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Young people are glued to their screens almost every single minute of the day, checking out their friends’ posts on Instagram and watching endless videos on YouTube. Social media addiction severely damages the lifestyle of teens and children. There is only one antidote to this: bringing them outside to commune with nature. Sitting down with Corinna Bellizzi is Emanuel Rose, who uses storytelling to encourage kids to leave their phones and enjoy the outdoors. He talks about his books that teach children to appreciate nature and be more mindful of how natural resources are utilized. Emanuel also talks about the benefits of nature bathing, listening to nature’s vibration, and regular exploration of the wilderness.
About Emanuel Rose
Emanuel Rose, an author, outdoorsman, and marketing expert, merges a love for nature with a thriving career. With 30+ years in branding, advertising, and digital agency leadership at Strategic eMarketing, he’s an industry trailblazer. Nature’s influence shines in his children’s series, Wenaha Henry, imparting lessons on compassion, ecosystems, family, and storytelling.
Guest LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/b2b-leadgeneration/
Guest Website: https://emanuelrose.com/
Additional Resources Mentioned: https://wenahahenry.com
00:00 – Introduction
03:02 – Pivoting from marketing to writing children’s books
09:19 – Benefits of nature bathing
12:26 – Health of our forests
15:51 – Wenaha Henry
16:45 – Listening to the vibrations of the Great Outdoors
19:49 – Elimination of dams in the Pacific Northwest
24:25 – Providing Douglas firs
27:00 – Exploration of the wilderness
31:10 – Closing Words
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Nature: The Antidote To Social Media Addiction For Children And Teens With Emanuel Rose
In this episode, we have a real treat as we get to explore nature with a friend of the show, Emanuel Rose. He’s a special individual. He’s spent a lifetime in the world of marketing but pivoted a lot of that work into the world of exploration of nature, and in particular, storytelling, to engage our kids and bring them into the wilds of nature. He has a series about Wenaha Henry, which he has begun. Here, we see a coloring book, a children’s story, along with a dug fur set of trees to plant, as well as a guide to get you into the wilderness with the next generation called Nature Bound With Wenaha Henry.
These books are a real treat. My kids have already been exploring their pages with me, wanting to take part in the activities and learn more. Let me tell you for a moment about Emanuel Rose. He’s an author, an outdoorsman, and a marketing expert. He emerges from this love of nature with a thriving career in marketing. Nature’s influence shines and his children’s series, Wenaha Henry. It imparts lessons of compassion, ecosystems, family, and storytelling. Emanuel Rose, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much, Corinna. I’m looking forward to our conversation.
The covers of these books are beautifully illustrated. It’s the red-tailed hawk, Wenaha Henry. There’s a coloring book for kids. As soon as this arrived, my older son couldn’t resist himself and had already started coloring its pages. You have this children’s book, Wenaha Henry Seeds To A Tree. It even includes Douglas-fir seeds and instructions on how to plant them.
I’m looking forward to finding the spot either on my property or in the open space preserved behind my house to plant this beautiful tree and be given enough water to get it started. I wanted to start by having you share your story. What inspired you as this marketer to pivot so much of your time, energy, and effort into creating this children’s book and series?
With the grandkids in our lives, they’re remote from us. I wanted to have a way to inspire, trigger, and share the ethics that I’ve learned in my lifetime in a fun and deep way, both for them and their parents. It was a very organic process of having had the thought about it and not putting any action on it. One day, I was sitting next to the Wenaha River after a long, fruitless turkey hunt.
I was staring across the Wenaha River at a large wall that was a mosaic with Klimt’s The Kiss. There was a red-tailed hawk circling above that in that magical mixture of sound and visuals. It came to me like, “Wenaha Henry, the red-tail hawk.” That’s where I created the character. I was inspired to create the character. From there, I spent the next few months writing the stories as a gift to Henry and other kids who may be triggered into action by these stories.
One of the themes that you talk about as you’re reading through some of the opening pages in Nature Bound with Wenaha Henry is this need to engage kids with the outdoors. There are so many reasons for that. We want to get them off of screen time. We want them to understand nature and the complexity of our ecosystems to be advocates for our climate and all of Earth’s inhabitants and ultimately have a more well-rounded education about what it is to be a living being.
You also put into this book so many different family activities that could inspire you to get into the wilderness in a way that is exploratory. That opens your mind the way you might be as a six-year-old who’s encountering some of this wonder for the first time. If there’s a favorite activity in the book, specifically, I’m speaking to Nature Bound With Wenaha Henry, what is it? What’s your favorite activity?
Above everything else, which is the long set, is to create a space for your child or you to spend a fine amount of time by yourself observing what’s going on, preferably near moving water. We know this from aboriginal cultures with these times alone for a predetermined amount of time, as long as four days, which I have done and have gotten great value from myself.
It’s something that’s missing from the busy schedule of parents and kids that when every minute is a flute lesson, a soccer class, a French class, going to school, and on and on, there’s not a lot of time to sit and reflect. The more that we can do that as mentors and then share that in a constructive and safe way with the kids, the more access they’re going to have to their humanity.Something missing from the busy schedule of parents and kids is sitting down and reflecting together. Click To Tweet
You’re bringing to mind a few things and prior guests that I’ve had on the show, including The Climate Optimist, Anne Therese Gennari. She mentions this whole concept of feeling like when she’s alone in nature and she sits there in the woods, glade, or in the middle of that quiet open space, she feels like that’s when she gets messages, I don’t know what you call it, but she says it’s from somewhere external. That’s where her big ideas are generated. She’s able to connect with that inner or outer voice that feels like it speaks to her.
She gets clear with what her power and intention should be in this next stage or when she’s asking the big questions. I find a lot of the same when I am out in nature and spending time amongst the redwoods or out by the ocean. That is when I find that I get that clarity that we often seek but can’t find in the cement jungles of our lives. I do appreciate that.
There’s also this whole concept that when we are in natural spaces, able to take our shoes off and spend time with our feet firmly on the ground, we’re able to connect with the water that’s in the environment, rebalance ourselves, and become more alkaline if we’re running over acidic. There’s all this science behind what this nature bathing can do for our health, both from that mental health and physical health perspective. The two are connected. What has your experience been in this arena? Do you have examples that you’d like to share?
I studied with a man named Tom Brown, who they call The Tracker. He was trained and lived in Apache tradition. It’s all nature bathing. We would do an exercise where we dig a hole in the ground, a coffin-sized hole, and you’d bury yourself in the dirt. We are lying there and you feel a different heartbeat of nature buried in the dirt than you do sitting on the rock next to it. My commitment to myself is one week a month I’m screen-free and it is true. I have a similar to the woman you were describing where the reenergization that I get is critical enough that I commit that much time every month.Through nature bathing, wherein you bury yourself in the dirt, you can feel the heartbeat of nature, which is vastly different from sitting on a rock. Click To Tweet
One week a month is generous. I can’t imagine that as a parent, I’d be able to accomplish that without taking my kids with me.
You’d have to take them with you.
It’s not happening as a solo enterprise. That’s for certain. We do try to get out there, go hiking, and also take the time to go camping on a routine basis. You bring the tablet with you and the backup battery. Your phones are for taking film, pictures, and things like that too. It makes me sometimes miss that analog lifestyle of the past, even thinking about something like a real camera with film as opposed to your phone to take all these pictures.
There’s this perception that if you somehow didn’t document it, it didn’t happen. There is a movement in a younger generation of people that some are saying, “I’m choosing not to have social media and not even to carry with me a phone.” I’ve met a young Gen Z person who’s chosen to say goodbye to cell phones. He doesn’t have one. He has a tablet and he can use apps on it when he needs to but has chosen not to have a cell phone. I’m like, “How can you even do that?” It gives me something to move toward.
A lot of your inspiration with these books was around getting people to commune with nature, especially in a time when our natural world is changing and, in some cases, suffering from too much water or too little fires and floods. What do you see out there in the Pacific Northwest? What good signs do you see for the health of our forests?
The forests are being forest. That’s the good news. I was on the coastal section of the Rogue River. A burn had happened a few years ago. The understory had gotten cleared out and the big trees were still healthy. It’s starting to come back, the bushes and flowers. That was encouraging. It’s a mixed bag. It’s tough. We have a lot of encroachment from humans. That changes the way that the forests behave.
In general, there’s a good awareness. What my hope and dream would be for those of us who care and love the forest and animals is that we would go and spend more time as a group outside off the trail with our feet in the dirt. It’s out of the $500 hiking boots and away from the 1,000s North Face tent, spend a night outside in a debris hut or with a wool blanket next to a river and feel the vibration that is happening, not just the intellectual exercise.
You’re saying to say goodbye to our Patagonia fleece.
Not goodbye but put it away for 1 day or 2. Experience it, not just intellectually.
My older son keeps asking me, “I want to camp outside but without a tent.” I’m terrified that he’s going to end up covered in mosquitoes or whatever else, especially if you’re near a body of water. I’ve hesitated to say yes to that but we often do backyard camping on our property. If I was going to give it a try, I’d say, “You can take your sleeping bag and sleep on the hammock we have in the yard,” or something like that, and see how he does. As a family, that prep sounds a little bit more extreme than I’m ready for.
Everybody’s got what they’re able to do within their limits.
I have girlfriends who do a lot of backpacking. They go off for multiple days into the mountains around Tahoe and things like that. We’ll go with what they have on their backs. They’re sleeping without a tent. I have yet to join them. Perhaps that’s my next adventure. Tell our audience a little bit about Wenaha Henry in particular and what makes this character so appealing to young kids.
He is the hero. He is entering situations as a beginner. It would be a beginner’s mind, asking questions and looking for wisdom from not just his elders or subject matter experts that he meets but also from the vibration and the pulse of the forest and making sense of how to participate in a way that is value to himself, his family, his community, and the forest in the bigger picture.
You mentioned vibrations a couple of times thus far. A few years ago, we might’ve seen this as more woo-woo but there’s a science that shows people are generally of clearer mind and also better health when they spend more time in nature. What would you say to somebody who might be a little skeptical or still have a hard time thinking about the vibrations of spending time in the great outdoors?
Test it. That’s fine. Turn your phone off, leave it in the car, go for a walk next to a creek, and sit on a rock as long as you can stand it. Participate in some way, knowing that this adventure that we’ve created with technology, this addiction to technology, is a new thing and it’s not making us more human. Most people are not happier because they’re using all this technology.
I was listening to a happiness expert and I was like, “Go. All these things are not making us happy.” You can research Joe Dispenza and these guys who are talking about spiritual things and Western medicine terminology and understand it from that rational side of the brain. You can schedule for hours, go for a walk next to a creek, and experience it.
Time with family and friends in the great outdoors is one of the best uses of time that you can have on this planet. Also, sharing a meal with people and breaking bread. I once got to tell the story of the medicine hunter Chris Kilham, where he described what to me sounded like pure heaven. I forget what culture these people were from but they essentially hiked off into the woods, mostly barefoot, found this river mouth, harvested some wild river shrimp from the river mouth, played in the waterfall, got some tubers from underground, made a fire, and cooked all the food they harvested from that spot right then and there.
Eventually, we were looking at one another and broke out in delirious laughter because it was such a perfect moment. You mentioned that you’re off in the woods turkey hunting. Granted, that was not the day that you wanted because you didn’t get to bring home a bird but it was the day you needed because you got inspired by this Wenaha Henry. There is something to that. When I invited Steven Hawley on this show, he wrote the book Cracked, which is out by Patagonia Press. It talks about the crumbling infrastructure of our dams in the Pacific Northwest and how they’ve damaged our river ecosystems.
While they might’ve supplied green energy, they supply a surplus and more than we need. At the same time, they’re expensive to maintain and they have killed the spawning grounds for the salmon. Salmon aren’t coming as far into the forest so they’re not leaving the nutrients behind that they captured in the oceans.
You have a decline in the salmon species that the orca aren’t able to flourish as much because they rely on the salmon for their diet. In the forest, as documented, trees grow 50% taller and 50% faster in grounds where there’s salmon spawning than in areas where they don’t. I’m curious if you have thoughts about the elimination of dams in the Pacific Northwest. What you might say about that whole concept?
There’s a lot of positives to it. It’s going to open up a ton of spawning grounds. All these things are connected. The protein that those endogenous fish provide, salmon and steelhead, are pulled through the forest. Sometimes, it is as much as 50 square miles from the river.
You don’t think about that but it’s because the birds that prey on them also bring them to their nests, which can be far off. It’s amazing how intertwined these ecosystems are.
The one challenge down on the Klamath River is they are pulling those three dams out. What we are going to see is a different kind of flooding in high-water events. We have encroached on the river because of the size that it’s been. There is going to be some collateral damage that will impact humans but overall, it will open up a lot more spawning and change it as long as we haven’t lost the genetic stalks of those fish.
We do know the river is clear very quickly from the sediment that’s upstream both on the Elwha and the Sandy River in Washington, Oregon. Those cleared in one season. If there’s a good water event, the sediment gets pushed out into the ocean and then it’s a free-flowing river again, especially if there’s electricity needed. It’s a very positive thing.
There are other methods to get green energy and solar geothermal, harnessing the power of waves and wind. There are other technologies we can use that aren’t as damaging to the ecosystems that don’t kill our rivers. Steven Hawley also suggested that a few skeptics, or even if you weren’t in, to spend more time by the rivers and appreciation. It is the life force.
We evolved near water for a reason. The rivers enabled us to go further inland and into the mountains because we’d have a freshwater source. They cleaned the environment at the same time. If you even wade into a super cold river from the ice and snow melt, I do that here even in the San Lorenzo, which isn’t the most pristine but it’s all meltwater essentially from the Sierras. The water can be very cold.
There’s also a science behind the health of allowing your body to get to this low temp for a little bit and then you emerge from that. It’s this hot or cold therapy that you can help to relieve inflammatory issues and things like that in your body by going into the river’s waters for a little bit. I wanted to ask you a question about the Doug-fir tree because you chose it for a reason. Why did you choose to provide seeds of Douglas-firs knowing that it’s a tree that needs a lot of space? How does one best ensure that these seeds would come to fruition and create a 50 to 80-foot-tall tree?
The Doug-fir is pretty widespread on the West Coast, United States. I knew that it would be one that would adapt well to a lot of places. There’s a great company in Arcata, California called the John Stein Company. They’re the source of the seeds. They do seed packs of all different kinds of trees. They sell them the national parks and things like that. I follow the directions and call John Stein to best get those things to sprout if you’re having issues. They’re the tree experts. I’m the storyteller. I’ll stay in my lane on that one.
That’s perfect, provided there’s a puck in here to offer saturation of moisture, which expands. In my experience, I’ve got two Doug-firs on my property. They haven’t sent up any young ones because there may not be enough space for them but we did have a couple of saplings when we moved in that we realized we were creating too much underbrush because they take a while to establish. They ended up being our self-harvested Charlie Brown Christmas trees one year and then the next.
We didn’t have enough space for them. You have to worry about fire ladders and things like that here in California. I’m thinking about where we could plant a couple in the open space preserve but I’m understanding how much water trees take to get started so my plan was to start these out in a container, get them to the point where they’re a little tree, and then go plant them with a water bag that I go fill every once in a while so that they have time to establish and become healthy.
I can get permission to do that. I’m going to see if I need to go a specific route that way given that the Land Trust of Santa Cruz manages the property. As we think about this last stage of the interview, I like to ask my guests to think about the message that they would want to leave our audience with. If there is a question that I haven’t asked that you wish I had, you could ask and answer it.
For me, the joy, freedom, and lessons that I’ve learned outside are the inspiration. Being in situations where I have to use my brain to get out safely can only happen out in nature when you get pounded by a rainstorm that you didn’t know about. One day, it’s sunny and 70 degrees, and the next day, it’s freezing, and the trees that had burned the season before are falling. You got to get out safely.
Interacting with realities operations is what time and nature provide. It’s the structure. The payoff is this lightness and energetic renewal that helps you answer the question of, “Who am I? What am I here to do?” The more that we can get ourselves and the people that we love into that type of situation and help to discover the answers to those questions, the better off we’re going to be and the world will be.
What do you take from this exploration of wilderness that you know you apply in your day-to-day as a marketer and professional in the world of business?
The biggest thing is patience and never allowing myself to think that I’m smarter than the marketplace. I’m not smarter than nature or the marketplace. I have to observe, act from those observations, and then retool based on the results that happen. Those are identical in both situations.Never allow yourself to think that you are smarter than the marketplace or nature. Observe what is happening around you and retool based on the results that you gather. Click To Tweet
It clearly applies. As somebody who spends time also in developing brands and helping people market, it’s so critical that we learn from what we innately know from nature. There is so much to gain there. I want to thank you so much for spending this time with me. There are a couple of closing thoughts that I have that I thought I would share with our audience and then offer you the opportunity to comment on as well.
We’ve read a lot over the course of this show about the need for change, more activism, and more climate activists out there banging the drum. I feel like this call to nature, communing with nature, and nature bathing is not only imperative for our mental health and emotional health. It’s also imperative to inspire us to defend our most precious natural resources in every way possible.
I’ve had guests who’ve said, “We’re going to need one billion activists and we’re not going to get them.” I’ve had other guests like Paul Hawken who say, “We’re going to get them.” We’ve seen floods that are unprecedented in spaces over Europe. As of September 12, 2023, there’s a huge flood that had 2 dams bust in Libya and at least 10,000 people have lost their lives. These are indications that we are going to get a billion activists that we need.
Paul Hawken is right but we also need to understand that there’s this thing called climate lag. That means that as much as we bring ourselves into this present moment, as much as we are able to reduce our emissions and start to repair our environments, protect and preserve this natural world, we’re still likely to see these problems continue for the next 30 years after the point in which we stop the carbon emissions from accumulating.
It will be easy to get discouraged. It’s important that we keep in our minds and hearts this deep understanding that ecosystems can recover remarkably quickly if we let them. I had this thought during COVID. I don’t know if you experienced as well but there was a good six-month period where we were pretty much on lockdown here in the Central Coast of California. Our schools and daycares are closed. I was in graduate school and also going through full-time work. I had to move a friend in to help take care of my kids.
In that period, we saw coyotes start to go into the main streets. Cougars were starting to perch on branches above walkways in downtown Santa Cruz. I saw a sky that was bluer than I remembered ever seeing it. Noise pollution was way down because there were not nearly as many cars on the road. There weren’t nearly as many airplanes in the sky.
I saw more wildlife every time I went out for a hike. If we give nature the time to recover, it can and it will. Most certainly, from what I’ve seen and from what science shows, it will recover with or without us. It’s in our interest to be part of the solutions. With that, I want to step off of my soapbox and see, Emanuel, if you have closing thoughts that you want to share before we part ways.
I want to continue to encourage people to mentor the kids in their lives to be outside and explore who they are and what they’re here to do. Take them outside and let them sit by themselves.
A dear friend of mine said, “The greatest gift that you can give to your kids is to let them be bored.” This is something that I believe because it’s through boredom that you start to see their creativity come alive. If you give them the outdoors and that boredom, suddenly, they’re creating whole universes in their minds as they initiate play with the wild world. I couldn’t echo that enough. I agree. Thank you, Emanuel.
Thank you, Corinna.
To learn more about e Emanuel Rose and the adventures of Wenaha Henry, you can visit my website CareMoreBeBetter.com. You can sign up for our newsletter to receive a five-step guide that will help you organize your efforts, become a better activist, or even manage a project that’s in front of you. It includes sustainability notes and resources where you can educate yourself a bit more about the sorts of things that you can do to make a difference.
If you have enjoyed this episode, please subscribe. I read every single review that I receive. If you want to go ahead and leave me a comment or write a review, I greatly appreciate that. For this one last effort, I want to hold up these amazing books for those of you. You have the Wenaha Henry and this is specifically the Nature Bound Guide to help get you into the wilderness with great activities to inspire you. You have the children’s book, which includes the Doug-fir seeds, and also the coloring book.
They make a great gift. This episode is coming out in time for holiday shopping. If you’re already doing that, consider picking them up as well. You can also go to WenahaHenry.com if you want to go ahead and explore them directly. Thank you now and always for being a part of this show and community because together, we can do so much more. We can care more. We can be better. We can even share the natural beauty of our world with our children. We can protect and preserve its beauty for generations to come together. Thank you.
- Emanuel Rose
- Wenaha Henry
- Nature Bound With Wenaha Henry
- Wenaha Henry Seeds To A Tree
- COP 27 Update + Changing The Climate Narrative With Anne Therese Gennari, Author Of The Climate Optimist Handbook – Past Episode
- Chris Kilham On Building Sustainable Communities By Learning From Indigenous People – Past Episode
- The Impact Of Dams On The Health Of Our Entire Ecosystems With Steven Hawley – Past Episode
- Regeneration: Ending The Climate Crisis In One Generation With Paul Hawken, 5 Time Best-selling Author And Environmentalist – Past Episode