World Water Day

Climate change will affect the availability, quality and quantity of water needed for basic human needs, thus undermining enjoyment of the basic rights to safe drinking water and sanitation for billions of people, warns the latest UN World Water Development Report.” United Nations

Today as we are all advised to wash our hands because of our world crisis, please take a moment to pause and think about our water. On World Water Day become mindful of your relationship to water on our planet. How do you use water? How many times during the day do you turn on the water faucet? Who keeps the water we drink and use safe? How does the water get to our houses? What can we do to conserve and keep our fresh water clean and safe?

The water we have on Earth is the only water we will ever have. It is used and reused as part of the water cycle. Please be mindful how you use it.

The largest fresh water lake
Lake Superior

March Madness

I voted sticker
Vote for science and truth!

As we enter March the world is gripped with a great uncertainty. The Coronavirus is creeping up on us, and in the United States we have a government that is more interested in their image than actually dealing with the Coronavirus crisis. This administration is good at one thing, blaming everyone else for their problems. We can’t trust what they say because they lie constantly, don’t believe in, or understand science, nor the experts. Gut feelings will not solve a health pandemic.
More uncertainity is brought about by the primary elections being held. The public is uncertain as to who has the energy and ability to take on and lead the United States with integrity.  Please vote for science and honesty in your primary election.

Then there is our warming climate. Yes, I love warmer winters, but enormous challenges face us in the future.

And more evidence the Trump administration is not honest with us.

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” Carl Sagan

This March search out truth, share ideas that only have reliable sources, wash your hands, find beauty everyday, and practice mindfulness! The Actions for Happiness mindfulness calendar below:

Plastic bags are choking our Earth

Target Petition Urges Retailer To Ban Plastic Bags

Dear Target. Please ban plastic bags, or charge 25 cents per bag. Putting a cost on bags would make individuals value them, and hopefully reuse them, not just let them fly onto the streets and landscapes.

I get so tired of seeing plastic bags blowing on the street and fields, hanging from trees, left in bus shelters, and stuck in street gutters. These bags can last for hundreds of years, and then might only break into tiny pieces of plastic. They are made to last! It is time corporate America, Target and others, to step up and take leadership on our plastic problem. Also, each of us needs to take responsibility and always bring reusable bags shopping.

Retailers think they are doing enough by offering recycling of plastic bags. In fact only 5% of plastic bags are recycled, but according to my local recycler there isn’t much of a market for the recycling of plastic bags.

The best thing you can do is bring your own reusable bags!

health4earth
Bring your own reusable bags.

 

Some states and cities have banned single-use plastic. Read more 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.

Yes, it is Cold, But….

Yikes, it’s cold where I live! The high today is -15 F, and with the wind it feels colder. Please don’t feel sorry for us. It is just another extreme, and we are all living in a time of extremes. We have extreme droughts, extreme rains and storms, and extreme heat. Minnesota might be back to 40 degrees  in just a few days, a 70 degree high temperature change in a few days! Yes, extreme!

Most of us would rather be here in the cold than in the extreme heat and drought Australia is experiencing.  While our cold weather is a short blip, they are experiencing a long-term extreme. Read about it here.

The sun shines, and frost on the window.

There are some advantages to a short cold snap like this. We can hope that some of the invasive bugs that are unchecked because of our warmer winters will be stopped or slowed down. The cold will completely freeze over the lakes which make them safer for winter activities, and can also lessen summer algae. My favorite thing about the cold is that the sun often shines making for beautiful bright days.

Polar Bear weather in the mid-north of the United States

Is this part of climate change? Why does this Arctic air escape the Arctic? The Arctic has warmed faster than the 1.8 degrees the Earth has recently warmed. This warming has weakened the jet stream winds that would normally stay north, but this climate warming has caused these winds to seep south. Our warming planet has confused the jet stream causing them to rush where they normally don’t blow, bringing the Arctic winter cold with them.  The extreme heat in Australia is a more serious problem that isn’t a passing scenario like our short-lived northern cold.  Yes, our changing climate is real and we are experiencing it every day.

I Hate Styrofoam

Styrofoam/polystyrene. It is breaking into small pieces and could last forever!

Imagine eating or drinking your coffee/tea or dinner out of a Styrofoam container. ICK! I can’t imagine, but many people do??? Styrofoam makes food taste terrible, and it is made from cancer causing material. Why would you eat/drink from it?
I am on a road trip through the southern part of the United States. Styrofoam is just the normal at many food establishments. Places I refuse to patronize.
Not only is Styrofoam unhealthy to eat on,

How can we do better than this? We need a sustainable alternative

it is awful for the environment. It breaks down into tiny pieces harmful to oceans/lakes, water animals and fish that think it is food.
Unfortunately, Styrofoam has powerful lobbying interests behind it, people who don’t care about your health or the health of our waterways.

Beth Terry, author of My Plastic-Free Life, wrote this terrific guide explaining how producing and using plastic pollutes the air. When it comes to the foamy Styrofoam in particular, here are some other objections to using it:

  • It does not biodegrade. It may break into small pieces, even minuscule pieces. But the smaller EPS gets, the harder it is to clean up.
  • It is made of fossil fuels and synthetic chemicals. Those chemicals may leach if they come in contact with hot, greasy or acidic food. Yes, they keep your coffee hot – but they may also add an unwanted dose of toxins to your drink.
  • Animals sometimes eat it. Turtles and fish seem to mistake EPS for food, and that can kill them. Not only can they not digest it, but the foam could be full of poisons that it has absorbed from contaminants floating in the water.
  • It can’t be recycled. Some commercial mailing houses may accept packing peanuts, but for the most part community recycling centers do not accept throwaway foam food containers.

Below is from 5gyres:

Evidence regarding the sustainability and toxicity of expanded Styrofoam/polystyrene (EPS) single-use containers supports replacing them with a more sustainable and safe material. EPS food and beverage containers are single-use, yet persistent and not economically feasible to recycle. Thus, millions of single-use EPS items are sent to a landfill each day, where they will remain for hundreds to thousands of years. Moreover, its lightweight makes it difficult to manage which is one reason EPS is one of the top litter items found on beaches and in the environment. Lastly, EPS containers may pose a hazard. Some studies have found they can leach chemicals into our food and others have demonstrated that their leachate is toxic to laboratory animals. Replacing EPS with a more sustainable material supports a healthy environment for both wildlife and people.

So what can you do?

I boycott places that use Styrofoam, but that might not be possible for you.     1.Bring your own container, or ask for a real plate, many places can provide that for you! 2. Tell establishments how awful their packaging is. 3. Work to get Styrofoam bans in your community 4. Pick up Styrofoam litter so it doesn’t end up in our waterways.

If everyone does a small part, it can add up to a lot! Speak out.

Try a Low Salt Diet

I am working on this neighborhood campaign.

It’s winter, and in the United States and Canada we are caught between the cold Arctic, and warmer Gulf moisture. All of this causing our snow, cold and winter thaws. This also produces icy sidewalks and icy roads. For many of us the ice is the hardest part of winter to deal with, but what are the best practices in dealing with winter ice?

Using salt on roads, sidewalks and driveways permanently pollutes our lakes and streams. With rain and snow melt his salt washes into our water, it never leaves, harming pets and wildlife. Once salt gets in our water bodies it’s there for good.

Control ice, but also protect our lakes and streams, best practices:

1. Shovel. Clearing walkways before snow turns to ice will reduce the need for salt.
2. Select the right product for the right temperature. Sodium chloride (salt)doesn’t melt snow below 15 degrees Fahrenheit, so use sand for traction in colder weather.  Many products are marketed as environmentally friendly, but read the label, they still contain chloride (salt).
3. Scatter. Use salt sparingly and only where it’s necessary, and use only on ice. Shovel instead of spreading salt!
4. Sweep up  leftover salt and sand to prevent it from running off into water bodies.                                                                                                                                                5. Rearrange downspouts so they don’t drain on to sidewalks causing sidewalk ice.

It takes only one teaspoon of road salt to permanently pollute 5 gallons of water. Once salt is in the water, there is no way to remove it. Salt harms fish, plant life, and the over all quality of lakes and streams.

Be winter safe, but be a friend of our lakes and streams!