START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
Oct 2, 2007
Focus: Business
Action Request: Think About
Location: United States
Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , ,
Posted: Oct 2, 2007 2:31am
Aug 19, 2007
How to Survive the Crash and Save the Earth

1.  Abandon the world.  The world is the enemy of the Earth.  The "world as we know it" is a deadly parasite on the biosphere.  Both cannot survive, nor can the world survive without the Earth.  Do the logic:  the world is doomed.  If you stay on the parasite, you die with it.  If you move to the Earth, and it survives in something like its recent form, you can survive with it.

Our little world is doomed because it's built on a foundation of taking from the wider world without giving back.  For thousands of years we've been going into debt and calling it "progress," exterminating and calling it "development," stealing and calling it "wealth," shrinking into a world of our own design and calling it "evolution."  We're just about done.  We're not just running out of cheap oil — which is used to make and move almost every product, and which gives the average American the energy equivalent of 200 slaves.  We're also running out of topsoil, without which we need oil-derived fertilizers to grow food; and forests, which stabilize climate and create rain by transpiring water to refill the clouds; and ground water, such as the Ogallala aquifer under the Great Plains, which could go dry any time now.  We're running out of room to dump stuff in the oceans without killing them, and to dump stuff in the atmosphere without wrecking the climate, and to manufacture carcinogens without all of us getting cancer.  We're coming to the end of global food stockpiles, and antibiotics that still work, and our own physical health, and our own mental health, and our grip on reality, and our will to keep the whole game going.  Why do you think so many Americans are looking forward to "Armageddon" or the "rapture"?  We hate this shitty world and we want to blow it up.

In the next five or ten years, the US military will be humiliated, the dollar will collapse, the housing bubble will burst, tens of millions of Americans will be destitute, food, fuel, and manufactured items will get really expensive, and most of us will begin withdrawal from the industrial lifestyle.  SUV's will change their function from transportation to shelter.  We will not be able to imagine how we ever thought calories were bad.  Smart people will stop exterminating the dandelions in their yard and start eating them.  Ornamental gardens will go the way of fruit hats and bloomers.  In the cities, pigeon populations will decline.

This is not the "doom" scenario.  I'm not saying anything about death camps, super-plagues, asteroid impacts, solar flares, nuclear war, an instant ice age, or a runaway greenhouse effect.  This is the mildest realistic scenario, the slow crash:  energy prices will rise, the middle class will fall into the lower class, economies will collapse, nations will fight desperate wars over resources, in the worst places people will starve, and climate disasters will get worse.  Your area might resemble the botched conquest of Iraq, or the depression in Argentina, or the fall of Rome, or even a crusty Ecotopia.  My young anarchist friends are already packing themselves into unheated houses and getting around by bicycle, and they're noticeably happier than my friends with full time jobs.  We just have to make the mental adjustment.  Those who don't, who cling to the world they grew up in, numbing themselves and waiting for it all to blow over, will have a miserable time, and if people die, they will be the first.  Save some of them if you can, but don't let them drag you down.  The first thing they teach lifeguards is how to break holds.

2.  Abandon hope.  I don't mean that we stop trying, or stop believing that a better world is possible, but that we stop believing that some factor is going to save us even if we do the wrong thing.  A few examples:

Jesus is coming.  If you believe the Bible, Jesus told us when he was coming back to save us.  He said, "This generation shall not pass." That was 2000 years ago.  Stop waiting for that bus and get walking.

The Mayan calendar is ending.  Some people who scoff at Christian prophecies still manage to believe something equally religious and a lot less specific about what's going to happen.  At least Jesus preached peace and enlightenment — the Mayans were a warlike people who crashed their civilization by cutting down the forests of the Yucatan and exhausting their farmland.  That's what we should be studying, not their calendar and its alleged message that a better world is coming very soon and with little effort on our part.  Now the Mayan calendar gurus will say that it does take effort and we have a choice to go either way, but go back to 1988 and read what 2004 was supposed to look like, and it's obvious that we've already failed.

Technology will save us.  If it does, it will be something we don't even recognize as "technology" — permaculture or orgonomy or water vortices or forest gardening or quantum consciousness or the next generation of the tribe.  It will not be a new germ killer or resource extractor or power generator or anything to give us what we want while exempting us from being aware and respectful of other life.  Anything like that will just dig us deeper in the same hole.

The system can be reformed.  Yes, and it's also not against the laws of physics for us to go back in time and prevent the industrial age from ever happening.  Ten, twenty, thirty years ago the ecologists said "we have to turn it around now or it will be too late." They were right.  And not only didn't we turn it around, we sped it up:  more cars with worse efficiency, more toxins, more CO2, more deforestation, more pavement, more lawns, more materialism, more corporate rule, more weapons, more war and love of war, more secrets, more lies, more callousness and cynicism and short-sightedness.  Now we're in so deep that politicians right of Nixon are called "liberal" and the Green Party platform is both totally inadequate and politically absurd.  Our little system is not going to make it.

Also, there's a time lag between smokestacks and acid rain, between radioactivity and cancer, between industrial toxins and birth defects, between atmospheric imbalance and giant storms, between deforestation and drought, between soil depletion and starvation.  The disasters we're getting now are from the relatively mild stuff we did years or decades ago, before SUV's and depleted uranium and aspartame and terminator seeds and the latest generation of factory farms.  Even if we could turn it around tomorrow, what's coming is much worse.

We're not strong enough to destroy nature.  Oddly, this argument almost always invokes the word "hubris," as in, "You are showing hubris, or excessive pride, in thinking that by lighting this forest on fire to roast a hot dog, I will burn the forest down.  Don't you know humans aren't capable of burning down a forest?  Shame on you for your pride."

In fact, we've already almost finished killing the Earth.  The deserts of central and southwest Asia were once forests -- ancient empires cut down the trees and let the topsoil wash off into the Indian Ocean.  In North America a squirrel could go tree to tree from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, and spawning salmon were so thick in rivers and streams that you couldn't row a boat through them, and the seashores were rich with seals, fishes, birds, clams, lobsters, whales.  Now they're deserts populated only by seagulls eating human garbage, and nitrogen fertilizer runoff has made dead zones in the oceans, and atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing oceanic acidity, which may dissolve the shells of the plankton.  If the plankton die, it's all over.

Maybe we can't kill absolutely everything, but we are on the path to cutting life on Earth down to nothing bigger than a cockroach, and we will do so, and all of us will die, unless something crashes our system sooner and only kills most of us.

3.  Drop Out.  (See my essay How To Drop Out.) Dropping out of the present dominant system has both a mental and an economic component that go together like your two legs walking.  It's a lot of steps! Maybe you notice that you hate your job, and that you have to do it because you need money.  So you reduce expenses, reduce your hours, and get more free time, in which you learn more techniques of self-sufficiency and establish a sense of identity not dependent on where you get your money.  Then you switch to a low-status low-stress job that gives you even more room to get outside the system mentally.  And so on, until you've changed your friends, your values, your whole life.

The point I have to make over and over about this process, and this movement, is that it's not about avoiding guilt, or reducing your ecological footprint, or being righteous.  It's not a pissing contest to see who's doing more to save the Earth — although some people will believe that's your motivation, to justify their own inertia.  It's not even about reducing your participation in the system, just reducing your submission and dependence:  getting free, being yourself, slipping out of a wrestling hold so you can throw an elbow at the Beast.

This world is full of people with the intelligence, knowledge, skills, and energy to make heaven on Earth, but they can't even begin because they would lose their jobs.  We're always arguing to change each other's minds, but nobody will change if they think their survival depends on not changing.  Every time you hear about a whistleblower or reporter getting fired for honesty and integrity, you can be sure that they already had a support network, or just a sense of their own value, outside of the system they defied.  Dropping out is about fighting better.  Gandalf has to get off Saruman's tower!

4.  You are here to help.  In the culture of Empire, we are trained to think of ourselves as here to "succeed," to build wealth and status and walls around ourselves, to get what we desire, to win in games where winning is given meaning by others losing.  It is a simple and profound shift to think of ourselves instead as here to help — to serve the greatest good that we can perceive in whatever way is right in front of us.

You don't have to sacrifice yourself for others, or put others "above" you.  Why is it so hard to see each other as equals?  And it's OK to have a good time.  In fact, having a good time is what most helping comes down to — the key is that you're focused on the good times of all life everywhere including your "self," instead of getting caught up in egocentric comparison games that aren't even that fun.

Defining yourself as here to help is a prerequisite for doing some of the other things on this list properly.  If you're here to win you're not saving anything but your own wretched ass for a few additional years.  If you're dropping out to win you're likely to be stepping on other outsiders, instead of throwing a rope to bring more people out alive.  And as the system breaks down, people here to win will waste their energy fighting each other for scraps, while people here to help will build self-sufficient communities capable of generating what they need to survive.

In the real world, being here to help is easier and less stressful, because you will frequently be in a situation where you can't win, but you will almost never be in a situation where there's nothing you can do to help.  Being here to win only makes sense in an artificial world rigged so you can win all the time.  Thousands of years ago only kings were in that position, and they reacted by massacring all enemies and bathing in blood.  Now, through a perfect conjunction of Empire and oil energy, we just put the entire American middle class in that position for 50 years.  No one should be surprised that we're so stupid, selfish, cowardly, and irresponsible.  But younger generations are already getting poorer and smarter.

5.  Learn skills.  Readers sometimes ask for my advice on surviving the crash — should they buy guns, canned food, water purifiers, gold?  I always tell them to learn skills.  You know the saying:  get a fish, eat for a day; learn to fish, eat for a lifetime.  (Just don't take it too literally — there might not be any fish left!)

The most obvious useful skills would include improvising shelter from materials at hand, identifying and preparing wild edibles, finding water, making fire, trapping animals, and so on.  But I don't think we're going all the way to the stone age.  There will also be a need for electrical work, medical diagnosis, surgery, optics, celestial navigation, composting, gardening, tree propagation, food preservation, diplomacy, practical chemistry, metalworking, all kinds of mechanical repair, and all kinds of teaching.  As the 15th century had the Renaissance Man, we're going to have the Postapocalypse Man or Woman, someone who can fix a bicycle, tan a hide, set a broken bone, mediate an argument, and teach history.

Even more important are some things that are not normally called skills, but that make skill-learning and everything else easier:  luck, intuition, adaptability, attentiveness, curiosity, physical health, mental health, the ability to surf the flow.  Maybe the most fundamental is what they call "being yourself" or "waking up." Most human behavior is based neither on logic nor intuition nor emotion, but habit and conformity.  We perceive, think, and act as we've always done, and as we see others do.  This works well enough in a controlled environment, but in a chaotic environment it doesn't work at all.  If you can just get 10% of yourself free of habit and conformity, people will call you "weird."  20% and they'll call you a genius, 30% and they'll call you a saint, 40% and they'll kill you.

6.  Find your tribe.  We minions of Empire think of ourselves as individualists, or as members of silly fake groups — nations, religions, races, followers of political parties and sports teams, loyal inmates of some town that's the same as every other.  In fact we're all members of a giant mad tribe, where the relationships are not cooperative and open, but coercive, exploitative, abusive, and invisible.  If we could see even one percent of the whole picture, we would have a revolution.

You may feel like you want to do it alone, but you have never done it alone.  To survive the breakdown of this world and build a better one, you will have to trade your sterile, insulated links of money and law for raw, messy links of friendship and conflict.  The big lie of post-apocalypse movies like Omegaman and Mad Max is that the survivors will be loners.  In the real apocalypse, the survivors will be members of multi-skilled well-balanced cooperative groups.

I think future tribes are already forming, even on the Internet, even among people thousands of miles apart.  I think the crash will be slow enough that we'll have plenty of time to get together geographically.

7.  Get on some land.  This might seem more difficult than the others, yet most people who own land have not done any of the other things — probably because buying land requires money which requires subservience to a system that makes you personally powerless.  I suggest extreme frugality, which will give you valuable skills and also allow you to quickly save up money.  You probably have a few more years.

If you don't make it, it's not the end of the world — oh wait — it is the end of the world! But you still might know someone with room on their land, or someone might take you in for your skills, or if you have a tribe one of you will probably come up with a place in the chaos.  And if not, there will be a need for survivors and helpers in the cities and suburbs.  So don't force it.

If you do get land, the most valuable thing it can have is clean surface water, a spring or stream you can drink from.  Acceptable but less convenient would be a well that doesn't require electricity, or dirty surface water, which you can filter and clean through sand and reed beds.  At the very least you need the rainfall and skills to catch and store enough rainwater to drink and grow food.  (The ancient Nabateans did it on less than four inches of rain a year.) Then you'll need a few years to learn and adjust and get everything in order so that your tribe can live there year-round, even with no materials from outside.  With luck, it won't come to that.

8.  Save part of the Earth.  When I say "the Earth," I mean the life on its surface, the biosphere, as many species and habitats as possible, connected in ways that maximize abundance and complexity — and not just because humans think it's pretty or useful, but because all life is valuable on its own terms.  We like to focus on saving trophy animals — whales, condors, pandas, salmon, spotted owls — but most of them aren't going to make it, and we could save a lot more species if we could put that attention into habitats and whole systems.

So how do you save habitats and whole systems?  You can try working through governments, but at the moment they're ruled by corporations, which by definition are motivated purely by short term increase-in-exploitation, or "profit." You can try direct physical action against the destroyers, but it has yet to work well, and as the world plunges to the right I think we'll see more and more activists simply killed.

My focus is direct positive action for the biosphere:  adopting some land, whether by owning or squatting or stealth, and building it into a strong habitat:  slowing down the rainwater, composting, mulching, building the topsoil, no-till gardening, scattering seed balls, planting trees, making wetlands — a little oasis where the tree frogs can hide and migrating birds can rest, where you and a few species can wait out the crash.

Tom Brown Jr.  mentions in one of his books that the patch of woods where he conducts his wilderness classes, instead of being depleted by all the humans using it for survival, has turned into an Eden, because his students know how to tend it.  Some rain forest environments, once thought to be random wilderness, have turned out to be more like the wild gardens of human tribes, orders of magnitude more complex than the soil-killing monoculture fields of our own primitive culture.

Humans have the ability to go beyond sustainability, to live in ways that increase the richness of life on Earth, and help Gaia in ways she cannot help herself.  This and only this justifies human survival.

It requires a new set of skills.  A good place to start is the permaculture movement.  Sadly, in the present dark age the original books are all out of print and rare, and classes are so expensive that the knowledge is languishing among the idle rich when it should be offered free to the world.  But the idle poor can still find the books in libraries, and many of the techniques are simple.  What it comes down to is seeing whole systems and paying attention and innovating, driven by the knowledge that sustainability is only the middle of the road, and there's no limit to how far we can go beyond it.

9.  Save human knowledge.  When people of this age think about knowledge worth saving, they usually think about belief in the Cartesian mechanical philosophy, that dead matter is the basis of reality, and about techniques for rebuilding and using machines that dominate and separate us from other life.  I'd like that knowledge to die forever, but I don't think it works that way.  Humans or any other hyper-malleable animal will always be tempted by the Black Arts, by techniques that trade subtle harm for flashy good and feed back into themselves, seducing us into power, corruption, and blindness.

Our descendants will need the intellectual artifacts to avoid this — artifacts we have barely started to develop even as the Great Bad Example begins to fall.  In 200 years, when they are brushing seeds into baskets with their fingers, and a stranger appears with a new threshing machine that will do the same thing with less time and effort, they will need to say something smarter than "the Gods forbid it" or "that is not our Way."  They will need the knowledge to say something like:

"Your machine requires the seed to be planted alone and not interspersed with perennials that maintain nitrogen and mineral balance in the soil.  And from where will the metal come, and how many trees must be cut down and burned to melt and shape it?  And since we cannot build the machine, shall we be dependent on the machine-builders, and give them a portion of our food, which we now keep all for ourselves?  Do you not know, clever stranger, that when any biomass is removed from the land, and not recycled back into it, the soil is weakened?  And what could we do with our "saved" time, that would be more valuable and pleasurable than gathering the seed by hand, touching and knowing every stalk and every inch of the land that feeds us?  Shall we become allies of cold metal that cuts without feeling, turning our hands and eyes to the study of machines and numbers until, severed from the Earth, we nearly destroy it as our ancestors did, making depleted uranium and polychlorinated biphenyls and cadmium batteries that even now make the old cities unfit for living?  Go back to your people, and tell them, if they come to conquer us with their machines, we will fight them in ways the Arawaks and Seminoles and Lakota and Hopi and Nez Perce never imagined, because we understand your world better than you do yourself.  Tell your people to come to learn."

Source:  by courtesy & © 2004 Ran Prieur
Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted: Aug 19, 2007 9:40pm
Jan 11, 2007
Focus: Environment
Action Request: Think About
Location: United States

Since coming into office in 2001, George W. Bush, his administration, and his supporters (mainly ideological religious groups and corporate powers) have waged an unprecedented attack on science. Broadly speaking, these attacks have focused on debunking scientific conclusions relating to evolution, health care (i.e., stem cell research), and perhaps most strikingly, the environment. It is in the realm of the environment that the administration’s policies will have the most lasting damage. A plethora of articles have documented the Bush administration’s systemic weakening of important environmental policies and even their agencies, the stacking of commissions with people directly from the business world hell bent on the bottom line, and the silencing of our nation’s top scientists.

The sum total of Bush’s policies is the speeding up of climate change. For many, it is somewhat difficult to understand how extreme the reversal of environmental policy is, primarily because a lot of people do not have even a basic grasp of the scientific principles that should guide our environmental policies. Several respected authorities on climate change, including former Vice President Al Gore, and conservationist Tim Flannery, whose book, "The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth", is reviewed here, have published works that hope to explain what climate change is all about.

Ironically, Flannery’s book reads almost like an apocalyptic prophecy. "[Human] health, water, and food security are now under threat from the modest amount of climate change that has already occurred," writes Flannery. "If humans pursue a business-as-usual course for the first half of this century, I believe the collapse of civilization due to climate change becomes inevitable." However, Flannery’s doomsday scenario is carefully backed up by several decades of brilliant scientific research, rather than the New Testament. For that reason, his end-of-the-world prediction deserves to be treated seriously.

Flannery centers his book on the major chemical changes that have been taking place throughout the earth’s "aerial ocean" over the last several decades. In the troposphere, the lowest level of the atmosphere, carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases" (gases that trap heat, including water), is getting hotter, and also expanding. It is this change that has led to some of the bizarre weather patterns the earth has experienced over the last few years (although the book was written prior to Katrina and the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia, there is no doubt he would have included these two disasters in this discussion). Above the troposphere lies the stratosphere, which functions as a giant filter, ensuring that ultraviolet light (UV), which is extremely harmful to living organisms (it’s a known carcinogen, for one), is converted to harmless heat. The main agent in this filter is ozone, which, due to another set of gases, chloroflorocarbons (CFCs) has been greatly depleted. "As a result of the hole [CFCs] punched in the ozone layer, people living south of 40 degrees are experiencing a spectacular rise in the incidence of skin cancer…microscopic single-celled plants that form the base of the ocean’s food chain are severely affected by it…Indeed, anything that spawns in the open is at risk."

A good deal of "The Weather Makers" focuses on the "ozone hole," both as a way of explaining complex scientific concepts, and as a working model of how the nations of the world can address the major issue of the growing concentration of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere. CFCs were "invented"—there is no known example of these molecules existing naturally—in 1928, "and were found to be very useful for refrigeration, in making Styrofoam, as propellants in spray cans, and in air-conditioning units." It took almost 50 years for a new generation of scientists to link CFCs to ozone depletion, and nearly a decade for governments to take serious action. By 1992, "the world’s governments pledged to phase out the offending chemicals" in the Montreal Protocal. According to Flannery, "scientists are optimistic that in fifty years’ time the ozone layer will be returned to its former strength."

This is a stunning achievement, one, unfortunately, that current world powers do not seem willing to replicate by tackling the issue of carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon is perhaps the single most important element to life on earth. Besides serving as the backbone of all living organisms, it is also the primary form of energy storage. In chemistry, energy is stored in the bonds between atoms. When a bond is broken, energy is released as heat. Heat can either be harnessed for other uses, or, it can simply warm its surroundings. Plants, especially growing ones, have the unique ability to take in carbon dioxide and convert it into sugars (fundamental for growth) and oxygen (fundamental for growth of animals). When any living thing dies, it breaks down into its fundamental building blocks, one of which is carbon.

Flannery explains to his readers that over time, this carbon, rather than being released into the atmosphere, has been stored in carbon "sinks," either at the bottom of the ocean, or deep in the earth’s crust. These sinks make life on earth possible; Should even a fraction of all the carbon stored in these sinks be released into the atmosphere (in some sort of gaseous form), the earth’s temperature would increase to the point of dramatically changing the earth’s ecosystem, and swallow up all of the available oxygen in the atmosphere, effectively cooking and smothering the entire animal kingdom.

Suffocation of all earth’s inhabitants is thankfully not around the corner, but global warming is certainly already here. Since the industrial revolution, mankind has harnessed the power stored in these carbon sinks, primarily in the forms of natural gas, oil, and coal. By taking massive amounts of carbon stored safely below the earth's surface (be it land or ocean), and using it for a multitude of energy purposes, we have unleashed an unprecedented amount of carbon into the earth's atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide. "Prior to 1800, there were about 280 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere…Today, the figures are 380 parts per million, or around 869 gigatons." Already, animal species living in the arctic, including polar bears and harp seals, have lost huge swaths of territory due to melting ice, and at least one species of tropical animal, the golden toad has gone into extinction due to climate change. (Flannery, a zoologist by training, often turns to the animal kingdom for evidence, which both provides compelling evidence of global warming, as well as for an interesting narrative).

Flannery believes that international actors have the ability to lessen carbon dioxide emissions, similar to the success in controlling CFC production. He strongly endorses the "Kyoto Protocol," the international agreement that has the promise to reduce emissions. The heart of this protocol is carbon emissions trading, which works the following way:

"A regulator imposes a permit requirement for the pollutant and restricts the number of permits available. Permits are then given away on a proportional basis to polluters or are auctioned off. Emitters who bear a high cost in reducing their pollution will then buy permits from those who can make the transition more easily. Benefits of the system include its transparency and the ease of administration, the market-based price signal it sends, the opportunities for new jobs and products it creates, and the lowered cost of reducing pollutants."

The United States, notably, has signed, but not ratified the protocol, claiming that it would damage the US economy, since developing countries were given more "shares" of carbon. This makes sense; since these countries are developing, they need more energy, and more time to get into compliance.

Flannery spends considerable time debunking assertions that regulating carbon dioxide will have negative impacts on the economy. Powerful business interests loudly objected to CFC regulation, but since those same businesses are finding that after an initial investment in safer alternatives, profit has actually increased. This hardly matters to many in the energy sector, which is "full of established, cashed-up businesses that use their influence to combat concern about climate change, to destroy emerging challengers, and to oppose moves toward greater energy efficiency." Flannery focuses his accusations at corporations based out of the US and Australia (of which he is a citizen), and elegantly summarizes their pseudo-scientific propaganda aimed at discrediting evidence of climate change. One such example is the Global Climate Coalition, which, before disbanding in 2000, donated over 60 million dollars to anti-environmental politicians, and spent even more on propaganda, meant to "cast doubt on the theory of global warming" (its own words).

Thankfully, Flannery does not simply provide an overview of the science and a history of failure. The last quarter of his book is a survey of many of the solutions offered to counter climate change. Some scientist-engineers have proposed grandiose solutions that, rather than change mankind’s dependence on carbon based energy, would lessen the damage caused by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Flannery sees little use in most of these quixotic plans, "which are neither as straightforward nor as cost effective as industry would like." Instead, he focuses on alternative energy sources, nuclear power, and what seems to be his favorite, energy derived from turbines, a highly reliable and cost efficient means of harnessing energy. None of the solutions Flannery proposes are radical or out of reach; Brazil, a "developing country" has largely switched to ethanol derived from sugar cane as an alternative to natural gas.

For Flannery, the solution (although this is a misnomer—much of man-made climate change is somewhat irreversible) is an international agreement adopting reductions of carbon emissions by 70% by 2050, which in turn would stimulate even more growth in alternative energy sources. Flannery’s blend of skepticism and optimism, scientific theory and historical precedent, offer an incredibly compelling argument of what the civilizations of the world must do to maintain an earth in balance.

Don’t want to wait for political leaders to call the shots? Here are some recommendations from Flannery:

*call your energy provider and ask if you can switch to a green power option, such as wind energy.

*use solar power to at least supplement heating of water, one of the biggest household uses of energy.

*if you can, replace any old air conditioners, refrigerators, and heating appliances with more energy efficient ones.

*get rid of your SUV, and drive a hybrid, or some other small car.

Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted: Jan 11, 2007 9:46pm
Dec 15, 2006

Well, there's no doubt about it. Here in the UK it feels as if summer has now bid its final farewell and there has been a very real nip in the air for a week now that is decidedly wintry. With this in mind, it's time to turn our attention to the more warming ingredients, recipes and meal ideas that can be incorporated successfully into a raw diet.

Today we're looking at 5 ways to make your food taste hot - all very different. There's bound to be at least one or two that will work for you. And over the weeks that follow I'll be sharing more recipes, tips and ideas to help you stay raw (or as raw as you want to be) during the colder months.

1: Hot spices

There are many ingredients that can add warmth to your meal, despite the fact that they are consumed in their raw state. When your body is fed foods that are cooked or that are too cold (from the fridge or freezer), it uses up energy to balance the temperature. Save your energy for something more exciting and add these raw spices to your meals (and thus your body):

  • Black & white pepper
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Cayenne
  • Cloves
  • Coriander
  • Chives
  • Cinnamon
  • Caraway
  • Parsley
  • Turmeric

2: Eat your greens!

I know I go on about making sure you include enough greens in your diet, whether it be a hot sunny day or even a cold wintry day, but there is a reason for this! Dark, leafy greens are what our bodies need at all times but in particular in cold times. They hold an abundance of vitamins, chlorophyll and protein to boost our immune systems and what’s more, they are fresh all year round – even more encouragement to eat them every day! Sometimes people need a little guidance as to what they choose for their green consumption – celery, although a great food, is not a great source of "greens" in the truest sense of the word (they're more of a pale green and not very high in chlorophyll). Below is a starter list of great greens that will make all the difference:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Broccoli
  • Rocket (arugula)
  • Chicory
  • Collard Greens
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Bok Choy
  • Watercress

3: Kale & avocado salad

This is one of my favourite raw dishes that has become a staple part of my diet, not only because it is delicious but also contains an incredible amount of nutrition. The added cayenne or chili pepper will certainly warm you up.

Serves 1

· 4-6 large handfuls of kale sliced very thinly
· 1 avocado
· 3 Tablespoon Oil
· 1 teaspoon Himalayan Crystal Salt
· 5 baby tomatoes
· 10 sun-dried tomatoes
· ½ lemon
· Large pinch cayenne pepper OR ½ - 1 jalapeno pepper finely sliced


1. Chop kale into small pieces (this makes the fibrous cells break down and therefore more palatable, so the smaller you chop you better the taste). 
2. Add oil and salt and massage into the kale until kale becomes wilted and soft.
3. Add avocado and massage again so each leaf is coated.
4. Chop tomatoes into quarters, add to kale.
5. Chop sun-dried tomatoes in small pieces and add to kale.
6. Squeeze lemon over entire dish
7. Add pinch of cayenne or your chopped chili and mix up well.
8. Serve and enjoy!

4: Warming foods

These are a list of foods to keep your body feeling warm. Ancient peoples believed that keeping the body warm came from within and found that certain foods could raise the body’s temperature:

  • Legumes
  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Parsnips
  • Beetroot
  • Walnuts
  • Coconut
  • Dates
  • Red pepper
  • Pine Nuts
  • Chilis

5: Drinking at room temperature
(less about making raw food hot; more about keeping you from being too cold!)

This may sound obvious to many of you but the temperature of your liquids can affect the temperature of your body. Can you imagine being asleep and waking up to someone throwing an ice cold bucket of water of you? This is how your body reacts when you drink ice cold drinks that shock the system. As with cooked foods, the body’s enzymes and energy is used to try and control the temperature that you have just thrown at it. Try drinking your drinks at room temperature and notice how much easier they go down. 

Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted: Dec 15, 2006 2:53am
Nov 8, 2006
Name: vegans
Type: Tribute (for the living)
To Honor: Individual(s)
Location: , United States

Does it look familiar?
Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , ,
Posted: Nov 8, 2006 8:50am
Oct 23, 2006

Why Suffer?: How I Overcame Illness & Pain Naturally
by Dr. Ann Wigmore, DD, ND. An Inspiring Classic.

Dr. Ann's autobiography about growing up with her homeopath Grandmother in Lithuania, healing herself of gangrene as a teenager, and discovering wheatgrass juice and raw living foods as the treatment for her cancer, after the doctors gave up on her. The findings and Wigmore Diet Program of Dr. Ann, used by thousands to reverse dis-ease, detoxify & rejuvenate. Paperback, 182 pages.

Available for free via download:

Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted: Oct 23, 2006 8:38am
Jun 23, 2006
How To Cure Arthritis

A new study published in the February, 2003 issue of Annals
of Rheumatic Diseases
confirms that those people eating a
diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and certain oils
also known as the "Mediterranean diet" helps ease symptoms
in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

This study was performed on non-vegetarians living in
Sweden. The authors obtained dramatic results by placing 26
subjects on a dairy-free diet for three months, while 25
people continued to eat a typical Swedish smorgasbord of
meat and dairy products. According to Dr. Lars Skoldstam:

"The current results suggest that patients with rheumatoid
arthritis can obtain better physical function and increase
their vitality from eating a Mediterranean diet for three

The results of this current study come as no surprise.

In 1985, the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine
(volume 78) reported the case of an eight-year-old girl with
severe rheumatoid arthritis:

"...juvenile rheumatoid arthritis was a milk allergy. After
avoiding dairy products, all pain was gone in three weeks."

In 1991, the British journal Lancet (Volume 338) published
the results of a study in which the subjects ate a
vegetarian diet:

"Controlled trial of fasting and a one-year vegetarian diet
eased symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis."

The British Journal of Rheumatology (36;1, 1997) reported:

"...43 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, those assigned to
a vegan diet...had improvement in rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful condition, and it is
tragic that many physicians let their patients know that
there is no cure. Ignorance is the most horrible of
diseases, and keeps arthritis sufferers from the simple
relief of their pain: a NotMilk diet.
Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , ,
Posted: Jun 23, 2006 12:07pm
Mar 31, 2006
Type: Tribute (for the living)
To Honor: Individual(s)
Location: , United States
by Amy Elizabeth (

March 21 - As I write this, I'm warding off the winter chill with a cotton turtleneck, a polyester fleece pullover, polyester long underwear, cotton corduroys and acrylic socks. But not so much as a stitch of wool. Why not? Because I don't buy wool. For ethical reasons.

Most people look at you funny when you say you don't wear wool. "Oh, you're allergic, right?" Nope. "Hate the dry-cleaning?" Yes, but that's not the only reason. "It's too heavy? Smells funny? Takes too long to dry?" Yes, yes and yes, but still no cigar.

When you confess that your primary reason for forgoing fleece is for the benefit of the sheep, foreheads start to pucker. Most people envision a sheep farm to be something like Farmer Hoggett's in the movie "Babe," sans the talking pig, of course. You know, rolling hills, perky sheep dogs, cozy barns, that sort of
thing. While bucolic, blissful farms like this may still exist somewhere in James Herriot's Yorkshire, that's not where most of the wool we buy comes from.

Chances are, no matter where you live, your wool comes from the land down under. With 120 million sheep, Australia is the world's largest producer of Merino wool (the kind used for most clothing). Flocks usually consist of thousands of sheep, so it's impossible for farmers to treat them with the tender loving care
Farmer Hoggett and his talented pig would provide.

Australian sheep are basically on their own. They get rounded up and tossed into the sheep dip every once in a while, but mostly, it's just them, the kangaroos and the, uh-oh, dingoes.

When the shepherd does "tend" to them, lambs have their tails amputated without anesthetic. Little boy lambs are particularly blue because they are castrated without painkillers. Ouch. Shearing isn't a walk in the park, either, since it is automated and done at lightning speed to accommodate such huge numbers of animals. Protruding sheep parts accidentally get lopped off. Shades of Lorena Bobbitt, if you catch my drift.

The Australians mainly raise Merino sheep because their wrinkly skin produces more wool per animal. Trouble is, the wrinkles collect urine and moisture, which attracts flies, which lay eggs, which hatch into maggots, and ... you get the picture. So the colonists came up with an ingenious (or egregious - you be the
judge) solution: They slice a chunk of skin off the lamb's rear end in order to create a massive scar that pulls the skin tighter, reducing wrinkles. Yes, it's just as gruesome as you're imagining, and the wounds often become infested with flies before they heal. But, hey, if it was good enough for grandpa, it's good enough for me, mate.

The worst is still to come for these fuzzy denizens of the outback. Once sheep become old or unproductive, they are shipped to slaughter. In Australia, this usually means being herded onto trucks and transported huge distances overland to the coast, where they are loaded onto ships bound for the Middle East.

The ships are huge - up to 14 tiers high - with up to 125,000 sheep packed like sardines into each one.

The journey can take several weeks; many sheep die of sickness, trampling or starvation when they are unable to reach the food trough.

Why not just kill the sheep in Australia and ship the meat to the Middle East? Because Middle Eastern consumers want flesh that has been butchered ritually, which means no prior stunning. The sheep's throats are slit while they are fully conscious.

So that's why I boycott wool. And you know what? I manage to keep quite warm and toasty without it. No matter what the wool industry may say, nothing keeps you warmer than polyester fleece. It's lightweight and water repellent, two things wool is not.

Throw on a layer of Gore-Tex and you're ready for a kayak trip down the Nantahala in February - or even just a stroll around the grounds at Biltmore. Your body will stay plenty warm without wool, but warmest of all may be your heart.

Amy Elizabeth has a degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Colorado. She lives in Morganton.
Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted: Mar 31, 2006 10:26am
Jan 9, 2006
Focus: Environment
Action Request: Other
Location: United States

Press Relations: How green printing can make a good impression
Article By Joel Makower - Jan 05 2006

Look around your workplace, and you'll likely find plenty of printed material, from business cards to brochures to books. Printing words and images on paper may seem like one of the more environmentally benign things your company does, but that isn't necessarily the case.
If you examine the life cycle of printed matter — from turning trees into paper through the witch's brew of chemicals involved — professional printing takes on a decidedly non-green hue.

The explosion of web and digital technology doesn't seem to have changed things — as one pundit put it, the paperless office has turned out to be about as practical as the paperless bathroom. But if you still have to print, go green.

Green printing is on a roll, moving beyond small, do-good companies and activist groups to larger corporations and government agencies that have mandates to purchase greener goods and services. As demand for green printing has grown, so too has the number of printers offering such services — or, at least, claiming to.

It's about time. The mechanics of most types of printing haven't changed much over the past half-century. Lithography and gravure — the methods typically used to print books, magazines, and catalogs — employ plates, which are used to apply ink to paper. Typically, the process involves a variety of inks, solvents, acids, resins, lacquers, dyes, driers, extenders, modifiers, varnishes, shellacs, and other solutions. Only a few of these ingredients end up directly on the printed page. The balance are used to produce films, printing plates, gravure cylinders, or proofs, or to clean printing plates or presses.

Many of the ingredients are toxic: silver, lead, chromium, cadmium, toluene, chloroform, methylene chloride, barium-based pigments, and acrylic copolymers. And that's not all. Chlorine bleaching of paper is linked to cancer-causing water pollutants. Waste inks and solvents are usually considered hazardous. Bindings, adhesives, foils, and plastic bags used in printing or packaging printed material can render paper unrecyclable.

And you thought it was just ink on paper.

I Ink, Therefore I Am

Not everyone defines "green printing" the same way, and there is no standard or certification for what makes a printer — or a given project — green. For example, some printers use conventional techniques for most customers, breaking out the recycled paper and soy-based inks only when a customer asks. But others go all-out as a matter of course.

Among those in the latter category is GreenerPrinter, based in Berkeley, Calif., whose customers include Clif Bar & Co., Hewlett Packard, and the San Francisco Giants. The company uses high post-consumer recycled content, non-chlorine-bleached papers from New Leaf, one of the leading environmental paper companies. GreenerPrinter customers can receive an "environmental benefits statement" detailing the water, energy, and emissions saved for a given print job. And the climate impact of shipping finished jobs is offset through investments in renewable energy. (Full disclosure:, the nonprofit website I founded, has an affiliate relationship with GreenerPrinter.)

Then there's Quad/Graphics, one of the nation's largest printers, with more than 12,000 employees. For more than 30 years, Quad, based in Sussex, Wis., has been a pioneer in green-printing practices, from reducing ink and paper waste to making sure print-shop air quality far surpasses legal guidelines. The company recycles more than 98 percent of its waste and has won numerous awards for environmental leadership, though it doesn't market itself as a "green" printer.

It's not hard to suss out who's green and who's not, says Priscilla Martin, print buyer for Clif Bar. "When speaking with a new potential vendor, their views or positions on environmental considerations are generally apparent within the first few minutes," she says. "If I'm not hearing a green message, rather than asking about it, I tell them what is important to us and see how they respond."

And what about price? Green printing can cost a little more — but it doesn't have to. "The major trade-off we thought we'd experience was a price increase," says Andrea Stupka, marketing and promotions manager at Homegrown Naturals, Inc., purveyor of Annie's Homegrown products. "But after doing a cost comparison between four printers, one of them green, we were pleasantly surprised. The slight cost increase to go green was so insignificant it was worth it."

In fact, a green printer worth its salt will help you find ways to make projects more economical. "We spend a lot of time educating customers to show them that green printing isn't just more environmentally responsible, it's often better quality and more affordable," says Josh Maddox, sales manager at GreenerPrinter. "By taking the time to show them the least wasteful way to design and produce (projects), we often save clients money over conventional printing costs. We win a lot of business that way."

Image Consciousness

So how do you make your printing greener? Since there's no official standard, you're on your own to determine who's really committed. In general, an environmentally minded printer should: use the most eco-friendly papers available; reduce or eliminate toxic chemicals, waste ink, and solvents; be willing to use soy or other vegetable inks without any price premium; educate customers about how to reduce a project's environmental impact; and provide safe working conditions for employees, including using the most advanced air-filtration systems.

Here are three questions to ask when scoping out your particular job:

1. Can the job be printed on paper containing a high percentage of post-consumer recycled fiber?

The answer will help determine whether the printer has practical knowledge about the characteristics and advantages of different types of recycled paper. Don't just accept "sure, we can use recycled" as an answer. Specify paper with at least 50 percent post-consumer content.

2. Can it be printed with low-polluting inks?

In most jobs, soy- or vegetable-based inks work just fine (90 percent of daily newspapers use them routinely for color printing). Avoid inks containing heavy metals like lead, cadmium, and mercury, which are commonly used to produce some bright colors. Printers should be willing to swear off heavy-metal inks and suggest alternatives.

3. What is being done to improve the recyclability of the print job?

Coatings, laminates, inks, foils, adhesives, labels, and paper selection can all affect the recyclability of a printed document. A printer should be able to find alternative ways to get the desired effect — through innovative paper sizes and newer glues that won't inhibit recycling, for example.

As with so many things green, the more you know, the better decisions you can make. In the end, the best option may be not to print at all. "It is always good to question, 'How important is this item to print?'" says Bryan Mazzarello, art director at Organic Bouquet. "Many times companies can offer the same information online and update it cheaper and faster. Maybe a postcard invitation to the website would be more effective than a brochure that will end up in the trash."

As Mazzarello makes clear, green printing isn't your only option. The greenest document of all is the one you never commit to paper.
Good resources for green printing include: GreenBiz Green Printing Resource Center, the Bay Area Green Business Program's Top 10 Green Printing Practices, Dynamic Graphics' Printing Green: 12 Things You Need to Know, and Environmental Considerations for the Print Buyer
from the Minnesota Environmental Initiative.
Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted: Jan 9, 2006 11:04am


Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.


pElAgUS hellot
, 1
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Shares by Type:
All (1001) | Blog (255) | Alert (445) | Poll (4) | Recipe (12) | Photo (11) | Tribute (59) | Message (215)

Showing shares tagged with: how [show all]
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\n\\r\\n“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”\\r\\n\\r\\ n \\r\\n\\r\\nSpence r Johnson\\r\\n\\r\\n  \\r\\n\\r\\nMany years ago, when I was in high school chemistry lab, I was assigned to do a litm...
(0 comments  |  discussions )
New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
(0 comments  |  discussions )
New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nI have recently posted some BlogSpot radio interviews and YouTube videos, publicizing my two new books,\\r\\n1) Deepening Your Personal Relationships: Developing Emotional Intimacy and Good Communication.\\r\\n2) Psychological Healing Through Creative S...
by Ys A.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nCoretta Scott King: “We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the ...
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nWe declare that no man nor nation nor race have a greater right than others to enjoy the fruits of their work, as the ecological sphere is our common condition of life http://www.beat Nous déclarons qu\\\'auc...
by Ys A.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nauthor: Ralph Nader\\r\\n\\r\\nAn epidemic of sky-rocketing medical costs has afflicted our country and grown to obscene proportions. Medical bills are bloated with waste, redundancy, profiteering, fraud and outrageous over-billing. Much is wrong with t...
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nDear Friends:\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\ n\\r\\nMy two current books have been published and are available for sale through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the publisher’s website, Hammer. Reading these books can be very helpful for anyone...
by Fred H.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nA stainless steel tank the size of a basketball court lies buried in the sandy soil of southeastern Washington state, an aging remnant of U.S. efforts to win World War II. The tank holds enough radioactive waste to fill an Olympic-sized swimming poo...
by Fred H.
(0 comments  |  0 discussions )
\\r\\nThe Olympic Peninsula is home to important state-owne d forests and many of our state’s most iconic creatures. To keep these forest ecosystems healthy, WEC and our partners at Conservation Northwe st and Olympic Forest Coal...