Organic products: How To Not Get Ripped off by Greenwashing http://ping.fm/t626Q
What To Do If Your Husband or Boyfriend Isn't Green (Eco-Friendly) http://ping.fm/ihEJ6
Healthy At 100 (How To Live A Long, Healthy Life) http://ping.fm/sZSe2

How To Stop Buying Things And Start Enjoying Life

The thing I worry about most is that instead of people simplifying their lives in order to become more environmentally friendly and socially responsible- instead of consuming less and using less resources- they are buying more stuff- stuff that is supposed to be environmentally friendly.

Not buying something is always better than buying something that is environmentally friendly.

If you buy only what you need you won't clutter your home with junk and you preserve more resources for others.

A tried and true method to stop buying things is to write down all of the things you want to buy before you buy them.

I personally like putting this list in my Amazon.com cart (saved for later) or wish list, but you can also type them up or write them down by hand in a notebook.

Keep the list and then look back over it in a month or two and you will find that many things you wanted to buy you don't want to buy anymore. Therefore you can cross it off/delete it. After a while you will see what you really want/need.

Instead of focusing on shopping, buying and using energy- check out these ideas for the new modern free fun:

1. do someone's hair- brush it, trim it, braid it, put it up, put clips in it, etc.

2. draw or paint a picture - hang it up

3. read a book alone or with someone and discuss it

4. run outside

5. bike to a friend's house

6. play a sport with friends or family

7. play a board game

8. play a party game

9. play an outdoor game

10. pray or meditate

11. brainstorm a problem

12. talk

13. sing

14. make something from materials you have on hand

15. give and receive a massage

16. line dry clothes

17. walk to the library

18. chinese or regular jump-rope

19. put on a play

20. practice an instrument

21. paint toenails

22. organize your closet

23. learn sign language with your spouse so you can communicate in secret

24. play tag

25. hide and go seek

26. race someone

27. make a blanket fort

28. organize your outfits

29. stretch

30. make a card

31. write a short story by hand

32. clean with your family and share a treat after

33. look at photo albums

34. take a walk with someone

35. garden

36. exercise or try gymnastics

37. read outloud

38. walk to a local park and swing or roll/sled down a hill

39. knit

40. learn something or teach something

Any other ideas?

Have fun!

Another Reason Why Green Cleaning Is Best: Pinesol Tastes Gross

It started out with a series of unfortunate events...

1. Our housekeeper balked at my suggestion for her to use natural (green)cleaning solutions; such as, baking powder, lemon juice and white distilled vinegar.

2. I tried to put my foot down, but my husband thought I was being ridiculous and went out and bought a bunch of toxic cleaning chemicals and paper towels (at her request) for her to use.

3. A few days ago my son spilled orange juice all over the kitchen table and floor. He wanted to use paper towels, but I insisted that he clean the spill with reusable rags.

4. I walked into the laundry room and grabbed for a clean washrag on a high shelf. The rags were sitting on top of some of the housekeeper's chemical cleaners, one of which was Pinesol.

5. As I grabbed the rag, the Pinesol tipped over. The lid had not been put on tight and it spilled all over, some of it getting in my open mouth.

6. This is a taste you never want to experience. I ran to the sink and tried to spit it out, but it was still all over in my mouth.

7. I ran to look at the bottle and it said: TOXIC! Don't ingest. It said to drink lots of water or milk.

8. I started to drink water, but it seemed like I was just washing more of the toxic Pinesol down my throat.

9. I went to the computer and looked up Pinesol. The search came up: Death by Pinesol in various different versions!

10. I realized that there was nothing that anyone could do. I had the worst taste in my mouth mixed with lots of worry about what this crap was doing to my body.

11. Later, when I brushed my teeth my mouth was sore and swollen everywhere. Everything hurt. Who knows what the long-term effects might be.

12. The housekeeper has been fired (for other reasons as well- not just this). I clean my own house now.

13. Now I am left with a boat-load of toxic cleaning chemicals that I can't just pour down the drain. Any suggestions?

14. Moral of the story: Green Cleaning Is BEST! Toxic stuff is never worth it.

Personal, Daily Contribution To The Environment and Society

Doing one's part to be socially responsible is a daily decision. It's not something you can decide to do for a week or a season- it's an ongoing, daily commitment.

Some things I am trying to do include:

Turn off lights. I am always turning off lights, TVs, etc. that are left on in my house. I try to never leave the house unless everything is off. Unplugging appliances that are not being used is also something I try to remember.

I work from home, so no commute. This is not possible for everyone, but if it is, look into it.

I recently took a bag of collected batteries to a recycle center. What I need to do is buy all rechargeables. This is expensive so I am doing it little by little. I also collect ink cartridges for recycling.

I am also slowly replacing our light bulbs with CFLs as the other light bulbs burn out.

I try to hurry with my shower, so I don't waste water. Although I do give in to a hot bath once in a while, especially when its cold out- a guilty pleasure.

I try to cut down on using our spring water dispenser and store tap water in the fridge to drink. My husband loves the spring water dispenser, so it's here to stay. His argument is that in case of an emergency it is a good water supply. He has a point with this.

I need to walk more and drive less. I used to be better at this. I do walk my daughter to school every morning. Its nice to get outside everyday.

I try to remember to purchase organic products- soaps, shampoos, lotions, food, detergents and clean with vinegar and lemon juice. Also I try to remember to buy in bulk.

I am going to set up an account so 10% of my income automatically goes to a charity of my choice. This way I won't "accidentally" spend it.

(For women) I used to have a Diva cup and it was great, but then I thought it would be a good idea to boil it for sanitary reasons, but it ruined it. I'm having a hard time spending the money on a new one- since it's expensive, but I need to do that. It really saves a lot of money in the end and eliminates a lot of trash. If you buy one, don't ever boil it! Use a disinfectant spray like this one- between periods and let it dry thoroughly. Wash with soap in-between daily uses.

Recently I started getting tired of rinsing out all of our cans and bottles for recycling when the idea hit me that I could just put them in the dishwasher with the rest of the dishes and put them in the recycling bin afterwards. Easy! Just remember to remove any paper off first!

I try to check the thrift store before a regular store for things I need. I also try to donate to the thrift store often.

What are you doing?

Realistic Personal Goals

These Are Things I Want To Say I Do Consistently Right Now

-I usually walk to work, the library and the grocery store (with a large stroller to carry cloth grocery bags)
-I eat vegetarian whenever I go out to dinner. I limit meat at home to 2X per week.
-I buy organic dairy and produce as available, and other organic, earth-friendly products
-I buy organic lotions, shampoos, detergents, deodorants and cleaners
-I cook and bake from scratch with organic ingredients as much as possible
-I try to consume less of everything- food, soaps, detergents
-I wash and reuse plastic bags- I try to limit use
-I buy clothes and other items from a thrift store. I try to steer clear of the mall or department stores unless I need to
-I donate, sell or recycle excess clutter in my house
-I give virtual or consumable gifts (i.e. restaurant certificate, coupon for an activity, tickets to an event, I-tunes gift certificate, etc.)- instead of gifts that will clutter people’s homes
-I grow vegetables and flowers in pots on our deck
-When I do shop, I try to support socially responsible companies.
-I recycle, by separating our food waste from our recyclables.

-I take short showers.

-I switch to CFL light bulbs when my others burnout. I recycle batteries and ink cartridges. I reuse paper and limit printing too much.
-I use rechargeable batteries.
-I turn off the water when I brush my teeth
-I wash my clothes in warm water - I use cold sometimes, but I don't think it gets my clothes very clean. I always rinse in cold. A few of my loads I hang to dry.
-I only blow-dry my hair 1X per week
-We have organic bedding. I felt it was worth the expense.
-I try to stockpile food so I don't need to take more trips to the store
-We stopped buying small boxed cereals. We buy the largest size cereal boxes or bags to reduce waste. I also eat everyday from the large plain oatmeal container.
-We don't buy packaged snacks or meals as much as possible
-I use ceiling fans so I can turn up the thermostat in the summer and try to wear sweaters, so I can turn it down in the winter
-I try to never idle my car
-I never run the dishwasher unless it is full (although my kids don't always)
-I try to make sure we eat all leftovers to reduce food garbage (although my family doesn't always comply-i.e. my four year old)
-I try to keep lights off and use natural sun, I also turn off lights when not in use
-I buy recycled paper products (paper towels, napkins, toilet paper) but try to always use cloth towels and cloth napkins over paper towels
-I try to wear my clothes more than once before washing to reduce laundry
-I just ordered from gladrags.com- we'll see how that goes
-We unplugged our extra freezer
-We stopped using bleach and dryer sheets in the laundry
-We save glass jars and store clean water for emergencies
-We have a closet devoted to food storage and emergency supplies
-We use the library, paperbackswap.com and swaptree.com instead of buying new books
-We focus on the joys of solitude, nature, prayer, social and family visits and activities, reading, downloadable music, exercising, healthy cooking, natural cleaning, gardening, donating (time, money), working, and learning instead of consuming stuff

I Am Going To Carry This List Around With Me To Save The World How About You?

Over- Consumption is Destroying Everything List

1. Is this purchase something I need?

2. Do I already own something that will serve the same purpose?

3. Can I borrow one instead of buying new?

4. Can I make something that will serve the same purpose?

5. Can I buy a used one?

5. Would someone be willing to split the cost and share this with me?

6. Can I buy or commission one made locally?

7. Can I buy one that was made with environmentally responsible materials?

8. Can I buy one that serves more than one purpose?

9. Can I get something human powered instead of gas or electric?

10. Can I compost or recycle it when I’m done with it?

11. What is the impact on the environment of the full life cycle of it?

12. Does the manufacture or disposal of it damage the environment?

Small Green Steps of Progress

So I wanted to keep you all updated on my sustainable progress.

I have some changes going on in my bathroom.

I purchased this new shower head and this shower timer.

I can now have truly green showers.

If only I wasn't so addicted to baths. I only take about 3 baths per month, but I need to wean myself off of it. The winter is the hardest time for that.

A 5 minute shower with my low-flow is my new goal.

Next, I purchased a portable hanging rack that I keep in my laundry room. This way I can hang up my clothes right out of the washer and avoid the dryer. I don't hang every load, but I am cutting down on the amount of time I use the dryer. I am also making more of an effort to use cold water instead of warm or hot.

By adding little things one at a time it helps me to live true to my values.

Mindfulness is Sustainable Living


Mindfulness is really the answer to a lot of problems in people's lives.

Most of us act according to automatic thoughts and behaviors, without even really paying attention to ourselves.

By living in the present and noticing thoughts and actions as they happen you can be more in control. You can think about whether or not your actions are sustainable or if your responses are sound. You can think about whether or not your thoughts are what you want them to be. You can even keep your feelings in check.

Meditation is a good way to practice coming into the present and quieting the mind. Focusing on a single picture or word in your mind while listening to yourself breathe for a few minutes every day.

With practice you can go throughout your day in control of yourself, not simply reacting automatically to whatever comes your way.

It is important that we are mindful if we want to be sustainable thinkers because old habits die hard. We need to be aware of what we are doing and what decisions we are making.

Constantly asking yourself, "Is this the best sustainable action I can take?" is a good way to keep on top of things.

Many times you might have to choose between good, better and best in regards to a sustainable decision. It is good to think through tough decisions (i.e. is it better to eat locally or organically if you can't do both?). These are the types of questions that can be considered when living your life in a mindful way.

As you realize that you do have control over your thoughts, feelings and behaviors you find a new freedom and can make great strides toward sustainable living.

Peak Oil Simplified: 10 Solutions


There is a storm brewing and pretty much everyone is on board our faltering ship.

The debate is over.

We are near the end of cheap oil. Maybe not as grim and bleak as this picture shows, but something is going to happen unless drastic changes and new innovations rise up to meet this challenge.


Oil demand is rising quickly, in places such as China, India and the Middle East -combined with the already high demand in all other developed countries around the world...

Meanwhile the supply is diminishing-(Oil is a non-renewable resource- no one is making more dinosaurs).

In the past, the International Energy Agency and the USs Energy Information Administration have forecast that oil supplies will increase with rising demand. They are not optimistic anymore. Recently the IEA conducted a large study of the 400 most important oil fields to determine the ability of the oil industry to keep up with the demand. The result is a "sharp downward revision of its oil supply forecast." Click here to read it.

So what we are looking at is...

no more cheap gas, cheap food, or cheap products (that use oil in their manufacturing). It means bankrupt businesses, and a depression..

and forget vacations and other air travel- this problem will ground planes (three major US airlines have dramatically raised round-trip fares in the U.S. as they struggle with record oil prices. The airline industry can not withstand the rising oil prices combined with the fall of the dollar)

This pending emergency will affect how we produce food, how we conduct commerce and trade, how we travel, how we acquire and spend money. It will affect every area of our lives from health care to feeding our families to our kids education.

The time to act is now-

The solutions:

1. Buy or grow food closer to home. Local farming. Start paying attention to agriculture. Learn fast.

2. Support the build up of creative, small urban economies/communities. Local shops, local suppliers. Local everything. Suburban sprawl needs to be retrofitted into sustainable communities. Do business over the Internet. Support industries that use and/or create renewable energy resources.

3. Move. Live close to where you work, shop and spend your time. Walking/ biking distance to everything. Small homes. High-rises. The mansions need to house more families.

4. Use less energy . Learn to live and be happy without dependency on energy and shopping. Read books, garden, eat raw, use solar products, cook from scratch, make homemade products. Lower consumption. Use thrift stores. Reduce. Recycle. Reuse. Read about the survivalists . Consider adopting some or all of their ideas.

5. Fix the passenger rail system. Improve all public transport.

6. We need to switch over to electric-powered or hybrid transport of all kinds, such as small cars, electric scooters and small buses.

7. Trucks and trains need to be converted from diesel to natural gas.

8. Farmers should run their equipment using biodiesel.

9. Everyone needs to focus on inventing/engineering new solutions. Invest in solutions.

10. When disaster strikes, don’t expect the government to save you. Learn how to self-sustain. (Check out this house) Be prepared.

The MAJOR concerns:

Pressure on government leaders over rising oil prices may cause the following (dangerous) actions , instead of the above

1. End the longstanding ban on drilling in environmentally sensitive areas including Alaska, the continental shelves, and federally-owned lands, instead of increasing conservation, efficiency, and the use of renewable fuels.

2. Resort to dirty coal. Therefore abandoning lower carbon emissions goals, causing carbon dioxide levels to sky rocket to dangerous levels, setting the course for catastrophic, irreversible climatic disasters later on.

3. People will be unprepared, will play the blame game, and will get very angry. Public disturbances, riots, fights, etc. will cause communities to break down.

It will be a hard transition. Better start now.

Great Resources to check out: A Crude Awakening - The Oil Crash
The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream


What do you think? Do you have any other resources to suggest?

Top Green Cars and Why I Love Air Pollution, Don't You (Cough, Cough)?


I live in a big city and oh how I love to breathe in that dirty polluted air....

I mean, who wouldn't (cough, cough)?

It is so worth it to have all of those dirty factories making unnecessary stuff to clutter up people's homes (like my 30th pair of shoes!).

And the traffic. The traffic is GREAT. It totally makes sense.

I mean, I definitely would trade a few years off my life due to the air pollution and accept all of the accumulative affects of climate change for traffic and clutter.

I mean, what a pain to use the subway, bus, ride a bike or walk when I could take my SUV!!

I get to sit in comfy comfort all by myself in my huge castle-like car. It is like being a queen I swear!

It's all for a great cause. My comfort.

I get to relax in a temperature-controlled environment (my cozy car) while I drive across town to buy some awesome shoes on sale, even if it means that the world's future generations have to endure skyrocketing temperatures and mass flooding.

OUCH! What was that for? You are totally rude.

What did you say? Somebody needed to get my attention?

OK... make your point.

My shoes are ugly and I am a selfish what?

OK normally I would be offended by this, like most people, but for purposes of this blog post I will see the light....

I know. You are right. I should care about other people. Climate change will cause a lot of suffering. And the truth is that air pollution really sucks and I hate traffic. I suppose I can take the subway back to return the shoes. But what if I need to take a car sometimes?

So, what you are saying, is that I can still keep a car to use when necessary, but I should make a better choice?

What choice is that?

What? Buy a used Honda CRX, shove a built B18 or fresh K series engine into it, and achieve performance better than a Tesla, with a much MUCH smaller carbon footprint, and all for a fraction of the price?

That is WAY too confusing for me. What about new cars?

New cars are not the best choice because they use up natural resources and a lot of energy to manufacture? However, they often have better safety ratings, so if I want to go new here is the list to choose from?

The List

RankVehicleACEEE Green Score
1.Honda Civic GX57
2.Toyota Prius53
3.Honda Civic Hybrid51
4.Smart fortwo49
5.Toyota Yaris46
6.Nissan Altima Hybrid46
7.MINI Cooper/Clubman45
8.Chevrolet Cobalt XFT/Pontiac G5 XFE45
9.Honda Fit45
10.Chevrolet Aveo/Aveo 544
11.Toyota Camry Hybrid44
12.Kia Rio44

Source: ACEEE's "Green Book: The Environmental Guide to Cars and Trucks"

Cool. OK well maybe I will trade in my SUV for one of these....

but do you promise I will still feel like a QUEEN?

No, but I might feel like a responsible person with a brain?

Wow. Thanks.

Sustainable Living is a Lifestyle Change, A New Way of Seeing Yourself and Your Place In The World


Sustainable living is a lifestyle change. It is a new self-image.

It defines who you are.

It is a different way of viewing yourself and your worldview.

If you try to keep your old self- and just make a few changes here and there it won't last. Especially if you see those changes as difficult or inconvenient.

Sustainability requires a new mind-set. It requires seeing yourself as part of a greater, interconnected whole. It puts you in the shoes of all the world's people. It helps you to think globally, while acting locally. It is a reflection of what type of person you are. It shows that you are a caring person- who cares for the people around the world who rely on the earth's systems for survival and wellness.

It means you are the type of person who values the natural things of the earth. It means you are an advocate of health and education, of prosperity and wellness. It means you want to slow down your lifestyle and appreciate the beauty around you. It means that you are responsible and not wasteful. It means that you think about how your actions affect others.

If you are your old self and you think, "I am saving water by turning off the tap" but then turn around and see your neighbor running their tap 24 hrs a day you might give up. If you are not a sustainable thinker you can easily find excuses to go back to your old ways because you haven't really changed.

You are not saving the world by your sporadic attempts to recycle or turn off the water... you are changing the world by changing who you are- the way you think and the way you speak to others and by the total example of your life and behaviors.

You are changing the world because you are changing yourself.

What has unsustainable actions brought us... overconsumption, deforestation, climate change, obesity, huge landfills, air pollution, traffic, water scarcity, poverty, water pollution, greed, species extinction, excessive debt, exclusivity, destruction of the earth's systems, rampant disease (in rich and poor countries), soil erosion, widening of the rich and the poor, a physical infrastructure built on declining cheap oil (not to mention our whole economy), lack of food security, collapsing fisheries, and advancing deserts.

Do you really want to be part of that?

A sustainable thinker doesn't want that stuff on their conscience.

I believe that if you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Its a new you.

What To Do When Your Spouse (Best Friend, Boyfriend, Parents, Neighbor, etc.) Isn't Sustainable and How To Influence Others


Sustainability: Spread the word, man...

But how do you spread the word when your own loved ones are resistant to change?

Here are 10 ideas to influence those around you...

1. Frame your message right -using messages framed to a specific audience (i.e. think about the values that are important to them).

2. Use nudges - help our short-term brains make better long-term decisions (i.e. convenient ways to be more environmentally-friendly like a sensor that turns off all your power when you leave the house)

3. Create group effects (people respond better when they feel it is a group decision, or when they get information as a group rather than an individual)

4. Talk up exciting new technologies or products that are sustainable (i.e. the 2011 Chevy Volt).

5. Support and promote policies that promote change (such as tax discounts for those that own hybrids). Actively support incentives, fines and taxes that support sustainability.

6. Find some like-minded friends that you and your non-green friend or family member can socialize with so you are not alone. Sometimes if more than one person shares the same ideas they are given more weight.

7. Look for opportunities to share pieces of the issue based on disturbances that come up in their life (i.e. high gas prices, a polluted air, land or lake you visit). Any concern they have that might be related to these issues might be a good opportunity.

8. Share your personal commitment to sustainability. You can lead by example. You can show how easy it is and how it benefits your life. Focus on common ground (i.e. health, money savings, community and family benefits).

4. Once others are open to listening you can start building more and more awareness of the issue. You can share appropriate videos, blogs, books or flyers. You can make them aware of how their actions affect sustainability directly.

5. You can continue to provide information as well as answer questions. Don't stop pointing out the benefits.

6. Provide emotional inspiration. This can be done by linking the sustainability movement to a moral or spiritual perspective. Share inspirational stories. Share your concerns about the global consequences of not living in a sustainable way.

7. Participate in a rigorous communication program in your community (information on TV, flyers in the mail, billboards, promotions, blogs, news reports, door-to-door) that encourage recycling and discourage unsustainable consumption and explain why it is discouraged.

8. Get your local church involved. Join an ecological association. Volunteer to provide sustainability programs/presentations in your kid's school. The more people in your community who are on-board the faster it will spread.

9. Make it a cool thing to be seen doing - spin it in a positive, fun light instead of a boring, difficult light. Be creative with fashions from the thrift store, or share how you refurbished your old furniture or repaired your kid's jeans or toys.

10. Make it a family effort to recycle, compost, garden, bike ride, and enjoy nature.

In terms of communication- it is much more influential to communicate awareness to your non-green friend or family member concerning the positive environmental feelings and behaviors of friends, family members, neighbors, and communities (i.e. all your neighbors recycle) rather than communicating only about environmental awareness (how it will affect the earth) or how it will affect future generations. This is because general environmental attitudes are more persuasive than specific knowledge.

People don't want to feel like they are the odd one out. If everyone is doing it than they want to do it to.

We want to be the ones in the middle of the party, not the lone strangers that don't quite fit in.

This is an urgent message- let's get the word out.

10 Motivational Ideas To Stay Green


You've been doing great and then...

burnout




You need some motivation to stay on track with your new sustainable mind-set.


Here are some things you can do:



1. Consider options in terms of how you could change your behaviors- experiment with different ideas- like walking to the supermarket or biking to the library. Also, make things easy -like having cloth washcloths handy or install lights that turn off on a timer, etc.

2. Find supportive relationships with like-minded friends (in person and online)

3. Identify how you rationalize

4. Focus on the benefits

5. See it as a fun challenge

6. Make your commitment public

7. Slow down your schedule to incorporate sustainable plans and mindful thinking

8. Create a new vision of your life and behaviors

9. Learn from your mistakes

10. Keep a record of your progress- reward yourself in a healthy way

Remember to support others as they support you!

HAPPINESS = THE NATURAL WORLD

HUMANS THRIVE IN NATURE

NATURE = HAPPINESS
  • LOWER STRESS
  • IMPROVED LIFE QUALITY
  • CALMING
  • RENEWING
  • LIFE GIVING













Harvard Biologist E.O. Wilson hypothosized that we thrive in the presence of nature and suffer in its absence. Proof of this theory is that nature is reflected in the modern world in art, where people want to live, the plants and animals we keep indoors with us, and desired vacations to natural environments.

Some people believe that the natural world and spirituality are linked. Studies show that a view of nature outside a window is good for health, being out in nature can lower stress, pets are also good for health and improve quality of life.

It is also obvious that we need clean air and water for happiness and survival.

In my own life, I long to live near a lake with trees and mountains or by the ocean. Nature is calming and restoring. Currently, I spend time taking walks and looking out my windows to take in what I can. Even the sound of rain outside my window is appealing.

In order for future generations to have access to the nature we enjoy today the world must change its current path of destruction toward a sustainable future.

Ecological sustainability will require a change in our economic focus away from consumerism and towards a new green economy.

The Depletion of Natural Resources will have Devastating Consequences....


You may feel that this depletion has nothing to do with you, or you may not really believe there will be any consequences for the depletion of natural resources, or you may truly believe that we will always have a never ending supply of natural resources at our disposal.

BEEP!! Sorry. Wrong answer. Please try again.

Right answer:

Every time you buy something made from nonrenewable resources (i.e. paper, a car, a house, a TV) you have contributed to the problem. And it's a HUGE problem! Many believe we are close to a tipping point.

The time to change is now.

We need sustainable action!

This means not just taking, buying whatever you want.

This behavior change will mean that there will be resources to spare. It means using what you have on hand, borrowing and buying used items. It means using less water and for Americans and other rich countries, it means eating less, using less and buying less. It means being mindful of your actions and thoughts and whether or not they lead to a better future or a ruined one.

It means purchasing only what you need and from sustainable sources (recycled, renewable, reusable sources). This can be a FUN challenge!

A declining, failing, stressed civilization is NEVER fun.

What will happen if we don't change our mind-set to sustainability?

WORSE THAN YOU THINK....

our forests are shrinking, our deserts are growing, our water tables are falling, our fisheries are collapsing, cheap oil is declining and species are disappearing.

Unless we change our ways we are heading into environmentally induced economic decline and collapse.

Right now the world economy and population are growing. Demand is high and we want what we want NOW.

But the earth beats to a different drummer. It is full of systems that recycle themselves in their own time. They do not speed up or increase because people demand it. If we take too much, too fast- it will be gone.

Global demands on natural systems exceed their sustainable yield capacity.

If we deplete and destroy our forests, wetlands, coral reefs and grasslands through overconsumption we lose their services; such as water purification, pollination, carbon sequestration, flood control, and soil conservation. This leads to a decline in food production and an increase in air pollution (climate change emissions).

Fish is the sole provider of protein for many people- yet many fisheries are headed for collapse. Fish need time to reproduce. They will not speed up due to excessive demand. Depletion of resources will lead to a flow of environmental refugees. We need to support programs that educate girls in developing countries about birth control and supporting government regulations on fishing, logging and water usage.

Rich countries are setting a bad example for countries such as China and India that are developing fast. If they consume like we have been doing, and it is heading that way- there goes our forests!

Many civilizations have collapsed because they failed to pay attention to environmental warnings until they realized too late that they could no longer feed themselves. We depend on our resources. We can use them sustainably if we choose to.

It is up to us!!




Mansions, Boats, Big Cars, Excessive Shopping = Failure


Americans are so rich compared to much of the world. We have so much purchasing power. This power can have long-term hazardous effects.

We need to become educated consumers, switching from linear thinking to systems thinking.

Linear Thinking: I need money to buy a larger TV (or replace this with any purchase).

Systems Thinking: Do I really need a new TV or is my current, smaller one sufficient? Can I recycle my old TV? What energy source will I use? Is that source renewable? Many materials (natural resources) were required to produce it. Are those resources sustainable? Recycled? Recyclable? Is it an energy-efficient model? Does it have energy-efficient settings? Can I recycle it at some point? Where are the materials for this TV being taken from? Who is involved in the making, transporting and distributing of this TV? How are they treated? How far has the parts for this TV traveled?

These are the types of questions a systems thinker asks to make sure the purchase is well-thought out.

To learn more about our current linear system of thought and why it fails - watch this fun video.

My belief:

Success is not a big house, an enormous lawn, a wide-screen TV, the latest technology, a boat, expensive possessions, big cars, huge meals, fancy vacations, and an elaborate wardrobe.

Success is a happy family, clean air and water, nourishing food, time for play and exercise, small, sustainable homes, helping those in need, safe, sustainable and walkable communities, ongoing-learning, connections with people, love, caring, stories, songs, hugs and a beautiful earth for all to enjoy.

Are you a success?


Why We Could Run Out Of Fresh Water


We often don't see water as the precious resource it is....

but this miracle may not last forever if we are not careful.

A lot of people are confused as to why we should conserve water. I mean - the oceans are huge! How could we be running out of water?

The problem is that less than 0.3% of the water on earth is available for human consumption and most of this is ground water.

This water supply is decreasing fast and most people in the U.S., or anywhere else in the industrialized world are not taking the crisis as seriously as they should nor do they realize how it directly threatens them.

Water tables are falling, lakes are shrinking and demand is increasing. In fact, demand has tripled over the last half-century. Cities (including U.S. cities) are starting to take irrigation water from farmers to meet their needs. As water becomes scarcer it will become more expensive. The price of water will (and has in some places) far exceed the value of the food that can be produced with it. This will produce a food shortage.

Water scarcity is due to overpumping of fresh water. Water supplies are decreasing or have been exhausted with no hope of replenishment. Water is sustainable only as long as we use as much as is available (conserve) respecting the hydrosphere cycle process.

Another reason water is declining is the widespread use of fresh water for various human uses (water mixing with pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, chemicals, cleaning agents, etc.). This has led to polluted groundwater systems which ultimately leads to a decreased water supply.

Governments need to limit aquifer pumping to sustainable levels, but they have failed to do so. There has been a huge mismanagement of this resource... a "free ride" attitude that will have extreme consequences. Future international conflict over water is a real danger.

So, until governments intervene- it is up to us to conserve.

Steps we can take include: turn off the water, take shorter showers, eat less meat (it takes more water to produce meat than a vegetarian diet) and promote the education of girls (birth control) in developing countries, use greywater in your home, support water-efficient irrigation, etc. Click here for more tips.

Don't believe there is a global water crisis? Check out these articles:

Water Conservation: I Never Let The Water Run… Except, of course, when the bathtub overflows


Funny how I am trying to conserve water at the same time I am trying to drink more of it!

It is better to use water for something useful (drinking) then to just let it pour down the drain unused.

I always turn off the water when I brush my teeth, but I recently decided to look hard at how most of our water was being wasted.

The culprits: baths, showers and toilet

I used to give my four year old a bath every day. This was largely to shampoo and condition her long, unruly hair. If I skipped a day it would look ratty and she would scream and cry when I tried to comb it out. This was a huge, unnecessary waste of water.

So my solution? I cut her hair to look like Rihanna's. She loves it. She thinks she's a rock star.

Now she needs fewer baths and never cries when I brush her hair.

I was also spending a long time shaving in the shower.

My solution? Laser hair removal. I never have to shave again. It's expensive, but think of the time it saves in just one year of not shaving (not to mention the water it saves)!

Also, one thing I am thinking of getting is a shower timer. It can be a game to see if my kids can get done before the timer goes off.

The next issue is the toilet. It helps to put a small plastic jug filled with water to displace water in your tank, but there is something else you can do...

I really don't want to discuss this on my blog, but here it goes. You don't HAVE TO flush every time you pee. OK I said it...That is up to you and your tolerance level...

On to other, more pleasant subjects.

Other ways we can help:

-use rain barrels at the end of downspouts to water gardens or other needs (i.e. washing car)
-turn off the water when brushing teeth
-don't rinse dishes before the dishwasher and never wash dishes by hand
-use water conserving appliances
-use environmentally friendly cleaning solutions (such as vinegar and lemon juice)
-don't use chemicals

Drinking water.... Oh yes. Isn't it nice to have clean water to drink, wash, etc. ?

Let's keep it that way by using less of it!