Easy and fun things to help the environment

Humorous Reflections on Fun Incremental Change.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Good Produce. Good Meat. Good Dog, let's eat!

Here's a story that warns of the environmentally-conscious burrito fast food retailer, Chipotle planning to raise their prices in the next year. Uh, that's what they do. That's what all businesses do. In the vast majority of cases, they do it to compensate for their prices going up and (mostly) so they don't lose their profit margin.

In the case of Chipotle, I think we should all HAPPILY pay the higher prices because of what Chipotle does for it's customers and especially what it does for the market.

Chipotle has been a leader in bringing quality food products to the fast-food market. The meats they use are sustainably produced and without hormones or other pharmaceutical Frankenstein blends that swim freely in a lot of livestock.

They are also on the forefront (or is it vanguard?) of using non-GMO produce, At this juncture in the history of corporate farming (both produce AND livestock) that isn't easy. The powers that be are very protective of their strangle hold on the market, therefore, they have lobbyists to make sure that their corporate overlords get government subsidies to keep the prices of their science-project-gone-wrong faux-foodstuffs at an artificially low price, making it the first choice for those wishing to keep costs down.

By buying products that are sustainably produced in the type of quantities that a national food distributor is able to buy in, the cost of these (better) products is driven down. (soon after the Clinton administration mandated that all government offices use at least 30% recycled paper, the price to consumers came down significantly. Just sayin'.) When the prices come down, the potential for the consumer to purchase the "better" product improves. More is sold, and the price can come down even more.

The  best way to fight against the greedy corporations (like Monsanto) that are willing to destroy the food supply for profit, is to make their product, and therefore, their profits less valuable.

Besides, I LOVE burritos. And Chipotle has some of the very best. I'll be there to shell out the extra bucks for a company who fights the good fight and makes the great food.
Baby steps...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

This Is How We (should) Do It.

Okay, you've got to get someplace right Now! (This is the way we are now. Everything is me, me, me; now, now, now; fast, fast, fast; more, more, more.) So how are you going to get there? If you're like most of us, you're going to run (well, probably not run) out to your baby. You know the car that you wanted so badly that you were willing to pay $20,000 for and then carry some pretty hefty insurance in order to protect the car and you. Boy, were your friends impressed, at least for a  couple of minutes, until the next distraction came along. "Ooh, Shiny!"
Have you noticed the gas prices going up? Of course you have, especially since the car doesn't quite get the mileage that was promised in the advertising.
And if you're going downtown, you've got to pay for parking. How much? You're kidding!
There is an new alternative alternative, thanks to some forward-thinking people. Yeah, they'll make a profit, but isn't that the American-Capitalist-Way?

Since we've made the choice to travel in cars to get where we're going, I take great comfort and encouragement from a new "trend" which I hope will become a new "Normal".
There are a bunch of companies which are based on the Collaborative Consumption model. That is the "shared" use of things. This is especially effective when we're talking about big-ticket products like automobiles.
There have been a number of car share companies around for several years and I applaud their efforts and would happily use them. They have names like Occasional Car (www.occasionalcar.com),
or Zip Car (www.zipcar.com)  and Ego Car Share, which is a non-profit, (carshare.org). There's even a site that empowers people to rent out their own car when it is not in use( www.relayrides.com/).

Building on the success of these earlier  entrepreneurs is a newcomer that has taken this model to a higher level.  Located in many big cities, Car2Go (car2go.com) uses the smallest cars available, the Smart 2four, and stations them all over the city. With a membership card and a smartphone app you can find a car near you. You can reserve a trip, or just take your chances in a catch-as-catch-can style. Once you taken your trip, park (free) at any meter, or on any street and walk-away. You are only charged for the time and miles you drove. The next person finds where you parked the car from their mobile app, then they go. Like the others, fuel and insurance are covered in your fees. Unlike the others, you don't have to return the car to a drop-off location. And you don't ever have to pay to park.

Pretty freaking cool! I intend to use these vehicles often and if all goes as I anticipate, they should grow enough in the next several years, that I'll do away with my car.
I wonder who else will?

Baby steps...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pretty easy, really.

Sustainability is a pretty simple concept.
Can something (some practice or some action) be done forever, or for a very long time, or at least for as long as it's necessary? That's pretty much it. In order for something to last, it probably has to be self-sustaining, which means it must be replenished or it must be replaced, preferably the former.
We are consumers. That is, we consume. We must eat and drink in order to survive. When we are behaving in a sustainable manner we then, in turn generate or produce something that some other organism needs to survive. Perhaps our waste is employed in the fertilization and cultivation of some produce, or perhaps we become food for some predator. At least in that scenario, we have a purpose.
The most important thing we can do is to be aware and to think about the consequences of the things we do. This is a practice that has fallen so far out of popularity that it has received it's "free-fall skydivers" certification.

We have come to become ruled by convenience. That is the most important thing anyone can seem to think of. Let's build stuff to save time. To measure time. To avoid walking. To avoid working. People just throw stuff away because it's easy. It doesn't matter if there's some use left in it, or some raw materials that can be extracted, or the fact that it just looks bad sitting there where you threw it. And using stuff up is even worse. We are trying to have a society here and why don't you think everyone should get a fair share?

I notice that no matter how thoughtless someone gets, they still manage to get up when they have to defecate at night. It's obvious why.

So, now apply that same logic to everything that you use. Should I bother to get up, or just sit here in my own filth? Same applies to every thing that we do in life. Just think. That's all.
Oh, and then do something about it.
Baby steps...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it

I put on a lot of weight recently, because when I traveled internationally people didn't believe I was an American.
Have you noticed, lots of our fellow countrymen are looking more and more like the blob-shaped passengers on the spaceship from Wall-E?
Maybe that's why they refer to the proposed trans-continental pipeline as XL, to appeal to the excess-driven American public. By God, if we're gonna have a pipeline running through our heartland, like some sort of Borg bypass surgery, then it had better be X-tra Large!
Did it ever occur to anyone, why don't the Canadians build this pipeline to the Pacific? Or to Hudson Bay? Or to the St. Lawrence River? Perhaps it's because the Canadians aren't as greedy and stupid as we are.
This proposed pipeline will create jobs! Yeah, maybe. About 6000 transient, temporary, boom town-like oil field jobs. That ought to solve our unemployment problem.
America will benefit and profit from lower oil prices? Really?  This oil (using the term very loosely) is going to the Gulf of Mexico to be sold on the global open market. We'll have to bid on it like everyone else, we don't get to siphon some off along the way. That is, except for the inevitable leaks that will happen all over the route of this monstrosity.
 No one is noticing, but the big corporation are starting to divest of their money in fossil fuels and slowly investing in alternatives. Would these greedy a-holes do that if they didn't anticipate a huge profit? I think not!
Stop the mind-numbingly stupid XL Pipeline and try to get used to not using fossil fuels. It will serve you well in the long run.
And it will serve the planet well.
Baby steps...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Sustainability is easy. You just have to be aware.
In fact, becoming more aware would make every aspect of your life better and easier.
Most of us go through the day by rote, by habit. We don't even notice the world around us. That causes us to discount everything that goes on around us. We have a self-imposed blindness, deafness and just a "who gives a rat's..." attitude. It starts to become: me, me, me.
One of the most profound of the old sayings goes, "Stop and smell the roses." We really don't take the time to pause, and take a good look at the world outside of our little bubble. The world is FULL of beauty and wonder.
Once you've started to see the world around you, you'll be surprised at all the fascinating things out there, and the fascinating people. You'll start to appreciate what you've got and enjoying the things that you have. Eventually you may find that the things you used to think were "important" like a new car, a 72 inch TV,  a $5000 watch, don't give you as much pleasure as a beautiful sunset. Don't make you as full of life as playing with a child. Can't hold a candle to helping someone.
It's all a learning experience. You'll get better at it and then you will really find happiness and fulfillment.
Baby Steps...

I'll see you when I get there.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Nobody is Born Racist

The least I can do.

Most people, if you ask them to recycle their cans will say, "Of course. It's the least I can do."
This is so true. But it's also a start. I've known of people who, because of their home policy of recycling cans, they have passed that practice on to their family and friends. And then it gets passed on and on...
Do the least you can, and then some . We all teach by example. Be that example. It's the little things that make a difference in life. And in the life of the planet.
It starts with cans. Then bottles. Then paper and cardboard. Then Batteries. Then plastic. Then computers and other electronics.....
Do it.
Baby Steps...