I’ll admit it: I almost didn’t participate in Blog Action Day. I didn’t want to participate unless I had something valuable to add, and to be honest, I was feeling uninspired. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to climate change, even hopeless. Lately, I’ve found it easier to think about the happy things in my life: family, friends, and our baby boy on the way.
While I haven’t been thinking about climate change a lot lately, I haven’t dismissed my efforts to live sustainably. Over the years of studying and teaching about climate change, I’ve developed my own philosophy on reducing carbon emissions. After all the thought that went into changing my actions, it’s fairly easy to summarize the lifestyle changes I’ve made: Simple Living. It all boils down to conservation, reducing waste, doing things by hand, cooking locally and from scratch, reducing exposure to chemicals, burning wood to reduce our oil consumption, turning the heat down or the air conditioner off, and living with less in general.
The more I live this lower-carbon lifestyle, the more in touch I become with my history. My lifestyle is surprisingly similar to my great-grandmother’s. Except, of course, that I write my thoughts and recipes in a blog and she wrote in journals. A return to the simpler, more self-sufficient past has improved my carbon footprint. More significantly, I feel that these changes to my life have made me happier. Standing over a pot of bubbling jelly and listening to the plink of the jars sealing. Kneading bread and slicing into the fresh loaf. Sitting by a fire and knitting a scarf. Snuggling up with my husband instead of turning up the heat. Digging potatoes, pulling carrots, snipping greens, plucking tomatoes from the garden. Raising pigs and turkeys for meat. Elbow grease instead of bleach. Planting apple trees. Planning my future to include further steps toward self-sufficiency. I started on this journey to reduce my carbon emissions, but I continue along the path because it is fulfilling.