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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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Hello everyone.  A comment left here last week really shook my motivation to write.  There are 40-50,000 people that come here to read each month, and one of them got me down.  It seems silly but I guess it means I’m human!  Anyway, I apologize to the rest of you for letting it keep me from writing.

I love the community we have here.  I love how we push each other to do a bit more, work a little harder, love a little stronger.  I love the passion we all have for life and for doing the things that matter to us.  I love that we come from such different walks of life, and that this fact does not keep us apart but rather makes us stronger and more interesting as a community.

And because we are a community, I ask you to let me know if there are things that you’d like to see differently here.  Are there post topics you particularly like to read?  Topics that don’t help you as much?  Topics you wish I would write about?  Or any other constructive criticisms that would make this site stronger?

Please feel free to communicate openly and honestly here.  Not just in this post, but in any post.  Or via email, if you’re more comfortable.  Let’s keep our communication strong and healthy!!

Thank you all for reading.  And I appreciate very much all of you who regularly leave comments, or chime in occasionally.  I love to read your words, and to find out what you’re thinking.  I encourage any of you who haven’t written to come out and introduce yourself whenever you are comfortable.  I would love to hear from you!


I’m off to work this morning.  But while I’m gone, I wanted to ask you for your quick thoughts:


One of the things I’ve been thinking about this week is that maybe we can have an open forum once a week, where we ask questions of one another, talk about the things we’re working on, voice any concerns or roadblocks we’re finding in our lives, and all in all just support and learn from one another.  Maybe we can call it the Sustainability Forum.  Does that sound useful to you?  I thought it might be a way to open up conversation and have a little fun.  What do you think?


Thanks for your thoughts!  Have a wonderful day.



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22 comments to Our Community

  • I think you should write about what it important to YOU. I find it very interesting and I have learned many things from you. If someone doesn’t like the way you write or what you write about, they don’t have to come to this website. Keep up the good work!

  • This wouldn’t help me as much as my friend sfordinarygirl. When she was visiting she mentioned how hard she tries to live a life that is gentle to the earth. But she is single (by choice) and lives in a shared housing environment with little to no sunlight and doesn’t have room for a bicycle. She lives in San Francisco and sometimes doing something as simple as cooking from scratch is overwhelming, as not only does she have to wash, chop, cook the food. But afterward she has to do the dishes herself too. Much of what many of the green bloggers do is easier with a partner. So the question would be if you could address how a single person in a dense urban environment can live a life that is kind to mama earth.

    Sorry you got down (hope it wasn’t me as I’ve been in a grouchy mood lately). I love how positive your blog posts are and wish I could be as well.

  • I’m sorry you had some nastiness. I had a nasty cyber stalker that scared me away from blogging for a while. In the end you have to write about what you are passionate about. If it doesn’t have meaning to you, it won’t be fun and you won’t do it. You have a great website, keep it up!

  • I’m not sure what comment bothered you – but when you open yourself and your life to the internet community, there’s going to be a mix at what comes back to you. Hopefully it’s good, productive, and engaging. Sometimes it’s not.

    It’s a blog – people don’t have to read it, and don’t have to comment. If they have different opinions, they can start their own blog to discuss those. It’s the wonder of free speech. ;) Sadly, some folks tend towards destructiveness rather than constructiveness.

    The sustainability forum sounds good. It’d be nice to ask other gardeners questions (ie – how do you collect these seeds / have you had this leaf problem, etc.)

    I think you’re doing a good job and appreciate the community that is here.

  • I agree with Beany up above. I would like more on what you can do that is not just homemade but that is easy for ONE person to do. I love to cook, but its not easy to spend all the time doing it especially when you have to do the dishes and watch a little one wanting to get involved (scary thought when wanting to learn how to can).

    I’m sorry if someone said something hurtful, I come here to get inspiration on what others are doing. I love your posts. If you don’t have any personal tips on what ONE person can do, what is your organizational set-up with another person? For myself, I tend to invite friends over for dinner or ask them to help with cleaning the food from the CSA box for a small (very small) portion of the box (people like to help out and don’t ask for much its nice). Maybe I or others could take what you do with others and see how it could work for us. Just a thought.

    Also, I like the idea of a Sustainability Forum. I think there need to be guidelines made on what is acceptable posting (like no putting anyone down or anyone’s thoughts etc) and keep it fairly open but with one central question or thought as inspiration. I hope this helps and keep up the great blogging. I look forward to more posts from you!

  • Hey, I am way away and love dropping in on a regular basis. I’ve reposted several of your posts here and there. Chin up! Put one foot in front of the other…………it’s all good!!!!

  • Were you thinking of an actual PHP-based forum or just a posting where people discussed things in comments? I wouldn’t actually mind the former, but I know that’s a lot of work!

    Personally I appreciate the more “advanced” topics that you cover. I liked your post where you shared how you’re saving electricity. I didn’t take it as a mandate. I have a bicycle, but in this rural area it’s merely a form of relaxation and exercise since I don’t live within distance of anything. I’m looking forward to trying “no poo”. We’re doing really well in some areas (cook/bake from scratch, eat local & organic, repairing, repurposing, etc.) but even though we work from home, we drive sometimes just for fun and often out of necessity. We’re living with very little money, but I’d rather spend a couple of hours picking berries and cleaning them to freeze than working more so I can buy organic jam.

    I’m tired of being told to change to CFL’s and buy a so-called green cleanser when vinegar and baking soda will do most jobs. Hybrid cars really aren’t the answer, we all need to drive less. I don’t mind doing dishes since I have hot and cold running water and I can just use less of it. Laundry? Piece of cake, I don’t have to beat it on a rock and set it to wash and rinse in cold. Cooking is still easy since I can turn the knob to get heat. When my wood cookstove is installed, it’ll involve chopping wood, stoking the fire, and much more time when I choose to use it. I’m still buying my tea, but it’s a good thing you’re growing it for the experience. We can all learn about it even if we can’t do.

    I say keep the challenges coming! The things that can’t be applied right now can be tucked away for the future. If a reader has a higher purpose for their time such as helping the homeless, working on world peace, caring for a child or an elder and/or curing cancer, then baking bread just isn’t in the cards for now.

    Meanwhile, please keep redefining normal. :)

  • I love the idea of a Sustainability Forum!
    This is your blog, smile…press the DELETE button on any nasty comments and promptly forget them; many others, including myself, are blessed by your writings.
    Thanks for what you do here :)

  • I just found your site a few weeks ago (I think it was a post about foraging??) and have found some great posts since then. I haven’t really commented until now, but I am definitely enjoying your site and have linked to a couple of different posts.

  • Melinda,

    I love what you write about and what you share. It helps me feel supported in the things that I’m trying to do, that I’m not crazy. :) I like that you approach sustainability from a positive, problem solving perspective (could I have come up with another “p” word? probably).

    A open forum would be a very interesting thing….

  • Holy smokes! I’m curious to know what comment jolted you. Sometimes we read things with a different tone than was intended.
    Carry on.
    I would like to be able to be a hermit as much as possible…able to produce the nurishment I need and almost anything else.

    I suppose I’m a bit extreme with the hermit part; but I would like to put less in the garbage…require less too.

  • I could use more “Green Your Insides” posts, I suppose. Right now though I think the novelty of everything “green” has worn off on me. There seems to be too much that doesn’t really apply to me. Oh that reminds me, I was going to see if I could take a cooking class over the summer… food is a big issue and something I don’t know nearly enough about. And that’s where most of my green focus lies these days.

  • There are so many readers who wish you well and look forward to your posts, Melinda, don’t let one person interfere with that. I don’t get here as much as I would like but when I do read it’s always interesting and thought provoking. I’ve been thinking about a forum at the coop so I’d be interested to see how one goes here. Take care. xx

  • The thing that made me come here was the growing challenge. I failed in my initial attempt, but will make it happen with my organic garden. I have made lots of online acquiantances and love seeing everyone’s updates.

    I know I do hydroponics, but I also like being able to provide for myself with organic compost and worm castings if the economy gets too rough.

  • A sustainability forum is a great idea! It would be a good opportunity to learn not only from yourself but also your many readers. Sounds like fun.

    Re the one nasty comment – just ignore it and try and make yourself feel better by feeling sorry for them. how miserable must they be if they have to go out of their way to try and make someone feel bad.

    You are a wonderful inspiration!

  • Charlene

    Melinda, I been reading your blog off and on for a while now and try to glean and apply what will work for me. I’ve learned a lot from you, so thank you for your sharing. I try to rack my memory banks to remember how we lived before plastic and change my ways. My family allows me to experiment, but they will only do what is convenient, so I love hearing any wisdom that I can easily incorporate and even hearing the same thing twice is helpful for me and keeps me motivated. I’ve made a couple of your recipes, yum! Any hints about dealing with earwigs and ants?

  • your own walk is so alluring to so many because it so closely relates to the journey so many of us are on. Negativity is part and parcel of the human experience, as your readership grows, so does that small fraction. But given the tone and subject of this site, it is almost a guarantee that it will remain a small fraction.

    It might be more difficult here oddly enough because we are accustomed to negativity in “the real world” or even elsewhere on the net and this is by and large a bastion of positivity.

    Don’t let it get you down, and I think an open forum is a wonderful idea, but be wary of what that might entail.

  • First of all, don’t let any person’s comment get you down. I had a similar experience earlier this year, and it’s ridiculous to let one person’s comments get to you.

    I do like the idea of a posting section – discussion often inspires me as much as original posts!

    Keep up the conversation!

  • kt

    I think everyone else said everything better than I could. I love dropping by your blog. Thank you for writing.

  • Everyone, thank you so very much for your comments, suggestions, and support. Please feel free to suggest ideas or share your thoughts at any time. I value your participation here a great deal!!

    Look for posts coming up that address your questions and suggestions this week. : )

    As for the forum, I have been thinking about creating an all-out forum for some time. It’s exciting, but also a lot of work, Saara – you’re totally right. So for the moment, I may start with having a post once a week where we can all ask questions and share thoughts. That will be an easier way to test out the idea.

    Again, thank you!!

  • Thomas Jefferson

    Don’t let the creeps get you down. There are so many naysayers out there that would rather live with their heads buried in the ground instead of taking a good look at the world around them.

    Life is short, shrug it off. It’s not worth the stress.


  • Hi Melinda,

    I just stumbled upon this blog, and I think it’s terrific. I also love the idea of a sustainability forum. Thanks for all of your hard work!

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