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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!

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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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Me And The Life I Lead

Welcome to all of you new readers!  It seems like there are quite a few new readers lately, so I figured I would let you know a little bit about me and this site.  The following is a modified version of the very first post here at One Green Generation, back in July 2008.  It will give you a little snippet of what to expect here.

And stay tuned… a brand new challenge launches tomorrow – get ready!!

A Brief Blurb About Us

We are Matt and Melinda. In a nutshell, we are on a quest for the most sustainable lifestyle we can find. Generally I (Melinda) am the writer here, though Matt has been known to write a few brilliant words, too (recipes – he’s an awesome cook!). We share our experiences, research, thoughts, and mistakes… about gardening, cooking, eating, cleaning, living locally and simply, reducing our carbon footprint, and being frugal, mindful and happy. And I like to think we have built a supportive community here, full of people from all over the world who are journeying together along this path toward a sustainable lifestyle.

We started out writing about our story over at Elements In Time: Creating Edible Landscape. For a variety of reasons – technical issues with the iWeb blogging program and a change in our overall outlook – we’ve moved the blog here! The Archive of our old blog remained for a year, but finally I let it go in late 2009….

Matt & Melinda

Our Family

We have a dog, Ellis, who we rescued from a horrible previous life in LA – he had two broken legs and weighed twice his current weight when we found him. Now he is a happy, healthy pooch.

Ellis and Raisin

And we have a cat, who we rescued in the Sonoma County vineyards during the heat of the summer, like a raisin in the sun (and so she received the name Raisin). She had been abandoned four years earlier and was nearly wild, but with coaxing and calming, she has now become the most purrfect house cat ever.

Mom vs. Beet

Other characters on the blog include my grandfather, who has lived nearly a century and is a great inspiration to me, my mom (above, holding our giant beet), with whom I’m creating a backyard vegetable and fruit garden, and my sister, who lives in the midwest with my awesome brother-in-law and their own suburban garden.

Our First Road Toward Sustainable Living

For ten years we lived in LA, where I worked in the film industry and Matt worked as a brain injury researcher. We liked LA – wouldn’t say we loved it. But we tried, we did. We frequented the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market (which we do still miss), we participated in a CSA, and we began to make our lifestyle more sustainable.

LA Freeway

But my asthma was getting worse and worse (I was up to 8 meds a day!), we spent a long time every day in traffic, a new freeway off-ramp was being built outside our door, and more fires and droughts were predicted every year…. So we tried something different.

Our Second Road

We moved to the country, and lived as self-sufficiently as we possibly could. Life slowed down, we baked, cooked, preserved, and GARDENED. Boy did we garden! We lived on a vineyard, and it was beautiful, peaceful, serene… most of the time. We experienced the migration of hundreds of thousands of robins, we created a certified wildlife habitat in our backyard, we rescued a cat and took her in… and then rescued another (who went to a good home).

Rainbow Over Grapes

But something happened about 9 months in. We realized that we weren’t self-sufficient, we lived intimately with the hazards of industrial agriculture, we completely relied on our car, we didn’t feel like we belonged in our neighborhood, we were not quite making ends meet because of a slower, low-wage job market (and what we didn’t know at the time was the beginning of the Recession)… We learned so much during our life in the country, and wouldn’t trade it for… much of anything. But we learned that we hadn’t finished our quest for a sustainable life quite yet.

Our Third Road

So… we researched and thought and paced and tore our hair out and drank some local wine and came up with what we thought was a pretty darn good idea: move to Seattle. I’m originally from Seattle, but haven’t lived here for nearly 15 years (I lived in NY, Austin, LA, and Geyserville in between). The city has grown, and the push toward greenness and sustainability has grown substantially, too. Plus my family and many of our friends are here. So basically all roads led to this beautiful northwestern U.S. city.

Seattle Skyline

As members of the Riot For Austerity, we’ve calculated our carbon emissions for nearly a year now. Through a lot of hard work, we’ve reached the point where we are utilizing 90% fewer resources than the American average… in every area except driving.

So that was a primary factor in our decision about where to live in Seattle: we chose to live in the heart of the city. Here we can walk to the local farmer’s markets (three, actually), food co-op, bookstores (three as well), library, restaurants, and pretty much everything we need. Matt just accepted a job (wahoo!!), and it’s .4 miles away. I’m currently working from home. We’re living very locally here.

Update

Since I wrote this, we’ve moved from that very small apartment in Capitol Hill to a brand new LEED-certified (green-built) 1-bedroom plus office in the South Lake Union area – just on the north edge of downtown.  You can see photos here, if you like.  It’s an area of town that was quite desolate until recently, with many abandoned industrial buildings – it was an area I never would have dreamed of walking through when I was younger!

I now own my own company with six partners and a fabulous group of fellows, where I am happily working with amazing organizations to make the world a better place. (We are launching our new website next week – but this is a sneak preview.I walk to work everyday to my office on the Seattle waterfront, Matt rides the bus to the University of Washington, where he’s getting his MBA, and we do as much as we can to live sustainably in the city – in fact, we truly believe we’re more sustainable here.

So… There You Have It!

I hope you’ll stay and learn and grow with us. We host challenges here, a great way for us to all work toward a goal together. We have an on-going Growing Challenge, where you must grow a new food from seed and then share about your gardening progress.

We’re also working within our community, redefining normal, cooking and baking, making a great deal of lifestyle changes, and of course grappling with whatever life throws our way on this road toward sustainable, meaningful living.

Welcome, Old Readers And New!

Please, always feel free to share your thoughts, advice, suggestions, hopes and dreams… that’s what this website is all about!

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10 comments to Me And The Life I Lead

  • We also moved from L.A. (I was born + raised there) to a small-ish town outside Nashville, TN where we can actually L-I-V-E. We can afford our house with it’s big backyard for my garden, we can breathe without coughing, OK we are not going to go swimming in the local river or lakes, but on the whole it’s a much better life.

  • Hi Melinda! Long time reader(:

    I’m in Seattle quite a bit. Maybe next time in town, I can treat you to lunch?

    Cheers! and Happy New Year!

  • Shona, sounds lovely!

    Michelle, yes – sounds fabulous! I would love to.

  • Its good to have an update – thank you very much.

    This is something I am thinking about too, although I dont like the area we living I love the fact that I can walk /cycle/walk to the train station most places and it is a major driver for staying here

    Jen

  • Jen, glad you enjoyed the update! No place is perfect, you can only get close. :)

  • I lost track of your blog I think around a year ago and I’ve since moved domains (aaron-n-jen.com to emeraldsunshine.org). I’m so excited to have found you again!

  • Hi Melinda – I’m so glad my Google put you in my recommended sources! I’m from Seattle, lived in LA (pre-Santa Monica Farmers’ Market – so sad), lived in the country (Hudson Valley) and now find myself back in Seattle. I’m just starting the Sustainable Business program at BGI and work in South Lake Union.

    Are you going to Green Drinks on the 12th by any chance? Will follow your blog and learn more about your company. It sounds like Seattle’s a good fit for you guys at the moment.

  • Hi Jen R, I’m glad you found me again! How is your garden??

    Tiffany S, Wow. My business – Re-Vision Labs – is hosting the Greendrinks event on the 12th! So yes, I’ll be there. :) Please come, and find me, and introduce yourself!!

  • I found your site a few months ago but have been so busy and have not made time to read blogs…but this site is just so great that I’m going to make time to read THIS one! You’re officially added to my Google reader! It’s so nice to know that there are other people out there who are trying to live thoughtfully. Keep up the awesome work!

  • [...] 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 [...]

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