Goals for 2017

Hi. I’m Mellissa. And I’m a global warmer.

I didn’t start out crunchy. Anyone who knew me 10, err —okay, 15– years ago would be surprised by my New Year’s To-Do list.

  1. No Beef.

Wait! Hold it. Stop! No Beef? Really? Says Ag-girl who survived solely on mochas, day-old scones, rum, and BEEF in college? (Yeesh, sounds like a recipe for colon cancer if I’ve ever heard one). So how did I get here?

I was young, republican, and needless to say, still in need of learning some of the ways of the world. At 21 I had a cushy government job that afforded me three meals out during the workday. Except I wasn’t near retirement and I hated that job that I desperately wanted to find meaning and importance in and suddenly found myself working in a strange city, reporting to duty in Hunter’s Point, San Francisco at 4am wearing a hard hat and counting the number of dead slugs on the salt-covered floor of some Asian-dude’s business. I had stumbled into a degree in Animal Science and woke up one day after a metaphorical keg stand to find myself … Where?

I recalled a notion that had crossed my mind one night before [activity censored]… Maybe I should switch my major to nursing? At that time, if cooking tater tots took too much effort, switching to a highly impacted major was certainly out of the question. So I continued to drink daiquiris through curly straws during Lab classes in cattle pastures and while I did manage to graduate and find a job, I still wound up rather lost, as you might imagine.

So during moon cake season, I sat my fat inspector’s ass at the desk in the most obscure office on my assignment’s route and on the government’s time, and did what I should have done years prior: I studied the prerequisites to nursing school.

I found myself taking English. The text was a collection of short stories with one theme, and one theme only… environmentalism.

I was young. I was republican. And needless to say, still in need of learning some of the ways of the world.

I bemoaned every.single.word.I.read.and.wrote.in.that.class. I was pissed that the hot blonde teacher was obviously using her position of power, being a gatekeeper between me and nursing school, to push her woo-woo environmentalist agenda on me. Even the people in the class made me exercise my eye-rolling muscles. Cue the middle aged chic who humanely live trapped and released rats. Oh.My.Gawd. The stoner who interrupted class to explain why he needed to leave to wash his eyes out in the drinking fountain. Hehe, and me. The know-it-all Republican.

The final paper was open ended, a persuasive essay with some sort of environmentalists’ swing. Being an aggie, working in food, I chose something that seemed logical… eat locally. Support your local farmer! Even I could stomach that.

Very unwillingly, that class changed me. Because now I’m writing this blog about how I’m going to single handedly end global warming. And anyone who knows me NOW knows that I would rather have that middle-aged woman’s rat over for dinner than vote for Trump.

I dove into eating locally, frequented the farmer’s market, even hosted a local-vore Friendsgiving, lived in a one bedroom apartment with my new husband, the directions to which included, “turn right at the purple peace sign… you’ll know it when you see it.” He lovingly attended a meeting on how to HOST a local Thanksgiving. We still crack up about the bleeding heart characters explaining how, even in Africa, children have merry-go-rounds that pump water rather than the gas-fueled bouncy houses that brought them to tears to speak of.

Fast forward a decade, a new career (I took it much more seriously the second time around), a new house, two kids, one ambulance ride and a new voter registration later, I’m writing in a blog, basically about global warming and how I fancy stopping it. I’m even planning a birthday party for my kid and poo-pooed the bouncy house when suggested to me due to the fossil fuels it would consume.

And that is sort of how I got here. The next year, this list, me… it won’t be perfect. But it is my intention for it to be PROGRESS toward a healthier life for my family, a habitable planet for our future generations, and maybe to inspire others, too. Or, at the very least, teach my children to live with mindfulness. Leo may have drowned in Titanic when that bitch Kate Winslet wouldn’t share her floating board with him, but he has convinced me to switch to chicken in Before the Flood. That’s the least I can do after years of holding a hair dryer to the ice caps.

Without further ado, here’s my complete list of goals for 2017.

  1. No Beef
  2. No Plastic
  3. No Palm Oil
  4. Contact my representatives regularly. Aim for one letter/month. Attend local planning meetings.
  5. Contact companies to encourage green practices. Aim for one letter/month.
  6. Manage consumption and vote with my dollar: Buy local/used/green as much as possible. There is always a better choice! Use less, do without, use it up!
  7. Put my money where my mouth is. Divest from big banking, reallocate my money in greener investments.
  8. Drive less. Carpool, walk, condense errands to result in less frequent trips. Check out that smart train when it finally opens.


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