Tag Archives: water

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.

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

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Recycling Is Outdated

Recycling is outdated: its time has passed.  I’ve been thinking about this for about the past year.  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 plants 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!

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 when there appears to be a plenitude of it.  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.  Maybe that just doesn’t make sense—and people might be forced to buy bottled water, because it is a cherished, expensive and rare commodity. Quite soon, and even by certain nations, water already is the new diamond.  And the only challenge here is that diamonds are optional.  This “high-end commodity” is not something we can go without.

It’s where our society is now realizing that the most expensive, prized and honored possessions in our world are things that we actually cannot possess…water must be used and reobtained 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 livelihood.

Further, its beauty rests in the continuation of life.

Our “new luxuries” are now things that we must use to survive.  They are things that must be used frequently, and they must be sought out and obtained on a daily basis.  Our new luxury is about survival.

Recycling Is Outdated

Recycling is outdated: its time has passed.  I’ve been thinking about this for about the past year, that recycling is outdated.  I know that might seem a crazy statement to some.

Yet we really have to encourage ourselves to reuse, and reuse again, and there are so many creative and inspiring ways to do so.

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

Tinfoil

I also 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.  50 times, I’ve found.

I’ve stopped buying aluminum foil.

Water

Now this might sound crazy to some, but I am making sure that I am not “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 often 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?  How many are?

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

So we can drink it.  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.

The Pamela Positive: Clif Bar’s Admonition: Assess and Reduce Your Impact

Continuing on our theme of MATERIAL CHOICE, Clif Bar has some helpful advice about assessing and reducing your impact.  Use what’s local and  support supply chain manufacturers with a low foot print.

Yet my favorite is “How Many?”   This is a question not only for companies but for us as people. How many trees are we cutting down, how many gallons (or drips) of precious water are we using, or how much energy are we depleting?   And…can we reduce that impact?

Clif Bar wisely counsels itself as a company — and as a byproduct us as individuals — to be conscientious about how we use our precious earth, every day.

ASSESSING AND REDUCING IMPACTS

1) Minimize shopping for packaging components.
Buy packaging that’s made close by.

2) Choose green energy for packaging manufacture.
Support supply chain partners with a smaller carbon footprint.

3) Do the numbers.
How many resources – trees, water, energy – does this package consume? Can we build it better?

Clif Bar sells energy bars, and does so while focusing on five bottom lines: sustaining the planet, the community, their people, their business and their brands.  Clif Bar is an inspiring example of a company that is socially conscious at every stage, from the ingredients they use to the packaging they sell their food in to the way they’re engaging with the community.

The Wisdom of Ecuador: SupraConnected with the Forest (Part Three)

This is the third of an eight-part series on my volunteer trip to Ecuador. This is an unedited account of a personal journey and will be followed by stories from a few more of my international volunteer trips. Many of the experiences on these trips would become the impetus for founding UniversalGiving™. 

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SupraConnected with the Forest 

What if We Came In and Destroyed Your Supermarket?  How Would You Feel?

A very powerful concept, then, of how nature is viewed by the animals and the indigenous people here. While in the United States we are “environmentally conscious,” and strive to do the right thing by recycling, here one is supraconnected and spiritualized to and with the forest.  Surely proximity and life sustenance has much to do with this, if you constantly see and work off of the land. But it’s not only that…

Whatever You Take Out, Must Gently and Respectfully Be Put Back

The Aschuar tribe, a tribe of over 2,000 years, calls the earth “Pachamama.”  It’s what the organization is based on “the Pachamana Alliance.”  Pachamama means mother earth, and they believe God exists in the river, in the forest and in the earth itself.  The ancestors live there and so does God.  Therefore whatever you take out you must gently and respectfully put back.  As Cristobal, a member of one of the tribes said to me (in Spanish) “It is about touching God.  But also, what if we came into your community and destroyed your supermarket?  How would you feel? How would you live?”

But it’s more than this – it’s about connecting and communicating with nature as a source of wisdom, not just food.  It’s about communing with it.  They truly believe that God speaks to them with and through the plants, and that special messages come to them when they do so.  They treasure plants and nature and this communication…

We can see the communion.  In our treks in the rainforest you become a part of this huge ecosystem that the Aschuar tribe lives off of both materially and spiritually. They cut down trees for shelter, fire—for needs.  They also worship, bless and pray to the trees, their friends and fount of spiritual wisdom.

It was a powerful first walk.  Density.  Strangler fig trees which drop down and land on a tree, and eventually, years later, encapsulate, strangle, effectively overgrow the initial tree from up to bottom.  Thirteen different bird species call and click and ooo-oooo-oooo, kEE WAH KEE WAH… Chicka chicka chicka roooooooooooooo and interspersed with an incessant groaning which I finally figured out were the chimpanzees. 

Vines, growth and the most fascinating furry, large, black, brown decorated caterpillars; little red cups (devils’ cups), special mushrooms, on the ground.   Enormous bright blue butterflies, the size of a man’s palm, flicker in the forest! Catch them with your eyes and hold fast they are gone.  Then stumble upon the thickest soup-swamp and watch for the eyes of a minialligator… and he slurps along. Beautiful flocks of yellow-black birds fly,  bevvied from one tree amidst the swamp, to trees on the fringe, back together to the middle…

Walk amongst the overlapping symbiotic trees… taste lemon ants, used for flavoring and have a tiny bitter sour taste.  Thin, thread-thin lace vines wrap in crisscrosses across the trees, embroidering the trunks in crochet.  Huge, dark brown-black termite nests hang from the branches of trees.   Mini-bees poke from a hive that has been built through a tube 1/16 of an inch wide into the tree, thereby hollowing it out and using the tree as part home-hive…

…be a part of this ecosystem…rest in its presence… and you feel at once vibrantly alive and, overawed, overpowered and powerfilled…

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You can take action.  Support projects in South America:

Give $10 to plant a tree in the rainforest
Give $25 to give water to a villager
Give $115 to give light to a villager
Volunteer in conservation in Ecuador
Spend the summer teaching in Ecuador

The Pamela Positive: How Your Laundry Helps the Environment!

You might want to join Project Laundry List.  I’m sure most of us don’t think about joining an interest group that supports laundry, but this might be one to consider.  Recently, there’s been a movement across our country to reduce the use of unwarranted energy.  Many families are beginning to dry their clothes on traditional clothing lines, outdoors.  It saves much energy (clothes dryers often account for 12% of a house’s total energy use!)  You might be able to use your natural environment to do the same thing as your dryer.

In some communities it may not be possible to do this due to weather, and understandably, sometimes due to busy schedules.  Each person has to determine where they place their energy in helping preserve our environment.

There is a bit of an uproar in some communities, calling these laundry lines unsightly.  Perhaps we can find a way to meet both goals: aesthetics and the preservation of our environment.  We could consider having a special area to dry laundry, where we replant our trees from the holidays.  In that way, we’re helping contribute to the natural landscape, discreetly drying our laundry and allowing the community to remain beautiful and natural.

This movement is becoming so strong that Alec Blee started Project Laundry List, which has recently attained approved legislation for “right to dry” of your laundry outdoors.

I hope we can use our natural resources to help us with our day-to-day activities, while also allowing our communities to remain beautiful, and peaceful.