Eco-Friendly Living

eco-friendSo what does eco-friendly living have to do with finding better ways than abortion, other than expressing the respect for life behind feminism and behind genuinely prolife concern for unborn humans? For one, despair over the global environmental crisis can lead some women to consider abortion. We all owe it to them and to their born and unborn children, including those who have already incurred disabilities and health problems from pollution, to ease that pressure in every way we can, on small and large scales alike, and make this a safer, healthier world for them and for all living beings. Fortunately all is not lost; there are surprisingly many things each of us can do, even those of us who feel we have little money, time, energy, social power, or other resources at our disposal.

The eco-crisis also directly sabotages the rights of life and/or nonviolent choice in other ways. There is a long list of nasty pollutants that harm us all, but pregnant and nursing women and young children, born and unborn, tend to be the most vulnerable. Many pollutants are now also known to interfere with both women’s and men’s capacities to seek out conceptions when they wish to.

Once again, we all need to do our parts! Hopefully these listings can help you find or expand yours.

Alternative Gifts International. Gift-giving and gift-receiving can be wonderful parts of life’s passages, and they can even be for “no reason,” for the joy of it. But in wealthier, consumeristic countries especially, like the US, the custom of the gift can get all snarled up in empty materialistic competition and posing that in the end bless neither giver nor receiver. What’s more, this setup reinforces the stereotype that materially poorer people have nothing to give. Most of all, rampant consumerism is responsible for a shocking amount of damage to the one and only Earth’s environment, and it stands on the backs of humankind’s poorest members.

For people of all faiths and none, the nonprofit AGI can be a refreshing solution to this scenario, with its annual “Shopping List for the World.” With tangible results, you can give specific gifts of hunger relief, medical assistance, shelter, peace & justice, environment, development, and women’s development. A wonderful way to involve children–and adults–in truly blessed giving and receiving, whether the occasion is a religious festival like Christmas, a wedding, a new baby, a bat or bar mitzvah, a graduation, a loved one’s passage from this life, or whatever other purpose is close to your heart.

Care2: Green Living. Much practical information about running an eco-friendly household.

Carbon Offsets from NativeEnergy. Here individuals, businesses, and organizations can calculate their carbon emissions and offset their contributions to global warming by supporting wind energy projects that benefit Native American & Alaska Native communities as well as family farmers. Native American majority-owned.

Celebrate: Jewish Holidays. Eco friendly ways to enjoy Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Hanukkah, Tu’Bshvat, Purim, Passover, Earth Day, Shavuot, the Fast of Tisha B’Av, Rosh Chodesh, Shabbat, naming ceremonies, bat mitzvahs, bar mitzvahs, and weddings. From the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, which answers in much practical detail the question “What’s Jewish About Protecting the Environment?”

Center for Health, Environment, and Justice‘s BE SAFE Environmental Health Alliance. A mother and grassroots activist, Lois Gibbs fought successfully in the 1970s for the toxin-threatened residents of Love Canal. She founded CHEJ, whose BE SAFE coalition advocates for the precautionary principle, a vital strategy for protecting human, animal, and plant life from pollution, including pregnant women and unborn children. Find out how you can be precautious yourself while challenging corporations and government to do the same.

Center for Health and the Global Environment. “Founded in 1996 at Harvard Medical School to expand environmental education at medical schools and to further investigate and promote awareness of the human health consequences of global environmental change.”

Composting With Red Wiggler Worms. From City Farmer, the Canadian Office of Urban Agriculture. Want to recycle your food scraps and create soil-building fertilizer in the process? This form of composting can even be done in a small city apartment in the wintertime. You can build your own–there are various plans online–or purchase one. Some cities sell worm (and/or other compost) bins at a discount to residents.

Earth Day Network Footprint Calculator. (English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian.) What impact do you have on the environment as you go about your daily life? A simple, quick way for people from anywhere in the world to find out–and to find out where and how you can personally make a difference.

Ecological Internet. Nonprofit web portal that features environmental news and action alerts. Includes EcoEarthInfoClimateArkForests.orgWaterConserveOceanConserve, and Rainforest Portal. A convenient, “one-stop” way to stay informed and to do something about diverse and pressing environmental concerns.

Ecology Action/Grow Biointensive. (Learning materials available in English, Spanish, KiSwahili, Arabic, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Czech/Slovak, & Russian.) US-based nonprofit that since 1972 has researched, developed, and globally spread its GROW BIOINTENSIVE method, a simple, inexpensive, self-sustaining, and eco-friendly way to grow incredible yields of vegetables, fruits, herbs, grains, or fiber plants on small plots of land in city or rural areas. Much more easily than you might imagine, a family of four in the US could grow a year’s supply of produce on an average-sized front lawn of a house. GROW BIOINTENSIVE has been adapted to a wide variety of climates and cuisines. The Ecology Action site describes the basics of GROW BIOINTENSIVE, offers scholarship-based training programs for farmers and gardeners throughout the world, and runs online and in-person stores that sell seeds, gardening supplies, and multilingual print materials and videos on small-scale gardening and farming.

Encyclopedia of Life and Tree of Life Web Project. When it comes to biodiversity on Earth, familiarity tends to breed reverence, not contempt. Resources for learning about our other-than-human relatives.

Environmental Justice. Environmentalism isn’t all about the whitefolks. People of color worldwide are disproportionately hurt by damage to the Earth, and people of color worldwide are standing up for all life. Why and how.

Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. Mission of this nonprofit, based at a historically black US insititution of higher learning: “To serve as a research, policy, and information clearinghouse on issues related to environmental justice, race and the environment, civil rights, facility siting, land use planning, brownfields, transportation equity, suburban sprawl, and Smart Growth…To assist, support, train, and educate people of color students, professionals, and grassroots community leaders with the goal of facilitating their inclusion into the mainstream of environmental decision-making.”

Panda Passport. Join 70,000+ activists around the world to support the global online action campaigns of the WWF (Worldwide Fund for Nature, formerly the World Wildlife Fund).

Pesticide Action Network International. (English, French, Spanish.) “Over 600 participating nongovernmental organizations, institutions and individuals in over 90 countries working to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound alternatives.” Adopt a Homeless Pet. Features animals now waiting for adoption at over 9000 shelters in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Note: If you would like to care for animals but do not have the space or other resources, say, for a dog, why not consider guinea pigs? (They’re under Petfinder’s “Small & Furry” category.) They are very social, musical, and comic-spirited little beings who literally jump for joy. Cavy Spirit is an excellent place to learn more about them.

Solar Cooking Archive. (English; some content in Catalan, Spanish, French, & Portuguese.) Solar cookers and food dryers can save the lives and health of the mostly poor, mostly of color people who rely every day on the burning of wood and manure, which causes severe indoor air pollution that disproportionately affects women and children, born and unborn alike. At the same time, solar cookers and dryers relieve one cause of deforestation (though it’s hardly industrial forest clearance and logging). They also free up for fertilizer purposes dung that would otherwise be burned for fuel.

Treeplanting Resources (nonprofit, low-cost): Africa’s Green Belt Movement, founded by Kenyan prolife feminist & Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangaari Maathai; the National Arbor Day Foundation (US), and American Forests/Global ReLeaf.

United Nations Environmental Programme. (English, French; Billion Tree Campaign materials in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic, & Russian.) UN agency operating at the global and regional levels. Website includes sections on “Gender and the Environment” and “Who’s Who of Women and the Environment.” Please join the Billion Tree Campaign and plant one or more trees. The Campaign exceeded its goal of 7 billion trees for 2009 and is seeking 10 billion trees for 2010. Note: Even if you’re an urban apartment dweller, you can do something–for example, plant fruit trees in a vacant lot or community garden, or even plant a dwarf fruit tree in a pot. Or you can donate to the above treeplanting resources–even small amounts matter.

Vegetarian Resource Group. Practical and delicious information on going and staying vegetarian or vegan–and enjoying & sharing the tremendous health, environmental, culinary, and pocketbook benefits. The website & other VRG publications cover–among just about every other topic–veg nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and raising veg kids. At minimum “vegetarian” means not eating animal flesh. A “vegan” is a kind of vegetarian who also refrains from other animal products, most notably eggs and dairy. But that doesn’t mean you are condemned to a harsh sentence of mushy, tasteless tofu. That’s just tofu without a good recipe. Veg diets can be not only nourishing, but culturally wideranging and pleasing to the palate–Don’t Believe the Carnivorous Hype. Wegetarianizm po polsku. Tak! (Vegetarianism website in Polish. Yes!)

World Animal Network. (Directory in English & French.) Guide to animal protection societies and campaigns worldwide. See also the multilingual International Vegetarian Union.