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Book: "F**k Plastic"

This small book, F**K Plastic: 101 ways to free yourself from plastic and save the world by Rodale Sustainability offers excellent tips to make us more conscious of what we are doing — and want we can do.

Recently, I bought new clothes pins to hang up laundry that wouldn’t be going into the dryer. Good, you might think. But I looked at the prices and bought the cheaper plastic ones. Many have already broken. If I’d read this book sooner, those plastic clothes pins would not have been my choice.

Some of the tips in this book aren’t a surprise: Tip #17, for instance, is “Pick loose fruit and veggies” – “Don’t bother with the avocados that come two in a pack, or the bell peppers the come in threes, or the shrink-wrapped broccoli. Especially don’t bother with the half portions of cucumber you now find in supermarkets which come shrink-wrapped and then packaged in another layer of plastic. Opt instead for the veggies that are loose in trays, and–if you can-also buy from places that shun sticky labels” (24).

I’m a cucumber – get me out of here! from F**k Plastic

Some of the tips are surprises: #26 Say Goodbye to Gum.

“Have a guess how many pieces of gum are made in the world each year.

If you happened to say 1.74 trillion, [www.chewinggumfacts.com – accessed on 05/23/2018] give yourself a pat on the back. Now have a guess what most chewing gum is primarily made from. That’s right: a type of plastic. Pass the mints” (p. 33).

Say goodby to gum. Illustration from “F**k Plastic”

Some of the tips are ways of looking in new ways: Tip #15 Swap potato chips for doughnuts

“Yes, we’re serious! Sure we all know avoiding both the doughnut and the chips would be better for our health (pft), but if you’re going to reach for a treat anyway, make it a loose baked product like a doughnut or cookie over a bag of chips or cookies. Many of the latter are packaged using layered plastic material, which theoretically could be recycled but a lot of the time isn’t due to the cost. Loose baked products on the other hand are totally fair game” (p. 22).

Enjoy! Photo by Alice Pasqual on Unsplash

The book is filled with useful hints. The introduction asks: “Plastic, what’s the big deal?”

“Plastic still remains a pretty great invention–syringes, hip replacements, protective helmets, your laptop, my phone, that car. Let’s be honest–plastic ain’t going nowhere. But that’s the problem in a nutshell–all the single-use plastics we buy each day without realizing ain’t going nowhere either. A plastic carrier bag is used on average for 12 minutes [www.biologicaldiversity.org accessed on 05/23/2018] — but it’ll still be here in 100 to 300 years. The water bottle you picked up at lunch could still be here in 450” (p. 1).

Tip #89 Be mindful

“Look after your things! It’s as simple as that. Look after your phone; look after your headphones; look after your hair ties; look after your stationery; look after every item you own that contains plastic. The better care you give it, the less you will need to replace it and the less plastic that ultimately ends up bin a landfill or the sea” (103).

Read this book: There is lots to be done. We can each be part of the solution.

Aloha, Renée

P.S. Thanks for lending me this book, Joy. N.

From: <https://blueocean.net/powerful-images-of-plastic-pollution-go-viral/&gt;

Thought for the Day: "Consumption"

“Most people drive their vehicles too often.  They go shopping for things they do not need, and they don’t do research to see who and what is affected by their purchases.  They waste water in showers, sinks, and toilets.  

One of the leading causes of death globally is the lack of access to clean water, yet many of us waste and pollute water every day.  We use disposable products and then throw them away.  We take resources from the earth and future generations.  All of these behaviors are the behaviors of addicts.  

It is easier to focus on people with drug or alcohol addiction than it is to look at how almost everyone in industrialized society has become addicted to consumption.”

—from “The Butterfly Effect,” Julia Butterfly Hill interviewed by Leslee Goodman, April 2012

In The Sun, March 2019, p. 47.  

Our New Year is coming and with it most of us set goals and resolutions.  Let’s all become more conscious in all we do and what we use.   Individually and together, let’s evolve.  

Aloha, Renée

Banner – London Underground atrium photo by Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash

Barry’s Gleanings: “Free California of Fossil Fuels” By Bill McKibben

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In a recent New York Times Opinion piece, environmentalist Bill McKibben,  founder of 350.org, a group seeking to build clean solutions for the world’s energy needs, notes the possibility and importance of California state legislation.

“The State Senate passed a measure last year that would commit California, the world’s fifth-largest economy, to running on 100 percent clean energy by 2045. Now it is up to the Assembly to provide crucial leadership by passing that legislation, S.B. 100. If any place on earth can handle this transition, it’s California, home to some of the planet’s strongest sunshine and many of its finest clean-tech entrepreneurs.

Already, thanks to strong efforts at efficiency and conservation and the falling price of solar power, the average California household spends almost 50 percent less on energy than the average family in, say, Louisiana. But unless the Assembly passes S.B. 100 before the current session ends, much of that momentum will evaporate. After great organizing (including from my colleagues at 350.org chapters across the state), 72 percent of Californians back the bill; it’s now a test of confidence versus cravenness for members of the Assembly.

The governor, Jerry Brown, has been strangely quiet on S.B. 100, which is odd since it should be the no-brainer capstone to his clean-energy endeavors. After the governor’s years of leading efforts to deal with the demand side of the energy equation, activists are now also demanding he show equal attention to the supply side. His administration routinely grants new permits for oil and gas drilling, leading not only to more carbon emissions but also to drill rigs and derricks next to the houses, schools and hospitals of the state’s poorest residents: From rural Kern County to south-central Los Angeles, nearly 70 percent of the people living near wells are minorities. . . “

See the complete article at –

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/08/opinion/fires-california-fossil-fuels.html?hpw&rref=opinion&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-

Aloha, Barry (and Renee)

P.S. Thanks, Sue for sending this article to us.

Image by: Mikey Burton

 

Lionfish: Stunningly Beautiful? Yes! Devastatingly Invasive? It Depends.

What is ecologically correct, even helpful, to eat from the Atlantic Ocean – but not from the Pacific Ocean?

What in a well-made ceviche is rather firm and tastes like a cross between lobster and shrimp? What melts in your mouth, while the “butteriness” balances well with the lime juice”?   And from the grill, what is a lot like grouper?

The answer is lionfish from the Atlantic Ocean and other areas where the introduced lionfish is destroying native marine life.

According to NOAA research, the very invasive lionfish found in the Atlantic Ocean prey upon numerous species of fish and crustaceans, such as juvenile spiny lobster, wrasses, parrotfish, blennies, and other ecologically important species.   The Atlantic Ocean has very limited predators for lionfish, which inflict extremely painful venom from their spines.

Lionfish might have been introduced into Florida’s waters in 1992, when Hurricane Andrew capsized many transport boats and broke beach-side aquariums. It’s estimated that  Americans alone import thousands of the stunning lionfish every year for their aquariums, and some later release the fish in no-native waters.

Reproducing year round, lionfish have no natural enemies and an extremely high reproductive rate of 2 million eggs a year from one female.  Unsurprisingly they’ve taken over rapidly (NOAA).

A recent Oregon State University study found that in just five weeks, introduced lionfish reduced the native reef fishes by about 80 percent. The aggressive feeding of lionfish also reduces the numbers of herbivorous fishes that keep seaweeds and macro-algae from overgrowing corals.  Lionfish are also taking over snapper and grouper habitats; they hamper stock rebuilding efforts and coral reef conservation measures. Voracious eaters, lionfish grow to a foot or more long, and their stomachs can expand up to 30 times their normal size!

Because native species in the Atlantic and other waters where the lionfish have been introduced do not recognize a lionfish as a predator, the local fish don’t flee.   Lionfish can eat prey over half the size of their own body as long as it will fit into their mouths, and they eat almost anything.

The sharp spines of the lionfish contain a powerful venom: a single prick from a lionfish spine can cause days of swelling, discomfort and even paralysis. Pacific Ocean native fish know the danger, and stay away from lionfish (Smithsonian).

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Red lionfish near Komoda in Indonesia.  Here in the Pacific Ocean, the lionfish is in balance with its marine environment because native fish know to flee when they see a lionfish.  Image from<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pterois#/media/File:Red_lionfish_near_Gilli_Banta_Island.JPG  

In the Western Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and in the Gulf of Mexico, however, where lionfish are not native and have very few predators,  environmentalists are fighting the lionfish invasion with traps, nets and spears, lionfish catching contests, recipes and cooking contests, including Bermuda’s  Eat ‘Em to Beat ‘Em , campaign. Honduras divers are trying to train sharks to eat lionfish (National Geographic).

Atlantic Ocean lionfish are now being listed as the “ultimate in guilt-free eating – delicious, nutritious and eco-conscious. “  Chefs do need to know how to cut out the poisonous spines and prepare the lionfish correctly so as not to pass on the toxins to their guests. And the fishermen need to know how to catch them without being stung.

The next time you are in Florida, you might find lionfish on the menu. It’s not cheap: in Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas, the August Moon Restaurant and Café has been serving lionfish since 2007. Alexandra Maillis Lynch, the owner and chef, serves lionfish tempura once every two months, whenever she can convince fishermen to supply it to her. She offers fifteen to twenty dollars a pound for the exotic specialty, nearly twice as much as she pays for the more common grouper (Smithsonian).

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Lionfish – from the Atlantic Ocean

According to Southern Living magazine article “Eat the Enemy and Enjoy Lionfish this Summer,”  “For chefs, the lionfish’s canvas-like versatility is a key strength. It’s difficult to imagine a preparation—from beer-battered, to sashimi, to vegetable-packed kebabs—that wouldn’t work.”

The story of the Atlantic Ocean lionfish is a good reminder to all of us that introducing alien species into any habitat can quickly lead to catastrophe, both for wildlife and for us.

Hunting-Lionfish

That headline isn’t completely true for all the Western Atlantic, but the lionfish are wiping out native populations of marine life.  Enhttps://lionfish.co/why-are-lionfish-a-problem/ter a caption

Remember, our Pacific Ocean lionfish are part of the diversity of our waters – and they should NOT be eaten.

But consuming the Atlantic Ocean lionfish means you are helping the native fish and the commercial fishermen!

Aloha, Renée

Information from: < https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/invasion-of-the-lionfish-131647135/> and information and photo from: <http://www.habitat.noaa.gov/pdf/best_management_practices/fact_sheets/Lionfish%20Factsheet.pdf>

Banner from: http://www.groupersandwich.com/news/2015/07/lionfish-now-available/

 

 

 

“The Benefits of Trashing the Garden”

What’s an easy way to get nutrients to your plants? How can you avoid chemical fertilizers?

The Garden Doctor’s suggestions will help you get rid of yard and vegetable waste – and make your plants happy and healthy.

The Benefits of Trashing the Garden

‘Dear Garden Doctor,

I want to use natural fertiliser [sic] but don’t have the patience for a compost, do you have any ideas for other easy ways to give my plants a natural kick with organic fertiliser. I’ve heard that banana peels can be used in the garden from vegetable gardens to flowers, palm trees and even thrown in the tops of staghorn ferns. Do you have any other easy ideas for natural fertilisers that can be made from ordinary household scraps that would otherwise end up in the rubbish bin?

Rafa from Ubud’

Adding any sort of organic matter to the soil to will improve the nutritional content and vitality of the soil whilst also inviting worms and all sorts of other beneficial micro-organisms to move in. A living soil that is teeming with life will always show the results by producing a lush green garden.  The easiest place to start is to re-use waste that you find within the garden.

All of the leaves that fall, the pruned offcuts, and the flowers that you deadhead contain vital nutrients that have been drawn up from deep within the soil. That’s why composting is so beneficial, it’s all about recycling the nutrients back into the soil. If you don’t have the patience for composting, then do it nature’s way and cycle the nutrients directly back into the soil.

Leaves and Garden Waste

Raking up old leaves and spreading them around the garden as a layer of mulch is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get started. Leaf mould or decaying leaf material is so simple, yet extremely beneficial. It’s one of the most readily available amendments you can add directly into your soil to improve it.

The benefits are twofold, not only will the soil benefit from the slow release of nutrients, it also retains moisture within the soil or can prevent moisture loss from evaporation if layered on as a mulch. Alternatively, you can dig it into the soil, where it will aerate the soil and improve drainage in combination with the action of worms, insects and microbes working to break it down.

When tidying up the garden recycle the garden off-cuts, making sure that they’re pest and disease free. Old dry palm fronds can be cut up and reincorporated into the soil. If your off-cuts are green, leave them in a pile out in the sun for a few days so that they dry up, turn brown and then can easily be shredded and reincorporated into the soil. Dead or dried up flowers can be pruned and scattered around the garden beds. Dried grass clippings are also one of the best nitrogen boosts you can give to your garden. Collect all garden waste, and cycle it back into the garden, it is full of the nutrients that have been sucked up from deep within the soil.

Kitchen Scraps

 They are great for the compost, but can also be incorporated directly back into the soil, decomposing rapidly and releasing nutrients for your plants. Fruit peels such as banana peels, mango, papaya and avocado skins will decompose quickly when lightly dug into the soil, alternatively simply just throw them around the base of your plants and cover with a layer of soil and leaves. Peels will provide potassium, phosphorous and calcium as well as many other trace minerals which will promote root and flower development and overall plant health. If you are concerned about attracting pests or animals, dry the peels in the sun before adding them into the garden or liquefy the peels in a blender with water before pouring it on to your garden.

Coffee Grounds and Tea Leaves

Coffee grounds and tea leaves are a source of nitrogen for the garden. You can either scatter coffee grounds around the base of your plants or fork them into the soil. With the teabags I normally collect a few then tear the paper and throw them in a bucket with water and pour the onto the soil. Coffee grounds and used tea leaves will give nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and magnesium. The same goes for herbal teas, the green tea, rosehips or whatever sort that you drink can be poured out onto the garden or around your pot plants.

Eggshells

They consist of over 90% calcium carbonate and contain small amounts of other trace elements that make them a beneficial fertiliser. Collect them, wash and crush them, and then sprinkle them around the garden. They will add a hit of calcium and other minerals to the soil. Spread them around pot plants, your vegetable garden and outdoor trees. If you are growing an edible garden crushed egg shells sprinkled around plants will discourage snails and slugs, as they won’t crawl across the sharp jagged shell grit. Not only are you providing a natural fertiliser but also protecting your plants from slimy pests as well.

If you like boiled eggs, save the water until it cools and pour it on the garden as it will contain calcium and other minerals. Eggshells can also be used as seedling planters. With a pin make a few drainage holes in the bottom of an empty eggshell, add soil and then put them back into the old egg carton. Sow the seeds and care for them as you would any other seedlings. When they are ready to transplant into the garden, squeeze the shell gently to crack it and then place it in the ground. The roots will push through the cracks in the shell which will eventually decompose naturally, the best bit is… no transplant shock!

Eggshell+planters+seedlings

Start seedlings in egg shells

Starchy Rice Water and Other Sugars

When you wash your rice, instead of wasting the starchy water by pouring it down the sink, water it around your plants and flowers. Just make sure to pour it directly onto the soil and avoid getting it all over leaves and flowers. The starches will promote beneficial soil bacteria, whilst also adding nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous and other trace elements to the soil. Empty or near empty drink containers can also be used to water to the garden. If I go to the fridge and find the last remains of a milk or fruit juice container I fill it up with water to dilute the contents and then pour it straight onto the garden. Milk diluted with water is a well known fertiliser for the garden. The same goes for any drinks that have passed their use-by.

Simply dilute old containers with water and pour the contents around the garden. Even old bottles of soda can be rinsed and poured onto the garden, the microbes and plants will love the sugar hit. The added benefit is that you will have clean rinsed containers, instead of smelly sticky ones filling up the rubbish bin.

On a final note, the napkins, paper towels etc used at meal time are also thrown into the compost along with the old newspapers – the worms absolutely love that stuff. Who would’ve thought that trash could be so useful in the garden!

Dr. Kris

Garden Doctor

Contact: dr.kris@ymail.com

Copyright © 2017 Dr. Kris

You can read all past articles of Garden Doctor at http://www.BaliAdvertiser.biz

 

Happy gardening – and getting rid of waste.

Aloha, Renée

Article from: Go to – https://baliadvertiser.biz/the-benefits-of-trashing-the-garden/

Images from: <http://www.17apart.com/2012/01/how-to-plant-seeds-using-eggshells.html&gt; and  the egg shell heads from:  The Bali Advertiser, p. 7.

Thought for the Day: Do Something Green

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“Tip #142:  There are billions of aluminum cans in use today, and it’s important that we recycle every single one.  Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.”

Thanks to Bob & H – From:  PositivelyGreenCards.com

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Images from: https://www.google.com/search?q=free+images+aluminum+cans&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiPhM6CjpPRAhWkjlQKHaW2DEgQ7AkIRQ&biw=1129&bih=748

Let’s get all those aluminum cans in the recycle bins.  Aloha, Renée

 

 

What Foods Are Best?

We’ve just celebrated our annual Thanksgiving feast in the U.S.; the Christmas and New Year season with many gatherings and parties is ahead.  So we don’t balloon up in size, it’s a time to be particularly conscious of our eating choices.  But making conscious choices can be more than just looking at the calories we consume.

At the Bali Vegan Festival in October,  in the presentation, “Why Veganism is the Best Choice,” Judit Németh-Pach, the Hungarian Ambassador to Indonesia, provided many compelling facts and reasons to become vegan.

why-veganism

Judith Németh-Pach provided compelling reasons to consider veganism – at the Bali Vegan Festival in Ubud.

One source she sited was EatingOurFuture.com with its compilation of many convincing articles and scientific studies.

Given our anatomy, what foods are best for humans?

human-biology-indicates-our-optimal-food-diet-a-comparison-of-digestive-systems-for-frugivores-omnivores-carnivores-herbivores-hires

“As a group, vegetarians/vegans live longer than meat-eaters. Furthermore, vegetarians/vegans generally enjoy better health:

  • having less of the serious chronic diseases than the meat-eaters suffer;
  • with less of the associated disability and pain than the meat-eaters suffer; and
  • being less of a financial & social burden on their family and friends than are the meat-eaters with their higher rates of chronic degenerative disease.

Being healthier overall, vegetarians have more potential for the freedom & ability to live life to the full and independently for a longer time.”

 https://eatingourfuture.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/human-biology-indicates-our-optimal-food-diet-a-comparison-of-digestive-systems-for-frugivores-omnivores-carnivores-herbivores-hires.jpg

What food choices are sustainable?

vegetarian-issues-meat-cows-are-main-cause-of-pollution-climate-change

“Agriculture, particularly meat & dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, [and] 38% of the total land use.”

Go to: https://eatingourfuture.wordpress.com/

How do food choices affect greenhouse gas emissions?

vegetarian-good-diet-meat-eat-smart-chart-carbon-foot-print-of-foods

Greenhouse gas emissions from different foods.

Yikes!  Nooooooo.  Low fat, organic cheese is worse than pork in creating greenhouse gases!! (I love good cheeses)!

What about eating fish and seafood?  Aren’t they good protein options?

“1/. The United Nations reports: “According to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate, over 70% of the world’s fish species are either fully exploited or depleted. The dramatic increase of destructive fishing techniques worldwide destroys marine mammals and entire ecosystems… oceans are cleared at twice the rate of forests…”
http://www.un.org/events/tenstories/06/story.asp?storyid=800

2/. “Global marine populations slashed by half since 1970: WWF… Populations of marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish have dropped by about half in the past four decades, with fish critical to human food suffering some of the greatest declines… “Overfishing, destruction of marine habitats and climate change have dire consequences for the entire human population… The pace of change in the ocean tells us there’s no time to waste,” Lambertini [head of WWF International] said. “These changes are happening in our lifetime. We can and we must correct course now.”…”
http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/global-marine-populations-slashed-by-half-since-1970-wwf/ar-AAelC44?li=AA59G3&ocid=iehp

3/. “Seafood hit by climate change, Australian study finds…  “There will be a species collapse from the top of the food chain down.”… Around 61 per cent of wild fish stocks are “fully fished” and 29 per cent “over-fished”, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Just 10 per cent are under-fished, the organization’s 2014 World Fisheries report said…”
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/seafood-hit-by-climate-change-australian-study-finds-20151012-gk6xck.html

4/. “Rich countries pay zombie fishing boats $5 billion a year to plunder the seas…” – http://qz.com/225432/rich-countries-pay-zombie-fishing-boats-5-billion-a-year-to-plunder-the-seas/

And there is more –

The United Nations “urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet.”

So, what can we eat to be healthy — and have sustainable food sources?

If you give up meat, seafood, and dairy to eat french fries, you will not be healthy.  Vegans need to be conscious of their choices too.

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You can be healthy – and happy on a vegan diet

http://www.vegancoach.com/vegan-food-pyramid.html

So what about me?  Have I become a vegan?  I’ve been vegetarian since 2003 and that isn’t hard.  In fact, it is getting easier all the time with almost all restaurants and even gatherings in homes offering tasty vegetarian options.  However, giving up eggs and really good cheeses is a challenge for me.  Right now,  I’m an aspiring vegan – for my own health and for that of our planet.

eating-our-future

Grim – but true.

What about you?  What conscious choices about your food are you or could you be making?

Aloha, Renée

Banner image is of a healthy vegan choice at Paradiso  –  The World’s First Organic Vegan Cinema – and major sponsor of the Bali Vegan Festival. When you go to Ubud, Bali, be sure to go to Paradiso for daily movie screenings, family afternoons, workshops, thematic festivals, live music shows, art exhibitions, private events, and excellent food. http://www.paradisoubud.com/

Image –  https://www.facebook.com/baliveganfestival/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1769340653328856

 

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Thought for the Day: Trees

“Our world is falling apart quietly.  Human civilization has reduced the plant, a four-hundred-million-year-old life form, into three things: food, medicine, and wood.  In our relentless and ever-intensifying obsession with obtaining a higher volume, potency, and variety of these three things, we have devastated plant ecology to an extent that millions of years of natural disaster could not.  Roads have grown like a manic fungus, and the endless miles of ditches that bracket these roads serve as hasty graves for perhaps millions of plant species extinguished in the name of progress,” says American geochemist and geobiologist  award winner Hope Jahren in her memoir Lab Girl. . .

Planet Earth is nearly a Dr. Seuss book made real: every year since 1990 we have created more than eight billion new stumps. . . [O]n my good days, I feel like I can do something about this.

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Hope Jahren, formerly at UH Manoa, now at the University of Oslo

Every single year, at least one tree is cut down in your name.   Here’s my personal request to you: If you own any private land at all, plant one tree on it this year.  If you are renting a place with a yard, plant a tree in it and see if your landlord notices.  If he does, insist to him that it was always there.  Throw in a bit about how exceptional he is for caring enough about the environment to have put it there.  If he takes the bait, go plant another one.  Baffle some chicken wire at its base and string a cheesy birdhouse around its tiny trunk to make it look permanent, then move out and hope for the best.

There are more than one thousand successful tree species for you choose from, and that’s just for North America.  You will be tempted to choose a fruit tree because they grow quickly and make beautiful flowers, but these species will break under moderate wind, even as adults.  Unscrupulous tree planting services will pressure you to buy a Bradford pear or two because they establish and flourish in one year; you’ll be happy with the result long enough for them to cash your check.  Unfortunately, these trees are also notoriously weak in the crotch and will crack in half during the first big storm.  You must choose with a clear head and open eyes.  You are marrying this tree: choose a partner, not an ornament. . .

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Boy with large breadfruit (Hawaiian ulu tree). Photograph copyright Jim Wiseman.

Image from: http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2014/09/12/breadfruit-could-be-vital-food-source-in-extreme-climate/

Jahren continues, “Once your baby tree is in the ground, check it daily, because the first three years are critical.  Remember that you are your tree’s only friend in a hostile world.  If you do own the land that it is planted on, create a savings account and put five dollars in it every month, so that when your tree gets sick between ages twenty and thirty (and it will), you can have a tree doctor over to cure it, instead of just cutting it down.  Each time you blow the account on tree surgery, put your head down and start over, knowing that your tree is doing the same.  The first ten years will be the most dynamic of your tree’s life; what kind of overlap will it make with your own?  . . .

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Memoir and science. After you’ve read this book, you’ll never look at a tree in the same way.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Z3FYQS4/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Feature image:  oak tree – http://hollywoodpark-tx.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/loan-oak-tree.jpg

Read a book.  Plant a tree – and take care of it.  You’ll have a great day.

Aloha, Renée

P.S. Update 11/29/2016

After reading this post, my friend Gail from here on Maui wrote, “Agreed with everything but planting on property that doesn’t belong to you. One of our biggest problems here and on the mainland with rentals is that long-term tenants start to see the property as belonging to them; which includes the planting of trees. We had to remove two weed trees that were ruining the foundation, and maintenance of palm trees has become exorbitant. Fruit trees for sustainability is a more rational approach and should be encouraged.

Probably Hope Jahren is not a landlord, so Gail’s advice seems reasonable: Check with your landlord first before you plant a tree.  Check with your local botanical garden, farmer’s union, municipal government . . . to see where and what trees can be planted.  You could become a part of a  community group that plants and cares for trees in your town.

When I searched for “planting trees on Maui,” the first on the list was http://plantawish.org/

“A few years ago, Sara and Joe (founders of Plant a Wish) crowd-funded a journey to hold native tree planting events with communities in all 50 states.”  Now they are still planting trees – and raising funds to make a documentary about their experiences.

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Plant a Wish founders – Joe and Sara

Wherever you are, you are likely to find tree planting groups in your area.  Join others to plant trees.  Have fun while doing good work.

And to walk my talk, I’ve planted two trees, little saplings with long taper roots, that were generously given to me on Thanksgiving Day by Courtney, an Up-Country Maui friend.   One sapling is a moringa.

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Moringa – the “miracle tree.”

Image from: http://miracletrees.org/

From “Eat the Weeds and other things too” at <http://www.eattheweeds.com/moringa-oleifera-monster-almost-2/>

From Deane Green, I’ve learned, “If you have a warm back yard, think twice before you plant a Moringa tree.

Is it edible? Yes, most of it. Is it nutritious? Amazingly so, flowers, seeds and leaves. Does it have medical applications? Absolutely, saving lives on a daily basis.  Can it rescue millions from starvation? Yes, many times yes. So, what’s the down side? They don’t tell you that under good conditions it grows incredibly fast and large, overwhelming what ever space you allot to it. It can grow to monster proportions in one season.”  Green says the tree grows more than 10 feet each year.  “[E]very year I cut off 15- to 20-foot branches. It requires constant attention. Despite its impressive growth pattern, it’s an extremely brittle tree. A man can easily break off a branch four inches through,…. It’s nice to feel like Hercules now and then.”

So it is likely to do really well in the  warm and sunny all year climate of Kihei.  I do know now that if I can keep my little sapling alive for the first three years, I will likely need to cut it down to a three-foot stump as Green does every year.

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Moringa leaves – super nutritious

Image from http://www.eattheweeds.com/moringa-oleifera-monster-almost-2/

Courtney also gave me a sapote sapling.

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These fruit are white sapote – a creamy custard texture.

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Inside the white sapote fruit.

The sapote taste is sweet and delicious, with no acidity, much like a custard dessert with a hint of banana or peach.

Images from http://www.strangewonderfulthings.com/138.htm

I don’t know which kind of sapote my sapling is, but I’ve read that some can grow to be 100 ft. (over 30 meters) tall, so I will need to be careful  when I place my sapote in my yard.  They fruit within eight years.  I look forward to picking my own sapote and gathering the moringa leaves and pods from trees in my yard in the years ahead.

Good luck with your planting too.  Aloha, Renée

 

 

Thought for the Day: Our Farmers

Since President Abraham Lincoln declared it a national holiday in 1863, those of us in the United States have been celebrating Thanksgiving  Day on the final Thursday in November.   We give thanks and count our many blessings – and usually eat too much with family and friends.

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One important blessing is our many farmers who provide the food we eat.

A way to become more conscious and make more informed choices about the food we have offered is to get to know our local farmers and their concerns.

 

If you live in Hawaii, a great way to do that is to join the Hawaii HFUU 2016 colored w microns Farmers Union United, a vital community group.  Whether you are a family  farmer, an avid backyard gardener, or just like to know where you can get good local produce, HFUU offers wonderful workshops, informative meetings, and works on important agricultural concerns.

For more information and to join, go to: https://hfuuhi.org/

Current President of Maui Farmers Union United and Vice President of Hawaii State Farmers Union United, Vincent Mina says about the challenges of farming (and everything else),

“If you do anything substantive, it will be hard.  Just get on with it.”

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Vincent Mina – from the HFUU home page.

Wherever you are in the world, check out what your farmers are doing.   “Get on with it.”

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family — and all who provide for you.

Aloha, Renée

 

The Sea Shepherd: “Are you willing to die for a whale?”

“All systems of oppression need to be challenged,” said a speaker at the Bali Vegan Festival in Ubud, Bali last month.   Doing just that since 1977, Sea Shepherd,  a non-governmental, non-profit environmental organization, has been using direct action tactics [along with lots of media attention]  to protect marine life [and to educate consumers].

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Sea Shepherd seeking poachers

If you want to volunteer on a Sea Shepherd crew, you will be asked that question, “Are you willing to die for a whale?”  The boats carry no guns but use film and public education to achieve incredible  change.  Their important work continues.

Sea Shepherd claims responsibility for damaging or sinking multiple whaling ships, through sabotage or ramming. The group has attempted to intervene against Russian, Spanish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Makah, Faroese, and Japanese whalers in multiple campaigns around the globe.  Those actions have included scuttling and disabling commercial whaling vessels at harbor, using limpet mines (a type of naval mine attached to a target by magnets) to blow holes in ship hulls,  ramming other vessels, throwing glass bottles of  butyric acid (stinky rancid butter) on the decks of vessels at sea, boarding of whaling vessels while at sea, and seizing  and destroying drift nets  at sea.   Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson has said that the organization has  destroyed millions of dollars worth of equipment.  The Sea Shepherd media extravaganzas have highlighted whaling, long-line fishing nets, and shark fining to get people everywhere informed and conscious of the destruction of life in our oceans.

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Scalloped Hammerhead Shark – over fished, few regulatory guidelines

Some shark populations have decreased by 60-70% due to shark fisheries.

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Scalloped Hammerhead Shark

 

image from:       http://knowledgebase.lookseek.com/Scalloped-Hammerhead-Shark-Sphyrna-lewini.html

Gary Stokes, Asia Director for Sea Shepherd, has spent the past 10 years on documenting, investigating, and exposing the shark fin trade. He was a guest speaker at the Bali Vegan Festival in Ubud last month.  Indonesia is the #1 exporter of shark fins; Spain #2.

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Shark fin    Image from <ocean-news/shark-finning-sharks-turned-prey>

There is much economic pressure to ignore the international bans on shark finning.

Fishermen often choose to keep just the shark fins—only one to five percent of a shark’s weight—and throw the rest of the shark away rather than have the less valuable parts take up space on the boat. The finned sharks are often thrown back alive into the ocean, where unable to swim properly and bleeding profusely, they suffocate or die of blood loss.  Shark meat sold to restaurants and markets is often used in seafood curries and stews.

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Shark fin soup – a sign of status at $100 U.S. a bowl.

Image from: http://ocean.si.edu/ocean-news/shark-finning-sharks-turned-prey

Gary says that now 60% of the fish and seafood in our oceans are in terrible condition. Global fishing fleets are now at 2.5 times the sustainable level.  Just one poaching boat, the “Lafayette” which works the waters off Chili and Peru around the Faroe Islands processes 1,500 tons of fish a day!!    Much of that is Chilean tooth fish; in restaurants, it’s called “Chilean Sea Bass.”  😦  Much of caught sea food goes to animal feed.

“Chilean sea bass”/ tooth fish

A result of Sea Shepherd and other activists groups like Greenpeace and loud voices, many people now know to make conscious choices.

According to a National Geographic article, we now know to “look for the blue eco-label of the Marine Stewardship Council, or ask where in the world the fish comes from. . .[to] help you find the best and avoid the rest”

http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2013/04/12/chilean-seabass-goes-from-take-a-pass-to-take-a-bite/

Stokes reports that forty percent of the tuna that comes into the U.S. is from illegal, unreported fisheries in Thailand.  And forty percent of all fish caught is used for animal feed. 😦  If the world continues to consume and destroy marine life at the current rates, Stokes says that by 1948 there will be no fish!

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The Sea Shepherd Fleet now has nine ships including the Steve Irwin, the Bob Barker, and the Brigette Bardot.

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Shark products.   Ask where, how, and by whom the fish were caught.

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Sea Shepherd goes after ships that  fish illegally

Recently, Sea Shepherd Asia had a hiatus, a year off, when Japan temporarily halted whale hunting.   Gary and his team got to go after other notorious pirate fishing vessels.  For 110 days, a Sea Shepherd ship chased the “Thunder” – #1 on the Interpol list of pirate fishing vessels.  Finally, the captain of the “Thunder” sunk his own ship rather than be caught with the incriminating evidence of illegal fishing!!    But while part of the Sea Shepherd crew was saving the “Thunder” crew, other Sea Shepherd volunteers entered the sinking ship in time to collect computers and other evidence that has the captain and crew serving time in a Nigerian jail.  [It would seem the owners of the pirate ships should be in jail too].  The photo above shows what has happened to other illegal fishing boats that Sea Shepherd has targeted.

Gary says of the ocean marine life, “We are losing everything.”  We must all learn and act.

So why was Gary invited to speak at the Vegan Fest?  The people who volunteer for the Sea Shepherd crews are ardent animal activists.  Many are vegans.  Since 2002, all Sea Shepherd vessels serve only vegan meals.  It would be hypocritical, says Gary, to eat meat while chasing people who are killing marine life.   Gary has been a vegetarian since 1980.  When he first started going out on Sea Shepherd missions, Gary was more worried about what he would get to eat than about the possible confrontations the crew would meet.  But, he has learned that the vegan meals are delicious, healthy, and accommodate everyone on board, and all religions.

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Vegan meals on the Sea Shepherd

The Sea Shepherd logo – a pirate to protect marine life:

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“If the oceans die, we die! We cannot live on this planet with a dead ocean,” said Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson

Watch the following documentaries; you will likely cry, cheer, and laugh.

Paul Watson: The Whale Warrior: A Pirate for the Sea

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nzbTsrOUxw

and

Confessions of an Eco-Terrorist – a full documentary film

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOSo_LHZeTw

Seafood Watch has a free app for iPhone and Android that’s updated as recommendations change.

Please be ocean-friendly when you shop for seafood.  Even better, eat vegetarian/vegan.  Think about it.  And tell your friends.  Do what you can do.

Remember that ardent animal rights Sea Shepherd crews don’t have guns.  Gary Stokes says that even one pissed off vegan is a force to be reckoned with.

Full steam ahead, Sea Shepherd.  We need you now more than ever.

Aloha, Renée

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