine Country to see how we could best assist them.One morning last December, after a night where I spent hours discussing the gaps in relief with the Santa Rosa fire recovery, the whole village came together to do fire mitigation. We fired up our chainsaws, pulled out our brush clearing gear, and busily spent the whole morning removing dead trees and other fire hazards opposite our creek. As we were wrapping up, we looked into the sky and saw smoke wafting over the hill.We must have had some premonition of what was to come, as the Lilac fire proceeded to engulf the senior center where my Grandmother lives two canyons over, and over 4000 acres burned as winds whipped the flames from Fallbrook to Oceanside. The whole village came together, and we stayed up late into the night setting up ember watches, coordinating evacuation plans, checking on neighbors, and figuring out logistics for our crops and farm animals as electricity and water went out.It was intense going through our houses, surveying all of our possessions for the things we couldn’t replace. It was a relief to have people like Jonah, Navy Seal and Firefighter, help us prioritize, or Jessica, who’d been spearheading our emergency preparedness plans, help us rally and coordinate. It was particularly intense for me, having literally spent the last day writing disaster preparedness guides for fire response, and having spent the last few months creating Disaster.Tools. All these hypothetical situations we’d been describing suddenly became real.In the end, we were fortunate. Our community was spared by the fire, and even my grandmother and aunt somehow escaped the blaze that swept through their neighborhood. Over a hundred families in the area were not so lucky though. My team with Disaster.Tools ended up partnering with the Burners Without Borders and San Diego VOAD to send work crews out to those impacted by the fires, helping them sift through rubble, clear burnt landscaping, and get ready to rebuild. It was sobering work, seeing what could so easily have happened to us, but it did provide us an opportunity to give back, as well as to test the tools we’ve been building in a real-life disaster response.We’re going to continue to develop the Disaster.Tools app, hopefully with a public version accessible in time for the coming hurricane and fire seasons. If you’d like to help, please send me a message at email@example.com , we’re in a seed funding round right now and could particularly use assistance with UI/UX. If we learned anything from the last few months, its the importance of everyone coming together to help each other out in times of need.
What is the work that you do?
By trade I am an acupuncturist, by craft a medicine man, by choice a husband, father and community member. In another 6 months I’ll complete my doctorate and finally be able to legally call myself a “doctor,” which I dig because it comes from the latin word docere: to teach. After almost 2 decades in the field of medicine and healing arts, I’m beginning to accept the truth that there is no disease to be ‘fixed’ or ‘healed,’ rather lessons to be learned and patterns to be recognized on our path of growth. Many years ago while wandering the globe in search of healing and enlightenment, I heard Traditional Chinese or Daoist Medicine described as the medicine of transformation. I still like this definition and do my best to remind patients that I’m just a helpful guide on this seemingly painful leg of their journey… So my work is simply to embody the Dao and learn to trust all is well.
How does living in community support or inform your presence in the world?
As with most sangha, the Emerald Village Observatory supports me to ‘see’ myself as a contributor in the game of life. Sometimes I’m useful, sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I’m the problem, sometimes I’m the solution. Maybe so and maybe not, but everyday the reflection of EVO amplifies my awareness of how ENGAGED I am in playing my role as human being. Living here, it’s a lot harder to get away with bullshit or wallow in complacency.
What is your greatest lesson living in community?
“No Man is an island.” ~ John Donne
Everything we do and how we be, intimately affects others. Living in community is the art of coexistence. Learn to share or die. From the practicality of communal meals and laundry facilities to the intricacies of governance models and decision making, living in community invites one to recognize we are ALL responsible for the co-creation of our experience… good, bad, ugly and beautiful. Though nothing new, It’s a timely lesson for our species to consider ‘being considerate’ more often.
by Krystin Railing
The new year is full of new beginnings, but also a moment of reflection, and classically time to create “New Year’s Resolutions.” During a time when society finally seems open to expressing the desire to make personal changes for the better, it seems as though many have lost their luster for resolutions.
Often resolutions are made, only to be passionately pursued for a few fleeting weeks and then get put on the back burner and soon forgotten about all together. So how does one go about making meaningful resolutions that last? Here are a few tips that we hope will help you along your path of personal growth and development this 2018.
- Start small: Making small conscious daily changes when we make a choice will heed large results over time. Make resolutions you actually know you can keep, make it possible to succeed.
- Make it meaningful: Make a resolution you are truly passionate about changing. Set thought out intentions that are meaningful to your life personally. Creating a resolution that does not have personal meaning will be hard to get motivated about.
- Change one thing at a time: If you try to change too many areas of your life at once, it can be hard to manage, monitor and control, which won’t set you up for success in the long run. Try focusing on one thing at a time until it becomes natural, then add focus on another area of your life.
- Keep it Consistent: Whether you call it setting “intentions”, “goals”, or a “resolution”, make small consistent changes to adopt healthy new habits. Resolutions can be made at any moment. If you see a change that needs to be made in your life and you have identified it, then that is the time to make a resolution.
- Start Early: Don’t wait until December 31 to make a huge change in your life. Start planning and researching early. It takes up to 30 Days to form a habit, good or bad. So If you want to quit smoking in the new year, the process of transformation begins 30 days before the new year. That way, come the New Year, you are already in your new habits.
- Talk about it: They are personal choices, keep them personal unless you need an accountability buddy, then seek out a friend or group that is interested and able to truly and positively support you in your new lifestyle choice. Ask for support if needed.
- Don’t give things up, instead adopt healthy new habits: Sometimes it can seem daunting to have the mindset of “giving something up for good.” Instead, try adding new healthy habits to your daily routine that will positively influence your life.
- Don’t stress about your new resolution: Monitor your progress and keep track in a notebook if desired, but don’t let it stress you out. The point of resolutions are to positively influence your health, so stress would be counter-productive. Have fun with your new healthy lifestyle!
Making personal goals or resolution are an excellent way to create an outline for change in your life, physically, mentally and emotionally, if done with good intention. So say YES to some healthy New Year’s Resolutions!
Below are some New Year’s Resolutions from Emerald Village Members to help inspire you!
- Nick’s resolution is to make use of all the amazing resources we have accumulated and continue to build the community dream
- Bianca’s resolution is to learn a new instrument, but not over commit, practice 15 minutes a day, commit to learning and not achieving
- Jessica’s resolution is to shamelessly abide by her own personal rhythms
- Rebecca’s resolution is to declutter and minimize her life and mind, incorporate yoga once a week into her routine
- Greg’s resolution is to live a more conscious life which includes eating healthier
- Jona’s resolution is to live in full integrity as a man of god
- Krystin’s resolution is minimize single use products and disposable items, including paper plates, plastic forks, disposable bags, to go boxes and instead opt for fresh foods that don’t require a box and providing her own bags/ boxes/ plates/ cups instead of using disposables.
We’ll be posting our newsletters and the ongoing projects we have here, so stay tuned!