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It's Time to Level Up!

by Lisa Gerard Braun 7 days ago in Advocacy

Saving our Oceans by Accident

It's Time to Level Up!
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Oddly enough, I heard my name being whispered in an eerie, non-worldly way. And this is a non-fiction article. Serious stuff, ultimately, but it started a little freaky for me.

I tend to be passionate person and I actually said these words vehemently with just a small dash of resignation. I know me, and I am a big talker. Chock full of bravado. I speak with conviction.

“There is no way I’m going to submit a story about Carbon Footprints. I am not even sure what that means. I just came to an understanding regarding global warming, and then cancel culture hit me like a ton of bricks.”

My brain runneth over.

Not to beg forgiveness, but really, I am 56 and exhausted. I do want to be a better person, ultimately, and stay educated as such.

I am not dismissive to issues in the forefront, like carbon footprints. I just questioned if I had any more room in my brain for additional understanding. Maybe I was hoping someone would just tell me what I need to know.

Crib notes, please. Carbon Footprints 101? For Dummies?

I promise I’ll participate. I just have some dried up jelly balls to pry off the tile floor, handprint grime to remove from the banister, missing socks to locate and Elmo’s arm that needs cosmetic, reconstructive surgery, first. My first inkling about being accidentally conscientious was the surgery. I did not run out to buy a new Elmo. A little thread and love and he’s as good as new. I actually think he’s better, all grimy and loved, with loose limbs.

Before Elmo's eye came loose; all repairs are doing well

And, then, like most other topics that I have little to no knowledge about, I quietly wanted to ‘peek’ at what it even meant. After all, the repetitive, breathy, calling of my name was telling me to dig a little deeper. Just a peek, really. No one need know.

The last thing I want is to have to commit to cleaning up a whole ocean. There are large committees already, aren’t there? Yes.

If we aren’t consciously reducing our carbon footprint, we can make recurring donations to reputable change makers like and we can join their over 1.1 million volunteers. The bottom line is that we have no excuses ~ time, talent and treasures are all winning ways to make a difference, so Level Up. Today.

First, though, I wanted to know what kind of carbon footprint I have with my size 9 shoes.


Who'da thunk I am already a graduate from the elementary level. It was so painless that I am motivated to level up more and more!

How exciting to learn that my common sense was right on par to help save our oceans. My size 9 carbon footprint has to be down to a size 5 already. I’ve been doing the following stuff for YEARS to reduce energy, and potential plastic pollution in our oceans and rivers, and thereby, accidentally...

Minimizing my Carbon Footprint:

Reusable Bags: I didn’t even know a plastic bag could take 1000 years to decompose. I am a proud ‘bag lady’ simply for the ease and logical transport options. What size do you need?

I feel my carbon footprint decreasing already!

Paper Straws: A visiting friend, an EPA deputy from an ocean-less state, asked me why we weren’t using paper straws at the restaurant where I worked. As the Office Manager, I was curious. A little research and ‘Boom” paper straws replaced our plastic ~ tell me how our turtles and sea life are suffering and I jumped in to help save our wildlife. That was over 2 years ago, almost 3 years, now.

Carbon Footprint reduction? Yay, me.

Second Hand Stores: As a single, frugal, grandma raising a baby, it was a no-brainer to visit Once Upon a Child stores. Gently used baby gadgets, clothing, toys and books became a weekly visit for me. Once a month I would ‘exchange’ his outgrown items and level up. This tickled my wallet so much that I started visiting Style Encore and Clothes Mentor for my own clothing. I have no less than four ‘Store Bonus Cards’ for the facilities in which I participate.

Circularity reduces carbon footprints. I am salivating with this research. I want more.

Recycling: As a Virgo, I was programmed to be an annoying recycler. I just missed the idea that my obsession came with the bigger benefit of reducing my carbon footprint. I was accidentally, as an organized neat freak, participating in enhancing the greater good.

My 3 ½ year grandson loves the blue cans with the arrows at the park, and knows exactly what they’re for ~ teach ‘em young.

Cold Water Washing: Back in the day, when all of my adolescent kids were long shower takers, I despised running out of hot water. I had found a cold-water detergent for laundry and simply started the new method. Less cycles, with full loads, always, will minimize the energy used.

I learned this energy efficient process at least 10 years ago and had never heard of carbon footprint.

Reducing Car Use: For the past 18 months, I run all errands in our neighborhood, such as going to the office, the pools and the mailbox in our battery-operated golf cart. I do this for fun and to save gas.

Now, I am thrilled to understand that the impact of my fun choice contributes to the process of reducing my carbon footprint.

Energy efficient appliances: It’s not enough to own them, but minimizing the actual usage gets bonus points for me. I just love extra credit. For convenience sake, I started cooking family packs, once a week. I thought I was frugal and prioritizing my time. Cook on Sundays or Mondays, store portions in the refrigerator and not only am I freer all week, I am reducing my dreaded carbon footprint!

Going Paperless: I hardly get mail now. I have less to recycle and I don’t have ‘piles’ to go through when I ‘have a chance’ on my desk. It’s an online world and a painless contribution to our environment. We need to drill this into politicians come election time, though.

Thermal Water Bottles: The easiest, and probably the first step I ever made was being addicted to water, ice cold of course, and my Yeti goes everywhere with me. It’s nice knowing I wasn’t using a zillion plastic bottles to add to our already polluted ocean.

Little ol’ me was in the carbon footprint reduction game long ago!

And now, I have changed my mindset with a little research and understanding. I can help clean an entire ocean. We all can. Help control the carbon dioxide production that comes from households; we can do better. I can do better. We don’t want to be dependent on other countries to provide our energy, do we?

My grandson and I at Bunche Beach Park, San Carlos Bay, Florida

I am all jazzed up to see how much further I can reduce my carbon footprint. Some easy to implement recommendations will commence before this article is even approved for publication.

Here are some additional steps I will be taking with my new found knowledge. I pledge to further reduce my Carbon Footprint and:

1. Turn my electronics off instead of leaving them in a standby mode, which still uses energy.

2. Teach my grandson to shower in lieu of a bath.

3. Shift my diet to more vegetables, less meat. A vegetarian diet generates only half the carbon dioxide of a meat based life style. Even minimizing meat intake to once or twice a month is doable for us.

* Some research indicates that incorporating insects into our diets to replace meat is helpful. I am not ready for the graduate program. Yet.

4. Keep ‘on reserve’ composting with worms. I love composts, don’t ask why because I actually don’t know. There’s a hidden farm girl inside me that loves our earth. It is not an option in our current housing but in the next couple of years when we move into a single family home, it will be doable.

Don’t look at the top of a staircase labeled, “Reducing Your Carbon Footprint” and become overwhelmed.

Take one step at a time.

It’s so easy to help save our oceans, our earth, our environment that I was a team member by accident. Come join me on the staircase.

Here's where I started:

I will level up. Today. You can, too!


It is my sincere hope that you, too, will recognize what you're currently doing and how you can Level Up to do even more. Come see more of my musings at and drop a heart or pick one step to tackle today!

Lisa Gerard Braun
Lisa Gerard Braun
Read next: Wild Animals of Incredible India
Lisa Gerard Braun

I am a freelance writer, blogger, and most importantly a grandmother raising my 3 year old grandson. Visit my site of inspirational stories, personal growth, and real life views of my journey ~

See all posts by Lisa Gerard Braun

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