You’ve probably seen a lot of “master classes” floating around. Famous people like Maclom Gladwell and Gordon Ramsey are sharing their craft. Experts in writing, cooking, or acting are sharing their knowledge widely.
I’ve been teaching “master classes” for a while, but they went by another name. So, we are calling them what they really are – a master class on essential oil use. I have been an expert in natural remedies for almost 20 years, with the last four focused really on using essential oils in our homes for our health and well-being.
So, each month, starting with June, the master classes will coordinate the theme with my newsletter. This month, we’ll talk about “summer play”.
What is included in this master class? We’ll go over at least 10 ways to support your summer with essential oils. The class will be 30 minutes. Plus, we’ll have 10 more minutes for questions. Know that space is limited. Each person who registers will receive the recording to listen to, as long as you need!
More than ten years ago I co-authored two green guides with a colleague. And, then she moved and I remained, and life kept coming. At that time, I had the itch to know more green stories.
I am resurrecting a ten-year-old idea: the green interview to ask, “How green are you?”
I am inviting you, to come talk to me about all the ways you are green in the world. Then, your story will be showcased on my blog in the fall.
I’ll take as many stories as I can get! And, for now, I’ll highlight the top eight. My goal is that this will be a repeating feature on my blog. Who knows? Maybe I’ll wrap it up into a new guide for a new age of going green.
I was talking to a friend recently, and she was helping me dig deeper into why going green is important to me. I found it was hard for me to describe, as it’s kind of like breathing. In my writing the other day, I was able to clarify for myself. Going green is like teaching our kids not to hit. We do this because we accept and agree that our kids hitting other kids is wrong. It hurts the other child, physically and emotionally, and that’s not right. Going green ensures we have a lifestyle that doesn’t hit each other. That’s the grossest way I can think to describe why this is important. So, going green is the safest, kindest way, we can ensure we don’t hurt each other and future generations.
What does this mean? We know that all sorts of chemicals in our daily use increase the risk of cancer. We know that our industry, our car driving, our polluting the air causes breathing difficulties. We know that industry and agriculture that runs off into our waters causes our drinking water to be contaminated to the point it is not healthy to drink, that is, we get sick. We know that contamination sometimes contains lead which stunts the growth and brain development of children. Sometimes that contamination contains chemicals that cause cancer or other illnesses.
We know that cancer is expensive to treat, sometimes fast progressing, a disease that cripples the people who have it and the families that support the people with it. We know that making people sick prevents them from living their best selves.
I believe that we are given certain things in our lives that help makes us stronger. I believe we all have lessons to learn. I also believe that once we learn those lessons, we have a responsibility to (attempt) to teach others (peers or future generations) our lessons so they can make new, different, and more interesting mistakes.
Causing cancer, or illness, in others is a mistake and we know how to solve it – at least part of it. When, as a society, we do things – use chemicals in our home that runoff in the water, make the air hard to breathe, deplete living things in the water, and ruin our soil – we are making a mistake. We are making a mistake that kills people and makes their lives hard to live. We are the child hitting the other child to the point the other child is in tears and can no longer have fun playing a game.
This game, this game is the game of life, and I believe we all deserve to be able to show up as our best selves with our best feet forward to play our best. When, as a society, we intentionally make choices that cripple other people’s choices, we are ruining their chances of playing the game. We are hitting those people, just as the child who hits another.
In 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote in the American Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Our social contract says it’s not okay to hit other people. Clearly, when you hit me, you are infringing upon my right to life and my right to the pursuit of happiness. To clarify that boundary, it has been said by many that, “Your rights end where my nose begins.” In 1882, John B. Finch orated on this matter when discussing prohibition, that is we have the right to eat and drink what we please until that drinking causes us to hit another.
There are so many things in our world that permeate our beings, things that go beneath the surface of our physical bodies, beyond a fist to the nose. As such, we need to expand our understanding of our social contract to include breathing clean air, drinking clean water, and growing clean food in the clean soil. While it is not another person directly hitting us, when these things enter our bodies – beyond our noses – they cause damage. For example, an industry making a thing and polluting our environment causes us to get sick, their right to commerce conflicts with my right to life. That can be reduced to barbarism. You do not have a right to step into my right to life.
That’s why I promote a green life – because it is our right to life, our right to our pursuit of happiness.
I’m a quiet gardener. That is, I have known basics since I was a child, I’ve studied gardening as an adult, and I’ve written about gardening. I’ve even practiced with my family. My practice isn’t incredibly consistent, despite my love of and fascination for gardening.
Regardless, I am also a researcher. I love learning new things, and I love sharing that knowledge. Recently, I did a class on essential oils and gardening, which means I have recently been in the thick of researching gardening and essential oils. And, I’m excited to share that information with you!
Two classes will be held this month – both on Friday, April 20th, the Friday before Earth Day. One will be held at 10am in my home in Portland. The other will be a webinar at 6pm. Times are in Pacific Standard.
Want to learn what I learned about gardening and essential oils? Join this class! Let’s continue learning about gardening, together.
Go green. Sustainability. Stable state system. Equitable. Environmentally friendly. So many buzz words, what does it all mean? It means our world is aching, we have sores all over the place, and we are crying for healing. I believe for that healing to work, we must start with women.
First, why do we care? Why do we care about “going green” and sustainability and all of this? I care because I care about being a good steward. As a mother, I wouldn’t leave my house littered with broken glass, toxic smelling things, and donuts all over the house. If I did this, my family would have cut feet, be unable to breathe, and die of heart related diseases. I wouldn’t be responsible for my son or be healthfully supporting my husband. And, I certainly wouldn’t be helping myself.
I define sustainability around the “triple bottom line”. That is, we balance three things in equilibrium. We balance people, planet, and profits. Another way to word this is economy (profits), environment (planet or place), and equity (people) are balanced together. They are all a part of a three-legged stool, and if one leg is shorter than another, the whole thing falls over. If one of these factors is out of balance, our balance sheet doesn’t balance.
I’ve written about this before. And, I will write about this again. Until we have achieved sustainability in a majority of countries, we will still need to hear this message.
Every time I write about sustainability, I peel back more layers. When my aunt gave me the book 50 Ways You Can Save the Planet I was introduced to the environmental layer of measuring the health of our world. When carbon offsets were introduced, it was a market based approach to merge both the environmental and economic layers of sustainability for business. This allowed companies to take another stab at showing up as responsible to our world. And, when we mention things like equal pay we are introducing the layer of equity, or people, in one attempt to balance the people portion of the balance sheet.
Women are the Canary
I will argue that we need to look at women as the canary in the coal mine. This should be our current litmus test on whether or not we are on the road to sustainability. And, we owe it to ourselves and future generations to be on the road to sustainability.
It’s 2018, and though the wage gap is closing (by how much depends on the resource you use), in many cases, the gap is still about 20%. That is, women still make about 80% of what men make, and yes, in the same industry. So, women are not equal when it comes to monetary possessions, or economy.
So, with less money, women age, and then outlive their partners. With less money, they are more at risk to be in poverty. Aging, is already rife with challenges. Add the burden of fewer resources, and I have to question, are we setting women up for success as they age? We can and should do better as a wealthy society, ensuring those who have “paid” into systems are taken care of regardless if they outlive partners.
When we are connected, when our social capital is high, we have less disease, less depression, and longer lives. Robert Putnam, in his 1995 (reprint 2000) book Bowling Alone described our decline in social capital, in detail. And he noted how it’s related to many of our noted ills in society. A follow-up book, Better Together, breaks down how we are better together. While all relationships and social networks can benefit from higher social capital, I believe women being more connected have a cornerstone importance to change our society to a more sustainable world.
Connect Women First
We need to connect women first. Reconnect women to each other, and then I believe we will have a ripple effect of connectedness across gender, age, and social class.
To start this, we need to reconnect with the basics. We need to relearn how to truly listen. We need to get back in touch with that which brings us joy. And, we need to lead with love.
Steven Covey said that people often listen with the intent to respond. That is, in conversation, we aren’t truly listening. We aren’t practicing empathy – truly joining someone in their emotional journey, the kind of support we really need. We might be sympathetic, noting their emotion, but then we follow it up with advice. Brené Brown talks about this is a short empathy video, where she reminds us that sympathy usually starts with “at least…”
Truly listening means sitting with someone withholding judgement, truly trying to hear their story, to understand, and join them on their emotional journey.
Live in Joy
Another key point I believe women need to focus on is living in intention, and specifically in joy. I will speak from a women approaching 40, 10+ years a mother, and 10+ years a wife. This is my lens.
It was so easy to get into the role of get up, make the bed, get the food, clean the things, and do it all over again once my son was born. Caring for an infant, and then a toddler, and then a school aged child, routines became set. That routine lead itself to forgetting, where self-forgetting became easy. Forgetting my self-care for others’ care became easy. There was (is) always something else to do. Then, one day, in a mini-retreat, I made a joy list. I compared that joy list to the things I was doing every day. The two were wildly different. I made the commitment to myself to live more in intentions that brought me joy. Doing so, I was more easily able to show up with joy for myself, and then for those I care for. Namely, my husband, and my son.
Live in Love
Now that we are living in joy and truly know how to listen, our next ask is to show up with love. We are listening to our sisters, we understand their stories better, and now we can show up with deeper empathy and compassion to truly walk with them in their path. All these steps will build our social capital. Build our connections to each other. Bring us closer together.
Share with others
By bringing us closer together, sharing this vision with others, because we want to. I do believe we need to, but let’s do this because we want to. When we come together from a place of healing, we will create a stronger fabric of social capital among each other. When we have that strong fabric, knit together, we will better be able to solve the problems the world has thrown at us.
Call to Action
I am calling for a rise of the feminine. Let us come together, do this together. Be together. Truly, we are better together, and together we can do so much.
Better Together, by Robert D. Putnam & Lewis M. Feldstein, 2003
Gap between men’s and women’s life expectancy no longer closing, data suggests, Sep 27, 2017, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/27/gap-mens-womens-life-expectancy-no-longer-closing-data-suggests/
Gender Disparities in Health and Mortality, 2007, http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2007/genderdispa9e5b7bddc5c
Gender wage gap just shrank for the first time in a decade, the, Sep 15, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/09/15/the-gender-wage-gap-just-shrank-for-the-first-time-in-a-decade/?utm_term=.a9e5b7bddc5c
In which countries do women outlive men by more than a decade?, May 20, 2016, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/05/countries-where-women-outlive-meowed-spouses
Life Expectancy at Birth (in years), by Gender, 2009, https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/life-expectancy-by-gender/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D
Narrowing, but persistent, gender gap in pay, the, April 3, 2017, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/03/gender-pay-gap-facts/
Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, the, 2016, https://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/
Social Security for Widowed Spouses in Retirement, https://www.nasi.org/learn/socialsecurity/widowed-spouses
Why is life expectancy longer for women than it is for men?, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-is-life-ex-of-marriage/
Women, Men and the New Economics of Marriage, Jan 19, 2010, http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2010/01/19/women-men-and-the-new-economics-of-marriage/
Sustainability has been important to me as long as I can remember. I started the journey when I was young, with a book my Aunt sent my family: 50 Ways You Can Save the Planet. Until then, I had no idea the planet needed saving. Since, I’ve paired down that focusing on educating people about the environment is one of the reasons I’m here, on this planet.
Why do we need to educate ourselves on the environment? Because in our hurried society, we are so busy taking care of basic needs that we either forgot, we’re not taught, or a combination, of all the things that we need. The rampant fires, the rising waters, the continued pollution are all reasons why we need more environmental education.
Handily, a friend, in the food buying club world, asked for recent resources on how to do green. Thinking about this, I realized that I don’t turn to too many outside sources anymore.
While it’s good to stay up to date on recent bloggers, I have found that following a few basic principles are more key to living a green life.
And, funny enough, I got on this topic with my husband the other day. Husband never really understood why I preach a green, organic life. In a fit, I expressed, exasperatedly, it comes down to keeping our basic life resources clean so that our kids and their kids can drink from the tap without fear of contamination. So our kids and their kids can walk outside without a gas mask because the air is so polluted. So our kids and their kids can use the earth without fear it’s so contaminated with pollutants they cannot grow healthy food.
The bottom line it’s about a whole life thinking. Thinking in terms of what we need every day and shaping our health around that.
It is a simple systems concept, from start to finish. If we reduce the amount of things we take in, we will reduce our output.
So, what does that mean in the day-to-day? Let’s take a look at the kitchen. In the kitchen we prepare food, we cook food, we consume food, we clean containers that helped with the whole thing, and we store all the unfinished bits. When we reduce our input, we are using reusable containers, for one. When we wash our dishes, we are using chemical-free agents to do our cleaning, so we reduce our input of more chemicals in the ground and through the water filtration process. When we reduce our input into systems, we are reducing our waste. So, we are recycling and composting as much as we can, based on where we live.
A natural consequence of reducing our input will be reducing our output. When we use durable plates and silverware, we simply don’t have to throw away as much. When we use reusable containers for our food waste, we aren’t throwing away plastic bags that held a sandwich. When we buy in bulk, we also have less packaging to throw away or recycle. Coming from this aspect, once you start picking away, one at a time, places where you used to throw something away and you’ve replaced it with a durable good, you’ve already started reducing your waste footprint on the world, and you’ve started being more sustainable.
A huge place this waste is found is in food. Have you noticed how much packaging it takes to get our food? I’ve seen Kiwis in plastic clam shell containers, not to mention everything on the inside aisles of a grocery store.
An easy way to reduce the amount of output you have is to eat whole foods. Buy apples instead of applesauce. Buy fresh corn instead of canned. Buy heads of lettuce instead of lettuce in tubs. Learn to make your own food with whole ingredients instead of buying cans of soup, sauce, and everything in between. Even if you just pick one thing, you will have begun the waste reduction towards a more sustainable world.
I’m not typically a fan of fad diets, but we have found where they have shifted us into better health after letting go of foods that aggravate sensitivities. A few years ago, we began eating in the “Whole 30” way. Basically, we eat a chunk of meat surrounded by vegetables. Whole 30 advocates argue that the added chemicals to our food is making us sick, so eliminate those, and you’ll feel better. Whether you’re eating paleo, keto, or a vegetarian diet – generally speaking, you’ll be eating more whole foods. Whole fruits, whole vegetables, not preprocessed in some plant. The more you get into these diets, you may find yourself making your own broth, roasting whole chickens, and tending after your own hens to get your own eggs out of your own backyard. All of these steps will simply reduce waste in your home. The bonus being, you’ll eat better too!
New System Design
Another important aspect to sustainability is design. Running on carbon stealing, over built, waste inducing design will not solve our world’s problems.
You can never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
~ Buckminster Fuller
We need a new way of thinking about things. Paying attention to new technologies (new ways of designing buildings), participating in politics to update codes (seriously, why is greywater illegal?), and buying the new technologies as you can afford it (can’t wait to get my Tesla!). All these things will help move us towards a greener world.
What Will You Do?
So, the next question is – what will you do? First, assess where you are.
My favorite assessment is “My Footprint”. It’s gotten a facelift since the last time I took it, and it’s still quite informative. Full disclosure – here’s the link to my results: http://myfootprint.org/en/your_results/?id=3357605. On my family’s lifestyle, it would take 3.08 earths to sustain us. While this is much lower than the country’s average, seriously 3.08 earths? I only know of one we can access, today.
Now that you’ve assessed how green you are, what is an easy first step you can take? Where will you reduce your impact? What change do you want to see? Please share your quiz results in the comments below!