"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do"

1.22.22 What can you do to have a positive impact? Write a love letter to the Earth!

Our planet has lost such a gentle soul and guide with the passing of Thích Nhất Hạnh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk well-known for his teachings on loving kindness, peace activism, and ecological moral consciousness. Through experiencing some of his books and videos, he has touched my life in infinite ways. One book in particular is titled, Love Letter To The Earth. In only 142 pages, Thay (as he is affectionately known by his students is Vietnamese for teacher), masterfully illustrated with his words the fact that everything on our planet Earth is interconnected. He uses the word "interbeing" to guide us in knowing that in looking at our own body - how it works, what it is made of, how it relies on the Sun, the Moon, the Stars - we can then understand and see that the Mother Earth is within us, as is the entire Universe. It is mind-boggling when you stop to consider this - take the time to wonder, imagine, and reflect on this basic concept of human existence. Yet, he says, if we can understand this deep connection and relationship, then we can live and "Be" with a calming consciousness filled with "enough love, strength, and awakening" for both the Mother and her children to thrive. Each of us has two very special Mothers: Our Birth Mother and Our Earth Mother. Thay gifted us with an entire chapter filled with his love letters to the Earth. I invite you to make time in your busy day to sit and write your own love letter to the Earth (and to your Mom, whether she is living or has passed). Just as your Birth Mother appreciates knowing that she can count on you, the same is true for our Earth Mother.

Thích Nhất Hạnh ends his book with a simple question, "Dear Children, you must ask yourselves, can your Mother Earth count on you?"

He replies for all of us, "Dear Mother, today we offer you our solemn reply, "Yes, Mother, you can count on us."

Connecting Bites To Effects: His words are a guiding light in my daily life, as well as in my work as a Nutrition Consultant and Health Coach. Many times I reach for his book, How to Eat, in a teaching moment for a client. It brings to light that being mindful of every bite we take is truly a masterpiece of creation. Each bite is interconnected to so many different beings that include soil microbes, the elements in the soil, the mycorrhizal network, our inner microbiome, the water, the sun, the moon, the animals, the farmers, the harvesters, the packagers, the truckers, the markets, and more. With each healthy bite, there is an abundance of gratitude to the individual pieces of that intricate network. And when we combine this with the concept of "interbeing," then one has to wonder how it is that we manage to mistreat our bodies when we don't give a thought to the foods we eat, and how we mistreat our Mother Earth when we don't bother to understand the many injustices that are currently a massive part of our agricultural food systems. One of the best gifts we can give to ourselves, and to Thích Nhất Hạnh, is to continually bring these conversations to the table. Let's E.A.T(Enhance, Achieve, Transform) Together - for the betterment of everything we hold dear!

With deep love, respect, and gratitude to Thích Nhất Hạnh,

Susan

Resources:

https://plumvillage.org/books/love-letter-to-the-earth/

https://www.parallax.org/product/how-to-eat/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th%C3%ADch_Nh%E1%BA%A5t_H%E1%BA%A1nh

12.13.21 What can you do to have a positive impact? Wonder, imagine, and reflect!

There is no way to beat around the bush on this, the climate crisis is real and it is only going to get worse...unless!

"Unless what?", we may all wonder. Wonder is a marvelous place to begin. I invite you to join me in "wonder," knowing my wonder will most likely be different than your wonder, which seems absolutely normal and perfectly OK.

I "wonder" each new day how I can be the best Earth Steward that I possibly can be. With that "wonder" I become more mindful in all my actions whether it be a purchase, a meal, a walk, a meeting...whatever. I must admit, my mindfulness falls by the wayside at times, but my "wonder" stays with me and fills me with awe.

I "imagine" our planet as a place not in crisis mode, but rather in a balanced, symbiotic mode. Somehow in my imagination, I see a world with humans figuring out how to positively change our concepts and ideals. I see the rebirth of our "knowing" how to exist in harmony with the other kingdoms: Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista, Archaea/Archaebacteria, and Bacteria/Eubacteria. This "knowing" is present in all life on our planet, and although many of the human species have forgotten, it is still there to be retrieved and embraced similar to the way our co-inhabitants exist (which we refer to as "animal instincts"). For truly, if we can't figure out very soon the importance of that interconnectedness of the kingdoms, then we truly are doomed to misery. This is evident as we witness in real time, Climate Change turn to Climate Crisis turn to Climate Catastrophe.

At some point in a day or evening, I "reflect." This reflection brings beauty, murkiness, chaos, and calm, somehow all wrapped up into one beautiful image. My mind and inner-being cling to resilience and hope, which is what leads me into each new day, where the loop starts over again: Wonder, Imagine, Reflect!

"The point is that our true nature calls us to choose determination over defeat, and resilience over despair." This sentence is taken from the Films for Action link that I share below. I invite you to view a film from the list with the hope that something you see and hear will open your mind to increased "wonder" on actions you can take to embrace our Mama Earth and become part of the solution with your eyes wide open.

https://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/cancel-the-apocalypse-documentaries-to-help-unlock-the-good-ending/?fbclid=IwAR0g4-gLONvxPeAef_AY_D4g2xDcpxgF4okjvpo2fOJgsauVsBP3F73Zppc#.Ya0um2KUItI.facebook

Two additional interesting and informative Youtube videos that I want to include are as follows:

  1. A fun 15-minute Youtube video named One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts, a story narrated from a well-seasoned conventional cattle rancher that shifted gears and turned to regenerative farming and ranching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoQWLK8-CYE

  2. A 4-minute Youtube video named Earth to COP, that shares the doom of what is happening around us, but ends with hope as it calls on humanity to show up for change by getting informed and involved: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mY7VmsV1p4Q#COP26

Connecting Bites To Effects: Films such as "Kiss the Ground", "The Biggest Little Farm", "Fantastic Fungi", "Living the Change", and "Feeding Ourselves" offer wonderful insight into food, relationships, connections, and communication. Even if you choose only one film to view, my wish is that it fosters in you the three things you can do to have a positive impact on your Inner and Outer Ecosystems: Wonder, Imagine, Reflect.

In health and wellness, Susan

Resources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_(biology)


3.1.21 What can you do to have a positive impact? The many names of Palm Oil

Palm Oil may be found in more than half the products in our food, detergents, and body-care products. Why is this a problem? Conflict Palm Oil comes from our few remaining rainforests that are under threat of destruction by companies exploiting the products found within. With this encroachment comes habitat loss which results in species death and extinctions (for example, orangutans), human rights abuses, and climate change, A few examples for food-like products include snack foods like cookies, candy, chips, breakfast cereals, and peanut butter and other spreads. Body-care products like lipstick and body lotion. Cleaning products like soaps, washing powder, and laundry detergents. How can you help? Look for the RSPO label (stands for Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil): Go here for more info on that certification: https://rspo.org/ .

Avoid products that contain these ingredients (which are other names for Palm Oil or derived from palm oil)

Asorbyl Palmitate (see note under Palmitate),

Cetyl palmitate,

Elaeis Guineensis, Etyl PalmitateVegetable Oil,

Fractionated Palm Oil (FP(K)O),

Glyceryl, Glyceryl Stearate,

Hydrated Palm Glycerides,

Octyl Palmitate, Organic Palm Kernel Oil (OPKO),

Palmate, Palmitate (Vitamin A or Asorbyl Palmitate: Note that Vitamin A Palmitate is a very common ingredient in breakfast cereals and one reliable organization has confirmed that 100% of the samples they investigated are derived from palm oil), Palmityl Alcohol, Palmitoyl Oxostearamide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Palm Fruit Oil, Palm Kernel, Palm Kernel Oil (or PKO), Palm Kernel Olein (PKOo), Palmitic Acid, Palmolein, Palm Stearine or Palm Kernal Sterarine (PKs), Partially Hydrogenated Palm Oil (PHPKO),

Sodium dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS), Sodium isostearoyl lactylaye (derived from vegetable stearic acid), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (can be from palm or coconut - not sure, search more!), Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (coconut and/or palm - Not sure? Search more!), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfates (can be from palm or ricinus oil - Not sure? Search more!), Sodium Kernelate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate, Stearate, Steareth -2, Steareth -20, Stearic Acid,

Vegetable Fat, Vitamin A (see note with Palmitate. Additionally, Vitamin A Palmitate can be derived from any combination of vegetable oil such as olive, coconut, canola and/or palm oil: Not sure? Search more!)

**NOTE: Rainforest Action Network states that "names with palmitate at the end are usually derived from palm oil or another oil may be used, but as in the case of Vitamin A Palmitate, very rarely a company will use a different vegetable oil"

Connecting Bites To Effects: Use this list as a guide and remember if you are not sure, search more! Meaning, if an ingredient is questionable avoid the product until you have time to research more. By doing these little things, you can have a big impact. Responsible food systems is a right for all living beings.

In health and wellness, Susan

Resources:

https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/which-everyday-products-contain-palm-oil

https://www.ran.org/the-understory/palm_oil_s_dirty_secret_the_many_ingredient_names_for_palm_oil/


2.1.21 What can you do to have a positive impact? Neonics and us.

Neonicotiniods are insecticides that are found in products used around our homes, schools, city landscapes, and farms. "Neonics" are systemic, meaning they are absorbed by the plant tissues and then expressed in all parts of the plant, including nectar and pollen which then harms our precious pollinators like bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other flower-visiting insects. Bee colonies are in decline and this is a major problem as pollinators are the reason food reaches our table (without pollination, plants and trees will stop producing vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc.). Neonics disorient bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollintors which effects migratory patterns, breeding, and healthy offspring. As we work to maintain pretty yards and high yielding vegetable/fruit gardens, we may be unaware that some of the products we are purchasing include these neonicotinoids which are typically applied in far greater concentrations in our gardens than they might be on farms. Click here for more info on neonicotinoids and for planting recommendations in your yard: https://xerces.org/neonicotinoids-and-bees/

How can you become part of the solution?

Read the labels of all garden and yard products you are looking to purchase. Scrutinize the label and the ingredient list contains the following, then leave it on the shelf (and maybe mention the hazard to the store manager):

acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam

Insure neonicotinoids are not used on your property. Know the products that you are using, that any yard maintenance personnel are using, and if you are part of a homeowner's association that maintains the grounds then ask questions about products authorized for use.

Connecting Bites To Effects: Have an impact with your purchasing power. Always inquire with your local nursery if their plants are neonicotinoid free. If they don't know or if they say they have been treated with neonicotinoids then leave the plants in the store and explain to the store manager why you are doing so. When dollars start walking away, businesses act!

Create patches of pesticide-free, pollinator-friendly flowers in your garden or around your neighborhood. Beauty and environmental consciousness can go a long way.

Go ahead, be bold and take the Pollinator Safe Pledge now: https://peopleandpollinators.org/our-solution/psn-pledge/

Resources:

A song called "The Bees Say Please" by Guy Louis. You will need to scroll down the page to find the link: https://guylouis.com/gallery/

https://xerces.org/neonicotinoids-and-bees/

https://peopleandpollinators.org/our-problem/