Rising above the Smog

Hello everyone. My daughter had a question for me yesterday. It was, “When are you going to do another blog post mom?” Now that is love, when your daughter is following your blog. Do you know what else is love? When a dog gives genuine human-like hugs. I’m so proud to share that my daughter’s dog is bonding well with her new husband.


While my daughter is blissfully content in Hawaii, I live in the Salt Lake Intermountain region. The mountains here are glorious, but in the wintertime they can create a terrible inversion. The snow is a godsend. I love the cleansing power of a good snowfall. Utah has one of the worst air qualities in the nation. It’s even been reported that we have one of the worst air qualities in the world. This is no joke.

As you know, I have dubbed January snowshoe season, and ice fishing has become paramount for us over the last few weekends. This is a photo of a snowshoe trek that took place ABOVE the smog. Cough. Cough. Gasp. I can taste the pollution in my mouth already.


Now, my purpose in writing this is to not primarily complain about the air pollution. I just wanted to make an analogy about rising above the smog. What’s been going on beneath all that haze? Do I dare even mention that my government is shut down right now? We know. I know and if you are following from a foreign country, everyone here just seems to be exasperated about it. We’re so over it already, although it does appear to be far from over.

This unresolved issue is quite frankly, giving a lot of people anxiety. So, this is the word on the street from my part of America. I’m starting to feel like a who down in Who-ville over here in my little corner of the world that lies beneath the smog.

I want to write about my corner of the world for a minute. Snow-shoeing and ice fishing have been the answer for me at this time. Of course, they can’t be the entire answer. I like my winter seasons. The snow and the ice have a place in my world as well as the world at large. I’ve recently watched a few shows that have impacted me lately.

One, was about a man who trekked both poles and what his thoughts were about global warming over time. He had much to say about being in danger as the ice sheets melted while fighting for his own survival in the arctic without any reliance upon rescue. The finality of his message was one of hope.

Second, I watched a documentary about fast fashion titled The True Cost, and it really opened my eyes about fashion. I realized that one can not really have a serious conversation about zero-waste without also including fast fashion, since the fashion industry has become the disposable garment industry. The bottom line is… that clothing item that can be purchased for a bargain price of say…$9.99? Well…if it’s being made in another country…say Bangladesh…imagine how much they are getting paid to make it with a purchase price like that? Also, with a purchase price like that, what is the quality? How long is that garment going to last?

Now, I’m not saying everything that is outlandishly expensive does not come without a price either. The bottom line is, one must consider the “cost” that goes beyond the purchase price. Sometimes a good deal is not a good deal and sometimes something expensive is not worth the “cost.” It should be about dollars and sense, not dollars and cents. Human lives and the quality of human life for others need to be a part of that equation. As well as that of other species.

Quality of clothing and living aside, the current model of having “fashion seasons” is so beyond seasons anymore. That item purchased for $9.99 will be “so yesterday” before it can even be worn seven times. If that. According to the documentary, clothing manufacturing is one of the largest polluters secondary to the oil and gas industry.

The downer to this whole documentary is that the current fashion model is completely unsustainable. The bigger downer is that consumer driven capitalism, although it does seem to keep things fiscally afloat…is also not sustainable. These are just the brakes. This type of accelerated consumerism without regard to consequence is only going to get us so far. Not everybody wants to face that reality it seems. I think that is why the documentary only got two and a half stars. One shouldn’t talk smack about consumer capitalism being unsustainable. It’s scary. People don’t like it.

Lastly, I watched a documentary about eating plant based foods. I can only say, now I have a fuller understanding of what all the hullabaloo is about when people talk about sustainability and the benefits of going vegetarian or vegan. The benefits of even cutting down on animal products are highly significant. Also, one must pay attention to financial backing. An association means nothing if it’s backers are the antithesis of what the association is claiming to promote. Food for thought. Follow the trail.

So here I am, in my corner of the world wondering what I can do. What do I have control over? Do I have control over my purchase of single use plastic? Yes I do. Do I have control over how I choose to adorn myself? Yes I do. Do I have control over my diet? Yes, I do. Can I find ways to decrease my dependence on my car or the energy use in my home? Yes, I can. That is A-LOT of YES my friends! That is the good news.

Rising above the “smog” that is out there, is about focusing on the YES. I can not combat global warming and pollution for the entire planet, but I can tackle it here. I’ve recently joined the Salt Lake City air protectors and a Permaculture group for starters. I don’t feel like any of this is putting a dent in the smog yet, but it is a movement just the same. Okay, the area of Cottonwood heights just had a recent success! It’s moving. It’s growing and that is essential here. Keep this thing moving and growing. 

green leafy plant starting to grow on beige racks
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

In other news, I have been meeting with like minded individuals over coffee at an establishment that hires at-risk youth. I’m a small part of a network that is looking to establish a Zero Waste Market that is already in it’s second wave of evolution and expanding to a new location. Do you know what that means? It’s growing. The concept has been well received. That is great news.

So, I’ve been painting in the new space. A chalkboard artist has been recruited. Bins have been coming together. New distributors are being sought. There’s some Cacao thing going on, and another connection to some hanging gardens is in the works.

So this has been my week. Painting, meetings, fishing, documentary watching, ice, and snow. All underneath the dome of Smog Lake City. How are things going in your corner of the world? Pockets of light are what it’s all about my friends. Find yours. Create one. It will make you feel hopeful in a world that wants you to despair. If there is no light, be the light. We are the warriors of our time. Live and breathe and perhaps die as one, but be one. Strive to be the change you want to see in the world. This is my little pep talk of a blog post. It’s my small sneeze from a lone flower.

light road landscape nature
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com






9 thoughts on “Rising above the Smog

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  1. My dog used to give me human hugs every day, thank you for reminding me! I have seen the True Cost movie – every school kid should watch it, in fact everyone should watch it, along with all the plant-based food/plastic pollution movies. I have also seen many of these!

    I am trying to minimise my plane travel right now as I think that is something that I can change and that has a real impact on the environment but it is tough when you have a teenage daughter living in another country. Train travel in Europe is very expensive but I am trying to absorb the cost myself rather than passing it onto the environment – I think this is so important!


    1. Thank you Louisa. All very important. My dog was formerly abused and hated everyone but us. We had a few incidences where she bit people and thank god we were not sued. I had to be hyper vigilant about not letting her out or putting her away when people came over. With four kids in the house coming and going there was always a situation where she got out, and once she went after the UPS man who thankfully got into his vehicle but he told us he would have her killed. I knew the situation was volatile. She was old and got a tumor. We could have done more for her but let her go. Letting her go was miserable. My children and I were so loved by her and she was completely docile with us, she was just never going to be that dog for others and it was so very sad. It was not all her fault.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh bless you Rachelle, it is SO hard, truly. I’m sure you were a real lifeline/comfort to her even though it must have been very difficult at times, that hyper-vigilance is extremely tiring, I totally know what it feels like! I have decided to studying animal (telepathic) communication, so that I will be able to suss out what is going on with any dogs (or other animals) we decide to get in the future, although I do not feel ready for another dog yet – maybe one day when the pain has subsided a little. All the best to you and your family Rachelle x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I feel you. I have not been able to get another dog either. We have a dog shrine for her in the house and my son visits her grave often and talks to her. He is autistic and my son and Roxy understood each other. I am sure my neighbors cheered the day that she died and I wish they could have known her the way we did. A few days before she died she put her head on my shoulder while I was putting makeup on in front of my bedroom mirror. She rested there, and I know I am not telepathic but she was saying thank you. She was confined to a cement Kennel her whole life and badly neglected, and at least in her final years she was loved by a family and some things just can not be fixed.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh yes, I’m sure she had/still has a very active telepathic relationship with your son, how wonderful that must have been/still is for them both, I hoped he is coping okay with his loss, it’s so very, very hard. You are very thoughtful to have made a shrine for her – she will be grateful for that. Juno’s ashes are on our piano along with photos of her and other members of our family who have passed on and I plan to buy a rose bush – a dog rose – it’s a ‘wild’ rose variety and plant it in her favourite spot with her ashes mixed into the soil so the circle of life can continue … it is devastating to think about how some animals are treated in our so-called ‘modern society’ but at least she found love with you and that is something you can rest happy with. No, the neighbours will probably never know the truth of your relationship with her but you do, and that is what matters at the end of the day x

        Liked by 1 person

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