Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Earth Day’

 

Wherever you are on our shared rock, I hope you are safe and healthy!

The challenging times we find ourselves in impact all of us–some of us much more than others. Some of us are without a partner, some of us wish we could be. Some of us are homeschooling children, some of us are teaching children remotely. Many people have lost their jobs, and many more have had to scale back their hours and subsequent pay. All of us are living with some degree of fear and uncertainty. Some of us are lucky to live close to nature so we have an escape from the fear and worry that naturally accompanies times like these, while others are isolated in tiny spaces in densely populated cities.

Our current challenges make us all vulnerable, and can drive people apart–making some desperate to hold on to whatever they have or can get their hands on (e.g., toilet paper). However, I’m personally encouraged by the positive, caring unifying sentiments many have shared or demonstrated. I’ve also been uplifted by all the humor people have shared–cuz’ we can all use a little laughter during times like this.

This time also gives pause not only to think about what’s happening, but why, and theories abound linking COVID-19 to overpopulation, a lack of respect for or understanding of nature, even climate change. Some of those connections are more tenuous, but let’s be honest–we have ravaged and abused our beautiful planet home in many ways, and maybe this is her way of crying out or fighting back. Which is why now, on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, is as good a time as any to think about how we can reduce our impact on her.

I’ve had people tell me that unless there’s a sector-wide change (e.g., automative, airline, or agricultural industry), or something overarching, like a carbon tax, that it doesn’t really matter what any one of us does or doesn’t do. I couldn’t disagree more. Think about it… Maybe you choose to do just one thing differently. You’re just one person, but then you share what you’re doing with a couple family members or friends, and your comment influences one or two of them to make a change as well. Then they go on to do the same, and the ripple grows wider. What’s more, when we make a healthy change in one area of our lives, it tends to influence other areas as well (i.e., you’re hard-pressed to find someone on a Whole30 diet who exercises regularly and smokes a pack of cigarettes a day).

The decision to make a positive change leads to exponential growth and has exponential benefits.

I’m sure you’ve seen dozens of lists of what you can do to live a little greener, but if you’re like me, every time I read one, I think of something new or I’m reminded of an area I could do better in. Here’s a handful of old, but still impactful ideas:

  1. Consume less – We live in a society of consumerism, which has proven bad for the planet on almost every level. Maybe COVID-19 has helped remind some of us about what matter most–our health, the health of our loved ones, time spent with our loved ones, etc. Making a conscious decision to buy fewer things and/or buy second hand, helps our planet and our pocketbooks. I’m not sure if this is true of where you live, but where I live, second hand shops are popping up everywhere and are “trendy,” and online stores, such as ThredUp, Poshmark, and Tradesy make clothes shopping guilt-free (or at least less guilty).
  2. Buy local – I confess I love the convenience of Amazon Prime, but when I think about all those separate truck deliveries to my house, I cringe–quite literally. Not all, but much of what I buy on Amazon can be bought at a local store in my immediate area, whether it’s a lawn tool or vegetable. Buying local produce is always better for you and the planet. Given the two little bears I have living with me, I used to buy fresh berries all year round, regardless of where they were grown. However, a few years ago, I stayed my hand as it hovered above the blueberries grown in Peru being offered to me two miles from my home. I couldn’t stomach the carbon footprint attached to those berries, and let’s face it, how fresh could they be after traveling that distance?
  3. Use earth-friendly cleaning products – I made this change over a decade ago and admit the effectiveness of some natural, biodegradable products wasn’t great 10+ years ago. However, there are many more choices available today, and most are equally effective as their chemical-laden, toxic counterparts. The one area where natural products lags is in the clothes washing realm. I have found Method laundry projects the most effective out of the natural options, but even if you don’t give up your Tide or Shout, but you switch out everything else, you’ve still done a lot to be kinder to Mother Earth.
  4. Buy organic and sustainable – whether it’s organic produce, organically grown pastured meat or sustainably-made clothing. Growing cotton uses a lot of water, which isn’t great, but if you buy organic cotton clothing or bedding, at least you have helped reduce the amount of toxic pesticides that leach into our soil and groundwater. The same goes with organic produce. And the more of us that buy organic, the more stores will buy from organic farmers, the more farmers will switch to growing organically, and so on and so on.
  5. Leave your car at home – Walking and biking offer so many health benefits–both physical and psychological, and they obviously reduce your impact on the environment. You probably don’t plan to bike to visit a loved one who lives 30 miles away, but biking or walking to get takeout or to dine at your favorite restaurant (post pandemic), and walking or biking to your local movie theater, ice-cream shop or wine bar benefits your health, the health of your community and the health of our planet.

Please join me in honoring our shared rock, our shared home, by committing to make one positive change today. Every one of us can make a difference, and every bit helps.

Be well!

 

Read Full Post »

 

earth4earth7earth8

 

I just returned from holiday in Hawaii, where I spent a week on the island of Maui. My visit reminded me how too many of us take our beautiful Earth for granted.

Maui holds a special place in my heart. My mom and her seven sisters were born and raised there, so I’ve been visiting the islands since I was 5-years-old. We went last week for holiday, but also to return the remains of my aunt–the first of the eight sisters to pass away.

I went to the same lovely bay (Kapalua Bay, aka “old Flemings”) I’ve been snorkeling in since I was young. Kapalua Bay used to be a pristine bay bordered by a relatively small but gorgeous beach with rocks to climb over on either side and a small cave on the right to shelter in during sudden downpours. You really didn’t know it was there unless you were a local or related to one. No parking lot existed–just a strip of red earth next to a chain link fence overgrown with vines. Trees, palms and thick, lush tropical vegetation grew along the entire edge of the beach, overhanging it in many places. The crystal clear water resembled the most incredible natural aquarium showcasing dozens of different species of tropical fish, moray eels, octopus and turtles, as well as sea urchins, sea slugs and other less easily identified sea creatures. I particularly love this little bay because there is a reef running along the entire mouth of the bay so one never needs to fear spotting a shark.

I have witnessed many changes to my favorite bay over the past four decades… A parking lot and signs now make it easy to find, and if you don’t arrive before 9:00am, you will have to scavenge for a parking spot along the road higher up. Most of the vegetation has been removed and luxury villas now step down the slope with the grassy border of their grounds touching the sand in several places. The rocks as you enter the water are now covered with a slimy brown seaweed, and many of the spectacular coral formations are whitening (dying due to ocean acidification).

While this may sound very depressing and worrying, I must also add how beautiful the bay still is and how resilient nature attempts to be. There are still at least two dozen species of tropical fish, I encountered a huge zebra moray and a baby snowflake moray, the water remains clear and the sea turtles (previously threatened) are now thriving.

Here are some of my photos*–many of which aren’t “pristine,” showing evidence of our role and impact on the earth, but also showing the incredible beauty and strength that continues.

earth5earth2

Please take two minutes to think about a favorite place in nature you’ve visited, and think about how you might honor it–literally or just in your heart. Then please take two more minutes to think about just ONE (more) thing you can do to help protect our beautiful Earth. I’ve shared previously with you many of the things I do to lessen my negative impact on this planet, such as eating organic and local, not buying and/or using chemical products in my home, on my body, etc., making every effort to never take a plastic bag and to almost never take any sort of bag when out shopping, driving an electric car, etc. And some of you know of my work to make a positive impact on this planet (speeding the transition from fossil fuels to renewables with Empowered by Light).

I’m conducting a waste audit at my kids’ school today as part of recognizing Earth Day, but I know I can be doing a lot more. In fact, no matter how much you’re already doing, chances are, you can easily do just one more thing.

Happy Earth Day!

* I took video of my swim underwater with a large sea turtle, but I’m not very tech savvy and can’t figure out how to share it or create a still from it!

 

Read Full Post »

 

Maybe you celebrated Earth Day 2012 by putting some plants in the ground or picking up trash around your neighborhood. Perhaps you pledged to use less or recycle more. It could be the day passed you by and you didn’t give it a second thought as you were racing about doing the types of things most of us do on weekends–picking up supplies at your local home improvement store, entertaining the kids, etc.

I didn’t do much… I walked to a park I normally would have driven to. I planted six plants in my garden. I prepared all my meals at home, and used lettuce grown in my own garden for lunch. I also made a pledge to myself (and now to those of you who read this) to consume less. But perhaps more importantly, I took a few moments simply to reflect on the Earth.

What many people forget, or simply forget to acknowledge, is that the Earth sustains us. We don’t own it. We don’t run it. You can’t even say we manage it–or if you argue we do, you can’t argue we’re doing a sorry job.

The Earth has been entrusted to us, and provided we realize the role we play and the impact we can have–both positive and negative, we can enable this amazing party to continue for generations to come.

So whether or not you did anything to celebrate the Earth today, stop now or take a minute tomorrow and just think about how unpredictable and beautiful and wondrous this planet is, and how you–even as one small, seemingly insignificant person, can have an impact.

In case you’d like a few ideas, please see “25 Ways to Live Greener.”

Read Full Post »

Cook the Beans

inspired by ingredients, smells and Travels, vegan & vegetarian

Cooking Without Limits

Food Photography & Recipes

Selma's Table

Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful - stories and recipes from a wonderful life...

Peri's Spice Ladle

Indian-inspired Food for the Global Palate

%d bloggers like this: