By Janeen Ellsworth
Earth Day was a cool idea, and historically necessary, to get people aware of climate issues when it came to fruition in 1969-70 by peace activist John McConnell and US Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI).
I love the festivals and litter pickups that people organize to honor Earth Day. And I love that it gets people revved--or at least cognizant--about the warming oceans, the thawing permafrost, coal ash, plastic pollution, endangered species...
What I hate about Earth Day is the half-hearted focus on these issues for just one day and then the tendency to fuhgettabout'em the rest of the year.
What's worse, this day of international honor can--and does--act as a tool for divisiveness.
For some, Earth Day is something only "elite liberal tree huggers" celebrate. In the eyes of folks who see the world this way, we might as well just put our hair in dreadlocks every April 22nd, douse ourselves in patchouli and eat granola as we march across the National Mall singing Kumbaya for the starving polar bears. Which is kinda what happens at these Earth Day festivals...
Exhibit A, the long-running anti-hippie memes that just never quit. One version of millions, as seen below. It's almost too easy to attach a snarky blurb that pokes fun at the hypocritical nature of today's crunchy elite. So often, these memes are true. That's why people love to hate the girl in this photo.
No matter where you fall on the Earth-loving spectrum, below is an offering of Ten Pledges You Can Make Throughout the Year to incorporate into your lifestyle until they're easy habits.
And they're not just for the crunchy elite. They're for anyone, no matter how "green" they already are.
Remember: It's not critical that we all do all the things all the time. But adopt a few favorites, or even just one, and you'll be helping toward a positive, more widespread trend.
Small changes by many can make a big impact for the future.
Enjoy this slide show, choose a topic to start with, make a pledge to commit to incorporating it fully into your life, and feel good about your efforts! Feel free to save and share your favorite and tag me on Facebook or Instagram:)
By Janeen Ellsworth
Self-serve, liquid-free, low-mess breakfasts don’t come easy when you’re feeding picky kids. But I needed just such a solution last Saturday when my kids had their first sleepover at Aunt Gael’s house.
I had plans. I was going out-out, and I never go out-out. This sleepover needed to be a success, because I’d like to go out-out again sometime, preferably while it’s still 2019.
Sleepovers haven’t gone well in the past. More than once I received an 11 p.m. phone call, after I’d poured my second glass of wine, my mom confessing defeatedly, “Come get the kids. They won’t go to sleep. I don’t know what else to do.”
Poor Gaga. (They were still little then.)
I didn’t want that to happen this time. My friend Ellen had invited me to go to the Banff Mountain Film Festival, sponsored in Pittsburgh by Venture Outdoors. We would watch sadistic skiers defy gravity. 100-mile marathoners suffer self-induced trauma no human should ever face. I wasn’t about to miss that! (Plus, they let you take wine into the theater.)
One way to ensure sleepover success is to pack plenty of Hangry-Proof Snacks they can serve themselves, given that after a night in a new venue they awaken at are-you-kidding-me-o’clock.
Auntie and uncle are the life of every party, but they work long hours, even through the weekends. Also they’re kidless, so they’re used to serenity in their home.
My pair of feral, soccer-ball-socking, chronic hand-standing, nonstop gigglers would be a major lifestyle change for them. I needed Thing 1 and Thing 2 to tread softly on my sister’s white carpeting so that, someday, we might do this again.
What kid-approved breakfast could they serve themselves, then, in the morning…
*Humungous thanks to Aunt Gael and Uncle E for what turned out to be a terrific success of a sleepover! Thanks so much, guys! Hope you’re recovered by now!
Protein-Packed Apple-Blueberry-Flax Muffins
Makes 12 to 18 muffins (depending on how much you fill the cups)
½ C whole wheat flour
7/8 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ C grated apple
1 C diced apple
2 Tbsp ground flax meal
1/3 C canola oil
¼ C brown sugar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
½ C plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
¼ C blueberries (if using frozen, thaw and drain liquid)
Oil or butter for greasing muffin pan
Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Whisk to blend.
Add grated and diced apple. Stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, mix oil, sugar and syrup. Whisk. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well.
Add in yogurt and vanilla. Mix well.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and combine. Batter should be thick and lumpy.
Pour into muffin tins. Top each with blueberries.
Bake 15 minutes or until the tops are golden. Test with a toothpick to ensure center is baked through.
Cool, serve and enjoy!
If you give these a try, let me know how they worked out! And if you made any variations, share them in the comments below. I love reading all those tweaks!
I'm Janeen; writer, mother, wife, and full-time, radical Reductionist. I share stupid-easy tips on how to save money while reducing your impact on the environment, & I'm committed to helping others live a life of simple sustainability.
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