In Solidarity With Paris, Day 2

“We Must Create a ‘World That is Worthy of Our Children” President Obama

What can you do?
“What can you do?

The long-awaited Paris climate talks have begun today.  What can we all do in solidarity with countries trying to hammer out a sustainable way to move forward for our earth?  As I continue my series “31 days of less waste” I challenge you to NOT let your car idle this winter or ever.  Idling your car or truck is such a waste of energy and terrible for air quality!

http://ecowatch.com/2015/11/30/obama-cop21/       10562721_920150908051554_7226343502310981013_o

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Simple Ways to Cut Food Waste, Day 1

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all adds up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills. (Source: EPA)

We can all do something about this tremendous influx of trash and I will be posting ideas for 31 days on how to reduce trash and waste:

I have a refrigerator full of leftovers, and I am determined to creatively use everything in the next few days.  I have made enchiladas, burritos, and soup today. Luckily, I have drop off compost available near my house where I can bring bones and food that can’t be back yard composted.  Below is from the Minnesota Pollution Control:

Simple ways to cut food waste

thanksgiving tableOf all the stuff we throw away in Minnesota almost 18 percent is food.

Wasted food represents wasted demand for water, land, and fuel. A more concrete way of thinking about this, however, is money: A family of four can save more than $30 a week by making changes in how they shop, prepare, and store food.

What would you do with $30 a week?

Whatever your answer, here is the how-to, with extra tips for holiday parties and meal planning. Most importantly, make a commitment–right now–to try one of these techniques in the kitchen this year. Which one will it be?

Before the meal

1.   Make a list with meals in mind. Create a shopping list based on specific meals. Choose recipes based on what you already have at home. Try out this Meals in Mind shopping list template from the Food: Too Good to Waste toolkit.

2.   Get help with portion planning. The fear of not providing enough to eat often causes hosts to cook too much. A handy tool for party planning is the “Perfect portions” planner from Love Food Hate Waste, a U.K. nonprofit that focuses on sharing convenient food reduction and reuse tips.

3.   Keep fruits and vegetables fresh by prepping ingredients for the week as soon as you get back from the store. Use both this fridge-friendly smart storage guide and A-Z storage guide from Eureka Recycling to extend the life of produce.

During the meal

4.   Use small plates and utensils. Simple tricks of using smaller serving utensils or plates can encourage smaller portions, reducing the amount left on plates. It is much easier and more hygienic to use leftovers from serving platters than from individuals’ plates.

5.   Allow guests to serve themselves, choosing what and how much they would like to eat. This also reduces the amount of unwanted food left on plates.

Eat me first

After the meal

6.   Refrigerate leftovers promptly.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that hot foods be refrigerated within two hours after cooking. Store leftovers in smaller, individually sized containers, making them more convenient to grab for a quick meal.

7.   Designate foods to eat first. Download and print this Eat First sign so that everyone knows and remembers.

8.   Create new meals. Check out Love Food Hate Waste’s creative recipes for using your food scraps to create new meals. Boil vegetable scraps and turkey carcasses for stock and soups, and use bread crusts and ends to make tasty homemade croutons.

9.   Compost food scraps. If you have access to a yard, you can start composting in your backyard (even in the winter!). Apartment and condo residents can consider composting indoors using red worms. Better yet, some Minnesota communities offer curbside pick up or drop sites for food waste–see the list of communities here. If you see your area listed, contact your city, county or garbage hauler to see what’s available.

10.   Donate extras. Food banks and shelters welcome donations of canned and dried foods, especially during the holiday season and colder months.

http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

http://www.pca.state.mn.us/


 

 

 

October 2015, Warmest on Record

Worriesome, the North and South Poles!
Worrisome, the North and South Poles!

 

From the Washington Post:

It was Earth’s warmest October ever recorded and it wasn’t even close. The record-shattering month was right in step with most of the preceding months in 2015 — which is positioned to easily rank as the warmest year on record.

New data from the Japan Meteorological Agency and NASA show that the planet obliterated October records established just last year.  October 2015 out-baked October 2014 by 0.34 degrees (0.19 Celsius) and 0.32 degrees (0.18 Celsius) in JMA and NASA’s analyses, respectively

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/11/17/record-crushing-october-keeps-earth-on-track-for-hottest-year-in-2015/

And the warming continues. The first half of November 2015, temperatures were 11 to 12 degrees above normal in Minnesota and Wisconsin!

“I have NO hope!”

A strategy needs to be something that can be sustained!” President Obama on fighting ISIS

How are we as a society failing our twenty-some year old young men? The shooters in San Bernardino were living the life the men I talk about below wanted.  Where can we find a life of hope and purpose for these young men? How can they be encouraged to connect to the world around them?

This is a blog I wrote after the Paris terror attack:

Today I am writing about the young men I met on a recent trip, and I am calling on the wealthy, big corporations, the United Nations, and the World Bank to help them by creating jobs.

The Macedonian flag
The Macedonian flag

My husband and I have just returned from Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia.  In the past few years we have also travelled independently to Serbia, Bosnia, Romania and other Eastern European countries.  These countries are democracies, but are still struggling after Soviet domination for many years. The message we hear from the frustrated twenty-some men is, “We have NO hope!” These English-speaking locals approach us as we wait for buses, ride ferries, trains, or are looking at a map on the street.  Unemployment is very high and most we talk to are unemployed or a few are in a low wage jobs.  They have no confidence in their governments, and feel hopeless about their futures  They say they have to pay bribes to get jobs, and to get into the military.  Some of these young men are Muslims, and some are Orthodox Christians.  They think the only solution is to move to Western Europe, Canada or the United States. What is upsetting is the place and time and people change in these discussions, but their message stays the same!  I need to leave to find a better life!

Their frustrations are so enormous that it frightens me they will take any avenue to escape their situation.   Clearly, the answer is not with their governments.  Kosovo can’t account for all the funds NATO has given them to rebuild from their recent war.

The solution needs to exist inside their own countries. If companies are looking to expand, don’t forget Eastern Europe.  Large corporations expanding and creating jobs in these countries could make a big difference! The men we speak to appear to be educated and have good communication skills, and say they are willing to work hard.

It is such a waste of human energy to have energetic minds struggling for a future! The roots of terrorism are very complicated and my ideas are simplistic, but how can these individuals feel they are important, that their lives matter, and that they can contribute worthwhile things to society? What are some sustainable jobs and industries NGOs or private business can start or create in Eastern Europe?

After a soccer win, Albanians adorned with excitement and their flag.
After a soccer win, Albanians adorned with excitement and their flag.

Much needs to be done, but as I ride buses through the countryside these are the things that could be win-win for Europe and the entire world:

  1. Solar is a natural for this area.  Wealthier areas have solar water heaters.
  2. Recycling is lacking and plastic litter is an enormous problem.  How could these plastic bottles and bags be made valuable?
  3. ECO Tourism.  Albania is on the Adriatic Sea and the ancient and historic sites make for some fabulous tourist attractions.

Below is a solar water heater:
image

http://infodev.org/publications/green-industries

http://ecowatch.com/2015/11/17/apple-solar-singapore/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=ab7bbc7486-Top_News_11_17_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-ab7bbc7486-85912169

http://undesadspd.org/Youth.aspx

You ask me, “Where are the girls and women?” I can’t answer that question.  Sometimes on the street you see a hundred men to one woman.  Some women do have jobs, and girls are going to school, but overall this is a place where the men seem to dominate.

America Recycles Day

wpid-20150822_121411.jpgNovember 15 is America Recycles Day!  I am pleased how recycling has changed and awareness has increased over the past 2 years.  With the advent of the big blue one-sort containers many more people and communities are participating.  Even parks are adding containers to collect recyclables!

Of course with more recycling comes new problems.  Plastic bags are terrible problem when placed with your recyclables. NEVER put plastic bags in your one-sort container.  See the story below:

http://www.startribune.com/recycling-or-wish-cycling-materials-to-stop-tossing-in-the-big-blue-bins/329264261/

http://americarecyclesday.org/

https://health4earth.com/recycling-garbage-is-a-terrrible-thing-to-waste/

I am taking a different twist on America Recycles Day. Reuse is a higher step up from recycling. How can you reduce your plastic use? Plastic bag and bottle manufacturers make millions of dollars in profits from a product that is harmful to our waterways and wildlife. They need to take responsibility for the terrible waste they have created. How can you reuse your bags and refill some of those plastic bottles for reuse?

Some co-ops and grocery stores have fabulous selections of soaps and oils to refill your bottles
Some co-ops and grocery stores have fabulous selections of soaps and oils to refill your bottles
  1. Look for refill centers.

3. Use your own refillable water bottle.

Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with water or other liquid
Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with water or other liquid

 

 

4. Easiest of all: Bring your own reusable shopping bags shopping with you!

Shopping bags made from recycled plasstic
Shopping bags made from recycled plastic

 

 

 

 

 

http://americarecyclesday.org/

https://health4earth.com/recycling-garbage-is-a-terrrible-thing-to-waste/

http://www.earth911.com/home-garden/top-5-items-recycle-bathroom/#

Please recycle plastic bags at grocery stores!
Please recycle plastic bags at grocery stores!

 

 

 

Amazing Footage of Tar Sands

Canadian tar sands, this was forest land
Canadian tar sands, this was forest land

If you have any doubt whether President Obama should have rejected the Keystone pipeline, watch the video below showing what has happened in Canada in the area of the tar sands.  Bill Nye takes us on a helicopter ride to see the tar sands.  It follows Bill Nye’s segment on rising water in Florida.

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/10/31/now-its-bill-nye-with-climate-change-denial-and-arnold-schwarzenegger-to-the-rescue/?_r=1

“Ultimately, if we’re gonna prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re gonna have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.”  President Obama

http://ecowatch.com/2015/11/06/obama-reject-kxl/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=bafb16d845-Top_News_11_7_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-bafb16d845-85912169

Falling Leaves and Protecting Clean Water

011Fall Clean Up: Remember your curbs and gutters to protect our lakes and waterways. !

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 2.22.21 PMDid you know that just five bags of leaves and organic debris from streets and sidewalks could contain one pound of phosphorus?  Over time, this can lead to the growth of hundreds of pounds of algae.  

Cleaning up our curbs and gutters will prevent the highly nutrient-rich leaves and debris from entering rivers, lakes, and streams, and reduces pollution at the source, and improves water quality in our community. Fight water pollution in the street near your home today.

What to do?

— Sweep up leaves, sediment, trash and recyclable materials on our streets.

— Clean out storm drains.

https://enduringenvirons.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/fall-clean-up-remember-your-curbs-and-gutters/#more-1370.

wpid-20151103_145015.jpg