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From Tax Day to Earth Day, Mother Nature’s bizarre, yet undeniable, connection with Money

17 Apr

‘Celebrated’ by the ‘refunded’, mourned by the owe-ers, April 15th, Tax Day, is a red letter American ‘holiday’. For better or worse, it’s a day that seemingly sums up successes, and/or survival of each year.

Subtly, Tax Day honors life’s most dominant ‘character’: the almighty American Greenback, slang name for USA’s green money.

As much as Americans may hate Tax Day, we love Greenbacks. It’s weird though, we love money, think a lot about it, but think it’s taboo to talk about it. Personally, I wish we’d talk about it more – I think a lot about how I spend and save money, and, how it impacts my day to day life. For me, money is freedom and the ability to explore and expand my horizons. Yes, I know I’m lucky…

If we were chatting over a cuppa I’d ask: what role does money and the almighty Greenback play in your life? How does money define your values and what’s important to you?

USA Greenback is loved and desired around the world and hungered for as much as McDonald’s and Starbuck. Money is POWER. Money influences.

Humankind has this strange love affair with Greenbacks – and really all money, any currency. That love affair isn’t healthy and like with all unhealthy relationships destroying those that keep us healthy and alive.

Greenbacks, have a deep, dark secret though. A secret shared by currency currently everywhere: Greenbacks’ value depends on, and is in thanks to Mother Nature, and, her bounty. Humans love affair with money and all the great things we need and crave are expensive – and at Mother Nature’s expense.

Think about it: the only reason Tax Day exists is because of the Environment. EVERYTHING we buy and need comes from Mother Nature.

Somehow we humans think we’re at the top of the food chain, though as we’re learning from the coronavirus – and all viruses – we’re not. In fact we rely on and are connected to all living things. We’re part of a WEB.

Humans think we need money, stuff more than we need the environment. That’s bad science, bad science education. The coronavirus can be our new teacher: We humans can’t trample on the environment as we have: we’re connected to everything living. The tiny and powerful coronavirus has proven that connection AND shown how the tiny can conquer the big and mighty.

We HUMANS would not exist without Mother Nature’s Environment and all she provides.

Tax Day, 15 April, (extended this year because of the coronavirus) is followed a week later, 22 April, with Earth Day. Coincidence they are a week apart? I don’t think so considering their connection.

Proof there’s a connection between Greenback and Mother Nature is in their (nick)names:

Still not convinced Greenback and Mother Nature are connected?

Shorten Greenback to Greenie, a nickname for someone caring about nature and the environment.

Mother Nature becomes MoNaPronounced: Muh Nay – sounds like money.

Cliff Note: We need MoNa for Greenie! Save Greenie by Saving MoNa

We’ve got all this wonderful time to think more about this important connection. A connection that impacts every aspect of our life and allows us to live. Some food for thought:

  • What’s most important to you NOW (in the coronavirus-age)? Health? Healthy food? Eating out (food, again!)? Breathing fresh air? Taking a walk? New clothes? A better phone? Stuff?
  • Walk through your room, your house, peak into closets, drawers and identify what gives you pleasure, what you use now, and know you’ll use in the near future (when you can leave your house).
  • Think (and calculate) how much you’ve spent on things piled in the corner of your room or basement, hidden in the back of a closet. Write that number down somewhere. What would you do with that money now? How would you spend it differently to give you more pleasure, more happiness?
  • How much money have you spent on what’s important to you? Your health, the air and water responsible for your health? For parks, trees, and, rivers you want to walk and run past now?

Earth Day is coming; one day soon-ish we’ll re-enter ‘normal’ life, or the new normal. Answering these questions will help you stay focused on what’s important for YOUR quality life.

Let’s all put money on what we value:

  • Let’s buy stuff that will last for years: A friend went to buy a cartridge for his printer and was told it was cheaper and easier to buy a new printer: wtf??? That is criminal on so many levels.
  • Buy quality clothes (natural fibers) and shoes: it’s why vintage clothes look and feel great; because they were so well made. I’m addicted to second hand I admit to feed my retail therapy cravings. I justify buying as better for the environment and better for (my) wallet. A true win-win.
  • Volunteer, somewhere, anywhere to help others. Plant a tree, or two, or three! In Portland, OR, “Friends of Trees” plants trees which are regularly monitored by volunteers – I bet there’s a similar organization in your city to get involved.

Back to my optimism: Spending money is POWER – If we don’t buy – leaders and corporations MAY finally listen:

  • IF we don’t buy something, it won’t be made.
  • IF people refused to take plastic bags (and I realize the coronavirus has delayed a plastic bag ban most places), oil and petroleum companies would stop producing them.
  • IF we carried reusable bottles and didn’t buy bottled water – same thing for all those bottles that end up in land fills – they wouldn’t be made.
  • IF people bought smaller more fuel efficient cars which help decrease air pollution – like most of the rest of the world drive, car manufacturers would make those kinds of cars.
  • IF we stop buying clothes that look great the day you buy them and look like crap a month later and have to be tossed – crappy fast fashion wouldn’t waste so many materials and resources making us poor and filling garbage dumps.

Let’s measure success by Earth Day action, not by Tax Day numbers. We’re in this together. Let’s create a healthy, happier world with our actions. And remember:

Save Greenie by Saving MoNa!

No More to Give Tree

10 Apr

Relationships, mutualistic/win-win ones especially, are fragile. Fragile because give and take is necessary for successful relationship BALANCE; like with us and trees. Most of us know it’s hard to balance what’s given – with what we take, and/or given. This short tale tells of such a relationship, and, the promise of a happy ending! Enjoy…

Once upon a time trees and humans lived in mutualistic bliss. Oxygen and Carbon-Dioxide were easily and mutualistically exchanged between the two and happiness was heard throughout the land. Birds chirped, bees buzzed, and people smiled and waved as they shared stories throughout the day, even while waiting in line to buy groceries.

Balance between us and trees: balance between the oxygen and carbon dioxide cycle. We need trees for oxygen aka life. Breathing is wonderful.

Breathe in, breathe out! It’s a wonderful thing”, humans cried. “Lucky trees”, they murmered, “they don’t need to go to the grocery store to buy food; they make their own with simple ingredients: chlorophyll, sunlight, and water, and (our contribution of) carbon-dioxide.” Humans both knew, but didn’t how joyful and simple trees made their lives. Breathing in oxygen was certainly a right, wasn’t it???

“Life is so wonderful, surely we deserve more to celebrate,” people around the world exclaimed. “Cars would make it so easy to get from place to place; and how wonderful to have a bigger house to host big dinners for all our happy friends. Food is plentiful and cheap for us.”

So humans, being intelligent creatures, came up with brilliant ways to build bigger and better everything: cars that zoomed from city streets to far-off freeways; houses big enough to hold stuff, and, maybe a visiting guest. One teensie problem… a few trees would need to be sacrificed for roads and houses. But, humans argued, there are sooo many trees, a few less wouldn’t upset their mutualistic balance.


Breathing in, breathing out, humans happily zoomed around with their new stuff, and didn’t think too much about the missing trees. Yet, humans started feeling unbalanced.

“Hmmm… IF we have these wonderful big houses, we need lots and lots of stuff to fill them. Let’s make them so comfortable we can stay home! We need big TV’s and lots of kitchen gear for those dinners we’ll make.”

Balance proved to be time-consuming and costly, but oh so much fun and thought provoking. “I absolutely NEED another pair of shoes; a new coffee grinder; the newest jeans fashion; a new phone.”

So, humans secure in their self-proclaimed throne at the top of the food chain, went about buying their wants cleverly disguised as needs. They drove their cars for miles to look and buy things they didn’t even know they needed. Evenings were wisely spent satisfying needs on-line. Dreams were filled with excited anticipation of brown-boxed wonders arriving at their doorstep. Balance was achieved; till credit card bills arrived.

Progress???? OMG – the tradeoffs!

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction: Human’s new balance led to imbalance with their oldest and best relationship with trees and nature. Trees in forests and urban parks became decorated with cast-off wrappers and coffee cups; plastic bags swung like holiday decorations from tree limbs swaying in the sighing wind. Birds were seen carrying litter, unsure what to do with it, or, where to put it. “This is no time to desert those who depend on us,” Trees proclaimed, standing their ground, protecting the worms, bugs, fungi, squirrels, etc. whose mutualism was important for their survival. They even protected humans who were slowly killing them.

Joni Mitchell ~ Big Yellow Taxi + Both Sides Now (BBC - 1969) NO better way to describe this unfolding story than Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’. See lyrics at the end of the post.

But humans, with only a few problems breathing in breathing out, soldiered on. So much was needed to survive now, and satisfying needs became a hard battle fought every day. This war took its toll on humans: “I need a newer phone”; “I need a better coffee grinder”; “I need to find work/play balance”; “I need to balance my spending and saving”; “I need to balance my relationships”, was heard throughout the anguished land.

Humans were addicted, and addictions, like viruses are hard to cure once unleashed. Humans sought balance in the warm comfort of food, micro-brews, cappuccinos, cool tech, and shoes.

Tree’ casualties rose at alarming rates, the details rarely making the headlines. Roads, bigger houses, stores, restaurants promised a new mutualism – outweighing the happiness and balance trees once supplied.

Humans, if they thought about it shrugged, “Hey, relationships end, become less important, especially when other priorities take over. We have to focus on NEEDS right now. Silly, alarmist environmentalists: we’re still breathing, right? “

As war against trees waged on, relationships and roles changed. Instead of a balanced partnership in life, humans morphed into an obligate parasite – humans NEED Trees as host to breathe, to survive. Trees, on the other hand, didn’t need humans’ carbon dioxide so much at all it turned out.

For too long, humans had ignored silly, alarmist, environmentalists’ cry for the need for trees. Ignorant of biology’s symbiotic definition of ‘obligate parasitism’, if the host (trees) dies, so will the parasite (humans) was a big OOPSIE.

Don’t it always seem to go – we don’t know what we have till it’s gone!

The Giving Tree had became the No-More-To-Give Tree…..

Consumed by pandemics and self-isolation, humans forgot their life depended on things they couldn’t buy on-line: oxygen, water, and nature (though water was easily delivered in clear plastic bottles). In their quest for a ‘better’ life, much that made life worth living was gone, buried under the wrappings of yesterday’s deliveries.

Commercial: The moral of this story so far: 1. Life is about BALANCE between give and take, wants and needs. 2. Take care of what is precious to you.

IN-THE-NOT -TO-DISTANT-FUTURE: As so often happens in life, it’s not till something you love and need is gone, that you feel deep pain for the loss. Humans touched elbows and loving exclaimed, “so much has been lost, and I’m so grateful to see you. I will never take you and our friendship for granted again.” Breathing, they’d learned from a microscopic virus, was not to be taken for granted. Yearning to close the distance between each other and nature, humans left the safety of their homes, priorities refocused, ready to change their actions to change the world together – as a planet!

Nope, it’s not ‘The End” yet

Let’s write the ending together as needs and wants are sorted through as carefully as closets, bookcases, tech accessories, and, kitchen cabinets. For starters:

  • Make a list of what you really need to survive. (Hint: oxygen and nature should probably be at the top).
  • Make a list of your wants since let’s face it, those won’t magically disappear once we’re allowed to leave our homes.
  • Make a list of what you have: money, and all the stuff on your want list.
  • Compare your needs with your wants. See how it matches with your haves. What can you afford in the name of progress?
  • DONATE MONEY TO support those less fortunate than you, even if it’s just a small amount: a larger amount if you’re still working and can.
  • When you can plant a tree; VOLUNTEER to help at your local park to support the nature that supports us in living.
  • Get involved – vote for politicians that have your best interest at heart, lungs, mind, and soul.
  • And remember our relationships with others should be mutualistic – support those you care about – ask questions how they are feeling – how their lives have changed. Compassion and empathy are always important: keep in mind that some peoples lives have radically changed recently even beyond health and finances.

The coronavirus has taken aim at lungs and our ability to breathe. Ventilators are needed with hope that people grasping for oxygen to stay alive. It’s frickin scary… Without trees and other photosynthesizers, that will be everyones fate.

More on Balance (the cornerstone of all scientific disciplines) to come next week!

In the meantime: stay balanced mentally and physically. Take a break from the news; watch something silly; reach out to friends; sleep; dance around the house; and, be kind to yourself and each other.

Lyrics to Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half to see ’em
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And they put up a parking lot

Hey farmer farmer
Put away that D.D.T. now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Took away my old man
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot

For non-commercial use only.
Data From: LyricFindShow related videos

Sustainable Living: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

8 Apr

I’ve spent the last two weeks in quarantine (in the US), having traveled through SouthEast Asia where people regularly wear masks to prevent disease AND breathe easier with heavy air pollution. I’m so grateful to be healthy, and my thoughts go out to everyone in quarantine (and paranoid/scared shitless about every sniffle or cough) and those who have had the virus or know people who do. Let’s all follow guidelines, stay distanced, mask up, and stay safe.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (Newton’s Third Law of Motion), metaphorically is where we are. Actions in the name of progress have rendered us isolated and vulnerable to a teeny tiny micro-organism. Crazy, right?

Meanwhile, it’s #WastefreeWednesday! In the midst of surviving this pandemic (I’m in the DC area, with cases set to peak this week), it’s hard to focus on anything else. YET, scientists are now finding air pollution impacts how we are effected by the virus, a reminder climate change and environmental problems are still with us.

It’s enough to say ‘oy’ and want to dive under the covers and binge watch just about anything, BUT:

We can handle climate change! As we’re isolating, we can begin to plan for action; plan to reclaim environmental health for our human health.

A few articles to give some ideas. Read what catches your fancy and passion (like for fashion?). Links are below. Read and pass them on. Remember – we got this!

 a nationwide study found that counties with even slightly higher levels of long-term air pollution are seeing larger numbers of Covid-19 deaths.

New York Times Evening Briefing, 7 April, 2020

Countries around the world are taking action to curb air pollution, an effect of our progress resulting in increased asthma and other health problems. EXCEPT USA PRESIDENT TRUMP! In March, 2020· Trump rolled back fuel economy standards, reversing major effort to combat climate change. The LA Times reported this change could worsen the quality of California’s air, considered among the most polluted in the country. Amazing to think the President of the ‘Free World’ could do something so irresponsible – it’s as if he hates kids, right? This is something that needs to be fixed: Be sure to vote! Read more below:

Trump to roll back fuel economy standards, reversing major … LA Times…

Where does the material for your clothes come from? How sustainable is that source? This article outlines 10 Ways to be a more sustainable shopper including strong suggestions to buy less, better quality, sustainable clothing. In our changing world, even post-pandemic, we’ll all be looking for new ways to protect our wallets – and our environmental health – with hope to prevent another virus pandemic.

Who What Wear: 10 Ways to be a more sustainable shopper

Forego a $5 latte and help save a coastal community: 5 trees or a latte: sustainable saving coastal community through the planting of mangroves: brilliant crowdfunding way to plant more trees out of Kuala Lampur. Coastal Communities Crowdfunding for Trees to Combat Climate Change

China can lead environmental climate change actions . Article also talks about human activity/encroachment into natural wildlife areas has not only destroyed species and their habitats, but also opened the possibilities of more coronavirus like virus pandemics based on the theory of zoonotic. zoontoics being the transmission of animal viruses to humans and since we are in closer proximity to animals since we are in THEIR space, well, we are more likely to get THEIR viruses. I first heard about this when Inga Anderson, from the UN was interviewed on the BBC and was fascinated.

A zoonosis (plural zoonoses, or zoonotic diseases) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites that spread from non-human animals (usually vertebrates ) to humans.

Zoonosis – Wikipedia

News about Nine Reasons We Should Be Eating Microalgae: As the climate warms, the land we use for growing energy-intensive crops such as wheat and corn is becoming less productive. We need to find ways to feed the earth’s growing population that isn’t so burdensome on the environment. One potential solution is to cultivate microalgae – microscopic aquatic organisms that are packed with nutrients. Microalgae are single-celled organisms that look like tiny pills and taste a bit like grass. They are relatively easy to cultivate and have several advantages over animal and plant protein. (Cosmos Magazine)

By Martina Doblin, Donna Sutherland and Peter Ralph, University of Technology Sydney


– Every step taken makes a huge difference. Start simple, start small. A few small ideas:

  • Only buy natural fiber clothes – empty your cart of all synthetics and even synthetic blend clothes. They’re hard on the environment and equally hard on your wallet since they won’t last the season (or maybe through our ‘stay-at-home” time.
  • Shop second hand when we’re able to go back into the shops. Things are often better quality, especially when they’re ‘older’. It’s the perfect way to try out a style, save money, and prevent waste in the landfill.
  • Plant a tree – this is my favorite since it’s a way to rebalance the oxygen-carbon-dioxide cycle: in other words allows us to breathe and survive – pretty good stuff.
  • Find an organization that supports something you believe in. For example: want to travel to Kuala Lampur? Read the article above about planting mangrove trees to protect coastlines and give up a $5 latte a week.
  • Register to vote and VOTE (I also have to do this when I can finally return home!) your beliefs, vote to ensure health for the future.
  • Last but not least: stay informed. Right now the news is overwhelming, yet there are lots of environmental articles that are less scary than the coronavirus. Besides, environmental action is something we can do and plan for now.

Let’s choose life – a healthy environment for our health and well-being.

Fast Fashion DON’T: #WasteFreeWednesday

18 Mar

We’re all at home – or should be – self-isolated to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Not to mention that most shops, public places, restaurants, even coffee places are closed. It’s a new bizarro world out there, right?

One thing I always think is weird: if I just want to be home and not go out it’s a wonderful luxury. BUT, if I CAN’T go out because of the weather, or now this virus, I’m frustrated and annoyed, and, all I can think of are all the places I could be going.

But, for the health and safety of all of us, we’re home, not just where you are but around the world. Likely, figuring out what to do with our time and energy; boredom and fear.

What have you been feeling these days? Can you put a name to it?

In the meantime, it’s easy to get on-line, and think about all the things you WILL be doing, and all the things you’ll need to do them. On-line shopping is easy, fun, and expensive. Expensive for those of us unable to work and collect a paycheck right now, and, even more expensive for Mother Nature.

Check out this article about FAUX FAST FASHION and the quote by Emma Watson: ‘We have the power to change the world by just being careful of what we buy.”

If you’re like me and feeling powerless to do much as we self-quarantine and self-isolate, how we shop and spend money is one way to take back that power. That will be even more important since so many of us are not working, not making money, and in truth, don’t have the money to buy clothes that won’t last as long as it will take to pay them off. So here are some actions to take:

Thoughts for this week’s #WasteFreeWednesday?

Don’t add to your (financial) debt;

Don’t add to the landfill excess of today’s trend that will pollute the planet even more.


  • Go through all your clothes and stuff.
    • Take pictures and think what feels good and what you need – post on Instagram and/or FB and ask people for their opinion
  • Reach out to friends and FB friends and see if someone wants to swap or just take things out of your closet
    • See if anyone has something you want and can easily swap

There’s so much written about this and here are just a few articles…

Read in South China Morning Post:


Model Arizona Muse speaks out against fast fashion in new video with Extinction Rebellion – The Independent

Model Arizona Muse speaks out against fast fashion in new video with Extinction Rebellion – The Independent

Here’s a great article that showed up in my newsfeed today to help you focus your self-isolation time today and probably the rest of the week!

How to recycle your clothes: the guide to sustainable de-cluttering

Posted bySarah BiddlecombePublished13 hours ago

how to recycle clothes

Is 2020 the time for a full wardrobe detox? If your clear out has left you with a pile of unwanted clothes, read on for our guide on how to recycle clothes you no longer want or need responsibly.

Are you de-cluttering your wardrobe? Purging your closet of the clothes that no longer make you look and feel confident will leave you with two things a) the streamlined wardrobe you’ve always dreamed of – and –b) a mounting pile of clothes that you need to dispose of. 

The mere thought of that jumbled pile growing on your bedroom floor has been enough for many of us to postpone that long overdue clear out for another few months. But not any more – when it comes to finding new homes for your unwanted clothes, there have never been more options. Whether you choose to sell your pieces online, donate to a local charity shop or even take them to a clothes swap, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your old pieces find a new lease of life. 

But what about the pieces that aren’t in a fit state to find a new home? We’re talking the moth-eaten jumpers, damaged-beyond-repair jeans and stained T-shirts that can’t be cleaned. Though it might be tempting to chuck the odd ripped sock or pair of laddered tights into the bin, what about those bigger ticket items? 

With Brits sending a nausea-inducing 350,000 tones of clothes to landfill in spring 2018, our fashion waste problem is an epidemic that we can no longer ignore. Campaigners are urging us all to start recycling our old clothes rather than throwing them in the rubbish – and for good reason.

Over the last decade, clothing has become the fastest growing stream of waste in the UK, and it now represents the fifth biggest environmental footprint of any industry in the UK. 

Plus, the staggering 350,000 tonnes of clothing that go to landfill each year could generate a massive £140 million if they were reused or recycled.


10 questions to ask yourself when cleaning out your wardrobe

Though the figures leave us little to argue with, we find  ourselves asking exactly how can we recycle our old clothes, and what do we need to know before we detox our wardrobes? 

To answer these all important questions, we looked at the recycling options available on the high street and spoke to Catrin Palfrey, project manager for the Love your Clothes campaign, to find out how we can do more to help at home.

How to recycle clothes: all your questions answered

Stylist spoke to Catrin Palfrey, project manager for the Love your Clothes campaign, part of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), to find out how we can do more at home, and how taking our unwanted items back to the high street can help.

Where can people in the UK go to recycle their clothes?

“People can donate clothes for reuse and recycling through a number of routes. For example, this could be via charity shops or collection bags from the door step, at a textiles bank at a supermarket or the local Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC).

“Some councils will also offer a clothing collection service as part of their recycling collection. The best way to see what to do in your area is use the Love Your Clothes Recycling Locator, where you can pop in your post-code and find out where your nearest textiles bank is.

“Or, you could try refashioning or upcycling unwanted items.”

Why is it important to recycle our old clothes rather than throwing them away?

“Globally, the natural resources (e.g. water and petroleum) needed to make products such as clothes are reducing. Repair, reuse and recycling reduces the amount we are sending to landfill, and makes use of resources already available rather than making them from scratch.

“Ultimately this means reduced levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere which contribute to climate change. It’s also believed that better reuse and recovery can maximise value, create jobs and build skills.”

Are there any parts of clothing that can’t be recycled, such as zips or buttons?

“European Recycling Company is a SCAP signatory which recycles garments and shoes. Nothing goes to waste: buttons, zips, chains and rivets are all removed and sent for recycling.

“Even the dust generated in the process is compressed into blocks and used again in the manufacture of paper, concrete production or utilised as energy.”

Where to recycle clothes on the high street

A number of high street retailers are offering in-store initiatives that aim to make recycling even simpler.

h&m recycle clothes
How to recycle clothes: H&M offer a £5 voucher in return for a bag of your unwanted textiles.

Recycling clothes at H&M

H&M has been offering a garment recycling service since 2013, with every item donated being recycled, reused or re-worn. The fashion giant collects clothes or textiles in all H&M stores worldwide, and if you drop in a bag of clothes to be recycled, the company will give you a £5 voucher to spend in-store as a thank you.

Speaking to Stylist, Catarina Midby, H&M UK sustainability manager, said, “We are one of the world’s biggest fashion companies and this comes with both responsibility and opportunity as we have a unique reach and possibility to create change that few others have. 

Currently 26% of all H&M products are made using sustainable materials and our goal is to produce 100% of our products using sustainable materials by 2030.”

Recycling clothes at Zara

Zara began installing collection bins in its stores across Europe in 2016, and currently has containers spread across countries including the UK, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. 

The clothes left in the containers are donated to charities such as the Red Cross.

Recycling clothes at & Other Stories

You can swap your unwanted clothes, textiles and beauty packaging in & Other Stories stores in exchange for a 10% ‘recycling treat’ voucher. Not too shabby…

This article was originally published in June 2017 but has been updated throughout

Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Commissioning Editor at Stylist. Follow her on Twitter

#WastefreeWednesday 11 March

11 Mar

It’s #WasteFreeWednesday – again! Another chance to take actions – we’re starting small – to combat our changing climate. Remember, not only will our daily actions allow each and every one of us to feel we are in control of what is happening around us, it will ALSO show politicians and corporations we want change NOW.

Why should we take action and basically boycott plastic makers? Read the article below and then ask yourself that question! Remember if we don’t buy it they can’t sell it so they won’t make it!

Read in National Geographic:

An old-school plan to fight plastic pollution gathers steam
Companies like Coca-Cola used to collect 98 percent of their bottles, and new entrepreneurs are learning from their tactics.

This is a big reason I’ll stick with re-usables to cut down on plastic use…

Last week, I suggested a few small changes – like carrying your own mug and reusable bottle and bag to keep from using plastic. This is so important – taking actions to slowly cut back on plastic, I’m going to feed your motivation to take action with just a few pictures, once again urging you to become a REAL influencer and promote a #WasteFreeWednesday movement.

Please spread the word and take action. Share your own photos and/or post them on your own FB or Instagram page.

The world has changed a lot since Tevvy’s mother didn’t need plastic, true. Now, we need to think about how to use less plastic. What can you give up?

Tevvy’s is a restaurant in Siem Reap, Cambodia. NGO’s are tackling social and environmental issues – think about what you can do in a few minutes this Wednesday.

While this isn’t about plastic, per se, think about how much of our food comes in plastic whether it’s from the grocery store AND the plastic and waste we use when we buy delivery food/uber eats and all the other delivery services that make our life so ‘easy’.

Composting has begun in Portland, OR and I’m sure around the country. One interesting thing to look at with your garbage, is how much is food waste – and what the rest is… Urge your city/town to compost!

Think of all the plastic STUFF that’s cheaply made – or just easier to buy new then repair. Think about where that ends up (in our water and food, and…. This idea is good for the planet and food biz idea for fix-it types that are looking to start a business.

It’s way to easy to throw stuff away and just buy new (and new things are so pretty – and fun! Look at something you are about to throw away and think about what it would take to fix it: shoes that can be re-heeled or soled?

Someone recently told me it was cheaper to buy a new printer than to buy an ink cartridge! Tell me that’s not crazy. If a cartridge can’t be easily replaced it shouldn’t be bought – we all have that choice!

Another brilliant reuse for plastic bottles -(in Cambodia) why buy a new fixture when this ‘waste’ can free up money and garbage?
This is likely to be a familiar site EVERYWHERE – garbage – take-away containers and plastic at the base of the tree while a garbage can is steps away. it won’t take much for that garage to end up in the river…

The easiest way to keep garbage off the streets and out of our water is just not to buy it and to use reusables. That idea works for the pic above and the one below.

Take away containers that HAVE ended up far down-stream and in a part of the river where people swim and fish. Nice, right?
A small section of the Mekong River, a river where people eat from, bathe, live on and yet it’s also now filled with waste. First world waste is a global issue we CAN do something about.
Plastic bags have been banned around the world including Bangkok, Thailand and parts of Vietnam. And NYC, usually the leader in action can’t ban plastic bags??? Yet one more thing each and every one of us has to take action on and just say NO!

Spread the word and take action. I know I’ve contributed to the plastic that is in a field now – BUT – I also know I can take action now and make a difference. Join me – Join the activitists around the world to greatly decrease plastic production and pollution.

#Waste-Free Wednesday

25 Feb

It seems every day we hear and/or experience outcomes from our irresponsible environmental behavior and Mother Nature’s response. It’s overwhelming, with scary, dire predictions shared daily.

Politicians and corporations are dragging their feet; unwilling to change their role in polluting the planet. Even with dynamic climate leaders like Greta Thunberg providing reasons why they shouldand must – take immediate action. I say: it’s time WE lead!

Time to change where we put our energy and frustrations.

As individuals WE have Power. Power to change ourselves, and, to rebalance the environment. It’ll be hard and sounds hokey, but it’s time to acknowledge the change we can create by where and how we spend our money – and our energy.

Money speaks. Every day and every time we spend a dollar, we are providing support of corporations, and their actions. Time to spend money (in a way) to show what is important to us – on what we value.

There’s so much pressure, incentive, opportunity to buy something cheap, new, and shiny. But we all have to decide what’s important to us – really, in the long term.

Buying new, cheap and shiny things is fun – it makes us feel good, right? And all around us we’re shown how something new and wonderful makes us a better person. Especially new clothes that are on trend and Instagram perfect.

Ask yourself: WHAT IS IMPORTANT? Do I want to eat plastic in fish?

Power starts with small actions. It’s what we do and how we spend for starters. Each action may be a drop in the bucket, but, a single drop in the ocean can cause a tidal wave.

Imagine if each of us said YES to Re-usable mugs and bottles each and every Wednesday – how many disposable cups and single use bottles would NOT be used.

IF we stop taking our ‘STARBUCKS’ (or other brand) coffee cups, stop buying a bottle of water and instead refill our water bottles, companies will listen (because they won’t be making money!) and change – because WE have made them do so!

Time to start a tidal wave, one action, one drop at a time with #Waste-Free Wednesday.

Here are some ideas to put into play this Wednesday:

  • DON’T take a bag that’s offered – even from a trendy store (and even if it’s paper).
  • Bring a reusable bag with you.
  • Carry your own mug to the local cafe for your morning cup of tea/coffee.
  • If you commute, carry one of those commuter cups – you probably have a few in your kitchen.
  • Don’t buy FAST FASHION! We all know those trends of the week that are in style today, are cheap, and cheaply made. (it will end up in a landfill soon.)
  • Bring your own water bottle, or if you’re lucky to live in a place with good drinking water use the water fountain (or bubbler if you’re from Wisconsin).

If you already do some of these, perfect, add another action to your list, or make a longer time goal – and share here.

Spread the word and become the #Waste-Free Wednesday leader in your class, office, and family/friend group.

Imagining a rebalanced environment:

Imagine a Wednesday when 50% of people walking into Starbucks didn’t take a disposable cup and lid.

Imagine a Wednesday where 50% fewer people bought a bottle of water and instead refilled it at a water fountain, or, cafe/restaurant, office, etc.

Imagine not taking a bag at the trendy store (or drugstore) you just shopped.

Imagine shopping a local “BUY/SELL clothes store nearby – no packaging to throw away. And it’s fun! Make a shop date with friends like I recently did in Chicago with J. and L.

Money speaks. Money is a step to environmental action when we DON’T put our money in things that are unsustainable!

Join the movement: Become a #Waste-Free Wednesday leader, share on Instagram and Facebook what you’re doing today!

A little extra: Margaret Weis’ powerful quote reinforcing our power – and our ability – to start a tidal wave!

“We each have within ourselves the ability to shape our own destinies. That much we understand. But, more important, each of us has an equal ability to shape the destiny of the universe. Ah, that you find more difficult to believe. But I tell you it is so. You do not have to be the leader of the Council. You do not have to be king or monarch or the head of a clan to have a significant impact on the world around you.
In the vastness of the ocean, is any drop of water greater than another?
No, you answer, and neither has a single drop the ability to cause a tidal wave.
But, I argue, if a single drop falls into the ocean, it creates ripples. And these ripples spread. And perhaps – who knows – these ripples may grow and swell and eventually break foaming upon the shore.
Like a drop in the vast ocean, each of us causes ripples as we move through our lives. The effects of whatever we do – insignificant as it may seem – spread out beyond us. We may never know what far-reaching impact even the simplest action might have on our fellow mortals. Thus we need to be conscious, all of the time, of our place in the ocean, of our place in the world, of our place among our fellow creatures.
For if enough of us join forces, we can swell the tide of events – for good or for evil.”

― Margaret Weis, The Seventh Gatetags: changedestinyinspirationalphilosophyRead more quotes from Margaret Weis

Giving Gifting GREEN Tuesday

3 Dec

From Black Friday to Giving Tuesday the holiday shopping rush is ON. There are so many emotions, money, and, well, stuff. That’s why Giving Tuesday – and Giving GREEN is so important in our increasingly crazy and overwhelmed world.

Let's make it cool to give gifts with meaning; gifts that will give and give - DONATE in someones name!

What an opportunity for us to refocus wants vs needs, and, to rethink how lucky we are. We can take time to tune out all the stuff we’re supposed to have to be trendy and ‘cool’. Just ponder these other plusses to giving a donation gift:

  • Giving GREEN is about putting money where beliefs are. It’s a chance to focus on action rather than despair over all the bad news out there. A dollar can make a difference!
  • Giving GREEN teaches loved ones, especially kids to share and care about the world around us – and to take action.
  • Giving GREEN and donating to causes we believe in allows us to take control and feel powerful one dollar at a time. Money ‘talks’. Money has power so maybe politicians and corporations will listen and take action when we donate.
  • Gifting Giving GREEN is a clean gift: there is no waste, no plastic. Woohoo – nothing to wrap or ship and it won’t end up polluting the environment.
  • It’s cool – it’s a gift that’s different.

Ask what’s important to someone you love. Gift GREEN and donate in their name. Help others create a life they love! Here are a few ideas for Giving Gifting GREEN:

Gifting a tree is not only the best way to combat climate change, and insure your child has oxygen for life, it also adds beauty and more to your community. Imagine gifting a tree in a national forest and taking your child to see the trees! A list of orgs that will plant your tree:
WATER is the source of life! We planted trees in the yard of my school in South Africa (as Peace Corps volunteer) for shade and to absorb waste water from the faucet where kids washed their hands. See, planting trees is good for water AND oxygen!

Look at all this wasted water, where water only ‘flowed’ once a week for most of the village. Kids would come and wash their hands, and, by noon the area would be flooded. If you look in the left hand corner you can see the metal cage structure which was put up to protect the tree planted in the previous picture. Here are some orgs that will supply clean water – a necessity around the world including the United States.
Heifer is a great organization to help people around the world become self-sufficient by supplying people with animals to raise and feed the family and more. My friend J will donate/gift sending a girl to school for her sister who needs nothing. How cool is that? for more info!

Give to your local library because what is more important than reading (and movies and free computer use?) If you haven’t been your library recently, go!

People are hungry and in need of good, nutritious food. One great organization that provides lunch, food, and meal delivery is Meals on Wheels. OR check out a local church or organization that has a food pantry. No-one should go hungry.

Ukrainian teachers learn English to help their students participate and communicate with the world. Speaking English is the best way to promote democracy and peace. Peace Corps sends volunteers like me to build these skills. You can donate to amazing Peace Corps volunteer projects around the world.

(I do have a confession though… I became my niece’s least favorite aunt when I gifted them Chanukah donations. Though after a few years they started telling me where they wanted their ‘gift’ to go, like to a local animal shelter!)

There are SO many possibilities. Follow your passion and the needs you see around you. Let’s all make a difference together this holiday season! Please post and share what you’ve gifted – and THANKS!

What’s your (recycling) style?

25 Oct

It used to be talking about the weather meant that there was nothing else to say. Now, the weather is a powerful character in our stories, changing lives wherever it visits. Mostly thanks to climate change.

The UN Climate Action Summit in late September brought energy and reality to an earth on fire (literally in California, and many places around the world). Activist Greta Thunberg urged world leaders to act NOW. Corporate leaders are hearing the same cries of anguish.

Hearing and listening are different things.

Sexy plastic bottles?????

When and why did carrying around plastic bottles, and coffee to-go cups become sexy? And they must be, otherwise why would people around the world want to be seen with them? Hollywood is surely the greatest advertiser for pulling a water bottle out of the fridge, steps from a sink with running water, cool (read Nadine Zylberberg’s “Single Use Plastics On-Screen and Off). Unless you’re in Flint, Michigan or The Warm Springs Indian Reservation (where water needs to be boiled), in most of the developed world tap water is fine. Perhaps a new reality show will be the ‘Battle of Hydration’: what will get us first: thirst or plastic pollution.

Sign at the Paris Airport declaring wonderful water in their fountains!

A few facts:

  • March 18th is Global Recycling Day. Put it on your calendar for next year.
  • Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves the equivalent energy usage a two person household will use in a year. BUT: only 27% of plastic is recyclable! The math: 73% of plastic is destined for a landfill, the ocean, or a park near you.
  • Every three months, Americans throw enough aluminum in the landfills to build our entire commercial air fleet.
  • Littering isn’t just ugly – chemicals from plastic leach out into the water or soil. Micro-plastics in fish is known, but what about the effect on trees and their ability to produce needed oxygen?
  • The most littered item: cigarette butts!

Scary, true… especially waiting for the UN Climate Summit, Paris Accord/Agreement, and/or corporate leaders to take real and immediate action. Screw them, we got this:

Are you an Instagram influencer or want to be one? Start ‘Throw-away&Waste Free Wednesday’s”. No plastic&to-go cups & containers on Wednesday’s.

Looks good doesn’t it? #Throw-away&Waste Free Wednesday: No plastic&to-go cups&containers on Wednesday’s.

Redefine sexy and cool and be the influencer in your office or school:

  • Have ONE reusable mug for your coffee that you carry on Wednesdays Each reusable mugs need to be used 300x to offset the materials. Basically it’s having one for a year.
  • Get one of those little reusable bags that folds into the size of an apricot, throw it in your briefcase or handbag and use it for a year.
  • Chat around the water-fountains (or bubbler if you’re in Wisconsin) instead of texting.
  • Demand Hollywood make desk mugs, reusable travel mugs, and, water out of the tap sexy again. If fashion and jean styles are being recycled, why not how we drink coffee and water?

E=MC2 is about a small mass creating a huge amount of energy. That small mass is me, you and, all of us! We can’t wait for The UN or corporate leaders LISTEN and take action. People listen to action. We can do this by starting small and influentially starting a movement:

#Throw-away&Waste Free Wednesday: No plastic&to-go cups&containers on Wednesday’s

Margaret Mead’s truly Genius Quote!

Trees Throw Shade

14 Oct

So there I was going through my news feed and reading headlines of one celebrity throwing shade at another. Had they become trees or something? And I somehow missed when this Jane Austen-era action rebounded into the 21st century. “Throw shade” , “throwing shade”, or simply “shade” are slang for (often) a nonverbal insult or sneering contempt or disgust for someone.

Yet, I can’t quite figure out how ‘throwing shade’ can be considered an insult in out increasingly hot world. Even more, are trees cut down because they throw shade? Do people feel their backyard tree is insulting them and their house by its cooling summer shade and feel that nasty old tree has to go?

Trees throwing shade are giving trees. Like the premise of Shel Silverstein’s book “The Giving Tree”, a live tree that throws shade gives humankind unconditional love with fruit, oxygen, absorbing water, and most of all giving shade, something greatly needed in our increasingly hot world.

A Giving Tree is a Shade Tree.

Language has power, slang is probably the most important language. As talk of global warming has its ‘day in the sun’, perhaps ‘throwing shade’ needs to be reclaimed for what its literal meaning. Let’s make it cool again to be a shade thrower and plant a tree or two!

Current Score: Trees:0 – Humankind: -420 (ppm)

24 Sep

Balance! I always say all of life – and science is about finding – and maintaining – balance. Whether it’s balancing a chemical equation and surviving chemistry class or getting through the day balancing work, work-outs, and a night out. My balance is challenged navigating icy sidewalks – yet I know it’s not really my greatest problem.

Greta Thunberg and other young leaders are demanding the UN take real action on our planets imbalance. About time right?

The UN and world corporations must take action to cut greenhouse gases and each and every one of us will have to act alongside them. It’s time for team-work – balancing OUR climate will be a team effort meaning that each and every one of us has to take action. Yup, individually and societally all of us are key players to keep the ball in play – and balanced.

SOOOO, which team are you on?

Mother Nature will always win – she is resilient. In truth, so is Humankind even though we’re currently imbalanced in so many ways. BTW: to ‘play’ we need to breathe, and right now we’re lobbing way too much CO2 at far too few O2 producers. This simple cycle we all memorized for a science test has become the central question of our life test. Will we pass?

Image thanks to

Time for a balanced game. Time to start a PERSONAL Climate Action. I’ve got a few ideas, but first share how you can become a team leader.

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