Author Archives: Emerging Environments

About Emerging Environments

Thoughts about environmental policy, sustainability, cancer, and more.

The Grass is Always Greener, Part I

The grass is always greener. He has this. She has that. I want it instead of what I currently have. I own a small business, and the grass is always greener. This is not about how owning a small business, … Continue reading

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I think I died two Aprils ago

I think I died two Aprils ago. I stepped on a plane headed for California as if nothing would change, and when I woke up, everything was new, and everything old was suddenly gone. I left my friends and colleagues … Continue reading

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Stress Level, Small Business Owner

Late last week I received a photo via text message of the bathroom in my cafe. The bathroom had been vandalized, and the caption on the text read, “this just happened”. Someone was either eerily tall, or standing on the … Continue reading

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Cancer isn’t mine

At age 18 I suffered a mental breakdown and spent brief amounts of time in both juvenile and adult psychiatric wards. Eighteen months later I was a stronger person. I felt years beyond my age and I compared nearly all … Continue reading

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For the Love of Coffee

I’ve put everything I have into this business. Financially, I put nearly everything in, but I’m referring to my actual self. When people visit Bay Coffee they are essentially experiencing a piece of me. I’ve put all I have to … Continue reading

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Living my Dream as a Small Business Owner

I never knew how much work owning a café entailed until I owned a café. I had never managed people and inventory, the two components of the business that continue to be the most difficult. I had worked in food … Continue reading

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Born Again

I often feel like the chemo killed me, like I’ve awoken into a second life of dreams and second chances. Prior to my cancer I wanted to change jobs and move to California, and for nearly three years I longed. … Continue reading

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My hands hurt with anger

My hands hurt from anger. They hurt from cancer, treatment, and the after effects. On each occasion that I learn of another case of cancer, my hands begin to hurt. I’m reminded of the neuropathy plaguing my fingers and toes … Continue reading

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Life’s too short; Thank you, cancer

Dedicated to all who have been, who are, and who will be personally touched by cancer. Life is too short and I’ve decided to go all in. I could fail and I might but I won’t. I’m going all in. … Continue reading

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The Fear of Death

I’ve never been afraid of much, besides heights, which leave me in a frozen, almost incapacitated mental and physical state, though I’ve never been able to understand the root of this fear. Now I fear death and what that would … Continue reading

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It Takes A Village

It takes a village to raise a child. This is how the proverb goes. Well, it also takes a village to tackle cancer. In my own fight I encountered at least one individual (so there must be more) who did … Continue reading

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Hearing Lung Cancer

Every time I heard the words “lung cancer” a million thoughts ran through my head, and I heard the phrase repeatedly because I was actively seeking cancer stories. “Lung cancer”. It could have been my fate and that is what … Continue reading

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Tears for Strangers

Never before have I shed tears for complete strangers. I didn’t even know these people; all I knew was that one of the two was young, still in his teenage years, and had just passed from cancer. His older sister, … Continue reading

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Cancer Free

On April 17, 2014 my treating oncology team reported the following: The tumor in my chest, which measured 7.5 centimeters in length prior to chemotherapy, now measures nine millimeters. The remaining mass is likely nothing more than dead scar tissue that … Continue reading

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Guest Post: Sorting Through Cancer Information – What Should You Believe?

Guest Post from Healthline After my cancer diagnosis, I started following numerous cancer related blogs. I was perturbed by some of the information floating around the internet. There were various claims about preventing or curing cancer that seemed unfounded. At times it was difficult to … Continue reading

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Benefits of Cancer: Lowering Inhibitions

Cancer can’t be all bad. It can’t. It’s terrible. A terrible disease, cancer is, despised and cursed, feared, insidious. For all the bad that cancer brings, all the sadness, death, pain and tears, there must be something good.Lowering Inhibitions I’ve … Continue reading

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Ode to Motherhood

I did not consciously intend to follow my mother’s letter with an ode to motherhood, though I love my mother and my unconscious could be at play. My wife Angele inspired this post. Angele works non-stop as a mother. Her … Continue reading

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Guest Post: A letter from my mom

Dear Josh, There is no way I can know what you are going through. Although I would like to all I can do is imagine and hallucinate based on whatever elementary knowledge I have, what I have learned the past … Continue reading

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Wine, Coffee, and Listerine

Red WineThe evening is still early and I have nothing to do, nowhere to go, and no thoughts. Dinner has digested perfectly and the cool northern California air touches my neck and arms ever so slightly. Open on the table … Continue reading

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Hope: Scanning Fear and Cancer Treatment

My strength softened these last few days as I began to seriously explore the possibility of my treatment failing to destroy the tumor in my chest. More chemo…an operation… I just completed my third of four scheduled chemotherapy marathons and … Continue reading

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It’s not my fault but I feel guilty

I know it’s not my fault but I feel guilty. I know I didn’t cause this. I never dreamed of developing a cancerous tumor in the center of my chest. I never wanted this. It’s not my fault but I … Continue reading

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Three Miles to Chemotherapy

I wanted to write about something other than chemotherapy because I felt that I’d written enough about it. Whole books could be written on the subject, but without proper style, the reader might benefit more from popping downers. I wanted … Continue reading

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What Causes Cancer? (I’m not professing to know)

Conversation with the oncologist, January 15th, 2014 Me: How long do you think the tumor in my chest has been growing? Oncologist: Probably about three to four months. I would like to preface this post by stressing that I do … Continue reading

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Disassociating Nausea, an Exercise in Chemotherapy

Cycle Three: Expectations of NauseaMy third cycle of chemotherapy starts this Thursday and I dread the forthcoming nausea. I can request a change in nausea meds but I’m concerned that such a change could intensify the nausea. I have instead … Continue reading

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What is chemotherapy like?

Many people close to me have asked about my cancer treatment. They ask what I do while receiving treatment, or if I can feel the chemo drugs enter my body. This post is meant to address these and other questions … Continue reading

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Love and Beauty in the Peace Corps, Burkina Faso

I  couldn’t look at her in that way. I wasn’t supposed to. I was a guest in their house. My objectives were to learn French and Burkinabé culture, not to court the family’s youngest daughter. I kept with my French … Continue reading

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Good Cancer, Fragile Life

I could have had a chest infection, or pneumonia. I could have had small lung cancer, or lymphoma. Instead, I have germ cell cancer. No metastasis. Treatable and curable—hopefully. Treatable and curable could change instantaneously. I understand that better than … Continue reading

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Why did I get cancer?

Why did I get cancer? I love life; people; random conversations and hikes through mountains while thinking about my next meal. I love the complexity of life and I love living. Why am I undergoing chemotherapy? Why are my veins … Continue reading

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I am a Dreamer

I always dreamt, and dreamt of realizing my dreams. I surrounded myself with dreamers because I am a dreamer. My brother is a dreamer; he turns dreams into reality. My wife is a dreamer. She dreams of fighting disease. She … Continue reading

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Dear Cancer, I Hate You

Dear Cancer, I hate you, for so many reasons. You pain me, my wife, my daughter, my parents, my brother, my friends, and my colleagues. Sometimes you even pain the strangers around me. I hate you most because you threaten … Continue reading

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Running Life, Cancer and Chemo

I want to run so badly. I fell in love with it less than a year ago. I started hiking in the cold Maryland winters. I had never been a runner. I started walking. Then I walked faster, eventually mixing … Continue reading

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Kancer Karma

I’ve always believed in karma, and now I’m not sure why. I always thought that good returned to those who practiced it. I have never felt so naive. But still, there could be some truth in karma. Learning that I … Continue reading

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Chemotherapy Fatigue

Last Friday I completed my first of four etoposide and cisplatin (chemotherapy) rounds*. The only positive that I can identify is the time I spent with family and friends accompanying me to treatment. Otherwise I have nothing positive to say. … Continue reading

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Cancer doesn’t happen to me

Cancer doesn’t happen to me. No, cancer doesn’t happen to me. Twenty three days ago I didn’t know I had cancer. That made more sense. No, cancer doesn’t happen to me. Cancer happens to others; people with breasts, older people … Continue reading

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On my third day of chemo my body said to me …

On my third day of chemo my body said to stop. Last night I fell asleep hard in the middle of an action film at 7:30 pm. Through mental might I managed to brush my teeth and get in bed. … Continue reading

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Transitioning Lenses–Final Moments until Chemotherapy

I start chemotherapy in eleven hours, at ten tomorrow morning. Today has felt like one of the steadiest days of my life. I spent much of it with my brother and father, who make it easy to feel healthy. I … Continue reading

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Facing Chemotherapy

I start chemotherapy this Monday, thirty-three hours from the current moment. I am scared and don’t know what to think. I think I am ready. My chemotherapy will be intense, in that I will receive drugs via an IV, nine … Continue reading

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Discovering Cancer

I have cancer. I recently discovered this, within the last nineteen days. I am 31 years old, married, and have a baby girl. I exercise routinely, cook and eat fresh foods, drink wine once or twice a week, and do … Continue reading

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The Plastic Salad–Reducing Packaging Insanity

There is plastic in my salad. Please help me get it out. Housesitting for my parents, I raided the fridge to find a six pack of prepackaged salads. There was little else to eat so I cracked one open. The … Continue reading

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Go Box and Laura Weiss–Sustainability in the Food Industry

I admire Laura Weiss, the Portlander, businesswoman, and founder of Go Box, an environmental venture and adventure that addresses key components of sustainability in the food industry. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Laura, who started Go Box … Continue reading

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Environmental & Other Considerations of Telecommuting

When I tell my boss I’m working from home I usually role out of bed at 10:30 or so, head straight for the local Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop, go home, check my email, and return to bed before … Continue reading

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Hardware Reduction vs Planned Obsolescence

Development in technology boggles the mind, leaving us guessing at the future state of technology in 10, 20, or 50 years. From an environmental perspective my favorite effect of such developments is the ability of one product (ex. the smartphone) … Continue reading

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Parental Instinct vs Consumerism: Balancing Baby Stuff

Things, goods, possessions, treasures, crap—call it what you may—the stuff parents purchase throughout a child’s infancy, youth, and even adulthood can accumulate. Some stuff might live a life of extensive use to the point that it clearly exhibits substantial wear-and-tear … Continue reading

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Save Money by Saving the Environment

How can I be green? Often the simplest of solutions meets the mantra of “less is more”. The less you buy the more you will save both financially and environmentally. This mantra is not an easy sell, particularly in the … Continue reading

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Killing Paper with the Digital Age–Pomp, Circumstance, and Something Else

Why do we still use so much paper? I am no different. I use a lot of paper, but in each instance I believe that paper could very easily be avoided. Much of paper’s need might be attributed to so-called … Continue reading

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Sustainable Coffee, So Many Options but One

There are various aspects of sustainability pertaining to coffee and coffee production, including farming techniques, fair wages, distribution and transportation, and among others, brewing. I would like to focus on this last piece because it is the most visible to … Continue reading

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Redistributing Public Transportation and the Fallacy of the Free Market

The D.C.-Virginia-Maryland metropolitan area is home to roughly six million people. The area is second nationally in its percentage of public-transit users, behind only the New York area. D.C.’s public transit system is among the most developed in the U.S., … Continue reading

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Compost’s Call to All Engineers

Calling all engineers! We have a problem! The majority of America and much of the developed world sends huge amounts of food waste to landfills, where it does not belong. Resources are wasted throughout this entire waste-redistribution process, which on … Continue reading

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Black Friday, and Every Other Day of the Year

Let this be a small exercise in personal wealth. You are not what you own or what you buy. Say it with me. “Sleeping on the floor in an empty room with no belongings, I am just as wholesome, complete, … Continue reading

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Stop Using Ziploc bags and Start Exploring the Alternatives

Resealable plastic bags (e.g. Ziploc) are truly amazing, and in certain aspects of convenience unrivaled for the modern consumer. They are cheap, durable, and can hold solid and liquid contents free of contamination in the refrigerator, freezer, or pantry. There … Continue reading

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