Shock! Gasp! Horror! What!?! I don’t believe in climate change?!? How dare I utter such words when all signs point to - it is decidedly so.
Yes, it might be confusing for some to hear (read) me say this especially if you know the lifestyle I’ve chosen to lead (ie. backwoods pioneer-ish). And yes, I admit, perhaps this title is a bit click-baity. The honest truth for me is - I have no idea what’s going on.
It’s all just too much. It’s so confusing. And multi-layered and complex and full of information coming from multiple sources that sometimes contradict one another and I’m exhausted just by thinking about it all.
There was a moment when I was totally riding this wave. Full-on Greenpeace member, 350.org participant and anti-Ecocide advocate. I worked closely with Polly Higgins (Earth lawyer) for a few weeks before she died. She was amazing and passionate. Just like many eco activists are. Then, along with my husband, we decided that we were ready for a total overhaul and jumped in the deep end. We decided to go off-grid and move back to the land! We decided we wanted to live a ‘natural’ life. In fact, I thought it was gonna be ‘pure.’ Grow all our food, build our eco house, consume less fossil fuels, be out in nature… pure pure pure.
Haha then reality set it. And many of you are not as naive as I am so you won’t be surprised that my pristine ideals about ‘living on the land’ were eventually side swept and many compromises have been made along the way. That’s not to say I don’t love my life and in fact am still living this attempted ‘low-impact’ lifestyle however my steam from the ‘let’s fight climate change’ battle has faded. And the simplest explanation for that is just that it’s way too confusing and disheartening when you’re trying your damned best (to the point of changing your entire life!) and you STILL are put in a position of having to buy fossil fuel based materials for building, a lot of gasoline to run a bunch of tools you need to maintain a property, you justify buying a backhoe and your own body refuses carbohydrates so you need to eat more meat to fuel your body!
I wonder, what would my Greenpeace buddies say? What do my fellow eco activists think? What is justified and what’s not? Just because I ‘live on the land’ is it okay that we have two vehicles and one of them is a big ass diesel? It’s all pretty effed up in my mind.
So this is how I break it down. We all need to decide for ourselves what our OWN roles are. In a world of excessive everything - including information, we must learn to sift through the noise, the media reports and the bombardment of ‘experts’ telling us how we must live. We must learn to stop and reflect and see what we’re each capable of doing in a practical way that doesn’t cause us needless stress, anxiety and guilt.
Decide what that is for you and stick to it. Yes, there’s always the time for periodic reflection and check-ins to see what can be tweaked - what you can do more of or less but I don’t believe there is ever a need to get neurotic or obsessive about this topic. As I say, climate change is an extremely complex topic that can lead you down rabbit holes of information to stay on top of it all. And on top of that it can lead to judgement. Judgement of your own self and what you’re doing (or not doing) and judgement of others for the same reasons! This can spiral badly and end up having a terrible impact in so many ways and needless to say - climate change will not improve as a result of all this.
So yes, we’ve decided to live off-grid and we’re sticking to it. Most of our purchases are second hand however sometimes of course, we need to buy some things new. We don’t travel much. We make many things by hand. We garden. We cook. I want to preserve more and in fact do much MUCH more but I know we are at full capacity of what we can be doing. And I’m learning it is not wise to push more from ourselves. Those boundaries that everyone is talking about these days are important.
And that is what I have decided for myself and what we’ve decided as a family. I don’t do Greenpeace anymore or 350.org, guys - I even feel tapped out when I see Avaaz petitions. All of this larger, big scale kinda work requires a lot of time and concentration to truly grasp what’s happening - even if the only action requested of us is a simple signature or ‘click here’ petition. We are in a time where it is very tricky to know who to trust and to understand what’s really going on. If you have full trust and understanding of the activist groups that you support then that’s great!
From my perspective - what I suggest that could be the let’s say ‘safest,’ most accessible space to focus is in your local area. Starting from your own home, your property and then your community, town or city. This may not seem as fun, sexy or impactful as a great big anti-Monsanto protest however the saying does go… ‘be the change’ right?
As someone who has adopted an alternative lifestyle for the sake of my concern for the environment etc.. I actually do not believe that EVERYONE should or needs to live this way too. I love cities and I love modern conveniences. I appreciate technological advancements - hot running water especially!! Haha
I just think there is a middle ground that needs to be found. And if you’ve read to this point so far and might be wondering - so what do I do exactly…?! Then here’s my suggestion: start with food.
Long before my husband and I moved off-grid wholefoods were a priority for us and they continue to be. When you cook mostly from wholefoods there’s less packaging, so less waste. There’s also less processing that happens in factories, so less pollution. Less transportation of goods and materials happening from place to place - so again - less pollution! There are so many boxes that get ticked when you cook and eat wholefoods that it’s by far the best way I would suggest to help anyone with helping the planet. And of course YOUR health benefits too.
But if you’re wondering how you integrate more wholefoods in your life that require more time to process at home as opposed to the convenience of handy takeout and processed food then here is another suggestion: Join my Meal Planning Workshop!! I help you make the time and space you need to prepare gorgeous home cooked meals - consistently!
And guess when the next one is happening!! EARTH DAY. Celebrate you. Celebrate the planet. And celebrate your small but mighty contribution as you cook and eat your way through to a healthy, thriving environment and lifestyle.
To finish up, I just want to say that I know everyone is just doing their best. I don’t judge anyone’s choices and I don’t expect anyone to judge me either. I have a vision in my mind of how I’d LOVE my life to function and the life of my family. It can get pretty frustrating sometimes but we too are doing the best we can. Also, I’m not trying to dissuade anyone from signing Avaaz petitions or joining Vanda Shiva’s next campaign. I do believe there is a place for everything and everyone. For now (and maybe always) I am called to food. And to support others with food too.
In regards to climate change specifically - maybe I didn’t specifically address my position on the issue but I’ll leave this here for now. And if you’ve read down to HERE then I truly thank you. And I wish you bon appetit and hopefully see you on Earth Day!
“The wonderful thing about food is you get three votes a day. Every one of them has the potential to change the world.” - Michael Pollan