Moving Planet: A Play in Two Acts

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Last weekend, climate advocates and activists in more than 180 countries performed in over 2000 showings of what may very well have been the world’s largest production to date: Moving Planet. Billed as “A Day to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels” and built on the backs of tens of thousands of impassioned participants, “energy” was both the central theme and the real star of this show. The production—massive in size and yet purposefully carbon-light—focused on moving our world from dirty energy to clean energy while showcasing the human energy powering the movement….

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The Healthy Home, by Dr. Myron Wentz & Dave Wentz, with Donna K. Wallace

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“Is it even possible to make a big enough difference in the world to redirect the current trends? Or will we be battling a new revolutionary challenge of man-made toxins, in which degenerative diseases like cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s are the norm?” asks Dave Wentz, co-author of The Healthy Home: Simple Truths to Protect Your Family from Hidden Household Dangers.

It’s not a rhetorical question. Wentz really wants to know the answer. He has a young son and, like other conscientious parents of a newborn, he’s concerned about his child’s health and the world he will inherit….

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Small Footprints – At Home on the Sea

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In the first part of our discussion with Linda and Rick Clayton, Linda talked about being “able to go where the wind goes.” Despite the tight quarters on a sailboat, there are loads of personal advantages to this lifestyle, as she and Rick point out.

This is part two of our two-part conversation with the Claytons. Get ready to relax, put on your deck shoes, and take a virtual sail on Sojourner.

BPGL: Where is your favorite place to drop anchor and just stay awhile?

LINDA: I like the beaches in the Bahamas, but every time we get to a new anchorage, we say, “Wow! This is so beautiful!” And it has so many wonderful features that maybe the other ones don’t have. It’s hard to say there’s any one place; each place is a wonderful place because of its uniqueness….

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Small Footprints – Cruising with the Claytons

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When Rick and Linda Lacy Clayton decided four years ago to retire on a sailboat, they didn’t do it with the intention of becoming environmentalists. But what they’ve learned since is that their very survival — and their finances — depend on their ability to sustain themselves with minimal fuel, power, and water.

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) spoke with the Claytons to learn how the experience of living on their sailboat, Sojourner, has changed their daily habits and taught them to keep a small (wet) footprint. The Claytons hail from Dallas, Texas, where Rick retired as a policeman, then spent eight years as a truck driver, and Linda retired from a career in marketing….

BPGL: What a life you have! How did you decide to live on a sailboat?

RICK: We both had some experience sailing. The first vacation after we got married, we chartered a sailboat down in the British Virgin Islands for a week — the two of us on a 35-foot boat. Of course, I knew I was going to love it. On the way back, Linda said, “How soon can we sell everything, buy a boat, and take off?” …

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Backyard Abundance – Reconnecting People to Nature

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Fred Meyer isn’t a man who lets a problem stop him — not even when the problem covers the entire planet.

“Most everyone feels a desire to improve the health of our environment, but when faced with our monumental environmental problems, the task seems too large — understanding how to proceed can feel overwhelming,” Meyer writes at BackyardAbundance.org.

Because Meyer understood that feeling of powerlessness and frustration, he wanted to do something about it — not only for himself, but to help others as well.

MEYER: I started Backyard Abundance because I saw a need in our community for a holistic view of how we could improve the health of our environment. I have always been a big tree hugger. I had been hugging the trees, picking up roadways, planting plants, and doing all that for years — even in high school.

After a while, I had to take a step back and see if what I was doing was actually making a difference. When I did, I saw that the environment was continuing to crumble all around me….

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What Kind of World Do You Want?

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This week, as we say goodbye to 2009 and greet 2010, Blue Planet Green Living asks you the question posed by Five For Fighting in their song of the same name, “What Kind of World Do You Want?” Singer John Ondrasik of Five For Fighting invites all of us to create a video response to […]

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Finding the Deep River Within by Abby Seixas

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“Are you busy?” my young friend from Palestine asks in a chat box.

“Of course,” I respond. “But no busier than usual. What’s up?”

And so we begin our short visit, with me multitasking in between sentences, and my friend likely wondering why I can’t take few minutes to just do one thing at a time. I don’t think I’m unusual, at least in this accelerated electronic society of ours here in the U.S. But sometimes I wish I could just slow down. Maybe you wish you could, too.

Finding the Deep River Within addresses the need to take “time-in,” as author Abby Seixas (SAY-shus) calls it. Seixas knows whereof she writes, both as a woman and as a psychotherapist. Subtitled A Woman’s Guide to Recovering Balance & Meaning in Everyday Life, this book speaks to me and to the issues we women face on a daily basis. (That’s not to say men can’t gain insights from the book, too. Until a male therapist pens a book like this for men, you guys might just find many parts of the book speak to you, too.) …

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Shades of Green – Looking at the Food System with a Critical Eye

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Interest in environmentally friendly food products and food production practices is growing. The food and beverage industry has responded to this interest and has created environmentally friendly marketing schemes.

However, as companies “green” their products or extol sustainable business practices, eaters need to be equipped with the tools to decipher the new marketing trends. This extends to nutrition and health claims on food products. According to attorney Michell Simon, “Nutrition advocates who buy into the myth of industry-created solutions do so at their own peril. Praising companies for “doing the right thing” only encourages more food industry-PR (or ‘nutriwashing’).” …

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An Upside to the Downturn – One Psychotherapist’s View

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One of my favorite cartoons from The New Yorker shows two mice with two exercise wheels side by side. One mouse is running frantically around his, while the other, sitting still on the edge of the wheel, says, “I had an epiphany.”

The cartoon speaks to the territory I deal with all the time in my work as a psychotherapist specializing in issues of life balance: the elusive change of mind and heart that enables a person to shift from running endlessly on the treadmill of our culturally sanctioned 24/7 way of life, to being able to slow down, or, dare I say it, even to stop every now and then…

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Small Sacrifices for a Healthier Planet

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It’s no secret — and, sadly, no surprise — that those of us living in industrialized nations are using up more than our share of the planet’s resources and releasing alarming amounts of greenhouse gases. In 2006, for example, the Sierra Club reported, “industrial countries with less than 20 percent of the world’s population are responsible for more than 60 percent of the total carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere.”

Yet, when we talk about making small sacrifices to save our species from extinction — or from future water wars, as the planet heats up and snowfalls all but disappear — most people resist making changes. We all have our limits, certainly. But without making sacrifices now, what quality of life will we leave our children or our grandchildren? What gives us the right to run lights, TVs, and air conditioners with no one in the room? To drive huge, gas-guzzling vehicles with no passengers or cargo? To plant and water lush lawns in the desert? To waste space, resources, water, energy — all of which are in limited supply? …

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Green Festival in Chicago May 16, 17

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If you’ll be in Illinois this weekend, head on over to Navy Pier to attend Chicago’s third annual Green Festival, May 16 and 17. Billed as the “original green consumer living event,” the weekend will provide “a vision of a cleaner, more efficient future for American businesses, homes, and lifestyles.”…

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Risky Runoff: From Fish-Roe to Ritalin

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As the recent PBS Frontline story “Poisoned Waters” so vividly brought home, once pure and pristine, our extraordinary natural treasure of beautiful shorelines, waterways, estuaries, lakes, rivers and ponds continues to be polluted by the home and industrial waste that we persistently both knowingly as well as unwittingly contribute to — so much so that it now severely threatens our own health and that of the flora and fauna with which we share our planet. Wreaking havoc on global well being, with animals and individuals becoming ill daily from contact with contaminated water eco-systems, without dramatic and fundamental action, it’s a problem that’ll only continue to grow exponentially. Point blank — our water systems are being altered to the point of no-return by our own selfish human impact….

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Think Like a Pioneer: Turn Your Trash Into Treasure

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Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. It’s a mantra for green living that we’ve all heard for years. And while recycling has become more and more mainstream, with even Grandma lugging the blue box out for curbside recycling, and sorting and filtering for her weekly trip to City Carton [recycling plant], Reduce and Reuse have been nearly forgotten in the recycling frenzy.

It’s not yet trendy to make noticeable cutbacks and people will definitely look at you funny if you tell them you are making a vase out of a burned out light bulb. But the times they are a’ changin’ and one thing is for sure: Reducing and reusing are equally important components of this three-part commitment to living more sustainably….

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Green Living — A Beginner’s Guide

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If you’re just beginning your green journey, it may seem like there’s so much to catch up on: organic food, holistic medicine, natural fibers, hybrid vehicles, and so much more. In general, green living is about making changes to reduce the amounts of natural resources we humans use (and, more importantly, waste), and to becoming a caretaker of our remaining natural resources. It’s about working toward sustainabilty for our society and our planet.

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Financial Incentives for Improving Energy Efficiency

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As we learn more about the details of the new economic stimulus package, consumers are finding that (finally!) there’s help for those of us who want to make our homes more energy efficient. It’s no surprise, of course, that utilities and companies selling energy-efficient products would be among the first to spread this information.

Blue Planet Green Living received an email yesterday telling us that Andy Armstrong at Johnson Controls had posted a blog, “So What’s In the Stimulus Package for You and Me?” detailing some of the advantages of the new legislation. We were pleased to discover that Andy’s blog is both helpful and informative. But, if you’re seriously considering new appliance purchases or alternative energy installations, you won’t want to stop there.

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Spiritual Sustainability: Save the Earth Without Killing Yourself

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For much of my life, I have zealously pursued the ideal of sustainable living. A deep love for the natural world, coupled with an equally deep perfectionist streak, made me alternately — depending on the flavor of the times — an object of curiosity or subject to ridicule. However, over the past five years, I have had to admit that this ultra-determined sort of sustainability has not produced the eco-perfect life that I expected.

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My 5: Amanda Rooker, Freelance Writer and Spiritual Teacher

February 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, My 5, Sustainable Living, Virginia

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Blue Planet Green Living asked contributing writer Amanda Rooker, “What are the five most important things we can do to save the earth?”
BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?

Amanda Rooker:

* Live simply.

* Love people, not things….

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Makur Jain, Ph.D., Contributing Writer

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Contributing writer Dr. Makur Jain lives in Lucknow, India, where she earned her Ph.D. in English literature. During the 2007–08 school year, she was hosted by the U.S. State Department as a Fulbright scholar to teach Hindi at the University of Iowa.

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Praise the Lord and Green the Roof

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Perhaps you won’t be surprised to hear about a religious order of nuns that grows its own vegetables and cares for the environment. But nuns sharing a Zip car? Nuns wearing organic cotton habits? And nuns living under a green roof in New York City? Joseph Huff Hannon sent us this fascinating post about a group of green-living nuns who are serving their fellow humans and the planet by living Earth Wise, Money Smart.

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Green Carpenter “Turns Liabilities into Assets”

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“If you’re building a LEED-certified house in Iowa, but you fly the bamboo flooring in from California or China, that’s not green,” says carpenter Roger Gwinnup. “On the other hand” he points out, “you can pull up the oak flooring in an old house that’s being torn down, then drive across town and nail it in place in another house. That’s greener.

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