Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ecopsychology – is Mother Earth in your Family of Origin?

I learned about the concept of ecopsychology at the first Bioneers Conference I attended (see post about Bioneers), and I found it to be very compelling.

Ecopsychology addresses ideas such as: a person's overall health and well-being is related to the health of the environment beyond just their physical health and well-being (i.e. polluted air, water, or food makes you physically sick). In other words, the destruction of the environment would affect a person's mental/emotional health as well. Conversely, living in a healthy ecosystem would increase a person's mental/emotional health as well as their physical health.

This line of thinking leads to considering that say, restoring a wilderness area would not only be 'healing' for the environment, but therapeutic for people as well. Another example could be children's overall well-being could be increased by participating in an urban garden, thinking of it as beyond just a learning experience or a chance to perhaps grow some healthy food.

This may all sound obvious, but such a ingrained part of 'Western civilization' includes ideas about 'taming the wilderness' and controlling nature, that this kind of thinking really goes against the way much of how society is structured. And that includes everything from city planning to the medical system - as well as psychology.

To me all these are connected, and make me think of such things as the 'study' that showed that mothers who lived in housing projects with green areas hit their children less than mothers in housing projects with no green areas, or that hospital patients with a view of trees healed faster than those with a view of a brick wall.

What I think is how healing it can be for both humans and the environment to heal the relationship between humans and nature. Indeed, our survival as a species (as well as the survival of many other species) depends on it.

Here is a wiki page on ecopsychology that has more info plus links:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chocolate - and Eating Local

Yeah, I like chocolate. I didn't have it for a very many years, because I get so addicted to it. But for now, I am having it again. I try to have as much of my food as possible come from local sources, so chocolate is an exception...

Speaking of local food sources, it is great that the idea of "Eating local" has become more widespread, for example, check out "The 100-Mile Diet".

Here are the two kinds of chocolate treats I currently am enjoying (well not right at this minute!). I chose them because they are organic, don't have animal products or much sugar, and don't have soy (Why not? see related post on soy):

1. Coconut Bliss

Dark Chocolate flavor of course! Delicious and only four ingredients! (organic coconut milk, organic agave syrup, organic fair trade cocoa, and organic vanilla extract) And as a bonus, it's a local company!

2. Vivani Organic Dark Chocolate – 85% cocoa

This is also delicious and only three ingredients! (organic cocoa mass, organic cocoa butter, and organic raw cane sugar.) It was hard to find a chocolate bar that didn't have soy lecithin. [I did find one other, Green & Black's Organic Mint Bar, it is very good, but also a bit sweeter than my 85% very dark chocolate] It is not a local company however - this chocolate comes from Germany!

I admit, when I first started having chocolate again, I nervously thought of the scene in the movie Chocolat where this guy eats a lot of chocolate in a chocolate shop window and then passes out... Hasn't happened yet, but you never know!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Baby Elephants...

This is a small entry about a category of topics that are overwhelming for me - biodiversity/endangered species/the 6th extinction.... Making a difference in the preservation of the amazing diversity of life on this planet can seem so overwhelming...

So here's one thing. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is an amazing organization that works to help preserve African wildlife including orphaned baby elephants (and rhinos). Supporting their work by fostering an orphan (or supporting their desnaring project or other work) is one way to make a small difference! And you can give fostering as a gift to an animal lover in your life!

Here is a link to the Orphan's Project part of their website:

Here's a link about a feature on them that was on 60 Minutes.

The story of this project is truly remarkable to read about, including the first agonizing years when Daphne Sheldrick was trying to develop a formula that would allow the orphaned babies to survive, and the dedication and devotion that these babies need - the keepers are with them round the clock.

If nothing else, just looking at the pictures of these playful and mischievous baby elephants will be sure to make you smile!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The China Study

I am reading a book I would highly recommend to others. It is called The China Study, and it is reminding me of all the reasons to eat plenty of organic veggies, fruits, and grains (some reasons I already knew about, plus a lot of new reasons!).

Although I have been vegetarian or vegan for almost all of my adult life, when I get in busy/stressed mode, I sometimes need reminders that things like humus on toast, although quick to prepare, and not too unhealthy, do not fulfill all the requirements of a healthy diet...

I first came across the book on a the blog (that I would recommend also) of a musician named Christine Kane:

I also recommend Steve Pavlina's site which has an interesting article relating to this book:

Here's a couple links for the book:
The China Study (Has an excerpt you can download)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Green Social Networking

The other day I googled "Green Social Networking" and came up with this:

Which had a list of five examples. I 'applied' to Zaadz (, the one that jumped out at me first, and this evening was 'accepted'. I am hoping this will be a good source of connections & inspirations - I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Healthy Food – Soy Bien?

One of the central things to maintaining my personal sustainability is eating healthy foods. This can be difficult, especially during busy or stressful times, or while traveling. So it is particularly frustrating when I think I am eating something healthy, and then a whole bunch of articles come out warning of its dangers.... Obviously these kinds of articles usually have to be treated with some amount of skepticism, since studies are often funded by food product companies with an interest in their food being touted as an essential part of a healthy diet...

So, when I was recently unable to avoid articles about the dangers of one 'health' food I definitely have eaten a lot of – and enjoyed - soy (just google 'soy dangers' and you'll get more info than you want), I decided to be a bit cautious and minimize soy products. Until I read more, I want to avoid potentially harmful hormonal and chemical effects - and I also want to avoid genetically modified soy.

I want to learn more about how soy has been used traditionally to get a perspective on a reasonable approach to soy's place in a healthy diet. I haven't had much time to research this yet, but here's one article where a physician suggests using soy similarly to the way it was eaten in the Japan in the late '50s. The main thing I would add to his suggestions is to use organic or at least non-genetically modified soy products:

There is one soy product that I have not given up, and am still enjoying very much - organic tempeh. Tempeh, being fermented, is not supposed to have the potentially harmful qualities attributed to soy in these articles. The other day I caught myself saying to someone “They can't take my organic tempeh away!!!”, so I guess this whole evils-of-soy thing has been a bit traumatic for me... Sigh...

Friday, October 5, 2007

Bioneers – Positive Solutions & Inspiration

One organization that helps me remember to focus on the positive is the Bioneers (, because they gather information - and have incredibly inspiring annual conferences - about the many solutions that already exist to environmental (as well as other) problems. From their mission statement: “Bioneers is a nonprofit organization that promotes practical environmental solutions and innovative social strategies for restoring the Earth and communities.” (

Their annual conference is this month, October 19-21, 2007 in San Rafael, CA, but there are satellite conferences in the following locations (unfortunately none in Oregon this year):

I look forward to seeing the film The 11th Hour, which features some of the visionaries that speak at Bioneer conferences - it is sure to be inspiring (

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Greener Musician

One thing that I will be exploring is: how can I be a more eco-friendly musician? Examples of areas I will be researching and striving toward the greenest choices I can afford:

1. Travel - Renting an eco-friendly vehicle for out-of-town gigs and touring

2. Paper/Plastic - For our next recording, and future printed promo materials, use recycled and eco-friendly products

3. Instruments – Here's an even higher-level expense – it would be great to know that one's guitar or other instruments were made of wood (and other products) grown sustainability....

At this point I think this is enough to concentrate on – as we know from the last post (where I called myself EOG = Easily Overwhelmed Girl), I could go on as follows until I have overwhelmed myself into deciding it is all just too much (imagine the air around my head cluttered with thought balloons):

It would be best to be a “no-impact” band – let's see – using a solar generator for any electric instruments and other amplification, only playing local gigs, and getting there with bicycles pulling trailers...

... do all band promotion and communication online, to save paper, but then we have other whole categories of eco-trouble – the manufacture of computers, the power generated to use the computers – oh, right, we'll have those solar generators....

So! I will be concentrating on numbers 1 & 2 above for now! Of course, I wouldn't turn down a guitar that fit the #3 category!....

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Easily Overwhelmed Girl (EOG)'s Efforts to Get Greener – an Introduction

This is the beginning of a journey to answer the basic question:

How can I work towards greater sustainability?

For me this means striving towards a healthier balance in my life as well as making a difference in the world around me. When I am out of balance, I get uselessly stressed out and have no personal sustainability, much less ability to make a difference around me – so to me the ideas of internal and external sustainability are inseparable. So, since I am very easily overwhelmed around these kinds of things, a big challenge for me will be trying to keep it simple, remembering to focus on the positive, and somehow keep my of sense of humor – at least about myself....

Alright, here I go!!! Wish EOG luck!