Size is Relative: When Oversized American Kitchens Are Called “Tiny”

Americans have a skewed sense of size. They will use adjectives like “tiny” to describe living spaces and kitchen appliances that would be considered “huge” or at least “normal” in the rest of the world. I have long since learned to expect to see the trend towards glorifying large size and wasted space in American mainstream interior magazines. What surprises and worries me more is to see American environmental activists embracing the idea that their perfectly normal or even large living spaces should be called “tiny.” In my opinion, environmentally conscious people should refuse to accept and embrace American mainstream ideas about what ought to be considered “normal” in terms of size and also in terms of lifestyle choices. After all, size is relative, and we can choose our own vocabulary and benchmarks for what constitutes “large” or “small.” [Read more…]

Do this One Thing for the Climate

Scientists routinely identify some lifestyle habit that contributes to global warming and come up with a better alternative that causes less environmental harm. Then people recommend that others should change their lifestyles and do the better alternative whenever possible. So far so good. And then somebody shows up and says, “Let’s all do this one thing and we will save the planet.” Um, no, that’s not how it works. [Read more…]

Power Fantasies

Do you fantasize about murdering random strangers who annoy you when you meet them in a public park? No? Great! Congratulations on hopefully being a sane person and a decent human being.

Yesterday I hit a new milestone in my blogging “career.” I got online death threats for the first time. Yay! Lucky me! Well, sort of. The person (whom I will call Crazy Murderous Daddy in this blog post) didn’t actually threaten to come to Latvia and kill me; instead they wrote a description of a power fantasy about how they would enjoy killing me and my dogs. I always expected death threats due to my blog posts about trans issues, but nope, instead a person got pissed off when I wrote that parents have a responsibility to supervise their kids and teach their kids not to touch other people’s dogs without the owner’s permission. Wow! And here I thought that “parental responsibility” is not a controversial subject. [Read more…]

Plastic Free July

It’s July now. The month in which people are reminded that they could try to reduce the amount of waste they create. Plastic Free July challenge encourages people to refuse single-use plastics in July (and beyond). The idea is that people can experiment with ways how to reduce the amount of plastic waste they create, find great alternatives for disposable goods, and hopefully also develop some new and better lifestyle habits.

What can you do? Here is a list of some basic ideas you can try. And in this blog post I have already written about how individuals can try to reduce the amount of waste they create. Basically, avoid single-use plastic packaging for the goods you buy, refuse takeaway items (plastic bags, bottles, straws, coffee cups), replace single-use items with reusable items (for example, safety razors and glass straws instead of plastic equivalents).

And here’s a picture with a summery of various things you can try to live with less waste:

Live with Less Waste

How to Live with Less Waste

[Read more…]

Summer Solstice Celebration

Summer solstice (Jāņi in Latvian) is celebrated on 23rd and 24th June where I live. And, yes, I do know that solstice is actually a few days before that. So it goes. Here Jāņi is one of the major celebrations, and some of the traditions, mostly remnants of the good old pagan days, are pretty fun. And somehow Latvian Christians who celebrate what is essentially a pagan holiday do not feel any cognitive dissonance. But hey, it’s fun.

Because of COVID-19, this year there was no large public celebration. Instead everybody had to celebrate at home with their family. Thus this time I will write about how Jāņi are usually celebrated in this part of the world in addition to what we could do this year. [Read more…]