Have a Happy Sustainable Halloween

Bran Castle in Romania.
Bran Castle in Romania.
Dracula (first edition cover), Bram Stoker's v...
Dracula (first edition cover), Bram Stoker’s vampiric novel, a reference for gaslight fantasy literature. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bran Castle by some accounts is where the Hollywood version of Dracula was born.  A novel written in 1897 by Bram Stoker created an infamous legend about Count Dracula based on a real Prince Vlad Tepes (1431-1476).  I visited this castle in Transylvania a month ago.

Will Dracula be visiting you on Halloween? I love the creative costumes that come to my door. The best are the imaginative creations made from the reuse of old clothes and what you have around the house.  Remember to reuse, eliminate plastic, and recycle.

What types of sustainable healthy treats have you passed out?

Below are some terrific ideas for a healthy sustainable Halloween:





The Price We Pay For Carbon Pollution


We are all paying the cost carbon pollution with our health, our taxes, our climate, the loss of wildlife and our insurance.  I am posting this excellent video in honor the Cost of Carbon week that has just concluded.

The National Research Council is pleased to present this video that explains how scientists have arrived at the state of knowledge about current climate change and its causes.





Important Reads from the Past Week


Pollution is a human caused factor creating the reality of climate change and harming the health of all people, our oceans, and all living things. See articles below:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57607795/study-climate-change-will-significantly-impact-ocean-health-by-2100/?wwftw1   New research shows that human impact on the climate will heavily influence marine habitats by 2100, supporting a study earlier this month that showed coral reefs could be extinct by 2050.

http://www.mn2020hindsight.org/view/we-all-pay-pollutions-costs?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pollution Pollution is expensive and we are all paying the costs to our lives, environment and through higher taxes.  And….

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/17/us-cancer-pollution-idUSBRE99G0BB20131017  The World Health Organization has come out saying that pollution causes cancer.

http://www.startribune.com/local/228250501.html   Minnesota is trying to adjust for the future to the changes in the climate for the north woods.  What new trees might thrive or will the north country become prairie?


Fall Vegetable Soup for Meatless Monday

I have just returned from 3 weeks of eating vegetable soup through Romania, Ukraine and Moldova. Even though I couldn’t always read the menu, I could communicate “legume soup” Most of the soups had potatoes, parsley and green beans.  Many had cabbage.  I was surprised at the lack of pasta, beans and grains in their soup.   Most of the time vegetable soup contained vegetables I loved.  Once in a while, chicken or beef would be an ingredient.  Many restaurants would also serve a whole hot pepper separate, not like in my below picture.  In this recipe I have tried to capture the best of the soups I enjoyed in my travels.

Becky’s Fall Vegetable Soup  

Vegetable Soup with a hot pepper
Vegetable Soup with a hot pepper


1 onion

¼ small cabbage

12 small banana potatoes

4 carrots cleaned and sliced

2 celery ribs chopped

1 apple chopped or shredded.   I used Minnesota organic Fireside apples.

6 cups water

2 vegan bouillon cubes

½ lb of fresh green beans

1 ¼ tsp salt

pepper and fresh parsley to taste

Suggested Directions:

Saute onion 10 minutes, Add cabbage and sauté 5 min, then add carrot, celery, potatoes, apple and sauté 10 more minutes.  Add  green beans, bouillon cubes, water , and salt and simmer at least 30 minutes.  Garnish with a hot pepper, parsley or toasted nuts of your choice.  Serves 4-5

I served with a spinach salad and open-faced melted cheese toasts, or add vegan sausage or vegan hot dogs to increase protein content.

October Surprises: Superior Views


“There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October.”
– Nathaniel Hawthorne


A golden-orange hue color brightens the landscape, but the shortness of the days makes thoughts of winter unavoidable.  Cedar Waxwings and Robins devour Mountain Ash berries, and harbingers of winter.. the Juncos, are everywhere!  Nuthatch and chickadees are stocking up with many trips to the bird feeder.  An active hunting fox keeps the chipmunks up in the tree branches.

A warm September has created some native plant surprises:  The fall blooming Wide-leafed Asters are finished, but fresh new cone flowers, hyssop, bee balm, spiderwort, goldenrod, and even a dianthesis (not native) sport fresh new blooms. Also despite heavy wind off the lake the colors of fall have been extended as they reach full vibrancy.

July flowers bloom in October
July flowers bloom in October

The big lake moderates the fall freeze, and some flowers could bloom for a another month.

http://www.startribune.com/local/228250501.html  Saving the trees of the north woods

Eastern Europe and the Environment

Recycle Campaign in MoldovaI have just returned from a three weeks of travelling by trains, buses, trolleys and trams through Romania, Ukraine and Moldova.  Because recycling, climate change, and pollinator plants are our interests, we do our own environmental travel. and watch for best practices as something we can all learn from.  This is our 6th trip to Eastern Europe in 7 years.

The best practice for our earth I observed is their farming. The patchwork and DIVERSITY of crops: Corn, wheat, sun flowers, cabbage, potatoes, and animal grazing all work together. This is so much healthier for our bees, birds and butterflies.  One person told me they didn’t need to use chemicals because of the diversity of their crops!  They also still use lots of hand labor and horses to pick crops.

The streets often have many pedestrians, and I love these great crosswalks.

Pedestrians are a Priority
Pedestrians are a Priority

Garbage cans are small and they generate less waste per person than most countries.  We went 3 weeks using real plates, cups and the napkins are tiny.  Often the toilet paper is made from recycled paper.

Recycling is dismal and plastic pollution is a serious problem. These countries lack the resources to educate and recycle like they know they should.  The young men we meet are frustrated with their job opportunities and futures. With some resources Eastern Europe could be a perfect opportunity to create new green industries and jobs to recycle plastic.

The brain drain of the young is serious.  Many we talk with think success is leaving their homes and moving to the United States or EU countries.  Loans should be available to generate new industry around green issues.  We met environmental scientists helping Moldova on energy efficiencies because of a loan from the World Bank…Perfect!!

Coco Cola and other bottle and plastic bag manufactures,  should take responsibility to help support these countries to recycle the trash that their products generate!! https://health4earth.com/2012/10/22/should-the-soft-drink-industry-help-communities-recycle/

Jobs and economic hope could help Eastern Europe be economic drivers of the E U and could be good for our earth also.

English: Map of Eastern European Countries
English: Map of Eastern European Countries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Romania has less trash per person