February Progress Report

It seems ultra fitting that my February report should come half way through March, I feel like I just could not get organized last month. I was moving like a snail. Although I think Missy did say it best when she noted how she finds it easier to implement these practices, than it is to write about them. So here is my much belated progress report.  Continue reading

January Progress Report (Sarah & Family)

work-in-progress-clip-art-at-clker-com-vector-clip-art-online-jo8pjm-clipartWell, here we are six days into February and I’m just getting around to my January progress report. Pretty typical timing for my crazy life right now.  Better late than never, right?

Change is hard. Overall, I feel like we – as a family – are just still trying to get in the groove of our global warming goals for the new year.  I am inspired daily by my co-conspirators Lily and Missy, and am hoping to do/save/commit more each month. Let’s look back at those goals:

  1. Fewer resources
    I’ve tried to consolidate car trips and have been walking a bit more, but we’ve had so much rain lately that’s been hard. We got our new smaller trash can and I scheduled a home energy audit, which will happen in February.
  2. Less plastic
    I’ve been doing my best to buy ONLY in bulk (using re-usable containers), and when an item isn’t available in bulk, only purchasing things packaged in recyclable glass, cans or paper). And when those options aren’t available, I’ve either done without or tried to make my own (stay tuned for a post about making your own yogurt)!  Lily wrote a great post about zero waste grocery shopping here.
  3. Less stuff

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    second hand finds (for less than $25 total!)

    I’ve made fewer trips to stores in general, only making shopping trips when absolutely necessary. That has majorly reduced impulse/unnecessary purchases. When I really needed to get my shopping fix, I hit up our local Goodwill store (where I scored a cute jacket for my littlest guy and a funky leather purse), and found some jeans at a great price at a local consignment shop I’d never gone into.

  4. Spread the word!
    I made a lot of phone calls to my representatives in congress to express my serious concerns about climate change and many other issues that have come up since the new administration began. There are so many issues that I am frightened/concerned/saddened/maddened about it’s hard to think straight some days. Calling and voicing my concerns feels woefully inadequate given the immensity of the problems, but it does feel good to do something. For info, ideas, scripts and contact info for your representatives, check out these websites: http://dailyaction.org/ http://5calls.org/ http://thesixtyfive.org/ http://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

 

 

Making Branches

Happy Birthday to my first born global warmer! She’s four. I can’t believe it.

February 1st, in particular, marks a milestone in my life. It’s the day I started living my life for someone else. I made a branch on the family tree. I recall walking down the hallway of the hospital, hormonal as anything that ever was hormonal, and felt an overwhelming sense of dread: What have I done?? I cannot undo this! I can’t go back. This situation, motherhood, is forever! FOREVER. The heavy and dense responsibly descended upon me like a dark cloud, and I felt like I was trapped, being suffocated, smothered by its weight. My shoulders felt like they were melting to the ground by the weight of what was hitting me. How could I possibly do right by this little person I loved more than life itself? I have never felt so inadequate and unworthy in my entire life.

Last fall, I felt a similar overwhelming stifling feeling when I began to learn more about the imminence and immediacy of global warming and climate change. I watched “Before the Flood” and felt hopeless and helpless, ignorant about what I didn’t know what I didn’t even know, and floundering to get a grasp on a plan that would give me a sense of control of the world around me.

The election of Trump only added to this feeling of discontent. The unsettling feeling of living in a country so divided, once stable and slow to change, but one that now seems to be set in a tail spin of poorly constructed and executed executive orders, with thinly veiled and poorly concealed tones of racism, elitism, bigotry, and sexism. Trump bragged about how he grabs at women, and people still voted for him. He talks about his daughters’ breast development rather than their other non-physical attributes, and people still voted for him. He lied, repeatedly, sending “fact checkers” into a flurry, and people still voted for him. He’s a con man, a liar, an abuser. He wants to send Americans down to the mines to dig for coal. And now he’s my president??

While not as hormonally charged or as intense, I have the same yearning as a first-time, post-partum mother, adjusting to the raging and plummeting hormones in her body, to be comforted that everything will be okay. That I will be worthy enough of providing opportunities for my child, to keep her safe, and warm, and loved. That they won’t only be safe from groping Donald Trumps of the world, but that they may be safe from natural disasters created as a consequence of climate change. That they may one day tuck in their branches of their family tree, with a peaceful sense of security I know I have taken for granted my entire life.

That also means that four years ago today, Hilary Clinton resigned from her post as Secretary of State under the Obama administration. I recall watching Clinton on television as I prepared for an appointment that ultimately culminated in the birth of my daughter and my motherhood later that evening. I recall watching her resignation, thinking that this move was calculated, her revving up for her bid on the presidency. In political history, February 1, 2013 probably wasn’t all that much for the history books, but it is an event that is marked down in my birth story history. I wonder how my perspective would be if the election had resulted in her election?

Making a commitment to lightening our families’ carbon footprint is my way of taking control, creating a plan, and identifying what I can change. February 1st is also significant that it wraps up the first month of this Lemonade experience/experiment. What have I done to address my goals? What progress have I made?

We went on a low-waste cabin vacation: visualizing the very small amount of trash that was left over after refusing, reducing, reusing, recycling, and rotting was on a vacation for two families was gratifying and even fun!

Scheduled routine vehicle-maintaining appointments

I programmed my thermostat.

We drastically reduced our trash output. We are down to about the equivalent of a brown grocery sack/week, including disposable diapers.

I bought a locally raised on pasture lamb that was processed locally, not wrapped in plastic. Going to do the same for a hog.

Given up beef. I’m not going to lie, I miss steak night.

Attended 1.25 city council meetings, and I actually addressed them publically, though I stuttered a bit.

Written to the “President”

Written to my congress-person

Wrestled my husband into also writing our congress-person

I’m driving less, and combined my errands. I’m not down to completing all of my errands in a day, but there were at least four days I didn’t drive and I didn’t leave the house unless I had at least two things to accomplish with each trip.

I’m becoming more aware of where palm oil lurks in our grocery store.

Initiated an energy audit for our home.

Purchased reusable batteries to replace single-use ones as they lose charge

Worked to potty train my youngest Global Warmer

Threw a zero waste birthday party for my four year old.

 

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.