Tag Archives: Earth

Is Nature About to Abandon Us?

Earth-from-space.-Shutterstock

Feeling guilty about climate change hasn’t proved to be a good motivator. The most recent report on greenhouse gas emissions puts March at a record-breaking level of emissions. Presidential urging doesn’t move Congress to take significant steps at solving the issue. The world community passes well-meaning resolutions that don’t lead to major global cooperation.

We are headed on a downward track, and everybody knows it. But we already know that guilt is a poor motivator. Fear is somewhat better, because it implies imminent harm, yet if the Earth is the Titanic and climate change is the iceberg, there’s enough open sea between us and catastrophe to lull the passengers into one more round of champagne and caviar. Continue reading

7 Quotes to Inspire Your Connection to Mother Earth

Earth Day only happens once a year but we think it’s important to remember our connection to our environment and planet every day. Whether it’s a simple thing like drinking your morning cup of coffee outside to take a moment and appreciate the green grass and nice weather or if you’ve taken the extra steps to start composting your household waist. There are so many things we can do, big and small, to show appreciation for Mother Earth and take steps to take better care of her. A lot of the things we promote on Intent  – meditation, connection, being present – are all related to the understanding that we are all bonded with the world around us. We are connected to each other and the living things on this planet, and when we appreciate that fact we begin to lead happier and lighter lives. So for our weekly quote post we gathered some inspirational sayings to inspire a strengthened bond between you and our earth.

 

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4 Stunning Examples of Community Love (Video)

The first definition of community is a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. The second definition is much more interesting though – a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.  A feeling of fellowship. What does that mean to you? As we look at the different kinds of love that we give this week, what do you consider your community? Do you give back? How do you celebrate it?

The following videos are about people who went above and beyond for the love of those they share a common attitude, interest or goal with. They are community leaders and kids. They start massive construction projects or simply add a little extra joy to their day jobs. The common thread is that they care about the world and people around them, and are taking the time to show it.

Many of the children currently living in Ethiopia have never known a world outside of the HIV/AIDS crisis. It is something that impacts them every day. These teenagers used their phenomenal dancing skills to create a group called the BEZA Anti-AIDS youth group. They travel around the country performing these dances and hand out fliers and information to the crowds that watch them to help create a more educated society and prevent the transfer of AIDS. Talk about using your artistic talents for a good cause.

We all know that hospitals can be a depressing place, but this nurse makes it his mission to give each of his patients something to make them feel warmer and loved. They call him “The Singing Nurse.” It started with him mindlessly singing as he handed out medications and went about regular tasks. Then he realized it was a great way to give his patients some personal care and make them feel special despite their less than enviable situations. It just goes to show how much joy you can bring even in the toughest jobs if you just open your heart.

Jonny Benjamin was 20 years old when he was diagnosed with a mental disorder that left him hopeless for a normal life. So he decided to take his life, but the kindness of one stranger named Mike convinced him not to do it. Instead of committing suicide, Jonny became a campaigner for mental health regulations and research. He’s a leader that tries to shine a light on illnesses that we still don’t fully understand. A few years after that night on the bridge, Jonny started an internet campaign to find Mike, to thank him for saving his life. His story touched millions as the campaign went viral. Above is the video of their second meeting, and proof of what happens when you just take the time to lend an ear.

Your community doesn’t have to just be the people or places around you. We’re all part of a global community because we have this one thing in common – Earth. So it’s important to show love for that too. In Milan they are creating vertical forests to show some love for Lady Earth. Not only does the project beautify a part of town that has become overrun, but it gives a home to over 900 trees per building. Something to pretty, and it benefits the planet? Where do we sign up?

Do you have an example of someone showing love for their community? Share it with us in the comments below!

VOD: Bill Nye Tells You Everything You Need to Know about Climate Change

The millenial generation grew up receiving their science facts from a guy with neat curly hair and a wonderful array of bow ties. Many of us are adults now and “Bill Nye the Science Guy” has long been off the air, but that doesn’t stop that magical man of science from trying to save the world anyway. In this YouTube video Bill describes what climate change is, how we got here and what we need to do to stop it.

“This climate science is no longer a matter of opinion, politics or dogma,” Bill says towards the end of the video. By the time the current population of children reaches middle age the human race’s carbon dioxide production will be double the earth’s natural carbon cycle – yet we are already seeing the hazardous effects through higher temperatures and more extreme weather. If we act now we can prevent things from getting worse but we are dangerously approaching the point of no return where we will be forced to recognize a new normal of extreme weather and unbearable temperatures. Why would we ever let that happen when there are so many clean energy sources being made available to us? That’s a question we should probably be taken more seriously.

Did you know this about climate change? Have you tried replicating Bill’s simple experiment? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Green-Up Your Home to Live a Happy Healthy Life

greenvalentineBy: Elizabeth Eckhart 

It seems today that more and more Americans are concerned with the current state of the environment, and what we can do to help. Everywhere you look, companies are “going green” in an attempt to appeal to the demands of the increasingly educated public. Even electric companies in places like Texas, the oil capital of America, are touting their green energy options, and it’s all beginning to turn the tide: according to the EPA, in 2008 Americans were able to avoid releasing the equivalent of 29 million cars worth of greenhouse gases through eco-conscious living. This translated to a savings of $19 billion for Americans that year.

However, it’s not just our commercial goods we are wanting to be eco-friendly – many of us want to live greener and thus healthier lives defined by mindfulness of our place on the Earth, and making our home as green as possible is an undeniably important part. Our homes should be a haven, not a harm to us, and shouldn’t be reducing the quality of the environment.

So what exactly is a “green” home? Compared to an average American home, green homes are gentler on the environment because they use less energy, water and other natural resources while avoiding waste and negative environmental impact wherever possible. Standard homes consumes about 30 percent of total energy and 65 percent of all electricity generated in the US. By making plumbing, fixtures, landscaping and irrigation systems more efficient, greens homes can use 50 percent less water than standard American homes. Also, constructing a green home generates about 50 to 90 percent less waste than standard homes.

Based on these facts and simple observations, it should come as no surprise to see the rise in the number of eco-friendly homes being built, and for good cause. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that buildings in the U.S. contribute 70 percent of carbon dioxide emissions and residential buildings produce 20 percent of our total CO2 emissions alone. It is clear that our homes and offices play a major role in the environment, so it’s our responsibility to limit the damage we inflict with them.

Also, not only do standard constructed homes negatively affect the environment, but they are affect our wellbeing. Green homes create less indoor air pollutants than standard homes, which can enhance allergies and asthma and may lead to lung cancer.

There are many options for current homeowners to turn their homes into energy efficient ones. One of the most popular programs to help with this process is the Energy Star program, which was launched in 1995. Energy Star certified energy efficient products typically use 20-30 percent less energy than what is required by federal standards. While Energy Star certifications are for what’s in your home, LEED Certification, launched by the United States Green Building Council, is for the building itself. LEED-certified homes aim to reduce their negative impact on the environment by reducing their energy and water use by an average of 20-30 percent as well as maximizing fresh air within the home to reduce exposure to domestic pollutants.

The reality is though, that most Americans simply can’t afford to build a new LEED certified home, or buy new Energy Star certified products. Luckily, there are many steps all of us can take to reduce our impact on the environment that don’t break our bank.

The first step would be to get an energy audit — many electric companies offer these at minimal to no cost, or you can do it yourself. A DIY audit consists of checking for, and sealing, indoor and outdoor air leaks that could be driving up your energy bill by 5-30 percent a year. This is particularly important for older homes, since they are more prone to having drafts.

Next, compare home electricity providers to see which companies offer green products, such as solar panels. Many companies today are utilizing renewable sources from solar, to wind, hydro and geothermal to generate electrical power. If you live in states like New York, Maryland, Texas, and other parts of the South, you can try here to see which companies offer eco-friendly options for household electricity in your area and which would work for you and your household’s electricity needs.

The next step is to check your home’s insulation, which keeps the heat from escaping through the ceiling and walls. The attic is the biggest culprit for heat loss, so look there first if you have one, then consider checking and re-sealing the borders of windows and doors.

Your heating and cooling equipment should be next on your list. Cleaning or replacing filters, inspecting ducts and pipes for leaks, and replacing the unit every 15 years will ensure tip-top energy efficiency and will protect your lungs from breathing in mold and other harmful toxins.

The last, and easiest step is to monitor your use of electronic devices. Aside from using any electronic devices less frequently, make sure to unplug everything that isn’t being used at that moment, and definitely do so if you’ll be out of the house for a few hours or more. Unused, but plugged in, electronic devices are leeches of electricity and cost you hundreds of dollars a year without you being any the wiser – this includes power strips and surge protectors, so be sure to unplug these as well as they will continue to draw power. To get more tips on a do-it-yourself home audit check the U.S. Department of Energy’s website.

Other greener options for the home are to use less water, use fewer paper goods such as paper towels (opt for cloth towels instead and reuse them), get newer appliances that are more energy efficient and whenever possible buy green household cleaners that don’t contain harsh chemicals or toxins.

Not only will doing everything you can to make your home green reduce your impact on the environment, it will also lead to a happier, healthier life. Wellness begins at home, so make sure your house is part of your solution!

Have any other tips for making your house more green? Share in the comments below! 

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Elizabeth Eckhart is a Chicago born and bred blogger who is passionate about keeping the environment clean. Some of her favorite writing topics include new renewable energy technology and various ways to live a healthy lifestyle. 

Do We Have a Living Relationship to the Universe?

Is there a living connection between us and the Universe? In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra discusses this question from both an ancient and a contemporary perspective. The rhythms and movement of the planets is mirrored in the rhythms of nature, as well as those within our own bodies. We are, indeed, the totality of the Universe, in motion.

Because our own existence on Earth mirrors the larger nature of the Universe, we not only have a relationship with our cosmic home, but we are an essential part of it. Just as the planets move through space and energy recycles throughout the Universe, our own lives follow cyclic patterns and exhibit creative impulses. In a sense, we are the Universe, and the Universe is in us.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and check out Deepak’s book, War of the Worldviews!

7 Beautiful Haikus from NASA’s Going to Mars Campaign

Daybreak at Gale Crater

Have you ever wished your artwork could transcend the boundaries of Earth and soar into the cosmos? Then you’re not alone!

Earlier this year, NASA announced their “Going to Mars” campaign in which members of the public were invited to send in messages that would potentially make it on board their MAVEN spacecraft. Did we mention the “messages” had to be in haiku form?

Unlike a traditional poetry contest, where your prize might involve publication in a literary journal or the chance to present at some prestigious event, the rewards of this campaign are more ephemeral. The three winning poems (which will be decided on by public vote) will be written on to DVD and carried aboard a spacecraft going into Mars orbit. And the glory pretty much ends there.

But there is something undeniably romantic about the whole thing. No matter how much we’ve learned about space over the last decades, the notion of “out there” still captures our imagination in countless ways. And the proof lies in the 12,000+ entries NASA received from people around the world, all hoping to make some imprint beyond bounds of our own planet.

Of those 12,000+, here are 7 of our favorite haiku submitted to the “Going to Mars” campaign:

 It’s funny, they named
Mars after the God of War
Have a look at Earth

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distant red planet
the dreams of earth beings flow
we will someday roam

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I see you winking
Oh Mars, you fiery devil
Shining from above

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Among red stardust
Only in my dreams for now
Standing on the Mars

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Feeling Martian here,
surely space exploration
will reveal my home.

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Hi, from the Blue One,
your long time solar neighbor.
We’re harmless, mostly

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MAVEN tastes the air
too thin to hold oceans’ broth
wafted on Sol’s winds.

Click here to vote on your favorite haiku!

What message would you send to Mars? Tell us in the comments section below!

10 Moving Photos of the Black Rhino, Now Extinct in Western Africa

Credit: NagWolf

Rhinos are some of the most strange and beautiful creatures to inhabit this planet of ours. With its sturdy, two-humped body, a head like a hippo, and horns that conjure tales of unicorns, the rhinoceros is an animal who should inspire awe and respect. Why, then, does it consistently make the “critically endangered” list on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species?

The answer: Poaching. These majestic creatures have been mercilessly pursued by poachers for their precious horns, used both in traditional Chinese medicine as well as for personal adornment in various parts of the world. The population of Black Rhinos, in particular, declined over 97% between 1960 and 1995, and they have been listed as critically endangered since 1996. They are now believed to be entirely extinct in western Africa, with three remaining subspecies tenuously populating eastern and southern parts of the continent.

The natural life expectancy for the Black Rhino ranges from 35 to 50 years, which is fairly long considering their immense size (2,000-3,000 lbs at full maturity.) Despite the intimidating horns, Black Rhinos are herbivores and use their strength primarily in fighting one another. Intra-species violence aside, they have no natural predators and have been pushed to the extinction and near-extinction by human practices, alone.

Here are 10 awe-inspiring photos of the powerful Black Rhino, whose compromised existence is no one’s fault by our own:

 

Photo credits: NagWolf, Joachim S. Müller, Vincent Catt

Deepak Chopra: If the Universe is Perfect, Why Aren’t We?

If nature and the Universe work together in perfect synchronicity, and we humans are part of nature, then why are we not perfect?

In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra explores the seeming imperfections in nature and in humans’ own behavior, and how this relates to the overall perfection of the Universe.

Nature and the Universe are pure synchronicity, pure expression and organization. This doesn’t mean light and dark, pain and pleasure, good and evil need not exist – paradox is as natural as order, after all. But human life, and life in general, are often unnecessarily messy, flawed, and chaotic. Instead of identifying with the soul of the Universe, we identify too often with logic, with our brains and egos. If we can return to an identification with the larger universe, we will reclaim a life of equanimity.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and check out Deepak Chopra’s book, The Ultimate Happiness Prescription.

You are your purpose.

purposeHe asked: “Why would you do that?!” Oh, did it hurt. There was no make-wrong in his question, no accusation, no attack. Only puzzlement. “Why would you try to change others? Why would you want to force others to grow? Don’t you know that everyone is where they are, working with what they have, however they can? I thought you would know that.”

She asked: “How can we make others understand?! How can we make them see? If we could just do something, catapult them away from Earth and up up up to the moon so that they could see the world as it is and then something in them would click!”

I listened to her and I remembered his question: why would you do that? Why would you want to force others to grow?

And I felt ashamed of myself for having tried, for having tried to make others see, for it was not out of compassion that I’ve done that. It was not to serve others, and it was not to help them. It was to make them. It was to change them. It was forced. It was an attack. I was an attacker.

And so when she asked, “How can we make people see, how can we make them understand, how can we make them change?” I said:

“You know, I found the easiest and by far the fastest way to change people, to change the world: when I see, when I understand, when something in me clicks, then the world becomes a wonderland and people are lovely and delightful.”

That is all I need to do to shift the world and change everyone — see, understand, realize — myself.

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