Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Eco-Inspiration 3

Wednesdays are insanity for me this quarter.  It's those truly crazy days when I start to wondering, "Why am I doing this again?"  Those are also days when I forget my reusable coffee mug, end up buying lunch at work,  and decide not to go the the gym.  Wow, what a bad combo, but the perfect ingredients for a bad attitude!  It's for just those sorts of days that I have assembled my little folder of Eco-Inspiration which I am slowly sharing with you guys (if you're new, check here and here for more inspiring stuff!).  

When you are having a rough day, take a short break to get some perspective and get inspired.  When you come back, reflect on your actions.  Maybe your goal was to remember your reusable mug everyday this week, but you got busy and forgot on Wednesday.  Did you know lots of studies say it takes 30 days to form a new habit?  Don't be so hard on yourself, but do get back on the horse.  Your 30 days starts again tomorrow, and you have nearly unlimited chances to get it right!  Remember, every time you do remember and adhere to your small environmental goals, you add on to all your previous actions.  In a month, if you compare your efforts to what would happen if you made no effort you will start to actually see a difference!  Thus, in honor of Wednesdays and sticking to our goals, I offer you this week's Eco-inspiration.  This is my all time go to if I'm having a bad day.  I take the last line quite literally and apply it to each new day.  Practice resurrection. 

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front*

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Last Word:  This poem always gets me going and excited again.  Don't be discouraged if you get off track because of your crazy life, or maybe because other people are getting you down.  Reflect on the purpose of your choices, and maybe write your very own Manifesto to read and reflect on when things get tough.  
What do you think?  What really peps you up?  Poetry?  Pictures?  Have you ever though about writing your own Manifesto to read in times of stress or frustration?  I would love to know about it. 
Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” from The Country of Marriage, copyright © 1973 by Wendell Berry   *Emphasis is mine.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

EcoNews Round-up: Jan. 20, 2013

I thought it might be fun to share with you guys some of the stuff I have been mulling over this week.  I listen to the radio...a lot, so you will notice a certain bias toward NPR.  Please excuse me, but I was quite literally raised listening to NPR every time I got into the car, everyday while prepping meals, and while drinking coffee in the mornings.  So, here is some of the ecology/environment/science related news and media I've been thinking about this week:

Airpocalypse!!!  For once, it seems that the media's crazy names for things aren't that off the mark.  This looks and sounds nasty.  I think China always causes an interesting debate in my own head.  Obviously, I think that they should be doing more for the environment (among other things, but that's a little off topic).  However, other countries use so many of the raw materials produced in China, it's hard for environmental regulations to keep pace with demand.  One quotation from the article really brings that point home:

"Meanwhile, the Global Times has been pointing out China's role as the global factory and the "biggest construction site in the world"...Seventy percent of global iron and steel, and about half of the world's cement is produced in China," it says in an editorial. "Against this backdrop, it is impossible for China to be as clean as the West.""  

This story about scientists sharing the internal details of their scientific methods really intrigued me.  It does a lot to bring out the more human side of what we do.  My first "overly honest methods" tweet would probably involve how I am listening to a constant stream of history/science podcasts while doing all my lab work.  For example:  "I ground up plant matter until I literally couldn't stand to listen to another episode of Stuff You Missed in  History Class."  I, personally, don't think that admitting that scientists are real people who have to deal with real equipment and time constraints impacts the view of science by popular culture.  Maybe others disagree?        

Last, I loved this story about right whales!  I happen to be a secret nut for marine mammals.  I think this sighting is amazing, concerning, and uplifting all at the same time.  Anytime an endangered species with only about 500 members is seen with an infant, that's amazing.  But why is this whale so far from the normal spawning grounds?  More questions than answers concerning this article in my opinion.  

Last Word:  I'm always on the outlook for good science news, especially if there is a study linked to the news article.  Scientific reporting is a big interest of mine, and I like to see if I agree with the high points the reporters have drawn from the studies.  I'll try to keep a running list of articles I'm interested by each week and share.

What do you think?  Would you like to see more science news on the blog:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Reduce: My Green Holiday Swag

Well, I have been absent.  The holidays.  Life.  FINALS.  I will not discuss in detail the coffee induced hell that the first two weeks of December entailed.  I also will not detail the lovely time I had at home with my family, friends, and the many many dogs that live at my parent’s home.  I will, however, share with you a few choice, blog inspired Christmas gifts I received this year.  I’m a really lucky girl.  I have a very talented and environmentally minded mother, so when she asks me what I want, I give her ideas.  Here is how she executed:

Homemade reusable cosmetic rounds!
First, check out these reusable make-up remover pads!  After I made my DIY eye make-up remover, I realized I would need some cotton pads to use the product the way I wanted.  Those convenient little cotton pads you buy at the drug store seemed sub-optimal for several reasons.  First, they are wrapped in plastic.  I promise I will write a full out post about the drawbacks of plastic soon.  It's on the list.  Second, I don't know a ton about the cotton industry, but anything that takes resources to make and is explicitly one use, seems iffy to me.  So, I asked my mom to come up with a solution.  She made me about 20 reusable cotton rounds.  Over half of them are washcloth material on one side, and the other half are just all cotton fabric.  She made them all from stuff she had laying around the house too, so no new stuff needed!  She also re-gifted to me this amazing airtight container for them.  I think it has some beer cheese in it when she first received it, but it's really pretty and the pads fit perfectly.  I'm going to use them for make-up remover, toner, and, as per my cousin's suggestion, I'm thinking of putting some mixture of stuff in the container to try and make a reusable version of those pre-moistened pads.  I will report back.

Bulk bags!
Second, she made me these awesome bulk bags to be used at the co-op and the Farmer's Market.  I have a few of these, but I always run out and end up using the old brown paper bags I have been saving hording for...probably too long.  Needless to say, most of those have seen better days, and my mom comes to the rescue.  Bad on me for not putting something in here for scale.  There are a variety of sizes, the biggest one could hold lots of produce or a ton of rice if it's on sale.  The smallest one would be perfect for those things I'm buying in bulk for just one recipe.  These were also made from fabric scraps she had around the house.  They are so cute, right?

Last, I cannot leave out the cool presents made for me by my crafty little sister.  She made me these super cool headbands out of old t-shirts!  As headbands pretty much equal my grad school hair uniform, these are amazing and thoughtful.  I wear them all the time.  She tells me she learned how on Pinterest.  I will try to find the link and post it to my own Pinterest page.  If you're so inclined, you can follow me on there, here.  She made some other pretty amazing gifts for the rest of the family.

Final Word:  Basically, my family is amazing, and they really know me.  I also love that they are into downing the waste that is often associated with the holiday season.  I'm super excited to try them out, and I'll make sure to report back.

What do you think?  Did you get any cool gifts for the holidays?  I know it's a little late...but eh.  Any cool eco/green/sustainable gifts you'd like to gab about?  I'd love to hear about them!          

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