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.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Please don't be a taker

Recently it occurred to me I am not fond of takers.  Two things set me off.  First off I saw an inspirational quote online, you know the ones that remind you that you really do love puppies, and kitties, and rainbows.  Basically it said give, not because you have a lot, but because you know what it is like to have nothing.  Yes,  yes, yes so very true.  The second thing that got me to thinking about this idea of taking was sprinklers.  Now to some this might be a stretch, but in my brain the idea fit perfectly.  Anyway it was raining one day last week and I noticed that a big neighborhood behind us was watering their grass during the rain.  What the heck, please can you hear me stupid neighborhood sprinklers, don't be a taker.  There is water being provided to you courtesy of science and nature, and yet you still feel it necessary to take more.  Really??  Just shocking.
There is a point when stuff, like clean water, could run out so lets not take, maybe we conserve and maybe we share.  Maybe if someone enters you home you offer them a class of water, not because it is nice manners, but it shows that you care about them, whether you know them or not.  I think we can forget some times how small gestures can make a big difference.  Because really, get ready for a huge cliche,  it is better to give than to receive (I tried to warn you).
 Everything on this planet needs water to survive so lets not take more than we need, stupid during the rain sprinklers.  All life on this planet is entitled to essentials for survival, and when I see blatant greed or stupidity,  knowing that there are those out there who are suffering while there are those out there with so much who feel entitled to more, it just makes me sad.  So please be a giver.  Let's not exhaust all of the planets resources to find out that we cannot eat money (another good inspirational quote).  Offer, even if you do not have much, and for Pete's sakes do not water your grass when it is raining.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Use it, don't lose it

 So I have this nasty habit of keeping lots of things, random items, with all of the best intentions that I am going to use whatever it is later.  Sure some items are kept for sentimental purposes which I know will most likely not be used.  But some stuff I keep and have kept I really could and should be using.  The problem is I put it away and then forget about it.  That is until I look for something else, completely different, and then find other treasures.  This topic came to light for me when I found some pills, otc headache pills (don't get too excited) that I had totally forgotten about.  I know I had bought some recently and it turns out I didn't have too.  Anyway the small pearl of wisdom that I am trying to pass on here, is use what you have.
 I have found generally there is very little reason to buy more because you probably already have what you need, or at least something very close to it.  And no we do not need to be specific here, insert whatever item name is appropriate to you.
 I know I have been witness to many people who are willing to go out and re-buy something that they need, knowing full well that they have it already, but they are just unwilling to look for it.  So here is the lesson for today (and once again this lesson is really for me, but if you can take away some value from it then that is good too), should you decide to accept it (lame) use what you have. Look through your stuff, find something you need that you had forgotten about and use it.  Make use of everything, otherwise it just sits there and collects dust.  And if all else fails and you collection does not provide what you need, be practical in your purchases.  Buy used if possible, trade with someone if you are lucky, just be smart.  If you cannot use some of the treasures you find, then donate them.  But lets stop adding to our massive collections of things, and start using and appreciating what we have.  The less stuff we have the more the planet will thank us.  That is all (you can thank me later for keeping it short instead of my usual rambling  :))

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It is not for the birds

  Lets talk about natural selection for just a moment.  It is a pretty amazing aspect of the evolutionary process.  I mean I can attribute all my perfect features to natural selection.  OK kidding, but seriously when you think about how organisms develop and improve (or not) you have to admit that life, and survival, can be pretty darn fascinating.  Now call me odd, but I think about natural selection a lot.  One because I was an anthropology major for my undergrad and there was always a daily dose of Darwin,  and two because when I go out into my back garden and see things like lizards and birds in a fairly urban area, I am always so impressed that they have been able to survive, though constantly tormented by human "progress".
  Going through the laundry list of what has been spotted in our back garden, we can see there are some obvious traits that reptiles, birds, as well as other creatures such a rodents and insects possess that allow them to survive in this modern world.  Snakes and lizards are pretty good at hiding.  I think they know that there are a lot of humans that are scared of them and rather than making their presence known and getting squashed by the sissies, they are able to get what they need while staying out of sight.  I will admit there is a lot of room for discussion there, as mentioned just going through the list of animals that have been seen.    Birds, well this is an easy one, they can fly, which is a real advantage, since on their own humans cannot (haha suckers we are slow to evolve).  Then there are the rodents who multiply fast and are generally not too selective in their food choices.  Bugs are sort of the same, they can reproduce pretty quickly.  I guess you have to with relatively short life spans, which seem to be getting shorter the more chemicals humans put down to keep them away.  But there is something else to all this,  something that I actually saw the other day.  A birds nest had fallen out of a tree, and while on a walk with my favorite person we discovered it.  It was empty and no longer in use, but it was still a huge score for us.  As I picked up the nest to examine it I notice that some of the building material that this particular bird had used was trash, candy wrappers.  My heart sank.  Talk about being forced to adapt to a bad situation.  There is something that is just not right with this picture.
  Why are we, yes we humans, forcing animals that are constantly fighting to survive, making life that much harder.  In the scheme of things humans are the newbies, and have only been around a for a brief second historically, while other organisms have been around much longer in some form or another.  Shouldn't we be slightly more accommodating them.  Don't you think they know a bit more about this survival stuff, having done it for so long.  We are not talking about the pandas or polar bears which adapted to eat or live only in specific areas.  There downfall is an obvious reflection of human interference.  And when it is obvious, right before it is too late, we seem to do something, to ease the guilt.  Whether is works or not, at least we can say we tried (barf).  And I am not talking about the animals that we have sent to the brink of extinction because of violence and greed.  Human created guns are not an evolutionary trait that betters our existence, but rather a tool of violence that continues to hurt (but this is a discussion for a another time).  Factory farming keeps the lives of farm animals short, preventing the proper evolutionary growth.  All of this human control and  "advancement" tips the scales, and takes away the balance that was previously found.
  Trash does not go away, instead it seems to be finding its way into birds nests or worse into the birds.  I want to see more wildlife in my back yard.  I want my back yard to look like it is supposed to, not some manicured patch of grass, but rather a habitat where I can live as well as all the other creatures that were here long before me.  I want balance back, for the animals around, as well as for my own sake.  This balance will only start to come back if we are more aware.  Do not force the birds to make a nest out of trash, or worse yet eat it.  Think about your choices.  Save what small bits of wildlife we have left.  Because without it I will only hear those awful bulldozers and that is super depressing.

This short video is a even more extreme example of the point of this post.

Monday, September 16, 2013

It's called downsizing

The good thing about me is that I am always right.  Now I am humble enough to admit there may have been an odd one or two times when I may have been sort of, slightly, less than 100% correct, but those times are so very rare.  One of those times of being less than 100% right I was reminded of recently which, geez I hope, brings me back to the blog.  It is good to have those reminders you know because as mentioned they are such rare occurrences, cough cough, no direct eye contact.  On with the post.

Anyway, it is downsizing that I was sort of wrong about.  Now downsizing is what I see as a "first world" problem.  That is the nicest way I know how to say it, and I am not even sure if that is politically correct.  It is only in those developed nations do you have issues like getting of rid of stuff, rather than say, having to find clean water in order to survive.  Let me get to the point here.  I few years ago I bought a gift for a wonderful person in my place of residence.  This was a pretty expensive gift, and when purchasing it there was a lot of eye rolling and huffing and sighing because I saw what I was buying as an over priced toaster oven.  At least that is how I saw it at first.  But I now have to eat those sighs and eye rolls because I have learned it is so much more than a toaster.  It is a tiny oven that has essentially replaced our big, less efficient oven and helping our kitchen be slightly more environmentally friendly.  In this toaster you can yes make toast, but you can also do anything else that you would do in a regular oven.  Now my cooking skills I admit are limited, but I can bake some things, and well that is really where my skills end.  And as I am not really sure what else you do with ovens I cannot list the other features, so I will stop there, but if you are knowledgeable in the area of food then you can fill in the many blanks that I am leaving.  The point is we (I can say we because I knew what I was doing the whole time, ok ok I had no clue but that point is not important) downsized to make our kitchen slightly more efficient.  One of the most obvious ways that the this oven is more efficient is because it is smaller so takes way less time to heat up using much less electricity.  I make smaller portions of everything so there is very little waste, and if there is leftovers they are eaten the next day.  And although I did not see the many benefits of this toaster at the start I now fully appreciate it so many ways.  And I can admit I was less than 100% right on this one :).

I get that for some downsizing may not be easy, but it is not as hard as you may think.  We do not always need the biggest and shiniest.  When we remember that most of human population does not have a fraction of what people in "first world" have it should make downsizing a little the bit easier.  Be grateful for what you have but always try to remember need vs. want (trust me when I say talking to myself here).  I may want the biggest oven, but do I need it, no, because I can burn cookies in my smaller oven much faster :).   So there,
don't judge a toaster until you have baked in it a few times.  Now feel free to go out and save the world by downsizing.

P.S.  I saw a guy washing his car in the grass the other day.  Made me pretty happy. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Laundry List

1. So here is the deal.  I live in a place where the summers get pretty darn hot.  Not only hot, but humid too. Now this is not a good combination for us mortal humans, as we seem to melt in this kind of weather.  But all that being said, suck it up you pansies and stop sitting in an idling car.  Sorry to be such a meanie pants, but there is nothing that annoys me more than seeing people in a parking lot reading their text messages or whatever they are doing running the car and A/C on full blast.  Turn your car off, open the windows, and get over yourself.
2.  My second list item is really two things wrapped up under the plastic bag issue.  So I am so really very tired of hearing excuses for the need for plastic bags or for how reusable bags are so hard to remember.  AAAAAHHHHH, I will say it again, get over yourself you pansies.  If you need a plastic bag to pick up your dog poop then you have problems, plain and simple.  Here is an idea use some news paper.  Or if that thought upsets you try using the plastic food bags that cannot be recycled.  Like an empty chip bag, or those bags that crackers come in.  I mean get creative.  If you have, and this is of course if you are still buying bread, use an old bread bag.  Even though they are a recyclable plastic bag, they are smaller than the grocery bags and it least they are getting a second use (please do not see this as me making excuses for plastic bags, just trying to think outside the box a little).  The other whiny excuse I keep hearing re: plastic bags is that reusable bags are so hard to remember.  And I heard this rebuttal to this "argument" aka excuse the other day, do you remember to take your keys and wallet places?  Oh you do, wow can you add one more thing to your list.  And the second part of that argument was for all those who take the bags back to the grocery store to recycle, um well do I need to finish, you just took a bunch of bags to the store, reuse those or freaking just remember to take reusable bags.  BAM!  This is not an impossible task, it actually can be done.  And if I can do it so can the rest of planet.  And even if I cannot get a bag ban passed, I hope that a few more people will stop with the excuses and take a bag with you.
So there it is, my Monday morning venting session.  I apologize if it was too much, but I really thought my head would explode if I saw one more idling car and didn't say something.  Hope the rest of everyone's week is amazing.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Soap Scum

OK so for most I am sure what I am about to tell you is old news.  As I have said many times I am slow learner and there are so many brilliant people out there already doing these wonderful awesome things.  But I still felt my "discovery" was worth sharing.  Now I would like to preface with the fact that I have a disease, and no the cure is not more cowbell (insert loud laughter here), but rather my cure is cleaning (I told you I was sick).  Now while I was trying to clean the other day I was also trying to entertain a small and wonderful little being that I live with.  This little creature loves bubbles and things that give off some sort of reaction.  So honestly without cleaning in mind I thought we could do a "science experiment" (using that term loosely since there was no formal plan involved in this last minute adventure) I poured some baking soda on the shower floor (this surface was the easiest for my audience to observe and where I thought cleanup would be the most minimal) and then proceeded to wow my audience by pouring white vinegar on the baking soda.  Now again I knew what was going to happen as I am sure everyone else on the planet does as well.  It started to bubble and fizz.  And although this captivated my audience for only a short while, what I discovered next really wowed me.  When I started to wipe/clean up my "science experiment" I noticed that my shower floor was sparkling and looked brand new.  So I poured a bit more of bot ingredients on, and with very little effort all the soap scum was gone.  Now I know I have talked about the power of vinegar before, but this made me a true and lifelong believer.  So if you have soap scum, try it (this is of course if have not already done so, which I am guessing the majority already has) it will amaze you, and so will your clean shower/tub.  And now when I see those adverts for harsh chemical bathroom cleaners I laugh and mock them (the way I did before, but now I have something to back up my mockery).
Now as I have said, I am sure for most this post was very obvious, as there are so many more people out there who are more knowledgeable than I in the area of awesome environmentally friendly home cleaning solutions.  But lets always remember I am a bit slow on the uptake.  And secondly I would like acknowledge that there are some out there who may think that some of things I discuss are trivial, which soap scum surely is.  And to them I say understand.  I know that most people face much larger problems than soap scum on a daily basis, and I am not trying to belittle those issues, or make greater mine (I have a lot trust me, stop laughing).  What I am saying is isn't it nice to know that there are some cool solutions for some of our worlds' smaller problems.  And this one solution is not more harsh chemicals being dumped down a drain.  And with all that said I would like to end with a sincere thanks for all that I have, including my problems (yes even you soap scum) because I know I have baking soda and vinegar to help me through another day (too dramatic?, maybe but I meant it).

PS if you are interested in a real baking soda/vinegar experiment there are lots of ideas out there.  But one I found and liked, especially for small kids was

Now wait till we discuss how boiling water helps kill weeds, get excited!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

I want

I want more environmentally friendly plastic legislation in my town, I want to end animal cruelty, I want world peace.  Damn I have a pretty long list of things I want.  The trouble with all those things is I seem to be having some trouble making them happen.  Oh and also I hate the words "I want" in front of each item.  Once again I am sure you are asking, Charlotte what the frick are you talking about?  Well I am glad you (the voices in my head) asked.  This all comes to the blog because I was "discussing" this topic with a small person in my home the other day.  I just happened to mention that I did not want (ah crap I did it right there), I mean wish to hear the words "I want" anymore.  I mentioned to this small and wonderful little being that it sounds terribly selfish and and self centered to repeat it so many times.  So instead we came up with the alternative "I would like".  So since sometimes it takes a while for my own words to sink in I thought the blog would be a good place to practice.  Here we go, I would like more environmentally friendly plastic legislation in my town, I would like to end animal cruelty, and I would really really appreciate world peace.  Sounds so much nicer, but still have not made any of them happen.  But I know it is possible.
The thing is I think there are enough other people out there who want, ah that was an honest mistake, would like to see the same things happen.  Why do I think this?  Because I did very small scale reusable bag give away day at a local health food store recently.  There I had my plastic bag petition for people to sign (please feel free to keep signing  And although most people thought I was insane person sitting outside of their grocery store (and rightly so) and were reluctant to sign the piece of paper, I did see a real interest in plastic waste reduction.  And I really felt like this bag ban was doable, and made me not want but wish to see it happen even more.
Now maybe I have been doing too much yoga or reading too many inspirational quotes online, but I wish (did not say want) to end with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi which says "as a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him".  So go out there, stop wanting, start being the change and lets make all these things happen.  It would really help me out if I could check off some items on this list.  Thanks a bunch.

This image has nothing to do with the date 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Oh the guilt

I think through the course of this blog I have made it pretty apparent that I have problems (way more than Jay Z).  Freud's head would probably explode if he had ever met me.  I get that we all have problems, no one is immune, but my greatest problem lately (I say laltely b/c I live in denial) is guilt.  The guilt, I hate to admit it, plays a large role in my life.  Now whether that is good or bad (probably bad, great now I feel guilty) I do not know.  But it does become a driving force.  Now this is not to say I am doing a bunch of bad stuff that I feel guilty for, quite the opposite (see there is that denial again) it is rather that I feel guilty because I feel like I should do more.  
I am not growing all my own food, ahhh the guilt.  I am not living off the grid, oh my this is crushing me.  I still have plastic crap in my house and the other day I threw it away because I could not recycle it, insert loud sobbing noises here.  And then to top it off I feel guilty about thinking mean thoughts that other people do not feel guilty enough.  What is their thought process, or lack of, that just lets them toss things (and unfortunately people and animals too) aside and not worry about them anymore.  Is no one else thinking about how to make the future planet a happy place.  Yes by all means enjoy the present, and be present, but make sure every moment moving forward (time is weird like that) is worth enjoying too, for yourself and others.
Where is all this coming from and where am I going with it?  Well this is coming about for two reasons one, I have been away from the blog and I feel guilty about it (but I have a million great excuses) and two we just got back from a camping trip and I for sake of convenience threw away something I shouldn't have.  For the rest of my trip (and beyond apparently) I was kicking myself for my lazy attitude.  But the guilt became too much to bear and now we have this post, you can thank me later.  On the positive side of this situation I (and my support system) made sure to bring home anything that needed to be recycled or dealt with in a less lazy manner.  
Look I use this blog for two reasons therapy (aka to whine) and as an attempt to bring about world peace by sharing ideas, like Leftover Love and the plastic bag petition.  And although lately I have been using the therapy option a bit more, I think that good ideas can come from therapy.  I think that if we could not so much as to guilt people into doing things, but rather get them to think and remember concepts, like there is no away, then we can change some thought processes, and just might bring about world peace from the so many bright people out there, who just needed a whiner like me (have to try and get some credit) to spur a brilliant idea.  We have to be aware of consequences that arise from issues like the garment factory collapse in Bangladesh or the rhino's slaughter in Mozambique.  They may not happen in your backyard, but being as interconnected as we are they will have an effect on us.  We have to not be weighed down by guilt, but share our concerns so that people unaware become aware and create solutions.
I will end with this quote by Nelson Mandela that a friend (not family member) posted online the other day (for totally unrelated purposes, but I still think it applies), it said

"I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death."

Let's get over the guilt, stay away from excuses, or whatever else may be holding us back, and use more positive forces to drive us forward to solutions.  Step one read my blog, omg I kill me sometimes, but I love to end with a laugh, ok a smile, ok a smirk (what ever I will take it) :) 

Sunday, June 2, 2013


A friend of mine posted the below statement on Facebook, and I thought it was so very well said and definitely worth sharing.  So here is Erin W.  Enjoy!

I have been thinking about this for some time. Who, or what, determines a weed? Is it something once decided and never questioned again? Is it decided only by what the grower wants and what he doesn’t? The clover, with its fragrant white flowers and lush green is a persistent nuisance, and attracts bees which make honey. Yes, bees make honey. Dandelions, tall and lanky, sprout tall and require more frequent mower passes. Honeysuckle can take over a yard. It is also sold in many stores for its hardiness and unmatched scent. Before we spray these away with poisons that will eventually head for our soils, our foods, our water supply, and rainfall, do we wonder why we spray? Do we reconsider pulling these up by the root? Do we consider the benefits of the natural-grower, the loose-springer, the hardy-climber? Or do we only want regulation and control – a lawn where every blade is identical? 

I have seen the relentlessness of periwinkle, and have watched honeysuckle thwart daffodils. I certainly appreciate the maintenance required of keeping all vital threads in check. But, as our lawns take over this wild world, we must consider the significance of the wild world we are replacing. If you’ve ever tasted a fresh blackberry, you know there is purpose there.

This is no mere plant defense. As we increasingly communicate and receive information through our systematic intelligence sources – our devices, our google - what wild thoughts are dying for the poison we are pumping? Just as dandelions and blackberries seem to spring out of nowhere, so do some of the most valuable thoughts, the ones that could heal our minds, and thus our world, if we would allow them to breathe. When you simply be, it is incredible what “comes” to you in the quiet that is never quiet. You begin to see the strength and resourcefulness of the human mind, released from the distraction of entertainment. You begin to reconsider your priorities. You wonder what determines a valuable thought and what determines a weed.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


First I would like to take a brief second to apologize for being away for so long.  We took a trip recently, and it appears that as I get older it takes me so much longer to adjust and get back into the swing of things.  Anyhoo I am back.
Anyone who knows me knows that normally my patience is attached to a pretty short fuse.  I have been working on that over the last few years and feel  like I am making significant progress, in my oh so very humble opinion.  Whatever the reason, baby or the wisdom I gain every day that I age (which is only ever other day, aging every day is just too fast for me and I am ok being less wise because of that) I do have a lot more patience that I used to that is for sure.  I guess getting older has provided me with some good qualities, I just cannot remember them (on fire with the old jokes today).  But still the fact remains that on certain issues I have little to no patience.
Here are some items that keep my fuse pretty short.  I read the other day that the last of the black rhinos in Mozambique were killed, on a national reserve.  The current estimated date for extinction the rhino is 2015.  Let me check, yep that is less than 2 years away.  So angry, no patience for that.  And what makes it even worse for me is that I feel helpless in trying to correct the situation.  But please note all remaining wild rhinoceros out there, people do care, and not everyone wants that giant finger nail (which is what the horn is) on your face.  Looks way better on you, honestly I could never pull off that look.  It would unbalance the two horns I already have on the top of my head.
And on the trip that I mentioned above I also witnessed plastic pollution that I really could never have imagined was still possible in 2013.  Plastic bags literally covered a major road in a city of 3.5 million.  I do not mean a handful of plastic bags here and there, but actually lined the street.  And of course this large city is right on a major body of water, awesome.  For that I am not patient   And why should I have to be?  There is an easy answer, stop throwing the plastic out on the street or better yet stop using it.
The common link between this two situations is the need for a quick buck.  What is missed is that fast money is so shortsighted and temporary.  I have no patience for that.
I am fully aware that I am far far from perfect, exhibit A lack of patience.  But I do try to either make the world around me as nice a place as possible, or at the very least not make it any worse.  I know that may not add up to a lot when you know animals are being wiped off the planet for a horn or waterways are being clogged with useless plastic.  I have a friend that writes a blog about her kids, and without knowing it she always offers me a gentle reminder that when I am tired or frustrated with my little one (or anyone else in my family for that matter) that I need to remember that that time is limited and will soon be gone.  So I gain some patience back and enjoy the moment (or the next one) rather than complaining about (even though I still do that too, shame on me).  But I do hate to think that these moments are all many of us, rhinos and oceans included, have left.  I will try to be patient with the people who are shortsighted, who do not seem to care, and are so easily bought, but I cannot guarantee how long that will last.  In the meantime I will be calm and patient as possible and continue to try and change the world one small action at a time.  I owe that patience to the planet, because she sure as heck has been patient with my breed for a long time.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Resistance: Proactive vs. Reactive

Resistance is a normal part of life, at least I would assume, since recently it has become a very familiar part of life for me.  And maybe it is my own fault, I tend to oversimplify ideas in my head, thinking that all the great and wonderful things I want to happen will just, well,  happen.  Instead reality slaps me across the face, and I find bureaucracy, resistance, and a lot of "no's"   But guess what people, things do not have to be so difficult, you can say yes sometimes.  And you know what, the more I here "no" the more determined I become to find a yes.  And when you do hear a yes, it is all the more sweet.  So what the frick am I talking about?  The plastic bag ban, this is what is bringing so much resistance into my life.  I have recently started an effort to get a plastic bag ban or fee ordinance implemented in my current city.  And so far it has been a very slow moving process.  And I honestly do not get it.  Unless you have some stock in making the plastic bags, I see no reason why you would put effort into a fight against it.  Taking your own bag is not that hard, I know because I do it.  And trust me when I say if I can do it ANYONE can do it.  I am a lazy lover of convenience, so it really cannot be that difficult.
The most shocking thing to me so far though in the process has been the resistance from people and groups that you would assume (and we all know what assuming does) would be obvious supporters.  I have been told over and over again that everyone hates plastic bags, but that the bags are not the problem.  Rather these resisters point the blame at the people who litter them as the problem; or that getting something like this accomplished is too difficult because it is more of a cultural shift rather than a change in ones shopping bags; or the best,  what will I pick my dog poop up with?  So lame.  Seriously?  
Here is the cultural shift I see, not going from plastic bags to reusable ones, but rather going from a reactive culture to a proactive culture.  We know there is a problem, and here is an easy solution, a source reduction.  Reactive activities are great, like organizing litter clean up days, I am in full support of that.  But if there was a way to cut down on litter and the amount of junk that one of those cleaners had to pick up wouldn't that be a good idea.  Now I get that being proactive would be huge cultural shift, one that I could not even imagine trying to undertake, because lets be honest it would take ages.  But taking your own shopping bag is easy, and should happen, in the grand scheme of things, relatively quickly.  I get that being proactive is difficult insomuch as you have to be fully aware of an imminent problem, which as mere mortals we are not always fully in the know.  But when we are, issues such as pollution we should do something about.  Isn't there more economic value in forward thinking rather than a quick, fast buck?
I just think that with all the resistance I have come against, it proves that taking your own shopping bags when you go out is not really the issue at all.  Rather it is a cultural shift changing from reactive to proactive thinking.   If we are always reacting when will we start moving forward.  So at this point I am not going to tackle an entire paradigm shift, but I can try to change part of it, with my handy dandy bag ban (or fee, which I have heard is more socially acceptable).  So come on lets try being proactive with a bag ban as a solution to reducing plastic pollution. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

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Bags, Bottles, and Boxes

I know it has been a while since I have written anything.  But I had started, or maybe a better word is desperately tried, to write a post the other day, and it was horrible.  Even for me it was horrible, and I know that I am no writer, so if I say that you know it is bad.  I had to give up on it, and so I decided to go back to some basics of this site, stop trying to be so philosophical (because that is not me).  The basics being ideas around bags, bottles, and boxes.
I sort of abandoned the other post and came to this one because I am currently working to make my current home city a plastic bag free town.  Not as easy as I had made it out to be in my head (so many voices), but I am not going to give up (that would be pretty lame to give up right after I just started, and even I am not that lame (I don't think)).  Now it was not just the plastic bags lead be me here (here being "back to basics").  I came to this post because I also heard a quote the other day that for me really sums up my whole attitude or ideas about waste.  All the quote said was when you throw something away, where is away?  There is no away (Thanks Bag It the movie).  So spot on.  There is no away, it always goes somewhere.  I have attempted a few times to say this, just not so eloquently, by butchering and  skewing the law in physics that states matter, is neither created nor destroyed, but it was the same point I was trying to drive home.  So enough already why I am writing, how about getting to the bags, bottles, and boxes.
Bags:  Use your own reusable grocery bag.   So easy.  Never take plastic and help save the world.  Not really a lot you can say about this idea.  And as I have mentioned many times before do not limit your use of reusable bags to grocery stores.  Reusable bags can be used anywhere.  So lets just be clear do not take plastic bags.  If you can think of other ways to limit your plastic in take, then do that too.  But a super easy starting point, is just saying no to the single use plastic bag.  Wham, bam, thank you ma'am now you can check that save the world to do item off your list.
Bottles:  Now I am sure that you think I may be talking about water bottles, and I am not  not talking about water bottles here, but the specific reference I was trying to make here was hotel shampoo bottles.  So lets take this one in steps.  Step one, never drink bottled water.  Again so easy, and so cheap.  Just get any sort of reusable bottle fill it with water and drink that.  Remember tap water in most places is regulated more than what is sold to you in water bottles.  Also if you think about the amount of energy it takes to make and transport disposable water bottles, I am certain you will probably find it easier to walk over to the tap.  OK so now that we got those bottles out of the way we can tackle step two of bottles.  Which is hotel shampoo bottles. Similar to Leftover Love and taking your own shopping bag, we need to get hotels to stop using disposable shampoo bottles.  I wrote about a hotel we stayed in last year that was just amazing.  They offered all the same amenities (and more) that people have come to expect, but what was different was that nothing was disposable.  Their shampoo was in super cute little clay bottles that they just refilled when empty.  So easy.  So simple.  Every hotel should be doing this.  Imagine the savings, not only to their bottom line, but to the stuff going to the landfill.  And lets be honest the shampoo that is generally provided is not the kind one would prefer to have any way, usually the chemical kind that is not good for you.  And I do not want any more little shampoo bottles coming home with me anyway, I want less stuff now thank you.  And this solves that issue, and some other bigger ones as well.  And since you cannot always take your own shampoo due to air safety regulations you are not forced to buy anything extra, but know that the waste you are creating by travel is being reduced by the super smart people in hotel industry.  (Disclaimer, travel is a guilty pleasure, that we work hoard and save up in order to be able to do it.  I know it is not always good for the planet, but travel and my bad habits are not what the post is about, will save that for next time).
Boxes:  And lastly we come to boxes, and all I have to say here is LEFTOVER LOVE.  Take your own container or box if you ever eat out, and that way you are never forced to the take the disposable option the restaurant may offer.  (Disclaimer, again ignoring that eating out is not environmentally friendly, but please note that saving leftovers is very eco friendly).  Every little bit counts, and the more an individual can keep out of the landfill the better off we all will be.  Side note I would like to mention that I was out for a small celebration the other night and offered to give a stranger my clean and unused reusable container so she did not have to take the polystyrene box they were offering her, and she turned me down.  But at least I tried, and hopefully next time she will have her own because I could see she liked the idea, just maybe not the crazy trying to give her a container.
So in closing (like how formal I have become) I would like to add that I know these are all small ways to help, but they will add up fast and make a huge difference if enough people start.  I would also like to add, as a reminder for myself and others, that there are so many people on this planet that survive on a whole lot less than I do, so doing small actions such as the ones mentioned above should be a no brainer.  It is the ones with the advantages, that have access and the means (because disposable ain't cheap) to afford a disposable lifestyles that need to start making some sacrifices (if you can call taking your own bag or container as a sacrifice).  I am going to end here because I can say no more.  Oh wait I lied, use less, reduce, reduce, reduce.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


This link uses info graphics and gives some neat historical perspective around recycling.  An easy way everyone can help save the world.

Time to rewire our brains

So I keep seeing this Mahatma Ghandi quote on Facebook and bumper stickers that says "the earth can support every man's need, but not every man's greed"  and then I read the other day that in a less than 40 short years the planets' human population is expected to balloon to 9 billion people.  That Ghandi quote, which I love, may no longer be relevant, because we are racing towards a point where the planet may not be able to sustain even our basic needs.  That is unless we do something to change.  Why are people always so slow to change, oh wait is it because there are already 7 billion of us?  We all need to rewire our brains a bit here.  There are so many things that we just take for granted, things that we just accept without putting any thought into them any more.  Train your brain to question more.  Question the cost of something, not just the price but the actual cost, who suffered to make it so cheap? what land was destroyed in order to make it this junk that I really do not need?, stuff like that.  If you start asking yourselves those question you may be on the path to using less, making more, buying smarter, and really being green.  And the more you train your brain to ask these questions then the faster this critical thinking style will become a habit, and take over the world to make it better for everyone.

We have to remember that there is always more out there than we see.  Case in point, I was part of a trash/litter clean up project the other day.  As we were driving to the meeting point, I noticed that the side of the road did not look that dirty.  But upon closer inspection, when I was actually out walking, I saw that there was way more than expected.  Just because it didn't look dirty didn't mean it wasn't.  Ended up there was much more than met the eye.  Guess getting out of the car every once in a while can give you some perspective, life may slow down a bit.

I know this post offers no solution other than critical thinking, which I am sure is way oversimplified, but I feel that is going to become a very critical and neccesary part of life, if we expect to keep living.  Maybe not as we do currently, but who wants to be an extreme consumer and polluters, that thinks about no one else other than those we make contact with on a regualr basis.  This planet is big (24k miles, 40k km), and we are all connected, so do something about it to make it better for everyone (people, animals, all life).  Look I am not asking everyone to become a bunch of robots asking the same questions, thinking the same thoughts.  That is the beauty of using all these brains, they all think different things, and can come up with some amazing solutions.  Putting all these new thoughts together can build great things, and knock down old habitats and traditions that, lets face it, are taking us nowhere fast.  I know that all these preachy posts are never read by those who I think need them most, but thank you all the same for letting me "publish" (using that term very loosely here) my therapy session.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. - Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, January 4, 2013


So I stand (technically I am sitting) before you humbled.  I was wrong.  And you have no idea how hard that is for me to say, but I was.  I was wrong about driving in general and hypermiling, which has become my new obsession.  For many reasons we recently had to purchase a "new to us" (it is not brand new) car.  The old car was still running but the just barely.  Gas mileage had decreased dramatically, doors would not open, and the check engine light was a permanent presence while driving.  All those factors lead us to make an upgrade.  And in the new car there is a button that tells you the instantaneous gas mileage amount, which of course it then averages.  All this allows you to calculate your gas mileage per tank.  Well so far we are doing pretty good.  And why because like I said I cannot stop hypermiling.  I love it when the instantaneous number 99.9, and that is my goal to keep that instantaneous number as high as possible.  That usually involves some sort of hill or a open road to coast on for a while.
See my problem used to be a lead foot.  9 speeding tickets later, and my new found respect for hypermiling has led me to ease up on the accelerator.  When ever I can now I coast, slow it down a bit, and try to avoid breaking as much a possible.  All this was a bit hard at first, but when I saw the difference in the numbers (and numbers don't lie) I saw the huge value in slowing down.  Now I have to over come my urge to honk when someone breaks for no real reason.
I have heard that 55 mph seems to be the most efficient speed for most (not all) cars.  This tends to be true in our case, we have a 55-65 mph range when we can really be fuel efficient.  Going faster than that the numbers take a huge hit.  But going even slower than that can boost the numbers even more.
So I bet you are all saying, crap another old lady driver who goes 7 mph.  But those old lady drivers were so much smarter and were trying to teach me something.  So to every person that I have ever beeped/honked/cursed at on the road for driving too slow, here is my official apology, SORRY.  And for all the honks I am sure to receive for slowing it down, I know that you will one day thank me.  So take your foot off the break, slow down just a bit, and see how far (in a safe manner of course) you can coast/roll with no foot on the accelerator.  So fun to see your gas mileage increase and your the amount you pay at the pump go down.

Few tips, which I am sure you already know.  To get your average miles per gallon you divide the total miles on your odometer/amount of gallons= mpg.  There are also a bunch of apps that do this for you now.  And if you want some info on hypermiling check out .  People that live in place with a lot of downward hills you so lucky, as long as you never have to go up the hill (since that kills the average).  Think this goes without saying, but walking biking, and public transportation are even better options to hypermiling if you have them.  But if not have a great hypermiling day.