‘Not that long ago, people who ate food that was healthy, environmentally friendly, and caused no animals to suffer were considered health nuts, while those who ate food that caused disease, took a staggering toll on the resource base, and depended on immense animal suffering were considered normal. But all that is changing.’ - John Robbins #redefiningnormal #sustainability

theguardian.com
Can the world economy survive without fossil fuels? | Larry Elliott
The long read: The past three centuries of progress have been powered by coal, oil and gas. Burning much of what’s left will lead to environmental and economic catastrophe. Here’s how to save the earth without giving up on growth
By Larry Elliott

Outstanding article on the future of our planet in regard to energy consumption…

“In terms of reducing the number of people living below the global poverty line of $1.25 (84p) a day, the post-cold war model of capitalism has been a success. Fewer people go hungry. More have access to healthcare and education. The size of the global middle class has increased, and consumers in Shanghai and Mumbai have been able to afford cars and fridge-freezers.

But this process has had two unattractive side effects. The first is that the balance of power in the workplace has tilted decisively in favour of capital over labour. The second is that the triumph of the market has put pressure on the planet.

The question, therefore, is whether it is possible to marry two seemingly contradictory objectives. Can we imagine a future that is cleaner, greener and sustainable – one that avoids climate armageddon – without abandoning the idea of growth and, thus, forcing living standards into decline? The answer is that it will be hellishly difficult, but it is just about feasible if we make the right choices – and start making them now.

Fossil fuels are used to make and power mobile phones, tablets and laptops. There is no evidence that we want fewer of them. Nor would there be much support for a return to the days before fridges, gas cookers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Smoking in a restaurant or bar is no longer socially acceptable; until the same applies to driving your son or daughter to school in a gas-guzzling 4x4, Helm is right: we are not very serious about climate change.

So, there is a choice. The rest of the world can help poor African countries with the cost of developing renewable energy; the rest of the world can provide Africa with expensive carbon capture and storage for coal-fired power stations; or the rest of the world can do nothing and watch Africa’s carbon footprint rise rapidly as it burns dirty fossil fuels. There is no status quo option.

“We’re seeing very rapid change”, says Stern, “but we’re going to have to accelerate the arrival and installation and use of renewables, from hydroelectricity and wave power through to the various types of solar. We’re going to have to look more closely at carbon capture and storage, because that’s a way of using your fossil fuels without emitting. And we’re going to have a period when gas is substituted for coal.”

All of this is important, because ultimately Helm is right. This is not just about carbon taxes. It is not just about R&D. It is not just about divestment. If we really want the fossil fuels to be left in the ground, it is about us.

5 Apps to Help People Live a More Sustainable Life

The killer combination of technology and sustainability has led to the creation of the following apps that help people live a more sustainable life.

1. iRecycle

Reduce, reuse and recycle with iRecycle. This application is a go-to resource for recycling. It tells you how, where and when to recycle using your current location.

2. HowGood

HowGood is an app that lets you scan a product’s barcode at the store or search for its name to find out product info. 

3. Zero Carbon

To hold yourself accountable for doing your part in saving the planet, you can downloadZero Carbon. The app works much like a fitness tracker, but instead of solely tracking your exercise and nutritional intake, it records your daily tasks that impact your total carbon emissions. 

4. Green Tips & Tricks

At this crucial point in time in society, “going green” is in, or at least should be. Green Tips & Tricks is an app that helps users live an eco-friendly, healthy and sustainable lifestyle by providing just what the name says: “tips and tricks” for going green.

5. JouleBug

Working toward the goal of a sustainable lifestyle can be fun with the JouleBug game. Each time you do something that shows you made an effort toward sustainability, the app rewards you with badges, points and pins. 

Source: Triple Pundit

Melicoccus bijugatus, commonly called Spanish lime, genip, guinep, genipe, ginepa, quenepa, quenepe, chenet, canepa, mamon, limoncillo or mamoncillo, is a fruit-bearing tree in the soapberry family Sapindaceae, native or naturalized across the New World tropics including South and Central America, Tobago, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean. It is believed to have been introduced into the Caribbean in pre-Columbian times.

This fruit can be sweet or sour. In the southern areas of Mexico, it is generally eaten with chili powder, salt, and lime. This sweet variety is generally eaten without condiments of any kind.

#growninhaiti #Melicoccusbijugatus #Spanishlime #genip #guinep #genipe #ginepa #quenepa #quenepe #chenet #canepa #mamon #limoncillo #mamoncillo #fruit #freshlypicked #ripe #organic #noGMO #noHerbicide #noPesticide #preservation #sustainability #reforestation #permaculture

“For a long time, everybody thought of solar panels as something only rich people could afford. But when you think about it, the fuel – sunlight – is free. So if you can make the equipment affordable and accessible, in theory, solar should be a great option for all kinds of Americans…”

Thanks for hosting me, Huffington Post! You can read the rest of it here: http://huff.to/1O7gaih

Eco-Friendly Pagan Ritual Tools–On the Cheap

[Note–I originally posted this on my blog, A Sense of Natural Wonder, earlier this year. There’s yet another “paganism on the cheap!” article going around that advocates buying mass-marketed crap at the dollar store, so I decided I’d revive this in return.]

It’s Earth Day, and while my blog tends to be pretty eco-centric year-round, I wanted to write today about a particular topic that comes up a lot in paganism, particularly among newcomers: ritual tools. Now, it’s been said many times by many people that you don’t actually need tools to be a pagan. I do agree that you can perform rituals open-handed, with nothing but yourself and the spirits/gods/energy you’re working with to make things happen. However, some people just like having the tools themselves; they help heighten the ability to suspend disbelief. And some people feel their tools have spirits of their own, thus making them allies in ritual.

A lot of new pagans, especially young ones, look for inexpensive ritual tools since money’s tight. However, a lot of the suggestions I see made are things that are distinctly not eco-friendly. The most common one is some variant of “Just go to Wal-mart/Dollar Tree/other chain store and get your candles, candle holders, bowls and other tools there!” Sure, you could get a four-pack of taper candles for a buck, but what’s the real cost? Here are the likely reasons your candles are so cheap:

–The wax is probably petroleum-based, which means it benefits from fossil fuel subsidies from federal and state governments. The chemical company that developed the dye might also have gotten subsidies as well. This means that these companies are getting money for free, out of people’s taxes, and therefore can sell their products more cheaply. These companies are also usually not required to pay for the effects of the pollution that’s a byproduct of their processes.

–The candles were likely to have been made by underpaid, sometimes abused workers in a factory in China or another East Asian country, with inadequate protection against the chemicals and machinery being used. There’s a good chance that any chemical byproducts of the process are not properly disposed of, and may just be dumped directly into the nearest river, saving them the cost of paying for safer options.

–They were shipped en masse on a boat from their country of manufacture to wherever you are, again using subsidized fossil fuels. The shipping company doesn’t have to pay for the pollution their boats cause to the ocean and the air, so they can keep their costs down.

We don’t have a solid number on the real cost of pollution from the manufacture of these candles, but suffice it to say you’re getting your candles cheaply in part because the entities who made them and their components are passing some of the cost on to the environment. And we add to that, too, any time we burn candles made with noxious chemicals that add to air pollution in our homes and elsewhere. We speak with our dollars when we buy these cheap things–we say “We don’t care, so long as we save a few bucks in the name of practicing a nature religion*”.

So what’s a pagan to do when money’s thin on the ground? Here are some options.

Use What You’ve Got

You may already have the things you need for your ritual right at home. In generic Wicca-flavored neopaganism, common tools include an athame or other sacred knife, a bowl for salt or water, a wand, an incense burner, and something to put it on. A common kitchen knife may not be the most flashy thing in the world, but it will work, and you can decorate it if you want to dedicate it just to ritual work. If you have a favorite bowl in your kitchen, you can reserve that for your sacred work as well. Any stick or rod will work as a wand–I’ve even heard of using a ruler for one! You can easily make an incense burner out of aluminum foil; just make it into a bowl with a few layers, put some sand or dirt in it, and place the incense on that. Then put the burner on a hotpad or trivet, or even a very flat rock or thick ceramic dish, and you’re good to go. You can decorate the dish/hotpad/etc. if you like, though it’s not necessary (and make sure that anything flammable is kept well away from the burning incense!)

These are just a few ideas based on one particular set of ritual tools; you can get pretty creative depending on your needs, so treat it like a grand scavenger hunt! (Just make sure that you’re using only your stuff, or that you ask permission to use anything that belongs to someone else.)

Secondhand First

I am a huge fan of thrift stores and other secondhand shops. Sadly, here in the U.S. there’s a lot of consumerism, with much more stuff being produced for our demands than is absolutely necessary. I wrote a few years ago about the immense amount of clothing, housewares and other discarded stuff I found at just one Goodwill outlet store in just one city, and wondered how much more goes to waste every day. A lot of it is perfectly serviceable, too. I could easily build a dozen altars with the items found in one thrift store.

Yet there’s this unfortunate superstition floating around paganism that somehow you can’t cleanse secondhand items, that the histories they have will linger with them and will always taint them as ritual items–but of course, all a brand-new item needs is a quick cleansing! I call bollocks on that one. If you can purify a new glass bowl that’s been made in a sweatshop soaked in human suffering and death, created from materials that cause great devastation to the natural environment, and conveyed to your town while leaving a trail of fossil fuel pollution behind it, you can damned well purify the energy of a similar, secondhand glass bowl that sat on someone’s grandmother’s dining room table with wax fruit in it for thirty years. Most of my ritual tools over the years were secondhand, to include items that other practitioners used in their own rites, and I never had a problem making them ready for my work.

So get over that superstition, and start thrifting! You never know what kind of cool stuff you may find. (My only caution is that it’s really easy to come home with a cart full of secondhand tchotchkes for cheap, which may put shelf space in your home at a premium.)

Foraging At Its Finest

Many nature pagans like having sticks, stones and other natural items in their homes to remind them of what they feel is sacred. In fact, you can make your entire array of ritual tools from things you found outside. If you work with the four cardinal directions and elements, for example, you might have a stone in the north, a feather or bit of dandelion fluff in the east, dried wood or moss as firestarter in the south, and a vial of rain water in the west. The best part of all this is that, other than some containers for things like water, it’s all free.

Do keep in mind there are certain legal and other restrictions. Federal and state parks in the U.S., for example, prohibit the collection of any natural items found within the park without a permit (some cities do this as well). You’ll need to ask permission when foraging on private property. And some items, such as some animal parts, are illegal to possess regardless of how you got them; most wild bird feathers in the U.S. cannot be possessed, even if they were naturally molted, as one example. (You can access my database of animal parts laws here.)

Grow or Make Your Own

DIY is a wonderful thing. Not only do you get to cut costs, but you get to gain skills, too! For example, some folks like to use herbs in their spells and other magic, and luckily a lot of these herbs can be easily grown, even in a pot by the window. If you worry about having a black thumb, there’s plenty of information on the internet about how best to care for a particular kind of plant; the most common ways to kill your herbs is through too much or too little water and sunlight, the wrong sort of soil or not enough fertilizer, and disease or parasites. If you notice a plant isn’t thriving, you can research online or in books at the library what the possible causes may be, and you can ask garden shops or people on gardening forums for advice.

Other tools can be homemade, too. If you want to have a permanently decorated altar, maybe with a scene depicting your patron deities or symbols of the four cardinal directions, you can paint a secondhand table with acrylic paints**, or carve or burn the designs if the table’s wood. A well-worn broom can be decorated with dried flowers and ribbon, and even re-bristled with straw and other plant materials. A particularly sturdy branch may make a nice wand as-is, or you can choose to decorate it to your preferences.

Support Local Artisans

It’s okay if you don’t want to make your own tools. Maybe you don’t have the time, or you don’t feel your work is quite up to your own standards***. In this case, you may wish to consider supporting a local artisan. Of course, this may not necessarily be the cheapest option; an individual artist has to pay a lot more for their materials per piece than a factory, and puts a lot more time and effort into the creation, too. However, many artists will have items along a wide range of prices. Some may even have some items on sale or clearance, things they’ve had sitting around a good long while. And some artists are open to barter as well.

You’re always welcome to ask an artisan about their materials. I talked earlier about cheap, petroleum-based candles from the dollar store; however, there are candle-makers who specialize in eco-friendly alternatives like beeswax and natural dyes, and who avoid candle wicking with lead in it. And the same goes for everything from ceramics to woodworking to paintings; usually there’s somebody who specializes in greener materials out there.

(Shameless plug for my own recycled hide and bone and other natural materials art here, though there are many artisans within the pagan community and elsewhere whose works would be lovely ritual items. Try Etsy, Artfire, and Storenvy for some possibilities.)

Conclusion

I hope now that you see that buying ritual tools on a budget doesn’t have to feed into environmentally harmful processes and practices. In fact, taking care in one’s shopping choices can be an act of spiritual devotion in and of itself. If you feel nature is sacred, then let that speak not just through your rituals and special moments, but in your everyday actions as well.

* With the understanding, of course, that not every person who identifies as a pagan focuses their paganism on nature, and there are some pagans for whom the gods, for example, are central.

** While not without their pollutants, acrylic paints are some of the safest paints that are easily obtained commercially. There are more eco-friendly recipes for homemade paints out there, but acrylics are best if you don’t want to go quite that far in your DIY-dom.

*** The effectiveness of a tool, by the way, is not in how pretty it is or how perfectly crafted. Even if you don’t think you’re an artist, it’s the intent behind the creation that matters. So don’t let that get in the way of making your own tools if you’re so inclined.

Vine isn’t even a foot long and my King of Mammoth Pumpkins are already flowering. Really hoping for the rain soon. This drought is ridiculous. I’d love for these to do well if only to see the expression of the neighbors when I need a wheel barrow to carry one pumpkin lol.

#growninhaiti #mammoth #pumpkin #king #vine #fruit #growth #organic #noGMO #noHerbicide #noPesticide #drought #permaculture #sustainability #haiti #ayiti