All posts by Elizabeth Lilac

Save Money With Tips From The TV

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Keeping track of personal finances and establishing responsible money-management habits is never easy. Just the thought of creating a budget or learning about financial planning makes some people’s heads spin, making it difficult to move forward onto bigger and better experiences in the future.

There are plenty of books and websites out there with helpful tips and tricks, but with television still being the second-biggest time commitment in the lives of everyday Americans, it’s there we turn our attention to today. Here are just a few great programs that give viewers practical advice and information to improve their financial well-being: Continue reading

Security or Surveillance: Who Sees What You Share?

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Social media has made it easier than ever before to have your opinions and views heard. Facebook, Twitter, and other major social media networks around the world have given individuals a collective ‘voice’ of unprecedented scope and power. With a simple hashtag or ‘share’, a small conversation between just a few individuals can spark a larger debate with far-reaching implications. Millions can weigh in on topics ranging from the benign to the profound; proclaiming a passion for yoga or distrust of genetically-modified foods as well as sharing cute photos of nieces and nephews.

Yet many social media and Internet users are unaware of the additional weight their personal information carries. Today it’s safe to say that any data transmitted via digital device isn’t private – in addition to government agencies, it’s become common practice for the marketing arm of corporations, HR departments, and other entities to seek out and ‘mine’ the data willingingly shared to social media sites as well as via other digital tools.

In addition to well-known NSA activities, the government hires data retrieval companies to compile what they call “public opinion.” By keeping track of who is influencing the most individuals with their postings, it’s possible to keep tabs on certain activists and compile a “watch list” of groups on the forefront of social disruption. Even with your privacy settings on their highest restriction within your social media preferences, these data retrieval companies can still gain clearance and obtain personal information. Continue reading

Energy and the Internet: How To Be A Conscious Browser

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Many people around the world are concerned with the real impact of global warming, but they often think in terms of large-scale energy users such as factories or municipalities, ignoring one of the biggest factors in energy use: the Internet.

As a growing percentage of people conduct business, shop and communicate online, companies must be mindful of building a “greener” Internet, and those who are concerned with saving the planet must be aware of which companies are working to power their services and websites with renewable energy. Continue reading

Wasting Energy and Endangering Lives: The “True Cost” of Fashion

TheTrueCost_Poster_2764x4096In years past, only the richest individuals could afford to own multiple sets of clothes to switch out depending on the day or activity. The rest of the world made do with one suit or dress for formal occasions, and perhaps a handful of humble garments for day-to-day life. That traditional approach to clothing has changed steadily for the past several decades as modern technologies and garment factories have driven down prices. Today, we live in a world of fast fashion, with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it transition from the catwalk to the store to the consumer and then quickly to the donation bin as styles fall back out of fashion. The cheap prices we enjoy today don’t really cost less than past clothing did, though – it’s just that rather than paying in money now workers are paying in suffering. Nothing is truly free, not really, which is a topic being explored by the new documentary directed by Andrew Morgan, The True Cost.

The True Cost holds a mirror up to the practices of an out-of-control industry, practices which are not only devastating to workers but also have a huge negative impact on the environment. Air pollution, water pollution, and deforestation can all be laid at the feet of the garment industry, though of course not exclusively. Alberta Energy states that about 10 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions come from this overproduction of apparel and textiles. Fossil fuels are being consumed at all ends of the garment process, from the farming machinery to the factories themselves to the huge container ships used to bring the finished clothing from the third world countries where they are produced to the first world countries where they are consumed. Continue reading

Why It Counts to Be a Conscious Carnivore

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The romantic ideal of the traditional, barnyard-and-a-haystack family farm is all but dead in the ground. Over the past half-century, the majority of our livestock farms have become large enterprises owned by giant corporations. “Big Agriculture” as it is sometimes called, has developed technologies to maximize profits and efficiency without thought towards the health and well being of the animals.

While we have made enormous strides in the time it takes to obtain meat products – in the 1920s, the average chicken took 16 weeks to reach 2.2 pounds, today a modern chicken only takes 7 weeks to reach 5 pounds –  this has come at price.

Today approximately 95% of the red meat in the US comes from animals raised on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), or farms where the animals are confined and fed for at least 45 days out of the year. Such “farms” hold hundreds or even thousands of animals, and the resultant waste is a major source of pollution. To encourage growth and prevent disease, the farmers give the animals growth hormones and antibiotics. Consequently there are numerous health and environmental concerns associated with CAFOs, and some courageous filmmakers have taken it upon themselves to explore these implications further: Continue reading

Smarter Surfing – How to be a More Mindful Internet User

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Only recently have we begun to come to terms with the way in which the Internet impacts our various cognitive thought processes. Have we become more scattered, superficial thinkers as a result of our over reliance on tech devices? Do they help or hinder our ability to get things done? The Internet may be the world’s most helpful productivity tool, but it also can be the most efficient way to waste an entire day (or more) if you aren’t on guard.

Today, our online personas exist in such a way that they profoundly impact our outer, “analog” appearance, thoughts and behaviors. We’re accustomed to constant high-speed internet access, and with so many opportunities for distraction lurking out there in the brightly colored and highly animated corners of the web, it is easy to fall victim to the lure of, well, anything other than work. More often than not, it only takes one quick click to move your mind from spreadsheets to salacious photos of former child celebrities.

They say that time is currency, as such it’s crucial to make good use of all the moments you spend sitting in front of a glowing screen. While it might be easy to assume that only work-from-home types or self-employed creatives could benefit from an article on mindful browsing, the reality of the fact is we could all use a little help focusing our online attentions. First, let’s talk email. Continue reading

How to be Your Own Yoga Instructor

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It’s common to feel distracted after a long day, but sometimes this can put your mind in a different place entirely when you’re trying to focus on relaxing your mind, body, and soul. Yoga and meditation have come a long way in recent years and with the help of some new technology, you may be able to get the most out of this time with yourself. The following tech can help you correct your posture, breathe, relax, and keep track of the progress you make while meditating and doing yoga. Continue reading

Getting into Better Shape with Technology

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When summer comes along, and the warm sun and blue skies banish the gloom of winter back whence it came, it’s normal for us all to want to look our best. Everyone naturally puts on a few pounds in winter, between the claustrophobic confines causing our exercise routines to suffer, and the body’s natural storing of fat when cold weather rolls around.

Not only do we feel better physically and emotionally for putting the work into a summer exercise routine – our health and longevity benefit as well. Still, as the mercury rises in those thermometers, many of us fall short of our fitness goals, owing to how back breaking and tedious exercise can often be. Continue reading

Top 5 Ways to Give Back this Holiday Season

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“Peace on earth, and goodwill towards men.” There’s no shortage of life-affirming mantras to throw around come this time of year, but let’s face it. It’s too easy to get preoccupied with the consumerist aspect of the holiday season. And what’s more — it’s all too easy to lose sight of the true meaning of the season: that charity, benevolence, and mankind’s capacity for empathy are our true salvation, and to truly experience a blissful holiday season, we need to be mindful of what we can do to benefit others. 

Here are five ways to give back this holiday season: Continue reading

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