Having contributed 80+ Simple Swaps for Planetarian Life, Maggy asked us to answer a bigger question: “Why do you do what you do? “
We all make choices: immediate (what to eat for dinner?), long-term (having children, or pets, or livestock), or everlasting (our final resting place).
For us, one somewhat random decision – choosing to live in a rural spot – guided cascading choices. It started in 1997 when we built a small cabin. By 2000 we were living “off-grid” in a super-efficient, solar-powered home. We took our passion a step further and embraced careers in sustainable energy and when we left that work in 2017 we prioritized our relationships, personal health, and attention to the planet’s health. We find great satisfaction in sharing what we know with others.
We are not purists. We acknowledge our great privilege on many levels. We feel a deep responsibility to future generations and that we have the resources to make the best or “less-bad” choices available. That’s why.
As we switched to a plant-rich diet, the inordinate amount of plastic that entered our household appalled us. Growing, harvesting, and storing our own produce, year-round, resolved much of that problem.
Some choices are easier than others, some are puzzling to family, friends, and strangers alike, some are failures. (We planted a row of black walnut trees in our field right before a summer-long drought; they died). Surely you do things that your circle doesn’t understand. Or want to do. But each of our choices always has a sustainability angle.
We find a lot of meaning and fulfillment in a hard day’s work, stacking wood or weeding a garden, even if it must be done again and again. We don’t belong to a gym. We celebrate “swaps” that make our life better in any number of ways.
Free and cheap solutions, to us, are not free or cheap because they are not complete equations. Some “cost” is not included – whether from BigAg, landfills, fast-fashion, fossil fuels, equity, et cetera – there are externalities that impact others and the planet. If we can lessen those problems, even just a bit, that’s good. We try to Walk the Talk. That’s why.
We love where and how we live, the challenges and victories alike. That’s why. Thank you for asking.
Laura & Gil
Our friends Laura & Gil Richardson are, in their own words, “imperfect” but they are much further down this Planetarian path than anyone I know. They are a treasure trove of sustainable living inspiration and we’ve asked them to share one simple swap per week that they’ve made (and the products they love) in hopes it might inspire you to make them, too.