Gentle Goal Towards Making Myself as Sustainable as Possible

For the past few years I’ve made it a gentle goal to gradually make myself as sustainable as possible, most specifically with my purchases, or abstention from purchases: Choices I have enjoyed in order to make incremental sustainable shifts in my lifestyle. Of course the main contributors to the climate crisis are big corporations. (We’ve got to tackle that too.) But for me, making these shifts has been a good feeling, not just an alleviation of guilt for being a contributor to our planet’s CO2 levels as a car-driving (and car-loving) American, but as a passion project that has brought me joy.

  1. My favorite purchase: THIS ^ shampoo bar is lovely! No plastic bottle, no plastic wrapping. And it makes my bathroom smell fresh. (I still am using a conditioner in a bottle. Yeah, I’m not perfect.)
  2. I abstain from using Q-tips.
  3. Always bring a water bottle to work and a mug to my local coffee shop.
  4. I take my empty soap bottles once and a while to a place called Off the Bottle, a store with bulk cleaning products that I can use to refill my soap containers.
  5. I just recently bought the refillable LEAF razor. I just used it today to shave my legs and I LOVE it! A little pricy, but it’s high quality and the idea is it’ll last forever. No plastic.

5. I bought a scooter! It was relatively affordable ($399) and hopefully it’ll save me some gas money in the long run. And, it is HELLA fun. I use that to scoot scoot to the climbing gym I like to frequent. I call it my motorcycle, which it clearly is not, so it cracks me up. I’m hoping to take it to work soon too, at least once and a while. After doing research, my brand-of-choice was HiBoy.

6. Instead of paper towels or tissues, I have these recycled fabric cloths I bought from a local shop in Denver. Some people find it super hippy, I find it super soft and a nice, money-saving option over time! Some of these I fold up into tissue boxes, and others I leave out as paper towels. You can find something similar on Etsy. Or I use rags for cleaning from old clothes that I can then toss in the wash later.

7. Instead of plastic trash bags, I use the paper bags I get at the grocery store. (This makes for the need to wash out my trashcan more frequently, but eh, it’s worth it.) Yes, I could use those compostable trash bags, but… paper bags are free, and I usually forget my reusable ones for the grocery store anyway.

8. Powdered dishwasher detergent that is encased in cardboard, instead of plastic and laundry detergent encased in cardboard.

9. Thrift shopping, baby!

10.Trader Joe’s expandable sponges made from natural vegetable cellulose, not plastic. There’s 12 in one small little package.

My big goal which perhaps is the biggest one, (and hardest one) is to take my money out of the Big Banks, which are enormous corporate investors in fossil fuels, and to put it into a better bank. But this has proven tough and scary! Hard to make the leap, I don’t know why. SO, maybe, the goal will be to write a letter to the bank to push them to divest from fossil fuels? I don’t know, again, I’m not perfect.

So there you have it! A not-so-giant list of things I have enjoyed in making myself a little more sustainable.

One of the Solar Punk social media people I follow on Instagram, who is an environmental engineer, mentioned there is one major psychological phenomena that behavioral psychology has shown us is one of the biggest ways to influence change towards environmental well-being: Want to take a guess? It’s not more education, or feeling bad about climate change, or throwing more money at it (although those are good things too) but actually SELF EFFICACY: The feeling that you as a person matter, and can make a difference. This leads to personal changes and well-being and conversations between peers. Which can also affect policy. Who’da thought huh?

Also, if you don’t know about the Solar Punk movement, check it out. Google it. It’s inspiring. In order to create a better world, we need creatives to show us ideas and images of what is possible as an outcome, and then we can all devise road maps to get there.

Which one is your favorite sustainable option? Anything not on this list you love to use?

Happy Earth Day: Comparing humanity to the lifespan of a human

I sometimes compare humanity to the lifespan of the human: Right now we’re in our rebellious teenager stage. We’re dysfunctional and hormonal, starting fights between countries, thinking we know everything but have so much to learn. We fail to recognize that the habits we have now will impact our future health and well-being of our body/planet. We need to kick that addictive oil habit. But we’ve started now and can’t stop. We have so much potential but we’re squandering it on the moment, the quick fun fix instead of paying attention to the signals of our planet, telling us: Rest, recharge and change you’re unhealthy consuming habits.

You know that phrase live fast and die young? When the young die early because they’re living a rock and roll lifestyle doing drugs and making bad habits cause they’re fun. That’s the stage of humanity we’re in, and we might die at the peak of our potential.

We are the most advanced global civilization we have ever been. We have so much potential to become a unified, peaceful planet that thrives in coexistence with our planet/body but we’re blowing it now when it matters most: When we face the point of no return with the climate crisis. We could be the Janis Joplin’s who lived fast and died young as a civilization. We need to kick that oil habit and utilize our full potential to create a healthy happy lifestyle within our planetary organism that is earth: That is ourselves. Or we’ll wipe ourselves off this planet.

Happy Earth Day everyone. C’mon humans, let’s grow up.

Why I use the phrase Climate Crisis, not Climate Change

It’s a crisis, not just a change of the weather. Language matters. People are more inclined to take something serious when it is described as a crisis.

And Climate Crisis is a more accurate depiction of what we face. Just think of the recent catastrophes taking place due to human impact, particularly fossil fuels, on the planet. And these catastrophes will only increase… particularly if we do nothing.

Climate scientists and many news outlets are changing their phrasing to climate crisis for this reason.

The Guardian changed their phrasing several years ago. Here’s why they made the switch:

“We want to ensure that we are being scientifically precise, while also communicating clearly with readers on this very important issue,” said the editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner. “The phrase ‘climate change’, for example, sounds rather passive and gentle when what scientists are talking about is a catastrophe for humanity.”

Quote source:

The Climate Crisis as Seen in the New Mexico Fires…And a couple ideas about what to do about the Climate Crisis

My home state of New Mexico has been on fire. Evacuations took place. Some of the fires are getting contained but this should remind us how hard we need to fight the climate crisis.

Fires of this tremendous magnitude will become more and more common as the climate crisis rages on.

We’ve got to wake up to this reality and start fighting the climate crisis like our lives depend on it. And indeed they do.

One step I am working on to reduce my own carbon footprint is to divest from Wells Fargo bank. I’m planning on taking my money out of Wells Fargo because they continue to fund fossil fuel projects. I plan to instead put my money into a credit union that funds our community. I’ve opened up an account at one, now I just need to move my money into it. It’s a work in progress.

As mentioned in an article titled “The long-shot campaign to get big banks out of fossil fuels” by Vox written in April of 2022, “Big banks are indeed continuing to fund fossil fuel expansion: Last year alone, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America spent a combined $137 billion on fossil fuel projects, according to a report from a coalition of environmental advocacy groups..”

We need to put pressure on companies such as big banks to stop investing in fossil fuels and instead invest in wind and solar energy.

I’m also looking into how to make my energy come strictly from solar and wind resources. I’m a renter, so I can’t put solar panels on my roof. But I get energy from Xcel, and they appear to have an opt-in program where you can request energy from just solar and wind. I’m looking into this, as this is also a work in progress…

These, of course are small steps. What we truly need is a Green New Deal, to immediately get off fossil fuels and demand corporations pay for the damage they’ve done and change their ways.

Another important aspect of reducing the climate crisis, and one that is not talked about a lot, but which is one of the most important aspects, is allowing people to control their own bodies. Comprehensive sex education and access to contraception is vital to a healthy planet. And when accidents happen and pregnancy somehow happens, it is important to allow people the right to choose whether or not to carry that pregnancy to term. Overpopulation is arguably the largest component fueling the climate crisis. If forced birthers get their way, abortion will become illegal in many states. Forcing people to carry pregnancies to term and to procreate, when they don’t want to, fuels overpopulation. If people want to bring life into the world, that is beautiful and that is their human right. But if they choose not to do so, that is also valid and also their human right. It is important to allow people to make the choice to avoid creating life if they want to, which in turn helps reduce the amount of people on the planet consuming fossil fuels and environmental resources. Forcing more people onto the planet through women and men who don’t want to be parents is morally wrong.

All in all, I do believe we have the power to sustain a healthy planet and to curb the crisis. But time is running out. We have to fight and push corporations and politicians to do the right thing. Or else fires, hurricanes, and other man-made natural disasters will continue to decimate our people, our wildlife and our planet. We are already on track to making the planet uninhabitable: We must fight hard to make sure we do what we can.

Earth Day and the Climate Crisis are not a “Cute” Thing

One thing I hate about the way Earth Day is framed is as though it’s a childish issue. Like, it’s “cute” to care about the planet. Have you noticed this? Little heart shaped cartoon earths smiling. (Instagram’s Earth Day image 2022.) Or in the video Vice President Kamala Harris posted with cutesy music in the background talking to kids about not throwing trash on the ground. This isn’t a new thing: Anecdotally, it appears it’s been framed as a childish thing for a long time and it takes away from the severity of the issue.

Instagram’s Earth Day Image 2022

Our world is burning. We need systemic change and we need corporations, the fossil fuel industry and billionaires to pay up for the damage they’ve caused. We need politicians to actually create real change. The things VP Harris mentions in her caption from her video are something, (electrify school buses, remove lead pipes and improve air quality) but it’s not enough. It’s more lip service than anything.

Politicians need to implement emergency, long lasting POLICY. We need to phase out the fossil fuel industry completely as fast as possible and replace it with renewable energy sources.

We the people need to get angry. We need to fight for a livable planet. Now. We need to support scientists and activists like Peter Kalmus, who went viral recently (on Instagram he goes by climate human.) We need to demand passage of the Green New Deal and we need to protest in the streets.

As I say this, hot wind is raging around my apartment at 7:45pm and fires are raging near my hometown. There is literally no time to waste. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report saying it’s now or never if we are going to stave off disaster. The UN states we are “firmly on track toward an unlivable world.” This isn’t a joke and it certainly isn’t a cute issue. But by all means, bring on the cute heart shaped earths and let just buy more t-shirts that say earthy things.

Its already too late. But we still must take action now. Because it’s a question of not if, but how fast and just how bad we’ll allow it to get.

If you know of protests going on around where you live, message me.

We Need to Wake Up about Climate Change and Actually Do Something

What do you think it will take for people to wake up, before we completely destroy our planet? Will it take more fires like these? (Below) Will it take us fighting over drinking water like we do oil right now?

We all need to wake up and we need to pass policies that will force us to switch to renewable energy. Things like recycling everyday won’t do it.

This, below, is what we are living in, in Montana right now. This is our reality. In Missoula, we live and breath in smoke. Our valley is covered in clouds of smoke for months on end, and it is getting worse. Temperatures rising due to climate change mean fiercer, stronger forest fires. And that’s just one aspect of climate change. Some summers, ash rains down, covering our cars and dusting our tiddy-little-lawns. The air quality is deemed “dangerous” by federal agencies. We are already living in the time climatologists have warned us about.