Thursday, December 15, 2011

Modern Day Thoreau? hmm!

Woo! I'm being researched by a PhD student from Arizona!:) The lovely Tamara Wallace Ramirez @artplaceidentity has asked me (along with some other awesome bloggers like Sooz and Jenn,Grant&Rhyannon@Clean Bin) about what it means to share personal stories with an activist dimension online.

In fact, she accused me/us of being 'modern day Thoreau'.

I never really thought of myself as 'Thoreau'! (Though I was vaguely familiar with him! And murmured a few lines from The Lake Isle of Innisfree now and then. Not that this is related.)

I used to hate gardening with a vengeance!
In fact, Mum had a very bad disciplinary practice of asking us to either garden or study/do homework when we were kids (whereupon we ended up reading Victoria Holt hidden secretly in a drawer!)

But then I saw this documentary by an award-winning French journalist:

and found out the only way to be absolutely sure what you eat is to grow it yourself, that GMO soy has even been labelled as 'eco/organic soy' in our country, that 'eco food' was EXPENSIVE *AND* wrapped in plastic/unrecyclable cellophane in stores, and much of it imported from Italy or elsewhere! (In fact, most of the supermarket food seemed to be imported from SOMEWHERE: garlic from China, beans from Argentina... YIKES!!)

The World According to Monsanto - excellent documentary!
and book: (make sure you get the right version of DVD depending on your TV system)

So, I developed a passion for the hoe. (Okay, not exactly.) But I cursed Monsanto with every blow.
And realized it was not so much trouble, and a lovely workout! Hey, it was free!! And I got a kick out of free food too!! :)

I LOVE experimenting and may quickly get bored, so blogging was another way to keep up the MOTIVATION!

But it all started before that.

I was writing my eco SF romance when I heard some bad news on the radio! YIKES! An incinerator was to be built in Granny's town! And they called it 'eco-friendly'?? What to do? The whole point of my book was to not just 'look away', but to take action!
I researched the hell out of it and talked to some people, but it was too far along, I had too little knowledge or support to make a difference then (and some health problems), but no one could stop me to try and make ZERO WASTE personally (or come as close as I could)! Heck if I wanted my trash to become a toxic problem for the health of my friends and relatives in an already chemically polluted area!
They were like textbook examples of health problems from environmental pollution.

So I wanted to make zero waste. But had no idea how. :)

I read books on natural cosmetics, consulted my Grandma on how they did it in the 'old days', rethought the idea of 'cloth pads' (first I thought it exotic but gross & possibly terrifying lol!) and Googled like crazy.
I actually had a hunch how to stop the incinerators, didn't know what to do to reduce waste though!

I felt soo 'imperfect' with my own not-so-eco-practices and didn't know how to inspire others - until I stumbled upon the AWESOME!
They weren't perfect either, but they were having FUN exploring new things and BLOGGING about it!! :)

... And they only made one bin of trash in one year! One BAG of trash in next year!

Support from other eco bloggers - 'trashbloggers' like Mrs Green and her family, and Mrs Almost Average and Danda from Italy and Sooz and others has been great INSPIRATION! Connecting to like-minded people was a big factor, at the same time a 'by-product' was to raise awareness about it all to new people too - I actually wanted to start a 'proper' blog (with own domain name etc, haven't quite gotten round to it yet).
This blog was sort of like a 'stepping stone' in the direction to a more 'proper blog' (where I wouldn't be that personal lol).

No one around me was as obsessed about trash as I was (or knew anything about waste reduction) at the time, so I had to find info, 'allies' and support online... in books and from my Granny too, and some other older ladies... (they had great tips and info on living almost-zero-waste before this crazy era of throwaway consumption!!)

I was already committed to a certain set of environmental values - began blogging as a way to keep track of it all, research new things and have info in a handy accessible form (computers can crash too, the internet can sometimes actually be safer to keep track of things...)

I still want to make zero waste (or as close as possible), meanwhile, I've started following economy and politics even (who would have thought??!)
They are all linked with environment and decision-making...
I've found some allies in RL too, though it's all still err... experimenting :)

I was a 'non-political' person before, more into artsy/music/literature/culture stuff, didn't care about politics... (and usually switched the radio to music or TV to comedy, films or videos). I still prefer to read trashy novels to 'serious' economists or political stuff...

This blog started as a personal experiment - if political decisions (ie to build incinerators and promote them as 'eco-friendly') go against what one thinks is right, what can one person do?

Hm, the more I read about Thoreau the more I can relate to him!
He he, he refused to pay TAX too lol, who wants to pay taxes in a country that builds incinerators and such stupid things??
The economy needs to be CHANGED and TRANSFORMED - what we've been doing is not sustainable!)

So now I have another VISION: to build a country where one would WANT to pay taxes!! Wouldn't it be great?

I live 'in the middle of nowhere' so connecting with others is priceless and online world is a window into what others have been doing worldwide - and maybe some inspiration back too!! :)

Who is your audience?
I write to and with the people online, who are trying to make a difference and go more eco-friendly too... (and have been sometimes struggling with it and making silly mistakes, like I do... Or have gone through difficult times like I have...) Or some who haven't really thought about it, but they see my blog and go 'Hey, yeah, it's important to recycle/be more eco-friendly!' etc. (Cute pics help here!:) If I've inspired one person, or a few, to try something new, and see 'eco-friendly' living as an ADVENTURE and not 'something gruesome oi yuck!' I've done a lot! :)

(I only showed this blog to one cousin in RL and she wasn't too happy over what I wrote about her in a previous post lol! The idea is to have a mini-rant-space over sometimes-uncooperative family and community!:) She was happy to have her pics online though (likes to have her photos taken!)

At the moment I feel like I've built this blog like a statue to my Granny... To sort of keep memory of her and what she meant to me alive...

I'd probably stop writing the blog if there weren't any feedback :) The idea was to connect with people, learn from them, and keep on track with the zero waste thing. It's not ROCKET SCIENCE, but it's not so easy sometimes - one needs to unlearn decades of BRAINWASHING/MARKETING sometimes, re-explore basic assumptions, one can get disheartened without positive encouragement, especially if there may be many obstacles or some negative feedback/experiences in RL...

As for BLOG FORM: Hm, my posts are not so short! lol!
I know I get more comments on shorter posts with pics, and/or very enthusiastic ones... It doesn't stop me from posting at other times though...
I like it that I can include links to keep track of research or inspiration more easily...
If something makes me really angry, or happy, or sad... I'll probably blog about it (or post elsewhere, or at least write in a private journal)
It's probably a bit like THERAPY (like Kafka wrote), I'm addicted to writing lol!

What I really LOVE about blogging is connecting to some really AWESOME people out there: it makes me feel HOPEFUL that people from all over the world are being creative and inspiring and doing some pretty awesome (and cute!) things to go more eco-friendly...

What influence that you hope your blog will have on others?
I don't have dellusions that my blog would 'change the world' (by itself) but it's helping me maintain sanity, health... And have some FUN with it all!!

I like to think of myself as someone doing a 'tiny bit' - if everyone does own 'tiny bit', we can do A LOT!!

Oh, and someone from Brazil reads my blog - I don't know anyone from Brazil, lol!! But it makes me THRILLED that maybe they can get some value & INSPIRATION from what I write! :) Arizona is a pretty COOL place too, never been there! So, it's a place for INTERNATIONAL working and co-operation, working together on things that are IMPORTANT - for this planet & all of us!


  1. Hey Layla, just to let you know, I read the whole of this post, is one go, even though there are no pictures in it! Very interesting to read about how and why you blog, i love the blogging community too and all the interesting, eco friendly people I've 'met' throgh it (like you!)

  2. LOVE this post! You totally hit it on the nail. Totally how I felt too... Love what you are doing and can't wait to read more!

  3. Thanks so much for talking with me and the blogosphere about your experience with "Eco Experiment", Layla!

  4. Great write with thinking."Eco Experiment" a few people thinking about it. I thing your experiment is good.

  5. Hi Layla!
    So cool you are making a project of minimizing waste. I like to think we keep waste down at our house, but you've prompted me to think about this even more thoroughly! Tangerine Meg :)