Welcome to the first of many Mother-Lovin’ Mondays!
I don’t know what I’m doing.
I’ll start a few years ago when my love for nature finally led to its natural conclusion: a desire to care for creation and to do my part to keep it around. It finally clicked that if I cared about nature, I should care for it, too.
You know how sometimes you suddenly realize there are a lot of silver cars on the road and has it always been this way? Or is it just because you started thinking a silver car would be nice to have that all the cars have turned that metallic shade? That’s how I started grasping the importance of living kindly. All at once and from everywhere, I was hearing about canning vegetables from a friend’s garden, learning about single-use plastic, starting to use a soap that toted being Leave No Trace compatible, and noticing how much waste I was producing. Little decisions my friends were choosing started giving me pause. Not one of my friends (God love them for this) told me I was doing it wrong or condescendingly acknowledged my single-use plastic water bottle; they led by actions and after years of hearing it, I finally understood my mom’s advice that “actions speak louder than words.” That is when Mother Lovin’ Mondays was born.
Of course, it wouldn’t be until years later that I actually sat down to write this, but my life was altered. I know, dramatic, but I'm serious!
A year and some change after my first foray into living eco-friendly (accidentally, incidentally), I was living in a Volvo XC70 with my husband and tent and car camping around the country, visiting National Parks, taking wilderness showers, and falling deeper in love with Mother Nature. That’s not to say if you start recycling, you too will find yourself hiking Yosemite with 8-day old hair and living out of your car. It happens, but it’s not mutually exclusive. You can still live in a house with A/C and heat and beds and couches and a kitchen and practice sustainability. In fact, I’m hoping that you do.
Because it’s for you I’m writing this. You who have never looked to see what number that plastic is to see if you can recycle it. You who wishes you could use less paper towels but they’re so gosh-darn convenient. You who already lives a relatively plastic-free lifestyle. You who knows that recycling is good and thrifting your clothes is good and walking places instead of driving is good.
I don’t know what I’m doing.
That bears repeating because I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. I don’t live plastic-free. I drive places. I shop at Amazon. I don’t have a garden and I don’t can my own vegetables. I’m not an expert and if “expert” is akin to a doctorate, I don’t even pretend to have a full elementary education on how to live sustainably. But I’m learning and I’m doing what I can.
That’s how change happens. People doing what they can, when they can, how they can, and with what they have. Long before I knew who Anne Marie Bonneau was, I picked up a version of her quote from somewhere that’s so lost to my memory I thought it was mine before I read her attribution one day. Oops. Bonneau, a zero waste chef, said, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” And I love that. Because it’s what drives me and comforts me.
That’s why I’m sharing what I know and what I learn. Because I believe in us and I know collectively, imperfectly, we can make a difference.
I’m an artist and until now, I’ve just used art to share my love for nature and the importance of caring for it. I have to be honest with y’all from the get-go: I feel inadequate to be starting this—I’m an artist, not a blogger or an educator or even someone known for living zero-waste! Who am I against the tapestry of smarter, better, and more well-known great people sharing their impressive knowledge and systems?
The winning argument is something Scotty over at Perspective Collective once said and though I only remember the gist of it and not the exact quote, it’s stuck with me: The whole world doesn’t have to be your audience for you to be heard. You have an audience, regardless of the number, and they’re listening. So talk to them.
So, audience—friends and fellow imperfect sustainable practicers—let’s begin with a short introduction to what Mother-Lovin’ Mondays is now that you thoroughly know its origin story.
The name “Mother-Lovin’ Mondays” was born from my Love Your Mother sticker collection in which I plant a tree for every two stickers sold and from my aforementioned staunchly held belief that we all can do, no, have a responsibility to do, what we can with what we have. I have art and I have stickers and now I have this blog in my corner of the internet.
MLM will be an ongoing series of lovin’ blog posts filled with sustainable tips, mini tutorials, helpful educational bits, honest confessions, product substitution recommendations, and other voices from whom to learn. It will come out on Mondays (obviously), but maybe not every Monday.
Thanks for coming along with me as we learn how to love our Mother better.