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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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We Have Traveled Far In One Year… Where Do We Go Now?

Happy 2009!!

How Far Matt & I Have Traveled In Just One Year…

A year ago Matt and I were living in Geyserville, California, a town of 1,600. We had only recently brought Raisin into our home. A year ago I wasn’t sure what my next life step would be, and Matt wasn’t either. We were headed in a very different direction, one that was more isolated. One that involved personal survival, a sort of self-sufficiency in solitude.

Between then and now, I’m not sure it was one thing that made us change our minds and to go in a new direction. Certainly almost losing Raisin (and our own futures) to the pesticides were a big issue. Plus a growing understanding that community is important, that we cannot survive and thrive without a community. And the feeling that actually, Matt and I weren’t finished searching for our own places in society yet.

I was also thinking about my grandfather’s mortality – about how much we hadn’t talked about yet, how much I still wanted to learn from him. And we were redefining sustainability in our minds: was it really sustainable to live in a small town – where we didn’t feel like we belonged to the community despite our efforts, where we drove far to work, and where my life as an artist and activist was unclear?

Our time in Geyserville gave us the mental space to think about where we had gone, and where we were going. It was essential to our well-being. But it wasn’t the final stop we’d originally thought it would become.

From there, we gave ourselves the freedom to move to a sustainable city, surrounded by family and people who care about the issues we hold dear. Matt decided to go to school (he starts at the University of Washington in the fall). I started a new business with 7 other people who really, truly care about changing the world.

My world has grown, my thoughts have grown, my writing has grown, and my audience has grown! My heart feels fuller as I head in the right direction. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished this year. I have reduced my carbon output to just 10% of the average American. I have figured out the next steps in my life.

And, very importantly, I have (hopefully) inspired a few of you to make changes in your lives, to inspire others and make your communities stronger. My changes catalyze your changes, and your changes catalyze others around you, and this, my friends, is HOW WE CHANGE THE WORLD!

So let’s keep doing that, shall we?

Where One Green Generation Has Traveled In One Year…

One Green Generation Challenges – Carrying into 2009!

The Challenges

  • We hosted The Growing Challenge. 184 participants from many countries around the world. It started exactly a year ago – can you believe it? Because it was so successful at “planting seeds”, I am going to continue it this year. I haven’t decided if it will remain exactly as it is, so please give me any input you can offer as to changes, thoughts, ideas, suggestions… I’m all ears!

  • We hosted The Green Your Insides Challenge. I believe there are a lot more participants than the web page suggests, as I’ve seen this little icon in many places around the blogosphere, and I know a lot of you non-bloggers are following along, taking steps to change your indoor health. I’m not sure how long I’ll continue this challenge, but it will continue for a while longer yet. I have a long list of posts that are ready to be written, so I’m not done!

  • We hosted The Buy Sustainably Challenge. Again, I’ve seen this little icon in many places around the blogosphere, so I’m not sure how many people are participating. That said, I was surprised that more people didn’t join. Several readers are already well on this path, so maybe that’s why? I would love to know your thoughts about this. Please share!!

One Green Generation 2008

Our Conversations

  • We wrote quite a bit about Community Building / Living Locally and Growing Our Own Food. These are some of my favorite topics, so expect them to continue into the new year.

  • We Redefined Normal – that was a feat! Shall we redefine some other things? I think it’s time! I welcome your suggestions.

  • We discussed the state of the Economy and how we can live more Simply and Frugally. We also discussed the state of our Energy supply and our changing Climate. Since these are pressing issues, I will explore them more deeply this year.

  • I’ve written several Recipes, made with Local, Seasonal Food – I will add to these and build a Recipe page so they can more easily be accessed.

  • We also tackled many everyday issues of life and learning, of world changing ideas and life’s little intricacies. These are the essays, the inspirational thoughts, the ideas that spring into my brain. I love writing these, and they are popular here, so I will continue to do so when the inspiration strikes.

Changes… What You Will No Longer See Here

  • Videos. I had high aspirations for videos, but alas – they are a lot of work, and though some of you loved them dearly, they weren’t highly watched. So while they may pop up occasionally, I won’t promise new videos.

  • Challenges that last one or two months. Sustainability is a lifestyle. I am challenging myself to change parts of my life and lifestyle for good, because our planet needs and deserves that, and so do I. So the challenges I post here will focus on lasting change. They won’t make you instantly change your way of life, but they will make you constantly work toward it. Let’s focus on sustainable changes, shall we? I’m open to new ideas here!

Where Would You Like To Go Now?

I like the direction we’re headed with this website. But more importantly, do you? You are why I write, so please – what would you like to see, read, and think about? Anything you’d like to see more or less? What’s missing? What sustainable changes would you like to be challenged with?

Seriously, anything is fair game here – please, please, please let me know your thoughts!!

A Lasting Thought For you…

We Join Together From Many Borders and Continents

Here’s one last bit of information I wanted to share…. The issues that we discuss here at One Generation clearly know no borders – these are the countries and territories that you’ve all come from in December alone!

Algeria Argentina Australia Austria Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Belarus Belgium Bermuda Bosnia-Herzegovina Brazil Bulgaria Cambodia Canada Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt Estonia European Union Finland France Germany Great Britain Greece Greenland Guam Guatemala Hong Kong Hungary Iceland India Iran Ireland Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jordan Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Latvia Lebanon Libya Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Macedonia Malaysia Malta Mexico Moldova Monaco Morocco Mozambique Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Norway Oman Pakistan Panama Peru Philippines Poland Polynesia (French) Portugal Puerto Rico Romania Russian Federation Saudi Arabia Singapore Slovak Republic Slovenia South Africa South Korea Spain Sri Lanka Sweden Switzerland Syria Taiwan Thailand Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United States Uruguay Vanuatu Venezuela Vietnam Yugoslavia

I am so inspired by our diversity. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for visiting and bringing your thoughts, your expertise, and your questions; and for spreading the word and inspiring change in others. We are all in this world together, and the world is stronger when we come together. Thank you, and I look forward to our new year together!

I can’t wait to hear what thoughts you have for the coming year at One Green Generation…

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12 comments to We Have Traveled Far In One Year… Where Do We Go Now?

  • Rob

    I wouldn’t change a thing! We need more videos of you and your mom showing us how to do things in the garden! As far as Challenges, I think it’s fair to say I am a challenge whore, I agree with you on making them more permanent than not, although once I have gone through a challenge, it usually weighs on my mind, causing me to look at things differently.

  • Rob

    Oh yeah- MORE BLOGGER PICNICS!!!!:)

  • becky

    i agree with Rob. even tho i don’t always publicly acknowledge my participation in a “challenge”, and i don’t have a blog where i can post the “challenge” icon, i usually take on the challenge and it often becomes something i incorporate in my everyday life, having learned the benefit and importance of it during the official challenge period. when consciousness of some of the challenges ebbs away i often re-challenge myself to pick it up again.

    also, i’m one of the readers who really enjoys your videos. i think of you every time i “pollinate” my peppers and tomatoes :). i wonder if the professional side of your thinking is pushing you to create videos of a certain level of craft and expertise. if so, it would be entirely understandable, but also, a heck of a lot of work! i’m not sure we readers require such a perfect delivery. i’m thinking of beth terry’s recent tour of her kitchen at fakeplasticfish. i’ve watched this video a couple times and love the feeling it invokes, that i’m just there, in the kitchen with beth and michael and their cute cats one sunday afternoon. and even tho i’m a regular reader and she’s probably covered this already in posts, i learned from the video about the loofah for scrubbing dishes and that Eden products don’t use bpa to line their cans. i loved that she didn’t have a certain “script” in mind, just a sort of “oh, yeah, let me tell you about this..” a very natural, relaxed communication, much like your mom’s smile, walking thru the beautiful garden you created with her so amazingly fast!

    keep up the good work, we truly appreciate all you do! and best wishes to you and Matt for the new year!

  • I vote for more delicious recipes. And, you are right, wow!, that technology free challenge was a lifetime ago. Congratulations on hitting 10%. That rocks and you must feel fantastic.

    Happy New Year, Melinda.

  • Have a happy, healthy new year! Don’t feel you need to be all things to all people — what’s so great about this blog is that it’s from your heart.

  • [...] has lived 97 extremely healthy years, one can’t help thinking about the nature of longevity. As I wait to hear more about your thoughts for our site in 2009, I wanted to share with you what I wrote as I sat by his side in the hospital, a year [...]

  • One of the things that I want to do this year is to grow save my own vegetable seeds. Maybe there is a place for that in the Growing Challenge?

  • Thank you all for your responses! I’m not sure what to make of the fact that there were so few who responded… If anyone has any suggestions at any time, please feel free to comment or email – I’d love to hear from you!

    And in the meantime, I will take the lack of input as a sign that I’m on the right track. : )

    Rob, Ooh, good point. I was thinking about a seed exchange sometime soon. Even if it’s just a few of us getting together to trade extras from our seed packets, that would save us all lots of money. What do you think?

    becky, Thanks for letting me know you participate in the challenges! I have been thinking about all of you who don’t have blogs. I wonder if it would help to have something you can print out, or even something you could add to your computer screen to remind you…?

    And yes, the videos. I think I need to not pressure myself to do them, and then if they happen, they happen. The important thing for me is to get the word out, in whatever medium I can best do it. Right now, writing is the best choice… but I will keep your thoughts in mind. You’re not the only one!! : ) Thank you for your input. Happy new year to you, too!

    GB, You’re on! More recipes it is. : ) Happy New Year!

    Audrey, Thank you. : ) Happy new year to you, too.

    Deb G, Yes, yes, yes!! I’ve been meaning to do this for over a year now, so yes – I will set up a challenge soon. Maybe a new “From Seed To Seed” Challenge…


  • “From Seed To Seed,” that’s great!

  • I really enjoy your website and it helps me stay inspired, so please keep it up! :)

  • Thanks Jen!! And thanks for the extra push to host this challenge, Deb G!

  • I think your challenges are great. I feel like while I’m committed to trying to Green My Insides, I am not pressured to do it in someone else’s pace. I love your articles and save the info in my head for when I have time, or place, or the materials necessary for it. I am glad it’s okay to not be able to do everything *now* but still have the information for when it is. It really helps me out that way. Plus, it’s all so interesting to me.

    Also, while the videos are a good idea, I think you’re right in not doing more of them. They do seem like you’re overreaching with videos, when your articles have so many pictures and you already have lots of clear, easy-to-read how to’s.

    Now I feel like I should try one of your recipes again. Maybe I should get some jam and yogurt and flour and try those pancakes again… (they did not work out so well for me the first time.)

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