This blog was started, and is intended to illustrate that environmentalism happens through small acts, is not difficult, and that it does not always have to be some big life changing event that forces you to live in the tree tops with no electricity. All that being said, one of my small acts was to start this blog to gain some friends to help me save the world.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Plastic bags blow


Everyone knows that plastic bags blow.  Well I thought everyone knew, but seeing as how people still produce, sell, and distribute plastic bags, maybe everyone does not know.  So maybe it warrants a short discussion.
I think when we discuss plastic bags, so as not to bore people to tears, we can ignore the obvious environmental impact they present at the start of this chat.  Maybe a better approach is to think about the overall costs of the bags, not just on the planet but on people too.  Perhaps there is a reason they are so cheap, and can be given out at your local whatever shop.  But just because something is cheap does not mean it does not have a price, monetary, human, environmental, or otherwise.  I think that is fair to say if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.  There is always a price that someone pays, whether that me cheap labor or negative environmental influences.  And this is where I think the real lesson is for us, not always so intelligent humans, because it appears that we are sometimes slow learners.  The price we pay may not always be charged immediately, but it does not mean some nasty collector won't eventually come around.  And I think the collector is here.  The planet, as well as the animals and the people of this planet, are asking to stop using plastic bags, it is just not worth it anymore. 
We cannot get rid of these bags, and now we, as well as other life on this planet, are starting to pay for the extra baggage.  The bags clog our water systems, they pollute animal and plant life.  And for what, so you could bring a few things home from the grocery store, which could have just as easily been placed in a reusable bag.
It is actually quite funny to me, because when I was growing up (not so long ago) the grocery stores that my family frequented charged for plastic, and so to eliminate this extra cost we took our own bags.  Maybe that is why it is such a natural concept to me, take your own bags.  And honestly I get far less funky looks these days when I very politely say no thanks to plastic, wherever they may be doling it out.  
My environmental message can generally be summed up in a few short words (yeah right like whatever I say is ever short).  And that is not everything has to be easy and convenient, which is what is promised to us with a disposable lifestyle.  In fact the lies of disposable lifestyles are finally being revealed, and we should now know that simply taking any sort of reusable bag to ANYWHERE, not just grocery shops, is much better and dare I say smarter, than taking one of those pesky and always lingering plastic bags.  And guess what else, it really is just as easy and sometimes even more convenient. So haha take that plastic bags.   
Why do we need all this extra baggage?  Answer is we DON'T!  If you are like me I am sure you have enough baggage already.  So let’s applaud all those many cities that are banning plastic.  I am so proud of all the work you are doing for the citizens not only of your city, but also the planet.  I would gladly live in any one of those cities.  So please remember that it is easy to say no to plastic when it is offered, because let’s face it, plastic blows!  http://www.factorydirectpromos.com/plastic-bag-bans


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Leaves

After that last post about wanting/using/needing less stuff there was an article that appeared re: the same subject matter (http://www.becomingminimalist.com/escaping-excessive-consumerism/).  What is funny about all this, is when you really start to think about it, you can apply a minimalist attitude to just about anything.  And although this is not much of a stretch, here is my thought for the day, apply this attitude to leaves.  Seriously I wrote about this last year, do not bag your leaves, it is pointless.  If you live in a part of the world where the leaves are falling now, don't bag them in plastic, use them (make those leaves work for you).  Saving the plastic bags would make you an awesome minimalist , at least in the plastic bag department, and that is huge. Any areas where you can cut back is awesome. 
I have been relived this year, because for every yard that I have seen bags and bags of leaves sitting in waiting for pick up I have also seen at least one yard using the leaves (but just fyi I would be even more happy if we could just eradicate this silly habit all together, then we could tackle bigger items, like I do not know maybe something like ending world hunger).  Raking fallen leaves into natural areas or sucking them up with an electric blower converted into a outdoor vacuum are great alternatives to plastic.  The other option is also just to leave a few on the leaves on the ground to act as mulch for your yard.  Bottom line is you do not need the plastic bags.  
I get that I probably preaching to the choir here (please read my blog :), not too desperate) and anyone that still uses plastic to dispose of leaves would most likely not be reading this blog.  But maybe it is your neighbor that is using plastic, and maybe you can have a friendly conversation about the benefits of not putting the leaves into plastic bags, and the time, energy, and money that could be saved by not doing so.  Maybe you write to your city council, or whatever sort of local government you have, and request that leaves do not have to be bagged to be collected, but maybe just left in piles at the curb (I know they do this in some places).  It is just a thought, and I am allowed to dream right.  I mean I see this advert on the television the other night for these stretchy bin bags that are supposed to keep more plastic out of the landfill.  Well this is another way to keep plastic out of the landfill and more money in your pocket.  Seems like such a dur! concept to me.  But it is helpful for me to see this sort of stuff, like leaves in plastic bags or stupid television commercials, because it offers a gentle reminder that others might need some gentle reminders.  Quick tangent before I end the post.  I was participated in a recycling volunteer event this weekend, and I was shocked by the number of people who still refused to recycle or were unaware of what you could recycle.  Anyway lets help people who don't know.  Lets spread the word that less is more, recycling is cool, and leaves do not belong in plastic.  Be a minimalist  save the planet.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

No more stuff please

So for the last few weeks I have really been struggling with this blog.  I was not able to figure out why until I saw a friends Facebook post the other morning.  All the post said was about giving up all her clothes except for 7 complete outfits, because that is what she needs.  And that is when it struck me, my problem is that I do not want stuff any more and I guess I feel that I am becoming a bit repetitive and less creative about ways to write about this.  Let me be very clear here I have not been cured of capitalism (no such luck), and maybe that is a bad term because I am not trying to be super political.  But I am not so easily bought any more, and I want to get people to think about that, less really can be more.  I should have figured all this out when I read that minimalist article (see link below) a few weeks ago, but lets face it I am a little slow on the uptake sometimes.  Anyway I have discovered that all of this relates to my ideas of environmentalism.  There is no real advantage, for you as individual or the environment as whole, to need more stuff.  The planet cannot sustain that sort of life anyway.  A little fact that I read a while back (so may be some mis-wording here) stated that if everyone on the planet were to live as the average American did we would need at least 3 planet Earths to support those lives.  There is a huge difference between need and want, which sometimes is less apparent when there are TV adverts telling you that you need something that really you only want.  It winds up that we take more from the environment to produce more junk for ourselves that essentially will have an end life at some point in time.  And lets be honest the end life is pollution in a landfill.
The other side to this, besides the obvious environmental connections, is the humanitarian one.  I do not see on a regular basis (and maybe I should) that people all over the planet survive on very little every day, far less than what I already have.  I have everything I need and then some, but what do I need with all the some.  I guess that as I am getting older I do see more truth in the fact that more stuff you own the more your stuff starts to own you, and I do not want to be owned by anything let alone stuff.
I sometimes feel very alone in these thoughts as it is hard to convince some family and friends of these more minimal (could never call myself a true minimalist) ideals.  To quote the great wonderful and always inspiring hero of mine, John Lennon, Imagine (just for one second) no possessions, for so many now that is almost an impossible thought and for so many more that is a reality.  I can think it though, and I love that thought. Less stuff to clean, to pay for, to deal with, and less to throw away.  The environment would be so grateful.  And as the planet explodes a huge human population we need to think about less in order to help more.  This is not even about making a level playing field but just remembering that when you take away all the stuff, we all NEED (not want) the exact same things.  So try and grow your own garden, throw away and buy less stuff, want less, give more, buy second hand, do not take plastic bags, do not be bought so easily, do not live beyond your means or your planets means, remember others, have some leftover love (hey it all counts dudes).  Be smart and caring, and know that this is not crazy (at least that is what the voices in my head tell me).

http://www.treehugger.com/culture/simple-living-expert-takes-happy-minimalism-extreme.html

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Broken Record

Well here I am again about to blow your mind with some awesome words of wisdom, don't litter!  I know I must sound like a very simple out dated broken record by now, but it is true don't litter, and you can stop litter by reading this post (oh listen to me).  To me I always thought that littering was weird,  because throwing something on the ground just never occurred as option when going through my normal thought processes.  But still it happens, and sometimes it happens unintentionally, at it is those times that I am actually referencing.  Well OK you got me, this is post is not just about littering, but rather the ways we can cut back to prevent littering from even having a chance to happen (see broken record, there is such an obvious theme on this blog).  OK let me make a clear thought here.  Recently came home from a trip.  On this trip we visited an aquarium.  At the aquarium we heard a talk about an albatross, during the talk the speaker referenced the amount of plastic that pollutes the oceans where these birds hunt and how much has been found inside the birds that researchers have recovered.  It is sort of the license plate in a shark scenario.  Anyway long story short they asked all those in the audience who used their own shopping bags, and a good amount raised their hands. Felt good, lots of planet saving people in the mix.  Then they asked who used those shopping bags for more than grocery shopping and the number of hands got smaller (mine was still up, fear not I am that dork that raises her hand proudly might even offer a little wave in the hand and ooohoooh).  Then they asked how many people used reusable straws.  Well at this point I think it was my proud hand an one other.  That was bitter sweet (love being able to raise my hand  just wish more hands had been up).  I have been told that my words, ideas, actions whatever I write about are not enough to be considered a real or valuable part of helping create sustainable choices.  Well here is where I disagree.  Any action that you do to protect your planet and the life on it counts, and will add up fast if enough people start practicing.  There are so many who decide to do nothing.  Nothing is easy, I get that trust me.  But small actions do help, and they are an easy way to start doing something over nothing.  No one on this blog is asking you to live in the tree tops foraging for nuts and berries only.  So for those who scoff at me, go right on ahead.  Maybe I will not convince anyone to get rid of electricity (I still have it) or even buy a reusable straw, but guess what you don't need one.  Maybe what I may help with is convincing people just not to take those plastic straws offered in the first place.  Because really that is all it is, just thinking about your actions.  Those actions always have outcomes, good or bad.  So yes I get that going out to eat is not environmentally friendly, but there are ways to help cut down on negative factors.  Watch this going to loop back to the littering (intentional and unintentional) thing now like magic (or maybe just really bad writing).  So when you do not take that straw, or that styrofoam container, or that plastic shopping bag, you will not have to throw it away, which means it will not fly off the back of the garbage truck, and then it will not end up in a water system, which means a bird, fish, or any other type of animal will not eat or get tangled up in it.  So do not litter, say no to those straws and bags.  Save yourself the energy of having to dispose of something that could end up as littler, and feel better that you helped a bird and your planet.  Your conscious and your Mother (i know cheesey Earth reference) will thank you.  Think about all that trash that is created and where it goes, on purpose and on accident.  Then when you say no to a straw, at least you can say you did something rather than nothing.  So please don't suck, say no to straws.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

5 Tips to Reduce Toxic Chemicals in Your Child's Life

I would like to take a moment here to say how important I think guests posts are to the blogging community.  I know that even I get tired of reading myself sometimes, even though I always agree with me :).  That is why I feel it is important to hear other perspectives and ideas.  I also wanted to make this blog more of a community rather than a soapbox for me to preach from all the time.  So with all that said I would like to introduce someone who has been a great help to me in more ways than one, Shane Shirley Smith, the author of the guest post below (http://shaneshirleysmith.com/).  Enjoy!

Want More Help Protecting Your Children from Toxic Chemicals?
These days, thanks to the efforts of green bloggers like Charlotte and organizations I work with like Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, parents are getting a much needed wake up call about the toxic chemicals in their children's lives.  Parents are starting to understand the fact that harmful, toxic chemicals are lurking in the consumer products they purchase and use every single day.

Fortunately, it is becoming common knowledge to moms and dads alike that 80,000 potentially harmful chemicals are used in their consumer goods in the United States, while only a handful of those chemicals have ever been tested by our government for safety.   


Feeling Confused And Wonder How to Protect Your Kids from Toxic Chemicals? 
Although parent's are more aware of the toxic dangers lurking in their children's lives than ever before, many are still confused as to exactly how to reduce their children's exposure.  Right now, without the government's protection, it is up to us to get informed and get the information we need to keep our kids safe from the chemicals in the products we buy. To help sort through the confusion, here are 5 tips to reduce toxic chemicals in your child's life.

5 Tips to Protect Your Children From Toxic Chemicals  
Even though it is impossible to eliminate all of the toxic chemicals and their resulting health risks from your children's lives, this July and beyond, you can declare your child's independence from toxic chemicals by following these 5 tips.
  1. Reduce Your Children's Exposure to Bisphenol-A (BPA) - BPA, found in many plastics and consumer products, is one of the most widely used chemicals of all time.  It is probably circulating through your body right now as it was found to be present in 93% of 2,517 Americans age 6 and over, tested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and it is found in the cord blood of newborns.  Researchers have linked developmental exposure to BPA to reproductive harm, increased cancer susceptibility, and abnormalities in brain development and fat metabolism.  A 2011 study in Environmental Health Perspectives says that even some consumer products listed as BPA free, still leach hormone like chemicals so to protect your children, choose as many stainless steel and glass containers as possible.  Try also to reduce their intake of canned foods and drinks as BPA is still used in the lining of many cans. Since BPA is also prevalent in many cash register receipts made from thermal paper, never let your children handle them.
  2. Buy Organic as Much as Possible - When we talk about foods, organic refers to the way that agricultural products are grown and processed.  In addition to meeting other strict requirements, organic foods are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and petroleum-based fertilizers which have been linked to cancer, immune system suppression, miscarriages, Parkisnson's disease and neurological illness -  not to mention massive pollution and environmental decay.  Please also remember that it is not only organic foods that you should strive to purchase.  Look for organics in every area of your consumer purchases.  For example, non-organic personal care, products like shampoo and dental floss, may contain Perfluorinated Compounds (PFC's ) which have been linked to cancer.  And non-organic mattresses, baby products like car seats and furniture may contain toxic flame retardants (PBDEs) which have been linked to neurological and thyroid damage and may cause birth defects. 
  3. Keep an Eye On Toy Recalls - Believe it or not, heavy metals like lead are still being found in children's toys, jewelry, art supplies, clothing, shoes and even candy.  Lead exposure causes health problems, especially for young children.  Lead exposure can affect children's  developing brains and nervous systems making them suffer from shorter attention spans and making it more difficult for them to learn and read than their unaffected peers. It is important to keep an eye out for the latest recalls due to lead on the Consumer Product Safety Commissions (CPSC) website.  You can even sign up for recall updates to be sent directly to your inbox. 
  4. Get Rid of Indoor Air Fresheners - Amazingly enough, even though they cost a small fortune, the use of indoor air fresheners is on the rise.  Unfortunately though, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "household products like air fresheners, release pollutants more or less continuously."  Plus many air fresheners,  including those advertised as “all natural” or “unscented", contain phthalates which are hazardous, endcrine disrupting chemicals known to cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects, and reproductive problems. A 2010 report by the President's Cancer Panel [http://www.shaneshirleysmith.com/2011/02/why-41-of-americans-will-be-diagnosed.html] acknowledged that low doses of endocrine disruptors have health effects that contribute to the development of cancer.  NRDC’s (Natural resources Defense Council) independent testing of 14 common air fresheners, none of which listed phthalates as an ingredient, uncovered these chemicals in 86 percent (12 of 14) of the products tested.
  5. Take a Stand and Call on Congress to pass the Safe Chemicals Act - If this list makes you nervous, it i time to do more than reduce exposure and worry.  There is more that you can do to protect not only your children but children throughout the country.  Contact your Senators and let them know that it is time for a new Federal law to protect American children and their families from toxic chemicals.  Safer Chemicals Healthy Families makes it really easy and it literally takes less than 2 minutes to make a difference to help change the future health of American families.  Do it now and continue to check back in to Safer Chemicals Healthy Families for updates on how close we are to making this important change for the health of our future.
Our future depends on our knowledge and actions. What choices will you make today that will change your health and the health of our world tomorrow? Together we CAN find the path that will lead us to a greener, healthier future. - Shane D. Shirley-Smith




P.S.- People always ask me where I get my organic food and personal care products and I love to tell them about The Green PolkaDot Box! Backed by the Organic Consumer's Association and EnvironmentalBooty.com, you can easily buy NonGMO organic groceries, including Harvest Fresh Organic produce, at wholesale pricing online.  It's like a Sam's club but focused on products for green, healthy living! You can even shop by dietary restrictions like gluten free, vegan or diabetic and it all comes right to your front door. Enjoy!

Sources: http://www.shaneshirleysmith.com/2011/02/why-41-of-americans-will-be-diagnosed.html
http://www.shaneshirleysmith.com/2011/03/how-to-live-greener-healthier-bpa-free.html
http://naturalsociety.com/organic-conventional-food-differences/
http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.1003220
Safer Chemicals Healthy Families
Organic Trade Association
http://www.unacceptablelevels.com/

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Waste, yuck!

First off I would like to apologize for having been away.  Unfortunately I have no exciting excuse for my absence, nothing fun to report just been very uninspired in the writing department (and I am sure the world sighs a collective sigh of relief, wow burn :)).  It is just that the voices in my head that tell me what to do have been quite dormant, and therefore my life and writing has been quite dull.  As I am sure everyone's is when the voices in their head stop telling them what to do.  Oh that is just me, ok whatever.  Well the voices are back, and they are screaming right now.  They are screaming about waste.  There is nothing nice about that word, waste it is just horrible.  I must admit I am not exempt from being forced to use that word in my own vocabulary about my own actions.  Waste has come to the forefront of my attention because I noticed that in my own house it was happening quite a lot.  Mostly when it came to food.  I think I have mentioned this before, but everyone in this particular household is very picky regarding food.  The only ones who are not are the dogs (we have so much to learn from our tiny four legged friends).  Anyway it is food waste in particular that made me look into the compost, trash, disposal question that I had been pondering for so long (I mean we are talking hours here).  And just as I suspected my hypothesis was correct, I am a scientific genius, composting is the best way to dispose of organic food waste.
Now let me be clear on two things here.  1, I am not condoning waste, especially food waste and using composting as my scapegoat.  Trust me when I say that I am working on ways to reduce the amount of waste that happens in this house.  Not an easy task, but is one that is manageable.  2, my composting skills were diminishing since we moved we lost our composting bin.  But alas I discovered that a structure is not necessary when composting.  A pile of organic material works just fine (http://www.composting101.com/how-it-works.html)
So anyway to make a long story short, I am back and composting at full force.  We are making food portions smaller on the plates or certain ones that were not always able to finish.  As always were are saving leftovers.  But mostly we are trying to be more aware of our actions, especially around food.  It is easy to forget just how precious food is and there should never be any excuse to waste it.
Now just quickly back to the trash vs. disposal issue.  I was did some light research and found that food waste going to the landfill is a big contributor of green house gas emissions.  I also found that putting food waste down a disposal in the sink creates more work for your local water treatment plant.  Which also has an environmental price (great article http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_green_lantern/2008/09/should_we_dispose_of_disposals.html).  So bottom line do not waste food.  Buy and eat only what you need.  Better yet if you can, grow as much as you able, then buy, and then eat what you need.  Every little bit helps.  And side note my tomatoes are way better than the ones from the store, just saying.  But if you do have any organic material leftover compost it rather than tossing it.  And if you can't compost feed the birds with some of it and look up to see if your home city has a way to compost.  Oh and if they don't maybe start one.  No I am not being bossy I just planting little ideas, because that is what the voices are telling me.
Second side note, there have been two things happen to me recently that did make me feel good, at least on the taking less plastic/styrofoam front.  One incident happened at a local Greek fest that we went to.  I will say the festival is a lot of fun, but the real pull for me is the food.  Beside the super delicious baklava, there are these little doughnuts call loukoumades.  Basically they are like crack, because they are so good that you cannot eat just one, but there is no way in Hades (hope that is Greek and not Roman) that they are good for you.  Anyway they were serving these doughnuts in styrofoam, but I asked the people behind the counter if I could  have my order placed in my own reusable container, and instead of getting the  strange looks or just the big fat NO's that I normally get, they were super happy to oblige.  I was thrilled.  Then later on in the week I was in the drug store that our family frequents, and the lady behind the counter remembered me and remembered that I prefer to put the items in my own bag rather than a plastic one.  Anyway these are pretty small actions but they made a huge difference to me.  It is ok to say no to plastic, to take your own container.  People may look funny at you know but I guarantee one day it will be the norm, or maybe even mandatory.  You can still enjoy yourself and reduce your impact at the same time.  They do not have to be separate.  In fact it should be encouraged.  That should do it for me today.  Hope everyone is well.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Framing

The other day in the car there was an interesting article on the radio.  It was discussing how social scientists have discovered that re-framing global warming might be the ticket to get people to care.  Apparently we are all so selfish that we care very little about humans effects on the planet, but if we turn that around to make global warming affect human health then we give a hoot.  And the effects of global warming do affect your health, but that is not what this post is about.  Anyway, it sounded so funny to me, but I can totally see what they were saying.  And if re-framing works then I am happy to go along with it.  If it gets people (especially those who under normal circumstances would do nothing) to do something then I see that as advancment.  But I was thinking, why can't we re-frame environmentalism, not just global warming, as a whole.  Instead of trying to sell people on saving a planet, why don't we sell people on being financially savvy.  All of my small acts of environmentalism I do because I honestly care (but who cares about that), the money saving part is just an added bonus.  And it is a bonus I enjoy and take pride in, since I am a cheap skate.  So I say lets roll with it.  Not everyone has money to burn, most of us schmo's have to watch our money, so why not highlight ways to save money.   I hate to admit this, but I was at a county fair the other night, and I went in with so many negative ideas of what it was going to be like, but I was pleasantly surprised.  One of the booths was a group called something like sustainable living (cannot remember the exact name).  And you know one of the displays they had was a clothes line.  See this is what I am saying, we can re-frame this whole concept for cheap-o's like me. Now I am no mathematician, but I do know that the cost of a clothes line and some clothes pins is much cheaper (less than) the cost of an electric dryer.  Now there are degrees to how far people want to participate and how much they want to do, and I get that (I still have electricity).  But that is always my point the more people that do small acts the greater the results.  Better to do something than nothing.  And if that something helps your wallet at the same time, enjoy that bonus for caring enough to do something in the first place.  Everyone is always trying to sell you something and this sales pitch is how you can save some dough.  So come on lets be cheap I mean financially savvy together and OK we will maybe help the planet as well.
I would also like to take this chance/post to reiterate my love for vinegar.  Vinegar is cheap (see what I did there) and less offensive to the planet than other chemicals that you could chose to use.  I once again burned something the other night.  I know, don't even ask.  And once again white vinegar came to the rescue and saved my pan.  Yes I did have to let it soak over night, but it is now so clean and shiny and the elbow grease I had to apply was minimal.  And I have also recently found out that vinegar also works on pet stains.  I was reading that the vinegar kills bacteria and it deodorizes the stain, and it is way cheaper (re-framing, cost saving tactic) than the stuff you can buy in the shops.  What you do is, pour, spray, or blot some vinegar on the spot and let it sit for a while.  Scrub the spot until the stain is gone.  Baking soda also works on these sort of stains as well, but I prefer the vinegar.  And I also read that you can use lemon juice to eliminate the lovely pet smells.
So as always thanks for reading.  And I hope that the some of the information is useful.  Have a great day.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Some great articles.

http://www.globalonenessproject.org/library/articles/living-just-enough

This is an awesome article, and I could not have said it better myself.  Well actually I could not have said it better, 1. because it is very well written, and 2. because I could not string together two coherent sentences together about the Edo period.  Anyway please read because it is very good.

The second article is very short.  It is so awesome, so smart, and so true.  Really gives you something to think about.  Not only about being a minimalist for environmental reasons, which are very good reasons, but also for reasons based in wanting to end suffering for all humanity.  Great read.

http://www.treehugger.com/culture/simple-living-expert-takes-happy-minimalism-extreme.html

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Trash

Well it has been a while since I have written anything and this is how I am going to start off, by bragging.  The last few weeks my household (which is a 3 people of various sizes, and 2 dogs also of various sizes) have had a bag (please note bag refers a small grocery sized bag)  or less (which means nothing) to put in our big wheeley bin that you stick out by the curb.  I must say that I am pretty proud of this accomplishment.  But it does leave me with a dilemma, do I take the bin to the curb on trash day or do I leave it.  So many problems so little time, what is a girl to do?  Anyway so I (re)present the green challenge of the day, week, month, or whatever you want to make it, see if you can have a trash free day.  I have found it is really pretty easy, and if I can do it I swear anyone can.  The rules: you can recycle, compost, and save/reuse, you just cannot toss anything in the bin that would end up in the landfill.  Easy enough.  If you are brave enough to take the challenge let me know how you do.
Now while we are on the subject of trash, check out http://www.facebook.com/events/361832557226137/.  Septemeber 22nd there is an event called Global Litter Clean up.  This goes along with another challenge I presented a while back, but someone has actually organized something a bit better than me, shocker.  Anyway it is worth checking out and participating in, if for no other reason than to go outside and enjoy the weather as it starts to cool down or warm up (depending upon where you live).
Now the last thing I wanted to chat about was not trash, but if we stretch we can make a connection, creepy crawleys.  Now I witnessed to murders the other day, it was pretty horrific, I witnessed 2 small spiders get stomped on for no other reason than the person was scared.  Well we all no how I feel about snakes being killed (see previous awesome posts), and spiders are in that same category.  So I would just like to remind people who are scared of spiders or any other creepy crawly, know what you are killing and why you are killing it before you kill it (that makes sense in my head).  All I mean there is a lot of those spiders that get stomped on may eat the little pesky bugs or mites or whatever else may actually cause harm.  So yes squash a mosquito if it lands on you because there is a threat there, they can carry disease and they make you itch.  But the spiders or centipedes or whatever else you have crawling around help to keep those bad populations in check.  Just like the snakes and lizards eat the pests and bugs that we do not want to get out of control.  I am just saying thinking about it for one second please please please.  And always remember they are way more scared of you than you are of them.  Peace out.

Vote for the Planet

http://votefortheplanet.org 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I have nothing to call this but life


Not sure why so much of my inspiration to write comes from debates (not arguments) that I have.  And not sure why I have so many arguments, oh I mean debates.  Anyway with this post I would like to say that I am not going to get all deep and philosophical on you, because let’s face it I couldn't even if I wanted, I like swimming in the shallow end.  And let me start off by saying this is absolutely in no way is a pro-life vs. pro choice discussion.  But twice in the last 8 months I have been put in these hypothetical situations where I have to choose one life (already born and moving about etc.) over the other.  And each time I have tried to make a point, that has failed me and I end up being misunderstood.  Now I get that people who I had these discussions with probably do not read anything on this blog and honestly do not care what the point was that I was trying to make, but I still feel like I need to make said point (for just a quick second and then I will let it all go).  
If my family or anyone, and for that matter anything, was in any sort of life threatening danger I would of course do anything in my power to save them, that is a given and should never be question.  I hope I am never put in any situation like that for many obvious reasons.  How successful I would be I am not sure, I have a feeling I would wet myself and pass out, but all intentions would be to save a life.  And there is my point; to save life.  The people posing the question to me offered me the choice of a baby and a puppy and said if I had to which one would I kill.  Well the answer is I would do whatever I could to save both.  There answer was immediately to kill the puppy.  And that bothers me greatly (as my answer bothered them).  It is that total disregard to another living being that upsets me.   This is where the debate became more lively. 
Here is my point, all living things are necessary for the survival of other living things.  Chose to love and respect all life, it is not hard (and for me much easier than killing something).  Because humans can talk and reason does not make us better than puppies, or trees, or whatever, it just means that we can talk and reason.  It is those that think they are better and could say so easily that they would crush something to death that scares me.  No regard for life.  And no regard for what I was trying to say because they were so blinded by destroying something to save what they saw as more valuable.  Humans are not better than the rest of the living things on this planet.  But because humans think that way is why we are in the mess we are currently in, no respect for anything other than ourselves.  And unfortunately we are learning the lesson that all life depends on each other much too late.  If I see someone hurting a dog I would do whatever I could to stop them, or a baby, or an old lady, or a tree.  I may be the only person to hold these type of views (but I doubt it) but I do think it is important to here the other side in order to form a complete argument next time you ask me to kill something.  Think about how stupid these hypothetical questions are, because I have a feeling if anyone that talks big would act a bit different given live circumstances.  I offer no harm to anyone, and even those who may be threatening something in some way I would still try to save rather than destroying the thing that is doing the threatening.  Again maybe this is big talk since I have never been forced to act on these words.  But I can honestly say that (at least I think/hope I would) I would always try to save rather than hurt or destroy.  That is all; now back to the shallow end where I can think only happy thoughts.

I have friends; and the evolution of Leftover Love

This title is probably hard to believe for some, but it helps me.  Anyway I have a friend who has been a great supporter of Leftover Love.  So much so that she even designed those awesome magnets I shared in another post.  Well this friend had made the suggestion to me about taking your own chopsticks when eating chopstick worthy food.  Well now that is a lovely idea, and it got me to thinking.  One, I need to learn how to eat with chopsticks.  And two why does it have to be just chopsticks?  So expanding and evolving the Leftover Love idea even more, why not keep whatever utensils handy so that you can continually stop the use of disposable items that may be offered to you when you go out.  OK so maybe you do not walk around with a bunch of cloth napkins in your bag, or maybe you do, if that is the case, good for you.  But carrying a reusable straw, or a reusable knife and fork, and for those with the talents that allow them to eat with chopsticks, reusable chopstick (side note I have a pair, so if anyone would like them please let me know) is pretty easy to do.  None of these items would take up much space, where ever you decide to keep them, and they would all help cut down on the use of disposable items that are constantly thrown at us.  I know that for some this may not be an easy idea, but to me it is a good idea.  It does not have to apply to food items, but lets face disposable seems to be all over the food industry.  So anyway take your own fork, save some plastic, help the planet.

Also I wanted to offer up a social experiment if anyone is interested in participating.  It is not difficult and requires you to do nothing weird.  All you have to do is next time you are watching a television program with ads in it, just say stupid after each add.  It is really fun.  You can say it in your head or out loud (just depending where you are watching the television).  But just saying it offers a gentle reminder that so much stuff that is shoved down our throats is crap no matter how pretty they make it look.  Give it a try, that is all. 


Just a few more great sites

Just wanted to share a few more great sites that I stumbled across.

This first one is a site that recycles plastic cups and bottle caps.  It all adds up.
http://capsncups.com/about.htm

This second site offers people the ability to reduce plastic.  Some interesting ideas.
http://www.theplasticfreetimes.com/refuse-single-use-disposable-plastic

Enjoy!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

An Opinion Piece


Recently I had an (albeit a very weak) online debate regarding what some saw about the value, or lack thereof, of Leftover Love (see previous posts) in the grand efforts offered in the name of environmentalism.  The case was that it was a not a worthy cause because of the amount of gas it would take to go out for a meal.  All of this has sent my brain on a wild ride of coming up with thoughts (not at all arguments) to defend what I see as very worthwhile cause.   So this is my opinion piece (look at me pretending like the rest of the posts are 100% objective) to discuss the problem of narrow-mindedness. 

As has been the recurrent theme on this site, small efforts count.  You do not have to live in the tree tops to care about the environment.  I was at the grocery store earlier (oh my gosh I forgot to grow my own tea and grind my own flour, not too snarky I am sure) and the lady at the till was bagging the groceries was putting one item in one plastic bag.  And all I could think about is how is trying to stop this not a worthy environmental goal.  Yes I had to drive to the shop, and yes I bought stuff that maybe I could have done without or made myself (actually that is not true, since the other thing I got was milk and I do not have a cow).  But given my current abilities I am not able to live off the grid and survive.  And I am sure that I would be unable to convince anyone else to give up everything they know to do so as well.  That is not how I see change coming about.  And while I admire the people that are able to live more self sustainable lives, I do not think that said people should scoff at the actions of someone that still use electricity.  How will we accomplish anything doing that?

Small actions count, just as much as big action, sometimes more.  If you can convince someone who has never thought about the value of protecting the environment to do a small green act, I see that as a big win.  If you can get even one person to think about the consequences of their actions then I believe we have made a giant step forward.  These actions, like taking your own grocery bag or your own reusable container to a restaurant are just as important as someone who is able to commute by riding their bike or walking to the store/restaurant.   I get that not all people are able to ride their bikes.  And I also get that I am not going to convince everyone to grow/raise their own food and stop going out to eat.  Unfortunately, there are many on this planet that are forced to survive in a capitalistic society (not saying that is right or wrong).  And sometimes people are distracted by big pretty shiny objects (or yummy food) that capitalists sell.  Does it make me a bad person if sometimes I fall prey to the big pretty shiny thing and want it?  I don’t know, maybe, I guess it depends on who you ask; the point is that how this society functions.  But this is not a debate about capitalism, nor is it the answer to solve all human made problems.  There is no answer, if there was life would be a lot different and I would not be writing this.  So to me that means we need to look at multiple approaches and multiple answers.  It does not mean one solution is more right than the other.  Just because you cut your power usage down by 50% does not make you more dedicated or concerned about the environment than one who takes their own container to a restaurant or cuts down on paper towel use.  I mean how much energy does it take to make a Styrofoam container?  What are the effects of that container sitting in a landfill or worse yet someone’s water supply?  They are all equally valuable choices, and the more people we can get on board doing each of them, or all of them, or just a portion of them, will help significantly.  At least I think so.  I just do not see the value in discouraging any efforts to help improve and create more environmental awareness.  We should work together and little bit more, especially those in the same camp.  We might see some bigger results that way, and maybe the bagger at the store will put multiple items in one bag or better yet offer an alternative to paper or plastic bags.  I am just saying that spitting contests get us nowhere.

One of the points made on the other side of this debate was that our great grandparents were self sufficient, and that we could all learn something from that generation.  Well that may be true for some, but my great grandparents were not self-sufficient.  What they were (at least mine) was much more practical and resourceful, and had more of an appreciation for the value and cost of things.  So while I agree that we could learn from our great grandparents, maybe we do not have to think about them all living on self sustaining farms, and feel bad because we do not, but rather remember to appreciate what we have, not be wasteful, and wise in our choices.  

There was one last item that was mentioned by the other debater that has bothered me.   And I fully admit this is now me being nitpicky, but it was about travel.   He mentioned that he had traveled to China and saw a lot of people riding their bikes.  Well that is great, but I am sure this person did not ride his bike to China, and for someone who wants to promote a sustainable life, not sure were gas guzzling jet engines fall into that equation.  I love to travel, and understand that there is an environmental cost with it, but I see it such value in other areas.  But again that was not addressed.  I guess I will end here, and say that I know that going out to eat (and traveling) increases your carbon foot print, but any effort to reduce the size of that foot print should be encouraged, especially by others who claim to care about the planet.  I think we could accomplish a lot more working together and promoting all environmentally friendly ideas.  I heard and appreciate all of his arguments, and admire all of his efforts, but do not think that efforts to reduce waste should be brushed off so casually.  Just saying.


Friday, August 3, 2012

House Keeping

Since I started this blog I must say that I feel much more educated in certain parts of my life.  For instance I think that I write much gudder, ahaha I am teasing I know I do not write gud at all :) (oh my super awesome and not at all lame sense of humor never fails).  Anyway I do feel that I am a bit more wise when it comes to trying to keep certain chemicals out of our house and in turn out of other areas that do not need chemicals.  So here are my latest ways to clean house without chemicals.
1.  Vinegar (white).  I know we have already discussed this wonderful product here before but some recent events have brought it back into the spotlight.  I cannot cook, I try, but I generally fail.  My family has come to believe that all foods are not cooked unless they are completely blackened, as I have a tendency to burn stuff.  Anyway I burned a pot the other night, will not get into what I was doing or what burned (all too embarrassing) but it did.  I thought the pot was ruined.  I soaked in in soapy water, I scrubbed, and I then gave up and figured I would have to get a new pot.  Until I read online about soaking in in vinegar.  So I thought what the heck I will give it a try.  And omg the pot has never been so shiney.  All the burnt charcoal I had thought would never come off, did.  All I did was soak and rinse that bad boy.  So all I have to say is thank you vinegar.
2.  Still on this white vinegar kick.  So not sure if anyone else has been reading about how bad fabric softener is because of the many toxic chemicals.  I hate that it is bad because I do love soft and nice smelling clothes, but hate poison.  So as I have done before I went back to vinegar.  It is a great fabric softener.  And the smell does not stay on the clothes, so I do lose that nice smell, but everything is super soft and I love that.  Plus vinegar is so cheap, much cheaper than fabric softener (and it is good on fish and chips, again I kid that is a different vinegar, talking about white vinegar here not delicious malt).
3.  Now besides burning everything beyond recognition that I try to cook  I also have a problem killing all the green plants I try to grow in the garden.  Not all the time but a good portion of the time my plants die.  What I can grow is weeds (haha not weed silly, weeds like dandelions etc.).  Anyway I had seen online about boiling water being used as a way to kill weeds, and guess what they were not wrong (someone was doing their homework), because it really works.  Just pour some boiling water on the weeds, hopefully they are not in or around any plants or grass you want to keep, and bam they are gone.  It took less time to get rid of the weeds than chemicals did, it is much safer, and once again it is way cheaper.  So look out weeds I have the kettle boiling a lot more.  There are a few other chemical free methods of getting rid of weeds on the site daily green (http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/boiling-water-weed-killer#fbIndex2).
Anyway that should do it for me today.  Well I do have one more thing, I was recently given the opportunity to write a guest post on the awesome site Planet Save (http://planetsave.com/2012/07/31/leftover-love/, yes more shameless self promotion so kill me).  Of course I wrote about Leftover Love.  But there was a comment left about the post that I found very interesting.  It was about how the person did not think humanity was worth saving, because the planet would survive without homo sapien sapiens running around messing it up.  While the latter part may be true, while we are here I don't want to suffer. I do not want others to suffer, and I do not want the planet to suffer.  It may all be for selfish reasons that I want to try and save the planet and the people, animals, and all the other good stuff too, but they are still valid reasons.  I do think it is worthwhile and so I say to everyone, please try and make it a green day, if not for you, then do it for me and the rest of the world that does not want to breathe in smog or drink (if they are lucky enough to have access to water) polluted water.  Doesn't take much.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The obvious

So I made the title of this post as obvious as I hope I make the point of this post, because that is what it is all about, finding the obvious.  There are so many things that we can do during our daily routines to help reduce waste, save money, or well anything really.  And they are so obvious that I think they are sometimes over looked, especially people like me.  For example.  We have a room upstairs in our house that gets really warm during the summer.  Since we are all to cheap in this house to lower the A/C any more than it already is (76 F is it, absolute lowest setting we go to) we started looking into other (cheap) ways to help cost effectively and efficiently manage the upstairs temperature.  Some quick online research and bam found a bunch of solutions.  The ideas that we found were actually so obvious we all had a duuuuuurrrr moment.  A few of them we were already doing, but there were a few that we put into place.  One obvious, dur, suggestion was close the blinds (can honestly say we were doing this one, phew otherwise we would have looked pretty stupid).  Makes a lot of sense right.  So just break it down for a second and it is sooooo obvious.  If it is more efficient for you to use the natural light rather than closing the curtains and turning on an electric light then leave the curtains or blinds or drapes or whatever you call them open.  But if the sun is making your A/C run nonstop then close the curtains or blinds or drapes or whatever.  The other thing was to close all the vents downstairs (which stays a lot cooler anyway because little science class refresher hot air rises, ok I am finished) and force a little extra of the colder air from the aircon upstairs.  This we were only doing in certain rooms, but again pretty obvious, but we have expanded to the whole house.  Not a huge difference in the room upstairs, but enough to make it tolerable to be up there now.  And oh yeah did I mention that all the suggestions do not cost anything extra than what you are already paying for power.  There were other ideas but they required money and time to install some sort of attic fan and other fans that go on your A/C vents but I just wanted to point out the obvious and free ones (of which I am sure there are more if I were to keep looking).  Being environmentally conscious really is just paying attention to the obvious.  It is sort of like the leftover thing.  Sometimes I think I fail to mention the obvious on that idea too.  Beyond the fact that taking your own container saves a bunch of resources, eating leftovers also saves resources as well.  (Side note: it is also actually healthier to have leftovers b/c it helps cut down your portion size, just saying).  But eating leftovers reduces waste and the all the  additional resources that would have had to go into producing more food for you to eat.  Waste not want not (try to remember the number of people on this planet that go to sleep hungry, always helps me to waste less).  I guess the whole point of this post is just to step back for a minute and scan to see what other obvious solutions are staring us right in the face.  We (and by we I mean me) have a wonderful knack and tendency to over complicate things, and that forces us (still mean me) to miss the easy solutions.  Just saying.  If you have any obvious suggestions that you find useful please feel free to share.

Junk Mail

There was a mix up with our mail, long story will not bother to bore you with the details, but because of this mix up we started getting a lot of adverts and junk mail again.  So I thought it might be a good idea to re-share the do not mail site that I have found in the past to be very helpful with reducing the amount of junk mail we receive.   http://www.directmail.com/directory/mail_preference/.  Junk mail is very expensive in many different ways, so if you do not want it, taking your name off of mailing lists will help save a lot of resources. 


Friday, July 20, 2012

Doing the laundry

I was chatting with a lovely person last weekend and she was telling me about how to make your own laundry detergent.  What a lovely and brilliant idea.  As when I hear most great ideas, such as this, I immediately thought of putting it on my super fun blog.  So did a little research and found many great recipes for homemade laundry detergent.  One I liked the best (because it was the easiest) was on another blog I came across when researching.  The blog is  http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com  The recipe was simple:
3 Tablespoons Borax
3 Tablespoons Washing Soda
2 Tablespoons Dawn Dish soap
Put these ingredients in a one gallon jug. Pour 4 cups boiling water into the jug. Swirl until ingredients are dissolved in the liquid. Let liquid cool. Then fill almost to the top with cold water. The bubbles will overflow out of the bottle.
I love this because you can pick an awesome scent with the Dawn dish soap. This dish soap works the best because it gets grease out. (recipe found at 
 http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/02/no-grate-homemade-laundry-soap.html).

The only thing I would change is Dawn, since I do not use any proctor and gamble products, but I am sure that most dish liquids would work and you can find lost of nice smelly ones that are not made by P&G.

Anyway there were a million recipes out there.  And as with most ideas that I like, it is easy and cheap (I know I am setting myself up there with the easy and cheap comment, but lets refrain.)


When I do my first load I will be sure to tell everyone about it!

Always with the Leftover Love


Went to a green event the other night.  First off I would like to say that it is always comforting to meet and interact with other dedicated stewards of the environment.  But at this meeting I realized I may need to make sure that I am perfectly clear about this leftover love stuff.  Very simply the concept is based on the individual making a choice on behalf of the planet.  All you do is take your own personal reusable container to restaurants for a doggy (leftover) bag.   This saves having to take home styrofoam or any other disposable doggy bag that the restaurant may provide.  Now I need to be clear that this does not apply to take out orders.  There are some silly health codes that get in the way there.  But if you dine in, and do not finish what is on your plate (guess all the clean plate club members do not have participate) then you are free to use your own container.  Building upon this idea is the incentive program.   This is were the restaurants offer an incentive, like a percentage of your bill or a free dessert, to those who bring in their containers (which has been started locally and hopefully will continue to expand, but even if it doesn’t still take your own container).  Really just think of it like taking your own reusable grocery bags.  Just instead of bags you take containers and instead of going to the grocery store you go to a restaurant.   Let’s keep it simple and save the planet. 



Monday, July 16, 2012

So this is a hard one

Really this is a hard post for me to write, talk about being a hypocrite.  Since I literally have a foot made out of lead,  since I have 9 to 10 (you sort of lose count after a while (I think the cops have only threatened to arrest me once or twice, again who is counting)) tickets, and since I think I have some freak gene (this is self diagnosed there is no scientific evidence to back this one up, but I think we all know I have a freak gene somewhere in me) that makes me do it, driving the speed limit is a challenge.  But as I am always looking for ways that I can help better serve the planet I thought I would give it a try.
OK so really since we had our son I have slowed down a lot in the car.  I mean there are obvious safety reasons for going (at least somewhere close to) the speed limit.  But as this blog is dedicated to environmentalism, today we will focus on the environmental benefits for driving at the designated speeds.  So let me try and break down some of what I understand to be reasons why driving the speed limit help.  You brake less.  That is a good thing, each time you have to break (or weave, or whatever you do) to slow down because you are speeding you are reducing the fuel efficiency of the car.  You are also have less air resistance as you go slower which reduces drag.  Pretty sure that right about now I should segue into some very complex physic based explanation, but instead I will totally cheat and offer a few sites that may help explain a little bit better  http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/driveHabits.shtml  and http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-153R.
One thing I can say please never let your car run or idle if you are not driving.  If you are stopped on a driveway in a parking lot, stop the car.  Running the AC or whatever else you may require is just not worth it.  Turn the car off think about what running the car is doing, oh yeah releasing lot of lovely CO2.
So I am going to end here.  Even if you do it for safety reasons alone, that is good enough for me.  And I will continue to improve my speed limit skills, and practice this common sense, easy, and semi-free (minus the cost of the actual car and gasoline) approach to protecting the environment.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Research

As expected Monday has crept back up on us all, and now it is time for me to write something about living life to the fullest.  OK I need to make sure to make something clear this blog is still dedicated on fun easy ways to help protect the environment.  But why can't that be how someone lives life to the fullest.  So here is my suggestion for the day, research.  I was going to write about being happy, and then I was going to write about being patient, and then (yes I had another one) I was going to write about playing with your kids (if you have them of course, that could get a bit sticky if you don't).  Anyway but as I was brainstorming all those fabulous ideas (don't worry maybe I will wow you with my pearls of wisdom choke, cough, sigh, next week) I thought that research might align a bit more with the environmental theme.  What do I mean.  Research something you like, maybe you will like it even more, maybe less.  But no matter what you will be a little bit wiser and that is a big win.  Research how to help, how to serve, or better your community.  This does not have to be so huge monetary donation, but maybe your time.  Who knows, you will have to research your options.  Research about the companies you buy stuff from.  I know I have, and I have changed my spending practices and I now look for specific companies that I feel help better serve the planet.  Over all it is a win/win.  Research ways to bring about world peace, see that is an easy one right.  But maybe if lots of us look into it we can make it happen.  OMG how awesome would that be?  You may not like some of the results you find, but like I said you may feel a little bit smarter.  Now I get it is hard to decipher what is right, true, and valuable.  But at some point we have to make our own decisions based on our own research.  Own your thoughts and opinions, shop smart, read more, bring about world peace, and research.  Don't let bossy people or companies tell you what to like or buy, figure it out yourself, do some research.  Just a small way to live life to the fullest and oh I don't know help better yourself, humanity, and the planet.  You know nothing major, just all part of a normal week!
Participate to Live a Little blog hop! Write a blog post how you “live a little,” what’s your small way of living life to the fullest and add your blog post to the InLinkz widget above. Rules: Link either to Skimbacolifestyle.com, OR get the InLinkz code for your post – or do both! If you post the widget in your blog post, please add these rules as well.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Just in case anyone is interested

http://www.zazzle.com/i_love_leftovers_t_shirt-235931003014202227

All proceeds that randomcharlotte.com receives will be donated to a local green charity.  And watch out b/c randomcharlotte.com has already made $2.40, woohoo!!!

But wait there is more now.  http://www.zazzle.com/leftover_love_magnet-147144699035789509  Thank you Allie.





Friday, June 29, 2012

Help for the victims of the Colorado Wildfires

Unfortunately (I say unfortunately since the circumstances around this post regard a major natural disaster)  an opportunity has arisen that demonstrates how once again the small actions of many can add up to big change.  So as many of you are aware there have been wildfires in the Western part of the US that are causing massive destruction.  Colorado in particular has been hit hard.  Not only are the natural landscapes torched, but also to peoples' communities and homes.  If you are interested in helping out the many people that have lost their homes, as well as everything in those homes, please check out some of the below links. Remember every little bit counts.  Thanks.

http://www.5280.com/blogs/2012/06/27/colorado-fire-five-ways-you-can-help


http://careandshare.org/


http://www.kktv.com/news/wildfire-help

http://www.facebook.com/ColoradoWildfireRelief

Be present


So just for a minute we are going to stray away from the environment and discuss a recent discovery I have made.  Now I will start this post, as I have with many others, with a disclaimer.  This is not advice I am doling out here, because everyone knows I am the last person to be offering this kind of advice.  But what this is, is more of a suggestion, something I found that works for me (since let’s be honest I am the one that needs lots of help and I know it) and thought was worth sharing.  So just keep that in mind while reading (yes I am again pretending like I have people that read my words it is ok my delusions keep me happy).  So I begin.  I read a great article (and have been reading many others like it recently) that discuss ways to let go and be present.  The specific article ( http://blog.sfgate.com/morford/2012/06/26/101-easy-steps-to-having-it-all/ ) I am referring to was written as a counterargument (that word may be too strong here, but let’s go with it) to the Slaughter article, "Why Women Still Can't have it All".  And the counterargument was a simple statement, to be present.  Now please do not get me wrong the Slaughter ( http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-can-8217-t-have-it-all/9020/?single_page=true) article offered many great arguments and ways to think about things, ways that I actually agree with and would like to see changed.  But I have recently found that that kind of thinking does not help or benefit me, instead it tends to overwhelm me.  I still want to think and create positive and intelligent change, but I do not want to do it in a way that consumes me or makes me think in a negative light.  That comes way too easy for me, thinking in a negative way.  Being present and letting go is not quite as natural, and I really cannot even define it in generic terms.  I have always been told my entire life to let stuff go and not worry so much.  After I have seen the effects of holding on to some many petty things, I finally see that value in that advice.  Sure, some may say I have learned too late, but better late than never.  So what being present means for me, and how it helps me, is when I get overwhelmed, cranky, whiny, and negative, or start thinking in doom and gloom terms, I stop (in my head) and just try to be present.  It is a way to try and change your thought patterns and in turn some negative habits.  Be present, be grateful, be thankful and lighten up.  There are things to worry and stress about sure, and this is not a cure to make you 100% stress free.  Exhibit A: I still have stress, but now I seem to stress out a little less and not over everything (gulp, some of the time).  So when I catch myself about (or even after the fact) to say something negative I now stop, and try to be present.  It is just an extra step that I have added to my thought process to try and overcome bad ugly habits.  If I am whining because I have to do so many loads of laundry I stop, think about being present, and for me it takes me to a place where I say thank you, instead of whining.  I have laundry to do, but so many do not, they have worse issues to deal with.  So I stop whining.  It humbles me and then I think about how I do not need as much as I am told I need, and heck it might even help motivate me to clean out my closet (which it has needed for a while) and donate something to those who do need it.  Then they can complain about laundry, I kid I kid.  Look, you will get through everything, because at some point it all passes.  You get through a crappy day at work, you get through a traffic ticket,  you get through doing the laundry.  I know it all sounds small and petty but it is generally the petty things that I bring up the most.  Now this is not a religious thing, and as I mentioned at the start this is not me giving out self help advice, it is me finding some self help, and finding something that actually works for me.  It does not require a lot, just slowing down for less than a second to think and be aware.  Just thinking about being present adds a filter to my mouth so that I do not blurt out some garbage that benefits no one.  I am forced to constantly be aware of what I say and do and how that affects others.  Not everyone needs to hear my opinion all the time (and that is why I have a blog, omg what is wrong with me I need more help than I thought).  Now I am not saying this is a cure all, and I am not saying I am perfect now and only say great, wonderful, wise things, and I am not even saying that I will do this forever.  But the goal is to change some of my negative habits and make them positive habits or at very least silence the bad habits.  Because the more I practice the easier it becomes, and I will be honest I do feel more relaxed (even just reducing my stress by just a small percentage).  I will be more grateful for what I have and less worried about what I do not have, I will serve this planet and the people on, because their needs are my needs, and I will be present.  



Monday, June 25, 2012

It is the small things

So it has been a pretty consistent theme on this blog that it is the small things and little actions you can do that add up to big change.  There are simple things like a friendly smile or a wave to someone that can change their day.  I am actually a big fan of the smile.  Why you may ask?  Not only is it very easy (and free might I add) but it sends happy vibes to someone else, and on top of all that it makes you feel good too.  And that is the same concept that is built around Leftover Love.  It is a small act that makes a big difference, and that small act makes you feel good, at least it makes me feel good.  It makes me feel like I am making a difference, a small difference, but a difference nonetheless.  So what is Leftover Love?  Quick recap.  All it is is making sure that you take your own reusable container to restaurants to save your leftovers.  The restaurants thank you, the leftovers thank you, and the environment thanks you.  So simple.  So lets keep up the work, all these small actions will bring about big change that will benefit not only our well being but our survival.  And don't we all want to live on a nice happy and green (and blue) planet.


If you would like to discuss the small ways that you live life to the fullest please visit http://www.skimbacolifestyle.com/2012/06/live-a-little-just-taste-it.html  or http://www.facebook.com/Randomcharlottecom

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Not cheap, green!

The other day I was scanning and searching the world wide web for additional ways to help serve our planet.  I do this because I know there is always more that I can do and ways to improve what I already do.  But my criteria is I like easy ways.  Anyway back to the point and I came across two interesting ideas that I felt fit in well with the Leftover Love idea.  The first one was pretty simple, eat your leftover.  Can you see how I made the connection with Leftover Love, let me break it down, first I created an algorithm, made some minor mathematical adjustments, then I saw the word leftover and was like oh wait I know something else about leftovers.  So as you can figure out, since I am sure everyone has made their own algorithm to understand the benefits of eating leftovers, it is very economical, it is healthy (helps you cut down on your portion size), and lastly it helps reduce the amount of resources consumed.  Now I was never very keen on leftovers for a long time, that was until I left home and went off to school.  Then I feel in love with leftovers and have maintained a strong love affair with them ever since, and now they are a staple in my diet.  So great what a great idea, and very easy (I really do like easy, especially easy algorithms, oh who am I kidding i can barely spell algorithm).  But then on this same green website the next thing listed to help save the environment after eating leftovers, was ask restaurants for a take home container to save your leftovers.  Well I was shocked, obviously the site owners have not read the fabulous literature that is found on my blog.  So yes save leftovers, but if you really want to go green then save any and all leftovers in reusable containers, including the leftovers you bring home from any and all restaurants.  Now please know while I type these insightful words from my humble fingers (choking sorry had to stop for a minute) I am NOT doing a little happy dance because I am way more advanced with my leftovers (don't ask, I do not even know what that statement means) but that I am trying to add to an already great green idea, save your leftovers and then be super green and take your own containers.
So as promised I said there were two ideas I found.  The second concept goes along very nicely with taking your own containers, and that was the idea of a waste free lunch.  So lets review very quickly.  We all know that eating out a lot increases our carbon footprint (and at this point in time we are working to reduce that).  So yes taking your own containers helps (when we eat out just every once in a while, right (insert a light hearted finger wag here)), but another way is to avoid eating out, end of statement.  So if there are any other tightwads like me, wait I mean budget-minded folks out there, then you will probably already know this but hopefully still appreciate it.  Take your own lunch to work or wherever you go during the day.  And then to make it super environmentally friendly, make it is trash-free lunch.  Get rid of those lame brown paper bags, get rid of those stupid plastic sandwich bags, take your own utensils, take a re-usable water bottle, it really is pretty easy to make it waste free, and we all know who likes easy!  Anyway so there has not been a green challenge posted on the blog in a while, so here is it, the green challenge of the day (or week, or forever whatever you choose) is to try a waste free lunch.  And whatever you do not eat you can take home and eat later in your super awesome wonderfully green (or any color of your preference, but even blue and red ones are still green, ok I will stop with the lame color joke/riddle) reusable containers.
And as always if anyone else out there has anyway to improve leftovers by making them even more green (ok disclaimer please do not eat green leftovers if the green was not there originally) please feel free to share so we can keep expanding and improving ways to protect the green and blue planet we call home.