Artwork for podcast The Carbon Almanac Collective
Simplifying Life, Environmental Challenges at Home, and Inspiring Change Through Everyday Actions
Episode 1012th May 2022 • The Carbon Almanac Collective • Carbon Almanac Network
00:00:00 00:38:02

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Featuring Carbon Almanac Contributors Linda Westenberg, Lynne Richards & Teresa Reinalda.

This trio lives around the world with Linda in the Netherlands, Lynne from Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Teresa originally from New York living in a suburb of Chicago.

These collaborators have vast backgrounds and were involved in The Carbon Almanac in roles including assistant editor, researcher, layout, design, and graphics.

In this episode, we talk about a vast array of topics including what it’s been like to work in the Carbon Almanac community, leaning in to lead, the water challenge in the Netherlands, individual vs. systemic change, and our earliest memories of the importance of protecting the earth.

For more information on the project and to pre-order your copy, visit

This podcast is a part of the Carbon Almanac Podcast Network.

Production Team: Jennifer Myers Chua, Sam Schuffenecker, Leekei Tang, Tania Marien, Barbara Orsi

Cover Art: Ray Ong

Copyright © 2022 The Carbon Almanac Network

About the Carbon Almanac Collective: What happens when regular people work together to create massive, meaningful change on a global scale? Welcome to the carbon Almanac collective. A podcast where the volunteers who created the Carbon Almanac share the insights and aha moments they had while collaborating on this landmark project to help fight the climate crisis.

Hosted by Jennifer Myers Chua, and featuring the voices of Carbon Almanac Contributors. Reminding you that it's not too late to join in on the conversation.



[00:01:02] Lynne: Um, my name is Lynne Richards. I'm from Santa Fe, New Mexico. And my role on the Almanac was working on the book itself as a researcher contributor. And then also working with the production team in the last two months too. Working with specifically the designers to place quotes and backs and make sure that we've got all that information fitting into the pages, the way that worked best for the design team.


[00:01:56] Jennifer: I'd love to know what brought you to the Carbon Almanac. Why did you join this project in the first place?


But my art takes me to places deeper and softer. I listened to Seth. I've been listening to him on YouTube videos and in interviews on people's podcasts. And I read his blogs. So I found out about the Carbon Almanac through his blog and I applied for it if you will. And I thought, wow, I can make a difference with my talents or lack thereof.

That's wonderful. So I was excited and flattered to be invited. Honestly and just to be with like-minded people, like-minded creative people from around the world. So after COVID, especially the isolation of that, and then to be linked with people around the world to do something great, something meaningful, that was just, that was everything to me that just filled me with happiness.


So I, I thought I could help. I just didn't know how until I joined and then I saw this need for like process and project management. So that's what I jumped into. Yeah. And it's, it's been awesome just to connect with all of these people from all over the globe.

I think we're over 90 countries right now. Yeah, I think that's amazing. All of us have this different backgrounds, different cultures. Um, we're a very diverse group, but we all have this same goal. We all want to create this impact through this project that we're doing. And we all, we all have hope that change is possible. Yeah, I love it. I think this is the project of my life, actually.


[00:04:47] Lynne: I have a little less hope than a lot of people in the project, I think because I'm older than most people on the project, truthfully and if I were younger, I would have to have more hope. I think I really understand that. But, uh, my daughter and I, who is more like the age of most people on the project.

We've been talking for decades about what we could do, where we could do it. And and also where we would retreat to when we needed to. I mean, I've just geared my life that way. for so long. And so, I really wanted to be a part of this project. I hadn't seen, I read Seth's blog as long as it's been around, but I hadn't seen the invitation to apply to help the morning that it came out and a friend wrote me right after it came out apparently.

And asked me to please do it. This is a friend I had turned on to Seth's blog years ago. So I kind of felt like I had to, but also, you know, I thought about it for a minute, I was a very deeply in the middle of a book that I'm working on and I was on a really good role. And I thought, well, okay, I'll give it eight to 12 hours a week and I can, I can do that.

And this is the most important cause to me, and I'm happy to make a contribution. And then it became my life. And I'm still trying to remember what I was doing on my book. And you know, it was a 50, 60 hour a week process, if not more, I mean, just around the clock. And so many people doing that as well around the world.

And So, you know, you never felt like you, you were the one making the sacrifice because everybody was. The level of commitment, the level of passion, the graciousness, all of that was just so inviting and so wonderful. But I was really struck all the way through Jennifer by the hopefulness of everybody compared to me. And so, um, my, my stumbling block to hope is that I believe we have to give up a lot in order to save ourselves. And I don't see people wanting to give up a lot or being willing to do that. I see people wanting to make technological or to have other people find for them, technological changes that so we can keep everything as it is. And that's not going to save us. We are only salvation and it means sacrifice and change.

And I think we'll find very quickly if we did that, that what we think our sacrifices are actually gifts to other things and other ways of being. And I've certainly found that in my own life, due to the Almanac, uh due to working on this project and all the research I did on it. And I, um, I have a blog and I research and write pieces on things that the Almanac inspired me to go deeper on and to learn more about.

That too is continuing to cause me to change so many things in my own life. And I already felt like I was pretty aware I believe a hundred percent in what everybody here has said, and what Seth always says, that this is, got to be about systemic change, but I believe our passion and our motivation to really push systemic change will come from individual change. And they're not separate. They're completely, they feed. each other. You know, when I'm, when I'm doing that, I do feel a little more hopeful.


I'm willing to not dig my heels in. Everything seems to be for the children. And I think people are less apt to do it for today. And I think if we can open up that door, somehow will the Almanac do it, will conversations around the Almanac, do it more likely. I think, you know, we'll maybe listening to a podcast do it, but I I'm hopeful that at least someone will see vulnerability maybe in someone else and say, okay, they can go there.

Maybe I can go there. I think we lead each other. Through our actions day to day. I certainly feel that that's how I learn and how I'm inspired by other people and their willingness to grow.


It's like a, you need one, one sheep to go over the bridge and then the rest will follow. So I think that principle applies here as well. It doesn't have to be a lot of people at once. It just, there have to be leaders who are willing to take that step and then show people the way.

Then people are willing, willing to follow. If they see that, that that's the path that we need to take.


[00:10:49] Lynne: Part of the objective, I think of the Almanac is to give people the information to have conversations. And if you're sitting at home and you don't know where to start and you don't feel like you know enough. It is the beauty of the Almanac is pick it up and open it and to go to any page. And there's going to be something that interests you. Linda started with leaf blowers and, you know, you can also go as deep as, as, um, when was the last time we had a carbon crisis on this planet. I mean, you, have, the whole spectrum is in the Almanac and learn something, do it at a S a simple level, or do it at a deep level. Go read more from what you learned from the Almanac, if you want to, but you don't even have to do that. Learn something and go talk to your family members about it. Go talk to the people at work about it. Start being in the conversation. And you're, you're just not going to believe what it opens up for you. A profound thing for me has been clothing. I had no idea how horrific the impact on the planet and on human beings. Our clothing industries, our fashion industries are and how much impact we have on people and the environment with what we choose to wear and how much we buy and how much we dispose of it.

And there's a picture that was on our site. As we all work together, Mountains of never worn clothing in the Atacama desert. Gorgeous, precious place on the planet and that sent me off to learn more about that because I just, I was gobsmacked. I just couldn't believe it. And now that's something I want to talk to everybody about, do you know this? What do you know about it? You know, I mean, what, what should we change? How can we do this differently? How do we make an impact at a systemic level on the industries, on the regulations, but also on women's buying practices? You know, I mean, women, aren't the only culprits here, but we talk about fashion amongst ourselves. We talk about clothes. Why are we talking about clothes, first of all, but uh, when there's a climate crisis but if we're going to talk about clothes, let's talk about their contribution and who suffers. Start a conversation and the Almanac is a fantastic spur to that.


Linda, what about leadership? If you think someone wants to become a leader in this space and they feel powerless, what do you think they can do?


And there's always something you can do within your own community or within your own town or within your own country, even if you're at like a small country that I'm from. So I, I think it's easy to step up as a leader, actually. It's just the willingness to do that and taking that step because it yeah. It can seem daunting and it's safe to say. I don't know what to do. I'm just staying on my couch, but if you really want change to happen, it's it starts with you.


And so I've been trying, and with working on the Almanac's help to just let my vulnerable self go out there and say whatever silly thing I think to say and just do what I think to do. And I think if we can all just be vulnerable together, we can do anything.


[00:16:16] Jennifer: Linda, I would like to ask you something. So you live in a place that has the potential to be really affected.


[00:16:23] Jennifer: By the climate crisis. And I'm wondering because I don't have the opportunity that you have to be in that environment and understand what's going around in the mentality of people around you. Can you talk a little bit about what it looks like in the Netherlands? What are people talking about? What are people thinking about is this top of mind?


People are afraid to talk about it because then it becomes real.

And now they can say, now we have, we have good water management looked at what, look at what we've done with floods. Look at the, the, the ground that we like stole from the fishes. I like to say. So it doesn't feel urgent to me. It doesn't feel urgent enough in this country. So conversations I'm having. It's not about the water management or about the disaster. That's waiting for us in our future generations. There is climate change or talk around climate change. But yeah, I'm not sure why there, there is not more attention for that specific part.



[00:18:25] Linda: Yes, we did. Yep.


[00:18:35] Teresa: Well, I'm from New York originally, but I'm in the Chicago land area now. My little alarm bells going off for my life are, are louder than ever, but just, just trying to, starting to eek out into the community and hoping to find my voice to, to share what I've learned share the Almanac. It's very green here. It's very clean. It's beautiful. It's quiet and peaceful. It's idyllic. And, um, it, yes, it really is. So that's, I'm trying to figure out how I can take steps to. To say, Hey, you don't see this, but when you use Roundup on your lawn, you're doing all this damage.

Yeah. Your lawn looks great, but you know, and so the willingness of people to be open to hear, they can't do that. Although it really looked great when they do that's, that's the kind of the threshold. I have to figure out how to cross in conversation. Just simple things like that. The leaf blowers and the, the lawnmowers and the chemicals that are they're on the shelves, they're all over the place they're sold freely.

Like how do you tell people that you shouldn't use that? That's a tough one for me to figure out.


We're burning up where we don't have rain. We don't have we don't have normal seasons anymore. We don't have snow. We have fire. Fire is not constrained to a season now it's year round. It was freezing last night and there are five major fires in the state of New Mexico right now and people evacuating everywhere. You, you just look out your window and you see dryness, you see trees dying, you see the the habitats for flora and fauna changing dramatically. I have to cut down trees on my property every year. And then I have, i, I try to replace two for one of everything I cut down, but I have to really keep researching and learning.

Okay, what next tree can I buy this less susceptible to bugs? Every restaurant you go to every bathroom in the restaurant has a request about water usage. And we don't put water on the tables at restaurants all who goes to restaurants, but anymore. but when we did you know, they don't bring you water, you have to ask for it.

So it's a constant thing. And it's, people are very, very aware and very, very worried. And yet I don't see that leading to systemic pushes for change.

I see individual change more and more, but I don't see so much of the awareness that you've got to really now take this to the next level, take it to your counsel, take it to your mayor, take it to your state government, really work to affect national legislation. I don't see that kind of change, but, but boy, is a constant topic of conversation.


[00:22:20] Lynne: Well,


[00:22:23] Lynne: No, because I think people uh, first of all, Santa, Fe's a kind of a rarefied place. You know, people that come here tend to love nature and have gotten their life to a place where they can come to that.

The angle is this is a very diverse culture, a lot of Native Americans, a lot of Hispanics, in fact, more than white people. And they have the Native Americans have more respect for understanding with the land as a generalization. And all of us are trying to be respectful of our place in a multicultural environment.

But. I think, you know, to answer your question, why would, a why would somebody like a restaurant owner do it? I still think that's an individual level awareness. We talk about water every day here. Everybody talks about water. We don't have water. We had the, I mean, can we have some of yours, Linda and we'll give you, we'll give you something else in exchange,


[00:23:21] Lynne: but,

but, um, but that's different than, I mean, we, we do those things and still the world's drying out, you know, so that's not the systemic level change that we were talking about earlier. So it's gotta be both, but I mean, you can say to your neighbor here, well, it really bothers me that you've still got a guy coming, using a diesel leaf blower, and that really bothers me.

Could could I at least get you to get him to switch to, a electric now Electric's got problems too, but you can say that here and nobody's going to be offended. You know, I had a neighbor write to me very immediate neighbor and say, I hope you don't mind. I'm going to be putting solar panels on my roof.

They're going to change your view. People do that, but that's still that's one level that's really important, but there's a whole other level that we, we need to work out.


[00:24:35] Lynne: I'm soon going to have several cartons of books. So I've been trying to think a lot about that, where do those go and how do you know, where do they make the most effect? And I think kind of like, I've been saying all the way along here, I think at two levels. I will give them to family level members and neighbors because I want to engage those conversations more, but then I will have enough to do a lot more than that.

And you know, I want them on the city council. I want to work at both those levels at the interpersonal. Personal level. And and then at the more governmental and systemic level, also Santa Fe's the capital of the state.

So I have an opportunity to take those to the um, our Capitol here is called the round house and distributed them there and make sure the governor has them and everything else. And people here will be very receptive to that. And then they also, it's just a wonderful theme on the Almanac about doing reverse shoplifting and leaving them in bookstores. That's too great an idea to not, do so. So I'll definitely


[00:25:38] Lynne: that.


[00:25:43] Teresa: Well, one person I don't have in mind, but I think more than go to one political level person because I, I don't, I feel that people either are for or against. Our political leaders and that makes, that kind of makes it a moot point in a way. So I think I would more go to friends and connections who have a voice larger than just small conversation.

So friends who have podcasts or who have live Facebook events or our public library, we practically lived there. So they would be open, I think, to an event where it would be talked about and just, you know, smaller clusters of people with more of a voice than just, I think just how much I've put the book out there.

People are congratulating me for being part of it. The end. So it's not inspiring them to buy it to pre-order it, it's not inspiring them to use it. And I don't know if it's what I'm saying or not saying, or if it's just that everything has become so competitive, if you will. So it's like, oh, here's my book.

If you like me, you'll buy my book. So that you have my book, it doesn't land the right way. Just putting it out there like that. So I really need, I need my, my typical small group energy, having the conversation and saying, could you, just make this known to the people, close to you and so on.


[00:27:54] Linda: The first thing I thought of was Leonardo DiCaprio. And I know that's, that's a cliche, but he is someone who is, uh, has a lot of power to share a message. And I know where we're kind of working behind the scenes to get him to partner with us. And I, I would love that. Because a lot of people listen to him.

But also on the smaller scale to to keep it more realistic for myself, I'm also distributing it to friends and family just to have those conversations with them. And I know that they will read it and be as shocked as I was with certain information in there. And then hopefully that will also spread to others.


And those, it just, you mentioned earlier about influencing children about fashion, but just influencing children about everything is so important to the future for climate.

I think schools are a really important place to go with it also.


Recycling comes up all of the time in these conversations, or, you know, we hear about the paper straws, but I think what we've all discovered together as a collective is that it's really about systematic change and creating systematic change.

And it's about not necessarily our straws, although I am a stainless steel straw drinker at this point now going forward period. But it really is about collective action and systems and all that kind of stuff.


So is it maybe just to be open and to be vulnerable and willing to say, I don't know, and talk to each other about it and every aspect of it. Not just don't do this and don't do that. But what does it take to do it differently?


[00:30:57] Linda: Oh, absolutely. To me, with me, it started with my father reading to me, the Lorax from Dr. Seuss. That's the first time I started to understand what people are doing to the Earth. And I remember I cried the first time I heard that story and then I just wanted my dad to tell me that story every night before I went to bed.

And that's, that's been in, in my life, like a, like a, like a thread in my life. That's that story from, from Dr. Seuss, the Lorax. That's what ultimately brought me here in, in the Carbon Almanac actually.


Get them to communicate with each other and watch them. Ants in particular. And I loved watching them and how they behaved and how they took care of everything amongst themselves. But I grew up in an apartment complex in New York. And then we moved to what I call. Yeah. I thought we were moving to the farm. And so when we moved here, The idea was to see the open sky for the first time in my life, be around an open sky all the time and be closer to nature.


There really wasn't anything that wasn't connected to trying to back to nature. And I did. 22 buy a little farm. It was five acres, but and had my baby there right then, And, you know, it was just, it was everything about that. and so it's been the thing. And the funny thing is my daughter, I did not have, she was so young.

I didn't have this conversation with her at all yet, but she used to go stand at the long before. Paper or plastic was a question. She would go stand at the end of the cashiers aisle while I shopped in the grocery store, this little cute little girl asking everybody don't you want paper instead of plastic?

And you know, what could they say? And so she's handing them paper bags from the end of the aisle the cashiers thought she was so cute. They let her do it. But, I guess, it must, I must have been somehow communicating an early theme to her. And she has been as focused on that all her life too. So it's just, it's so embedded as a theme for me and for us that I can't separate myself from it.


[00:34:09] Lynne: As involved as I know, all three of us were, I can't imagine that any of us can put it down. now. And. As Linda said, there's a million opportunities to do what we did with the Almanac. The, Those are there for our help, But as a researcher writer I know that I I'm researching and writing much, much more on it now for my blog.

And also it's the last part of every chapter of the book I'm writing, because whatever I'm writing about all comes down to, are we still here? And, you know, as just go, story goes forward and, and what's that look like. It's very, very much more present. It was present in my research and writing, but it's much, much more so now. And then I just stay probably more open than I might've been to where I can contribute on a broader level.


[00:35:23] Jennifer: I am going to say that the Dutch team is incredibly inspiring. I think you have the first international version coming


Copy on the way to the King.


[00:35:37] Jennifer: This is going to be some big changes coming from the Netherlands. Isn't there.


[00:35:54] Jennifer: From your corner of the world. I'm so excited to see what happens and Theresa, how about you? What are you going to take forward from this project?


So that that's the real kind of threshold. That's the electrified line. If you will, you don't want to seem like you're reprimanding, you want to come softly about a strong subject. Hopefully I'll gain my voice and knowledge, so I can really speak to it better than I can today. Just better and better.

That's what I'm hoping to gain.

All of you have been such gentle and, and dear voices, you know, when you, when you're immersed in a, in a community of strangers, all of a sudden, certain voices speak to you in a way that comforts to you and opens you up a little more and you've all done that. And I want to thank you for that.



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