A Green Soul’Jah authentically lives from the Soul for God (Jah) to dedicate his/her lifestyle for the betterment of the Earth by reducing his or her carbon footprint.
A Green Soul’Jah is enlightened with the full vision that the generations to come need active minds and hands right now to reverse the current environmental damage to the planet.
Via everyday eco-friendly actions, a Green Soul’Jah directs his or her intentions and energy to effect a positive change to bring balance and restoration to the Earth.
Be a Green Soul’Jah!
Everyday Earth Friendly Actions
This is a partial list of actions that you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint. It may seem like a lot, but don’t let the length of the list overwhelm you. Once you get these habits into your routine, they become second nature. A few of my favorite websites with environmental tips are Thedailygreen.com, Wecansolveit.com, Thestoryofstuff.com, Greenamerica.org, Treehugger.com and Enn.com (Environmental News Network).
You can also visit your favorite search engine to find many other websites that can inspire you to go green.
Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
“Recycle, reduce and reuse” almost sounds like a mindless cliché. But this trio of actions is something that everyone can do to go green. The way that we are currently utilizing the Earth’s resources, we would need six or seven more Earths to meet the growing demand for natural materials to make all of our “stuff.” Most of the stuff that we discard when we are done with it ends up in landfills. Much of our castoffs can be remanufactured. This is why the 3 Rs are so important. Remember, our children’s future is not disposable.
All garbage is not garbage. Manufactured items aren't just for one-time use. It takes less energy and creates fewer greenhouse gases to remanufacture or repurpose a substance (such as plastic, glass and metal) than to acquire virgin material and start from scratch. We waste the Earth’s resources when we dispose of recyclable items in landfills when they can be reused and repurposed again and again. Recycling is a very necessary activity that everyone can do. It’s a one-second choice to put an item in a recycling bin or a garbage can when both cans side by side. As you get into the habit of recycling, those one-second decisions multiplied thousands of times, add up to a big impact for waste reduction.
On the flip side of recycling, choose recycled products for toilet paper, paper towels (better yet, use cloth towels), paper plates, typing and writing paper, plastic garbage bags and glass containers. The world should forget about cutting down another tree for the sake of paper products. We need all trees to stand to collect all the CO2 that we keep cranking out. Paper products should come from recycled paper only.
Say no to junk mail. Millions of trees are wasted to make paper for junk mail and catalogs that we don’t want. You can have your name and address taken off of junk-mail rosters. Use your Internet search engines to find those services.
How much stuff do we really need? Some of us have closets, basements, drawers, garages and other storage places crammed with things that we don’t use. If we can prevent ourselves from buying some of the unnecessary stuff in the first place, we can reduce the CO2 impact and resource depletion that it would take to make an item that may go unused.
We are used to new, new and more new stuff. But frequent “new” has an impact on the environment because resources and usually dirty fossil energy is used to make new stuff. Examine your items for wear. Can they be cleaned, repaired or repurposed before new ones are needed? Some fashions these days are already ragged and distressed when purchased. Perhaps the longer you hold onto something and the more worn it gets, the more in style you can be. Maybe we need to set the trend of naturally worn eco-fashions to make a green lifestyle statement. If, after all, you can’t use an item anymore, donate it for reuse or repurposing by someone else.
Reduce or Eliminate Household and Personal Toxic Chemicals
Our world is drenched in toxic chemicals. Study after study shows that our home environments are more toxic than the environment outside. It is because we bring the toxic chemicals into our homes and use them on a regular basis. The paint on the walls, varnish on the floor and furniture, toilet bowl cleaners, liquid drain openers, soaps, detergents, bug sprays, lotions, hair dyes, shampoos, depilatories, lawn chemicals, car wash solutions, etc., all add to our homes toxic profile. Don’t forget, most of what we use goes down the drain. That contaminated water will end up in lakes, rivers, oceans and streams. We have to drink water to stay alive. If hundreds of millions of people are sending these toxic chemicals down the drain day after day, year after year, it will add up to a negative effect on our drinking water. This has already happened all around the world. Sewage plants do a good job of cleaning water, but the extracted toxins go somewhere. They are either burned, which adds toxins to the air that we don’t need; or they are carted off as sludge and dumped somewhere. Those toxins may not be dumped in your neck of the woods, but they impact the world in which we live.
[Sidebar: I don’t understand why we allow toxins to exist in the first place when they serve no real purpose for healthy living. Why do we continue to put up with it when there is a green, Earth-friendly alternative to just about everything that we use for our daily habits? There are chemicals clearly marked on the products that we use that we can’t pronounce. We don’t know what they are, yet we just blindly use them not knowing how they could impact our health or how they impact the environment. The truth be told, here in the United States, most chemicals in our everyday environment are not tested for their effects on our health or the environment! In my personal opinion, I feel that everything a consumer can possibly buy for daily living activities should all be green formulated.]
In a perfect world, everyone would have the clean energy of solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal, VIVACE and more. It will happen. It has to for our survival. In the interim, we need to get those fossil-fuel burning energy plants to crank out less CO2 by changing our daily energy-consuming habits. Yes! We ALL need to do our part for this. I visualize it this way: There is a puff of smoke (CO2 and other toxins) coming out of that coal-fired electric plant’s smokestack when electricity is being drawn upon by our home’s electrical devices. Those smokestacks are cranking that Earth choking gas out for our benefit. We have to take responsibility to lessen those billowing toxic vapors from those smokestacks.
Insulate the Attic, Walls and Subfloors
Keep the heat in winter and the A/C in summer from rapidly escaping by having your home well insulated. When your home’s temperature changes too quickly, it causes the heater or A/C unit to come on more frequently, which causes more energy to be used. When you insulate your attic, walls and subfloors, the temperature loss will be less.
Great temperature losses occur via windows. Double-pane windows are structured to prevent temperature loss by being more airtight. If you have standard single-paned windows, make sure you pair them with storm windows in the winter. If air-leaking gaps still exist, there are many window-insulating kits on the market for winterizing. When I had single panes, my favorite was the insulating putty that is non-toxic (clay like). It won’t permanently stick to windows nor will it leave any stains or stickiness. It molds perfectly into gaps to block out drafts. In the spring, it removes very easily. By using the putty, you don’t have that unsightly plastic window covering for the duration of winter. The putty is, of course, more eco-friendly, too.
Insulate Exterior Doors
Drafty doors are another source for temperature loss. In cold climates, a storm door is a must to couple with the exterior door to cut down on drafts. Steel doors are available with steel frames that have magnetic weather stripping that seals just like a refrigerator's door. This is very efficient at keeping out drafts. Door insulation kits will also work to cut down on drafts.
What goes hand in hand with insulation and temperature regulation is your thermostat. Adjust the temperature conservatively for night use or for when no one is at home. Of course, keep it at an adequate temperature so that your pipes won’t freeze and burst in the winter. There are adjustable thermostats that you can program for when you are away to help conserve energy.
Block-out curtains can help keep heat out of your home in the summer. These curtains block out the sun’s light keeping a room cooler. Your AC unit won’t have to come on as frequently thereby saving electricity and money on your electric bill.
For air conditioners, make sure that the refrigerant used is the eco-friendly R-410A coolant.
Hot Water Heaters
Use a hot water heater wrap to insulate your water heater. This item is specifically designed to keep the water hotter longer. DO NOT USE ANY OTHER MATERIAL AS A WATER HEATER WRAP. DOING SO WILL INCREASE THE RISK OF FIRE.
A more energy-efficient choice for hot water supply is the instant hot water heater, which heats water on demand.
Check with your local hardware or home improvement store for more home insulation options that suit your personal situation.
Energy Efficient Appliances
Use energy-efficient appliances that are Energy Star-rated; these appliances require less electricity to operate. This will save you money in the long run and reduce the CO2 being cranked into the air by the coal-fired power plant. Just about every electronic device you can buy has an Energy Star choice: alarm clocks, radios, CD and DVD players, refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, furnaces, air conditioners and more.
Run your dishwasher only when it is full and use eco-friendly detergent. Here are a few tips to cut down on energy use: run the washer at night (less demand on the power grid during off-peak hours); don’t use the heating element that dries the dishes. When the wash cycle is done, open the dishwasher door and let the dishes air-dry.
Adopt similar habits of using your heavy household machinery during off-peak electricity hours which are usually from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.. Doing laundry at night decreases demand on the power grid. In the morning, dry your laundry outside on the clothesline. On a hot, sunny day, the clothes should be dry in an hour. If the dryer must be used, place with the load several dryer balls to help speed up the drying process. The dryer balls work by creating space in between clothing to allow the air to circulate better. You can buy the dryer balls at drug stores, home improvement and hardware stores, supermarkets and at a variety of other retailers.
Replace your old-fashioned, round filament bulbs with the sleek, twisty curves of compact fluorescents (CFs). Florescent bulbs are more efficient than regular filament bulbs. When I changed all of my bulbs to CFs, my monthly electric bill went from $60.00 dollars a month to $50.00 a month, a $10.00 savings. And, yes, I have a very low electric bill (for a 1200 sq-ft. home) because I practice what I am telling you! It pays to be green, in more ways than one.
CF light bulb prices have really come down, and they last for years, so that also will save you money in the long run.
How to Cut Down on Electricity Usage
Turn off lights, TVs, VCRs, game consoles, etc., when not in use.
Unplug electric devices when they won’t be used anytime soon. Energy is still being used even if an item isn’t turned on. This is called vampire power, and it not only costs you money, but it also leaves a carbon footprint as the electric company still has to burn that coal to run the turbines that supplies the electricity to your house.
The alternative to unplugging is using a smart strip that will automatically cut off electricity to a device when it senses an item is not in use.
You can also use a regular power strip that has an on/off switch. It takes one touch and one second to turn the power on or off. I keep TVs, VCRs, cable boxes, etc., plugged in, and one touch turns them all off or on.
How exciting is this? There are small solar panels that are portable. They have an outlet by which you can plug in small items like cell phones, portable radios, camping lamps etc… for charging. Totally free energy, compliments of the sun. Hey, doesn’t free power sound good?
Cranked radios and flashlights are also becoming more popular. You put a little elbow grease by turning the crank; that action causes friction, which generates electricity.
I am waiting for the electric car. As I write this in 2009, there are a several electric vehicles slated to come out later this year and next. I have to say, I’m disappointed that the car industry put profit before planet and took away the efficient, highly demanded EV1 electric cars that came out in the 1990s. Let’s take it even farther back to the early 1900s when cars first hit the road. Back then, there were gas powered cars and electric cars on the road. In fact, the electric cars outnumbered the gas powered ones. Well, guess what became plentiful at that time? Oil. So, the gas cars won out over the electric. Just imagine how this world would be now had the electric cars been chosen. I would guess that we would not be in as much environmental trouble as we are in now since we have hundreds of millions of gas cars on the roads of the world.
In the fiction part of this book, gas powered cars were easily refitted with an electric engine. I know that we have the technology to do this! Politics, profits and the prevalence of oil companies prevent this from being pursued. So our planet dies daily while solutions at hand don’t come into fruition because it steps on “big oil’s” toes. I think if the car companies had not snatched their electric EV1 cars off of the road, and they were still in production today, the auto industry would not be in the financial mess that it’s in now. Those electric cars would be selling like hotcakes. Bring the EV1 back! Please view this very interesting DVD Who Killed the Electric Car for more detailed information on this subject.
What we can do to reduce our car’s carbon emissions? From the least CO2 impact to the most: walk, bike, drive an electric car, scooter, take public transportation, drive a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) car, drive a hybrid, drive a small, medium, large car, SUV (only if you can use all of the seats most of the time).
Long distance transportation: Take the train, bus or boat. Airplanes require a lot of fuel and have a heavy carbon footprint. Take a commercial flight then offset that footprint with carbon credits. A carbon credit is a mechanism by which carbon emissions are balanced through various Earth greening programs.
For the wealthy who fly in private planes, consider having the plane completely filled to capacity. If a private jet has just one or two passengers or is not completely filled, the carbon footprint per person is enormous. Consider this, there are organizations that assist people who need emergency transportation to visit a sick relative or to attend an out-of-town funeral or who just can’t afford a plane ticket during an emergency situation. Perhaps you can help someone in need and lessen your individual CO2 impact at the same time with a full plane. Small planes use less fuel than larger planes, but they should be full to justify the carbon emissions.
Of course, we wait for the day when even our planes, boats, trains and luxury liners can be free from fossil fuels and run on green energy.
Quick Tips for Transportation
Shop, live, work and play locally to reduce driving.
Keep your car’s engine maintained to get the best gas mileage.
Inflate tires to manufacturers specifications.
Carpool when possible.
Drive the speed limit.
When idling for more than a minute, turn the car off.
Glaciers and snowmelt are the sources of drinking water for billions people around the world. Because of global warming, these long-standing patterns of water flow are drying up. Drought conditions exist in many parts of the world, more so than ever before in human history. Drought is the cause of crop failures and wildfires that are now in the news on a regular basis. Lake Chad, one of the biggest bodies of water on the African continent, has dried up.
The Great Lakes, the world’s largest source of fresh water, are contaminated from farm pesticide run off, E-coli outbreaks, recreational boaters dumping their waste illegally into the water, sewage disposal and many other causes. The Indiana shores of Lake Michigan have miles and miles of factories that billow horrible clouds of pollution. If that pollution is going into the air, what could be going into the lake?
Rocket fuel is present in several major municipalities water sources. Carbon sinking the process, by which the oceans absorb excessive CO2 from the atmosphere, is acidifying the oceans. Dead zones (areas of water that are so polluted that oxygen no longer exist and therefore, marine and plant life can no loner be supported) occupy the coastal waters of industrialized lands all around the world.
Seventy-five percent of the Earth is covered in water, but the irony is only 2% of it is fresh water for drinking. Our toxic habits contaminate that 2%. So what is going on to remedy our water problem? Desalination of ocean water has existed for quite a while. A new method of reclaiming water is taking sewage water, refining it and putting it back into public use.
Water rationing is a practice in which communities cease using water for certain applications such as watering lawns, washing cars or using water on certain days for nonessential activities. This is an attempt to save water reserves.
The world has glorified oil for more that 100 years. Oil will run out soon, and the next super-valued commodity will be water. There are water brokers springing up all around the world. Soon, the new world power will be who controls the flow of drinkable, usable water.
The methods of dispensing and controlling water rights already raise ethical questions. Currently, in some of the poorest, water deprived areas of the world; water is being sold to everyday citizens at a premium. “Water Barons,” big multibillion-dollar corporations, dispense the water. In certain locations, nearly one-third of an individual’s income is spent on water from these dispensing operations. These people have to use keys, locks and access cards to retrieve their water from metered dispensers. If you can’t afford the water, you and your family go without. This is an everyday reality already in several countries. So world, can you see where we are headed? Low supply and high demand for water, the essential element for life, will surely pass oil in expense. Soon, only those who can afford to buy water will be the ones who will survive.
Some of us in “well-to-do” countries can go to our faucets or grab a bottle of water from the store (which is at a premium, too, in more ways than one) whenever we want. We don’t see the danger of a world without drinkable water because it appears that we have an endless flow. For people in India, Africa, South America and many other places, however, finding drinkable water is an everyday struggle.
Caring for the water that we have is essential for the whole planet. The Great Lakes in North America are the largest source of fresh water in the world. Because I have lived near Lake Michigan my entire life, I can see that more protection, ordinances against dumping and runoff and stricter guidelines for recreational use need to be implemented to help preserve the drinkable integrity of the Great Lakes. A couple of years ago, BP Oil wanted to dump the wastewater from their oil refinery plants into Lake Michigan. This was an outrage! More outlandish was that the Indiana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved it. Come on! The Great Lakes are not the personal and privileged dumping grounds for moneymaking corporations. THE GREAT LAKES BELONG TO THE WORLD! But here is an example of the power of the people having a big impact. Everyday citizens, governors, mayors and private environmental groups protested this EPA approved dumping, and ultimately, BP was not allowed to dump. Disaster adverted . . . this time.
The Great Lakes must be protected and preserved at all costs! This holds true for any other body of fresh water throughout the world. The lives of ALL living organisms need water for survival. If all of our water supply disappears, then that will be the end of all life. The sad thing is that it does not have to be this way. It is so ass-backwards to knowingly and DELIBERATELY allow toxins and pollutants to contaminate our liquid essence of life. World WAKE UP before it is too late! We are sitting around in comfortable complacency while our resources are being shot to hell. These habits and patterns of operation are totally unacceptable and must stop.
Here we go. One-third of the world’s fossil fuel energy is used to produce food. Why is that energy consumption so high? It is because of food miles. Consider the food miles for meat: From growing the food for livestock, transporting food to livestock, taking livestock to slaughterhouses, transporting the meat to stores, people going to the stores to buy the meat and taking it home adds up to a lot of miles. Similar cycles of transportation exist for everything else that we eat. Then there is the worldwide market through which we import and export food around the world. Exotic and even ordinary fruits and vegetables often travel for thousands of miles to get to our tables. Food has a huge carbon footprint.
We have to eat so, how can this energy-consumption problem be resolved? There are many solutions. One is a movement called Localvores, by which people consciously choose to get their food from local, usually organic, sources near their homes. This can be in the form of farmers markets, French markets, food co-ops, rent-a-plots (established farmers grow food personally for you or you use a section of their farm to grow your own garden), community gardens, urban gardens or stores that carry locally grown food. Backyard and container gardening are also solutions.
We consume tons of food that is treated with toxic chemicals such as pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. Organically grown foods are better for the environment and better for our bodies. In the fiction section of this book, I talk about babies being born with 200 chemicals already in their bodies. This is a factual study done by The Environmental Working Group (EWG). If that alone doesn’t outrage the citizens of world to take action against the multitude of chemicals and toxins on our planet, I don’t know what will.
Organic crops are cultivated the way that nature intended. Our bodies don’t have to “weed out” the chemical residues left on food by the chemically managed crops. Remember, most of the chemicals used are not tested for impact on health. This is why we can’t just blindly take and accept what we are given.
Let’s also talk about those chemical additives that we can’t pronounce. We put them in our mouths, consume them, and they become assimilated into our bodies. We have choices, and we have voices. We collectively don’t have to keep putting up with chemically tainted food. Citizens should let lawmakers know that toxic chemicals should not be used for food cultivation. Consumers, vote with your dollars.
Meat (Land Animals)
I am a vegetarian who loves meat. Confusing, isn’t it? I grew up eating meat, and I love ribs, steak, fried chicken, bacon and ham. However, I don’t like how the animals are treated to get their flesh. This is what makes me a vegetarian. Factory farming is extremely stressful and cruel to animals. I believe most of us think of the nice Old McDonald’s Farm from the nursery rhyme in which all of the animals are happy and free to roam in bountiful pastures in the sunlight. The reality is that most of our meat comes from opposite conditions. Animals are caged or crowded into pens for their entire lives in warehouse like buildings. Many never ever see the light of day or even set one foot on a blade of grass. There are no laws on the books for the humane treatment of livestock. These animals have no rights or protection, yet they will pay the ultimate price with their lives for our benefit.
Laying hens are so crammed in cages with other hens that they can barely move. I have even read that after the hens egg-laying abilities are over, a pit is dug in the ground, and the live hens are thrown in and covered over with dirt. They are buried alive. That’s the thanks that they get for providing 600 eggs during their short two-year lifespan. For this horrific reason, I choose to buy only eggs that are from cage-free hens that have been humanely treated. I won’t support the cruelty inflicted on animals. Who’s with me on this? We all gawk at how cute yellow, fluffy baby chicks look. Male baby chicks are thrown into the garbage alive by the millions because they can’t lay eggs.
Veal calves are tethered in tiny stalls their entire lives; therefore, most never develop the ability to walk because of their severe confinement. When it’s time for them to be slaughtered, they are usually dragged on the ground because of their inability to walk. The calves are fed an iron-poor diet to make them anemic. Anemic white flesh presents prettier on the plate. So a baby cow has to suffer it’s entire life for man’s dining pleasure. Chickens, hogs, turkeys, geese, sheep and cows also have similarly gruesome existences before their flesh is rendered for human consumption.
This is not how God intended for us to have dominion over the Earth. Factory farming practices are for the conveniences of the meat-producing corporations. The husbandry methods are stressful and cruel for the duration of an animal’s lifespan. We humans often have sympathy and become outraged when cats and dogs are mistreated and abused; we should be just as outraged for the way animals that provide us sustenance are treated. All animals have a social order unique to their species. They have grooming needs and a need for space and socialization. The very least that we can do for them, since they will sacrifice so much for us, is to treat them in a more humane manner.
There are some meat companies that do treat animals humanely. The animals are free to roam outside in grass or hay. They are allowed to grow naturally without the use of antibiotics and growth hormones. Many of the holistic grocery stores carry free-range humanely treated meat. And the meat also tastes better too.
Again, we visit the subject of those additives, preservatives, nitrates and other chemicals and compounds that we can’t pronounce and have no knowledge of how they may affect our bodies. Processed meat in particular (sausages, hot dogs, lunch meat, canned meat etc...) is usually full of sodium and many of the above mentioned questionable ingredients.
What does meat have to do with the environment? The methane produced from animal poop is a greenhouse gas that is twenty-five times more potent than CO2. Americans eat a lot of meat. Therefore, there are a lot of animals that must be raised, leading to an increase in greenhouse gases, which is causing our rapid climate change.
The average adult human body needs only four to six ounces of protein per day. That’s all, and it’s not much compared to what most people actually eat. For meat, that is about the size of a deck of cards or one chicken leg. Protein can come from sources other than meat such as nuts, beans, high-protein grains, soy and dairy products. Consuming less meat will help to reduce climate destroying methane, decrease the amount of animals that have to suffer and be slaughtered, relieve some of the financial stress from your grocery bill and can help you reduce your cholesterol intake for better health. Consider having a few vegetarian meals during the week to help reduce your personal carbon footprint. The entire city of Ghent in Belgium has a meat-free day once a week. This is their conscious attempt to reduce their methane impact on the world.
[Side bar: As a vegetarian, it is not exciting to go out to a restaurant to eat. Most places don’t have any vegetarian selections on their menus. I usually end up eating a boring salad and choosing some sort of side dish. How about this? Some restaurants have low carb menus. How about a low carbon menu that offers food with a reduced carbon footprint? Even if a diner isn’t a vegetarian and wants to observe a green lifestyle, they can relate to no-meat dishes.]
Fish and Seafood
Fact: Ninety percent of the Earth’s large edible fish are gone.
Longtime established fisheries from all around the world have gone out of business because man has overfished the oceans and lakes. There is nothing left to catch. The nets traditionally used in commercial fishing are hundreds of feet long to collect several tons of fish at a time. Fish that weren't the target for the catch also die in the nets, and their dead bodies are cast back into the water by the millions!
There is an ecosystem of the sea that has an order of operation. Big fish eat small fish. Small fish eat even smaller fish. Bottom feeders eat the fallen scraps from the other fishes’ leftovers. Man’s exploitation of the Earth’s resources always has a detrimental repercussion. It interferes with the balance of marine life. This adds to the wake-up call that we have to change our habits. There are ways that we can work more in harmony with nature instead of against the order of natural processes. The overfishing by net casting does not leave enough fish behind to mate, reproduce and mature. Line-caught fishing by commercial fisheries, allows the catch to be thrown back alive if it does not meet certain specifications such as length, age and carrying eggs. This limits the indiscriminate waste of fish that need to stay in the water to mature and reproduce. Farm-raised fish are another option for harvesting fish responsibly. If man can change current fishing methods, perhaps balance and less disruption to the order of nature can occur. Here is another place where you can vote with your dollars. Both line caught and farm raised fish can be purchased at organic markets. When people buy these products, it sends a message of consumer preference. Hopefully, these more sustainable methods would then be practiced.
Most seafood has some level of mercury contamination. Mercury is poisonous. For decades, all around the world, the oceans have been a dumping receptacle for man’s waste. We move the waste out of our environment and dump it into another ecosystem’s living space. Marine life has to live in this inhospitable soup. Seafood ends up on man’s plate giving him a dose of his own medicine. Pregnant women are warned to avoid or reduce seafood consumption because of the possibility of mercury poisoning. Each individual must use his or her own judgment for seafood consumption.
Many whales have been so heavily hunted over the past century that some species have gone extinct or are currently endangered for extinction. Whaling for meat is illegal, yet there are whalers who set out in the name of “research” and kill whales by the hundreds. Whale meat from “research” then ends up in the meat markets where the hunting vessels originated. The killing method is very cruel. A grenade tipped harpoon is used, and when it hits the whale, it explodes. The whale flails in agony then dies. The laws that prohibit whaling should have stricter enforcement to stop this brutal practice.
I love Chinese culture and its rich traditional history, but I can’t support shark finning. Sharks are one of the oldest living species on Earth. Today, they are being killed into extinction by shark finning; the practice by which a shark is captured, the fins and tail are cut off, and the remaining live body is released to sink to the bottom of the ocean. For sharks to breathe, they must swim. If sharks can’t swim, they die. The finners come and get what they want and sadistically, the shark is left to sit at the bottom of the ocean to suffocate to death. This happens to millions of sharks every year! All of that carnage and suffering for a “fashionable” shark fin soup that is very popular in China. Apparently, the soup hasn’t much flavor, but eating it, lends an air of “status.” It’s a bowl of cruelty.
The shark is at the top of the ocean’s food chain. If it disappears entirely, which is a very strong possibility, what will happen to the order of the ocean’s ecosystem? Man is interfering with the organization of the ocean’s natural order.
SHARK FINNING AND WHALING MUST STOP! It’s not a matter of culture. It’s a matter of cruelty. The methods are hideously cruel and are horrifically disruptive to the natural order of the ocean.
Eco Friendly Clothing
Vegan Clothing and Accessories
“Vegan” means absence of animal products. Some people are vegan when it comes to food, and they don’t eat meat, eggs, dairy or anything that comes from an animal. But, did you know that you could also be vegan with your clothing and accessories? When skins, fur, hides, ivory, feathers, shells, starfish, leather, suede, silk and other animal products are used, suffering happens to the animal that gave up its life or body parts for fashion. Our beloved elephants are endangered for extinction because they are being killed for their tusks (ivory), which is illegal. Rare tigers are wiped out for their skins. Alligators and crocodiles are killed for shoes and handbags. The list of cruelty for fashion is endless.
Animals suffer and are exploited because the public has a demand for the rendering of their “hides” for human adornment. You have options. Consider going vegan for your clothing and accessories. You can remove yourself from the demand of animal products for the sake of fashion. Let the inner beauty of your Soul be you number one fashion accessory. Leave the animals to the right of their own existence.
For every pound of cotton produced, four pounds of pesticides and/or toxic processing chemicals are used. That’s a lot! Organic cotton is grown naturally without the use of pesticides. Remember, our world is drenched with toxic chemicals. If the technology and methods are available whereby chemicals can be eliminated from producing what we need, lets take that route. Organically grown cotton clothing is becoming more available every day. Here is another chance to send the message to manufacturers, via an individual’s decision to purchase organics over regular cotton.
Cotton is also recyclable. All of the cotton you own (towels, sheets, T-shirts, jeans etc.) can be remanufactured into more cotton fabric and paper, too. Perhaps that could be the start of a new lucrative green business, collecting cotton castoffs and renewing them into new fabrics. Now, there is a seed planted for someone to pick up and run with.
Bamboo is the new green fabric sensation. It does not require any pesticides for its growth. In fact, bamboo is more like a weed. Some species of bamboo can grow up to two feet per day. This is what makes it a very eco-friendly and sustainable plant. It can be cut instead of completely unearthed from the ground. After it is cut, it will keep growing. Once bamboo is processed into fabric, it has the look and feel of soft cotton.
To complement sustainable, Earth-compatible fabrics, natural vegetable or mineral dyes should be used.
So, lets put it all together. Here is an example of a Green Soul’Jah.
Loves the Earth
Is a vegetarian
Is vegan with clothes and accessories
Recycles more that trashes
Uses energy efficient appliances
Large electrical appliances are run during off peek hours
Dries laundry on clothes line outside
Dryer balls added to dryer when weather does not permit line drying
Buys only environmentally friendly personal and household products
All light bulbs in house are compact fluorescents
Drives a small compact car
One tank of gas lasts a month via reduced driving habits
Keeps car maintained for reduced fuel usage
Vacations at nearby locales and takes the train
Grows organic backyard garden
Unplugs or switches off electrical items not in use
Buys organic groceries when possible
Bags groceries in reusable shopping bags
Runs dishwasher only when full and air dries dishes when done
Uses recycled paper products only
Conservative with furnace and A/C thermostat settings
Lives in a solid brick, well insulated home
Windows are double hung
Exterior doors are tightly sealed to prevent drafts
Actively supports a variety of environmental and social justice groups
Environmentally aware by staying informed
Drinks distilled water
Own an electric car
Install solar panels on home or buy a smart house
Be more of a localvore for food purchases
Eat all organic
Buy carbon credits for excessive travel
Wear more organic cotton and bamboo
Green Bad habits
Enjoys long hot showers
Grabs bottled water when away from home (but recycles every bottle used)
Drives distances that could have been walked
Has an electric lawn mower (it’s better that a gas one, but not as good as a push mower or battery operated one)
This may seem like a lot, but it is not. Once you get habits into your routine they become second nature. No one may be 100% green as in this profile. But if you can begin to get some of the eco-friendly habits into your daily living patterns, it will have a positive impact on the Earth. Living green is living good.
What is your Green Soul’Jah profile?
A Plea to the Wealthy
For those of you who can afford solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal and other clean energy, please, GET THIS GREEN PARTY STARTED! Be the example. Be the trailblazer. Show the world that going green can work. And like anything else that is new when it first comes out, the price is high. But as more and more people begin to purchase a particular item, the price starts to go down. I remember when digital watches came out in the 1970s. At the time, they cost more than $100.00. Now you can get a digital watch from a gumball machine or even free with a kid’s fast food meal. I know that clean energy won’t be dispensed that easily. But if you have the means to get it started, it will trickle down to where the rest of us can join in and participate. If God has blessed you with the ability to afford these clean necessities, please exercise your humanity and heroism to start the Earth’s renewal and preservation process. We are seriously in trouble. Someone has to have the wisdom and foresight to jump in big to turn this environmental downfall around. Some of you are the movers and shakers of the world. You have platforms on which to speak to the masses. These positions are rare. Please use your voice and your presence to be an advocate for Mother Earth. Her healing has to come via forward-thinking actions. The time is now. We are it. If not us, then who? If not now, then when? We have to be the Earth greening generation! We are running out of time. We Can’t Wait. In my opinion, nothing matters more than averting environmental collapse. I know that the economy is on the forefront of everyone’s mind. But if we don’t have clean air to breathe, clean, uncontaminated water to drink and we continue to let toxins saturate our environment, there won’t be any us left to worry about money. Soon, very soon, the economy won’t be our biggest problem. The Earth dies a little bit every day. We have to stop that trend. Scientists are now finding out that climate changes are going downhill faster than was calculated just a few years ago. We are actually in a state of climate emergency. All hands need to be on deck to keep the ship from going down. Please be a part of the solution.
If you are a celebrity, then you know that you have fans, admirers, followers who emulate your every move and want to do what you do. You have the attention of thousands if not millions. Please be a green role model. Give your onlookers something Earth saving and meaningful to copy. When much is given, much responsibility is expected. In this 21st century media run, electronic, visual world, it seems that this is the most likely medium by which the green conversion will take place. Lend your voice and actions to the green revolution. Be an eco-hero and eco-shero for your Mother Earth. You are living large on her bountiful resources. Give back to her so that she can be revived and saved from environmental disaster. You have the means; now catch the green vision. Use your status and position to be the Earth’s mouthpiece to amplify the importance of living green.
The Green Revolution also needs a soundtrack. Music is a very powerful tool to convey messages. What message is more important than getting the people of the world to turn green? Lets get some tunes and some videos crank’n out there!
Also, the Genocide in Darfur needs your attention and voice too!
Green Your Business
A good portion of a person’s life is spent at work; therefore, green habits should also carry over into the work environment. Here are some suggestions for greening your business.
Recycle all non-confidential office paper.
Use recycled paper for printers, copiers, writing tablets, adding machine tape, checks, receipts, business cards, labels, etc. Don’t forget the recycled toilet paper and paper towels for the office bathroom and kitchen.
Recycle plastic, glass and metal.
If possible, turn your office lighting down by 20%-25%. Use natural light from windows or skylights.
Turn off lights, computers, copy machines and other electronic devices at the end of the day if it’s safe to do so.
Use Earth-friendly cleaning products.
Use Earth-friendly, non-toxic toner and inks for copy and printer machines.
Is your business in a financial position and in a location where you can install solar panels or a wind turbine for your office’s energy usage? If so, please be a trailblazer and set the example of the ultimate green business. A bonus is that surplus electricity can be sold to the power company for extra cash.
Can you conference call and or video conference with your long-distance contacts as opposed to physically traveling to conduct business meetings? This will cut down on plane travel, which leaves a huge carbon footprint. If you do have to physically travel for business, please consider counterbalancing the CO2 output with the purchase of carbon credits.
Green Your Industrial Company
All of the green business ideas can be applied to your companies too. In addition to those suggestions, here are more for the industrial companies.
Consider solar and wind energy to power your company.
Since the Earth is already overly saturated with toxic chemicals, reformulate or use more earth agreeable alternative chemicals derived from more sustainable resources.
Use energy-efficient machines.
Find ways to reduce waste to landfills.
Prevent chemical contamination to waterways and land.
Capture and/or filter toxic gases from smokestacks.
Purchase carbon credits to offset emissions.
Use energy efficient vehicles in your fleets.
Your citizens should recycle their paper, plastic and metal items. Please have a recycling program as part of your garbage pickup.
Also, replace some of your garbage cans in public areas with recycling bins.
Set the green example in your office with the green tips listed above.
Consider using smaller and more energy-efficient vehicles in your service fleets.
Please have your forestry department use earth-friendly gardening products.
Offer classes to your citizens for how they can lead a greener lifestyle.
Set up farmers markets in your neighborhoods so that locally grown food can be purchased.
Pressure your power companies for green, sustainable, less polluting energy sources.
Let’s face it; much of the Green Revolution will have to come through you. Laws must to be changed to restrict the use of fossil fuels and funding supplied for cleaner, more sustainable energy. The usual politics must be put aside to push this most necessary agenda forward. There is no time to waste. Green infrastructure should have been started a few decades ago. Crude oil will run out within the next few decades and there are no energy sources currently in place that can be relied upon for when that occurs. What if there was an oil embargo? It happened in the 1970s. We would be sitting ducks. It is a big security issue even if you choose not to look at it as an environmental problem. This generation must earnestly usher in the new green renewable energy sources. The technology exists. It is already here. It just needs to be put into place.
Please listen to all of the expert scientists who are telling you the truth about what is happening to our world’s climate. They tell us that we have a short 10-year window to fix our environmental problems before we reach the point of no return. You have spin-doctors who give you opposing opinions. To know the truth, all you have to do is to look at any sky in a major city, and you can see the clouds of toxic death hanging in the air. How long are we going to wait until the air gets so saturated with toxic gases that it will be beyond our control to stop it?
CCD is real! Bees are dying. It is also true that there is a current disease wiping out wheat crops in Africa and Asia. This deadly combination requires your full attention. If multiple varieties of honeybees end up on the endangered species list a few years down the road, then that is it for man. This problem must be addressed right now!
In addition to the environment, it is unacceptable that genocide should exist in this modern age. Lawmakers, you literally have the power to stop what is going on in Sudan! While you drag your feet, people are dying. The world rushed into Iraq under the guise of “Iraqi Freedom.” Why not rush into Darfur for “Darfuri Freedom”? A big suggestion is coming up in the Authors Final Thoughts.
Places of Worship
In the storyline of this book, it was suggested that houses of worship would set up environmental ministries. God made humans stewards of the Earth, and clearly, we have not been doing a good job. What better place to plant green ideas and develop good eco-habits than in the house of God? We are in a climate crisis right now and every avenue needs to be explored to get people to change their habits. Flocks need to hear the word from their spiritual leaders to be inspired into the green direction. Adopt the South Side Church of the Solid Rock’s environmental ministries idea.
Author’s final thoughts
I love the Earth. The intention of these writings is not to paint a dismal picture of our environmental difficulties so that we should wallow in self-pity. Quite the opposite! Knowledge is power. The people of the world collectively have to change mindsets and habits as if our lives depend on it because our lives do depend on the reduction of greenhouse gases and toxic chemicals. Only about 1% of the world’s population is earnestly and consciously attempting to reduce their carbon footprint by living a green lifestyle. That leaves the majority of the world leading lives with blinders on in inactive ignorance to the rapid demise that our planet is currently experiencing. It seems that no one is listening, concerned or taking action en masse to involve themselves with an environmental emergency that is affecting everyone alive today. The 1% can’t fix the world alone. The other 99% must also do their part.
My ancestors were slaves here in the United States. The consciousness of the world has changed so much that it enabled the election of a black president. It’s a new day. This proves that obstacles can be overcome. Now, the world needs to get on the same mental page to direct our energy toward saving the Earth. We have to cut the chains of bad habits that keep our Earth in bondage to the climates downward spiral. Our planet must be emancipated from our environmentally dysfunctional habits. Active, forward thinking people are necessary for the progression towards Earth’s renewed possibilities.
I grew up in Hyde Park a neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, so I am especially proud that President Barack Obama, a Hyde Park resident was elected. More than half of Americans voted him into office seeking the desire for change. Well, change doesn’t just magically happen. One man and his executive cabinet can’t get it done alone. Everyone has to roll up his or her sleeves and use some elbow grease in an all hands on deck approach to affect that, which is desired. The environment was a big issue for many of Obama’s supporters. If we could take the energy and fervency of the people who came to rallies and campaign speeches and channel that into passion for saving the Earth, we may have a chance to make it. Of course, climate change is not just an American issue; it is a challenge for the whole world.
I recently saw an online survey that asked the paraphrased question: “Do you think that the population in general would change their daily habits to earnestly help the environment?” About 400,000 people responded to the survey, and 86% of the answers were NO! No, most people would not make lifestyle changes to go green. Unfortunately, I believe that they are probably right, and I hate to think that this is the reality and mentality of the general population. Nothing will change if everyone is not on board. We need all hands on deck. I know that there are millions of passionate people out there who care for the Earth and who are fully aware of what we are up against, but we are the small few who get it. The Earth’s current population is 6.5 billion. That’s a lot of carbon footprints that will continue to stomp the life out of this world. We have to work together for the greater good and survival of the planet.
People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. There are a multitude of ideas for plans illustrated in this book. They may seem harsh, but we have had the most comfortable luxury of time being inactive with our planets problems. We have much catching up to do, and quickly. It’s time to green up our lifestyles. We have to be the Earth-saving generation. This cannot wait. This cannot be passed onto our children. If we don’t collectively act now, it will be too late. We will bear the guilt for failing to provide a sustainable world for the generations to come.
The genocide in Darfur is real, and it is happening today as you read these words. I in no way have tried to trivialize the plight of the Sudanese refugees in this book. The intention of my decision to include the atrocities is to magnify the urgency of rescue and offer an idea of possibility as to how this problem can be solved. My idea for Darfur’s rescue is held in this novel’s story. We clearly are not listening and taking decisive action to end the genocide. This is not to discount all of the refugee and activist organizations out there trying to help. We are trying to get results.
But what if a combination of hundreds of thousands of ambassadors, heads of state from around the world, U.N. constituents, diplomats, reporters, ordinary citizens and others descended in the Darfur refugee camps to say “enough is enough”?
Why is the world being so polite with the Sudanese government? Why after all of these years has there not been a more forceful extraction of refugees? The world went into Kosovo during their time of ethnic cleansing and resolved that problem. Why not do the same for the Darfuris? Is it Sudan’s oil? The fossil fuel I tell you is “The Beast”… another case of blood for oil.
At the time of this book’s printing (2009), the Sudanese government had the audacity to kick out all of the private global service organizations that have been at the refugee camps for years to provide food, medicine, security, shelter and education for the refugees. I believe the Sudanese government has done so because of the unbelievably impotent inaction of the world to pressure them to behave differently. Is the world’s preoccupation with the economic downfall (money) more important than a couple million people being set up by their government to be exterminated? The Darfuris are corralled in camps and are vulnerable to slaughter. Where is the world’s collective humanity? The genocide in the Nazi concentration camps is recent history. The world said “NEVER AGAIN!” Yet, here we are in the most technological advanced period in human history, and we can’t or simply won’t figure out a swift and definitive way to rescue the Darfuris.
OK, I admit that my book’s idea of Darfuri rescue may be a bit fanciful and logistically unsound, but there is no excuse for the official leaders of the world to sit on the sidelines for years on end in weak idleness!
I’m not a military general, and I don’t study war, but here is an idea for rescue: All of the official leaders of the world, presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens etc... should get together to strategize a rescue plan now. Pick a day. Make it Darfur Rescue Day. The troops of Sudan are basically a gang of bullies who terrorize and pick on starving, grieving refugee families. Lets call a spade a spade. That “military” would be no match for a world coalition’s swift action to go in and protect the refugee camps, dissolve the illegal holdings of the Darfuri people, arrest Bashir and enact a program of international amnesty. I do believe that there are enough benevolent people around the world who would assist the refugees in restarting their lives again via an amnesty program. I’m in: who else thinks this could be a viable plan? If you do, DEMAND from your government’s representatives to get going on a rescue.
If the world sits idly by while we drink our designer coffees, get our nails done, golf and continue with our lives as usual while there is a known population of people marked for death, then shame on us. The Darfuri’s spilled blood will be on our hands. There is no excuse in the world for genocide to continue. Those bodies of power that have the resources to end this, need to exercise that power now. The people of Darfur can’t wait!
Savedarfur.org is a wonderful resource for genocide prevention and activism. Please join today!
The above expressed opinions are the author’s own.
Copyright 2009 Simply EL (Elaine Carter)