Free Email Newsletter

Friday, June 27, 2014

Transitioning to Minimalism

By C-A Moss 

In my quest to extend my vegan compassion to other areas of my consumerism, I’ve circled back to minimalism, which for many years, played a prominent role in my belief structure.

Researching for this article, I found an abundance of blog entries and youtube videos of people identifying as minimalist in various forms. Ending excessive consumption. Rejecting capitalism. Life editing. Zero-waste lifestyle. Decluttering. Anti-materialism. Living deliberately. Spartanism. Deattachment. Thriving with less. Living within your needs.

I’ve experienced many challenges and fails over these first eight months of the Ethical Closet Project []. I’ve accepted that our culture sets us up to fail but I’m still determined to find a loophole in the system that doesn’t include voluntary poverty. Consuming even less, and only what is essential, may be the path to greatly reducing my participation in the exploitation that exists within the capitalist system.

My childhood heros – Uncle Traveling Matt from Fraggle Rock, Henri David Thoreau and Alby Mangels – owned very little to tether them to one particular spot on the earth. I grew up in an impoverished and unstable household where I observed the adults react to scarcity with hoarding behavior and a miserly, self-entitled, approach of us vs. them. Just as the capitalists intended, the peasants clung to fear.

Though I imprinted on the concept of minimalism at a very young age, like most great themes of one’s life, it didn’t resonate until college. At that time, I began encountering people whom self-identified as minimalists. The first time I went to my geology lab partner’s apartment I was saddened by his lack of possessions to navigate around. With a Western mindset, I was conditioned to be consumerist and to believe that the accumulation of things is the definition of success.

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

Just yesterday, I was passing one of my favorite co-ops and felt the urge to go in. There was nothing I needed inside. Instead of going in, I had an honest conversation with myself. I discovered that what draws me in, most of the time, is the pleasure I feel from the aesthetics of the space. Once inside, I feel intensely awkward if I don’t make a purchase so I buy things I don’t need or necessarily want to enable myself to experience the earthy-natural decor.

Identifying why I mindlessly shop empowered me to move past the store feeling satisfied in my new found clarity and ready to defeat the next impulsive spending urge.

“To take more than you need, means to take from someone else”. - Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz

The Purification Ceremony

Next year we plan to move from our 400 sq. ft. apartment into a freestanding 450 sq. ft. house to officially join thetiny-house-movement. I want to ensure that this increase in square footage doesn’t result in an increase in stuff.

I’ve spent the past 4 consecutive weekends dredging through our possessions and using the local car-share to transport them to the various locations around town where they will find a new life.

During this cleanse I’ve donated several thousand dollars’ worth of possessions. Most items looked and functioned as if they were brand new which shows how little I used them. Further, most were in storage under the bed, in cupboards or in closets.

These purchases were a response to feeling stressed, anxious, frustrated, lost, rejected or stuck. The fix was always temporary and within a few days (more often hours) I was back to feeling unempowered again.

At first there was some sentiment and emotional difficulty particularly when I was saying goodbye to three, of five, boxes of our holiday decorations. I allowed myself to take a moment to mourn the items I was parting with as a way to ensure my sustained success with minimalism.

After dragging three van loads of possessions down all of the stairs, drenched in sweat, on multiple gorgeous spring mornings and responding to questions from neighbors asking me where I was moving to, I got over it. I quickly connected with the freedom of only owning what I truly need and use. As I drove away from my last stop that day and the van was empty, I felt so free. I found myself focused on two thoughts.

What is purged makes way for new life to appear.

To step beyond your comfort zone is a step toward your authentic self. 

 “There are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.”

- Nigel Marsh

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Rocking the walking: Millennials drive new urban spaces


A few major cities are making some surprising and unexpected shifts toward walkable urban development. Walkable neighborhoods are defined as those where everyday destinations such as home, work, school, stores and restaurants are concentrated and within walking distance.

Planners and residents who once opposed dense urban spaces are shifting gears. Neighborhood groups mobilized around a major new development and demanded higher density "because they wanted great urbanism that their kids could walk to."

Who's to blame for all this common sense? Kids! the Millennials … are driving this. And we thought all they did was sit around texting. 

The average American household spends over $8,000 per year on owning and driving their cars, that's more than they spend on food. Furthermore traffic congestion wastes nearly 3 billion gallons of gas per year in the U.S.

If there is anything that will get the attention of the oil barons and their puppet politicians is when people start thinking and doing on their own and exercising public opinion through action. GIVE IT A SHOT!!

Here's the rest of story

If diet and exercise is so important . . . .

it's about prevention

"Why is "diet and exercise" always part of the rehab procedure
AFTER a diagnosis, or recovering from a major illness?" 

"Why do most pharmaceutical drugs include the fine print disclaimer:
 "if combined with a proper diet and exercise?" 
(it usually appears right before the list of it's deadly side effects). .......

If diet and exercise is so important AFTER being cut, poisoned or burned, 
why not go there FIRST and eliminate the middle men?

This is the message of BIKE SATURDAYS.
Join us on the Whitefish Trail, Saturday June 21


This how naive we've become about the cause and effect of cancer and how corporate "pink washing" has taken over at the expense of women with breast cancer.

KFC Chicken is a major sponsor of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Raising money in the name of breast cancer research, while engaged in a partnership with a corporation that may very well be contributing to this disease, is pinkwashing at it's best. -- Think Before You Pink



Thursday, June 05, 2014

Study: protected bike lanes really do increase biking

Safety is usually the biggest reason why more people don't bike. True, biking isn't all that dangerous compared to being a pedestrian, but it seems much more dangerous — especially to people who haven't ridden in traffic or been on a bike much since childhood.

Research shows the lanes make new bikers feel safer about biking 

Luckily, we have a cutting-edge technology that can solve this problem: protected bike lanes.

Though some European cities began installing these bike lanes — which are physically separated from the street by a curb or barrier — during the 1970s and 80s, relatively few of them existed in the US until recently. Over the past few years, though, American cities have begun building them in record numbers.

And if the goal of these lanes is to get more people biking, research shows they work. A new study of eight recently-installed protected bike lanes in Austin, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington, DC shows they encouraged substantial numbers of new bikers to take the road, largely because they feel safer about doing so. READ full artcle >

Stand Up To Cancer . . an annual scamathon

September 14, 2014 is the date of the highly promoted Stand Up to Cancer Telethon. 

The following is the warm and fuzzy intro to the event copied directly from their website. 

As always, the cancer movement's message is that we are so close to a breakthrough.

"Stand Up To Cancer aims to form an unstoppable movement against cancer. Through TV and the internet, particularly the USA-based telethon that occurs every year in September, famous names and the entertainment industry team up to drive home the message that together we can stop cancer.

One in two men and one in three women will suffer from cancer in their lifetime (American Cancer Society). We can all be affected by the terrible disease, whether the person diagnosed is a friend, a parent, a child, a sibling or a partner. Stand Up To Cancer aim to form a united front against the disease, raising money and urging forward breakthrough research.

Stand Up To Cancer Day works to heighten the profile of research into cancer remedies and cures, to raise the funds available to back this research and to bring together the best teams of scientists and experts, removing obstacles to their progress.

We can all do our bit to stands up to cancer, so today consider donating to the cause, get involved by raising money or helping out with one of the many charities and initiatives working to provide treatment, research and support, and most of all, honor and remember those who have been affected by the disease."
The cancer industry scam continues
The following is an excerpt from an article written by Mike Adams titled, "Stand up to the cancer industry and its celebrity-powered hucksterism (opinion)."
". . . . but of course this has been the cancer industry's scam for more than 40 years: Claim to be just a few more dollars away from "the cure" while avoiding talking about the real, practical ways that people can prevent cancer right now.

If all these Hollywood celebrities really wanted to help people stop cancer, they would encourage viewers to stop drinking BPA chemicals from plastic bottles, stop eating processed meat products, stop using toxic chemicals found in personal care products and stop using pesticides on their lawns.

That message, however, isn't as sexy and emotional as sharing tear-jerker stories of how so many of the people we all love have been killed by cancer. Where facts fail, emotion can always persuade people to part with their money... especially if a famous person is telling you to pledge more."

Read the entire article: Form your own opinion, post them here

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Top Tips to Decrease Your Breast Cancer Risk

by Dr. Mercola
Less than 10 percent of all breast cancer cases are thought to be related to genetic risk factors. The remainder—90 percent—appear to be triggered by environmental factors
According to recent research, you can reduce your risk of breast cancer by avoiding certain chemicals found in common, everyday products
An estimated 90 percent of Americans have flame-retardant chemicals in their bodies, and many studies have linked them to human health risks, including liver, kidney, testicular, and breast cancers
Previous studies have shown that all parabens have estrogenic activity in human breast cancer cells. In one study, 99 percent of cancerous tissue samples were found to contain parabens 16 cancer-causing chemical groups to avoid, and 22 other breast cancer prevention strategies are discussed. Read the complete story HERE >

France experiments with paying people to cycle to work

People cycle as they visit the 2nd Croix Rousse tunnel reserved for pedestrians, bicycles and buses.

France has started a six-month experiment with paying people to cycle to work, joining other European governments in trying to boost bicycle use to boost people's health, reduce air pollution and cut fossil fuel consumption.

Several countries including the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and Britain have bike-to-work schemes, with different kinds of incentives such as tax breaks, payments per kilometer and financial support for buying bicycles.

In France, some 20 companies and institutions employing a total of 10,000 people have signed up to pay their staff 25 euro cents (34 U.S. cents) per kilometer biked to work, the transport ministry said in a statement on Monday.

French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier, noting that commuting using public transport and cars is already subsidized, said that if results of the test are promising, a second experiment on a larger scale will be done.

The ministry hopes that the bike-to-work incentive scheme will boost bike use for commuting by 50 percent from 2.4 percent of all work-home journeys, or about 800 million km, with an average distance of 3.5 km per journey.

In Belgium, where a tax-free bike incentive scheme has been in place for more than five years, about 8 percent of all commutes are on bicycles. In the flat and bicycle-friendly Netherlands, it is about 25 percent, cycling organizations say.

The Brussels-based European Cyclists' Federation has European Union funding to study best practices among various cycling incentive schemes, the group's Bike2Work project manager Randy Rzewnicki said.

City bike-loan schemes have played a large role in boosting bicycle commuting and cities including Barcelona, London and Stockholm have followed the model of the Velib in Paris.

($1 = 0.7328 euros)

The Basics of Life

  By Willard “Woody” Michels Guest Blogger A couple years ago a man named Gabriel Sherman wrote a book, “The Loudest Voice in the Room.” Th...