Borrowed From our Children

Can’t believe a quarter of my time in this soul-quenching country is already gone! Quite looking forward to getting back to my family but after the extraordinary transformation I’ve experienced in just 3 weeks, I’m already growing nostalgic for what I’ll miss once I get home.

The street art in Reykjavik is definitely among some of the coolest of what I’ll pine for:

 IMG_0808Along with the poultry with obvious pimp lean:

IMG_0612The way this country hangs their medieval spoons and allows me to dress like a viking will also be longed for without debate:

IMG_0718IMG_0711But on a more serious note, the sights that will tug at me most once no longer accessible are the ones of natural artistry:

IMG_0817IMG_0840I am reminded every day I’m here what a wonder this planet is. I wish everyone could have this experience – especially those born of the city like I was. Our connection to the Earth is as real in the concrete jungle as it is in volcanic terrain, we just need to remember it; though having tar separating your toes from the Earth’s good dirt can pose a definite challenge to this effort.

This past week we focused a lot on how we connect to the Earth through our food choices. It was appalling to me to find out how destructive my addiction to a good cup of joe is. Especially considering the incredible amount of tastiness tickling my taste buds when I partake in the yumtastic espresso here. This is the stuff of Satan’s toolbox:

IMG_0934 With that said, it all got me thinking: though I may not be ready to let go of my beloved coffee quite yet, I can still significantly lessen my environmental impact by making sure to purchase organic, shade-grown coffee once I get home. Limiting the amount of meat I’ve been eating also seems like a nice place to work on my food impacts. Since lamb is a staple on the menu here the task will bode easier for me since lamb is among some of the foods I could do without for the rest of my life. Still, on days when they serve chicken or beef it will definitely come as a challenge (which I welcome).

The way I figure it, if the entire country of Iceland can shoot for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75% within the next 35 or so years, I can at the very least take steak out of my diet and be mindful of my morning joe.

How about you? Is there anything you think you might want to change about your eating habits to help provide a cleaner future?

Let’s hear it!

To find out how you can start eating greener in simple, easy-to-do ways click here!

And don’t forget:  Proverb(Photo Credit: http://stopmakingsense.org/2012/10/12/)

Til next time, stay green and smile BIG!

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Challenges & Footprints

So, I’ve come to find that being in the type of shape that would allow for your body to be rolled from one place to the next is not exactly optimum for  long day hikes.

Luckily the CELL community I’m living in is rich with people willing to lighten the load, literally – the same dude keeps carrying my video camera and tripod for me when we go for steep climbs.

Shout out to Nate (you rule, broseph!)

Nate rules

With this in mind, when my instructors tasked me with coming up with a way I want to challenge myself to become a more effective ecological citizen while I’m here, challenging myself physically for the rest of the semester is exactly what came to mind. I figure the more apt I make myself for physical exertion the deeper my connection to the Earth will become – instead of getting sweaty palms and a chihuahua-esque nervous tremor when I’m told it’s time to pull out the trekking poles and explore, I will hopefully grow a healthier excitement than what has thus far come to pass.

Such excitement I hope will transfer to my daughter when I get home…

The way I figure it, the better acquainted I become with my body and the outside world the better example I can set for her in terms of showing how important it is to get out into nature to find a relationship with the world around us. I think taking on this challenge will undoubtedly help me become a better ecological citizen because I’ll be raising my daughter to have a solid, much more thorough respect for her environment. I can talk to her until I’m blue in the face about how important saving the Earth from environmental degradation is but if I don’t help her to connect this thought with what could be lost by encouraging her to enjoy and experience it in the first place all I’m trying to teach her might be lost.

And speaking of her: I’ve started taking her stuffed lion (WeeWo the Wion) out on some of my adventures and sending the pictures home to her so she can live vicariously through him. Here he is enjoying some of Iceland’s many beautiful waterfalls and waterways:

IMG_0433IMG_0429And here he is during a hungry moment snacking on some ice cap:

IMG_0414Man, this place is intoxicating – and I don’t just mean Iceland, I mean this entire rock in the sky, which is why I was thrilled to learn a little about what it means to measure my ecological footprint during class today.

It’s easy to take for granted the resources we use up without ever really considering what it takes to utilize them. To become a good steward of this place equipped with the knowledge needed to tackle some of the biggest environmental threats like climate change, the first step is an awareness of our own impacts.

To find out yours click here to take a nifty and quick quiz that will not only tell you what your footprint looks like, but what you can do to give it a lighter outline. Share your results in the comments below! (Hint: I take up 4.1 planets!)

Also, until next time, stay green and enjoy this here:

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Posted in Adventure, Climate Change, Ecological Parenting, Education, International Travel, Photography, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Creeping Drifts

So, a week has gone by and with it the remnants of who I was before I came have started to fall away like soft drifts of sand creeping across the desert, changing the landscape with every wind. Solace is found in the fact that those remnants were never really meant to be permanent anyway.

Hiking thru mountainous terrain that pulled from my muscles the impossible not only challenged my body and built my character, it also afforded me visual treats that made me cry:

SunMountain

To Scale

Volcanic Steam

Ocean View

Iceland is swallowing me whole, chewing me up and spitting me out a better me. I’ve taken risks here I never would have at home. In the midst of frigid winds that burn the cheeks I stripped to practically nothing and dipped myself in a volcanic hot spring just to celebrate the trek we took to get there. I have a group of wonderful and supportive friends here never shy on encouraging the best out of me. Here they are calling me in to enjoy nature’s hot tub:

Calling Me InHere is what it looks like when I succumb to people’s peer pressure :)

I'm In

Coming back to the ecovillage that evening I didn’t think there was any possibility that the day could get any better…but then there was this:

Veronica Spann

(Photo Credit: Veronica Spann)

And here is where I would normally start talking about what I learned about sustainable solutions for mitigating and adapting to climate change over the week but I think for today I’m going to just let this one hang. Pretty sure it speaks for itself – is this place worth fighting for? If it isn’t I don’t know what is…

George Stefan Kudor-Ghitescu

(Photo Credit: George Stefan Kudor-Ghitescu)

To learn more about Iceland’s hot springs click here: http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/volc/geysers.html

To learn more about the Northern Lights click here: http://www.northernlightscentre.ca/northernlights.html

For more information on sustainable living (since I didn’t include any type of treat today) click here: http://www.cellonline.org/sustainability-and-you/

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Velcum Velcum!

The eagle has landed!

Sign

Considering the jet lag though it feels a bit more like the eagle has done slammed into the ground, rolled twice and landed in a pile of mud.

It’s cool though – any exhaustion I might have felt was quickly tempered by the absolute beauty of the place. Just look at the view out my dining hall window:

BirdsandMountains

Pretty sure the birds flew into the shot to show me how it’s done considering the clumsy approach I took to rolling in mud… :)

When we first arrived they had breakfast ready for us, which was such a treat! Raisins, fresh baked bread (still piping hot!) and a special type of sour yogurt, which I thought was milk because of its container and poured into my coffee.

Yum.

After devouring our vittles and my sour coffee we got a chance to check out some of the workshops we’ll be working in. So freaking cool – they have a bunch: art, knitting, wood working, ceramics, essential oils and herbs, etc.

Check out some of the amazing work:

IMG_0188

Gitters

To scale

The best part of the day though was meeting Reynir, one of Solheimar’s natives. Solheimar is a unique ecovillage in that it is also host to a ton of people with special needs. Reynir is one of those people and he works in their green house. When we came to visit he let us know that we were very “velcum” to Solheimar. As a matter of fact he let us know that every single part of us was not just velcum but “velcum velcum!” which he did with the most inviting of smiles. Totally made my day.

Meet Reynir:

IMG_0210

The other highlight to the day and probably my favorite piece of scenery was this here:

Carbon Sequester

This, my friends, is a nifty little contraption they use to pump sequestered CO2 into the greenhouse to help the plants thrive. The CO2 is taken from water derived through their geothermal energy system and then recycled by pumping it back into their food source.

Pretty sweet way to use sequestered carbon. Pretty good motivator to sequester it at all. I wonder if they’re trying anything like this in America.

If any of you fine folks out there want to research that and let me know, please do! :D

In the meantime, I’d have to say my first impressions include words and phrases like: Incredible. Amazing. Awe-inspiring. Couldn’t have made a better choice.

Aka: Hooray!

Til next time – smile BIG and stay green!

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Almost Time to Half Hop Across the Pond

Today is exactly 5 days before I drag an arsenal of luggage into Logan Airport and wave goodbye to my kids and husband for the following 3 months.

Ermagerd

I’m going to Iceland to live in a tiny eco-village called Solheimar to study climate change and sustainable community building. Going to try and learn something about how to adapt to the looming climate crisis, and more importantly, how my family and I can best minimize our own contribution to it.

Wanting the world inherited by my children’s children to be one that’s livable. Hoping this learning process will help me set an example for them of how to create it to the best of their abilities in whatever becomes of this place by the time they exist.

And I’m scared.

I look around and I see a different world weather-wise than the one I knew as a child.

This is such a commonly shared observation at this point I almost feel cliché writing it.

What does that say about the handful of corporations that refuse to put a cap on their emissions in the name of freedom? Freedom for whom? Don’t I have a right to a livable planet?

I thought there was something in one of our handy dandy hemp docs that said something about a right to life…

Perhaps I’m wrong – the fossil fuel companies sure seem to think so.

So that’s my story. I’m almost on my way to Iceland to chase down ideas and pick the brains of some of the people living in the most sustainable of ways, implementing leading edge solutions to minimizing carbon footprints.

I’m bringing a camcorder.

Who knows, maybe I’ll bring back something we just hadn’t thought of…

 

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