As I am sure a lot of people have seen the “controversy” over the advertisement from Honey Maid on the wholesomeness of love of a variety of families: a family with two fathers, a rocker family, a single father family, an interracial family, and a military family. I am bewildered as to why in the current time that this is “controversial”. Love is love. When a person shows love for another it should not be questioned, just observed in awe. We often forget that there are three converging pillars of sustainability and one is social justice of which I feel this falls under. Honey Maid presented an even more moving response to the negative as well as the positive responses to their advertisement campaign. I got choked up viewing it. Please enjoy it here and pass it on to your loved ones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBC-pRFt9OM.
Would it make a difference if everyone in world turned off their lights for one hour on one day? It sure does! This Saturday at 8:00 pm is Earth Hour. Turn off your lights, lights some candles, have a quiet (or romantic) hour and think about the world of good you are doing. For more information, check out http://www.earthhour.org/.
An interesting new science series with one of my favorite scientists, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, premiered on Fox last week. It is an attempt to promote science literacy and bring sound scientific information, like that of climate change, to an audience that may have doubts. Neil DeGrasse Tyson expressed the ability to air a show like this on Fox as a way to educate those that are not part of the choir. Tyson has been vocal about his frustrations of the media using the excuse of providing viewers with an equal and balanced presentation of the “facts” of climate science to promote political agendas. “The media has to sort of come out of this ethos that I think was in principle a good one, but it doesn’t really apply in science,” Tyson said. “The ethos was, whatever story you give, you have to give the opposing view. And then you can be viewed as balanced.” In regard to this topic, Tyson emphasizes a point that President Obama made last about not giving time to the “flat earthers”. He uses the idea of not talking any more about the very old idea that the earth was once flat versus the fact of it being round to compare to the political debate of climate scientists and the climate deniers of today. “Plus, science is not there for you to cherry pick…You can decide whether or not to believe in it but that doesn’t change the reality of an emergent scientific truth.”
If you missed the first episode, you can check it out here: http://www.cosmosontv.com/watch/195050051992.
Thinking about what to get your sweetie on Friday for Valentine’s Day? How about a gift with sustainability in mind? Perhaps even don’t spend any money at all and give coupons to be redeemed for acts of kindness: doing some cleaning the other person usually does; laundry duty; a homemade vegetarian or vegan meal; taking the kids for an afternoon or a weekend off; sleeping in while the kids are taken out of the house so it is truly peaceful. Or how about making something homemade like grocery store bags or a great smelling shampoo? You could also go to a local owned store and buy something locally made. There is the option if you live near a grocery store that has sustainable products (most do these days though), like Whole Foods or Trader Joes, to buy some fair trade organic coffee or chocolate or Rainforest Alliance certified flowers. Remember, it doesn’t have to cost money to let someone know you love them. It really is the (sustainable) thought that counts!
Do you want to learn more about living sustainably? Head on down to the Green Festival at Navy Pier this weekend. Noon – 8 Saturday and 11 – 7 on Sunday. All weekend there are great speakers like Jesse Jackson, Van Jones, Jeffrey Smith, John Perkins, Amy Goodman, Karyn Calabrese, Bill McKibbin, and more. There is a ton to do: free yoga classes, fun and games for kids at the Green Kids’ Zone, green cooking demos, DIY stage, environmental film shorts at the Sierra Club Green Cinema, fair trade stage, green business stage, and hundreds of vendors where you can buy green and sustainable goods. Last year I found a local mattress maker and purchased a completely organic mattress for my new baby as well as stainless steel baby bottles. It is definitely worth checking out. For more information: http://www.greenfestivals.org/chi/updates/ .
Recently, a new vegan restaurant, Native Foods Cafe, opened up in my neighborhood in Wicker Park. Now, I am not a vegan or vegetarian for that matter, but I don’t eat much meat though and when I do, it has to be good quality – meaning no hormones, no antibiotics, sustainably grown. I like vegan food though, but often think of it as leaves and flowers. Everyday, I have walked by Native Foods Cafe and it is always packed. I thought, how can a vegan restaurant be so crowded. So, I ventured in and had lunch one day. It was amazing! So flavorful and delicious. I have now been there more than a handful of time and have taken my husband and friends and everyone has been super happy with their food choices.
I noticed on their community board that there is a vegan festival this weekend called Chicago VeganMania. It is on Saturday, November 5th, from 10am-5pm, at Pulaski Park Fieldhouse, 1419 W. Blackhawk ( just east of Ashland and halfway between North and Division and the Division Blue line stop is nearby). Not only is there food to try, but also entertainment and informational speakers.
So if you are like me and didn’t think much of vegan food, give this festival a try. I bet you will change your mind like I did. Now I’m hooked.
For the last few years, I have been trying to go as plastic-free as possible. Plastic production, use, and breakdown produces an immense amount of toxins. Some of these toxins are even carcinogens. I find that terrifying. In my family, we are committed to limiting our plastics and fantasize about going plastic-free someday.
In the book, Plastics: A Love Story, by Susan Frenkel, it states that the US has “produced nearly as much plastic in the last ten years as we have in all previous decades put together”. The more plastic in our lives, means there are more and more toxins.
If you would also like to try to live plastic-free, check out this blog. On Mondays, the authors are posting suggestions.
Sustainability is often defined as to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This has environmental, economic, and social dimensions – the “three pillars” of sustainability. Many times people associate sustainability only with the environmental sphere. This conference, Slow Money, focuses on the economic dimension. Many heavy hitters in the sustainability world will be presenting. Definitely worth checking out.
Up in my neighborhood in Bucktown on the Northside of Chicago, this great organization, ReBuilding Exchange, has an antique and flea market on Sunday. They salvage housing materials from various buildings and sell them at pretty low prices. I got my husband a drafting table for $20 at the last flea market. They also periodically have DIY classes on how to do home renovations. Check out the information on their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/rebuildingexchange.
Talk about an excellent new year’s resolution!! Italy banned single use plastic shopping bags at the start of the year. Imagine if the entire US made that commitment. Oregon is considering the same ban and many towns and cities in California have instilled the ban, including parts of LA. Personally, I can’t remember the last time I took a plastic bag. I keep a stash of cloth bags in the car and for my daily walks have those great little Chico bags that clip to anything with a little carabiner. When was the last time you took a plastic bag?