Category: Nature

The Natural World’s Guidance During Difficult Times

Washington (GGM) Analysis | April 1, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

It’s fascinating to learn how much secret communication occurs between animals, plants and all living organisms. Trees are probably the best example of a complex communication network that exists below the surface, enabling all the trees in a forest to share information about dangers they may be experiencing, a 911 call of sorts, conducted through fungus “threads.”

Different animals can communicate with each other as well. The Irish Examiner has provided a detailed analysis about how animals connect through “body language, sound, smell, touch, and even chemical and electrical communication.”

And we know how well our pets communicate with us, in fact, at times it seems like they can even read our minds. Therefore, it’s quite logical to imagine that wildlife animals can communicate with us too. For example, one scientific test proved that crows never forget a human face. Bizarre, especially in today’s era of facial recognition. Who would have imagined that a crow would have that type of advanced sensory ability. I’ll be dashing for cover the next time I see a crow in my vicinity, worried it might be a stalker.

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Interestingly, what I have noticed from past experiences, and past personal experiments testing my hypothesis that an animal crossing our paths is actually communicating with us, giving us a clue that will help answer a question we may have or solve a dilemma. I’ve become much more aware of my surroundings now, of each and every bird, forest animal and bug, and quickly google to see what it symbolizes. I interpret each chance encounter as the natural world sharing a piece of advice that I can apply to my current circumstance. The advice has never failed me. Ever. I don’t think I can say the same about human advice. It almost seems as though animals, and even plants for that matter, are able to tap into our spirit. Perhaps we somehow inadvertently transmit distress on a high level frequency that the natural world is connected to.

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Who knows, really. But what I am certain about is that during difficult times like these, I’m forever on the lookout to see what animals come my way and quickly google to checkout the meaning and interpret it as advice that I should apply to my situation (patience is quite common). Interestingly, throughout history, there have been multiple cultures who have believed in something along these lines. Native Americans are one such culture. Native Americans have a whole “spirit animal” association structure. And there are others. The bright side of our current distress is that we all have the opportunity to test this out for ourselves and see what it nets.

The fox I pass frequently when I’m running on the trail near my home is my constant reminder to live passionately. The fox also represents cleverness in the trickiest of situations, which is very valuable advice indeed, especially during the horrific covid-19 crisis. Apparently, I need to stay sharp and alert like a fox. “Will do,” say I in reply.

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Time to Plant Climate Gardens While We’re Stuck at Home

Washington (GGM) Analysis | March 14, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Backyard gardens are one of the easiest most inspiring ways to lower our carbon footprint. Adding multiple layers beneath trees and along fences, lining the front of homes. Shrubs, flowers, vines, ground cover. Ivy and creepers up and down walls, around mailboxes and lamplights. International cities like London and Paris have perfected this.

The best part about zeroing in on a giant burst of nature as the solution, is that it works immediately, especially if we all collectively execute ASAP, during these next few weeks while we’re stuck at home hoping tp stay clear of the coronavirus pandemic.

Imagine the positive impact.

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In the nick of time, no less. We’re down to only nine years to save humanity from climatocalypse. So, the silver lining of being thrown into our current heart-wrenching calamity, with unexpected at-home time on our hands, is that we can pause and focus on the long term, and alter our destiny by conquering what otherwise would most likely be an improbable collective gardening effort.

Live in an apartment or condo? Balcony, patio and rooftop gardens or plantings on every available flat surface is a life-and-planet-saving difference. With a success rate as significant as this will be, at a minimal cost, we can all jump in first thing in the morning.

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Bringing back nature, will not only be a giant leap forward in our progress at lowering our atmospheric carbon level back down to 350 PPM, but has multiple other valuable benefits.

Nature improves mental health, not only an emotional positive boost, but a sensory one as well. Sunlight provides the much needed daily dose of vitamin D that will keep our outlook positive and optimistic. Additionally, nature’s scent has an array of therapeutic properties. Some species are calming and supportive, while others keep us alert and energized. There’s also the tangible, yet little understood, sentient characteristics of nature that indicate plants and trees can problem solve, even connect with other plants and animals, as well as communicate with each other, and some believe communicate with humans, in addition to nurturing humans,  .

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Considering how many alarming societal threats we face — climate, suicides, drug addiction, physical and mental health — the fact that nature can aid in improving every single one of these, is a very compelling reason to quickly sow our climate gardens during this unexpected period of being stuck at home (at least it’s spring, the planting season). In fact, there’s no better way to keep our minds off this extended emergency, than to dig into a powerful solution that will not only bring back nature, but will keep us calm in a crisis.

Once nature is back, the wildlife that goes along with it will also return. Our planet will be healthy again, which will make humankind that much healthier too. It all begins right now, during these mandated weeks of social distancing.

Let’s GO!

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Protecting Our Water Supply this Spring | Beware of Lawn Fertilizer

Washington (GGM) Analysis | March 8, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

After Trump’s recent roll back of Obama’s Clean Water Act, we have to be more mindful than ever of what we can do as individual citizens to be the stewards of our community water supply in the hopes that we can minimize the negative fallout now that these life-saving federal regulations have been repealed.

I feel traumatized by the horrible news that 60% of our waters will again be unprotected. Climate change has created a seemingly apocalyptic ripple effect from the fallout of the flooding and run off that occurs from the now regular rain bombs, as well as the threat of the new Category 6 hurricanes (not that the National Hurricane Center has officially added Category 6 to the Saffir-Simpson Scale, but recent Hurricane Dorian with winds of 185 mph that flattened the Bahamas, was so far off the charts there’s certainly been a fewa discussions about the need to do so).

Factor in the flooding of superfund sights alone, during this age of climate change, and the frightening consequences for future generations in the calamitous way that water pollutants cause birth defects. This reality is already rattling nerves and alarming homeowners close to these toxic sights. The unseen leaking of life-threatening pollutants  into ground water from buried storage tanks is certainly of grave concern, but all the more troubling is seeing the vacant wastelands flood and the damaging toxic waters flow through town drains as well as the surrounding nearby community property.

Farmland with pesticides and fertilizer is equally as concerning. Weather bombs know no borders. Heavy rains will spread these toxins for miles. They’re usually invisible, but the damage they cause humans is very tangible and physical.

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So with these significant issues now plaguing American communities this spring 2020, and some states stepping in to protect its waters and passing much needed state regulations, we have to do our part too, after all, we’re the ones with the most to lose.

We love beautiful lawns, or course. And we likely use fertilizer to make sure our yards have the right nutrients to nurture our favorite flowers, shrubs and trees. However the ammonium nitrate found in most sterilizers, amongst other hazardous nutrients, are the very pollutants that may cause birth defects after running down the town drains during heavy spring rains.

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Birth defects caused by the nitrates found in fertilizer:

  • spina bifida
  • cleft palate
  • missing limbs

Rules of thumb to avoid contaminating the town water supply?

  • home composting from food scraps that can be added to garden and yard soil
  • many town farmer’s markets now offer free compost
  • organic alternatives that are not water soluble like ammonium nitrate
  • don’t fertilize in the spring, wait until fall when there’s much less rain.

So let’s be more aware, and make a commitment to finding an alternative to fertilizing with heavy nutrients in the spring. We can do this!🌱

 

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Powerful Impact of Meadows on Carbon Sink

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 24, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Thousands of innovators across the globe are aggressively working on inventing machines that will pull carbon out of the air and store it, or transform it into something useful. Recent news about Amazon committing $10B to combat climate change has created hope that some of these funds will be used to create innovative solutions such as carbon sequestration machines.

But we’re not there yet, unfortunately, so we have to maximize what’s currently at our disposal… nature.

Planting trees, of course, is number one priority.  However, often overlooked, but equally as important, in fact, maybe even more important than trees, are meadows. Expansive landscapes of open fields that contain a variety of plants have a magical way of funneling carbon into their roots and trapping it in the soil where it will be stashed even when the roots die.

According to the Scientific American on sustainability, “Carbon Off-Set Cowboys Let Their Grass Grow”:

“The best way to maximize the amount of carbon that gets trapped underground is to maximize grass growth.”

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The fact that so many different types of botanic species grow in a meadow, and their roots all intertwine underground, appears to be why meadows store so much more carbon than say tall and bushy shrubs. Once carbon is trapped underground, fungi feed off it, and according to the Scientific American, fungi are often consumed by microbes and worms which stabilizes the carbon.

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The western half of the country, with it’s massive open terrain, has a huge opportunity to maximize this opportunity and help the United States take giant steps forward in cutting carbon. Apparently, a cap & trade program that reward ranchers and land owners is already underway. According to Civil Eats, Indigo Ag, a Boston-based agtech company, has raised $600 million from investors to help farmers sink one trillion tons of carbon on their property. Farmers are paid $15 per metric ton of stored carbon.

It’s exciting to see that the economy that led to our stratospheric carbon emissions rate, can be used to turn the catastrophe around and inspire land owners to reach for an opportunity to reduce carbon just as quickly and significantly.🌱

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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So Many Beautiful & Exciting Possibilities | Cutting Carbon

Washington (GGM) Analysis | December 21, 2019
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine to the soul.” ~Luther Burbank

ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300And flowers cut carbon too! Flower boxes in the windows of our homes and businesses, and hanging baskets from street lights, will add yet another layer of nature to absorb carbon. We need as much help as we can get. It’s another exceptional tool in our climate action tool shed that will reap a wave of benefits, improving both our atmospheric carbon levels, and our quality of life.

Will flower boxes in the windows of the majority of homes and businesses increase property values? I guess we’ll find out as soon as we begin a window flower box campaign.

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According to BestLife, flowers:

  • Reduce stress
  • Elevate mood
  • Strengthen relationships
  • Increase memory
  • Certain flowers can help us fall asleep
  • Help us heal

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Not only do flowers absorb CO2, they’re also air purifiers, absorbing pollutants such as benzene, acetone, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.

We can do this! Warm weather climates can begin today. The rest of us can begin planning today so we’re ready to spring into action as soon as the weather breaks. ~

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Consumers Profit from Circular Economy

Washington (GGM) Analysis | December 16, 2019
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Finally, the era of consumer profit has arrived. We’ve certainly earned this ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300
unexpected windfall after nearly two centuries of corporate greed destroying our hopes & dreams by restraining our financial ability to achieve them.

Now that our golden opportunity is upon us, let’s try and maximize the amazing possibilities so we can quickly increase our disposable income and apply this boost to health, education and long term goals.

A circular economy is created through the principals of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle. This requires a bit of imagination and resourcefulness, key characteristics of the creative, the artists and those with right brain strengths.

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According to the Centre of Expertise on Resources, the tools for succeeding at a “no waste” circular economy are straight forward:

  • Refuse: try to eliminate using our natural resources when there are other alternatives
  • Reduce: lower the need for using natural resources, by reusing products already manufactured
  • Reuse: rayon paper towels can be washed and reused over and over
  • Repair: if the screen breaks on our phones, we simply repair rather than buy a new one
  • Refurbish: improving a product when it ages, ie repainting, polishing, etc
  • Remanufacture: improving an old product and using in a new way (broken outdoor shutters create beautiful indoor wall hangings… ART!)
  • Repurpose: reuse a product for a new purpose without having to change anything about it (glass jars are best example, buy pickles in a glass jar, when done we now have a storage container)
  • Recycle: reusing a products raw materials
  • Recover: use waste to make energy
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photography by AdobeStock

The most useful & effective reusable product that I’ve stumbled upon are rayon paper towels that can be washed, dried & reused indefinitely. They hold up well. I was spending $6 per week on paper towels, and now $0. That’s an easy $312 in my pocket.

We’ve got THIS!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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More States Banning Single-Use Plastic Bags | Reusables for Every Store

Washington (GGM) Analysis | November 30, 2019
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

The holiday shopping season has begun. Packed malls and stores from coast to coast. American consumers are expected to spend nearly a half trillion dollars  from Thanksgiving through December 25, 2019. But how many US shoppers will rely on their reusable bags at every store they visit?

ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300Prior to 1977, stores offered paper bags to shoppers. But once the first plastic shopping bags appeared in 1977, the switch to plastic was swift and furious and by the end of the 1990’s, the vast majority of retail outlets across the globe relied on single-use plastic. According to The World Counts:

  • we consume 5 trillion single-use plastic bags per year
  • 160,000 single-use plastic bags per second
  • but sadly, less than 1% of these are recycled
  • single-use plastic bags are made from oil, gas & coal which produce a significant amount of carbon
  • one ton of recycled single-use plastic bags equals 11 barrels of oil
  • the public’s seeming indifference to the extensive damage single-use plastic causes the environment, as well as it’s impact on climate change, has resulted in several states stepping in to regulate the use of single-use plastic bags

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According to U.S. News & World Report:

  • Connecticut just passed a law that went into effect August 1 2019, banning single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and restaurants by July 2021. Some grocery store chains and restaurants have already begun transitioning patrons to the ban by ditching all plastic bags and charging shoppers .10 cents for paper bags, as well as passing along a discount to shoppers who bring their own reusables. Businesses that continue to provide singles-use plastic bags these next 19 months will charge shoppers a .10 cent tax for each plastic bag. This is an excellent model for other states to follow.

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  • California was the very first state to ban single-use plastic bags back in 2014, and San Francisco was the first US city in 2007
  • New York jumped in and banned single-use plastic bags on Earth Day 2019; the ban will go into effective March of 2020
  • Hawaii hasn’t officially banned these deadly bags, but beginning in 2015 every county in the state has barred them, so Hawaii too is included in the count of state bans

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The Center for Biological Diversity has provided a critical list of key facts about the harm of single-use plastic bags:

  • the average American household uses 1,500 sing-use plastic shopping bags per year
  • 80% of the oceans’ massive toxic plastic island, the size of France, floating in the Pacific, comes from the plastic’s use on land
  • once it begins swirling around in the ocean, plastic is broken down into micro plastic fragments the size of rice and ingested by the majority of marine mammals
  • 267 marine species are impacted by plastic
  • each year, 100,000 marine animals die from plastic consumption
  • once dumped in a landfill, it will take 500+ years for a plastic bag to degrade

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It’s time to ACT. SAVE a LIFE this Holiday Season. There’s no need to wait for a ban in our states. Shop with REUSABLE bags at EVERY store beginning immediately.

Let’s GO. We can do this!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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