For those of you who wonder what you can do in your everyday life to live more closely in harmony with nature...  

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Flowers that produce seeds can be left standing through the winter, providing important food for birds.

Other things besides bird feeders that attract bears to people's property are unsecured garbage cans, unsecured compost, and unsecured pet food.

Read more about keeping bears out of your yard at



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I learned of Emily's story in the book "Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows" by Melanie Joy. This book helped me understand how the suffering of animals raised for food is permitted within a society of people who love animals. It is an eye-opening book which clarifies how we (myself included) have become blind to the brutal treatment of farm animals in industrial scale agribusiness and how we've been conditioned to do so.

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based foods instead of animal-based foods, we are living in a golden age. There are many choices.

If you want to enjoy the taste of meat without being part of the suffering and slaughter of animals, here are some brands that imitate meat in ingenious ways.

Instead of beef burgers, try these plant-based alternatives that mimic the taste, texture, and juiciness of hamburgers. They are like hamburger meat, so you can use them for burgers, meatballs, tacos, and more.  You can even grill them:

  • The Impossible Burger - Made from soy and potato proteins but somehow tastes like a burger. Complete source of protein. Gluten free. Currently available in restaurants, use this restaurant locator to find them.
  • Beyond Burger - Made from peas, mung beans, and rice proteins but also tastes like a burger. Complete source of protein. Soy free, gluten free, and GMO free. Currently available in some grocery stores, use this store locator to find them. The burgers are usually in the refrigerated meat section but try the frozen alternative meat section too.

Emily would thank you.


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Some more things you can do to bring back dark skies:

  • Don't go overboard on the wattage: Use incandescent bulbs of 60 watts or less and LED bulbs of 15 watts or less.
  • Put a timer on floodlights and aim them down, not up.
  • Use a motion sensor for security lights.
  • Work with your city council to raise awareness and to create lighting ordinances.

Click here for an article in Forbes that goes into more depth about light pollution.

You can also learn more about light pollution and what you can do as a individual and as part of a community at the International Dark-Sky Association.

Both of these sources have photos that make it clear what our skies really look like without the glare of artificial light.

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About spray sunscreens:

When using a spray sunscreen that contains chemicals, those chemicals are being sprayed all over, including onto the sand at a beach.  At high tide, the water comes in over the sand and those chemicals are let loose into the ocean.


More about the chemicals in some sunscreens:

Sunscreens with chemicals have been found to cause coral bleaching.  One of the worst is Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3 (BP-3) which leaches the coral of its nutrients and bleaches it white (coral bleaching), causes DNA damage, acts as a skeletal endochrine disruptor, and causes deformities in baby coral.  


More about what these chemicals do to people: 

  • Chemical sunscreens are absorbed by the skin.
  • Oxybenzone: hormone disruption.  
  • Octinoxate: hormone disruption, as a fat-soluble chemical, some is metabolized and excreted in urine and some is stored in the body in fat tissue or lipid-rich tissue such as the placenta.
  • Homosalate: hormone disruption



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The choice of cloth tote bag versus plastic disposable bag is debated by some.  It depends what you consider when judging them.  The resources needed to produce and transport a plastic disposable bag are less than for a cotton cloth tote bag, so you have to use a cotton cloth tote bag a long time to break even on the resource usage.  Tote bags can be made from other materials besides cotton cloth; long lasting tote bags are also made from a light weight woven synthetic material which minimizes resource usage.  

Plastic disposable bags that you're given to bring home groceries can be reused for your small garbage cans in place of purchased plastic disposable bags.  The big problem is that many plastic bags find their way outside, snagged in trees and floating on creeks, then rivers, all the way to the ocean. Besides being unpleasant to look at, they are mistaken for food and kill wildlife.  And nobody wants that.