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Why Starting this Blog Was One of the Best Decisions I Ever Made

Starting this blog 3 years ago was probably one of the best decisions I ever made. I didn't quite realize how important the blog would be to my life or that it would become a valuable place for me to explore my writing style, learn innumerable new sustainable lifestyle tips, and truly hone in on what I’m passionate about.
Green Gal on her way to high school a few years ago.

Around the same time that I started the Green Gal blog, I also started a literature blog called perennial Thoughts. My whole life I figured I’d study literature, and I was right. But I also figured I’d go on to become an English teacher or a writer of fiction. In eighth grade health class we had to create a timeline for our lives, and on mine I put that by age 25 I would have published my first book. I figured it would be creative writing, or something fictional. I participated in NanoWriMo a few years in high school and joined the school’s writing club. I wrote for our local Patch back when no one else knew what Patch was (and I actually got that job because our local editor came across this blog!). All roads seemed to lead to a career in writing and literature.

But while the literature blog remained mostly stagnant over the years, Green Gal took off, gathering followers and continuing to be a place for me to write about what inspired me. Just writing blogs about experiences made them that much more interesting and educational for me, and as I look back on the blog posts I wrote in high school, I’m sort of amazed at how well my passion came through my writing and how young I was when I was writing some of my favorite posts. Thinking about high school students now from my position as a junior at a university, I wish I saw more high school-aged bloggers in the green blogosphere. I’m sure they’re out there, but at least in the neck of the green blogosphere where I journey, I haven’t come across them. I always thought of environmental activism as my hobby and literature as my career path. But the passion I had and still do have for literature has ended up being more of the hobby, and environmental activism and behavior change appears to be the career path.

Yes, I’m studying English literature, so on my transcripts it appears that my career path is literature. But if you glance at my resume, it’s clear what the real career path is becoming. Why stick with literature, then? Literature classes teach you more about writing well than they do about anything else. Because every class requires that you write for the majority of your assignments, you get good at it. Critical thinking and reading are also major components of studying literature; it just happens that the things you’re thinking and reading critically are literature, which for me makes it interesting and fun. Writing is a necessary, transferrable skill that everyone should continue to develop throughout life. It’s how we communicate and how we persuade, and environmental activism is all about persuasion. I also love the concept of storytelling and persuading people through painting a written picture and infusing it with the colors of passion and education. Good writing also leads to well-reasoned thinking and speaking, other skills necessary for working with people and trying to develop more sustainable communities and encourage conscious lifestyles.

But back to why this blog was one of the best decisions I ever made: Right now in my internship with the UCSC Sustainability Office, I am responsible for, in addition to many other things, updating the office blog, which I introduced to our office last year, and for helping other interns in our office learn the art of storytelling so they, too, can post blogs that people want to read. Without the experience of creating my own blog and figuring out through trial and error what people want to read versus what they don’t want to read, I would never have thought to create a blog for our office or think that I had any knowledge in the field of marketing a good story. Having the background of this blog and the marketing experience is part of what made me a good candidate for an education and outreach leadership position. It also helped me realize that I can actually do this as a career. At this point, I’m planning on graduating early and applying for the Community Development masters program at UC Davis. I may also apply to UC Berkeley’s new Master of Development Practice program. If you know of other great masters programs with similar focuses in California, please let me know! I hope to get my masters in a field like one of these and go on to work for universities in their sustainability offices, or perhaps for cities or nonprofits, helping to develop and support sustainable communities.

Additionally, I realized the other day while glancing through my old Change the World Wednesday blog responses that so many of the sustainable practices that have become a part of my life and consciousness were discovered through reading other blogs’ tips and through exploring different challenges and approaches and discussing them on this blog. I’m glad I’m back on here, reading others’ blogs and engaging in the CTWW challenges (if you've never heard of CTWW, click here). I can’t wait to discover some new sustainable lifestyle habits to work on.

I suppose I’m writing this blog post (while riding the Highway 17 bus to Santa Cruz) to say thank you to everyone who’s read and supported my blog over the years and to those whose blogs have inspired me to make better decisions for the planet. Without your support, I may not have continued to explore my non-academic writing style or even write about my experiences, which always helps solidify them and make them more meaningful for me.

I’m curious how much of an impact blogging has had on other green bloggers. I see some blogs where it appears that their authors must practically blog for a living or else set aside sacred time everyday or a few times a week to post good content. I’ve been trying this summer to stay active in the blog world, but I am certain my post frequency will be reduced once I start summer classes on Monday (combined with working, editing a green guide, and studying for the GRE—yikes!).  Despite the periods of time when I’m too busy to post, I am glad that I continue to come back here to explore and process my thoughts and experiences through the art of blogging.

I’ll end this post with a quotation that has been on the sidebar of my blog for some time. I love this quote because it is full of truth (by that I mean that you read it and it just makes sense, one of those “Yes, exactly!” quotes) and relates to not only behavior change and habits, but also perspectives on life and the ways in which we can take a thought and make it into a reality by letting the idea work itself out in our heads so often that it becomes indelible. May your inspired ideas, new behavior change strategies, and personal sustainable lifestyle choices walk through your minds over and over until they become as much a part of you and your reality as the ground beneath  your feet and the physical paths you walk each day.  

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.
Henry David Thoreau


  1. This is a wonderful post ... very inspiring! I love that two of your passions have come together to create a career path. Because it combines more than one interest, I believe it will be very satisfying for you!

    It's interesting ... I've always loved writing. My friends and family suggested that write a book but ... it just didn't feel right. Then my hubby suggested that I start a blog. For a long time I resisted because I couldn't think of anything to say to total strangers. Then, I had a discussion with a neighbor about green living ... and quickly realized that it was my topic for a blog. The interesting thing is that while I began with the intention of sharing information with others, it's actually been the opposite ... I learn from all the people who have come my way. I learned another interesting thing ... there was something I needed to say and once said, my "voice" got quiet. Blogging is such a learning experience ... in so many ways.

    Thank you for mentioning #CTWW ... those challenges have taken on a life of their own and have become a forum to share information. I love it!

  2. What a great post! It's amazing how the single act of starting a blog to make a difference in the world has made a difference in your life, and how decisions to take even a few positive steps in life can lead to the opening of so many doors. I love your quotation by Thoreau. I've started reading more lately about Thoreau as well as his works, and I find his words are so relevant to today. Thanks for always being an inspiration to make good choices in life, to protect our precious earth, and, as Thoreau would say, to live deliberately.


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