• the world with the thorn in its side

    June 7, 2010

    One of my favorite books is Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds.  I read it when I was a teenager; and it still haunts me, especially during difficult times.  It is, in short, about the pain that can result from great pleasure.  It is a natural law, but as humans we are conscious of it and yet still choose to perpetuate it – causing the greatest pain to ourselves.  Here is the last paragraph of the book:

    The thorn bird with the thorn in its breast, it follows an immutable law; it is driven but it knows not what to impale itself and die singing. At the very instant the thorn enters there is no awareness in it of the dying to come; it simply sings and sings until there is not the life left to utter another note. But we, when we put the thorns in our breasts, we know. We understand. And still we do it. Still we do it…

    Why am I writing about this now?  Partly from personal circumstances and partly because of the terrible images of the seabirds on the news.  The birds are just going about their business being birds, and we keep going about our business of being anything but human.  In the end, we hurt ourselves.

    Follow this link for up-to-date information on current oil-spill relief efforts.

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  • blog alert: contemplative hiking

    March 27, 2010

    It used to be that we were in awe of nature – of all its mystery, power, and beauty.  From this came the myths and the fables we created in an effort to understand it all.  We intuitively knew and respected our connectedness.  We understood that nature is us and we are it; and that was sacred.

    We have lost so much.

    My friend Margaret Emerson is on a quest to help you find your soul by re-connecting with the natural world via her inspiring, important blog Contemplative Hiking.  She’s also working on a book, which I’m also in awe about.  As I alluded to in my previous post, I’m completely baffled by the book-writing process – it has always seemed an extraordinary feat to me.  I can write post after post, but composing a whole book seems like a natural wonder.

    Even if you’re not in Colorado where Margaret does her hikes, add it to your news feed and let it nurture you.  You’ll find plenty of contemplative exercises that will make you look at your world, wherever you are, in a whole new way.  I especially love her concept of the secret world – of all the life that has come and gone before us, each one leaving its mark to sculpt the landscape as it is this very moment.

    Next up: What do figure skating and face wash have in common, and how are they helping the environment?  I’ll let you know, along with that best airport meal deal I hinted at earlier.

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  • my ocean, your ocean

    January 27, 2010

    Did you know you own the ocean?  A few months ago I introduced you to oceanographer Bruce Monger and his campaign to get everyone to realize just that.  Check out Dr. Monger’s important new blog It’s My Ocean and stake your claim.  You’ll find a whole host of ways to do it along with lots of cool information about what lurks beneath.  The good news is that if you’re reading this site, you’re off to a good start.  A great way to treat your ocean right is to reduce or eliminate your consumption of fish and up the whole, plant-based foods in your diet.  Ahoy!

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  • think, sink, or swim

    September 27, 2009

    I just completed my certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, a course I was inspired to take after reading Dr. Campbell’s The China Study. If you need any more convincing about the benefits of a plant-based diet, read this book.  After decades of research, Dr. Campbell comes clean about the medical establishment and why we don’t hear more about the benefits of plant versus animal protein.  And yes, this includes fish.

    I was very impressed by a lecture on the environmental impacts of aqua culture and eating fish by oceanographer Bruce Monger.  A Senior Research Associate in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University, Dr. Monger reminds us that “the ocean is owned by everyone” and urges us to take responsibility for it in the same way we do any other aspect of our lives.  Only then can we preserve this precious resource.

    See what’s happening to your ocean with this powerful presentation on The Global Fish Crisis from National Geographic.

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  • freeganism and food waste

    July 21, 2009

    Have I mentioned how much I love BBC Radio 4?  As someone without a TV for nearly five years, Radio 4 is on in my kitchen for a good part of the day.  I catch snippets every time I go in there (which is a lot!) and often end up sticking around to listen because there’s usually something interesting going on.

    Yesterday, the topic was freeganism and the environmental impact of the vast amount of food that goes to waste every day.

    I couldn’t pull myself away listening to freegan Tristram Stuart.   Freegans, of course, forage for dumped food.  While most people find this disgusting, says Stuart, the truly apprehensible thing is how much good food is thrown away.  Stuart talked about how supermarkets deliberately overstock simply to provide what he calls a “cornucopia of choice.” “By wasting so much food, we are hording agricultural land,” he says.  Stopping wasting food, on the other hand, requires little or no sacrifice.   His motto?  Buy what you need, eat what you buy.  Find out how by listening to the show here.  The freeganism part starts at 21:00.

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  • down under with bottled water

    July 9, 2009

    Doesn’t Australia have the coolest names?  And now they have a very cool initiative.

    I hadn’t heard of tongue-tripping Bundanoon until today when I learned that the town in New South Wales has banned the sale of bottled water.  The goal?  To curb taxes and protect the environment.  Pretty smart, those wizards of Oz.  It’s great that they’re launching a “Bundy on Tap” plan to provide easy access to tap water, but I wish they’d also let people know that pure, plentiful water is packaged perfectly within fresh fruit and veggies.  It’s definitely a step in the green direction, though.  Here’s another way to save some bills and help your health: pitch the plastic and invest instead in a snazzy SIGG-style bottle.  Yep, I do love word plays.  The cheesier, the better.  Anyone up for a little veggie might?

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  • must-see green tv

    June 12, 2009

    I haven’t had a TV in over four years, but I do get a lot of video value out of my Mac.  Here’s a rundown of what caught my eye this week:

    Apparently viewable on YouTube only until tomorrow, so it’s really worth blocking out 1.5 hours to watch Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s amazing aerial footage of the planet as you’ve never seen it before.  May I suggest a nice, big bowl of souped-up strawberries instead of popcorn.

    FOOD, Inc
    Exposé of America’s industrialized food industry opens today in select US cities.  Being in the UK, I won’t be able to watch this yet; but my interest is quite piqued after seeing a PBS interview with director Robert Kenner.  Can’t say I’d snack on anything during this one.

    Raw Spirit Festival highlights
    Matt Monarch talks to health warrior Jameth Sheridan, who shares his honest, thought-provoking views on the many faces of raw while Troy Casey of Amazon Herbs makes me want to grow my hair long and move to Ecuador. Best enjoyed with a glass of Drink Your Greens.

    TED’s eco double bill
    John La Grou plugs smart power outlets and Kevin Surace invents eco-friendly drywall.  Who needs TV when you’ve got TED?

    Reader plea: I’d like to make this a regular feature but can’t keep up with all the great videos out there, so if you come across any you think should be included here I’d be grateful if you’d send them my way.  Happy weekend!

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  • a film so priceless, it’s free

    June 8, 2009

    Very few things manage to dazzle, educate and motivate in 10 minutes, let alone 1.5 hours.  Yet that’s exactly what Yann Arthus-Bertrand does in his film HOME released on Friday.  Instead of the harsh graphics and jarring editing of many eco films, he uses his swooping aerial imagery to present our planet as a masterpiece: one that must not only be appreciated but lovingly restored.   By capturing nature with the sort of awe of a lover, he inspires desire rather than obligation.  It’s utterly brilliant.

    The best part?  HOME, like love, is free.  You can watch it on YouTube, but only until June 14th.  I highly recommend the full-screen option.  Many thanks to Dhrumil at We Like It Raw for tipping me onto it.

    You might also like to check out the filmmaker’s talk on TED, one of my all-time favorite sites. In fact, I could write a whole post about TED: truly thought-provoking talks from a wide-range of talented thinkers.  Again, all free. If you’ve never heard of TED, your world’s about to get rocked.

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