Archive for March, 2011

March 31, 2011

Grow Your Own

hands together helping each otherThis article on Care2 by Delia Quigly is really great. I’m all for this idea and Sedgwick, Maine seems to be on the forefront. It seems like more and more people are becoming informed because of the social networking and the responsibilities people are taking on themselves for passing along info that can help free us from the controlled vice grip large corporate companies have over our lives. So you go Delia keep up the great work. I’m a fan!

“Why not feed the people everywhere and let the peace begin. Turn your swords to plowshares everywhere and feed the people.” Stephen Stills

There is a garden revolution happening all over the country. People are taking responsibility for their food and have begun small gardens on the porch, a windowsill, a small patch of yard or a large swath of land. Recently StillPoint Schoolhouse and the Foodshed Alliance, here in New Jersey, hosted their first Organic Gardening series and the class was full of eager amateur gardeners interested in learning how to grow food without the use of chemical sprays. This course will go through the spring, summer and fall months and will include growing vegetables, fruits and herbs, preserving, canning, fermenting and freezing produce in anticipation of the winter months.

Interestingly, there are many communities and farms in America offering these same kinds of classes. Our local community college gardening courses have a long waiting list and people are turning to on-line courses to receive their information. This is the most powerful kind of revolution, when communities of people come together on their own initiative and then share their knowledge. Although it may seem like a lot of work for some people for others the reality of our food supplies political unpredictability has individuals preparing for the worst and stocking their larders with quality food.

One example is the small town of Sedgwick, Maine that recently passed a Food Sovereignty ordinance, declaring the right to grow and sell their locally grown foods without the oversight of any state or federal regulation. These kinds of actions are in defiance of our government’s attempts to control all large and small farms, including family gardens. It is when the people take action, by themselves, in community with others, and for the Earth, that a wave spreads across the land bearing fruit in the form of organic gardens filled with bees, butterflies and organic food, lots and lots of food.

According to the Organic Consumers Association 75 percent of the world’s food is produced by 1.5 billion small farmers. Enough food is produced for 9 billion people showing that organic farming can feed the 6 billion people worldwide. The blame for hunger and obesity lies with the overproduction of junk foods, how it is distributed and what it does to ravish the land. The garden revolution is a direct F-you to the destructive manipulations of companies like Monsanto Corporation. By turning the soil in your backyard or community garden and planting organic heirloom seeds you are sending the message that you will no longer tolerate the toxic, poisonous food you are being asked to consume.

And look what else is happening to your supermarket purchases! A recent New York Times article, Food Inflation Kept Hidden in Tinier Bags, by Stephanie Clifford and Catherine Rampell, reveals that packaged foods give a smaller yield for the same or higher price in today’s market place. In other words, it is getting more expensive to buy lower quality foods and people are realizing they can save money and stay healthy by growing their own. There are plenty of other reasons to grow your own food as outlined in a recent Care2 post, 7 Reasons Why You Should Grow Your Own Food, but being part of a revolution without having to march on Washington with pitchforks raised in the air, can be as simple as planting your own food, boycotting the commercial GMO imitations and teaching others in your community to do the same.

Delia Quigley is the Director of StillPoint Schoolhouse, where she teaches a holistic lifestyle based on her 28 years of study, experience and practice. She is the creator of the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, Cooking the Basics, and Broken Bodies Yoga. Delia’s credentials include author, holistic health counselor, natural foods chef, yoga instructor, energy therapist and public speaker. Follow Delia’s blogs: and To view her website go to

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March 30, 2011

Help Turtles and Whales Survive

beluga whale swimming

Artic Beluga Whale

Turtles and Whales Need Your Help

The Earth has a delicate ecosystem that is disrupted by every mis-shap we humans inflict on it. There are too many horrific examples to mention here. But it is incumbent upon we humans as the dominant species to look after those species who cannot help themselves. If we don’t we upset the system that has been developed over millions of years and catastrophic results abound.

Sea Turtle swimming

Sea Turtle

Wherever offshore drilling happens, oil spills are inevitable. They put hundreds of thousands of innocent animals at risk – from walruses and whales in pristine Alaskan waters to sea turtles and dolphins in the warm Atlantic ocean.

We don’t have to imagine what a tragic oil spill could be like – we only have to remember last summer and the millions of gallons of oil ceaselessly gushing into the Gulf for months.

Attempt after failed attempt to stop the BP leak is a brutal example that we simply aren’t prepared for oil spills, no matter where they happen. And spills will happen…unless we prevent them.
Speak up by March 30 to prevent new offshore drilling for the next 5 years.

March 29, 2011

Save Bristol Bay and Its Wildlife from Destructive Mining

Here we go again. How many times do we the people of America and citizens of the world have to stqnd up and say What are you people doing??

Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed is one of America’s last and most important wild places — an unspoiled Eden of vast tundra, crystal clear streams, and pristine lakes. Tens of millions of salmon support an abundance of bears, whales, seals and eagles as well as Native communities that have thrived here for thousands of years.

Yet, a consortium of foreign mining companies is planning to dig one of the world’s largest open-pit mines — the Pebble Mine — in the heart of this pristine ecosystem. This 2,000-foot-deep, two-mile-long gold and copper mine would have colossal earthen dams that are supposed to hold back some 10 billion tons of mining waste — despite being built in a known earthquake zone.
The mine would be dug on state land, right next to 1.1 million acres of our federal public lands. Some risks just aren’t worth taking, and the Pebble Mine is one of them. Tell BLM Director Bob Abbey NOT to open our public lands in Bristol Bay to hard rock mining.

Go to the website below at Care2 petition

March 29, 2011

Wyoming’s Smog Problem

Wyoming is an absolutely gorgeous state. I spent some time in Jackson Hole years back and it was sublime. But thanks to the relentless work of the natural gas industry, this mostly rural state now has a problem in common with cities like Los Angeles and New York City: smog.

The EPA’s current safety standard for ground-level ozone is 75 parts per billion (ppb), but preliminary data shows that Wyoming’s ozone levels were 124 ppb–exceeding the worst day in Los Angeles during all of 2010; 114 parts per billion. Where’s all this smog coming from in a state with fewer human residents than any other? Gas drilling. The gas industry is alive and well in Wyoming, and if you don’t take people or the environment into account (and the Big Gas doesn’t), it’s been a boon for the state’s economy.

Wyoming enjoys one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, 6.4 percent. And while many other states are running up monumental deficits, lawmakers are projecting a budget surplus of more than $1 billion over the coming year in this state of a half-million people (AP). But this profit comes at a price.

“They’re trading off health for profit. It’s outrageous. We’re not a Third World country,” said Elaine Crumpley, a retired science teacher who lives just outside Pinedale told the AP.
High levels of ozone happen in the Upper Green River Basin only during the winter. They result from a combination of gas industry emissions, snow on the ground, bright sunshine and temperature inversions, in which cool air near the ground is trapped by a layer of warmer air. Pollution builds up during the day and becomes visible above the horizon as a thin layer of brown smudge — smog — by midafternoon (AP).

According to the Associated Press, residents living near the gas fields in the western part of this outdoorsy state are complaining of watery eyes, shortness of breath and bloody noses because of elevated ozone levels.

So what can be done about this? Communication, research and voicing opposition. If no one raises a voice against Big Gas then things will only get worse. Just because you live somewhere else doesn’t mean it’s not your problem. It is. If you don’t already live in a polluted city or town like I do (Los Angeles) then you soon will if you do not stand up and fight against polluters. It can work.
Even in Los Angeles efforts have been made to curb pollution and have had success.

The Port of Los Angeles has succeeded in making steep cuts in diesel emissions since 2008 when California’s Clean Trucks rules took effect, according to air emissions inventory. The joint Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach Clean Air Action Plan requires that each unit of cargo be moved with fewer emissions.

Because the measurements are on a per unit of cargo basis, the recession is not a factor in these figures. The Journal of Commerce reports that the program has been a success.

March 27, 2011

San Francisco Renewable Energy By 2020

green living by 2020 for San Francisco

San Francisco is an innovative city. The oldest “big” city on the west coast in also in many ways the most sophisticated. The city and its governing bodies always seems to be in the forefront of new movements. Remember Hippies in Haight Ashbury, Gay Rights and now eco-friendly living.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said recently at a gathering for solar enthusiasts in San Francisco that he believes the city can be functioning on all renewable energy in nine years. Nearly 800 people attended the event and paid $100 each as part of a fundraiser for the Vote Solar Initiative, which is a grassroots solar advocacy project backed by the Tides Center. They have about 50,000 members nationwide. They work at the policy level with legislators to make solar power more affordable to businesses and consumers. San Francisco currently generates about eighteen megawatts of electricity from solar power. The city offers various incentives for adding new solar installations, both for consumers and businesses.

Former Mayor Gavin Newsom said of their program: “GoSolarSF has more than doubled the number of solar installations in our City and created dozens of jobs. This program is literally transforming how our homes and businesses generate and consume electricity rooftop by rooftop.” (Source:

Actually, it was Newsom who first put forth the goal of 100 percent renewable energy in San Francisco by 2020. One source said that in 2006, San Francisco was only at about 12 percent renewable energy, and that rate put them easily in the top ten U.S. cities for clean energy. Currently San Francisco receives a significant amount of its electricity from the Hetch Hetchy hydroelectric powerplant. It was recently reported that the city had failed to find a competitor to their main supplier, Pacific Gas and Electricity, who can deliver power from 51 percent renewable sources.

Some say the 100 percent renewable goal by 2020 is not feasible, but the director of the city’s Environment Department said the city had actually exceeded their very ambitious recycling goal of 75 percent diversion from the waste stream, so a very aggressive energy goal might be beneficial.

Take note other cities the sooner you convert to renewable energy the better it’ll be for all of us.

Image Credit: photo via flickr

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