Green, frugal, sustainable, simple, healthy, happy... No matter what we each call it, we come together here to support and learn from each other.

We are preserving our planet with our lifestyles. We are creating sustainable communities for our children. We are living the lives we want to live. Please join us!


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!

Join Us Here, Too

Buy Sustainably

Join us in saving our family budgets and helping our local communities thrive.

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

Greetings Everyone - I'm On The Way Back!

Hello, hello, hello!  Thank you ALL for your patience and your good wishes via email, comments, and Facebook while I was gone!

I have an incredible amount of stuff to share with you all – it has been a crazy, jam packed few months – wow.

I am still working through the weekend on a couple of video projects for a client.  It’s a fabulous project that brings local County members together to talk about local community issues in a way that actively affects local decision-making.  Very cool.  However, I am working loooong hours this weekend, so it will be a few more days before I can focus on telling y’all about my adventures!

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you a picture of me and my new nephew.  I just got back from visiting my sister and her family in St. Louis.  Here’s Connor and “Auntie M” (as I’ve now been nicknamed!):

Connor & Auntie MConnor & Auntie M

I hope you all are well and enjoying the last few bits of summer (those of us in the Northern Hemisphere).  See you soon!

With Much Love,


Temporarily Engaged With Business Planning, Strategy, and Culture Design

Hi everyone.  I’ve dropped off the face the One Green Generation earth for a moment.  Many apologies!  Don’t take it to mean I don’t love this blog and our community here – for I do, and I am so glad I’m able to help support you all, as you support me!!

As many of you know I co-founded my own business officially a year ago, but we’ve been working on it for a year and a half.  At the moment we’re going through some hefty growing pains – as is the nature of any startup as it moves into profitability.  So any free time I’ve had of late has been spent talking with our current staff, mulling over ideas with my business partners, and doing a WHOLE lot of reading.

Anyone want to know about innovative organizational, operational, and strategic development?  I feel like an encyclopedia of information!  My brain is swimming with org charts, strategic consulting services maps, organizational culture building, and competitive analysis.

It’s highly likely my brain will be devoted to this for the next week or two, possible up until September 25.  My apologies, as I know this is a regular daily visit for many of you.  I hope you’ll understand as I help a world-changing company become more efficient and effective in its world changing.

If you don’t want to keep coming back to see when I’ve posted, please feel free to SUBSCRIBE – you can choose to receive an email when I next post, or you can see it in your reader if you use one.

If you can’t wait to read more, I encourage you to peruse the Archives in the right-hand column – can you believe there are 422 posts there??!  Wow – My guess is there is something you will find that you haven’t read before!  You can also start with Post #1, and work your way forward – I have heard that’s a lot of fun, too.

Thanks for your patience, wish me luck and good strategic dreams.  See you soon!


Is Green a Hokey Western Invention?

GrandmaMy Grandmother

I received a thought-provoking email recently that I’d thought I’d put to you all to answer.

Hi Melinda!

I am soooooo not a blog-commenter, you cannot imagine! Pretty safe to say this is my first.

Your site is so real and honest. I was browsing purely for research yet the character ringing through these pages was so… crystal, I think?… I couldn’t help but engage.

I live in the Philippines, a developing country in Asia. While my family is in that slim ratio of the more materially fortunate, our country is beset with poverty, corruption and moral decay. As such, the ideals on this site sound removed from reality, as esoteric as a new religion. Even as IN PRACTICE it all comes down to things our pre-colonial ancestors took for granted! Conditioning shampoo made from tree-bark, leaves/roots/flowers in everything, water kept cool in clay jars, giant palm fronds pulled manually to cool the room, wood-burning stoves… my own grandmother was a poster girl for green!

It’s when we think of it as modern or alternative or even Western that it feels hokey. Being poor and still agricultural, maybe we don’t need to call it “green”. It’s just what our mothers did.

And then I wonder: isn’t that true even for you guys???

Best of luck with this undertaking!
If there’s anything I can do…


What I Believe

Thank you for your thought-provoking question, Adele!

First off, I don’t want to make anyone feel bad about their lifestyle, because whether or not it’s a Western invention, I think it’s necessary given how far our Western culture has gone astray.

Secondly, I also believe that back to the basics or living as our mothers did is a bit artificial, because our lives ARE different than our mother’s and grandmother’s, and I don’t believe it’s realistic nor healthy to be always looking back.  There are many things I learned from my grandmother and mother that I do want to return to my normal life.  But there are a lot of aspects in the contemporary world that are essential to understand and be a part of in order to change society.

For example, I can’t blog if I go back to the simplicity of life during my grandmother’s time.  Yet I feel I’m creating great change in my life as well as thousands of others’ lives by blogging.  I also can’t run a business that creates wide-spread change without utilizing modern tools and reaching people where they are, which often means reaching people with technology.

And finally, my mother and grandmother didn’t always have it easy, and didn’t have time to do some of the things I do today.  I did try to live a lifestyle that was self-sufficient and idolized an old way of doing things. But I found that I didn’t have time to reach out to others, I didn’t have enough money to survive as a family, nor did I totally enjoy a lifestyle that so fully centered around my own daily life.

So I see living a sustainable lifestyle as utilizing the tools we need to use in order to generate change, while reincorporating some of the timeless values of our ancestors.  In other words, taking the best of both worlds, both generations.

What Do You Believe?

Are we just creating another artificial, hokey alternative?

See You On The 12th of April!

Hi all,

Apologies for my impromptu Spring Break.  Loads of articles are buzzing through my brain, and I can’t wait to start afresh with my newly replaced technology as a foundation.

March will go down as the Month of Breaking Things, to be sure:  glasses, phone, computer, camera, and other bits and pieces.  The universe has certainly pushed me to begin afresh!  This has definitely made me realize how much I rely on technology for efficiency and effectiveness.  Something I will think more about in the coming weeks.

But alas, have a wonderful week – and glorious weekend (I hope you’re planting!!) – and I will see you on the 12th of April.  Hope you’re all well.



Debilitating Computer Problems

Hello dear readers!

Over the last week and a half, I’ve had the most incredibly debilitating computer issues.  Last Friday I stayed up literally all night, trying to make my tried and true old Macintosh continue being The Little Engine That Could.  I worked for days to resurrect it!

But alas, my old computer died.  Kaput.  And with it, most of my data.  :(  I know, my husband would say as you do:  why didn’t you back it up?  Time, time, time….  Always there is something else more important!

So now, I have a new computer.  But I made the mistake of transferring a bit of data from the old computer, and now the new computer is corrupted.  And so the vicious cycle continues!  Ack!  I sat down to finally start writing for you all again, and the wonderful, new computer wouldn’t work.

I’m writing a few words on my old old laptop, that won’t work without being plugged in ever second, and even then it’s only sluggish.

Such is my world as we enter Spring.  Two weeks ago, my glasses broke while I was cleaning them – just right there in my hand.  The next week my phone dropped while I was rushing to work, and shattered the face.  And last week my computer died, and with it my data.


Simple things in the scheme of things, but already both time and money were tight.  If you’d like to help this dear blogger, there is a donation button in the right sidebar, toward the bottom.  It will help a great deal.

Ultimately, I will survive.   Today before work I shall fly to the computer store, fingers crossed, and hope it’s a quick fix so I can be back up and running.  And writing.  I do love to write!!

Until then, please continue sharing what the most difficult thing is for you as you live your sustainable life.  There are some great comments started here, and very interesting ones on Facebook.  I have plans to tackle the biggest ones together, one by one.  So please add yours!

Yours, temporarily debilitated by technology ~


What Is The Hardest Part About Living Sustainably, Frugaly, or Green?

A long while back many of us shared the most difficult things to change in our lives – on our paths toward sustainability.  We have so many new people joining us, and life has changed quite a lot since then.  So let’s do it again!

Once we share them here, we can help one another to make those changes over time.  Shall we?

For me, the hardest things have been:

  1. Making the time to cook.  Particularly at lunch,  I eat (organic) frozen food.  Ack – it’s true!
  2. Making the time to help other people make lifestyle changes.  Particularly lately, I haven’t made time to help others by way of the blog (sorry guys!), speaking, and other ways.
  3. Being a real part of my new community.  I don’t spend enough time at local events, I don’t volunteer locally (there are lots of local organizations that could use my help), and I don’t feel like I participate in my new neighborhood.

What Change Is The Hardest For You?

Think a bit, and then please share!  What do you wish you were doing, but you just can’t make yourself do?  What do you feel guilty about doing?

I will tell you it feels good to write them down.  Now that they’re there, on paper, I see what I need to work on.

Try it!

Sustainability Bloggers That Changed My Life: Part 1

I have been blogging for over three years now - three years!! (We’re on our third year of Growing Challenges!) And I will tell you that this blog has changed my life in so many large and small ways.  And know this:  it has most definitely set my life down a different road than I would have taken without it.  A very, very good road.

I began writing as a way to catalog Matt and my journey toward self-sufficiency back in Geyeserville, California, town of 1,600.  I wanted to help others learn from our failures and few successes.  But I had never written a blog post before in my life!

It has been a long road to learning and growing as a writer as well as someone who lives sustainably.  I’ve had the help and support of several people along the way.  This series is about the bloggers who have been there for me – they’ve helped push me in sustainable living, in my writing, and in becoming who I am today.

Sustainability Bloggers That Changed My Life

Rhonda1.  Rhonda Hetzel, Down To Earth. Who knows how we find the blogs we do – we follow one, and their blogroll leads to another, which leads to a third, where we click on yet another link until we find something that really sticks.  Is that about right?  Well however it was, one day I ended up upon Rhonda’s blog and was amazed at the way she was able to engage her readers.

So, I wrote her!  I wrote Rhonda and I asked her how she built up her blog, what tricks she might pass on, and just how she started.  She was ever so generous and kind with her time.  I think quite honestly what helped me the most was her telling me to look at some “How to Blog” blogs.  I spent many many days reading and reading!

But more than anything, Rhonda has been so supportive of me, my writing, and my life.  She and I trade emails occasionally, and we blog together at the Simple Green Frugal Co-op – which Rhonda founded!  Thank you, Rhonda, for all you have done and continue to do.  You are truly an inspiration.

Green Bean2.  Michelle/Green Bean, The Green Phone Booth.   Michelle and I actually met via the Riot for Austerity listserv.  She was looking for ways to help her son through his newly diagnosed asthma, and I had already gone through all of that for myself, so I had loads of tips!  We kept in touch after that, sharing local food resources (we lived probably 50 miles from one another), learning both of our husbands have the same name, and generally supporting one another as we built our online communities and learned about sustainable living.

A couple years later, Michelle found her sustainable life was taking her outside of her home to work with her child’s school and do many things in her community.  So she gave up the beloved Green Bean Dreams blog and started up a cooperative blog – The Green Phone Booth – with several other green moms.

While having never met her in person (someday!), I am proud to call Michelle a friend of mine – we have learned a lot from one another, and without her support it’s likely I would not be where I am today.

To Be Continued…

What Are Your Favorite Blogs?

Please share!  Are there blogs that have really changed your life?