A Drop In the Ocean

As far as challenges go, this past week may have been the biggest I’ve faced since getting to Iceland. I touched lightly on homesickness in my last blog but since then that sickness figured out how to straight put me in a headlock and beat the tar out of me. This pummeling paired itself with a resounding feeling of inevitable inertia – a sneaky and awful sucker punch to my gut that tried to convince me this work might be futile.

I run with a circle of people in life who make the word ‘supportive’ seem entirely inadequate though, so by the end of the week I’m thrilled to say I felt more than back to fighting form. This is almost entirely a result of some of the generous words of encouragement thrown my way when I expressed my growing anxiety.

I felt so moved by many of the words shared I’m going to close this week’s blog with a random selection of some of the most impactful ones because they weren’t just supportive, they were motivational and full of truths.

Before I get to that though, I’d like to share a couple other quick agenda items: a few pictures from my time at the turf house farm, and then a link to something incredibly cool I learned about through a research project I’m doing this week.

So let’s start with the pics because they are a reflection of Icelandic culture easy to bring a smile:

The living roof on the farm’s chicken coop:

IMG_1264The moss soup I had for lunch. (Yes, moss):

IMG_1341The sweet crochet hook I whittled with me very own hands. **Perhaps one day I’ll learn how to use it while at the same time miraculously finding my fishlike memory enhanced so I can remember how to use it again the next day too:

IMG_1339WeeWo next to a picture of the woman who originally owned the bed I slept in. As the tale goes, this woman was born in the bed, gave birth to all 14 of her children in it, and then later died in it. Some people thought I was weird for wanting to sleep in it, but truth be told, I felt kind of honored to become part of such a rich history:

IMG_1316Artwork from an Icelandic native that left me with a gaping mouth and an inability to stop staring:

IMG_1349 IMG_1348And, of course, the view:

IMG_1243How I could become despondent or lose my sense of gratitude for being here is really an enigma – one soon cured by support and chocolate. =)

As for the cool research stuff – have you ever heard of a carbon offset?

I’d heard the term before beginning my research project but I never understood it wasn’t something entirely tied to business practices. It’s basically the idea that for whatever carbon footprint you can’t avoid making, you can try to offset its weight by helping fund projects that either sequester carbon like reforestation projects and emissions capture, or lessen our dependence on fuel and energy sources that are carbon intensive such as renewable energy projects or sustainable tool/housewares distribution.

You can buy offsets for as little as $5 in some instances, or you can use an online calculator to determine the value of your footprint for certain activities like air travel, or heating your home for the year. You can also just decide on a predetermined amount you’d like to spend.

You should check it out! If you don’t like the options on the website I linked to in the paragraphs above, check this list of vetted sites to find one you can jive with.

And now that I’ve written you a book, stay green until next time and enjoy the below list of awesome sauce encouragement:

“Any change no matter how miniscule or enormous is making a difference…”

“What seems like a detour or a mistake can take you to unexpected, important insights…”

“All any of us can do is keep movement going in the right direction…”

“It’s the whole which makes the difference and the whole wouldn’t be as effective without each and every one of us…”

“The work that serves life and serves earth is an act of pure faith. We can’t know or need to know how our part helps. We just have to do it faithfully.”

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Teresa

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

up4climate

About Sass Linneken

Peace-pushing, environmental-writing, amateur-filmmaking, photo-snapping #climate change warrior.
This entry was posted in Adventure, Climate Change, International Travel, Sustainability, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Drop In the Ocean

  1. treedudeguy says:

    I like the turf houses a lot, maybe one day I’ll make one. :) How was that moss soup? It looked like a simple mushrooom soup, only with moss. I’d like to try it, says it’s good for asthma. :) Very proud of your widdling skills, perhaps you can widdle me a fiddlin’ squirrel or a bird with a hat. Either way, you’re impressive. :)

    I find the topic of carbon offsets very interesting. It makes sense with healthy and sustainable GHG reduction projects. Being that our system structure needs an overhaul, I think this could be one of many solutions to reprogram this destructive machine we call “living”. It seems karmic and just that human imperialists will have nothing in the end. They’ll be suffocating on a mountain of gold and oil, wishing for a glass of clean water.

    This is why we fight! We want climate justice, we want it now! The rest of the world shouldn’t be sentenced to an uninhabitable planet simply because some materialistic narcissists want the freedom to do whatever they want. With freedom comes great responsibility. I’ve heard many people day that freedom isn’t free, as if the only price we should pay is fighting each other in endless wars. What about sacrificing our luxuries and conveniences instead of our sons and daughters? Why can’t we conserve our resources and implement sustainability in all that we do? You know, live in harmony with nature, rather than dominate it. A system built on endless growth can never survive with finite resources. This is what I don’t get, we’re literally driving ourselves into bankruptcy and calling it good economics. Ugh. I could go on and on. Thanks for doing what you do, it gets the brain thinking and the heart pumping. You rule!

    We are united, for the common good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed we are! :) And I LOVE your view of what freedom isn’t free should mean. Spot on. <3

      Now to address your questions/comments: the moss soup was fantastically delicious. It tasted quite a bit like a sweet custard soup. It was unlike anything I've ever had. Almost a desert soup of sorts, if such a thing exists.

      As for whittling, I will carve you anything your heart desires, I am now addicted. As for the "widdling" you mentioned, I don't know about that. According to Urban Dictionary widdling is "[t]he act, usually while soloing, on a guitar of ridiculous speed riffing, usually at very high notes. This is most often accompanied by "guitar face" and a bizarre and stupid posture."

      So, while I may want to widdle you a squirrel or some other fine creature I'm not quite sure how I could accomplish the task with a mean guitar face and stupid stance.

      Where the carbon offsets are concerned I find the idea intriguing myself, so much so I chose to purchase offsets for my flights to and from Iceland after researching legit places to purchase from. With that said there is a a fair amount of controversy surrounding such programs, and quite honestly I have to say many of the arguments are quite compelling.

      The major argument people make against it is its possible propensity for letting Westerners feel okay with leaving the "reduce" part of the old "reduce, reuse, recycle" adage out of their consumerist habits. That having this ability to just throw money at the problem relieves them of the worry they might have entertained about the weight of their carbon foot print. This, of course, is fault thinking because once carbon is put into the atmosphere that's where it will more than likely stay for thousands of years. Offsets are a means to lessen FUTURE emissions for the most part. There are sequestration offsets that can be purchased but it needs to be understood that in order to have your carbon offset by reforestation you are agreeing to put off the impact of your purchase for decades because of how long it takes a tree to grow and offer the ability to sequester as much carbon as the purchase is aiming to offset.

      Another very compelling argument is that offsetting further removes Western mindsets from thinking about how their over-consumption is affecting people in developing and even more impoverished areas. From what I could find in my research the programs funded in offsetting are almost always located in developing areas, which is great when you consider that offering your wallet to them helps the area to become more financially stable, What it doesn't address is how such programs might encourage the Western lifestyle that is causing the need for these programs in the first place, inadvertently causing harm to the same areas allegedly being helped. The fact is, climate change hits impoverished and developing nations much harder than financially thriving nations.

      With all that in mind, I might have decided it wasn't for me, but something I can't ignore is the opportunity it gives people and businesses to fill the gaping hole being left by governments refusing to take a stand on climate change policy. If the governments won't appropriately fund projects that lessen our carbon emissions these programs give people the power to fund them anyway and give them the push they need to succeed.

      Do I think it's fair that governments aren't doing enough? Absolutely not. Do I think we are in MAJOR need of system change? Absolutely yes. But, I'm not going to let my ideals get in the way of what I think needs to be done, which is grow our ability to sequester carbon and to power ourselves if we're going to with sources that don't boil our planet.

      Like

  2. treedudeguy says:

    LOL, perhaps I’ll widdle while you whittle. :-D Glad the moss was delicious! I like what your throwing down in regards to the carbon offsets, we can’t afford inaction. Private citizens can do their part and the offsets allow the money to flow towards solutions. This is needed, badly. Thanks for getting the word out there! You Rule! :-) ♥

    Liked by 1 person

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