Solve the Climate Crisis by Talking

By Paul Wright

I have an exercise to propose to the Rossmoor community: an investigative experiment for convening conversations. Among ourselves. About the climate crisis. Conversations – respectful listening and thoughtful speaking – have always played an important role in my life. Conversations have helped me learn about others,  shape ideas, understand myself better and for collaborating to accomplish goals together. The conversations I have in mind fit into all these categories.

Last year I attended a talk by David Wallace-Wells, author of The Uninhabitable Earth, at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. His book, an unadorned look at the implications of a future dominated by the impact of human-made climate change, has attracted a large following. For reviews of the book: The Guardian and NYTimes.

“Talk about It”

Unsurprisingly, of the many questions he got after his talk was recommendation for the best actions we can take. His answer surprised me. “Talk about it,” he said. He continued emphatically: “Talk about it with friends, neighbors, family members and colleagues. Engage with those around you in speaking about the climate crisis.”

On reflection, his response made perfect sense. Given the stakes and the scale of the problem we face – and the generations coming after us – can we afford not to?  Does anyone ever change his/her point of view without getting new information? So, one way to solve the climate crisis is by talking.

Talking about climate change
Conversations help us understand our world better.

This would probably be a good time for me to put my cards on the table. When it comes to the climate crisis, I should probably call myself a climate fundamentalist. By that I mean I fully embrace the claim that human activity is driving climate change today. In fact, given basic knowledge of science and mathematics, it would be truly strange if it weren’t.

The consequences of ignoring the problem will be enormous and doing nothing will only make it worse.  Our actions, or inactions, will affect the entire planet and all those who inhabit it. What future are we leaving for the young folks in our lives, whether children or grandchildren, and those of our friends? If actions speak louder than words, what are our actions telling them? What can we say, are we saying, to one another?

Why Aren’t People Talking About It?

Of course, getting started with a topic like the climate crisis can seem daunting. The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication surveyed Americans to find out how much they talked about global warming. The survey showed eight percent (8%) of the Americans didn’t talk about it because the subject was uncomfortable. Many other, bigger, reasons that show up in that survey, too. For example, “the subject never comes up” (35%), “we agree” (33%), “(I) don’t know enough” (28%) and “ not interested” (27%). Then there’s the inevitable: it’s “too political” (26%).

Talking about climate change
Chating improves understanding

Further down the response scale, 13% don’t discuss global warming because of disagreement. This is all remarkable since, while about 60% of Americans report that climate change matters to them personally, perhaps only a third actually talk about it from time to time – and 59% rarely or never. After all, we’re not exactly shy about expressing our views. If you’re interested, you can read more about this at Attaining Meaningful Outcomes from Conversations on Climate – Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Nothing Will Happen If We Don’t Talk About It

I’ll be the first to admit exploring the climate crisis is a journey that can take us to some unexpected places.  I’ve experienced a range of surprising emotions, including grief, pain, anguish and sheer (dumbfounded) anger. It’s an astonishing way to realize what it means to call this planet our home – and begin to really appreciate the simple fact that we share it, and all that that implies.

Talking about climate change
Small group meetings give all participants a chance to contribute.

So back to the exercise I’m proposing: How can we talk together about the climate crisis? Well, by doing it. Organizing ourselves into groups no larger than eight or so, let’s explore the subject with our neighbors in a spirit of goodwill. Maybe we do it once; maybe we do it again, keeping in mind the lessons we learn as we go along. I’m proposing as many of us as possible host a conversation in our homes, or elsewhere, in one of Rossmoor’s many meeting spaces. Let’s begin to solve the climate crisis by talking.

Community Conversations In Rossmoor

Sustainable Rossmoor, which is interested in sponsoring this project, will be happy to arrange a meeting space and refreshments.

I’m also proposing that these be facilitated conversations – with facilitators present prepared to help hosts convene them, explain to participants a few basic ground rules, keep the conversations on track and help everyone to reflect on what they’ve learned along the way.

Talking about the climate crisis won’t solve a problem so hugely complex. But it might let us understand better where to begin, which is with one another.

Note: Given the current impact of the coronavirus (COVID 19) on public gatherings, the exercise described here will be delayed for the time being.

If this experiment interests you, and you would like to participate or serve as a host, please contact me at pwright001@aol.com. We’ll follow up once the coronavirus landscape clears.

Courtesy of the Rossmoor News, March 25, 2020. Email Paul Wright at pwright001@aol.com

Reversing Climate Change

By Judith Schumacher-Jennings

Reversing climate change requires political will, practical solutions, commitment and cooperation.

Several months ago, I wrote a column for Earth Matters about the Green New Deal.  It was the most exciting climate news since the Paris Climate Accord.  You may have considered it a “pie in the sky” idea.  After all, it is supported by Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the like.

Turns out, the Green New Deal is not “pie in the sky” after all. I recently discovered a book that spells out how addressing climate change is not an impossible task. Paul Hawken’s Drawdown, published in 2017, takes us step by step through the 100 best ways.

In Drawdown’s preface, Dr. Jonathan Foley explains why reality of climate change is upon us. Dr. Foley is the executive director of the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. He argues climate change is affecting weather patterns, ecosystems, ice sheets, islands, coastlines and cities. It is also affecting our health, safety and security.

Processes Producing Carbon Dioxide and Methane
Reversing Climate Change
Methane and carbon monoxide are produced by multiple sources, not just burning fossil fuels

We release heat trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) when we burn fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. CO2  is also released manufacturing cement, plowing fields and destroying forests. We release methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas, with our cattle, rice fields, landfills and natural gas operations. However, Foley believes we have all the tools we need to reverse climate change. He says, Drawdown is the most important book ever written on how to do just that.

Hawken defines “drawdown” in atmospheric terms.  Drawdown is the point in time at which greenhouse gases peak and begin to decline. He decided to demonstrate how reversing the accumulation of greenhouse gases is possible. Hawken compiled a list of applied, hands-on practices and technologies that are commonly available, economically viable and scientifically valid. His list highlights the practices and technologies with the greatest potential to reduce emissions or sequester carbon from the atmosphere.

The Drawdown Background

To this end he gathered together 70 Drawdown Fellows, students and scholars from 22 countries. This group compiled and sorted through the existing research. Then Hawken assembled a 120-person advisory board to review and validate the findings.  The board included prominent geologists, engineers, agronomists, politicians, writers, climatologists, biologists, botanists, economists, financial analysts, architects and activists.

Drawdown’s resulting solutions lead to regenerative economic outcomes. They will create security, produce jobs, improve health, save money, facilitate mobility, eliminate hunger, prevent pollution, restore soil, and/or clean rivers. Hawken sees global warming as an opportunity. Reversing climate change is an opportunity to build, innovate and effect change and a pathway to awaken creativity, compassion and genius.

Cooperation v. Competion

Reversing Climate Change
Drawdown’s solutions can heal the planet and reverse climate change and require a paradigm shift in human behavior.

An essay by Janine Benyus describes the history of a great debate in the early 1900s. The debate was between ecologists Frederic Clements and Henry Gleason. Clements studied bayous, chaparrals, hardwood forests and prairies.  His research indicated plants actually cooperate with each other to survive. Gleason, on the other hand, was in the Darwin tradition and thought plants merely competed with one another for survival.

Clements theory held sway until the 1940s. The Truman Doctrine and the onset of the Cold War made any mention of “communism” impossible, even when talking about plants. In the last 20 years, however, Clement’s ideas have seen a resurgence. Over 50 years of research into the competitive nature of the plant world proved inconclusive.

Gleason had promoted the cutting of thousands of acres of California blue oak trees. The Blue Oaks thrived for eons to provide for rangeland grasses free from competition. In the 1990s ecologist Ray Calloway’s research showed the blue oaks act as nutrient pumps and feed the surrounding landscape. He has since compiled more than a thousand (1,000) studies describing how plants enhance their neighbors’ survival, creating a virtual manual for how natural communities heal and overcome adversity.

Collaboration and Community
Reversing Climate Change
Climate change is reversible…if we all work together

In the epilogue, Hawken writes about Norwegian psychologist and economist Per Espen Stoknes. Stoknes found we tend to become immobilized by fear, guilt, passivity, apathy and denial when inundated with threats and dire warnings about climate change. Hawken believes a conversation framed about possibility and opportunity can shift the paradigm.

The economic data collected for Drawdown shows clearly that far greater profit is achievable by instituting regenerative solutions than the cost of conducting business as usual. For example, the most productive method of farming is not conventional agriculture, which depletes the soil and adds to the carbon footprint, but regenerative agriculture. Regarding power, the solar industry has employed more jobs as of 2016 than gas, coal and oil combined.

As it turns out, climate solutions depend on community, collaboration and cooperation. Reversing climate change will require groups of people forging new and promising alliances: developers, cities, nonprofits, corporations, farmers, churches, provinces, schools and universities. Curiously, research has shown that children typically exhibit altruistic behavior even before they speak. Concern for others is seemingly innate.

Hawken suggests we’ll reverse global warming when we remember who we are meant to be.

Learn more about Project Drawdon, Paul Hawken, Drawdown, Frederic Clements, and Henry Gleason

Courtesy of the Rossmoor News, January 8, 2020. Email Judith Schumacher-Jennings at sjmadrone@sonic.net

Cutting Back on Meat and Dairy

By Dave Casey

Most Americans blame cars and coal-fired power plants for greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, but most aren’t aware of the cow in the room. Few of us are aware the livestock sector accounts for more emissions than cars and planes together.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a prestigious medical journal, recently editorialized that climate change represents the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. It also noted that chronic diseases caused by dietary choices are currently the leading cause of death.

Could there be a way to combine fighting climate change and combating chronic diseases at the same time? For example, using a bicycle for transportation versus driving a car is a win-win-win for our health, for the planet and for our pocketbooks! Are there similar win-win-win situations when it comes to diet?

Cutting back on meat and dairy
Consuming red meat and dairy products in moderation benefits you and the environment.

The foods that create the most greenhouse gases (red meat, farmed fish and dairy) appear to be the same foods that contribute to many of our chronic diseases. Meat, dairy and eggs have substantial negative environmental impacts on climate. Grains, beans, fruits and vegetables have the least negative impact on the environment. Moreover, animal-based foods have less fiber, vitamins and antioxidants than plant-based foods. Meat and dairy also cost more per pound. That makes a possible win-win-win: reducing meat and dairy leads to less environmental impacts, greater health benefits and lower cost.

European Commission Study

In 2011, the European Commission commissioned a study on what individuals can do to help the climate. The Commission is the European Union’s executive arm. In terms of transport, if all Europeans started driving electric cars, it could prevent as much as 174 million tons of carbon from getting released. They also could turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater.

But the European Commission study concluded the single most impactful action people can take is to shift to a low-meat diet. The foods we eat may have more impact on global warming than what cars we drive or turning down the thermostat. Cutting out animal protein just one day a week can have a powerful effect. Meatless Mondays can reduce greenhouse gases as much as the weekly commute to work. A switch from the average omnivore diet to a 100% plant-based can substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The European Commission’s study identified why it is difficult to reduce meat and dairy. It’s simply lack of knowledge, ingrained habits and culinary cultures. Most approaches to reversing climate change are expensive. A global transition to a low meat diet, as recommended for health reasons, can actually save money. A healthier, low-meat diet could cut the cost of mitigating climate change; while a no meat and no dairy diet could cut climate mitigation costs by 80%.

Cutting back on beef and dairy
Reducing the red meat in diets is a healthy choice.

For most of my life, my family has enjoyed a great barbequed flank steak on Friday nights, a weekly cheese laden pizza, a weekly spaghetti or tacos with beef, and frequent crackers and cheese. Yet, over the past year, I have found myself and my family consuming less and less meat and dairy.

World Resources Institute Recommendations

The World Resources Institute recommends developed nations cut beef, lamb and dairy consumption by 40% to meet global emissions goals for 2050. The Institute is an environmental research group. I’m not sure I can commit to a 100% vegan diet. I can certainly substantially reduce my consumption of meat, dairy and eggs. Such efforts will reduce my carbon footprint, improve my health and save money. By helping the planet, we can help ourselves.

Courtesy of the Rossmoor News, March 4, 2020. Email Dave Casey at: davecasey@comcast.net

DamNation – March SR Film

FILM SERIES: Sustainable Rossmoor
Wednesday, March 11, 7 pm
DamNation

A look at the benefits of removing obsolete dams.

An audience award winner at the Telluride Film Festival, this powerful film explores the transformation of America’s national attitude of pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers.

Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access.

DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature.

87 min. Captions.   Trailer: https://youtu.be/LDrkAbohJ-E

Vote Climate to Save Our Earth

By Anne Foreman

Every vote counts.  Our planet, its forests, oceans, air and earth, can’t vote.  We can.  It’s time to Vote Climate to save our earth.

The bad news is unrelenting. A few examples: plastics are filling up our oceans. Next, air pollution is worsening. Additionally, our lakes and rivers are becoming more polluted. Moreover, forests worldwide are burning and being cut down. Arctic glaciers are rapidly melting. Sea levels are rising. More species are facing extinction. At the top of the calamities is global warming.

U.N. Report Contained a Dire Warning

Time is running out. That’s the warning from the latest United Nations report on global warming. For instance, our planet is still heating up with greenhouse gas emissions at an alarming rate. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tells us the “point of no return” is in sight. “Climate change” has become “climate crisis.”

Individuals Are Heeding the Warnings

On an individual level, many people are doing their best to try to save our planet Earth. Here are some examples, in no particular order: first, many are composting. Secondly, people are refusing to buy food and beverages sold in plastic. Thirdly, investors are divesting their stock portfolios of oil and gas stocks, in favor of renewable energy companies — solar, wind, and geothermal. Fourthly, home owners are installing solar panels on their roofs. Additionally, they are planting trees. Lastly, people are buying electric cars.

Governments Need to Step Up
Vote Climate
The fate of the earth is in every voter’s hands

All these efforts by individuals are laudable, but the reality is individual efforts aren’t enough to significantly stop global warming. Only decisive measures taken by national governments will be able to curb the rise in global temperatures. The world’s 20 richest countries are responsible for more than three-quarters (75%) of worldwide emissions. And of these countries, China and the United States are the worst polluters.

We need leadership at the top to acknowledge the reality of global warming – leadership that will fight aggressively for legislation to stop it. Vote climate to save our earth. How we vote in 2020 will be crucial in the fight to save our Earth. For indeed – time is running out.

Here are some resources to help you decide: Climate Voters Guide, Politico report, USA Today, SF Chronicle, League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club

Courtesy of the Rossmoor News, Dec. 25, 2019.  Email Anne Foreman at anneforeman60@gmail.com

SR Film: CALL OF LIFE: FACING THE MASS EXTINCTION

February 2020 SR Movie

CALL OF LIFE: FACING THE MASS EXTINCTION

When:  Wednesday, February 12, 7 pm  

Where: Peacock Hall

The essential nature of biodiversity and how we can help maintain it is the subject of a film presentation to be shown by Sustainable Rossmoor.
This film, CALL OF LIFE: FACING THE MASS EXTINCTION, will be immediately followed by two speakers from the Center for a Biological Diversity.

Our Film

CALL OF LIFE investigates the growing threat to earth’s life-support systems from the loss of biodiversity. If current trends continue, scientists warn that half or more of all plant and animal species on Earth will become extinct within the next few decades. Call of Life investigates the scope, the causes, and the predicted effects of this unprecedented loss of life, but also looks deeper, at the ways in which both culture and psychology have helped to create and perpetuate the situation. The film not only tells the story of a crisis in nature, but also in human nature, a crisis more complex and threatening than anything human beings have ever faced before.

60 minutes, with captions.

Trailer: https://youtu.be/csqJ_ULmQL8

Our Speakers:  Chase Martin and Maureen Forney

Maureen Forney
Chase Martin

will share information about solutions and actions to take, and legal battles that have been successful. Chase worked with the Center for Biological Diversity on last year‘s petition drive to save the Endangered Species Act and has a professional background in Historic Preservation and lobbying.  Maureen is a Certified California Naturalist and volunteers with both the Center for Biological Diversity (www.biologicaldiversity.org) and Great Old Broads for Wilderness (www.greatoldbroads.org).

The Center for Biological Diversity

The CBD is an international nonprofit organization which promotes legal actions, global policy advocacy, scientific studies, and creative media with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive. Working to secure a future for all species of animals and plants, great and small, these advocates want those who come after us to inherit a world where the wild is still alive.

If current trends continue, scientists warn that half or more of all plant and animal species on Earth will become extinct within the next few decades. In the words of the famous biologist Paul Ehrlich, “When we wipe out populations and species of other organisms, we’re sawing off the limb we’re sitting on”.

A New Look at Bio-degradable Plastic

By Bob Hanson

It’s time to take a new look at bio-degradable plastic. The news these days is full of articles about the evils of plastic.  Plastic threatens the oceans and landfills, health concerns, litter problems, difficulties in recycling, waste of fossil fuels, etc. On the other hand, we have become hooked, and ever more dependent, on plastic.  Consider the ball point pens we use, the combs we pull through our hair and dozens of other items we use daily.  Plastic is ubiquitous and has many uses.

Certainly, we should use less and recycle more. But wouldn’t it be sweet if we developed a plastic that would bio-degrade in less than a 1,000 years? I was happy to discover scientists are working on that. Someday your table scraps could turn from trash to plastic bottles, medical equipment and other beneficial objects, and when they are discarded, they can return to the soil.

Bio-degradable Plastic

bio-degradable plastic
Bio-degradable utensils and straws are already available and can be recycled

Leading the way on this effort is a Canadian woman, Luna Yu. Her Toronto-based business is converting low-value waste into high-value materials. Soon your table scraps may turn into all sorts of plastic items, which will be compostable when discarded.

This new second-generation plastic is called polyhydroxyalkanoates (don’t ask me how to pronounce that!) Let’s just call it PHA.

The scientists who are perfecting the process have developed bacteria, which can break down the food waste into small carbon-building blocks. PHA-assembling bacteria eat the carbon and store bioplastic granules in their cells. Scientists chemically extract the bioplastic from the bacteria. Some other companies are making the new plastic from methanol, sugar and oil. All of these new ventures developing bio-degradable plastic are finding the process more expensive than making it from petroleum. Yet, if consumers are willing to pay a bit more and insist plastic items be bio-degradable, demand will go up and prices will come down.

Europe Leads the Way (again)

bio-degradable plastic
While convenient, single use plastics are deadly contaminants

European countries are leading the way in ridding themselves of single-use plastics. European parliament committees have approved banning a number of single-use plastic products by 2021. Scientists are developing a number of other bio-degradable plastics. Unfortunately, so far only PHA will break-down in the ocean water, where a great deal of plastic ends up.

Bio-plastics currently only constitute about 1% of the 320 million tons of plastic produced each year, but this percentage is certain to rise. We can help speed up the conversion by working with legislative bodies and pressuring retailers to eliminate non-biodegradable plastic packaging and outlaw plastic items, such as drinking straws and eating utensils, unless they are bio-degradable.

California has always been a leader in environmental legislation, and we should be on this issue.

More research and development is necessary.  Moreover, the Ecology Center cautions us not to get ahead of ourselves.

If this, or other environmental, issues interest you, such as taking a new look at bio-degradable plastic, please consider joining Sustainable Rossmoor.

Courtesy of the Rossmoor News, Nov 13, 2019.  Email Bob Hanson at doctoroutdoors@comcast.net.

A Call for Climate Activism

By Brad Waite

This is a call for climate activism! We owe it to our grandchildren and greatgrandchildren to take very serious action to combat the climate crisis. And to do it now! Why?

The climate crisis is causing a rapid increase in the number of kids suffering from what therapists call “eco-anxiety.” They share a growing sense of fear over climate change and impending environmental disasters.

The Power of One

climate activism
Our youth are at risk, get involved!

This anxiety became so severe for one 15-year-old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, that she became depressed. Fortunately, she decided to take action to help deal with it.

With the blessing of her parents, in August of 2018 she started skipping school every Friday to sit on the steps of the Swedish parliament to lobby for action on the climate crisis. Soon other kids joined her for the same reason. She quickly became the leader of world-wide student-led climate strikes.

In March of this year, the strike she led drew over a million kids to 2,200 actions in over 120 countries. The strike she led on Sept. 20 of this year drew over 5 million people over even more countries. Two members of the Norwegian parliament nominated her for the Noble Prize this year.  Learn more about Greta.

She has awakened the world to the need to take massive action now, while there is at least a fighting chance of saving our planet from becoming uninhabitable. If you don’t believe the risk is real, you may be drinking the  disinformation kool-aid campaign of the fossil fuel industry to deny, delay and obfuscate on this issue, a playbook they took from Big Tobacco. Exxon scientists informed senior management in the 1970s that extracting and burning fossil fuels would create a climate crisis. Yet they have never admitted it while continuing to reap huge profits.

Join the Movement

climate activism
Join the movement, get involved!

I’ll bet you’re asking how you can answer the call for climate activism. What you can do to help? Start by learning enough about the topic to be able to speak with others about it. Then continue to talk with anyone and everyone, starting with your grandkids. Ask them what they think you can do to help. Ask them and their parents what they are doing to help themselves and future generations.

How can you start learning about this crisis? There are plenty of really great books, starting with Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, edited by Paul Hawken. One of the best things about the book is it lists 80 solutions and ranks them by effectiveness. Read Drawdown and pick a solution that works for you. Find an organization that is active and effective in that area and join them, be involved and contribute. They will help to educate you while providing support and camaraderie while you help them move forward.

For example, there are several very effective groups that were started and run by youth, such as Earth Guardians, Sunrise Movement and Youth vs Apocalypse. These three groups all have Bay Area chapters and they all could use mentorship and money. They will supply the energy, passion and courage. I’ve engaged with some of these youth climate activists and can tell you that they are fearless and totally committed to this fight.

Don’t Forget You Have A Personal Part to Play

climate activism
Find an issue you support and get involved!

On a more personal level, you can work to reduce your own household’s carbon footprint. One of the best ways to do that is to use a good online carbon footprint calculator. Contra Costa County has launched its own, which you can access at www.cleanercontracosta.org. They call it the Cleaner Contra Costa Challenge and it allows groups or friends/neighbors to form a team to compete for honors by having the largest reduction in carbon footprint. On this website, once you have completed your profile, you will be shown several actions you can take and how much each is expected to cost, if anything, and the expected reduction in carbon.

One very fast and easy step is to opt up to MCE’s Deep Green program from our local community choice energy provider. Their plan delivers electricity from 100% renewable sources. The cost is minimal, with the average MCE customer paying only about five dollars more per month for pollution-free power. Get your account number from your PG& E bill and go to www.mcecleanenergy.org to sign up. For extra credit, use that clean electricity to charge an electric vehicle.

These are just some of the ways you can get motivated and involved. The most important thing is to do something that makes a difference. Respond to the call for climate activism. And remember: keep talking about this issue with others and talk about ways to solve it.

Courtesy of the Rossmoor News, Oct. 30, 2019. Email Brad Waite at bradwaite@comcast.net.

Recycling, Composting, Trash Disposal and Much More

By Dale J. Harrington

The ubiquitous dilemma of “how to and what to” place in recycling, composting and trash disposal containers continues to baffle most of us. I’ve been methodically researching such matters in hopes of finding “the correct” answers to this decision-making process. I hope you will benefit from my research as I share some of my findings.

Use cloth bags or netting bags, instead of plastic, when grocery shopping. This reduces the amount of waste you bring into your house. You can wash the bags and use them over and over.

recycling, composting, trash disposal
Avoid pre-packaged fruits, vegetables , etc. and take your own reuseable bags to market

Buy food that has less packaging. Purchase bulk instead of pre-packaged items. Many pre-packaged vegetables are available in vegetable bins. Selecting items from the bins, allows you to control the quantity and thereby reduce waste. Most plastic wrapping on the pre-packaged items ends up in landfills.  Even if the tray  the vegetables are in is recyclable, by using your cloth or netting bags, you reduce recycling.

Don’t use bottled drinks unless you have to. Mix your drinks into your juice container to save on recycling plastic or glass.

Buy milk in plastic containers since they can be recycled. Milk in cardboard containers cannot be recycled because they have a film on them (prevents leaking), which means they are not recyclable.

My wife was excited when I shared the following sustainable practices for everyday use.

All-Purpose Cleaning Solution:

Consider making your own household cleaners and detergents (as provided on the Family Trip blog): All-Purpose Cleaning Solution

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar 1/2 cup distilled water drops preferred essential oil ** Toilet Cleaning Solution

• Sprinkle baking soda in toilet

– Spray distilled white vinegar on top

• Allow to sit for a few minutes before scrubbing. With your toilets, prevention is key. Once you get nasty mildew build up, it gets a lot tougher to clean. So clean quickly, yet often.

Homemade Dryer Sheets

Fabric scraps – cut into approximately 4-by-4 squares 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar 10 drops preferred essential oil ** 2 tbsp water (tap is fine) Place everything in a resealable container, allow fabric to soak through, add 2 scraps to wet clothes in the dryer before starting the cycle.

You will have to add more liquid to the scraps after some time – the length of which depends on how often you do laundry. Just feel free to add the same ratios of liquid to the jar and fabric scraps.

Hardwood Floor Cleaning Solution

1 gallon of water (can use distilled, tap is fine) 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar 3 drops pH neutral dish detergent (recommended: Dawn Pure Essentials) 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol 2-3 drops preferred essential oil ** ** Essential oil: Concentrated Hydrophobic Liquid: An essential is a natural oil typically obtained by distillation and having the characteristic fragrance of the plant or other source from which it is extracted.

recycling, compost and trash disposal
Reduce single use plastics and other single use containers

Here are a few other tips:

• Take anything that can be reused, such as clothing, to a secondhand store. There are numerous secondhand stores in Walnut Creek.

• Put recyclable items into recycling bins. Do not contaminate them by putting landfill or compost items there.

– Place compostable items into compost bins.

• Dispose used batteries into battery container up at MOD.

– Take fluorescent light tubes to Ace Hardware.

• Do not buy products in aerosol cans. The aerosol contaminates the environment.

As much as anything, stay tuned, share with others what’s working for you. Know we are doing the best we can to inform you about recycling, composting and trash disposal.

See Rossmoor’s recycling page.  Check out Sustainable Rossmoor’s Trash Talking page.

We depend on Republic Services, Recycle Smart, and other services to take care of what we don’t want/need. They depend on their buyers, who often face new challenges for this task. Bottom line: be flexible and know our purchasing decisions truly make a difference.

Courtesy of Rossmoor News, Oct. 16, 2019.  Email Dale J. Harrington at dalejharrington@comcast.net

OVERLOAD: America’s Toxic Love Story

January SR Movie:  OVERLOAD: America’s Toxic Love Story

When: Wednesday, January 8, 7 pm,  Where: Peacock Hall

Toxics in Personal Products

OVERLOAD aims to both illuminate the real dangers of toxic chemicals found in everything from food to furniture to face cream. We learn hundreds are now found in every baby born in America. This film offers us as consumers the tools we need to make better choices that will ultimately improve our own health and public health.

Filmmaker Soozie Eastman, daughter of an industrial chemical distributor, consults world-renowned physicians and environmental leaders such as  Center for Environmental Health  founder Michael Green and the  Environmental Working Group’s  Nneka Leiba, and sits down for interviews with scientists and politicians including  NRDC  senior scientist Jennifer Sass and biologist Tyrone Hayes.
She embarks on a journey to find out the levels of toxins in her own body and explores if there is anything she can do to change them. Just as she feared, her blood tests reveal alarming levels of chemicals such as organophosphates and PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), so she undertakes a rigorous detox regimen of dietary changes, exercise and informed product choices designed to manage and minimize her toxic body burden.
She’s determined to find out: Can we hit the reset button, or is it too late?