Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Earth Hour--March 26, 2011! Party in the Dark! :)

My Earth Hour Lantern, 2009

This is your friendly reminder that on March 26th, which is in 4 days, this Saturday, it will be Earth Hour!!!

Watch this beautiful and inspiring video, the Official Earth Hour 2011 video. :)

What is Earth Hour:


Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change.


...Earth Hour 2010 became the biggest Earth Hour ever. A record 128 countries and territories joined the global display of climate action. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Asia Pacific to Europe and Africa to the Americas switched off. People across the world from all walks of life turned off their lights and came together in celebration and contemplation of the one thing we all have in common – our planet.


There will be those assholes (yes, assholes) who will turn on all the lights in their home, thinking they are being clever in their juvenile form of protest. To those people I have nothing to say.

There will be others (not assholes, perhaps simply cynics or inquisitive types) who will question what good an hour with no power does. To those I offer two things.

One: it highlights the power of conservation. If a relative handful of people in one hour of lights-off saves energy and reduces carbon emissions, what could we accomplish with long term, concerted, committed, cooperative solutions? For example:


...during the 8 pm to 9 pm duration, Chicago saved about 7 percent in energy. The 818 megawatt hours of electricity saved are equivalent to nearly 1.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions or taking two 400-megawatt coal plants offline for one hour.


And, two: following on the heals of that, it's about spreading awareness, both to others and within ourselves, of the very real and serious issues (despite political spin) facing us as a result of our over-consumption of ...well.. everything. The goal is to spark an interest, either initial or renewed, in changing the way we live on the Earth.

We usually get out in the backyard, enjoy some food and conversation. I take a few pictures. We've stretched it to two hours before. It can be a bit depressing, looking around and seeing that we are the only ones participating. To combat that, the kids and I give a shout to the neighborhood, "Happy Earth Hour! Whooohoooooo!"

If the thought of being an eco-nut all alone in the dark gets you down, try finding an Earth Hour event in your area, or start one of your own! I know in the past I've seen events listed on the Earth Hour site itself, but am not seeing that this year. Maybe I'm just not awake enough yet! But, a simple Google search should result in some events for this year's Earth Hour. Give it a go!

Have fun, and lights out!! :)


Earth Hour 2011 will take place on Saturday 26 March at 8.30PM (local time). This Earth Hour we want you to go beyond the hour, so after the lights go back on think about what else you can do to make a difference. Together our actions add up.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Mark Bittman on what's wrong with what we eat | Video on TED.com

Mark Bittman on what's wrong with what we eat | Video on TED.com

A note on local eating: yes, in the past there was no label on the type of eating one did. Today, however, with our food culture being so out of whack, should one decide that they want to eat locally, it takes a concerted effort. That concerted effort naturally inspires labels. Eating locally is not "elitist" if it's done for health of community and self. A carrot that came from across town, that was picked yesterday and eaten today is much healthier for us. And, a local farm is healthy for the community and the Earth. It isn't elitist to want to know where your food comes, and for the farmers and ranchers to be visible and answerable to their customers.

Mark Bittman writes my favorite cookbooks: How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What Fits the Land

This farmer, on the brink of financial ruin, learned a lesson from his cows and the way they grazed when allowed to graze freely. He no longer spends money on chemicals and fertilizers, and milk production is up. Ever hear that happier cows make more milk? That first morning after they broke out and grazed in the field of wild oats and clover, the farmer noticed they smelled fresher, like the green pasture. They also made 200 pounds more milk than usual that morning.

These cows made me smile :) Nature knows what to do. If we are willing to watch, listen and learn rather than fight and conquer it, we all benefit.

No 'Poo?

A while back I'd posted about a no shampoo regimen I was trying by using baking soda as a cleanser and apple cider vinegar as a conditioner. It was working great until about week 4 and then.. I don't know what happened. My hair felt dry and crispy, but the hair near my scalp felt gummy, and the hair at the back of my head had a definite oily look to it. Overall, it felt dry but unclean. Not good.

I didn't want to go back to shampoo though. That would have been a huge step backwards and I wasn't willing to just give up like that.

So, I headed to the Food Conspiracy Co-op and bought a bottle of "shampoo." It's Uncle Harry's Hair and Body. The ingredients are few and simple: Castile soap, apple cider vinegar and hemp oil (some can contain other ingredients like lavender essential oils, but nothing harmful).

The cool thing about a shampoo like this is that, unlike commercial brands with harsh ingredients, this could actually be made at home. Large bottles of Castile soap and apple cider vinegar can be purchased relatively cheaply, and hemp oil is available at health food stores and online. If one really felt energetic, even the Castile soap could be homemade.

At the moment, I'm being lazy and just using good ol' Uncle Harry's. Perhaps when I'm done painting walls and scraping/staining floors and moving, I'll give it a go. Maybe.

Been using the shampoo a few weeks now. It produces suds (which I know is super important to some people), doesn't have a harsh smell, and makes hair feel wonderfully soft and healthy. I do follow it with a rinse of 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar with 2 cups of water (I just use the water from the shower so it's not a cold shock), but I skipped that one day and the shampoo was fine on its own. My hair gets a wash twice a week.

I will say, since I started this whole thing, back with the baking soda/vinegar, I have not had a single split end. Given that my thin hair is rather prone to them (a few months after a cut my hair usually looks like it was run through a lawn mower), and compounded by living in a very dry desert, that is proof enough for me that giving up the 'poo was the right way to go.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Just Out of My Tap. That's All I Know

Thanks to the Nature Conservancy for this video

These Jaywalking-esque questioning of people off the street are always a mix of fun and fright, aren't they?

This is frightening on many levels, not only for itself but because of the many other things just like it (where does your food come from, for example). Water is essential to life. Think about someone at this mysterious source shutting off our supply. It shouldn't be something that we know nothing about, should it?

Visit sites like this one to learn where your water comes from. Watch videos like this to understand how much we've had to wrestle with Mother Nature to get what water we have, especially in the west (also comes in book format, an excellent read), and to understand our tenuous hold on this life-sustaining substance.

The kind of sleep we're in is no longer refreshing; it's making us sluggish and groggy. We need to wake up.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What We Love About Nature

This poor blog has been neglected since I've been AFK. I don't really have time to write anything, just wanted to share a video from the Nature Conservancy introducing their new and improved website Nature.org. It highlights conservation efforts, ways you can get involved, and offers tips. Their primary focus is on nature itself, the beauty of it, the scope of it, and those things we love most about it. It's about people being out in nature, interacting with it and being a part of it.

A few words about that: studies have shown that children with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they get out into nature. It makes sense really. As much as we have tried in the last 150 years or so to remove ourselves from nature, to conquer it whilst remaining safely indoors, the rest of history was much different. We evolved along with every other living thing on this planet, both animal and vegetable. It's no surprise then that we are at our healthiest when we remain within the embrace of what nature provides and allows.