A Nod to Earth, Mother of Us All

This is about how WE are all in it together. How every action leads to reaction. It’s about balance and responsibility. And grounding.

On a physical level – if we break down human needs – food, sleep and shelter are at the top of the list. Take care of those needs, add some love, hard work and fun, and life is good. In the West we place a great deal of value on shelter, and food is pretty important, but we may take sleep for granted.

While we go about our days fulfilling our needs we’re reminded of the needs of homeless people in our community or starving children in Fallujah, and the ominous climate change that will undoubtedly slash a new path for future generations (whatever that looks like). And we go, “What in the world can I do about all this!?”

Source: Public Domain

Source: Public Domain

We look to the stars for advice, pray to the gods above, and may even take part in solutions first-hand. But what I’m asking you to do is quite unconventional: get down and dirty. Go outside, find some dirt, sand, or grass, and take off your shoes and socks.

What you are doing is called earthing, or grounding. It feels good. You are literally connecting to the Earth (a very big thing) without the barrier of man-made, synthetic, energy-blocking materials holding you at a distance. You’re experiencing the benefits of contact with a vast supply of free electrons that have been found to reduce pain and improve sleep!

Picture the dirt below you under a microscope, teaming with life! One scoop of dirt contains as many microorganisms as there are people on the planet. So, there you are touching millions of life forms with your bare skin. Now picture the web of life that flows beyond you, through the soil, roots, and water, and you are connected energetically and physically to the rest of the planet. Nice. Now is also a good time to deepen your spiritual connection and pray, commune with Nature, or simply worship the dirt we all walk on.

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

Why is dirt so important here? It is earth, which is exactly everything to us. Our planet is called Earth. We grow our food in earth. We build our houses from trees grown in earth. Our water is filtered through earth, and protected by earth. We are Earthlings.

Affecting climate change is about sequestering more carbon than we are losing, keeping it in the earth. We hear about the problems causing high levels of carbon loss, like deforestation and extracting and burning fossil fuels. When you dump a load of pesticide on a crop, it kills the beneficial microbes in the soil. Do that season after season, scraping and tilling in between, and the poor soil struggles to bear any life at all, holds less moisture and erodes. So synthetic fertilizers are added to replace nutrients that could have been there all along if the land had been managed organically.

Source: Pixabay

Source: Pixabay

We shouldn’t be eating food, clothing our bodies, or outfitting our homes with goods grown in dead soil. And petrochemical-based plastics are obviously not the answer for a healthy future. Let’s start conversations about solutions.

How do we build healthy soil to sequester carbon while doing our daily life? Learn about permaculture and spread the word. Think about it like this: permanent + culture = permaculture. It’s a design for living, really. A permaculture perspective is to study the elements in nature and use the power and cycles of sun, weather, and biology to benefit life, not damage it. Permaculture principles can be used on a small scale – at your home – or on a massive scale, the way Nature intended and already manages life on Earth by itself.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

A “food forest” is a good example of permaculture principles used to grow food while building living soil that regenerates itself, and the air we breathe in return. We’re quickly moving beyond the need for global sustainable agriculture because of the spike in greenhouse-gas levels. To sustain current levels is not enough. What we need now is regenerative agriculture, in which we build healthy soil everywhere we grow by keeping deadly chemicals out and using Earth’s biology first, sequestering carbon in the earth faster than we can burn it up.

No matter how you look at it, Earth is quite awe-inspiring. She will outlast humans in a blink. We need to learn how to support and respect her great power while caring for ourselves.

Turning The Tide on Convenience – statewide ban on single-use plastic grocery bags

Great news! California Governor Jerry Brown just passed the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic grocery bags. Starting in July 2015, large grocery stores in California will no longer ask “paper or plastic,” because they won’t have plastic! Are paper bags the best option compared to reusable? Nay. But I’d like to hear more conversation about what’s going into those bags.

Convenience is a pill offering instant gratification, but can leave one with feelings of regret and dissatisfaction. Three words from my mom two decades ago, like a prophet’s counsel – “don’t cut corners” – ring through my mind ironically as a remedy for complexity and chaos. The idea is that you expend a little more energy now to save you later. This idea has saved me bundles of time and money over the years, has spared me from buying items that were cheaply made, and reminds me to evaluate whether I really needed certain items in the first place.

Landfill

Speaking of complexity and chaos, have you seen the news lately? It’s really hard to look at humans and animals suffering, effects of global warming, Ebola outbreaks, and plastic and toxic chemicals in everything, everywhere, without wanting to fix it. What I like to focus on is what I can personally do today to help change the world for the better. Knowledge is my leverage. The more I learn about which chemicals are where and why, for example, the easier it becomes to change my ways. One good habit builds upon another. That’s convenient. Since I’m bringing my own cloth grocery bags shopping, for example, I automatically have a place for reusable produce bags and bottles to refill with bulk liquids. Pop it in the trunk of my car and I conveniently have them when I go to the store.

Check out this one-minute National Geographic Video:

Other examples of toxic convenience in the average American’s life are: fast food, driving when you can walk, dollar store and GiantMart shopping, microwaves, spraying chemical herbicides to kill weeds, using chemicals in your home to “clean” it, and buying cheap clothes to fill a closet. Just say no! Or at least start saying no to more of these things. Don’t wait until there’s a universal bag ban. Ban the bag on your own.

grocery_bags

I realize everyone has different circumstances and most people can’t afford organic food and goods all the time, but reevaluating what we really need and how it gets to us is something we all can do. Imagine if EVERYONE was willing to carry their own clean, cloth grocery bags into stores! With a little effort and forethought we can all make a huge difference.

Image of landfill:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landfill#mediaviewer/File:Wysypisko.jpg

7 Mindful Shopping Practices

Twenty years ago organic food was not so popular, but I sought it out. People would ask me, a struggling single mother at the time, how I could afford organic groceries. The heart of my decision to shop organic was, and still is, the principle of it. I know I’m directly supporting the environmental movement every day, plain and simple.

Today organic groceries can be found in almost every grocery store in America. Healthier, organic food has become the norm for many, and there is more collective knowledge about what organic means.

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This message isn’t about healthy food. It’s about sustainable choices. We need to embrace change (yesterday!) and apply what we’ve learned about the food we eat to products we buy for everyday use. The chemicals used in conventional products and their manufacturing are just as dangerous as chemicals used in agriculture.

Observing the explosion of Whole Foods Market all over the map, it’s not hard to imagine a paradigm shift from “more for less” to “less is more.” Are you with me? Great! Read on for seven simple tips to help you keep your mind where your heart is while you’re shopping for everyday items.

1. Think quality, not quantity. Once you adopt a minimalist mentality, it is very difficult to go back. No more going to a dollar store for two items and ending up spending $20.

2. Support local. Read labels to find out where things are made. Unfortunately most items are made elsewhere, but it’s like striking gold when a surprise “Made in America” label is found. When you find products you love made in your region, state or country, latch on and don’t let go. Why not inform friends and neighbors, as well?

3. Disposables and planned obsolescence. Seek out longer lasting, recyclable, reusable or compostable alternatives to disposable or short-lived products you currently use, like diapers, razors, toothbrushes, feminine products, light bulbs, paper towels and napkins, paper plates, plasticware and cups, trash bags, sandwich & storage bags, and grocery bags. If you’re unsure where to find these alternatives, please leave a comment for us below.

 

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4.  Think about sources. What materials were used, using what chemicals in the process? For example, cotton fabric is made from soft plant fibers, so it’s perfect for textiles, but cotton is considered the world’s dirtiest crop involving tremendous amounts of pesticides, chemical treatments and water. Organic cotton is an excellent substitute, and as we continue buying more of it, more options will become available.

5.  Awaken your senses. Commercial household cleaning products and personal-care products are made with chemicals that are toxic to the people manufacturing them, the people using them, animals that come into contact with them, and the water systems where they end up. You can smell the pollution walking down the cleaning-products isle at conventional grocery stores. If it doesn’t smell like something from nature, don’t buy it. Tip: go to a health food store and sniff the pure essential oil samplers to get a better idea of what non-toxic scents from nature smell like.

6. Educate yourself and others. Tell people what you learn about consumerism, toxics, trash, and great alternatives. We have an opportunity to change the future for the better by educating children. To get my daughter to understand what clothes (something she has a genuine interest in) are made of, we made up a game I’ll call “animal, plant or other.” Her eyes lit up when she realized that the cotton shirt she was wearing was made from plant flowers. When I explained that rayon fabric is mostly made from wood pulp, she was like, “Whaaat?!” In a fun way, that forced her to think about material processes.

 

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7. Take it in stride. Don’t go out and replace everything all at once. I suggest you take it as it comes, which will give you time to research better options. When you need new sheets, buy organic cotton sheets. When you need new razors and toothbrushes, buy Preserve recyclables. And on and on.

 

“Change is the only constant.” –Heraclitus

 

 

 

Imagine Organic Oceans

save-the-planet

Imagine a world without synthetic chemicals. Well, that is a bit extreme. It would rule out pharmaceuticals and many other “necessary” products. Nevertheless, that is the utopian image in the back of my mind when I choose to spend more money on organic food and goods. It’s that “saving the world” feeling I get that keeps me going the extra mile, literally, to the health food store instead of the closest grocery store.

I’m not supporting organics only because it’s healthier for my immediate family. In fact, I’m thinking of my bigger family, the bees, birds, deer, soil, fish, rivers and oceans who directly suffer from pesticide exposure.

jen-renninger---we-are-all-connected

Imagine if everyone shopped for consumables with the bigger picture in mind. Is furniture consumable? Yes, it’s earth food, as it will end up in there some day. Let’s feed it organic! It’s not hard to start with organic basics: food; personal care; clothes; beds and bedding.

Find an organic store near you at these links:

http://www.organicstorelocator.com/

http://wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/list

 

“When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.” – John Muir’s journal, July 27, 1869

What are we packin’?

Recently a customer called concerned about how she should dispose of the “Styrofoam-like” packing material her Lifekind order arrived packaged in. She wondered why we would even use such a product in the first place.

I happily assured her that our packing material is 100% biodegradable, derived from an annually renewable raw-cornstarch material that meets the most stringent environmental requirements for packaging. When I suggested she place a few pieces of the packing material into a dish of water she was happy to give it a try, and while still on the phone, I could hear the excitement in her voice as she watched the material dissolve in the water.  (View the entire process in this video.)

Michelle, loading up the giant "peanut" dispenser

Our Warehouse Manager, Michelle, who has worked at Lifekind for over 10 years, explains that all the packing materials we use are biodegradable and contain no harmful chemicals. This leaves me hopeful that other companies are also choosing to make a difference by using alternative, environmentally-friendly packaging. Making an effort to change the way we package things, and being mindful of the products we purchase and how they are packaged, over time will make a difference in providing greener solutions for our environment.

So the next time you receive a package in the mail, take a moment to see if the company you ordered from is being environmentally mindful. Simply place the “peanut” packing material into a dish of water in the hope you will watch it magically dissolve!

Buy American

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We think it’s important to support American organic farmers and manufacturers – so we do! Lifekind® is dedicated to supporting America’s organics industry and to keeping jobs here in America.

We make our own mattresses right here in the U.S. Our GOTS-certified mattress Eco-Factory™ is located in Yuba City, California – the only mattress facility in North America to be awarded true third-party organic certification.

Our organic raw materials come from sources as close to home as possible. The Naturally Safer® wool and certified organic cotton we use in our mattresses and bedding are U.S. grown, and the natural rubber latex we use in our mattress cores and pillows is also manufactured here in the U.S.

Your commitment to purchasing organic products and supporting America’s environmentally-conscious farmers and businesses helps to ensure the continuing growth of the organics industry in the U.S. Also, you contribute to the reduction of your carbon footprint when you buy products made closer to home.

We are proud to support American organic farmers and to be your “go-to” company for “Made in the USA” items.

Carol Bader, Co-Founder