I will share that I haven’t been able to think about something full and concrete to write about today. To me, the best work is the most honest work, so I’m staying true to that belief. Rather than forcing a subpar post, I thought I’d be truthful and rather offer a few things I’ve been thinking about lately…
Valentine’s Day – are you celebrating this year? Sure, my husband and I used to do a fancy dinner and gifts but, after eleven years of marriage, we’ve settled into movie night and take-out with our kids. (Although if you’re looking for jewelry, he recently gifted me some lovely necklaces made via Unicef and I really recommend.) However our children are into the the holiday and it’s a huge opportunity to either create or avoid a lot of superfluous waste. Do we buy mounds of extra candy, junky toys and the like or is it better to be sparing and thoughtful? In full transparency, we’ve participated in the former but have been recently working towards the latter. One year, I made my husband a heart-shaped meatloaf. (True story, for real.) I still have the pan, so maybe we will do a heart shaped cookie cake and skip the candy wrappers. (If you buy those Whitman samplers, make sure to save the boxes. They likely can’t be recycled but can store odds and ends around the house.) My kids have been given the opportunity to bring Valentines to school. I’m trying to convince my older daughter to use the example above, but so far no dice. (In fact, when she saw the picture she reminded me that it’s still not happening.)
The Keystone Pipeline – As you may know, President Biden recently halted progression on this pipeline and the decision is a huge environmental win. I understand the basic nuts and bolts of this event – both why people are supportive and disappointed – but what else? Why is a pipeline so bad? The NRDC has a really good summary about “how a single pipeline project became the epicenter of an enormous environmental, public health, and civil rights battle.” For example, I didn’t know that this pipeline is more problematic than other ones, because it uses oil that comes from tar sand. That material leaks a lot more than other sources. If you’re looking to discuss the negative effects of pipelines with kids, We Are Water Protectors just won the Gold Caldecott medal and talks about how pipelines hurt the Earth. It’s also a helpful way to start a conversation about alternative energies, science, people’s jobs etc.
Black History Month – I shared in this post that, as a white person, I am trying to become better educated about intersectionality and environmentalism. That goal includes understanding the full importance of Black History Month. I’ve been following Intersectional Environmentalist on Instagram and they provided a good overview of the origin of this month. They ask some important questions like “how are black families represented in historical narratives? What does it mean to outgrow the need for Black History Month? What would that require?” I continue to think about environmental racism and how we can prevent it from continuing. NPR recently shared the above photo of protestors attempting to stop the dumping of hazardous waste materials into a low-income African American neighborhood back in the 1980s. That problem still exists today. We have a ways to go.
Composting – Again, in the interest of honesty, I’m sharing that my family has stopped composting for the winter. Our bin is full and I haven’t found a local option. Due to Covid, my usual options are unavailable. If you live in the Concord area and/or have found a way around winter composting issues, please share with me! If you live by the Seacoast, Mr. Fox seems like a great option.
So that’s some of what’s happening here. What’s happening with you? Share with us below! – Rachel