During a recent physical therapy appointment, I asked my therapist whether I should wear shoes while standing on my standing desk mat. I explained to her that I’ve done some research online, but the evidence didn’t seem conclusive. She responded with a smirk: “why don’t you do a meta-analysis?”
Yup, even my physical therapist pokes fun at my tendency to go deep down the rabbit holes.
I guess there has always been a touch of “obsessiveness” in my personality, especially when it comes to research.
I research products extensively before making a purchase; I get lost in peer reviewed literature whenever I’m asked a question that I can’t answer; I love learning and reading just about everything; and lucky me – I am a health policy analyst by day, so I make my living doing research too.
Over the past several years, I’ve been slowly transitioning to a more sustainable lifestyle. My interest in this started while I worked at a local restaurant, where I had the amazing opportunities to manage a small business operation, visit partner farms, and take care of a rooftop garden. During my three years there, I often pondered about questions like:
- Why do consumers claim they like local food but complain about not being able to order a dessert with fresh fruit in the dead of New England winter?
- Does that tomato I grew on the roof truly have a smaller environmental footprint compared to one from a mega farm in California (which has more favorable climate, efficient irrigation technology, and economy of scale for production and shipping)?
These questions led me to grad school, where I studied food policy, nutrition, and agriculture. And after learning the impact our food consumption has on the environment, I can’t help but wonder about the other personal choices that we make every day too.
Thus began my quest to research everything from “how to recycle fridge filters” to “how to mend a cashmere sweater.”
Hence, more rabbit holes.
Hence, this blog.
I am well aware that there are literally millions of resources one can turn to. The sustainability space is crowded, and everyone seems to be telling you how to live your best ‘zero waste’ life. I want to share my experience on this journey too – not by demonizing (all) plastics, blindly promoting the latest ‘eco-friendly’ products, or shaming people who aren’t on the green wagon – but by thinking critically, researching (duh), and translating what I learn along the way in digestible bites.
I am not here to tell you what you should or should not do; instead, I hope to inspire you to think more rationally, realistically, and systematically around the issue of sustainability so you can make more informed decisions – about making a new purchase, changing your own behaviors, or nudging others in a compassionate and respectful way.
Though science, my own experiences, and conversations with friends and experts, I want to explore questions like:
- Are K-cups really the worst office coffee options?
- Where the hell do you recycle old underwear, or smoke alarms?
- How to encourage others around you to live more sustainably without coming off as a jerk?
- Are we wrong-headed in believing that we can fight climate change through changing personal behaviors?
I’m not an expert in these subject matters, nor am I perfect by any means – I don’t live in a tiny house off-grid, I haven’t converted to veganism to reduce my carbon footprint, and (gasp*) every week I throw away plenty of trash (if anyone has figured out a better way to dispose cat litter, hit me up!)
Thank you for coming along on this fun adventure!