Opinion: Erasing Carbon Footprints: Personal Responsibility

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Opinion:  Erasing Carbon Footprints

By Sharon
April 1, 2012

I learned a lot growing up. I learned to make do with what I had, I learned to live off the land, I learned to respect nature. But somewhere along the way I almost lost sight of all that learning.

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hazelnut
Apr 1, 2012 7:14 AM CST
So good to see your powerful talents applied to this subject, Sharon. Recently, because my sister has cancer, I have been reading about how our health is so profoundly affected by our technologically controlled environment. As much as 80% of cancer is a result of poor dietary and lifestyle habits. Our diet has been depleted by prepared foods where the nutrients have been removed, and substituted with empty calories in the form of super sweet high fructose corn syrup, depleted fiberless flours, and toxic fats. The food we eat actually creates a nutrient deficit, so that most people in our culture are actually malnurished, but overweight. We spend our days in front of electronic information screens or in high stress work places. Rarely walking a mile, rarely moving at all.

Thanks to modern medical miracles, our lifespan has been extended. But the concept of a healthy older person does not exist in our culture. As we age, our society expects that we will contract one disease after another--becoming a burden on the working members of society.

But what if we use our back yard to grow a few pesticide-free vegetables, some antioxidant packed berries, a few fruit trees (Im looking for persimmons this year). Throw out the microwave (and say goodbye to foods that glycate our proteins and wrinkle our skin, and instead learn to cook from scratch. Intensive gardening is perfect exercise, not need for membership at the local gym.

Ive noticed among the 100+ year olds around here in rural Alabama, they are farmers, they eat what they grow. They are lean, strong and standing tall. And they almost always have a smile on their face or even a laugh at something that secretly amuses them.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
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Sharon
Apr 1, 2012 8:42 AM CST
Gloria,

You can't even imagine how much I appreciate your statements. You said it better than I did. You touched on the health aspect, a place I didn't really go, but so important in the great scheme of things.

I feel very fortunate, I learned so much growing up and luckily most of what I learned remained with me. And even if I did spend some time sampling fast foods and running with the crowd and racing the wind in a fast boat, I remembered soon enough to maybe erase some of the damage I created. And fortunately, that 'soon enough' placed me in a healthy category.

We can't live with regrets and hanging heads, but we can take little steps toward a more sustainable lifestyle. And we can teach others who follow after us.

Like your aged Alabama farmers, may we always be standing lean, tall and smiling.

Thank you.
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hazelnut
Apr 1, 2012 9:13 AM CST
You know when you are twelve and experimenting with smoking (for me it was corn husks, then Pall Mall cirgarettes) you can't imagine the wrench you are throwing into the micro-chemistry of your dna. It looked so cool!

But from this side of things at 70+ my smoking friends are gone. The challenge now seems to be getting healthy,
and growing plants in my yard like I aspire to be, strong and sturdy.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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Sharon
Apr 1, 2012 9:33 AM CST
I know what you mean.
I hope it isn't too late to be getting healthy, or maintaining the health that we have.

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Name: Carey
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
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careyana
Apr 1, 2012 9:21 PM CST
Both of you ladies definitely have a point. I know I'm younger, but I grew up in the country as well, the grand-daughter of two different farmers, one of whom taught me so much as he was next door. He taught my father and I about drainage, the best areas for planting each type of tree, vegetable and fruit possible. I grew up eating fresh fruits and vegetables all spring, summer and fall long, and there were several farmer's markets within a half hour's drive for everything else.

I've tried to be environmentally friendly with my plantings (my roses are a small but worthwhile diversion) - I'm even trying to bypass the chemical products for any of my plants. I'm going to mix up a chili pepper cocktail to spray my plants to keep the deer and squirrels away, and I have spinosad and neem oil for the rest. I have a small veggie/herb raised garden at the back of the property. The A/C doesn't get turned on until it is unGodly hot, and even then the thermostats are set higher than most people find comfortable. (that's why there are fans in every room!) We've also installed solar panels on our roof, and I'm working on getting a rainwater harvesting system or two.

Of course, I'll consider myself lucky if I can get my step-kids to turn off lights when they leave the room... Big Grin
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Ferns Daylilies Irises Cat Lover
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Sharon
Apr 1, 2012 9:28 PM CST
Good for you, Carey!!
You are doing your part and sounds like you are doing what needs to be done.

It doesn't matter our age, what matters is what we do one day at a time. I think your grandfather taught you well.

Thanks for taking the time to read the article.
I hope your gardens do well this year.
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hazelnut
Apr 2, 2012 8:07 AM CST
One thing I learned as an archeologist working in the South. This is physical labor, digging with a shovel and running wheelbarrows full of dirt, day after day. August in the South is HOT. But if you are in shape HOT is not as hot as it is for someone who sits at a desk. If you are acclimated to the heat, you don't need the air conditioner. In fact, if you work physically in the heat day to day, the AC makes you feel a little sick. Working in the garden can condition you in the same way--you need less electrical augmentation to maintain an optimal body temperature, winter and summer.
Name: Sharon
Calvert City, KY (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Ferns Daylilies Irises Cat Lover
Image
Sharon
Apr 2, 2012 8:40 AM CST
How true this is, and luckily those of us who are retired and are well have the advantage of being outside and can right now adjust our bodies to the warmth of spring and summer. Taking a break in the shade of an old oak tree is a habit I enjoy.
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