Today, I’m supposed to be writing a blog about cookware. But, I can’t bring myself to do it. And, believe me, I think safe cookware is important. Well, who am I telling? You know, dear reader, of course you do, that it’s important to me because you're here reading.
But, today is not a safe cookware kind of day. Today is a day to talk about bigger things. To talk about why cookware matters at all. I could get hit by a car on my drive home, and the chemicals we talk about on this site will build up over a long lifetime, and may never really impact my health before I die of a heart attack.
I live in the Bay Area, and today, the air is thick with smoke. As the morning progressed, we watched San Francisco become increasingly obscured by, not Carl, the usual fog that we know so well, but smoke and ash. As I stepped outside, I saw the sidewalk was coated in a thin layer of ash particulate, sifting seemingly invisibly down.
I skipped my morning run, which turned out to be the right call because later the authorities recommended that Bay Area residents stay indoors.
This all felt especially close because I attended a wedding in St Helena, in Napa Valley (about 50 miles from here), this weekend. I was just there. And my friends, the bride and groom, evacuated with their families yesterday. One of my high school friends, who I had just seen at the wedding, lives in the area, and was impacted in ways that hit much closer to home.
Unaware of the fires because there was no cell reception where we were, we had gone hiking in Point Reyes, a National Park, to get some exercise, escape the noise of the city, and breathe in nature, but the car was flaked with ash before we left the parking lot, and the mountainside in front of us was largely obscured by smoke.
I believe in the cycles of renewal, and of the mother nature’s ways of replenishing herself - through cycles of destruction and renewal, and, yes, this cycle includes events like wildfires. But, these fires—among the worst wildfires in California’s history, coupled with the hottest day on record EVER in San Francisco last month, and the hurricanes a coast away—including a once in a thousand year storm in Houston, and tornadoes in New York City—they are not so much natural cycles of renewal as humanity reaping what we have sown. Fueled by climate change, these natural disasters have become more feverish, more voracious, and closer together. Like tragic mass shootings, superstorms and decidedly unnatural disasters feel like they are just becoming part of the news cycle. We can't let that happen. We have all the choice in the world, and the opportunity for action.
With the ash under my boot heels, and the smell of smoke creating a headache, even within the confines of the house, climate change is knocking on my door with immediacy—she is become deeply personal.
And she is a call to action.
Over the summer, my fiancé and I visited Bryce Canyon, and while we were there, a wildfire was spreading through a nearby area. Several days into the fires, I spoke with a park ranger, who told me that the firefighters had reached a point where they had acknowledged that the fire could not be contained, and that they needed to let it burn.
It struck me then, as it has before, that we are dealing with mother nature, and she will always rule. And, yet, we have twisted her. We have fed her pollutants and toxic chemicals, and she has been warped, mutated into something less natural. The beach, like the one I visited in New Jersey this summer, she is littered with plastic straws and pulverized birthday balloons on which you can make out twisted forms of Elsa and Ana. Wild animals, like the one in the picture below, are contorted, sickened, and killed by our waste. Our pets—Kaitlin, Baby Girl, and Scooby—they are sickened by the chemicals in our couch. The woods, like the one I just hiked, are filled with the sounds of mankind. National Parks, like Arches, which I visited over the summer, are overrun with tourists so that they feel more like Disneyland than nature. What have we done? What will we do? Indeed. What will we choose to do.
I used to work directly on climate change, at the Carbon War Room, a small but high-powered nonprofit that focuses on profitable solutions to climate change. And, what I loved about that work was its hopefulness. We knew and know that there are tangible solutions that make economic sense to adopt right now. It wasn’t about asking people to change. It was about harnessing reality. We were realistic about the changes that people and companies would make. We acted based on that knowledge.
And, that, too is what Cara’s Market is about. It should not be difficult to fight climate change, to live healthily, to acknowledge that our family’s health is inextricably linked with the health of our environment. That we are all connected to one fragile and resilient ecosystem, this little planet of ours. And, that we must care for ourselves, and for her. Cara’s Market is hopeful – buying a BPA-free water bottle seems small. It does, truly, even to me. But, it is a defiant, and hopeful act. This act shows what we expect, from ourselves, and from the companies we support. Until we demand that our companies are more responsible in what they sell us—until we can easily purchase products that are good for our families, our communities, and the land we call home—it is going to get worse. And worse. With an accelerating pace. We must demand—and support—more-responsible products, from companies that use fewer harmful chemicals, generate less waste, and burn less—or renewable—electricity. Your dollars speak volumes and move mountains. Mountains? Well, maybe not mountains. But do they shift carbon? Do they shift chemicals? Yes. Time and time again, yes.
Here, we want to create the opportunity for you to take meaningful action, while being realistic about what you need to live your life. You want to do good, and you need a couch in your living room, you need the convenience of pots and pans that are easy to clean, and a baby bottle that won’t break when your child flings it on the floor.
We are here to help. Let us know how.