Grassroots Bioremediation - Leila Darwish #111

Episode 111 Header.jpg

Leila Darwish, community organizer and grassroots bioremediation expert, joins me on the podcast to give us an inside look into the promising possibilities of bioremediation to heal our earth’s most damaged landscapes. Bioremediation is the use of biological agents to remove or neutralize contaminants; allying with living systems to detoxify contaminated environments.

Leila has worked as a community organizer in Canada and the US on campaigns such as tar sands, fracking, nuclear energy, coal, climate justice, water protection, and more. Her energy and optimism in the face of these devastating environmental issues is inspiring. In this interview, Leila shares an overview of bioremediation and how it’s successfully being used to recover many toxic landscapes in North America, how she remains positive, governmental outlook on bioremediation and much more. Perhaps most importantly, she shares how we can get involved with bioremediation on an individual level; she certainly left me inspired to do so!

Episode Breakdown:

  • Daniel shares on his recent hunt & gather adventures, and he answers your questions on:
    • Neoshamanism
    • Roadside foraging
  • Origins of Leila’s name
  • The beauty of Canada & the Texas of the North
  • What are the tar sands?
  • How Leila remains positive in her work
  • Staying “no” to create a new reality
  • Over-zealous mycoremdiation
  • How do government and industry feel about bioremediation?
  • Leila’s favorite mushrooms
  • The possibilities of bioremediation
  • Aquifer contamination
  • How to get involved with bioremediation
  • Tips for making compost tea
  • Leila’s prognosis for the future of the human species

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A beautiful poem shared by Leila:

If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it... then a long time after we are dead the lives our lives prepare will live here, their houses strongly placed upon the valley sides... The river will run clear, as we will never know it... On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down the old forest, an old forest will stand, its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots. The veins of forgotten springs will have opened. Families will be singing in the fields... Memory, native to this valley, will spread over it like a grove, and memory will grow into legend, legend into song, song into sacrament. The abundance of this place, the songs of its people and its birds, will be health and wisdom and indwelling light. This is no paradisal dream. Its hardship is its reality.
- Wendell Berry, Work Song, Part 2: A Vision

Meet Leila

Leila Darwish is a community organizer, author, permaculture designer, educator, urban gardener, and grassroots herbalist with a deep commitment to environmental justice, decolonization, food sovereignty, and to providing accessible and transformative tools for communities dealing with toxic contamination of their land and drinking water.

Over the last decade, she has worked as a community organizer for different environmental organizations and community groups in Alberta, BC and the USA on campaigns such as tar sands, fracking, nuclear energy, coal, climate justice, water protection, and more. She has taught grassroots bioremediation for a diversity of groups and communities in Canada and the USA and just published her first book through New Society Publishers. It’s called “Earth Repair: A Grassroots Guide to Healing Toxic and Damaged Landscapes”.

For more information about the book, please check out the New Society website.