Hello!

I'm Krisha - a Scandinavian mama and physician, a crafter, and an avid coffee drinker - trying to nudge my family towards a greener lifestyle!

   elQuiltro

Entries in opinion (5)

Wednesday
May012013

Spring thoughts

Like most Norwegians, I naturally talk a lot about the weather since we have so much of it here. The really long, dark winters makes us very eager for spring to come with its bright and early mornings, birds, warmer weather and budding trees. Over the past decade spring has literally sprung earlier and earlier. There is now firm evidence that the growing season in Norway is 3 weeks longer than it used to be.

I can see the evidence myself - on our little island property, there is a cluster of 3 huge walnut trees. According to my neighbor, they were planted under much fuzz and care when she was a child, more than 60 years ago. She grew up with them. Apparently the excitement was big when the first nuts were formed, but, for as long as she can remember, they never ripened enough to eat or to produce new plants. About four years ago she pulled me over one morning, excitedly pointing to some greenery on her property. At first I did not see it but then, I noticed a tiny little walnut tree. Now they are all over our lot and hers. This is tactile proof that something is happening. Walnuts do not grow wild in Norway or at least they never did before.

This spring, on the other hand, feels like the springs of my childhood. The kids are still wearing hats. The trees seem to wait with budding and may even make it into May before they do. This makes it so tempting to think that everything is on its way back to normal. I so want to believe the climate skeptics with their "it’s only natural fluctuations" arguments. Meanwhile there are climate scientists quitting their jobs because they can’t bear thinking about the implications to the planet that their data is showing. I understand them. Global warming is an unbearably difficult topic.

Even though I think that it is not covered nearly enough in the popular media, there was an article recently in the local newspaper about how the polar melting accelerates. The record melting last year resulted in large expanses of open dark water up at the North Pole.  The dark ocean retains heat and attracts the sun where the white ice used to reflect the rays and heat back upward.  As the sun's heat returns to the North, more melting occurs and so a viscous cycle is started. This, paradoxically, is causing our spring to be a lot colder. 

A few days later there was a report in the same paper about how the Arctic nations are splitting up rights to the pole to go after the natural resources – mostly oil and gas – which exist up there.  Obviously, the oil companies don’t believe the skeptics and are making expensive moves on the basis that the climate is changing.  There is way too much short-term benefit from exploiting melting poles for us to expect industry to control themselves.  We need government action and we need it now – politicians need our vote and it’s time we made them take long-term and sustainable decisions before it is too late. 

 

Monday
Apr292013

meat free monday

I used to think that vegetarian cooking was so elaborate and labour intensive. Maybe that is often the case, but what I 'm learing by doing MFM on a weekly basis is that it does not have to be that tough. 

 

Today's lighter take on the bean burrito is a good example of that. I just got a few items from the vegetable stand that looked good, a can of slightly spiced black beans, some flour tortillas and whiped up a yoghurt sauce.

What you see here is porobello mushrooms sliced and grilled with just salt and pepper. They come out suprisingly flavourful and just the right kinda chewy. Then there is avocado, mango,cantaloupe, spinach leaves, pecan nuts and the yoghurt sauce, the latter of which I made by just stirring in some fresh cilantro (coriander), chopped red pepper, garlic and some black pepper into plain yoghurt.  Oh and offcourse the black beans - although I am trying to stay away from canned food I do buy the occassional can of good beans and these were awesome. 

I really love this way of eating. And the kids seem to like it too. 

Why meat free monday? Its good for you and our planet! You know we eat way to much protein in the western world. It is one of the reasons behind the obesity epidemic.  Industrial meat production causes huge CO2 and methane emissions, as well as polluting local envronmenst. It  makes animals suffer unnesssary and poses public health risks such as possible antibiotc resistant strains of bacteria because the feed is laced with antibiotics to keep animals held under extreme conditions short of dying. There are several moral angles to these issus and many more valid reasons to join MFM. The ones above are simply the ones that finally made me commit. 

I would really love ut if you shared your meat free favorites in the comments section - I am always looking for inspiration. Have a great week! 

Thursday
Feb142013

new outfit

I can’t help it i love matchy matcy children's clothes. and I had such a blast making this matching smock and pant suit for Baby A. The smock I s an adaptation form an Oliver + S pattern in a book of theirs. The pants I made simply buy cutting from an old pair the fit just great. 


It is such a wonder full comfy fit- and there is plenty of room to grow - which is very important to me. I get so attached to the kids cloths and want them to last for as long as possible for sentimental reasons. Lately though I have also began to think about how we are constantly tricked into consuming and the actual cost of that consumption. Think about it - we now buy true fashion for our kids and we are tricked to believe that we have to buy new clothes for every inch they grow- now let me tell you as a mother of three. A kid can wear a sweater  from the selves being rolled up x 3 until it is just that thad to short.  If you wash properly it will last for  at least 3 kids worn that way. But the H&M s and GAP sell stuff so cheap that buying new when something are lightly stained or needs a repair. becomes the “smarter” option. Meanwhile all this stuff we buy for our kids  are made kids in factories in India and China - is that really justifiable? Can we really not stand our kid wearing a stained shirt or patch up a perfectly good pair of jeans?  Does our need for convenience justify the increasing human and environmental cost of our by/ throw culture? I some times think of us all here in the west as little sun kings demanding privileges that history will judge just as harshly as we judge the actual sun king!


Now I know that making one outfit wont change the course of our world, but making it makes me feel that I can find ways not to be a blind part of our consumerist society. I can choose to not spend time in stores.  It makes me think that the circular economy is possible. It makes me daydream about exchanging “favours with friends”   - And even if you don’t like crafting there are tons of alternatives to the store bought kids clothes; Etzy for one. And you do not need all that many clothes for your kids - seriously you really do not need 5 dresses for a 2 year old. Granted its fun to have 5 dresses but in my mind I can no longer justify it - I think the total cost is to high.


Sunday
Oct142012

Palstic, not so fantastic

When I started blogging about a year ago, one of my motivations was to find a small public space to share my fears and concerns for this planet.  I hoped to bump into like-minded people in the blogosphere - mainly to curb a growing feeling of despair, a feeling that nobody cares. After a year, I have found a few fellow travellers for which I am very grateful.  But I have to admit, I find it hard to write about envronmentalism, I dont want to sound like a downer or be seen to rant, and so I mainly keep it to small, well-wrapped points.

Even if it might be a depressing subject, sometimes I have to share my thoughts - and some sad and disturbing, but also beautiful images - on plastic.

 

I think I have been concerned about where we are heading as a planet since my childhood. My parents has a summer house - actually what used to be an old homestead on one of the islands in the middle of Norway's long east coast.  The island is just below the polar circle and facing the north Atlantic. I remember standing on its highest hill looking westwards. My father would say west of this spot were the boathouses of Iceland, then America.  

What I remember even more strongly is what he made me aware of on one of our post storm walks. It was early spring - the weather was rainy and uninviting, but the little beach coves were beautiful with white sand.  The water was green and glassy and so clear that you could see several meters underwater - the marine life and seaweed were all on display and were so beautiful, the images still so strongly emblazoned in my mind.  

The seagulls were there, preparing their nests, protecting their eggs and chasing us from the hilltops with their screams.  

I remember on that rainy walk the first time I watched my father walk out on the beach of one of our favorite coves to clean up the debree that was laying, spread out on our beach - mostly plastic packaging, some with foreign languages printed on them,  There were lighters, plastic bottle caps, and old pieces of plastic fishing nets.  My father, in the colorful language popular with men of his age in this remote corner of the world, used to angrily denounce the litterbugs and wonder, rhetorically of course, whether these people just thought this junk would disappear if they threw it from their boats.  It made me worry that my pristine little paradise, far away from almost everything else, was becoming a liquid garbage dump ... and this was in the mid-1970´s.  

I already started worrying if there was more garbage then we humans could ever handle..... 

MIDWAY - Plastic Beach from Midway on Vimeo.

The images I share in this space today show that humans are overwhelming themselves with plastic.  Does this mean that fighting devastating pollution is a lost cause? I don't think so. But I do think that we need to address the way we consume as individuals. I think our consumption has become a moral issue rather then an issue of private preferences.  When I watch these images I can no longer defend buying single-use plastic bottles, plastic straws for parties or silly little plastic toys to use to stuff party favors.  The holidays are coming up and I am seriously considering composing a holiday greeting card, asking friends and family not to give us anything plastic or plastic wrapped. Now would that be offensive or would it be ok for me to stand up for what I believe in, in a very practical way? 

In any case I will continue  to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!   

Links you might like if you find this interesting. http://myplasticfreelife.com , http://stopplasticpollution.org , http://plasticpollutioncoalition.org

 

 

Saturday
Mar102012

Weekend - mess!

Yesterday morning I read in our local newspaper that a major trend we all are living under is perfectionism. According to a panel of three Scandinavian personalities we are all trying to market our self as super successes. One of the interviewies made the point that it is no longer enough to be good at one thing. We have to be good in many arenas to feel good about ourselves. And, according to this article, we are using social media to get our message across. We post pictures of  fantastic dishes and happy children on Facebook and in our blogs.  

There is nothing new here - I have often seen it noted that we only show our good side on Facebook. Nothing really strange about that  - our underwear isn't worn on top, is it?  No, wanting to put our best foot forward is nothing new.  What is new is that the public has moved right into our homes via the computer and we need to learn new ways to regulate our interaction in the new public sphere.

I don't find this aspect of social media troubling at all. The good far outweighs the bad as far as I am concerned. It seems to me that we, through Facebook in particular, but also through blogging, have recreated the village.  I feel that Facebook and the blogs I follow give me that small high street/ townsquare feeling where I can meet and greet familiar faces on a daily basis.  I find this reassuring- I also find that I can shield myself from a lot of unwanted influences and commercial interests in the media world. It gives me an opportunity to shape my own media reality. The blogs I read have specific attitudes, so the products they "promote" are a better match of my values and in that way, adds to my life and gives me a feeling of more control compared to the marketing blitz from old media.

What troubles me is the general trend that article pointed out - that more and more of us feel like we need to be just super great at every area of life. Another of the persons in the article points out that huge commercial interests benefit from us feeling that we need to be constantly better. Commercials have for generations told us that, if only we buy this car or that skin cream, EVERYTHING will get better. The end result for us is a consumerism that is unsustainable and egocentric. I am not at all claiming to be immune to this. I have felt the pull from a product and that pure desire to have it many times  and still do.  I still have to remind myself that I don't need everything that some advertiser makes me want.  

But I digress - let me get back to what truly concerns me this Sunday morning;  In my opinion, all this need for perfection  narrows the general perception of normal.   We have a strong need to feel normal and so the marketeer uses that emotion to sell us stuff.  This affects our children in particular - it makes kids fidgety, which leads parents to investigate, which leads to diagnostis of ADHD ("hyperactivity",) etc., etc., etc. 

First of all, we should accept the fact that it is normal for kids to be fidgety.  But maybe more important, when things really do go out of control, we should consider the fact that, maybe the problem is that there is too much stress at home in the first place.   

Why are these trends troubling to me?  They trouble me because I think that they cause more and more of us to feel an unhealthy level of anxiety ALL the time. We are all susceptible to these trends if we do not live consciously. I think that if we constantly push for perfection, we won't be present in our own lives. Being " one step ahead" all the time does not give much time for pause or reflection.

I believe that without pause and reflection we lose the ability to make good decisions for ourself and our families. Without pause and reflection we also lose our creativity. Creativity needs vast expanses of empty time to blossom. And without creativity, we are  less equipped to solve both practical and emotional challenges in our lives, and our kids lose the ability to dream, to be bored and to just play. I also believe that if we don't question our motivations, but constantly strive to be better we become more anxious rather than happy. Because when we keep thinking that we need to be better, be in control all the time, the gap between where we think we want to be and where we actually are in our lives will widen. And it is in that gap between where you are and where you want to be anxiety occurs.

To not succumb to this trend I think we need to make room for and practice imperfections. Which is why the pictures in today's post are of the progression of mess in my kitchen and adjacent hallway. I cringe at showing you these but hope you enjoy seeing my family wearing its underwear over our clothes just this once.

I saw this picture in a blog recently, and it made me so happy!  Domestic mess is normal and what we define as normal is what we see. Therefore I challenge you to show a domestic mess picture in your blog or on Facebook this week. Feel free to leave a link to your messy picture in the coments section.

Maybe I will try to show my mess again in this space - but it won't be easy!