Budget Cuts Waste Water

A dry river bed in the heart of Tehran. Water is more valuable in Iran than oil.

How much water do you use? We expect clean water when we turn on the faucet and forget that not everyone has lots of water. Not only Cape Town but three American cities could face severe water shortages soon.

Water is a valuable resource and the purpose of this post is for us to become aware of the amount of water we use. We are unaware where our water comes from and the chemicals with which we pollute it. Every time we turn on the tap we should think about the amount of water we use, and be thankful for clean drinkable water.
I am on a road trip through the southern part of the United States. Arkansas and Louisiana are dripping with water puddles overflowing streams, trees standing in water, wetness and mud everywhere. Oklahoma and Kansas are overcome with drought and wild fires. I realize some of this is normal for these areas, but not these extremes.

Budget cuts keep a running faucet from being fixed. Is there a volunteer to help?

Whether we live where it is wet or dry we should heighten our awareness of the amount of water we use. It is ridiculous to stay in a hotel where the water drips all night, and when informed they will usually write-up an order to try to get it fixed.
I was at Louisiana State University, and it was impossible to turn off the faucet in the restroom. When I reported the faucet to officials they said it had been like that for a while, “Budget cuts keep it from being fixed!” they told me. Could a volunteer near Alexandria, Louisiana fix that faucet? Constant running and wasting of water makes no sense!

With climate change many believe the wars of the future will be about water. Think about it, everyone making small changes and reducing the water they use can make a big difference!  Earth911 has good ideas to reduce water use, but should also add, fix those leaky faucets and toilets. Read here ways to reduce water use. https://earth911.com/home-garden/conserving-water-at-home/

Everyone making small changes, can make a big difference!


I Hate Styrofoam

Styrofoam/polystyrene. It is breaking into small pieces and could last forever!

Imagine eating or drinking your coffee/tea or dinner out of a Styrofoam container. ICK! I can’t imagine, but many people do??? Styrofoam makes food taste terrible, and it is made from cancer causing material. Why would you eat/drink from it?
I am on a road trip through the southern part of the United States. Styrofoam is just the normal at many food establishments. Places I refuse to patronize.
Not only is Styrofoam unhealthy to eat on,

How can we do better than this? We need a sustainable alternative

it is awful for the environment. It breaks down into tiny pieces harmful to oceans/lakes, water animals and fish that think it is food.
Unfortunately, Styrofoam has powerful lobbying interests behind it, people who don’t care about your health or the health of our waterways.

Beth Terry, author of My Plastic-Free Life, wrote this terrific guide explaining how producing and using plastic pollutes the air. When it comes to the foamy Styrofoam in particular, here are some other objections to using it:

  • It does not biodegrade. It may break into small pieces, even minuscule pieces. But the smaller EPS gets, the harder it is to clean up.
  • It is made of fossil fuels and synthetic chemicals. Those chemicals may leach if they come in contact with hot, greasy or acidic food. Yes, they keep your coffee hot – but they may also add an unwanted dose of toxins to your drink.
  • Animals sometimes eat it. Turtles and fish seem to mistake EPS for food, and that can kill them. Not only can they not digest it, but the foam could be full of poisons that it has absorbed from contaminants floating in the water.
  • It can’t be recycled. Some commercial mailing houses may accept packing peanuts, but for the most part community recycling centers do not accept throwaway foam food containers.

Below is from 5gyres:

Evidence regarding the sustainability and toxicity of expanded Styrofoam/polystyrene (EPS) single-use containers supports replacing them with a more sustainable and safe material. EPS food and beverage containers are single-use, yet persistent and not economically feasible to recycle. Thus, millions of single-use EPS items are sent to a landfill each day, where they will remain for hundreds to thousands of years. Moreover, its lightweight makes it difficult to manage which is one reason EPS is one of the top litter items found on beaches and in the environment. Lastly, EPS containers may pose a hazard. Some studies have found they can leach chemicals into our food and others have demonstrated that their leachate is toxic to laboratory animals. Replacing EPS with a more sustainable material supports a healthy environment for both wildlife and people.

So what can you do?

I boycott places that use Styrofoam, but that might not be possible for you.     1.Bring your own container, or ask for a real plate, many places can provide that for you! 2. Tell establishments how awful their packaging is. 3. Work to get Styrofoam bans in your community 4. Pick up Styrofoam litter so it doesn’t end up in our waterways.

If everyone does a small part, it can add up to a lot! Speak out.

Celebrating Women

Women are the heart of the earth, they get the big picture, and many see the need for community, and compassion for our Earth. If our planet is to survive, it is to the women we must turn. The past year has been an incredible year for women, and I hope many more women will feel empowered to move us to a better future. A future of community, communication and understanding beyond just power and profits! Get in your groove, and go girl go!

Worth a read: womenarebetterfortheplanet


Recent Good News

This is my occasional series on good news stories, I hope you learn something about the world and communities working together.

** Students of America stand up to their elected officials and the NRA. “We have the right to go to school without fearing for our lives!” Read at future leaders

** Across the Atlantic Ocean some awesome things are happening in regards to eliminating plastic. First, Queen Elizabeth declares war on single-use plastic at the palace and eating establishments that are part of the Monarchy. Also, a British supermarket eliminates plastic

** The marvelous country of Taiwan has set up a plan to eliminate single-use

Hotel in Taiwan

plastic from their country.  Read here

** A group is planning to plant over a billion trees in Trump’s Forest to counteract the negative environmental damage being done in the United States. Read at Trump Forest

** Below is from https://www.ecowatch.com/  about the positive things that have happened in renewable energy during 2017

  • The cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70 percent since 2010 in the U.S.
  • With no fuel cost and lower operating and maintenance costs, solar and especially wind are outcompeting even the most efficient new gas plants in states like Texas.
  • Renewable energy is creating jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy in the U.S.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, solar installer is the fastest-growing occupation in the U.S., with wind technician coming in at a close second.

Other good news stories: https://health4earth.com/2018/01/29/our-world-is-moving-in-the-right-direction/



Massive Threats to Our Oceans

Minnehaha Creek drains into the Mississippi River which runs to the Gulf of Mexico

I’ve pledged to reduce single-use plastic in my life, Refuse plastic straws & cutlery, use refillable water bottles, coffee cups, & bring my own bag to the store. Together we can do this! Join me & take the challenge  Mick Jagger

Why would you ever purchase bottled water? It contains plastic fibers. Read here

Two thirds of our earth is covered by ocean, and our oceans are paying a price for our behavior on land.

The Mississippi River water shed drains much of the United States.

This afternoon I walked over the Minnehaha Creek, and saw plastic bags stuck in the ice. I live 1,500 miles from an ocean, but this creek, a few blocks from my house, drains into the Mississippi River which runs into the Gulf of Mexico over a thousand miles away.  When the ice melts, this plastic will probably take a long journey down the Mississippi River and end up in our oceans.What we do to the land, we do to our water.  Most ocean pollution starts out on land and is carried by wind and rain to the sea. Plastic from the land ends up in the ocean and plastic is so durable that the EPA reports “every bit of plastic ever made still exists.” Even the pristine Arctic Ocean is being inundated with plastic. Read at Arctic. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy5c-BZUjHQ  See this video how Norway recycles plastic.

The second threat to oceans is our warming planet. Oceans in 2017 were warmer than they have ever been.  Most of the heat from our warming planet is absorbed by the oceans. More than 90 percent of the Earth’s heat related to global warming is absorbed by the ocean.  Read at ocean heat.

What are the consequences of warming oceans?  Warmer oceans could bring storms, rain droughts and winds like we have never seen.  The hurricanes in Houston and Puerto Rico are just examples of what could come. The warming ocean melts the glaciers faster causing sea rise.   Cities and countries will be under water if this trend continues, and many people will become refugees having to move inland causing refugee crisis to get worse and worse. Unfortunately, this is only going to continue with extreme drought in some places and too much water in others!





Ten Days of Love

Every aspect of our lives is, in a sense, a vote for the kind of world we want to live in.” Francis Moore Lappe

Love our earth

What better week than Valentine’s week to show love for our earth. Take the 10 for 10 challenge. Can you score a perfect 10 by completing these initiatives? Maybe you already do these things? Take a breath, slow down and think how you can positively make a difference. It’s easy, and I hope you learn something. Let me know how you do. Good luck!

Day 1 Go meatless, extra points if you also go vegan!

Day 2 Go plastic-free, no straws, plastic utensils, water bottles or containers, unless of course they are reusable.

Day 3, Reuse Day. Bring your lunch in a reusable containers, and remember your

Bring your own water bottle

reusable water bottle.

Day 4, Leave your car parked day. Walk, bike, car-pool or use public transit.

Day 5, Take a walk day. Enjoy the outside as you walk, listen for birds, the wind, water? What nature sounds do you hear?

White-throated sparrow

Day 6, Water-Use Day. Become aware every time you use water. Is there a way you can reduce your water use?

Day 7, Cut Food-waste Day, Clean out left-overs and produce. Make a soup, a stir fry or wraps with your left-overs.

Day 8, Chemical-Free Day. Use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning, and shop for organic produce. Read about chemicals and air pollution here.

Day 9, Reusable-cup day. Bring your re-usable cup to the coffee shop, to meetings, and to work.

Day 10, Gratitude. Be thankful for our beautiful planet. What was the best thing about the past week? Could you complete 10 for 10?


Super Bowl of Recycling

Can the Super Bowl go zero waste? If they can, so can you!  Minneapolis, location of Super Bowl 52, is an incredible place to go waste-free. We have recycle containers everywhere, and we have weekly home compost pick-up.  Hennepin County and Minneapolis are committed to less landfill waste.

I think the NFL is sending an important message, “It is important to reduce our waste!” Yes, one big event is important, and we all need to educate ourselves and try to reduce our own waste. Read about the Super Bowl at zero waste.

Most communities don’t make it as easy as Minneapolis, but in tiny steps, we can all do better.  Everyday I think about how I can generate less waste, and I know for a zero waste mentality to be successful, it must be EASY!

An easy way to reduce waste is to think REUSE. Before you throw something away, buy something new, or recycle something, ask yourself, “How can I reuse this?” I purchase products in glass jars that I will reuse, and I do reuse them.  I believe in real dishes, real silverware, and cloth napkins. My reusable water bottles travel with me, something the NFL doesn’t allow at games!  I reuse my plastic produce bags over and over, and take my reusable containers to fill with bulk items weekly. Hennepin County has a good list of how to start reusing, read it here.  Remember to start easy, and you will get better, as you learn more ways to reduce and reuse.

Cloth napkins are the best!

I would start with cloth napkins as the easiest. As you get into the reuse mindset you will see many things you can do to reuse and reduce on your own. Good Luck!

You don’t need  plastic bottles!

Get out those real dishes, glasses and silverware for your Super Bowl party and have fun.