Drawdown: A Book that Just Might Save the Planet

The bad news on the environment is as unrelenting as a California wildfire. We’re well over 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (scientists consider 350 ppm safe). A 2012 report from the World Bank describes the world as “barreling down a path to heat up by 4 degrees at the end […]

Pictures at an Aquarium (or Why I Went Plastic-Free)

Last week during spring break, my daughters, a friend and I headed down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. My journey to plastic-free living, followed by zero-waste living (basically the same thing) began with my concern over the plastic pollution choking our oceans and its inhabitants. I decided I had to get plastic out of my life. […]

An Oven That Saves Lives

I love low-tech solutions. An oven made out of cardboard boxes will likely garner less attention than will a refrigerator that alerts its owner via Apple Watch of eggs on the verge of spoiling. At least, it would attract more attention here in Silicon Valley—and probably gobs of venture capital to boot. (Wouldn’t it be […]

6 Self-Centered Reasons to Reduce Your Waste

A zero-waste lifestyle may conjure up images like the Albrecht Dürer woodcut below, The Penitent, with plenty of self-flagellation, a diet consisting of mere bread and water (when not fasting), hair shirts, medieval dregs—basically a wretched life of perpetual self-denial. When I decided to go plastic-free, I merely wanted to avoid contributing to the colossal plastic pollution problem in our oceans. I […]

Compost for the Lazy: Throw It on the Ground

Compost can save the world! It sucks carbon dioxide out of the air and not only that, a half-inch layer of this black gold can still increase yields years after its application. I had been composting in our community bins for nearly 10 years but decided to start a rogue pile in my yard several months ago. I […]

How to Ferment Money

This past week, I was pretty excited when I spied the first flower on my cucumbers and a little bud behind it. Unfortunately, I haven’t noticed any bees. According to a new report co-authored by researchers at Stanford, Princeton and Berkeley, Earth has entered its sixth period of mass extinction. Within just three generations, pollination […]

7 Tactics for a Trash-Free Road Trip

Notice I didn’t use the term “zero-waste” in the title. I would feel a little ridiculous writing about a road trip to Tahoe—an entire tank of fossil fuel away—and then saying, “Look at me! I brought my own fork!” I think twice before I travel these days and I haven’t flown this year, although I […]

Letter from California (Part II)

Dear Reader, In my last letter, I wrote about the water conservation measures I have taken at home as the mega-drought here in California rages on with no end in sight. Although I am happy to have incorporated these practices into my daily life—I find them easy enough to do—ordinary citizens like myself do not consume the […]

Letter from California (Part I)

Dear Reader, As you likely know, we’re experiencing an epic drought here in California, the worst in the state’s history. Last week’s snowpack measurements came in at 80 percent below last year’s record low peak snowpack measurements. But as I look around, life continues as normal—unbearable traffic; talk at my café of startups, seed funds […]

Buying the Farm

I’ve talked about dropping out of society and living off the land since high school when my beloved physics teacher Mr. Ross took a year-long sabbatical to farm with his family. In 2011, my sister beat me to the punch and bought a 120-acre farm northeast of Toronto (although she has not dropped out of […]

Slowing Down for the Climate

Yesterday, I participated in my second Fast for the Climate. (You can read about my first fast here.) I cannot say I find fasting for a day easy, but I certainly do find it both worthwhile and transformative. I followed other fasters on Twitter yesterday, using the hashtag #fastfortheclimate, and noticed a couple of haters. […]