Another combination of materials, just for fun:
All lovely photos via links.
Today is a rare, moody, gray day that allows an inkling of a thought toward autumn to enter into my mind. Meghann Halfmoon's Delpy dress pattern sewn up in Foilage Canopy voile could be just the thing to bridge the gap between today + the days when the leaves start to fall. Now I'd feel breezy wearing it + carrying the raffia bag. Later I'd layer the Junegrass pullover over the dress + be cozy as can be. Two quicker makes for now + one that would keep me occupied until I'd wear it.
Another combination of materials, just for fun:
All lovely photos via links.
Zero-waste offers opportunity for creativity + innovation...both personally + communally. I get so excited when people decide to solve problems that we face in the zero-waste community! When we started shifting toward making much less waste, our only option for compostable toothbrushes would have had to be shipped from Australia. I was thrilled (not overstating it!) when the Kumar family stepped up + figured out how to bring bamboo toothbrushes to the USA!
I was so excited when Klean Kanteen figured out how to offer stainless steel water bottles...even down to the inside of the cap! More recently Jodi worked hard to bring us dental lace + hasn't quit until she could bring us not only refillable containers, but compostable dental floss! (My enthusiasm, + the fact that I had some with me, brought laughter at a zero-waste talk I did recently, when I got to answer a question about dental floss!)
Innovation toward less waste is fantastically exciting in things that we use every day! There are a few tools that I am extremely grateful for...but zero-waste is not about buying more stuff. It's most often about solving waste issues with creativity, ingenuity + the willingness to do without when necessary.
When I gave up using cling-wrap, I was a little nervous about what I would do without it. Mostly I ended up grateful to not have to deal with that crazy stuff anymore! I have not really run into a previously cling-wrap solved situation that couldn't be solved with a bowl, plate or jar already in my cabinet. Half of a cantaloupe can go into the fridge cut edge down on a plate...nothing more is needed. Same for half of a pitted avocado (we eat the side that the pit sticks in)...or watermelon, etc. Just eat the refrigerated half in the next day or two. Alternatively, the fruit could be cut up + put into a large bowl with a plate on top of it...or into jars for lunches in or out.
I was a bit hesitant about putting food in cloth. I thought there would be lint on it or that it would get dried out. Both of these things are somewhat true...but don't really pose a problem. :) Lint from a clean cloth is clean, minimal + can be picked off. A bagel wrapped in cloth for lunch is not going to be in that cloth for long...so the level of drying out is inconsequential.
Jars make my need for other containers disappear. Wide mouthed jars are my favorites + make filling them or eating from them a treat.
Collective innovation when necessary...personal innovation always!
A title like that is often a turn off to me...because it usually introduces an article that tries to deflate all of the hope we put into environmental action. This is not that sort of post! There is much hope!! Please keep reading. :)
Mr. Tribe told me recently that he was having a conversation (not at his office), put something into a recycling bin + the person he was talking to said, "You know none of that actually gets recycled, don't you?" When asked why he believed that, the friend continued, "You don't see any recycling dumpsters outside this building, do you?" This friend had investigated + found that all of the "recycling" there was just thrown into the trash!
That conversation prompted Mr. Tribe to ask where the recycling receptacles at his office were emptied. The person who did the enquiry uncovered a surprising answer. The recycling bins his employer had bought for their office were not the "right" bins (according to the building manager)...so the cleaning crew was just dumping all of the recycling into the trash!
Once the office manager learned of this "misunderstanding", new bins were ordered from the building manager, but have yet to show up. The office manager clearly believes that recycling services are included in the lease of the office space. I asked Mr. Tribe if there was a recycling dumpster in the parking lot anywhere + he said, "Only for cardboard."
All of this prompts the question: What is the root issue here? Do office buildings have to pay extra to have a recycling dumpster + pickup for their building? In the same city, our residential pickup offers no option for not having recycling pickup. I think most of us assume that businesses with recycling bins are actually getting the contents to recyclers, but this just might be a mirage. Clearly, we need to be more proactive.
Just thought I'd pass this story along. Awareness is everything! Do you know that your workplace recycling is getting recycled?
These little garden grown gems...cut in half...tossed with a little olive oil + salt...slow roasted...become the most flavorful part of a variety of meals. This time they topped our pasta + cheese + chickpeas + lemon + cracked pepper plate. (Some CSA onions were added to the roasting pan. The heat was at 325F for about an hour + then turned up to 350F while the pasta cooked to hurry them along.) Yum!
On the reading front, I am reading a book my girls love + often recommend to reluctant readers (Jo is a youth librarian) + friends: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. School starts on Monday (Julia homeschools), so preparing for that has occupied the bulk of my "book time" lately. :)
How to be happy.
Some good clean recipes whether a reset is in order or not.
Justice, compassion + truth.
Living low-waste + plant based.
Food court with no trash cans.
Much love + wishes for a very happy weekend, friends-
Summer is winding down + this post should have come months ago...but here it is anyway. Where we live, we still have a couple of months worth of hot weather coming...so maybe we're not the only ones. :)
In my book, zero-waste involves energy use. I don't want to waste a drop of our precious resources. Most of us are acutely aware of the effects of climate change in our own neighborhoods...wild fires, drought + extreme heat have hit us right where we live. Our use of fossil fuels is a prime culprit...and a switch to sustainable energy sources such as wind + solar is a necessary action our local governments + power companies need to take. As we lobby for change, our individual actions are vital. Climate change brings the fact that we live on a single planet into acute focus. Our actions affect the climate of India + Spain + the Arctic.
Here are a few of the ways we are taking action to conserve energy this summer:
-Air-conditioning :: This is a major source of carbon emissions. Major! As the developing world progresses and experiences hotter + hotter temperatures, more + more people are able to purchase AC units + experience cooler interiors. As wonderful as this is for our fellow human individuals, it's not so great for our collective future on this planet.
I try to adjust my own comfort so that those living in places where it regularly reaches temperatures well over 100F, can share some relief with just a little less cost to our planet. We keep the windows open just as long as we can stand it...then set our thermostat to 80-81F when we are at home...and turn off the AC again in the evenings. We use ceiling fans + wear light clothing. We sweat every day during the summer + trust our deodorant. :)
I keep our sheer curtains closed on the hottest days in order to keep the sunlight from warming the house as much. Move furniture away from the sunlight to keep cooler while using it. Position sit + sleep spots in the line of fan breezes. Open windows to optimize cross breezes (open windows on opposing sides of the house). Don't air-condition rooms not in use (close the door + the vents). Good insulation is as important in the summer as it is in the winter.
-Electricity :: I dream + scheme about solar panels (someday). Sheer curtains + white walls allow us to leave the lights off until very late in the evenings. Ceiling fans cool effectively + are turned off when we're not in the room.
-Gas :: Set the washing machine to cold + line dry indoors or out.
Side note: Though my gas + electric utilities are billed separately, I group them together on my budget. Our heat is gas + our air-conditioning is electric. They work like a seasonal see-saw + help me to stay on target budget-wise.
-Car gas :: Putting gas into the car is ill advised at high temperatures, because it will evaporate into the air...refuel early or late in the day. Gas emissions are a huge contributor to climate change, so we want to limit our driving as much a possible. I schedule carefully + combine car trips to minimize my driving. Mr. Tribe rides his bike to work as much as he can + showers closer to work.
-Water :: Water is a precious resource + is increasingly scarce in so much of the world. I would love to have a xeriscaped yard like we did in New Mexico, but our current yard is predominately grass. We feed our lawn native grasses + choose native landscaping plants that do well in our climate. We do not water our grass or landscaping plants in the summer. The grass gets dry, but it always revives as the weather cools. There is no need to mow the grass for much of the hottest weeks of summer, which cuts down on gas emissions + sweaty work.
I keep a close eye on the weather forecast in regards to our vegetable garden. Rain justifies celebration (+ a longer period before I need to water again)! I try to grow things that do well in our climate + need less watering. Tomatoes + peppers + native wildflowers like our heat + sun. I only water about once per week, which makes roots grow long + deep. We have a rain barrel, but I don't use its water on our edibles.
One of the easiest things to do to save water is to keep some drinking water in the fridge, so there is no need to run the tap to get it cold.
Cool showers are glorious in the summer! The colder they are, the quicker they become...and the less water + gas they use (gas to heat the water). Obviously, turn off the water while brushing teeth/washing face/shaving. Works for showering as well...get wet, turn off water, soap/shampoo up, rinse. Set timer for short showers.
-Wastewater :: "If it's yellow, let it mellow" gets gross a little faster in the summer. I find that I need to clean the toilet bowl a little more often, but all it takes is a little vinegar + baking soda. I chose a variable flusher on our newer toilet, so less water gets used for certain flushes. ;) Put a brick in the toilet tank to conserve water. A composting toilet or gray water system would be amazing.
-Food :: Summer is the time of gardens + farmer's markets. Local food eliminates all or almost all of the emissions from carting food around the globe. Never is eating raw more appealing (no energy required to heat up the oven...and subsequently to cool down the kitchen). Preserving the abundance saves food miles later. Fresh, local, whole foods require less energy than processed foods.
-Trees :: A well-placed tree is a great energy saver + cooling factor. I love a light filled home, but have marveled at the foresight of those who have landscaped a few of our homes over the years. A shade casting tree can lower the temperature + make open windows bearable for so much longer. In the winter, the light + warmth filters through the leafless branches. Magic.
Bonus :: Most of these consideration save our personal financial resources as well as our collective earthly ones.
Large scale changes like citywide or nationwide commitments to sustainable energy will bring larger scale effects on climate change...yes...but simply waiting for that to happen is not helpful. Individual action fuels our own resolve...pushes us to further action...and inspires others as we are willing to share.
Changing the way we grocery shop has had a huge impact on the amount of waste we produce. Now finding food without packaging makes me so happy (because we can eat it)! :)
When I began reorienting my shopping toward zero-waste, I decided to drive a little further to reach a store that sold some ingredients in bulk. Now even the stores closer to home sell at least some ingredients in bulk. I like to encourage the offering of these choices, so I make sure to utilize these options from time to time too. The gluten eaters in our tribe especially like to choose a bagel or pastry or muffin + put it into a scarf or cloth bag from home as a sort of alternative fast food lunch.
The grocery kit I take to the store still looks very much like this on the inside...with the switch of grocery bags. I liked the shape + size + the ability of those bags to stand up on their own so much, but they were falling apart + were not sustainable. I like my Baggu bags very much (their colors + prints bring even more joy to our shopping days) + they can be returned to Baggu at the end of their usefulness to us...for recycling. I like that they can fold up small + can be washed too (I wash them once per month). Two smaller sized Baggus (reusable baby baggus) hold all of my produce together. At the checkout, the cashier removes like items, weighs them + puts them all back into the bag. My kit fits neatly into this canvas bag (Baggu Duck Bag)...with a pocket that holds rubber bands for the containers, pen + list. I throw a clutch with my wallet, etc. inside too + it's all I need. (I love Baggu.) :)
A regular grocery shop looks something like this :: We focus on the perimeter of the store...I pick up our produce while the girls return our empty milk jugs + fill up our bulk bins with everything from baking supplies to whole grains to legumes to granola to spices to peanut butter to tea + coffee...we grab some full milk jugs...paper covered toilet paper (I buy 12 at a time + receive a case discount) + bulk soap...get our cheese + maybe fish containers filled...slice our bread + put it in a cloth bag...pick out some bulk cookies as a treat...+ done.
Our summer haul looks a bit more like this...light on the produce, because of our amazing CSA box.
Please do let me know if you have any questions! I'd love to give them a shot! :)
I visited a thrift store the other day which held multiple matching tops hanging in tandem with their matching skirts, pants or dresses. My grandmother used to purchase her clothing this way, + it seemed like such a luxurious way to shop. Whereas in my closet, I might have struggled to pair a particular skirt with just the right top, she would always know exactly what to wear with her skirt. She always looked so put together + polished.
Today (then too), I appreciate being able to put most of my tops together with most of my bottoms. One-pieces like dresses + jumpsuits...when chosen with an eye toward layer-ablilty...can offer even more creative options. Since choosing to have less in my closet, I've particularly come to appreciate this ability to make multiple outfits with just a few pieces. It's just my personal preference.
As the summer wears on, I've been trying not to lose sight of the fact that my limited number of pieces are enough. I spent the past month attempting to "fast" from clothing lust...trying to sit + marinate in "enough"...making space to be grateful for what I have. I'm not sure how well I did with all of that...but my awareness was keen + I tried to maintain focus.
Part of this practice is to keep my eyes on my own paper (wardrobe)...maybe diving in to my appreciation for individual pieces that I already own...rather than obsessing about a piece that I'd like to make mine. Trying a couple of different ways to wear a piece can renew my appreciation for it. This jumpsuit from Lacausa has been a surprisingly versatile piece for me during these (very) hot months. It is extremely lightweight + just about the breeziest thing I can imagine wearing. It doesn't bind at the stomach (glorious during certain times of the month). The straps were shortened slightly in order to raise the neckline + minimize the need to adjust. A few of my favorite ways to wear it...along with a few ways I can imagine wearing it...follow ::
-My favorite way to wear this piece is under a top...like a tee, muscle tank or long sleeved button down...and I'd love for the weather to be cool enough to wear it under a sweatshirt. Worn this way, it looks like a swingy pair of shorts...not too long + not too short.
-I wear it on its own..but only at home, because it feels just a little too bare for me otherwise.
-It would be cute with a longer cardigan or kimono.
-It would be great as a swimsuit coverup too.
-I think of using it as a slip under under a sheer dress.
-It works as a top...tucked into pants, shorts or a skirt. The lightweight fabric makes it ideal for tucking + stuffing without bulging.
-The choice of shoes can change it up as well...casual or dressy sandals, cute trainers, or flats.
Sometimes an exercise like this is all I need to truly treasure + appreciate the pieces already in my (small) wardrobe. Try it? :)
My feelings about green peppers are the same as they are for green tomatoes...I'd rather have red ones. The farmers get to make the selections for our CSA box, however, so green peppers it is. We eat some version of this often (proof). I love that this meal...full of good stuff...can be made entirely zero-waste! This time our stuffed peppers were a combination of:
Sometimes I cut the peppers in half + put them into the oven at 375F for about 20 min. while cooking + cutting the other ingredients. Sometimes I stuff the peppers before putting them into the oven. Either way...it's good. :)
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time