I am a place-based person. Always have been. Where I live isn’t just grounding, but it serves to define, in part, who I am as a person. I have picked my home consciously, many years ago now, despite the plethora of inconveniences that stem from living in such an isolated corner of the planet.
I live in Humboldt County, California. I used to live inland a bit (see prior post: Living in the Middle of No Where), but now reside coast side, just a mile from the Pacific. Humboldt County is a quirky little realm where the redwoods meet the sea and the rivers flow (mostly) wild. There aren’t a lot of people, but there is a mind-bending amount of weed (story for another day).
We have salmon and bears. Wide open landscapes, among the prettiest a person could ever hope to discover. Dank forests with tall trees. Estuaries where the tide ebbs and flows, twice daily, and the sky and sea seem to blend together, as if they were never separate at all. The ferns grow bigger than me. Everywhere.
Without much effort, a person can hike, swim, raft, surf and just generally explore nature to the heart’s content, with hardly a traffic light.
I love the natural world around me not just because it’s astoundingly beautiful (it is that) but because it reminds me of the way I envision our planet once was, way back when everything was still wild and free. Pristine.
As a scientist, I am aware, that even here in this rural community, the impacts to our ecosystems are significant. Largely irreparable. Species are on the brink, ever nearing that relentless line of extirpation from which we never recover. Our streams are polluted and the seas are rising. It’s all true.
As lightly as we may choose to tread, our footsteps have been felt. Some days I feel like we’re just scurrying about, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
While I am a political person (to the core), I have and will continue to avoid politics in this space. I’m not one to be preachy.
However, I do believe in the pursuit of sustainability, very strongly in fact. It’s fundamental to who I am.
In my own life, I try to make good choices. It’s hard, admittedly. I love Target and its made-in-China super hip cheap schwag as much as the next person. Sure, I buy organic produce and grow what I can in my own (now tiny) back yard garden, but I am smart enough to know the organic cherry tomatoes I bought earlier today (in the middle of January, no less), industrially farmed in some water starved no-man’s land in Mexico and harvested by underpaid labor, isn’t enough to Save the World.
Not even close.
Honestly, I don’t know what would be enough to Save the World. Not just the planet from an ecosystem perspective, but also our impoverished communities. And I have thought about it a lot. (A lot, a lot.) For years now.
Again and again, I ask myself: just what would it take?
Always, I come up blank.
As difficult as the question is, and as much as I see the daily struggle in the human community around me, I am determined. I won’t give up.
Sustainability remains essential to me as I thoughtfully chart my path in this world. Reed already knows all about it (if not from me, from the Octonauts).
The choices we make every day do matter. They must.
When I look out at the yarn industry, I see companies and dyers making thoughtful choices to make beautiful fiber from domestic, sustainably grazed sheep–all kinds of different breads. That makes me happy. I’ve tried some of this wool myself (I’m thinking of Brooklyn Tweed, Quince and & Co, and the Canadian rustic fingering from Knitley Road), and it was all remarkable to work with.
Happy sheep really do make happy yarn.
I know knitting with sustainably produced yarn probably won’t save the world either, but I can dream. Certainly it won’t hurt. Otherwise, all we can ever hope for is Knitopia.
In case you you missed it, Part 1 and Part 2 of My Story are linked below.
If you don’t already, please follow me on Instagram here!