Learning through Action

I'm Lauren and this blog began as a journey to live a life with less environmental impact.  As my journey led me to Myanmar, my focus shifted from aspiration to advocacy. 

This project is an effort to provide a glimpse into my life in Myanmar—the people, places, and issues that inspire and teach me as I continue this adventure towards a more sustainable life.   

To learn more, click "About" above, and stay tuned for updates.

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Greetings from Yangon, Myanmar!  I am an environmental attorney and human rights advocate, working for an NGO that seeks to address human rights impacts and abuses stemming from environmental degradation and development projects.  Before moving to Southeast Asia, I lived and worked as an environmental litigator in San Francisco. 

During that time, I began this site as a journey to find discrete, manageable ways to reduce my carbon impact.  I sought to analyze my daily choices: my food, travels, consumption habits, and entertainment.  My learning made reconsider my ambitions and relationship with the world and its varied communities.  As time passed, my journey took me abroad to test my ideals and put them into action.

While my efforts to live more sustainably are no less relevant in Southeast Asia than the United States, my life in Yangon has streamlined the choices I make. Living a life with less daily environmental impact easier: I cycle to work; purchase most of our food from the neighborhood night market, which is grown locally and often organic; and our water is pumped and stored in a large tub for bathing, dishes, and food preparation.  Of course, there are large-scale issues—pollution, waste management, and regulatory and legal gaps—that lead to environmental degradation, natural resource depletion, and health impacts.   

Indeed, it is these broader issues and implications that are the focus of my work.  I now aspire to have a life with great impact, one that contributes to efforts to reduce the impacts of environmental degradation and development projects on affected communities.  Much of what I do as an environmental and human rights advocate I cannot share.  I can provide a window into my world—my new context, life in Myanmar, and the people and surroundings that continue to challenge, inspire, and teach me that a more sustainable world is necessary and worth the struggle.  To my friends and family, thank you for your continued connection and support.

      - Lauren Nishimura,  Living Neutral