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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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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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Future's So Bright We Gotta Wear Shades

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Author: the Inkslinger

Here’s something you don’t see a whole lot of these days: a new study that says the future looks fairly bright from here.

I have to admit I did a double take, then a spit take, then had to take another look to make sure I was reading it right. It’s not that I don’t think we can get to that place where we really want to go, and we’ll walk in the sun. It’s just that you don’t see too many studies whose bottom line is that those of us who have such goofy rose-colored thoughts don’t need to increase our medication.

Because a bunch of indicators that say things are looking up. Education and life expectancy are rising. Wars (believe it or not) and poverty are falling. (Though it’s bizarro in the extreme to see that the income of wealthiest 225 people in the world equals the income of the poorest 2.5 billion. That’s just freaky twisted weird. And not in a good way…). The report says that, like, you know… there are a couple of things certainly that we need to fix. Like this little global warming thing. Also the aforementioned income gap between those that got and those that don’t is gonna be a problem unless we start slicing the pie a little differently. And there are still some spooky diseases we need to deal with, among other things. But the gist of it is that we can all get to Happyland if we try. We just have to get serious. Get together. Get the collective hive mind working on the hard stuff. Take the money away from all the simian war people and give it to the evolved energy people and education people and farmer people, etc. Which, if you just think of it that way, suddenly doesn’t seem so undoable or even all that difficult and actually maybe even a little bit simple. Will power, baby…

Anyway, worth a read. The day will seem quite a bit sunnier once you do. The Executive Summary is here. The home page for the UN group that produced the report is here.

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Dethroning King Coal

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Author: the Inkslinger

Welcome to Thursday and this inspired guest post from global protagonist Veronica Bach

Watching with horror the latest in the series of fatal mine worker deaths, I was thinking that we should be able to provide these wonderful people alternative jobs that would produce energy, but would allow them to work above ground in a safer environment. Stopping the use of coal in our energy systems would save many lives in every area of the production of it, including the final result of a coal plant. My idea is to begin with the states where coal mining is the predominant part of the economy, and start recruiting their workers to be retrained for solar panel making and wind power jobs. We could begin in our country, and then take it global, including China and Australia.

For what it's worth.

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Farewell to a Friend

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Anita Roddick, the crusading entrepreneur who used the Body Shop chain of cosmetics stores she founded to promote causes like ending animal testing and supporting the environment, died in Chichester, England, on Monday. She was 64. The cause was a brain hemorrhage, her family said.

–The New York Times, September 12, 2007

That sucks. Goodbye, Anita.

I remember sitting with her in San Francisco at the Co-Op America Green Festival, they were raising money to add a Chicago location to the event schedule. She jumped up and said, “I’ll contribute $10,000 if Jeffrey will.” What was I supposed to say?

Her passion new no bounds and she was willing to do what ever it took to support what she believed in. Twisting arms was always OK as long as it was in the pursuit of a greater good. Anita was a mentor, advisor, role model and source of great inspiration. Our shared beliefs created a bond that withstood the test of time. It was almost 20 years ago when I first visited her and Gordon at their home in England. When a nasty reporter named John Entine attacked her in the early 90s I helped organize her defense. The world will miss her, I will miss her. We need many more Anita Roddicks. Unfortunately they are far and few between.

With great love,

Jeffrey

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Green Around the Edges

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Author: the Inkslinger

Meet Kimberly Paulk, today's guest blogger for a Wednesday. Kimberly says she spends her time writing, enjoying her family, and engaging in the noble pursuit of trying to figure out how to stop screwing up the planet for our kids.

As an (almost) daily reader of The Inspired Protagonist, I finally decided to create a blog specific to my neck of the woods – Charlotte, North Carolina. The focus is being green…or at least, greener than you were the day, week or month before. I look at this as a journey, and I’m not “there” yet. I think there are a lot of people like me, trying to live a little more consciously but perhaps not quite sure how to do it. Green Around The Edges – Charlotte is for those folks, who are just trying to figure it out as they go along. The amount of information out there about the environment, along with the chorus of “don’t do this” and “never do that” can be overwhelming, and that can lead to apathy. So as I take baby steps, I share my progress and resources here in Charlotte with my blog audience, and hopefully we’ll all arrive at our destination together - and on time.

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If You Have Your Nails Done Read This!

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While I never have, I know many who make it a weekly ritual to visit a nail salon to get painted.

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Making Good Things Bloom

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Author: the Inkslinger

Here's the first guest post of the week, this one from Inspired Protagonist Christina Frutiger of Gig Harbor, Washington...

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