Ten Days of Love

Every aspect of our lives is, in a sense, a vote for the kind of world we want to live in.” Francis Moore Lappe

Love our earth

What better week than Valentine’s week to show love for our earth. Take the 10 for 10 challenge. Can you score a perfect 10 by completing these initiatives? Maybe you already do these things? Take a breath, slow down and think how you can positively make a difference. It’s easy, and I hope you learn something. Let me know how you do. Good luck!

Day 1 Go meatless, extra points if you also go vegan!

Day 2 Go plastic-free, no straws, plastic utensils, water bottles or containers, unless of course they are reusable.

Day 3, Reuse Day. Bring your lunch in a reusable containers, and remember your

Bring your own water bottle

reusable water bottle.

Day 4, Leave your car parked day. Walk, bike, car-pool or use public transit.

Day 5, Take a walk day. Enjoy the outside as you walk, listen for birds, the wind, water? What nature sounds do you hear?

White-throated sparrow

Day 6, Water-Use Day. Become aware every time you use water. Is there a way you can reduce your water use?

Day 7, Cut Food-waste Day, Clean out left-overs and produce. Make a soup, a stir fry or wraps with your left-overs.

Day 8, Chemical-Free Day. Use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning, and shop for organic produce. Read about chemicals and air pollution here.

Day 9, Reusable-cup day. Bring your re-usable cup to the coffee shop, to meetings, and to work.

Day 10, Gratitude. Be thankful for our beautiful planet. What was the best thing about the past week? Could you complete 10 for 10?

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Super Bowl of Recycling

Can the Super Bowl go zero waste? If they can, so can you!  Minneapolis, location of Super Bowl 52, is an incredible place to go waste-free. We have recycle containers everywhere, and we have weekly home compost pick-up.  Hennepin County and Minneapolis are committed to less landfill waste.

I think the NFL is sending an important message, “It is important to reduce our waste!” Yes, one big event is important, and we all need to educate ourselves and try to reduce our own waste. Read about the Super Bowl at zero waste.

Most communities don’t make it as easy as Minneapolis, but in tiny steps, we can all do better.  Everyday I think about how I can generate less waste, and I know for a zero waste mentality to be successful, it must be EASY!

An easy way to reduce waste is to think REUSE. Before you throw something away, buy something new, or recycle something, ask yourself, “How can I reuse this?” I purchase products in glass jars that I will reuse, and I do reuse them.  I believe in real dishes, real silverware, and cloth napkins. My reusable water bottles travel with me, something the NFL doesn’t allow at games!  I reuse my plastic produce bags over and over, and take my reusable containers to fill with bulk items weekly. Hennepin County has a good list of how to start reusing, read it here.  Remember to start easy, and you will get better, as you learn more ways to reduce and reuse.

Cloth napkins are the best!

I would start with cloth napkins as the easiest. As you get into the reuse mindset you will see many things you can do to reuse and reduce on your own. Good Luck!

You don’t need  plastic bottles!

Get out those real dishes, glasses and silverware for your Super Bowl party and have fun.

 

 

 

 

Be Healthier in 2018

  • Buy less stuff: Reuse, reuse and reuse the things you have
  • Reduce food waste: http://www.savethefood.com/
  • Drive less: Walk, bike, ride share, Carpool, combine errands, and take public transport.
  • Protect butterflies and bees: Add more pollinator friendly plants to your yard or balcony, and eliminate your use of pesticides, and all chemicals in your home. Your family, your pets, birds and butterflies will be much healthier.
  • Reduce or eliminate beef from your diet.  Producing beef uses lots of energy! Go meatless and fishless several days a week!
  • Reduce all plastic use, and recycle, recycle and recycle everything you can. Always work for zero waste.
  • Become a climatarian: Always consider the earth when you make decisions
  • Walk: Everyday get outside to enjoy nature.
  • Finally, work to elect leaders that believe in climate change, clean air and clean water, and support clean renewable energy solutions

Ways to be a better environmental steward from Ecowatch

From Earth911 ways to be more sustainable. Read at Earth911

Love Food, Hate Waste

The challenge begins, how can we use our holiday left-over food?  My full refrigerator is daunting, and I am determined not to waste any of it. The freezer is one of our best tools to save food, but also using left overs in a new creative way: wraps, rice bowls, tacos or enchiladas, soups and stir fry. Save The Food has ideas to reduce food waste: https://www.savethefood.com/

Tonight I am serving. “Make your own rice bowl!”  choosing heated leftovers to put on a hot bowl of brown rice in the fashion of a salad bar.

Not only does wasting food, waste valuable resources and lots of water, but also food in our landfills decomposes creating and giving off methane gas which is a harmful air pollutant contributing to global warming.
From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all adds up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills. (Source: EPA)

What Do We Want?

I want a world that treats all people with respect and kindness.

Be Kind

Make improvements, not excuses. Seek respect, not attention.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart    

Eight more ways you can spread kindness. These are my ideas for a kinder week for us all:
Friday, December 8, Celebrate Friday by smiling at people.
Saturday, December 9, Bring your reusable bags shopping, and be kind to the earth.
Sunday, December 10, Practice forgiveness.
Monday December 11, Start the week right and donate to a local food shelf. Second Harvest
Tuesday, December 12, Think of that person you have been meaning to call for a while, and dial them for a positive chat.
Wednesday, December 13, Be kind to the earth and donate to Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Thursday, December 14, Make it a zero landfill waste day: Recycle, compost, and reuse.
Friday, December 15, Friday gratitude: Today think of the people you are thankful for in your life.

Other ideas for kindness: https://health4earth.com/2017/12/01/kindness-spread-it-now/

Using Food a WIN-WIN

 

 Cook it,   Soup it,   Taco it,    Stir fry it,   Eat it,   Freeze it,   Share it 

                             Be creative

How did you manage your Thanksgiving left overs? What do you generally do  with left over food? 40% of the food  in the United States is not eaten, and ends up in our landfills causing an enormous waste of our precious resources. Wasting food is an enormous waste of water, money, time, labor, energy and transportation.  The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has an incredible education campaign to inform the public how much we are wasting.  For example the production of one egg takes 55 gallons of water!Their website is savethefood.com

So let’s get creative and “Save the Food.” One of my favorite cooking activities is to reinvent leftovers into a new lunch or dinner. Stir fry, soups, tacos, enchiladas, salads, fried rice, and many other things lend themselves to create special meals of uneaten foods.

Not only does wasting food, waste valuable resources and lots of water, but also food in our landfills decomposes creating and giving off methane gas which is a harmful air pollutant contributing to global warming.
From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all adds up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills. (Source: EPA)

Have a fun holiday month, but make a creative difference by reusing, planning, seriously cutting waste, and saving food from your garbage!

The story of a strawberry here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WREXBUZBrS8

Simple things You can Do

Find a place to recycle your bottles, cans and paper.
Say “No” to plastic bags!
Bring you own shopping bag

We now have plastic in our water and in the fish we eat. Do we really want to put plastic fibers into our bodies every time we eat and drink?

I have three simple thoughts about litter and recycling today: First, countries that have less plastic have less litter. Second and third, if everyone would recycle more, and change the plastic bag habit, it would make a big difference on our planet.

Here is an interesting plastic comparison for you.  This is based on observation during the past month while I have been travelling through Central Asia and Iran. Central Asia uses very little plastic except for black plastic bags for purchases and plastic bottles for soda.  Iran by contrast uses lots of plastic. Beside plastic bottles, restaurant food, hotel towels, and many things that don’t need to be, are wrapped in plastic. Plastic cups and straws are used in Iran, but I saw none in Central Asia. Where would you guess there is a terrible litter problem? The contrast was enormous.  I brought Iranian plastic home to recycle.

Governments clearly need to become aware of the problem, and businesses like Coca Cola need to take more responsibility for the plastic they produce.

While I was thinking about this I came across an excellent essay by ECOwatch with great suggestions for everyone (see below) But keep it simple and by recycling and reducing  plastic bags you can make a big difference on our earth!

From Ecowatch:

  • Complain to retailers. Pressure retailers to do away with over-packaging.
  • Support plastic bag bans, polystyrene foam bans and bottle recycling bills.
  • Use natural clothing fiber rather than synthetic clothing, as synthetic cloth releases plastic fiber in every wash cycle.
  • Choose to reuse. Neither plastic shopping bags nor plastic water bottles can be easily recycled.
  • Deposit return schemes are highly effective ways to reduce plastic bottle waste. In Germany, where a bottle-return program is in place, nearly 98 percent of plastic bottles are returned.
  • Recycle. If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics.
  • Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.