Tell us about yourself:
Hi! My author name is C.S. Sherin. Please call me Chandra (pronounced like “Channing”). I am an author, freelance writer and editor, artist, and poet — with a passion for biodiversity, holistic health, naturalism, ethics, and conservation. I do crave adventure and new perspective via travel, and most often seek experiences connected to the beauty of ecosystems, nature, and wildlife. Food, art, customs, and beliefs of different cultures are also deeply important and appreciated by me. Diversity in nature and of people provides opportunity for enrichment, learning, and growth. I love and welcome that! In general, I love taking photos of nature, music, dancing, making soup, growing herbs, and going for walks and hikes with my dog and family.
What makes your blog different?
My blog, Recipe For A Green Life, is based on my book (of the same name). It is a supplement and companion to the guidebook I wrote, to keep up with current issues and share new ideas. This blog is different than most in the genre, because it is a holistic, grassroots, educational, inclusive approach to sustainable living, rather than an exclusive, niche and commercial or sponsored approach.
When did you first discover a passion for protecting the planet?
I began having life-affirming and healing experiences in nature and with animals and wildlife when I was about seven years old, in 1980. That was when the deeper awareness was born. In the mid-1990s I began living in a way that more fully reflected my values and passions. That is when my activism became my lifestyle. Some of that was based on practicality, and being true to who I am as a person. But, the other part of it was seeing the harm and injustice being done to wildlife, animals, nature, and people — and choosing to live in a way that responds to that reality.
So, over 20 years ago I was: signing petitions for animal welfare and human rights, using a shampoo bar and coconut oil, using toothpowder, thrift shopping for most of my clothing and household needs, abstaining from meat (and sometimes dairy), and I was making my own perfume with essential oils. This was all long before it was mainstream and niche. I was seen as a bit unusual and weird back then. After I was married and had a child, at the beginning of the 2000s, my lifestyle changed and I learned through experience about the challenges to sustainable living due to having pets, children, and limited funds. That experience shaped and informed my book.
How does your commitment to Eco-living affect your travels?
There is sacrifice involved. I don’t travel as much as I would like to, but that is due to a number of reasons, not just for eco-living values. Still, we limit how often we fly or travel out of state and out of country, in order to be more sustainable. There is a need for research before traveling, with eco-living values, so there is a constraint on spontaneity. I love being spontaneous, so that is a challenge. But, I make up for that in being spontaneous in short travels locally and regionally. Also, there are a lot of foods, activities, and products that are avoided or omitted when I travel. That can be seen as limiting or clarifying. For me, it is clarifying and pares things down to what is most important. My commitment to eco-living values means that I can feel really good about my overall choices, and truly relax and enjoy the journey as I travel.
What travel experience has most transformed you as a person?
This is not a “travel destination” in any way, or a vacation, and…it was the most transforming travel experience I have ever had. In the late 1990s, three different times, I got to go to stay on land on reservations in South Dakota for one of the most sacred Native American ceremonies there is, the Sun Dance. The invitation was to my mother, who, thankfully, took me along. We drove from Wisconsin and camped there like everyone else. The Sun Dance ceremony was declared illegal and criminalized by the United States government in 1883 (along with other Indigenous religious practices). In the 1930s, the Sun Dance was revived. But, the US didn’t officially overturn the ban until the late 1970s, with the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978. Canada also lifted its ban in the 1950s.
Native American families and friends save up all year to be able to travel to, and be a part of the Sun Dance ceremony, I learned. Extended family and friends from across the country traveled to be there. Being able to witness this, and being welcomed in, to be a part of it, was one of the most humbling and profound experiences of my life. We were asked to refrain from documenting or disclosing details of the ceremony, and I will always respect that request. What I can say is that it is a beautiful, powerful process of prayer and community, outdoors, that engages the whole person in nature, and all the senses. All of it is rooted in reverence and compassion for all life, with all kinds of prayer for healing and balance. I can also freely share that I witnessed a deep and exuberant love for family by the leaders, expressed and shared so beautifully each day, for everyone to see and hear.
I am forever grateful for that opportunity to be present there. Not only did I witness the richness and deep value of that particular tribe’s beliefs and sacred ways, I also witnessed some of the reality and life stories of and from a reservation. I returned home, a better, more aware, and better informed person. I never looked at my relationship to what is sacred in life, or reservations, in the same way again.
If you could change one thing about travel, what would it be?
I would make all forms of travel ethical and sustainable — safe, healthy, respectful to all people and animals, affordable, and harmless to health and environment.
What issues do you feel don’t get enough “ink” in travel blogging?
Some important aspects of travel include: challenges and problem-solving, alternatives, growth points, cultural considerations, ethics around tourism and environmental impact, and the not so aesthetic — the perfectly imperfect moments, and the not so pretty moments — which can also be so important. I would love to see more of all of that in travel blogging.
Tell us about your book, “Recipe For A Green Life.”
In January of 2016 I published a draft publication, A Green Lifestyle Recipe Book, under my own indie label, Wild Clover Press. Then, from collaboration with my editor (the Rollerbag Goddess herself), the book grew into a 488 page paperback called: Recipe For A Green Life: A Holistic Sustainable Living Handbook & Recipe Book. The second edition was released in May of 2018.
Recipe For A Green Life is a complete and thorough guide to embodying and maintaining the values of sustainability in our daily lives. This book was a passion project, offered up for the common good. It is holistic, heavily researched, addresses underlying issues of sustainability, and includes recipes for plant-based meals, body care, hygiene, and cleaning. It is an educational resource, and a go-to companion for any person who is wishing to know foundational facts, current issues, and problem-solving for common issues related to climate action and sustainable living at home, at work, and out in the world in general. The second edition is available as an e-book or in paperback.
As long as we are breathing and able, there is reason to act and persevere in actions that contribute to a better present and future for all life. Even when things are discouraging and complex, I fall back on that anchor. This book is a viable and needed tool for this time of urgent need and crisis. Recipe For A Green Life breaks down barriers created by perfectionism, class, corrupt systems, differing beliefs, and individual circumstances that often conflict with niche movements.
What are some of your favorite blog posts you’ve penned, and why?
Well, actually, “The Complete Guide To More Sustainable Travel,” that I guest blogged here on RBG is one of my favorites to date. This is because I was really able to flesh out some of the issues of travel that I had been ruminating about for a while, like flying. And, I was able to expand on what I had already written about in Recipe For A Green Life. In the course of researching for the article, I learned some new things too, like how extremely harmful most cruise ships are to the environment (worse than flying).
Two blog posts from my blog are also published on Medium.com, and that audience really appreciated them: “The Devastation of Overfishing and the Major Problems With Aquaculture” and “Sustainable Fashion: What You Need To Know.” I really love seafood and fashion, and it was important to me to look at all the aspects involved in order to learn more, process, share, and keep myself up to date on the best way forward.
What’s on your travel bucket list, and why?
I would love to see Vancouver, Toronto, and Prince Edward Island (in the summer), because I have yet to set foot on Canadian soil!
Where can people find and follow you?
Wild Clover is my brand name, and my online home-base. That is where you will find my creativity, personal writing, posts about travel with photography, and my services as a freelance professional. My sustainable living blog is “Recipe For A Green Life.” Here are the deets:
Twitter: @recipe4green, @windywildclover
Rollerbag Goddess travel blog by Charish Badzinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.