Minimalism-for the planet’s sake.

For decades, Americans (and many other citizens of the Western World) have been sold a scam by those whose only real care is lining their pockets. They’ve beat it into us that in order to be happy, we must surround ourselves with THINGS, always the newest and trendiest things. We must keep up with the Joneses; if we don’t, or can’t, there’s something wrong with us, some deficiency we must, with expediency, correct. We need the nicest homes and cars, the luxest wardrobes, the most top of the line gadgetry; we must strive for Society’s ideals of success, beauty, desirability and acceptability, or we are frowned upon, shunned, or even exiled from our own communities.

So we, like hamsters running on their tiny wheels, going fast, faster, faster still, going nowhere, get on this wagon train…we buy, buy, buy, we strive, strive, strive, for what they TELL US will make us happy. If only we have enough things, are attractive enough, have enough social standing…

We work hard, we fight to scrabble up auspicious employment ladders, to catch all the right eyes, believing that if only we had more money to buy more things every aspect of our lives would suddenly be just golden. If only we could be beautiful and model-thin, our lives would be peachy perfect. If only we could make everyone love us, the world would be our oyster.

But somehow, each thing we buy, each goal we meet, leaves us unfulfilled. There’s always one more thing to buy, one more pound to lose, one more person who remains not quite impressed enough…always SOMETHING preventing us from being happy. This can go on for a long time, years or even decades, depending on the person in question.

For the very- and fortunate- few born with that innate sense of “I am all right just as I am,” there may be none of this rat-race. For the rest of us, depending on our upbringing and psychological makeup, there may be years or decades of it. There may be, if we are lucky, little or no damage done as a result of this never-ending game, but for most of us, damage there is, and it can be devastating.

After years, or decades of chasing this carrot, we will look around one day and see we are swamped with STUFF. We’ve spent countless hours working to look, and act and be what Society want us to be…and yet we are bereft of happiness, devoid of inner peace. Overwhelmed and exhausted. No closer to that perfect life…

And our planet? It has paid a tremendous price for our neediness, our greediness. Deforestation, pollution, climate change…decimation of countless species of plant and animal, even the deaths of other humans is the price paid for all that stuff.

If we are honest with ourselves there will come a time when we admit to ourselves, STUFF won’t make us happy-indeed it can do quite the opposite. And the price paid, far far beyond dollars and cents, is too great. It simply isn’t sustainable. So much of what the television and the glossy magazines tells us we simply cannot live without will be dumped into our landfills in a few months, if not weeks. Will will in fact live without it. We will shake our heads and roll our eyes and wonder: why did I buy this? as we toss it into the waste can, our money and the resources it took to make the item, gone forever…bad for us, bad for our planet.

And the effort-so much effort-we put into looking perfect and acting in a socially acceptable way…the strain of trying to keep up this facade often becomes too much, causing irreparable emotional harm. We allow ourselves to be enslaved to society’s ideas of how and who we should be, and we end up not knowing who we really are at all.

After decades of this, running in the hamster wheel of consumption and societal approval-seeking, people are starting to wake up. They are starting to see not only that having a lot of STUFF doesn’t guarantee happiness, that in fact it may do just the opposite. That trying to always be in style and trendy and attractive may have left us hollow inside. We are overwhelmed by clutter and depressed by the stifling effect of trying to be the perfect Member of Society.  We realize that all that time spent chasing what we thought would make us happy, and did not, is gone…forever.

We yearn for a simpler, purer life…

So how do we break free, once we have realized what ails us? How do we get better once we know what makes us sick? How do we bust out of that life of endless “obtain, consume, repeat,” that “lose one more pound, make one more friend” mentality?

That is what this blog is all about. It is about wanting and seeking and finding a SIMPLER life, a life less cluttered with stuff, a life where your time is not spent trying to be beautiful and impress others, but to truly make yourself happy, by finding out who you ARE, and celebrating that amazing person, and finding out what you love and doing that, with all the gusto and joy in your heart. It is about YOU. It is about all of us. It’s about what truly matters in our lives-experiences, not possessions.

I have added the “eco” into this because for me, the journey had a lot to do with putting the brakes on my personal environmental impact on my planet. I hope you share this concern with me, but even if your reasons for seeking a minimalist lifestyle aren’t environmentally driven, you will, by default, reduce your footprint on this earth by adopting a minimalist lifestyle, and we all will benefit from that. Ready? Join me as I continue my own journey toward simplicity. I’ll share with you steps I have taken to free myself of clutter, better my health-both physical and emotional, and find out who I really am and what I really love. It’s been fun, thus far. I still have a way to go, but I’m not turning back. I’m finally free-well, almost.


Thanks for stopping by!


The Greenizen


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Go check them out!


The Language of Bears-a webinar

Have you ever wondered how bears communicate, with each other, and with other species-like us? This is your chance to find out. Attend the Language of Bears webinar on Thursday, March 15, at 6PM MST (8PM EST, 5PM PST).

You can sign up for this webinar by emailing and asking about registration. You attend via the Adobe Connect virtual classroom software, which is free and very user friendly, from your computer or smartphone!


The webinar is given by Daryl Ratajczak, former manager of Appalachian Bear Rescue in Townsend, Tennessee and a long-time employee of the state of Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Now living in New Mexico, he works for the US Forest Service and has decades of wildlife experience to draw from. These webinars are as fun as they are educational, and only $15.00 per registrant.

Join Daryl and the class (myself included!) as he sheds light on the fascinating world of bear language.

For more information, you can visit Wildlife For You’s Facebook Page HERE

To learn more about Daryl, check out his blog Nemophilosophy on Blogspot HERE

Hope to see you at the next webinar, Thursday, March 15 at 6PM MST!


The Greenizen





Reblog-excellent post about gun violence by an Army vet. READ IT!

America, can we talk? Let’s just cut the shit for once and actually talk about what’s going on without blustering and pretending we’re actually doing a good job at adulting as a country right now. We’re not. We’re really screwing this whole society thing up, and we have to do better. We don’t have a […]

via “Fuck you, I like guns.” — Engineering, Parenthood, and a Solid Attempt at Adult Status

Attend an educational AND fun webinar on wildlife with real wildlife experts!

The Greenizen invites you to join us for some fun and very educational webinars taught by actual wildlife experts. These webinars can be attended via the easy to use Adobe Connect Meeting software from your smartphone or computer. Registration fees for paid webinars are very reasonable and sometimes are donated to wildlife causes. Some past beneficiaries have been Appalachian Bear Rescue of Tennessee and Bear Smart of Colorado.

Wildlife For You Training is the brainchild of wildlife biologist and US Forest Service officer Daryl Ratajczak, who has more than 20 years of experience working with wildlife. He was Appalachian Bear Rescue’s very first manager or “curator” and spent many years working for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) before moving to New Mexico to join the US Forest Service where he now works with the large carnivores such as wolves, bears and cougars and educates the public on coexistence with these crucial but often poorly understood animals. From time to time, Daryl brings in guest instructors to join in these webinars.

Please consider joining us for one of these classes. You can find Wildlife For You on Facebook here:

Wildlife For You on Facebook

Here is a list of upcoming topics that will be covered in webinars in 2018. Message for more information.


Hope to see you there!

~Kelly, the Greenizen

Happy New Year-resolution time!


If you’re like me, every year you write out a list of resolutions with the best of intentions, and for a while, a few days, weeks, maybe a few months (Ha ha, not often!) you do pretty well. Then you fall off the wagon, as the saying goes, and it’s right back to those bad habits and at the least, disappointment in yourself. Or, depression. Yeah, that’s me, with my failures year in year out. What’s wrong with me that I can never keep my resolutions?

Well, after many years of being unsuccessful at keeping the resolutions I made, I started to seriously analyze my trouble. It really shouldn’t have been so hard to figure out why I was failing: I made too many resolutions and they were all extremely difficult, very severe, extreme actions that were too much of a “shock to my system.” The unpleasantness was such that all joy seemed to have gone from life. No wonder I couldn’t keep my resolutions!

So I decided to try some less extreme measures last year. Instead of “lose 30 lbs” I resolved to eat healthier and get more exercise. I resolved not to “save $1000” but to employ some frugality tips from various awesome blogs and put whatever was left from each paycheck into savings, if possible. I decided that rather than trying to stop buying ANYTHING, I’d just make it a goal to analyze EVERY non-necessary purchase I wanted to make, to see if I could live without it, with the goal of reducing my consumption. I set less goals. and they were less severe, but here’s the thing: I succeeded remarkably well. I met the goals, and even went further than I intended in some instances. Because I made the goals manageable and relatively painless and in some cases, it was actually FUN!

So, having had some success, and feeling at year’s end that I’d become a better person, improved my health and financial situation and also reduced my burden on the planet, I used this method again to craft my resolutions for 2018.

More of same regarding health and money: I resolve to continue looking for healthier options and increase my exercise, which I KNOW after this year’s success, will lead to weight loss, more energy, and less aches and pains! I resolve to continue building my savings using my former little trick AND add to that if I can swing it. Always on the lookout for ways to save.

As for my green goals: last year I made huge progress in every way. I THOUGHT about every material purchase I made before I made it, often waiting months before deciding to buy or not to buy (and more often than not, ultimately not buying!). I cut down on plastic usage big time. As a vegan, I made more of my own products from scratch instead of buying them and upped my game as a vegan cook. WIN WIN WIN!

So no, I didn’t, in 2017, lose ALL the weight I needed to lose, end up with a bursting savings account, or end the year a Total Waste Maven. But I got a lot closer to each of those goals, doing so well that I approach 2018 with excitement and energy to do more and better. For my happiness and health, and for my planet.

My focus, green-wise, in 2018, is on further reducing consumption. My ultimate goal is Zero Waste, but that’s hard, and like crash dieting, not doable all at once for most people. My household produces very little trash, and I’m working on reducing that every single day. I’m seeing my success. I’m loving it.

So: make your resolutions, but don’t set your goals so lofty you simply cannot succeed. Be reasonable. Going about something slow and steady and actually completing the task is far preferable to trying to take things to extremes and being so miserable you bail after a few days or weeks. THAT helps no one and will demoralize you and leave you reluctant to jump back into the self improvement movement.

Ready, set, goal!

Here are some great ways to reduce plastic usage in 2018, courtesy of One Green Planet !!!

20 Switches To Get Plastic Out Of Your Life

7 Amazing People That Prove Living Plastic Free Is Possible

Simple Guide To Waste-Free Grocery Shopping

Waste-Free Laundry

Simple Steps For A Waste-Free Beauty Routine

Check Out These 5 Zero-Waste Grocery Stores

Why We Need to Wake Up and Do Something to Tackle Plastic Pollution in the Oceans!!!

Happy New Year and here’s to a better world for all of us! WE must be the ones to make it better, one little action at a time. Be the change you want to see in the world. YOU CAN DO IT!

~Kelly, the Greenizen


Beginning to Begin-how to get started on the Green Path with not much pain and pretty significant results.

We all have to start somewhere, and starting is super important. You can’t succeed at what you never attempt in the first place, right? So if your goal is to live a greener life but you don’t know how…I’ll share something with you that helped me a lot.

I was pretty overwhelmed with the realization that I too, as much as I truly did care about the plight of my planet, was guilty of harming it. Not with that goal, of course, but because I existed, I did harm, and because I existed without mindfulness, I did considerable harm. 

After the great shock-and resulting depression, I admit, that came with realizing just how much someone who actually did care could still be doing to harm her planet-I set immediately to the task of righting my wrongs. You can’t undo a life of oblivious living over night, but there are things you can do right now that will immediately lessen your harmful effect upon the planet.

Here are a few:

This may seem obvious-we hear it enough-but many people don’t seem to realize just how much our obsession with our cars is choking our world.

Drive less, period. Plan your trips in advance. Do as much as you can in one trip, so you won’t have to make other trips. Instead of going shopping many times per week for a few things at a time, plan out your meals, make a list, and go once per week. Try to go shopping after any other appointments you might have. Schedule appointments together if possible; could you make those appointments after work or before work instead of making separate trips? How about making appointments for after work, then go shopping after your appointment! You might be a bit tired, but the planet will thank you.

Can you carpool to work? Can you walk, bike, or take public transport? Even better. Or check into working from home (aka “telecommute”). 

Driving less is a great way to take down our CO2 numbers. If enough people were mindful of this, the effect would be HUGE.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions From A Typical Passenger Vehicle

Another thing: let your legislators know that public transportation is important to you, as is air quality and climate change. Let them know often, loudly, and without ambivalence. 

Use less plastic! Plastic is swiftly filling up our landfills and ending up in our oceans, posing myriad risks to us and our fellow living beings. See the following article for a shock!

 A whopping 91% of plastic isn’t recycled 

Buy a stainless steel water bottle and fill it from the tap-you can filter your tap water with a cheap screw-on filter you can find even at grocery stores. You can install a whole house filter if you wish. There are even pitchers and bottles that themselves filter your water. Stop buying single use plastic water bottles. These are among the most destructive items we humans have become addicted to. If you MUST buy bottled water, get a water cooler from one of the home delivery services which will pick up and recycle the bottles for you, or buy large refillable jugs and go to refill stations to get refills. These can be found at most grocery and discount stores and will save you money after just a few weeks’ time. And less plastic in the landfills.

Also, say NO to plastic straws and utensils. The straws can end up in the ocean where they lodge in the nasal passages of sealife and cause agony and death.

Straws: Why They Seriously Suck

Just use regular utensils and don’t be lazy-wash them. Keep the plastic out of the landfills.

Don’t buy produce that is wrapped in plastic, and don’t use plastic bags to bring your items home in. Buy bulk items that are not wrapped in plastic and use washable mesh produce bags, like those made by purifyou, when shopping. 

Don’t buy items in plastic containers if you can help it-and if you can’t avoid it, make sure that container gets reused or recycled. But keep in mind: due to the current price of crude oil, from which plastics are made, new plastic is cheaper than recycled plastic, and even the bottles we take to the recycler, thinking we are doing the right thing, often end up in the landfills anyway. Sad but true. Make your own juice in the food processor (use the skin for added fiber). Make your own sauces, broths and stocks. They’ll taste better, be better for you, and pollute less. A LOT less!

Wishful Recycling

Paper, while in itself biodegradable, is a BIG problem. Paper towels and napkins alone account for a STAGGERING number of trees cut down, and paper for other uses, from toilet tissue and facial tissue to books and office supplies, requires an absolutely mindboggling number of trees to be milled every single year. The fact that global forest coverage is annually decreasing indicates we are using more than we can replace, and are headed for trouble without some kind of change of habits. Trees don’t grow anywhere near as fast as the lifespan of a paper towel. Something’s got to give. I vote for the paper towel.

Sure, it’s less convenient to use cloth napkins, but the planet needs our help. While we can’t do without toilet paper and facial tissue, we can make a point not to be wasteful in our usage. We can go digital for our books and subscriptions. We can recycle what paper we do have to use-we can make it into crafts or we can take it to the recycler. Using less, though, is the first, best line of defense where paper is concerned. Just like plastic.

I know, many of you won’t like this next one, but hear me out:

Eat less, or no meat, and less or no dairy and eggs. Going meatless even one time per week can help. Going vegetarian is better. But to slash, and I mean SLASH, your negative impact on the planet, going vegan is one of the best things you can do. Even if the suffering of farm animals doesn’t move you, you’re here to save the planet, right? Production of meat, dairy and eggs is one of the top ways we humans degrade our environment. From the tremendous water consumption required to produce food for cows, pigs, chickens and other farm animals, to the CO2 emitted in the actual processing of meat, milk, and eggs by the facilities that slaughter and pack and transport the products, the animal farming aspect of human life is a huge detriment to our planet. The amount of calories agriculture can produce for a given amount of pollution is considerably different when you consider plant-based foods and meat and dairy. Higher quality nutrition-and more of it-can be derived from plants for less pollution than meat or dairy. EVEN PROTEIN. Nothing beats the mighty soybean, folks. Nothing.

Save the world: change how you eat!

Ok, so going vegan might seem like a daunting task-but it’s not as bad as you might think. It’s also not necessarily that expensive. If you’re someone who likes a lot of prepackaged food and is reluctant to cook, buying vegan products can be more expensive. But as in everything, your choices here count too. If you are in this with me so far, and trying to cut down on packaging already…you’re halfway there! 

A few years ago I found out that the cause of my health issues was GLUTEN, and cut gluten containing foods out of my diet. That was a big deal. Going vegan was actually a lot easier. No kidding.

Here are some great resources for you if you’d like to explore going vegan. I highly recommend it. My health is vastly improved. So is my energy. I’ve dropped a few pounds that were definitely EXTRA. I’ve learned to cook! And I’m not missing anything. AND I’m no longer contributing to one of the major sources of negative climate change impacts. It feels GREAT. 

Just take a look. No pressure. 

Contact me if I can help you in any way with the vegan thing. I’d be happy to give an assist.

One Green Planet has it all: helpful hints, news, recipes, resources, activism actions you can take, and even some really cute animal videos! Check them out!

One Green Planet 

Vegan Outreach provides help and support to new and seasoned vegans. 

Vegan Outreach

Oh, check this out before you go:

See how your environmental impact can be lessened by going vegan with this handy calculator. Try it out. WOW.

Vegan Calculator

Here’s mine! I’ve been vegan for one year, nine months. myfirstyear9mosvegan

If we all went vegan, think of what those numbers would show! 

It’s a start!

~Kelly, the Greenizen



Thinking back on 2017 as 2018 fast approaches.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the state our planet is in, my part in it getting that way, and what I can do right my wrongs. I’ve had to face some terrifying and heartbreaking truths. I can almost understand why people find it so hard to face…so hard they remain firmly rooted in denial. Admitting the mess we’re in IS completely horrifying. It frightens me like nothing else I’ve ever faced. Watching forests decimated for agriculture, orangutans pushed to the brink of extinction for palm oil, and polar bears starving as the ice they rely on melts away…is absolutely soul shattering. This is but a small part of the huge, negative impact human civilization has wreaked on our planet. Many people say they care, yet they continue to live their lives the same way they always have…change is hard, inconvenient, and we don’t like to have to give up things we enjoy, like our steak dinners and our Clark Griswold-esque Christmas light displays. But these things are killing the planet and hastening our OWN demise. We are selling out the future of ourselves and our kids and our grandkids for a hamburger today, a useless but fun (until we tire of it next year) holiday ornament, a gag gift for a co-worker who’ll just toss it in the trash when he gets home after the company party…

So, though I’ve already done a lot of work in my life on cutting down my own carbon footprint, I’m turning next year into a huge, all-out assault on the harmful impacts of my own existence. I’m re-examining everything I buy, everything I use, everything I do, to identify how my choices and habits impact the planet and how I can make further positive changes.

I’m re-examining my “trash.” What ELSE can I recycle? What ELSE can I reuse (maybe as compost)? What else can I repurpose? Are there more items I can upcycle into something new and cool? Are there items I simply can just eliminate by changing my habits that maybe I previously overlooked?

I’m going to making ALL of my own beauty supplies, cleaning supplies, home remedies, and foodstuffs like sauces, dressings and even plant-based “cheeses.” Everything I can make, with as few ingredients as possible, and of course with all natural ingredients.

I’m looking into buy natural fabric clothing, American made whenever possible, and not buying for fashion’s sake. I’ve been researching the Capsule Wardrobe theory and am working on paring down what I have in my closet to a bare minimum that really works for me. And I’m donating the rest…

I’m going through my home looking for ways to increase energy efficiency, and cut consumption of power and water.

I’m going all digital-eBooks, mp3 music, online subscriptions to magazines and newspapers, and all my documents and data will be stored on the computer and in cloud storage only, rather than printing things out unless absolutely necessary. All my finances will be eBills come next year. I get very little paper mail as it is and some day maybe it will be NONE.

The archaic, slow, and inefficient Postal Service will have to adapt, too, or die out. Sorry, folks.

A lot of things are going to have to adapt, or die. We humans, too. We’re going to have to realize that luxury and longevity of our species-as well as all other life we share the planet with-are at odds with each other. We must learn to live with less STUFF in order to live at all…which will become increasingly clear in the coming decades.

Do we have that long? I don’t know. Revised projections look more dire every year. We may not. But with an anti-environment government now in power in the US, it is up to the citizens who care-care enough to change-to BE that change until we can wrest control of the government away from the current regime and return it to some sense of sanity and decency. Sounds like quite the feat…and it is. But we can do it.

We have to try.

For so many reasons, so many.

Here’s just one.

polarbearsPhoto by Eric Lefranc/Solent

I hope you’ll join me in making 2018 a better year for them. At least, in trying to. We can only try, but if MANY of us try, we just may succeed.

I’ll share here any of my discoveries, ideas, projects, recipes…anything I think helps me be a better Earth Dweller. Please feel free to let me know what you think.

~Kelly, the Greenizen