Too Much, Not Enough

Drought, famine, flooding, storms, hurricanes. We are living at a time of extremes. There is either not enough water or too much water? Is our beautiful fragile planet paying us back for all the abuse it takes? I think the warming of the oceans has a lot to do with our extremes. Our oceans absorb the carbon dioxide and pollution causing them to warm and oceans have a lot to do with weather systems.

We aren’t doing enough to stop polluting our air. I love this climate poster but it is missing one crucial aspect: Use less plastic! Plastic production is a big contributor to more air pollution. Plastic is made from fossil fuels and contains many harmful chemicals. https://health4earth.com/2022/07/26/how-about-a-dose-of-chemicals/

Our planet needs everyone to do their part. Start by driving less and buying less, and many of the others will fall into line! Individual action is a powerful tool for reversing the climate crisis, especially when millions of us unite together.

Reading list:

Amid a massive American clean energy shift, grid operators play catch-up – Minnesota Reformer 

House Committee Investigates the Role of PR Firms in Spreading Climate Disinformation | Sierra Club

Dutch City Is World’s First to Ban Meat Advertising – EcoWatch

Climate Change Leaves Flood Maps Outdated, FEMA Says – EcoWatch  

Pakistan Floods: What Role Did Climate Change Play? – EcoWatch

Tell President Biden and U.S. climate negotiators: The world must address climate losses and damages (sierraclub.org) 

The Planet | Alexander Verbeek 🌍 | Substack 

World Clean up Week!

Everyday work for a waste-free world

https://www.worldcleanupday.org/

World Cleanup Day is the world’s largest one-day civic action engaging more than 191 countries to tackle the global waste crisis.
World Cleanup Day is not just about cleanups. It’s a strong and unique movement that shares the dream of a waste-free world.
Join World Cleanup Day on 17th September 2022!

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

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

Back To School September

September is a month of change. Many are going back to school, the weather is changing, days are shorter, and the monarch butterflies and hummingbirds in my yard are refueling for migration. May you take a lesson from the monarch butterflies to be energetic, happy and kind. What can we all do in our little piece of this vast planet to make the world and others happier and more kind?

Monarch butterflies bring joy

We all want our children to be safe, happy and kind. We want them to live in a healthy safe world. Some of this is hard to control, but we expect them to be safe while outside playing, walking to school, taking the bus, in their schools, and in in all aspects of their lives.

Have you thought of the unhealthy plastic children come in contact with daily? Plastic is loaded with unhealthy chemicals, and there are things you can do to reduce plastic exposure. Manufacturers use chemicals to make plastic soft and other chemicals to make it hard. We shouldn’t expose children to unhealthy materials especially when we have no idea what the long-term effects will be on them.

If you have children I would make an effort to reduce their plastic exposure.

Below are some ideas to reduce back to school plastic exposure. I am not recommending you go out and purchase new items, but hoping this list will give you ideas to reduce your plastic consumption, and reuse items you have within your household to keep children safe.

Go Back to School Plastic Free | (plasticpollutioncoalition.org)

1. Stainless steel food containers

Lunchtime is a common culprit for plastic pollution in a student’s school day. If your student brings their lunch to school, there are many ways to keep the plastic out. Replace the typical plastic zip-top bag, plastic wrap, with aluminum foil, stainless steel food containers, or paper or cloth bags

2. Cotton and wool lunch bags 

Once you’ve eliminated plastic from the inside of your student’s lunchbox, it’s time to tackle the lunchbox itself. Washable lunch sacks are a good option, and they are widely available at most secondhand shops. Look for plastic-free options such as old-school aluminum lunch boxes, or a lunch bag made from natural materials like this cotton and wool one from Life Without Plastic. 

3. Plastic-free school supply essentials 

Many back-to-school supply lists are unfortunately filled with plastic items (which, even worse, are often sold wrapped in plastic packaging). Shop for an excellent selection of plastic-free back-to-school essentials like notebooks, pencils, markers, papers, planners. Look for options that have less plastic!

4. Stainless steel water bottle

Studies show that there is 50% more microplastic in (plastic) bottled water than tap water. And plastic bottles—like all plastics—contain chemicals that harm human health. In addition to being healthy, plastic-free, stainless steel reusable water bottles are long-lasting, economical, and easy to use and clean. 

Finally, have a new school year filled with happiness, kindness, and lots of new learning and ideas.

Reading List;

“One out of six children in the United States suffer from a neurodevelopmental disability, and there is strong evidence that links chemical exposures to neurodevelopmental delays.”

https://www.hbbf.org/blog/2022-07/six-new-cities-will-reduce-neurotoxic-exposures-babies-air-food-and-environments

The Ugly Face of Plastic – Health4earth

Plastics & Health – Are Phthalates Making Us Infertile? Plastic “Tox” Episode 1 with Dr. Shanna Swan – Plastic Pollution Coalition

Many of the world’s plastic containers and bottles are contaminated with toxic PFAS, and new data suggests that it’s probably leaching into food, drinks, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, cleaning products and other items at potentially high levels.

15 List of Chemicals in Plastic – Properties – Dangers – AZ Chemistry  Meanwhile, there are many list of chemicals in plastic are harmful for our body, and also bad for our Earth. To be wise, it’s better to at least reduce the use of plastic in our daily life. Thus, we may replace plastic with more friendly product.

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)

Wow, An Attractive Healthy Lawn

Every person on earth bears responsibility for good earth stewardship” Pope Francis

Northern Pearly Eye

How did we ever get sold on the fact that a green monoculture of a turf lawn was a good thing everyone wanted to copy? I love walking in green spaces, but should a green space have more variety than being just like everyone else trying to be like everyone else. Has our climate crisis brough us to a time we question the feasibility of maintaining something that harms instead of adding a positive to our environment?

What is my problem with a turf grass lawn?

First it takes lots of water to keep it green and needs poisonous chemicals. We have been in a drought, and homeowners are watering the sidewalk and the street trying to keep their lawns green. A weed free lawn requires lots of chemicals which run down the street into the storm drains and then into our lakes and streams where they stimulate the growth of algae. See the evidence on ponds and lakes covered with algae muck which can be fatal to dogs and wildlife. Muck covered lakes is not a natural happening!

A monoculture turf grass lawn has no benefit to pollinators. Pollinators love flowers free of chemicals and plants that are native to the area. They also like color and fragrance. The best is native plants have deep roots and can survive without much water.

Deep rooted native plants

You can create a friendly yard by just not mowing it, but I recommend thinking about a happy bee lawn. Bee lawns composed of various low growing plants don’t require chemicals and are not toxic to humans and pets. Also children can run and play on them just like turf grass. The butterflies and bees love diversity, scent and color. Some of my favorites are native violets and barren wild strawberries, both are very easy to grow and can be mowed a few times a summer. See the link below on bee lawns. Some people like non-native clover and creeping Charlie.

Violets are great for bee lawns.

Start with a small section of your yard, mow it short and work in some seeds (violets, strawberry, clover, creeping thyme, heal all) with a rake or hoe, and keep moist until you get some new sprouts. Find seeds at https://www.prairiemoon.com/

Nature’s Best Hope: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=doug+tallamy+videos&view=detail&mid=AB8B87BD969B5366B02BAB8B87BD969B5366B02B&FORM=VIRE by Doug Tallamy

How to save the planet starting with your yard: https://slate.com/podcasts/how-to/2022/08/how-to-save-the-planet-with-native-plants?fbclid=IwAR37nC8uiu9P6EoaXAF1Edm16g3zjKTCdx8zm1vH1JaZQdw0G9kQBqUgvK0

Mowing lawns as the climate warms (startribune.com) 

Endangered migrants come in all shapes and species (startribune.com)

https://www.pennlive.com/life/2022/08/bee-lawns-a-lazy-mower-way-to-help-pollinators.html

Everyday appreciating our beautiful earth, and working for healthy communities through less chemicals, less waste, And more fun!

A Special Bird Month

The sun sets on July

I am sorry to see the month of July come to an end. Lake Superior keeps the hot temperatures to the south, and the temperature has been comfortable, but the lake has been unusually cold.

It has been an incredible summer for birds.  The singing has now somewhat subsided, but in early summer we were thrilled to hear many birds singing we hadn’t heard for a few years. Mornings were so pleasant with purple finch, red starts, song sparrows, chestnut sided warblers, Northern parulas, and red-eyed vireos belting out their beautiful songs. Even though the singing has now subsided, we have an active crowd of baby birds trying to fill their hungry stomachs. Red starts and song sparrows were underfoot as I worked in my garden.

Many birds nest here because we have so many insects and caterpillars to feed their babies. This week we had many birds trying to eat the ripe elderberry berries. Today we had flickers, downy woodpeckers, chickadees, and cedar wax wings trying to hover and snatch one of these delicious berries. I’m sure they wish they could hover and fly like the hummingbirds.

The hummingbirds think they are king of the mountain. Life is a game to them as they wiz around. Even though they are the smallest they are the most aggressive and most visible. Their assertive behavior is entertaining as they are protect “their food.” I am sure the baby hummingbirds are learning from mom how to behave and survive.

milkweed

Monarch butterflies visit daily

The number of butterflies has also subsided since early July, but a monarch makes a daily pilgrimage to our yard visiting the milkweed. Unfortunately, butterfly caterpillars don’t survive long because there are many baby birds to be fed. I hope that some survive as butterflies,

An American Lady caterpillar on pearly everlasting, it probably became bird food!

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/