Welcome to spring and the marvelous month of April. Earth Day is on April 22, and Arbor Day is on April 30. What can we all do to make April special? Small actions by many can make a big difference. So how can we all make a daily difference? Whether you have meatless days, pick up litter, leave your car at home, plant for butterflies or go plastic-free, make everyday Earth special.
Everyday Is Earth Day
By Kelly Roper
Every day is earth day, Or at least it should be. We should take steps every day to save our planet, don’t you agree?
Try walking when it’s practical, And skip driving a car. It will help cut down emissions And raise air quality by far.
Reuse, renew, recycle, Think of how much you throw away. Our earth can only hold so much trash, One day there’ll be the devil to pay.
And when it comes to littering, It’s not enough to clean up after yourself. Leave places better than you find them, And pick up litter left by someone else.
Don’t spray your garden with pesticides, Protect the birds and the bees. Choose natural ways of deterring pests, That won’t carry poisons in the breeze.
These are easy things we all can do, To protect the earth for future generations. If we continue to ignore all the warning signs, We’ll face sad and irreversible ramifications.
May March sunshine on your shoulders make you happy!
Happy March! Be kind to the Earth, be kind to yourself, and be kind to others! The Actions for Happiness calendar ( below) has many good suggestions to be more mindful and spread kindness.
March brings me joy. The longer days and the hope of spring are motivators to get outside and notice the changes, even if it is just melting snow. Everyday the outdoor world is waiting to be explored, your own neighborhood is perfect. Even 5 minutes of mindful observation will lighten your mood. Breathe, smell the earth, let the sun, rain and snow tickle your face, touch the wind, talk to the trees, hear the sunrise/night fall, smile and be kind.
This March pay attention to how you can reduce your carbon footprint: Can you reduce idling your car or drive less? Can you eat less meat and waste less food? How can you reduce the waste and plastic you generate? Can you buy less things and be a smarter consumer? Just doing a little bit can make a positive difference. Thank you and good luck!
Covid-19 has been a plastic disaster. As we climb out of this abyss we must take single-use plastic seriously. We also need to hold companies accountable for bad packaging.
Why as taxpayers and citizens are we paying the price of this environmental disaster of plastic while the creators of this packaging have no responsibility? The landfills in the county where I live are full, and plastic trash can last for hundreds of years, maybe forever! What are the manufacturers of this plastic thinking other than profit? As consumers we are also at fault. If we keep buying this plastic packaging they will keep making it!
How can we all reduce our landfill trash? Surveying my garbage I find I have way too much plastic that cannot be recycled, and most of it is # 7 plastic that cannot be recycled. Why would companies use plastic that can’t be recycled? I decided to ask them. I sent an emails or telephoned Wyman’s Blueberries, Bob’s Red Mill, Morning Star and Gardein. A few companies admitted they wished their packaging was better, but it was a freshness and a cost issue to stay competitive. What about the costs to the environment and our health?
#7 plastic is a mixture of different plastics and it is designed to make it hard to know what it contains. It can contain harmful chemicals like BPA. Don’t purchase it, and don’t purchase any plastic that can’t be recycled!
Model a new way forward: “When we use disposable items, we send a message: this is what we want, keep it up, make more of this. When we refuse, and choose reusable, we model another way forward. Our choices can make a difference. Let’s make them count!” PlasticfreeTuesday
Also choose reusable masks and gloves!
Bob’s Red Mill was the most disappointing of the companies I contacted. They sell lots of products, many that are hard to find, and have a monopoly on some products. Bob’s has a trusted reputation of being healthy and sustainable. I am sad they use awful # 7 packaging, and at our house we won’t purchase their products or any #7 plastic until their packaging improves.
The good news is that by being a smarter shopper it is possible to find items that are packaged in recyclable #4 plastic. These #4 bags need to be dropped off at grocery stores for store recycling. They should not be placed with your normal plastic recycling because they disable the sorting machines.
Lets hold plastic producers accountable and avoid harmful plastic. It is always best to reuse bags and containers when possible, but sadly that often is not an option. However, with new awareness we can do better, one plastic item at a time.
“Consumption is a big challenge for us as humans–we need, we want lots of things…The vast majority of products end up in landfills, and over 60 % of fabric fibers are synthetics derived from fossils fuels so they don’t decay.” Designer Christian Siriano
SO, How can we become better consumers? We have incredible power with our consumer dollars. How can we use that power wisely? Why would you reinforce corporate greed with your purchases? Everyone wants to save money, but you are not saving money when you purchase lots of cheap things that will end up in the land fill next year!
Lots of environmental repair is needed, and I hope you will join me to help in 2021 and resolve to be a better consumer. Look at your habits and just make one change. See reading list below.
One of the most important forms of power we have is our ability to decide where and how we spend our money. When you pump LESS gas, and purchase less meat you’re saying something. When you contact businesses about their extreme plastic packaging, you’re doing something. When you shop local, support local farms and climate-smart brands, you’re making a difference by revealing a growing market for whom business as usual will not cut it. At our house we only make purchases at places that pay a minimum wage. If we can use our dollars to shop for quality, support local, green, and homegrown businesses. We can keep dollars in our own communities and make a statement. Buying less makes a statement too.
The thought of having plastic microfibers in the food I consume stirs me to reduce my plastic consumption and motivates me to become aware of my plastic and other unsustainable purchases.
Where can you start? First work to stop purchasing single-use plastic. Shop with your reusable bags, use a reusable water bottle, refuse straws/plastic utensils, and find an alternative to baggies. Maybe stop using sauce packets. Become aware of all the packaging that can’t be recycled.
Start working on one thing and go from there. You will not be perfect, but you can make a difference! Maybe you can start with an alternative to dryer sheets and hand wipes. I just discovered somethings I purchased during the pandemic are in #7 plastic(not recyclable). I’m contacting these companies, and ending my #7 plastic purchases! Education and awareness make such a difference. I hope the reading list below will heighten your awareness also!
Say no to fast fashion and purchase items that will last a long time
The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion and compassion and humor and style and generosity and kindness.” — Maya Angelou
Happy February, the days are longer, it will warm up this month and the celebration of Valentines Day! It is exciting that after almost a year some schools are going back to in-person learning. The challenge of many this month is to get vaccinated from COVID, and I wish you luck!
February is also important for Black History Month. How can we all work for a more just and equitable world?
The Action For Happiness calendar follows with ideas to challenge you to stay connected. Lets all renew some friendships, and challenge ourselves to spend more healthy time outside.
“If we can’t change the circumstances, perhaps we can alter our attitudes.” Dr. Dale Anderson
The events of the last few weeks in the U.S. Capitol are depressing. This doctor was in the Startribune this week, I hope you can find a way to brighten your day. The Actions For Happiness calendar follows.
Dr. Anderson outlines ideas to be happy in his book, “Never Act Your Age.” They include:
• Maintain good posture in order to present yourself in an upbeat matter. There are lots of techniques for practicing good posture — including the classic book on the head — but Anderson suggests that whenever you feel yourself slumping, take three steps backward. Your body will instinctively adjust its alignment, raising your head, neck and shoulders.
• Keep your eyes wide open. Be aware of what’s going on around you, searching, exploring and connecting. Mindfulness!
• Smile, even if you’re wearing a mask. Keep your forehead and cheeks up. Strive to appear radiant and alert.
• Do something that makes you feel better. Go for a walk. Call an old friend. Turn on upbeat music. Surround yourself with pleasing aromas. I would add, find beauty in your day!
• Shake up your routine. Sit in a different chair at the dinner table. Brush your teeth with the opposite hand. “Welcome new, novel and challenging encounters.”
I have three things I think everyone should do this week. Happy holidays!
1.Wrapping gifts (Ideas from MPR)
Despite its name, you actually can’t recycle most wrapping paper. It contains too much foil and glitter.
The only types of wrapping paper that are recyclable are the ones that are one hundred percent made out of paper. This will most likely be the plain brown paper you’ve seen packages wrapped in. You can get creative and decorate the paper with drawings to spruce up the present.
You can get even more creative by using materials that you already have to wrap your presents. You could use old newspapers and compost them or cloth bags and ribbon and reuse them next year.
You can give gifts to your friends, family and the environment all at once. You could give to a cause the person is passionate about, or plan a clothing swap all while creating zero waste.
You also may want to consider supporting small businesses this year by shopping locally rather than getting things delivered.
2. Don’t Waste food.
Wasted food is a huge contributor to global warming and climate change. It is a waste of energy, labor, and water, often contributing to air and water pollution. Rotting food in landfills contributes more air and water pollution. In the United States we waste 40% of our food, and we can all do better. Read about it at Save The Food
Cook only what you need and have a plan for using leftovers.
3. Take an AWE walk
Take a healthy mindful walk and pay attention! Leave your phone and headphones at home. Look at the beauty of the trees, the sunshine and landscape. Listen for the wind and birds. Find something you love and something that surprises you. Unwind and enjoy!
My least favorite thing about the December holidays is glitter! How many of the holiday cards will you receive that contain glitter? TOO MANY! Please do not purchase cards wrapping paper or anything containing glitter. Some spread it everywhere by putting it in their hair or in their make-up.
I know some think glitter is festive, but glitter is something we can live without! We know what a mess glitter is to clean up and it creates the same problem in our waterways. It’s impossible to manage and I am sure we ingest some of it also. It is not healthy and some scientists are calling for it to be banned.
A few facts about glitter will surprise you!
Glitter is made of a microplastic known as Mylar, which is hurting ocean life
This plastic accounts for 92.4% of the 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean
Marine life is mistaking glitter for food, which is damaging their livers
Every tiny sparkly bit takes thousands of years to break down
“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a Conspiracy of Love” Hamilton Mable
After nine months of a pandemic everyone needs extra attention! December is a month of Kindness and the Actions for Happiness have many good ideas below. It is a time to reach out and spread good will!
Spread good will and kindness to the Earth also! December is a time that we generate of lots of landfill waste. Too many Amazon and UPS trucks rumble on my street. Use some of your “at home time” to see how you can reuse what you have, simplify your shopping, and generate less garbage by buying less.
December days to celebrate:
December 1, AIDs Awareness Day and National Giving Day
December 2, Pollution Control Day
December 7, Pearl Harbor Day
December 8, Bodhi Day
December 10, Hanukkah, and Human Rights Day
December 15, National Tea Day
December 21, Winter Solstice and the first day of winter