Our latest blog guest describes herself as a farmer’s daughter, an activist, an educator, a mentor, an organizer, a person who cares about this place that we inhabit, a member of a community– of many communities actually. A resident of a small midwestern town in Minnesota, Amy Mondloch believes that people can create positive change. And she’s doing it via her blog Sustainable Life In Action.
My journey to adopting a sustainable lifestyle
Living sustainably is a journey and I can assure you I am not all the way there yet, but it’s been fun.
I’ll start my story back in 1990. I’d just entered the world of grown ups. I was a college student filled with infinite wisdom and at the same time knowing next to nothing at all. I was a first generation college student. Going to school meant making my parents proud as well as pursuing my own dreams. It also meant discovering a whole new world. As a teenager in the late 80’s and early 90’s it seemed suddenly many of my closest friends were coming out of the closet. This was a new thing in my world. It put at odds the idea that you always stand by your friends with some sort of relationship rules that just hadn’t been discussed before. Then there was the reality of being a small town kid getting exposed to the realities of racism and other discrimination. Again, juxtaposing these ideas of stand by your friends with some sort of unwritten rules.
Finally, I just happened to go to UW Stevens Point, a school known for its College of Natural Resources. So I grew in my connection to and awareness of environmental issues as well. Soon, I was majoring in student activism. I was fighting mining, walking hundreds of miles to draw attention to environmental and social justice issues, and working to draw attention to injustice locally and on a bigger scale. I was also meeting and getting to know some amazing mentors. There have been a lot of people who I’ve sat around the campfire and the board room table with who’ve just keep teaching me.
What the blog aims to achieve
Sustainable Life In Action is a writing exercise for me to help me keep myself grounded. It’s also just a way to share some of the knowledge that I’ve gained along the way as an activist, organizer, and educator. I’ve seen some tough struggles and have definitely felt my share of burnout along the way. I want to use those hard times to make life a little easier for others. We need a lot of good people doing good work in the world. That takes supporting each other. Sustainable life in action is one way I can do that.
Trends around sustainability that makes me optimistic about the future
I’ve had the good fortune to work with a lot of people over the years teaching community organizing and leadership development based in the idea that “everyone is a learner, everyone is a teacher, everyone is a leader.”
Working from that vision I’ve been able to work with people to bring together folks who are homeless, returning prisoners, students, retirees, immigrants, and just about any other demographic you can imagine and get them to teach each other in a way that honors each other’s experiences and validates each other’s wisdom. Doing that I’ve seen people really grow and take on challenges they would have never imagined for themselves before and create really positive changes in their communities. People can really make me hopeful when the listen to themselves and to each other.
3 tips in adopting a sustainable lifestyle or traveling sustainably
The three big things for me in adopting a sustainable lifestyle are really to just listen to yourself. What does your body, heart, and mind need to be healthy? Go with that. You deserve the best care.
From there I’m a big fan of the idea that Michael Pollan shares of “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” A lot of our health is really based on what we’re putting in our bodies. Our bodies are meant to eat real food, not chemical junk.
Lastly, just be gentle with yourself. We tend to demand a lot of ourselves. Sometimes we just need to take it easy.
A must-see travel destination
I had the good fortune a bunch of years ago to be a part of a project to protect the water walk around Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes.
She is an absolutely gorgeous and powerful being and she’s in danger as are all our waters. Lake Superior reminds me that I have a responsibility to care for the water, we all do. And, if we fail in that responsibility it’s us that’s going to face the ultimate destruction. She reminds me that to love the water is to show love for myself. After all, the earth and the water they’re going to outlive us. The damage we do to them we do to ourselves.