Thankful Thursday- New Zealand, Green Halloween, and Climate Optimism

by - Thursday, November 02, 2017

It can be so easy to get caught up in negativity and frustration, especially if you care about the environment. Things seemingly are getting worse by the second, and it seems almost impossible not to panic. But you don't solve problems by panicking. This month, I am going to focus on positivity and gratitude, because it's optimism that a solution exists that can fuel positive change. A lot of good is happening, I promise. 

1. Happy Lessons from Halloween

I loved taking our toddler trick or treating this year, and not just because he was damn determined to fill his bucket. Here are some of the things I loved-
- Meeting neighbors we hadn't before
- seeing so many pumpkins: love the compostable decorations!
- our neighborhood really pushing to be a community. Seeing leaders step up!
- Getting plastic-wrapped nonsense candy. It was a good reminder that the only way to totally avoid waste is to sometime not participate, and that sometimes it is worth it to connect to where we live. You can control what you give, but not what your kids get, and that's ok. 

2. New Zealand's New Prime Minister

A lot of countries in Europe and Asia are committing to cleaner energy and gas-free cars. Thank God. You can find a lot of good news about other countries breaking up with fossil fuels (if only the US would get on board. If you are looking for a leader deeply invested in climate change, keep an eye on the new prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who is already pitching that New Zealand take in Climate Change refugees and that they will plant 100 million trees each year. Grateful such leaders exist, and hopeful that the rest of the world will follow suit.

 3. Fixing Things

We have an attitude in this country that if something breaks, you throw it out and replace it. I am trying my best to push back on this in my own life, and we will fix something a hundred times before we throw it away. Right now, I am trying to figure out how to learn how to sew, so I can start fixing clothes.

This is my big victory from recently. The Bub inexplicably loves to rip pages out of his books. If he has enough time (like when he is up late at night) he can completely wreck things. Weirder still, he seems to go after the books he loves the most, so when I found the entire Cars and Trucks and Things that Go in shambles I was crushed. And for him! So for a few days, I would use spare minutes here and there to cut the cars out of the book, and now he can use them to sit and tell little stories. It's really cute, and it makes me feel proud that this thing is continuing on with a second life.

4. Climate Optimists

I am obsessed with this new website and instagram handle, which seeks to remind us that the first step in fighting climate change is believing that we can. I love this infectious positivity and I hope their mission catches on! Check out their website and sign the pledge to be a Climate Optimist!

5.  #Nostrawnovember

Excited to stop sucking for No Straw November! Who wants to finally start turning down the straws with me!? You will be in good company; some Girl Scouts troops are tallying how many times they turn down straws this month.

6. These Women 

Feeling grateful this week and every week for the other moms I have met while we have lived in Seattle (pictured and not). Got to share some absolute toddler pandemonium with them today (toddlers and scones are a dangerous combination, but pretty hilarious when surrounded by horrified college students). Then I saw a bunch of them tonight to plot environmental activism. How cool is that! Being a mom of toddlers is so tough, so it has been amazing to meet so many smart, hilarious, and caring women to share the experience with.

It kind of reminds me of the friends I made while studying abroad. The experience is intense and it can alienate you, so the bonds you make in that time mean a lot to you. That's how I feel about my friendships with other moms. We are thousands of miles away from our family, so getting to raise my little ones with people who also care about the world, the environment, about raising good citizens has taught me so much. My first year of motherhood I had terrible Post-Partum anxiety, and so much of it was about just how alone and vulnerable we felt, but I feel like we have a growing community here that means so much to me.

What I read again and again is that people actually don't care that much about stuff. We know we don't care about stuff. What we care about is our relationships and our experiences. At the same time, our generation has terrible trouble making genuine connections, and we struggle to find meaningful relationships and friendships. We put so much energy into our stuff and our image because we are trying to present ourselves to others, but it doesn't really work. I don't know the answer (having a kid helps, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it), but I know the more we can keep fighting to see each other everyday and in every interaction, the more irrelevant stuff will become.

All done! What are you thankful for this week?

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