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!
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
“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/
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.
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!
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.
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.
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)
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 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:
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.