And I hope it stays that way.
2017 was a year that saw us traveling internationally, ringing in the New Year in Bangalore India. On December 31st 2017 we had just returned from a quick trip to tropical Poovar Island in the southern tip of India. This floating island resort we stayed at was unbelievably beautiful but one of the things I took away from our trip to Kerala (and India in general) was how trashed this nation is. The beaches of Poovar Island were literally brimming with trash. They were also teeming with wild eagles (Trash Eagles I called them) as they were treating the trash strewn beach like a salad bar.
Maybe it’s the conservative American in me, but dude, this is not right!
Our trip to Poovar Island was just the tip of the iceberg of how completely trashed this nation is. And it’s sad because there are truly gorgeous areas in India like the hill station of Ketti that we visited and the mountains near Masagudi where we stayed in a treehouse on a jungle resort for five days. Ketti reminded me of Napa Valley if Napa were located in the mountain.
The sad thing is in India people just throw their trash out the window, on the streets and it just stays that way among the cow dung and the dog poo from all the feral dogs until the next cyclone thunders through and has you walking through ankle-deep cow poo water just to walk down to the stalls to buy some veggies. Being environmentally conscientious is unheard of in Bangalore India. Hell, trying to merely locate an organic food store had people looking at me like I was positively batty. Why would I not want my food sprayed with pesticides? Crazy Americans…
The thing that makes me sad about the mountains of trash we saw every where in India is I feel like here in the U.S. this could be us in the not so distant future! I see people constantly just throwing trash out their windows as they are driving here in our national forest. How do people think this is okay? How does no one have a problem with this?
How can I learn to be more environmentally conscientious?
Our trip to India made me start focusing on how I could choose to be a more environmentally conscientious person in my daily life.
For me it started with shopping more sustainable. The days of buying the latest and greatest from Nordstrom or American Eagle are behind me. I don’t think I will ever walk into a mall again and buy cheap clothing from Forever 21 that was made by children in sweatshops in third world countries. Being environmentally conscientious has to start somewhere if I want to decrease my carbon footprint. People with a bit more capital to invest could consider a whole home redesign to make the place more energy efficient, including double glazing windows from Graceland Windows or another company, or increasing insulation to prevent wasted energy on heating. That can also have other impacts on the home. Many people rent and can’t do changes that dramatic, though, so maybe you can start by lowering your energy bills by checking out these TXU Energy Plans. I think for now, I am starting with my closet. Being environmentally conscientious means you have to recognize that all the little things you do in a day can negatively impact our planet. Like throwing your trash out your car window. Don’t trash our planet.
2017 was a year of travel
Our travels in 2017 took us to some gorgeous places outside the U.S. and on our country as well. We started out 2017 in Bangalore, India and then took a detour through Hong Kong on our way back to the U.S. After a month of living in the concrete jungle of Bangalore we were ready to get out of the city… And into another city. Our first few days in Hong Kong the weather was overcast in the morning and then humid and tropical in the afternoon. Our first few days in Hong Kong felt like we were vacationing on a tropical Island and also New York. The amount of skyscrapers was crazy, like nothing I had ever seen but once you got away from the grey steel skyscrapers the outskirts of Hong Kong were lush and gorgeous. Also there was sushi. Really, really good sushi and crab and lobster just caught in the harbor.
Then we woke up on the third day to the most horrendous smog I had ever seen in my life. The wind direction had changed and the smog was being blown over from all the coal-burning in mainland China. No wonder so many people here wear those crazy face masks all the time! It blows me away that people can just live in this smog like it’s totally normal! Suffice to say after our last few days in super smoggy Sha Tin we were ready to hop a plane back to Los Angeles. I love sushi, but not as much as I love my lungs. All the filth, smog and congested traffic of these two countries we visited last winter made me very thankful to be going home to our forested resort town in southern California. It also made me worried for this lovely planet of ours and concerned for all those people throwing trash in the streets.
Our travels abroad over the winter were beyond awesome and a very eye-opening experience about how people in this world, outside of the United States live. After traveling to a third world country and also smoggy Hong Kong by the spring of 2017 we were ready to see some pretty things; No more smog, no more garbage, no more trash eagles and for God’s sake, no men in lungis peeing in the streets.
We drove our 34 foot RV to the eastern sierras Memorial Day weekend and had a fantastic weekend camping, hiking and enjoying this glorious eastern Sierras mountain range. I had never been to the eastern Sierras on a holiday weekend before and even the usually, most deserted trails were packed with tourists. Luckily we knew a few short cuts off the beaten path.
And we found meadows like these.We even decided to take our two mutt dogs with us because hell, they deserved a vacation too. The eastern Sierras received such a heavy snow pack this year that we were shocked to see how much snow was on the higher peaks even their last few days of May! This was one of the most gorgeous trips I have taken to the eastern sierras as all the spring plants and flowers were in bloom but the lakes were still frozen as we hiked miles and miles through snow fields to reach Barney Lake out of Bridgeport. It was a few days in the eastern sierras that truly made me appreciate this great planet of ours. We spent a lot of time sweating on the trails of this great country of ours between May and September this year and I’m so glad that in 2017 I researched the best natural deodorant. Switching one hundred percent to natural deodorant and more natural body products in general is a great way to naturally improve my health in 2017.
We had such a great time that in the beginning of the summer we decided to drive over 3,000 miles in our big ass RV all over Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Our road trip was delayed in Idaho in the middle of nowhere in a dense mountain forest by “traffic”
By traffic I mean a herd of 500 sheep scampering across the road and up into the pines as shepherds and border collies tried to guide them. Even though I’m a UGG wearing Californian who hates traffic, I loved this moment of our trip. As our dogs growled at the ditzy sheep from the comfort of the RV and we turned off the Fleetwood engine and just took in this crazy country Idaho phenomenon, I thought what a cool experience. I may be a disgruntled with Los Angeles traffic Californian but this was the coolest, wool-est traffic I had ever seen in my life.
One thing we found in all of our travels outside California this year is that no one makes it easy to recycle like California does! In California you can find recycling at every campsite, it’s a give in. Every camp site we stayed at outside of California had no recycling what so ever. Weird.
We spent so much time outside under the hot India sun and in the beginning of the year as well as so much time camping among the pine trees across this wonderful country of ours and I’m so thankful that this is the year I switched to natural sunscreens. I feel so much healthier here in 2017 without slathering my body in harmful chemicals each time I go for a run or a mountain bike ride. It wasn’t just natural sunscreen that I switched to in 2017. I also started buying all new and natural body products including deodorants and cleansers. My 2017 skin feels a lot healthier and even younger when I’m not slathering it in crap harsh cleansers from Walmart!
There are a lot of ways to change your lifestyle and be more environmentally conscientious, it’s not just about driving a hybrid or recycling. Living your life and trying to be more environmentally conscientious can start with your pets (adopt don’t shop). There are so many animals at shelters that need homes and I always recommend adopting from high kill shelters as some of these animals only have three days to find their forever homes!
You can start out your new year in 2018 bringing home a new furry friend from the shelter or you could get more natural with your diet and try making from scratch a food that is steeped in history in the United States. In 2017 I learned to make my own homemade sourdough starter, a super naturally aged food that originated with the gold miners in Alaska back in the mining days.
Once long ago, before I made my own turmeric capsules, I used to shop at Stater Brothers like millions of Californians. I had no idea about GMO’s or organic foods or how to live my life to be more environmentally conscientious. All those GMO filled years ago, once upon a time I took my eighty-five year old grandma to the grocery store in the middle of a snow storm because she was down to one egg for her and my grandpa to split and I had a cravin’ for Jalapeño poppers even though it was 28 degrees out and a foot of snow expected (Priorities)
All of these adventures and travels and stories led me here today to the beginning of 2018 and I’m pretty happy with how our quality of life has improved by living more sustainably.2017; I made a lot of positive changes in my life to be more environmentally conscientious and my lifestyle is just a little bit healthier and I’ve decreased my carbon footprint in the long run. Bring on 2018 and all the adventures yet to come!