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The latest news, food for thought, recipes you’ll love, great advice on everything from raising kids to nurturing bees, plus videos designed to entertain, educate and enlighten. If you’d like to find out what’s on our mind – or let us know what’s on yours -- this is place to be.

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Big Think

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Author: the Inkslinger

See…this is what I’m talking about. This is what I meant in my post of the other day. We gotta think big and we gotta think outside the box. That’s how we’re going to get where we need to go with this whole wacky climate crisis thing. Screwing in a couple of compact fluorescents and making our next car a Prius, while good and necessary and satisfying and righteous, aren’t going to cut the melt-down mustard. Not meaningfully. Not ultimately. Not when anybody who knows anything about climate and atmospheric science says we need a 90% reduction in global carbon output in the next 20 years tops or we’re toast. For that we need to dream and scheme and not just think outside the box but take the box out behind the barn, smash it to splinters, and torch whatever’s left.

We need big thinking. Huge ideas. Like Ausra's. Think of it. Ohmigod it’s glorious. It shines and beckons like a heated swimming pool in January surrounded by scantily-clad supermodels in the gender of your choice and filled with 25-year old single malt scotch. It makes me quiver in ways and places that are illegal if not at least frowned upon in certain jurisdictions below the Mason-Dixon line. Virtually every single kilowatt hour every single man, woman and child in the entire U.S. of A could possibly need to do every single thing they want to do from watch Admiral Adama find Earth on 60" of pure plasma glory to make blueberry scones for breakfast, all produced without emitting so much as a single atom of carbon using little more than bunch of mirrors on a forsaken slice of desert scrub just 92 miles square, a plot of land that represents a mere 10% of all the Bureau of Land Management holdings in just Nevada, upon which would happily and sustainably sit (and this is the best and most uncontrollable giggle-inducing part) technology we’ve got today.

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Friday Funny

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Author: the Inkslinger

Chrystie forwarded this bit of virtually perfect British fun to me this morning, and I nearly lost all bladder control. A sure sign that sharing is necessary. May it be used to offset any end-of-the-week energy lag you are currently experiencing…

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Carbon Footprint product labeling

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Not one for surveys, but when I saw this article that 44% Of UK Shoppers Would Buy Brand With Smaller Carbon Footprint, I wondered if a carbon-footprint-label would be something shoppers in the US would pay attention to and that would influence their shopping choices.

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Thinking Outside the Tube

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Author: the Inkslinger

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” --Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

When it comes to the big global environment problems like the climate crisis, I’m pretty much in the camp that believes we can think our way out of it. That human ingenuity is going to beat the problem. Certainly some personal changes are required, some level of action, and a good amount of making do with less is going to be a part of the solution, but I think that the collective hive mind is going to figure out a way for us to do that without really noticing much that we are.

It’s sort of like the front loading washing machines my wife and I have been looking at. They use a whole lot less water and energy, but you don’t really notice they do. Your clothes are apparently just as clean. The only difference that’s felt is in your utility bills and your carbon footprint.

So it’s not like we can’t have appliances doing the dirty work for us. We just have to invent really smart ones so that we can enjoy these and other things without generating any negative environmental impacts in the process, and then we have to share these efficiencies with the rest of the world so that the have-nots can enjoy the good life, too. We don’t have to all go off and live in caves to beat climate disruption. We don’t have stop driving cars. We don’t have forgo mangos at the supermarket in January. We just have to get super smart about how we do all these things and figure out how to live well while also living intelligently and regeneratively.

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Out of the In-Box

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Author: the Inkslinger

Time to empty out the in-box and see what riches the gods of information have deigned to deliver unto us upon the quivering wires…

Carbon labeling is coming to a product near you. And about time, too. We label for just about everything else under the sun but until now we’ve overlooked what’s by far the biggest elephant in the better shopping room. It’ll take ahwile for these labels to become ubiquitous, but this pachyderm is loose at last and there’s no closing the barn doors now.

By way of Treehugger comes this cool list from Coop America of 21 things you didn’t know you could recycle that’s definitely worth recycling here.

As a big tiger fan (and I’m not talking baseball), I’m encouraged by the news from India that a bunch of these big beautiful cats have just been discovered
in a mountainous jungle region some 30 years after experts thought they’d gone locally extinct. Proof that when we have the wisdom to leave well enough alone, Nature is quick to bounce back.

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Today’s Cafeteria Special: a Green and Trash-Free Lunch

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Author: the Inkslinger

Please meet Laurel Peltier, the newest addition to our roster of guest bloggers. Laurel tells us she is a 42 year-old mom of three living in Baltimore, Maryland who writes freelance articles about the environment. She says she used to be a consumer product manager, MBA-types often disparaged by greenies, she notes, but she’s now applying her marketing skills for Mother Earth.

To me, it seems families, especially Mom are hard to reach, we're very busy juggling many things, so I try and write about ideas that relate. Here’s a short brief I wrote for Maryland Family magazine about greening our kids’ lunches.

Looking for ways to become eco-friendly? An easy place to make a difference is with your child’s lunch.

Though juice boxes and individually wrapped ‘grab and go’ foods are convenient, they generate tons of trash. Each year the average child dumps sixty-seven pounds of lunchbox trash costing school districts valuable dollars to collect and dispose of the trash.

Re-thinking how your child’s meal gets packed can reduce trash going to landfills and has some unexpected benefits. Here are some simple ways to pack a trash-free lunch:

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Working on Recycling

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Author: the Inkslinger

To get the week off to an inspired start, here’s a guest post from protagonist Diana Gabet

At my job I'm known as the junk lady. I try to recycle everything possible from the yogurt container in my lunch to reusing lunch bags. My goal is make a new recycler one person at a time. The workplace is a great place to start from paper to printing cartridges to boxes. I save the styrofoam packing peanuts and take them to the ups shipper to reuse. Also taking the old phone books to recycling. Everyone who does just one item recycle can make a difference! People come to me and ask is this recyclable. One small step at a time.

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One Drop of Change At a Time

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Author: the Inkslinger

Got a bunch of guest posts in the queue so I’m gonna keep ‘em coming...

Here are some words from Monique D'Sa, a mother of three green kids and a freshly green husband. Monique is a teacher by trade and is presently at home trying to make the world greener. She lives in Toronto close to public transit and enjoys organic foods, growing vegetables and volunteering. She says her next endeavour is to sell her homebaked cookies made with organic ingredients at the Christmas Craft show!

I have a blog of my own which I started to begin a global campaign. It's called the One Drop of Rain Campaign. I offer monthly challenges to readers to take on green living. If we all do a little something, we will make a difference. In challenging people with EASY ideas, I hope that these will become habits and hopefully change the way people shop and consume and get the word out to companies that we don't need to buy any more toxic crap!!! I also write a monthly article for Naturally Savvy.

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Inspired Consumerism

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Author: the Inkslinger

Let the Friday feast of words continue with this guest post from Sarah Schultz-Nielsen. Sarah is a public librarian and enjoys simple things, like spending time with her husband and dogs, growing raspberries in their yard and watching The Closer on DVD. She was raised on a dairy farm in Maine, which now grows organic vegetables and grass-fed beef.

I became inspired to do my part after I was at a meeting and heard a financial advisor recommend Ellis Jones' The Better World Shopping Guide. I was impressed that someone who had both money and the ability to manage it (which equals power to me) introduced such a gem. I don't have lots of money and often feel powerless, which really is a bad excuse for apathy. This book gives me no excuses. The book is physically small but the information inside is big, if not enormous. Everything from airlines to vitamins are rated based on issues including employee treatment to community involvement. I've been using it to make changes in my household that make me feel that my husband and I are helping the world to be better. Or our world, at least.

I have been buying a lot of the products I've learned about in the book at my local health food store, called Harvest Time. It is woman-owned and operated and small in comparison to some of the large, whole food markets but they have a great selection and actually use the products they sell. I buy my paper products, laundry detergent, dish liquid and bath products there. I also buy my husband's Grandy Oats cereal, and my favorite, Little Lad's Bakery Herbal Popcorn. If stranded on a desert island, I'd want my library, this popcorn and potable water. It's divine. The products made by Little Lad's are all vegan. Although they don't have a website, they do have a Cafe in Portland, ME with a $3.99 lunch buffet.

Awareness of what I buy, wear and consume just makes me a responsible human being. Buying, wearing and consuming things often gives people a lot of pleasure, albeit empty. I find composting, wearing thrift store clothes and using non-petroleum based dish liquid just plain sexy.

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The Power of Choice

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Author: the Inkslinger

Here’s a guest post to start our collective Friday from Inspired Protagonista Jack Clifford.

I am convinced that one's life is basically built around choices. I am a retired person and work part time in a bookstore and particularly in their coffee shop making coffee drinks. Like Sally Field I think they like me - they really do even though I am the oldest person working there. My point is that everyone with whom I work is in their early to mid twenties and I am very saddened by the pacifist attitude of most of my co-workers. They sincerely feel there is nothing they can do to change their circumstances. I am also sadden by an attitude that for the most part they are only interested in doing the minimum amount of work and absolutely nothing extra.

This is why I consciously choose to buy, use and do my best to convince as many folks as I can to start using environmentally safe products like Seventh Generation. We can all choose to a part of the solution and not part of the problem. As I said it is a matter of choice and attitude.

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