Sustainable Lifestyle Choices in 2022

Wow. The last couple of years....what does one even say? I don’t think I have to say anything. It’s been an interesting collective human experience, am I right?!

Personally I have gone through some significant life events which required all of my time and focus, so I had to put my website in hibernation for a bit to take that time for myself. 

Recently though, the animals have been calling me back- it’s time to once again focus on them and my work of bringing their images and stories to the people who are called to connect with them; and I am SO happy to be back in this space connecting and creating with their help. I have also missed connecting with all of you! 

All of your kindness and support over the years has meant so very much to me and nothing brings me more joy than supporting someone’s special connection with an animal through my work. Thank you SO much for being here and for sharing your time with me. Time is precious and in our frantic world we often feel like we don’t have much of it so the fact that you are choosing to share some of it with me and the animals I illustrate means so much.

I have been thinking a lot recently about my lifestyle; the choices I make in how I live and how they have changed over the years. For a while these thoughts were just about me and my immediate needs- what I need to do to make sure my kids, animals, and house are taken care of and how to allocate resources in the best way to do that sustainably. In doing that however, I have recently begun to look at these choices more carefully through a lens of global sustainability and how my lifestyle choices affect animals in particular. 

A lot of my choices in the last two years have revolved around financial resources- how best to use the money I make to take care of my loved ones and make sure we have what we need. This has included buying less and living ‘smaller’ on a physical scale. How this choice affects me personally is pretty obvious- if I buy fewer nonessentials on an impulsive basis I will have more money to put towards the care of my rescue animals and towards building savings for emergencies- but how does this choice affect animals as a whole?  How do my specific buying habits affect their environment? Are there choices I can make to better serve the animals of our beautiful planet? 

Over the upcoming months, I am going to be profiling small actions we can take in our daily lives that over time (and especially collectively) can make a big difference for animals and their habitats. I will also be profiling some specific animals that are asking us to make these changes, because their future is uncertain at best. 

To be clear, I’m not about judgment- of myself or others. I believe in making small lifestyle changes that over time make a big difference and these are going to be different for each person. There are things I’m naturally good at, for example I’m good at making small lifestyle habits that add up over time, and there are things I’m not as good at, for example larger scale political actions. 

It takes all different kinds of people and actions to make a difference, so I believe in doing the things that call to you. Yes, stretch yourself and lean into the uncomfortable!- but start small with what is most interesting to you, because those are things that are most likely going to stick on a more long term basis. 

Maybe start checking labels for palm oil and choose a brand that either doesn’t use it or uses that which is sustainably produced. For me that looks like choosing Ortega taco shells over other major national brands. That’s easy for me and I can do it at any supermarket. Is there a brand of coffee that’s shade-grown and fair trade? Maybe choose that one. (More on why I avoid palm oil and try to find shade grown coffee in upcoming blogs). 

I find that if I try to do ALL THE THINGS all at once I burn out fast. We are all busy and the world we live in is one of constant input and stimulation- keeping track of one small change until it becomes a habit is the way I have found I can make a lasting difference. Once I have that change down (grabbing the blue box of taco shells for weekly Taco Night is now automatic), l look to see if there is something else I can do. It truly all adds up. 

I don’t like being told what to do- and I am not about telling other people what to do- so I won’t be doing any of that here. This will be a way for me to learn more about small actions I personally can take, what animals are helped by that action, and tips on making that action stick as a habit. Writing about it is a way to journal the process. That being said, it’s fun to have company on the journey, so if you are inspired to incorporate a few of the changes into your own lifestyle, that will be super awesome too and I’d love to hear about it

If you’d like to come along and explore these things with me, sign up for my newsletter or subscribe to this blog- I send out one a month and it will include new art and links to new blog posts as well as a discount code for any art you’d like to give a loving home! :)