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Tiny Green Thumbs Workshop April 22, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Nature, People, Sustainable Living.
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This morning, to celebrate Earth Day, Bill and I biked 3.5 miles through Robinson Preserve to Geraldson Community Farm ~ our local CSA.

As we rode, I greeted the bikers, walkers, joggers and kayakers we passed with a chipper, “Happy Earth Day!”

A handful of recipients broke into friendly smiles at the greeting, faces displaying recognition of the day’s significance before they reciprocated in kind.

Most, however,  just looked confused . . .

Huh????  What???  Earth Day???

Despite the overall lack of enthusiasm for Earth Day 2010, we enjoyed the ride through the preserve, traveling at a leisurely speed of 9 miles per hour, until we reached the farm, where we parted ways.

Bill continued his Earth Day travels to De Soto National Memorial.

I stayed to join Tony (7) and Jackie (3) Rappold, part-year residents of Anna Maria Island, as they harvested “the fruits of their labor” during the Tiny Green Thumbs Workshop.

What a wonderful way to spend Earth Day!

Having attended a previous Green Thumbs workshop at the farm (when they fertilized vegetables), Tony and Jackie spent today reaping the “seeds” they sowed earlier this year.


They learned about growing conditions in Florida, tap roots, organic material, seed pods, fibrous roots, friendly weeds, and the microscopic life of soil.

Jackie and Tony harvested fresh vegetables and flowers:

Radishes,  Carrots,  Onions,

Gentry Squash, Zucchini,

Mustard Greens, Sunflowers . . .

And a wayward Broccoli plant.

Last visit, Tony and Jackie brought a souvenir home ~ a caterpillar which wasted no time before devouring the parsley patch in their backyard.

The caterpillar paid them back by emerging from its cocoon as a beautiful Swallow Tail Butterfly.

Will Tony and Jackie become the next generation of organic farmers?

Maybe, maybe not.

But spending Earth Day 2010 at Geraldson Community Farm gave them (and me!)  a chance to witness a few of Mother Nature’s miracles first hand.

Thanks for the tour, William!

Discovering Your Secret Identity April 22, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
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Our unique talents, skills, and abilities are clues to our “secret identity” ~ if we follow the clues, like breadcrumbs, we may discovery our vocation, calling,  or purpose somewhere along the way. 

Or we may not.  

As you may already suspect, having aptitude for something is not always enough.  Our purpose should fill us with passion ~ adding to, not detracting from, our enthusiasm for life.  That requires that we factor into the equation the totality of our likes and dislikes. 

Let’s take a few easy examples first:   

* Someone who is born to be a mechanic will love being under the hood of a car or plane.  Someone who hates getting their fingernails dirty was not born to be a mechanic. 

* Someone who is born to be a hair stylist will enjoy playing with hair and helping others look their best.  Someone who hates touching people’s hair was not born to be a hair stylist. 

* Someone who is born to be a bartender will love the excitement of being in bars late at night, conversing with customers, and handing out free advice while whipping up exotic drinks.  Someone who hates being out after dark, and dislikes cocktail party chatter, was not born to be a bartender. 

Now, let’s take a slightly longer range example:

J.D. comes from a long line of lawyers who steered him toward law as the appropriate choice of career. 

Based on J.D.’s  familial background and accumulated legal acumen (picked up from conversations around the dinner table), he aced the LSAT’s and got into the law school of his choice.  Once there, however, J.D. realizes that he dislikes everything about law school . . . with a passion. 

Instead of blindly moving forward with his decision to pursue a career in law, J.D. might want to consider taking a different career path.  If he doesn’t like law school, chances are he won’t like being a lawyer any better.  

Same goes for M.D.’s decision to go to medical school ~ and for Ph.D.’s decision to get a doctorate. 

When the stepping stones to a career require years of specialized training, career candidates should ask themselves, “Is this how I want to spend my limited time on this planet?” 

If not, they should think about shifting their career path to something more suited to their unique personality, traits, skills and abilities.

This does not mean that we should abandon a rigorous two-week training program for a job we expect to enjoy for many years.  Most people can safely gamble with two or three weeks of their life. 

But trading years of our lives, to train for something that we don’t really want to do, makes little sense. 

Time is our most valuable and irreplaceable commodity ~ a bank account which mandates daily withdrawals, prohibits deposits, and pays dividends when we spend it wisely.  Training for a profession that doesn’t interest us, or accepting a job that is not in line with our core values, is not a good use of our limited time on this planet.

Related Posts: Discovering Right Livelihood * Do What You Will Stop Playing “Follow The Leader” * Life Is Not One-Size-Fits-All * Simplify Your Life * Way of the Peaceful Warrior * Live Your Life  * But I Might Die Tonight

Greening the Job Market April 22, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Sustainable Living.
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220px-TaleofPeterRabbit8The expanding efforts of the federal government and the private sector to save energy costs and green the economy should result in a sizable increase in jobs focused on clean green technology between now and 2030.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 appropriated about $42 billion for energy programs aimed at energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The programs include:

* $11 billion for smart-grid research and development
* $6.3 billion for energy efficiency and conservation grants
* $6 billion for loan guarantees for electricity generation and renewable projects such as wind and solar power
* $5 billion for weatherization assistance for low-income residents
* $4.5 billion for making federal buildings more energy-efficient
* $3.4 billion for research and development of carbon storage and “clean” coal
* $2.5 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy research
* $2 billion in grant funding for advanced batteries systems
* $1 billion for other energy efficiency programs, such as alternative-fuel trucks and buses and smart appliances

This step in the right direction for the country and the planet might also translate into a Green Job for you!

Expected to be among the hottest job fields are electrical contracting; mechanical, chemical, environmental and civil engineering; welding; installation of solar, wind and geothermal energy systems; energy analysis; and accounting and auditing.

Unless you are already trained or educated in an area favored by the Green Deal, you may need some retraining to tap into these opportunities.

For more:  Could the “Green Deal” Mean a Job for You?  by John F. Wasik (author of The Audacity of Help: Obama’s Economic Plan and the Remaking of America).

Other Resources:  Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference * Investing in Green Energy * Getting a Green Job * www.greendreamjobs.com * www.greenjobs.net * jobs.cleanedge.com * jobs.greenbiz.com * jobs.grist.org * www.renewableenergyjobs.com * jobs.treehugger.com.

Web sites like www.idealist.org are also full of nonprofit jobs that support sustainability and social justice.

Happy Earth Day 2010!