Cyndi is the awesome author of Reduce Footprints, a great green blog that I’ve been following for a few years now, and doing my best to participate on with her weekly Change the World Wednesday challenge. She has so much to share with us all and has amassed an international community of followers – plus is full of fantastic ideas to get each of us trying just a little harder to look at our habits and see how we can get just a bit greener each day. Love this gal!
What or who inspires you most?
My best friend and partner – he inspires me to try new things and be open to everything that the world offers. He is educated but never passes up an opportunity to learn something new. His creativity shows up in how we live from his art to adding garden space to investigating new business avenues. He inspires me to reach out and experience life…because that’s what he does.
What do you turn to when you need strength?
I turn to Nature. Walking in the forest is calming and seems to center me. Perhaps the absence of city noise and the hustle-bustle of life allows me to be creative. I have some of my best ideas while hiking a trail and breathing clean mountain air. There is power in nature and when I spend time there, some of that strength rubs off on me.
How can women best support and/or empower other women?
We live in such a negative world…at least, that’s how it sometimes seems. People often speak without thinking or without realizing that our words have power. A comment can encourage one to reach great heights or totally destroy confidence. In my opinion, one of the easiest ways to support and empower other women, or anyone, is by offering positive, kind comments. We can look at the “right” and acknowledge it instead of belaboring the “wrong”.
What do you love to grow? What would you like to try growing someday?
I love to grow herbs, fruits and vegetables. Every year, I grow an amazing amount of food, in containers on my apartment patio. Every stage of the process is enjoyable from choosing seeds or plants and getting them in the soil to watching the plants grow and flower to using them in our meals. I’ve often thought that the enjoyment of growing food far outweighs the price of gardening. If I had room, I’d like to try growing a bee and butterfly garden.
What are your creative outlets? Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t?
I like to cook and that’s a very creative outlet for me. I experiment with different flavors, seasonings and unique ingredients and spend a lot of time planning out a meal. I love to wander through ethnic markets and pick up foods which we’ve never eaten before…it’s like experiencing the world through taste.
In what environment(s) do you feel most in your element?
Who are your top three nonprofits you support and/or volunteer with and why?
- Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in Asheville is a no-kill animal rescue organization. I love animals!
- Bountiful Cities Project Community Gardens in Asheville, because everyone should have an opportunity to grow, harvest and eat fresh, local produce.
- American Cancer Society, because I’ve been affected by cancer, both having it myself and watching members of my family deal with it, and I’d love to see a cure.
What recent “green” change have you made in your own life? What’s next?
My recent green change actually came about because of a comment EcoGrrl made some time ago regarding our use of computers and being “connected”. I stayed away from the computer for a full 24 hours. I work online so I couldn’t do it for longer but it was wonderful. I hope to continue being disconnected for at least one day a week and on the other days I’ll disconnect when I’m not working…well, except for interacting with my family. I’m not sure what my next green change will be…there’s always room for improvement.
Where in the world do you consider a sanctuary? Why?
Unfortunately I don’t believe there are any sanctuaries left. There are areas which are meant to be a safe haven for animals, even sacred grounds, but their fences have been crossed and wildlife killed. Human sanctuaries, in my opinion, are more a state of mind.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell her to search for truth rather than accept the beliefs of others. I would tell her to trust herself and her heart but to resist choices made out of frustration.
How can we as a society be more radical in supporting a healthy planet?
I think that we need to agree to changes even though they might be inconvenient and costly. We need to be willing to change the way we’ve always done things to change the way we live so that we stop contributing to the problem. Most importantly, we have to remove the “bottom line” from the equation because as long as people are motivated by money, we’ll never do enough, in time, to help.
What sparked your interest in environmental issues? What’s the first “eco” thing you ever did?
My grandparents had a farm and I loved spending time with them. We’d forage in the forest around their home and hike in the mountains. They didn’t have TV or computers so we entertained ourselves by climbing trees, feeding the chickens and playing in the creek.
The first Eco-thing that comes to mind is a hike that I took with my father. At the far end of a mountain pasture, he carefully removed vegetation to reveal a natural spring. We were able to drink the water, which was so pure. When we were done, he covered it up and told us that we should always put nature back the way we found it. That sticks in my mind as the first time I really thought about the environment and paid attention to my actions.
How do you live simply?
We aren’t “stuff” people. We’ve gotten good at knowing the difference between needs and wants. The interesting thing is that when we pay attention to our needs, the wants aren’t as many. We cook at home and eat whole foods. We avoid waste and typically buy used items. We basically let each day take care of itself…it keeps us open to all the surprises on the path.
Can you leave us with a favorite quote?
“As long as anyone believes that his ideal and purpose is outside him, that it is above the clouds, in the past or in the future, he will go outside himself and seek fulfillment where it cannot be found. He will look for solutions and answers at every point except where they can be found–in himself.” ~ Erich Fromm