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  • Allison Danneels's avatar
    Allison Danneels 1/20/2022 10:09 AM
    @Brenda Street, here is a locally made version of dry detergent options
    I did not mention this yesterday, but in my day job I work for P&G, and used to be responsible for package innovation so I know too much about plastics and global supply chains :-)

  • Jennifer Goldschneider's avatar
    Jennifer Goldschneider 1/19/2022 3:10 PM
    Welcome to all our new Winter 2022 team members! I'm looking forward to exploring all the ways we can increase our personal, local, regional, national and global sustainability!

  • Gerda Miller's avatar
    Gerda Miller 12/01/2021 2:57 AM
    This year, I collected some milkweed seeds. The seeds should be dark brown without the pod split open. To get rid of the fluff, I shook the seeds in a brown paper bag. I planted them after the first hard frost on the soil with some leaf mulch. If they germinate in the spring, the plants should thrive with lots of sunlight. I plan to get different seeds next year from a local butterfly preserve that can’t sell them due to government regulations.

    • BRIAN BEAR's avatar
      BRIAN BEAR 12/01/2021 12:27 PM
      There is a little plot of milkweed in an industrial park near us. I have been trying to help it along by distributing the seeds and hoping that the owner doesn't mow it (it's in a ditch that is hard to mow, thank goodness) I harvested some seeds for planting at home too.  I didn't realize until I tried planting them that milkweeds are perennials (duh) and they take a couple of years to get going. I got germination and growth the first year (2019) and transplanted from pots into the yard this year, and they are doing well now.  

  • Gerda Miller's avatar
    Gerda Miller 11/25/2021 1:15 PM
    My vision for a sustainable town centers on the belief that “there’s no place like home.” If you care about your community, you’ll support what it takes to keep it going. Just don’t forget about the environment when the opportunity for change happens. Finally, don’t listen to someone who sees no value in individual efforts in sustainability. Otherwise, this course was a waste of time.

  • BRIAN BEAR's avatar
    BRIAN BEAR 11/19/2021 9:13 AM
    Hi All, I’ve been mulling over something we talked about at the end of this week’s session – how to ‘reach people,’ how to influence people about climate change and the environment (or more importantly, motivate them to do something about it.)  Different people are motivated by different things. For some people it’s an influencer, someone who makes a splash on TV or social media. 

    Me personally, I am *done* with celebrities and “experts.” I ignore sports figures, Hollywood types, leaders of NGOs. My belief in “experts” has been greatly eroded the last few years (don’t get me started about the FAA/Boeing/737-Max debacle, currently my favorite example, haha.)  For me, they are all too superficial, not based on facts but emotions, or just trying to be authoritative because they crave attention. 

    I – personally - am motivated by people that are authentic: people that are *living* the thing that they profess. I have great respect for the Amish and Mennonites, because they live in accordance with their beliefs (and also take lightly from the Earth, compared to the average American.) Ordinary people that take lightly from the earth but don’t make a big deal out of it - and there are quite a lot of those, I think, but it is not a glamorous life that makes a splash in the NYT or the Book of Face. Some experts and celebrities have “authentic” credentials too, but not many. 

    I have seen personally that having authenticity makes a compelling case when you’re talking to doubters. I have a couple of coworkers that are skeptical of AGW (human-caused climate change.) We have traded good-natured insults because they know I am an environmentalist, with hippy-dippy tendencies. But a few years ago we installed a solar water heater and hooked it up to our house. It made an interesting opening with those guys. Because we put skin in the game – we had to put real $ and sweat into the project. Then those guys were interested in both the technical details, and the payback period ('how much natgas and how much $ are you going to save from that?')

    I confess to being lukewarm about Greta Thunberg – not her personally, but the movement behind her. I do not doubt her personal courage, speaking in front of the UN. I think she demonstrated authenticity a few years ago, sailing across an ocean for a climate conference (while most of the attendees fly in chartered jets and bring their motorcades and sycophants)  The media called that a stunt, but I don't think so. I do think her message gets co-opted by other people (the “climate-change = buy my solar panels!” crowd) 

    • Jennifer Goldschneider's avatar
      Jennifer Goldschneider 12/03/2021 11:35 AM
      Brian, I agree with you that the authentic people who are living their beliefs are the most convincing and inspiring to me personally. I think, though, that it takes multiple types of "representatives" to have an impact on multiple types of everyday people. I would be happy to see any type of representative/advocate working to change things - PROVIDED that they use accurate science and tell the facts about the situation. The bigwigs and pro athletes who don't impress you and me might still have a role to play if they could positively influence their own "followers", even if the benefits of change that they cite are completely different. 

  • Jennifer Goldschneider's avatar
    Jennifer Goldschneider 11/17/2021 12:20 PM
    Reflection #7: I continue to reflect on the changes that the pandemic has brought to my family's patterns of consumption. For example, we have missed travel, but don't miss clothes shopping. We haven't needed updated clothing to work online! I don't miss browsing in stores as much as I thought I would, and do not intend to go back to doing that in the future. Apart from grocery and pharmacy, we really haven't shopped much at all. We reduced gift-giving, too.  We are also more conscious about the impacts of what we invest in: as we explored the options for new window treatments for our bedroom (replacing 20 year-old blinds), we asked vendors lots of questions about materials, manufacturing processes, and expected lifespan. We're trying to make responsible choices that will function well for many years. What surprises me the most about these changes - they don't feel hard. Simpler feels good! That lesson is one of the silver linings for me of life in the pandemic.

  • Gerda Miller's avatar
    Gerda Miller 11/17/2021 9:17 AM
    Introducing me to Dr. Vandana Shiva’s writing is a fantastic Ecochallenge gift. She has a blog (Jivad) and has a post on what the pandemic has taught us.  She echos my belief on the importance of simplicity towards sustainable living.

  • Gerda Miller's avatar
    Gerda Miller 11/17/2021 8:00 AM
    Economics is a difficult topic for me to grasp. My main goal in life is to live below my means in order to save and stay out of debt. Can the topic of sustainability boil down to better choices in consumption?

    • Jennifer Goldschneider's avatar
      Jennifer Goldschneider 11/17/2021 12:37 PM
      Different choices about consumption would certainly have an impact on sustainability. The size of the population matters, too. Even if people only consume what is absolutely necessary to live, there is an upper limit on how many people can do even that without overtaxing the planet. However, think how much closer we could come to equity of resources if we all were committed to living that way. Of course, I don't think human nature lends itself to consuming only as much as needed to survive. Most other animals don't gain power and dominance by hoarding, the way we can.

  • Gerda Miller's avatar
    Gerda Miller 11/16/2021 3:45 PM
    My husband and I are not shoppers, and the nearest grocery store gets most of our business. Paying in cash and using a list makes us aware of the cost of things. Inflation is on the rise, but the price of food still is not as bad as it was during the first months of the pandemic. The biggest change in our food habits concerns meat. We buy less of it, but nothing seems to beat the price of a package of toilet paper. The store brand is not often on the shelf. What good is a double roll, if it doesn’t fit the roll dispenser? 

    • Jennifer Goldschneider's avatar
      Jennifer Goldschneider 11/17/2021 12:40 PM
      Now there is a cosmic question! Challenge for marketers: how to make us think we need more and bigger toilet paper rolls, even when they don't fit the standard holder!

  • Tammy Alverson's avatar
    Tammy Alverson 11/12/2021 6:46 AM
    Sorry to miss this week's meeting but I chose to attend my neighborhood's first HOA, turnover (from the builder) and election of Board members meeting.  Wow!  A lot going on.  I was a member of an HOA Board years ago and while not interested in doing that again, I do want to be involved as a community member.

    The management company representative went over some of the items that still need to be addressed by the developer, the responsibility of the Board and the release of the builder.  7 homeowners tossed their hats into the ring, so to speak, for 3 Board positions.  We had a question and answer session while votes were being counted and then announcement of the new Board members.  I felt a wave of nostalgia!  

    We have 79 families in our community and most seemed to have the same concerns/interests.  The meeting went well, and long, and it seems we have a great community with a bunch of really nice people.  I met a couple of new neighbors so I guess I should find that in "Actions" and say I've completed it!