BIO-CULTURAL

“The grandfathers always said that people are afraid of three things: death, darkness, and the unknown...

...but there is healing in that silence.”

-Sandor IronRope, Lakota

The natural world has the potential to offer us our greatest source of humility, awe, and belonging as humans. But because of our fear of death, darkness, and the unknown, society has attempted to sterilize, dissociate, or eliminate certain natural processes from our daily lives that most stir our existential discomfort. Not only does this distancing have great ecological cost, especially the resources it takes to maintain this shielding, but psychologically as well, as we become further disconnected from our own true nature.

 

The Riverstyx Foundation strives to identify ecologically based initiatives with high potential for reducing environmental wastes (i.e. carbon emission, water and air pollution, etc), and the opportunity to increase awareness of our embeddedness in the cycle of life. The three primary target areas are: the green burial movement, the legalization of composting toilets, and protection of night skies from excess light pollution. Over the years, the foundation has also worked to advocate for the health of certain threatened species which have been most stigmatized out of fear or harmful social narratives, such as sharks, wolves, and bison.

Green Burial

Green Burial

When the body dies, microbes in our gut rapidly begin to multiply, teaming with growth and new life as they dissolve the barrier between us and the outside world. There are currently few options available for those of us who want to nurture this process, and offer our bodies, and their nutrients, back to the earth. Embalming and cremation, two prevailing options in society, hinder or stop this natural process, and have high environmental costs in carbon use and the toxins they release. Riverstyx has made impact investments in Coeio and REcompose to explore new technologies that encourage the natural process of returning our bodies to soil.

Dark Skies

Looking into a starry night sky, and into our Milky Way galaxy, we are often struck with the sense of wonder, awe, and humility of our relative place in the universe. Unfortunately, due to excessive man-made light pollution, 99% of the population of Europe and the U.S. live in areas where the Milky Way is virtually invisible. Not only does this excess lighting deprive us of our mystical connection with the cosmos, but also has a great environmental costs in the carbon it requires to light the night sky, as well as disorienting many animals in their natural systems of navigation. Further, new white spectrum LEDs used in many cities has been linked to certain cancers and the disruption of our circadian rhythms. Riverstyx has teamed up with IDA to reverse this wasteful and harmful trend by improving lighting quality and reducing excessive and unnecessary lights.   

Composting Toilets

Every time we flush a toilet, we are apt to reinforce a psychological sense of dissociation from our natural bodily processes- as we send this 'waste' out of sight, and out of mind. Further, individuals use on average around 20 gallons a day flushing drinking water, and thereby contributing to the 20% of our state’s energy expenditure on transportation and treatment of water, all while we continue the need to add petroleum based fertilizers to our fields. Riverstyx is working with the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center to help conduct research and prove the viability of composting toilets, ultimately to legalize a technology that can safely process pathogens and return essential nutrients to the soil, helping to restore this most basic cycle of life.

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REcompose
Mushroom Burial Suit​

Occidental Arts and

Ecology Center 

Homeless Garden Project (Santa Cruz)
Homeless Garden Project (Santa Cruz)

Reconnecting those experiencing homeless with soil. Provides job training, transitional employment, and support services to people who are experiencing homelessness. HGP's education and volunteer program for the broad community blends formal, experiential and service-learning in reconnecting to the land. The programs take place in our 3-acre organic farm and related enterprises. *Riverstyx Grantee Since 2017

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Sawhorse Revolution (Seattle, WA)
Sawhorse Revolution (Seattle, WA)

SR works with inner city high school youth to connect with with professional builders, architects, and mentors to create beautiful structures that support nonprofits and community groups in local neighborhoods. Sawhorse students have been building tiny homes for homeless encampments, working directly with those they are serving. *RSF Grantee since 2015

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Women Designing Resilience
Women Designing Resilience

Women Designing Resilience's long term goal is to work with women returning home from prison to heal and restore their connections to the community and the environment through an integrated program of culturally relevant, experiential permaculture design education, and food oriented apprentices. WDR was designed in response to a need that formerly incarcerated women have shared for programming that speaks to their specific re-entry needs. RSF Grantee 2017

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Viva Farms (Skagit, WA)
Viva Farms (Skagit, WA)

The Viva Farms business incubator helps new farmers learn how to farm and experienced farm workers establish their own business while minimizing prohibitive start-up costs. RSF Grantee 2010-2016

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SOIL (Haiti)
SOIL (Haiti)

Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods. Since 2006, SOIL has been transforming wastes into resources in Haiti. Through the use of ecological sanitation, SOIL is working to create a revolutionary social business model for providing access to safe, dignified sanitation that produces rich, organic compost as a natural resource for Haiti’s badly-depleted soils, while also creating economic opportunities in some of the world’s most under-resourced communities. *RSF Grantee 2017

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Fantastic Fungi (Film)
Fantastic Fungi (Film)

A life-affirming, climate-changing, bee-saving film about mushrooms. Director Louie Schwartzberg. With Paul Stamets, Dr. Andrew Weil. Release in early 2019.

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Imlakesh Organics
Imlakesh Organics

Imlak’esh Organics is a sustainable, intentional company that specializes in the import and distribution of superfoods ethically sourced from small-scale organic farmers around the world. RiverPsykhe Invested in 2020

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Perennial Fund (Mad Ag)
Perennial Fund (Mad Ag)

The Perennial Fund offers a new type of loan to help farmers expand certified-organic acreage using regenerative practices. This new source of farm finance is born out of the frustration that banks and the Farm Bill don’t effectively support the stewards of the land. They believe that farming families and rural communities dedicated to organic agriculture deserve deeper support and equitable sharing of risk when producing healthy food and ecological benefits. RiverPsykhe invested 2021

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Circular Systems is a materials science company focused on the development of innovative circular and regenerative technologies, transforming waste into valuable fiber, yarn, and textile fabrics for the fashion industry. RiverPsykhe invested in Circular in 2021.

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Brother David's
Brother David's

BD is the first and only fully non-profit cannabis company, supporting growers who cultivate with the principles of Sun and Earth Certification- small scale farmers, regenerative agriculture, organic, and sun grown. All proceeds go into furthering the shift from energy intensive cannabis agriculture, to regenerative, sun grown.

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Sun and Earth Certification
Sun and Earth Certification

Indoor cannabis production makes up 1 percent of national electricity use, and 3 percent in California. Along with pesticide and synthetic fertilizers, much of cannabis production has become unsustainable and environmentally toxic. Sun and Earth strives to inspire and incentivize growers to make the shift to organic, regenerative, and sun grown practices, as well as consumers to help inform them of their choices in their cannabis.

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ReCompose
ReCompose

Recompose uses a process called natural organic reduction to gently transform human remains into soil. This soil can then be used to regenerate the earth that supports us our whole lives. RiverPsykhe has made an early impact investment in ReCompose and helped support its legislative effort to legalize its composting technology in WA state.

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Being at peace with yourself within that silence, you can hear healing