12 Tips to Reduce Waste at the Holidays

Gift wrapping items: wrapping paper, gift bags, boxes, and bow

Americans produce a staggering amount of waste. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, in 2013, we collectively produced 254 million tons of trash, an average of about 4.4 pounds per person per day.  (That’s much higher than the global average, though other wealthy, developed countries aren’t far behind.) The upside is that we recycled and composted about 34% of that waste, but that still left a lot of trash headed to landfills or scattered as litter. There are about 2,000 active landfills in the US, and simple math leads to the conclusion that we will at some point run out of space for all of our trash. In addition, properly managing municipal waste is expensive, and both landfills and incineration can pose serious environmental and health concerns. Moreover, think about all the resources we are wasting by throwing so many things away rather than using them to their fullest potential.

Read more

7 Things I Learned from My First 7 Jobs

Still life painting with vases, flowers, and table card holder
Table No. 4, 2016. Oil on canvas, 16” x 20”, framed. Available for purchase.

About a year and a half ago, the hashtag #1st7jobs (or #firstsevenjobs) began making its way around Twitter as celebrities and others shared lists of their early work experiences.  The idea, I think, was to show that where you begin does not dictate where you end up, and it takes hard work and trial and error to build the career and life you want.  While there are certainly critics of that narrative, I found the hashtag to be an interesting exercise, and one worthy of further exploration than Twitter’s character limit would allow.

Read more

Quote of the Week

“One of the advantages of being born in an affluent society is that if one has any intelligence at all, one will realize that having more and more won’t solve the problem, and happiness does not lie in possessions, or even relationships: The answer lies within ourselves. If we can’t find peace and happiness there, it’s not going to come from the outside.”

Tenzin Palmo

Charcoal drawing of a woman’s head with eyes closed