Posts Tagged ‘World-changing Wednesday’

Holiday Shopping While You Save The World

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

I was writing up my holiday season to do list on the back of a junk mail envelope and I relealized it was Wednesday. Remember when I was doing a “World -Changing Wednesday” blog? Religiously. For three Wednesdays and maybe a Thursday? I barely remember it myself. But today I though we could revisit the concept with respect to gift giving.
I am not a scrooge. I like gifts, both giving and receiving. But I worry that we have gotten excessive, too hung up on quantity over quality. I would love to make every gift by hand, with lots of thought and individual attention put into each and everyone. But I have a life, and you do too.

Still I think we can shop and change the world. First, stay local if you can. Supporting locally owned stores keeps a greater percentage of dollars in your local economy. Second, consider purchasing things made locally or at least made in this country.
If you happen to live in Brooklyn, my friend Elissa has a fantastic store called Green in Bklyn on Myrtle Avenue. She carries lots of interesting, environment-friendly items. Several great gift items are made in Brooklyn such as beer-making kits, stuffed animals, cookbooks, and the cutest onesies you’ve ever seen.

On his facebook page my friend Jim Silar has chastized us all for our addiction to cheap crap from China. The usual rebuttal is that is difficult to find American made products. True, but here are a few that I will be giving this year:
Field Notes. These are great little notebooks perfect for gardeners, songwriters, etc… three blank books are only ten dollars. The come in blank, lined, or my personal favorite graph paper. www.fieldnotesbrand.com

Dancing Man Knives. I have a fondness for knives. Who doesn’t need a good knife. These are beautiful as well. www.local-showcase.com

Estwing Tools. I like hand tools. The other farmer prefers power tools, but you can never have enough of the basics. Still made in Illinois, they make a good hammer and are available at Home Depot or your local harware store.

Kentwool Socks. They claim to be the world’s best golf sock. Seriously? Can a sock make you a better golfer? Well, you know how those golfers are. They are made just down the road from me in Pickens SC. www.kentwoolsocks.com

Did you think I would leave out music? Please give the gift of beautiful music this year. Buying a CD from an independent musician is a great boost to their personal economy. Trust me a musician can do a lot with that small amount of money. If I started recommending folks I’d still be typing by New Year’s Eve. So here are two (unbelieveably hard to narrow down) recommendations. Carolanne Solebello used to perform with Red Molly so you probably already know her. But she is performing solo these days and not hitting the road quite as much so those of you outside of the northeast region might not have her outstanding CD yet. Dave Potts has a new live CD out and since he has hardly been touring at all I bet you don’t have it. Get both of those.

If you want to share the gift of Friction Farm music, we will sign, giftwrap and send a CD all for the regular CD price of $12. Just email me.

Go shop. Save the world.

Wednesday Word of Mouth

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

I got a note from my friend Marc Black reminding me that it was national water day, so I thought I would write about water protection and conservation. But then I really thought about Marc’s message. It was about fracking and his campaign to stop this from happening, especially in the upstate NY region where Marc resides. He has really been working this, spreading the word, educating folks on this subject. And he is doing that through his song “No Fracking Way”. Its a good song – catchy, funny – that helps him get the point across.
That’s what we’re going to do today. Pick something that matters to you. Something global, national, local…its up to you. Pick something from one of our previous Wednesday’s if your brain is on spring break today. Now spread the word. Talk to one friend, or two. Post something on your facebook status. Get your point across gently, respectfully, intelligently, perhaps with some humor.
Ponder this. If each Wednesday you and I took one of the small steps towards saving the planet and improving this place… AND if we each asked one person to join us in that small step.. that would be a lot of steps.
So share this blog with someone. Or, go watch Marc’s video (I’d have a link if I were prepared but just search Marc Black No Fracking Way… you’ll get there)
Let’s take a lot of steps together and make this a great place to walk around.

Thursday, It’s the new Wednesday

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Thursday is a lot like Wednesday only a day later. I got distracted. Blame it on that whole spring forward thing. Forgot yesterday was Wednesday. the world was not saved. Fortunately we’ve done enough in previous weeks, that the planet lasted an extra day without us.

Aidan and I have been doing a little construction this week. Built a closet in the hallway and took advantage of some unused space (i.e. a wall) and built a pantry. I posted about it on facebook wondering where folks in the 1940’s kept all their stuff. Turns out they didn’t have all that much stuff. It made me stop and ponder. By average American standards I am not a huge consumer. Still, I have a lot of stuff. Why do I have all this stuff? do I need all this stuff? why am I thinking of getting more stuff?

The short answers are I don’t know, no, and I don’t know. But I do know that we have all become voracious consumers. Most of us have more possessions than we require. Some of us have more than we really want. So this week, I ask you to think carefully about what you purchase. Do you need it? Do you really, really want it? Why are you buying it?

I am not against buying things. I am not against supporting businesses. I am against waste. I am against mindless spending that uses up our valuable resources so that we have less left for what really matters. Much of our domestic manufacturing has been moved to areas with lower labor and social costs, lower building costs, lower environmental standards. Big business didn’t do this. We did this… by demanding lower costs so we could have more stuff. I did this. You did this. And we can start to undo this.

We can become more mindful consumers. We can speak with our dollars. We can support local business, organic farmers, unions, socially and environmentally responsible businesses. There really is enough money for all of those things if we choose carefully, and mindfully.

I would give up much of this stuff to have the wealth to supply portable cooking stoves, heaters and fuel to families struggling in Japan tonight. Its not Wednesday. You can still save the world.

Spring Cleaning World Changing Wednesday

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

It happens every week. Suddenly its Wednesday and I am unprepared. Not that I have any shortage of topics on which to rant. But I like to have research, facts and figures.

Today my friend Catherine Miles from The YaYas helped me out by posting on her facebook page that she had unclogged the drain and cleaned the coffeemaker using vinegar to complete both chores. Catherine helped save the world today.

Cleaning is a real drain on the planet. You probably can’t imagine the chemicals that are used in everyday household cleaner. Fortunately, you don’t have to because I have the facts. You might think a product called Simple Green might be safe and environmentally friendly. But, it contains formaldehyde, phenol, and butoxyethanol – all linked as cancer causers. And that’s the short list! Old school cleansers are no better; comet contains methyl-ethyl ketone. toluene and benzene; pine-sol has formaldehyde in its frightening list of indredients. New stuff doesn’t look too attractive either, like Febreeze which contains acetaldehyde and ethyl acetate. Don’t get me started on our nation’s obsession with antibaterial and antimicrobial soaps and detergents. If we used this stuff outside we would call them pesticides. Actually the EPA does classify their ingredients as pesticides.

I don’t know about you but it makes me feel dirty. Vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda…. they make me feel cleaner, safe and better about my home.
If you are doing some spring cleaning today, save the world while you’re at it.