Category Archives: Power to the People

Monthly Museletter—October 2017

Lunar_libration_with_phase2

“Lunar Libration” by Tomruen, via Wikimedia Commons

The Museletter is late again (I’d like to get it out when I receive it, but this month I was away!).  As usual, it’s a list of goodies with a focus on the feminine, the soulful, the green. Again, thank you so very much, dear Karla, for sharing! —SK

P. S. If you’re from Colorado Springs and would like Karla’s full newsletter that includes local events, you can write her at karlaann45 @ gmail.com.

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Every child in the world can have a pocket microscope! Here’s the accompanying YouTube video. This made me think of famous American scientist George Washington Carver, who a century ago at Tuskegee, had to go through the city dump to find materials in which to make equipment for his laboratory (beakers and crucibles, etc.).

We have more environmental refugees than we have refugees from war.” Says Anita Sanchez in her seventeen minute TEDx talk seventeen minute TEDx talk . Her long-gestated new book The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Ttimes is in the library now.

Tina Hovsepian started cardborigami.org to provide her insulated, waterproof, pop-up, portable , private, inexpensive cardboard shelters to homeless persons and disaster victims around the world.

“It’s not about a good death, it’s about a good LIFE all the way to the end.” – Dr. Atul Gawande in his book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. Pets and plants in nursing homes really add to quality, if not quantity of life!

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Our First Written Communication? This fascinating TED Talk with paleoanthropologist and rock art researcher Genevieve von Petzinger is about the 32 symbols that recur in ancient cave art worldwide – she was the first to thoroughly document this.

“You’ll never see a hearse with a u-haul behind it.”  —Denzel Washington
(Yep, you can’t take it with you!)

Did you know? Cinnamon sticks will deter, but not kill, spiders from haunting your basement steps and garage corners! Here are some more suggestions for keeping Charlotte and her webs at bay.

How to Go Green Without Really Trying. Lauren Singer tells how she fit four years of trash into one jar in the video that featured on CU’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative website: “Going Green Shouldn’t Be This Hard”. Learn more on the steps of going green (a lot is really pretty easy!) here.

 

An exciting new book, Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats by Maryn McKenna is now in the library. McKenna’s not trying to make us all vegans, just more aware carnivores. * * *

Have a beautiful rest-of-your-October!

 

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The Monthly Museletter—September 2017

Lunar_libration_with_phase2

“Lunar Libration” by Tomruen, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Karla sent in her September newsletter two weeks ago and I’m just now getting the green bits to you today. So sorry for the delay! It’s a list of goodies with a focus on the soulful, the beautiful, the green. Again, thank you so very much, dear Karla, for sharing! —SK

P. S. If you’re local (Colorado Springs) and would like Karla’s full newsletter that includes local events, you can write her at karlaann45 @ gmail.com.

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Eco-brilliant: These portable, inflatable, solar-rechargeable lanterns were invented by a woman and help folks who have no electricity. You can also put one on your car dashboard to recharge your phone as you travel! Buy them directly from luminaid.com so some of your money will go to help those who can’t afford them.

“There’s no problem so awful you can’t add some guilt and make it even worse.” —Bill Watterson

Being used as a college text, Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, was written by a host of experts & edited by Paul Hawken. I never buy a book I haven’t read, and only buy “keepers” — this one I knew right away was a keeper.

And one more book recommendation:
“Faery energy, the Gaian presence, the Goddess, Mother Earth: every culture has had a name for this awareness of the Life Force in Nature.” (p.17) “Water is an optimist . . . always willing to take on the more powerful positive structure of thoughts and intentions. It wants to be healthy, strong, and beautiful . . . even a small quantity of positively charged Water [can] communicate with and transform a large area or body of Water.” (p.54) —from The Garden Awakening by Irish wild-gardener Mary Reynolds. Illustrated by Ruth Evans. Here’s a short film about the book:

Mama Moon is NOT dry—there’s a water-rich interior & polar canyons! Check it out here.

Are you drawn to Ireland? (So am I!) Watch Ireland’s Wild Coast for free.

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Causeway Coast, Antrim, Northern Ireland. View looking west towards Giant’s Causeway. Image via Wikimedia Commons

It’s the Bees Knees! Check out Chicago’s airport – it hosts beehives!

Raise food on the roof of a grocery store where you sell it—that’s called “hyperlocal” GreenCityGrowers.com

Think Small! “Nothing is more responsible than living in the smallest space you possibly can.” —minimalist F. Marcia

Have you heard of “ABEEGO”? it’s a re-usable beeswax wrap that lets food breathe. “Keep food alive!” says our friend.

A Beautiful Gift Idea: A RESIST BIG MONEY IN POLITICS stamp to put it on all your dollars, even on the $20 White House! It’ll let those who you do business with know your values!

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Going Places: Check out this electric walking bike which has a treadmill instead of a seat—you can exercise AND get places fast!
and . . .
Volkswagen electric vehicles are on the way!

Women Chief Judges of two west coast tribes are the center of this POV film TRIBAL JUSTICE. Their Native systems focus on restoration, not retribution . . .

Word! “2.4 billion people lack sanitation: more people have a cell phone than a toilet.” —Matt Daimon

And, to end on a fun (and admittedly political and not green, but I couldn’t help myself) note: 

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Clowns in wedding dresses confound the loud KKK with silly WIFE POWER! This is a brilliant story and shows how laughter can be more than medicine—it can be the perfect way to ridicule Nazis!

 

 

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The 6th Annual National Heirloom Exposition!

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Image from CropMobster article.

Also known as The World’s Pure Food Fair. Check it out.

It’s here again—and how I wish I could attend this event! So many other responsibilities have taken precedence this year, but next year . . . I am going to make it happen!

Here’s the lineup:

Over 4,000 varieties of heirloom vegetables showcased – and the farmers will be there!

Over 80 nationally and internationally acclaimed speakers, including Dr. Vandana Shiva and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.!

Their 3rd annual dahlia show, with “THE most magnificent spectacular colossal blooms EVER seen on display”.  (To dahlia lovers, this is so exciting.)

Here’s the Program Guide.

Ticket info:

Tickets are available at the gate on September 5, 6 & 7, 2017.
Gates are open 9 AM to 9 PM.
One Day Ticket $10 or Three Day Pass $25 (Purchased at the gate) and Children are Free!

I hope you can attend. If and when you do, please leave a comment and let us know how you liked it, your favorite activities and lectures. (Pretty please?)

Until next year . . .

—SK

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The Truth About Cancer

thetruthaboutcancer

Click on image to sign up to watch the last three episodes!

 

Hi everyone,

We’ve all had family members who have died from cancer. Many of us probably have friends and family who are battling cancer right now. The statistics are grim here in the U. S. : one out of two men and one out of three women will be afflicted with cancer in their lifetime. That’s why, when this series came up, I was determined to take the time and watch. My only regret is that I wish I would have shared this sooner, as the nine episodes have been airing, one a day, for free. I was caught up in a lot of projects, though, and it didn’t occur to me to share as a blog post until today – although I have been sharing on Facebook and on the Greenwoman Publishing Facebook page since the day the series started.

All I can say is that this series, created by Ty Bollinger, is absolutely transformational. I HIGHLY recommend purchasing the series and telling all your family and friends about it.

You can still watch the last three episodes for FREE, but you have to start today. Today is Episode 7 – sign up to watch it here! Each episode has been an hour and a half and chock-FULL of valuable information on natural cancer treatments (herbs, foods, oxygen therapy, heat therapy, etc.) that have been proven to work! You will see many testimonies from those whose lives have been saved when there was no hope. There’s a lot on nutrition, a lot on all kinds of many kinds of healthy living strategies – what you can do on a daily basis to transform your life in a healthy way.

Again, this is more than a must-watch. This is a “must-incorporate into our lives and share”!

https://go.thetruthaboutcancer.com/

—Sandra Knauf

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Sandra Knauf is the one-woman-show behind Greenwoman Publishing. Her books include the six-volume series Greenwoman, (a literary digest), her young adult fantasy novel, Zera and the Green Man, and an anthology of sexy gardening stories that she says is the feminist gardener answer to Fifty Shades of GreyFifty Shades of Green. She was a 2008-09 featured “Colorado Voices” columnist for The Denver Post and her humorous essays have appeared nationally in GreenPrints and MaryJanesFarm. Sandra lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her family, dogs, huge urban garden, and lots of books.

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Unify Summit!

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A year or so ago I thoroughly enjoyed Nathan Crane’s documentary series The Search for Sustainability”. (Check out the trailer on the link!) I found myself excited to see so many groundbreaking ideas and practices—I learned a lot and was introduced to many kindred spirits, those who want to work to make positive change in this world. Because of that introduction to the Panacea Community, I am thrilled to share information about another series that’s beginning this week, the Unify Summit! This summit is about: “Inspiring and practical wisdom for living with more abundance, meaning, love, health, and unity with advice from more than 12 world-renowned teachers.”

Mark your calendars and join me – starts Wednesday!

Attend the Unify Summit online for FREE.

April 19-26, 2017

 

—Sandra Knauf

 

 

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The Green Wasteland

canstockphoto1881083 (3)vintage lawnmowers

Image from CanStockPhoto.

My sister and I ended many summer afternoons in the 1970s green from the knees of our jeans down, sweaty, and reeking of gas and exhaust. As servants of the Great American Lawn, we regularly mowed ours, the elderly Miss Howard’s next door, our grandma’s, and once in a while, our great Aunt Flora’s.

It was work that was necessary, and our lawn in particular was well used—the six kids in our family played games of tag, pitch and catch, badminton, and we used the space, as teenagers, for sunbathing. Dad saw physical labor as the best character-builder, so he “volunteered” us to maintain it. We received $5 a lawn, to share.

I didn’t mind the work, but Missouri summers were hot and humid, and occasionally at Miss Howard’s I ran over a toad (a horrifying thing).

I learned more about turf at age 20, verifying sales for a lawn-care company in Colorado Springs. I telephoned clients, confirming that they had joined our fertilizer/weed killer program, with insecticide and/or fungicide treatments as needed. With our help, their lawns would be the envy of the neighborhood!

During our one-day training, we learned to instruct clients with pets to remove dog and cat bowls before spraying, as there had been pet deaths from tainted water. We also cautioned them to keep pets and people off the grass until the applications dried. It sickened me to realize that the men who drove the trucks and sprayed these toxins daily would inhale them, get them on their clothing, their skin, and bring these toxins home. I wondered why people would pay good money for lawns you wouldn’t want a baby crawling on.

A decade later, as a college grad, mom, and hobby gardener, I had my own lawn—or, rather, weed/native grass lot. Seduced by the American ideal, we installed sod in our backyard. For a while, it looked gorgeous; but without pampering, chemicals, or a sprinkler system, it deteriorated fast. In Colorado, as in most parts of our country, lawns require not only constant maintenance but constant life support.

A few years later when I became a master gardener, I determined to get rid of our lawn. Bit by bit, with a tiny budget and lots of elbow grease, I created a garden instead—with fruit trees, herbs, flowers, native plants, sandstone paths, even a goldfish pond. I kept patches of grass/weeds for our dogs (and the occasional badminton game for the kids) and maintained it with a reel mower, enjoying a good workout in the process. Our established xeric garden requires less maintenance than a lawn. Except for the vegetable garden, I water once a week, deeply, and I do not water the grass/weeds at all.

I realize that turf is a multibillion-dollar U.S. industry and many are wedded to the old ways. Lawns, those pretty green carpets, do have an aesthetic charm, and they are good for sports. But they don’t support butterflies, honeybees, birds, or other wildlife, and caring for one is the antithesis of green. Five percent of all our nation’s air pollution comes from gas-powered lawn mowers. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, one gas-powered mower, used for one hour, emits as much pollution as eight new cars driven at 55 mph for the same time.

According to the EPA, Americans burn 800 million gallons of fuel each year trimming their lawns. Of this, 17 million gallons of fuel, mostly gasoline, are spilled each year while refueling lawn equipment. This is more than the oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez. Fertilizer pollution is a huge problem, and lawns require significant water, yet another burden on our limited resources.

In addition, nearly 80 million pounds of pesticide active ingredients are used on U.S. lawns annually. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported that “homeowners use up to 10 times more chemical pesticides per acre on their lawns than farmers use on crops.”

It’s past time to see traditional lawns for what they have become: antiquated, wasteful, and harmful. I propose that we return to our roots—cottage gardens. Gardens assist nature on a meaningful scale, and they are excellent outdoor classrooms/playgrounds for children and adults. My children had more fun in our back yard than I ever did in the 1970s as they had chickens, and flowers, and a pond—and lots of places to let their imagination run wild. Our home landscapes can also provide us with locally-grown food. You cannot grow luscious plums, pull up sweet carrots, snip chives for your potatoes (and grow potatoes, too), pick wildflower bouquets, or provide bird sanctuary or forage for honeybees with a grass lawn.

As the industrialized world races toward green living, homeowners everywhere can make a difference. It’s easy—take up your shovel and start getting rid of your lawn.

References:
People Powered Machines (much of their information comes from the EPA),
http://www.peoplepoweredmachines.com/faq-environment.htm

Environment and Human Health, Inc.,
http://www.ehhi.org/reports/lcpesticides/summary.shtml

CSU Extension Service,
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/consumer/09952.html

Note from the author: This essay originally appeared in The Denver Post in 2009. I think it’s also one of the most important essays I’ve ever written, especially in light of the honeybee collapse that we now know is caused in great part by the use of insecticides and other toxins. The year I wrote this, turf was a billion dollar a year cash crop in Colorado. But the recession had just begun, and the numbers have changed as the lawn industry was impacted and continues to be. Times have changed (back then we did not imagine that marijuana would become our #4 cash crop in five years!), but lawns are still the norm for the home landscape. Fifty percent of all water used by homeowners in Colorado is used outdoors.

When I went to check the numbers last year, when this piece appeared in US Represented, I found few updates, but a new report on the EPA site showed, in alarming detail, the health impact on humans of not only lawn mowers, but all lawn and garden equipment. It is titled “National Lawn and Garden Equipment Emissions” and was written by Jamie Banks, PhD, MS, of Quiet Communities, Inc. and Robert McConnell of the U.S. EPA, Region 1. Here’s the link for this must-read.

—Sandra Knauf

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Seed Library Update

Isn't it cool how seed packets fit perfectly in the old card catalogues? (Photo by David Woolley)

Old card catalog file turned into new seed library! Brilliant! (Photo by David Woolley)

 

About two and a half years ago I wrote a post on our first local seed library. It was installed at the public library in Manitou Springs, Colorado by David Woolley and Natalie Seals.

Here’s the replay on what a seed library is, if you haven’t been to one yet:

“. . . it’s a place where you can check out packets of seeds–flowers, vegetables, and herbs—to plant. In return you’re asked to donate seeds from your future harvest; usually twice as many seeds as you checked out. To some, having to harvest seeds may sound intimidating, but it really isn’t difficult. Many seeds, such as tomatoes, peppers, beans, radishes, and quite a few species of flowers, are easy to save . . . and one tomato or sunflower can produce enough seeds for many return seed packets. (If you’re still unsure, there is a lot of information online and in books on seed saving.)

What is exciting is that people begin saving and sharing their locally grown (and hopefully organically grown) seeds. It makes for stronger genetic stock that is adapted to local growing conditions. It helps people who can’t afford seeds to grow gardens, and it creates diversity, because if the library is successful many, many people will participate and share. Probably the most exciting aspect is that we can reclaim the power of owning our own seed stock and won’t have to re-purchase seed every year or be dependent on outside companies. There are myriad other benefits, but these are the ones that come to mind first. Viva la backyard farmer!”

Now for the update:

For the last three growing seasons I’ve enjoyed this library. I’ve “checked out” seeds, grew them in my garden, and returned seeds from my own harvests.  I’ve made it a point to return at least triple what I took each year. This year I brought in almost 40 packets of seeds from heirloom tomatoes, snapdragons, calendula, lettuce, hollyhock, Italian flat-leaf parsley, garlic chives, and more. Everything I bring back is organically grown and local, and that makes me feel great about being a part of this.

How’s the library doing? Well, I haven’t been able to have an in-depth talk with Director David Woolley, though I did speak with him briefly after a very well-attended talk on backyard gardening a couple of weeks ago. Woolley said the seed library was doing very well. There were many people coming in and getting seed packets. They were excited to be gardening. “Were there any problems?” I asked. Yes, he said, they are struggling a bit with getting in enough donations. There are too many who take out seeds and don’t bring back donations.

I told him I’d be happy to help, to send a few emails out to seed companies and ask them for donations. He said it was a little more complicated than that with the big seed companies, as you have to fill out paperwork, and show that the seed is going to a nonprofit. (Always, the bureaucracy!) I haven’t been able to connect with him yet to move further on this, but I wanted to get this post out today, to ask readers if perhaps they had connections with any seed companies (or perhaps seed from last year that won’t be used, or home-grown seed) for donations.  I imagine there are a lot of backyard farmers who would love to share.

A gentle reminder to those who might have forgotten to repay this service with a donation—free seed libraries will only work if we all pitch in. I know it can be intimidating, saving seed for the first time, putting them in packets and labeling them, but trust me, it’s easy! And once you do it, it becomes pretty fun.

If you haven’t yet, I hope you’ll come and check out the library. You don’t have to live in Manitou Springs as it’s open to the entire region. You don’t even have to have a library or an I.D.! How cool is that?

Check out their website for full details. There’s a wonderful FAQ written by Natalie Seals that details the process.

See you at the library!

—Sandra Knauf

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