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Week 34-Decades, Day 6-1970’s

Yes I do!

I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity to write about this very groovy decade this week.  This was the time when my parents were growing up and trying to figure things out for themselves.  I love the stories that they would tell me when I was little, and the real version of the stories that they can finally tell me now.  Plus, all the great music of the seventies will forever remind me of my parents.  The Eagles, Genesis, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Lynard Skynard, James Taylor, and I could go on for days.  To me the 70’s and the 90’s are neck and neck for the best decade of music there ever was.  And seriously, there is nothing like a pair of bell bottom jeans, platform shoes, and a polyester flower print shirt.  I’m just saying.

Even Barbie was a hippie

The hippie way of life may have begun in the late 60’s but it was certainly flourishing through the 70’s.  It only seems right that such an environmentally conscious day like Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970.  Earth Day Network was founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day, and they were determined to promote environmental citizenship all year-round.  The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.  Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day’s founder, harnessed the anti-war protest movement and focused it on the real issue that people seemed to be ignoring, our planet.  Yes, the war going on in Vietnam was important, but as Americans we were totally oblivious to the damage we were causing our planet.  Nelson took a huge gamble with putting together Earth Day, but it paid off huge as well.  On April 22, 1970 Republicans, Democrats, rich, poor, country, and city dwellers took the streets and beyond to show their support for Mother Earth.  The fact that over 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year speaks to the power of this movement, but even more powerful are the other 364 days when people are also engaged in EDN activities.  Another great environmental power house that was founded in 1970 is Clean Wisconsin.  CW protects and preserve’s Wisconsin’s air and water resources, and works to create a cleaner environment by standing up and letting their voice be heard.  CW works on three main fronts to protect its great state; lobbying, litigation, and citizen action and education.  It is the oldest and largest group working to save the natural heritage of Wisconsin.  It also just happens that Gaylord Nelson was a senator from Wisconsin during this time, and CW was actually founded on the very first Earth Day back in 1970.  I could not have planned that better if I tried.

Earth Day Network Donation

Clean Wisconsin Donation

So here’s to you 1970’s!  You were the era of hot pants, mini skirts, and go-go boots, and that contagious fever that John Travolta started on Saturday night.  You were also a time of revolution, change, protest, hugs, drugs, and free love.  Some of those I think we could probably do without today, but I think you were onto something seventies.  You knew how to make people feel inspired, and do something about it.  Thanks for showing us how to put up or shut up.

Week 21-Go Green Week, Day 7-Yo Body

If it’s important for us to green our homes then it must be doubly or triply important to green our own bodies.  They are the one thing that we each have total control over day in and day out.  You’ve always heard people say you are what you eat, or you’ll get out of your body what you put into it, so why not make it green?  No, I’m not telling you to go on a diet of broccoli, asparagus, and green tea.  What I am telling you to do is think about what you put in and on your body.  I’m so thankful that we have the choice to be green without sacrificing being beautiful.

Atta girl Kate!

Luckily there are people like Kate Hudson, yes the famous actress, that feels the same way.  She teamed up with stylist David Babaii to create these awesome natural, cruelty-free, environmentally free hair products that benefit WildAid.  Kate and David realized that looking good feels fabulous and doing good feels even better, so they wanted to find a way to combine the two.  WA is a charity that is dedicated to end illegal wildlife trade during our lifetimes by both educating the public and providing protection for marine wildlife.  WA has also garnered the attention of other celebrities like Jackie Chan, Yao Ming, and Harrison Ford for their public service announcements that reach millions.  So before you go pick up your next bottle of shampoo or mousse from Wal-Mart think about all those cute cuddly baby animals you can save AND look awesome.  As a woman one of the biggest parts of our beauty is our hair, just ask any man.  The only thing more beautiful than long, flowing hair is cutting it all off for Locks of Love.  LOL is giving self-confidence and normalcy back to children who are suffering from hair loss by making high quality hair prosthetics from the generously donated ponytails they receive.  Started back in 1997 LOL has been providing hair pieces to underprivileged children who are under the age of 21.  Hair is one of those things most of us take for granted on a daily basis.  Just try to imagine reaching to pull your hair back into a ponytail and finding nothing there.  David Babaii said it best, “It’s beautiful to be good.”

WildAid Donation or Buy some DB4 WildAid hair products!

Locks of Love Donation or Donate your hair!

So here’s to yo body!  Be sure you treat it good cause it’s the only one you got.  You are what keeps all our internal organs inside and helps us be awesome at sports, well some of us.  Thanks for helping us walk upright and be at the top of the evolutionary food chain.  It’s not easy being green, but somebody’s gotta do it.   

Week 21-Go Green Week, Day 6-Home

Well ain't that cute!

It only makes sense to make the place you rest your head at night green.  It’s where you cook your meals, pay your bills, do your laundry, and play with your children.  Going green in your home can also be a lot easier than you think.  You can buy environmentally friendly flooring like bamboo and switch out your old Einstein light bulbs for those curly cue energy-saving ones.  If you feel like you still can’t go green enough you can buy this book to help you make sure your home is as energy-efficient and environmentally friendly as the Jolly Green Giant.  Whether you want to start your own compost or put solar panels on your roof, Mother Earth is thankful for any and all you do to help her out.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a part of a community that supports your decision to go green?  Well look no further because Earth Island Institute is perfect for you!  EII acts like an incubator for groups and individuals with ideas, programs, and long-term goals to promote ecological sustainability.  The well renowned environmentalist David R. Brower founded EII in 1982 as a non-profit, public interest, membership organization that welcomed and supported people creating all types of solutions to help the planet we all share.  The list of projects EII supports is as extensive and broad as the Earth itself.  They have something for everyone, and if they don’t, they’ll be happy to support your idea.  If this week has really inspired you to go green then you should look into joining Green Corps.  Founded in 1992 as a graduate school for environmental organizers, but with a twist.  Sure they would still get a great academic education but they would also be given the opportunity to gain field work and make connections as well as relationships with those in major organizations they hope to work with.  GC believes in training leaders and teach graduate students to be able to fight the environmental battles that lay ahead of us.  Those who learn from GC today will be the ones who are greening our homes, offices, malls, and work places tomorrow.

Earth Island Institute Donation

Green Corps Donation

So here’s to you home!  You’re the first and last place we see in a day, which is all the more reason we should green you immediately if not sooner.  In your defense you do make it pretty easy for us.  All you ask is for a little less waste and a lot more love.  You give us a roof over our heads and place to call our own, so making sure we take good care of you and protect our planet at the same time is the least we can do.  Thanks for taking us in and helping us realize green is where the heart is.

Week 21-Go Green Week, Day 5-Your Ride

Gas seems to be doing that thing is usually does this time of year.  Going up, up, and away with all of our spending money.  We are in the thick of spring with summer’s temptations of longer days and endless nights starting to pop up more often than not.  So more of us are trying to figure out if we can walk to work, bike to work, or at least get in on a carpool with some folks.  I used to love the show Pimp My Ride, which had sadly gone off the air, but these days people want someone to green their ride.  Thankfully that’s all something we can do ourselves.  It’s as easy as walking a little further, biking a little longer, and being a little smarter.

Who didn't love Xzibit?

While it’s true that making our transportation a little more green can put a lot more green back in our wallets, we also get by with a little help from our friends at the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy.  ITDP works with communities worldwide to come up and implement sustainable transportation solutions that overall improve our quality of life.  Founded 25 years ago ITDP is the go-to non-profit for cities in developing countries that want to cut greenhouse emissions, reduce poverty, and increase equitable transportation.  All that is great for the city, but you may be wondering how they are helping us little people.  Well, they are also working to initiate bike share programs, car free days, build safer streets for pedestrians and bicyclists, and improve the overall quality and affordability of bikes.  ITDP is big enough to make real changes, and small enough to touch the lives of individuals.  Walking is great but sometimes you need a jet plane to get where you need to go.  Angel Flight West is a great charity that makes sure money never prevents a child with cancer from getting treatment, or a father from being reunited with his family after being separated from them because of a natural disaster.  AFW has flown over 40,000 missions since they first began their goal of providing free flights to deserving individuals back in 1983.  All of the AFW volunteer pilots donate their time, aircraft, and fuel for every mission they fly and give hope back to someone who needs it most.  Red Bull may give you wings, but Angel Flight West gives you your life back.

Institute for Transportation & Development Policy Donation

Angel Flight West Donation

So here’s to your ride!  No not that gas guzzling SUV you own, those two feet on the bottom or your legs or that bicycle you have stashed out in your garage.  You are what really moves us from place to place and we’re starting to realize that you’re not only greener and good for us, but you also save us a whole lotta dough.  Now’s the time to lace up those tennis shoes and pump up those tires, cause we ain’t getting no younger and gas sure ain’t getting no cheaper.

I don't know about you but I can't afford those prices!

Week 21-Go Green Week, Day 4-Groceries

We all have to go grocery shopping to fill those empty stomachs we get about every four hours.  With food prices on the rise and people’s waistlines expanding everyone is trying to find new and better ways to eat healthy.  We may not called them victory gardens anymore, but home gardens still represent a big win for the health of our communities and our planet.  And in case you’ve never tasted any type of home grown vegetables, let me be the first to tell you that you are missing out.  I’m so thankful for all the delicious home grown food I’ve been able to eat over the years, and the appreciation I have for how much work truly goes into a meal.  Those peas and carrots didn’t just grow themselves.

The Dinner Garden is the modern day version of yesteryear’s victory gardens.  This non-profit is helping people realize that the answer to hunger can be found in their very own backyards.  TDG provides seeds, gardening tips and tools, and supplies for free to anyone in the good ‘ole US of A.  There’s no way that 5 measly dollars could feed a family for a year right?  Wrong.  You have got to check out the list of produce seeds that TDG will send your family, because it will blow your mind.  You would think eating the food you grow would be your favorite part of having a garden, but a lot of families find that the time they get to spend working together in the garden is even more delicious.  It’s also really important to teach our kids how to be environmentally responsible and what better way than a school garden?  The Environmental Media Association launched their organic school garden programs a few years back with the support of famous faces like Nicole Richie and Amy Smart.  We teach our kids about math, science, and literature so it only makes sense that we should also educate them on ways to protect the Earth.  This program is so great because pretty much every kid in the world loves to get their hands dirty, and it gives them a real opportunity to learn in a “living” classroom.  Even though I was/am a die-hard Oregon Trail fan, it didn’t really teach me how to forge a river or kill a buffalo in real life.  Growing a garden seems much more sensible and green for kids today.  And they won’t die of dysentery after five minutes.

Nicole doesn't deserve that...

The Dinner Garden Donation

Environmental Association Media Donation

So here’s to you groceries!  You can be picked up from the grocery store or grown in our very own back yards.  You are what stocks our refrigerators and our bellies.  During both of world wars you were more likely to have come from a victory garden than a Whole Foods.  Thankfully we haven’t forgotten that we still have the power to transform a small seed into a big meal.  Growing your own groceries isn’t the new green, it’s the green that never faded away.

Week 21-Go Green Week, Day 2-Water Conservation

Water has been a topic of discussion on this blog more than once, but we’re talking about conserving it and not providing it today.  Only 1% of the Earth’s water is drinkable so it’s obviously really important for us to make sure none of it goes to waste.  You can start going green and saving water in your very own bathroom right now!  Well maybe not right now, but after you read this blog.  You can start taking shorter showers, or a bath instead of a shower which can use less water.  You can also take the advice of Bernie Focker, “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.”  Hey, we all gotta do our part in the name of saving the planet.  I think you all know by now that I’m really thankful for my clean water, but I’m also thankful for the chance to provide water for future generations.

The Center for ReSource Conservation is on a mission to empower our community to conserve natural resources, like good ‘ole H2O.  Founded in 1976 CRC gives people easy tips and tricks to conserve water in their home, office, and your town.  They have even come up with a Garden-In-A-Box program where you can have beautiful flowers in your backyard and use half the water (at half the price!) you would with a traditional landscape design.  CRC also wants you to Slow Your Flow Indoors, and get your free indoor water use inspection if you’re a resident of Colorado.  In about an hour you can have a professional water auditor breakdown how you use your water, and what you can do to reduce your use.  Reduce your use, that’s pretty catchy.  If you think conserving water in our homes is important, then you’ll probably agree that conserving our oceans is pretty high up there on the list as well.  Oceana is the largest international group focused entirely on ocean conservation.  Over one million known species of plants and animals live under the sea, and scientist estimate that there could be upward of 9 million species yet to be discovered.  Oceana may be celebrating their ten-year anniversary this year but that doesn’t mean they’re slacking off.  Just last month they helped pass new conservation measures that will protect 16.1 million square miles of sea floor in the North Pacific Ocean from bottom trawling.  In case you don’t already love them, major celebs like James Cameron, Nicolas Cage, and Morgan Freeman are big supporters of this water-loving organization.

Center for ReSource Conservation Donation

Oceana Donation

So here’s to you water conservation!  You are the reason we still have clean water to drink and running water to take a shower with.  Without you we wouldn’t know the beauty of the creatures living below our vast oceans.  You are actually pretty easy to do if we just use our heads and make an effort.  Thanks for helping us make waves when our planet needs it most.

I'd say that pretty much sums it up

Week 21-Go Green Week, Day 1-Parks

What a great idea!

Get out your reusable bags and Nalgene water bottles cause it’s Go Green Week!  Spring has finally sprung here in West Virginia and Friday just happens to be Earth Day so there’s no better time to get your green on.  There are lots of ways to be more Earth friendly but I can’t think of a better place to start than protecting all the great parks we have across our nation.  Whether they are big or small, national or local, parks give us a place to remember how amazing nature truly is.  I’m so thankful that parks give us a place to picnic, throw a Frisbee, take a nature walk, or go camping.  Sure there are lots of trendy ways to go green, but sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that make the biggest impact.

The National Parks Conservation Association was founded in 1916 to help protect and enhance America’s National Park system for both present and future generations.  NPCA values the history and culture that our national parks are steeped in.  Americans expect their parks to have clean air, healthy wildlife, and well-preserved land marks.  NPCA has been fighting back against air pollution, climate change, and underfunding to make sure these natural gems survive.  NPCA is unique because it is the only private non-profit organization in the nation dedicated solely to protecting our National Parks System.  I don’t know about you but there’s some national parks I still want to see in my lifetime, and definitely want my children to see one day.  Growing up in the South with a huge yard we didn’t have to go to a city park to see grass, but kids in New York city do.  City Parks Foundation helps support over 750 parks in all five boroughs in NYC that don’t have access to private funding.  CPF helps to revive parks by creating free creative arts, sports, and educational programs that the communities around the parks flock to.  Over 600,000 New Yorkers are reached through CPF’s programs which revitalize and rejuvenate some of the most under served areas in the city.  CPF also has a great program called SummerStage where they present a diverse line-up of free performances that introduce the people of New York to budding new artists.  They have held outdoor performances for all ages, races, and backgrounds for over 25 years, and the people just can’t get enough.  Seriously, what’s better than live music, good weather, and a beautiful park to experience it in?

National Parks Conservation Association Donation

City Parks Foundation Donation

So here’s to you parks!  You are the heartbeat of America.  Children can run, play, collect bugs, and get dirty all within your boundaries.  Sometimes you are extremely vibrant, lush, and  green and other times you’re full of red rocks, dust, and scorpions, but both are equally as beautiful.  You help us remember that a little dose of nature goes a long way, and provide a haven for us to think, talk, and be thankful.