make-believe: back to school.

August 22, 2019

I thought it was exciting to head back to school after summer break as a kid, but this is the first year I’m really experiencing the giddy excitement of back-to-school season as a parent. I’d never wish away summer, but there’s something so comforting about both the return to routine and the increased independence that a new school year brings for everyone. Here’s my imaginary first day of school outfit. Even a mom can dream.

A Twister tee for having fun.

Move over plastic markers, enter wax pastels.

A linen pouch for school supplies and other things.

Reusable inter-departmental mail envelopes , forever please.

A fresh pair of jeans, just waiting to be broken in and loved for a longtime.

A classic pack made from recycled water bottles.

New sneaks on a mission to do some good.


In an effort to ground all of this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, another place to direct our attention:

The Amazon Rainforest: It’s burning. The Amazon Rainforest provides 20% of the Earth’s oxygen, it’s home to more than 400 indigenous groups and 30% of the world’s species. It’s currently burning at an unprecedented rate—up more than 80% from this time last year—thanks in large part to environmental deregulation that has encouraged deforestation.

+ Donate: Céline Semaan of Study Hall has worked closely with Veja, makers of the sneakers shown above, and a leader in ethical shoe production and rubber sourcing in the Amazon Rainforest. On recommendation from folks on the ground in Brazil, she suggests donating to the local organization Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) which is supporting Indigenous people and their fight to protect the Amazon rainforest. You can find more of their work at #PovosdaFloresta.

+ Learn: Read more here about Indigenous activists working to save the Amazon Rainforest.

+ Vote with your wallet. Find Rain Forest Alliance certified goods. Support companies like Veja and Cariuma that champion ethical rubber production. Consider the source of agricultural products like beef, soy, and palm oil, many of which rely on deforestation of the Amazon for production.

This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.

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  • Reply MissEm August 22, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Now more than ever I am grateful for companies working hard to make ethical and sustainable choices. It gives me hope in the face of what is beginning to feel like overwhelming despair. Thanks for keeping us aware of these companies, Erin. My family has a very tight budget, but I am trying to think of creative ways to do some good in this world.

  • Reply Jacquelyn Pope August 22, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    Thank you so much for this information. I too am looking to make more sustainable choices, and especially for ways to support the organizations working directly with and on behalf of Indigenous organizations.

  • Reply Nathalie August 23, 2019 at 5:05 am

    Thanks for this post Erin. I feel like the reasons for the massive production of soy worldwide is often misunderstood by people. Maybe you know it, but 90% of the worlds’ soy production is to feed cattle and dairy cows, so not consuming dairy products is much more impactful than avoiding soy products. Not sure about the situation in the US, but in most countries in Europe, soy for human consumption comes from European production, and not from rainforests (for example However dairy cows in Europe are at least partly fed soy and other crops from areas formerly covered by rainforests. So eating soy products is not what is causing the deforestion. Also a nice explainer here:

  • Reply sarah August 23, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    Thank you so much for being a blog that speaks up about climate change. So many popular lifestyle blogs stay quiet in regards the climate emergency, when we really should be yelling about it until our faces turn red.
    It is discouraging though that a consumer lifestyle is still center stage for r.m.t.l. Consumerism is pushing climate change in the wrong direction. Perhaps speaking more about living a carbon neutral life is something you could consider?
    Thanks again for the information about the Amazon. I hope everyone reads it and donates as much as they can.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 23, 2019 at 3:32 pm

      There’s so much work to be done and so much that we all do that contributes to the climate crisis. Finding ways to mitigate that contribution is central to my work. I also participate in a consumer lifestyle and hope always to do that as thoughtfully as possible. Finding ways to fund my work outside of consumer-focused sponsorships is by far my greatest challenge and something I’m always striving toward.


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