Tag Archives: environment

We Interrupt This Blog for a Freak-Out: Moving

It was a dark and snowy morning when writergirl hit a block halfway through her blog post and said fuck that shit, and started from scratch.
A week into Arcticapalooza 2012 here in Vancouver, and nothing about leaving the house is appealing. Tragically, the French press bottomed out on inky black gold some time ago and the caffeine fumes are dissipating fast.
With 39 sleeps remaining before I move to Victoria, and 13 before the official start of househunting, it’s true to say this blast of winter, all the madness in my moving-focused mind, and the clusterfucked cold commutes, it’s been a doozy of a week. Tonight, evening plans loom after work, and there’s to be a monsoon or dire deluge or something. I’ll get in well after midnight, and sleeping in will never feel so good as it will tomorrow.
Whew. One of those stopping-to-breathe moments. I’m doing that more. It’s helping. I need focus, and it’s hard to find in the middle of my whirlwindy days.

Yeah, WHATEVER. Fuck that. Screw you, guru!

And it’s not like I have enough going on but I now have an apartment-listings addiction. Speak to me, oh property managers and Craigslist. Show me your rental treasures.
I’m now compulsively checking ads, and freaking out. Omigod! This would be perfect. But what if it’s gone? But if it doesn’t go, what’s wrong with it? Maybe one exactly like it will come up. OMIGOD, look at that one! THIS WOULD BE PERFECT.
Which is usually about when I smack myself in the forehead and spazz out.
See, I’m a big believer that we’re a product of our environment. While unhappy in this apartment for a long time, I’d been forever hedging on moving, but now that I’m onboard with the idea, I wanna be gone like a one-night-stand at 4am.
I want to be surrounded by my soon-to-be new world, but I’m aware my choice of home will have a great deal of influence on how my future unfolds. I want to pick well, but the choices I’ll have are completely out of my power. I have THREE days to pick. That’s it. I need the wind at my back, as the Irish say.
On the other hand, I was a big Monkees’ fan as a kid, and I’m a daydream believer, baby. It’ll all come together. And if it doesn’t, you’ll find me crying in my cereal one day. Whatever.
But I’m at that point where I need to decide if I want to live a little further out so I can get a dishwasher and insuite laundry, or would I rather be just a few blocks from natural beach where I can walk and frame my mind in a space I love but have a minimalist place and continue the life of handwashing my dishes? It’s a hard choice. What’s more important for the soul — more time to write, or prettier places to walk? Right now, I don’t know.
I generally find that I panic and worry, and try to shut that down as much as possible, because when I usually get to where I’m going, I somehow find myself making the right choices and getting where I need to be. It usually just… works out. So, under the chaos, I have faith.
That lack-of-having-control panic is one of the qualities about myself that I’m hoping moving to a slower, simpler pace of life will help me to switch off. There are a lot of things I love about myself, and I think they’ll find their way out more when I’m in a place that doesn’t always have me watching the clock or trying to tune things out. I wonder what life’s like when you’re trying to tune into it? That’d be another good switch to explore.
So this is where I am. Very cognizant that a way of life is coming to an end, certain it means I too will be changing from the inside out, and wondering what that all means for what my future holds. It’s pretty fucking awesome, really.
And weird. There are only TWO things I know about my life to come. I know what my furniture will look like, and I know I’m keeping my job. Everything else, I’ll know in about 16 days.
Meanwhile, I’ll be over here, obsessing and wondering about what’s the right direction to go in. And, deep down inside, enjoying the moment… because I know I know how infrequently they come, these times of complete uncertainty, when everything can change in a moment, and likely for the best.

An Open Letter to Our Planet

Dear Mother Earth:
I’m not an environmentalist, I never have been. I’ve never donated to Greenpeace, probably never will. I’ve never protested on your behalf.
But it doesn’t mean I don’t love you.
I’ve not been religious since my childhood, but I have no doubt there’s something bigger than me — all I need do is find myself under a towering West Coast evergreen or sitting by the ever-flowing river, pulling a Siddhartha on the shores.
And that thing bigger than me is you, Mother Earth.
You’re everything. You shape my every day.
In recent months, I’ve had to further reevaluate my actions in life.
I’ve always been aware of the peril you teetered on the brink of, Mother, since the rainforests began coming down in Brazil in the ’80s, but seeing how close you are now to the precipice of no environmental return breaks my heart and makes me wish I’d been more vocal earlier.
There’s not a lot I can do for you.
I’m but one small voice in the fray.
Yet I can educate the others, and hope they join me in the small actions I know can build into a giant movement, but only if we all act together.
As I write, an island of garbage is growing in the Pacific. Halfway between San Francisco and Hawaii lies a manmade island of floating garbage now considerably larger than the entire state of Texas. Diapers, plastic, toothbrushes, and garbage of all kinds have floated into formation and now sit there, clogging the Pacific, as an homage to the incredible crassness of man.
And deep down in the Gulf of Mexico, Deepwater Horizon keeps spewing oil at a rate no one can agree upon, decimating the fastest-disappearing environment on the planet, the wetlands of Louisiana’s Gulf.
Anger has built around the world, with words of rage being flung at British Petroleum and the lagging actions of the Obama Administration, but were it not for the demand we’ve caused, the insatiable hunger we’ve shown for all things plastic and cars that go vroom, we would not be in this position.
We have the mentality, Mother, that if we didn’t put that piece of plastic in the Pacific with our own two hands, or if we didn’t perform the negligence that caused Deepwater Horizon to blow and kill 11 men before decimating shores and industry, that we’re just innocent bystanders in the eye of an environmental storm.
But we’re wrong, Mother.
It’s our fault.
We drop the garbage that eventually slips down storm drains and flows into the ocean.
We buy the senseless “bottled water” and purchased drinks that are made from aluminum and plastic — materials that can’t be made without petroleum.
We drive the three-minute trip to the store instead of walking for 10 minutes.
We do it.
It’s our fault.
I’m trying to do my part, though, Mother. I look at the bottom of plastics and glass before I buy products to ensure they’re recyclable in my area.* If not, I try to choose better or live without, if I can.
I’m trying to use my words, my ability to communicate, to inspire others to care, to help others see the horrible direction we’re headed in, and to teach others that you, Mom, deserve our very best.
And you haven’t been getting it.
It’s our fault, Mother.
We know not what we do to you, but you do. You know, and now you’re starting to show us. Oh, are you showing us.
It’s not too late.
But soon it will be.
We have the opportunity to learn, to change, and to take this planet in a new direction. We’re more creative, connected, motivated, educated, and empowered than we’ve ever been as a society, and if we’ve ever had the opportunity to undo all the harm we’ve done, that time is now.
I, for one, know I can continue to improve.
I can do better, waste less, think more.
I will do better. I will waste less. I will think, do, and say, more.
It’s not too late at all, Mother.
But soon it will be.
With hopefully undying love,
Your Daughter, Steff
*My home trash collecting will allow for recycled products in class 1 & 2. There are 7  grades of plastic, and just because it shows “recyclable” doesn’t mean it actually *IS* recycled in your part of the world. Here’s a quick reference of how to recycle and what works: Click here. In short? Really only classes 1 & 2 can be recycled; everything ELSE you should reconsider purchasing.
WANT TO FIGHT THE GARBAGE PATCH? Join here and see what you can do. Stay engaged via following PlasticPollutes on Twitter. WANT TO WEIGH IN ON THE OIL SPILL? Probably the best way to stay involved is via the TED Oilspill expedition’s work right now: http://tedxoilspill.com/ Look into opportunities to do shore “clean-ups” in your area — every piece you pick up is one less that can harm the ocean and its inhabitants. I’ve just organized one in my city for July 18th, at a more “neglected” and less-visited beach. You can organize one, too — or just go as a family or with friends. It’s not ‘weird’ to help save the planet. Not anymore.