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Become A Voice of Compassion April 13, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Sustainable Living.
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Pluto-HappyLast week, after taping her show, Ellen Degeneres received the Voice of Compassion award from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).  To view the video:  click here.

Ellen received the award due to her compassion toward both animals and people:

Ellen has used her humorous and compassionate voice to raise awareness of health issues and environmental and animal welfare concerns.”

While presenting the award, Dr. Neal Barnard briefly introduced audience members to the work of the PCRM ~ an organization which advocates against animal testing and for a plant-based diet.

More specifically:

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.”

If you visit the site, you can read or download a Vegetarian Starter Kit!

You can learn how a well-rounded diet can make you less well rounded around your mid-section.

You can get details on Power Plate ~ a healthy alternative to the USDA pyramid.

You can join the School Lunch Revolution and become a school lunch lobbyist by calling to request more nutritious meals in our schools.

This year marks PCRM’s 25th year in operation.  In celebration of that milestone, at PCRM’s 25th Anniversary Art of Compassion Gala, Alicia Silverstone and Marilu Henner also received Voice of Compassion awards for “shining a spotlight on the powerful health benefits of a vegan diet.”

Become a Voice of Compassion in your neighborhood ~ Go Meat-Less.

No Impact Man: Gradual Change April 13, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Sustainable Living.
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As we’ve seen, the family in No Impact Man implemented some rather drastic changes from their consumer-oriented lifestyle during the year-long effort to reduce their impact on the planet.

Among other things, they: turned off the electricity in their apartment; ate only locally grown food purchased at a nearby farmer’s market and cooked at home on their gas stove; stopped shopping for non-essentials; traded chemical cleaners for natural cleaners (vinegar, baking soda, Borax); stopped eating in  restaurants or ordering take-out food; stopped using motorized transportation; and vacationed at a local farm instead of flying or driving to a more “exotic” locale.

While the global economy would come to a screeching halt if everyone on the planet adopted all of these changes at exactly the same moment in time, that is unlikely to occur.

Instead, change will come gradually, person by person, choice by choice.

As discussed in Simplify Your Life, we didn’t immediately overhaul every aspect of our life after reading Elaine St. James’ book a decade ago.  We did, however, start making more conscious choices about how we wanted to live “down the road.”

We started with easy fixes and our success with those encouraged us to keep moving step by step in the direction of our dreams:

* We cancelled the newspaper ~ easy.  We never had time to read it anyway.

* We gave up spending entire weekends baking cookies during the hectic holiday season ~ easy, and more time for holiday stuff we really enjoyed!

* We started giving things away to streamline our possessions ~ easy, and liberating!  It’s amazing how much our possessions weigh us down.

* We downsized our Christmas tree and kept only our favorite ornaments to adorn its branches ~ easy, and a real time-saver every year since then.

As time moved on, our lifestyle changed in more significant respects.  We switched from full-time positions in law and construction, to part-time positions with non-profits.  We moved from a large house in NJ, to a smaller house on the Chesapeake Bay, and more recently to an even smaller villa in Florida.

Along the path, we kept implementing one gradual change after another.

Now, we are able to say, with conviction, “Yes.  That’s good.  Life feels in balance again.”

Gradual change will also work on a more global level.

We don’t have to immediately shut down all coal-burning plants.  Instead, we can begin shifting away from electricity that is not sustainably produced, to electricity that comes solely from sustainable sources (e.g., wind, solar, waves) ~ Go Solar with . . . eSolar!

As the shift occurs, jobs will follow ~ moving workers from current energy production to greener and cleaner energy production.

Likewise, we don’t all have to stop driving gas-guzzling SUVs in one fell swoop, but the next time we’re in the market for a car we should certainly consider the miles per gallon rating ~ or, even better, buy an electric car.

The Nissan Leaf (100% electric/zero emissions) should be available in dealer showrooms starting this fall!

Concern for the economy should not stop us from making changes in our daily lives to move step by step in the direction of lessening our carbon footprints on the planets.

Quote:  Every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

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For an insightful post on excess commercialism in movies: Why Sex & The City Bombed

 

Explore the Great Outdoors April 13, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Nature, Sustainable Living.
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This Earth Day, why not make plans to visit a park near you?  It’s a wonderful way to reconnect with friends and family and commune with nature!

Pack a picnic, grab some kids (yours or a friend’s), and do some exploring in the great outdoors.

Right before the Holidays, Bill and I took our nieces to Myakka River State Park for the day.

We had a blast.

Myakka River, one of Florida’s oldest and largest state parks, protects one of the state’s most diverse natural areas ~ wetlands, hammocks, prairies, and pinelands.

We viewed wildlife from a boardwalk stretching over Upper Myakka Lake.

We climbed a tower and took to the treetops, “swinging”  through the tree canopy on the Myakka Canopy Walkway.

We had a picnic lunch next to a secluded stream.

We burned off a few calories on the jungle gym.

We stopped to watched alligators lurking about in the water and on the shoreline.

We inhaled a big dose of Mother Nature.

We even scoped out some bargains in the Gift Store ~ a fun way to support our public places instead of blowing our entire shopping budget at the local mall.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Happy Earth Day 2010!

Remember:  Take only photographs, leave only footprints.