Twelve Rs for December

Happy December! Being kind is so easy, and December should be a month of kindness. The Actions for Happiness Calendar is below. Earth kindness is also so important.

During December plastic waste and food waste increases. This December see how you can apply the some of the twelve Rs to reduce your plastic waste footprint. Start by banning all glitter from your home and always bringing your reusable shopping bags.

REMEMBER

REKIND

REDUCE  

REUSE  

REFUSE  

REFILL 

REPAIR  

REPURPOSE 

RETHINK  

REGIFT  

RESEARCH 

RECYCLE 

Plastic-Free Presents: Mindful Gifting for Healthier Holidays – YouTube 

Another video from Plastic Pollution Coalition:

Kindness creates a ripple, spread it every day, and everyday do something kind for the planet by reducing your plastic consumption!

Tips to use less plastic: https://health4earth.com/2022/02/27/tips-to-use-less-plastic/

Reduce Food Waste

end food waste

Wasting food is an enormous waste of valuable resources!

Not only does wasting food, waste valuable resources and lots of water, but also food in our landfills decomposes creating and giving off methane gas which is a harmful air pollutant contributing to global warming.
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)

Food waste from PBS:

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/food-waste-is-contributing-to-climate-change-whats-being-done-about-it

Buy Nothing Day

Use your power as a consumer to create a better world!

Today is Buy Nothing Day, it is a day to turn our back on the awful obsession with consumerism we have in the United States. The things we purchase put stress on all our resources, water, air, time, energy, and landfills. All the stuff we buy contributes to the climate crisis! Do you really need more junk? Give thanks for what you have and all the people in your life. Be grateful for our beautiful planet, and for all you have. Instead of shopping spend your day outdoors or spend time doing something creative. Instead of shopping for happiness take deep breaths and do something you love. All the state parks in my state are free today, and I’m off for a long walk!

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

The Story of Stuff – Story of Stuff  

 A consumer is powerful. The choices we make, and what we purchase changes marketing and products, and as consumers we can make a big difference by the choices we make.  These choices can make a positive change on the environment creating a more sustainable world. 

  • Heighten your awareness of packaging and waste, choosing products with minimal or no wasteful plastic packaging. 
  • Always shop with reusable bags. 
  • Never purchase products with glitter or Styrofoam. They can’t be recycled and are harmful to wildlife.
  • Shop reuse stores. Some of my favorite clothes and items come from consignment stores. 
  • Shop bulk items. 
  • Shop in bulkBuying in bulk is a good way to manage food waste, and plastic waste. Bring your own bags or containers. 
  • Shop retailers that pay living wages and are local over big box stores. 
  •  Buy nothing and reuse what you have! 
  •  Purchase items that will last instead of cheap junk. 
  •  Avoid all single-use plastic 
  • Make your own choices and be creative, don’t be owned by corporations like Apple, Target, Amazon etc. 

A Plastic-Free Thanksgiving

These ideas are from Beyond Plastic:

Happy Thanksgiving! Remember your reusable shopping bags and reusable containers!

  1. Choose Scratch Over Store-Bought

Most store-bought dishes from supermarkets and restaurants will be packaged in plastic containers. To avoid the unnecessary plastic, focus on cooking from scratch. Ingredients like vegetables, flour, butter, and nuts can be commonly found in non-plastic packaging. For items like nuts and dried fruits, see if your local market, co-op or health food store has a bulk section and bring your own bags to fill up! When faced with a choice of packaging, choose glass or paper over plastic. If you’re looking for inspiration, see our recipe suggestions below.

  • Shop Local

Shopping locally not only reduces your meal’s carbon footprint, but you can bring your own bags and containers and you’re less likely to encounter plastic packaging than at your grocery store. Small businesses also need our support more than ever during the pandemic. Give your community your thanks by supporting each other!

If you don’t have the time or inclination to make pumpkin, pecan, or apple pie from scratch, check your local bakery.  While you’re there, pick up the bread you’ll need to make your stuffing and bring it all home in your reusable bags. Visit your local farmers market to pick up potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, greens, and more. If your farmers market is closed for the season, many CSAs (community supported agriculture) also offer a special one-time Thanksgiving share of goodies to anyone, even if you’re not a subscriber. 

  • Use Sustainable Decor

Forget the dollar store, make the perfect fall decor for your table setting with things from your backyard and local farm stand. Pressed leaves and pumpkins make for great wall and table adornments! Check out some DIY ideas here. And don’t forget to get the kids involved!

  • Serve on Reusable Dishes & Dinnerware 

Plastic utensils and cups end up in landfills, incinerators, or waterways where they can pose a threat to wildlife. Set your table with reusable plates, cups, serving platters, utensils and napkins. This can also include glass pitchers or bottles for drinks. If your family enjoys seltzer, consider investing in a SodaStream or other carbonation machine (tip: choose the model that comes with glass bottles over plastic). If you have kids, assign them the task of polishing silver—they may find it deeply satisfying. Sticking to reusables only will not only reduce your waste but also save you money.

  • Provide or Bring Reusable Containers for Leftovers

Going to family or friend’s home for dinner? Bring your own glass or metal containers to cart home some delicious leftovers. There are also some great beeswax-coated fabric wraps out there these days that can take the place of plastic wrap or tinfoil. If you are hosting the dinner, remind guests to bring reusable containers with them. If you have extras to spare (say from all those take-out containers you’ve saved since the lockdown started), you can offer them to guests who’ve forgotten to bring their own. Please remember to take the necessary precautions when interacting with others to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

  • Compost!

Compost any scraps from cooking or leftovers that aren’t being saved, as well as any compostable decor you’ve put up (once you tire of it). Reminder, if your Thanksgiving dinner includes a turkey, make stock out of the carcass before you compost it—you can make a very flavorful turkey soup or freeze it for months. If you’re not sure what can and can’t be composted, check out this helpful list. If you don’t have a backyard compost, see if your city or town has a local composting system. If they don’t, look into how to start one!

RECIPE SUGGESTIONS

6 Steps To a Plastic-Free Thanksgiving — Beyond Plastics – Working To End Single-Use Plastic Pollution

Recycle or Landfill?

It is America Recycles Day. Is it a joke or is it real?

Producers of plastic need to be held responsible for the environmental disaster they have created! What do all those recycling numbers (1-7) mean?

Are we living in a fantasy world about recycling? For many years I have been so hopeful and happy as recycling has become the norm, but now new studies show it is not as wonderful as we had hoped. Only 5 to 9 percent of plastic produced has ever been recycled. The fact is, a lot of plastic packaging, even with those silly 1-7 numbers, is NOT recyclable! Companies and plastic producers **greenwash by claiming to recycle more than they do, and they greenwash by claiming their product is recyclable.

What about recycling paper, metal and glass? Are these recyclables? Paper, metal, and glass are valuable to recyclers, and do have a new life when recycled. Paper, glass and metal all have markets for their recycled material and can be recycled over and over.

Plastic is another issue. Markets for plastic are scarce. Also, plastic is loaded with harmful chemicals, and after being recycled the toxics become more concentrated. Even though the plastic chemical industry says they are recycling their products, the reality is very different. It makes me very sad, but I’m afraid the recycling of plastic is becoming a myth

“There’s a long history of corporations, and especially plastic makers, touting their products as recyclable to prevent regulation and public backlash. Many plastic items in the grocery store have a set of three arrows forming a triangle with a number in the middle—but it’s not a recycling symbol. It’s a resin stamp indicating roughly the type of plastic it is. The petrochemical industry created it to make consumers think the item is recyclable.” Greenpeace Report: ‘Most Plastic Is Just Not Recyclable’

Landfill or recycle: Working to recycle is still better than sending the packaging to the landfill. The plastic will sit in the landfill 5oo or longer years, where at least with recycling there is a chance, maybe someday, it will be turned into something new. Officials where I live claim collected plastic is turned into decking, siding, and lawn chairs. I still hope that is the case!

As a society we need to hold the producers of plastic accountable to create a product that can be recycled, a product that doesn’t contain toxic chemicals. Producers of plastic need to be held accountable for their product’s end of life.

Please recycle as much as you can, but also reduce the plastic that you use and plastic. Our planet and your health will be better for it! Thank you.

**What is Greenwashing? Pretending to be greener than in reality you are.

TerraCycle Collects Plastic Waste. Does It Really Get Recycled?

(bloomberg.com)   Greenpeace report finds most plastic goes to landfills as production ramps up : NPR

World Kindness Day!

November 13, is World Kindness Day

Kindness creates a ripple of more kindness. Spread it now!

https://www.goodgoodgood.co/articles/how-to-celebrate-world-kindness-day

More on kindness here

So easy to make a positive difference, just smile!

Always be nice to everyone, and try to include everyone” Jayton Metcalf https://www.startribune.com/minnesota-designer-seeks-to-uplift-people-with-clothing-line-sporting-positive-messages/600222342/

Random Acts of Kindness

Do a random act of kindness. 

Pledge to yourself that you will do at least one random act of kindness each day. While these actions might seem small, that doesn’t make them any less important. 

You’d be surprised how picking up litter, leaving a review for a favorite local business, or writing a thank you note to a teacher can make a positive impact on yourself and your community. 

We’ve even compiled a list of over 100 ideas to practice random acts of kindness — check it out!

Ideas for kindness and happiness from Actions for Happiness:

Vote for Democracy and Truth

There are so many things wrong with this election it is hard to know where to start. Too many lies, too much money, voter restrictions, election deniers, conspiracies, and awful candidates.

Vote! The most important thing you will do in November!

What is good? This is our voice, our participation in democracy. A voice that can be taken away if we vote for the wrong candidates.

Be open minded and vote for the future.

Voting is not easy, and no one wants to be a gullible voter. Never base your vote on campaign ads. Good voters guides are easily available. Newspaper endorsements are good sources for how candidates stand on the issues, even if you don’t agree, they often give both sides of the issues. Websites of candidates work also. Be open minded and look for the issues you care about.

Look for the positive. Who has a vision for the future instead of just attacking their opponents. Never vote for bullies or those who call for violence.

This is your vote for a better society. Make a plan and get yourself to the polls. Thank you.

An excellent interview with Liz Cheney: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/rep-liz-cheney-on-political-violence-jan-6-committee-and-future-of-gop

Halloween Creativity

Halloween is a great time to be creative. I love the original costumes that parade to my front door. For me the challenge is how to be plastic-free? I don’t like candy packaging that can’t be recycled and will lie in a garbage dump for 5oo years and struggle every year to find a sustainable treat. Beyond Plastic has some terrific decorating, costume and treat suggestions for a plastic-free Halloween:

First, create a reusable bag to carry with you. turn a washable shopping bag inside and decorate your bag. A perfect way to have your original candy collection bag!

health4earth

Turn your clean reusable bag inside out and decorate.

Plastic-free ideas from Beyond Plastic:

Pick plastic-free packages. If you need to stick to packaged candies, there are some options that come wrapped in foil or small thin cardboard boxes. Candies like Dots, Milk Duds, and Junior Mints come in small cardboard boxes, Tootsie Rolls and other fruit chews and Dubble Bubble come wrapped in paper, and there are many small Halloween-themed chocolates that come wrapped in foil that, at least in theory, could be collected and recycled

Costumes

Try to avoid buying new costumes in one of those desperate last-minute trips to the seasonal Halloween Stores that pop up like mushrooms in October because they are cheaply made and are almost always made entirely from plastic.

Instead, plan ahead and visit your local thrift store to find they key elements you need to make your own costumes. Most thrift stores also have pre-loved costumes for sale and you may find a great ready-made costume that way if you start looking early enough. You can also try to borrow either a whole costume or the key elements you need to create your own from a friend or family member. I’ve found that social media can be a big help in crowdsourcing costume ideas, entire costumes, or just certain “ingredients” for them.

Likewise, if you have costumes your kids have outgrown or that you’ve grown tired of, snap a few photos of them and invite your friends to use them this year. Hopefully, they’ll return the favor and you can all save some time, money, and material from the landfill this way.

Decorations

If you want to deck out your house, go for it! But do your best to steer clear of single-use and cheap plastic items that are likely to end up in the trash after a single use. Fortunately, nature makes a gorgeous line of non-toxic, fully compostable Halloween decorations in the form of pumpkins and other decorative gourds along with hay bales, reeds, and ornamental corn.

Here are a few ideas to try, all of which are great activities to do with kids:

  • Carve pumpkins (this one goes without saying!)
    • Consider inviting some friends to join you outside on a sunny weekend day and serve (reusable) mugs of mulled cider and donuts to make it a party.
    • After you’ve scooped out the seeds from your pumpkins, assign someone to clean the goop off them and then roast them for a nutritious and tasty fall snack. Scroll down to the end of this post for the simple directions to make roasted pumpkin seeds.
    • Click here for some great jack-o-lantern ideas. One fun switch can be to cut the bottom of the pumpkin off rather than the top and rest it on a plate with the cut side down. This allows you to retain the stem which you can turn into an interesting hairdo feature. We also love the “puking” pumpkin concept in which you use the “guts” of the pumpkin.
    • Help younger kids to draw their designs on and make sure to handle any tricky knife-work.
    • Provide candles or LED lights for each pumpkin and light them up when night falls for all to enjoy.
  • Make your own scarecrows. Dig through your ragbag to find some old clothes, buy a bale of hay, stuff the clothes with with hay, and top with a pumpkin head or a burlap or paper grocery bag on which you’ve drawn a funny face. When you’re through with the scarecrows, remove the hay, wash the old clothes and either return them to the rag bag or donate them if there’s still life in them, and compost the rest of the materials. If you live near a farm, note that many farm animals love to eat discarded pumpkins.
  • Choose LEDs. If you want to light your house up at night beyond the jack-o-lanterns, make sure you purchase LED string lights as they use significantly less energy (hence lower carbon emissions) and will also last longer than incandescent bulbs will.
  • Make “Halloween Trees”. This idea comes from a project that our digital director grew up doing and that she now does with her own kids. Search outside for fallen branches that mimic the look of gnarled spooky old trees. “Plant” the tree branch in a pot of dirt. Then let the fun begin! Make decorations by cutting bats, black cats and witches out of construction paper and hanging them from the branches with string. Search for small rounded or rectangular stones to serve as gravestones that you can write or paint on “RIP So and So”, “Here Lies…”, and half bury them in the dirt. If you feel like getting really creative, bust out the clay and sculpt some pumpkins, a witch or a skeleton to sprinkle around the ground below the tree. This can keep kids entertained for hours and you can save the best decorations for years to come and continue building on your spooky scenes. Beyond Plastic
  • Make Halloween Plastic-Free! — Beyond Plastics – Working To End Single-Use Plastic Pollution
  • More plastic-free Halloween ideas.

Overperform October

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
– Albert Camus

October is a magical month bursting with rich colors of red, orange and yellow, with a background of green. Stunning! Go for a walk or bike ride! Love our fragile planet!

Nature overperforms in October, and we need to respond by overperforming to take care of her! Every action matters.

Protect our beautiful world!

Unfortunately, 2022 has been an awful year for bad storms, and this year’s extreme weather is worse than in the past, and sadly future weather extremes will be worse than what we have seen this year. The good news is that it is not too late; scientists agree that we can still avoid many of the predicted impacts of future climate change, but only if we take compelling and urgent climate action. Because elected officials are slow to respond, we must all take individual climate action.

We are in a climate crisis, a plastic crisis, a democracy crisis, mental health crisis and a lying crisis.

We need to work overtime to protect our planet!

What can we do? Individual action is a powerful tool for reversing the climate crisis especially when millions of us unite together. The Actions for Happiness calendar below will help you navigate in a positive way through each day. Add your own daily positive thing to do for the Earth; use less plastic, drive less, waste less, vote, and always tell the truth, Demand people you know tell the truth and never share anything that might not be true. Like a historian check all your sources for truth! Finally, vote for our planet and truth!

Everyone can play a part by raising their voice, sharing solutions, and advocating for change –

https://www.startribune.com/climate-change-made-summer-drought-20-times-more-likely/600213266/

Communicating on Climate Change | United Nations 

Wealthiest 10% Responsible for Nearly 50% of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Study Finds – EcoWatch 

Climate Change: Everything You Need to Know – EcoWatch

Overperform this October, be optimistic, have fun, and enjoy this magical time!