Thanksgiving 2020 may find us far from our families, or connecting with them on videoconference. That’s something to be thankful for — the ability to connect with loved ones around the world face-to-face, on our phones, for a decent price. Ask a Boomer what long-distance phone calls used to cost. Each will have a horror story to tell, perhaps of a tween making a trans-Atlantic phone call to a friend from a hotel room to the tune of hundreds of dollars.
The pandemic has limited our lives in many ways that we hope will be behind us soon, perhaps with a vaccine. However, there are a few blessings, too. The skies have never been bluer or cleaner in my lifetime. So, before we return to “normal,” my prayer this Thanksgiving is that we will take a look at some of the forced lifestyle changes that we want to embrace by choice once COVID-19 is behind us.
I launched a strong “personal net zero” trajectory on Earth Day 2010, which was the year that the BP Oil Spill gushed at least 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. I knew then that oil companies were drilling a mile beneath the ocean with unproven recovery equipment to feed my oil addiction. It was not easy reducing my driving at that time — before micro mobility came to our cities. However, a few years ago, I got rid of my car completely. Today, most of my to-do list can be done by walking (something that keeps me healthy), riding a bike, taking public transportation or catching a Lyft. Occasionally, I’ll rent a fuel-efficient car for a road trip home to visit the family.
Li and Jonathan Watkins ride their bikes to work every day in Southern England – even when it rains.
Katie and Pete Smith can hardly imagine how they ever afforded their commute before they got jobs in Poundbury, where they live. Rush hour traffic would often turn a 30-mile drive into a two-hour commute. The gasoline budget savings are welcome and useful. However, the time and stress of the commute are also something that Katie is grateful she no longer endures.
Many cities offer very affordable bike-share programs and have expanded bike lanes, making them more visible and customary. Locals are encouraged to take the friendlier road – to share in a kinder, more compassionate way. Single occupancy vehicles have long been the bane of city planners, who received near-constant complaints of gridlock traffic. Every bike or e-scooter makes the commute easier for drivers, taking cars off the road. And of course, when we all stop driving, as we did in the pandemic, then we breathe cleaner air and can see farther out on the horizon.
Since the U.S. grid is still powered by 62 percent fossil fuels (and 20% nuclear), I do my work in sunlit rooms and regulate temperature by opening and closing windows and with layered clothing. Well-insulated homes can heat using body heat. I know many smart handymen, contractors, electrical engineers and architects who have reduced their electrical usage and energy bills by 90 percent with smart energy choices, and no change in lifestyle. You’ve probably noticed how much you are saving from not having to commute to work. All told getting smarter about your big-ticket bills, including curbing the car, insulating your home, LED lighting and putting a timer on your water heater, can add up to savings of thousands of dollars every year. Imagine the bucket list vacations you can take (once the pandemic is over) with that kind of money.
My prayer this Thanksgiving is that blue skies, clean water, wildlife and healthy oceans will be the gifts we endow to the centuries of humans and animals to come.
I invite/encourage you to try at least one hour of personal net zero this Thanksgiving weekend (without technology, too). Get tips of what you might try at http://EarthGratitude.org/ in the free Future Earth and Clean Living ebooks. You can also watch a 4-minute film about a brave young family who made a bold pro-planet choice for their young son on the Earth Gratitude home page.
One last thing: If you haven’t already claimed your 21 Days of Prosperity Coaching, which is my Free Holiday Gift to you this year, simply email [email protected] with the subject I Want My Free Holiday Gift.
About Natalie Pace
Natalie Wynne Pace is an Advocate for Sustainability, Financial Literacy & Women’s Empowerment. She has been ranked as a No. 1 stock picker, above over 835 A-list pundits, by an independent tracking agency (TipsTraders). The ABCs of Money remained at or near the #1 Investing Basics e-book on Amazon for over 3 years (in its vertical), with over 120,000 downloads and a mean 5-star ranking. The 4th edition of The ABCs of Money was released on October 17, 2020.
Natalie Pace’s easy as a pie chart nest egg strategies earned gains in the last two recessions and have outperformed the bull markets in between. That is why her Investor Educational Retreats, books and private coaching are enthusiastically recommended by Nobel Prize winning economist Gary S. Becker, TD AMERITRADE chairman Joe Moglia, Kay Koplovitz and many Main Street investors who have transformed their lives using her Thrive Budget and investing strategies. Click to view a video testimonial from Nilo Bolden.