Taking Action

Just before Abbey emailed me her blog post, she sent me an email talking about some of my recent posts.  In there she said, "as much as I miss Tripp and question why, I am going to live my life so that one day I can hold him in Heaven."

I always wanted to live a good life and be a good person, but just like Abbey, I now have increased motivation to do this.  Tripp's life -- is reminding me to live a good life -- to be more conscious of the choices I make and the things I do.

Last year, Hugh showed me a video called, The Story of Stuff.  It is about 20 minutes long and it talks about the waste we throw out from our home and all of the waste that is created making all of the things we buy.  At the time, Hugh had to nag me a bit to take the time to watch it, but I am so glad he did.  It really made me think.

I have always valued recycling and when the opportunity came for us to get curbside recycling, Hugh and I paid the $180 a year to do it.  It is amazing how little waste we have since we have started recycling.  All of the paper, tin, glass, hard and soft plastic and cardboard get recycled.  We also have a garburator, compost, and use cloth diapers, which means we have very little garbage.  (Hugh and I are so thrilled that the City of Martensville has decided to make recycling a priority and have given every homeowner a blue bin to recycle.  They will pick our garbage up one week and recycling the next.  We are very proud to live here!)  My point is that I thought I was doing pretty well eliminating the waste that I consume. . .Until I watched the Story of Stuff.

Turns out I wasn't eliminating the waste, I was just preventing it from going to a landfill. . . which was good, but it wasn't enough.  Ultimately, I needed to stop purchasing stuff.  So, how am I doing with this?  I am at a place where I am more aware of all that I buy.  I often consider how much packaging is used to wrap the product and I ask myself, "do I really need this?"  So, for example, I like to buy the lettuce at Costco that is just wrapped in soft plastic vs the stuff in hard plastic (it seems like there is less packaging with the soft).  When we were in Edmonton, I purchased new shoes.  I needed a pair, so I picked ones that I thought could serve multiple purposes, rather than purchasing 2 or 3 pairs to fit all my needs.  Last year, I got a new bike, but I refused to buy a new helmet.  The one I have is over 10 years old, but I have never been in an accident with it, so even though I look like one of those mushroom characters from Super Mario, I wear it (and yes, Hugh makes fun of me every time we bike somewhere!)  

So, what got me thinking back to the Story of Stuff?  I can't believe it, but once again, OPRAH!  Last week, or maybe the week before, Oprah had movie director, Tom Shadyac, on.  He has directed movies such as Ace Ventura, The Nutty Professor, and Bruce Almighty.  He had a life changing moment that made him think, ask some questions and create a documentary about it:

What's wrong with our world?  What can we do about it?  

In his documentary, I am, he discovered 3 key concepts:

1. It is scientifically proven that the entire human race is connected.

The documentary talks about how we have the greatest emotional response to things that connect us to others.  Even in my small little world I see that.  My blog hardly got any hits before Tripp. . . a few family members, a couple good friends, and a Rapid City Rush hockey fan!  In the days surrounding Tripp's death, there were thousands of hits on my blog. THOUSANDS.  I was completely taken back.  People were CONNECTING with us.  It was incredible

2. It is human nature to be cooperative rather than competitive.

On Oprah, Shadyac talked about how all living things, except human beings, take only what they need.  A tree doesn't suck more nutrients from the ground that it needs, nor does a lion kill more than it needs to survive.  "We have a term for something in the body when it takes more than its share," Shadyac says in the documentary. "We call it cancer."  Shadyac decided to sell his mansions and give a significant amount of his money away.  He lives comfortably, but tries to only take what he needs. Our culture puts pressure on us to have a bigger house and more stuff, but really, do we need it?  Shadyac felt his money would be better spent helping others.  When Oprah asked Shadyac about happiness, he confidently told her that he was much happier without all the stuff.

This is where I come back to being the best person I can be.  I am very proud of the things I am doing, but I know if I make a conscious effort, I can do more.  I can do more for our environment and for people.

3. If you don't do what your heart wants you to do and follow your passion, it will destroy you.

The most powerful message on the show was that we can all do something, even if we start with just one thing.  Individuals need to do what they feel comfortable with.  For me, it is recycling, cloth diapers, and a mushroom helmet.  I don't judge if my friends choose not to do these things. . . we all have to do what is right for us.  Those things are right for me.  For Shadyac it was giving most of his money away.  Giving away all our savings is not right for me!

My journey with Tripp has really made me think about taking action.  I had wanted to sponsor a child and talked to Hugh about it almost a year ago.  Because of Tripp, I actually did it.  

There are so many more easy things I can take action and do, like picking up one piece of garbage off the street each time I go out, donating money more generously, and rather than waiting for someone to ask for help, just helping.  I can make a difference.  These little things matter. I am a part of a bigger picture.

I want to live a life that will make Calder and Tripp proud of me. I want to live a good life.


  1. Love this post. Just what I needed right here, right now.
    P.S, I love you. Just in case you didn't know that already. Muahahaha.

  2. What an inspirational post. LOVE IT!

  3. The Story of Stuff is a very good video that I will be forwarding to my teacher colleagues and friends. "No one can do everything, but everyone can do something!" Thanks for making me think!

  4. If everyone in the world could just at the very least be aware of potential impact, and make an effort to be more compassionate and selfless, it would make a HUGE change.
    Not only is reducing consumption good for the big picture, it is good for the individual. By removing the excessive materials in our lives, we can open up space for the truly important things.
    I KNOW Calder and Tripp are proud of their mother...how could they not be? You are a great human being who is striving for higher all the time.

  5. Great post, I have been thinking of all the recycling we should be doing! Just need to do more!

    You are an amazing woman Jordan. I envy your strength. I love your blog, it is like an obsession for me. I Think of you and your family everyday and just wish I could do more for you. Also wondering If sometime Fin and I can come and go for a run/walk with you and Calder? we will have to make a date!
    Luv Heidi


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