Monday, August 31, 2009

Smaller Houses and Bigger Lives

At ombegogg

Photograph by Puru

Today I have a very special guest writer for this post. He is Abe WalkingBear Sanchez. Since 1982, International Business Speaker and Trainer,  Abe WalkingBear Sanchez has worked with companies across industry lines and has spoken to  many hundreds of CEO and Top Business Managers Groups.

He had posted this on the Green group in linked in. It is so well written that I wrote to him seeking his permission to post this on my blog. He immediately agreed. So here it is – Enjoy the post. 

“Some younger people fear that in their future they will not do as well materially as their parents' generation. Well I have good news and better news.

GM (General Motors), the old GM that once roamed the world stage like a 900 pound gorilla not the "new" smaller and more humble GM that filed for bankruptcy, came up with the idea that the car you drove defined who you were and created different brands for different classes of consumers.

The same concept was applied to other products...your stuff defined you and people were constantly told and bought into the idea that the quantity and quality of their stuff reflected their worth as a person. He who dies with the most stuff wins. This excessive consumption and accumulation of goods knowing that there were others in need is the very definition of greed, which is both an economic and moral sin.

Proof that people around the world bought into the "pack rat" mindset is the number of mini-storage warehouses, garages, attics, basements and storage sheds bulging with unused and often forgotten stuff. This accumulation is fed by fear, God forbid someone points out that you are wearing/using the same "old thing".
There is a company now called, yes..Pack Rat, which will bring a really big box out to your home and when you've filled it with stuff they'll pick it up and store it for you.

The consumer society is about more than just need, or at least physical's a sickness. But we are recovering from the fever and awakening from the consumption nightmare .

Since WW II we have had several generations sell the most precious thing they have...their lives, for stuff they really didn't need or even used. It was OK to spend more time with your co-workers than with your family. Fighting rush hour traffic was a good thing because your kids could then wear the "right" shoes. Better an expensive electronic toy then tossing a ball with your kids or just sitting and talking..but all that is coming to an end.

Our future lives are not about the quantity of the stuff we possess or which possesses us , but rather about "quality essentials".
In the physical world this concept of "quality essentials" is manifested in education, energy, health care and the goods we produce.

Technology brings with it new efficiencies, a greater return for the investment made and is the basis for "quality essentials" and for new understandings about what is good and right, about new values.
In Native American teachings children are told that life is a gift and that they are also given free will and can choose the road they walk in life. The Red Road is based on love , the Black Road is based on fear and is about focus on self . The opposite of love is not hate its fear for hate like all moral and economic sins is fear based.
Irrational fear holds back the change for the better. Fear creates what the Toltecs called mitote, the fog of the mind and of the soul which clouds our vision but once we let go of the fear and stop giving it energy the fog dissipates.

My friend and mentor , Jack Brightnose, a Cree medicine man once told me that words are magic, that the very idea that by making sounds or putting down symbols we can paint picture in the minds of others is magical, and that we get to choose whether we practice white magic (love) or black magic (fear).

The good news is that the world economy is changing from one based on saturation and excess to one based on fewer "quality essentials" . The better news is that people will be set free from the consumption nightmare.

Through the use of computer and communication technology we are sharing what we have learned and reaching new levels of efficiency; and in so doing we are moving away from an "us and them" time into the time of the "we"; a time of smaller houses and bigger lives.”

 Abe WalkingBear Sanchez

Thanks Abe for sharing this article.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Greener YOU: The Farmers Market at Woodbridge

A Greener YOU: The Farmers Market at Woodbridge

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Farmers Market at Woodbridge

We did make it to the Farmer’s market on Saturday. Fruits and vegetables were very fresh indeed – don’t the pictures speak for themselves! I bought Jersey fresh basil and the very last of this season’s blueberries. The farmers market for Jersey Fresh produce is to encourage residents to “buy local”. In doing so – they would help in encouraging local business, and save fuel on transportation of goods.

It was a Green day at the market. One of the stalls was distributing CFL bulbs free of charge to residents – under the project Porchlight.

Project porchlight is about “how changing just one light bulb is a gateway to larger public participation in Climate change action and responsible energy use.”                              


_A225036-1Chris Adornato, Chairman Woodbridge Environmental Commission was offering visitors a free bulb while also explaining how we can help save the environment by doing small things ourselves. His enthusiasm was infectious. I hope it rubbed on to many of us!

Another green stall showcased the green products of Shaklee Corporation. Shaklee is not a new firm – their website says “We were doing it back when green was just a color and biodegradable was barely a word.  In fact, as early as 1960, we made one of the first biodegradable household cleaners ever.  And we were the first company in the world to obtain Climate Neutral™ certification and totally offset our CO2 emissions, resulting in a net zero impact on the environment.”

Shaklee was represented by Debra who shared her extensive knowledge on the products with us. I loved the all-in-one cleaning agent and my hubby particularly liked the laundry cleaner :-)


Apart from the above there were local vendors selling bread, pickles, cheese. Mr. Jaker’s with his pickles stall.


The veggies market.


One interesting day and colorful day it was!

CIAO – till the next post!

PS: All photographs are copyright of Purushottam Rao

You can view these photos on

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Woobridge Farmers Market – Woodbridge goes Green

To all my readers who responded on the “No bottled water for me” post – thanks a lot. I did promise that my next post will be on bottled water again, as the "Climate Change – I care" group on Linkedin where I had posted had several different arguments about this issue.

However, this post is too important to wait – atleast for the residents of Woodbridge.

Woodbridge Goes Green is the event planned for August 22nd at the Woodbridge Farmers Market.

The Greenable Woodbridge website asks residents to -

“Join the Woodbridge Environmental Commission for “Woodbridge Goes Green” @ the Farmer's Market… a day-long festival of “Green” events and giveaways to help protect and preserve our environment…  8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Downtown Farmers Market at the Town Hall parking lot.”

How does dropping by and shopping at the local farmer’s market help in being green? One might wonder!

It works in the following manner:

The Farmer market sells produce from farmers here in New Jersey. Instead of paying big corporations, by buying local farmers’ products, you can help to sustain the environment and support the community.

Not to mention fruits and veggies bought in markets are usually more plump, juicier and more nutritious.

Conventional farming uses vast tracts of land and loads chemicals, inefficient use of water. Constant water techniques causes the percolation of chemicals deep into the soil and polluted water run-off into nearby lakes and streams. Land and water degradation is the result of conventional farming. Not to speak of the chemicals that remain on the fruits and vegetables.

Sustainable agriculture has begun to proliferate in response to the concern. Farmers maintain small plots of land and raise different types of plants and animals, which are rotated around the fields to enrich the soil and help prevent disease and pest outbreaks, according to

Chemical pesticides are used minimally and only when necessary, but many sustainable farms have gone completely organic.

To lower the amount of fossil fuels wasted, farmers sell their goods to local vendors, and that’s where we come in — the consumers who make sustainable agriculture possible.

This is where the Farmer’s Markets come in. By buying your produce at the local farmer’s market – your benefits will be two-fold – you get to buy fresh and organic food – as well as your efforts will help in supporting your local economy.

Moreover – such markets are outdoors – and on a nice summer day – what could be more pleasant than picking up your basket for a nice trip to your local farmer’s market?

So see you there..till then CIAO.


PS : For township residents with kids (5th – 8th grade) – the next green event in your calendar -

Aug. 24 to 28
Sign-Up for the “Green” Day Program
Eco-Adventures at the Earth Center
Davidson’s Mill Pond Park, S. Brunswick

More more info click the link below :

 Aug. 24 to 28 Eco-Adventures at the Earth Center

Monday, August 10, 2009

No bottled water for me!


Why do people buy bottled water? I find it quite amusing when I see people buy water in a bottle. People think that bottled water is purer than tap water. I would not pay a penny to buy bottled water and I have my own reasons which I will share with you. It will explain why the green buzz says no to ‘bottled water’.

Why you must say no bottled water:

1. A four year study by NRDC found major gaps in bottled water regulation and concluded that bottled water is not necessarily safer than tap water.

2. Each year 38 billion (and counting up) water bottles end up in landfills in US, in countries like India they line up railway tracks, stations, roadsides etc. The bottles sit there for an average of 700 years before they would break down. 90% of water bottles are not recycled. Do not even think that changing the shape of a bottled water bottle could help to make it tad more ‘eco-friendly’.

3. It takes about 1.5 billion barrels of oil to manufacture bottles – that is the reason why 1 gallon of bottled water actually costs twice or thrice more than what you pay for 1 gallon of oil at the pump.

4. Tap water is on an average 500 times cheaper than bottled water – making bottled water as the most expensive way of water distribution.

5. Municipal authorities have stringent standards for water that is distributed through pipelines into homes.

6. Even in developing countries like India – I would give tap water distributed by Municipality a thumbs up – along with a home water filtration system.

7. I am particularly worried about the implication of storing water in plastic bottles – Bisphenol A (BPA) which is released when the water is hot(like bottles stored in sun heated cars) or when a plastic bottle is washed with hot water. Read more about BPA at science daily.

NRDC study concludes that in USA there are no specific contamination limits that are set on the bottled water industry. I wonder, if that is the case in USA – would I expect any standards for bottled water in India? According to NRDC one fourth of bottled water is actually plain old tap water in fancy packaging. Several brand names tested positive for industrial contaminants and bacterial contaminants such as – fecal coliforms.

Some of the contaminants found in bottled water are arsenic, disinfection byproducts and bacteria.” Seattle, quoting Gina Solomon

Well haven’t I said enough to transform your habit of buy bottled water – into carrying your own reusable water bottle?

So think before you buy yet another bottle to be sent to the landfill.

1. So please use a filter for the tap. However these have a life span and have to be changed after a certain length of time.

2. Invest in a water purification system which uses reverse osmosis, UV, Ozone – these are costly but are very popular in countries like India as it looked upon as a necessity.

3. Store water in glass pitchers for daily use. For parties invest in reusable jars or canisters.

4. Last resort – if you still insist on drinking the so called pure bottled water – make sure that you get a 3 or 5 gallon water bottle. Chances are that you will get it delivered at your home and chances are that it will be reused, recycled,refillable,returnable.

One niggling worry though – if you have a water cooler with these big plastic bottles – do not use the hot water option – remember BPA which is an endocrine disruptor – it mimics the function of the endocrine gland.

As for me – I have always drunk tap water – no matter where in the world I am. Give the tap water a chance – if you are still worried..boil the water, strain it and then drink it. Well who has the time?…Go pick up that bottled water from the store or get it delivered at home!