February 26, 2014

Enjoy Life While You Can

Baking in my new hemp apron, made by my sister-in-law. Toque is my improvised hair net,
plus it is cold out and we keep our thermostat set low. I'm enjoying myself - really.
I read an article today on controversial scientist James Lovelock of Gaia fame. He has interesting things to say about the state of the world, although I think he might be a bit cranky. I would like to have him as a guest to discuss things over a coffee and a cinnamon bun.

Lovelock considers green lifestyles to be "ostentatious grand gestures", supports nuclear power, and thinks humanity is pretty much done for. He is injecting a bit of debate into discussions of what we want our future to look like. If we have a future at all.

The 94 year old predicts that in 20 years the effects of climate change are going to make us wish we had started to tackle the green house gas problem back in the 60s. According to this scientist (and many others) we are headed for catastrophic changes regardless of what we do going forward.

Lovelock's advise? "Enjoy life while you can."

This morning I interpreted that as: "Make cinnamon buns".

Droolalicious cinnamon rolls rising.
There are very few things as enjoyable for me as spending a cold winter day huddled around the hearth baking. It is a form of magic that changes the separate dry ingredients into a warm living mound of yeasty smelling fermenting food.

More accurately, it is magic aided by 5 minutes of vigorous kneading by hand.

This time around my bread dough was made with whole ingredients I had available. A combo of rye, unbleached, and whole wheat flour. Added in was crushed flax, wheat germ and bran. Also a bit of molasses, sea salt, and about a cup of left over Cream of Wheat porridge from breakfast.

I used the same dough for everything, and ended up with three loaves of fresh bread and nine sticky cinnamon buns.

Cinnamon buns with raisins and walnuts ready for eating.
James Lovelock and I differ on a number of environmental issues, but we both agree that any kind of 'green consumption', or 'ethical consumption' is a scam doomed to failure. We also agree that enjoying life while you can is very important.

While the scientist may not enjoy my simple, eco-conscious lifestyle, I am quite sure he would enjoy my baking.

What if Lovelock is right and we do only have 20 'normal' years left before the planet kicks our butts all the way to an 80% reduction in global population? How will you enjoy life while you can? 


  1. I love your interpretation of enjoying life. Mine involves drip coffee and a Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse book. Have a great day.

    1. T.M.,

      You really should have one of my cinnamon buns to go with that coffee.

  2. I read the same article over the weekend and ordered his latest book. While I appreciate his view that trying to live gently on this planet may not change anything it feels right for my family and I. I really appreciate your blog. It is something I enjoy reading every week. Thank you.

    1. Kris T.,

      I like that Lovelock is challenging ideas that we may take for granted. It is important that we put our efforts toward things that help the most, although that is often difficult to figure out given how complicated our world is.

      But giving up shouldn't be an option, and I fear that is what some people might conclude after reading the article. We can make a difference, and like you said, living gently just feels right.

      Thanks for commenting and letting us know we are part of your weekly reading. It is good to know that all you fine frugal folks are out there.

  3. Anonymous2/28/2014

    (I believe) We must live in accordance with what we know to be right. I like the idea of the Quaker inner light as a guidance. It doesn't matter if we ever make a real difference, it only matters that we lived as we know that we should. Maybe if enough of us live this way, the tide will turn, or maybe not.

    I've learned however that obsessing about the things that I could be doing better, or denying myself any comfort is not going to end life as we know it.

    Maybe Gaia will take care of things in her own way.

    1. Miss Marla,

      The Quakers (or Friends) have a pretty awesome outlook on things. I like the emphasis on how a person actually lives and behaves rather than what they profess in words.

      I also like their take on simplicity.

      "A growth economy based on extravagance, wastefulness and artificially stimulated wants is seen to be a fundamental violation of the testimony of simplicity."

      I believe the tide has turned… again. Support for different ways of life and better alternatives is growing quickly.

  4. Anonymous2/28/2014

    Great post! I have to admit, Gregg, that your solution of baking cinnamon rolls is the best, most life-affirming one I have ever seen! Your post inspired my mother and me to bake some nissua (Finnish sweet bread flavored with cardamom) on one of our recent snowy days. Instead of complaining about cabin fever, we spent a wonderful day baking (well, and eating the finished product, of course.) Several family members received their own loaves and it was really one of the best days I've had this winter. Also, your apron is fantastic! I just sewed one out of an old repurposed linen dress and it came out OK, but your sister-in-law did a great job on yours. (And my mother totally approved of your hairnet/toque!)

    Sophie W.

    1. Sophie W.,

      What a wonderful day of baking and sharing the loaves and the love. Beautiful.

  5. Anonymous3/01/2014

    I feel good because even if the population is wiped out in twenty years I am living life the way I want. I actually don't enjoy being wasteful and consuming a ton and I get great pleasure out of nature, going for walks, reading, making frugal and healthy food, stretching a buck...so I am not going to be upset that I didn't buy more garbage even if the world ends tomorrow.

    Those cinnamon buns look good! Might have to do some baking tomorrow since it's snowy here and I will be inside with my kids.


    1. Jen,

      Living life the way you want is what it is all about as far as I am concerned. Your kids are lucky to have an adult modelling what is important in life… and that isn't buying more garbage.

      Baking on a snowy day is a darn near perfect activity. Hope the buns turned out well.


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