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 or 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 place outside that you feel made you feel like you’ve connected 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

30 Day April Challenge

Styrofoam/polystyrene. I picked out of a lake!

April is Earth Month
April is a month of challenges. Challenges of 30 days of biking or running, 30 days of plastic-free, 30 days of watching birds. 30 days of taking a daily picture, or thirty days of writing a poem for poetry month. The thirty-day challenges are endless.

My April challenge is 30 days of picking up trash.  The snow has melted and the swollen rivers are subsiding but our beautiful Earth is covered with litter. It is embarrassing to see so much trash and blowing pieces of plastic.    Everyday on my walk in April I carry a bag and collect litter, and actually I started my challenge a few days ago. This year I’m looking extra hard for the small plastic scraps like cigarette butts and Styrofoam pieces. This challenge is easier than some of the other 30 day challenges, but this challenge gets you outside, and it really makes a difference for our Earth. Please join me.

April 22 is Earth Day and April 26 is Arbor Day. Please make everyday April day Earth Day.
Have a fun Earth Month, and remember to enjoy our beautiful our Earth.

Get your 30 days of Active April calendar from Actions For Happiness here.

 

2019 World Water Day

We love lakes! Keep them clean.

We love lakes, we love rivers and streams, and we love our oceans.  March 22, is World Water Day.  Clean water is a human right and should be available to every human being.  Unfortunately, some of us have too much water, but many don’t have enough water, and the water they have is polluted.  I am lucky to live in a place with lots of water, but it is a struggle to keep it clean. Many live with polluted wells and water from farm pollution. Why they have allowed farm run-off to pollute their wells is beyond me??? The farming industry has gotten away with polluting our water, and for some reason they now think they have that right. Where I live, farm run-off is the number one cause for the pollution of our water ways and ground water. Lack of regulation on agriculture can harm water resources when raising pork, beef and other livestock, along with sugar beets, corn and soy beans.

There are industrial cities like Houston, Texas, that allow industry to pollute air and water.  Stronger regulation is needed to stop water and air pollution, but that is not happening in the United States anytime soon.

Agriculture and industry are major water pollutants, but so is plastic. As the spring flooding overflows the banks of creeks and rivers the winter trash is getting washed off the land, into our waterways, then into our oceans. With some personal responsibility we all can make a difference with our behavior to water.

The Mississippi River water shed is flooding carrying plastic and farm pollution to the gulf of Mexico. Graphic by Jon Platek
What can we do to keep our water clean?

On this World Water Day weekend I challenge you to go meatless, I challenge you to go plastic-free, and I challenge you to get outside and pick up trash.

Happy Spring!

The first day of spring. a beautiful full moon, and the International Day of Happiness all in one day.
I hope your day is happy.  Please enjoy, find beauty, and spend time outdoors!
The United Nations has declared that March 20, the first day of spring, as International Happiness Day, and the new World Happiness report is below.

 

 

Happiness is something you bring to life!” Wayne Dyer

And from Actions For Happiness:

Governments should take happiness more seriously than economic measures if they want to stay in power, says UN-backed Report

WHR 2019 Image

  • 7th World Happiness Report released on the United Nations International Day of Happiness 20th March 2019
  • Research on voting habits shows happy people are more likely to vote to keep governments in power
  • Finland retains 1st place in happiness rankings; UK rises 4 places to 15th
  • Unhappy people were more likely to vote for Brexit and Trump
  • Action for Happiness helps increase happiness in local communities
  • Social media is making young people unhappy

 

See Actions For Happiness March Calendar here.

Read the 2019 World Happiness Report

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

 

 

 

Mindful March

Happy March!53792673_2175281865843630_1737982632567767040_n

Action for Happiness has the best calendar yet. How can we be more mindful in our lives? There are some terrific ideas for mindfulness below. I would add some outdoor time. Watch for signs of spring, and look for beauty everyday. I have seen new buds, birds migrating and flowers blooming. Enjoy and good luck

Reducing that Pesky Plastic

Weigh your container before you fill with bulk items

Shopping at a grocery store or drug store is one of the most frustrating things I do, everything is packaged in plastic. Luckily, I have some excellent food coops a bus ride away from my house. I save containers and refill them with bulk items. A local meat department in a local grocery store will even refill my containers with meat purchases, which even my coops won’t refill. Science 101 has one of the best articles on reducing plastic that I have ever read, and I learned things from them. Start with a few items to refill. When you get the idea and feel comfortable move to add more plastic-free items. Here is Science 101’s article, on easy ways to reduce plastic. Refilling containers can be fun and satisfying.

Nice screw-top glass bottles that I can reuse forever! Buy products in glass, and reusable glass containers are a win-win!

Only 9 percent of the plastic every produced has been recycled, and no one knows how many hundreds of years it will pollute our environment. It breaks into tiny pieces, ends up in our water sources, is in our food and kills wildlife! Why is plastic harmful? Read here.

Coops will help you get started refilling containers, and I am willing to help if you ask. Let’s all work to reduce our plastic foot-print.

Here are 13 more ways to reduce plastic.