Breaking Up With Yoga

Twenty years ago I fell head over heels -- literally -- in love with yoga. It was a beautiful relationship, until it became abusive.

Twenty years ago I fell head over heels – literally – in love with yoga. After two previous decades filled with body shame and borderline anorexia, yoga taught me acceptance, and that strength was better than skinny. Through relationships, jobs, marriage, pregnancy – I practiced the day I went into labor – parenting, getting fired, my father’s mental illness, menopause, founding a company, and so much more, yoga was there for me, mentally and physically. Stepping onto the mat put everything into perspective. Stepping off, I took that perspective with me.

It was a beautiful relationship, until it became abusive.

[Read more…]

Coronavirus Gives Me Hope for Climate Change

puppy worried about coronavirus
Thanks to @sea_hugger for the inspiration!

As China shut down factories and refineries, the country’s carbon dioxide emissions dropped by 25% – about 150 million metric tons, which is equivalent to what the state of New York emits in a year. Satellite images released by NASA and the European Space Agency show dramatically reduced nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, which are released by cars, power plants, and factories; carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal are similarly reduced.

In Los Angeles, where I live, our air has been cleaner in the past three weeks than in previous months, and traffic is moving nearly 70% faster than the weeks before the shutdown. Despite pressure from the plastics industry to abandon zero-waste strategies, most of us are trying to stick to our refillable, reusable, perpetually washable guns.

People’s lives are at stake. These are not sacrifices we would ever make voluntarily. But are there lessons we can learn?

[Read more…]

How To Fight Coronawashing

“Fife Ethylene Plant” by Richard Webb is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency shocked environmentalists by announcing that companies do not need to meet environmental standards – including monitoring and reporting – during the coronavirus outbreak. This week, led by the Natural Resources Defense Council, more than 20 environmental groups petitioned the EPA for more “stringent disclosure,” calling the memo a “license to pollute” and a “clear opportunity for abuse.”

The EPA move is “essentially a nationwide waiver of environmental rules for the indefinite future,” said former EPA Office of Enforcement head Cynthia Giles, and even more frightening given the fact that air pollution makes people more vulnerable to viruses like COVID-19 because it lowers our ability to fight off infection and may, in fact, help spread it.

[Read more…]

Can You Avoid Plastic Pollution In A Pandemic?

reusable washable shopping bags

Last week, my husband unloaded eight paper shopping bags filled with plastic-wrapped food. After decades working on sustainability – and the last four years focused on single-use plastic, including a TEDx talk last year and another in 2017 – the sight made me physically ill. This is the third week of shelter in place for most of the country, including Los Angeles, where I live. And while most of us spent the time battling alternating bouts of terror and boredom, the plastics industry was in attack mode. As the New York Times described, “The plastic bag industry, battered by a wave of bans nationwide, is using the coronavirus crisis to try to block laws prohibiting single-use plastic.”

Coronawashing. That’s a new one.

[Read more…]

How To Rock A Zoom or Videoconference

Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff with zoom filter

Even before sheltering in place, I spent more time meeting colleagues and co-workers on screens than I did in person. In many cases, we’re in different countries and time zones so the communication is 100% virtual, yet on the rare occasion when we meet in person I already feel like we’re old friends. But conference calls and video chats are funny places. Little things can add up to big annoyances. Small challenges in communication can dramatically impact work flow. So I’ve put together this handy-dandy guide to help.

[Read more…]

Plastic: 4 Facts You Should Know

seahorse plastic earbud

photo: National Geographic

Have you heard the stats on plastic? One million plastic bags used every minute around the globe. Three million water bottles used every hour in the United States. Five million straws used every day in America. Plastic production increased 2,000 percent from 1964 to 2014. More than 300 million tons of new plastic produced annually and less than 10% recycled.

Plastic overconsumption is affecting our environment—and our health. Reports show that eight million tons go into the ocean each year (the equivalent of a garbage truck full every minute) and that if we don’t do something about it, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

In the last two years that I’ve spent focused on this issue, I’ve come to understand the bigger picture about plastic pollution—and what we can do about it. If you care about climate change, your health or animal welfare, you need to know these four facts about plastic. [Read more…]

Watch My TEDx Talk!

I feel so honored to have been chosen by TEDxSantaBarbara to share my vision of how one straw can change the world. What are you doing to fight plastic pollution? I’d love to hear about it. Thanks!

Turmeric for Health

turmeric root and powder against white backdropEveryone seems to be mentioning turmeric for health, these days. And it’s not just about a spice that you put in your curry. A proud member of the ginger family, turmeric is said to be an immune system builder and powerful antioxidant. I got the scoop from Randi Ragan, holistic well-being expert, founder of GreenBliss EcoSpa and author of the brand-new book A Year of Living Mindfully: Seasonal Practices to Nourish Body, Mind and Spirit. This beautifully-illustrated book is chock full of recipes, teas, tonics, exercises and daily practices—including instructions on how to make an easy turmeric for health tonic, which I’ve included below. All are designed to reduce stress, avoid illness and improve wellness. Interested? I’ve got two copies to give away! [Read more…]