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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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10,000 Steps

With numerous environmental, physical and emotional benefits, what are you waiting for? Let's start walking!

Green Your Insides

For your family and our planet, start greening your own home.

Great Reading


Kathy reminded me that it has been an awful long time since we’ve talked about all the challenges!  So… spill it everyone – how are you coming??

The Growing Challenges

The Growing Challenge New! The Growing Challenge Advanced Edition – From Seed To Seed! The Growing Challenge: Evangelist Edition

I planted seeds in my new p-patch 2 weeks ago.  I’m experimenting with peppers and tomato seeds directly in the ground.  Who knows if they’ll come up!

My mom and I spent Saturday morning at the Seattle Tilth and Master Gardener plant sales, stocking up on seedlings for her garden and our balcony garden.  Neither of us had the ability to do seedlings indoors this year – due to travels or too much work.  But I’ll grow lots straight in the ground, and supplement those with organic seedlings!

Evangelizing wise, I’m here and pumping away on the blog, hoping to reel in a few more gardeners here.  I also spoke at Sustainable Capitol Hill a few weeks ago about urban gardening, I’m regularly writing for the city’s Community Garden Post (comes out quarterly), and every time I garden at my p-patch plot I talk to about  10 different people passing by!

Accomplish Your Dreams and Walk 10,000 Steps

Accomplish Your Dreams Challenge

I walk to and from work every day, and I now walk to my garden patch, too!  I very rarely drive now – it’s getting easier and easier to walk everywhere.  I’ve also lost several pounds, and shrunk from a size 12 to a size 6!  :)

As far as accomplishing my dreams, I’m pushing my new business forward and really really really trying to make that work for me financially, socially, and environmentally.  It’s growing, we’ve hired 6 employees with a couple more on the way soon, plus a few sub-contractors!  Each job we take on is more exciting than the one before.  On the path!

Green Your Insides and Buy Sustainably

The Buy Sustainably Challenge! I\'m Green Inside

Buying sustainably took a turn for the worse when I started working so many hours and Matt started graduate school.  I continue to find more and more locally-sourced products – there are very few things we buy regularly that don’t come from Washington or Oregon.  But… I’m eating a fair amount of packaged, organic food for lunches and even – gasp – dinners!  I can’t wait until the local farmer’s market opens up again – I think it will help considerably because I can eat a lot of raw fresh foods again.

As for greening my insides, I think I’m pretty much green inside and out.  That’s the one I’ve done pretty well for a while now, due to my asthma.  Soap, moisturizer, deodorant, shampoo, dish soap,… all our body products are low-impact on our bodies and our world.  Yay!

So How About You?????

All Come Free! All Challenge Check In!!

Ok, I’m going to leave this post up for a couple of days as I turn it over to you all:  Is anyone out there still challenging themselves?  And are you enjoying it or is it a pain in the butt?  Is it changing the way you think about things?

We have a lot of challenges going on and I would love to hear about all of them!  So please, check in and say a word – share how you’re doing!

The Growing Challenges

The Growing Challenge New! The Growing Challenge Advanced Edition – From Seed To Seed! The Growing Challenge: Evangelist Edition

Accomplish Your Dreams and Walk 10,000 Steps

Accomplish Your Dreams Challenge

Green Your Insides and Buy Sustainably

The Buy Sustainably Challenge! I\'m Green Inside

Do Tell!

Come, don’t be shy!  Whether you’re formally signed up or not, come share a word.  Tell me – what’s working, what’s fun, what’s awkward, what makes you want to run??

The Four Challenge Check In!

Well it has been a long time since we’ve checked in on some of the challenges here!  I would love everyone’s feedback on these challenges:  are they helping you?  Are you following them?  Are you sticking to them?  Should I keep running them?  And how are they working for you?


10,000 Steps Challenge

The Buy Sustainably Challenge!I'm Green Inside

Just A Refresher


The Buy Nothing (New) For the Holidays Challenge – Challenges each of us to give gifts that have a low- to no-impact on the earth by giving handmade, home grown, antique/thrift store finds, or charity gifts for the holidays.


The 10,000 Steps Challenge – Challenges each of us to work up to 10,000 steps per day, in order to get a good amount of exercise in our lives, and to possibly eliminate some of the short-distance driving we do.


The Buy Sustainably Challenge – Challenges us to really think about impact before making a choice to buy something, instead of doing it impulsively:  do you really need it?  If you do, try to buy it locally, fair trade, green, and high quality enough that it will last.


The Green Your Insides Challenge – Challenges us to use healthy products in our homes and on our selves.  While there are so many products out there that are bad for us and bad for the environment, we have a choice to change what is normal and use things that are often cheaper and definitely better for our families.


In every case our mission is to work toward these goals – we can’t all go cold turkey on this stuff, and that’s ok – but we can start and work toward them, making a bit of progress each day!  If you haven’t signed up but would like to, leave your name in the comments here, or visit the page for the challenge(s) you’re interested in.


Thoughts and Updates!


So are you participating, formally or informally?  How are you doing?  Do you enjoy these challenges?  What else would you like a challenge about?



I’m Walking More Than I Thought!

10,000 Steps Challenge

I have finally measured my steps to work with a pedometer.  And… who knew?  Looks like I have been walking more steps than I thought:  during my 2.5 mile round-trip daily walks to work, I’ve been walking about 8,000 steps each day!  And that doesn’t include walking around at work and at home, taking Ellis for a walk, or anything else I do.

So, those of you who are walking with me, if you are on the shorter side and take pretty small steps,  your current translation from miles to steps might not be right.  Matt can walk the same distance, but take only about 1/2-2/3 as many steps.  And for the cardiovascular workout, the most important thing is the steps.  If you’re using the Google maps link (thanks, Sadge!), you may not have to walk as far as we originally thought.

I do feel better, because I was having a difficult time adding more to my routine.  So I will continue to do my walks, maybe take the long way home from work, and be happy with my exercise for now.  I’ll wear the pedometer around all day this week just to make sure I’m at 10,000, but I’m pretty confident I’ll get there easily.

A couple of you have asked about what “counts”.  If you feel like gardening, playing sports, or other forms of exercise are getting you to a healthy body and keeping you from polluting the environment, then I have zero problem with it!  The goal of this is to get us to use our own free and environmentally sound form of transportation:  our own two feet.

Here Is Who Has Joined Me On This Challenge:

Please feel free to join anytime – sign up here. Did I miss anyone?

How Are You Doing With Your Walks?

Even if you’re not officially joining the challenge, feel free to write about your walking.  Do you enjoy it?

Walking Is Better Than TV

On my walk home from work yesterday, I realized that I am extremely entertained by life as I walk through the streets of my town.  While many people rush home to watch television in the evenings, I stroll through life.  But more more than observing life as it goes by – as I would observe a television show (which by the way is totally made up) – I participate in life.  Real life.

I have a connection to my city.  I have a connection to the homeless woman who feeds birds on the same bench every morning.  I have a connection to the businesses struggling in the new economy, as I watch the sales come and go.  I have a connection to the doorman in our building, who I would never see if I went straight down to the garage for my car.  When I come home in the evenings, I say hello to the men having a cigarette after a long day working at Fare Start (a restaurant down the street that brings people out of homelessness by giving them job skills and a resume).

I have a connection to the atmosphere – the weather, the air quality – I know which way the winds are blowing, how the seasons are changing in intimate detail.

And the exercise… Yesterday it was a bit chilly walking to work, and when I got to work I had beautifully rosy cheeks and felt invigorated and ready to start the day!

I am proud to say “I walk.”  I walk to work.  I walk to the store.  I walk to meet friends for happy hour.  And I walk to walk.

I feel connected.  As I walk, my city surrounds me and becomes a part of me, as I become a part of it.  I am a part of my community.

Let’s walk together, and share our experiences.  Feel free to share your experiences below, and to join us in walking.

10,000 Steps Challenge

How Is Your Walking??!

Hello everyone!  I’m alive but not particularly well.  I’ve been fighting off the flu.  So please forgive the intermittant posts this week.  I’m severely lacking energy.

But I wanted to learn how your walking is going!

10,000 Steps Challenge

Here’s a Bit from My Experiences:

I pledged to walk just about 5 miles every day:  from home to work, then from work to the community garden and back home.

Up until a few days ago (when I became ill), I was really enjoying the walks.  I walk right through the heart of downtown Seattle, passing walking commuters, bicycle commuters, bus commuters, and of course some cars, too.  I LOVE being a part of the hustle and bustle of life, and wondering with interest how different (and at the same time how similar) people are.

My walks consist of daily observations, smiles to friendly people, and a whole lot of good thinking.  It has become quite a meditative experience.  I’m able to clear my mind of many stresses and really focus on things that matter to me.  The brainstorms I’ve had while walking have been incredible!

I love it!

That said, it hasn’t been perfection.  Or rather, I have not been perfectly on top of walking.  A couple of times I’ve been running late – or feeling ill – and have taken the bus about 2/3 of the way to or from work.  And I have yet to make it to the community garden on the way home.  I’m thinking I need to re-evaluate that and do it on the way to work when I’m fresh, rather than on the way home from work when I just want to go home, see my husband, and eat dinner.

So I need to change my original plan a bit.  On Monday, assuming I feel better, I’ll begin my routine with walking to the garden in the morning, and then going to work from there.  Then I need to figure out how to eke out a bit more time in the day – it seems crazy, but that extra hour of walking has taken its toll on my schedule, so I need to rearrange my daily schedule a bit.  Live and learn.

How Are You Doing With Your Walking Schedule?

And if you’d like to join us, please feel free!  Good for your health, your emotional well-being, and brings you closer to your community!

The 10,000 Steps Challenge

10,000 Steps Challenge

Yesterday I explored all the many reasons I have been motivated to walk.  Please read it if you haven’t already!  Essentially, 10,000 is the magic number of steps needed to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and keep your weight in check.  Walking has a number of other health benefits as well, including emotional and spiritual health.  Plus if you walk instead of driving or taking public transportation, you will reduce the amount of non-renewable energy used and CO2 produced.  And lastly, when you walk you tend to become a more active part of your community.

Do read more here if you need more motivation!

So here we go…

The 10,000 Steps Challenge

I am ready to make my pledge to you to work toward walking 10,000 steps every day.  Will you join me?

Don’t worry, this is not an all or nothing pledge, it’s a pledge to work toward 10,000 steps.  When you sign up for this challenge, you absolutely do not have to walk 10,000 steps tomorrow.  But you do have to actively work toward it.  Start walking 1,000 steps.  Or even 100.  Then every week add more.  Even if you can’t do it every day, start doing it as often as you can.  And then work on doing it a little more every week. 

Break Down Those Barriers!

The first step for you may be to address the barriers that keep you from walking.  Is there a voice say inside your head, giving loads of excuses why you can’t join this challenge? Or why 10,000 steps just is not possible for you?  Ok.  Pay attention to that voice.  Now – break down those barriers!!

For instance, are you saying “I don’t have any walking shoes”?  Ok, go buy some.  “I can’t afford them.”  Get some on sale or at a thrift store, borrow some from a friend, or go into your closet and take another look – maybe you can make do with what you have.  “I still don’t have any shoes.”  Ok truthfully, do you need new shoes?  Just use the most comfortable shoes you have and get on with it!  That’s what I do.  : )

“I don’t have time.”  Guess what?  Walking can add years to your life – that is years longer to spend with your grandchildren.  And walking can make you feel better, age more gracefully, and be able to do more active things.  And it helps contribute positively to the planet you’ll be leaving behind for your kids.  “But I just don’t have time.”  So, work on finding the time.  Rearrange your schedule so that you can do it.  You might find that when you add the time to get in the car, drive to your destination, park, and walk up to the spot – versus the time it takes to walk there… it’s nearly the same amount of time.  Plus, you can multi-task – listen to podcasts, books on tape, or music.  Or make all those phone calls you always put off.

Find solutions rather than continue to offer excuses.  It’s that important.  Break down those barriers – for your sanity, your health, your community, and your environment.

Be Safe

Please be safe, everyone!  Some little things to remember…

Bring water with you, and make sure you stay hydrated.  Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.  If you aren’t very active, work yourself up to an hour a day – don’t try to do too much all at once.  Walk slowly during the first 5 minutes of your walks, to warm up your muscles.  Walk in safe locations.  Of course, but make sure you do!  I always bring my phone just in case – so far I’ve only used it to report a traffic accident, but that is worthwhile.  And do protect yourself from the sun with a hat and/or sunscreen.


Please spread the word about this challenge, and use one of the following doodads to remind you, too.  You can post it on your blog, or if you don’t have a blog, you can post it on your fridge (if you click an image, it will take you to a bigger size)!

10,000 Steps Challenge

Check In

I don’t know about you, but there is certainly extra motivation for me, knowing that I have to tell you all how I’m doing with my 10,000 steps.  Remember – this is not a competition.  We are all living differently, with different barriers.  At the same time, we can all learn from one another and help motivate one another.  That is what community is all about!!

So I’ll post check ins here.  And if you’re antsy and would like to check in between postings, you can always visit this post and check in below, in the comments.


When you sign up below in the comments, please let us all know two things:  1.  when you will start and 2.  how you will begin working toward 10,000 steps.  And remember, you don’t have to have a blog to join – just sign your name if you don’t have one.

My Pledge:

Next Monday, I will walk to my new office, to the p-patch, and back home every weekday.  For my sanity, for my health, for my community, and for my environment.  This challenge is my extra motivation.  You all are my witnesses.  You’ll be keeping me on track!

Let’s Walk Together – Who’s Walking With Me?!