Tag Archives: environment

The Pamela Positive: What We Can Learn from the Gentle, Observant Jain Religion

Jainism is a group that believes we should leave barely a footprint on this earth.  They believe in gentility, kindness, and care for every living creature.  It’s even to the extent of not eating root vegetables, because pulling up the roots makes the plant die.  Jains honor every living thing.

Founded in a similar time frame as Buddhism, Jainism primarily existed in Hindu parts of India.  In the present day it is a small but powerful minority among the world’s religions, with some 4 million followers in India and growing communities elsewhere in the world.  A few core beliefs of Jainism include that every living being has a soul; non-violence is the path to right thinking; attachment to possessions should be limited, and one’s life should be lived to be useful to others.

May we be gentle, respectful and observant of the preciousness of life in all its form.

How Can You Use, and Reuse, Paper?

image-2-do

We can live consciously and thoughtfully about how we use paper.  When you write a note, could you also reuse it again, and use the other side?  When you receive a card, is there a portion of it that’s not written on, that could be used for a casual note to a roommate, spouse or friend?  Or perhaps you could even use it for a to-do list.  When you receive a box of a recent book or item of clothing, you can save it for holiday gifts.  Let’s think creatively about our trees…

I Envision a World Without Salt Packets

benefits-of-banyan-tree

There are so many things that are packaged within paper, and the waste can be enormous.  I think about the time, manufacturing costs, the transport, and the packaging when I look at individual salt packets.  My guess is, forty granules of salt are contained within a tiny salt packet.  And we’ve got to enclose it with paper, and then put it in another big package to transport it.  There are so many ways that we use paper that are not allowing us to be effective stewards of our environment.

There was an interesting write-up of editorial letters in the Chronicle the other day.  In it, one might think people were against plastic bags, and they were.  But they were also against paper bags.  All of the letters pointed towards using canvas.  And many of them even stated we should feel guilty for using trees to transport our lunches, groceries, or other sundries.  We’re facing quite a revolution here in being thoughtful about how and when we use our natural resources.

We can live consciously and thoughtfully about how we use paper.  When you write a note, could you also reuse it again, and use the other side?  When you receive a card, is there a portion of it that’s not written on, that could be used for a casual note to a roommate, spouse or friend?  Or perhaps you could even use it for a to-do list.  When you receive a box containing a recent book or item of clothing, you can save it for holiday gifts.  Let’s think creatively about our trees.

I remember my very astute four year old niece, when I took her to the restroom, after we had gotten brunch.  With two young nephews waiting in the restaurant, age 8 and 10, and as the sole aunt caretaker, I hurriedly pulled out two paper towels and dried my hands.  “Shame on you, Aunt Pamela.  They teach us in school that that’s a tree.  You’re not supposed to do that.”  Lindsey was absolutely right.

What if every time you picked up, or used a piece of paper, you envisioned a beautiful evergreen, redwood, or eucalyptus tree?  Would we then be so quick to crumple it up?  Would you crumple up a cherry blossom tree?

The New Luxury – Water

In many emerging nations, children are starving and dying due to lack of clean water.  As a “developed” nation, it certainly doesn’t seem that advanced for us to be getting water for free.   Meanwhile, two million people in the developing world are dying every year because they can’t access clean water.

Maybe we won’t have water fountains in the future.

It doesn’t make sense.   If there is a limited, precious resource, why should it flow freely to those who have the most access to it? And at the same time, be so costly to others who need it most?

I think we should have to buy our water, bottled or fountain.  It’s a cherished, expensive and rare commodity. Quite soon, and even by certain nations, water already is the new diamond.

The diamonds which are jewels are high end commodities, which are optional.  Yet water is not a “high-end commodity” that we can go without.

Our society is now realizing that the most prized and honored possessions in our world are things that we actually cannot possess…  Water is used, captured again, recycled in nature, and used again.  Unlike diamonds, it can’t fit in our jewelry box, where we take it out whenever we so desire.  Its beauty rests in its necessary part of our day to day.

Its beauty rests in the continuation of life.

 

*************

Let’s do all we can today to conserve water or donate to make water available for someone else.

The Pamela Positive: “UnConference Room” Your Meeting with a Peaceful Banyan Tree

Benefits-of-Banyan-tree.jpg

There are many images that come to mind when we think of Asia, from dragons to beautiful beaches, spanning varied cultures. One of my favorite views is that of the banyan tree, for it must be strongly grounded in the earth, which also allows its larger branches and leaves to provide overreaching shade.

It was under a banyan tree where the Buddha felt his calling to a new level of enlightenment.  Under these same trees, Gujarati businessmen hold their meetings.  It is even used as a place for political meetings: recently in Malaysia, the state assembly met underneath the welcome atmosphere of the banyan tree.  So, for much of Asia, spirituality, entrepreneurship, politics are taking place in the outdoors.

The banyan tree represents solidity, rootedness, and strength.  At the same time, it also represents comfort, shade and welcome.  It is a source of power, balanced with peace.  It represents firmness, as well as welcome.

Is America’s Banyan Tree the Conference Room?

It is interesting how in America, and in many places across the world, most of our meetings take place in walled, sterile conference rooms.  Chairs are uniformly around the table.  The walls are usually plastered with notices about the company’s achievements.  Pens and pads are available so we can write and record and get our business done. Gosh darn it, I can hear the executives say, in this room we’re going to get to the solution, get down to business and ‘make it happen.’

Yet what if we looked at doing all of our business, or even holding all of our meetings, under a banyan tree?  This return to nature might help conversations flow more easily.

Perhaps this atmosphere would allow us to be more authentic. If we are surrounded by nature’s occasional stirring winds, visionary clouds floating across the sky, and brilliant beckoning sun, would we not also settle into a more authentic course of conversation? Could it lead to more natural, comfortable (and no less impactful, but rather moreso) solutions?   Within this reframing context of nature, we can discuss our goals and hopes and plans and perhaps achieve even greater goals.

Here’s a thought… We can replace the pen, paper and busy scribbling of notes, with more eye contact.  We supplant the flurried white board scrawls with more thoughtful listening. What a profound impact this has to have on any business relationship, business decision, and especially, with any personal matter.

Until we can “Unconference Room” your meeting space, perhaps we can imagine all of our conversations thoughtfully taking place under a Banyan tree.  A place where comfort, understanding, and right relationships result under its strong, rooted and peaceful presence.

******************

The banyan tree originally received its name from the merchants who gathered beneath it to do business; in the Gujarati language, “banya” means “merchant/grocer.” Western visitors to India observed the merchants meeting beneath the tree, and the name evolved to refer to the tree itself.  The banyan trees are given great symbolism in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Banyan trees can grow to cover hundreds of feet, and live for over a thousand years.

The Classic Pamela Positive: To Have a Positive Mindset, Build Your Mind as You Would Your Dream Home

When you build a home, you have to have a vision. A vision of what you would like to create.  If you have a negative vision of your home then it certainly is not going to become a beautiful home! So we need to maintain that vision, even when the going gets rough. Even if you run out of brick. Even if the paint color didn’t match the way you wanted it to. Even if you have to fumigate!  Hold the vision, and keep striving for it.

So what has helped me during tough times is not just to focus on the positive, but on gratitude. Even in tough times there is something to be grateful for.  If you are having a hard time in sales and partnerships, perhaps you can be grateful you uplifted that potential client’s day with a positive smile or sincere compliment…

On an entirely different level…if a natural disaster has occurred, you can still be grateful that the sun came out, as, in many countries pollution, blocks the sun. That a friend is near. That people are caring and helping. Even in a crisis, and often especially in a crisis, the greatest goodness of people comes out.  We can find the good even when we don’t seem ‘to have or own much.’    True wealth comes from qualities of being loving, kind, sincere, genuine, giving. And how wonderful — that that wealth is available to each one of us, every moment.

Poolside with Pamela: Michelle Branch on Music and Inspiration

Listen in on what Michelle Branch has to say about music and the environment, at the Global Greengrants Gala in May 2014.

Based on FDR’s Fireside Chats, Poolside with Pamela is a monthly interview series with celebrities, CEOs and industry leaders. Poolside with Pamela highlights what influential people think is important in leadership and how they are giving back.

PH: Michelle, what is to you the most important environmentally conscious song?

MB: Song? Oh gosh, I don’t even know. You stumped me. That’s a really good question. Maybe I need to write it. I have no idea. I’m trying to think of a song about saving water. Maybe I should write a song about California and water. 

PH: Michelle, what inspired you to music at an early age?

MB: Music was, it wasn’t an option for me. I was singing since I could talk, and it was just kind of one of those things that I just always knew, I was going to grow up to do something involved with music. I didn’t know in what capacity, so I kind of assumed I’d be a Music Teacher, or something along the lines of that. And then I got discovered when I was 17, and here I am. 

PH: And why is the environment for you?

MB: The environment, the cause, is really important to me. I’m a Mom and have a daughter who is 8 and half (years old). I often stay awake at night wondering what this world is going to look like when she’s grown up. And if she decides to have children, and it’s terrifying.