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s ols t i ce

slaves for chocolate • a brief history of american conservationism • wolves among humans • biomes • diy hallow’s eve • buying power





To our dear readers. In creating a fair, just and healthy world, one cannot look only at environmentalism. That is the theme behind our second issue of Solstice Magazine. With you we explore wolves and our relationships with them, document what it took to make places like Yellowstone and Yosemite national parks, and expose how something so sweet-chocolate-isn’t that sweet at all. But as always, this isn’t the limit to Solstice. We have DIY projects to open your eyes to nature and get wild with recycled Halloween costumes. Photographs of Yellowstone, and, of course, unique graphics. Bees, biomes and buying power follow. Our goal at Solstice: not just to open eyes but to inspire action as well. For feedback, send us an email at

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi




Fair Trade





Wolves in America p. 6

Slaves for Chocolate p. 10

A (very brief) history of America始s Original p. 17 Conservation Movement

Solstice Photography by Liz Newman


Wolves By Stella Pfahler

A while ago, wolves

Lies and myths

were understood and

generated fear in the

acknowledged by the native

settlers. Some of these

people living in North

stories date back to

America. They walked with

Medieval Europe, during the

the wolves and thought of

werewolf trials. In this

them as brothers. That all

period of time, any disabled

changed when the Europeans

people, foreigners who

came. These people invaded

looked different, or any

the land, and showed no

outcast from the particular

respect to the wolves and

village could be accused of

native people whatsoever.

“serving the Devil” and

These new settlers were

performing witchcraft.

violent and destructive

Beliefs like these were

towards wildlife. They

driven by the Catholic

taught their children to

Church. The bishop, Pope, or

hate wolves, planting seeds

any noble that lived nearby

of doubt in their minds. The

had the power to condemn

seeds sprouted into lies

someone to a slow and

about the creatures they

painful death: to be burned

should have cared for and

at the stake.


They would wire their jaws together

Even before these trials, there were grudges against wolves. In the tenth century, nobles put a price on wolf heads to encourage the new bounty hunters and

civilians to kill as many wolves as they could. This practice carries on today, still

where it continues in

Before Europeans settled in America, there were about two million wolves. Five hundred years later, there were between 500 and 1,600. Most people did these things because they

some areas. Bounty hunting's

were angry and scared. When

highest point was at the

wolves killed livestock,

turn of the twentieth

people got angry because the

century. Between 1883 and

animals were their money,

1918, eighty thousand wolves

and how they made way in the

were killed in Montana

world. When a wolf killed an

alone. Wolves would be shot,

animal from the flock or

poisoned, trapped, and

herd, people would see what

tortured. People would wire

wolves can do. That's when

wolves' jaws together so

they would get scared. These

that they starved. Even

people needed (and need!) to

worse, the wolves would be

understand that wolves

tied to a stake and torn

aren't trying to do harm,

apart by the bounty hunter's

they are just trying to

dogs. Wolf pups were

survive. People often say

sometimes dragged from their

that wolves are savage

dens, away from their

animals. They say that

mothers, to be beaten and

wolves kill for fun and have

shot. Although these

no mercy. These things are

gestures did not wipe out

not true. Wolves have a

wolves completely, it

complex pack system, the

devastated their numbers.

opposite of what people

think. They kill their prey for food, not for pleasure. The only recorded attacks were of wolves that were performing self-defense, had rabies, or were being provoked by humans. Even so, people are somehow immune to these truths. Humans seem to want these complex animals

Leo, a resident at Mission: Wolf

to be

Mission: Wolf


Not everyone is prejudiced against wolves. In fact, a lot of people are trying to help them. You can to. A great organization to look into is Mission: Wolf ( Although they focus on wolves, M:W attempts to address a range of environmental issues through education. In fact, they also have horses. Mission: Wolf is located in Colorado, where their resident wolves have plenty of space.

killers. This is true for other predators, too. Foxes, coyotes, and bears are also mistreated, although wolves got the worst of it. Hopefully, people will start to understand what wolves really are-an

How to Donate Go online to where you can find a list of supplies they need or make donation.To send a donation directly, address it to Mission Wolf PO box 1211 Westcliffe, CO 81252

essential part of North America’s ecosystem.



Ah, chocolate, food of the gods. When

Thereʼs a lot of pressure for that bar to

it was first introduced to Europe, only

be cheap, and like it or not, that

the noble could afford it. Today, you

pressure comes from us. The

can buy it cheap at any corner store.

consumers. So instead of charging us

And this Halloween, a lot of people

the real price for a bar of chocolate,

will. But how is it that cheap?

everybody in the line of production has to figure out how to cut costs.

Thereʼs a long story behind that little

Most of this falls to the plantations,

bar of chocolate, and it starts in

who often arenʼt exactly scrupulous

plantations. Many of them are in the

about it. First, they use slash and burn

Ivory Coast, a country in West Africa

to clear land so they can plant more

which, 10 years ago, was divided by

cacao trees, destroying forests and

civil war. 40% of cacao, the main

animal habitats in itʼs wake. Slash and

ingredient in chocolate, is grown

Burn is what it sounds like, sadly;

there. Workers tend cacao trees, then

once beautiful forests slashed and

harvest, dry and sell the beans to

burned until they are no more. When

middle men, who sell them to bigger

Cacao trees are in their natural

middle man, who sell them to your

environment, a rainforest, they happily

favorite chocolate companies, who,

coexist and receive badly need shade

with the help of factories turn them

from taller trees, as well as nutrients.

into your favorite chocolate bars.

When they are in heavily crowded

Theyʼre distributed to stores where

plantations, on the other hand, they

you buy them and unwrap and take a

require pesticides to stay ʻhealthy.ʼ

bite of luscious goodness. Which would be great, only thatʼs not the full

However, thatʼs not cheap enough to

story, and the the real one isnʼt quite

please the middle men, more middle

as sweet.

men, chocolate companies and you,

so they turn to something else: slave

deal of the country is very poor, and to

labor. Imagine working on a Cacao

children, a stranger giving a job offer

plantation: carrying back breaking

with good pay is a great deal, not one

loads, working with machettis,

to be suspicious of.

Most of these teens have never even tried chocolate.

Once at the plantations, the children are worked practically (and in some

practically every single day. Now

cases literally) to death until theyʼve

imagine doing it without pay. If you

outlived their usefulness. While still

didnʼt do it well enough, ʻmisbehavedʼ

young adults, they will suffer affects

or were caught escaping, you would

from the pesticides theyʼve worked

be subject to severe whippings. Awful

with, sans protection, and experience

at any age, but the worst part is, these

extreme back pain from the heavy

are children and teens as young as

loads theyʼve carried, not to mention

seven, lured away from their homes in

scars from brutal beatings.

countries like Ghana and Burkina Faso with lucrative offers, then

And the truth is, most of these teens

smuggled across borders and

have never tried chocolate. The have

trafficked into the Ivory Coast. How

been robbed of their childhoods and

are the children lured? Well, countries

families, and their families have been

like Burkina Faso donʼt produce much;

robbed of their children. The have

they mostly import products from other

been thrust into a country where they

countries. Because of this, a good

do not know the language, forced to

work from dawn to dusk so we can

far they have had some victories, but

have our chocolate bars. Sadly, all

there is still a long way to go before

chocolate companies, large and small,

chocolate can truly be sweet again.

know this is happening, but giants like Hershey始s and Nestles stand by because they know they can get away with it.

Many plantations to not employ these techniques, but once all of the beans are mixed together, there is no way of telling. Luckily, there is a certification system called fair trade which certifies brands that use only beans from responsible cacao plantations. These brands give back to the communities they buy from, and have much more of a connection to the farmers. However, fair trade chocolate is much more expensive, because everyone involved is being paid a living wage.

Many people and human rights organizations are pressuring major brands like Hershey始s to go fair trade, hoping it will create a domino affect among other chocolate companies. So

By Marie Hogan

Buying Power Fair Trade may be more expensive, but it’s higher quality too(and usually organic). However, beware of “fair trade washing,” and look for signs, not claims. There are three main certifications:TransFair USA(or just Fair Trade Certified), Fair Trade Federation, and IMO(fair for life). Fair Trade Federation is generally for Clothing and other items, not food, though it does certify some chocolate brands. Of the two specifically for agriculture, Trans Fair USA is generally considered to have stricter, more thorough regulations and requirements that ensure farmer’s needs are never left by the way side.

DIY Plastic Bag Skirts y’re great Plastic Bag skirts are perfect for Halloween, not because the free to be costumes, but because this is the time of year when you are t makes a creative about dress. Not only is this a creative project tha also acts as a statement(which hopefully, in turn, will create an action), but it er time. running tally of exactly how many plastic bags you collect ov What you’ll need: k) A whole bunch of plastic bags(you’ll need more than you thin An old tie Iron and Ironing board Outdoor area Stick-on Velcro ether, outside(I Once you have enough plastic bags, begin ironing them tog ea can cause hate to say it, but ironing plastic in an enclosed breathing ar er to make “fabric”, brain damage). You’ll need to layer several together in ord case on the skirt. so have fun thinking about what designs you want to show them cool down Once you have ironed all of your plastic bags into panels, let esign your skirtand get out the sewing machine. This is the perfect time to d hose you like. look through the panels to find useable ones, then pick out t hat you want Think of it as a patchwork, because it is. Once you know w ng the panels your skirt to look like, go to the sewing machine and begin sewi p. This will serve together according to plan. Se a cut-up old tie along the to ay up, then add as your belt. Connect the two sides and sew 3/4 of the w the velcro. 

As fall comes, it’s a beautiful time to study plant, animal and weather change, especially in you live in very seasonal place. The transition from summer to winter is a large one and often there are so many changes going on in our own lives, we often don’t have time to notice and specifically point out ones concerning nature. But if you do, well, then, a whole new world is open. Centuries ago, nature books were used to record herbs and medicines as one went

Nature Books

along as a sort of textbook of their time. They were kept in the family and slowly accumulated more and more information. Today, as we know so much more about science and have discovered so many more species, along with many of their properties, nature books do not serve the same purpose as they did in originally did. However, the citizen science movement is growing, so this is the perfect time to re-imagine what nature books can be. For a modern and environmental twist, observe the pollution in your city and how it affects plant and animal life. Then, share your findings online so others curious about the area can find the information they need. Once you have a nature book and dip your toes into the ocean of citizen science, there’s a whole world of possibilities open to you.

The Environment in the news Plans for drilling in the arctic have been halted for the rest of the year after it was learned that shell’s spill cleanup technology had been damaged. There was strong opposition from environmental activists on sides, with concerns about how spills would be cleaned up. In fact, over the summer, two Greenpeace activists stationed themselves by the operation to prevent plans from going ahead and were hit full force by water canons.

In Brief: A History of the Foundations of the American Conservationist Movement.

Can you imagine America without its forests? How about what the Grand Canyon would look like as the nation始s deepest theme park?

Maybe you fancy Yosemite turned into a reservoir? All of these ideas sound Yellowstone Lake, Wyoming

preposterous, but they might have become tragic realities had no one stood up for our landmarks in their hour of need. And no one would have, mind you, save for them. Our conservationists have time and again stood up for the nature we consider just another benefit of our country today. The American respect and love of the land has been present on this continent since Native American tribes worshipped many forces of nature as gods and did all that was in their

power to protect their land when

American tribes. America was more

Europeans invaded, resulting in

than a new frontier. It was a new crop

numerous disputes and battles

of land for the newcomers to do as

between the Native Americans and

they wished with. Over a hundred

settlers that inadvertently both showed

years, three hideously bloody wars,

many Native Americans they had to

and a Declaration of Independence

fight like they had never fought before

later, The conservationist movement

for what they believed was rightfully

had gained momentum, but by then it

theirs, and caused the settlers to

had something far more inhibiting: an

wonder at these people who were

opposition. By now, America had

willing to give up their lives for what as

begun to have a need for

far as (the settlers) were concerned

deforestation, over-harvesting, and

was just a bit of land, land which

mass-producing to meet the demand

seemed to be the only thing they had

for a rapidly growing populace, and so

in abundance. But what land! Visitors

turned to industrialization to solve the

would later return home dazzled with

countryʼs problems for it. However, at

its beauty, telling their spouses and

this time no on knew the ecological

children of this great frontier that

horrors which could result from

would present both new land and a

industrialization-nor did they know, in

new hope for many Europeans looking

their innocence, of the path to

in vain for a better life. As word of that

ecological disaster they were even

coveted better life being achieved in

then laying the cobblestones for.

America spread like wildfire, the

Soon, however, Americans would

settlers came in droves, wiping out

begin to find themselves with the

expanses of forest for their towns as

aftereffects of industry pushed to a

easily as the diseases they brought

breakneck pace to accommodate

with them wiped out entire Native

demand: poverty and filth running

rampant, people living in terrible

and the 22nd Congress made the first

conditions, and entire ecosystems

(if unofficial) national park out of Hot

being destroyed at an alarming rate.

Springs, Arkansas. A great victory

Concern was growing that it was

won, but an end to the fight it was not.

unsafe. Some people, however, were

In the years that have come and

increasingly concerned not at their

passed since that fateful day, many

own plight, plight though it was, but at

new challenges have risen, and it will

the plight of the natural resources (the

be up to us and our descendants to

fact that “natural resources� is an

continue the long, steadfast march

accepted word even to this day is

toward a free earth. For our ancestors,

testimony to the extent we as

for our children.

americans and english speakers believed that nature was ours to use as we saw fit) which were dwindling away as america became ever stronger. However, it wasnĘźt until the early to mid 19th century when the articles of, among others, a young John Muir gained nationwide attention that people began to truly appreciate the nature which, if somewhat lessened than it may have been when their parents or grandparents came here, still surrounded many who lived in this relatively new nation. And after countless persuasive articles and pleas for change, Andrew Jackson

By Siena Starbird

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Solstice Mag Issue 2  

Conservation, Wolves and Fair Trade

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