On this International Day of Happiness, practice compassion, kindness and empathy and strive to make this planet a better place where all can live happily. Please bring Joy to the People around you and have fun!
My ideas to have a happier day:
!. Smile and be kind
2. Appreciate the nature around you.
3. Look at people and listen deeply.
4. Take a break from your phone
5. Go for an outdoor walk
6.Take a deep breath
7. Help another person and give them a big hug.
8. Eat only healthy food
9. Do something good for the Earth, pick up litter, buy nothing, no to plastic, plant-based eating, don’t waste food.
Below is from the International Day of Happiness website:
On this International Day of Happiness 2023, let us remind ourselves and those around us that although it is difficult to be happy in testing times, it is also the only thing that helps us get through the tough times.
This year, you can do your bit by spreading happiness among your social circles. Even simple acts that don’t require much effort, too, stand the potential of bringing great joy to people around us.
Here is what you can do:
1. Spend time doing something you love
2. Do something nice for someone
3. Spend time with your loved ones
4. Do something that will make you feel healthy like working out, eating clean or quitting smoking
5. Help needy individuals by either giving them food or donating to them something you don’t use anymore.
On this International Day of Happiness, practice compassion, kindness and empathy and strive to make this planet a better place where all can live happily.
Every day we should be working to reduce our exposure to plastic.
The tragic chemical spill in Palestine, Ohio highlights how dangerous plastic production is to the public. Plastic creates pollution from every stage of its life, from the extraction of fuel, to shipping and manufacturing, and then end of life disposal. Plastic is made from fossil fuels. Why would we want something made of fossils fuels to store our food, make our baby toys and bottles or line our water pipes. PVC pipes can leech chemicals into our drinking water. Plastic containers contain toxins and microfibers, and the disposal of plastic creates harmful pollution from burning, sitting in landfills or floating in our lakes, streams and oceans.
Producers of plastic need to be held responsible for the products they produce and the hazardous waste they create. This should include the production pollution created, the shipping and the disposal. This would save taxpayers lots of money!
Below is a sampling of op-eds that have been written on this deadly disaster.
The East Palestine disaster was a direct result of the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and plastic. The hazardous chemicals being transported by the derailed train — including vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen — are used to make PVC, the world’s third most used type of plastic, typically used in pipes to deliver drinking water, packaging, gift cards, and toys that kids chew on.
Plastic threatens human health at every stage of its life cycle, from the toxic substances released into the air during fossil fuel extraction, to the dangerous transport of these chemicals, to the plastic particles and toxins we consume from our food and drinking water, to the hazardous emissions from facilities burning or burying the waste after consumer use.
Every year, millions of trains with highly toxic cargo pass close to our homes, schools, and public spaces. This includes poisonous substances like vinyl chloride, as well as coal, oil, and gas. There are simple ways that state and national leaders can ensure that a disaster like this doesn’t happen again. This includes requiring better train braking systems and early warning systems. Some materials, like vinyl chloride, are toxic at every stage and should no longer be in use. Unfortunately, rail companies like Norfolk Southern continue to lobby to avoid regulation and safety measures, and they’ve also slashed their workforce, making an already risky situation even worse.
NY Times Op Ed by Rebecca Fuoco and David Rosner:
Freight trains typically transport more than two million carloads of hazardous materials each year, including many chemicals. Vinyl chloride is particularly dangerous and increasingly common, used primarilyto make polyvinyl chloride, better known as PVC, a hard plastic resin used to produce pipes, wire, cable coatings and packaging. We should begin phasing out the use of this chemical.
Albert Einstein described feelings of awe as “the source of all true art and science.” he said, “Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better!”
An amazing live oak tree in Texas
I feel awe for our amazing, beautiful country, and have been on a wonderful winter road trip into the center of the United States. We traveled from Minnesota to Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. We drove through a landscape of snow and wind generators in Iowa, and the flat farming prairies of Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, and then through the hill country of Texas into the flat flood plain of the Gulf of Mexico. Next, heading north into the swampland of Louisianna and Arkansas, the hills of Tennesse and Kentucky into the farmlands of Illinois, and finally back into hilly Wisconsin and lake-covered Minnesota. The landscapes and terrain change, but so do the people, plants, trees, birds and the weather.
Knees of the bald cypress tree
I am intrigued by the live oaks of Texas and the cypress trees of Louisianna and Arkansas, and also by the incredible diversity of trees in Tennessee. We love the unique birds of the Gulf of Mexico, but also love seeing our Minnesota birds in a different habitat.
As I travel, I cherish meeting people from all over the world, but especially enjoy how pleasant and friendly people are in the Southern part of the United States. Many go out of their way to greet you on the street, “How’re ya doin?” or “Hi honey!” Something I don’t experience in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin or Iowa. In the North we all can be kinder/friendlier and smile more!
Plastics are common because they are cheap, lightweight, and versatile. More than one-third of plastics are used for packaging, including food packaging, grocery bags, and straws, which are all items that get tossed after one use. Plastic use has increased 20 times since the 1960s and will continue to increase if changes aren’t made.
The amount of plastic we use is problematic because:
Most plastics are made from oil. About 4% to 8% of the world’s oil production is for plastics.
Many plastics can’t be recycled. In Hennepin County, less than half of the total plastic generated is recycled.
Plastics collect in our lakes and rivers and break down into micro and nanoplastics. These are threats for birds and wildlife and have known and unknown concerns for human health.
Micro and nanoplastics have been found in our soil, water, and food. About 60% of microplastics come from high-income countries in the form of tire dust, pellets, textiles, and personal care products.
Your plastic footprint
When you’re starting a journey to use less plastic, a good first step is to quantify your personal impact. By estimating the waste you create, you can decide what to focus on during these four weeks. The Omni Calculator plastic footprint calculator is one such calculator that you could use.
Replacing disposables with reusables
Once you have a better idea how much plastic you use, get started today with these five simple swaps for single-use items:
Plastic bags: Start using your reusable bags for groceries, produce, and more, including clothing, shoes, gifts, or whatever you buy. Keep some bags near your door or in the car for easy access.Plastic storage baggies: Plenty of alternatives for plastic zip bags exist. Use reusable containers in glass, ceramic, metal, or choose reusable snack bags.Plastic utensils: Start by bringing your own reusable utensils for your home packed meals, then start refusing disposable utensils when they are offered in restaurants or to-go. Find a few reusable utensils at a thrift store if you don’t want to risk losing pieces of your regular set.Plastic wrap: Use reusable containers with lids for storing foods, place a plate over a bowl in the refrigerator, or try an option like beeswax cloth to wrap over the top of your containers.Straws: Cut back your use or eliminate plastic straws by using a reusable straw instead. Request no straw when you place orders in person or online.
As our planet continues to warm, we are facing many consequences. California is facing incredible rains, Europe has unheard of winter warmth, and where I live, we have smelly bad air warnings. We cannot throw up our hands and claim there is nothing we can do. Every activity we participate in affects our warming planet. Can we buy less, drive less, eat less meat and use less plastic? Little things make a big difference.
If you can, stay off the road two days a week or more. You’ll reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 1,590 pounds (721 kilograms) per year [source: EPA]. It’s easier than you think. You can combine your errands — hit the school, grocery store and dog daycare in one trip. And talk to your boss about teleworking. It’s a boon for you and your company. But being car conscious also means maintaining your car on a regular basis. You can improve your gas mileage by 0.6 percent to 3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure, and be sure to make necessary repairs if your car fails emission [source: EPA].
Give Up Plastics
The statistics are shocking: People around the world buy 1 million plastic drinking bottlesevery minute, and use up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags every year. Humans are addicted to plastic, and hardly any of it — about 9 percent — gets recycled. A staggering 8 million tons (7.25 metric tons) ends up in the ocean every year. Break the cycle. Stop buying bottled water. Say no to plastic shopping bags and use cloth bags instead. Don’t use plastic straws. Drink from a reuseable cup instead of a plastic one. Avoiding plastic can divert a ton of waste from the oceans and landfill.
Clean air and clean water are better for all of us. Buy less and drive less.
How can you turn food waste into a game! ideas for frittas, soup, rice bowls, wraps and grain bowls below.
We have a crisis of food waste in the United States. Households account too much wasted food. 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.
Melissa Clark for the New York Times is writing about ideas to deal with food waste
“Susan Shain’s recent article for The New York Times has jolted me back into my composting groove. She wrote about how an Ohio community substantially reduced its food waste, which is a huge contributor to greenhouse gases and responsible for twice as many emissions as commercial aviation in the United States. That’s a lot of emissions.
Households, she writes, “account for 39 percent of food waste in the United States, more than restaurants, grocery stores or farms. Change, then, means tackling the hard-wired habits of hundreds of millions of individuals, community by community, home by home.”
The statistics left me nowhere to hide. What we do in the kitchen can make a difference: creating meal plans, shopping with a list, composting and using up the leftovers.
This last one is my happy place. I turn it into a game, saving bits of this and that in little containers, then puzzling out how to use them to seed future meals.
That handful of sautéed kale, those roasted vegetables, a tranche of salmon fillet? Chop it all up and fold it into a creamy risotto for color and flavor, or make a base for a loaded frittata.
If you have a motley band of root vegetables softening in your produce drawer, perhaps from an overenthusiastic spree at the farmers’ market or a surprise bonanza from your CSA box, you can upcycle them into a warming, adaptable vegetable soup. Enlist your wilted or leftover greens; rutabagas, turnips and kohlrabi, come on in!
As for leftover dessert, a batch of brookies or bread pudding (made from stale bread). Let’s just say this is never an issue in my sweet-toothed family. We gleefully finish every crumb.
What’s better than to end 2022 with stories of good news from the past year. For me the 2022 elections were good news, election deniers lost, and most voters weren’t fooled by poor candidates, and Democracy survived.
Parks are for everyone!
Future Crunch does their annual list of 99 of the best news stories. The reduction of world poverty, protection of land, oceans and the creation of parks made me happy. A decline in smoking and of course increased solar and increased use of electric vehicles all are important good stories.
From the New York Times: Murders in large U.S. cities are down more than 5 percent so far in 2022 compared to the same time last year, according to the research firm AH Datalytics. Gun deaths, injuries and mass shootings are also down this year.
Looking for the perfect practical gift? Reusable metal, glass, or ceramic water bottles and travel mugs are plastic-free gifts that will also help the recipient to reduce future waste! Other zero-waste gifts include bamboo utensil sets, stainless steel straws, loose tea and tea strainers, beeswax food wrap, Swedish reusable cloths, a stainless steel tiffin (perfect for bringing lunch or keeping in your car to have handy if you go out to eat to bring leftovers home in), reusable bowl covers, reusable cotton tote bags, stainless steel or ceramic compost bins for your kitchen, and so much more.
2. Give a Gift Subscription or Certificate To A Zero-Waste Service
Purchasing a gift certificate or subscription to one of the many excellent zero-plastic and low or zero-waste products, stores, and services out there can be a great way to bring a family member or friend into the fold. A few to consider include Plaine Products, Blueland, HumanKind, Package-Free Shop, Superzero, and Loop Store but there are more and more out there to choose from and you might enjoy the research.
3. Support a Local Farm & Feed a Loved One
Consider buying a friend or family member a share (or a half share) in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Are you new to the concept of a CSA? Click here for more info on what a CSA is and how it works. You can look for farms that offer winter CSA shares or purchase one that begins in the spring. This is a great way to support a local farm while also helping the lucky recipient feed themselves and their family with fresh, nutritious goodies. Consider providing some of your favorite recipes along with the CSA share to round out the package. If you don’t know where to start, you can do a search for CSAs through Local Harvest or the USDA’s database.
4. Support Democracy & Your Community With A Newspaper Subscription
Independent media is crucial to a functioning democracy. Whether it is online or paper, for you or for a friend, subscribe to your local newspaper whether it’s a monthly, weekly, or daily.
5. Give an Experience
Gifting experiences is a great way to reduce waste and create lasting memories. Whether it’s a membership to a nature preserve or a local museum or a lift ticket for a near by ski mountain that can be used now or the promise of a long-anticipated trip to Paris, this could be a hit.
6. Choose Plastic-Free Clothing
Everyone loves a comfy pair of PJs or some new socks for the holidays. Unfortunately, most of our clothing is made from synthetic materials like polyester and nylon which contain plastic fibers. But there are plenty of fun and affordable brands that use materials like recycled cotton, linen, and wool. Need somewhere to get started? The free app GoodOnYou can help you find the best brands to buy from this season. Or consider buying a gently used item of clothing from thredUp, Poshmark, or good old eBay.
7. Give the Gift of Giving to Others in Need
For that person who already “has it all,” the gift of giving could be a great choice. Make a donation in their honor to a charity you think they’d appreciate (hint: Beyond Plastics is a great option!) and send them a card sharing the gift. Or, if you think they’d prefer to be more hands-on, consider setting them up with a pre-paid micro-lender account through an organization like Kiva to allow them to choose the recipients of their microloans. This could be a particularly good way to help a young person experience philanthropy directly. Other places with great meaningful virtual gifts that give back include Oxfam America and Heifer International and many environmental nonprofits offer symbolic wildlife adoption programs.
8. Make Your Own Gifts
Homemade items are the way to go for truly unique and special presents. DIY candles, baked goods, bath salts, tea mixes, brownie mix, vanilla extract, spices, and even games can be easy and customizable gifts! Click here for some DIY gift ideas.
9. Buy From Your Local Bookstore
Resist the temptation to buy from Amazon and visit your local bookstore. Wear your mask and spend some time browsing the shelves to see what books might delight a loved one. Many bookstores also sell toys and cards if you’re looking for more than books.
10. Entertain With an Online or Streaming Subscription
Winter is long and entertainment really helps. A subscription or gift certificate to a streaming platform, an audiobook platform, an online music service, or an online newspaper or magazine could help your loved ones stay entertained and informed without requiring any new plastic or disposable items.
11. Choose Plastic-Free Gift Cards Only! Gift cards can be a handy, popular, and sustainable choice if you opt for either an electronic or paper gift card. Gift cards made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic must be avoided at all costs. Learn more in our fact sheet and opt for a digital or paper card when you shop.
12. Give An Old Item New Life
Re-gifting is great! If you own an item that you’re ready to part with and think someone else would enjoy, wrap it up (see tips below), and pass it along. Vintage and used items also make excellent holiday gifts. There are so many wonderful books, household items, pieces of clothing and jewelry, tools, and more that deserve a second (or third or fourth) chance to be useful and provide joy waiting to be discovered. You can browse eBay or Etsy to find special gifts. Or grab your mask and visit your local antiques shop, second-hand bookstore, thrift store, or auction to look for finds.
13. Wrap It Up Right
Much wrapping paper is non-recyclable (anything glittery, sparkly, etc, won’t be accepted). The good thing is that wrapping paper is not a necessity. This year, look around your home for alternatives. Newspapers and paper grocery bags work really well. If you have kids, drawing, painting or stamping a pattern on a used grocery bag can be a fun activity, too. If you want to go the extra mile, old book pages, tote bags, and scrap fabric make for cute and unique wrapping. In fact, there is a Japanese tradition of wrapping gifts in attractive pieces of cloth called furoshiki. And when you’re unwrapping gifts, save the wrapping paper (or fabric) and ribbons to use them again. If your family enjoys a little friendly competition, you can even keep score to see who can reuse a given piece of paper the most times —warning, this could stretch on for years!