even when it feels
like you're not.
A few weeks ago I wrote about plastic fibers from synthetic fabrics being found in alarming amounts of drinking water tested around the world. This discovery prompted this tribe to sell our fleece. Although this keeps that fleece in use (+ potentially polluting our water stream), I felt that it was a marginally better choice than keeping it. I'm hoping that the people who bought our fleece will use it rather than buying new fleece + stimulating further production.
In addition to letting our fleece go, I wrote to Patagonia. I'm never certain that these letters make a difference, but I do think that it is important to offer our perspective as customers. Yesterday I was thrilled to find a personal response to my letter in my inbox. Regardless of how I feel about the response, the fact that I received one makes me feel heard. What gives me even more hope is to imagine the response to many letters on this topic!
I've attached my letter (not that it's great or anything) + their response. I will say that I could have written more, but thought that short + concise might be more likely to get read.
Hello- Our family loves Patagonia + considers you a leader in the ethical clothing industry. I learned about plastic fibers from our clothing shedding into the water stream from Patagonia...and now there are studies finding that 83% of the drinking water worldwide + 94% in the USA has plastic fibers in it. https://orbmedia.org/stories/Invisibles_plastics
A recent email from Patagonia stated, "Our mission is to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” One of the featured products pictured just below this statement was a fair-trade fleece. I am excited about your commitment to fair-trade certified production…but don’t at all support or understand the further production of fleece products.
Please consider again being the leader in exploring + promoting natural fiber options. No more fleece, please. Our water supply depends on it.
Thank you for your email! We apologize for the delay in response, we've been experiencing an unusually high number of emails this holiday season.
We greatly appreciate you taking time to write to us with your feedback regarding our fleece products. While we are aware of the nature of fleece fabrics shedding, we also feel that fleece is a crucial fabric for use in outdoor activities. We are currently conducting research in the attempt to develop a more environmentally friendly fleece so that we can help to reduce the amount of micro fibers that enter our water supply. For the time being, we offer a GUPPYFRIEND Washing Bag on our website for our customers to use when washing fleece. This bag helps to catch microfibers so that they do not enter our water supply or our oceans. The bag is sold at cost to help make it a more affordable, reasonable option for our customer who own fleece.
Please feel free to email me directly if you have any further questions, xxx. You can also reach out to our Customer Service Department by phone at (800) 638-6464 or by chat on Patagonia.com from Monday through Friday 6:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. (PST) and Saturday and Sunday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (PST) if you would like to speak with someone directly.
All the best,
Patagonia Customer Service
Let's make our voices heard. Someone just might be listening! :)
We've been on the gluten-free train for a few months now. It's definitely possible, but does throw another wrench into my list of things to consider when meal planning, shopping + cooking...taste + variety + nutrition + vegetarian + zero-waste + whole foods + cost + seasonal + local + organic. I'm not really interested in substituting a lot of gluten-free flours for whole wheat flour, since they are not nutritionally or cost equivalent and often come packaged in plastic. I have found a blend that I can make from almost completely zero-waste ingredients, but that's a post for another day.
These cookies contain no flour + have become treasures during these cold days. We occasional crave a little something sweet + energy bites seem a little cold right now (but are so good). These are super simple + somewhat adaptable too. I like to make a batch + bake only as many as we'll eat right then. This way they are always fresh + warm from the oven...and I don't eat five in one day. :)
Super Simple Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup unsweetened peanut butter (or other nut butter)
3/4 cup sugar (make half of it brown sugar, if preferred)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup oats
Mix. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes. Enjoy.
This time I added the rest of the bulk unsweetened coconut I had (probably about 1/2 cup) + they are good!
Recipe adapted from Genius Kitchen.
This just might be the perfect time to go through the closets. We are in the thick of this season + know exactly what we are wearing + not wearing. We know what we need + what we don't need in this weather. The thrift stores are still carrying this season's clothing, so these treasures can be found + appreciated by others who need them (or try selling a few things first for a little cash).
Making a note of just what we are wearing + how that feels can help us not to overestimate our needs or overbuy next time this season rolls around.
And just like that...enough turns into generosity! :)
Chai is my favorite during these cold winter days...but this zero-waste golden milk mix is making me happy right now too! Inspired by Naomi, I mixed bulk spices + put them into a jar. Now it's super easy to make golden milk any time.
Golden Milk Mix
2 parts turmeric
1 part ginger
1 part cinnamon
a few peppercorns or cracked pepper
Somewhere between 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of this mix stirred into warm milk along with a squeeze of honey is delicious!
What I've been reading lately:
Sacred Acts: How Church's are Working to Protect Earth's Climate by Mallory McDuff :: Encouraging.
Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self by Manoush Zamorodi :: A good reminder to be mindful of how much time we spend with our devices.
Vintage Saints and Sinners by Karen Wright Marsh :: I ended up purchasing this to be part of the curriculum for Julia's junior year next year (so, yes, I like it!).
The art of gentle protest.
"Winning slowly is the same as losing."
A year of no shopping.
GOOP delves into zero-waste!
Hope you are keeping warm on this first weekend of 2018!
Is it vain that I want my life to look different? I think I really want my life to feel different to me. I want to be able to see my values by looking at my home...pulling back the curtain on my closet...opening my fridge...looking through my date book or checking account. I want all of those things to bear testimony to my inner life. I want those things to reflect beauty and light. I want them to reveal a devotion to something decidedly other than consumerism + worldly care. Love and acceptance and inclusion evident.
~excerpt from my 2017 journal
The new year is a great time to make a commitment to moving toward zero-waste! It's also a great time to renew our efforts, if we're already on this journey. I love fresh starts + am excited to make even further progress!
This is not rocket science. If we want to move toward zero-waste, we have to address our own waste. We need to look at our own trash. Reading about zero-waste online can be so inspiring, but it can also make us feel like there is a list of things we need in order to get started. Nope. We just need to go through our own trash.
There are a few ways to go about this...take inventory + address one...a few...or all of what's in there. Consider:
-Do I need to purchase this? First things first...often doing without is healthiest, cheapest, + knocks the waste out in one step. Now there are three reasons to stop buying french fries from the drive through. ;)
-Freebies are often just garbage in disguise. Don't accept them. The charity shop doesn't want that key chain with your bank logo on it either. Accepting the goody bag just signals the "generous" party to make more.
-Brainstorm alternatives. Too many disposable coffee cups? Get in the habit of making coffee at home. Too many granola bar wrappers? Grab some bulk nuts + a clementine. Feta cheese wrapper? Try scooping some from the salad bar into a container from home or using a different cheese that can be put into your container at the cheese counter.
-Reconsider...could I do without? Because this always produces the least waste. :) Rather than coming up with less wasteful alternatives for nail polish, nail polish remover + cotton balls, consider loving naked, natural nails.
Simply begin. Don't get hung up on the things that seem impossible...get going on the things that can be changed more easily. Celebrate along the way! Think about how making one or two or three habit shifts right now have a cumulative effect over a month or a year or a lifetime!
And then look through the trash again. And make another change.
What's in your trash?
This might be just the time to dive in + take the fairdare! Take it for 3 months or 6...or go for it + make a year long commitment to consider farmers, garment workers + the environment before purchasing clothing all year long.
We become activists exercising our compassion by wearing what we have, mending + repairing, exploring dressing with less, making some of our own clothing, thrifting, + purchasing fairly made pieces. Together we hope to influence the existing systems...encouraging swaps, supporting cobblers, tailors + local second hand shops, letting brands know what we want, + voting with our dollars. Rather than seeing our commitments as deprivation, we view them as power + joy.
Perfection or the fear of not being able to buy all fair pieces shouldn't stop us from trying. Each choice is a new opportunity for success! The choices we make about what to wear affect the environment + garment workers + farmers, whether we think about it or not. We can do better...one choice at a time.
I wear clothes.
I like fashion.
I love people.
Take the fairdare!
Do you like to take stock, compile the data, look back, make plans, set goals, and map out the next steps? I'm not exactly sure how to answer that question in regards to "like"...but I do think that it can be quite useful. :)
When I came across this little guide again this year, I jumped right in. I thought in light of the fact that I made a lot of plans at the beginning of 2017, it would probably be good to take an honest look at how it all turned out. I had actually forgotten about some of the accomplishments of 2017 + felt quite good about recognizing them. There were also a few spots that I could have stuck to plan a bit better + I had the chance to recognize that as well.
Now, 2018...I've got plans for you.
If this sort of thing appeals, here a few places to find a little guidance/inspriation for the journey:
-Unravel Your Year
-Find Your Word
P.S. Let us know if you have favorite year end/beginning inspiration! :)
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time