by Wendy Gabriel
Beth Buczynski is freelance writer currently living in sunny Fort Collins, Colorado. A transplant from Eastern Tennessee, Beth has always lived around and loved the natural beauty of the mountains. She believes that sustainable living means doing more with less, and taking into account the health and happiness of future generations who must live with the consequences of our decisions.
How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?
I live on my bike. Fort Collins is by far one of the most bike friendly towns I have ever lived in, and we have trails and bike lanes that will take you just about everywhere. I am truly disappointed when a long trip across town requires me to get in my car. Besides that we are pretty dedicated recyclers, we shop at thrift stores, and eat from the local farmers’ market whenever we can.
You wrote a wonderful article recently about genetically modified foods, The FDA’s Dirty Little Secret: Watch out for bio-foods at the EcoSpheric Blog. Why should we avoid foods that have been genetically altered?
We are more unhealthy than any generation that has come before us, and I am convinced that this is directly related to the fact that we consume a horrific amount of processed and otherwise industrially produced foods. Due to the craftiness of certain financially-invested companies, like Monsanto, which pushes genetically modified crops to farmers and agricultural companies, this has happened without informing the American public or conducting serious scientific studies into the effects that this might have humans and livestock. Many people think that because genetically modified foods have been approved by the FDA, they are completely safe, when in fact almost no rigorous, in-depth, or long-term studies have been used to arrive at that decision. When these studies have been conducted, GM foods are found to contain unpredictable and hard-to-detect allergens and toxins which can lead to new diseases and nutritional problems.
I believe that where you live can play a role in how easy it is to be green. For example, finding local and organic produce is a challenge in some areas. How does living in Colorado help or hinder living a sustainable life?
I think that location definitely plays a role in what is feasible and what is not. Living in Colorado, and meeting people that are truly invested in “walking the walk” has been eye opening for me. There is an active culture of sustainable agriculture here, which makes eating organic and local products a lot easier that it might be elsewhere. The general climate is one that is very open to discussion and progressive thinking, and our state representatives are quite dedicated to making Colorado a hub for renewable energy production. And of course the cycling culture here makes alternative transportation a no-brainer.
Have you always been concerned about the environment or was there an a-ha moment in your life that created the girl that informs and inspires others to live sustainably?
The seeds were definitely planted during my childhood, which was not at all conventional as I was homeschooled for many years. I grew up questioning the system and knew that just because something had always been done in a certain way, that didn’t make it right for everyone. Later on in life these qualities drew me to issues of environmental conservation and protection, which, in my opinion, are so directly related to our own health and happiness, and which so many people seem to be able to ignore. If I had to pick a significant moment though, it would be learning the truth about mountaintop removal mining from an activist friend of mine.