Our Actions Matter

What kind of world do we want to live in?

I think most of us would agree we don’t want polluted air and water, or a world without interesting animals, birds, and butterflies. Can we accept a world where people are staving to death? Do we want to live without diversity, in a mono-culture where we can’t accept anything different from how we live? Do we want a world where disrespect is accepted?

Too much food is waste!
How can you use those leftovers?

Several recent studies and events should wake us up and shake us to action. First a study from the United Nations that says we are going to have a food crisis if we don’t change our land use. We just aren’t going to have food for everyone if we continue on our path of land use and wasting food. The study encourages a reduction in our meat consumption. The raising of meat, especially beef and lamb takes an enormous amount of energy, land, and water resources. It also states we must stop wasting so much food. Read the study comprised by over a hundred scientists here.

Microplastic in Lake Superior
Lake Superior

Second, how about some plastic in your drink? Plastic is everywhere, and it might never break down. The amount of plastic microfibers in our water and air is troubling. Read about it at Plastic. Read about the plastic in the big lake at Lake Superior.

Bald Eagle
Smart environmental policy brought back the bald eagle

Finally, the  quality of life will decline if we don’t have song birds and crickets singing, if we don’t have eagles, hummingbirds or happy chickadees to entertain us.  We all want a world with penguins, giraffes and elephants. Our changing climate makes it necessary that we protect and support animals that will take longer to adjust to this change. Protecting some animals might be as simple as keeping oil and gas companies from drilling in certain areas. Read at Endangered Species Act . The Trump administration intends to end special protections of some of our most cherished animals.

Food waste picture
Wasting food wastes water, energy and labor!

What actions matter? These are the things my household tries to do everyday. If everyone does a little, it adds up to a lot!   1. Reduce food waste. This is the hardest, but the most important!  https://savethefood.com/  2. Eat less meat, https://damndelicious.net/2014/12/02/15-best-quick-easy-meatless-recipes/  3. Reduce our plastic foot-print and work for zero waste 4. Buy less stuff, and purchase items that will last, not junk! 5. Be kind. It would be a boring world if everyone had blue eyes, blond hair, tiny noses, and a perfect weight. Be respectful of our differences.

Everyone can help
Thanks for making a difference!

If everyone does a little, it adds up to a lot! Our warming planet is real, and we need to find ways use our land more efficiently, and to slow down our warming planet. What do you think? What kind of world do you want to live in?

 

Superior Views, The Longest Days

Picture of Lake Superior
Lake Superior

As I sit and listen to the waves, I can tell this is no ordinary lake. The sound of the waves tell of a deep cold big lake, and this year it is colder than usual making for a late spring and summer.

hummingbid sits at feeder
Female ruby-throat hummingbird

Song sparrows have built a nest on the ground a short distance from my window. Building a ground nest is surprising to me, but these sparrows know more about nests than I do. Any outside activity near the nest is off limits for us, and I am thrilled I have such a good view from my window.

painted lady butterfly
Painted lady butterfly

Along with the song sparrow the common yellow throat, red-eyed vireo, red start, oven bird, mourning warbler and chestnut sided warbler sing their hearts out and bring joy. The painted butterfly, monarch, and yellow swallow-tail are searching for host plants for their eggs. I hope the lateness of plants this year doesn’t harm the butterflies.

Lupine on Lake Superior

During these long days the sun rises at 5:10am, and sets at 9:03pm giving us lots of daylight to enjoy the big lake, the birds, the butterflies, and new blooming flowers.

 

Buffer strips
Buffer strips along lakes protect water quality, would they keep the shoreline from collapsing?

Run-off from the rivers and high-water levels are making the big lake brown. The dirt banks are wearing away.  The wet climate of the last few years has really changed the lake! And a local news article about powerful Lake Superior grabbing land as the lake levels rise. Lake Superior is always changing and renewing itself in every season, including the shoreline that surrounds it.

Celebrate Trees

Trees clean our water and our air!

The power of trees is enormous. They add beauty and quiet to our lives. Trees work to keep our air and water clean, and they keep us healthy and happy.  Be mindful of the trees in your life! Trees create that sense of belonging and community, see the video below.

“Whether you plant trees around your home and property, in your community, or in our national forests, they help fight climate change. Through the natural process of photosynthesis, trees absorb CO2 and other pollutant particulates, then store the carbon and emit pure oxygen. Planting trees helps fight climate change.” Arborday.org

 

Wow, the Possibilities!

When we focus on imagining and debating new possibilities of what we want to accomplish, instead of relentlessly fixating on limitations, we build the will to do more.   Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, U.S.Representative

Several months ago I would have thought this news impossible! Good news lightens my mood and hope for the future. We are all healthier and the Earth is healthier because of this leadership. See some amazing leadership and good news below:

–Two young women have taken the center stage for climate leadership

Greta Thunberg by Anders Hellberg

Sixteen year-old Greta Thunberg is leading Friday climate marches throughout the world, and Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez has taken an incredible leadership role in the U.S. Congress.  See Green New Deal. Greta has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

–The European Union is banning single-use plastics by 2021
      And Trader Joe’s is phasing out single-use plastic.
–Oregon’s bottle deposit law results in 90% of bottles returned
Lake Erie has been given human status by the city of Toledo.
–Connecticut is working on banning plastic bags.
–Miami has banned glyphosates.
–New York City schools begin Meatless Monday.
–By a vote of 92 to 8, the United State Senate passes a sweeping lands package that designates 1.3 million acres of wilderness in California, Oregon, Utah, and New Mexico, establishes three new national monuments, and permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Clean energy news:

Minnesota, California, Costa Rica, Spain, and others pledge to become carbon-free.

–The Tennessee Valley Authority closes an aging coal-fired power plant,

–An Australian court rejects a proposed coal mine because of the effect it would have on the world’s climate.

–Spain intends to close its seven nuclear power plants by 2035, and to generate all the country’s electricity from renewables by 2050.

–Finland voted to ban all coal-fired power by 2029.

22 Inventions That Are Saving The Earth

 

 

 

Yes, it is Cold, But….

Yikes, it’s cold where I live! The high today is -15 F, and with the wind it feels colder. Please don’t feel sorry for us. It is just another extreme, and we are all living in a time of extremes. We have extreme droughts, extreme rains and storms, and extreme heat. Minnesota might be back to 40 degrees  in just a few days, a 70 degree high temperature change in a few days! Yes, extreme!

Most of us would rather be here in the cold than in the extreme heat and drought Australia is experiencing.  While our cold weather is a short blip, they are experiencing a long-term extreme. Read about it here.

The sun shines, and frost on the window.

There are some advantages to a short cold snap like this. We can hope that some of the invasive bugs that are unchecked because of our warmer winters will be stopped or slowed down. The cold will completely freeze over the lakes which make them safer for winter activities, and can also lessen summer algae. My favorite thing about the cold is that the sun often shines making for beautiful bright days.

Polar Bear weather in the mid-north of the United States

Is this part of climate change? Why does this Arctic air escape the Arctic? The Arctic has warmed faster than the 1.8 degrees the Earth has recently warmed. This warming has weakened the jet stream winds that would normally stay north, but this climate warming has caused these winds to seep south. Our warming planet has confused the jet stream causing them to rush where they normally don’t blow, bringing the Arctic winter cold with them.  The extreme heat in Australia is a more serious problem that isn’t a passing scenario like our short-lived northern cold.  Yes, our changing climate is real and we are experiencing it every day.

A Simple Message

Don’t waste food, don’t waste plastic and don’t waste energy!

A simple message from David Attenborough

New Beginnings

A new year brings new energy, new projects and hope into our lives. May we move on to a positive new beginning for us all.  One thing that 2018 told us is that our Earth is struggling with harmful human activity. Our warming climate and our dependence on single-use plastic can have tragic implications as we move into the future. We can’t predict the future, but plastic waste and climate change are not going away.

If everyone does a small amount it can make a big difference! I have two things you can do to make a big difference on the Earth this new year. Even if you change one thing you do, and focus on that one thing in 2019 you will be making a difference!

How are you reducing your plastic footprint?

When I started this blog years ago, I was trying to get people to recycle. While I hope you will still recycle what needs to be recycled, it has become harder and harder to recycle that pesky plastic. Glass, aluminum and paper have markets, but we just use so much single-use plastic and there aren’t enough markets for plastic. Plastic can’t be recycled over and over like glass and aluminum.

Shop in bulk

We need to reduce our plastic footprint. Start by changing one thing you purchase in plastic. At our house we refill bottles/containers with bulk at our local coop: soaps, lotions, teas, nuts, rice and almost every dry product we eat.  We make our own yogurt, humus and cashew milk. Even as hard as we work on this we can’t avoid all packaging, it is too ubiquitous. As human beings we haven’t figured out our complicated  relationship with plastic. The best thing is to avoid it.

Tackling food waste is another way we can all make a difference. If you purchase in bulk you can get just the amount you need.  Forty percent of our food in the USA goes to waste, I mourn the valuable water and energy wasted on uneaten food! How have you done on your holiday leftovers? Freeze, cook, eat that food! Be vigilant. I make it into game with myself to be creative making new items from left-overs to keep from wasting food. Just think of the water and energy that we could save! Also, rotting food waste in landfills creates methane contributing to warming the planet.

Some other ideas to make a difference: Make changes in your kitchen and 10 green resolutions from Earth911. PBS offers three science based ideas here.

Some inspiration from Dan Rather: ” I stand at the precipice of 2019, alongside all of you, and breath deep a spirit of empathy and a determination to do our part to help make this world a better place.”

Happy hopeful new year!