Showing posts with label sustainability. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sustainability. Show all posts

June 15, 2022

AWOL Report

Hello internet friends -

I've been quiet for a while, so I wanted to pop in and say "hello!" The good news is that I've been working (a lot)! I am so thankful for the work I am fortunate to have earned. I am working as a Technical Communications Specialist in my primary consultancy and I have a few other long-term clients in software documentation and curriculum development that I continue with too.

Photo by Charles Koh on Unsplash


On another note, I’ve been posting in my homesteading groups about survival preparation, and I wanted to repost some of my thoughts here:

“Learn how to shoot and acquire a rifle. Learn self defense and keep your body in shape. Practice primitive camping. Practice multiple methods of water collection. Acquire hand-powered kitchen and house tools. Build a solar oven. Live simply…”

While these are only a handful of very quick, basic thoughts about survival prepping, crafting the reply post reminded me of how much I enjoy masterminding the simple way in life and finding ways to reduce my modern impact on the world.

I hope you are all doing well and I’ll be posting again soon...


February 4, 2022

DIY Combined Aquaponics and Hydroponics Gravity-fed Food and Fish Production System

Let me tell you a little bit about a cool aquaponics and hydroponics food production system that I’ve built on a small scale several times using very simple parts and with great success. A combined aquaponics and hydroponics gravity-fed food and fish production system is just what it sounds like- you grow plants and fish together in one system. There is no dirt or soil for the plants, but instead, they are fed from the water containing fish waste that is recycled through the system. In turn, the nutrients released by the plants and the ecosystem that is created will begin to feed your fish as well as to sustain a healthy oxygenated water environment.


The first DIY aquaponics/ hydroponics system in production.

For the system displayed in the photos, you will need one standard aquarium pump to move the water from the bottom container or holding tank up to the very top container. The system then filters the water through the plants utilizing gravity to move through each catchment level in the system.

For plant growing medium, you can use small stones, pebbles, or the clay hydroponic growing medium. Hydroponic clay growing mediums are expensive so I usually opt to use small stones and pebbles from any standard landscape supply. Use larger stones by the drainage tubes and smaller pebbles in your planting area. Do not use any dirt or sand in your plant beds as this will clog your system and is unnecessary. The plants and pebbles will filter the water adequately and provide an ecosystem for your plants to thrive in.

In the first DIY system built, I used goldfish because they are very hearty fish and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t kill them easily. I’ve built three systems sense and I’m now using catfish because this is a fish I would like to grow and eat myself. Catfish do not require a lot of heating unless it gets to freezing temperatures so in my climate they work well. Tilapia are also a good choice if you can provide heat in the winter and trout is a great choice to grow in colder climates. You might start with goldfish to start your system, but do not grow goldfish with any of these other fish types. Goldfish waste can be toxic to other fish.

Monitor your combined aquaponics and hydroponics system closely for health. Watch for stress points like when you first add the fish and the plants are small or when the plants are large and you harvest the fish it will stress the plants. Look for signs of stressors, such as wilting or sickly plants, cloudy water, dying fish, or too much algae growing. You want some algae and bacteria and a healthy system because this is what will eventually feed your fish. When first starting your system, you will need to feed your fish, but as your system matures, the fish will begin to feed on the algae and particulates created.

Arrange your growing containers with the plants planting bed at the top then have that feed into a containment area in the middle for an overflow, and lastly at the bottom of the gravity-fed system have your fish. Consider paying a little bit more for the plastic irrigation tubing that is meant for drinking water pipes (PVC). You’ll need to slowly add water and run the system for several days without any plants and fish to make sure that your bacteria environment is starting to grow in a healthy way. Do not add any chemicals to the water for the fish, as these chemicals will be absorbed by your plants that you're adding. Also, consider light needs: install an indoor growing lamp over the plants at the top or place everything in front of a sunny window.


Small systems can be built without need for a pump, but water quality must be monitored even more carefully.

A combined Aquaponics and hydroponics gravity-fed food and fish growing system is really not as complicated as it seems. Once you start building your own DIY system and see how the fish and plants feed each other, you’ll be hooked too. The best part is when you begin harvesting your fresh fish and vegetables right from your DIY system. Happy growing!


October 13, 2021

Blue Origin New Shepard Launch 10.13.2021

For all of my fellow Trekkies around the world - we no longer need to lurk in the shadows because as of today, William Shatner has become the oldest person to travel into space (for a few brief minutes) at the age of 90. The first spaceship captain portrayed in the long-running series Star Trek, watching the Blue Origin rocket carry Captain Kirk into space today was nothing short of inspiring.

Waiting for the launch to start, all I could think was “this is SO cool!” I remember that the Star Trek series and the many exploration possibilities it proposed always awakened the dreamer in me - and I think watching the Blue Origin New Shepard launch today may have done the same. For a few minutes waiting for and watching the launch, I could let my stressors go and just wonder at the joy of floating above Earth.

How small everything must seem from up above. Space exploration is a collective human dream that has the power to unite us beyond borders and differences. Think about all of the young people watching the launch and how it could inspire them to explore, to create, and to dream. Imagine how space travel will become exponentially easier for the younger generations and become a norm for the human species.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard booster rocket is beautiful itself with a feather painted across and many shaped panels on the booster. It’s amazing how it lands itself, and the sound that the booster makes while landing is loud yet interesting. The capsule peacefully floated down with the assistance of several parachutes. Each movement of the New Shepard rocket components seemed like a choreographed ballet to bring the crew safely home.

As the capsule came down from space and the radio communications came back in, you could hear the crew laughing, and then you hear William Shatner’s voice say with excitement: “it’s unlike anything else!” Seeing our Earth from above must be an experience like none other...

As a Trekkie himself, Jeff Bezos greeted the newly minted astronauts as they exited the capsule. You can tell that Bezos adores Shatner from the way the two interact on screen. But what Trekkie doesn’t. Shatner spent several minutes talking about piercing through the atmosphere and into the unknown of space, overtaken by the immense joy felt by viewing the Earth from above. Traveling to space is truly a life-changing experience that is hard to describe in words.

With all this excitement over a launch to space, it reminds me of how we need to care for our Earth home. While we may venture to other planets and out into space, we must preserve our planet and work to take sustainable steps. Sustainability starts with our own personal actions every day, and whether we choose to waste the precious resources that our Earth provides for us.

One way that Blue Origin makes space travel more sustainable is by using reusable rocket components - most of the booster, crew capsule, parachutes, and other launch parts will be used again for many future launches, while in the past, used rocket components essentially became space trash or crashed down to Earth in small enough pieces that most people ignored the problem.

Thank you, Blue Origin and crew, for being a beacon of hope for our world.

New Shepard NS-14 lifts off from Launch Site One in West Texas. (January 14, 2021)
 #amberclee #BlueOrigin #StarTrek #WilliamShatner #JeffBezos

October 3, 2021

Digital Currency and Blockchain Explained: The Good and the Bad

Are you curious about how digital currencies and blockchain technologies work? These two technology giants are changing the face of many essential industries and won’t be leaving the digital frontier anytime soon.

Digital currency is a decentralized financial system that utilizes nodes to verify digital transaction requests and blockchain to permanently record verified transactions. A transaction can include cryptocurrency, contracts, records, or other information.

Here’s how a digital currency transaction and blockchain work together to create a permanent transaction:
  1. Someone requests a digital transaction.
  2. The requested transaction is broadcast to a P2P network of computers known as nodes.
  3. The transaction is verified when the 64 alphanumeric target is guessed by a node.
  4. Once verified, the transaction is combined with other transactions to create a chain of data to create a new block of data for the ledger.
  5. The new block is then added to a chain of verified data blocks, the blockchain, in a way that is permanent and unalterable.
And that’s it! Here’s an infographic on the digital transaction verification process:

The Good

Digital currency and Blockchain are truly revolutionary technologies touted as a democratic solution that unhinges financial and other transactions from any one government or one currency system. Blockchain records are unchangeable, permanent, and verifiable records that theoretically will exist forever as a part of the chain created.

Many different types of digital currency exist. You’ve probably heard of Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum, or the growing handful of other popular digital currencies currently taking over the market. They each make their claim that they are the best.

The same is true of blockchain verifiers - there are many permanent blockchain records already created. They also each claim to be the best in some way. Some blockchains allow you larger storage blocks and some are quite limited at 2MB of verified data block size. Some blockchains offer the person conducting the transaction complete privacy of who they are to others; while other blockchain records are completely public, showing who initiated the transaction, the type of transaction, and the blockchain sequence identifier.

These blockchain verifiers each have a number of minors independently working to verify their transactions. The verification process is a little bit like a guessing game. A random 64 digit alphanumeric code is generated and the winning miner has to essentially guess the 64 digit alphanumeric number that is closest to that target number, winning the digital currency value for that verified block of information. A 64 digit alphanumeric code allows for millions of possibilities to guess.

Blockchain is creating an ecosystem for projects in currencies, developer tools, sovereignty and security, financial technology, currency exchange, sharing data and amassing big data, and identity authentication. These named project types are just the start of the many possible technologies growing out of blockchain technology.

Image by Josh Nussbaum

The Bad

Even with all of the benefits that bitcoin Blockchain technologies bring, there are still some negatives that need to be solved. One of the primary negative aspects of all the mining activity is the generation of copious amounts of computer hardware waste and the large amounts of energy consumed to power these super-processing computers.

A regular everyday business or home computer is not capable of mining for bitcoin as the market currently stands. In order to even compete to win a blockchain validation, the miner needs a powerful gaming-type computer processor and most likely you will need many of these machines in a network together to generate the computing power necessary.

All of this computing power uses a lot of energy. And building all of the computer chips, which only lasts for a few years, creates a lot of additional waste. Digital currency miners are quite open about the cost to continually change out their computer processors for newer, faster chips; the power needed to run those machines, the power needed to cool the room that the computers are kept in, and the subsequent waste being generated by their quest to mine [to guess numbers and validate digital transactions] faster than the next miner, and ultimately win the digital currency bounty.

Digital currencies and blockchain technologies hold many opportunities for our future, if they can get over the hurdles of waste generation and energy consumption that they face today.

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#amberclee #blockchain #cryptocurrency

September 29, 2021

First Carbon Net Zero Soccer Game: Tottenham Hotspurs vs Chelsea 9.19.2021

Sports bring us together. They give us entertainment and they allow us to settle our political differences in ways other than wars. In almost every American household there is at least one sport regularly playing on the television. In our house that sport is football -- or "soccer" as us Americans know this sport by.

Popular all around the world and huge in every country other than the United States, soccer has been a catalyst for youth in some of the poorest places of the world. It’s popular in these poor places because of tradition but also because it only takes a simple ball and a small target to use as a goal, whereas other sports usually take much more gear or need more people on the team to be a good game.

One of the largest and most well-funded soccer leagues, with some of the best players in the world, is the English Premier League in the United Kingdom. The Premier League and Tottenham Hotspurs Football Club recently made an exciting sustainable leadership choice: to hold the first ever carbon net zero soccer game between teams Tottenham and Chelsea on September 19, 2021. Tottenham Hotspurs partnered with Sky news and the UK government to tackle this monumental reduction in carbon footprint and to bring attention to the climate emergency we're all currently fighting.

Tottenham Hotspurs Football Club Stadium

Carbon net zero status for events and buildings means that the emissions of carbon produced by that venue has been calculated and that sustainability strategies have been put in place to reduce the carbon being generated to zero, with nothing harmful being emitted into our planet's environment.

Calculations for carbon emissions for the soccer game would have captured everything from how the stadium is powered, how far the food travels to get to the stadium and how it is grown; emissions created by how players and attendees travel to the game; and impacts of the water used throughout the stadium. Greenhouse gas emissions calculations are a very complex data gathering and analysis process with many different indicators weighing in on the carbon emissions calculation.

Sustainability efforts are also incomplete without social justice as a key component. The Premier League, its players, and staff are already well known for their progressive support of human equality.

Carbon zero status was achieved through many different methods for the Tottenham-Chelsea soccer game, including the purchasing and planting of carbon offsets. Offsets will unfortunately always need to be used for large scale events and structures to reach carbon net zero status no matter the reduction techniques used, so this isn’t something we’re going to change soon.

Some of the techniques that Tottenham Football Club used to make this a sustainable soccer game were reducing the overall energy usage to power the game and using sustainable sources for energy; encouraging proper waste management and recycling; and making dietary choices at the stadium that reduced travel distance of food and encouraged meatless or meat-alternative options. The club also encouraged their fans to make sustainable choices, such as taking transportation to the games in a way other than driving and to consider water conservation at home and at the stadium.

What’s really exciting is that the Premier League even chose to promote sustainability in this way. With millions of viewers across the world watching their games they can really make a statement about issues essential to human kind.

Remember that even really big things begin with really small steps: How can you positively affect our resources and our planet? Can you be a little more conscious about water or energy use throughout your day? As Gandhi once said, change begins with me. Changing our own behavior is the only effective route to saving our planet.

If you want to change the world, start with yourself.
Mohandas Gandhi

Tottenham Hotspurs soccer players and staff are passionate about their climate goals for the planet, calling themselves the Premier league‘s greenest club. Great job, Tottenham Hotspurs, for setting the new standard for soccer games around the world!

#amberclee #gamezero

July 28, 2013

Growing Basil...

My basil has really taken off in the garden and now I'm looking for creative ways to use this delicious herb. I'm growing two types: dark opal basil and the well-known sweet basil type. Their aroma is so strong every time you brush against them or water.

The best use I've found for both basils being grown is to make a pesto. Pesto is made from fresh basil, garlic, parsley, salt, pine nuts (or walnuts), olive oil, and romano (or parmesan) cheese. You can even leave out the cheese and freeze the pesto for a delicious addition or spread anytime. Look at this pesto over mozzarella picture I found:

So simple and so delicious!

July 17, 2013

Plant City Has New Electric Car Charging Station

Last year, you may recall as one of the first hundred in all of Tampa Bay, a Chargepoint electric car charging station was installed at the Dale Mabry campus of Hillsborough Community College in Tampa Florida by the Science cluster:

Now Plant City has its own electric car charging station from Chargepoint! You'll find the charging station and accompanying green curb parking between the new Plant City Courthouse location and the Department of Children and Families (big white building). Check out this environmentally friendly new charging station that is currently FREE to use:

Go to Chargepoint's website to find other stations or to reserve a charging spot:

July 10, 2013

Hillsborough County Animal Shelter Overcrowding & Population Sickness

Sadly, I read a news story today about overcrowding and sickness in Hillsborough County Animal Shelters.. You can read the original article here: The article states that the county shelters are extremely overcrowded, the entire animal population is declining in overall health, and the staff at the shelter are afraid to speak up to upper management. Both my dog and cat are rescues and I'm especially sensitive to populations that don't have a voice in society, such as animals and children.

The article states both sides of the no kill policy in local Animal Services state the entire population of animals including rescues are increasingly seen as diseased and sick. The veterinarian, Dr. Roese, says after 13 years of practice "she remembers days when she did nothing but write prescriptions for antibiotics" and many animals are suffering because of the no kill policy enacted in the last couple years in Hillsborough County Animal Shelters.

This immediately reminds me of the importance of spaying or neutering your pets. If you're not going to breed them, please spay or neuter your pet.. They will be much happier family pets and less prone to roaming. If you want to breed your pet, please consider not breeding them and encouraging rescue adoption. You'll make a lot of animals happy if you get them out of the shelter!

Now the issue of sickness: always take your doctor's recommendations, but consider not taking antibiotics for minor infections that you could get over with a little rest and home remedies. Antibiotics are hard on the body and I personally have gotten over a number of infections in the past few years with out the use of antibiotics. I feel that my immune system and digestive system have been built in the right way by diet to help fend off some of these infections. Just a thought. I also shy away from vaccines as an adult. I support the baby/childhood regular vaccines.

My rescue dog Duke and rescue cat Amorra:

June 3, 2013

Sun Power with Solar Panels at HCC Brandon Campus

Originally published by Amber C. Lee in Sodexo at HCC's monthly report May 2013:

This month's sustainability focus is all about sun and sun power! Florida, as you probably already know by it's nickname the Sunshine State, has a great resource that is renewable and abundant: solar power. We've discussed how important reducing, reusing, and recycling is to bettering our collective sustainable future and providing better service to our client. Exploring alternative energy sources is important too. HCC has recognized the opportunity of solar power and is already leading Tampa Bay by their example.

Most recently, Plant City campus students installed two solar charging stations as a legacy project so that students, faculty and staff could better enjoy the outdoor spaces on campus and charge their laptops, phones or other electronics using only solar energy.

Last month in May, Sodexo participated in an international event promoting clean energy awareness called “Hands Across the Sand.” As we are all Tampa Bay residents, our bay and ocean are an important resource that continues to be mistreated, misused and polluted. Thousands of concerned citizens joined hands across the beaches of Tampa and the world to represent the need for cleaner energy and visualize our local environment's future, a legacy we all share.

Last year, HCC worked together with TRANE to have a solar panel installed at BR campus that provides less than 1% of the energy used on campus. The solar panel serves as learning tool and visual reminder to all campus visitors of our commitment to cleaner energy. Just last week at the HCC Sustainability Council meeting, TRANE also introduced a online digital energy use monitor to help HCC monitor energy use by campus and by building, making the data more visible and trackable.

HCC also worked previously with Chargepoint to have one of the first 100 electric car charging stations of Tampa Bay installed at Dale Mabry campus (by the Science cluster) and currently does not charge for the energy “fill-up” to electric vehicles. While the energy comes from the regular power grid and not solar, electric cars typically use significantly less energy and give off less pollution from use.

Solar power is an abundant resource that we can be proud HCC has taken a lead in implementing in the Tampa Bay community. What ways can you support alternative energy and how can you reduce your personal consumption? Sometimes it's as easy as turning off the light and opening the blinds.

May 3, 2013

No Action Too Small When It Comes To Sustainability

Originally published by Amber C. Lee in Sodexo at HCC's monthly report April 2013:

Looking back after the conclusion of Earth Month (April), what kind of impact did you have on your campus? Did you make an extra effort to affect your campus and community, even in a small way? Small actions can add up in a big way over time. Sometimes we are waiting for someone else to step up and take lead when we need to be leaders, especially when it comes to sustainability, our work, and the well-being of our community.

For your reference, sustainability at its simplest means making choices with regards to people, the planet, and our economy. Sodexo is already a leader of our industry in sustainable practices and was recognized again last month by DiversityInc with a #1 ranking on the 2013 Top 50 Companies for Diversity List. Diversity and social justice are important principles of sustainable decision making.

Locally Sodexo made a difference last month by volunteering with Feeding America Tampa Bay (formerly Second Harves) for our StopHunger campaign. Sodexo supervisors volunteered a combined 12 hours and helped to bag a huge amount of cooking potatoes for Tampa Bay families in need. Sodexo is committed to ending hunger and famine world-wide through our StopHunger campaign.

Supervisor John Pacheco of the District Offices Campus saw an opportunity to help the environment and improve our image with the client: when he noticed that the mangroves lining the seawall at the walking path were ridden with plastic shopping bags, fishing line and other garbage, John took the initiative to clear a large amount of the waste out. He ended the clean up with a large bin full of waste and a more appealing waterline for the campus.

Keep up the great work, team! Remember that no action is too small to keep us moving in the right direction. To find out more information or comment, please email Amber C. Lee.

March 28, 2013

The "Better Tomorrow Plan"

Originally published by Amber C. Lee in Sodexo at HCC's monthly report March 2013:

Sodexo is a recognized leader in global sustainability. The Better Tomorrow Plan is Sodexo's strategic, progressive journey to address the sustainability issues identified as being important to our business and our stakeholders. The Better Tomorrow Plan outlines 14 key commitments for action and stresses the key importance of dialogue and joint actions with our stakeholders.

So why should the Better Tomorrow Plan be important to you? The nature of our business, which is greater than just janitorial work or dining services, makes us an integral and embedded part of the community in which we serve. Our clients that our business is centered around are also our neighbors, colleagues and friends. The Better Tomorrow Plan impacts our individual job, our clients at HCC, and the Greater Tampa Bay Community.

Who is involved in the Better Tomorrow Plan? Everyone is the short answer. The Better Tomorrow Plan is being implemented in the executive levels of Sodexo, at educational sites like ours, and at all of our over 33,900 locations around the world. Sodexo gives us the unique ability to make an impact globally and locally just by doing our jobs well.

When is this happening? It already has. Implementation of the Better Tomorrow Plan has already began company-wide. Major progress is being made at HCC, with the hiring last semester of Sodexo's Resource Coordinator and the development of several projects, such as the Waste Elimination Station (WES) campus digital inventory & mapping of sustainability features.

Where do I start? As a Sodexo employee, you have a lot to be proud of already, but we need your help. Just this month Sodexo was recognized at the World Economic Forum for its corporate sustainability practices with three awards: Sector Leader, Gold Class, and Sector Mover. Go team.

To find out how you can be an ambassador for Sodexo, contact Amber C. Lee or ask your campus supervisor today.

January 15, 2013

Every Piece Of Waste Has A Story

Originally published by Amber C. Lee in Sodexo at HCC's monthly report January 2013:

"Every Piece Of Waste Has A Story"

As you prepare for your holiday break and to come back to campus in January, think about the waste you generate in your everyday activities or when selecting your college supplies. Every piece of paper, pencil, tool, food product, or otherwise that enters your personal waste stream has a story. It is our personal responsibility to reduce our personal waste stream as much as possible, lessening the impact on our blue planet and the green in our wallet.

When choosing a new product or tool, are you thinking about how much packaging is used or if it was made with recycled materials? Can you reduce your shipping cost and the amount of packaging by combining orders? Reducing and making conscious choices with sustainability in mind is the first step in reducing your personal waste stream.

Take a look at the bottles of water the next time you’re at the store: many companies are now offering up to 50% recycled plastics or reduced bottle sizes that can then be re-used and recycled after it enters your waste stream. When you make conscious purchases, every dollar you spend is a vote to which companies continue to produce or serve our market. You have a direct impact with every purchase to encourage positive for the planet products.

How are you going to use that product or item once it’s in your personal waste stream? Will you use it once and throw it away, or can you re-use that can to plant flowers in, or fix and item when it brakes instead of purchasing the latest model. When you refuse to fix or re-use an item, you are effectively choosing to significantly shorten that item’s life span. Choose to re-use as much as possible and simply fix your broken things instead of replacing them. Just because it isn’t the newest edition or release, doesn’t mean what you have isn’t usable or donatable to someone that will use the item.

Once you have thoroughly used a product past its life span, how is that product leaving your personal waste stream? Think about the things you use and how to get the most use not only for the planet, but for your own wallet too. You create the story for every piece of waste or product that enters your life.

Let’s look at buying a cup of coffee. Did you bring your own thermos? Did you purchase from our dining areas that offer certified fair-trade coffee? Did you recycle your paper cup or use it for a second cup? Do you know if the grounds and filters are being recycled for compost? Did you get a discount on campus for using your own cup?

These are great questions to ask, however it starts with a personal commitment to sustainability. A commitment to sustainability means making conscious decisions that are good for people, the planet and the economy. When you choose sustainability, everyone wins. Discover more about the waste in your life and learn how you can make an impact by contacting Amber C. Lee.

January 12, 2012

Represent: Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee for Tampa Bay Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization

Downtown yesterday, I was asked if I would represent Eastern Hillsborough County's interests on the Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) for the Tampa Bay Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization. Katharine and I were there to represent the college and our need for adequate bike lanes to our campuses as a way to reduce our carbon footprint.

 The committee's website is here.

January 9, 2012

Mmmm.. So Good.. An Alternative to Soy Milk

Making the switch to vegetarianism? I recently watched the free Youtube documentary entitle "Home". I highly recommend seeing this film.

Watch it here when you have the time.

What struck me the most in the film is that it takes 10x more energy to produce an animal meat product that a vegetable or fruit product- meaning more water, feed, space, etc - and creating 10x the carbon footprint. Yes, animal protein was extremely important initially in our species' brain development, and I know I'll probably want a thick, juicy steak grilled to perfection at some point down the road (my mouth is watering at the thought). Thanks to greater availability of non-meat imitations, soy products and increased grocery availability in general for most Americans, its not hard to shift your eating choices away from that of meat products.

If you are adapting to a vegetarian lifestyle (no matter what type), try this product as a non-soy milk replacement: Silk Pure Almond. I've tried the vanilla flavor so far, and it tastes DELICIOUS! Its low in calories and high in calcium, vitamins D & E, and protein. I feel like I'm having a milkshake when I'm drinking a glass... Yum!!

Check out all the great reasons to switch to Silk Pure Almond here.

January 7, 2012

Invitation to Love (poem)

I wrote this short poem after my KINS Founders weekend: an enlightening and connecting weekend with some very special people I now call my KINS. We shared an afternoon walk of silence and meditated on our individual vision of a green, vibrant Tampa Bay. Sitting at my computer desk at home, I recall that inspiring afternoon:

Invitation to Love
the earth seemed inviting
as the grass crunched under my feet
the sun fell warmly on our bodies
as we stood in communion
with the earth, as one organism
the metal and glass are a contrast
to our natural place of belonging
the love extends from the earth
in a way that man-made never could

Helen, Georgia    taken by: Amber C. Lee

January 6, 2012

U.S. Postal Service Takes A Green Step

Introducing "Go Green" stamps at your nearest U.S. Post Office, encouraging and informing postal customers in different ways of reducing their personal environmental impact in easy ways. Going green is reality. Great idea, Postal Service!

Check it out here on their site for purchasing and green tips.

They give three great tips on the flyer I'd picked up at the Post Office in town:

     --> Adjust the thermostat. Every degree can lower your energy bill by 3%.

     --> Use public transportation.

     --> Plant trees. They remove carbon dioxide and contaminants for the air and provide a habitat for wildlife.

They also have the CUTEST tote bags for a trip or the grocery or to the beach...

Thanks, U.S. Postal Service. Great tips, and a great example in the right direction!

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