Dawn Allen

Dawn Allen is a freelance writer and editor who is passionate about sustainability, political economy, gardening, traditional craftwork, and simple living. She and her husband are currently renovating a rural homestead in southeastern Michigan.

A Cold Civil War is Still Being Fought

After Dylann Roof gunned down nine parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, people of conscience all over the United States agitated for the removal of the Confederate flag from public venues like the South Carolina state house. Governor Nikki Haley signed the bill into law, and it looked like we

Be the Climate Change You Wish to See #3

In the last couple days, I talked about ways that individuals and collectives can act to reduce the threat of climate change. This is not new information, and a lot of it is rather obvious when you think about it for a couple minutes. And yet, we go about our days changing very little. We

Be the Climate Change You Wish to See #2

In Part 1, I laid out some ways we can mitigate climate change by investing radically in local food production and especially in our soil. However, not all the changes we need to make are as easy as these. This is where we get serious and talk about making the hard choices… or not. Just

Be the Climate Change You Wish to See #1

Climate change is really happening. We’ve had “500 year” storms every couple months lately. People are having to relocate whole communities because of rising water and erosion. An old, radioactive military base is melting right out of the ice. Even mainstream outlets like Rolling Stone are talking about climate change. Sure, there are deniers, but the

On Poop and Politics

Our infrastructure, as Hillary Clinton pointed out recently in her economic plan, is old. We’re “living off the investments that were made by our parents and grandparents’ generations,” and many of those investments are starting to show their age. The functionality of municipal sewer systems is increasingly questionable: they’re falling apart because we don’t maintain

The Gift of the Migrant Workers

Our two main presidential candidates (and their political tribes) have very different visions for the future of immigration in the United States. Clinton favors a path to citizenship, while the more xenophobic Trump claims he’ll build a giant wall. Both sides fail to perceive why we have a schizophrenic situation where migrant workers are simultaneously

War is Over, If We Narrowly Define It

An article by Angus Hervey in Medium recently made the bold claim that war is on the decline throughout the globe. A ceasefire between the Colombian government and rebel groups meant that war is over in the Western hemisphere, leaving less than 1 in 6 global citizens in war-torn areas, mostly in an arc of

Amusement Rides Are Scarier Than Clowns

People go to amusement parks and county fairs to experience harmless thrills in relative safety, but several recent news items have left me even less likely to want to go to the carnival the next time it rolls into town. These three high profile accidents make it seem that amusement rides are scarier than clowns, which is

The Optimal Amount of Waste

If you’re a gardener, you know the struggle against weeds taking over your plot. Weeds take space and resources away from the plants you’re trying to grow, so each one extracts a cost in terms of garden productivity. If asked what the optimal number of weeds in their garden would be, most gardeners would probably

What is education for?

Education has been a hot-button issue lately, mostly because of the varying demands placed upon the educational system by different factions. Should schooling be about acquiring job skills needed in an increasingly technology-based economy? Or is education more about becoming a more well-rounded individual who is able to draw upon a greater base of knowledge