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the weekly tea
Lotus Root Tea
weekly tea: lotus root tea
Despite writing about tea an awful lot, I drink a good amount of decaffeinated tea, mostly because I’m very sensitive to stimulants. One of my go-tos is lotus root tea, which is made by rinsing off slices of dried lotus root and adding hot water.
Side note: lotus root is exactly what it sounds like: the earthy root that grows in the mud of the beautiful lotus flowers. It’s one of those foods that looks completely alien if you haven’t seen it before: it‘s filled with holes of large and small sizes. If you are handy with a knife, you can chop it into skull shapes. It’s a super fun starchy root vegetable, and I love adding it to soups or frying it into chips. In this instance, the root is sliced and then dehydrated, and you make the tea by just adding hot water.
The tea lotus root makes is mild and sweet and earthy. I had some sitting on a bench outside on the first day of 2024 where the temperature hit the 70s. I sat and drank tea…and it wasn’t really a moment of mindfulness? Mostly, I spent my time looking at the front yard, thinking “yikes, the spring clean up is nowhere near done and I can see that things are starting to grow.”
I actually enjoy drinking very mild herbal (do we say root vegetable?) tea, in part because I just like drinking warm things. I don’t even want it to have much of a flavor; most of the time, it’s going to be a glass sitting on my desk while I work, and I don’t want to feel like I need to pay attention to it. I just want to hydrate.
This is one of those teas that I end up drinking several times a week, and almost never think about it.

I got a bag of dried lotus root slices from H-Mart, but you can find it on Amazon or from other Asian grocery stores. 

Lately I’ve been playing this game called “Beecarbonize” as my way of getting my brain to relax after work sessions. (You can get it on Steam, Google, or the Apple App Store.) It’s a card-type game where your goal is to take humanity from the industry of the twentieth century into the future, while hopefully surviving manmade ecological disaster.
I’ve found it very soothing, mostly because it is kind of nice to be able to make choices that save humanity. Climate denial? Easy—pay two human points and solve the issue. (Don’t I wish things were that easy in reality.)
One of the things I like about this game (other than the soothing feeling of reducing carbon emissions to zero by obtaining cards that switch to alternate energy sources, making cities efficient, and mass planting rainforests) is that you can develop “lifestyle changes” and “voluntary frugality” as options to reduce carbonization, and those cards can be very important if you’re trying to keep your emissions in a narrow window, but they’ll be completely outweighed by “fracking” or “fossil fuels” if you have those on the board.
In reality, everything I do makes up a tiny fraction of one of those two cards. there is very little I can do about the fracking currently in play except write letters to my congressperson letting them know that I support a swift and just transition to alternative energy.
But “very little” is still greater than zero. One of the things that my husband and I did, starting about eight years ago, was sit down and come up with a decarbonization plan for the house: insulation, solar panels, everything. Mostly, this plan requires waiting until various items are at or near the end of their life span before we put in their replacements, figuring out (in advance) how expensive that replacement is going to be and trying to make sure we’re putting aside a little bit every month so that when the time comes, we can make the best choice.
Is this enough? It’s not even close.
But everything that needs to happen needs to happen on the both small and the large scale. We do need giant corporations to make changes—this more than anything–but the changes they make will impact our lives in many, many ways. I remember back when I was a teenager, we phased out the aerosol hairsprays responsible for both ozone depletion and the Big Hair Craze. Some people complained. Almost everyone else said, “you want the penguins to all die? Shut up and get on board.”
The more people we have saying “shut up and get on board” to the naysayers, the easier change becomes. 
There is a lot of room for despair, but the thing that keeps me moving is this: I can always identify one more thing to do, and if I do that, it’s one less thing that will need to be done.

(A lot of this information is US-specific: different countries likely have different base electrical infrastructure, and I don’t know if I have anything helpful to add.) 
If you’re looking for information about how to electrify your home, check out Rewiring America. There are a lot of federal-level bonuses that the Department of Energy offers. Your state may also have programs that can save you money: don’t forget to check!

Until next week!
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