Altruistic August!

kindness hotel
Everyday work on kindness.

Kindness creates a ripple, spread it now!

Become mindful how your actions affect others? Turn down the music, sweep instead of leaf blow, turn off your car instead of idle, pick up litter,  control your dog, follow the driving rules, and wearing an a mask is an act of kindness. Thirty-one actions below for acts of kindness:

During August the idea is to do one or more acts of kindness daily. Let’s spread a wave of kindness all around the world. 

 

July Kindness

Acts of kindness are very powerful!” Sonja Lyubomirsky

kindness
Kindness creates a ripple, spread it now.

Science is finding that being kind pays off. New studies show kindness makes people healthier and happier. Kindness can stop some illnesses, and could create more antiviral genes. What could be better during a pandemic?  So smile, donate your time and  money, help others, and wear a mask.

Here are some science based ways kindness is good for your health.

The Action For Happiness calendar is below. Make July better than the past 4 months, and stay healthy.

 

A Magical Time on Lake Superior

swallow tail butterfly
Swallowtail butterfly

June can be the best time of the year for pollinators. In northern Wisconsin and Minnesota it is an awesome time for seeing bees, and butterflies! Within two minutes I observed monarchs, swallowtails, sulphurs, northern crescents, painted ladies, dragon flies, and many skippers and bees on a small patch of hawkweed and daisies.

Hawkweed
Orange Hawkweed

Everyone comments about the beautiful lupine near Lake Superior, and it is beautiful to human eyes. If you look closely, very few butterflies and bees crave lupine like they crave Canadian anemone, blooming chives, wild geraniums, blooming trees, forget-me-nots or daisies. The blooming plant that has surprised me the most this year is the orange hawkweed. It is not a native plant, but the butterflies love it.

Female American Redstart

It’s not the best time of the year to see birds, but if you can recognize their songs they bring constant musical joy. The song sparrow, chestnut sided warbler, and a pair of red starts joyfully sing all day.

Lupine on Lake Superior

As long as the sun shines the birds, bees and butterflies seem oblivious to the battle taking place on the big lake. The cold lake ties to dominate the warm tropical winds from the south, and the temperature can fluctuate from 60 degrees to 80 degrees every few minutes. It’s fascinating and refreshing!
The days are long in these northern climes with the sun setting past 9pm and twilight lasting beyond 10pm. No matter where you live get outside and enjoy the marvelous butterflies of summer, in a few weeks they will be gone!

Good News from 2019

And from Future Crunch 99 good news stories:

https://futurecrun.ch/99-good-news-2019

Good news gives me hope and I hope these stories give you hope for 2020!

The two stories from 2019 that give me most hope are the leadership of Greta Thunberg, climate activist, and Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand.

 

Small Changes Can Make a Difference

Get rid of plastic bags
Make plastic bags history!

Three months ago two large grocery stores in Australia banned plastic bags. It has lead to an eighty percent reduction in plastic bag use in Australia. Read about it here.

In England retailers are reporting a 90% drop in plastic bag use after a bag fee was introduced in 2015.

Businesses can take leadership and help make enormous changes to help our Earth. Call on Target to help.  Here is a petition you can sign to get Target to ban plastic bags. Petition to Target

Bring your own reusable bags.

We can all make a difference also! First you can always bring your reusable/washable bags with you shopping. Make bringing bags a habit. Next, lets get Target to take leadership and ban plastic bags in their stores. Sign the petition, but also ask them to ban plastic bags when you visit their stores. Petition to Target

July, Plastic Free July, is almost over, but it’s not too late to set goals to reduce your plastic use. Start now!

Plastic Free July

July is plastic-free month
Work to reduce your plastic footprint

It is hopeful that some states and countries have made important laws on the regulation of single-use plastic in the past six months. Where I live the corporations and lobbyists have so much power over the decisions and law making that plastic pollution continues. The first committee where I worked on plastic bag legislation was over 25 years ago!! But I am thrilled with the legislation of other places.
We are living in a time when people don’t want regulation, OK then, take personal responsibility, and reduce your plastic footprint by reusing washable containers, bags and water bottles.

As I write this I am traveling in Ontario, Canada. I was at the grocery store and everyone had their reusable bags. At a restaurant I said, “No straw please!” the waiter response was, “Our straws are made of paper!” WOW! Also, Canada has passed legislation to ban single-use plastic in a few years.

Other places have recently passed single use plastic bans. Read about it at: Maine and Vermont, and California works to regulate all types of plastic packaging. Oregon has bans on plastic bags, and New Zealand has began their bag ban. The European Union is working on single-use plastic bans, and even Thailand is trying to make a positive difference. Maine has passed a Styrofoam container ban that I think is huge!

Bring your own reusable bags.

We can all take personal responsibility and reduce our plastic footprint. Always bring your shopping bags and eliminate those take-out containers unless they are compostable. Everyone making a small effort adds up to an enormous difference!

Here is the Dorset family and their effort to be plastic-free https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2150414795256894

What is a Nature-Pill?

Get Outside and Enjoy!

Have you been outside today? Have you found beauty or something new in nature? If you haven’t spent some time outside today, do it now!  This is the perfect time of the year to get outside, walk and experience nature. Relaxing time outside is a nature-pill.

It is my fear we have become such enormous TV watchers and phone addicts that we forget to get out of our houses and cars to enjoy the outside.

If you don’t have a yard, find a park or garden near you to which you can walk or bike. Hopefully it is quiet and a place you can experience the new buds and flowers on the plants and trees, or see the birds/butterflies, or just watch the clouds pass by.  Spend just a few quiet moments to just breath, relax and observe. Be mindful of the time you have outdoors.

A new study from the University of Michigan tells how time outside makes people so much happier and less depressed and stressed.

Enjoy!

“Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.”  Mary Carol Hunter

“We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us,” says Dr. MaryCarol Hunter, an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and lead author of this research. “Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.”

“Participants were free to choose the time of day, duration, and the place of their nature experience, which was defined as anywhere outside that in the opinion of the participant, made them feel like they’ve interacted with nature. There were a few constraints to minimize factors known to influence stress: take the nature pill in daylight, no aerobic exercise, and avoid the use of social media, internet, phone calls, conversations and reading,” Hunter explains. Read more about the nature study here.

Take your free outdoor nature-pill, find outdoor beauty, plant seeds, touch, draw a picture, walk, observe, listen, and breathe.

Driving or using your phone doesn’t count, you need to find places near you.  A place where you can take your nature-pill. I know you can find places if you try.  Find a quiet place outside that helps you connect with nature.

Ten more reasons why you should connect with nature.

 

 

 

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-20793/10-great-reasons-to-get-outside-more-often.html

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

 

 

 

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