Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Category: Environmental Intelligence (Page 2 of 9)

How Far Would You Go to Save a Tree?

Worldwide, the equivalent of 27,000 trees are flushed down the toilet everyday, adding up to almost 10 million trees a year.

Astounding, isn’t it?

That’s only 10% of the 270,000 “trees” worth of paper-related products that are discarded each day in landfills and water systems.

On top of that, according to Treehugger:

“Making a roll of toilet paper uses 1.5 pounds of wood, 37 gallons of water and 1.3 KWh of of electricity.”

How can Mother Earth possibly keep up with us humans?

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Rising Tides

Bangladesh - Climate Change Impact

“More than a third of the world’s people live within 62 miles of a shoreline. Over the coming decades, as sea levels rise, climate change experts predict that many of the world’s largest cities, including Miami and New York, will be increasingly vulnerable to coastal flooding. A recent study of 136 port cities found that those with the largest threatened populations will be in developing countries, especially those in Asia.”

I was stunned by these facts as I read “The Coming Storm” in the May 2011 issue of National Geographic while waiting to have my vision checked.

What grabbed my attention in particular was the life of the “char dwellers” in Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world.  Char dwellers are:

“…the hundreds of thousands of people who inhabit the constantly changing islands, or chars, on the floodplains of Bangladesh’s three major rivers—the Padma, Jamuna, and Meghna. These islands, many covering less than a square mile, appear and vanish constantly, rising and falling with the tide, the season, the phase of the moon, the rainfall, and the flow of rivers upstream.”

Yes, these islands are constantly disappearing.  And so char dwellers are constantly moving – as often as once a year or more.  Since the islands can suddenly disappear, they are prepared to move in a matter of moments.  They create highly portable homes that can be taken down, moved, and put back together at a new location in a matter of hours.  They live with their suitcases at the foot of their beds.  The char dwellers are the epitome of resiliency and adaptability.

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September 2011 Review: Change

Autumn leaves symbol of change

Tammy Strobel and Gwen Bell have inspired me to try out a monthly review.

It might help me keep my feet on the ground!   And I hope it will help and inspire you in some way too.

Sudden Change

Like a sudden, dramatic fall storm, change seems to be popping out of nowhere and everywhere.  Is change touching or disrupting your life too?

Listening to one of the interviews in the Earth Changes series at Evolving Beings gave me a new perspective on change.  Apparently, there are many powerful planetary and astrological shifts in play at this time – like the Comet Elenin and the Uranas – Pluto Square (2011 – 2016).  These forces are shaking things up quite a bit for individuals and society.  Witness the Wall Street protests as one example.

It seems like a really good time to learn to dance with change, don’t you think?  We’re in this together so let’s support one another.

Trust, receptivity, living consciously, being responsible for your actions, coming from the heart, and realizing a sense of connectedness with all others will help you navigate these stormy seas.  Change itself is not good or bad.  It just is.  We can decide to flow with it or resist.  My initial temptation is to resist, but my aspiration and intention is to flow.

Flowing with Change

On a personal level, change threw me for a loop in September.  Believe me, anything you think will never change can and may indeed change.  It can happen in a flash.  What seemed familiar can instantly seem oddly unfamiliar and even foreign.

I felt the rug pulled out from under me, but it woke me right up to the truth of impermanence.   How could I have forgotten?  Holding on to a cozy, happily ever-after scenario will never work.  Everything changes at one point or another.

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Three Essential Messages from the Simple and the Complex Potato Chip

Essential Messages from Potato Chips

I confess to being addicted to potato chips.  It started at an early age.  The Lays brand popular slogan “betcha can’t eat just one” was inspired by me.

But of course, I would never be so politically incorrect to eat Lays Potato Chips nowadays.  I only go for the brands that make a “natural promise”.  Amazingly, they line almost an entire aisle at my health food store.

Lately though, I’ve been receiving messages from these potato chips.  I would like to pass them along (the messages, not the potato chips!) for your own well being and in consideration of the environment.  Yes, the chips are talking about the environment too.

The Simple Potato Chip

What can we learn from the simple, unadorned potato chip?  Unsalted with only natural vegetable oil and no trans-fats?  I’ll use Kettle Brand Potato Chips with their “bold flavor and hearty crunch” to illustrate the lesson.

The problem stems all around the idea of serving size.  I always assume the serving size is whatever size the bag is – 2.5 ounces or 5 oz.  In other words, eat as many as you like.

But lo and behold – if you read the ingredient label – the actual serving size is 1 oz. or 13 chips.  That’s 150 calories, about right for an actual snack.

The “snack size” 2.5 oz bag therefore contains 2 and 1/2 servings.  The 5 oz. bag contains 5 servings.

Fess up:  do you ever eat the whole “snack size” bag?  What about your kids?  Now we’re up to 375 calories, edging closer to the size of a full meal.

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What Would You Do If You Lived in Fukushima?

Sunflowers for Fukushima

In the midst of darkness, there is light.

Invisible Snow is the touching story of a Buddhist monk who initiated the planting of millions of sunflowers, which are believed to absorb radiation coming from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.

If you have a few extra minutes (only 4), please don’t miss it.  Oh, and this blog post title is a good question for reflection too!

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/27860810]

Thank you to mike edelman  for sharing the link on Google+  // Image:  public domain

Please spread the inspiration by sharing the link.  With love, Sandra

Chemical Time Bombs Ticking in Your Body

Plastic and the Ocean

A styrene metabolite in my pee?

Recently, I took a urine organic acids test, which measures metabolites – the end breakdown of various chemical substances  – in the urine.

The test is not intended to measure levels of environmental toxins in the body.  It just happens to measure mandelic acid, a  metabolite from the breakdown of styrene.  High mandelic acid usually occurs from exposure to styrene.

I was surprised to find that my level of mandelic acid was slightly elevated.  This might be due to the normal metabolism of the neurotransmitters phenylalanine or tyrosine since the levels were not extremely high, but it got me wondering.

What Is Styrene and Why Is It a Problem?

Styrene (vinyl benzene) is commonly found in plastic and, of course, Styrofoam.  On June 10, 2011, the US National Toxicology Program described styrene as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen“.

US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) studies on Americans have shown that 100% of human fat samples contain styrene.  Once in the body, there’s no mechanism for getting all of the styrene out.

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