How are you?
No really, how ARE you?
My general feeling at the moment is…BLAH. The days are turning into big blobs, though my emotions are running high, constantly. Or as Sarah from Sustainable in the Suburbs aptly describes here, we are all “cycling through feelings of gratitude and grief for individual/collective losses, in the space of a day or an hour…”
All things considered, we are doing very well. I’m fortunate to be able to work from the comfort of my home, connect virtually with family, friends and colleagues, and have plenty of food, necessities, and entertainment. I’m also glad to be reminded kindly by folks online that it is ok to not be “extra productive” right now.
Like many, I’ve had big plans in my head at the beginning of the lockdown (or self-isolation? quarantine? I’ve lost track the correct terminology to use at this point…), but so far, I’ve not gotten any fitter, read more books, or tackled any home improvement projects. In a society that so values productivity, it all feels pretty defeating. But I’m learning to give myself permission to slow down; I hope you give yourself that permission too.
If you are looking for things to read, watch, or listen to, especially as a way to get off the constant news cycle, here are some of my recent favorites.
Polly barks: Ways to support your community in times of crisis (article)
Helping others is one way to feel more empowered when a pandemic renders us feeling powerless. Polly Barks, one of my favorite sustainability educators and advocates, has a wonderful article explaining what mutual aid is, how social justice and environmentalism intersect, and how you can help uplift your community right now.
Climate Crisis (A newsletter from The New Yorker)
The formidable Bill Mckibben, educator, environmentalist, and cofounder of 350.org, curates this weekly newsletter, and it’s such an insightful compilation of unique interviews, climate research, and important environmental news. These days, much of his writing focuses on how to apply lessons learned from the COVID-19 outbreak to fighting climate change, and I’ve particularly enjoyed this one.
I discovered Isaias’ work on Instagram recently, and I highly recommend that you check out his succinct and digestible content. The easiest place to access his work is on Instagram, where he demystifies important environmental concepts in just one or two sentences, but he is starting longer explainers on his website as well. You can also find Isaias’ work through Alluvia magazine, which he co-created to highlight BIPOC environmentalists through climate justice storytelling.
Not sure if anyone else has been following the union saga with US clothing brand Everlane. Vice has been covering the issue, and it doesn’t look…pretty for the brand, to say the least (the company’s latest response is here). Most of my clothing purchases are secondhand these days, but with Everlane being one of the brands that introduced me to the idea of ethical fashion, I’m pretty sad about the situation. This blog post summarizes my feelings well.
Milkwood Permaculture Living (courses and articles)
In anticipation of being home, I purchased the 12-week permaculture course at Milkwood. You don’t need to be enrolled in a course to utilize their website though; it is full of informative and hands on articles on gardening (including on rental properties!), foraging, and living more sustainably using the principles of permaculture.
A book I’m slowly working through at the moment. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the essays are exactly as beautiful and wise as everyone who has been raving about the book says they are. I’m glad I bought the copy (as opposed to borrowing it), because I’m aggressively highlight the entire book, ha. Get yourself a copy stat.
I’ve been catching up on the Farm to Taber podcast in the past few months, and it’s really making me miss grad school (where I studied nutrition and food/agricultural policy). Dr. Sarah Taber, the crop scientist behind the series, looks at food and farming through diverse lenses (science, business, history, demographics, etc) and her field stories are always fascinating. Here is one on bees that is super informative (and hilarious). This one on farm labor also feels extremely relevant to the moment. (If you do not understand the connection between COVID-19, immigrant labor and our food supply, this Planet Money episode is a great reference)
99% Invisible: Missing the bus (podcast)
Oh, the humble bus. I absolutely adored this interview on how to improve the bus network to reduce emission, improve our travel experiences, and reduce the inequities in our society and urban landscape. Listen to the podcast, but also check out the photos and videos on 99% Invisible’s website too.
A heavy and enlightening read on one of the most devastating consequences of environmental racism in America. A book that educates, and teaches you how to act. It encouraged me to learn more about lead contamination in my own city and the disparity in lead abatement by neighborhoods.
Hang in there, friends. What are you reading and listening these days? I’d love to know!