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Naked Identity

23 Apr

Trees have flowered and are slowly ‘leafing’ as spring brews its magic bringing color and texture back into our world – an especially welcome site this year as we peer through windows for glimmers of hope and light.

Naked Identity is like a tree without adornment: it’s time to focus and celebrate what’s inside, remembering that ‘inside’ is what makes the outside so beautiful and valuable.

I love gnarly winter trees. Awkward limbs covered with scratchy twigs stretching out from knotty limbs; trunks covered with scars from past ailments. Completely naked without their summer/spring adornment, they are both stark and beautiful – I would say unabashedly secure in their identity. I aspire to be as confident and brazen in showing my imperfections. Trees’ winter nakedness is a well-deserved time to rest; their’introvert’ time so to speak after months of feeding, delighting, and, decorating the world around them.

The beauty we see in spring and summer is because the tree has found its right habitat: right place, right time and able to share the gifts it holds deep inside.

Our ‘Naked Identities’ are expressed and ‘bloom’ in the right conditions. NOW is the time to discover them.

We humans rarely have time to ‘shed our leaves’ and show the world our gnarly limbs and trunk. Especially on social media, there’s need to mask our scars while demonstrating and sharing our beauty/status as often as possible. It’s a way to feel recognized and acknowledged. Because of that, I think it’s easy to forget, harder to identify, our naked identity: who we are at our core that makes us exactly who we’re meant to be, and, what we have to share with the world.

Naked figuratively, not literally – please, keep the sweats on!

Wherever you are in the world, likely you’re home. Relatively isolated, in sweats and comfy clothes, and staring your naked identity in the mirror at least once a day. As the world rapidly changes through slow moving days, NOW is the perfect time to become reacquainted with our best, ‘naked’ selves/identities.

Someone once told me the happiness in our lives was defined by 3 factors: work; love/partner; and home/living space. To be happy, two of the three had to be ‘good’. Ideally that’s true: but true happiness, I think, is based on securely expressing our ‘Naked Identity’. Those of us who are 0/3 can attest to this!

Identity is fortified by four key relationships: Self, Others, Economy, and the Environment.

Most important is our relationship with ourselves. Our ‘self’ relationship impacts and guides all our action and relationships!

‘Naked Identity’ is about being happy from within. Work, ‘where’ you are, and, what you’re surrounded by is less important than acknowledging all the good inside you even when everything around you sucks. Even without a job or the love of your life, or…

‘Naked Identity is our ‘self’ – and most important – relationship!

Our ‘Naked Identity’ is based on DNA/Genotype, Phenotype aka how we look and express who we are; and our internal personal qualities, passions, and, talents that motivate us – whether we’re paid for them or not.


Humans have unique power in expressing our identity vs. in Nature. In Nature, other living things DNA/genotype pretty much determines everything about them: from how they look/phenotype to their personal qualities, talents, strengths/niche in their environment/community. We Humans can easily change our phenotype based on how we want to be seen by self and others. Humans take roles outside of their personal quality, talent niche for money, status, and other needs. ‘Naked Identity’ is a way to look into that ‘natural’ self, especially with respect to personal qualities and talents.

Phenotype: how we look, or more specifically how we look based on our DNA is the easiest thing to change. I think of how we change our ‘look’ based on where we are and who we’re with, and how it’s like Russian nesting dolls: Matryoshka dolls! Our inner most ‘doll’ is likely our ‘Naked Identity’ – when we express our most true ‘self’ for us – not for social media or to impress others. Like the heart of an artichoke, that inner doll is the truest, sweetest, and, best part.

Pop a bowl of popcorn and get ready to think about – and uncover – your own ‘Naked Identity’!

Find a comfy spot. Get a pad, notebook, computer, or whatever you like to write with; I like to use colored pens, as you can see.

Start writing out EVERYTHING you like about yourself.

Find a comfy place to sit…

Everything means just that: everything! Include: personal qualities, talents, strengths, characteristics: how you act when you feel most ‘you’, when you’re not trying to please anyone but yourself or concerned by what others may say (or judge). This is about you without your ‘mask’ so to speak! My list includes strengths that have shown themselves in the best and worst of times; actions of accomplishment and notably emotion/relationship; as well as how I dress when I’m ‘ME’ (with lipstick.. ah, another ‘loss’ to coronavirus and facemasks). I included what makes me smile and share smiles with others, and other ways I contribute to the world.

More important (than lipstick): uncovering your personal qualities and talents, and having specific examples is your selling point to identify your true niche. In this changing world, building on strengths is a sure way to find success as job markets and social interactions wobble about.

“Be the change you want to see in the world”, a powerful and true quote to live by. Naked Identity allows each of us to be part of that change, using our skills and talents, taking action through these difficult times.

‘Naked Identity’ can change our actions and interactions because of less stress to be someone we’re not. Perhaps this is a good time to redefine success: focusing on personal rather than material rewards.

Your ‘Naked Identity’ is not filled with negativity: Identify all those voices that have told you “Nope, you can’t do it”, the naysayers, the little/loud voices that dig at you making you question yourself, including those on social media. Don’t let others ‘crap’ make you feel crappy about yourself anymore.

I wrote about how other’s ‘Doubts’ invade and kill off your own natural talents and optimism.

Now is the time to silence those negative doubts. Weed them from your mind.

Listen to your voice – block out the invasive doubts from others.
Ask – then answer – what’s most important to you1

What’s important to you likely goes far beyond Environmental issues (hopefully it’s somewhere on the list though).

Write what makes your heart sing in every aspect of your life.

Your ‘Naked Identity’ leaves you balanced to keep you ‘going’ and breathing!

Identify what keeps you ‘in balance’; where you get what you need from what you give.

Balance in what you need, what keeps you alive!

This is a good time to ask: Are you in balance with what you give and what you get?

Here’s the Cliff Note Version of Uncovering ‘Naked Identity’:

  • Write/record/draw your personal qualities, strengths, and, talents.
  • Include aspects of your DNA/genotype and especially your Phenotype (physical appearance including dress, tatts, etc.) and how they impact your ‘Naked Identity’.
  • Listen and put a name to whose voice(s) you hear about your identity/strengths – both positive and negative. Throw the negative away and work to unroot them!
  • List what’s most important to you to have balance in your life.
  • Honestly think/write where you are balanced and where you feel unbalanced in your life.
  • Plan for ways you can change your life to become balanced and focus on what’s important to you; actions and life that enhance and promote your strengths, talents, and, personal qualities.

It’s these challenging times that strip us naked of our usual life accoutrements: clothes, work, friends, going out, entertainment, and, all the other dressings of life. (I first learned this as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa – talk about seeing the best and worst of myself – often within a 60 minute window!) Good and bad stuff will come out – embrace it – and most of all embrace and celebrate what makes you ‘YOU’. Our ‘Naked Identity’ is our individual superpower. We just have to figure out how to use it.

Life may be crazy – and it would be even crazier NOT to share our ‘Naked Identity’ with the world which needs your talents now. In sweats though, please!

Stay safe, sanitized, masked, and isolated only by physical distance!

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.

Symbiosis (relationships) in the Age of CoronaVirus

5 Apr

A positive to our self-isolation and quarantine? Time to explore our relationships. Likely, we think about them all the time, but now, with limited face-to-face contact, is opportunity to examine our lives and interactions with time and care.

One of the great things about science is the in-depth exploration of every day behavior. Relationships, a key aspect of our lives and a shaper of our identity, is defined in biology as symbiosis. A truly great word that rolls over our tongues, right?

Symbiosis, comes from the Greek and means ‘living together’, referring to ‘any type of close and long-term biological interactions between two different organisms’. (Wikipedia!) ALL relationships are symbiosis and in Human Nature Concepts, there are four (4) relationship’ ‘lens’ to define our identity and life:

ALWAYS – not just now, our key relationships are with Self; Others; Environment; and, the Economy.

First and foremost our key relationship is with ‘Self’. The way we treat our’Self is how we also treat and relate to others. It’s easy to say ‘I’m my own best friend’; now is the time to make that true. ‘Others’ relationships with friends and families should support and complement us, as we support and complement them. Environment, the vital relationship (literally) keeps us alive with food, water, and oxygen. Currently, our relationship with the Economy, may be very painful, yet generally mirrors our view of ‘self’, ‘others’, and the environment.

Bolster your Environment relationship: Go hug a tree – no social distance needed. Trees deserve hugs, and are the reason we live and breathe. Btw, it’s said we need 8 hugs a day to be happy: go hug 8 trees, or even better plant one in thanks for healthy lungs.

Defining the ‘who’ of key relationships is only the beginning. Basic high school biology explores 3 types of symbiosis uncovering interaction’ quality:

3 types of symbiosis: MUTUALISM is a win-win for both parties; COMMENSALISM is a win for one ‘party’, and a ‘whatever’ aka no benefit or harm for the other; PARASITISM is a win for one partner and a huge lose for the other. In our human world we can choose the type of symbiosis for our interactions.
  • In the natural world pollinating bees create the win-win mutualism, supplying flowers, trees, and, pretty much all fruits and vegetables we love. Without pollinating bees, there would be no/little fruits and vegetables!
  • Orchids naturally grow on tree trunks, enjoying the sunshine, without effecting the tree demonstrates commensalism and it’s often overlooked quality.
  • Sinister and menacing is the most ‘famous’ symbiotic quality of parasitism. A recent Academy Award winning film title, this one quite literally gets under our skin from mosquitoes, ticks/lyme disease, worms, and most noticeably – the coronavirus.

In our human world, quality of our relationships can be explored through this same lens. Some food for thought:

Mutualism is a win-win; Faculative Symbiosis is a win-win also, not a need, but a choice. Obligate Parasite, aka coronavirus can only live on a live host – major Lose for us, Win for the virus. Independent Non-symbiosis is living side by side with no effect on each other.
  • Friends who always check on you and listen without judgement while you talk: Mutualism at it’s best!
  • Those of us isolated with friends and family by choice are now living examples of Faculative Symbiosis, relating and benefiting out of choice, not need. (yea to my cousins who I’m staying with!)
  • Covid-19, the coronavirus is a prime example of an Obligate Parasite, a parasite unable to survive without a living host (unlike a mosquito or tick which can).
  • Non-symbiosis, living independently of each other was once the norm in large cities, especially here in the USA. I think Coronavirus has proven, in the harshest, loudest, way, we do not live independently from neighbors we never talk to, and/or interact with.

This virus has shown us how small the world is; how connected we are to people next door and across the world. Our 4 key relationships, focused through biology’s symbiosis lens, will help create mutualism, less parasitism. A true silver lining and a reason to take action.

Covid-19’s parasitic relationship means it needs living things to survive. Washing hands and masking your mouth and nose creates a barrier for this parasitic virus to make its home in you. Stay safe and let’s all follow guidelines!

When we walk out of our isolation, let it be to a re-created life filled with meaning; a life that will will ‘fill’ us up without filling up shopping carts on-line, and adding to debt. Let’s strengthen our souls and wallets and focus on relationships. For those of us that have the luxury of time now, let’s explore how to build strong relationships that will guide us to healthy and rich living!

Chatting with friends – or ‘Self’: Think about these 4 key relationships, examining interactions.

  • Rate your interaction on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high) with each of the 4 key relationships. In each of these relationships is there more mutualism, commensalism, or parasitism, and, what does that mean to you.
  • Which of these relationships can you work on this week? What are 3 steps you can take to make it more of win-win mutualistic?

If you’re stressed about work, money, and all you’re NOT doing, remember relationships enrich – and determine our wealth.

Enjoy ‘self’ and ‘others’, even if frustrated with them about now. Reach out to people regularly. Tell people you are thinking of them and love them. Wash hands – mask – keep social distance – and smile!

“A man's friendships are one of the best measures of his worth.” - Charles Darwin is a wonderful site: I get a daily email with an inspiring quote and a few stories always worth checking out.

The Money Tree

30 Mar

I used to tell people I had a money tree in my backyard when they wondered how I could afford something (without going into debt). I had no backyard (or tree!), but, I was a darn good bargain hunter and shopped second-hand!

Currently, self-quarantined with cousins outside of D.C., I sure wish that tree outside my window was a money tree that I could pick from every morning. Yet, I have to remind myself that every tree is a money tree, whether with fruit, nuts, shelter from the sun, sucking up rainwater and keeping it in the soil, and, most priceless of all supplying OXYGEN.

Don’t we all wish we had a money tree in our backyards? It’s hard to remember that trees supply the most precious of all riches: OXYGEN!

Oxygen… Ironically, the coronavirus impacts our lungs, our ability to breathe. Breathing, like trees and all they offer, is something we may usually take for granted. Looking at the silver lining in our surreal self-isolated rooms: now is the perfect time to think about what’s important to prioritize and protect.

Even though it’s hard to think about balancing the economy and the environment as the world is stopped for the pandemic; Money/Economy will survive ONLY with the Environment/Trees: The Economy, like each of us individually, needs the Environment to keep alive.

Perspective: two months ago, the world was awash in news and warning of climate change and environmental dangers. Pictures of plastic waste, wasted forests cut for cattle grazing or construction filled our news feed. Unseen and sorely felt, microscopic Coronavirus has now replaced our worry for the future with alarm for the present.

It’s a bit overwhelming now to realize climate change is still a critical issue!

Priority: I bet most of us right now are craving the comfort of walking in nature, seeing a tree, listening to a bird, smelling the freshness of spring. As important as oxygen, walking in nature is like a needed gift, filling us with calm, good energy, and optimism. It’s PRICELESS.

Balance: Everything is changing and we can weigh the options and refocus our wants to prioritize our needs: We need fresh air and the calm of nature. The economy needs the environment for survival.

Where and what is your sense of balance?

IRL it looks and feels as if we have to choose between money – or – trees. AS we’re currently indoors most of the time, it’s the perfect time to think about what makes us feel rich and full of life: a walk in a park or down a tree filled street or locked at home waiting for deliveries. Mull it over for the next week, especially if you’re sitting at home in quarantine or isolation.

Nature and trees are ‘priceless’ and add value far beyond their monetary worth: oxygen and Emotional Well Being!

The best way to not stress (too much)? Take action! I don’t want to stress about money so I won’t buy that T-shirt or jeans; I certainly don’t want to stress about the environment and I can relax knowing cutting down on spending and using throw-aways is a win-win. And I certainly don’t want to be stressing about the coronavirus, so I’m staying away from others and washing my hands (a lot) with plain soap and water.

Most of all I know how lucky I am to have time right now to re-prioritize my needs and wants, while also paying attention to my checking balance and mental health. Let’s plan to make this pandemic an opportunity for changing actions when we re-emerge from our cocoons of isolation.

What do you choose? Have a discussion with friends and family about:

  • Where are priorities based on what’s important to you?
  • How do you define ‘Money Tree’?
  • What are some actions you can take to address both the environmental and economic challenges we’re faced with?

Let’s choose life: oxygen, water, and safe food! Trees give life and support our health and well-being. There are some things money can’t buy. Let’s remember this for our present sanity, future environmental health, and long time well-being.

AND – reach out to friends, even those who aren’t reaching out to you – it’s a kindness as important as fresh air!

6 Steps to stop Gaslighting: Curb invasive doubts from taking root

26 Mar

It doesn’t take much for others to plant doubts that take root into our minds and souls, killing off natural thoughts and beliefs. If you’re like me, you’ve had these seeds (of doubt) thrown your way more often than you’d like. These seeds have flourished in my heart, making me doubt myself, and, prevented me from fully realizing my own talents and possibilities (in the past). In my last post, ‘Doubt is an Invasive Species’, I explored how these seeds take root, and kill off what’s natural inside of us.

Smothering and demeaning insults and comments by others – or worse, by ourselves is Gaslighting.

So ENOUGH of gaslighting: harboring invasive thoughts which stifle our natural talents. These 6 steps to kill off doubt are the first step to change your internal environment and unleash your own natural thoughts and beliefs to grow. As the world changes around us, this is the perfect time to:

  • Identify what’s invasive and what’s natural in your personal belief system
  • Take action to kill off the invasive doubts and nurture your natural beliefs.
  • Take charge of these challenging times, find work, and, a life that gives you pleasure, and, importantly shares your unique gift and NICHE with the world. (Each of us has a unique niche based on our qualities and characteristics.)
  • Define and unleash success based on your talents, needs, beliefs.
  • Create a life that is sustainable emotionally and financially and most of all joyful for YOU.
  • Bring forth our most authentic self – now is the time!

Step 1: initially, it’s identifying doubts you hear and from whom: hard, but oh so interesting work:

Looking in the mirror makes you face yourself and see the positive in who you are. Talk out loud to yourself (really).

Usually we get so used to insulting/gaslighting ourselves, we don’t pay attention to what we say. Our insults become our way of talking about ourselves, drowning out other, positive voices – sometimes even the voices who first planted those initial seeds of doubt. Take your time. Write things down or record them – whatever works for you.

  • Take time to identify who planted those seeds.
  • Take time to rethink WHY you believe the ‘doubt’, in any way, that has taken over your mind and soul.

Now that you’ve figured out whose voice you hear, ( I’m sure from now on you’ll always hear that persons voice and see their face when you ‘doubt’ yourself) it’s time to uncover your natural thoughts about yourself:

Once again, stand before the mirror and listen and list your natural thoughts through writing and/or recording.

Take the time to think this through…

It’s time to get in touch with real qualities and characteristics – why you are unique, what talents you have to share and benefit those around you. These qualities are what lead to becoming the great ball player, dancer, writer, developer, etc. Even if you aren’t that ‘job title’, these qualities are more important and will lead to your success in any job, and all situations. After all, jobs come and go, but the skills we hold as a person are what make us successful in every stage and every step of our life. I think this makes them WAY more important – and interesting!

Once you KNOW those values, beliefs and qualities that have been deep inside, hold on tight: they are real. Now it’s time to start silencing those ‘doubt’ voices that have taken root:

Stop calling yourself the names others have called you and told you about yourself! Pay attention to the voice you say them in!

I think this is something we do without thinking: call ourselves various names that others have told us for years. After Step 2, you should be able to hear the voice that first showered you with seeds of doubt; replace their words with your own.

This is a universal issue: from a recent conversation: C. is 29 and manages a spa in Kampot, Cambodia, which also trains young girls with skills and abilities to get jobs where they can have independence and pride in who they are. The first time I saw her, I was struck by her warm and welcoming smile, and her ability to make all of us (foreigners) feel welcome and comfortable. But that’s not her whole story: not the charm and skills of managing a spa/training center. Her REAL story is her mother constantly telling her she was ugly, how she would never get a man, how sorry (the mother) felt for herself. Imagine growing up like that? I may have crumbled, but C. knew she was smart and had other great skills and developed them. And while she may still believe she’s not beautiful – she has focused on her natural beliefs and focused them and somehow shoved her mother’s comments to the side.

Now if someone told me I’d never be a great singer, it would actually be true – I don’t have the talent – I think it’s not WHAT we’re told – it’s HOW we’re told: it may sound condescending at the time, but being told we have great enthusiasm and/or great persistence is and should be considered to be a compliment. It’s time we changed that. Going back to C: so what if she wasn’t a great beauty – most of us aren’t – that is not something that should be the sole center of identity. We are all so much more than just our talent, looks and/or the lack of it. C. knows that!

I only wish I had been as smart when I was younger…

ONE thing is clear:

As I wrote in my last post: there’s a reason why other’s plant seeds of doubt – it’s because some of those same doubts have been planted in them. People share what they have heard, what they have ‘learned’…

Okay, so knowing someone’s seeds of doubt are coming from THEM, should make it easier, right? Hmmm… well, it should, but it’s not always that simple is it? Too often we take things so personally and it’s WHY we believe it: because we think we should – or that we have to. Yet, as I wrote before, seeds of doubt are thrown because sadly, that person was gaslighted in the same way they are gaslighting you. I think it’s time to understand the ‘thrower’s’ pain (for lack of a better word, other than bully), and have some empathy for them.

I once commented to my mom that her mother must never have said anything nice to her. Surprised, she asked how I knew. To me it was obvious based on her comments. Imagine how hard it was for her to parent based on her parents. Surely we all have doubts rooted deep inside of us that impacts how we interact with others and go through the world.

It’s really hard to think something KIND or compassionate about someone who is constantly insulting you, but realize it’s NOT ABOUT YOU.

Empathy might be the greatest gift we can share with a bully/gaslighter (ok, the easiest way to identify someone who throws seeds of doubt). Empathy can help understand it’s about THEM, it’s NOT personal so don’t take it that way. I always (try to) keep in mind how much hurt someone must have inside to spread such doubt.

We can’t change what someone else says to us – but we can change how we internalize it – whether we let those seeds of doubt take root and grow, or if we deflect those words with compassion for the planter.

Once we realize doubt is not about us, we can decide to ‘not accept it’. Think of it like a Youtube ad: we can control what Youtube ads we see, and we can decide what Doubt seeds we listen to – or NOT. Step 5 outlines rejecting Doubt seeds with the same decision making process as rejecting a Youtube ad:

Check as many boxes as needed! Especially when these Doubt ‘ads’ are repetitive.

When you ‘hear’ a seed of doubt, change your internal environment to reject them from taking root:

  • Think about why it’s coming your way (in a non-personal way);
  • What you might say to that person instead (whether you say it out loud or not);
  • WHY those doubts should not take root inside your mind and soul.
  • Focusing on your own natural thoughts makes you less vulnerable to the doubt from others. Remind yourself of your native beliefs and what’s true about yourself.

Last but not least: decide to replant your internal environment with your true beliefs and values. Identify your true qualities that make you a worthy person and nurture those beliefs, while always unrooting those seeds of doubt that may lurk far below.

Focus on what you believe and know to be true about yourself. Listen to YOUR voice.

Nurturing your own personal beliefs and truths, has an added benefit: if you believe in yourself, you’re more likely to support and believe in others. And we all need that. Take time and tell yourself how your real qualities and beliefs make you the person most needed in the world now!

Right now (most of us) are at home, possibly stressed and feeling alone in isolation. Listen to the conversations you’re having with yourself (and others); pay attention; weed out other’s negative seeds of doubt.

We owe it to ourselves to be at our best, free of invasive doubts and focused on our skills and talents, as we re-emerge and re-enter the world. Take the time now to plant and nurture your internal garden!

Wishing you good health – mentally and physically and a day filled with new possibilities and awareness!

For more reading and information: Here’s a recent article to read more and get some additional tips:

How to stop gaslighting yourself, because you wouldn’t let anyone else talk to you this way

Not every inner voice has your back.

Read in Well+Good:

Doubt is an Invasive Species

25 Mar

I spent my 3rd day of self- isolation/quarantine digging into rich soil, weeding the invasive species mugwort from a church garden. Not something this city girl would normally do, but it worked wonders relaxing my frustration with staying indoors. Weeding this invasive was hard work, with its fine, (very) deep roots, nestled against the tulips and tuber roses, I had to dig really deep to get as much of the roots as possible. These suckers will be growing back I’m sure and weeding them out takes a long, long time. I guess in some ways, mugwort, or any invasive really, is a lot like the coronavirus – roots easily and quickly, and, once present takes a long time to get rid of.

If you’re like me, you don’t pay much attention to mugwort, or even other invasives. But we are all (and/or SHOULD BE) paying attention to the coronavirus as it effects so many aspects of our lives. On a more personal note, another kind of invasive invades our minds and souls, taking root and destroying so much good inside us. Even Facebook and other social media sites have the power to connect us- but also to plant doubt. Doubt being a most dangerous invasive.

Seeds of doubt are spread as subtle, disparaging, insulting, comments. Little comments, belittling and shaking confidence, can easily take root in our minds. As painful as a comment is, being in a group yet ignored, basically shunned, is another seed of doubt, as is the obvious lack of a comment or ‘like’, on a FB post.

Little and big words, from people we trust, people we love, steal away confidence and trust in ourselves, making us even greedier for feedback and praise from these same planters of doubt. These comments, actions, and, words take root as DOUBT, invading and destroying our natural thoughts and beliefs.

We all start with a ‘natural environment, free of these negative seeds:

We take risks… take chances to try new things for what we think/know we can do – until someone tells us to be ‘afraid’.

As kids, we believe we can do EVERYTHING and anything. We dream of skateboard competitions and wowing our friends; our cool high school accomplishments and popularity; writing a great novel or blog that people ‘like’; becoming the winning player on a sports team; being the new flutist in a major orchestra. These beliefs keeps us motivated, trying and risking new things. True, we may find we have no great talent and our dream changes, but, whatever our belief, it creates a spark to keep doing. It’s pretty great stuff.

Until someone comes along and tells us we CAN’T do that anything and everything. This someone happily plants a seed of Doubt, creating imbalance and destruction in our natural internal (optimistic) environment. Doubt slowly takes root – usually because the ‘planter’ of this seed is someone we love and trust and expect belief. Suddenly, instead of thinking we can do everything, we begin to wonder if we can do anything at all.

A seed of doubt gets planted and takes root.

Roots are like straws, sucking up the good – and the bad stuff with one great gulp. Doubt has a way of killing off all that was good in us from our talent and all we try to achieve, to personal qualities including warmth and openness to others. It doesn’t take much to change our internal environments – and beliefs in ourselves. A whole new ‘crop’ of DOUBT beliefs easily flourish.

It’s amazing and scary how easily doubt planted by another can easily grow and take over our natural optimism and beliefs.

Like all invasive species, doubt (in ourselves) grows and spreads. It doesn’t take long before the doubt in us gets ‘shared’ with others. It’s way too easy to say to others what’s been told to us; to say something to make others doubt themselves.

It doesn’t take much to make others as insecure and fearful: a comment, or lack of one easily plants a seed of doubt

This is the saddest and most dangerous aspect of doubt being planted – Once invaded, seeds are spread (comments are made) to others. We end up saying to others what we’ve been told; sharing the comments that have hurt and destroyed us, hurting others. It sounds like the making of a bully, right?

Invasive Doubts are really hard to unroot, as one extremely successful and brilliant friend told me. We couldn’t believe how it was so much easier to believe the doubts than the compliments: the doubts having much deeper roots.

But there’s hope: My next post will be 6 Steps to Unroot Doubt and I’ll offer specific steps to nurture your own natural beliefs and kill off the roots others have planted. In the mean time, think about what beliefs have taken root and flourished in your heart and mind.

Ask yourself:

What do you believe about yourself? Whose voice do you hear?

Who believes in you? Do you believe them?

What is the ‘anything’ and ‘everything’ you think you can do? Can you start it in the next few weeks while you’re home and have time?

How can you support others and NOT plant seeds of doubt they may have, especially in these uncertain and stressful times?

As we sit home, isolated and/or quarantined, each of us is reaching out to others and looking for a sense of connection and affirmation. Let’s be careful of what we say and how we encourage others dreams and thoughts these next few weeks. Even more important, let’s reclaim our natural and native beliefs and encourage our dreams to live a more balanced and natural life!

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.

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