Heat

It’s upwards of 110 degrees throughout much of Los Angeles county today and I have spent the day either in nearby businesses that have AC, reading in a bathtub of cold water, or in my apartment wearing a dress I keep wetting in the sink. The only solid foods I’ve eaten in two days are chips and guacamole, to go with my smoothies and ice cream; heat apparently turns me into a dietary child. I have at times had to work outside in similar temperatures and today I am grateful to be off but worried for all of the gardeners, construction, film, and road workers (among others) who are sweating it out outside. And, I can’t help but wonder, as each year gets hotter than the last and heat records continue to be shattered, how will we, as a species, cope? Already we are seeing mass migration due to war, violence, poverty, and climate change, but we are just at the beginning of the tipping point. Drought, wildfire, flooding, and famine will become more normal than they already are and the coming generations won’t know a time when they weren’t. Are these the good old days, the ones we are living in right now, at this moment? Are these the times we will reminisce about, back to when a 112 degree day made the news, because it was still abnormal? I think about my eight year old nephew and my friend’s three month old baby girl and wonder if they will experience and remember summer as a time for camping, slip and slides, and ice cream? Will there be snow to build snowmen or snowballs with in the winter? I wake in the middle of the night with a weight on my chest at the thought that these really could be the days we look back fondly upon. Where will billions of people go when their crops turn to dust or their neighborhoods disappear under several feet of water? The migration we see now will seem tiny in comparison, and as usual it will be those with the fewest resources who suffer the most and pay the biggest price. Today is Scott Pruitt’s (the pathetic head of the Environmental Protection Agency) last day and for now he will be replaced by the equally unqualified former energy lobbyist, Andrew Wheeler. How men who have children and grandchildren can deny climate change without giving it even the benefit of a doubt, I will never understand. Greed. Greed followed by willful ignorance. While visiting Amsterdam in 2014, I stumbled on a fantastic, huge, multi level bookstore of which almost one third seemed to be about, or in some way related to, climate change. With an average elevation of 2 meters, but with much of the city sitting below sea level, the Dutch are keenly aware of the precarious spot they occupy on earth. One might wonder why the people of New Orleans, Miami, and New York City don’t seem so worried, or why all Americans just seem to be going along, waiting, wondering if and when it will get worse. It’s overwhelming to realize that the beautiful planet that sustains and nourishes us on every level could cease to do so. And equally overwhelming to realize we have created this disaster and that our elected officials continue to perpetuate it. I don’t know what the answer is, other than to do what we can. Support local and small scale farmers, live in small, energy efficient homes, drive small gas efficient cars, resist the policies that take us closer to the tipping point of no return, support public transportation, bike, spend our dollars wisely, investigate, research, stop eating beef, support solar and wind energy, conserve water… it all makes a difference. I don’t want to look back on now as the good, old days. I want our kids and grandkids to have it even better than we did. I know you do too. Stay cool out there!If you enjoy these posts, please follow Smagik.com and please share and comment!

Hippie Chic

I think I’m reverting to my roots. Born a couple of years after my parents moved out of the communal house they were sharing with a few dozen other people, I entered the world just as Carter’s solar panels were about to give way to Reaganomics. There are multiple photos of me playing naked in our back yard garden. When my more conventional grandmother joined me in the sandbox for a tea party, I offered things like bancha tea, mochi, and nori rolls; she didn’t know what I was talking about. I carried my lunch to school in a basket, until I was nine.

Growing up on tofu, brown rice, and kale (way before kale was cool), my sister and I pretended carob was chocolate and went a bit crazy when we got our hands on the real thing. We played with hand made toys, didn’t watch TV until we were almost teenagers, and to this day are pop culturally illiterate when it comes to the entire decade of the 1980’s. Luckily for us, our school supported such weirdness and it was only upon graduating into the larger world that I realized it had been a unique upbringing.

When I moved out and started to create a life of my own, I realized how much extra work my parents’ choices created and I frequently took the easy way instead. I bought prepared food, never baked my own bread, didn’t have a garden, and slowly forgot about all of it. Or, I figured it would magically happen somewhere down the line.

I began working in the film industry shortly after graduating from college and quickly traded all of my free time for the craziness that comes with the industry. Keeping plants alive, not to mention a garden, when working 80 hours a week, was difficult to say the least. I ate three meals a day from the caterers or craft service and, though not wanting to complain about being served what for many is a feast, every single day, it was heavy comfort food, designed to keep the crew’s moral up, not to be healthy. There were days I’d give anything for brown rice, tofu, and kale.

Over the past year, several of my friends and family members have had babies and several others have been diagnosed with cancer. These are only connected in that they both made me stop and think about how I’m living my life and what my priorities are. I realized that the garden and bread baking weren’t going to just happen and that my own health was beginning to suffer from lack of sleep, stress, and poor diet. And, so, over the past year, I have taken a whole bunch of time off to begin to remember how I used to live.

In one of my recent spring cleaning blitzes, I took all of the household cleaners, that had ingredients I couldn’t pronounce, to the household chemical recycling facility. I was left with vinegar, baking soda, Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap, and a multi purpose cleaner from Seventh Generation that seemed a waste to get rid of, though I’m sure vinegar and baking soda would do the trick.

I planted my 8’x2′ raised bed garden with kale, lettuce, carrots, and beets and am waiting until it’s a little warmer to add the tomatoes and herbs.

By working only part time (still 40 hours a week!) on a few TV shows, rather than on long movies, I’ve had time to read, work in the yard, and try to get my health back to where it should be. Because I’m not completely sleep deprived and stressed out for months on end, my cravings for sugar and caffeine have gone way down. To build my adrenals back up, I drink water with lemon throughout the day and put apple cider vinegar on my veggies to aid in digestion.

I laugh to think that I’m reverting to my hippy past, but really all I’m doing is following knowledge that was common sense until only very recently. My grandparents would never have thought of themselves as hippies, yet they understood how to make things from scratch, grow food in the ground, fix things that broke, and to make do with a fraction of what is now considered normal. And I see the contentment that comes from being capable and in touch with ones environment, rather than dependent on corporate ideas of what you need or should want.

As I think about our environment, read news about the increasingly imbalanced climate, hear about the industrial food machine, and think about all of the babies I know who have just been or are about to be born, I want to revert to my hippy roots. I want to do anything I can to make the world, and myself, healthier and happier.

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