‘Tis the season for reflecting on our adventures and creating bucket lists for future experiences. To help you build your PNW bucket list I’m sharing my Favorite Things to Do in the Pacific Northwest. This is not your typical things to do guide, but instead a more personal reflective guide.
Spot a Slug & Say Thanks
Slugs and snails, in my experience, are some of the most unappreciated animals (Phylum Mollusca) on the planet.
Despite some opinions slugs and snails are very important for a balanced ecosystem, especially in the forest. Just about all species of slugs and snails prefer dead foliage to live plants, so while they can and do eat up some plants in your garden they work really hard to eat the things that you don’t need to produce nitrogen-rich and mineral-laden poop (a.k.a the stuff plants dream about).
In an article written by biologist Ken Bevis, “Heroes of the forest floor: Banana slugs are outdoors janitors/recyclers”, Bevis emphasizes the need for a lot of these little creatures to successfully fulfill the nutrient cycles of the complex forest habitat.
Learn more about the magnificent slug from Ken Bevis | Here.
Dive deeper & learn Spiritual Significance of the Slug | Here
Practice a Little Ecotherapy
I wish I could bottle the forest air and take it home with me. The combination of cedars, pine, moist moss, and fungi can blanket you in what can only be described as the most brilliant natural quilt.
Have you heard of forest bathing?
The term forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) originated in Japan around the 1980s, however, the practice itself is not a new concept to humans.
In reality, it is as simple as taking a walk in the woods, but as complex as entering a meditative state of connection with nature.
Forest bathing is a combination of spiritual, physiological, and psychological reconnection.
As the world has become more technologically dependent forest bathing can be the perfect antidote to conquer the world pressure/attitudes, white noise, and robotic chatter we are surrounded by.
Forest bathing is a proven de-stressor as it reduces stress hormone production. Not only that but forest bathing can boost your immune system. Trees and plants produce phytoncides, which when inhaled by humans boosts our natural killer (NK) cell activity (is that not absolutely amazing?).
Personally, I find myself more creative after I have spent time reconnecting in the forest. I feel more alive like my entire body, every organ, has just received a boost of oxygen.
Read a Book
Camping in the forest is the perfect time to put a pause on everything and cuddle up with a great book (or 20).
Walk the Beaches & Catch a Low Tide
Equally as magical as the blanketed forests of the PNW is the vast, sprawling, fogging beauty of the dark sanded deep-colored beaches.
In my mind, I often contrast the light, airiness of the Hawai’i shores with the deep richness of the Pacific Northwest. I have never felt more connected with myself, and nature as compared to when I am walking along the coasts of Washington. My heart is completely full in these places.
The coffee in Washington is f*cking phenomenal. My go-to order: three espresso shots on ice with half-and-half and lavender syrup.
Intense? Yes. Delicious? Also, yes.
Take a Moment to Observe Wildlife
In order to fully connect with the environment around me, I love to sleep in it. The concept is as simple as it is refreshing.
Just fucking be.
With Great Love Comes Great Responsibility
As we grow inanimately closer to the devastating effects the climate crisis will have on our planet my heart physically aches for all the living beings of the Pacific Northwest that are at risk; bears, orcas, tufted puffins, wolves, cougars, fir trees, maples, moss, mushrooms, banana slugs, snails, bees, deer, squirrels, otters, salmon, seals, owls… need I go on?
Sometimes the state of our climate can become so overwhelming we feel that anything we do is not enough. That could not be farther from the truth. It is the mindset that we can not make a difference that has the power to prevent us from making a difference. We must remember that we do have the power to make positive change, it begins with the small things, and it all counts.
Here are small things you can do as individuals to help our planet:
- Cut Out Unnecessary Waste – This is pretty self explanitory. As humans we can choose what is truly necessary or not. Here is a list of potential products that you may choose to cut-out and/or switch to sustainable long lasting options. I have linked products that I actually use and love below.
- Ziplock bags | Reusable Storage Bags
- Traditional Papertowels | Reusable Eco-Friendly Dishcloths
- Plastic bags | Cotton-Mesh Produce Bags
- Plastic Waterbottles | Hydro Flask
- Refill cleaners | I use Mrs. Meyers products which smell amazing and give me the option to refill
- Learn more here
- Compost – We own a condo which means not a lot of room for personal composting, however, there are a handful of composting locations in my area. We use Wompost – a woman-owned composting service that allows us to drop off (they will pick up) or food waste which they repurpose into soil. If you cannot compost yourself, check composting services in your area.
- Eat Responsibly – I have strong beliefs and opinions when it comes to the moral and ethical choice to consume animals as products, but I do my best not to force people to believe the same things as me. If you choose to eat meat, instead of giving your hard-earned money to factory-farming big business corporate institutions, support local hard-working farmers. Whose work has a positive impact on the environment.
- Shop Responsibly – Look, you work hard for your money, and I have no right to tell you how you should spend it, but… (you knew there would be a “but”) because you work so hard don’t you want your money to go to someone else who works as hard as you? When you choose to shop locally (bookstores, jewelry shops, lotions/soaps, etc.) you are not only giving back to the individual who owns the business, but you are giving back to your community. Trust me, I am not perfect. Sometimes the cheapest, best option is Amazon. When you do shop Amazon you can still shop responsibly. It is always better to buy less (both better for your wallet & the world) but that is not always realistic, if you cannot reduce consumption then try these practices out: support local, shop eco-friendly and cruelty-free, check the source.
Here are some really good resources, including people doing wonderful things, to find out more (each our hyperlinks to their website):
- Untied Nations | Climate Action
- 15 Woman Leading the Fight Against Climate Change
- The Good News About Climate Change
- Ten Simple Ways to Act on Climate Change | BBC Future