Travis S. Childs
ENG 100
Interpretation Exercise

“The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think — rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men.”

Education is a critical thinking adventure! Everyone is different, and everyone learns differently. The possibilities for this adventure are unlimited. How information is transferred is a stunning enterprise.

When I learn and teach I always think of being a forest. Forest cycle and transfer vast and complex information across the Earth, and throughout the entire Universe. Most everything we can learn can be observed in a forest through understanding natural patterns. The best education I have received is through observing Nature, and then reflecting on my experience.

When observing Nature, I ask myself, can we ever truly think for ourselves? Humans are made up of billions and billions of organisms who all use critical thinking skills to access, analyze, and store data from their physical environments, you!. There are upwards of billions of bacteria living with any given person. Fungus, yeast, Archaea, and viruses all live on, in, and around Human’s bodies. Therefore we make our decisions out of consent of these organisms in the physical reality. I like to think of critical thinking in regards to capacity building and adapting.

Life adapts regardless of how well a Human’s memory or ability to improve their mind is. Although, the more we improve our minds along with adapting biologically we can see the fruits of our capacity building enterprises. To think for ourselves, is truly to think for the billions of organism’s that we co-habitat with. And capacity building is an essential part of the education adventure.


In the heart of the city and the heat of the summer…

Please see the link below: (http://auroradesignsolutions.wordpress.com/permaculture-design-course/)

Jesse D. Tack and Travis S. Childs of Aurora Design Solutions will be teaming up with legendary design instructors Larry Santoyo of Earthflow Design Works and the Permaculture Institute USA, and Kieth D. Johnson of Patterns for Abundance and Permaculture Activist  to offer a Permaculture Design Course in Detroit Michigan July 22 though August 4th, 2012. Please contact Travis S. Childs at auroradesignsolutions@gmail.com for more information or to sign up for the student waiting list.

Hygieia Goddess

1st Century Greek and Roman goddess of good health, daughter of Asclepius

PHIL 222 Bioethics

American Hygieia

February 7, 2012

I feel that Americans are obsessed with the fear of being unhealthy. The fear of being unhealthy cause Americans to go to great lengths to have perceived security for their health thorough insurance programs, fitness clubs, diets, counselors, trainers, magazines, buzz words, vitamin and mineral supplements, pharmaceuticals, and health specialist for every type of aliment imaginable.

Orthorexia nervosa is a non-medically recognized term that characterizes people who obsess with avoiding eating perceived unhealthy foods (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthorexia_nervosa). Orthorexia is related to anorexia in that it is an unhealthy obsession that becomes dangerous. How often do we hear a person comment on the health quality of a food item? Food at the grocery store is advertised and marketed with health slogans and images. News reports are rampant with stories about nutrition and medical related reports.

In Greek and Roman mythology, Hygieia (also Hygiea or Hygeia, Greek Ὑγιεία or Ὑγεία, Latin Hygēa or Hygīa), was the goddess of good health, and a daughter of the god of medicine, Asclepius (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygieia). Americans are obsessed with good health, as much as they fear being unhealthy.

America is an interesting place and it is almost impossible to categorize Americans as one people with one attribute. America is diverse and integrated so complexly that it will be something to talk about for hundreds of years to come. Our health as a people needs to be stable and balanced with the environment.  Rather than obsess with the fear of being unhealthy, I hope the American people can find a secure national health program that we carry into generations of the future.



January 29, 2012

Ethical theories can be thought of as broad philosophies attempting to classify good and bad behaviors in the human drama.  Ethical theories such as subjectivism, relativism, egoism, utilitarianism, and deontological philosophies all serve as frameworks for observing behavior and experience. Making decisions calls for choosing which ethical theories the decision is made with. In my life, I have seen the ramifications of ethical relativism and the affects this ethical theory has had on the health of my friends, family and me. (http://www.uah.edu/colleges/liberal/philosophy/heikes/202/IntroEthicalTheory.pdf)

Ethical relativism affected my upbringing as a kid. My grandparents picked up the consumer psychology of mass marketing and abided by the messages it taught them. They passed these ideas along to my parents who in turn raised me and my siblings in the same manner. Thus, ethical relativism affected my upbringing as a kid.

Consumerism has played a large role in my life, from television to the cereal box. There was a consumer paradise in the days of my youth as we would stroll along the shopping malls, department stores, and fast food chains. We ate junk food and went to the hotel swimming pool for holidays. Everything was okay because my parents never said it wasn’t. Society said it was okay too. Junk food, the swimming pool, all okay, nothing to worry about. Everything was fine back then when I was a kid, as long as the Butterfingers and Little Debbie’s  were around.

As I got a little bit older my subjective and malleable little brain had new ideas: the chlorine in the swimming pool became noticeable, and that junk food wasn’t satisfying the same desire anymore. It wasn’t as good as it used to be. I’ve physically felt the repercussions from subscribing to the consumer lifestyle can have on a person. Cavities can wreak havoc on ones oral health when they are  not cared for properly, resulting in a root canal, fillings, and hours upon hours in a chair with a drill. I now see ethical relativism may have been right there helping to inform new ideas of the right and wrong of junk food, chlorine, or any other behavior I had not thought about critically. Maybe it’s not ok to eat a whole bag of Doritos and chug a 2 liter of Mountain Dew every other day. This experience applies to the health of my family and friends as well. My Mother and father both have hypertension, which is generally associated to diet.

Because right and wrong are determined by ethical relativism, what a person’s society believes becomes a major factor in that person’s ethical decision making process. Society often follows blindly the advice of doctors, scientists, business people, politicians and other people in positions of authority. If society is to let them lead the way in determining what is right, their behavior is directly affected by a third party. They are not making decisions for themselves and are rather being manipulated by society’s demands, such as societies demand to vaccinate most all children. Even though most people in the United States are not ethical relativists according to Rosemarie Tong, it seems to me that ethical relativism is a part of many of the other aspects in our lives, like consumerism and health care. Just as Tong states in the opening of chapter two, “ethical theories are plural rather that singular in number is the feeling that, when all said and done, ethics is a very relative or highly subjective practice in all realms of human activity” (Tong, 2007).

I think that right and wrong are relative, subjective, and also universal to varying degrees. Everyone has their own opinions and feelings about ethical decisions, and there are many ethical theories that interplay amongst those opinions and feelings. Depending on the person and a whole host of other factors ethical decisions are generally made using some degree or variation of ethical relativism. Tong says “ethics is not a science; it is an art that requires every ounce of moral imagination, emotion, and thought we can muster.” Regardless of whether ethics is an art or science, to me it is like everything else, relative.


Tong, R. (2007). New perspectives in healthcare ethics, An interdisciplinary and crosscultural approach. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson-Prentice Hall.

University of Alabama, Huntsville (Online January 29, 2012) http://www.uah.edu/colleges/liberal/philosophy/heikes/202/IntroEthicalTheory.pdf


Humans are more related to fungi than any other kingdom of life. What implications does this knowledge have for Bioethics?

In my current understanding the definition’s of bioethics are numerous and operate on a broad spectrum. Because I believe there is no such thing as objectivity in science, I think that bioethics, like all science is subjective, therefore it is evolving. Although I feel this way, my feelings are not based on ethics, but rather life experience.  Bioethics will evolve and advance as Man evolves, and the sciences and technologies of man advance. So in my current understanding, bioethics is a subjective philosophic science.

What bioethics means to me are the value’s placed on life issues, or sciences, and the proper principles and practices associated with those issues. Ethics are at the foundation of what Man should and should not do. By values I am also referring to morals, beliefs, and feelings, although bioethics is not the same as morals, beliefs, or feelings, associated to life issues, or life sciences. Bioethics is relevant or related to all sciences, technologies, and biological issues on earth, or in the universe. This is because everything in the universe is related on a quantum scale.

In the contemporary sense of the word bioethics are the study of ethical issues in the biological sciences and medical related fields that may be controversial or considered to be a new technology that has yet to be regulated. Often new technologies advance through science faster than social, political, or economic regulations, policies, and long term research data can be applied.

I would like to see the conversation around bioethics advance beyond contemporary medical and technological issues, such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, or abortion procedures, and move into more conceptual fields such as biophillia, technophillia, biognosis, telegony, biogenesis, and immortality. In much more contemporary fields I would like to see bioethics reach the fields of resource development and use, community development, industrial/automated application and ecological manufacturing, and even consumerism as these things affect and have consequences to life for all living organisms, especially humans.


Discussing Rowan Berries

What Is A Bioneer?

Meeting at the crossroads of ecology and social justice, the Bioneers are engaged citizens from all walks of life who focus on solving our most urgent problems within a framework of interdependence: It is all connected. Taking care of nature means taking care of people — and taking care of people means taking care of nature. Bioneers take a “solve-the-whole-problem” approach that is holistic, systemic, and multidisciplinary.

Bioneer (root:”biological pioneer”) is a neologism coined by filmmaker, author, and eco-activist Kenny Ausubel.  According to Utne Reader, a bioneer is “a biological pioneer, an ecological inventor who’s got an elegant and often simple set of solutions for environmental conundrums.” As coined by Ausubel, the term describes individuals and groups working in diverse disciplines who have crafted creative solutions to various environmental and socio-cultural problems rooted and shared core values, including whole systems, (antiparticipatory) thinking, a view of all life as interdependent, and sustainable mutual aid.

The great use of the term since its coinage has been in relation to the annual Bioneer conference founded by Ausubel and held annually in San Rafael, California.  The Great Lakes Bioneers Conference is held annually in Traverse City, MI. National speakers from the Big Bioneers Conference in San Rafael are beamed in by live satelite broadcast to our local GLB Conference. Great Lakes Bioneers hosts local workshops, keynote speakers, vendors, food and much more. It is an opportunity to unite with like-minded community members and gather information and inspiration to carry throughout the year.

Are You a Bioneer?

If you are reading this, probably. ‘Bioneers’ is a new word made up to describe the emerging culture of social and scientific innovators who mimic nature’s operating instructions- working with rather than against, and collaborating rather than competing. Do you love trees and value their contribution to our quality of life? Do you love your bike and use it to get around? Do you love knowing who grows your food and makes your clothes? Do you love children and work to keep their air, food, and relationships healthy? Yes? Then you are already part of this choir, whether you know it or not. Bring your voice to this conference for an invigorating, inspiring call to action. (http://www.glbconference.org)

Illustrating layers of the forest as a model for natural patterns...

Explaining the golden circle as a model for utilizing skills tuned to natural patterning…


Jesse D. Tack and Travis S. Childs of Aurora Design Solutions will be teaming up with legendary design instructor Larry Santoyo of Earthflow Design Works and the Permaculture Institute USA to offer a Permaculture Design Course in Detroit Michigan July 22 though August 4th, 2012. Please contact Travis S. Childs at trav.gardens@gmail.com for more information about the course or to sign up for the student waiting list.
On April 8th, 2011 a class of about sixteen completed the Renew, Revision, Redesign Detroit Permaculture Design Course. This course was held over 12 days in the Airport Neighborhood. Larry Santoyo and Kieth D. Johnson instructed the course while Killian O’Brien and Penny Krebiehl facilitated and supported.
My name is Travis Stephen Childs, previously I have lived and worked in Grand Rapids, MI (2001-2007). While living and working in Grand Rapids I gained experience in urban gardening and agriculture, nutrition education, and program development and coordination with students k-6 who participated in Mixed Greens, a children’s vegetable project. At eleven various elementary school sites I assisted and participated in developing, organizing, implementing, and coordinating Michigan based Organic Garden and Nutrition Programing.
Besides working with Mixed Greens, I also worked with the Heartside Peace Garden, Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council,  Blandford Nature Center, and the Cherie Inn. The Cherie is Grand rapids longest-running restaurant, first opening its doors in 1924 in the historic Fairmont Square District. It is housed in a one hundred year old building, and it features the original tin ceilings, vintage art, and Stickley furniture of Grand Rapids dating back to the 1940’s. It has been renowned for its unique breakfast, lunch and gracious service. Working at the Cherie Inn from 2001 to 2007 washing dishes, cooking meals, and prepping delicious recipes I gained a bulk of my culinary experience. In 2007 I had a chance to attend the Grow Biointensive Gardening 3 day workshop with John Jeavons in Detroit, MI. At that time I had not realized the extent of my compassion for the people, plants, and animals within Michigan, especially the city of Detroit. While living and working  in Lansing, MI I worked with the Hunter Park Community Gardenhouse, Allen Street Farmers Market, and Bingham Elementary School Garden Club (2008). In 2008 while attending Michigan State University Organic Farming Certificate Program I had another chance to visit Detroit and tour various urban garden projects of the Greening of Detroit. Again, I was impressed with my desire and the appeal to be a part of the rejuvenation of the people, plants, and animals of Detroit, Michigan, and all of the Great Lakes Bioregion! My resume is available for your review on my blog: Dandelion. Also for your review is a link to my Facebook Profile with many pictures and information about me.

Permaculture Design Course

I want to take the permaculture design course to enhance my ecological perspective and skills in designing ecologically sustainable patterns/systems. I hope to obtain a deep understanding of natural design patterns within permaculture ethics.

I plan to continue consulting and educating people on nature awareness, ecological lifestyle choices, and food and medicine cultural principles and practices. I have offered workshops and classes about organic pest management, medicine making, and wild food and medicine plants to the public in the past and I will do this more in the future surrounding a permacultural minded community.

Specific areas of learning that interest me are overcoming traditional economic challenges to sustainable developments. Such as the issue of putting profits and egocentric agendas over inherit community and individual needs.

A fully developed permaculture designer would display the qualities and personality of a balanced compassionate being. A deep understanding of co-creation and co-evolution would be apparent in this designer. This designer is one who is observant in seeking to understand the complexities and simplicities of cultural and societal constructions and how to best relate them to natural design patterns. This person is thoughtful and patient in correlating ecological ideals with cultural and societal needs and the needs of the community.

My greatest strengths as a learner are my passion for what I am learning and my ability to inspire those around me in the learning community. I really enjoy a regular steady discussion group, study groups of all kinds, and presentations and group sharing, etc…

What I can offer to co-learners in the PDC is a companionship and determination in co-creating a inspired, thoughtful, and determined learning community.

My greatest fears as a learner are not being accepted for who I am and what I believe in. What holds me back as a learner is often my instable mental state of being. Depression and anxiety are some of my instable challenges.

A recent learning experience that has affected me greatly is the community surrounding the Student Organic Farm at Michigan State University. The learning environment was ripe for me in presenting textbook learning and experiential learning together in often relative formats. In 2008 a group of about 20 people gathered at the SOF in a learning community intensively learning all aspects of Organic Farming for 45 weeks.

My experience living or working in a community are many…which include working with Wellhouse Emergency Homeless Shelter for Women, Children, and Families in Grand Rapids, MI. In this community I would supervise, facilitate, and manage certain social and facilities needs, including, an art therapy program, opening and closing the kitchen, and helping individuals with their personal/social needs.

Thank you for your time and consideration!

Travis Stephen Childs,