Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Green is as Green does...and... it isn't always easy being green

Haven't written in awhile.
Could be because this is one of the only times that our little one has gone to sleep before us, on her own, and stayed asleep. It feels strange and liberating. As I sit here absorbing Harold Arlen tunes endlessly repeating on itunes, I am reflecting on how our way of life has changed since we left the road documentary that was YERT (www.YERT.com) and landed in KY, to start our own sustainable family.

We're good about some things: We're very active in the environmental movement here - well, Ben is - We don't use paper towels! Ben tries never to leave leftovers on his plate to avoid generating garbage. We compost. We recycle. We don't buy new plastic toys for Bailey - or much of anything new for any of us, really. Ben takes the bus pretty regularly now, and rides his bike to work when he can. We constantly turn off lights after everyone in our house and fight over the thermostat to use less energy. We even took our first Cob-building workshop this year!
We eat local often, and organic mostly. We have a garden and are learning to grow things, but to be honest we have definitely not grown enough to sustain ourselves past a nice salad of tomatoes and green beans.

We try to be as active as we can in our city and have found many wonderful people on board doing whatever they can to help make Louisville a more sustainable place to live, but we do find the current climate of climate skepticism stupefying and sometimes difficult to combat with optimism and hope.
As we no longer live in a town with great public transportation or with many walkable neighborhoods, we drive a car that unfortunately gets sub-optimal (Ben's euphemism - I prefer "crappy") gas mileage, and is overdue for both an oil change and a tuneup, with a tire that seems to be constantly losing air. These are things that should be tended to but Ben spends all his time editing the YERT film and I spend all my time being Mommy, and some important things just don't ever seem to get done.

The YERT garbage experiment has not really been tried at home, since the early days of sleepless parenting. The stress of having a newborn almost made me lose it. We gave that up. We make garbage. Sometimes I've let Bailey have a straw just to make her happy. We buy frozen food that has traveled miles and miles. We try not to buy things that come packaged in plastic but we sometimes do. And although we use cloth diapers mostly, there are times that we slap a 7th Generation disposable dipe on our little one for convenience. And she knows the difference - the "posable dipe" is the "comftable dipe."

I usually remember to bring reusable grocery bags, but when i don't, i rationalize that paper bags are great for compost and to hold the recyclable paper. I THINK about bringing tupperware/utensils with me in case we ever stop somewhere for food but these things have never actually made their way into the diaperbag. And our daughter is now 2, singing, speaking in full sentences and using the potty. When do I think i'm going to start making the simple changes that we made for the YERT trip? Tomorrow? Wake up; it IS tomorrow. Convenience and comfort are not character-building, I tell myself, in her or in us.

What this boils down to is that our little family cares deeply about the environment and living sustainably on this planet, but we can do more. I really like the idea that writing this encourage me to leave even lighter footprints - get out the bus schedules, the tupperware, the hankies, the chicobags, the LED headlamps for nighttime light. Some of these intentions may not be fully realized while we are living under my dear mother's roof (she tends to bang into things at night with no lights) but I know we can renew our efforts to reduce our impact. I think I'll start with finding a place of honor in the diaperbag for the tupperware and the utensils. And the bus schedules. (And then actually take the bus.)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

stuck between two blogs...

i wonder how many other people have encountered this "problem": blogging about a specific issue and then needing more blogs to expand as new issues beg to be brought to light?

i started with this blog as a way to write about my growing environmental awareness and the steps i was taking to get to some undefined ultra-green place... and then, the YERT trip happened (www.YERT.com) and for nearly a year this blog became necessarily - or so i thought - less of me and more of a ship's log for the journey...leaving most of my personal reflections to be handwritten in a journal i brought along with me.

That worked for awhile but somewhere along the way - right around the time that I got unexpectedly pregnant - personal aggravations started to flare up on the trip and, with burning passion, I started a new private blog called "...Toast" with title entries like "Asshole" and "I am so over this." It was quite useful as a repository of rage and i felt safe knowing no one would be hurt by something they'd never see.

Then, once I left the trip in my 7th month to have the babe, I didn't know where to write anything. The trip was over for me but babysteps seemed like YERT's blog now and not mine. The Toast blog was really only for venting so i didn't need to write there anymore. My thoughts now included so much more than just environmental issues. I was about to become a mother! Did i need to start a whole new blog for an entirely x new chapter?

I realize this is not a real dilemma as few humans follow my blogging efforts, but i thought i would mention it here bc it has been on my mind. i have not been writing much, and i am to start up again. I may not always be writing about environmental concerns, the posts may be uber-personal or rant-y or random, but I will be still trying to make sense of a changing world that worries me and gives me cautious hope at the same time. It will be from the eyes of a woman - a mother - but still as a girl - wife, friend, sister, daughter, music and art lover and wild world enthusiast...

and, by the way, I am turning 40 in 2 weeks and am going to be singing to celebrate, so if you are in louisville on mar 20 come over and sit for awhile and i'll serenade you...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

No we're not.

babe is asleep in my arms, mouth wide open
blue socks barely hanging on to her feet
i didn't even know she was tired

but now i won't move cause she's OUT...
and i am in love with her.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cloth Diapering to the Max. we're going to try them all!!!

Just a quick note to say that, unbeknownst to my dear husband, we are going to try one of every kind of fitted cloth diaper i can find. We have bought gdiapers, used kissaluvs with covers and Fuzzi Bunz "All-in-ones," all fine, but now I am out to find the diapers that rock mine and baby's socks off, and are the easiest to use, clean, travel, etc...and stay out of the landfill! Stay tuned for complete review in about a month, when I have secured all our purchases and had a chance to try them out...Moms, feel free to weigh in here...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

How Facebook is changing the World one filter at a time...

I confess I don't really remember when i first joined facebook - was it 2005? - when my NYC agent first "friended" me and I "accepted." I don't really remember when i started signing on regularly and enjoying people's "status" lines changing. All I know is that this thing is a social network with wings and I am happy to climb on board. Today one of the virtual "groups" that i joined sent me an email that makes it so much more than a social network.

Yes, the YERT group on facebook proved mighty useful during our year on the road - Several times we landed a friendly place to stay just because somebody forwarded our message. My babysteps blog automatically posts, which is a lovely thing. It's super easy to post photos and videos and thus keep abreast of everyone's happinesses and growing families and accomplishments. Just recently, high school acquaintances have started popping up in my inbox, and I realize I have the opportunity to kindle relationships with people I had not really known in the hormone-laced haze of high school - who I may only now be able to fully appreciate and only now realize that i have important things in common with.

There are some annoying aspects of the network, like the endless applications that show up and seem to multiply within seconds. (I thought they were fun at first and allowed a "green" application called "Lil Green Patch," an application which asks you to "help take care of so-and-so's plot - there's a deer in their yard - you've saved 62 square feet of rainforest..." I presently have 237 "Lil Green Patch" requests and I am unconvinced that any rainforest anywhere is being protected from slashing and burning just bc i am watering my friend's virtual garden of strawberry shortcakes. Call me a cynic, but I have just stopped watering.)

I am, however, intrigued by the Causes application. Today I was particularly elated to find out that one of the virtual "groups" that i joined has actually made a very REAL difference. It may seem small but it is a brilliant example of how, together, making some noise, we really can initiate change. The group was called "Take Back The Filter: Help Convince Clorox to Recycle Brita Filters!" which takes you to this address where people could add their names to a petition asking the manufacturers of Brita filters to take back and recycle their product so that it won't become more needless landfill. And guess what? It worked!!!
How about that? And probably it wasn't just facebook - I am sure the website reached many more people in different ways - but that is how I found the petition and added my voice, and I am proud and thrilled to have played a little part. I enjoyed similar satisfaction during YERT when I wrote CamelBak a letter and returned our water bottles due to #7 plastic and BPA and, a few months later, learned that CamelBak was changing its bottles due to consumer requests! We were heard. And heeded.

Ah! My baby is waking up on my lap now so i'll close but i want to encourage everyone out there that your voice can and DOES make a difference - however you use it - be it a letter, a phone call, your name on an emailed petition, FACEBOOK, what you buy or don't buy...It's your VOTE, and it may seem small, but it's REAL and it's powerful. Use it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Oh Yes We Did....now what do we do?

It's hard to believe a whole week has passed since America enthusiastically said Yes we can! and elected Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States. This overwhelming vote for change, for Unity, and Peace thrilled most of America to pieces Tuesday night just as it now inspires us for the great hard work we have yet to do. America may be limping, but we just got a new PT and we can do this if we are all ready to walk a bit together. WE must support our new leader by getting off our duffs (apologies to those of us who already don't spend much time there) and BEING the change we wish to see...there's so much opportunity here, for our human habitat, for civil rights, for global relations...
So...what exactly do we do? Keep sending money to the Obama team as the new administration? I doubt many people can keep that up. Keep up to date on all the political goings on through our media of choice? Sorry: passive. Keep trying on a personal level to "go green" in our lives? Of course we should, but that won't be enough. It's time for each of us to make some beautiful noise, if we haven't already: contact our local representatives on a regular basis, go to town meetings, become involved in our communities, and support the new administration in its work by letting government AND corporations know that we want things to change, and how.
We now have THE opportunity to make real change happen. Let's ride the wave!! Don't let this opportunity pass us by. Let our policy makers know that we care, we are aware, and we EXPECT new and better laws and protections for ourselves, our children and our environment.
President-Elect Obama said we have a lot of work to do. He's right. But his election proved to a lot of us that things really CAN change so we can all, as a beautiful woman once said to me in the NYC subway, "Be encouraged." I, for one, feel recharged. Thank you, America. Let's pull up our boots together and see what we can do.

Friday, October 24, 2008

We are learning, baby and me.
Every time i think we have some kind of routine down, things change.
She changes.
I wish we were asleep by midnight - we did that for a few weeks - but now Little Bee thinks that midnight is a good time for an hour nap, and that bedtime is better at 3am.
Unfortunately, this father's daughter's father is in the middle of tech week for the musical he's starring in so he cannot really help mama out much...which is why we are up watching Before & After on Discovery Health at 2:39 in the morning...and i am just hoping she will make it back down at 3.
Wish us luck...