I’m pretty sick of all the heavy negative weight around the words “climate change.” Yes, it’s scary. It’s horrifying that we are letting things get this bad. But at the same time, it’s a problem that we are facing, and there are many people taking positive action. Humanity has faced problems before. We’ve tackled issues and seen both successes and failures, and plenty of bumps along the way. In the end, doesn’t it come down to collaboration and problem-solving? I listened to a really succinct Green Dreamer podcast the other day that focused on summarizing climate change science into three basic facts. Dr. Jeffrey Bennet was the astronomer, teacher, and author that was interviewed, and I enjoyed his casual and easy-to-understand style as he pointed out some helpful bits of advice and offered practical ideas for solutions to this crisis. And the episode was only 30 minutes! I recommend listening to the whole thing here, but I’ve also summarized some of the key ideals that really stuck out to me.Read More
Do something today that scares you.
I'm sure you've heard a similar quote before. Eleanor Roosevelt said it: "Do one thing every day that scares you."
So what's the connection between this challenge and environmental activism? Look, going green can be scary. It means changing habits that you've grown up with. It means politely talking to your parents and grandparents about a new way of life you've adopted that doesn't necessarily mesh with their viewpoints. It means going against the grain more often than not. It means being adaptive, open-minded, and vulnerable to change. That's scary. And it's hard. I recognize and respect that, because I muddle through these changes every single day. I stumble a lot. I fall. I get up.Read More
A Positive Opportunity for Education & Activism with Instagram
How many "pretty" pictures of food or drinks or cute cafes pop up on your social media feeds throughout the day? It might just be my love of experimental cooking, foodie-based travel, colorful ingredients, and beautifully-designed dining spaces, but my feed is brimming with snaps of smoothie bowls and tofu dishes and perfectly crafted coffees with hearts and bears in the latte art. I love seeking inspiration from photos of food, and I imagine there's a part of my brain that relishes looking at them as well. Like some sort of dopamine hit.
Although most of the food-based accounts I follow depict eco-friendly practices, I'm finding that there's still a lot of accounts that are including plastic straws and other single-use plastics in their glamorous marketing shots. Now, I'm not trying to call anyone out and shame them. Nor am I encouraging you to bash anyone or any operation on social media. That's bad form. I'm only saying that I found a perfect opportunity to open up a discussion on single-use plastics when I came across a photo from a hip little pop-up business in Portland specializing in gourmet dessert milkshakes...Read More
I'm back with Week 6's Eco-Challenge! This is a real simple one, going back to the basics. It's about picking up litter (hence the #justpickitup theme). We see trash all the time in places it doesn't belong, and the concern here is how often we refuse to acknowledge it. On the beach, on your morning run, on the side of the road, at the park, in the supermarket car park. Why do we see it and ignore it so much of the time when we know that it's negatively impacting the environment? It all comes down to convenience, doesn't it?Read More
When we want or need something, it's as easy as opening our browser to Amazon.com or driving to Target and feeling that rush of immediate gratification. No thought required. Just a credit card and a desire.
This scares me. You know the feeling of emptiness that comes after an impulse buy? It's like a cloud of confusion. It's not satisfying us the way we thought it would. The thing we bought didn't solve our problems. It didn't make us happier (because only you can make you happier). We often choose what is easy instead of what is better in the long run. Maybe our brains are wired that way. Survival, man! But, it's no good.Read More
If someone were to ask me one critical thing they could do right now to help the environment, apart from dropping single-use plastics, I would suggest to them to be more aware of the food on their plates. You know, to eat like you give a f***. Like, where the heck did your food come from? Who grew it? How did they grow it? And...how does its production impact the environment?Read More
Week number 2 brings a bit of a different challenge, and one that became more and more relevant for me after I became hyper-aware of plastic waste and poor environmental practices in restaurants and other businesses. The challenge: speak up about a possible improvement that you think one of your favorite restaurants can make in terms of its plastic use. You know those places you go to eat, the ones you adore with delicious food that you can’t get anywhere else and that give you the warm fuzzies because it’s familiar and it’s the bestest…but that also produce horrendous amounts of waste? I experienced that in Coeur d’Alene this past week at the Fish Market. My family loves this place. AMAZING fish tacos. But EVERYTHING served with single-use plastic sauce tubs, plastic cutlery, and beers on tap are even served in plastic pint cups. WHAT. WHY. GET A DISHWASHER. Give someone a job in the community and stop producing so much waste!Read More
So a little while ago I made a promise to start posting some simple, easy steps you can take to living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. I'm calling this blog series 8 Weeks to a Greener Life and a Bluer Sea, and I'm excited to kick it off with one of my favorite summertime activities: farmer's market shopping! I'm going to keep these posts brief, so you can read them over your morning coffee, absorb what you want from them, and hopefully feel inspired to get out and implement these strategies in your own life.Read More
To the millennials out there: we were raised in a different time with different priorities, and we don’t exactly have a blueprint to look to as we navigate these new and constant environmental challenges. It's a huge task, managing and instigating all of this change. But for those of us who care about the environment to any degree at all, which I truly do believe is most of us, we can start shifting our habits to live a greener lifestyle. We might have to start small; everyone's personal and financial situation is different. But when we continue to demand green alternatives and use our purchasing power to support what we believe in, we are going to keep seeing changes. So start where you can. Do what you can. And at the very least, keep up-to-date on environmental issues and talk about them with your family and friends.Read More
I wrote a post not too long ago about the challenges of being an optimistic environmentalist. The struggle is real. Very, very real. I’m sure many of you have seen National Geographic’s latest magazine cover depicting a plastic bag looming up from the ocean like an iceberg with the title “Planet or Plastic?” This particular issue is just the start of the magazine’s multiyear plan to bring awareness to our planet’s plastic overload crisis. At first glance, it’s heart wrenching - another reminder of the doom and gloom and challenges ahead of us. But once I read the article and absorbed the painful facts, the scary stats, and the troubling photographs, I felt a little rush of excitement. Do we even know how many people are going to be exposed to this crisis as a result of this publication, people that may never even have thought about it seriously and now would? National Geographic has always been a magazine that has sparked controversial conversations, and this particular cover has been dubbed “one for the ages.” People are going to be talking. People are going to be freaked out. And that’s good.Read More
For a minute, close your eyes and envision yourself on the deck of a 55-foot whale watch vessel in the San Juan Islands. We're looking at a pod of Transient killer whales about 300 yards off our bow, surfacing regularly as they move across the channel in search of their next meal. The water is glassy and the most beautiful green color, barely disturbed by the graceful movement of these animals as their dorsal fins slice across the surface like menacing black knives. The sun is gleaming overhead, the breeze is cold and refreshing, and we're surrounded by the beauty of the San Juan archipelago. We're talking about whales.Read More