DARIGOLD switching from paper packaging to PLASTIC!

I wrote to Darigold.com this morning:  they’ve switched from paper packaging for decades of their Half & Half dairy product to PLASTIC!  (Barcode is 264002760) I sent the following to their contact URL:

“Good day!!  Your website talks about Sustainability & Stewardship, the Environment, and then you switch from paper packaging to PLASTIC for your dairy products, e.g., Half & Half?  Are you kidding me?  For your reference that’s Barcode 2640022760.  I am OUTRAGED!!  Talk about hypocritical!  You have such a wonderful product and then you put it in PLASTIC?  WAKE UP!!!!  Not only will I not buy your product now, but I’ll do everything in my power to spread the word of your hypocrisy, including reporting you to Green Peace, Ocean Conservancy, Oceana.org, 5gyres.org, my own church, and worthyvisions.com.”

I urge you to PLEASE go to darigold.com and click on the Contact button and beg them to stop adding PLASTIC to our environment. Thank you!

In case you haven’t watched “Eating Our Way To Extinction”

This can still be viewed for free on YouTube and I believe it’s also available on Prime Video. While it may have a depressive effect, it does a good job of driving home the impact of our eating habits on our planet. Then this morning I found the following article on one of my newsfeeds. It seems wells are running dry in drought-weary Southwest as foreign-owned farms guzzle water to feed cattle overseas:

https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/05/us/arizona-water-foreign-owned-farms-climate/index.html

I had just finished an article for our UU weekly bulletin “Making Healthy Food Choices” in which I extolled the virtues of vegetarian and vegan diets and how they’re good for our bodies, the animals, and the planet. However, for those that struggle with these diets, we are blessed to have reducetarian.org reminding us that you don’t have to be a strict anything. They remind us that any reduction in eating meat helps move us in the right direction and away from the torture of factory farmed animals. My wife and I still eat meat occasionally, but we make sure that the meat is sourced from farms that are dedicated to grass-fed/grass-finished, pastured raised, and humanely raised animals. That’s the least we can do.

A Meditation Prayer

I would like to share with you a joy that was given me by a friend and one of the men in our Men’s Group recently.  I was hosting this particular week and got to choose what our topic for discussion would be (our meetings are comprised of checking-in during the first hour (no crosstalk) followed by a short break, then whoever is hosting can pose a question for the group).  I asked the question “What methods do you use to turn off your monkey mind when meditating?”  This gentleman was kind enough to send me an email later in the week recommending a book by one of the premier Hindu writers of our time, one Eknath Easwaran, entitled “Conquest of Mind”.[1]   In this book (he has written many, drawing from all major religions and sages), this famous Hindu spiritual leader asks his readers to adopt a special prayer to help them with their meditations.  The prayer he most commonly recommends is, surprisingly, from St. Francis of Assisi.  I’d like to share this short prayer with you. Please note Mr. Easwaran's comments that follow the prayer as he explains to whom this prayer is addressed:

"Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

In memorizing the prayer, it may be helpful to remind yourself that you are not addressing some extraterrestrial being outside you.  The kingdom of heaven is within us, and the Lord is enshrined in the depths of our own consciousness.  In this prayer we are calling deep into ourselves, appealing to the spark of the divine that is our real nature.”[2] 

"Christian mystics call this center of personality 'the Christ within.'  In Sanskrit it is called simply Atman, 'Self'.[3]   Mr. Easwaran suggests that the Buddha would not even go this far in trying to identify the nature of nirvana, to use the Buddha's term.  "This is the great paradox of mysticism:  until you enter nirvana... you will not be able to understand what nirvana is."[4] 

-------------------------
1.  Eknath Easwaran (2018).  Conquest of Mind: Take Charge of Your Thoughts & Reshape Your Life Through Meditation.  Nilgiri Press.

2.  Ibid, From “An Eight=Point Program”, section 1 – “Meditation on a Passage”. 

3.  Ibid, From Chapter 5 “Learning to Swim”.

4.  Ibid.

And Four to Go…

This is the follow-up to “One for the Money”, “Two for the Show”, “Three to get Ready”, and, as this saying goes, “And Four to Go”.  I thought I had already posted this but couldn’t find it on the website and it begs to be read:

All We Can Save:  Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis was written by no less than dozens of diverse women leading on climate in the United States – scientists, journalists, farmers, lawyers, teachers, activists, innovators, wonks, and designers, across generations, geographies, and race – and aims to advance a more representative, nuanced, and solution-oriented public conversation on the climate crisis.”[1]

“…Intermixing essays with poetry and art, this book is both a balm and guide for knowing and holding what has been done to the world, while bolstering our resolve never to give up on one another or our collective future.  We must summon truth, courage, and solutions to turn away from the brink and toward life-giving possibility.  Curated by two climate leaders, the book is a collection and celebration of visionaries who are leading us on a path toward all we can save.”[2]


[1] Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson, “All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis”, Random House, LLC, New York, 2020.  From Information Foreword in Kindle edition.

[2] Ibid.

Victory! Canada bans single-use plastics!

This just in from OCEANA.ORG:

On Monday, June 20, Canada banned six common single-use plastics! Canada is now one of the only countries in the world to ban a list of single-use plastics, including plastic bags, cutlery, stir sticks, six-pack rings, straws, and takeout containers made from problematic plastics, and is the second country ever to ban exporting these items. This announcement marks a victory for our oceans and the marine life that call them home, and positions Canada as a global leader in efforts to reduce single-use plastics. This victory would not have been possible without the support of ocean advocates like you. Check out the Oceana Canada blog to learn more about the national plastic ban and what comes next!
READ THE BLOG

This news was just too awesome not to share with you. Cheers!!!

Three to Get Ready…

(or standing on the shoulders of giants)

My readings have turned up some books that I simply have to share with you because they’re that good:

  • Under the Sky We Make by Kimberly Nicholas, PHD, Putnam, 2021.
  • The Story of More by Hope Jahren, Vintage, 2020.
  • Draw Down by Paul Hawken, Penguin Books, 2017.
  • Regeneration by Paul Hawken, Penguin Books, 2021.

Each of these authors, especially the first two, bring so much more than ugly data to the conversation on environmental issues.  We CAN make a difference.  They spell out in a VERY readable manner, the ways we can help.  What we do and don’t do in the next decade have such far reaching impact on this planet as to make it difficult to fully comprehend.  These authors put it into perspective for us in easy-to-understand analogies and anecdotes. 

Perhaps most important is to not let our circumstances overwhelm us.  Yes, we need to wake up and do our part!  But we can only do what we can and encourage/be kind to ourselves and each other along the way.

Elephant Journal’s “Planet Over Plastic 31-Day Challenge: Elephant’s Favorite Weird Little Avoid-Plastic Tips.”

This article appeared in Elephant Journal in 2019. Guess what? It’s still relevant and even more critical today! https://www.elephantjournal.com/2019/07/planet-over-plastic-challenge-2019/ (1). There’s plenty in this article for ALL of us. When I read this article, I realize there’s so much more that I can be doing with very little effort on my part. And while we’re at it, let’s not forget about H.R. 5389, the “Reduce Act” presently sitting in Congress today (link)! If you haven’t already done so, let your U.S. Congress Representative know you support taxing the production of virgin plastics. Cheers!

(1) elephant journal | daily blog, videos, e-newsletter & magazine on yoga + organics + green living + non-new agey spirituality + ecofashion + conscious consumerism=it’s about the mindful life. 2022. Planet Over Plastic 31-Day Challenge: Elephant’s Favorite Personal Weird Little Avoid-Plastic Tips. | elephant journal. [online] Available at: <https://www.elephantjournal.com/2019/07/planet-over-plastic-challenge-2019/&gt; [Accessed 4 January 2022].

Re: Hope Jahren’s “The Story of More”

By now, many of you may already be familiar with Hope Jahren’s book, “The Story of More:  How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here.[1]It was first published in March of 2020.  If you’re not yet familiar with this work, I highly recommend it to you.  It is staggering in its scope and the quality of the research employed.  It is both a seminal and transformative look at where we are today, as we come to grips with the enormity of the challenges we face in the urgent work needed to save our fragile planet.  While the data and doomsday documentaries are legion in number, few offer the pragmatic and critical steps we each need to take to start the healing process AND manage to present these steps in such a logical and easy-to-understand manner. 

Hope begins her chapter, “The Action You Take”, with the question “Do you want to live in a more equitable world with a brighter future?”[2]  If you answer in the affirmative, she prescribes 5 steps that will help:

  1. Examine your values.  There are lots of issues involved in our planet’s plight.  Pick ones that resonate with you and rank them. Identify the one issue that you are willing to sacrifice for.
  2. Gather information.  “Go through your habits and possessions in order to take stock of how, as with most of us, your personal life is working against your values.”  E.g. How much of the food that goes into your garbage is still edible?
  3. Can you make your personal activities consistent with your values?  Pick a change you can make and keep a journal of how it goes recording the numbers and the outcomes.
  4. Can you make your personal investments consistent with your values?  Every time you make a purchase you are investing in something. 
  5. Can you move your institutions toward consistency with your values?  You are now armed with the “magic criterion to advocate for change:  personal experience.  Go to your children’s school, your house of worship, your place of employment, and start a dialogue with those in charge.  Share your values, your struggles, and your experience.  Listen to them talk about their restrictions and concerns.  Thank them for their time.  Write a follow-up letter emphasizing your values, your struggles, and your experience, and ask for another appointment…. Keep going back, keep advocating for the things that you believe in.  It takes time and perseverance, but people (even politicians) and their institutions can change.”[3]

Hope closes this section as follows: “Regardless of your mission, start in your own home and expand from there.  I promise you’ll be surprised at how far abroad it takes you.

“The above may seem like an impossible task, but so did curing tuberculosis or putting a man on the moon or building the Great Wall across China… If we can refrain from overestimating our likelihood of failure, then neither must we underestimate our capacity for success.”[4]


[1] Jahren, H.. 2020. “The Story of More:  How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here.”  Random House LLC, New York.  Kindle edition.

[2] Ibid, pg. 177 of 207.

[3] Ibid, pg.183 of 207.

[4] Ibid, pg. 189 of 207.

What we can do about Plastics

Worthy visions are all well and good, but without planning and doing, that vision has little chance of materializing. In the Men’s Group I attend weekly, our organizer posed this question to us as a topic teaser: “What has to happen before…?” In the case of plastics, MANY things need to happen before we can even begin to see a light at the end of the plastics tunnel. Here’s just a few:

1) Taxes need to be levied on plastics – see H.R. 5389, the “Reduce Act” presently sitting in Congress – we need to tell our U.S. Representative we expect them to support it (in this case, our Olympic Peninsula WA Representative. Derek Kilmer already does, thank the Gods, but we should also write the others!). 
2) We would do well to start making building blocks/material/consumer products from plastics that are tossed and giving tax breaks to those organizations that do so.  Additionally, they have to be reused in a SAFE manner.  Here’s just a few of these already happening: 
https://www.intheknow.com/post/innovative-building-blocks-are-made-of-100-percent-plastic-waste/
Also https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/10/phillipines-company-turning-plastic-waste-into-building-materials/   
Also https://www.wwf.org.au/news/blogs/17-cool-products-made-from-recycled-plastics

It goes without saying that we need to find and purchase food that is packaged to minimize the use of plastics. The following chart from the above link to weforum.org underscores this big time:

The above pie chart of estimated plastic waste by industrial sector was prepared by Ed Cook, Emma Burlow, Edward Kosior, Bernie Thomas, Brian Riise and John Gysbers in article “Eliminating avoidable plastic waste by 2042: a use-based approach to decision and policy making.” and presented by “Resourcing the Future Partnership Steering Group”. The article was published in collaboration with Reuters 27 Oct 2021 by Adrian PortugalJournalist, Reuters.