Pouring My Heart Out

 

This is not just a picture of the OneGreenSmoothie kids in a park. This is so much more. This photo was taken last weekend up the street from our house in the woods that we used to cut through to get to school; walk our dog.

Trees were knocked down and the area submerged with mud, telephone poles, boulders the size of cars, parts of homes, vehicles, clothes, toys, debris of every sort imaginable during the climate-caused calamity that devastated our community 19 months ago.

The OGS kids are sitting on the ledge of the washed-away bridge that used to take us into the woods. To cross at this location now requires some physical agility.

Thanks to the heroic efforts of too many to mention, restoration is in process and our community is healing. While it feels better to focus on all the progress that has and continues to be made, it’s important to also acknowledge the other reality.

Our friends and neighbors who lost lives and their families have hearts that will ache forever ache. Hundreds of homes here are still in various stages of being rebuilt, repaired, or just languishing in insurance mire with mud still caked on their entry ways.

My point of this post is not to be depressing, but more of a reality check. I don’t think most people realize that climate change isn’t a one-time event from which you just fix and move on. Nor is it just about the Amazon burning or far-away ice bergs melting or people in third world countries dealing with devastating hurricanes.

The impact alone from our one, 5-minute storm is enduring as we careen toward the second anniversary.Moving forward, if we as a human species, don’t do something drastic and on a grand scale and immediately, there will be more so-called “natural disasters.” There will be crop failures which will result in food shortages. Droughts will be longer and drier creating conditions for more largest-ever wild fires and subsequent mudslides. Drinking water will become scarce. We, in the western US, may be the new migrants as our wealthy coastlines become submerged from rising sea levels. There will be other emergencies we can’t even fathom. 

This climate crisis impacts every single one of us—rich, poor, employed, unemployed, educated and not, first world; third world, on this this side of the border and that; and it will continue to do so if we all don’t wake up and start doing whatever we can to help the Earth heal and repair.

We are currently in the midst of the 6th mass extinction since the dinosaurs were wiped off the planet 6 million years ago, yet, we are all walking around with our heads buried denying this imminent reality; greedily gobbling down countless BBQs and beers this Labor Day weekend.

We simply cannot wait and vote in leaders that we hope will have the courage to do something. Each one of us must act and now.

What can we do? The easiest, fastest, cheapest and most impactful action we can take as individuals is to stop consuming animals and their secretions. That was then. Now we must start taking it one step further—we can ask restaurants and caterers to increase their plant-based offerings and promote and support those who already do. We can ask that our places of business, charities, and faith groups stop serving animal products at meetings, conferences, social events. We can ask our schools, sports teams, and any organization with which we are involved to do the same. It’s not everything, but it’s an impactful start and that’s what we need.

When you look at our beautiful Earth from space, there are no borders. We are all Earthlings and we are all impacted by the plundering of our home and the animals, birds, trees, insects, etc. with whom we share her.

Much gratitude to Medeighnia Photos for sharing her photography talents with us that afternoon in the open space that is as near and dear to her heart as it is ours. She and her family were also rescued from their home that fateful morning — out their second-floor windows as the first floor filled with mud and debris. We are both some of the lucky ones.

Please wake up. Please care. Please do what you can. We need millions on us trying imperfectly; not a few trying perfectly.

Thank you for reading this far. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Pushing Conventional Boundaries

Some probably thought I was too bossy or controlling, but I went for it anyway…

When planning our Block Party, I asked that my neighbors bring an animal-free dish to the potluck. Our neighborhood was profoundly impacted by a climate-caused debris flow last year. It seemed reasonable to honor that fact and do something that positively impacts the health of our planet—ie, eating plants.

Rather than bristle, everyone stepped up! A new neighbor made her very first vegan cookies and chocolate cake, another brought a bunch of delicious salads from our local Merci Montecito café, and one guy even set up his camping stove and grilled 4 different types of plant burgers! All the food was delicious, and it was a fun ice-breaker to boot!

We also made our block party low-waste as everyone brought their own plates, cutlery, napkins, wine glasses, etc. I think we were all surprised and pleased that it could be done!

Despite my worries about being considered too bossy and controlling, the teasing I received was all in good fun and opened the door to have conversations about why our choices make a difference.

If you are planning a work or social event, perhaps you can suggest the food be a positive force for the planet, ie, plants! And maybe it can even be low-waste, too!

I was inspired by the leadership and courage of WeWork, Defaultveg, The Joyful Vegan, and Santa Barbara Vegan.