The Surprising Hidden Cost Of Environmental Toxins

We try to live our lives to the fullest, enjoy experiences with family and friends, eat amazing food and see things that excite us! When it comes to living a life we all very much want the same things.  We’re not only similar in our own wants and needs our physiology is alike.  Our bodies grow and function in the same manner, yet there are slight differences in our facial features and dialect. Our brains give us a sense of identity and facilitate psychological growth like our bodies, they’re also physiologically alike. If an untrained eye compares brains from different parts of the world, it would be clearly seen they’re not that different. The brain’s connections and circuits are all acting under the same principals and fundamentally most react the same. We are one! But we’re not the same! I love that song!! Neuroscience is a fascinating study of the mind which is fine-tuned by generations of evolution, genetics, and our environments, creating characteristically different people.  While searching for answers to end poverty and poor health this science connects the dots and gives us a root cause.

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Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

The overall cost of poor health

The children of the twentieth-century are watching the world undergo a physical transformation that affects the health of people around the world. Neuroscience suggests genetics are responsible for shaping our temperaments which in turn create our unacknowledged assumptions of how the world works. How is the world working right now? Would you rate it as poor…? fair…? or good? This question is answered differently depending on where you live! Recently a team of investigators from the University of Harvard and the Australian University of Queensland had taken the insurance data of forty-five million people to analyze the effect of people’s genes and their zip code! It’s the first time that an experiment of this magnitude has been done and it’s proven that both genes and the environment are equal drivers when calculating the costs of monthly health care spending.  According to the World Bank report, air pollution costs the global economy five trillion dollars annually in health welfare. That number would make anyone’s head spin and is a very good reason to change our spending habits! It’s true some things can be bought cheaply, but the true cost of its carbon footprint is found in the annual costs of health care directly associated with air pollution.

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Air pollution not only kills…

Consequently, six and a half million people around the world, die prematurely from air pollution every year! Half of those deaths happen from outdoor air pollution caused by factories, powerplants, agricultural processes, and cars. The other half of these deaths are linked directly to indoor air pollution in the poorest communities of the world. Our central nervous system shapes behavior and effects are cognitive ability to make decisions. A few neuroscience studies have found air pollution lowers the ability to attain higher education and therefore reduces productivity. So, it really makes sense that folks having to endure long periods of exposure would rather hide under a rock than do anything productive! The poor around the world are fighting a losing battle for better healthcare, education and equal rights. It could very well be that if the local environment and air quality were cleaned up, they wouldn’t needlessly suffer.

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Who is affected?

Almost half the world’s population lives in poverty and out of 2.2 billion children living on Earth one billion of them live in poverty every day. That’s one in every two kids living a life in poverty with their parents! As a Canadian, I feel pretty darn lucky! Like most people in the developed world, I’ve won the genetic lottery by just being born into a rich and peaceful place. The above studies help to define the issues faced by humans and healthcare, but it won’t solve the world’s pollution policies, preventing corporations from dumping, polluting and over packaging.

Evidence of corporate ignorance

Unfortunately, the government’s ignorance or inability to change the way businesses run leads one to believe that there is either no hope or consumer choice is our only hope. A simple example of corporate dumping doesn’t have to be earth or air contaminants. It could also be food! When a company handles a skid of packaged food, in this example let’s say the product is chocolate bars. Someone finds evidence that suggests the food has become contaminated from rat droppings. Instead of donating the food the entire skid of chocolate is thrown into the trash. The kids living in poverty are hungry and would’ve loved to eat chocolate… Regardless, the company loses money and the product either being fine either totally or in part is needlessly thrown away because it has become unsalable.

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Estimates show that Earth will be home to ten billion people by 2050! If humanity cannot be socially responsible and carry the responsibility to help the ones with less then what will the world look like in thirty years from now? Even though we in the Western world don’t necessarily see the ugly side of life it’s important to know that we have the power to change the lives of the poorest people by changing how we shop. The reduction of energy consumption is important because it will reduce air pollution keeping our brains and genetics healthy. Neuroscience suggests the environment and our genetics are interrelated so if we continue to hold on to our old habits of buying the same over packaged products we will continue on the cycle of creation to trash. Reduce plastics, pick products that aren’t over packaged buy Organic. This will slow the amount of trash being burnt into the atmosphere, dumped into landfills or worse yet tossed into our natural environment.

 

 

https://www.quora.com/Does-everyones-brain-work-differently

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/what-causes-depression

https://neurosciencenews.com/genetics-health-environment-10534/

http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

https://www.pnas.org/content/115/37/9193

http://time.com/4484027/air-pollution-economic-toll-world-bank/

These Thirteen Major Foods Are Patented.

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Photo by @Matthew_T_Rader on Unsplash

We don’t question the integrity of a company’s commercial images, as they flash before us on television. Happy couples and their kids having fun eating and drinking delicious looking food! I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good chocolate bar, energy drink or a burger now and then?

We trust food companies to deliver us better-tasting products. Eating them gives our body a euphoria of satisfaction. The feeling woos us into a happy marriage where we’ll overlook the bad and focus on the good. Eating and sleeping are sometimes the best part of my day! However, focusing on eating for taste is not the only thing that should matter.

There are some fundamental problems in our food system and it has landed both consumers and manufacturers in hot water. Furthermore, reading this article you’ll see the ethical dilemma of how food is grown and the circumstances around it. I will discuss the creation of this new technology, by whom and at what cost.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO LABEL FOOD.

Thankfully when we look at the packaging, we don’t see disrupted habitats, acidic rivers, lakes, and dead animals. The truth is there’s not enough quality educated communication between the consumer and manufacturers today. People need more food labeling to help us discern what is what! There are issues in the food industry and we can’t grasp the reality until it’s affected our lives. It’s the invisible enemy that is ravaging the planet and it won’t get better unless labeling procedures change.

During the 1990s the government allowed the creation of a new industry without the mandatory labeling system of its products. Manufacturers that supply grocery stores were not willing to declare a newly engineered product. Mostly, because the product looks exactly like products initially supplied to them by the same farmers. There was no cause for alarm.

However, Genetically Modified Organisms have turned out to be a pretty big deal. Seed manufacturers are propelling the food industry into a private takeover of all major seed stocks and with it, they’re taking over our right to eat unadulterated, affordable food. Genetically modified seeds have been allowed a patent only because their DNA has been modified. Thus benefiting the farmers and their needs.

THE NEW FOOD REVOLUTION

The seed company has it’s representatives travel farm to farm to promote their “roundup ready” seed to Farmers across the country. They’ve promised these hard-working folks a chance to implement a technique that reduces stress and workload through the arduous task of protecting their crops.

Farmers use herbicides like Roundup which protect their crops from weeds that rob sunlight, nutrients, and water. These seeds allow them to cover the crops with the herbicide without the worry of killing their actual crop. Once the farmer buys the seeds and before the ink is dry on the contract the farmer gives up his rights. The right since farming began back in 8000 BC to select seeds from their strongest plant.

This time-honored tradition gave Farmers the ability to pick and reuse seeds from their healthiest and strongest plants. This patented seed now enables the company to charge whatever they want every season, ensuring that farmers pay again and again. They’ll go to great lengths ensuring everyone is paying their share.

BUYING GMO

There are a couple of scenarios that have happened in the past that threaten the future of food. Firstly, the genes of the seed meet the needs of the Famer, NOT biodiversity. Instead of choosing a seed that has exchanged its genetics through millions of years. Farmers buy seeds tailored for profitability and efficiency in large scale chemical use.

An example of a failure in the system caused by poor genetic biodiversity was during the time of the potato famine. The farmers were not using seeds instead they used potato sections from the parent potato. Farming this way had created clones of their parents and it produced genetically identical plants. The result was famine and suffering and it will happen if companies are messing around with biodiversity. The potential of farmers ending up paying an inflated price for seeds will result in prices rising for consumer and ultimately they’ll go without or pay more for a portion.

Secondly, the food we’re eating is pushing the demand for a seed that has ruined the lives of farmers. There is one particular story of a hard-working family losing everything to fight court battles. An encounter stemming from the accusations of illegally using patented seeds. (Monsanto Canada Inc VS Schmeiser)

A Canadian farmer named Percy Schmeiser learned the consequences of the introduction of (GMO) in the environment are profound. The wind picks up the patented pollen and blows it into the neighbor’s farm. The plants cross-pollinate and the genetic material combines to produce seeds that contain traits from both plants. The farmer continues working using the seeds he selected through generations of farming. Then one day gets a knock on the door… A lawyer arrives asking for the payment of a license fee for using the patented technology. In this case, the farmer refused and Monsanto sued. It’s important to know what the hidden costs of our food can be.

FOODS AFFECTED BY GMO’S

The Marketing industry is blanketing us with glossy covers and promises which make it difficult to make sound ethical choices. Twenty-six years after the creation of this new food industry the government of Canada has only put together a standard guideline for the VOLUNTARY labeling of GMOs.

The food stocks that GMO companies target are Corn, Soy, Rice, Canola, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Peas, Cottonseed, Alfalfa, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, and Papaya.  They’ve covered all of the major ones we love to eat and this is the tricky part! Keep in mind that Genetically modified food is not proven to harm humans. It’s super important to keep in mind why we reach for an Organic alternative it is to support an ethical industry.

While shopping we should look for companies that are actively trying to create products that support ethical practices worldwide.

NINE ORGANIC FOOD COMPANIES LOCALLY OPERATED IN VANCOUVER B.C.

  1. Everland
  2. New World
  3. Sweetcane Sugar
  4. Tomato Garden
  5. Left Coast
  6. Nature’s Path
  7. First Choice
  8. Nationwide
  9. Que Pasa Foods

https://www.gerber.com/about/our-ingredients

http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2015/challenging-evolution-how-gmos-can-influence-genetic-diversity/

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/general-food-requirements-and-guidance/labelling/for-industry/method-of-production-claims/genetically-engineered-foods/eng/1333373177199/1333373638071

Lighting The Darkness Costs Us More Than You Think.

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Photo by NASA on Unsplash

The photo is a stunning portrait of Earth, as the light sparkles as jewels, scattered around creating a network of fine webs that glow like embers across the night sky. It’s a beautiful sight to see these lights and they’re serving their purpose to light empty parking lots, near-empty office towers, streets, highways, countless homes, and commercial parks. These are humans shining their equivocal lanterns of life. Lighting the streets was invented in the fourth century by the city of Antioch. After the time of the Romans, the city used torches to guide night walkers through the darkness and kept robbers at bay. Technology has changed but our minds haven’t, our population has increased and we’re lighting the night skies more than ever before. We feel safer with lights on but we have cars to take us safely anywhere and security systems to keep us safe any place. Yet, people instinctively use the front porch light for peace of mind.

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Increase your personal safety 300%

We’re using lights excessively and our systems are antiquated, misdirected, inefficient and not necessary. For instance, we light up parking lots in the middle of the night for security reasons… but the majority are empty. The office towers have security measures such as card locks, elevator fobs, and concierge security yet the lights still remain on. What do you do when you have money to burn? Most would rather buy anything other than a utility bill! The old saying goes, “If the light ain’t on don’t come a-knockin” which applies to the majority of us. However, the “street” people out there and the chances of them burglarizing your home go up three hundred percent if it’s not protected by a security system. Burglaries also happen more often in the daytime than they do at night. The majority of burglars look for alarms and many of them won’t break into a house with signs of one present. Lights give us a false sense of security. The light itself signals that someone may be home yet if there’s a Burglar who wants inside there is no light outside that will protect you. A “>home security system is in every family’s best interest and please turn off your lights before you go to bed…

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How much does this cost me?

In Vancouver alone over fifty thousand street lamps are lit yet we have headlights to guide our way. Large stretches of main Highways do not use street lights yet the main streets of cities and towns are lit up like a pumpkin till dawn.  Vancouver taxpayers pay  $6,530,000 a year to light up the darkness.   This expenditure is a fixed expense and if public funds are low then potentially we could see the sell-off of this public system. It happened in Toronto when out of desperation, the government sold its street lights in 2005. They needed money fast and sold their street lights to the Greater Toronto Electrical Contractors Association and for the next thirty years, they’re on the hook for a whopping 420 million dollars. Annually it works out to double what Vancouver pays, but Vancouver has 1/6th the land mass as Toronto so we generally will pay significantly less. But, it’s easy to see how quickly our tax dollars are spent!

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There are hidden costs.

In Canada, over eighty-one percent of Green House Gas Emissions  (GHG) come from human activity. We’re using gasoline for transportation, producing non-renewable electricity like oil and gas production, and this includes lighting, heating, and cooling buildings. The good news is, over eighty percent of British Columbia’s electricity comes from non-GHG emitting sources like Hydro dams, biomass, wind, and solar energy. However, as of 2017, the majority of the world is getting its energy from burning fossil fuels. Unfortunately, at this point in time, we can’t change the world’s dependence on this type of fuel. What we can do is lead by example. Canada is on track to help make an impact on the world’s temperatures.

A plan to offset emissions

As of 2009 under the Copenhagen accord, Canada agreed to create a reduction plan of GHG emissions by 30% below 2005 levels. The deadline? 2030. The mission is to keep the overall global temperature from rising less than two degrees Celsius in the coming decades.  It’s a significant and complex feat considering between 2005 and 2018 over 5, 200, 000 Canadian babies were born and nearly 3, 700, 000 new immigrants have come to live in Canada. For the sake of curiosity, I calculated the amount we’ve grown in thirteen years, combining births and immigration and subtracting death totaled 2, 129, 363 people! We’re growing in number and our economy has also grown significantly! We’re on track for success! A study conducted by the Canadian Government found that even though we’ve grown the GHG output per GDP has declined by 16.4%. The implementation of new technology is the largest factor in this statistic and it’s wonderful to see that our advancements are making a difference to create a sustainable future.

Canadian Graph Of GHG Emissions

canadian carbon reduction from 2005-2015There is always room for improvement! The Copenhagen accord is a good initiative, but it falls short in effectiveness because it’s based on cooperation from all of the developing countries. Leaders won’t guarantee that countries are going to do their part so whole cities must lead by example in a dramatic way.  We need to find a middle ground where a solution could present itself. Motion detectors for parking lots, turning off street lights hours before dawn are two ways we can look to reduce the amount of energy used and ultimately cut GHG emissions.  In conclusion, reducing light in our night sky will put money back into the taxpayer’s pockets.

Below is an email address dedicated to the City of Vancouver’s street light program. If you feel this is a good idea that should be talked about in City Hall too. Send them an email.

Sample letter:

outdoor.lighting@vancouver.ca

To whom it may concern,

In an effort to help in the reduction of Green House Gases, I suggest it is our responsibility to limit how much street lighting is used between the time frame of 1am and 5am. I believe that it’s in the taxpayers best interest to have city officials analyze our street lighting system throughout the city during nonpeak hours and turn off lights that are serving empty parking lots, streets, and public spaces. Fifty thousand street lights may be needed to light our way during peak periods but they’re certainly not needed all night long.

Sincerely,

Jane

 

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https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/climate-change/greenhouse-gas-emissions/sources-sinks-executive-summary.html#es-3

https://www.statista.com/statistics/443051/number-of-births-in-canada/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/443063/number-of-immigrants-in-canada/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_light

https://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/solutions/reduce-emissions/the-copenhagen-accord.html

https://www.alarms.org/burglary-statistics/

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2010/02/19/bill_for_toronto_street_lights_will_top_400_million.html

https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/vancouver-2017-budget.PDF

These Three Books Will Change How We Live Our Lives.

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Photo by Mikhail Pavstyuk on Unsplash

Some people say the problem with kids these days is their sense of entitlement. They lack discipline when they’re entirely capable and have a general unwillingness to fend for themselves.

Western world children learn these mannerisms and they’re a product of their environment. We’re born into the world as a blank slate with no preconceived notion of what to expect from life.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Imagination is the door to possibilities, it is where creativity, ingenuity, and thinking outside the box begins for a child’s development”.

Einstein

Children show their parents a need to embrace the ordinary, live in the present and demonstrate empathy. Yet, we`re raising them in a world on a path without reverence for life or compassion for beings. Especially those with less power or beings lower on the food chain.

Here are three books that will help motivate parents to become more conscious of everyday choices. They give us a new perspective in a world where we’re taught to be a certain way. Life’s challenges could use a new perspective when times are tough!

PARENTS DO THIS TO THEIR CHILDREN TO SURVIVE WITH THEIR SANITY

Children use their imagination to learn new behaviors by experimenting with who they want to be at any moment. A Firefighter, Hairdresser, Doctor, Policeman or Movie Star they play these roles to develop thinking and develop feelings of empathy.

These continuous adventures wear on parents when tending to medial tasks. Children must finish their dinner, do their homework or pick up after themselves. Eventually this behaviour in Children slowly turns into conventional routine. and a methodical ambition for academic success.

However, if we let children be themselves, they’ll teach us to connect to our own selves and embrace the ordinary. Dr. Shefali Tsabary who wrote the book “>the Conscious Parent says, ” The grave ailment of modern society is our grave inability to be with ourselves.” She says If we’re connected with our inner being we wouldn’t have this manic search for power that’s destroying the Planet.

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EMBRACE THE ORDINARY.

There are fast and often aggressive imagery on television, fast music, fast internet. You name it the faster the better!  From young to old Doctors are seeing more people come to them with anxieties, sleep disorders, obesity, depression, and ADD. (Attention Deficit Disorder)

This is all because generations have shaped the modern world for convenience, comfort, instant gratification, continuous pleasure and no limits to success. Parents want to hand down to children their customs however, the path we’re heading down is not a sustainable future.

For adults, sometimes the best way to shake up thoughts and think outside the box is to go with some sage advice. This raw, refreshing and honest book “>The subtle art of not giving a f*ck will remind us that making lemonade when life gives you lemons is no longer the road to happiness.

It’s ok if life hasn’t given you exactly what you want if you look around you’ll see life will give you just what you need. (Yes this was in a song!) Once we realize it’s good enough, then we can look beyond ourselves and help those that need it the most.

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IT’S OKAY TO BE ANGRY.

Working towards a sustainable future and changing daily habits can make many feel helpless. The issue is so complex and overwhelming that if it crosses our minds it’s quickly tucked back into the recesses of our brains leaving us numbed and feeling powerless.

Society generally looks at those that repress their feelings and remain quiet as acceptable. However, studies show that people that suppress emotion become numb to life, lose their meaning in life, and lose touch of what is important to them limiting their personal goals.

It`s ok to use feelings and it’s important to share them with family members in order for our essential beings to grow.

“Where there is no struggle, there is no strength”.

Oprah Winfrey

COMING TO OUR SENSES

Embrace a good read that will create an understanding on how best to live our lives more authentically, >Coming to our senses: Healing ourselves and the world through mindfulness is a wonderful book. It will give insight into how to change our mindset in a complicated world.

Children use memories of experiences through time to help them navigate through familiar and unfamiliar territory. Their internal guide or moral compass is also composed of advice from trusted people, images on television, and books they’ve read.

Every adult has this internal voice of reason. Having a chance to get out and be heard matters but many remain silent. We all know what’s important for our family at the end of the day. We work hard trying to make the best decisions.

However, It’s imperative that we see empathy for the world and stop the destructive path we`re heading down.  Embrace our anger know that it’s possible to feel a whole range of emotions while expressing them in positive ways. We have the power to make subtle changes every time we open our hearts and our wallets.

Bringing Earth Awareness To Your Next Spring Cleanup

January and February are gone and this year has flown by so quickly! The time to clean up winter’s grime and seriously clean inside our home will soon be here. I’ll be the first to admit that cleaning isn’t something I like to do during my days off! Definitely, the last thing I want to do when I come home from work. Who else wants to clean the house!?

I’m pretty much an expert at doing endless dishes and laundry! I have moved home a couple of times in the past ten years. I’ve found physically picking up things and moving them over distances keeps things to a minimum through a natural selection process.

THE CLEANING GURU

The process is daunting for some because it takes time to figure out what should be thrown away, given away, and what stays. The stats from the OCD Foundation estimate that one in every 50 people struggle with severe hoarding. These people don’t throw away or give away any items. Even if it’s outdated or no longer serves a purpose they instead just keep it. This tendency in a milder manner could help solve the throwaway mentality!!

People are turning to the tidying guru named Marie Kondo. A petite Japanese woman who fills each room with giggles, smiles, and expertise. She has created quite a buzz with her cleaning techniques on Netflix.  Her task? To take on households that don’t believe in Spring Cleaning!

She helps borderline hoarders with their personal belongings as they’ve piled up haphazardly in corners of rooms. Their rooms look like hallways and hallways look more like closets. Marie will go through each room as she shares with people how to sort through their collections. Adults are shown how to sort than organize their things, cutting back and then storing what is left into neat little boxes.

In the long run, the clutter will cause anxiety and anger between family members. According to Marie Kondo, she tackles clothing by dumping every piece into a pile in the center of the room. It’s the best way to tackle too many clothes in your closet. Without too many distractions go through every item and think about the last time you wore it. Ask yourself does this shirt flatter my body type and will it make me happy?

The clothes made from polyester are not biodegradable because it contains a synthetic polymer made of purified terephthalic acid (plastic). Once the selection process is complete make sure the clothing made from polyester lives on!! What didn’t make the cut, offer to friends and family, anything left over should be sent to the thrift.

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REPURPUSE FOR FUTURE

In 2019 we should be re-inventing an earth-friendly way to clean our homes. We are eliminate unnecessary clutter by putting it on the curb for the garbage man to pick up. It’s time to think of our stuff as part of the circular material flow in life… Re-gift, reuse or recycle.

Try putting away the self-limiting belief that you can’t be creative enough to change the purpose of an item. Find ways to repurpose an item such as using tin cans for planters, glass containers for lighting. Muffin tins can store odds and ends such as elastics, thumb pins, and paper clips. Get crafty and use knives to create a coat hook. I understand it takes time to do these things but it could also give you a second income stream!!

The beauty of repurposed items? You can gift these items for friends and family, sell them online, tak them to the farmer markets, or enjoyed for yourself. Don’t have the time and rather discard the items? Then consider selling the product online as a bulk box. Sell it for cheap to someone that could potentially use it for a project. Recycle what can’t be sold or send it to the Thrift store.

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THE CLEAN UP GANG

Have Children help clean up and sort through their toys on a yearly basis. Doing this together gives them a purpose, time together and parental guidance. Our understanding of the world can show them how excessive consumption can negatively impact our environment. Show them the images on social media and use the cleanup time as a learning experience. Make time to repeat the exercise and the lesson will be learned. Children become advocates for what they’re taught and will begin to keep us in line when we forget. Plus an added bonus! They might actually stop asking us to buy them toys!!

After they’ve learned the idea behind a cleanup try and make it a game for kids to cooperate! Marie Kondo suggests we use baskets for sorting our things which helps make clean up a cinch for kids. Make it fun and have them throw their toys in a seagrass basket. Each time gaining a point as it lands inside!

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For most people, watching Marie Kondo on t.v. is really just a good way to procrastinate on their own housework. But, we find it fascinating to watch people struggle with the issues of control and letting their things go. Everyone likes buying new and we collect things over time because buying new things is fun and exciting. However, there is a fine line between what is right for our planet and what is right for us. People need to purge to escape clutter for the sake of their health and sanity. So the next time you buy frivolous purchases remember it’s short life cycle and its negative impact on our world.

These Eight Tea Companies Make An Environmental And Social Impact

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THE PAST AND PRESENT

Canadians drink nine billion cups of tea a year and ninety-four percent of tea drinkers use the tea bag method. The first tea bag developed was in 1908 when a New Yorker named Thomas Sullivan folded samples of tea leaves into bags for restaurants. When he learned that the restaurant staff used the bags while soaking the leaves to avoid the messiness he realized a new marketing opportunity.

Now over a hundred years later, the local grocery store has a huge selection of different choices of tea varieties and companies that make it all happen! As a newly conscious shopper, I realize how difficult it can be to make an educated choice when there is so much to pick from. There are multiple aspects of environmentalism that comes up even when picking a box of tea.

Firstly, to make one cup of tea at home it can create a carbon footprint between 20 and 340 grams of CO2 per cup. The varying number depends on how much water is used in the boiling and if the tea is made with milk. Secondly, the little freshness packages inside the box is a single-use product. Lastly, the tea bag sachets are not biodegradable or recyclable.

THE MISSION.

My objective was to find a tea company that didn’t individually pack each tea bag. Companies don’t label the presence of additional packaging within the box. Therefore, I decided to go with a product that mentioned the tea bag was biodegradable paper fiber. The sealed boxes don’t offer a way to check first so after I paid I quickly tore open the box to find that it did contain single-use freshness packaging!

Tea bags won’t biodegrade even if they’re composted because they’re made from a mixture of polypropylene (plastic) and paper fiber. The reason for the plastic is to help strengthen the bag preventing it from falling apart.`People don`t question the product because the look and feel are like paper and it`s not immediately apparent that this is another single-use product.

I wanted to make ethical decisions a little clearer while you’re browsing this section of the grocery store. I compiled a list of some popular brands and their support for social and environmental causes around the world.

TWININGS TEA

Twinings tea aims to help half a million people by 2020 by driving positive outcomes for farmers, including women’s rights, housing, and working conditions and decent pay. The Rooibos and Cinnamon tea hold the highest percentage of certified sustainable standards. Twining teas use foil sachets and non-biodegradable tea bags.

CHOICE TEAS

Choice tea company is a Washington based company that use unbleached, natural fiber, staple-free tea bags, and 100% recycled paperboard printed with plant-based ink. They purchase renewable energy certificates to offset 100% of the emissions from the facility’s electricity usage. They are the first tea crafters in the United States to produce organic, Fair Trade Certified, and Non-GMO Project Verified teas.

CELESTIAL TEA

Celestial tea uses non-biodegradable tea bags and does not use foil sachets. The Celestial Seasonings company donates their time and money to a variety of foundations that serve causes such as Cancer, Colorado-based charities that focus on human health services, family advocacy, and support for the honey bee colonies across the U.S.A.

TEGA TEA

Tega Tea uses non-biodegradable tea bags and foil sachets however their online store provides loose leaf options. It’s a local Vancouver company that pays a premium for its ingredients in order to support Fairtrade Certified suppliers. This company pays an additional 50 cents more for every kilogram of fairtrade tea that they sell annually. Those funds go to supporting Fairtrade Canada and growing the Fairtrade Initiative.

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CLIPPER TEAS

Clipper Teas originates in the UK and they’ve produced an unbleached, non-GMO, plastic-free tea bag. They’ve worked in the fairtrade movement since 1994 and are the worlds largest fairtrade brand.

TEALIA TEA

The Tealia Tea Company select the tea leaves from plantations that follow ethical practices and conforms to Rainforest Alliance standards. They don’t specify how many tea ingredients conform to this standard practice. They offer loose leaf tea packaged in an airtight tin container. Their tea bags are made with non-biodegradable tea bags.

STASH TEA

Stash Tea company has worked with the Surfrider Foundation to sponsor a volunteer beach cleanup and they use foil sachets and non-biodegradable tea bags.

NUMI TEA

Numi tea company offers a biodegradable tea bag with their tea products and ninety-three percent of their teas are fair trade products. They’ve helped 10,500 people in farming communities giving them regular access to clean, safe drinking water. The company`s head office is in Oakland, California and there they’ve funded a gardening, arts, and social studies program for low-income K-6 children in public schools. They also fund educational opportunities to orphans and war victims in Iraq.

Through some online research, I’ve found that using loose tea has one-tenth the carbon footprint than bags of tea. It’s the manufacturing of the string, polypropylene bag itself, sachet, and box that makes the biggest impact on CO2 levels. Tea is grown thousands of miles away from Canada and getting it from farm to table makes it a culprit in the environmental issues the world faces today. It’s important that we know that small decisions we make each day can make a large impact. Since Canadians drink nine billion cups of tea a year and ninety-four percent of tea drinkers use the tea bag method. We should be wary of who we support. I hope this article will help you make conscious decisions easier when visiting the tea section in the grocery store.

It’s the small decisions we make in a day that can impact our planet the most! The decision to find an ethical tea company to support is significant. Approximately, ninety-four percent of tea drinkers use the tea bag method. To make one cup of tea at home it creates a carbon footprint between 20 and 340 grams of CO2 per cup. The amount of water and the presence of milk causes a varying degree in the carbon footprint. Tea is grown thousands of miles away from Canada. Getting tea from farm to table makes it a culprit in the environmental issues the world faces today. I hope this article will help you make conscious decisions easier when visiting the tea section in the grocery store.

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http://www.o-cha.net/english/association/information/documents/Louise.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/green-living-blog/2010/jun/17/carbon-footprint-of-tea-coffee

https://www.stashtea.com/blogs/education/81153475-a-brief-history-of-tea

https://www.clipper-teas.com/our-story/our-fairtrade-story/

Signature Tea Collection

https://www.tealiateas.com/

 

 

Treat Your Inner Foodie

Treat Your Inner Foodie

I’ve chosen to highlight this delicious pizza recipe by the Pioneer woman’s Ree Drummond because it easily has the elements of the one hundred mile diet. When I looked for local ingredients I realized that choosing to eat in a one hundred mile radius isn`t simple and to be honest if anyone is considering going through this process we should try and go easy on ourselves. The motivation to try and make a difference by considering a single act will make an impact on our anyone’s life. Combine these single acts and eventually, this track record defines who we want to become.

The recipe has two main ingredients that are grown within a hundred-mile radius at this time of year, the leeks and the red potatoes. I went to Walmart and found these two ingredients with no problem but realized that every major brand of cheese is manufactured in Ontario. The Cheese can be sourced from independent retailers across Vancouver and the Fraser Valley and I will provide the names of suppliers next to the ingredients below.

Ingredients:

Unsalted Butter (DairyLand)

6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces (Your local butcher)

3 leeks, rinsed well to remove grit and thinly sliced

1 Pillsbury Flaky roll

5 small red potatoes, diced finely with a sharp knife

Kosher salt

1 lb(s) fresh mozzarella shredded (Scardillo Cheese)

4 oz goat cheese, crumbled (Mt Lehman Cheese Co.)

⅓ cup grated Parmesan (Scardillo Cheese)

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 475ºF. Smother a stone baking sheet with Dairyland butter

2. In a skillet, fry the bacon over medium heat until cooked but not crisp; remove and set aside. Pour off most of the grease but do not clean the skillet. Return the skillet to the stove and turn the heat to medium-low. Add the leeks and finely diced potatoes and saute until soft, about 7 minutes.

3. Roll each section of the dough into a thinner oval and place on the oiled baking sheet. Drizzle the dough with butter. Place shredded mozzarella cheese, parmesan, goat cheese bacon, Leek and Pototoe in a bowl and mix together. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Take a couple spoonfuls of the mixture and place it on each mini pizza. Sprinkle more mozzarella on top.

5.. Bake until the edges of the crust are golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly 11 to 13 minutes. Serve immediately

Seriously, trying a recipe with the one hundred mile premise is the first step to lowering your carbon footprint. If you can’t find a product that is not made in B.C. then a product made in Canada is the next best! After making it for the first time I changed the recipe up a bit to make it easier to create and used a different type of dough. The pizza made it through my four-year-old’s taste test and the recipe was requested the next day with rave reviews!!