Tag Archives: Steven He

Everything Everywhere All At Once

I’m feeling emotional these days. Because people, Year of No Garbage, is OUT! You can buy it, and if you’ve ordered it— you wonderful person, you— it probably will show up on a satin pillow at your doorstep as you read this. Like any book, YONG has been a looooong time in the making, going from a crazy idea I proposed to my family years ago, to an actual real-life book on the shelf at your local bookstore.

Overnight my life has gone from one of typing quietly at my keyboard, to one of talking about this book to anyone who will listen. This takes many forms (interviews, short videos, bringing it up in entirely unrelated conversations with my dentist), but I’m often struck by the incongruity of being an author in today’s world. On the one hand, when you’re writing, you’re supposed to be good at the solitary, good-with-words-not-so-much-with-people thing. On the other, when it comes time to put your book in the world, you’re supposed to be a cross between a one-man band and the Sham-Wow guy.

I’m pretty sure there is no one better at silliness than Steven He

To be clear this is an observation and not a complaint. I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve been able to learn from watching and talking to Steven He, our daughter’s boyfriend, as he has navigated the road from out-of-work-actor at the start of our Year of No Garbage, to superstar influencer and that-Emotional-Damage-guy today. He graciously agreed to do three collaborative videos with me for social media to promote YONG and above is the second one we made- can you tell we are having a ridiculous amount of fun?

How to Eat Salad: An instructional Video

Speaking of fun, if you haven’t had a chance to order the book there is a promotion of the ebook going on through April 30 for only $9.99. THAT’S RIGHT! And if you order now we will throw in a lovely set of Sham Wows, but not really because microfiber cloths are all made of plastic.

So happy happy Earth Day everyone! I hope you get a chance to get outside, avoid some plastic, and to ask for a real cup for your coffee. Celebrate by posting a picture of yourself doing something EarthDayish and tag me! PS- Reading YONG totally counts.

The Goofy Environmentalist

One thing I hear a lot lately is that being an activist— or an environmentalist, or a person concerned about climate change— is that it is depressing. As in: the news is all bad and it keeps getting worse. Plastic is everywhere, it’s a toxin, it’s junking up our bodies, the environment AND fostering climate change, and sometimes it all just feels like a hopeless uphill battle.

I totally get it. Nobody can watch footage of the plastic straw turtle, or read about what’s happening in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley where the plastic industrial complex flagrantly poisons the environment and the residents, or East Palestine where the catastrophic spill of plastic chemicals recently took place, and be happy about it. But then again, we’re not going to solve anything by being despondent.

At the risk of going all Pollyanna on you here, I think the best thing we can do as people who are trying to create change is to find a way to be Activists That Are Having Fun. (ATAHF? Awesome acronym Eve!) When you’re having fun, people want to join you- and yes, I really do think that on some level it can be as simple as that.

I first observed this when I went to New York City last fall to participate in a protest against Coca Cola being the sponsor of the COP 27 UN annual climate conference. We were a small-ish group of 20 or so protestors, and of course everyone had different approaches to what protesting meant for them: should we chant? Should we sing? Should we march? Was it okay to smile and laugh or should we remember we were pissed off?

As we progressed from the UN to towards the New York Public Library, we really only had one task: we had an informative, postcard-sized handout and we had to give it to people. But this is New York- and New Yorkers are experts at avoiding being handed flyers (which are usually advertisements) and generally mind their own business at an Olympic level. You say those folks over there gonna reenact Hamlet with edible finger puppets? None of my business.

But we tried anyway. And as we went along, block by block, what I noticed was that passersby were much more likely to take a flyer if I was smiling, instead of chanting. When we sang, people stopped to listen. When we danced, people smiled and took our flyers and some started dancing too.

It seems like a simple observation, but it really struck me. Wasn’t the old saying that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar? We all can use more reasons to be happy. And silly. I firmly defend silliness. If you don’t believe me, watch my video above with the irrepressible YouTuber Steven He.

I do think you can be silly and still talk about serious things. In fact, sometimes that’s the only way we can manage to talk about things that might otherwise scare us to death. So as Earth Day approaches I hope you’ll take time to participate in an expression of support for sustainability and our environment, whether it takes the firm of a protest, a clean-up, or just asking for a “real” cup at your local coffee shop. Just remember- it’s okay to have fun in the process. Because in some sense, isn’t joy what we’re fighting for?

PS!!- I’m delighted to announce that Year of No Garbage will be on shelves at your local bookstore in only one week (April 18th)!! Frannie from Book Junkie calls my writing “brilliant” and by complete coincidence is also my new favorite person. Check it out!