I'm Kate – the writer behind A Real Green Life. My intention is that if you know me personally, you'll hear the same "voice" on this site as you'd hear in a face to face conversation with me.
So, if you’re interested, here's some stuff about me to help you make the connection...
On why I'm building ARealGreenLife
Writing here is a means of holding myself accountable.
There’s plenty to do. Setting out to live more sustainably is not a life path characterized by boredom or excess leisure hours. So why have I taken on the mammoth-sized task of learning how to build and maintain a website and blog?
On the days when I'm struggling on this steep learning curve, the first answer that pops up is that I like to make things difficult for myself – and this is my own particular form of self-torture.
Happily, another answer is that this site is a place for self-expression. There is a writer in me who just wants to play with words – this is my sandpit and my soapbox.
If I'm not part of the solution then I'm still part of the problem
Besides self-torture or self-expression, writing here is a means of holding myself accountable. The more clearly I state my purpose here, the more effectively I find myself working toward it. We teach that which we most need to learn.
Lastly, but still importantly, I intend my writing on ARealGreenLife to be part of the solution to the immense loss I see and feel around me.
Yes, perhaps that sounds a bit melodramatic. So let me illustrate by borrowing words from George Monbiot's article, The Unseen World. The bold emphasis and the added text [in brackets], are mine.
"We inhabit parallel worlds of perception, bounded by our interests and experience. What is obvious to some is invisible to others…
Our selective blindness is lethal to the living world … The people of every generation perceive the state of the ecosystems they encountered in their childhood as normal and natural.
[When ecosystems are damaged or destroyed, communities, languages and cultures wiped out, species irretrievably lost] ... we are unaware that the baseline by which we judge the decline is [already] a state of extreme depletion.
[And for most of us, ecological loss is very rarely at the forefront of our awareness, because] ... the infrastructure of marketing and media helps us not to see, not to think, not to connect our spots of perception to create a moral worldview upon which we can act.
Most people subconsciously collaborate in this evasion. It protects [us] from either grief or cognitive dissonance."
George Monboit, The Unseen World, December 2017
George Monbiot has been reading my mind. It troubles me deeply when I look around and see "business as usual," when business as usual is destroying the planet and lifeforms I love and impoverishing our childrens' future.
So. In my personal life, in my garden, in my kitchen, and here at my keyboard, I take whatever small actions I can to disrupt business as usual and replace it with something more ethical, more wholesome, more sustainable.
I hope you'll join me.
On who I am and what's important to me
From when our children were very small, we knew we were going to be a home educating family. We do not separate learning from life, and we see "educating" as being an extension of "parenting."
Being with our kids 24/7 has turned out to be the single biggest catalyst for my own growth, that I’ve ever experienced. My children deserve the best mother and mentor that I can be, and I'm challenged each day to grow into that person.
It's by far the most challenging and rewarding journey I have ever been on.
Growing food and connecting with nature
The practice of growing and harvesting food provides a direct, gut-level connection that nourishes our spirits as importantly as the food nourishes our bodies.
I like growing things. There’s something incredibly satisfying for me about bringing food directly from our garden to our table, complete with caterpillars, clinging soil, and visceral memories of all the steps and connections it took to grow that food.
I also like being with the animals on our farm. Something good happens in my insides when I’m with animals. Time slows down or stops, and the world feels right.
I think the truth is that we are really not as far removed from nature as we’ve been led to believe, and a connection to nature in any form is very therapeutic for us – it certainly is for me.
I can’t think of a more direct and gut-level way of connecting to nature than through the practice of growing and harvesting food.
Real food, eating ethically, and boycotting supermarkets
I cook. Everything. From scratch.
When I don’t want to cook, I still cook, because there is no packaged food in our house.
I’d often rather be out gardening or playing with animals or in the office writing, but I cook, because I believe real food is important, and most of what can be bought at the supermarket is not real food.
About half of what we eat, comes from our own farm. Some of it comes from farms within 100km of where we live. And the remainder comes from locally owned and operated supermarkets and from co-ops.
For the things I can’t get in my local area, I try to buy from suppliers who take good care of their own local community and ecosystems.
I have a goal to completely eliminate shopping at supermarkets from our lives.
As a young adult I built a career around helping people with horses.
But as a mother I struggled to reconcile horsemanship with parenting.
Horses have been important to me all my life.
While I was growing up, the horse was a warm presence I relied on in an otherwise lonely world. As a young adult, I built a career around helping people with horses.
In my thirties, my personal study of natural horsemanship became an avenue of spiritual development for me.
I needed horses, all those years and in all those ways, to help me grow.
But I found it hard, for many reasons, to reconcile motherhood with horsemanship. After my second child was born, my life path took a turn that led me away from horses for a while.
It’s been a long, long wait, but finally we’re in a position to have horses in our lives again, on a much smaller and simpler scale this time.
Our first new equine family member is named Trippy – because it was such a trip to ride again after so long without. The second is Lacey, a welsh pony who has come to live with us for a while to help our kids learn about horses.
I don't tell my kids that God sits on a throne in the sky, judging your worthiness before sending you to heaven or hell.
I’m in an ongoing process of defining what my “religion” is, partly to find a bedrock for myself, and partly so I can share it with my kids.
It’s got something to do with loving and revering Mother Earth, and with trusting a Great Big Spirit that is all around us all the time, that we came from and will return to.
Sometimes, I call that Great Big Spirit, “God." I don’t define it as male. I most definitely don’t describe it to my children as a kingly man with a white beard, sitting on a throne in the sky and judging your worthiness before drafting you off to heaven or hell.
On being opinionated, and deciding for yourself
I have an opinion about most things. It’s taken me a long time to begin to learn that sometimes it would be better if I kept my opinion to myself. I still slip up a lot on that one.
I’m a reading addict and a research junkie, but an entirely homegrown one. I left school at the earliest opportunity to play with cows and horses, and listen to the voice of nature; I have no pieces of paper that say my opinion should count for anything.
You’ll have to just read my stuff and decide that for yourself.
Which pretty much sums up what I think you should do with most things:
- Read / listen.
- Consider, on your own terms.
- Decide for yourself.
Where to go next?
A real green life
for you, your family, and our living planet.