Monthly Archives: June 2013

Recycling Is Outdated

Recycling is outdated: its time has passed.  I’ve been thinking about this recently.  I know that might seem a crazy statement to some.

Yet we really have to encourage ourselves to reuse, and reuse again.  Here are some creative and inspiring ways to do so:

1. Save To-Go Containers

I’m often surprised in my office when people get lunches to go, how many containers go in the recycling.

I quickly pull them out.  Many of these are solid containers which can be used 100 times.  We probably never have to buy Tupperware.  These containers can be reused for a leftover, a half-eaten waffle from our breakfast, or a four-portion meal remaining from a dinner party.  Many of them are durable, safe and strong enough to go in the dishwasher.

2. Bring Your Reusable Containers

I’d love to see this trend. We see it with coffee, why not other food? What if we trained ourselves to bring reusable containers or tupperware to all of our lunches or dinners?

We could halt the production of plastic containers.

3. Keep your Tinfoil 25x

I see the same thing with tinfoil.  Sometimes when there’s a catered lunch at the office, large swathes of tinfoil cover the main entrée, or even a side dish.  This aluminum foil can be washed down and dried, and reused multiple times.  Depending on how clean you get it, it can be used 25x.

I’ve stopped buying aluminum foil.

4. Stop Throwing Out Water

Stop “throwing out” water.

In our kitchen at home, we have a hot pot which heats up our water.  If it’s half full in the morning, I used to dump it out, and refill the whole container.  And yet, I’m throwing away precious water.  How many countries across the world—how many millions of children—would die for those two cups of clean water?

I’ll answer it for you: Two million people are dying annually due to lack of clean water.  Most are children.

Drink it then, or save it for later.   Or we can water our plants.  Or we can use it to scrub down the basin, clean the bathtub, scour the shower, or dampen a cloth when we’re wiping down the kitchen table.  Let’s not waste something that actually sustains other people’s lives.

As the expression says, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.  I think we have to change our mindset completely…don’t throw out the baby…and don’t throw out the bathwater.  Both represent life.

5.  Rip Up T-shirts, Clothing, Towels

Does your t-shirt get too ratty to donate?  Do you have an unbleachable spot on a shirt, pair of pants or towel?  Cut them up. Use them as dishrags.  We don’t need to buy rags.

Tell me how your life is not just useful — but “reuseful” – and I’ll post your ideas.   Be sure to include not only the idea, but also how you use it at home or the office, and as well as your company name if you like.

We all need to learn from each other. Onwards to a more Reusable Lifestyle!

Here are some opportunities from UniversalGiving’s vetted NGOs to give and volunteer towards protecting our environment and resources.

Donate to preserve trees and traditions in Guatemala
Donate to preserve a biological corridor in Honduras
Give $22 to plant a tree in Haiti
Explore and protect the Amazon rainforest
Volunteer to conserve the New Zealand environment

When Zero Tolerance for Bad Behavior Works – or Doesn’t

According to John Yemma editor of the Christian Science Monitor, some educational systems are failing regarding discipline. What did they do wrong?

These schools instituted A Zero Tolerance Policy. In this case, if student acted out there were ousted of school.  Never to return.

Most likely, those children needed to return.  If they spoke rudely, hit someone, talked back, they’ll simply continue that behavior.  Most likely, that is what they grew up with. Or, they grew up with no guidance at all.

Barring the door to school doesn’t stop a negative trend. Most of these innocent children don’t have the capability to think about negative consequences or what it means to not be in school. Yet for us, we know it can mean aimlessness, lack of critical thinking, minimal job training and no sense of life purpose.  It can also mean gangs, violence.

These children need to and deserve to return to love.  Yes, even if they hit someone.  Even if they were angry, feisty and violent.  We can give them a firm, disciplinary love — a new way of treatment they might not have experienced. That means we look at their situation differently.  They are innocents; their actions are not. We need to show them positive actions which lead to positive rewards. When their negative actions stop, they can have a pure pathway ahead.

Here’s what we can do: Welcome them back. Coach, guide and give positive incentives for positive behavior.  There are consequences for poor behavior, but not a “kick-out-and-close-the-door-policy.”   We don’t give  a negative consequence for negative behavior.  Show them firmly and resolutely the way to positive choices and actions.

You will change the school.  You will make our community safer and more productive for all.  You, can change their lives.

Everyone’s true potential is as a kind, contributing citizen in the classroom and outside. We can help them get there, through the pathway of disciplined love.

For the full article on some innovative solutions:

The Pamela Positive: “Manifest Plainness, Embrace Simplicity. Reduce Selfishness, Have Few Desires.” – Lao Tzu

Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity. Reduce selfishness, have few desires.” – Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu’s counsel helps us to keep life pure.  If we are running from one activity to the next, we are missing serenity in our daily lives. If we are accumulating things, our lives are crowded by materialism.  It can prevent us from being clear and free to receive new ideas.

Simplicity allows us to not be distracted.  We focus on living a life well-lived. We focus on spiritual qualities such as kindness and consideration, which allow our lives to serve others, and ourselves, with the highest good in mind.

The specific birthdate of Lao Tzu is unknown. Legends vary, but scholars place his birth between 600 and 300 B.C.E. Lao Tzu is attributed with the writing of the “Tao-Te Ching,” (tao—meaning the way of all life, te—meaning the fit use of life by men, and ching—meaning text or classic). Lao Tzu was not his real name, but an honorific given the sage, meaning “Old Master.”  Lao Tzu wanted his philosophy to remain a natural way to live life with goodness, serenity and respect. Lao Tzu laid down no rigid code of behavior. He believed a person’s conduct should be governed by instinct and conscience.

The Classic Pamela Positive: Philanthropy at the Drycleaners

I’ve shared before about philanthropy as “the love of people,” as a daily practice.

One day I had a pivotal experience that helped me be a better ‘daily philanthropist.’  Each day, I make a ‘to do’ list. The list might range from contacting a corporate client, to running an errand at the drycleaners. Checking off these items certainly gave me a nice sense of satisfaction!

During this day, I found myself particularly busy. I rushed into the drycleaners. I swooped in to pick up my clothes and left a bundle of clothes on the counter.  “There!” I told myself triumphantly.  “I fit in the drycleaners before a meeting. I have gotten one more item off my list!”  Accomplishment, I thought; and yet I didn’t feel it.

What I realized is that the drycleaners wasn’t an errand.

No, it was not a ‘to-do.’

It was an opportunity to love.

Life is not about lists.  We aren’t programmed to just get things done. Instead, each activity, each to-do, each task, is actually an experience of loving.  This is especially true because each experience usually means interacting with someone else. And when we do this in a calm, present, joyful way, that’s living.   And it’s also the true spirit of philanthropy. Loving and being present with others, with mankind.

As one great thinker wrote, a person “…is a marvel, a miracle in the universe….With selfless love, he inscribes on the heart of humanity and transcribes on the page of reality the living, palpable presence – the might and majesty! – of all goodness. He lives for all mankind.”*

Rushing in and out of the drycleaners, I had missed a valuable opportunity. What I needed to do was connect with my drycleaners, know them by name, greet them warmly, and sincerely ask how they are doing. Now I know how Hao is doing, and we have a great relationship of warmth and kindness.  I look forward to our visits.

Writing a check is only one type of philanthropy. I’ve found that it exists at the drycleaners, and pretty much anywhere we want.  Where does it exist for you?

*Mary Baker Eddy

Why Proximity Changes the World Of Giving

People give and they should be recognized.  You can give a lot of money that does so much good!   And, you can give a little money, that means a lot. It means a lot because it is more of your income, and perhaps harder for you to do. Both need to be appreciated.

In a recent article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

  • People who can least afford to give are the ones who donate the greatest percentage of their income.
  • Those with earnings in the top 20 percent – gave on average 1.3 percent of their income to charity in 2011.
  • Americans with incomes in the bottom 20 percent donated 3.2 percent of their income.
  • Those who live in more socioeconomically diverse surroundings and see people in need on a daily basis give more than those whose neighbors earn $200,000 a year or more.
What I learn here is that we need to be present. In some way, try to sincerely and closely appreciate the need.
You might live near needy areas or walk on your way to work by a part of town that needs help. Perhaps you experience how much one needs to get by, or to pay for your home and children’s education.  You study a far away country and become more sensitive to the conflict there.  Or perhaps you will volunteer.
All of these observations, or proximity to an issue, helps us be more generous.  We hope today you will consider how you can make a difference in someone’s life, right now.   Here are some positive ways to give of your money and time:
Save lives and prevent malaria by giving a mosquito net :
Help restore and preserve essential ecosystems in Central America and Mexico:
Volunteer at an orphange in Vietnam :