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Tell me more about your relationship with public lands.
What do they mean to you?

For me, public lands tell a lot of indigenous stories and having native blood; I share in those stories. Also, being an herbalist, the protection and stewardship of the land is a crucial daily part of my life.

How has learning about the environment impacted your actions?

Ooo, that’s a huge one. In short, getting rid of the waste. At all costs.

The earth doesn’t make an excuse for waking up every day and giving itself to us. Neither should we. There’s enough secondhand in this world to supply the next generations. Most people just get rid of stuff and throw things out so easily without a thought. Most things can be repaired. Not to mention fixing things is almost like a dying craft.

What can concerned athletes, scientists, artists or creatives do in the face of global challenges?

All people should be concerned. I don’t really concern myself with bureaucratic approaches too much. So I don’t pay the most attention to athletes and some scientists. It almost seems like celebs and scientists get used by the powers that be just to make a statement, and usually, it’s just for publicity or money or campaigns.

I’d say just do the work necessary. Do it like nobody’s watching. We don’t really need a politician to come up with a plan/agenda to get the planet where it needs to be. We’re the ones who are buying up everything. We gotta take responsibility for our home. And quite literally STOP & reassess our choices. We as a community need to make the effort. A revolution starts with you. ALL HANDS ON DECK.

Can you tell us a bit about your passions beyond “work”?

Well, I work for myself currently. Doing odd stuff in between. And I just had a baby. So right now, that’s my biggest passion. Learning from that guy every day.

And next to that. The plants are a big role. And learning more about indigenous culture. I love wild harvesting, and I’m trying to step my game up there. But it’s important to learn how to do it respectfully (when not to harvest or over harvest.)

And lastly, I make art. I’m getting my art out there this year, finally. I’ve done it since I was a kid, but I was too self-conscious to put it out there. But I can’t afford to keep myself hidden anymore; life’s short.

Picture taken from the ground, looking up at Jesse “SunWolf” Temple, with a pair of Nocs Binoculars around his neck
Picture of Jesse “SunWolf” Temple looking through his Nocs binoculars

Do you find these passions tied to given environments or landscapes?

Yes absolutely. I am inspired a lot by color palettes and just everyday occurrences. I keep a memory bank of things I hear and see. I get a lot of inspiration from random beauty. Like the juxtaposition of a blooming jacaranda sitting between two ran down buildings. Nature is always there to remind you.

How do you give back to your community or the underserved?

Well, like I said before, do things like nobody’s looking.

I do lots, but I don’t really go through any organization. I was going out to Balboa Park a lot and talking with the homeless community over there. Taking photos and just listening to life stories. I’d go and drop off clothes and leftover food from a job I was at.

I just recently got two huge propane burners, and I’m planning on doing a lil roll up soup drive just out the back of my truck. I have a huge garden, and there’s people to feed. So currently, getting my backyard squared away and a new crop planted is a priority right now. And I by no means am rich.

Anybody can help one another. It really doesn’t take a lot. And a community coming together is a force. I came from an underserved community, so my heart will always be with the people.

What are your materials, and how do you think about them?

Right now, I’m loving wood. Although just being savvy and using what’s around me and free. I get a natural canvas when I paint. And unfortunately, I do use chemical paints for my art. Maybe one day, that will change. And that part does come with a bit of guilt if I’m gonna be honest.

Is there a specific moment in life or a series of events that instilled in you a passion for your craft or passions?

My whole life, haha. Life is huge. I’d say having my son be born, actually finding out my partner was pregnant, put a fire in my heart and under my ass.

And the whole lockdown situation just showed me how little we actually need to depend on anything but community, nature and ourselves. We have so much power just as individuals if we put our efforts toward creating and uplifting. I basically snapped into hustle mode once all that happened. I’m good at making lemonade when life gives me lemons.

At the end of the day, why do you do your craft? Are there goals ahead, a constant love for the process, or a yearning to learn more?

I do it because I love creating. And art is supposed to be revolutionary. We’re supposed to make you think. Stir the pot in a sense. I like stirring the pot and making people think, as well as myself.

I have goals, but I like to keep those for myself mostly. And the learning should never quit. I always try and remain forever a student. We can trap ourselves by “knowing things”.

Jesse “SunWolf” Temple holding a pair of Nocs in his hand

Do you have any ‘heroes’ to speak of? How are you inspired?

I’m inspired by people and nature. I don’t like to give any one person that platform as a hero. I’ve learned a lot by getting to know my heroes. And it’s not always the most favorable.

I’m inspired by people who have gone through the wringer and are still living. I’m inspired by nobodies. By anyone who’s got lines on their face and callous on their hands. I’m inspired by wisdom and kindness.

A key ingredient to building a sustainable future?

Putting earth first. If she’s not here, we’re not here.

A book that shaped your life?

Lame Deer Seeker of Visions

Who inspires you today?

My son

Favorite artist currently?

Earth

a pair of Nocs being held in front of a flowing waterfall

Most sublime moment in nature?

Recently, a couple weeks before my son was born, I was out wild harvesting and I looked over and saw my partner sitting in this grass, and there’s a beehive near her, and the wind was blowing her eyes closed and head tilted towards the sun. I saw that in that moment, there was no separation between her and nature. She was fully a part of it. Like an animal. No separation between her and dirt. Like earth itself. That’s where I wanna be. Like that.

Who taught you something significant?

My mom and my pops taught me a lot. They let me be myself. And didn’t interfere with my creativity.

Any big moments of Zen in the outdoors?

Every time I’m out.

What have been your biggest challenges?

Patience. Especially right now. I got a fast mind. Sometimes it feels like folks move too slowly. But I know I also gotta slow down.

Who has helped you along the way? How did they help?

The list is too long. I wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for some of them. Let’s just say that.

What do you do when you get out and away from the office/lab?

Don’t have one, so I wouldn’t know. My home is my lab, and that ain’t too shabby.

How can the outdoor industry change?

Make it about stewardship to the earth. Not just “being out in nature”.

Jesse “SunWolf” Temple sitting down in the middle of a hike to rest, and check his gear, a pair of Nocs in his right hand

What other brands do you love?

To be honest, I’m a second hand kinda guy. I mostly buy natural fabrics. Even if it’s a little heavier and bulkier.

What keeps you going?

Knowing that there’s work to be done.

Do you have a mantra?

Right now, “say less”.

A personal style?

Too many men live inside me to have just one. Some days I’m a cowboy, mostly a farmer/camp counselor, sometimes I look like I’m at Woodstock. It’s always changing.

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