Welcome to the HappyLife Journal; A compendium of commentary, fact, news, and thought surrounding issues and concepts related to elevating our society toward sustainability. The information and views presented here may be sensitive in nature to some and do not necessarily reflect the views of staff and or affiliates associated with Earthshade Natural Window Fashions. We appreciate your consideration of this commentary and encourage additional research.
Love Thy Neighbor
Tribes! Its the new buzz word! As if enough hasnt been done to native cultures we are again segregating and flocking together while ostricizing others. I wonder what will happen if we as a society fragment into a bunch of tribes? Though America may have been discovered by a single group, the Founding Farmers (Fathers) went to great lengths to insure freedoms prevailed so long as we remain civil and participatory. It is increasingly obvious to me that without basic concepts including respect, community pride without polarization (as a country), open and considerate discussion, as well as belief and commitment to this American Dream; We as a people, for the people, and by the people, simply cannot live up to the standards that those before us fought so hard to create, preserve, and pass on…..
Plastic face cream? Toohpaste? Huh?
Ever wonder what kind of people create this stuff! Are they our neighbors? How do they think its ok to create a personal care product additive called Micorbeads? These super small plastic beads are now being found building up in waste water treatment facilities as well as watersheds at an alarming rate of 8 trillion a day! Rather than holding the companies (polluters) who make or use these beads accountable, some are actually wondering if waste water treatment facilities shouldn't be liable for the contaminants entering their facility to begin with! Doesn't anyone remember "Give a hoot, Don't pollute"?
"The Produce Manager is more important to my childrens health than thier Pediatrician." Meryl Streep
"Humans are always in trouble. But beyond the great sweeps of war and power, there arise people of great artistry, intelligence, and sweetness. The trouble we are in now is a gift that we can receive or shun. We cannot be the same people we are today and save life on earth." Paul Hawkin 2010
American Dream 2.0
As corporations continue to consolidate power chasing the dollar led most often by a previous generation, the next generation is re-creating the American Dream by moving back to the city from the suburbs to Be together, to Work together, and to Live together. Cooperation, Creativity, and even Tribal principals are joining many other evolving attributes to redefine today's American Dream. I like to call this exciting and curative reality the American Dream 2.0
Return to Monarchy?
In 1996 Monarch butterflies borrowed 44 acres of trees following their century old 3400 mile migration to their Mexican Woodlands winter home. 2014 saw a horrific drop to 1.66. Following a joint effort between Mexico, Canada, and the US to re-introduce milkweed making up for damage caused by herbicides that continue to threaten the very food and breeding source of this all important life form, 2015 saw a remarkeable rebound to 10 acres! Now if only we as a people could connect all the dots....Bees, Butterflies, and Bob (us)!
Average Joe/Joan Quotes
“I’m 99 years old. Everything from my neck down is sh^* but everything from my neck up is just as good as everyone else’s. How lucky is that?”
“It seems that a lot of people my age try to be interesting by having problems or starting conflict. I’d rather be interesting because I created something beautiful.” -Random razor-head (pretty girl) -Humans of NY by Brandon Stanton
On Global Warming: Fact or Fiction
In the event you or someone you know has not been outside in say the last few years, We'd like to direct your attention to the recent study completed by President Ronald Reagan, and President George H.W. Bush National Science Board appointee, James Lawrence Powell that analyzed 13,950 peer reviewed climate studies from 1991-2012. Of them, twenty four (24) articles (shown in red on the pie chart below) reject global warming!
Printed with permission
A poignant question
"Is contemporary American agriculture a system for nourishing people and providing a livelihood for farmers? Or is it one for denuding the nation’s topsoil while poisoning land, water, workers and consumers and enriching corporations? Our collective actions would indicate that our principles favor the latter; that has to change." Mark Bittman of the New York Times.
Can you dig it?
I’m attracted to fierce, unbridled, glorious intelligence. Raw knowledge is nice too, but intelligence, the kind that comes from a passion for learning, or even a passion of a specific subject... that’s what I dig!
Life Friendly Chemistry/ Natural Investing?
Ever consider that Nature is incredibly amazing when it comes to non-toxic production? Nature can do amazing things without hurting people or planet. We can apply similar concepts that include Community, Cooperation, Authenticity, Biomimicry, etc. to anything in much the same manner. These concepts can carry into the information age beyond just food and wellness including big business where investing toward unlimited growth is considered to be the ultimate goal. Consider that unchecked growth in nature is literally termed disease.
Chemicals found in chemical beans? Duh!
Research led by MIT trained biologist V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D was recently published in the peer-reviewed Argricultural Sciences Journal revealing that Genetically modified (GM/GMO) soybeans "significantly accumulate formaldehyde", a class one known cause of cancer (carcinogen). The researchers analyzed 6,497 lab studies conducted by 184 institutions in 23 countries. Additionally, the research revealed that the same plants have weakened immune defenses as a result of depleted Glutathione, a known and potent antioxident in plants and people.
"Clean-vinyl? Bio-Vinyl? Just say NO!"
Ever walk into a green certified building and smell chemicals? Ever look at a Greenguard certified material that still has a chemical smell? Chances are its a certified product made from vinyl or PVCl!
Reformulation is the subject of a new re-branding campaign by the vinyl industry positioning what we refer to as "todays asbestos" as a break through green product! A 61 page whitepaper co-produced by Perkins + Will and HBN states: "While improved by excluding problematic additives, these formulations have not -and cannot- address the lifecycle hazards tied to PVC's intrinsic (base) chemistry." Infact vinyls base monomer, manufacturing by-products, and much of its additives are known carcinogens. The report goes on to state that most of the additives needed to provide vinyls versatility are NOT chemically bound and have been documented to migrate (off-gass) out of the products and "into household dust, exposing occupants".
"Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily -whether it is done in the name of the law or in defiance of the law, by one man or by a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in a an attack of violence or in response to violence -whenever we tear at the fabric of our lives which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, whenever we do this, then the whole nation is degraded" -Robert F. Kennedy
"Economic Theory views the environment as a subset of the economy. Political and business decisions are made on that basis everyday when the reality is exactly the opposite; The economic system we've created is wholly dependant on the natural environment." Stephen Leaehy, Your water footprint.
Have you ever considered the absurdity of your company? What might have happened had your leaders simply taken the money spent duping the public regarding GMO Labeling laws and simply retired? Imagine what a new generation of leadership could do for shareholders insisting on telling all the still hungry people across the world that they are going to feed them. Instead of being labled by history as the single worst coporation who through empty promises wasted billions on lies and killed the earth all in the name of profit and feeding the hungry (still), new leadership could spend half as much improving the entire ag system. If only they would consider the profit potential of embraceing truly sustainable proven organic practices such as innovative (organic) soil amendments, open source seed sharing, and field management technology. Monsanto could go down in history as the number one company in the world who actually learned by mistakes instead of burrying them in contaminated lifeless dirt...
Dear Syngenta, Bayer, Cargill, ADM, et al;
See "Dear Monsanto" above.
Work from home (mine), Run the company (according to my rule), occasional pay, limited investment, no experience necessary; Education and drive a must.
Did you hear the news? It wasn't on FOX! Sustainable as a term is out. The new "in" word? Resilience....To be resilient, whatever we are talking about is sustainable (providing the needs of today without harming those of the future) but also anticipates and prepares for disruption while improving the ability or capacity to withstand the disturbance, re-build as necessary, and adapt or evolve whenever possible. This is about recognizing the inevitability of problems and being prepared to solve them. Harvard Business Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter has said it best; "When surprises are the new normal, resilience is the new skill".
The World United?
Thirty years ago, The Montreal Protocol became the first unanimous decision ever by UN members marking a world effort to curb green house gas emissions including CFC's. 2014 marked the first observation by a panel of over 300 scientists that the Ozone layer was on the road to repair. “It’s a victory for diplomacy and for science and for the fact that we were able to work together,” said chemist Mario Molina, who won a Nobel Prize for his research into the ozone layer.
Chemical Warfare for the new Millennium
US law currently restricts a mere 11 ingredients from cosmetics. The EU regulates and restricts 1300! Out of over 60,000 industrial chemicals, US regulators have only been able to demonstrate "sufficient risk" for five (asbestos) under a law dating back to 1976. The EU is currently looking at legislation to regulate another 1000 including those linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and other serious health effects.
Paper vs. cloth:
According to a new book titled "Your Water Footprint"; Stephen Leahey reports that a cloth napkin that is re-used costs about 1.2 gallons of water per use whereas a disposable paper napkin is 4 gallons! Flax or Hemp napkins can reduce this he says as low as .25 gallons! You might be wondering about the amount of water used in bottled water: 1.45 gallons! Cola? 46 gallons! Yes that includes water used to grow the vanilla, sugar beets, and extract the oil for the bottle etc...672 gallons for a hamburger with fries for lunch and that's just some of the info in the first few eye opening pages! More for sure later!
Oz on Alz
I was recently told about an episode on Dr. Oz where he brought in some of the top minds working on Alzheimer's. One of the gentlemen was a leading surgeon who has studied the brains of Alzheimer's patients postmortem. Unlike most studies that find a percentage of evidence that can be argued by nay-sayers, This doctor found the same results in EVERY brain he studied. It shouldn't come as a surprise, that he found a mass comprised of common pesticide and heavy metal deposits in each brain. These masses are yet another shred of evidence that cleaning up our environments is paramount to our health. Again I am reminded that health begins with a clean and safe home or office environment; one of the few environments that we all have some control over!
Random act(s) of Kindness
We are all familiar with "paying the toll for the car behind". I live in a city where older people still genuinely mean the best when they nod or even say hello. But Cathy O'Grady and friends as reported initially in Boston Magazine and later by The Good News Network has taken random acts of kindness (318 of them!) to another level in honor of her late friend Chad. In one day the two of them: Left dozens of blankets each with a note and a $5 gift card for the homeless, Distributed 250 morale boosting "care bags" for nurses, planted 100 lottery tickets in hospital waiting rooms, handed out cookies, scattered 50 free subway rides, bought meals for three and coffee for five strangers, delivered 150 care packages to an adult care facility, and my absolute favorite; left 60 quarters on gum ball machines for children to randomly enjoy.....
Reason to do something...or nothing.
"One man's imagined community is another man's political prison." (Anderson, 1983)
Keystone XL pipeline Question:
Will it really cost less to build a pipeline dividing an entire country (Canada to the Gulf of Mexico) and endangering an aquifer than building a new local refinery close by fostering a regionalized distribution system that would directly benefit those producing it in the first place?
Trains move 2,000 lbs of freight between 430 and 600 miles on a single (one) gallon of fuel!
Studies dating back to 2003 by the Centers for Disease control (CDC), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Kaiser Permanente continue to confirm that there is "no evidence that environmental surface finishes or fabrics containing antimicrobials assist in preventing infections". Most commonly known as Microban, Triclosan was included in a growing list of endocrine disrupting chemicals by the World Health Organization in 2013. Also classified as a bio-accumulative being found in over 75% of Americans tested by the CDC, Triclosan degrades in the environment into a group of Dioxins (carcinogenic endocrine disrupters). The FDA joins the Canadian Medical Associations call for a ban by announcing a proposed regulation targeting hand soaps and other products (fabrics) with concern for the use of such products contributing to "super" resistant germs. My mother always said great things about good ol-fashioned soap and water....Windex on the other hand is another story for another time!
Factory vs. Farm Food
In 2013 the Washington Examiner reported that the National Corn Growers Association had declared Virginia Organic Corn production the worlds largest harvest. David Hula, a farmer near Richmond Va. broke Iowas 12-year record of 442 bushels of corn per acre with 454 Organic bushels! Critics are now questioning just how organic this "crop" is/was. It is our hope that logic will prevail as an opportunity for science to assist in defining what truly sustainable agriculture is.
Green Steps 101
Living green experts for years generally agree that the top three steps to take toward a green and sustainable home begins with bedding (we spend up to 1/3 of our lives in direct contact) and goes on to include flooring, paint, etc. We would argue that the number one place to begin is with diet as a choice in natural or organic foods will have a direct effect on personal health, community health, cast a powerful vote with your dollars, and have a direct positive impact on the environment. Bedding composition would rank two in our book for the same reasons. The number three slot in our minds is tied with flooring! Research beginning in 1999 by Earthshade Natural Window Fashions confirms that window fashions have a direct impact on indoor air quality (IAQ). In fact all treatments will either act as an air filter or an air "dump" depending on material composition. Tests confirm that the suns impact only exacerbate this reality.
"The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life" President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
Inspiring Places: Bhutan
With Nepal and China as neighbors the Government of Bhutan measures Gross National Happiness over economic growth and or Gross domestic Product (GDP). "Gross National Happiness is the responsibility of government to create an environment that citizens can pursue happiness. Balance above all. "We think about what we do rationally, spiritually, and holistically. "The purpose of society is to produce long & happy lives for all citizens." -Happy-The movie
Windows are an intersection of your world and the outside world. Please dress to impress!
Electric or gas? I have always found the banter concerning cooking with electric or gas confusing and usually based on opinion over science. After waiting and waiting for water to boil on a friends gas stove, I decided I could perform my own experiment! I used the exact same amount of cold tap water in the exact same pan on the 6" electric coil on my own stove rated at 1200 watts which converts to 4,080 BTU's. It took 5 minutes and 34 seconds for 4 cups of water to come to a rolling boil. I then went to my friends house with the pan, measuring cup, etc and performed the exact same procedure on their similar sized gas fired cooktop rated at 5,000 BTU's. The gas fired water took over 9 minutes! Higher BTU's and more time equals more gas equals higher bills and larger footprint on the planet! I also observed that much of the heat (energy) being produced by the gas flame could be felt around the pot indicating that the pot was acting like a heat shield making it obvious that an electric stove directly conducts the energy through the pot connecting with the water more efficiently.
A new (2013) report released by the U.S. Dept. of Energy compared the lifecycle of energy and environmental impacts of LED lighting products with that of Compact Fluorescent (cfl) and incandescent (light bulb of our childhood). The first report of its kind measured fifteen criteria with a 60 watt equivalent source used for each. One conclusion found that the average lifecycle consumption of energy including manufacturing, transportation, usage, and disposal of both LED and fluorescent are similar with an incandescent bulb consuming nearly four times the energy over a lifetime. It should be noted that the LED industry has performance targets for 2015 to decrease life-cycle energy by half. Another intriguing note by the study related to a large disparity in energy related to the amount of packaging. Moral: Support LED technology with the least amount of packaging. Each investment in this technology will cast your vote among the industry increasing demand fostering a faster transition away from older technologies.
Elect to follow the leader?
"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it" President George W. Bush
"Life is like a box of chocolates; Sometimes you get a nut" Forest Gump
Click here to contact someone who cares
"The planet is fine, the people are fu%$ed": George Carlin
Inspiring places: Denmark
Often considered the happiest country on earth featuring a free education system through college and free health care for life. A cooperative "all in" society that has more families living together sharing chores and benefits in co-housing communities than any region in the world.
Eardrum & Tongue
"Everything has a flow, a current, a pulse, or rhythm. Some-things are more methodical and others vary by the time of ones perspective."
C. W. Swanson
'Bonds are made and broken yet connection persists whether it be in a happenstance interaction, through a neighborhood, community, or on to the whole of the universe.
C. W. Swanson
"Hey Kermit; It IS easy being green!"
Feeding the addiction to consume responsibly
Economic studies by universities, think tanks and government agencies show that spending locally keeps cash in communities, creates jobs, produces local taxes, saves shoppers time, money and gas and builds prosperity. Those same studies speak to the significant “multiplier effect” of a dollar spent locally and how it’s “re-invested” in the community over several business transactions. For every dollar spent locally, 45 cents is reinvested locally. For every dollar spent at a corporate chain, a mere 15 cents remains local. See more here
"We" to "Me" in 42 years
-Rotary phones to "I"phones
-Farmers to "Producers"
-Cash to "Credit"
-Less for More
-Team to "MVP"
-Home to "McMansion"
Can't we see?
Squirrel Food Snobs
Paul Fonder was curious to see what kind of corn squirrels would favor. Last fall, Fonder conducted an experiment in his South Dakota backyard. He built a squirrel feeder and put genetically modified corn fresh from a neighbor’s field on one post and one-year-old organic corn on the other. "You would expect squirrels to prefer fresh corn over corn that’s a year old,” said Fonder. But that’s not what happened. Fonder repeated the experiment five times. The squirrels left behind the GMO corn devouring different varieties of organic each and every time. Do you think that it’s possible the squirrels might be on to something here?
GMOS have been linked to a large range of health concerns including small scale digestive conditions to several forms of cancer not to mention environmental pollution concerns that include "colony collapse disorder" of vital pollinators like honey bees. When was the last time you saw a honeybee? Proponents of GMO's argue better yields to feed the world among other claims. We believe in our constitutional right to freedom of choice. Without labels choice is increasingly difficult.
All 26 European countries require labeling along with several Asian, South American, and other countries around the world.
An ABC News poll found 93% of respondents want the federal government to require mandatory labeling of GMO's. 57% say they would use those labels to avoid foods containing GMO's!
Labeling efforts are underway in 26 states, In November voters in the state of Washington were narrowly defeated by insidious multi million dollar propaganda machines. Last year proposition 37 was narrowly defeated in California by a margin of 53 - 47% following a final "Vote No" campaign that was funded by over $45 million led by Monsanto who threw more than $8 million themselves into efforts to defeat the measure. Dupont, Pepsico, Bayer, Dow and Syngenta were also big funders of the opposition, each contributing at least $2 million apiece, with ConAgra throwing in $1.07 million!
Protect yourself, your family, and future generations, support GMO labeling legislation and vote with your dollars by purchasing certified Organic food that is required by law to be GMO free.
"Were protecting nature because we recognize that nature is THE infrastructure of our communities, and that if we want to meet our obligation as a generation, as a nation, as a civilization--Which is to create communities for our children that provide them with the same opportunities for dignity and enrichment and prosperity and good health as the communities that our parents gave us--We've got to start by protecting our environmental infrastructure" ....Robert F. Kennedy
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but NOT their own facts" Senator D.P. Moynihan
Inspiring places: Okinawa Japan
Highest concentration of centenarians in the world. Okinawans grow vegetables for their livelihood and as gifts to friends and neighbors. Elders gather each day in the afternoon for tea, talk and to support one another. "When you meet somebody you are already brother and sister. We feel we should do no harm to anybody that is the icharibachode spirit." If a tragedy happens to a family, everyone comes to help.
"Monchu" = one family. Children are referred to as future 100 year olds.
"Cooperation illicit's Dopamine signals equal to that of "juice" or cocaine." P. Read Montague PHD. Prof. of neuroscience Baylor College.
Words of the times:
10.24.13 "Money is simply a form of energy that creates relationships between people"
11.12.13 "You fling enough crap into the universe, occasionally the breeze is going to blow your way." Captain Jim Brass: CSI Las Vegas (fiction)
12.16.13 "When you change your mind, everything changes" Alan Cohen
Short and Sweet
When The London Times solicited an essay contest to answer the question; What's wrong with the world? G.K. Chesterson submitted:
Dear Sirs, I am. Sincerely G.K. Chesterson.
Tom Shadyack responded with:
"Dear G.K. Chesterson, Bingo! Sincerely Tom Shadyack.