Category Archives: Pines

How Going Zero Waste Made Me a Better Person

One year ago, my husband and I sat down at the dinner table with coffee in hand?to chat about the possibility of pursuing zero waste in our home. I had recently read an article on?’living your values’?by?the lovely Lauren Singer, and felt extremely convicted to better manage my own environmental impact?and carbon footprint.

My life has never been the same since.

If there is one thing that going zero waste over this past year has taught me, it is that most issues of sustainable living?can be solved by pursuing a daily posture of mindfulness.?What do I mean by that? To me, mindfulness, or living consciously, means recognizing that every action I?take?large or small?has a direct impact on the health of the planet and our global community as a whole.

In?The Art of Power, Thich Nhat Hanh explains:

Everything is related to everything else. Your well-being and the well-being of your family are essential elements in bringing about the well-being of your business or of any organization where you work. Finding ways to protect yourself and promote your own well-being is the most basic investment you can make. This will have an impact on your family and work environment, but first of all it will result in an improvement in the quality of your own life.

In other words,?intentionally stepping out of my?natural, autopilot-like way?brings about goodness?in both my own life?and that of my?community. This is the very root of mindful?living.

What Daily Mindfulness Looks Like for a Zero Waster

As every zero waster will tell you, going zero waste is not easy.?Every day, I make the conscious choice to go against the grain, defy cultural norms and accept inconveniences for the sake of the greater good.

For example, today I:

Brought a (spotless) mason jar to our local juice bar and asked them to fill it in place of a much more convenient styrofoam cup.
Turned down the opportunity to enjoy?free lunch at work because?doing so would have meant tossing a pile of trash, when I had a perfectly suitable lunch already waiting for me at home.
Asked?for dairy-free milk in my coffee because going vegan makes me feel good in more ways than one.

These small, daily?decisions may seem inconsequential, but over a lifetime their impact adds up. Had I chosen to go through my day on autopilot, I likely would have tossed the styrofoam cup, taken every freebie thrown at me, at the expense of the planet and left Starbucks with a stomachache and?a side of guilt. That’s no way to live!

So, I ask you this: What conveniences are you willing to sacrifice for the sake of the greater good? What changes can you make in your own life that will put you on the path toward contentment and happiness? What can you do to live a more mindful, conscious life?

Putting it into Practice

Moving yourself toward a fuller state of mindfulness is not something that happens overnight.?It will require a conscious effort that involves education, meditation and reflection. Ready to pursue more conscious living? These tips will help you get started!

1. Question everything.

The easiest way to step out of autopilot mode is to confront everything in your life with a critical eye. Do you really need that plastic straw to enjoy your drink? Would you be better off walking a few blocks to the grocery story, rather than driving your car? Question your choices and start making more intentional ones.

2. Educate yourself.

It’s hard to make a good decision when you aren’t yet equipped with the facts. These documentaries and books are a great place to start. Curious about transitioning to a plant-based diet? Do your research, then make the choice based on what you’ve learned. Want to experience?a stronger reaction to issues of waste? Look into?the detriments of using and throwing away plastics. You’ll never be the same!

3.?Start meditating.

When you wake in the morning, meditate on powerful ideas?like love, respect, empathy and interconnectedness. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes (or light a candle if you need a focal point to maintain focus) and consider how you fit into the big picture.?To get the most out of your?meditation, set clear, specific intentions?or try one of these exercises.

4. Equip yourself.

It’s so much easier to make good, conscious decisions when you have a sustainable alternative in front of you. Carry a?travel mug with you in your bag so that when the opportunity arises you can use it in place of a disposable cup. Equip yourself with the tools you need to be successful and you will be.

5. Practice empathy.

Cultivating your ability to understand (and subsequently feel) the feelings of another is an important step toward living your life more consciously. What do you think the people who live in the shadow of our landfills are experiencing? What about those who drink water contaminated by industrial?runoff driven by human consumption? Asking questions?like these will help you to greater identify with those outside your personal experience and help you form an emotional attachment to issues of sustainability.

How do you practice mindfulness and conscious living in your daily life? Do you have any tips for this community? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Related:
10 Tips for Creating a Zero Waste Home
How to Host a Zero Waste Dinner Party
10 Ways to Start Living Zero Waste

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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How Going Zero Waste Made Me a Better Person

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Damage From Hurricane Irma Can Be Seen From Space

Caribbean islands that were once lush and green now appear sickly and brown

This article – 

Damage From Hurricane Irma Can Be Seen From Space

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Why Everyone Went on a Wild Goose Chase Looking For The Planet Vulcan

The idea of a ninth planet in the Solar System would resolve a mathematical conundrum about Mercury–only problem is, it wasn’t there

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Why Everyone Went on a Wild Goose Chase Looking For The Planet Vulcan

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The Hacking of the American Mind – Robert H. Lustig

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The Hacking of the American Mind

The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains

Robert H. Lustig

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $13.99

Expected Publish Date: September 12, 2017

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


"Explores how industry has manipulated our most deep-seated survival instincts." —David Perlmutter, MD, Author, #1 New York Times bestseller,  Grain Brain  and  Brain Maker The New York Times –bestselling author of Fat Chance reveals the corporate scheme to sell pleasure, driving the international epidemic of addiction, depression, and chronic disease.   While researching the toxic and addictive properties of sugar for his New York Times bestseller Fat Chance , Robert Lustig made an alarming discovery—our pursuit of happiness is being subverted by a culture of addiction and depression from which we may never recover.             Dopamine is the “reward” neurotransmitter that tells our brains we want more; yet every substance or behavior that releases dopamine in the extreme leads to addiction. Serotonin is the “contentment” neurotransmitter that tells our brains we don’t need any more; yet its deficiency leads to depression. Ideally, both are in optimal supply. Yet dopamine evolved to overwhelm serotonin—because our ancestors were more likely to survive if they were constantly motivated—with the result that constant desire can chemically destroy our ability to feel happiness, while sending us down the slippery slope to addiction. In the last forty years, government legislation and subsidies have promoted ever-available temptation (sugar, drugs, social media, porn) combined with constant stress (work, home, money, Internet), with the end result of an unprecedented epidemic of addiction, anxiety, depression, and chronic disease. And with the advent of neuromarketing, corporate America has successfully imprisoned us in an endless loop of desire and consumption from which there is no obvious escape.             With his customary wit and incisiveness, Lustig not only reveals the science that drives these states of mind, he points his finger directly at the corporations that helped create this mess, and the government actors who facilitated it, and he offers solutions we can all use in the pursuit of happiness, even in the face of overwhelming opposition. Always fearless and provocative, Lustig marshals a call to action, with seminal implications for our health, our well-being, and our culture.

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The Hacking of the American Mind – Robert H. Lustig

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NASA Captures Strongest Solar Flare in a Decade

This morning, the sun emitted two X-class flares, disrupting GPS and radio signals

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NASA Captures Strongest Solar Flare in a Decade

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That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion – Rachel Herz PhD PhD

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That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion

Rachel Herz PhD PhD

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: January 23, 2012

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W. W. Norton


"A lively look at all things revolting." —New York Times Book Review Why do we watch horror movies? What is the best way to persuade someone to quit smoking? And what on earth is the appeal of competitive eating? In this lively, colorful book, Rachel Herz answers these questions and more, shedding light on an incredible range of human traits—from food preferences and sexual attraction to moral codes and political ideology—by examining them through the lens of a fascinating subject: disgust. Combining lucid scientific explanations and fascinating research with a healthy dose of humor, That’s Disgusting illuminates issues that are central to our lives: love, hate, fear, empathy, prejudice, humor, and happiness.

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That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion – Rachel Herz PhD PhD

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Hurricane Harvey will bring some of the heaviest downpours anyone has ever seen

Hurricane Harvey made landfall late Friday night on the Texas coast as one of the most intense hurricanes in U.S. history, spawning as many as 50 tornado warnings in the Houston area alone.

But its worst feature is still to come: several days of what could be some of the most intense rainfall this nation has ever recorded, a clear signal of climate change.

After a destructive storm surge washed away homes, and winds as strong as 132 mph blew away roofs and left hundreds of thousands without power, Harvey is expected to stall, drastically worsening the risk of catastrophic inland flooding from relentless rains.

As of Saturday morning, nearly 15 inches had already been recorded as bands of heavy thunderstorms streamed onshore from the warm Gulf of Mexico, with at least five more days of heavy rain on the way.

Through mid-week, Harvey is expected to move at an exceedingly slow 1 mph, pushing its rainfall forecast off the charts. For the first time in its history, the National Weather Service is forecasting seven-day rainfall totals as high as 40 inches in isolated pockets — equal to what’s normally a year’s worth or rain for coastal Texas.

Some high-resolution models predict even more. (For reference, the estimated 1-in-100-year seven-day rainfall total for the region is just 18 inches.) Meteorologist Ryan Maue estimated that 20 trillion gallons of water will fall on Texas over the next seven days, which is equal to about one-sixth of Lake Erie.

Virtually every river and stream between San Antonio and Houston is expected to experience record or near-record flooding over the next few days. Forecasters racked their brains to recall a scenario so dire anywhere in the world; a 2015 typhoon hitting the Philippines produced a similar amount of rain, but over a much smaller area.

Although the exact impact of global warming on the strength and frequency of hurricanes remains undetermined, there’s a clear climate connection when it comes to higher rainfall. All thunderstorms, including hurricanes, can produce more rain in a warmer atmosphere, which boosts the rate of evaporation and the water-holding capacity of clouds.

Heavy downpours have increased by 167 percent in Houston since the 1950s, and flooding there has been heightened by unfettered development and urban expansion. Some of the worst flooding in the region’s history has come from slow-moving storms like Harvey.

We don’t yet know if climate change will bring more slow-moving, rapidly intensifying tropical storms like Harvey. But flooding is what kills most people in hurricanes, and that will only get worse.

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Hurricane Harvey will bring some of the heaviest downpours anyone has ever seen

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Hurricane Harvey brings some of the heaviest downpours anyone has ever seen

This story has been updated. 

Hurricane Harvey made landfall late Friday night on the Texas coast as one of the most intense hurricanes in U.S. history, spawning as many as 50 tornado warnings in the Houston area alone.

But its worst feature is still unfolding: several days of what could be some of the most intense rainfall this nation has ever recorded, a clear signal of climate change.

After a destructive storm surge washed away homes, and winds as strong as 132 mph blew away roofs and left hundreds of thousands without power, Harvey is expected to stall, drastically worsening the risk of catastrophic inland flooding from relentless rains.

The dire National Weather Service forecast for catastrophic flooding appears to have come true. Overnight, parts of Houston received as much as two feet of rain, causing widespread devastation. Another two feet of rain is on the way, according to the latest forecasts.

Through mid-week, Harvey is expected to move at an exceedingly slow 1 mph, pushing its rainfall forecast off the charts. For the first time in its history, the National Weather Service is forecasting seven-day rainfall totals as high as 40 inches in isolated pockets — equal to what’s normally a year’s worth or rain for coastal Texas.

Some high-resolution models predict even more. (For reference, the estimated 1-in-100-year seven-day rainfall total for the region is just 18 inches.) Meteorologist Ryan Maue estimated that 20 trillion gallons of water will fall on Texas over the next seven days, which is equal to about one-sixth of Lake Erie.

Virtually every river and stream between San Antonio and Houston is expected to experience record or near-record flooding over the next few days. Forecasters racked their brains to recall a scenario so dire anywhere in the world; a 2015 typhoon hitting the Philippines produced a similar amount of rain, but over a much smaller area.

Although the exact impact of global warming on the strength and frequency of hurricanes remains undetermined, there’s a clear climate connection when it comes to higher rainfall. All thunderstorms, including hurricanes, can produce more rain in a warmer atmosphere, which boosts the rate of evaporation and the water-holding capacity of clouds.

Heavy downpours have increased by 167 percent in Houston since the 1950s, and flooding there has been heightened by unfettered development and urban expansion. Some of the worst flooding in the region’s history has come from slow-moving storms like Harvey.

We don’t yet know if climate change will bring more slow-moving, rapidly intensifying tropical storms like Harvey. But flooding is what kills most people in hurricanes, and that will only get worse.

From:  

Hurricane Harvey brings some of the heaviest downpours anyone has ever seen

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The Dynamics of Disaster – Susan W. Kieffer

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The Dynamics of Disaster

Susan W. Kieffer

Genre: Earth Sciences

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: October 21, 2013

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W. W. Norton


"If you are an amateur weather geek, disaster wonk, or budding student of earth sciences, you will want to read this book." —Seattle Times In 2011, there were fourteen natural calamities that each destroyed over a billion dollars’ worth of property in the United States alone. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast and major earthquakes struck in Italy, the Philippines, Iran, and Afghanistan. In the first half of 2013, the awful drumbeat continued—a monster supertornado struck Moore, Oklahoma; a powerful earthquake shook Sichuan, China; a cyclone ravaged Queensland, Australia; massive floods inundated Jakarta, Indonesia; and the largest wildfire ever engulfed a large part of Colorado. Despite these events, we still behave as if natural disasters are outliers. Why else would we continue to build new communities near active volcanoes, on tectonically active faults, on flood plains, and in areas routinely lashed by vicious storms? A famous historian once observed that "civilization exists by geologic consent, subject to change without notice." In the pages of this unique book, leading geologist Susan W. Kieffer provides a primer on most types of natural disasters: earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, landslides, hurricanes, cyclones, and tornadoes. By taking us behind the scenes of the underlying geology that causes them, she shows why natural disasters are more common than we realize, and that their impact on us will increase as our growing population crowds us into ever more vulnerable areas. Kieffer describes how natural disasters result from "changes in state" in a geologic system, much as when water turns to steam. By understanding what causes these changes of state, we can begin to understand the dynamics of natural disasters. In the book’s concluding chapter, Kieffer outlines how we might better prepare for, and in some cases prevent, future disasters. She also calls for the creation of an organization, something akin to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but focused on pending natural disasters.

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The Dynamics of Disaster – Susan W. Kieffer

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Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari

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Homo Deus

A Brief History of Tomorrow

Yuval Noah Harari

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $17.99

Publish Date: February 21, 2017

Publisher: Harper

Seller: HarperCollins


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods. Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda. What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus. With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.

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Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari

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