August Actions

If you are not doing something positive (for the environment) you are part of the problem” Don Shelby, former news anchor

If everyone does a positive Earth action everyday it will make a big difference

peace on earth

Lift up our planet!

We all know the Earth is suffering, it is burning up. Floods, wildfires, record temperatures, and storms are harming many people. A sick planet leads to unhealthy sick people and for long-term consequences for our children. 

Every day in August plan a positive action of kindness for our planet. It doesn’t have to be difficult: Pick up a piece of trash. Bring your reusable bags and your reusable cup/bottles to work and shopping. Maybe decide to drive less by running one less errand or not idling your car. How about a plastic- free day? Maybe use up all your leftovers and waste less food. Maybe plan out a deep-rooted pollinator garden for your yard or clean a storm drain. Maybe have a meatless day? Good Luck and thank you!

More ideas here:

100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet | Sierra Club 

17 Ridiculously Easy Things You Can Do To Help Save The Earth Every Day | HuffPost Impact

Historic Senate Climate Deal Would Reduce Emissions 40% By 2030 –

EcoWatch  10 Things You Can Do to Help Save the Earth | HowStuffWorks

The Actions for Happiness group have ideas for kindness. Be kind and include our planet too!

Be kind to our Earth too!

What did you do to help our planet today?

Holding Hope Alive

We need a dose of good news!

A deal, for now
This is from David Leonhardt of the New York Times
The U.S. has a uniquely important role in fighting climate change. It has produced far more greenhouse gases over the course of history than any other nation and remains a leading emitter today.
Many parts of federal policy shift back and forth over time. Taxes rise and fall, as do spending on anti-poverty programs and the military. If a package of policies doesn’t pass one year, it might pass in a future year, and the long-term trajectory of the United States probably won’t be affected much.
Climate policy is different.
The world has already warmed to dangerous levels. Heat waves, wildfires, droughts and severe storms have become more common. The Arctic is melting, and seas are rising. If countries do not act quickly to slow their emissions of greenhouse gases — and, by extension, slow global warming — the damage could be catastrophic, scientists have warned.
The U.S. has a uniquely important role in fighting climate change. It has produced far more greenhouse gases over the course of history than any other nation and remains a leading emitter today. In recent years, the U.S. has done considerably less to reduce emissions than Europe. The U.S. also remains the world’s most powerful country, with the ability to influence climate policy in China, India and elsewhere.
Until yesterday, the Democratic Party seemed as if it were on the verge of squandering a major opportunity to combat climate change. Democrats control both Congress and the presidency, and yet they had been unable to agree on a package of climate policies to accelerate the use of clean energy and reduce emissions. Senator Joe Manchin had been blocking any deal, and the Senate is so closely divided that the Democrats cannot afford to lose a single vote.
Yesterday, however, Manchin appeared to change his mind. He announced that he had agreed to include hundreds of billions of dollars for climate and energy programs in a bill that would also reduce prescription drug prices, raise taxes on the affluent and shrink the federal deficit.
If Manchin and other Democrats remain united, it would be a very big deal. “This has the opportunity to be an enormous breakthrough for climate progress,” Sam Ricketts, co-founder of Evergreen Action, an environmental group, told The Times.
It’s especially significant because congressional Republicans have almost uniformly opposed policies to slow climate change (a contrast with conservatives in many other countries). And it remains unclear whether Democrats will again control both Congress and the White House anytime soon. If Congress fails to pass a climate bill this summer, it may not do so for years — while the ravages of climate change worsen.
After all the recent bickering among Democrats, I know that many people remain skeptical that they actually have a deal until Congress has passed a bill. That skepticism makes sense. Last night’s announced deal between Manchin and Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate, is different from a complete bill that can pass in both the Senate and the House.
But I would say this: If this tentative agreement leads to legislation, it will probably have more lasting importance than anything else President Biden signs in his first two years in office.
David Leonhardt

How about a dose of chemicals?

The accumulation of plastic in our bodies can be dangerous, especially for our children.

Plastic is everywhere and new and current research is showing it is not a healthy product for us to be using. Not only are our bodies contaminated by plastic microfibers, but also toxic chemicals such as forever chemicals (PFAS) and Phthalates. These chemicals accumulate and builds up in our bodies over time, which causes me to worry about the future of our children. See my ideas for reducing plastic at the bottom of this post.

“Every type of plastic contains unknown chemicals, and many of those chemicals may well be unsafe,” says Jane Muncke, Ph.D., an environmental toxicologist Plastic Products Contain Toxic Chemicals – Consumer Reports

There are of chemicals in plastic that are harmful for our body, and also bad for earth effect. To be wise, it’s better to at least reduce the use of plastic in our daily life. 15 List of Chemicals in Plastic – Properties – Dangers – AZ Chemistry

The first list of chemicals in plastic is Phthalate, the esters of phthalic acid. The main use of phthalate is as plasticizers, to increase flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. Factories made phthalate by reacting phthalic anhydride with alcohols. What Is Plastic Made Of? (reference.com)

Reading list:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/09/toxic-forever-chemicals-plastic-food-containers

Toxic Chemicals used in Plastic Manufacturing and Their Safer Alternatives (thomasnet.com)

Plastic Products Contain Toxic Chemicals – Consumer Reports

What can you do? Start the change to a plastic-free life now, but it takes years. Please don’t go buy all new things, just start replacing items as they are needed.

– Don’t eat on plastic or Styrofoam plates or use plastic utensils, and don’t drink out of plastic bottles.

-Always purchase bulk fresh fruits and vegetables and never in plastic containers or plastic bags.

-Choose glass over plastic, and transition to storing food in glass or metal containers.

-Never purchase # 7 plastic products. They are a mixture of different plastics.

-It is possible to live a good life without Baggies!

-Transition your clothes to natural fibers like cotton and wool.

Plastic Free July

Welcome to Plastic Free July

Be healthier and avoid the chemicals contained in plastic!

Plastic Free July is about creating awareness about our plastic problem and to encourage individuals to move to a plastic-free lifestyle. Working together we can make a difference to reduce our plastic use and create a world free of plastic pollution.

Other than being light weight, plastic is not a good product. It is made of fossil fuels, and the production of plastic creates air pollution. It pollutes our waterways and land. Plastic also contains toxic chemicals which can poison our food and health. https://azchemistry.com/list-of-chemicals-in-plastic

Plastic particles have been found in the air we breathe and the water we drink. Plastic has been found in our blood, lungs, and the clothes we wear and food we eat. A study says we eat a credit card of plastic a week. https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/study-finds-we-eat-a-credit-card-worth-of-plastic-every-week/ Doesn’t this make you want to reduce your plastic?

Plastic reduction is not easy, start small with one thing to eliminate. I have 4 ideas for your #plasticfreeJuly: Start your #plasticfree month by deciding to bring your own bags and decide “no plastic bags” or use a reusable water bottle and choose not to purchase bottled water or soda. Or decide every bit of plastic you purchase must be recyclable (a lot is not), and then make sure it is recycled. Maybe, bare purchase your produce or meat without plastic. You know what plastic you use. Look at the plastic waste you create, what can you eliminate? Good Luck!

I challenge you to a July without plastic bags or plastic bottles.

States and Countries are changing the discussion on plastic:

Maine shifts the cost of recycling and trash to the manufacturers. Shifting the Costs of Recycling to Manufacturers, Not Consumers | Sierra Club

Landmark legislation in California will reduce single-use plastic by 25% over the next ten years. The ambitious law requires at least 30% of plastic items sold or bought in California are recyclable by 2028 and economic responsibility falls to producers. It’s the first state in the US to approve such sweeping restrictions. Guardian

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-59357222  Ban on single-use moves forward in England

London theatre to ban visitors from bringing single-use plastic bottles | Royal Court theatre | The Guardian

Recycling Myth of the Month: Those numbered symbols on single-use plastics do not mean ‘you can recycle me’ – Oceana   

2022-tips-to-use-less-plastic | Choose to Reuse (hennepin.us) 

July Choice

July should be one of the best times of the year. Make a choice to have outdoor time, listen to the birds and look for butterflies. Turn off phones and your TV and make a choice to enjoy your environment.

swallow tail butterfly

Enjoy the beauty of July!

Make a choice to be kind and work to be resilient. Make a choice for clean air by buying and driving less, and you will be doing something good for the earth. Make a choice to use less plastic and eat healthier. Wise choices will help you be happier. The Actions for Happiness group have lots of good choices for a happier July. Good luck!

Chin up, chin up
Put a little laughter in your eyes
Brave it, save it
Even though you’re feeling otherwise
Rise up, wise up
Make a little smile begin
You’ll be happy hearted
Once you get it started
Up with your chinny chin chin!

~ E.B. White

Clean a Storm Drain

June is Clean a Storm Drain month. It is also World Oceans Month. Keeping storm drains clean keeps trash and pollutants from entering our oceans and waterways that drain into the oceans.

If everyone does a little it adds up to a lot! Collective action matters.

Storm drains feed directly into our local lakes and rivers, unfiltered, so it’s important to keep them clear for cleaner and healthier waterways. June is an important time to keep the seeds, grass and sticks that are collecting on our streets and sidewalks out of our storm drains. While they might be “natural” debris they become pollution when large quantities hit the water, break down, and become food for algae. 

Sweep Up and Clean Up. Be part of a community effort for clean water! Thank you.

poster for clean water

Adopt a storm drain at https://adopt-a-drain.org/

June Justice

Do something kind!

We live in an unjust world. Children are shot for being at school, shoppers are shot buying groceries, and whole countries are under siege because leaders are full of lies and visions of power. Poor countries are suffering from climate change created by wealthy countries. We live in an unjust world

Justice and Truth!

We must work for justice and truth. As a civilization we will not survive if we don’t work harder for justice and electing leaders who speak the truth and do not spew hate.

We must do more to keep our children safe, and gun violence should be an issue Americans vote on, only then things will change!

Gun violence in America kills more children than any other cause. This is not a civilized society! All countries have mental health issues, but the United States needs the gun restrictions that other countries have managed to pass. See information from John’s Hopkins below.

Be kind

Make an effort to spread kindness every day! Kindness creates a ripple for more kindness!

From John’s Hopkins University:

“Ten people shopping for groceries in Buffalo were killed in a racist act of gun violence. The next day, worshippers at a California church were shot in another racist incident. Last week, tragedy struck again, but this time in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 21 people, including 19 students and 2 teachers were killed in a mass shooting.

All are tragic reminders of why we need lawmakers to implement gun violence prevention policies that can prevent this needless loss of life.

As the new Center for Gun Violence Solutions – formed from the recent merger of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence and the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy – we are continuing to fight for evidence-based policies to reduce mass shootings including firearm purchaser licensing, firearm removal laws such as extreme risk protection orders, and bans on large capacity magazines.” John’s Hopkins University

https://www.everytown.org/

This is an excellent speech: https://www.nbcnews.com/now/video/watch-president-biden-s-full-speech-addressing-gun-control-after-recent-mass-shootings-141353029701

Good suggestions for working for community health and a kinder world:

Make May Meaningful

Working together, if everyone does a small part it can add up to a big whole.

May is an exciting month. The days are getting longer, and after a cold spring the changes in nature will be enormous and fast. I hope you can get outside every day and enjoy the beauty of the plants, birds, and butterflies of our planet.

Early blooming native plants. Enjoy!

If you breathe, you should care about clean air. The wild fires have begun, and people are driving their cars, using lawn mowers, blowers and spreading chemicals. All these things contribute to dirty air.

How can we make May meaningful? You can choose to do some of these things to help create clean air for all of us.

-Never idle your car engine. Turn off your car when waiting or using your phone. Idle Threat: Turn Off Your Engine If You’re Waiting 10+ Seconds – Emagazine.com

-Participate in No Mow May No Mow May: 8 Reasons to Let Your Lawn Grow This Month – Bob VIla

-Plant natives and don’t use chemicals on your lawn. The Power of Trees – Health4earth

-Reduce your plastic footprint. The production of plastic pollutes our air, and plastic sheds chemical into our bodies and air. The burning of plastic in garbage burners creates more pollution! What is Microfibers Pollution and Why is It Bad? – Ocean Clean Wash 

-May Ukraine find peace. Take three breaths for peace in Ukraine.

-Find meaningful activities at the Actions for Happiness calendar:

Peace for Ukraine

The Power of Trees

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.” Herman Hesse

Are you planting trees on this Arbor Day weekend?

Trees are fascinating in every season.

A resting place for birds.

Every tree is unique, and some species are more beneficial to wildlife than others. Always try to plant trees native to your area. https://www.nwf.org/NativePlantFinder/Plants https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/trees/native-trees.html

Oak trees are the best for wildlife. Many species of animals, birds, butterflies and insects use oak trees for food and shelter. Entomologist Doug Tallamy says native oaks are the most powerful of all for our environment. oaks: the most powerful plant of all, with doug tallamy – A Way To Garden

Trees do a lot for us. The invigorating feel we get when out in nature improves our health. Trees help clean the air, capture carbon, create homes, shelter and food for wildlife. Trees stop erosion, help manage flooding, and their shade can help cool our homes and our bodies!

Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store carbon in their wood. The older the tree, the more climate benefits it provides. The shade from trees also lessens the need for cooling in buildings, which reduces carbon dioxide and other pollutants from power plants.

For example, an oak tree with a 20-inch diameter – big enough that an adult could barely wrap their arms around – reduces carbon in the atmosphere by about 1,000 pounds annually. The energy that tree saves is enough to charge your smartphone about 55,000 times!

Trees provide many additional benefits. That same tree near a single-family home provides overall benefits of about $200 per year by increasing the property value, conserving electricity, intercepting and filtering stormwater, and improving air quality. Imagine the benefits multiplying for each tree in your neighborhood! Hennepin County

Learn more about the climate fighting power of trees and find a list of trees that can thrive into the future on Hennepin County’s Climate Action website.

How does climate change threaten birds, and how does planting natives help?

“Our warming world poses profound challenges to conservation. Audubon’s report “Survival By Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink,” published in October 2019, found that as many as 389 out of 604 bird species in North America could be at risk of extinction due to rising temperatures. Learn more at climate.audubon.org. The report showed that in order to protect birds, we need to reduce the emissions that cause the warming and protect the places on the ground that birds need now and in the future. Planting native grasses, trees, and shrubs does both. First, replacing lawns with native plants lowers the carbon produced and water required to maintain them. And native gardens also help birds be as strong as possible in the face of the climate threat—by providing food, shelter and protection. Native plant patches—no matter how small—can help bird populations be more resilient to the impacts of a warming world.” Audubon.org

Reading list:

10 Soccer Fields of Tropical Primary Forests Were Lost Every Minute in 2021 – EcoWatch

Oaktober: The Importance of Oak Trees – Nature’s Perspective Landscaping (naturesperspective.com)

5 Simple Steps to Birdscape Your Yard | Sierra Club  

Where Do Pollinators Go in the Winter? | Xerces Society

Three Simple Things

What Can I Do?

If you breathe air or drink water, you should care about the health of our Earth.

We all know the Earth is suffering. What we fail to recognize is that a sick planet leads to unhealthy sick people and for long-term consequences for our children. 

We must hold business accountable for the plastic they produce, and they must be held accountable if they pollute our air and water. Our elected officials need to be held accountable to hold oil companies and plastic producers to rigorous standards. Most important, we also have to hold ourselves accountable for how we pollute our air and water. Holding ourselves personally responsible is what we can control!

Even little things can make a huge difference if we work together. On Earth Day recalibrate your life to do three simple things a week to lighten our Earth’s load:

Choose one day to eat meatless, choose one day to not drive, and choose one day to be plastic-free. On plastic-free day don’t purchase or use anything plastic, and don’t or eat or drink food from plastic containers.

Don’t eat or drink from plastic

Every Day do something kind, and please take three breaths for peace in Ukraine.

Peace For Ukraine!

This reading list is too long, but I hope you can read at least one of these excellent articles:

On Earth Day ‘the world is not on track’ | Opinion – Minnesota Reformer 

Opinion | Enough About Climate Change. Air Pollution Is Killing Us Now. – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

3 eye-opening, science-based New Year’s resolutions that could help everyone | PBS NewsHour 

U.S. Has Highest Percentage of People Who Aren’t Worried About Climate Change in Survey of 31 Countries – EcoWatch 

Report lists Mississippi as one of ‘most endangered’ U.S. rivers | MPR News

‘Breakthrough’ Study Finds Microplastics in Human Blood – EcoWatch   

And from my city: Kick single use plastics. In Minneapolis, less than half of plastics are recycled. Most plastics are made from oil and gas. About 4% to 8% of the world’s oil product is for plastics, and most plastics are thrown away after a single use. Plastics collect in our lakes and rivers and break down into micro and nanoplastics. One way to help is to bring your own bag to grocery and convenience stores.

Coca-Cola produces 200,000 new plastic bottles a minute and sells 112 billion plastic beverage bottles worldwide every year for a total of roughly 3 million metric tons of plastic packaging. The majority of Coca-Cola’s plastic bottles are not recycled and only 11.5% are made from recycled material. Many of Coca-Cola’s plastic bottles end up littered in the world’s rivers and ocean.