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!

What Does a Climatarian Look Like?

Our everyday activities make a big difference and small positive changes by everyone, can make a big difference to the health of our Earth. A Climatarian thinks about their impact on the Earth everyday, and they work to reduce their daily impact.

The news just keeps getting worse and worse for our warming planet as some places are overwhelmed by drought and fires, and others are inundated with storms and water. Warmer air holds more water and has caused ocean levels to rise causing hurricanes to become more destructive. Wildlife and humans are on the loosing end of this destruction. The lives lost, and the struggle to survive and rebuild are staggering. We are facing a climate breakdown! Read about the latest climate report by the world’s scientists here.

Instead of trashing our air and water we need new paradigms to live by to protect our home.  Our current United States government is determined to make this climate breakdown worse. Our warming planet is not going to heal itself. With a little personal responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint we can have cleaner air and water, and a much healthier planet. Let’s make it a team effort and make it a win-win for us all! As self-described Climatarian below are the things I work on everyday to reduce my footprint on Earth. To be successful start small, and when one thing becomes a habit try to add another.

Take personal responsibility to heal our Earth. My vision of a Climatarian is below. What is yours?

Bulk shopping reduces food and packaging waste. Refill your own containers

** Work for zero waste by reusing, refilling and refusing. This takes practice and commitment, but it is fun and easy once you get the idea of how, you can become an almost zero waster! Also, don’t waste food: Freeze and label your leftovers, and put them in wraps, stir fry or something you cook next. Be creative!  Managing food waste takes constant vigilance. I will help you get started with zero waste, ask me how to begin????

** Reduce your meat consumption. We haven’t eaten beef or pork for many years, and I actually forget about purchasing from our local chicken source. Meat takes lots of water and energy to raise, and it is a terrible pollutant to our air and water.

** Drive less: No one wants to reduce their driving, but carpooling, public transportation and walking can be fun. Try it!!

This symbol means a lot more than to recycle. A circular economy manufactures and purchases goods from recycled materials.

** Consume less! The more we consume the more the planet suffers and the more garbage we generate. Buy less stuff and purchase things that last, and that you will reuse over and over. Try to become part of the circular economy.

And from EcoWatch, things you can do to avoid climate catastrophe. From the Washington Post things you can do for our Earth.

 

Think Meatless

World Vegetarian Day

Also remember to not waste food!

Every year on October 1st, World Vegetarian Day kicks off a month of parties, potlucks, presentations, food tasting displays and lots of friendly discussions. For those new to vegetarianism, it serves as an enticement to give meatless fare a try (even for a day) and learn about its many benefits. And, of course, it’s the perfect occasion for vegetarians and those already moving towards plant-based diets to celebrate their healthy, compassionate food choices. Read the New York Times best vegetarian soups and stews here.

Eating vegan or vegetarian is awesome, but another thing is important also! Work to stop food waste!! Food waste is a terrible waste of water, labor and energy. Use up all those leftovers in soups, rice bowls, or wraps, How do use your leftovers??

http://www.savethefood.com

Inspiring Good News

We need some good news, and thoughts of what is possible!

After a summer of hot weather, wildfires, and now hurricane season, some positive thinking energy is needed. This a collection of people, businesses and governments working to do good for our Earth. The following good news stories caught my eye:

I am going to start with two stories from France that were surprising.
A theme park has trained crows to pick up trash, especially cigarette butts. France also has a creative idea to put a tax on packaging that can’t be recycled. It would better if it was a tax on materials that don’t biodegrade, but any kind of tax is a great motivator, and a worthwhile education tool!

Also, in the European Union, the Greek Island of Tilos is going to be the first in the Mediterranean to power itself entirely with wind and solar. Read at renewable energy.  And in Eastern Europe, Estonia is offering free public transport nationwide.

A court in Canada has ruled that a pipeline can’t continue through indigenous lands, and also, Canada is beginning to phase out bee killing pesticides.

Communities are managing  without plastic bags.

And good news in the United States, a non-profit in Durham North Carolina has started a program to use reusable containers for take-out. It is inspiring that Anchorage has banned plastic bags  and Kroger stores say they are going to start phasing out single-use plastic bags.  Like plastic bags, balloons cause litter and harm wildlife. Think twice before you use balloons, and read what is happening at balloons .  Also, very good news, a judge has ruled that the Trump administration can’t change an Obama clean water rule

Good news from the Nature Conservancy: Inspiring stories of climate progress across the globe are a sign of what’s possible.

Too often leaders believe protecting nature … is at the expense of the economy or human well-being. I couldn’t disagree more strongly. We’ve made great progress quantifying what you can achieve by investing in nature.”

Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy