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Thread: ECO-Life

  1. #1

    ECO-Life

    Hello friends, In light of the global climate crisis, I'm looking at ways to educate myself about my effect on the environment and adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. I feel this fits well with the concept of the Noble Eightfold Path, specifically Right Intention, Right Livelihood, and Right Mindfulness. I'd like to swap ideas, links and stories with other Treeleafers and perhaps what we can do as a group to support each other. This is quite a new venture for me so I'm still exploring initiatives and websites.

    There is so much I am ignorant of; for example I had no idea how much damage to the environment the Fashion Industry is guilty of. To that end, at the end of this month I shall be taking a pledge with Extinction Rebellion's Fashion protest not to buy any new clothes or fabrics for a year but if something becomes a genuine need, then to buy from a sustainable source. Instead I'll be looking at taking care of the clothes I have, sewing, mending and repurposing. This is going to be quite a challenge for me - I don't buy a lot of clothes but I realised, because I buy cheap, that I have become used to thinking of them as quite disposable.

    Amongst other things I'm going to be looking at products like shampoo and shower gels that contain microplastics, and also trying out some home made cleaning products made from natural ingredients.

    The situation we are facing is global and enormous, it can seem overwhelming but any small thing we can do individually can contribute to the greater effort.

    I hope some of you (many!all!) will contribute your knowledge and experience to this thread. Please feel free to post anything relevant, and to bring up anything that is Sustainable Living related for discussion.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattoday/lah
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-12-2019 at 01:04 PM.
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  2. #2
    Hi Meitou,
    I support this initiative of yours. I'm very concerned about the environment and the health of our planet and its human and nonhuman inhabitants.
    I don't know if this qualifies as a contribution, as it is more a question.
    There are some things that are bothering me about my town (a lot, actually). The main is the absolute lack of a recycle program. There is no separation of garbage. I tried to separate my garbage, but it was simply mixed again when picked up. The town administration doesn’t respond to the e-mails we make and when talked to people, they said that there was a recycling program, but as nobody used, the town simply shut it down.
    What should I do? Should I continue to separate my garbage? Should I give up? How can get rid of the plastic bags that are always given to us in every commercial establishment in my town?
    Thank you, Meitou, and sorry if the your first response in this thread was a question rather than a suggestion. But I thought if belonged here.
    Gassho,
    Mateus
    Sat today

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by mateus.baldin View Post
    Hi Meitou,
    I support this initiative of yours. I'm very concerned about the environment and the health of our planet and its human and nonhuman inhabitants.
    I don't know if this qualifies as a contribution, as it is more a question.
    There are some things that are bothering me about my town (a lot, actually). The main is the absolute lack of a recycle program. There is no separation of garbage. I tried to separate my garbage, but it was simply mixed again when picked up. The town administration doesn’t respond to the e-mails we make and when talked to people, they said that there was a recycling program, but as nobody used, the town simply shut it down.
    What should I do? Should I continue to separate my garbage? Should I give up? How can get rid of the plastic bags that are always given to us in every commercial establishment in my town?
    Thank you, Meitou, and sorry if the your first response in this thread was a question rather than a suggestion. But I thought if belonged here.
    Gassho,
    Mateus
    Sat today
    Thanks for responding Mateus, questions are fine, and I hope there are other answers than mine, as I know very little! However, I do know a little bit about recycling because my town introduced quite a rigorous recycling programme last year. I really understand your frustration with your town council, what an awful attitude, they should have enforced it - here we get a warning slapped on our bins if we break the rules, and we can also incur extra charges on our bills.
    Do you think there's any point in recycling your refuse if it all gets thrown into the same containers at the end of the day? Perhaps if there are enough of you continuing to do it, , it may prove a point. It might be better to see how you can actually reduce what refuse you have and whether you can repurpose it at home. In Italy all supermarkets must by law charge for 'plastic' bags, and the bags must be 100% organic and biodegradable, no single use bags. THey aren't strong, so many of us have gotten used to taking a reusable shopping bag or shopping trolley with us when we go. Perhaps you could do that, and refuse the bags that are offered, reusing the ones you already have. Actually if you have a look on You Tube, you will probably find some videos on how to upcycle plastic bags and find different uses for them. The same goes for tin cans, paper and plastic water bottles, but my feeling is first of all look at what refuse you produce and think of ways to reduce that. And keep up the pressure on your town admin.

    I hope this helps a bit, and that others have some suggestions too, particularly folk who live in areas where recycling isn't established.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  4. #4
    Great initiative Meitou. I’ve been thinking about this and have taken steps over the years to limit my impact on the environment. I feel there is a lot more I can do so it will be interesting to read what comes up here. Here’s some thoughts based on what we try to do here at home.

    - You can do a lot by reducing your meat consumption. You don’t have to go completely meatless but even just two or three meatless days can have an impact.
    - Use transit, walk, or bike rather than drive when possible
    - Compost as much of your food waste as you can.
    - Help to maintain healthy green spaces
    - Grow your own food
    - Reduce use of plastics and packaging
    - Limit mindless consumption and consumerism

    I am less certain about recycling programs. It seems here in Canada at least a lot of material intended for recycling ends up just going to the dump. Better to not create the waste to begin with.

    All of it can sometimes feel like small drops in s massive bucket but I continue to hope that enough drops will eventually fill that bucket.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by mateus.baldin View Post
    Hi Meitou,
    I support this initiative of yours. I'm very concerned about the environment and the health of our planet and its human and nonhuman inhabitants.
    I don't know if this qualifies as a contribution, as it is more a question.
    There are some things that are bothering me about my town (a lot, actually). The main is the absolute lack of a recycle program. There is no separation of garbage. I tried to separate my garbage, but it was simply mixed again when picked up. The town administration doesn’t respond to the e-mails we make and when talked to people, they said that there was a recycling program, but as nobody used, the town simply shut it down.
    What should I do? Should I continue to separate my garbage? Should I give up? How can get rid of the plastic bags that are always given to us in every commercial establishment in my town?
    Thank you, Meitou, and sorry if the your first response in this thread was a question rather than a suggestion. But I thought if belonged here.
    Gassho,
    Mateus
    Sat today
    Mateus,

    Recycling is actually a really interesting topic currently in Los Angeles. The majority of recyclables from the United States have been shipped to China to be recycled. Recently, China has decided that they won't be importing recyclables as much anymore. So where is all the stuff we have gotten so good at recycling going.... straight to the landfill. We as a nation don't actually have the ability to recycle the majority of our recyclables goods.

    I would suspect the same problem is tied to why your city doesn't want to have a recycling program. If you can't get enough people to produce enough recyclables to sell and ship somewhere to that will purchase them, then what do you do with the recycles?

    Here is an article about the problem:
    https://www.ocregister.com/2019/05/1...ump-heres-why/

    For years I lived in an apartment complex that didn't have recycling, so we worked to reduce the amount of items we brought into the house that would end up in the trash. Regarding the bags, Los Angeles has actually passed a bill banning stores from giving out plastic bags. You have to actually purchase them if you want a bag which is a good thing as many people have been driven to start carrying reusable bags.

    It's often tough depending on where you live and the culture because it might really odd to hand them your own bag. I remember being in Japan and it wasn't a big deal, but going home to Kansas it was very strange for me to decline the plastic bag and use my own. But I know people who have been doing it for decades, long before it was the norm.

    In short, perhaps focus on the "reduce" and "reuse" portions of the 3 R's since recycling at the moment isn't an option. I'm sure if you search youtube there are a million different things you can do with the items you are throwing out. (I sear I saw a video of women makes sleeping mats for the homeless our of plastic grocery bags.)

    Gassho,

    Shoka
    sattoday
    香道 笑花
    Kodo Shoka

    Please don't take anything I say as anything more than just a normal person's thoughts on the topic. I'm just stumbling through life trying to be helpful, but really don't know much.

  6. #6
    Awesome Meitou! There is so much more we all can do, thanks for the thread with ideas. My associate is super-environmentally conscious and has helped us all try harder at the hospital to recycle more and waste less. At home, besides recycling, having our own chickens for eggs (and someday hopefully a garden again!) and driving a hybrid vehicle, I’m sure we could become a lot more conscious of many things. I’m glad to learn about what others are doing.
    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  7. #7
    There's an amazing little book, Hojoki by Chomei, who lived in the Kamakura era, when wars and many disasters were occurring in Kyoto. Having fallen out of favor at court, he moved into smaller and smaller houses and at last, taking Buddhist orders, settled into a ten-by-ten foot hut of his own design, so made that it could be disassembled and moved by two ox-carts to a new location. I think his carbon footprint was very small. http://jinenkanhonbu.blogspot.com/20...nd-hojoki.html

    gassho _()_
    doyu sat today and lent a hand
    Last edited by Doyū; 06-11-2019 at 02:12 AM. Reason: Too much puffery; did not sit long enough before posting. Looking forward to simple living group.
    土 Do Earth
    友 Yū Friend
    上 Shō True
    人 Nin Person

  8. #8
    I just want to say that this is a lovely, vital, important initiative that Meitou has inspired here. Thank you. I hope we all join in.

    I also want to say that, just because the names are similar, please know that we also have another "SIMPLE living" group that will be starting very soon based on the book by that name. SUSTAINABLE living and SIMPLE living overlap, of course, and yet ... not one not two ...

    "Simple Living" Practice Circle
    A group to Practice weekly tasks from "The Art of Simple Living: 100 Daily Practices from a Japanese Zen Monk for a Lifetime of Calm and Joy" by Soto Zen Priest Shunmyo Masuno

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/foru...ractice-Circle
    I will probably get the "Simple Living" group open in a week or two.

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Hi Meitou!

    I am very excited to see where this conversation goes. It is quite timely as here in Canada our Prime Minister just announced that they are aiming to ban single use plastic products by 2021. They are currently working out what products will be on the ban list. The conversation here in Canada has brought up that a number of industries (such as the medical industry) rely on single use plastic products (such as IV bags). I will be watching these developments closely.

    In our house we do our best to recycle and recently we have begun to move toward using reusable containers instead of products like plastic wrap or sandwich bags. We are also watching our electricity usage much more closely and are striving to drive less (Canada is huge and we drive large distances out of necessity) by walking or biking when we just need to get around town. We are trying to only drive when travelling out of town or if the weather is poor.

    My wife and I both come from farming families and used to have a meat heavy diet (I grew up raising cattle, my wife grew up raising pigs). We now eat a diet that is mostly plant based, however we still have 2-3 meals a week that contain meat.

    I am always excited to hear new ideas on how to live in more sustainable ways! Thank you for starting this discussion!

    Gassho,

    Junkyo

  10. #10
    Meitou,

    Your post and all those that followed were a good read and a positive way to start my day. Thanks to all of you for what you do. Wonderful.

    Meitou as you know from my Face Book posts I focus on nature and conservation. My purpose with Face Book is to share the beauty and wonder of nature to hopefully to build greater apprciation in those who follow me. I have a plan, I am marketing biodiversity sustainability. Occassionally I insert a post that addresses a topic of conservation or biodiversity loss to inform. I even suggest support for legislation or other things to move that sustainablility for biodiversity forward. Now you know my purpose I know you commented on the recent posts about my native yard and its benefit to wildlife. I inteneded to set an example for others to possibly consider for their own space. So I see this thread as doing that for our Sangha. Thankyou!!

    Several communities here in New Mexico have banned the use of plastic bags. Santa Fe is one of them. You are encouraged to bring your own reusable bag to the store by having to pay a fee for a paper bag if you forget. Another community across the mountain from me has also banned plastic bags. I hope this trend continues.

    A fun thing I want to share. My wife takes our song bird seed bags and chicken feed bags (both with pretty pictures) and converts them into tote bags that she gives away as gifts. Not only is she reusing a bag but providing others the opportunity to use fewer bags at the store. And like those above we practice the 3Rs...Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Little goes to waste here on the ranch. We also have a hybrid vehcile that we try to use the most (and I have greatly reduced the use of my Pick Up Truck which is good for this American Country Boy!!!!) and a home that is solared powered with excess energy sold back to the power company.

    Many small acts add up. So thanks to all of you. May we work together to further sustainability.

    Jundo very much looking forward to the Simple Living group. Anna and I have got a little head start. We occassionaly read a chapter outloud and try to incorporate in our lives. And here is a good thing...Anna (my wonder wife who Jundo has met) has started sitting with me for 10 minutes in the evening. The other night I changed the Insight Timer to 12 minutes to give her extra zazen. When we were done she looked at me and said that was longer. I could not tell a lie.

    Doshin
    st (with my wife)
    Last edited by Doshin; 06-11-2019 at 05:44 PM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I just want to say that this is a lovely, vital, important initiative that Meitou has inspired here. Thank you. I hope we all join in.

    I also want to say that, just because the names are similar, please know that we also have another "SIMPLE living" group that will be starting very soon based on the book by that name. SUSTAINABLE living and SIMPLE living overlap, of course, and yet ... not one not two ...



    I will probably get the "Simple Living" group open in a week or two.
    Gassho, Jundo

    SatTodayLAH
    Jundo, if you think this might cause a bit of confusion, I can rename this thread to something like Living Sustainably, or similar? Let me know.

    Thanks everyone for your comments, what a great response.
    The whole business of recycling is has that worrying aspect that some of you have mentioned - what actually happens to our rubbish. Here our regulations are very stringent, our commune ( town administration) has spent a fortune getting this initiative under way, issuing every household with 4 bins, free bio bags and larger bags for plastic, a recycling booklet etc. And despite all that, having lived here nearly 20 years and seen how things work, I'm not entirely convinced about what happens to it all once it gets collected. I've visited the eco centre and it does seem organised, but still.. And then there's the business of where it goes when it leaves the country - as you say China has refuses to take any more, and I think India has just done the same. We've probably all seen the images of entire continents of plastic in our oceans and read about the terrible harm they are doing.
    I agree that while it's really important to take advantage of recycling programmes, it's vital that we look to our own use of resources and see how we can cut back on ecologically harmful practices.

    A good place to start is plastic - If you don't already, just spend one week separating out your plastic from your other refuse - checking also packaging that seems to be paper but isn't - you might be amazed by how much you accumulate. From that point you can start thinking about how to reduce it.

    I've known a couple of people, when starting out on this road, to get all their plastic household items together, throw the lot out and go out and buy all new. In my opinion, this is actually adding to the problem.- by adding to the land and ocean fill, and by perpetuating endless consumerism. The great selling point of plastic in the past - and its most damaging feature - is its durability. If you already have plastic containers, then they should in theory last you several lifetimes! However they do get damaged and worn. If I buy anything that comes in a glass jar, like jams, olives, pickled goods etc, I wash the jars and lids and save them to replace plastic containers that have gone past their best.
    Shoka mentioned making sleeping mats for the homeless out of plastic bags - here's a video demonstration I found today ( there are lots more on YT). I've made a couple of tote bags using this method - they are washable and still going strong after at least five years.




    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  12. #12
    Yes, I've been focusing on reducing my waste and repurposing whenever possible. Trying to limit plastic most of all. I prefer vegetarian food already, but even sourcing is difficult.

    Also, I would love to learn how to make the mats from bags. I know a local activist I could give them to. My synagogue also makes them as a social outreach project, but at a time i cannot attend. Maybe if i can find it on YouTube or similar i can post it here, since there is an interest.

    Great ideas and great topic.

    Gassho
    Kim
    St lh

    Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk
    "Not all those who wander are lost." (J.R.R. Tolkien)

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by allwhowander View Post
    Yes, I've been focusing on reducing my waste and repurposing whenever possible. Trying to limit plastic most of all. I prefer vegetarian food already, but even sourcing is difficult.

    Also, I would love to learn how to make the mats from bags. I know a local activist I could give them to. My synagogue also makes them as a social outreach project, but at a time i cannot attend. Maybe if i can find it on YouTube or similar i can post it here, since there is an interest.
    What are the problems regarding sourcing vegetarian food, maybe others here who are in the US can advise?
    Gassho
    Meitou
    satlah

    Great ideas and great topic.

    Gassho
    Kim
    St lh

    Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk
    KIm, the vid I posted shows you how to cut up the bags and make the 'yarn', then it can be used just like normal yarn, only that for crochet and knitting a bigger hook or needles is required. I saw something earlier about making the mats without crochet, I'll try to find it.
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  14. #14
    Thank you Meitou, Tairin, Shoka and everyone for your suggestions.
    I think you are right that the focus I should take is not of waiting for a recycling program that can never came to be and should raise even more questions.
    I will try to focus on reducing the amount of plastic I get. Today I refused a plastic bag from the farmer I buy organic vegetables and fruits; but I didn't have the option to refuse in the supermarket or the drug store. Perhaps I should get a box or container to bring with me when I buy things.
    I'm very excited to apply this sustainable lifestyle to our home, as I really think it is essential for the Eightfold Path right livelihood in our times.
    Thank you very much!
    Gassho,
    Mateus
    Sat today/LAH

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Meitou View Post
    Jundo, if you think this might cause a bit of confusion, I can rename this thread to something like Living Sustainably, or similar? Let me know.
    Yes, even confuses me if I look quickly. How about "Eco-Living" or something like that?

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Call me pessimistic but more and more I am hearing that in our western civilisation recycling means shipping our waste to the mid and far east. Not dealing with it at source. What happens there is often just landfill and nothing gets recycled. As usual its just a snow job covering up the big problem we face and pretending to actually be helping, whilst shifting the problem elsewhere. To me this is no different to folks selling off the unacceptable high carbon footprints to places with lower carbon outputs. Its all just smoke and mirrors and a back slap for politicians who claim to have lowered pollution by passing the buck elsewhere. Have I an answer no but I do what and when I can without the rhetoric and BS.

    I often think of the lyrics to this song and realise its now 48 years old and nothing has really changed.

    I could go back another 10 years and cite Dylan.

    My life seems to span 6 decades of inaction and a downwards spiral. I humbly apologise to all the non-human species on the planet, for we are killing you now and have killed countless of your species and will continue to kill everything until nothing is left. Unless we learn from this we will eventually kill ourselves and if anything else survives at that time, the world will then be a better place.


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart



    Sat Today / lah

  17. #17
    This has been a big topic on my mind for the past year, so sorry if I get rambly, but at least I come bearing links.

    This is a bit anecdotal, but I used a carbon footprint calculator recently and noticed that, the majority of my footprint ended up in "secondary" sources like food, consumer goods, and other things we don't usually think of as polluters. Don't feel so bad about your driving or recycling habits, the biggest bang for your carbon buck lies in things you may have no control over like how your electricity is generated, how your food is produced and transported, or whether your local transit infrastructure allows you to ditch your car but still keep a job.

    I strongly support nuclear power and strongly oppose coal power, if people 40 years ago had done the same we'd be in a much better position to rectify other climate issues. Of course, what really matters is what you personally could do to get your elected officials to shut down coal-firing plants. Coal-firing power plants in Canada (though likely elsewhere) are the single biggest greenhouse gas producers, and shutting them down is a straightforward process compared to decarbonizing our entire economy or changing everyone's eating habits. Here in Ontario there's thankfully documentation for how we got rid of our coal power:
    https://www.ontario.ca/page/end-coal

    Simply put, it's really the responsibility of governments and corporations in polluting industries to fix the problem. They're the ones who could pull the levers and decarbonize our economies if they really wanted to. However, the demand for the products that these polluters supply has to come from somewhere, so thankfully we have a little bit of input.

    As mentioned before, reducing meat consumption helps. Specifically, beef causes the most greenhouse gasses and land usage per kilogram of meat (cows also emit methane, a greenhouse gas x20 more potent than CO2). Lamb comes in second place, and all other meats come far behind.
    (https://www.theguardian.com/environm...mpact-on-earth)

    I figure people on this forum are aware that vegetarian food can be delicious, but in case you wanted ideas, here's one:
    https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/...ab-recipe.html

    A very unpopular way to reduce greenhouse gases is to simply have less children or, ideally, no children:
    https://www.independent.co.uk/enviro...-a8469886.html
    Children (well, people) in developed countries of course have a much bigger carbon footprint, so anyone in this forum will have a bigger impact here. Of course this is a decision you only make a few times per lifetime (if it's a decision at all) so it's not very actionable. For the record, my wife and I are taking this route, maybe we'll adopt someday, maybe not.

    Outside of the climate crisis, we must also keep in mind that you can't grow a population indefinitely inside of a finite space. However, demographic trends show that this problem will generally handle itself; birth rates trend towards zero the more developed a country becomes. Developed countries only have positive population growth because of immigration, something that Japan is seemingly waking up to right now as I hear stories about its famously difficult immigration standards loosening up (a tiny bit).


    You should also consider the other side of the equation: reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere via carbon sinks. It's probably not surprising that tree planting is the most practical way we can do it right now. If you buy an airplane ticket, depending on where you are you may be offered to pay a "carbon offset". These are basically donations to tree planting and green energy funds to even out the carbon surplus your air travel is creating. Forests provide incredible ecological benefits beyond being a carbon sink, so in my non-expert opinion I would suggest you donate to tree planting as much as you can. I think the Chernobyl exclusion zone is a thing of beauty because it shows how quickly a forest can grow and how lively it can be if we simply keep humans out of it.

    I recently read a pretty cool proposal for artificial carbon sinking, but I don't think it's very practical, though the technology exists, this particular application is theoretical and probably /at best/ decades away... and we only have 11 years to make a big impact:
    http://toughsf.blogspot.com/2019/06/...-co2-with.html

    Finally, if all of our efforts come to nothing, on a certain scale we can have hope that life will survive, even if most humans won't. The Earth has experienced many mass extinctions, and the Permian Extinction resembles our current crisis the most. The Earth recovered from that, so it will likely recover from us:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/s...xtinction.html

    Gassho,
    Kenny
    Sat Today
    Last edited by Kenny; 06-12-2019 at 03:07 AM.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Yes, even confuses me if I look quickly. How about "Eco-Living" or something like that?

    Gassho, Jundo
    That's fine, let's drop living and say Eco Life. The only problem is that I can't work out how to actually change it. If you could do it for me I'd be grateful, or someone point me in the right direction? Thanks Jundo
    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattodaylah
    Thank You!!
    Last edited by Meitou; 06-12-2019 at 01:45 PM.
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  19. #19
    Kenny you did a good job of summarizing the Big Picture!

    Being a student/outcome of Ehrlich's Population Bomb of the 60s and trained in population biology/ecology I am in complete agreement about fewer of us in itself addresses the issue at a fundamental level.

    BTW I believe the average recovery time following a mass Extinction is 10 million years. I (my species) just didn't want the cause to be credited to us. However it has begun.

    Doshin
    St I

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Seishin View Post
    Call me pessimistic but more and more I am hearing that in our western civilisation recycling means shipping our waste to the mid and far east. Not dealing with it at source. What happens there is often just landfill and nothing gets recycled. As usual its just a snow job covering up the big problem we face and pretending to actually be helping, whilst shifting the problem elsewhere. To me this is no different to folks selling off the unacceptable high carbon footprints to places with lower carbon outputs. Its all just smoke and mirrors and a back slap for politicians who claim to have lowered pollution by passing the buck elsewhere. Have I an answer no but I do what and when I can without the rhetoric and BS.

    I often think of the lyrics to this song and realise its now 48 years old and nothing has really changed.

    I could go back another 10 years and cite Dylan.

    My life seems to span 6 decades of inaction and a downwards spiral. I humbly apologise to all the non-human species on the planet, for we are killing you now and have killed countless of your species and will continue to kill everything until nothing is left. Unless we learn from this we will eventually kill ourselves and if anything else survives at that time, the world will then be a better place.
    Seishin, I suspect what you say is right. But the reality of right now is all we have to work with. As Kenny and others have pointed out, the problem is global, and the solution would be global if politicians and global business chose to go that route. But we know, looking at the most powerful leaders and CEO's of today that they are mostly self-serving and interested only in accumulating more power and wealth; they are a huge part of the problem. But because this is a global emergency, it transcends the feelings of You and Me. If we can each make a small effort we can at least know that we are contributing toward a greater good, not just for us but for the world. Yes, adopting a sustainable lifestyle may seem to be a drop in the ocean, sometimes a bit folksy, even a bit 'western white privilege' but it has to be done, even by a few, to keep pushing the message, to make others around us more aware of what they could also do.

    I agree with Kenny and Doshin that population numbers should somehow be capped, but then I don't have children so it's easy for me to say. Unlike Kenny this wasn't my choice and caused a lot of grief initially, but I'm at peace with all of that - I do have stepchildren and step grandchildren however, and it makes me incredibly sad to think of all that I enjoyed and took absolutely for granted for a child won't be available to them, despite growing up in post war Britain. I also agree that we are headed for extinction anyway, but there's no need to rush up to meet it with open arms!

    I know Seishin that you plant a lot of trees - this is hugely important, one of the most important initiatives there is, so deep bows. There's a real sadness coming through your words, I imagine many of us can identify with this. This manifestation of suffering is born out of compassion for something almost impossibly greater than us, it's almost a koan or an echo of the Four Vows - are we trying to save a world that is unsaveable? In the face of this impossible task, I think we can only adopt the same stance as we do when we vow to save all sentient beings, though beings numberless; we sit with the suffering and try to see how to convert the pain into energy to do something positive.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    satttodaylah
    PS Thank you for the Marvin Gaye, one of my all time favourites
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  21. #21
    OK folks, here are some interesting links.

    First of all, please keep up with Doshin's Living Earth thread here, I see it as a natural partner to this one :
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...0-Living-Earth

    From a link to the National Geographic that Doshin posted in the above thread, I found a real wealth of great articles, including this one, about how city dwellers can live a more sustainable life :
    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/e...-consume-less/

    And here are two companies, one in the US, one in the UK, that sell a range of household eco products. I've seen it suggested that folk try to convert one area of living at a time, perhaps starting with the bathroom or the kitchen. These small companies would be a great place to find ideas.
    https://zerowastestore.com/ US
    https://www.peacewiththewild.co.uk/ UK

    Finally Kenny mentioned using a carbon footprint calculator, I found one here;
    https://www.treedom.net/en/

    Please keep posting any interesting or relevant links.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  22. #22
    Wow, amazing to see such a level of engagement on such an important topic today...or as David Letterman would say: "know your current events." There are many things we can do to contribute to a better environment each day . I'll start with the bigger things that haven't been mentioned yet. Do you really need that big house? How much living space does a family really need? This website might be of interest to those considering a higher level of sustainable living: https://www.madihome.com/.

    Aside from hybrid and fully electric cars, do you really need that Mercedes GLC or Cadillac Escalade? Besides heavy cars being heavier polluters they also require bigger parts. For example, compare the average tire of a Toyota Auris to that of a BMW X7. On top of that, bigger cars are heavier which means they are a bigger burden to roads than smaller cars. So why not consider to size down a bit.


    Do you have solar panels on your roof? Is it possible to get them through a state or county-funded program? It's always worth looking into it. How about the insulation of your home? There are small things you can do to reduce draught such as placing cheap draught excluders on your doors or windows.

    If your home is powered by a fossil fuel power plant you can still reduce electricity consumption by making minor changes to your home. For example, you could replace all traditional light bulbs with CFLs or LED bulbs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_fluorescent_lamp and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LED_lamp.

    When you go to the supermarket do you bring your own bag and do you reuse it? Speaking of plastic, here's a website with advice on how to recycle plastic bottles: https://www.budgetdumpster.com/blog/...les-recycling/

    As others have already mentioned I wholeheartedly agree with the idea of voluntary population control. Ideally the birthrates should be capped at 2.1 because that is the replacement rate to sustain the current global population, anything above that will only add to the population. Because of this, my wife and I decided to have one child only seventeen years ago. We both agreed that two would be the maximum. No offense at all to those having more than two children but this was just what felt ethically right for the both of us.

    Thanks all for the great advice, I'm definitely going to check out the links that have been provided so far.

    Gassho,
    Jack
    Sattoday/lah
    Last edited by Kakedashi; 06-13-2019 at 07:19 PM.

  23. #23
    I think you are right, Meitou, in that we have to incorporate a sustainable lifestyle little by little. My main concern with my wife and me adopting a more environmentally correct way of life is if we can make such a huge change and how it will affect our lives, relationships and humor. It is hard to form and mantain a new habit. As with all changes, perhaps a complete change is better when moving or changing houses. In my case, a better approach perhaps should be little changes every week or month until it became second nature to us.
    Thank you all for the suggestions.
    Gassho,
    Mateus
    Sat today

  24. #24
    Hi Meitou - I'm glad you've started this as it's something that concerns me too. I think we've spoken briefly in the past about Extinction Rebellion but I'm always looking for ways to reduce my and my family's impact so it will be great to swap some ideas.

    Here are a few things we already do: try to buy second hand clothing where possible, grow as much of our own food as we can, recycle as much as we can, replace plastic with other options where possible, and minimise air and car travel.

    Although we recycle all we can, as others have commented, I'm not sure how effective that is so I'm keen to hear ways we can reduce or reuse packaging and plastics in general.

    I find it can be overwhelming when I think about the environmental crisis but I do have hope that we are beginning to see some real change, people are beginning to demand change from companies and their governments we just need to keep the pressure up and keep voting with our wallets!

    Speaking of which, a friend of mine is in the process of setting up a platform to try and drive change from the bottom up: https://www.ourpledge.co.uk/

    Gassho,

    Neil

    StLah.

  25. #25

    Thank you Meitou for this thread.
    Thank you all for your contributions.

    Gassho/SatToday
    流道
    Ryū Dou

  26. #26
    I used to work in the recycling/reselling industry. It was unbelievable how many pounds of clothing was donated in such a small area/population. It gets sorted, then about 90% of it gets baled in a vertical press then resold to another larger facility that sorts it again and either resells it once more overseas by the pound or shreds it to be reused for things like jeans and blankets. Main point being: we overconsume immensely - I'm guilty of it too. Especially when clothing is relatively cheap for western society when compared to our wages/salaries. Those resold clothes also end up back in other economies as super cheap used clothes - while a good price for the people buying them it ends up hurting the economy in those places because it discourages new industry. So it's good they are reused or recycled (much still ends up in a landfill, however) but if we didn't use so much of it to begin with it would be even better.

    There are so many ways one can reduce their carbon footprint, use fewer resources up, etc. that it can be greatly overwhelming if you try to take on every possible new habit at once. It can become obsessive like any other activity or interest for certain so that is something to be careful of. Some things may even seem like a great idea at first glance or in popular practice but upon further analysis can be found to be nothing more than trading one bad for another bad and just action for action's sake (busy-ness). I try to take a gentle approach with myself with this and do small things when I can.

    Some things I try to do others can try if it works for them:

    1. Use old wash cloths/rags to clean with at home instead of paper when I can (some stuff you don't want in your washer/dryer because it can dangerous like spilled oils, grease, other chemicals, etc). I just fill up a basket until I have enough for a load to wash.

    2. Combine trips. I don't live in an area where I can walk to anything (illegal to walk or ride a bike along the interstate/side of the highway here) so I get my grocery trips and other shopping/errands done while already downtown for work.

    3. I use very low wattage LED lighting at home (and with dimmers). 4 watts or so for most bulbs vs 13-15 watts for CFLs, or 40-60 watts for incandescent bulbs.

    4. I adjust the thermostat a bit when I'm away each day - not enough to put a lot of load on it when I set it back - just a few degrees difference. Turn the temp up when I'm gone for the day during the summer, and down in the winter (and at night in the winter).

    5. I sew/repair my own clothes. I actually really like the feel and look of worn-in clothing. I buy better quality clothing to begin with as well since it is less prone to shrinking oddly or falling apart. I mostly buy factory reject clothes from good brands - stuff with irregular sizing, sewing mistakes (that I fix like the pants I'm wearing right now that had one functional pocket before I cut and fixed it), damage, etc. These clothes are less likely to be purchased by someone else.

    6. Along the same lines as the clothing less desired I buy groceries in the same way - great deals in the process. I buy a lot of clearance /last chance/defect food items. Most of my meat purchases fall into this category - it's stuff that is going to be thrown away in a few hours when the store closes that evening. Saves it from being wasted, and saves me money (generally about 25% off).

    7. I eat less meat - only at dinner on most days.

    8. I use glass storage containers. Less plastic waste and it's more sanitary (plastic absorbs things that don't get clean, and also leak chemicals into food).

    9. I pack my aluminum water bottle and ceramic bowl and metal chopsticks/utensils for my lunch foods. I'm fine with tap water over buying plastic bottles or using water filters that end up in the trash.

    10. Let my hands dry naturally, or wipe them on my pants when I was my hands at places instead of using paper towels. It's slightly less sanitary but it cuts way back on the amount of paper waste.


    Some things I wish I could do here but don't have the resources to do:

    1. Recycling Program (aside from taking metal on your own to a scrap yard there isn't a public program here).

    2. Walk/Bicycle places. Not legal from where I live to do this to get into town sadly. There is public transportation but only directly in town, not in the suburbs).

    3. Solar panels. Far out of my price range or capability to implement here, and I plan on moving in the not-too-distant future.

    4. Have a large garden. Don't really have space for it and it isn't allowed where I live (community restrictions). I can do food plants in pots though - I've grown some herbs that way for us before but the weather and insects here give us issues. I have a peach tree that I get 1-2 peaches from every few years - all the other peaches vanish from other things eating them or get eaten by insects before they ripen.

    Gassho

    SatToday

  27. #27
    Great conversation. Thanks for starting it Meitou.

    My 2 cents:
    Plastic straws, we've all seen the images of the sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck up her nose, or heard horror stories of dying sea life because of our addiction to plastic straws. I realize for health reasons some folks need straws to drink, but for the rest of us they are definitely not essential. I understand that California has outlawed them. If straws are offered there they are paper. Restaurants should be made aware and not offer straws, unless explicitly asked. Politely mention this issue to management. It's a little thing with a huge sad impact.
    https://squareup.com/townsquare/why-...e-being-banned

    Water, I live in the desert SW in the US. Water is a precious commodity here and we try to conserve. When I am waiting for the hot water to kick in I collect the water in pitchers to use on my garden. Many houses have rain collection gear. Will there eventually be water wars? I keep hearing that's a danger as many places on the planet have issues with potable water. Water wise landscaping, the 'don't rush to flush' advisement. Many ways to be careful with this resource.

    After my mother passed away a few years back we used some of the money from my inheritance to install a solar system in our house and on my studio. Which is a win win situation as we were offered large tax breaks through the federal government and our state. Not sure how works now, with big changes in the government. But We often get money back from the utility company as we use less electricity than we generated that month.

    Gassho,

    Anne

    ~st~

  28. #28
    Again thank you everyone for such great contributions! As Anne says water is a precious commodity, we should all see it that way wherever we are out of respect for people who have a struggle to find fresh water every day, something too easy to take for granted. I live on a very dry island, and generally during the summers, the authorities turn our water off from late evening to early morning. Most of us have reserve tanks which we can draw from, but it still gives pause for thought and encourages people to be careful.

    This just arrived in my inbox from the Vegan Society - and although I'm not a vegan now, I try to limit the use of animal products as much as possible.Here's their link for PLate up for the Planet, a pledge to eat vegan for a week, I'll be joining in at the beginning of July. There's also a calculator for measuring the carbon impact of what we eat, which looks interesting.

    https://www.vegansociety.com/take-ac...s/plate-planet

    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

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