New Year on Lake Superior

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.—Rachel Carson

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A New year on the Big Lake: December into 2013
A Merlin hunting in our yard, but the chickadees are too smart for him. A bald eagle sits on the morning lake ice eating her breakfast.
Three deer walk through: small, medium and large!! Wildlife tracks everywhere in the fresh snow: bobcat, coyote, fox??
The best: The face of the lake changes hourly as it renews itself. A patchwork of ice in the morning and then open water by the afternoon. Icebergs of all sizes are pushed around. The constant moving and shifting of the ice flows is beautiful and surprising. It is a magical mystery where the ice disappears to and then reappears. It is never predictable nor will it look the same again.
Wow, three ore boats pass at the same moment on the shipping highway. These boats will soon tie up for the winter.
Cloudy days create a black and white picture. White contrasted with dark bark, and the pileated, downies and chickadees add to the black/white birch tree look. 018

Resolutions You Can Keep

Bring your own reusable bag
Bring your own reusable bag
Easy Resolutions You Can Keep
*Shop with washable reusable shopping bags.
*Recycle all electronics
*Purchase products that have a minimum of packaging, and also recyclable packaging.
*Composting food scraps can cut waste in your home by 30%
*Use both cloth napkins and washable rags instead of paper products
*Use a water bottle and reduce your use of single use plastic.
*When shopping bring refillable containers and bags to reduce plastic bag consumption, and recycle all clean plastic bags.
*Never use Styrofoam products!
*Recycle everything possible and set up recycling baskets near your trash containers throughout your home and office. http://www.earth911.com for recycle locations if you lack curbside pick up.
*Keep a bag in your car to collect recycling from road trips or fast food, but patronize restaurants that use real dishes and cups.
Good Luck, and Happy 2013!

Wishing you a Green Holiday!

022Waste increases by 25% over the holidays. What are some things we can do to reduce waste?
My tips for a green holiday
*Use “real” plates, silverware and glasses. Plastic party glasses can now be recycled, but reusable is best.
*Cloth napkins reduce waste and add quality to your dinners.
*Wrap gifts in towels, cloth napkins, reusable shopping bags, or reuse a gift bag. Wrap gifts in materials that can be recycled, composted or reused.
*Purchase products that have a minimum of packaging, and have recyclable packaging.
*Compost food scraps
*Use rags instead of paper towels and chemical free cleaners for cleaning.
*After the holidays place your Christmas tree outside for the birds to use for the winter.
*Reduce use of plastic bags, and reuse them if possible. Always recycle clean dry plastic bags.
*Shop with reusable containers that can be filled with bulk purchases.
*Avoid plastic drink bottles and never use Styrofoam
REUSE, REUSE, REUSE and then RECYCLE

Congratulations, you are on your way to a “zero waste” home!
Please share your ideas for greening the holidays

Tackling Climate Change and the Fiscal Cliff

How many life threatening storms and floods and droughts can we survive?

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of us are frightened by the drastic changes we have seen in our climate.
Climate Change and Fiscal cliff: Two enormous problems. Both are everyone’s problems and we all need to sacrifice and work together to solve them. Now that the price of gas has decreased $ .46 in the past 9 weeks, I am calling on Congress and President Obama to raise the gas tax. Also, we need a commitment from everyone to reduce our fossil fuel consumption by eliminating one automobile trip a week through carpooling, using public transport, combining trips, or walking/biking. Lack of demand would lower the price of gas even more!!
The costs of hurricanes, floods and drought are staggering. And the costs to the victims, and all of us through reconstruction and insurance is becoming enormous. The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut put the cost of Hurricane Sandy at 82 Billion!
I propose a temporary 50 cent tax on gasoline. Not only would this cause individuals to drive less, it could create jobs to work on our crumbling infrastructure, research for more efficient vehicles, transit, and incentives for cleaner air.
The New York Times makes a plea for investment into our infrastructure:

A gas tax increase of $.50  would put a stimulus into our economy, and make a big difference for the health of our earth. It would be an enormous leadership move FORWARD, demonstrating to the rest of the world we take stimulus and climate seriously. It is time to work towards a national goal, to use less fossil fuels and make the world a healthier place for all. This could be the magic wand for the fiscal cliff.
Links about climate:
http://www.startribune.com/opinion/182458211.html Sack Cartoon
http://www.climatewatch.noaa.gov/article/2012/summer-2012-brought-record-breaking-melt-to-greenland
http://blog.ucsusa.org/president-obama-keep-your-promise-to-our-children-commit-to-making-the-half-the-oil-plan-a-reality/?utm_source=tw&utm_medium=tw&utm_campaign=tw
http://current.com/green/89670079_raise-the-gas-tax-argues-thomas-friedman-of-the-new-york-times.htm
http://www.climatewatch.noaa.gov/image/2012/november-2012-u-s-climate-update-word-of-the-month-is-dry
http://www.ucsusa.org Union of Concerned Scientists

All of a sudden, Winter on Lake Superior

A Snowy Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving Snow

After a non-winter last year, Thanksgiving was unusual on the weather front. It was a warm, sunny day that evolved into an evening winter storm. The night wind and snow blew across the big lake, and all night the waves pounded our rock cliff. Friday morning 4 inches of snow covered everything. The snowy landscape was beautiful and quite a surprise. In a few hours time lake effect flurries became the norm, and winter began.  And 5 days later it continues to snow.
Not bothered by the weather change, chickadees, a nuthatch and common red pole are busy at their feeder. Downy woodpeckers are everywhere and the eagles and seagulls fish the lake. These are our local winter birds.
Most plants and seed heads are now covered with snow but the stately little blue stem still stands proud and is unaffected by the severe weather change.
From land you can observe the silhouettes of enormous waves surging far out in the big lake.
The firearm deer season ended on Sunday and maybe some of the wildlife will come out of their hiding spots to explore this new snow covered land.

Buy Local this Holiday

Shop local, shop green

Buy Local this Holiday
This week we enter the biggest shopping time of the year. Questions we should ask ourselves are: How can we keep dollars in our own communities? What purchasing choices are the best for the health of our families, friends and our planet?
Every holiday season I start with a goal of purchasing USA/Minnesota made products and putting my dollars into companies that match my values for fair wages and good working conditions.
This week I was thrilled at how much local produce I could find at my local coop, and shopped a local craft fair where I purchased items made from recycled and upcycled Minnesota/USA products which put me on track to reach my “Buy local” goals.
These are my suggestions to buy local:
1. Always read all product labels and become aware of where your purchases are coming from. Ask if they are not labeled. It must say “made” not distributed by!
2. Shop craft fairs and your local stores. Let businesses know you are looking for products made in this country or state, and demand they offer you choices. At our house we do not shop “Big Box” and try to patronize businesses that pay a living wage.
3. Shop your own home. What do you have that you can reuse? Remember grandma, and how she did things. Reuse, Reuse Reuse and Reduce-Cut back on the new items and use items in the back of your closet.
Have a wonderful healthy holiday!

http://www.mn2020hindsight.org/view/black-friday-with-a-conscience-buy-local-be-socially-responsible

http://www.ethicalocean.com/black-friday-cyber-monday?utm_source=Ethical+Ocean+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=18dc4326ac-All_All_All_Mktg_Email_172_Black_Friday_Start&utm_medium=email

http://earth911.com/news/2009/11/16/5-steps-to-an-eco-black-friday/

http://madeinusaforever.com/

Drive less, Walk and Public Transport More

Solidarity with NYC, Lots of work to do

We know this congress won’t take on climate change so each of us needs to take personal action instead of blaming a disfunctional political body.  Our own health and safety as well as the health of our earth depends on it.

The election is over and repairing and cleaning from Hurricane Sandy is moving along even though not as fast as some wish. Scientists agree our earth is heating up. We can’t stop mega storms from happening, but maybe simple things we do can lessen the intensity. What lessons can we learn, and how can each of us make a smaller footprint?
Today as I was taking the bus into downtown Minneapolis my thoughts turned to how dependent we are on our cars, and the irony of New York City’s Sandy when many in NYC don’t even own cars. They live the epitome of a “public transportation life.” Just imagine, If each of us in solidarity with New York City eliminated one personal car use this week, or consolidated several car trips, what a big difference for our environment with little effort on our part.
Begin a reduction diet from auto emissions. Walk, car pool, bike or take the bus for one or more trips this week, change the status quo, have more fun, and get some exercise, also!

http://climaterealityproject.org/24hours/?wwftw1