March 14, is National Learn About Butterflies Day. Have you seen a butterfly yet? A perfect reason to go for a walk, to look for butterflies. On sunny March days it is possible to see Mourning Cloaks even in northern North America and southern Canada. The Mourning Cloak is often the first to appear and lives in most of North America. This large ( 3-4 inch wingspan)) elegant velvety butterfly is a real treasure. They often overwinter hidden in bark or woodpiles. Tree sap is their food source, and willows, elms, birch and aspens are hosts for their caterpillars. Mourning Cloaks often live longer than other butterflies with a life span of 10 to 11 months, and even after sleeping all winter they are beautiful. Let me know if you spot one.
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.
“We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be—a country that is bruised, but whole, benevolent, but bold, fierce, and free. We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation. Our blunders become their burdens. But one thing is certain, if we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.” Amanda Gorman
We, the successors of a country and a time,
Where a skinny black girl,
Descended from slaves and raised by a single mother,
Can dream of becoming president
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover. … The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
“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 am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”
― Abraham Lincoln
“Our democracy isn’t about any individual, even a president—it’s about you” Barack Obama
Special days in January: It is a historic month for the United States, giving us all hope! Let’s start by telling the truth, being kind, and working for justice.
January 5, Senate elections in Georgia
January 6, Congress meets to certify votes for the new U. S. president
January 7, 1789, The first U.S. election for president was held
January 8, Clean off your desk day!
January 14, Bald Eagle Day
January 15, Martin Luther King’s Birthday
January 18, MLK Holiday
January 20, Inauguration Day, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in as president and vice president of the United States.
From the Actions for Happiness group ideas for January 2021:
How can we be happier in 2021? Things have been really tough over the last year and we’re still in difficult and uncertain times. This January, we’re encouraging everyone to focus on small daily actions to create more happiness for ourselves and others. We can’t change the situation, but we can choose to show kindness and respond positively whenever possible.
After all the loss of life, sadness, loneliness, lies and chaos of 2020 lets hope we have learned some thing from the disfunction and poor leadership we have faced. I thought this letter to the editor had a lot to say:
Can we understand that if we can apply these lessons to the climate crisis, we’ve taken the most pro-life action possible?
As the pandemic year of 2020 comes to a close, we need to ask if we’ve learned from it, or whether we are doomed to repeat what we did not learn. Did we learn that there are serious personal and global consequences from destroying nature and the web of life that we’re part of? Did we learn that truth matters, not only as an ethical imperative, but as a requisite for a successful democracy? Did we learn that science matters and that disregard for the lessons of science robs humanity of tools that sustain life? Did we learn how countries that were united by common purpose and mutual trust were more successful in combating the pandemic than countries without unity and trust? That there is a critical role for leadership and democratic governance? That in this interdependent, globalized world, our health and future are bound together across national boundaries? That our future depends on putting cooperation above national interest?
Can we imagine how these lessons apply to the climate crisis? Can we understand that if we don’t apply these lessons to the climate crisis, the systems that support all life on our planet cannot be sustained, and COVID-19 will seem like child’s play by comparison? And finally, can we understand that if we can apply these lessons to the climate crisis, we’ve taken the most pro-life action possible? Lyndon Torstenson, Startribune.com