Bitesize Blog

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi there, I’m Mariah Matheson. I’m also an occasionally overwhelmed wife, mother of two, former government employee, and current content writer. I have a Bachelor Degree in Political and Social Sciences and a Master Degree in Public Administration. I’m also on a roller coaster ride toward zero waste, climate change activism, minimalism, and simple living. I live in the Southeastern United States with my husband, young children, and several fur babies.

Where can people follow your blog?

My latest blog is Fatchange.com.

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Interview

What made you start your blog?

Long before Al Gore came on the scene, I did an experiment on the greenhouse effect as a young elementary student in 1988. This was back in the day when parents DID NOT help us kids with school projects. I had an aquarium, dirt, plants, and an Encyclopedia Britannica. I had to figure out how to recreate the greenhouse effect in a closed-loop system. My teachers loved the project and I won 3rd prize. This single science project set me on a path toward environmentalism. It’s amazing what one event in your life can do.

I started blogging in 2008 as a hobby. My first blog is ASpaceBlogyssey.com which is an entertainment blog. I created Fatchange.com in 2017 and EcoAuditAugust.com (coming soon) in 2019. I became a full-time content creator in October of 2019.

What are your thoughts on Climate Change?

CLIMATE CHANGE IS A FACT, BASED ON DATA AND EQUATIONS. It’s science (not politics). The human-causation of the current observed warming over the past half-century is well-documented and well-established and is uncontroversial in a scientific sense. Scientists have evaluated all-natural forcings and factors capable of driving the Earth’s climate to change, including orbital (Milankovitch) and solar forcings, and it is only when the anthropogenic forcing is included that the observed modern warming can be explained.

The effects of global warming on the timescale of human lifetimes are irreversible, are happening now and will continue to worsen in decades to come. But it IS STOPPABLE. For example, if you’re digging a well, if you STOP digging, the well will STOP getting deeper. So time and change on a massive scale can make a difference for those of us living now and for those generations yet to come.

Have you changed much about your lifestyle?

In 2015, I saw Laura Ling’s interview with Lauren Singer from Trash is for Tossers. Lauren was able to fit all of her trash into one mason jar. I was enthralled. Lauren lived what has been coined a zero waste lifestyle. I should say zero “household” waste because the zero waste movement is somewhat of a misnomer. It’s been around for a long time. It’s the way people used to live before the onset of hyper consumption in the mid-20th century. I’ve since learned that the trash jar is fictional, but learning about the zero waste movement has been life changing.

Zero waste is really about returning to the old ways– reusables instead of disposables, low consumption, and focusing on your community. My overall consumption has dramatically dropped, I try to buy local, and I’m community-focused. Before I became a conscious consumer, I recycled everything I could. I honestly thought “at least I was doing my part.” But I was part of the problem. Recycling is a temporary solution created by the beverage and food companies. It places all of the responsibility on the consumer, instead of holding corporations responsible for creating indestructible single use products.

Another way my lifestyle has changed is with food waste. I did a research project on food waste for my master’s degree in 2016. After learning about the environmental impact of food waste, I have diverted 1,214 lbs (550 kg) of food scraps since Sept. 2016. It’s equivalent to offset 6,894 miles (11,094 km) driven by a car, or like parking it for 5.5 months.

I also garden, avoid fast fashion, and advocate for environmental change by governments and corporations.

What sort of reactions do you get from people who come across this?

The zero waste movement is primarily marketed to upper-middle-class white women. This leaves out a whole swath of the population, including a woman of color like me who grew up working class. But being zero waste isn’t a new concept. People all around the world have been bucking excessive consumption for decades, some do so out of necessity.

When I tell people about my lifestyle most people don’t understand it at first. Western society is built around the concept of consumption and waste. It’s hard to go against the grain. I didn’t think I was making a dent on my friends and family until they started to tell me about their own lifestyle changes. One friend sent me a gift with popcorn as packing material instead of bubble wrap.

I was making an impact on others, but I didn’t realize it. My advice to others is to keep going and keep speaking your truth, because people do hear us.

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What changes have you found the hardest to make and what have you done to overcome them?

Purchasing sustainable, ethical, and plastic-free food products is extremely difficult. As an environmentalist I have to acknowledge the impacts of animal-based diets. A plant-based diet is better for the environment and physical health. I’m working on shifting my family to a plant-based diet, but my family is not on board. We’ve been able to eliminate certain animal-products from our diets, but I’m still working others. I’m also concerned about certain crops like almonds, that are environmentally harmful and resource intensive. There’s a lot to navigate and it’s a work in progress.

What is your biggest fear about the future?

My biggest fear is that it’s too little too late. I am worried for my children, everyone else’s children, and all future generations on the earth. There is evidence that phytoplankton are dying because of warming oceans. The phytoplankton are the true lungs of our planet. Phytoplankton create about 60% of the planet’s oxygen. If the phytoplankton fail, it will be catostrophic. Most of the great extinctions of the past were not because of asteroids. Most people refuse to believe it, but extinction is a real possibility. That is a hard reality to face, but we need to face it.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspriration is my faith in God and the relationships I have with others. Where there is life, there is hope. Humans are capable of terrible things, but we are also capable of beautiful things. I have hope in God, in my family, and in my friends. I am blessed with my husband of 19 years (we married very young) and our two young children. I have a wonderful relationship with my sisters and my brother and I have lifelong friendships that are invaluable.

What is the one thing you would like people to take away from this?

Learn about being a conscious consumer, advocate for sustainable practices at the corporate levels, and become actively involved in government (vote, donate/make phone calls/canvass for politicians who will fight climate change, or run for office yourself).

Little changes can make a difference. If anyone doubts the power of individual decisions look at Coca-Cola’s recent decision to continue to use disposable plastic, instead of aluminum. Coca-Cola is the biggest disposable plastic polluter in the world. When pressured to change, Coke said they are doing what their customers want. So consumer decisions are important and do matter.

Do you have any advice for Appletree and Avalon?

I love Appletree and Avalon’s ethos of maintaining a low carbon footprint by working with suppliers who manufacture only in the U.K. I would love to see Appletree and Avalon publicize their efforts more! I love reading their blogs for ideas & inspiration!

Bitesize Blog

It’s great to hear a different point of view from all the way over in the US. Some good thoughts & ways for us all to reflect on our impact & how we can make best use of what we have. What are your thoughts?

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