June 1, 2012
Sometimes in order to appreciate what you have, you must walk away from it for a while. Your every day life, from which you depart whilst on vacation, for instance, is a beautiful thing because it gives you structure, which gives you meaning. And with meaning you can move mountains.
It’s as simple as that.
When life seems meaningless, flavorless, colorless, we make decisions based on that view. When life is vibrant, dashing, magnificent, we choose a different path. But note there is no difference between the two: the world remains the same either way. It is you who has changed.
Change leads to growth. Without resistance you would not move an inch. Think of how you build your muscles. You need resistance against which you can test them ~time and again. So when you are met with resistance, embrace it like the friend it is. It is teaching you to grow stronger, to become a true believer in yourself, your abilities and your life.
We may not always get what we want, but when we live as if what we have is more than enough, then guess what?
May 24, 2012
The story of these flowers defies natural law. Now I’m not a botanist, but it is my understanding that non-blooming bulbs aka widows do not just up and decide to bloom on a whim. If they are widows, they remain as such.
These flowers are different. After four years, they decided to surrender to the beauty of themselves this year. They showed up in a completely different form. And for that, I am most grateful.
We can learn a lot from nature.
The axis of our power lies in our surrender. How often have we pushed things to the limit, only to be left depleted, exhausted and burned? While our culture rewards those who go faster, higher and longer, it isn’t healthy. It’s a lie to live that way. We have limits and it’s time we recognize them.
When we surrender to any given moment, to the “What Is” in our lives, we become fuller, richer and more available to possibility. The amazing thing is that when we surrender to what is, we expand to limitless possibilities. So the very thing that keeps us from experiencing no limitations is the thing we attempt to apply to reach that state.
It is a paradox. I know. And it is the truth.
Imagine your life without all that pushing, striving, hunting and gathering. Consider a world in which you plant a seed, then watch it grow. Dip, bend, plant, rise up. That is the motion that informs effortlessness.
Surrender is a beautiful word. It implies totally release to the tensions of our days. It allows us to soar to higher ground by the sheer act of letting go. Surrender also indicates acceptance, no matter what is happening now. Getting into that empowered head space may not come naturally to you, but it is possible.
Start by asking yourself what you are withholding? Is it your love for another? Is it your anger, frustration, fear? We all hold on to things at times, whether it is a grudge, resentment or the fear of imperfection.
Surrender yourselves to all those levels of emotion. When you do, you will find an expanse so rich that you will be liberated to receive the very things you were striving for. Only this time, you need do nothing at all.
The phrase “Go for it” gets lifted from your vocabulary because there is nowhere to go. You need not hasten to the next thing. It will come to you.
Since life, like the planet, moves in circular motion, what you put out there will return ~ perhaps in a new form, but it will be there for you to embrace with all your might.
What is required is trust in its simplest form.
How will you surrender today?
April 23, 2012
You know how I love stats. So here’s another cool poll to show you how green folks’ thinking is today.
SodaHead.com, the web’s largest opinion-based community, polled its users to find out sentiments on topics surrounding the environment, recycling, organic products and hybrid cars. Overall, 85 percent of respondents said being “eco-friendly” is very important or moderately important. However, only 14 percent think the planet is improving, as 86 percent feel the planet has gotten worse or stayed the same.
When it comes to recycling, 62 percent feel that it should be mandatory. In addition, only 7 percent of the public does not recycle, while 38 percent recycle “all the time” and 37 percent recycle “when possible.” Most respondents (59 percent) stated that they are not more likely to buy a product just because it is packaged in recycled materials.
The public is split when it comes to organic products, as 51 percent feel organic products are better while 49 percent are either not sure or feel organic products are not better. Younger respondents were willing to pay more for organic products than their older counterparts. 53 percent of those between18-24 years of age would pay more to go organic, while only 27 percent of those over 65 would pay extra.
If price wasn’t an issue, 72 percent of respondents would switch to a hybrid vehicle or an electric powered car (38 percent for hybrid, 34 percent for electric), while only 28 percent would stick with a gas powered vehicle.
And now, all this in pictures.
April 3, 2012
When I heard about the organization, Catalog Choice, the nation’s leading mail preference service dedicated to eliminating unwanted mail, I was thrilled! More trees to hug, I thought, as I scampered to answer the PR lady’s email.
Since March 2011, more than 530,000 opt-out requests have been processed through Catalog Choice for Communities, which translates to:
· 20,000 trees saved (the amount of trees in New York’s Central Park)
· 19,000,000 gallons of water saved (29 Olympic sized swimming pools)
· 3,000,000 pounds of solid waste saved (enough to fill 125 garbage trucks)
* 8,000,000 pounds of greenhouse gas saved (the amount of emissions produced annually by 364 HUMMERS)
Created by the Berkeley-based non-profit, Catalog Choice for Communities is a zero-waste program for unwanted mail and phone books. Catalog Choice provides each municipal partner with a tailored website hosted on catalogchoice.org, where residents can opt-out of unwanted mail. Summary reports by zip code are shared by Catalog Choice on citizen participation, solid waste diversion, CO2 reductions and other environmental benefits. Communities that work with Catalog Choice stop five times more unsolicited mail at the source than others in the U.S.
“Not only does unwanted mail cause clutter and waste resources, it is costly to collect and dispose of, which we ultimately pay for through local taxes and fees,” said Chuck Teller, executive director, Catalog Choice. “As communities pursue zero waste and landfill diversion, this innovative program is essential. It is a win-win for everyone, including companies that don’t want to send mail to people who don’t want it.”
Americans receive more than 100 billion pieces of unsolicited mail each year, and 62 percent of it is not recycled.
“Communities around the country recognize the magnitude of problems created by unwanted mail and want to make a change. Since we launched the program, 19 communities representing over 100 cities have signed on,” added Teller. “We anticipate doubling that partnership number in 2012 and look forward to rapidly expanding this movement and our impact.”
Current partners are: San Jose, Pasadena, Redlands, Santa Monica, the Costa Mesa Sanitary District, Los Gatos and Berkeley, CA; Boulder County, CO; Cambridge and Brookline, MA; Seattle and King County, WA; Santa Fe, NM; Chicago, Il; Margate City, NJ; Tompkins County (Ithaca) and Village of Stewart Manor, NY; Marion County (Salem), OR; and Southern Maine.
In addition to its community partnerships, Catalog Choice offers consumers a number of options to opt-out of unsolicited mail including their premium MailStop™ solutions. MailStop Mobile is the first smartphone app which allows users to take pictures of unwanted mail and get delisted for free. MailStop Envelopes is the offline complement and allows users to mail in labels. Catalog Choice processes the requests and monitors compliance.
About Catalog Choice
Founded in 2007 to provide consumers greater control over the marketing materials that enter their mailboxes, Catalog Choice is the world’s largest preference and privacy portal. Since its launch, Catalog Choice has connected more than 1.5 million consumers with 4,200 direct marketing companies to process over 20 million suppression requests through free membership services, Catalog Choice for Communities partnerships and MailStop™ solutions—including MailStop Mobile, MailStop Envelopes and MailStop Shield. By reducing unwanted mail and phone books, Catalog Choice’s free and low-cost services reduce deforestation, greenhouse gases, solid waste and water consumption. Catalog Choice, a non-profit organization based in Berkeley, Calif., is supported by grants from the Overbrook Foundation, Kendeda Fund, Merck Family Fund and Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, as well as contributions from members.
February 8, 2012
Renewable energy production has been on my mind lately. Maybe it’s because our little town is divided on wind power. Some think plunking down a huge windmill at the edge of town is a little spooky.
This infographic points to the pros and cons of alternative energy generation. I was startled to find that wind power eats up habitats too. Those poor bats (see the box to the right of the water buffalo). Now I’m uncertain whether a wind mill is such a good idea…what do you think?
January 27, 2012
Ecological food production is typically viewed as a local family run-type enterprise, nothing matching the grand scale of a multinational corporation. So it seemed dubious when I received an invitation to a February 2nd event sponsored by the Columbia Business School Alumni Club of New York on slow food and big business. Were they for real?
Apparently, yes. The location of the event is PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, 300 Madison Avenue, PwC Auditorium, SW Corner of42nd Street.
That got my attention for sure.
Their flyer states: “In an era of destructive agribusiness, a growing number of committed sustainable food leaders are defying the odds. Join us as our panel explores the challenges and future trends in ecological food production and shares their stories from small beginnings to achieving scale.”
Now since I won’t be in New York for the event itself, I am curious as to what they have to say. The mere fact that these food leaders are getting together says a lot about the public dialogue today. They are listening. My hope is that it’s not just lip service to a very severe problem: climate change and dwindling ecological resources because we just have to have that exotic fruit that was shipped from one hemisphere to the next. Sustainability, folks. Now there’s a concept!
The event will be moderated by David Barber, Co-Owner Blue Hill, Board Member, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. The panelists themselves include:
- Gary Hirshberg, Chairman, President and CE-Yo, Stonyfield Farm
- Josh Viertel, President, Slow Food USA
- Mark Crumpacker, Chief Marketing Officer, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.
Don’t you just love Gary’s description. He’s not an acronym. He’s the CE-YO! If Josh Viertel is there, it feels more credible. Like we really do want to eat according to the seasons, not according to what’s en vogue.
Other Exclusive Extras
- Experienced executive coaches for valuable ideas and advice, featuring Win Sheffield
- Gary Hirshberg will sign his book Stirring it Up: How to Make Money and Save the World
If you go, will you let me know what it was like? I’m curious.
April 22, 2011
You are what you eat, and how you eat it. Locally grown produce, also known as Slow Food, is not only good for you, it’s good for the environment, too.
On this Earth Day, I pose the question about agriculture because the food industry is an enormous one with a huge lobby behind it. Reducing the need for food transport alone by shopping at our local farmer’s market instead of big chain food stores can have an impact on the Earth.
Nature Conservancy is working with various groups to ensure sustainable food for us all. Here are some of the top stories I’d like to share with you.
An Arizona beef cattle rancher saves millions of gallons of water by switching to native grasses. Something as seemingly simple as planting native grass is actually part of a paradigm shift for the Mercers. Not only is it a change in how they operate, but also who they work with. (TurfMutt would be so proud of this shift! His children’s plat science education program supports the notion of native plants over imports to sustain the natural habitat and surroundings.)
One change is the market for their beef. By feeding their cattle native grass, the Mercers are tapping into the grass-fed, locally grown beef market. The Mercers sell their beef—under the name Sombrero Butte Beef—at local farmers’ markets and at a gourmet Tucson restaurant.
In Morro Bay, California, The Nature Conservancy worked with local fishermen to to establish 3.8 million acres of no-trawl zones off California’s Central Coast. Historically, groundfish — species that live close to the sea floor — have served as the backbone of fisheries in this region. But the overreliance of traditional bottom trawling — a fishing method that drags nets along the sea floor — led to habitat damage habitat, harm to other marine species and a decline in local fishing income. The partnership is now pioneering innovative ways to catch fish, and this work has already improved the environmental and economic performances of the local fishery.
The Clive Runnells Family Mad Island Marsh Preserve is located near the midpoint of the Texas coast. For more than twenty years, the Franzen family has leased land on the preserve to grow rice, which creates feeding and roosting opportunities for native and migratory birds. The arrangement has benefited their family, the Conservancy and the human and wildlife communities of the Texas coast.
Cape Cod’s Wellfleet, Massachusetts was literally built on shellfish. A century ago, wild reefs bustling with life were so huge ships had to navigate around them, but by the 1970s wild harvesting, pollution and disease had chiseled away the last wild reef.
Now, the Conservancy, Mass Audubon, NOAA and the Town of Wellfleet are experimenting with different structures on which oyster seed can stick, with the goal of rebuilding a reef that would bolster local populations of shellfish and provide benefits like clean water and defense against rising seas.
Happy Earth Day, Ya’ll! Now go hug a tree and bow to the Mother that holds us all!
April 6, 2011
Good Housekeeping, that housewife’s magazine that’s been around since 1885, is keeping with the times by developing a new green Good Housekeeping seal for products its new environmental advisory board considers ‘green’.
It’s an interesting concept that shows how far our consciousness has come. But not all green things are golden. As my friend, who works in a consumer advocate’s office herself, once said, “Just because it has a seal, doesn’t mean it’s good for you or the environment.”Organic cookies? They contain sugar, too.
I had proudly swept my hand across a drawer of organic products to show her what a good green person I was! She peered inside, then frowned. I realized how many of them were contained in plastic, with wrapping or had travelled from afar to land in my cupboard.
To quote Kermit the Frog: “It’s not easy being green.” But Good Housekeeping‘s efforts (see below) are admirable and it’s a sign of our ever-changing times. We’re trying, folks. Really, we are!
GOOD HOUSEKEEPING CREATES AN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY BOARD TO PROVIDE INSIGHT FOR THE GREEN GOOD HOUSEKEEPING SEAL
A Special Environmentally-Focused Good Housekeeping Research Institute Tour is Open to the Public on Earth Day
Good Housekeeping has created an Environmental Advisory Board consisting of leading sustainability experts from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia, and media to provide insight for the Green Good Housekeeping Seal evaluations, pinpointing areas of biggest concern, and educating the magazine’s more than 27 million print and online readers through interviews for editorial articles.
Inaugural members of the Good Housekeeping Environmental Advisory Board are: Laurie David, producer (An Inconvenient Truth) and award-winning, bestselling author; Wood Turner, Executive Director for Climate Counts; Suhas Apte, Vice President Global Sustainability for Kimberly-Clark; David Bennell, Executive Director, Textile Exchange; Pamela Brody-Heine, Product Stewardship Manager, Zero Waste Alliance; Jill Dumain, Patagonia; Sally Edwards, Sc.D, Research Associate at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Center for Sustainable Production; Katie Galloway, Earth Fund Manager for Aveda; Reid Lifset, M.S., M.P.P.M, Associate Director of the Industrial Environmental Management Program at Yale University; Erin Meezan, Vice President of Sustainability, Interface; Ursula Tischner, Program Coordinator Design for Sustainability at Savannah College of Art and Design; and Mary T’Kach, Energy and Sustainability Coordinator, Ramsey County, MN.
In celebration of Earth Day, at 10AM on Friday, April 22, Good Housekeeping will host a special environmentally-focused tour of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, the magazine’s state-of-the-art product testing laboratory (I’ve never been, but boy! Would I love to go!).
Visitors will have an opportunity to meet the engineers, chemists, nutritionists, and all of the Research Institute’s expert staff, learn more about the Green Good Housekeeping Seal, and visit the famous Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen to hear about the increasing interest in vegetarian recipes and participate in a taste test. You can sign up for the special Good Housekeeping Research Institute Earth Day tour here.
Good Housekeeping created the Green Good Housekeeping Seal to set a mainstream bar for consumers who want to live a greener lifestyle. The scientists and engineers at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute worked with Brown & Wilmanns Environmental, one of the nation’s leading green consultants for businesses, NGOs and governmental organizations to establish criteria for the Green Good Housekeeping Seal.
Before being considered for the Green Good Housekeeping Seal, a product must pass evaluations for the primary Good Housekeeping Seal, which evaluates claims and measures efficacy to ensure it performs as promised. If the product passes, it is then reviewed using more in-depth environmental criteria, including the reduction of water use in manufacturing, energy efficiency in manufacturing and product use, ingredient and product safety, packaging reduction (see my post on plastic), and the brand’s corporate social responsibility.
And it seems their evaluations have fairly rigorous standards.
Products that have earned the Good Housekeeping Seal and the Green Good Housekeeping Seal carry a limited warranty: If the product proves to be defective within two years of purchase, Good Housekeeping will replace the item or refund the consumer. You can get more answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Green Good Housekeeping Seal here.
Continuing to establish a leadership role within the environmental industry, Good Housekeeping is co-sponsoring with The Daily Green the Good and Green conference, a two-day conference on May 11 and 12 featuring a series of environmental-themed sessions, keynotes, case studies and roundtable discussions. I will actually just miss it as I’m leaving NYC on May 11, but for those who are interested, Good and Green will be held in the Hearst Tower, the first LEED-gold certified office building in New York City. You can register to attend the Good and Green conference here.