Editor’s note: The chat’s now over, but you can replay it in full.

christie aschwanden

JT Thomas

Christie Aschwanden is a prolific magazine writer and author of, among other things, Beautiful Chickens, a coffee-table book packed with glam shots of champion poultry breeds. She is also the daughter of a pilot and a recovering jet setter.

As part of Grist’s March theme, “Get Small: Micro solutions to macro problems,” Ashwanden wrote about her yearlong experiment in living local. In an effort to reduce her climate footprint, she swore off air travel for 12 months and vowed to stay within a 100-mile radius of her home on a farm in western Colorado.

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First World problems, for sure, but some of what she discovered was a little mind-boggling — the ability of a single plane trip to negate all of our other good green deeds, for example. Perhaps the most surprising discovery of all, however, was just how happy and content she could be living small.


“Shrinking my boundaries didn’t feel constricting — it felt liberating,” she writes. “Without travel, my life became calmer and far less stressful. After hundreds of days living in place, I felt truly grounded. It was the best year of my life, and when it was over, I had no desire to leave.”

Join Aschwanden this Thursday, March 28, at 1 p.m. Eastern (10 a.m. Pacific) for a live chat moderated by Grist Senior Editor Greg Hanscom. We’ll talk about the science of air travel and the climate, Ashwanden’s “100-mile habitat” experiment, and ways to find more joy in your local environs.

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Thinking small? Join the conversation!

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