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!
I was in Ukraine in 2013. The people were very kind, helping us get around, take public transportation, and order food. My husband and I loved the beautiful country and kind people!
Yes, we are under stress worrying about Ukraine and climate change. Below is the mindful calendar for March to help maintain our mental health.
Medical supplies from the United States and Europe because Ukrainian suppliers ran out of gear and medical supplies. For more information go to razomforukraine.org.
United Help Ukraine is providing lifesaving first-aid kits to the front lines. The organization also helps the families of those wounded or killed in war and gives support to displaced people from Crimea and eastern Ukraine. For more information go to unitedhelpukraine.org.
Sunflower of Peace is raising funds for first-aid medical backpacks for paramedics and doctors on the front lines. Each backpack has the ability to save up to 10 lives, according to the organization. For more information go to facebook.com/sunflowerofpeace.
Ukrainian Red Cross Society: Volunteers and staff provide first aid in areas where medical access is limited. Funds will be used to support those in need, blood collection, mobilization of volunteers and resources and emergency activities. For more information go to redcross.org.ua/en.
Help for children: UNICEF is ensuring Ukrainian children have access to safe water, nutrition, health care, education and protection during the invasion. For more information go to www.unicef.org/ukraine/en.
Voices of Children provides psychological and psychosocial support for children caught in the middle of the armed conflict. For more information go to voices.org.ua/en/.
Journalism: The Kyiv Independent, a Ukrainian-English news site, provides up-to-date information of Russia’s invasion. Its fundraising site can be found on GoFundMe.
“Small acts when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world!” Greenpeace
The new year has arrived, and we all have the best intentions to have a fresh beginning. With all the uncertainty and discord around us, focusing on something bigger than ourselves helps to rise above all the confusion. Choose to do things that are fun and make you feel better about your place in society.
New goals and new ideas help stimulate new interests and are good for our mental health. First of all, don’t worry about being perfect, just do something different. No one is perfect, but if everyone does something it adds up to big things for us and our community.
Millions of people around the world have been harmed by storms and our warming world during the past year. With all the harm humans have done to our planet the last hundreds of years, our warming Earth is struggling to find some equilibrium, and we can all lessen our negative impact. By reducing our consumption of the Earth’s resources, we can help our corner of the world and make a big difference. My ideas are to help you think of ways you can make a positive difference and hopefully have fun!
Every day my household works on three big things to reduce our consumption of the Earth’s resources:
Reduce meat consumption
1. Cutting meat consumption and always celebrating meatless Mondays. There are so many meatless options in the frozen food section of grocery stores it can be easy and fun. The hard part is finding meatless options without increasing plastic pollution. Here are some ideas to get you started. Vegan Recipes To Help You Eat Less Meat : Life Kit : NPR
2. Reducing plastic is paramount. Plastic creates waste and litter, it contributes to climate change, pollutes our water and is harmful to wildlife. It is concerning how plastic affects our health and what it’s impacts might be for us. We have a lot to learn about how plastic is harming our health. Please reduce your consumption of plastic. Start by using reusable bags, cups and bottles, and then you will slowly learn new ways to reduce plastic in your environment. So much plastic can’t be recycled, but if you must purchase items in plastic, make sure it can be recycled.
3. Reduce Food waste. Food waste is a total waste of water, labor, time and energy. First start with your shopping, don’t buy more than you can use. Buying in bulk is a good way to regulate how much you purchase (bulk can reduce plastic waste also). Second, staying on top of what items are in your refrigerator/freezer is extremely important. Maybe have an “eat first shelf.” I keep a container in my refrigerator to accumulate celery tops and other vegetable scraps for weekly soup making or stir fry. Finally, turning leftovers into a new meal is one of the best things about cooking. Make it fun and challenging! Wraps and rice bowls are winners!
“We have the choice to use the gift of our life to make the world a better place–or not to bother” Jane Goodall
Our actions and daily choices speak to the world we want to create. This holiday, we can choose to make friendly choices for our planet. Instead of buying new decorations use what you have and follow these simple steps to make your decorations, gifts, and gatherings more sustainable: Seven tips for an earth-friendly holiday season (worldwildlife.org)
Look at the materials gifts are made from and keep sustainability in mind. Use paper products made from recycled materials and avoid single-use plastics that can’t be recycled. Buying secondhand items like vintage clothes, furniture, and refurbished technology is another great way to gift more sustainably.
Look for cards and wrapping paper made from recycled materials. Avoid foil-backed cards or those with **glitter—which aren’t recyclable.
Glitter is a microplastic!
** Reasons to avoid glitter:
A few facts about glitter will surprise you!
Glitter is made of a microplastic known as Mylar, which is hurting ocean life
This plastic accounts for 92.4% of the 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean
Marine life is mistaking glitter for food, which is damaging their livers
Every tiny sparkly bit takes thousands of years to break down
November 15, is America Recycles Day. After so many years I am still surprised how hard it is to recycle in the United States. In my travels across America I can go weeks without seeing a recycle bin. In Europe often recycling is front and center, not perfect but it is seems a priority.
I have been surprised to learn this doesn’t always mean the product is recyclable????
Unfortunately it is still very hard to recycle plastic correctly in America. Paper/cardboard, glass and metal cans work well, but plastic, please read on.
Plastic recycling is very challenging. There is very little regulation of plastic in the United States. Plastic producers claim recycling is the answer to their products, but they don’t want any responsibility to pay for recycling or disposal of their products. They often they say their plastic is recyclable, when in fact it might be just one per cent recyclable or not at all.
Why is plastic recycling so hard? First there are those recycle 1-7 numbers. For something to be recycled it first needs to be collected, and then sorted into those numbers. Next, it needs a market, or someone to buy it. All this makes plastic recycling expensive for communities (tax payers) and it is labor intensive.
I am fortunate to live in a county (Hennepin) that makes this a priority, and I can’t express my gratitude to them enough!
Both Maine and Oregon have passed legislation to hold producers responsible for recycling and disposing of their products. This is a beginning and it is hopeful that more regulation of plastic could happen. As consumers we also have responsibility, when we purchase plastic we reinforce the idea that this is OK, and more of it is produced. The plastic chemical companies are gearing up to produce more plastic for the future, lets work to hold them accountable! Talk to your elected officials about how plastic producers should be held responsible for what happens to long lived plastics after disposal. Manufacturers also need more integrity in labeling what is in their plastic products.
On America Recycles Day recycle more of your paper/cardboard, glass and tin cans, and recycle plastic bottles and containers, but also begin to REDUCE your PLASTIC consumption. Always bring your reusable cups/bottles, and bags for a start.
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!
“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
“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a Conspiracy of Love” Hamilton Mable
After nine months of a pandemic everyone needs extra attention! December is a month of Kindness and the Actions for Happiness have many good ideas below. It is a time to reach out and spread good will!
Spread good will and kindness to the Earth also! December is a time that we generate of lots of landfill waste. Too many Amazon and UPS trucks rumble on my street. Use some of your “at home time” to see how you can reuse what you have, simplify your shopping, and generate less garbage by buying less.
December days to celebrate:
December 1, AIDs Awareness Day and National Giving Day
December 2, Pollution Control Day
December 7, Pearl Harbor Day
December 8, Bodhi Day
December 10, Hanukkah, and Human Rights Day
December 15, National Tea Day
December 21, Winter Solstice and the first day of winter
How can we be sustainable consumers? We have another die warning from the UN on the climate crisis we are experiencing. Buying more stuff does not help the earth. If you need to purchase items, do it in a more sustainable manner. See below.
We don’t need to purchase to be happy. I went to see the new Fred Rogers movie. The messages are subtle, but say a lot. Rogers was a master at helping children to feel important. and to feel good about themselves. He thought television was an excellent educational tool, but had been ruined because it tried to turn children into consumers demanding things they didn’t need. As we enter the holiday season and a time of extreme consumerism read more about Fred and his philosophy here
Consumerism and saving money is on our minds. Unfortunately, we have become a throwaway society. Do you use an item for a short time then throw it away, and even worse we raise our children to get bored quickly from that item they just had to have. Again, we don’t need to purchase to be happy. This holiday, how can we be more sustainable and honor the season at the same time?
Join or create your own Friday climate march #FridayforFuture
Always shop with a reusable bag and avoid all plastic.
Shop reuse stores. Some of my favorite clothes come from consignment stores.
Give gifts of help, time and outside events.
Shop retailers that pay living wages, and are local over big box stores.
Buy nothing and save 100%. Reuse what you have!
Purchase items that will last instead of cheap junk.
“I only feel angry when I see waste, when I see people throwing away things we could use.” Mother Teresa Only 9% of recyclables are recycled in the United States compared with Germany and Norway that recycle in the 60% range. Plastic manufacturers continue to create more plastic and push recycling. Unfortunately, recycling is not a sustainable option. I hope you will work hard to recycle your bottles, containers and paper waste because making things from recycled material is awesome and saves lots of energy and natural resources, but as consumers we need to also purchase items made from recycled materials.
A new paradigm is needed, we all need to reduce the waste and recycling we generate. Wasteful packaging needs to stop! Make it a priority in your life to reduce the waste you generate. Here are some simple ideas to get you started:
First, cook at home instead of take-out. Yes, it is some work, but organizing to have a few meals made ahead or in crock pots can reduce lots of waste and be fun at the same time.
Always carry your reusable water bottle and reusable bags.
Be a smart shopper, always think how you can purchase less waste, especially plastic waste. Don’t purchase plastic or Styrofoam trayed produce. Many stores have cloth bags you can purchase for produce.
Shop in bulk and refill any bottles your grocery store makes possible. Food coops have lots of refill options.
Choose products out of recycled material if you can find them.
Never put plastic bags in your recycling cart, recycle them at your local stores.