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






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