We woke this morning ready to start a new week with...
tears, frustration and (for one particular member of the family), a pretty sad beginning of their day.
That's, obviously, not how I would prefer to start my days, but it's life; truly. There are good days and there are not so good days; there are amazing days and there are days of abject misery. Lots of days simply fall in between and may be unremarkable in many ways. The point is, life is lived in, and through, the ups and the downs. The learnings often come right after the failures. The growth coming from sadness to get to your very best down the road where you can celebrate your accomplishments knowing the pathway you walked to get there was challenging.
In all things, even the next moment can change your trajectory and put your life on a new pathway. For days like today, I remember that even though it's a "rainy" day emotionally, the sun will come out tomorrow (or the next moment) and because of the rain (sadness), we can enjoy the sun (joy). But, most of all, because there is both, there lies the opportunity for the growth of all living things.
Sustainability Spotlight: I've been on an emotional "down" for sustainability trying to find the joy and the positivity to return to my efforts on the blog where I share (hopefully) a lot of positive perspective and thoughtful offerings on to make the differences we need to change our trajectory. In short, I haven't posted because that hasn't been how I have felt about sustainability. Through weeks now, for me, there has been a valley of sadness for the planet and humanity's approach to sustainability; through weather events, socio-political strife, and the excess of the holidays, I found disappointment. There simply hasn't been a noticeable shift in America that meets the needs of the world for protecting our resources or enough "care" that they are (quite simply) running out.
However, once I breached the clouds of my discontentment, I remembered that you can't always wait to be gifted with what you need. Sometimes, you have to go and search for it.
So, search for it I did, and I found some sunlight after all; the world is becoming more sustainable in many small and big ways. I just had to make my perspective about finding the positive; outside of America. And maybe, just maybe, by sharing the ideas and the positive news across the world on the means and methods for sustainability elsewhere, we can get going onward too.
Here's my Sunshine list - just some of the stories from the world that bolstered my confidence in humanity's approach to the environment, and which got me writing again, encouraged again, and ready to be a champion for sustainability outside my sphere of influence again:
20 cities (including Los Angeles, CA and Boynton Beach, FL in the USA!) have endorsed the Plant Based Treaty - "...companion to the UNFCCC/Paris Agreement, The Plant Based Treaty initiative is a grassroots campaign designed to put food systems at the forefront of combating the climate crisis. Modeled on the popular Fossil Fuel Treaty, the Plant Based Treaty aims to halt the widespread degradation of critical ecosystems caused by animal agriculture and to promote a shift to healthier, sustainable plant-based diets."
The EU has proposed draft legislation which would require companies to use scientific metrics to substantiate their claims of sustainability; the goal is to remove the ability to use marketing influence to create 'greenwashing' (the term used when companies propose their products are eco-friendly, but do not have the data to support such claims of sustainability).
France bans single-use plastics in Fast Food restaurants for dine-in - "Under the new rules, any restaurant with more than 20 seats – including work canteens, bakery chains, fast-food and sushi outlets – will have to provide reusable, washable cups, plates, dishes and cutlery for customers eating in. French environmental groups called it a “complete paradigm shift” for the sector." theguardian.com
Brazil's newly elected president has proposed to turn Brazil into a "new green superpower" - "In his first decisions as president, he restored the authority of the government's environmental protection agency Ibama to combat illegal deforestation...In addition, he unfroze the billion-dollar Amazon fund financed by Norway and Germany to back sustainability projects, reinforcing his commitment to ending deforestation in the Amazon, which surged to a 15-year high under (the prior government)." Euronews.com
Keep searching for your "sunshine list" - I'm sure there are a lot of positive stories as we enter a new year, new governments, and new commitments to the Earth that can encourage you to continue on a journey of sustainability (and veganism in support of the environment if that's what fits for you).
In all things, I've remained dedicated and committed to my approach to sustainability; I'm ready to continue sharing that story / journey on this blog and in these recipes because if we don't talk about the ups and the downs, how can we truly live and grow together as a species? The sunshine is just as imperative as the rain so appreciate both and grow through the change!
If you are feeling like you need a boost to get through your own clouds, whip up a batch of these muffins; the fresh citrus and pops of cranberry will fuel you and get you thinking about the "brightness" of your day ahead to remember that the sun will come out tomorrow; you just need to get there through today.
1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp filtered water)
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh cranberries (chopped in a mini food processor to ~1/2 cup)
1 orange (zested and juiced to 1/4 cup - see directions below)
1/4 cup vegan butter (melted)
1 cup oat milk (I used Oatly)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix flax egg in small bowl - set aside to "gel"
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F
Add flour through salt to a medium bowl and whisk to combine
Add orange zest and chopped cranberries to your dry mix and stir to coat all pieces / distribute zest
Melt vegan butter in a large (4 cup) measuring cup, then add milk and extract - whisk to combine
Pour butter mixture into your dry mix, then add your flax egg
Stir just to combine - you should have a nice thick batter
Line (or spray with cooking spray) a 12-cup muffin tin - if you are using liners, try silicone for sustainability purposes!
Using a large mechanical ice cream scoop, fill each muffin mold to 3/4's full.
Slide pan into oven and bake for 24-26 minutes (or until slightly golden and muffins spring to the touch)
Remove muffins from pan immediately (Careful! they are hot) and let them cool completely on a wire rack. Serve warm or refrigerate up to 5 days and enjoy them chilled.
With love and hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie