About Rowena

Hello, my name is Ro, and I believe that it is possible for you to turn your ordinary life into an extraordinary life - to find true happiness, while remaining, selfless, mindful and compassionate towards other living beings. Here at my blog, I interview and post articles by musicians, writers, world travelers, humanitarians and other amazing individuals who are doing just that. I also share with you various anecdotes about my own totally awesome existence as a musician, composer, journalist, environmentalist, and compassionati. My hope is to connect with you, enlighten you, inspire you and lead you down the path to true happiness. Compassion is always in fashion and it starts with you loving that most important of people, yourself.

January 26, 2011

What Would You Give Up?

Ultimately, the decision to save the environment must come from the human heart. The key point is a call for a genuine sense of universal responsibility that is based on love, compassion and clear awareness

Dalai Lama

What would you be willing to give up just one day a week, in the interest of helping to save our planet?   Would you be more inclined to forego just one small luxury if it came with the added bonus of potentially saving you some money as well as improving your personal health?   I hope this is something that you are giving me a big hell yes too, because I care about the Earth and I care about you as well.  I also have some various options as to what you can give up and how you can go about it without feeling deprived.   You might even have some fun along the way.   I hope that you are interested - if so, read on!

Option 1:  Go Meatless.

Going meatless once a week can help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. Most people do not know that meat production produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all other forms of transportation.  As an added bonus, this can save you money, and as long as you don't increase your consumption of meat on other days it may reduce your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.

For more information on how going meatless just one day per week can help save the planet, check out my blog post Why I Choose Vegetarianism and How You Can Help Save the Planet by Reducing Your Meat Consumption.    A fun way to go about doing so, is to join Paul McCartney and a multitude of other celebrities in the Meat Free Monday campaign.   This is a great program with a growing global following and they have great meatless recipes on their site.   A number of awesome bloggers have joined in the campaign and you can check them out at: Bloggers on Board.

If you are absolutely against going meatless even just one day per week consider consuming organic meat and dairy products instead.   Try buying just one quart of organic milk, or a dozen organic cage free eggs from chickens who are allowed to roam freely.  My own family was amazed at how much better these products taste and after trying them insist that I purchase nothing but organic milk and eggs from now on!    You can find out more about the benefits of going organic at Care2

Option 2:  Go Car Free.

You can reduce air pollution by simply reducing the number of miles that you drive each week.   Every gallon of gasoline you save avoids 22 pounds of CO2 emissions. Consider walking, riding your bike, carpooling or taking an alternate form of transportation like a train or a bus just one day per week.  Naturally if you walk or bike, you are going to save money as well as improve your health. Personally, I like to take one day per week and treat myself to going no where at all.  Sunday works best for me - believe me there is plenty for me to do just staying at home and if I want to get out of the house I work in my garden, ride my bike or take a walk.  I caution my family to plan ahead if there is anything that they need from me to fit into my cluster of Saturday errands!    I also don't go out to lunch, or run errands on my lunch hour anymore and am at the point where I only utilize 1 1/2 tanks of gas per month.  This saves me both money and time and I am working on reducing it further this summer, when gas prices are sure to go up, by riding my bike to work at least twice per week.

If you absolutely must drive somewhere each and every day of the week because of your various commitments, try clustering your errands and leaving yourself at least one day where you only go where you absolutely must.    Driving ten miles less per week alone prevents the same amount of global warming producing, carbon dioxide that is emitted by producing electricity for eight million homes.  For some great tips on going car free check out Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens book Simply Car Free.    If you purchase her book by clicking on the link on the right sidebar of my blog, I will donate any affiliate commissions earned by me to the World Wildlife Fund.

Option 3:  Sacrifice Your Bucky's

Currently, 3 billion paper Starbucks coffee cups sold each year in the U.S. market alone end up in landfills.   According to the Seattle Times, at its most recent annual meeting Starbuck's shareholders voted down a proposed initiative to adopt a comprehensive recycling strategy for its beverage containers, sadly with only  11 percent of its shareholders being in favor of same.  Currently Starbuck's cups contain 10 percent post-consumer recycled fiber and while it has committed to making all cups 100 percent recyclable by 2012 many of its stores do not contain recycling bins at present.   Consider cutting back on your Starbucks (or whatever coffee house you frequent)  one day per week.  If you simply cannot do without your java for even one day, purchase a re-usable mug and don't forget to bring it with you (or get two and keep a spare in the car).

Nobody but nobody likes coffee as much as I do, but I rarely purchase take out beverages (I think they are a rip off) and I only go to Starbucks about twice a year.  I make my coffee at home, purchasing my coffee and filters from companies who produce sustainable products, such as Mellita.  Incidentally, a lot of those Starbucks drinks are extremely high in calories and they are expensive too.  Save money, save calories, save the earth.

Option 4:  Drink Responsibly

Did you know that the carbon footprint of a six pack of bear is heavier than the six pack itself?  Fertilizers, insecticides and other chemicals utilized in the manufacture of beer, wine and other spirits are toxic.  They pollute the water, the air and the soil.   Researchers at Cornell University estimate that at least 67 million birds die each year from pesticides sprayed on US fields. The number of fish killed is conservatively estimated at six to 14 million, and guess what?   These chemicals are harmful to human beings too.  Add to that the energy used in harvesting, processing, distilling, brewing, bottling and distributing of alcoholic beverages, you have a devastating impact on the ecosystem.

Consider reducing your alcohol consumption by just one day a week.  This will be good for your health, your weight, and might even improve your personal relationships.    If you feel that you will be way to deprived without your nightcap, consider choosing local organic brands of beer, wine or spirits once a week for a change.   Organic brands are less likely to use nitrogen fertilizers that are responsible for the emission of greenhouse gases.   In addition purchasing from local organic breweries, distilleries and wineries helps in the creation of sustainable local economies.  Exploring your options can be a lot of fun too.   I don't consume alcoholic beverages at all anymore.  As a matter of fact I don't drink any kind of canned or bottled beverages sized for individual consumption.

Option 5:  Go Natural

Makeup production reduces a multitude of toxins into the environment, and did you know that as much as five pounds of make up and other beauty products a year are absorbed through your skin!   There are no warnings on cosmetics and personal items, yet they often contain such things as mercury, formadehyde, and toxic dyes.   Add to that all of the jars, tubes, containers, tissues, cotton balls, etc., that go into our landfills.

Take one day a week and go natural.  Give your skin a chance to breath.   If you feel naked without any makeup, consider using only a little mascara and some Burt's Bees lip balm.   Also, look for organic brands of make-up and avoid brands that test on animals next time you shop for make up.  Much as organic food production reduces the amount of toxins released into the environment, so does the production of organic cosmetics.  Try not to use petroleum based lipsticks and glosses.  Avoid products containing parabens and phthalates.     Eco-friendly type companies generally utilize recyclable packaging, soy based inks, and do not test on animals.     PETA has a site where you can search for cruelty free products.

I have read much on the subject of cruelty free products lately and have been systematically replacing all products in my household with cruelty free environmentally friendly products.  There are some products that I have used for years, and my husband doesn't particularly like change, but I was happy to learn that there are a multitude of choices and that many of the items I have been using do not do animal testing, are eco-friendly and that comparable replacements for other products that I will be changing to are actually costing me less.  My daughter was very excited to learn that MAC cosmetics for instance, are cruelty free and my Almay cosmetics are as well.  Cruelty free St. Ives face wash costs less than the brand that I was using.  I changed shampoo and conditioner satisfactorily,  and am on the lookout for other items.  There is no reason for any company to test their products on animals.

Option 6:  Disconnect

Take one day each week to simply disconnect from the digital world of computers, televisions, etc., and to avoid using as many electrical appliances as possible  -   let your hair dry naturally instead of using a blow dryer and flat iron, give your washing machine and vacuum cleaner a rest.   Some of your power strips and wall warts may be using "vampire power" so be sure to unplug items as necessary and turn off your power strips when doing this.   Enjoy the peace that comes without all of that constant humming, buzzing and flashing of images in front of your face.    Take a deep breath and experience the quiet!

Looking Ahead to a better tomorrow  . . . 

I hope you will mark your calendar and join me in celebrating Earth Hour 2011 at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 26, 2011 by turning your lights off for one hour to make a stand against climate change.  Earth Hour is organized by WWF. With almost 5 million supporters and a global network in over 100 countries, it’s one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and build a future where people live in harmony with nature.

Whether or not you choose to give up any of the above one day a week, or even more (if you totally rock) I hope that I have increased your awareness and given you some things to think about.     I have personally lost weight, save mondo bucks and feel a whole lot better due to changing my own habits.  I feel more at peace and in better harmony with nature too.  Think about the impact on the earth, your budget and your health by reducing just one of the above by 1/7th!  If you have any other ideas that you would like to add to this, of course hit me up by leaving a comment. 

Now go on out and live your extraordinary life and know that I love you!


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