ecology · essential oils · modern life · recipe

How to Make Wool Dryer Balls

3645E236-F1EC-43CE-A87B-E0E7CC5B3204[1]My friend showed me how making wool dryer balls to replace fabric softener is not only environmentally friendly, but budget friendly too!

https://botanicalalchemyandapothecary.com/cleaner-and-greener-laundry

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modern life · privacy · technology

Technology and Privacy

November in RedmondWe all experience it. The jolt when FB pops up with an ad that happens to correspond with something you have had on your mind. Or you go to a new website and the ads are all of your favorite stores and even things you’ve looked at. It’s no surprise that we are all living out loud now, whether we mean to or not, our privacy is gone and it’s one of those things we are just choosing to ignore. Not unlike global climate change I might add, considering how slowly we as humans are reacting to the obvious, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about. Two things have happened that have really stopped me lately, and it worries me because it seems like there is nowhere to hide unless one completely disengages from technology completely, which I don’t want to do. It’s convenient. It’s where I get a ton of information and where I can communicate with friends and family all around the world. But here is the first really strange thing that gave me pause~ My phone broke so I had to go down to ATnT to file an insurance claim. The account is in my husband’s name and the guy helping me said we would have to just file it like we were him. Ok, fine. We then had to go through a series of security questions that were strangely personal and certainly not anything he ever told the phone company, such as: What is the height on your driver’s license? Have you ever had any association with the following addresses? It then gave a bunch of addresses, one being my parents’ address. Just keep in mind, this is assuming it is my husband answering these questions. How weird is that? Why would my parents’ address be part of my husband’s security questions for our cell phones? When I told him about those questions he was just as disturbed as I was, although he seemed more bothered by the fact ATnT knows his height on his driver’s license. (I don’t! I had to guess.) So that was one. This was actually months ago but I was reminded of it this morning when my son got on the Surface, which is like a Ipad, and it was what we took on our Maui trip recently. Now we don’t have TV at our house so when we were at the hotel the guys had fun catching up on what TV is like these days (another thing that continually shocks me) and they got really into a program called Property Brothers. Being out of the TV loop, we had never heard of it before nor watched it, but then today when my son got on the surface to research science experiments (which included youtube) he kept getting ads for Property Brothers. Something tells me that is not a coincidence. It makes me nervous in that can’t-quite-define kind of a way but it definitely feels not right. Big Brother comes to mind in a Big way, and I’m talking about Orwell folks, not another TV show. This is probably something we should all be thinking and talking about more often. Not doing so is only benefitting corporations, certainly not consumers. To disengage or to not disengage…that is the question.

children · Education · kids · parenting

Schools and STEM

Chicken huggersIf you have a child in school these days then you surely have heard of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math.) It’s the big thing right now~ there are STEM schools,  STEM measurements, and people compare the STEM-ness of schools when making decisions about where their child will go. Personally, I’m wondering where creativity fits into science, technology, engineering, and math. It seems to me innovation is tied to creativity and we need to foster that in our children just as much as the other things. Not only that, but creativity gives people the space to appreciate art, music, literature, and all the things that still exist beyond our screens. Our kids will be proficient in computers, that’s a given, but do we really want to tie our futures so inseparably with modern technology? Has there really been nothing of use in the world up until the computer chip was invented? What about the natural world? Science seems centered on dissecting it, but what about giving kids the chance to appreciate it? Breathe it. Realize they live in it along with billions of other beings and need to think about that fact. An example of what I’m talking about is the fact our school district does not have art teachers. There are volunteer parents that go in and teach art to classes at most once per month, but often a lot less. Why are we teaching these kids that art in not that important? They have music and PE and library at least once per week, but art for some reason is not valued enough to have at least a weekly class with a trained teacher. This just blows my mind. Kids get so much out of art class and I’m not just referring to the kids who are gifted in it. When I go in and help with art lessons I’m always struck by the highly intellectual students who are astounded they can make something aesthetically pleasing with their own hands, and the hyper-active students who can focus on something that is truly their own, and the quiet students who love being able to work on something as an individual and not be overwhelmed with the constant group activities that are also so vogue in modern education. It gives students a place to pause and consider what art means to them, to recognize every single one of them has some creativity and how good it feels to express it, and to understand it is valuable to work on something purely for aesthetic reasons. These are just a few of things that I see falling out of schools in favor of STEM, and I’d like to propose a post-STEM environment focused on Creativity and Nature. Computers will be integrated in their lives more and more with textbooks changing into tablets, research done on Google, Kindergarteners giving PowerPoint presentations~ that’s all part of the modern world and I’m not trying to stop it, there just needs to be some focus on what goes on outside of a screen and perhaps inside of a head. Of course, I have to bring up the Edible Schoolyard Project as I so often do because it embraces nature and creativity both in such a beautiful balance, and in an increasingly teched-out world kids need to be reminded of the importance of these things. Isn’t education about expanding the mind after all…? It certainly can’t just be about learning how to use a single tool. Our kids are brighter than that and they deserve more.

ecology

Climate Change

This is an article from KUOW’s page dedicated to climate change information. In case you were wondering what the U.N. thinks about the “possibility” of global climate change, its effects on humans and humans’ effects on it, here’s a recap of the 2014 report from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:

Environment
4:18 am
Mon March 31, 2014

U.N. Report Raises Climate Change Warning, Points To Opportunities

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 7:07 am

  • From ‘Morning Edition’: NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel on the U.N. panel’s report

“The effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans,” and the world is mostly “ill-prepared” for the risks that the sweeping changes present, a new report from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes.

The report also wastes no time in pointing a finger toward who is responsible: “Human interference with the climate system is occurring,” reads the first sentence in the scientists’ summary of their work.

As NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel tells our Newscast Desk, the panel “includes hundreds of scientists from around the world. Its past reports have made gloomy predictions about the impact of climate on humans. This time around, they’re also trying to prepare us. Chris Field, the co-chair of the new report, says improving health systems, making transportation more efficient, and beefing up disaster response can make a difference.”

“Things we should be doing to build a better world are also things we should be doing to protect against climate change,” Field says.

In the summary of its findings and recommendations, for instance, the panel suggests that ongoing efforts to improve energy efficiency, switch to cleaner energy sources, make cities “greener” and reduce water consumption will make life better today and could help reduce mankind’s effect on climate change in the future. While all people will continue to feel the effects of climate change, the report concludes that the world’s poorest populations will suffer the most from rising temperatures and rising seas unless action is taken.

Still, The Guardian says the report concludes that climate change is “already having effects in real time — melting sea ice and thawing permafrost in the Arctic, killing off coral reefs in the oceans, and leading to heat waves, heavy rains and mega-disasters. And the worst was yet to come. Climate change posed a threat to global food stocks, and to human security, the blockbuster report said.”

“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” says Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC.

The BBC calls the report “the most comprehensive assessment to date of the impacts of climate change on the world.” [End article]

And quite frankly to those who think they know more than the scientists who are dedicating their lives to studying this, well, they should just go back to drinking their fairy juice and let the educated adults get on with solving problems in the real world.

ecology

Trash Talk

Sweden
Sweden (Photo credit: loops)

News from an eco-conscious country: Sweden has apparently gotten so good at recycling and reusing that they are forced to import trash from other countries to fuel their trash-burning energy plants. Here is a link to the story. Come on America, let’s be inspired to recycle and compost as well as the Swedes! (Well done, Sweden.)