Author: hazel

Falling in love with less

Falling in love with less

When you embrace minimalism (the art of falling in love with less), you discover a simple way of life that focuses on needs over wants, intuition over materialistic reasoning and experiences over stuff. Most of us acknowledge that there could be a better way of […]

Planting a Tree

Planting a Tree

Planting a tree is an act of kindness – and generosity. We are delivering trust to the future; knowing that our humanly, fragile lives can long be outlived by an English Walnut who can endure 150 years or more! She will be standing and producing […]

Plastic Oceans and Streams – Why are we polluting our planet?

Plastic Oceans and Streams – Why are we polluting our planet?

This chapter in history isn’t starting so well – species extinction, melting glaciers and climate change, polluting our planet, gluttony and famine, plastic particles and microfibers ending up in our waterways ending up in our drinking water and in our food…

But we are writing our story, and if we take action, starting now, we still have a chance to work on a happy ending!

There is no good place to begin cleaning up the grand mess we, as a society, have made from bits of broken and shredded plastic. Yet the land by the water is a flexible starting line, and at least from here we can prevent such floating plastic boats from making it further downstream.

Here in Breb, Romania, we are starting to clean up our section of the creek. As we live upstream from the village, we are spared from the wrath of unloved garbage that piles up, year after year, in the bends of the snaking creek… There is more than a decade of domestic refuse littering these hills, dumped into flowing water that no longer supports the life of fish and other creatures essential for biodiversity in the landscape.

For some people, plastic is a material that is tossed on the ground with little thought, almost without a care as to where it lands, and with zero regard as to how long it will remain there – on the ground or whisked away by the breeze into the water. There is no thought of zero-waste, just zero-garbage-bin.

Plastic is a cheap product of mass consumption, over-consumption and big business. In some instances it is practical, but the amount that we have created (in water bottles alone?!) – how is that a sustainable solution? Do we really need to cover the world in Lego pieces, sporks and candy wrappers?

The price we pay for cheap materials is the debt that we will pay later on, or rather that our kids will pay in the future. The cheap price of plastic is not a true cost, it is an advertised and subsidized one.

Could you try to live without plastic for a day, for a month, for a year?

It’s hard, because it is everywhere. It covers our food, it holds our drinking water, our medication, we wear it to stay dry, we use it to transport objects because it is lightweight. Even in the deep of nature, there is plastic to prove our existence and the many miles that we are willing to take it with us – for our convenience.

Remember the last hurricane or flood? It is devastating to watch people lose their homes and their livelihoods, but have you ever considered the environmental damage that occurs when cars, oils, chemicals, along with everyone’s clutter is swept back out into the sea?

plastic pollution

Climate change is not the case of nature being against us, it is about us recognizing our harmful behaviors and adapting to the situation.

We are the culprit.
We are the destroyers.
We are the ones polluting our oceans, our home, our planet.

Who is to blame for the much stuff (plastic, glass, metal, and so on…) that gets tossed out? You, the companies that create it, the advertisers?

Advertising has become so developed that we think we need things to be happy, to keep up with the trends. Manufacturers have become increasingly clever, offering us options beyond our imaginations, at prices that we can just afford.

Many of us fall for those suggested desires – hook, line and sinker. With the flip of a wrist, or the swipe of a thumb we are drawn into a perceived lifestyle of consuming more than we need. Yet we already have enough!

So, it is up to you, after all, to limit your consumption and start cleaning up the rest – as if it were your home: because it is.

How do you limit your plastic consumption? Do you pick up garbage when you go hiking? We’d love to hear about it, so we can give you the praise you deserve!

Digital Detox Challenge – 1 Week Without Facebook

Digital Detox Challenge – 1 Week Without Facebook

If you are anything like everybody else (okay, I am making a very broad generalization here) chances are pretty good that you have a Facebook account – and you check it daily. Am I right? Digital Detox Challenge. After a restful night’s sleep, hopefully with […]

How Patreon helps creators connect with their audience

How Patreon helps creators connect with their audience

If you are a home-based artist, cultural creative, or writer/blogger/poet/photographer… and you have tried all the avenues of Etsy, Facebook and Pinterest, yet nothing has worked for growing your business, don’t despair, there is still one place left to look for your dedicated audience. The […]

6 Traits to rediscover while finding yourself in nature

6 Traits to rediscover while finding yourself in nature

We are like the little branch that quivers during a storm, doubting our strength and forgetting we are the tree—deeply rooted to withstand all life’s upheavals. – Dodinsky

Nature is both healer and teacher, if we let it be.

My earliest experiences of nature are of listening to robins sing and blue jays jeer in the pines outside my bedroom window, sneaking into the neighbor’s yard to capture stray wiffle balls, blackening marshmallows over the campfire and hiking in limestone gorges.

As a young girl I sought refuge by climbing to a reading chair in our backyard magnolia tree or under the snow covered yews in winter. Later, while becoming a teenager, our property changed locations, we moved away from familiarity and my senses got lost in wetlands and a shallow pond, with a row boat for escape when life became stressful.

In sun, rain and snow, that murky water was a place to get away from the frustrations of school and family, and a chance to explore nature on my own terms.

The great importance about spending time in nature is that it teaches you things that you can’t learn from others. You don’t even know you are learning, but essential lessons are there all the same.

Memories are made, relationships have the chance to grow, all the while we discover physical and mental challenges that help us to succeed in life.

Children of today are spending fewer and less meaningful hours in nature and that is creating problems we are only just beginning to identify. Waning attention, aggression, boredom, obesity, lack of empathy – just to list a few side effects of nature-deficit disorder.

Make it your focus to mindfully spend time in nature and you may soon rediscover some important and positive traits lost in the woods.

One. Discover calm.

Take a walk, sit on a park bench and look around. How busy are the birds, the small mammals? Who is hurrying and why?

Humans carry a busyness about their everyday lives that can quickly become a burden to themselves and those around them. Examine nature with a careful eye and experience the calming effect of grasses, trees and insects around you. Try to emulate the calm of nature in your own life by just letting things be.

Two. Wait for patience.

Things don’t always happen “right now” just because we wish it to happen that way. We often have to work and wait for what we deserve. Leaves wait until spring to unfold again and the flowers all have their own rhythm to life – a unique combination of genetics, time and temperature – everything comes when it is ready.

Three. Utilize fear to help assess danger.

Knowing the weather conditions before climbing a mountain makes perfect sense, determining the thickness of ice may be a matter of life or death and having the ability to recognize tracks in the mud may help you to avoid danger. In any given situation we must react, fast decision making is key to survival. When we learn fear in a natural setting it is a priceless lesson that we can apply to all aspects of life whether we reside on a farm or in the city.

Four. Measure ability and strength.

Nature is a place that does not judge us based on looks or qualifications – it is “we” who routinely judge each other, even ourselves. Our personal strengths and weaknesses can be found in quiet places that foster inner growth, places of solitude that allow us the freedom to try.

If we succeed, then we find success. If we fail, then we find a place to improve.

Five. Build self-confidence.

Do not wait for change, be the change. Climb a rock, or a hill, or jump into a chilling glacial lake. Know that there are things you can do that you have never done before, it is only a matter of trusting your ability to do so.

Start small by going for a walk under the stars and work your way up to exploring cliffs and ridges, with every step your self-confidence will grow. The important thing is to begin and take the steps to get to where you want to go.

Six. We all deserve respect.

There are situations in our environment that can scare us: unfavorable weather, insects in our home and the inability to understand wildlife. We must respect that some things are beyond our control, such as rain on a special day or crops devastated by locusts. Nature has its own agenda that sometimes conflicts with ours – and that is okay!

Let conflicts be a reminder, that like lightening, some arguments may come and go. How we react to situations with respect and regard for others is an important aspect of life lived in accordance with our personal beliefs.

Nature as a playground is a beautiful place with many stories to tell, many lessons to teach and many emotions to visit.

You don’t have to experience a barefoot childhood in the lush grass to understand calm and patience, but you do have to visit nature in some form to get the most out of awareness, inner strength, self-confidence and respect for creatures large and small.

Rediscover yourself in nature and find a better, more relaxed version of you.