We’ve Moved!

I have been wanting to move to a self-hosted blog for quite some time and I have finally taken the plunge. You have no idea the appreciation I feel for my followers and  I hope we can keep in touch at http://www.everchangeproductions.co/

I will continue to post on Motivational Mondays, my progress on the documentary on how to reduce, reuse and recycle in Stillwater, and other great things happening in Oklahoma and around the world in the areas of sustainability.

Thank you for all your continued support and I hope to see you there!

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Meet the Replenishing Oklahoma Litter Crew

Meet the Replenishing Oklahoma Litter Crew! Replenishing Oklahoma is a Facebook group working to make Oklahoma a cleaner, healthier and better place to live. Their first project was April 2, when they picked up litter all across the state.

About a month and a half ago, I started a Facebook group called Replenishing Oklahoma. When I first created it, I basically wanted it to be a group from all over Oklahoma posting about different non-profits, service organizations or just service projects from their neck of the woods. Other than that I really wasn’t too sure what I wanted from the group.

I realized pretty quick that I wanted it to be more than that. I wanted the group to be actively making a difference in its own way, so once a month, we have a service project of our own. Part of the group’s purpose is to emphasize the efforts of the members who are already working on some area or another, get behind those people and offer support with their efforts. That includes going to their city and working with them on whatever cause they need help in. As an individual, I find it incredibly frustrating to always be working on something that no one else seems to care about and I’m sure others feel the same way. The thought is to bring us all together and we can all help each other accomplish our most important goals.

As expressed by the group, there are 6 areas we focus on. Sustainable living, helping the homeless, helping groups or individuals already trying to make a difference such as lawmakers or non-profits, animal welfare, and random acts of kindness.

Our first event was a litter clean up hosted by our group member Geoff and there was another group in Muskogee. Geoff and a few of our other members went to Mitch Park in Edmond and the Muskogee group went to Spaulding Park.

ReplenishingOklahoma6-01

Geoff was an interesting guy, one of the few people I’ve ever met who saw a need and made great strides to fix the problem or at least contribute to the solution. A lot of people like to talk about the problem, who’s at fault, but they don’t want to talk about a solution. Geoff plays disc golf in Mitch Park at least once a week, but usually more. He saw how horrendous the litter problem was, but instead of complaining and hunting for the person responsible, he just picks up trash as he plays.

I am glad that people like Geoff are finding this group and I had the honor of meeting them where they are and working to make change with them. I hope to find many more in the group that are willing to go the extra mile to make a difference.

Although, I couldn’t participate in Muskogee’s pick up, I was so appreciative that they wanted to do the same in their area. Spaulding isn’t one of the more beautified parks in Muskogee, as it sits in a low-income area, but it still every bit deserving as compassionate people willing to go and clean it up. I’m hoping this mentality spreads and more people in other cities want to make the same difference in their cities.

I’m happy to call this first event a success and I can’t wait to see what we can do next!

Are you from Oklahoma and interested in participating in bring positive change to Oklahoma? Replenishing Oklahoma might be the right group for you!

Meet the Replenishing Oklahoma Litter Crew! Replenishing Oklahoma is a Facebook group working to make Oklahoma a cleaner, healthier and better place to live. Their first project was April 2, when they picked up litter all across the state.

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Monday Motivation-Stop Consenting to Mistreatment

Need some Monday Motivation to start your week off? Just remember: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt is probably one of the most well-known first ladies ever. She was one of the first, first ladies to take such an active roll and voice in the White House, and since then, she has been a standard, which all First Ladies are compared to. She wasn’t always such as strong voice though.

Both her parents died and she was sent to a boarding school by age 12, from there she was taught feminist and leadership values, which was extremely rare at the time, but despite these lessons from her headmaster, she was independent, but still quite shy.

Of course, she wanted to college, but she married Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the first few years of the marriage were quite difficult. Her mother-in-law was controlling, belittling and later on Franklin had a not so private affair.

It was around her mid-30s and also around the time her husband suffered paralysis from Polio that she started taking a more active roll as First Lady. She had a revelation, a change of heart and she stopped making due with what was handed to her. She started having respect for herself and demanded that other people did to, inspiring these famous words: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

She gave press conferences and spoke out for human rights, children’s causes and women’s issues, working on behalf of the League of Women Voters. She even had a newspaper column, “My Day.” She also focused on helping the country’s poor, stood against racial discrimination and, during World War II, traveled abroad to visit U.S. troops.

When her husband died, she told the public she was taking a step back from her humanitarian efforts, but some of her greatest achievements came after that time. From 1945 to 1953, Eleanor served as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. She also became chair of the UN’s Human Rights Commission. As a member of the Human Rights Commission, she helped to write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

So next time you feel disrespected, belittled, undervalued, just remember that when you start to respect yourself and see your value, other people will take note. Even if they don’t treat you the way you know you should be treated, you have the power to take control of your feelings. You are not less than them, nor should you let them convince you that you are. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

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Simple Repurposing Ideas to Add Purpose to Your Garden

Simple Repurposing Ideas to Add Purpose to Your Garden

As a rule, gardens are FULL of purpose from the flowers that bring joy to our life to the vegetables that bring us nutrients and the different plants that bring us health through medicinal properties. Why are we so quick to turn such a natural and green experience and environment into such a unnatural, new and shiny focus point?

Repurposing natural products is my favorite way of bringing the garden back its natural state of beauty.

Gardening Beds

If you live in a place with good soil, then this isn’t an issue, but most of the places I’ve lived had terrible clay like soil, making it impossible to grow anything, so we’ve had to get creative. If you have raised beds, you can find reclaimed lumber or privacy fence, like the pictures below, use pallets, canoes or cinder blocks.

 

I live in an apartment, so I can’t do anything to permanently alter my yard, like a put a raised bed in it, but I still have options so I used containers. Some are used feed containers that my uncle gave me and some are trash cans that I found in the university dumpsters, but you can also use burlap sacks, whiskey or wine barrels as a more natural, cohesive looking solution.

Tires are also a great solution and most tire shops would probably give them to you free because they have to pay to get rid of them. The big tractor tires are especially hard to get rid of because most recycling options do not accept that big of a tire, so if you have a farm friend, you might just hit the planter jackpot!

Trellises

Old ladders are probably the easiest and most readily available repurposed trellis.

Repurpose an old ladder into a trellis

But I also have seen some bed springs used as a beautiful trellis, also these stacked bicycle wheels trellis (Which I would love to have someday) and these most creatively used crutches I’ve ever seen.

Furniture

Furniture is essential if you plan to relax in your garden. Big electrical spools are popular, they have all sizes, big enough for a table and you can even find some small enough to sit on.

A table made from a repurposed electric wire spool. Smaller ones can be found and used as chairs.

There is so much creativity in the world, check out these Cast iron tubs turned into a sofa, using belts to fix a lawn chair , and so much more!

Garden Decorations

This by far is my favorite category. Literally, there is nothing you can’t make into a gardening decoration. As you will see, our family is a big fan of upcycling and repurposing.

From bird houses and bird feeders:

To a patio made from broken glass pieces and other natural decorations

Wind chimes made from bottle caps and pop tabs:

An upcycled windchime made from a vintage coffee can, pop tabs and pop bottle caps.

And just other assorted goodies, such as chair planters, glass mulch, garden signs from old tin and a repurposed hose made into a wreath.

 

Composting

One of my favorite ways of repurposing in my garden is through composting. There are many ways to do it, for small spaces like mine I went with a vermicomposter that uses stackable kitty litter containers. As my worm populations grow, then I can just continue to add more containers.

My mom has more space in her yard, so she has this 55 gallon composting barrel that she turns every so often and then there are some people that just have a big pile in their yard they turn. It’s all up to you and your spacial limitations, but look at this beautiful compost!

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Food waste is a huge problem in the US and instead of spending money on compost, fertilizer and other nutrients to amend the soil, we can just make our own. It’s a win-win!

If you’re interested in learning in repurposing wood chips, leaves, sticks and other natural things from the yard to make mulch, please check out Little Sprouts Learning Garden to learn how!

Simple Repurposing Ideas to Add Purpose to Your Garden

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Motivation Monday-Finding the Good in the Every Day

Do you need some encouragement to get you started this week? Just remember: "Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day."- Mr. Rogers

I will be the first to raise my hand and say that I’m not the most positive person. It really is something I struggle with everyday, but it’s amazing how your perspective will change when you become passionate about something. A lot of times it makes me more impatient because I want to get as many people on board to make the biggest difference in the shortest amount of time and that kind of mentality can be extremely discouraging. I’m kind of an all or nothing person, so when I feel like this is my life’s calling and it isn’t working out for some reason or another, it makes me question whether I’m on the right path. This doesn’t give the best environment for positive thinking.

But at the same token, with upcycling, my passion above all passions, every day is a treasure hunt. I’m always working on some project or another, so I’m always looking for materials. The funny thing is the latest few times, I’ve left my house discouraged and wanting to give up on everything, I found exactly the thing I needed to keep me going.

Crocheting with plastic bags, plarn, has been my obsession as of late. I’m striving for 15 bags by the end of the year so I can give them away in a random acts of kindness project I help my mom with each year, I’m extremely slow and have a lot on my plate, but its one of my favorite things to do and I can do it pretty much anywhere. As sad as I am to find them in this way, I’m extremely excited to find plastic bags all around because that means I get to crochet with them.

How I can be so excited? Ask an obsessed crocheter about their yarn stash or when they get to buy new yarn. I joined a crocheting Facebook group when I first started crocheting a few years ago and I can tell you, I’m sane in comparison.

Anyway, I left the house in a hopeless mess, so I went to hang out at my one my favorite spots on the university campus right across the street from my house. On the third floor balcony of the Student Union there was big ol’ plastic bag. I find a lot of plastic bags in trees, ditches, blowing around in the street, but a balcony on the third floor? Its pretty unlikely with no way of really getting up there because it was pretty heavy and things tend to blow down instead of up, but there it was. I didn’t notice it when I sat down, but within a few seconds, it blew up behind me and there it was krinkling at me.

Some might say that story is just stupid. How can a plastic bag make me feel better when just 10 seconds before I felt like a complete failure in everything I believe in. But it’s about appreciating the small things, not being that all or nothing person I tend to be. Upcycling helps me appreciate things that probably no one else would be able to, but I see more than a plastic bag. I see a passion and it being crocheted into a bag for a homeless person, so they can carry around their necessities instead of a little Walmart bag that would tear so often.

You have to learn to see the small things for what they are. Signs that something bigger is coming, showing you that you’re on the right path and the universe, God, whoever it is, is looking out for you and is helping move things in place, so you can have that moment when things click.

If you learn to appreciate the small things, then the big things won’t seem so direly needed in order to keep going. For some it might be the little kisses of their new child, for a gardener it might be the miracles of the new sproutlings, for a teacher it might be when a shy student smiles at them for the first time, or when a pet owner looks into the eyes of their pets. We all have different loves and passions, but its those things that will help us keep going and find the good in each day, if we are paying enough attention to catch them.

Please share with me the small things that you look forward to in each day!

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7 Women Who Influenced the Environmental Movement

7 Women Who Influenced the Environmental Movement

Since March is Women’s History Month, I wanted to share with you a little about women who influenced the environmental movement. Some of these women might not be known to the general public, but their work should not go unnoticed.  I researched many women and these are the ones that stood out to me. I respect them for many different reasons, but they’re all very inspirational to me.

  1. Rachel Carson “an era dominated by industry, in which the right to make money, at whatever cost to others, is seldom challenged.”

Some dismissed Carson as being an over-reactive, emotional woman, but despite all that she is credited with bringing ill-managed DDT pesticide contamination to the nation’s attention with her 1960s ground breaking book, Silent Springs. The book helped to crystallize the beginnings of an American environmental movement, and was a catalyst for changing national pesticide policies. Her work provided formative inspiration for the deep ecology and eco-feminist movements, in addition to laying the groundwork for organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency.

2. Majora Carter -“If power plants, waste handling, chemical plants and transport systems were located in wealthy areas as quickly and easily as in poor areas, we would have had a clean, green economy decades ago.” — Majora Carter, Powershift 2007

Carter, who was awarded a 2005 MacArthur “genius” grant, served as executive director of Sustainable South Bronx for 7 years, where she pushed both for eco-friendly practices (such as green and cool roofs) and, equally important, job training and green-related economic development for her vibrant neighborhood on the rise. After she left SSBx in 2008, Carter formed the economic consulting and planning firm the Majora Carter Group, to bring her pioneering approach to communities far outside the South Bronx. Carter is working to unlock the potential of every place — from urban cities and rural communities, to universities, government projects, businesses and corporations — and everywhere else in between.

3. Lisa Jackson– “When we talk about environmental justice, we don’t just mean avoiding harm to disadvantaged communities: we want to invest in projects that will create healthy, vibrant neighborhoods, revitalize communities, and connect all Americans to jobs, housing, schools, and medical care.”

She had a master’s degree in chemical engineering and was appointed the first African American to head the nation’s Environmental Protection Agency. She was appointed by President Obama and during her she time focused on seven priorities for EPA’s future: taking action on climate change; improving air quality; cleaning up our communities; protecting America’s waters; assuring the safety of chemicals; expanding the conversation on environmentalism and working for environmental justice; and building stronger state and tribal partnerships.

During her time as EPA Administrator from 2009-2013, she played a significant role in many controversial events such as pushing for a delay in the Keystone XL Pipeline and led the EPA to set new fuel-efficiency standards for American vehicles as well as new rules for power plants.

4. Julia Butterfly Hill“I wake up in the morning asking myself what can I do today, how can I help the world today. I believe in what I do beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

Her protest attracted more attention than any other demonstration by the thousands of environmental activists who have fought for more than a decade to preserve ancient redwood trees from being logged.

Hill was unemployed — the daughter of an itinerant preacher — when she joined the forest protest movement that took off in Humboldt County after the Maxxam Corporation bought Pacific Lumber and began clear-cutting large tracts of forests. Nine months before Hill began in March 1999, Maxxam agreed to sell 7,400 acres of its Humboldt property to the state and federal governments for $480 million to preserve the ancient Headwaters grove and other redwood forests.

Then Pacific Lumber began logging the ancient redwoods that they could cut down legally.

Julia Butterfly Hill, 23, lived 180 feet in the air atop an ancient redwood dubbed Luna in Humboldt County, California, for 738 days in order to prevent the Pacific Lumber Company from chopping down the tree, which was growing in one of the last wild places left in the US and one of the remaining 3% of old growth forests within the US.

She lived on a tiny platform near the top of the tree, constructed with help from her friends in the environmental group Earth First! which champions environmental activism and the philosophy of Deep Ecology (think globally and act locally).

Several times during her protest, Pacific Lumber officials negotiated with Hill’s representatives. Each time, negotiations broke down before they could come to an agreement. The lumber company accused Hill of being a lawbreaker who put her life in danger and encouraged others to do so by trespassing and encouraging others to endanger themselves. Hill accused Pacific Lumber of trying to force her to sign away her constitutional rights.

At last in December 1999, the two sides came to agreement. Earth First! would donate $50,000 to Pacific Lumber, which would in turn give the money to Humboldt State University for forestry research. The logging company agreed to refrain from cutting down Luna, 600-year-old tree Hill fought for, or any trees within a 250-foot buffer zone on the slope around it.

5. Daryl Hannah – “Obviously we’re a consumer nation and you have the power to influence these big corporations who are running the world right now through what you chose to, or not to, purchase.”

When she is not on-screen, American actress and eco-celeb Daryl Hannah is busy raising awareness about environmental issues ranging from whaling to urban sustainability. But Hannah doesn’t just do the celebrity cakewalk or easy photo-op. She’s spent time with the Sea Shepherd crew on high-risk anti-whaling operations, and also brought the forced closure of America’s largest urban farm to international attention by chaining herself to a walnut tree for three weeks. It may not be a Julia Butterfly Hill, but still definitely hardcore. Her personal life is also exemplary from an eco-point-of-view: her house is built entirely of green materials and is solar-powered and she drives a biodiesel-fuelled vehicle.

6. Safia Minney

In the mid-1990s, before ethical fashion became a uber-trendy catchphrase, Minney’s innovative fair trade clothing company People Tree was already using eco-textiles and helping skilled, local artisans gain access to markets. She’s known as one of the world’s foremost social entrepreneurs, establishing World Fair Trade Day (observed every second Saturday of May). Minney’s work strives to change the fashion business by addressing integral issues of fair wages, gender equity, transparency, accountability, capacity building, improved working conditions and environmentally sound practices.

7. Jane Goodall “I think my message to the politicians who have within their power the ability to make change is, ‘Do you really, really not care about the future of your great-grandchildren? Because if we let the world continue to be destroyed the way we are now, what’s the world going to be like for your great-grandchildren?'”

I recently became more familiar with Jane Goodall’s working during my previous post 11 Documentaries About Women’s Struggles For A Better World. I was familiar with Dr. Goodall’s work, ongoing research about the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, but this was an eye opening and soul restoring documentary that I still think about it everyday. She has nothing, but peace and love in her heart for not just chimpanzees, but nature and people affected by environmental issues. She talks much about how environmental issues aren’t just about the environment or nature, it’s about the people affected by them too. Her ongoing nonprofit Roots and Shoots programs that bring education and eco friendly enterprise to people in need around the world is proof that she practices what she preaches. She is a diminutive woman whose accomplishments are larger than life. This documentary combines Dr. Goodall’s personal evolution to become the iconic activist environmentalist she is today, and follows her on her tireless travels to help people by bringing hope and practical solutions into their lives. Need some hope for your journey, any journey, watch this and let your heart be refreshed.

 

I would love to hear about a woman who has encouraged your passion for environmental issues. Please leave a comment below!

7 Women Who Influenced the Environmental Movement

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Motivation Monday-Lessons to be Learned

Need some Monday Motivation to start your week off? Just remember: "I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work." Thomas Edison

As a perfectionist, one that ridiculously believed, if you do everything right, everything will go right and nothing bad will ever happen, I have a REALLY hard time with failure. I’ve always been overly prepared for everything as a general rule, and as a result things going right was the rule not the exception, but as I’ve gotten older and experienced more things, its not really working out all that well.

We won’t get into the ridiculousness of the above statement because I know that its ridiculous, but at the end of the day that’s just what my head is silly enough to believe and there’s not a thing I can do about that. However, as I’ve gotten older I’ve decided to come about it a different way because…its not all about me.

When I get really hung up on my failures, I know there is a good reason for them. They are the greatest learning opportunities (which is when my brain kicks in and says, well, if you were smarter, more experienced, would have asked more questions, done it right the first time this wouldn’t have happened), not just for me, but for others.  I realized that if I could help others through my struggles, than it would all be worth it. Everyone struggles, some struggle with things like math, science, spelling, or maybe with drawing, writing, reading, crocheting and some even deeper struggles, like those of self-confidence, body image, tempers, and some struggle in more areas than others.

Among other things, the meaning of life for me, is to learn, continually improve myself so I leave the world better than I found it, which means I can use those lessons to help others, so they in turn can help others. If we all did everything perfectly, we would never be able to relate with the struggles of others, there would be many missed opportunities for connecting and making new friends. The blogger community is an example that I see this in every day. Every day we connect because of a common problem someone else learned from someone else and it establishes a meaningful connection.

In my personal experience, the things someone else has been struggling with the most, not just because of the situation but because of the embarrassment or damage its done to their self-esteem, have been the biggest help to me. The things that I have struggled with the most are often the things that give me a deeper understanding of life and a new perspective that I can turn around and use to help someone else.

Thomas Edison made a huge accomplishment. He gave us the light bulb, bringing light into a dark world, but he also gave us the lesson of the struggle and for many years, people have found determination, acceptance, perseverance and inspiration in his struggle. There is much more to be taught by our struggles than by our accomplishment.

Let me know in the comments, what you think about the meaning behind your struggles and life lessons.

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