You have probably heard that old story before where if you stick a frog in a boiling pot of water it will try to get out. If you stick a frog in a pleasantly cool pot of water and then turn on the heat the frog will let itself get cooked because it doesn't realize what's going on. While you might quibble with some of the details of the story the basic premise I feel rings true.
We humans are animals just like that frog and we are hardwired to pay attention to sudden shocking changes in our surroundings and not things that change slowly or gradually. But eventually even things that move slowly will get our attention once they become impossible to ignore.
I think as a society we are finally reaching the point where we can no longer ignore the fact that the water is getting a bit toasty and it is time to get out of the pot. With the recent release of the Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change that reviewed much of the latest research in climate science the summary is clear
Climate Change is Real and We Caused It.
Gone is the wishy washy language of the previous reports with the new report saying things like,
“Observed increases in well-mixed greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations since around 1750 are unequivocally caused by human activities. Since 2011 (measurements reported in AR5), concentrations have continued to increase in the atmosphere, reaching annual averages of 410 ppm for carbon dioxide (CO2)”
“Human influence is very likely the main driver of the global retreat of glaciers since the 1990s and the decrease in Arctic sea ice area between 1979–1988 and 2010–2019 (about 40% in September and about 10% in March). There has been no significant trend in Antarctic sea ice area from 1979 to 2020 due to regionally opposing trends and large internal variability. Human influence very likely contributed to the decrease in Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover since 1950. It is very likely that human influence has contributed to the observed surface melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet”
“Changes in the land biosphere since 1970 are consistent with global warming: climate zones have shifted poleward in both hemispheres, and the growing season has on average lengthened by up to two days per decade since the 1950s in the Northern Hemisphere extratropics (high confidence)”
When you start seeing language like,
That's science speak, we are pretty sure that what we are saying is true. There is no such thing as 100% certain when you talk to a scientist because they know that you can never be 100% certain about things. But you can be sure they are pretty damn sure when they start using language like you see in the latest report.
It's nice to see such unambiguous language finally coming out from this panel that has been doing these reports for 30 years and they have essentially been screaming into the void that is the governments of the world. No government has given serious credence to these reports and really taken the forecast and outlook presented in the reports to heart. There are places like Germany that have been doing some good for decades in the solar industry by providing real support to both individuals and industries in installing and paying for solar but examples like that are few and far between.
For the most part we as a species have twiddled our thumbs, had inane arguments about whether climate change was real or not and have lost decades of time that could have really been useful. This report clearly shows that our time is up and we need to make changes now that reduce our impact on the planet. The changes to the climate are obvious to anyone who is willing to open their eyes and accept what they are seeing.
The problem is big and so are the solutions
We are now facing one of those history-making problems that will either create another Greatest Generation or end with us being scorned by our descendants assuming they have the time or knowledge to scorn us.
The problems we face cannot be solved by just your or me putting solar panels on our roofs or by driving less.
The time for that approach is gone….
We now need whole systemic change from the bottom up, top down and even side to side. We need to get our governments to pass laws that will push us and the companies of the world toward a sustainable future. This is a collective need and it will require collective action from all of us to do what we need to do to keep this great experiment we call civilization going on.
We need to do things like,
And the list could go on and on and on…..
The time is now so let's get going shall we.
Among retirement planning circles there has been this idea of how you are supposed to fund your retirement called the 3 legged stool. This stool is a representation of your post retirement life and the funding sources that support it.
In financial planning circles the seat of the stool is supported by,
The Journey So Far
Wow, it is hard to believe that I am going on two years since I decided to dive full time into bike commuting to work. I didn't realize at the time when I decided to try this just how much I would love it. I can barely remember what it was like to drive to work every day. What I do remember about it is that I didn't like it.
Check out this great article from Treehugger on solar panel recycling.
When it comes to living a greener life the obstacles in your way can be many. They can vary in size from your commute to work in another town everyday to producing enough waste to take the trash out 3 times a week.
Now some obstacles like the commute can be very challenging to change due to circumstances outside your control but other problems like how much trash you produce is something that can be tackled.
How much trash you produce in your home is a combination of the following factors,
Check out this article for a take on the path we should be going down to get to a greener and sustainable future.
One topic that comes up a lot in parenting/FIRE circles is this all-consuming idea that we should start socking away money in a college fund so that the little one can go to school debt-free. While on the face of it this impulse is admirable why wouldn’t you want your kid to have a debt-free college experience? If they graduate without a load of debt on their backs they will be free to just leap off into the working world and start raking in the cash from the great job they got because of their degree.
That is one possible future but what's equally as likely is that instead of getting a more realistic degree like mechanical engineering they instead followed an interest in the poetry of 14th and 15th Spain. While that grounding in poetry makes them a great storyteller and engaging conversationalist it's probably a bit harder to find gainful employment with that degree.
What is silicone?
Is a compound that uses silica aka sand as the base material for forming a variety of resin, greases, and rubber like compounds. These materials are useful because they are very chemically stable and heat/cold resistant. They are generally considered safe to use in a wide variety of products including food storage or preparation applications which is the main focus of this post.
What I like about the bags
One of the main things I like about the bags is their durability. I have used silicone food bags for years and they have essentially replaced all my single-use plastic bag use. They are easy to wash both by hand and in the dishwasher. The ones I sell also come with a slide on clip that holds the bag shut in an air tight seal. They are useful for storing fresh and dried foodstuffs at any common kitchen temperature from the freezer to the cooktop.
These bags also come with a gusseted bottom which allows them to stand on their own when filling them. This particular feature does work better once you get something in them but with a little practice, you can get them to stand up on their own.
They also make great travel containers for bringing your own lunch or hauling other loose supplies around with you.
What I don’t like about the bag
Probably the biggest complaint I have about them is the time they can take to dry after you wash them. They have a tendency to close themselves up when wet which traps moisture in the bag. This can be easily fixed by gently turning them inside out to dry or by placing them on a dish drying rack that keeps them open.
Also, even the biggest bag I sell is still a bit smaller than the standard gallon bag. This can make it a bit deceiving on what will actually fit if you are comparing it to a standard gallon bag.
Overall I love my silicone food bags but they do come with some controversy. While food-grade silicone is considered chemically stable and therefore safe to use around food, the body of research confirming that is a bit on the light side. There have been some studies that have shown chemical leaching into their surroundings when exposed to some oils or high heat. However, all the research I could find only showed that when the silicone was exposed to oils for long periods (72 hours) or heat above 428 degrees. The question I raise in the face of that is how often are you the common person doing that to your silicone bags.
I would guess not often….
So, in general, I feel comfortable using them for the storage of dry goods, food in the fridge and freezer. While technically I could even cook in them it’s when you apply heat that also sorts of strange things begin to happen so I generally avoid it and stick with glass and cast iron for cooking and baking.
So if these bags interest you check them out here.
Today I want to talk about reusable shopping bags and why you should consider using them for all your shopping and other out on the town needs.
If you search the great wide world of the internet you will find a lot of conflicting research done about the damage of single use plastic bags in the environment. Some people will say with compelling facts and figures that plastic bags are less harmful than paper bags or other reusable products. Others will say the exact opposite and use similar or even the same facts and figures to prove their point.
I say this because I honestly don’t know which version of the argument has more merit. What I do know or at least have some degree of confidence in is the following,
Where does this leave me?
What I know leaves me with the personal opinion that disposable plastic bags despite what some people say are worse for the environment than reusable or compostable bags. The facts that really sway me to the reusable bag side of the argument is the time of use and time that the bag sticks around for after its useful like is done. If you only use something for 12 minutes and then throw it in the garbage where it sits for the next 500 years that to me is much more damning than the reusable alternative.
Now that I have got my philosophizing out of the way I can get to the matter at hand and tell you more about the bags I sell in The Sustainable Like Shop.
What I like about the bags
There are a couple of things about the bag that I really like. One is its overall size and construction style. It’s big enough to hold a lot of things be they groceries, books, or supplies for a day at the beach. The handles are also integrated with the rest of the bag which eliminates one of the common points of failure on many reusable cloth bags. It also has a gusseted bottom which allows for easier filling and can let it stand up when full. This bag is also very light and can collapse down very small which makes for easier storage at home and in the pocket when heading to the store
What I don’t like about the bags
Probably the biggest thing I don’t like about the bags is that they are made of a synthetic fiber and not natural fiber While this is a durable and long-lasting fiber it is not ultimately very compostable when it’s useful like is done. However, since I will get lots of use out of this bag it is still better than disposable bags since it will get many uses by the end of its life.
The main takeaway I have for you on this subject is that you should always use a reusable bag whenever it is possible. By almost any reasonable assessment something you use for a long time is always better for the planet than something you only use for a little bit. Using a cloth bag like the ones I sell here are an important and easy step to living a more sustainable like into the future.
Today I will be offering my thoughts on the steel cups that I have for sale in The Sustainable Life Shop. The one thing I will say right off the bat is these are not your usual stainless steel cups. Far starters they are more expensive per cup than many others you can find out there but that extra cost means you are getting a lot more cup for your money.
What I like about the cups
I really like my rose gold cup…
It has become the defacto cup that I use for pretty much anything. It is suitable for holding both hot and cold liquids and does so while still remaining comfortable in the hand. The drinking edge is also nice and smooth with no sharp edges or that awkward rolled steel you see on many stainless steel cups that can hold onto water after you have washed them.
The weight of it is also very nice it feels like a real drinking glass in your hand versus what a plastic or even other stainless steel cups feels like in your hand. It is also incredibly easy to hand wash for those of us with large hands and is dishwasher safe to boot.
The last thing I like about it is its durability during life and the fact it can be 100% percent recycled over and over. You can’t do that even with high grade plastic cups. When they go through the recycling process it’s more like a downcycling process that leaves the plastic worse of every time it is recycled.
What I don’t like about the cups
I think the only real complaint I have about the cup is that multiples of them don’t stack as tightly as I would like. Now it could be because I am a hoarder of useful things and I don’t like to throw anything away that might be useful but I don’t have a lot of room on the cup shelf. So the fact that it is easier to store them separate from one another is kinda irritating. I know it’s a small complaint but I had to give you something right.
If you would like to buy one here is the link
Hello my name is Josh Larson and I am the creator of the Green Living Library. Here on the blog you will find updates to content found in the Green Living Library as well as stories from those living the sustainable life already.