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Life and Death on Lake Superior

August 2017

Many bees on the native plants.

I had just seen a hawk fly along Lake Superior, but was surprised when two large birds came crashing into a window where was sitting. This created a 45 minute ordeal below my window. The flicker cried, fought and cried some more, but the talons of the hawk had a firm grip. Blue jays and crows came to watch the commotion. The persistence of the hawk ruled and she was too strong and determined for the flicker. An unusual number of hawks in our neighborhood this August have changed the lives of chipmunks, squirrels, and the birds.

On a happier note, A a fresh bright monarch was drying her wings after emerging from her cocoon, and a monarch caterpillar was weaving herself into a cocoon and will hopefully evolve into a new monarch in two weeks.

The great south migration has started with groups of night-hawks and yellow-rump warblers migrating through, and in another week the hummingbirds will be gone, also.  Harbingers of fall.

Common Wood-nymph

The flowers are at their peak and the bees are crazy for bee balm and anise hyssop. The wood-nymph butterflies have been plentiul, but they too are at the end of their life cycle to be replaced by white admirals, cabbage whites, and fritillaries.

It’s Monday, Go Meatless!

It’s Meatless Monday
Animal protein production requires more than eight times as much fossil-fuel energy than production of plant protein. Meat and cheese production also requires large amounts of pesticides, chemical fertilizer, fuel and water. The animals generate toxic manure and wastewater that can pollute our groundwater, rivers, lakes and streams. The number one way you can reduce your carbon food print is by eating less meat and less dairy.” Do It Green Minnesota

Sustainable Sunday

I hear many business leaders,  and others use the word sustainable when referring to their businesses and their personal goals. I wonder what they mean, and what they are thinking??? Sustainability is a complex topic and can mean many things. Is it one of those code words that is full of hot air??
I think that sustainability means practices that protect the valuable resources of the planet for now and into the future.

The most quoted definition of sustainability is from the United Nations Economic Committee  “Sustainability presumes that resources are finite, and should be used conservatively and wisely with a view to long-term priorities and consequences of the ways in which resources are used.”

To me sustainability is about he future! It is about reusing and thinking ahead! I think being sustainable takes planning ahead and being prepared.  Monday is the eclipse.  Much of the United States will be outside.  How can you be prepared for a Monday  eclipse that doesn’t trash our earth? Plan ahead, fill your water bottles, pack lunches and snacks in reusable containers, gather your pin-holes or eye-approved glasses, and have sustainable fun!

Read more about having a sustainable eclipse here

 

The Ugly Face of Plastic

Bring your own shopping bag

Plastic came into being about 1950. It is lightweight and easy to make into many things. Unfortunately, plastic is awful for our wildlife and waterways. Both are choking on this ubiquitous plastic pollution.
What are microplastics? They are tiny pieces of plastic that come from our clothes, plastic litter, and synthetic fibers. Read or listen to the entire story at MPR.
At the present these plastic particles are too small to be strained out of our water treatment plants so they end up polluting our waterways, lakes and oceans. There is a new laundry bag you can purchase (see below) that will filter the microfiber when you wash your clothes.

I love this list from MPR:

5 things you can do to reduce microplastic pollution

  1. Cut back on consuming single-use plastic products such as shopping bags, Starbucks cups and plastic utensils. Replace them with reusable items like travel mugs, silverware
    Microplastic in fleece is causing water pollution!

    and cloth bags.

  2. Buy only facial scrubs, toothpaste and other personal care products made with natural exfoliants, such as oatmeal and salt.
  3. Buy clothing made of organic or natural materials rather than synthetic fibers. Buy only what you need, and invest in higher-quality items so you don’t need to replace them as often.
  4. Don’t wash your clothes as often, especially items made from synthetic fabrics like fleece jackets.
  5. Invest in a mesh laundry bag, guppy friend, designed to capture shedding fibers during the washing cycle. Read about guppy friend here.

 

 

 

Hate and Injustice

Everyone has rights!

Hate is not sustainable!

Last week I finished reading “The Deep South” by Paul Theroux. Theroux takes four trips into the south, works diligently at interviewing individuals, and writes serious descriptions of what he sees and hears. I loved meeting the people he meets, but was surprised by the poverty, illiteracy, and segregation that still exists in our country. I was most surprised by the white men still fighting the Civil War, and expressions that the rest of us were taking away their freedom because of rules imposed upon them.  Why they wallow in this self-pity, and that they are so discriminated against is a serious issue for all of us. I can relate “Deep South” to the events that happened this week in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Why do these White Separatists feel so discriminated against? The statue of Robert E. Lee is a symbol of something bigger? Why is hate the solution to our problems? In my work on gun violence and ATVs, I try to express that we all have rights, but I am just stomping on my opponents rights, and out to get them. They are being discriminated against! They feel they should be able to do what they want without regard to the rest of us. Why can’t we see when we violate others rights? The conversation must continue.

Read an interesting thought about the struggle to rise above our history of slavery on PBS.

 

What Unites Us?

“I see it as a hopeful sign that this eclipse captured the nation’s attention. For all that divides us, we are passengers on a global journey – together.” Dan Rather

As I attend reunions and talk with people who I see every few years, I think about what we have in common? What do we have to talk about in this politically charged climate? This morning I was struck by a moderate journalist, a meteorologist, talking about what we can all agree on? His thought was that clean energy, less pollution, cleaner water, and good paying jobs were things we could unite behind.  These are some of the top issues on this blog and things I am passionate about.  It would be a dream come true if we could agree on solutions for water and air pollution.

Front CoverDan Rather has written a new book on the same topic, “What Unites Us?”  He focuses more on our patriotism. Read about it here.

What do you think? What are issues we can rally around and find some common ground solutions?  Are clean water and clean air something for which we can find sustainable solutions?  What do you think can unite us?