Looking back at 2017, my goals for reducing my family’s carbon footprint didn’t go exactly as planned. We did make some meaningful changes and adjustments to how we live our daily lives, but not every change stuck. We started the year off strong, but lost steam and motivation as the year went on (isn’t that the way most resolutions and New Year goals go?). Life got busy, my baby turned into a toddler, we went on a long summer vacation, I broke my wrist, blah blah blah… Continue reading
How does one hit publish and have an entire post disappear? Of course this would happen to me. Especially considering getting here has been a struggle given the chaos of the holidays with a big dollop of new baby who prefers to sleep attached to me. I’ve called it my “maternity leave” and am finally coming out of the smog since our journey to see the giant sequoias filled me with fresh air and a fresh perspective.
The holiday hangover was real this year. Theodore arrived early November and then the chaos of the holidays hit. I was bound and determined to not let it get to me, but a mix of hormonal uncertainty and holiday anxiety is not really a recipe for success. I absolutely voted with my dollars, but issues like wrapping paper, battling the awful plastic fight with those horrific gifts from family that refuse to respect our lifestyle, resisting the urge to buy more things because it has been ingrained in my head since I was a wee tot, and making sure that that capitalist Santa guy was bringing my kids enough “stuff” haunted me. I did manage to find everything on the big guys list used and no one new the difference. For the 26 kiddos on my list I purchased books from our local bookstore and opted for some jammies made of soft organic cotton and not made in China. For wrapping paper I made reusable fabric bags from scraps of fabric left over from old projects, this was a bit ambitious and I’m not sure I can recommend this for a new mom next year. We also hosted a vegetarian nearly gift-less Christmas Eve and it was quite lovely. We didn’t master the art of refusing, still having a hard time convincing my husband on that one, so in our bathtub you will find a peeing plastic baby doll and a plastic singing tea cart in the box in our living room (I keep trying to trade that one for something less hideous). How do people avoid these things? I can’t imagine Jess Brown, Simone LeBlanc or Erica Tanov deal with singing plastic hideousness, what is your secret???? (these are my lifestyle crushes in you are unfamiliar 🙂 )
2018 Started out better than 2017 ended though. We had to cancel our vegetarian new years brunch due to a kid with a horrifically high fever, but soon after we jumped in the car and found ourselves in an amazing coniferous forest filled with emerald moss, eggplant bark, rusty needles, and the most amazing trees I’d ever seen. I didn’t realize this was a bucket list item for me, but it totally was. If you haven’t been, go, go now! The kids loved it too. Don’t get me wrong there was a fair share of four-year old complaining, but once we discovered the trees and gave them the space to actually play amongst them Missy’s daughter screamed out “there’s so much to do here!” while running in and out of a hollowed tree. We might be doing something right after all. Fingers crossed.
I felt incredibly small standing next to these ginormous beings. Standing there looking up I couldn’t help but be perplexed that my small self could have a greater and devastating impact on the environment to the point of harm of these spectacles. That hardly seems right and fair. It really put into perspective how important it is to change. I’ve gotten so many questions about whether or not I will continue on this journey and honestly there is no way I could ever go back. I will never shop the same, or eat without consideration of the journey but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I learned so much last year and feel I can only go forward from here. We plan to continue our 2017 resolutions but take them a bit farther and continue to add to them. For example instead of just giving up beef I am becoming a ceremonial omnivore. I am only eating meat on special occasions and exploring the world of vegan cuisine. The native people didn’t eat meat everyday and neither should we.
More items to tackle in 2018:
Finally build that curated closet, once my waistline goes back to normal of course 🙂
Putting all the investment research to play, and donating to more organizations that are truly doing their part in action and education.
Getting more political. This I am least excited about, but last year I learned this is the most important one, so alas here I come.
Continue to instill these values in my kids. This may be the most important one.
Hold my community accountable. Why are the public schools not composting? Why are there only trash receptacles at the park? Why are some places still giving out plastic bags? Come on, we call ourselves a “green city” but really??
Shop less, but when I do shop shop small. Period.
Make this process more beautiful. Being more ecologically minded doesn’t have to be granola and frankly it won’t appeal to the masses if it is. How can I make these everyday small steps be Pinterest ready? If its beautiful more people will join in. #jarporn
And the list will keep growing and growing. In 2018 we must keep moving, time is running out. Will you makes some changes for the better this year? Will you join us? You don’t have to make your own laundry soap, but maybe instead of buying Tide in plastic you can change to something eco-friendly in cardboard? Or even better hit up the bulk section? If we all make small changes it makes a big difference, don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Please.
My first attempt to write a letter to the editor was published! I’m a little shocked, but thrilled nonetheless.
Inspired by our Black Friday family outing downtown (I displayed my charging station comments in my post here) to check out the free electric vehicle charging stations, I drafted a quick letter to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. I was pleasantly surprised to find it in today’s opinion section. Check it out here! Continue reading
Myth: Solar and an electric vehicle would be expensive, unrealistic, unattainable, for people with a lot of cash. Solar and an electric vehicle will need to be part of our household’s “five-year plan.”
Fact: Tesla is drawing up solar plans on my house for me to approve this week and install next month. I traded in the mini van for a LEAF. I’ve paid no cash up front and I WILL BE SAVING SO MUCH MONEY. Oh yeah, and the planet, too. Continue reading
The hubs wrote a really bomb letter to Jarred Huffman many moons ago. It really made me quite proud of him.
The Huffster wrote him back. And unlike our “President,” the people writing his letters know how to spell sincerely. Continue reading
Like all good resolutions, I’m going to admit I’ve outgrown mine from 2017. No need to laugh and jump and shout, “I told you so!” just yet. I’m not retiring my resolutions. But rather, the act of embarking upon them has brought me farther than any other resolution has ever carried me before. They need a tune up, because I know how to get more milage out of them. Continue reading
As I sit here on my first day of maternity leave at 39 weeks pregnant knitting a linen washcloth, I feel compelled to write. I have little news or exciting bits to share just a level of anxiety ease – yes a total oxymoron. Ease about being pregnant and having the opportunity to put my feet up, and anxiety about the future and what bigger steps I can take as I get ready to bring an innocent child into the world. A discussion about Missy’s climate conference experience has got me perplexed about what I am really doing and how I am really contributing. Some themes echoing over and over of ideas like supporting small but what is really needed it seems is big action. Can I really make a difference? Is refusing waste really making an impact? Is it really worth it to choose the hybrid or electric vehicle over the conventional? Is dragging my singing dancing bumping into to everything and everyone 4 year old to the farmers market really worth the craziness? Will writing a letter to a company, a neighbor, and/or a representative really create change? Will less beef be the answer? Continue reading
Situation: I started this post about reviewing the Pittsburgh T Line subway (a great source of frustration for me in the past two days), but I think I just need to download a little bit today about my experiences. Continue reading
Wow, I just crunched the numbers. I just reduced my reduced my wattage consumption by 77%.
The bulk of our blog has focused on using less, reusing, zero-waste, reclaimed, etc. etc. One of my favorite catch phrases comes from the gorgeous Elsie Green House and Home reclaimed home goods store in Concord, CA, states,
Not making something new is the greenest thing of all.
During my home remodel, this catchphrase was often an inspiration. Not making something new made the case for my rustic reclaimed wood floors, funky 1960’s vintage light fixture, and delightful antique cabinet bin pulls. But when is it time to break up with the old and embrace the new? In terms of lighting, if I replace a working lightbulb, isn’t that wasteful? Shouldn’t I just replace an incandescent bulb with an LED as they go out? Continue reading
You wouldn’t know it from my recent obsession, but I only recently learned about monarch butterflies. It happened randomly one day, as I crammed 20 or so odd books into a basket in the children’s section of our local library. As we read through the pile over the next week, I came across the book, Mr. McGinty’s Monarchs by Linda Vander Heyden. Now one of my favorite reads for inspiring and educating the budding environmentalists in my life (check out my favorite children’s books list), this bright book took ahold of our household. We loaded up for a trip to the Monarch Butterfly sanctuary in Pacific Grove, passed out milkweed seed packets to trick-or-treaters (my father in law was super thrilled about that. NOT!), and for planting the monarch larvae host plant, milkweed, in my new pollinator garden. Continue reading