Zero Waste

As part of settling back down here is Sonoma County I have been plugging into local networks.  One great resource is Wacco Bulletin Board.  It is sort of like a craigslist, but with the intent of connecting conscious community.

About a week ago, I saw a post by someone asking for people’s opinion regarding zero waste.  He posted this video:

The idea of zero waste lifestyle is not new to me, and I’ve seen other people talk about their experience.  The idea intrigues me.  It fits right in with my values.  Might not be too hard to do; I am already a small waste generator.  For instance, it has been about two months since I’ve been to the dump (Yup, no mandatory garbage pick up here.) and I’ve got just a can of garbage – which is about half the size of those large cans I used to have in Phoenix.

I have been asking myself, “What would it take for our household to go zero waste by 2018?”

Very thought provoking.  What would your life look like if you went zero waste?  Are there changes that would be easy? and others that would be impossible?

Bea Johnson gives these guidelines for creating zero waste:

  1. Refuse
  2. Reduce
  3. Reuse
  4. Recycle
  5. Rot

The first big step is “refuse” things that will just end up in the waste stream.  This means I need to change where I shop.  In Phoenix, I got into the habit of shopping at Trader Joes.  They use tons of packaging on their vegetables!  It is easy enough for me to refuse that packaging by switching to purchasing my vegetables from one of the local produce stands.

What else would I need to refuse to eliminate waste?  Would I be willing to do it?  Could it be fun?

I think it is important to be aware of what we are doing and the consequences of our actions.  Generating waste is not just about having trash to get rid of, it is about the resources that go into the creation of that piece of plastic in the first place.

A zero waste lifestyle is also an excellent exercise in mindfulness.  Could refusing one plastic to-go container ultimately impact our health and the health of our children and the planet?  In how many different ways?  In my blog post, temptations, I illustrate my process of refusing to buy something inexpensive that I really wanted after I thought through the consequences of my actions.

So why wait until 2018 to go zero waste?  First, there is a lot of trash inside and outside of the house and at the farm that has accumulated.  I am waiting for summer to really clear the property.  Second, it is going to take me awhile to switch the stores I buy food from and set up the systems for a zero waste lifestyle.  Third, I am not sure I am 100% committed to the change.  I want to give myself sometime to ease into it.

The final question is, “Why would anyone adopt a zero waste lifestyle?”

While some people may be motivated by the lifestyle as an ideal, that is not me.  I wouldn’t feel like a failure if I got down to one garbage can full a year or even generated more.  I am more motivated by the challenge.  I think it will be fun to see how much waste I can eliminate.

Settling In

My partner and I are finally settling down.

Last May we relocated to Oakland, California from Phoenix, Arizona.  I had always wanted to live on Lake Merritt in Oakland and was happy to get my chance.  Just two blocks from the water, we enjoyed a lot of walks around the lake.  However, as nice as the area was, it just wasn’t working for us.

We decided to move north to Sonoma County and take on the care of a family property.  Actually there are two properties that we are care for.  The first is a 10 acre fruit farm.  You can read more about our work on that property here:  New Farm Project

The second parcel is where we live.  The house is nestled into 6 acres of redwoods. When we moved in, it had been neglected and I spent a couple months cleaning, painting, carpeting, and doing other repairs.  Then winter was upon us and the past couple of months have been devoted to cutting wood down to feed the wood stove.

Finally spring is here, at least in Northern California, and I am switching into garden mode.  The work seems endless, but I am beginning to have more space in my schedule for writing again.

One of the things I’ve been pondering is TESLI.  The Enlightenment & Simple Living Institute was created in Phoenix and I am not sure yet if she made the move with us.  What moved with me?  What stayed?  What will be created new?

I know that I left my practice as a massage therapist behind in Arizona.  I am also letting go of teaching the healing modalities I used to teach.  I am pruning my life to encourage new growth.  I get a sense that a new line of teaching is coming.  Perhaps it will be based on my new book, which has been very well received since it’s release in February.

Yes, after an eight year absence from Sonoma County, I am settling back in.  Many friends to reconnect with.  Relearning where to shop and creating new connections too.  Feels good to be back home.