Hello, my name is Linda.
This is the short version of how I became an environmentalist and activist.
I lived most of my life in Southern California enjoying the beaches, mountains, gardens, parks, trees, flowers, and birds by playing, walking, hiking, camping, and the occasional backpacking trip.
My spouse and I raised our children in a single-family home with green lawns and commuted to our respective jobs in single-passenger cars. We were “good” American consumers acquiring a house, cars, appliances, furniture, clothes, toys, computers, and decorations for every holiday. We lived our lives, worked at our jobs, and tried to stay out of credit card debt.
In those days, I did not think about how much water and other resources it takes for even one family like ours to live comfortably in what is basically a desert. We purchased a wide array of healthy food and not-so-healthy food-like products at the grocery market. I gave little thought to who produced it, how far it traveled to the store, or what pesticides were used to grow it. Some of my jobs required visiting clients and I virtually lived in my car during the week. I thought traffic jams were a drag but I did not consider what was causing them and how many resources are used to produce and operate a car, or how harmful fossil fuels are to people and Earth.
As you can see, I was not obvious environmental activist material. It did not happen overnight and was the result of a lot of different things that occurred over time.
- My spouse and I moved to the California Central Coast and lived surrounded by a Monterey pine forest. Living close to nature made me mindful of the environment, its beauty, and its interrelatedness.
- At a former employer, one of our clients embarked on a substantial green building program so I was exposed to green building practices and took the opportunity to learn as much as possible.
- A life-long reader, I began reading whatever I could get my hands on through our local library system about the environment, climate change, food production, the fossil fuel industry, and other related topics.
At some point, I realized I had to change—we all must change. There is no Planet B.
Sometimes when you are faced with a seemingly insurmountable issue, you feel overwhelmed. What can you possibly do to make a positive impact on such a huge problem? You may feel powerless and scared. You freeze like a deer in the headlights and do nothing.
It would have been easy for me to say to myself, “I am just one person. I cannot do anything about the environmental crisis unfolding across the world.” But that is not true. There are things I can do like change the way I live, become an activist, and start this blog.
I left my corporate job, learned how to design a website, and started writing. Later, I joined the board of directors of an environmental and social justice nonprofit called Ecologistics. This led to participating in climate marches and joining the SLO Climate Coalition.
My life was dedicated to doing whatever I could to help keep Earth habitable for my children, your children, everyone else’s children, and all the non-human living beings with which we share the planet.
Events occurred that derailed me like breast cancer, divorce, moving out of California, returning to paid employment, and a global pandemic.
I may have faltered in my quest to live more lightly on Earth and to persuade others to do the same, but I never gave up. And I never will.
You, too, can become an unlikely environmentalist.
I will look for you at the next climate strike.
Linda Anne Casson Poppenheimer
The Unlikely Environmentalist