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Apr 11, 2010

With the 40th anniversary of Earth Day looming, something needs to be said about the lack of movement forward in America to accept the reality of Climate Change, lessen our dependance upon fossil fuels and lower our carbon footprints.

So often, the first thing that I hear or read when people respond to possible legislation in favor of reduced carbon emissions is that the government shouldn't 'force' the public and/or businesses to 'do with less' or give up things that they feel are their due.  I always shudder to hear this argument.  Is it such an imposition to group car trips together or car pool occasionally?  Why does a family of 4 need a home of 100,000 sq ft?  Wouldn't it be prudent to buy a few more of our foods locally and support the farmers closest to us?  Is the coffee or service at a local shop so much worse than Starbucks?  (In full disclosure, I owned a coffee shop back in Ohio which had amazing, fresh-roasted coffee and espresso, fantastic milkshakes and great service....)

There are a number of 'green' steps that I have incorporated into my every-day life, and many of my lovely family members (Republicans included!) have done the same.  Of course, in this day and age, it's pretty easy to turn off lights in empty rooms, set an electronic thermostat and recycle some items.  So, slowly but surely, my husband and I find other ways to be more responsible about our carbon footprints.  I bike-commute to work, carpool with friends to my hikes and grocery shopping, compost our kitchen and lawn leavings, and try to buy locally-produced foods and products.

Maybe it's the fact that I grew up overseas where forests were protected, good samaritan laws were established, land useage was planned and road rage was illegal due to the government's need to protect the public.  Social responsibility was something that everyone felt and respected.  Not to be dramatic, but I feel as if many people around me believe that their personal cozy-comfort is much more important than global good.  It's not in everyone's heart, but does seem to be a pervasive attitude.

I honestly believe that there are so many different ways to be more 'green' that everyone could easily work one change into their weekly routines, even if it only makes a very small impact.  I recognize that machanics can't shorten their showers because of the degree of oil and grime that they work with, and my family in Ohio must use their vehicles often because they are not blessed with the public transportation system that I have access to here in the Northwest.  Minimum-wage jobs and fixed incomes make it hard to afford fruits and veggies at farmers markets, and not everyone has the time to poll all of their friends' grocery shopping schedules in order to carpool.  But sometime this week, one household could grab energy efficient light bulbs on their next hardware store run, and enjoy slightly lower electricity bills.  Another family could start a compost pile for kitchen scraps, where they would benefit from the healthy soil additives.  Your significant-other could add riding a bike for an errand to their exercise routine, and gain stronger leg muscles. My best friend could write their elected officials and ask for the green legislation of her choice.  The sooner we all get started doing SOMETHING, the easier it will be to incorporate healthy, lower carbon-footprint changes in the future.

Americans need to be pushed to engage and rely upon the ingenuity, industriousness and entrepreneurism that has gotten us through our historic trials.  We need to find new and finance better ways to get to work, heat our homes and generate electricity; and while we're at it, create new living-wage jobs for our flat economy.  There is absolutely no reason why we cannot rise above and conquer such an important problem, which has global implications.  If people think a lower carbon footprint would be uncomfortable now, then they will be terribly dissapointed in the laws that would have to be enforced if we run out of fossil fuels or the seas rise a few more inches.

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Posted: Apr 11, 2010 2:41pm
Apr 15, 2009

Looking at new hobbies (not that I need more!).  Could you please help me collect info about what you do and don't make your coffee and beer choices based upon?


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Posted: Apr 15, 2009 1:23pm
Mar 30, 2009

I was just SO excited to meet Randy Paynter, founder of Care2, at Portland's Sustainable Living Show this past weekend!  Got myself a free Care2 eco-tote for my trouble, but wish there had been many more in attendance.

Guys, PLEASE, take note of events like this in your neighborhoods!  It's always surprising to me when I run into caring, eco-smart people who haven't heard about Care2.

And keep up the good work, my 'caring internet community'!

Much love,

Lara

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Posted: Mar 30, 2009 11:14am
Oct 11, 2008
Focus: Animal Welfare
Action Request: Visit - online
Location: United States
I am trying to spread the word about a wonderful wolf sanctuary and education center in Idaho!  Please see our Care2 group page, add yourself as a member, and spread the word about the hard work these wonderful people are doing.  The websites are:
http://www.wolfcenter.org
http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/WERC
http://www.myspace.com/wolfcenter

Thank you so much for your help! 
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Posted: Oct 11, 2008 6:15pm
Oct 11, 2008
Focus: Animal Welfare
Action Request: Visit - online
Location: United States
I am trying to spread the word about a wonderful wolf sanctuary and education center in Idaho!  Please see our Care2 group page, add yourself as a member, and spread the word about the hard work these wonderful people are doing.  The websites are:
http://www.wolfcenter.org
http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/WERC
http://www.myspace.com/wolfcenter

Thank you so much for your help! 
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Posted: Oct 11, 2008 5:51pm
Sep 25, 2008

Couple pics of my reptile handling training at Oregon Zoo.  Gave my first solo presentations on this beauty (John, the ball python) last night to 70 people!  I also got to present Patches, our endangered Mojave Desert Tortoise.

More pics to come!

 
Album: Lara at Oregon Zoo


by 95 totalLara Busch (12)
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Posted: Sep 25, 2008 12:07pm
May 30, 2008
The following are words that I posted on an Oregon Public Broadcasting site discussion on mixed martial arts, or MMA.  In the middle is a reaction by another listener/reader, and at the end I added my response.  Know upfront that I support and consider MMA a sport.  It sounds more reactionary than I would like, but these are the words I put down, so I stick to them.

I'm very excited to see this sport, and these athletes, get more exposure. My husband has been training in 5 or 6 different martial arts, with 3 black belts, for 26 years. He's had a retina detach twice and is a professional artist, so he respects my wishes not to go pro as an MMA fighter. However, 50% of TV time in our house is normally on IFL, UFC, and other MMA shows.

Did you know that there are no recorded deaths in regulated MMA matches, but between 1 and 3 deaths in boxing each year? That's something to chew on, for those like Senator McCain, who think that MMA is "cockfighting".

Also, thank you, Matt Lindland, for taking your time to clear up some questions about these sports. I think very few people understand the basis of the majority of martial arts. These are incredibly old systems of values, learning, respect, and of course moves, kicks, and hits which were developed through warfare. Or in the case of Capoeira, it is a 'sport' based on round movements and music that African slaves brought with them when 'relocated' to Brazil. They were not allowed to practice fighting (an attempt to keep them from revolting against their owners), so they turned it into a dance, which their owners would allow.

There are reasons that many fighters continue to hit and kick when their opponent is on the ground or in the guard. (1) Some want to get the fight over as quickly as possible, which is not a great reason. (2) Multiple martial arts intentionally take you to the ground, and it's a test of your skills how you get out of that situation. The ground is not intended for wrestling. That's a sport of its own. The ground is another part of the ring, like standing; you just have to use different skills. Only on the ground would be wrestling. Only standing would be kick boxing. The point of martial arts, expecially mixed martial arts, is a very wide skill set.

And on that point, this is what those kids on YouTube don't have. They don't have training. These are people with no self respect and no empathy or sympathy, which are things you do learn in all martial arts. Shame on their parents. When I have kids, we will choose which martial art they train in to start, and they will have a basis of learning, hard work, and respect for the rest of their lives. They don't have to go as far with it as my husband does, but they will learn the basics.

The martial arts saved my husband's life. He was bullied and fought every day living overseas on an Army base, and no one cared to protect him. He built skills over time to defend himself, and once back in the US, a dojo was the only place he could go to escape a bad home life. Martial arts gave him self respect and confidence, something his home life never taught him. And since they couldn't afford to pay for his classes, he cleaned the dojo after hours and painted murals to earn his training.

To all of you MMA fighters out there, keep up the good work. And please make sure you are keeping up on outreach. I like the idea of public service announcments. Coming from these 'tough guys', I think it's putting responsibility on the right shoulders, and asking responsibility of everyone who appreciates the sport.
 I'll be logical and then "funny"...

The arguement that this training prepares someone if they were to be violently attacked is a bit odd when this thing that some call a "sport" only perpetuates violence and ensures that our society needs a means to defend itself by creating more violence within it.

You are not an athlete. This is not a sport. You train to cause pain and hurt and violence in the most effective way possible. There are no points and the only goal is to harm another human. The "rules" are only there to keep people from enough harm and death so you can continue to participate in your personal war against your fellow man.

I'm glad someone brought up the Romans. Gladiators fought for their lives and freedom when they had no choice. You choose to harm your fellow man and your life and freedom are not at stake... Do not compare yourself to them. There is no comparison; you are far far below them.

Ahhh American Idol... I await the day that we all call in and vote whether or not the fight should continue, whether or not an animal posing as a man should live or die.

The Romans didn't last long as a civilization when they began this moral downward spiral; we are not far behind. Hopefully enough others will figure this out before it is too late.

I used to work with adolecent males just getting out of the various instituons in Oregon and trying to turn themselves around. I've heard all the arguments that this is a sport and violence is ok, and this is a way to vent, and now I want to vent by trying the stuff I see on TV on the person next to me. These are 18-25 year olds...

Violence can only beget more violence. Attempting to label violence as a sport only makes violence more socially acceptable. Violence should never be acceptable.

And I'm not even going to get started on the feminization of males bit...

-kyle
 Aparently Kyle has never been put in a situation where he has had to defend himself. It's lucky for him, and I hope that that trend continues in his life. Unfortunately, my husband's family was destitute... not poor, but truly destitute and homeless for a period of a couple years. When you are in that situation and living in a city at a young age, you can find yourself in a seriously unhealthy and violent environment, like he did. To be given the tools to rise above that situation, learn the benefits of hard work, earn your teacher and classmate's respect, and know that you are less likely to be hurt in the future because of your skills is an incredibly powerful thing.

It would also be beneficial if you knew the first thing about the variety of martial arts. You apparently also haven't heard of Aikido, which is the practice of using your opponent's movements and power non-aggressively, without harming them or yourself. It is the art of the takedown, to subdue an attacker, with no kicks, hits, etc. This is the art my husband would like to learn next, and it take many years to master.

Have you noticed that there is a war going on? Wait, there are multiple wars and conflicts, and this is a continuous problem since the dawn of man. We do not live in a peaceful society, and to be prepared for the society that we ACTUALLY live in, as opposed to the society you would LIKE to live in is a choice each person has to make. And as 'erkygrubb' notes, "the ultimate purpose of martial arts isn't martial at all, it's spiritual." That's because the majority of Asian martial arts, and Capoeira, have evolved to be inclusive of some kind of religion, whether it be Buddhism (many monks are martial arts masters), Confucism, etc. Are you going to tell me that Buddhists are violent?

The industrial revolution negated hand-to-hand combat, for the most part, so martial arts have become a 'sport', as you hate to call it. And the government requires those with this kind of training to hold themselves more accountable than the rest of citizenry. If my husband were to be in a bar fight, he would be automatically hand-cuffed and could easily be charged with a felony. The government holds him more accountable because he holds blackbelts and could seriously harm an untrained citizen. We not only don't go to bars because the atmosphere lends itself to an unstable situation; We also don't go out drinking with friends at homes because people chat, and then find out that you love martial arts, and they ALWAYS want a demonstration. This is the height of bad judgement, and we never follow through.

The following countries have developed a style of their own martial arts, and most have 2 or 3: Russia, Greece, Japan, Ireland, China, Thailand, Brazil, the Philipines and Israel. I know that's not all of them. There are reasons these have developed, whether fighting an enemy on horseback (Wushu), grappling (Pankration), weapons (Bata), self-defense (Aikido), or throwing (Judo). I recomend you read up on them before passing judgement on the people who practice them. The point of mixed martial arts is to pull what works best for each person from each art, and put them to use against an opponent with different moves and training. It's a celebration of 'sports' older than you care to admit.

And my husband IS an athlete. He is better shape at 32 than when he played college soccer on scholarship. He doesn't train to cause pain, he just realized that point sparring, which he also did, did not properly prepare one for an actual fight. There is no resistance and no pain to learn from. Pain is his teacher. He works out for hours at a time, not hurting anyone but a punching bag. Those who would grapple and train with him, he would only work out with if they were as committed as he. Those who step in the ring or on a practice mat are prepared to learn and improve. Their bravado is often a show, as they would like to sell tickets to be able to feed their families, which most of them have. They aren't as different from you as you would like to think. Maybe you should meet one before bashing them...

And rugby is violent, also. Would you like to dissapoint Australia, England, etc. and ask for rugby to be stopped? Well, martial arts is respected by many more countries than rugby, and has more protective padding, so you might want to think about the whys on that...
 
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Posted: May 30, 2008 12:55pm
Nov 29, 2007
Happy Thanksgiving! Going into 2008, I have decided to share my crazy “green”-ness with everyone.  I know that the news and the papers are pushing this constantly, and not everyone is convinced that global warming is an immediate threat, but let me ask you this: isn’t it better to live your life a little more green, no matter what else is going on?  Politics and religion aside, having a smaller carbon footprint in this world will never be a bad thing, and you usually save money in the meantime!  (Hey, if my Republican parents can recycle and lower the thermostat, so can you!)This is what hubby and I ask for Christmas: try to be a better steward for the Earth.  Every little bit counts, in our opinion.  Not everyone has easy access to recycling like we do here in Oregon, but everyone can go to their hardware store and buy the energy efficient bulbs, which also help cut down on your electricity bills.  And I, like many people, have always assumed that our vehicles cause the largest amount of waste; recently I’ve learned that our homes are just as bad, if not worse.  According to 18seconds.org, “the average American home is responsible for twice the greenhouse gas emissions of the average car.”  Below I have listed a number of easy things that you can do to help cut down on your carbon footprint.  With them I also list statistics and where I got this information so you can check my sources.  I hope that these daily details, which absolutely add up, might eventually get integrated into your everyday, like they have in ours…even a little bit at a time.  If you would like to do your own research, I list websites that I have found helpful at the end of this letter. Reduce- ENERGY STAR qualified lighting provides bright, warm light but uses about 75% less energy than standard lighting, produces 75 percent less heat, and lasts up to 10 times longer. Did you know that if every US household changed their five highest-use light bulbs to Energy Star certified lighting, Americans would collectively save more than $6 billion (or $60 per household) every year in energy costs? (Source: www.energystar.gov)--Consider replacing your drafty, rattling single pane windows with high efficiency double pane windows with low-emissive coatings that are ENERGY STAR certified. They will reduce heating and cooling costs, street noise, and protect your furniture from the sun's discoloring rays. Single pane windows can diminish a home's value, notes the Wall Street Journal.  Triple-pane windows with Low-E glass for the ultimate in energy efficiency -- helps keep a home warm in the winter and cool in the summer -- can help save 28% in heating and cooling costs (in comparison to a single-pane wood window with clear glass).  (Sources: www.ase.org and abc.go.com/primetime/ xtremehome/index – click on GreenElement on the left)  Check out energystar.gov or your electric company’s website to learn ways to improve your home’s energy loss and save $$$ on your monthly bills!Reuse- Choosing recycled paper for your everyday home and office needs puts the newspapers and birthday cards that you recycled last year back to good use.  Cut Waste - Paper accounts for 40% of all municipal waste.  Recycled paper means less trash, lower taxes & other disposal costs.  Save Energy - The paper industry is the 3rd largest user of energy in the U.S. Protect Natural Resources - The U.S. uses 100 million tons of paper a year & use is increasing.  Recycled paper uses 55% less water & helps preserve our forests.  Recycling of waste paper creates more jobs. Reduce Pollution - The paper industry is one of the largest water polluters in the world. (Source: treecycle.com) --If you are doing any home-improvement or remodeling, save yourself some money and reuse perfectly good items from your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  Or donate your used stuff to them for resale; I hear so many stories of people who flip houses and re-do kitchens just to find out that the buyer plans to re-re-do it all over again to make it “theirs”.  In this instance, donating the cabinets, sinks, etc. to the ReStore helps people wanting to update their homes while saving money and the Earth.  It also benefits a great organization.  You can find one near you by going to www.habitat.org/env/restores.aspx.  They can give you a slip for your taxes saying that you (or your company!) donated to a charity.Recycle- The easiest thing is to contact your waste services about what recycling they offer, what days they pick up, and what types of items they can actually take.  It doesn’t help if you put window pane glass into the bin if they can’t recycle it!  You might have to purchase your own bins, but many companies offer them to their customers and those are easier to identify on trash day, also.--Many everyday household items should not end up in landfills, where they could potentially put poisons into our water supply.  These include: medications, vehicle oil, batteries, paints, and electronics.  You should be able to find out where and when to safely dump vehicle oil, single-use batteries, paints, and electronics by calling your waste services or looking them up online.  (www.earth911.org)  Rechargeable batteries can be taken to most Target, Radio Shack, and Home Depot stores for recycling.  (These include laptop, cell phone, power tool, and regular rechargeable batteries.)  Check www.rbrg.org to find a rechargeable battery recycling location near you.Trees- Well-placed trees reduce heating and cooling costs!  (arborday.org/trees/treeguide/)Tax time!  Most of you know that there are credits available for buying electric or hybrid vehicles, but only until 2010!  Tax credits are also available for many types of home improvements including adding insulation, replacement windows, and certain high efficiency heating and cooling equipment.  (energystar.gov and irs.gov)  Each state may also have rebates.  Oregon gives credit for 25% of the purchase price of EnergyStar appliances, on top of IRS credits.Little stuff- In blue, you’ll find other little things that we do every week to help…*      In Germany, we legally had to turn off our car if it was idling at a gas station or light for longer than 15 seconds.  It’s a good habit to get into, saving lots of CO2 emissions.*      Carpool, even if it is just once a week!  Erideshare.com can help you find someone to carpool with, however often you like, to save gas and money!  Or plan and group your shopping trips together.  (Not only are JD and I down to one vehicle, but I carpool with a neighbor to work 4 days a week and we go grocery shopping together once a week!)*      Keep your tires correctly inflated and ask your mechanic what you can do to improve your gas mileage.*      Buy local!  What you buy has a carbon footprint, too!  If you get your veggies from a farmer’s market or a CSA (localharvest.org/csa), you are supporting your local economy.  When you buy at the supermarket, ONLY between 4 cents (sustainabletable.org) to 18 cents of each dollar (localharvest.org) goes to the grower! AND you are helping KEEP that money local.  See how local businesses spend locally at thinklocalportland.org.*      Boycott Chinese products!!!  Look how far those items travel!  Talk about having a carbon footprint, with little-to-no environmental safe-guards.  I haven’t stepped foot in a Wal-Mart in nearly 2 years and counting.*      Wash your clothes in cold water.  Maybe even wrap your pipes, to keep heat from escaping as water travels.  The second largest energy eater at home is your hot water heater.*      Ask if the restaurant you are at recycles or composts.  The restaurant I worked at here in Portland began composting, reducing their landfill trash pick-ups from 6 days a week to twice a week!  If enough people ask, restaurants will look into making those changes, trust me.Websites for your perusal…you can look up almost anything on these sites to help you be healthier and greener:
carboncounter.org (The Climate Trust; where you can go to estimate your carbon footprint at home, auto, etc.)
earth911.org (recycle finder and oodles of info on almost anything else that could be made greener)
care2.com (online community with free e-mail and webpages for members, raising awareness and funds for everything from domestic violence to global warming)
green.msn.com (MSN’s news, action, and pledge portal for anyone looking to do their part)
green.yahoo.com/ (Yahoo’s portal to everything green, from a carbon counter to green gift-giving)
getgreen.org (Environmental Defense, 'Finding the ways that work.'
sustainlane.com (SustainableCircles Corp. website with reader feedback and US city rankings for green-ness)
conservation.org (international efforts to balance the Earth with the economy)
vitaljuicedaily.com/
(for health, wellness, and green ideas)
greenconsumerguide.com (British website from Green Media Publishing Ltd.)
stopglobalwarming.org
(international, non-partisan, virtual effort to get everyone to pitch-in)
www.treehugger.com (techno-friendly daily or weekly e-mails with blogs, jobs, interviews, podcasts, and more)
zerofootprint.net (“…focusing on an individual’s impact as part of the human collective effort.”  Events, etc.)
www.compostguide.com (EVERYTHING you could want to know about composting at home!)
grist.org (environmental news and commentary)
ase.org (Alliance to Save Energy - pretty self-explanatory)

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Posted: Nov 29, 2007 1:36pm

 

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

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Lara Busch
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Portland, OR, USA
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