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JoyBinge Podcast Ep. 7: Let's Love the Environment

Listen to the episode here or on SoundCloud through the links below!

Listen to the episode here!

Listen to the last episode here!

Hi and welcome to JoyBinge, a podcast where we re-learn that good things are happening in the world and celebrate those good things because we are tired of only hearing about the bad crap. My name is Kimmy Mauldin and I am not a journalist or a professional of any sort in the news industry. I’m just a Texas girl in need of some happy news and want to share what I find. Let’s binge on some joy!


Five things we have learned from the IPCC report

Two weeks ago, a disturbing report was published from IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In their report, they said that we must make some pretty big changes in the way most, if not all, countries live if we don’t want global temperatures to raise 2C or even 1.5C. The difference just half a degree in celsius can make is pretty drastic. Islands and other areas in the world will sink into the oceans, devastating weather will become more commonplace, famines and droughts will occur at record pace, poverty will increase at a strong rate, and millions of people will be displaced due to these issues.

Now if that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will. When this report came out, I kind of freaked out internally. I didn’t cry or anything, but I did turn off lights, stopped driving as much, and started looking around for little things I could do in our home. But most of all, a deep sense of despair filled my heart. We know what’s happening and we know we can do something about it. Instead of talking about all the disheartening political drama following the release of this report, I thought we could focus this episode on climate change and talk about several articles that show what some are doing to help curb this massive change as well as what we ourselves can do to make an impact.

The first article that kicks us off today was written by Matt McGrath with BBC News on October 8th. McGrath states, “There is a lot of faith put in technology that it can solve many of our environmental problems, especially climate change. This report says that the world doesn't have to come up with some magic machines to curb climate change - we've already got all the tech we need. The report says that carbon will have to be sucked out of the air by machines and stored underground, and that these devices exist already. Billions of trees will have to be planted - and people may have to make hard choices between using land for food or using it for energy crops.”

One of the biggest findings in the IPCC report is that the rising climate temperatures are directly linked to the way the majority of the world lives our lives. McGrath reports, “Many people might think that they have little personal involvement with any of these - but the IPCC authors say that's not the case. ‘It's not about remote science; it's about where we live and work,’ said Dr. Debra Roberts. ‘The energy we buy, we must be putting pressure on policymakers to make options available so that I can use renewable energy in my everyday life.’

“Cutting energy demand by using less of it is a highly effective step. Similarly being aware of what you eat, where it comes from, thinking about how you travel, having a greater interest in all these things can impact energy use. This greater awareness, and the changes it might inspire, could even be good for you.”

I will go into further details about things you can do at home to help lessen the burden of climate change in the “Be Involved” portion of today’s episode. For now, let’s take a look at some of the ways people are working hard to improve the situation in other parts of the world.

Scientists and activists have known for years that climate change has been happening. For those of you who remember Al Gore’s 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, will know that the topic of climate change has been in the news for decades. There is nothing new about what we hear now except that the news is typically better received, though not always, and that there is a greater urgency behind the reports.

One of the clearest ways scientists see the direct impact climate change is having on our environment are through the signs coral reefs display. As Oliver Milman, a reporter for The Guardian states in his article, “Back from the brink: the global effort to save coral from climate change,” “[Coral reefs] have been bleached white by marine heatwaves and killed off en masse by a combination of factors including pollution, overfishing, acidification and climate change.”

In this article, Milman reports on a group of scientists in Key Largo, FL who have been created coral “nurseries” to raise coral “in controlled conditions before being planted on denuded reefs.” The Coral Restoration Foundation has been working on the Florida Reef Tract which is the third largest barrier reef in the world. Spanning down the southern tip of the state, the Florida Reef Tract runs from just north of Miami all the way down to Key West. Over the last 250 years, the reef has all but died out completely. According to the article, the reason this is a big deal is because if the coral reefs around the world vanish, and many are in danger of doing so, bad things would happen such as, “a scenario that would strip away a crucial nursery and smorgasbord for countless marine species, diminish fisheries and remove a vital coastal buffer to storms that will intensify as the planet warms.” Coral reefs do more than this but this is just the beginning.

Ok, I’ve talked enough about the bad stuff. Now on to the part that brings true joy! What the Coral Restoration Foundation does is take pieces of wild coral, cut it into small pieces and organized by genomic types then strung from trees made from PVC and fiberglass. Those are anchored to the ocean floor and monitored closely. The location where the coral trees are nurtured in allows for their growth to increase 3 times that of the normal rate. Nine months later and the coral are ready to be transplanted to the reef. The survival record of these corals are pretty good, at least 8 out of 10 corals survive a year!

Now, the Coral Restoration Foundation doesn’t stop there. They have planted more than 66,000 corals on the Florida Reef Tract and have been able to form partnerships outside of the United States with Jamaica and Colombia. Mexico is even talking with the Foundation about getting some coral trees. And last month, it was reported that 100 corals were transplanted on the Great Barrier Reef outside Australia. And all of this happened because of a tropical fish collector who had a live rock farm.

Ken Nedimyer noticed a rare type of coral growing on his live rocks in 2003. Realizing how amazing it was that the coral was growing there, he decided to start making a coral farm to help replace the dying coral in the Florida Reef. According to the foundation’s website, Nedimyer had figured out that the coral could grow rapidly and be transplanted to the reef by 2007. That same year, he founded the Coral Reef Foundation with several others. It’s amazing what an interest in sea life can do to help save it. If you are interested in volunteering or getting involved in other ways, check out their website at

Oysters on the Half Shell are Actually Saving New York's Eroding Harbor

Now further north in New York, the Billion Oyster Project works with local restaurants and the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School to bring oysters back to the New York Harbor. Combining a lengthy process to prepare already enjoyed oyster shells from eateries and high school students involved in the marine sciences training program at their school, the Billion Oyster Project has already planted 28 million oysters back into the harbor. Andrea Strong wrote a wonderfully informative article for NPR on October 10th.

Oysters are important pieces to keeping our harbors and waterfronts clean. According to the article, “one [oyster] cleans 30 to 50 gallons of water a day. They also provide food and shelter for all sorts of marine creatures, supporting biodiversity.” While the oysters are providing a main attraction for different sea life to come back to the harbor, they provide another great benefit that helps us on land. The oysters protect against fast moving and growing waves from hurricanes, serving as natural breakwaters. Thankfully the local government in New York has recognized the important work Billion Oyster Project is doing and has partnered with them to continue their work.

What I find so incredible about this organization is that it is simply using the shells from oysters that have already been eaten at local restaurants then utilizing high school students who need hands on education to get the projects completed. One restaurant owner, Brian Owens of Crave Fishbar, has some impressive numbers: customers eat through 20,000 oysters a week at the restaurant allowing Owens to donate roughly 20 tons of shells to the organization over the last 3 years.

Recycling the shells allows the businesses to save money as their carting expenses have significantly reduced since this program started. And right now, a bill is going through the state’s legislation to offer New York City restaurants a tax credit if they recycle the shells.

Now none of this would be possible without the involvement of the high school students. They get to learn how to grow oyster larvae, care for it until it grows a foot then transfer to the cured shells. I figured one shell could house one larvae but Strong reports that one shell actually houses anywhere from 10 to 20 oyster larvae! Because of how difficult this process can be, the goal is for each shell to hold 5 oysters so they can continue to grow and be eventually transferred to the New York Harbor.

But that’s not all the students have done. The idea for the bill offering a tax credit to local restaurants for recycling the oyster shells came from a student! Linda Rosenthal, a New York Assemblywoman, heard about this and has worked with the students to make the bill a reality. Students have been able to go to Albany to see lawmaking happening in real time.

The idea behind Billion Oyster Project itself actually grew out of a classroom. Pete Malinowski, Executive Director of the organization, and Murray Fisher, Chair of the organization’s Board, worked together at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School. There the oyster project was created then grown into a 3 year program. Today, fifteen years later, the Billion Oyster Project works with more than 80 middle and high schools which is around almost 8,000 students. Bringing together local businesses and education opportunities has allowed the New York Harbor to improve rather dramatically. If you live in the New York Harbor area, check out the volunteer opportunities they have if you are interested!

What Yacouba Sawadogo, a small farmer in the Sahel Region, and the first African woman Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai have in common

We’ve discussed a couple ways people in the United States are helping the environment. Now let’s turn our eyes to other parts of the globe. George Tubei wrote an article for Business Insider on Sept 27th about the efforts of Yacouba Sawadogo and Wangari Maathai in Kenya.

The late 1970’s and early 80’s saw a rise in environmental work in different parts of Africa. Professor Wangari Maathai founded The Green Belt Movement in 1977 as an offshoot of the National Council of Women of Kenya. This incredible woman traveled the world collecting degrees like you might collect seashells at different beaches. She got a Biological Sciences degree from Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas in 1964, obtained a Master of Science degree at the University of Pittsburgh in 1966, pursued doctoral studies in Germany and the University of Nairobi where she earned a Ph.D in 1971. While at the University of Nairobi, she taught veterinary anatomy. After all that, she became chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy in 1976 and an associate professor in 1977. Not only was she the first woman to gain these positions in her region, she was also the first woman in East and Central Africa to even earn a doctorate degree. All of this information I got from her biography on the Green Belt Movement website.

Through all of this work, Professor Maathai came up with an idea for community-based tree planting. The idea grew from planting trees to assisting people, primarily women, in Kenya to “work together to grow seedlings and plant trees to bind the soil, store rainwater, provide food and firewood, and receive a small monetary token for their work.” This program was created in response “to the needs of rural Kenyan women who reported that their streams were drying up, their food supply was less secure, and they had to walk further and further to get firewood for fuel and fencing.” The Green Belt Movement website goes on to talk about the issues the Kenyan people faced and why this solution was able to help in so many areas.

Professor Maathai went on to serve on many boards, work with the UN, serve in the Kenyan parliament and receive so many awards. In 2004, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for all of her hard work in developing sustainable programs that enrich the environment and help lift people out of poverty. The Green Belt Movement is still in operation today, the organization focuses on tree planting, water harvesting, environmental and gender focused advocacy, climate change efforts, and gender livelihood improvements.

While Professor Maathai and others were starting up the Green Belt Movement, almost 4,000 miles to the east of Kenya, Yacouba Sawadogo worked hard to bring the forest back to Northern Burkina Faso in the Sahel region of Africa. Known as “the man who stopped the desert,” Sawadogo saw the Sahara Desert creep into his area through the Sahel region, causing famine, drought, and deeper falls into poverty for his people. So he started finding ways to keep the land healthy for fertile farming. Many people in the beginning called him a ‘madman’ and even tried to burn down the forest he planted. But Sawadogo never stopped trying, never stopped experimenting, never stopped tending to the land.

According to The Right Livelihood Award website, Sawadogo was born in the Yatenga province of Burkina Faso and attended Koranic school in Mali. When he returned to Yatenga, he worked as a salesman in his local market. That’s when the droughts hit. As the website said, “When agricultural yields dropped and people died from famine, many left the rural areas to find income opportunities in the cities. But Sawadogo chose the opposite direction - moving back from the city to his rural village, determined to find a solution to the crisis.”

Sawadogo focused on three subjects to transform 40 hectares of barren land into a forest. Those subjects are planting, soil and water conservation, and animals. Now, one hectare is equivalent to roughly 2.5 acres. This means, he created 80.5 acres of forest on his own. Within this forest are 60+ species of trees and bushes, as well as birds and bees which the region hadn’t seen for years prior to Sawadogo’s efforts. When he started this ambitious project, Sawadogo used the zaï method of farming, which is to “dig pits in the soil during the reseason to catch water and concentrate compost,” according to Tubei’s article.

As I researched what the zaï method of farming looked like, I found the ECHO Community website that quoted Sawadogo explaining how this works: “There is a longstanding and well-documented tradition in the Sahel-zone, specifically in the north of Burkina Faso, of technologies that make farming more productive through improved rainwater management and protection of the soil. Zaï is probably the most renowned example of such a technology, which was developed locally based on indigenous knowledge. In Yatenga province, zaï are traditionally used to improve poor (bare) soils in drought conditions. Organic matter like composted manure is placed in holes measuring 20 cm across and 15 cm deep, creating a micro-environment that helps increase drought resistance and improve the yields of crops like sorghum and millet.”

Another quote from Australian agronomist, Tony Rinaudo, who has worked extensively in the same type of work as Sawadogo, goes on to explain how zaï works, “Oxfam], working in Burkina Faso, promotes this method of tillage. This is a traditional practice of digging a 20 x 20 cm hole 10 cm deep [dimensions of the pits can vary] during the dry season and filling it with mulch such as crop residue or manures. This leads to increased termite activity which, in turn, increases the rate of water infiltration when the rains come. Millet is planted in the individual holes, which also help protect the seedlings from wind damage (100 km/hr winds at planting time are not uncommon).”

All of these efforts allow farmers to not only make their land more fertile and productive, but as Tubei says, “adapt to climate change, reduce rural poverty and prevent local resource and water related conflicts.” Because of Sawadogo’s hard work and ability to teach these techniques to farmers and volunteers, “tens of thousands of hectares of severely degraded land have been restored to productivity in Burkina Faso and Niger.”

If you want to learn even more about Sawadogo and his work, you can check out a documentary called “The Man Who Stopped the Desert” which is available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

Puerto Rico teen entrepreneur creates vital link between island farmers and consumers

Let’s go back across the Atlantic Ocean and look at Puerto Rico where a teenager has turned to technology to help answer a question he asked himself when he was 15, “How can I get products that were healthy but good for the environment?” Nicole Acevedo wrote this article for NBC News on Sept 28th.

José Nolla Marrero used his talents to create E-Farm, a website where farmers in Puerto Rico can sell their produce to customers and have the food delivered directly to the buyers. According to the Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture, about 85% of the island’s food is imported from other parts of the world. And when Hurricane Maria swept through, their food and infrastructure were decimated. Because of this horrific event, E-Farm was delayed in launching for about a year.

Once the company was up and running, they saw success much faster than they expected. They have at least 24 farmers partnered with the site and have a waiting list growing to include more. Nolla Marrero is passionate about assisting his local farmers grow their own businesses so Puerto Rico can continue to progress from the Hurricane.

One farmer, Lydia Díaz Rodríguez with Yucae in Yabucoa stated, “[The success] surprised us a lot. We thought it wasn’t going to work. And yes, we ended up selling a lot. We hope that soon we can start selling the ‘pasteles,’ the ‘alcapurrias,’ we’re already selling our yuca bread, meaning that we are recovering little by little.”

In the video that is included with the article, Nolla Marrero states, “I think it’s necessary to create a big -- a broader environment of opportunity. E-Farm helps the environment first by encouraging sustainable and agroecological practices, but I think that [the] biggest impact that E-Farm does, is that it does show that by looking at what’s wrong in your local community, you can open the doors to resolving many different opportunities that you just otherwise wouldn’t have realized exist in front of you.”

The article goes on to outline how Nolla Marrero raised the funds to support E-Farm and how the agriculture sector of Puerto Rico recovered much faster than the rest of the island. While he is looking forward to college, Nolla Marrero is working hard to make sure that E-Farm continues to grow sustainably. Check out the website at, the Facebook page, and YouTube channel to see more!

Leeds plastic bottles car parking scheme is 'well received'

One last story before moving on to our slice of Texas, let’s go over to England where a parking garage is asking people to bring in plastic bottles for discounts. The BBC News published a video on their website on Oct 17th talking about this great idea.

Ben Ziff, the CitiPark Managing Director, stated in the video, “We’re aware that we’re obviously a city centre car park operator and that has all sorts of issues with it around emissions and customer’s vehicles etc. And as an organization we want to put something back into the environment.” So the discount program was born!

Each bottle gives you a discount of 20p or about .26 cents in U.S. dollars off your parking cost. The company then recycles all of the bottles they collect. While the program is currently slated to run through only October, their website reports that they are also participating in “a week-long series of recycling and sustainability activities, involving a range of retailers and organisations, at the Merrion Centre from Monday 22nd October to Friday 26th October.”

If you are interested in finding out more information, check out their website or email them at and ask if they will continue the program past October. How great would it be if this became a mainstay at their parks or even is a promotion they can run more often? The website quotes one of their own, “Charlotte-Daisy Ziff, Head of Corporate Social Responsibilities at Town Centre Securities (CitiPark’s parent company) & CitiPark, said: “Here at CitiPark we believe that we all have a part to play in ensuring the preservation and betterment of our environment for future generations. So this promotion not only offers our customers the chance of free/discounted parking, but they can also get rid of their waste plastic bottles and contribute to the protection of the environment at the same time: it’s a win-win all around! We hope that as many people as possible will get on board.”

Slice of Texas

Running Toward Joy With Gilbert Tuhabonye

For this week’s Slice of Texas, we are going to veer from discussing the environment and focus on the next person the Texas Optimism Project interviewed. If you aren’t familiar with this project, it’s a series of interviews with Texans who have used optimism to improve their lives in various ways. That’s probably the most boring way to put it but it’s a really cool thing that Texas Monthly and Frost Bank are doing together! Today’s interviewee is Gilbert Tuhabonye who is a National champion athlete, running coach, founder of the Gazelle Foundation and survivor of Hutu and Tutsi genocidal violence in Burundi. Leah Fisher Nyfeler interviews him and asks him how he searched for joy and if he has found it.

As we all know, surviving any sort of traumatic event can either stop your life or make your life a fertile ground of discovering joy. To truly understand and experience joy, you really need to know what pain is. Tuhabonye experienced one of the worst things one can experience on October 21, 1993 when the president of Burundi was murdered and his school was attacked by those who supported the assassination. In Tuhabonye’s words, the attackers “locked the school down, and tried to kill everyone they could find...But when I look back, how I escaped that place, God was with me and I was given another chance. I was able to break that window and run through crowds of people waiting to kill me. It was not me; it was someone else that give me that power to live.”

While he was in the hospital healing from the massive wounds he suffered from the attack, Tuhabonye learned he would never be able to run again. He had grown up running and being very active so this news was terribly devastating. Then a ray of hope shined on him. He received a letter gifting him a full college scholarship in the United States. He says, “And from that day on, I was sleeping better, I started moving better, and I started doing therapy and then, running! That joy of running! When I run, my mind is free; my mind is clear.”

Tuhabonye now runs the Gazelle Foundation with his dedicated team so they can help get access to clean water to the Songa Commune in Burundi. This year on November 4th, they will be hosting their fundraiser called Run for the Water. You can register for the 10 mile race, 5K or the Kids K. They have several other events that you can also participate in.

Nyfeler asked Tuhabonye lots of great questions for which he had wonderful answers. Take some time to read the interview, it’s really quite inspirational. The first question though is what caught my attention. Nyfeler asked him, “When I see your smile, and get that ‘Heeeyyyy, Leah’ and a high five, it makes my day. Is that positivity something you were born with, or have you worked to develop it?” Now I am going to shorten his answer but go and read it. He recounts his experience growing up in Burundi and it sets the context for the rest of the interview. But here I will focus on his answer surrounding joy, “I don’t have to fake it; it’s natural...Running, it’s a vehicle that connects me to people. That’s why when I see you, I smile; we’re already connected, we’re doing the same thing, doesn’t matter the pace; you’re running, I’m running. The question is, are you running with joy? Where did that joy come from? Joy comes from this life that we’re living...Joy was something I learned, especially when I was given a second chance.”

Be Involved

Overwhelmed by climate change? Here's what you can do

Now comes the action call for today’s podcast. We’ve been talking all about what other people are doing to help the environment, now comes our turn. Sure, we can donate to all sorts of organizations doing good work and if that’s something you want to do, go for it! But if you are wanting to take some steps at home to do your part, The Guardian’s Matthew Taylor and Adam Vaughan wrote up some great tips on October 8th.

  • Collective Action

  • Find a group to join that supports what you believe to be special issues politicians and others need to focus on. This can be a local group focusing on building more parks or saving unused land to be nature reserves. Maybe some lakes need to be cleaned up. Or even look at national or international groups that hit a special place in your heart like one of the ones we talked about today. The more people unite in their efforts to save the environment, the more leaders need to listen. As the article says, “Although individual choices and actions are important, experts say people need to unite if the scale of this challenge is to be met, making the political space for politicians and big businesses to make the necessary changes.”

  • Eat Less Meat - Particularly Beef

  • The article links to another article about a report published earlier this year stating that not eating dairy and meat, especially beef, helps to lessen your carbon footprint on the world. According to the other article, “The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% - an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined - and still feed the world. Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife.”

  • According to Joseph Poore, the lead researcher for the report from University of Oxford, UK, “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use. It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car. Agriculture is a sector that spans all the multitude of environmental problems. Really it is animal products that are responsible for so much of this. Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy.”

  • Insulate Homes

  • Keeping cool air in and hot air out or warm air in and cold air out is a huge way to cut energy usage from your home. When you have drafty windows, doors, and roofs, your heaters and air conditioners will have to work harder to get to the temperature you desire. So make sure all holes are plugged and that quality windows and doors are installed. I’ve noticed a difference this makes in all the moving I’ve done over the last 10 years. Having a home that can be easily maintained, temperature wise, is much more satisfying to live in than in one that fluctuates often. Not only will this help the environment and your wallet, this will help you!

  • Solar Panels

  • Using renewable energy in any way you can is a great way to make a direct impact. The more we rely on solar power, wind power, or other methods of reusable energy, the better. That means we rely less on coal and fossil fuels. In the UK, the government has an incentive program ending in April helping people to install solar panels on their home. If this applies to you, be sure to take advantage as soon as you can so you don’t miss out!

  • Transport

  • Whenever possible, try walking, biking, or using public transportation instead of driving yourself. Or try carpooling with people more. If you live in a big city, this can be done easier but I know it’s hard in smaller towns or if you are out in the country. Other ways you can reduce your transportation impact on the environment is making sure your car is tuned up so it isn’t letting out more emissions than necessary, organizing your trips in the car over the week to get as much done with as little driving as possible, and not ordering delivery as often if that’s a trap you fall into.

  • Reduce, Recycle, Reuse

  • Second hand stores, garage sales, and trading with family and friends can be a new way for you to lessen your impact on the environment. Share as much as you can. Make things out of old clothes or donate them to organizations that can use them. Try buying less things and consuming less in general. Read up on what your city recycles and make that a habit. There are so many creative ways out there to recycle and reuse, do some research and see if there is anything you want to try!

  • Vote

  • One of the best ways we can turn this climate change disaster around is by exercising your right to vote. Read up on the people on the ballot and see what their views are about the environment and climate change. We need to hold our politicians all over the world accountable to really help make a difference here. And voting was designed so we could do that.

Now I realize that all of these options are not possible for everyone. The point here is to find some ways to work into your life so you can do what you can to save the environment for future generations. We don’t want the coral reefs and animal species alive now to be mere tales future children only get to hear about. So do what you can now so others may enjoy this amazing world we live in.

Better Yourself

For this week’s Better Yourself, I thought it would be good to talk about forming healthy habits. This episode has been so focused on the environment, by design, I’m sure that it’s rather overwhelming. Honestly, this has been the most overwhelming episode I’ve written so far. The reason it’s so overwhelming to me is because of how vast and complex the issue of climate change really is. So for Better Yourself this week, let’s just talk about forming healthy habits that can support the environment.

Like many people, I have tried again and again to form new healthy habits to create a “better” version of myself. I thought these habits would be the answer I needed to be who I wanted to be. Over time, I realized that many of these habits were me trying to force myself to be someone I thought I should be rather than actually being myself. Who is shocked by this? No one. Not me.

Some of these “healthy” habits were things like making my own shampoo and conditioner, working out at 5am every day, writing in a journal, meditating, eating so many calories a day, so on and so forth. Yes, you can argue that a lot of these are in fact healthy things to do! But not if you are forcing yourself, telling yourself that you are trash if you don’t do these things. That mindset is not healthy.

Once I started letting go of this skewed version of a person that I thought I wanted to be, all thanks to therapy, I realized that many of these habits didn’t stick for multiple reasons. Reasons like trying to change overnight or immediately, not understanding how much time these things would take to work, and not understanding how I work as a person.

Recently I’ve discovered a great resource that I’m just starting to dive into. This resource is Gretchin Rubin. We’ve discussed her podcast, Happier with Gretchin Rubin, before. It’s pretty great, straight forward, and funny! I like her approach to these issues, understanding that people deal with this stuff differently and that those different approaches are fine. We just need to take the time to figure out how we operate and then learn the tricks to apply when trying to form a new habit.

Here is an example of what we mean: I am a people pleaser who tends to be an “all or nothing” kind of gal. If I can’t do it right the first time, I struggle in wanting to do the thing at all. So, I’ve learned to use this to my advantage. Correction, I’m learning to use this to my advantage. I also need accountability which has become almost a curse word for me. I hate how much I hate needing accountability. For things like cutting calories, I have to talk with my boyfriend about our goals, pick certain foods to avoid all together like soda or our beloved french fries and pick special times to indulge in those things we love so much. It’s like a fun mix of abstaining and treating yourself. We have been practicing Junk Food Friday where we try to eat healthy all week and have junk food only on Fridays. This has changed over time but we are getting better at it now. For the month of October, we have decided to not go out to eat. The only times we have indulged are when our family invites us out for a special celebration. But then we don’t do Junk Food Friday that week if that happens. So far, it’s only been twice so we feel pretty good about this.

Figuring out if goals, deadlines, treats, accountability partners, or other methods can motivate you to form these healthy habits can make a dream become reality. Gretchin has lots of great advice on her website and her book, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. Here is the Checklist for Habit Change that Gretchin Rubin created. So pick a habit that you want to try from the list we discussed before, maybe it’s recycling or turning off lights, and take the time to figure out the best way to form this new habit! Remember, it won’t happen overnight but the more you work at it, the easier it will become.

Joyful Things

Now on to Joyful Things in social media! If you want to stay up to date on various climate change topics, I encourage you to follow @climatereality which is the Twitter handle for The Climate Reality Project. The organization was founded by Al Gore and focuses on “bringing the world together to stop climate change and create a happy and prosperous future powered by clean energy,” according to their Twitter profile. While many of their posts are serious in nature, especially recently, they do seem to have some fun so they will be a good one to check out!

October is fun time of year as many people celebrate all things creepy and spooky. One artist goes up and beyond in her work to showcase some incredible scary creations. Meet Heidi Dahlenburg, an amazingly talented cake artist who makes aliens, demons, movie characters, and other creatures come to life through the medium of cake. Check out her website at to see her work and watch videos on YouTube showcasing how she makes the cakes and learn some tips on how to make your own terrifying creations. Follow her on Instagram at heidi_dahlenburg_cake_artist and Facebook at Heidi Dahlenburg - Cake Artist. She also has a Twitter @HeidiMorgs. If you happen to live in Gold Coast, Australia, you can even stop by her shop!

Thanks for listening to some of the joy found in the world this past week. If you have stories of good people doing good things in your neighborhood or anywhere, send them to me! I’ve got an email, or tweet at me @joybingepodcast. TELL ME THE GOOD STUFF!


The music for this podcast is "Industrious Ferret" by Kevin MacLeod. Thanks for listening and have a great week!

"Industrious Ferret" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


Dallas, TX


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