Category: the compact

The first thing that needs to be done is the simplest. We need to stop saying “I” and start saying “we.” If every single person started shifting their conciousness to that mentality, then the major controversy would be over with and we could start working on the solutions. This does not mean that we need to stray away from our “capitalist ideals;” to the contrary!
The truth is, everyone thinks that shifting the economy to business and industry that is green means we lose profit. This is a complete fallacy. To provide a better product(healthy and sustainable), made with better materials(organic, natural),through workers who get paid a liveable wage ($10 or more), means the whole country wins.
This idea can be transferred to politics as well. During a normal debate, the candidates shy away from issues such as social security, health care and sustainability because the solutions COST MONEY. Duh! But the solutions, such as in the case of global warming, also make money.
The real solutions to these problems, involve moving the middle-class back into America, creating jobs such as industry of natural and sustainable products, recycling and reuse of already produced materials, and construction and retrofitting of existing buildings to fit the need for better energy use.
It may seem a bit daunting to look at these problems on a large scale, but really the answers are astoundingly simple and accessible for everyone. If we want the human race to exist in a hundred years, then these problems need to be addressed and we can address them in really progressive and beneficial ways.

Food: less than 200 miles is a reasonable distance in which to grow and sustain our food. Better yet, grow a few yourself. If you neighbor grows potatoes and you grow tomatoes, you will both have plenty extra to share. It’s better for you, more delicious and better for the enviroment. All you need is a bucket and some dirt.
Find a farmers market or a co-op. Your town doesn’t have one? Start one!

Transportation: Public access to every single destination in the country is an absolute necessity.
Shelter: reuse reuse reuse: All the materials we could ever need have already been harvested. We need to recycle building materials, not dump
Shopping: Demand that the products you buy come from a good place, as mentioned above:liveable wage, made in US with recycled or sustainable materials.
The most recent statistics show that even the richest in the country have reduced their consumption of goods dramatically over the last 5 years. Everyone knows we don’t need all that crap.
Disposal: ANYTHING reusable goes on craigslist,the local farmers market, the local found materials shed, or the local distribution center. All biodegradable materials go in compost, not the dump. Compost means it goes back in the ground where it belongs.
Water: The most important factor essential to life. It’s pretty simple, don’t waste it. Don’t flush if you don’t have to, don’t shower longer than you have to, don’t leave shit running.
Find people who are interested, and work on a living machine or similar water remediation project.

These are just the beginning. There are hundreds of other ways to engage with eco-friendly living, engage with your community and most importantly, IMPROVE YOUR STANDARD OF LIVING.
If you care about this stuff, which you must if you’ve gotten this far, tell a friend and start small.


Ever felt like puking when you started seeing Christmas commercials in October? I know I do. I’ve talked with a lot of friends that feel that same sense of dread that comes with the manufactured holiday we call Christmas. Everyone wants the holidays to feel like they are supposed to: a time to appreciate family, friends and community,a time to show our love( because sometimes we forget to), and a time to meditate on the meaning of life. Did I make that up?
Well, Adbusters offers a solution to getting back to the true meaning: Buy NOTHING Christmas.
The day after Halloween I went to the mall. Macy’s and everyone else, had Christmas decorations up. Now, I’m not trying to be knit-picky, but I highly doubt that they are just so excited for the holidays that they couldn’t hold out until after Thanksgiving. (That’s right, there is another holiday in there.) I do remember a time when there were autumn decorations up until after Thanksgiving and when the stores closed for Black Friday they switched over the the mistletoe and wreaths. Or am I imagining things?
Some of you may recall my commitment to the Compact, which means I vowed to try not to buy anything new if at all possible. So, I’ve been giving the holiday’s some thought. What can I give my friends and family that will let them know how much I love them without breaking my vow? I know it means more to me when I get something that someone made or put thought into, so how can I do the same without buying NEW?
Keep a look out for my list of ideas. It will be something like “Sustainable Gifts for the Holidays.” 🙂

The EatLocalChallenge inspires me a lot.Recently the site was updated; the author stating that she’s gotten a response from her inspiration, Dr Gary Nabhan, author of Coming Home to Eat.
Dr. Gary Paul Nabhan is outgoing Director of the Center for Sustainable Environments at Northern Arizona University. Here are some of his insights into what it means to eat local:

1. Local means from a farm, ranch or fishing boat that is locally-owned and operated, using the management skills and the labor of local community members. A farm that is owned all or in part by an extra-local corporation, and which uses migrant workers who live outside the community does not benefit its community economically or culturally as much as it should.

2. A regional food is one that has been tied to the traditions of a particular landscape or seascape and its cultures for decades if not for centuries. If the same mix of mesclun greens is grown in greenhouses across the country and sold in every farmers market from Maine to New Mexico, it is more like a franchised product (from a seed company) than it is a local or regional food. Yes it may be produced five miles from your home and thereby reduce food miles, but its seeds are not saved and adapted to local or regional conditions, they are bought from afar every year.

3. The miles a food travels (“food miles”) must be placed in the size and volume of the mode of transport, its source of fuel, and its frequency of travel. Using biodiesel in a larger truck may be more efficient, and leave less of a carbon footprint than using leaded gas in an old clunker. One in every five kilocalories in the American food production and delivery system now underwrites transportation, as well as packaging and cooling while in transit, so this will be an increasingly important issue to solve by using alternative fuels, cost-efficient volumes, and ensuring that vehicles holding their full capacity in both directions, perhaps by carrying compost back to farms where the vegetables originated.

4. On farm energy and water use matter. If a farm near Tucson Arizona is irrigated from a canal that transports Colorado River water hundreds of miles (and at high ecological cost to wild riverine species), or if it uses fossil groundwater set down during the Pleistocene pumped by fossil fuel set down in Iran during the Pennsylvanian era, what is to be gained by promoting its food?

5. Other on-farm inputs matter just as much. Where are the sources of hay for livestock, compost for garden crops or nitrogen for field crops?
They should be locally if not regionally-sourced. Why call lamb locally-produced in Idaho when its flock has wintered part of the year in California and its hay comes in from southern Colorado?

6. Fair-trade with other cultures, localities and regions is fair game. Circumvent they globalized economy for the items you truly need from other regions by establishing fair-trade exchanges. It is not that we don’t care about farmers and ranchers elsewhere, we simply don’t wish to see middlemen gaining more of each consumer dollar than the producers do. Producers inevitably plow money back into their communities and lands, intermediaries seldom do.

7. Invest in the foods unique to your region that cannot or should not be grown anywhere else. The attached RAFT map (pdf) reminds us of ancient food traditions based on climate, soil and culture, involving both native and immigrant foods that have adapted and been integrated into particular places. Because the U.S. currently lacks the geographic indicators such as denominations of origin that reinforce the links between place, culture and genetics of a particular food, these place-based foods are truly threatened by globalization. Invest in them and their original stewards.


Been to a co-op or farmers market lately? Been to the local privately owned business? Found that lady that has her own hives and jars her own honey? Or the butcher that only gets organic meat from local farmers?
Local is the only way to go. There are SO MANY good reasons, but here are the top ten by Life Begins at 30.

If you live in Albany, check out these wonderful places:
The Honest Weight Co-Op
The Warehouse
Both offer local and organic stuff and I can attest, it’s all delicious.

Sign me up!

Plus here’s a great company doing good things.

Sustainable Connections:

Rice Paper Sliding Door has been blogging about some of my favorite topics and themes. Check them out! Some of the recent topics are bicycle lanes in city scapes and bamboo microscopes. You know how much I love bamboo. Awesome!

My residents and I will be organizing the 2008 Step It Up campaign at the College of Saint Rose again this year. For anyone living in the Albany area, we extend an open invitation. We are also currently seeking speakers for the event. If you are fluent in any area of environment or Global Warming, please contact me.
Here’s video, shot in my home state Vermont about the Step It Up campaign. Bill McKibben is one of the top speakers on the subject right now, and he was involved with the filmmaking. I saw him speak at this years Solar Festival and he was phenomenal. He really inspired me. He was one of the first that I heard say, “this is not a fight to save the earth. This is a fight to save human kind.”

Find a Step It Up near you and join the fight!

Gotta love Vermont! This is why I will always call it home. Here’s Berney Sanders on the state of the country.

Hi friends! Long time no write! More word on the state of the earth. A brief synopsis:
I went to Solar Fest in Tinmouth VT where Bill McKibben (writer and environmentalist) spoke about the urgency with which we ALL need to act. This is his word: “In the next 10-20 years, depending on our activity we will see the first ice free summer in the arctic. In other words, the ice caps will completely melt. This is doubly bad. Not only will we see 100 foot water rise in some places, for instance New York City, New Orleans and Florida, but with the absence of all that white reflecting heat back into the atmosphere, the effects of Global Warming will multiply. All that white will be blue, soaking up the heat and keeping it here.”

I dunno about you but that is terrifying to me! People in NYC will be scuba diving to work! We cannot change what others do, only what we do. We all must take responisbility for our world.

Also, he spoke of the National Grid and our dependency on energy. (Mind you, I’m only indirectly speaking about oil.) The National Grid can no longer uphold the level of electricity that we demand and have come to expect. The now common “brown outs” and “black outs” are a direct result of our bulky use. The time is NOW to start working and investing in alternative energies such as wind, water and sun.

I was also more than pleased to see Simple Shoes represent with their new line called GreenToes. This line is completely made of sustainable and recycled material. They were selling them AT COST (yay me) to get the word out. I’ve been supporting Simples for some time now but I am particularly proud of their recent work. I haven’t been able to look into their workers right policies, so I cannot say if they are “perfect” or just “above the norm”, but at least I can say they are doing something. Here’s the pair of sandals I got and the pair of shoes I’ve had for a few months.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
The best part is, every person I see tells me how much they love them before I even get to tell them how great they are!

Last I leave you with some words of wisdom from my turtle friends. It made me chuckle and I hope it does you as well.

A few weeks ago I heard wind of a group of people who were commiting to anti-consumerist living by ceasing new purchases. They call themselves The Compact. They made some exceptions, of course, for food and hygiene products, but otherwise all items must be second hand or done without. At first I was thinking “that’s easy. I did that for 5 years when I was living off $600 a month.” But then I realized I may run into trouble. I am a college student with one year left, which adds up to two more rounds of buying text books. Most of mine come from amazon or anyhow, but sometimes it’s unavoidable if there is a new edition or a hard to find novel.

The point of all of this is, officially, it has been a week since I last bought something new and I am committing myself officially to the cause.

I, Candice Redden, officially declare that I commit myself to The Compact’s cause and I will not buy a new item other than food and hygeine products for the next year. In the name of anti-consumerism and environmental consciousness, I will boycott the endless production of needless garbage. I hereby remove myself from the rat race of accumulation and will only support businesses that make a sincere effort to serve the environment and the human race.