otrdiena, 2012. gada 31. janvāris

Crafts for men I - knitted neck warmer

Time to go public with some crafts again! I made this very cosy neck warmer for my brother as a Christmas gift accompanied with some home made chocolate bars, truffles and my super specialty this year- chilly jello = shopping free holidays.
But back to the crafts:

The real color is on the picture above. 

This kind of neck warmer is good for everyone but especially great for kids and those who like to play actively in the snow since it fits snugly and doesn't become loose during activities like regular scarf. 

pirmdiena, 2012. gada 30. janvāris

Second greenest country in the world..

Yep, some happy news on green carpet- in 2012 Latvia has scored as second greenest country in the world according to the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) of Yale University. What can be better than being second strongest performer? Well, according to the same studies, Latvia is also the strongest improver- at the very top- No 1- in Pilot Trend EPI Rank that is based on performance over the last decade. Hooray!! But is it really?

Source: http://epi.yale.edu 

I couldn't resist to look a little more "around". I always check not only Latvia, but also neighbors- Lithuania and Estonia. Well, I thought their results were better. Lithuania is 17th in EPI Rank as a strong performer, but it's one of 'declining performers' - No 104 in Pilot Trend EPI Rank. Estonia has gone even more down than that- it's only No 54 in EPI Rank as a modest performer and down to No 128 as one of the worst decliners in Pilot Trend EPI Rank. Sad. But I cross my fingers they will increase their ranks for the next study in two years! I always check also the countries that have been my home for a while- Norway and UK. No surprise they both were in top ten in EPI Rank (No 3 Norway and No 9 UK), but I was very surprised that comparing to UK's rank as No 20 (Modest improver) in Trend Rank, Norway scored only No 84 as for 'little and no change'. This doesn't send a good message does it? You can't rest on your victories, you have to keep improving, working on all areas, even if you were No 1!

So what does EPI say about Latvia?
Even though I have some doubts about this study, I just had to peek inside the country profile of Latvia to see what's our ups and downs. Being ranked so high would be a reason to celebrate. However, that doesn't mean we are all perfect and we can rest now, even according to the EPI details. Not at all. I looked at stats (you can find them here and choosing detailed view) and found that while we are doing good in some areas, we have loads to do in others.
There are two parts of the study- Environmental Health and Ecosystem Vitality, and each has several criteria.

 Latvia has received:
      high scores in the following areas:

  • PM 2.5 under Environmental Health area 'Air (effects on human health)'. 
  • Child Mortality under Environmental Health area 'Environmental Burden of Disease', however, I believe that we could do so much better if doctors, hospitals and society would return to more natural pregnancy, child birth, nurturing and treating children. This is a whole enormous topic that could be discussed so I won't go in detail here. We need to rethink the whole concept of having and raising a baby.
  • Drinking Water under Environmental Health area 'Water (effects on human health)'. Yet again- we could do better by filtering our drinking water right in the tap, and drinking more water from springs, when possible. 
  • Pesticide Regulation  under Ecosystem Vitality area 'Agriculture'. Good, however, I'd wish we could score higher than just No 40. It 's out chance to improve it buy choosing local organic produce over chain stores and by talking to the farmers nearby our homes about health hazards of pesticides. 
  • SO2 per Capita and SO2 per GDP under  under Ecosystem Vitality area 'Air (Ecosystem Effects)'.
  • We have no results in Critical Habitat Protection, and I'm not entirely sure whether it means we don't have such habitats or that means nobody could find any information on this?
  • Marine Protected Areas under Ecosystem Vitality area 'Biodiversity and Habitat'. 
  • Biome Protection under Ecosystem Vitality area 'Biodiversity and Habitat'. Biodiversity has always been our strength and I'm happy to see us receiving highest score there.
  • CO2 per Capita and per GDP under Ecosystem Vitality area 'Climate Change'. However, we should aim to score higher, the score results are bordering on 'low' here. And comparing to other countries our ranks should be on 'low' side, so we should be more aware on our options to reduce CO2.
  • Renewable Electricity under Ecosystem Vitality area 'Climate Change'. I'm genuinely surprised about the result since Latvia is very far behind other countries in using such renewable energy as sun or wind. Besides, we've been declining performers in this area, which is a very bad trend for this era.
  • Forest Cover under Ecosystem Vitality area 'Forests'. We're No1! And this is such a lie! The problem roots back here in Latvia, where Latvijas Valsts Meži (Latvian State Forests) say that Latvia is covered with forests. But they have "lost" somewhere the definition of Forest that says that Forest is grown-up trees, not just planted trees, nor felling areas. It's completely insane. And by this definition we're the top country in forest cover. Or is it that all the other countries are in so much worse condition???
  • Growing Stock under Ecosystem Vitality area 'Forests'. No1 again. Here I could agree since we're working on renewing the forests, my family is one of many owning such business. But growing forest is a very long process and just planted fir trees are not yet a forest. 
  • Water Use under Ecosystem Vitality area 'Water Resources (Ecosystem Effects)'. We still could do much better since not many people have heard or let alone use even simple water saving devices or techniques. Let's spread the word on quick showers, buckets in wc trunks, closing taps when brushing teeth, reusable water and water savers in taps and showers! 

      low scores in the following areas:

  • Indoor air pollution under Environmental Health area 'Air (effects on human health)'. The worst part- this has been one of largest declines if we look at trend rankings. That's something we can change easily if each one of us would grow some plants in our apartments and if each one would bring a plant to the workplace. And quit those terrible conditioners that makes you cold-sick during the summer! Sometimes wearing lighter clothes, opening windows for ventilation and closing the blinds to direct sunlight is better. 
  • Sanitation- under  Environmental Health area 'Water (effects on human health)'.  I am surprised that it was one of them since we are supposed to be a developed country! Apparently it's time to look in our own backyard before defending the rights to proper sanitation of people in poor South..
  • Agricultural Subsidies under Ecosystem Vitality area 'Agriculture'. It's time to help our local farmers, support local and organic farming. It is difficult without state supporting it's people in this area. But as for ourselves as individuals- again, we can always vote with our wallets and buycott to make politicians see what we care for. 
  • CO2 per KWH under Ecosystem Vitality area 'Climate Change'. Even though comparing us to other countries we are No24 in ranking, the score is very, very low. That just means, we are there only because other countries are doing worse. But that doesn't mean we're good yet. 
  • Trawling Intensity under Ecosystem Vitality area 'Fisheries'. Again- even though we have quite high rank No 21, the score is very low. Being better than others doesn't mean we're good yet!
  • Fish Stocks Overexploited under Ecosystem Vitality area 'Fisheries'. Low both on rank and score table. Again there's a government policy needed I guess, since organic buyers will always vote with their wallets for wild fish rather than farmed ones that are fed antibiotics. 
  • Forest Loss under Ecosystem Vitality area 'Forests'. Well, that's about right finally on forests. It's been couple of years now that experts are talking about too great loss of forests here, but since it's big money, they don't have a say. The worst part is private owners who file their forests for quick money and many times don't care for renewing it. Only educating them will help. 

Associate Professor of Statistics at Yale and Principal Investigator of the 2012 EPI, John W.Emerson has said himself: "Our findings are only as solid as the underlying data, and we have a long way to go in some areas". He continues admitting that "Particularly distressing is the lack of global, accurate, and comparative data on waste management, toxic exposures, agricultural sustainability, and water resources." approving my doubts on complete genuineness of this study. But, of course, I am happy that it exists and tries to improve constantly by filling these gaps.

These results do sound both wonderful and quite unbelievable to be second greenest in the world and first in trend.. Society involvement in even such basic things as recycling, choosing organic, environmentally friendly ways of living. If that would be greater, if awareness and inspiration would increase, then we would first consider these data more reliable, and second- consciously make an effort to be the No1!
But we all have to do our share. Today I asked our maintenance guys to stop idling their car in our courtyard. And rinsed the nappies in cold wash. And did many other little things. Most importantly- read ideas that inspire, read this EPI study that made me want to do more. And tell more people to do more!

I also believe the same as Kim Samuel-Johnson, Chair of the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy Board of Directors and co-creator of the project that what is great is the impact of the EPI across the world, "many countries are realizing the value of using these indicators to benchmark performance over time". And I truly hope that by latest results Latvia will finally have a 'kick' to turn truly green. We live in very rich and exclusive conditions in this small country, we should stop tossing around various policy directions and use the wonderful resources we have and become a place, where people come to enjoy pure nature, import natural goods and products. 
Let's really earn the No1 rank for our country!

piektdiena, 2012. gada 27. janvāris

Crafts for Interior VI- pot holders Denim edition

One more addition to pot holder collection on green carpet- this time greener than the first one.
I made these for one of my very best friends on her birthday adding locally made soap and home made jam jar to the gift box.

These are made from up-cycled materials- denim from my 'jeans-to-re-purpose' collection, filling of the pocket pot holder from old curtains. The only new parts are ribbon, pink cotton yarn in the crocheted pot holder and cotton thread. I like the pocket pot holder the best and intend to make some of these for myself as well!

ceturtdiena, 2012. gada 26. janvāris

Smells and fragrances..

Today I stumbled upon Eco Mama's blog post about mainstream fabric softeners and started to realize how odd the use of any laundry detergent or softener that has the advertised ocean, orchid, summer breeze, green apple etc. fragrance (read: toxic smell).
I quit using mainstream laundry or household chemicals already long ago, I stopped putting chemical stuff in my bathroom from shampoo to toothpaste.. I love to have my bed made with freshly washed linen that's dried outside. Since I do all of my laundry with either wash-ball or ecological Frosch laundry detergent, it doesn't have any smell after washing and winding outside. It just feels fresh and crisp. Mmm, same applies to my cloth and my babies nappies- fresh, clean, no smells!

I actually have no idea why people still buy what commercials tell them- like, that they need synthetic smells in their detergent. There's not a single detergent that actually can smell like a "spring morning" or "summer breeze".. And even worst- the idea that we need softeners! Isn't that a little crazy? The fabric in almost all cases is as soft as it is supposed to be and with most of fabrics- it gets softer with every use and washing. Unless you have terribly hard water, there's absolutely no need of some other toxic liquid in your washing machine. It's just a commercial trick how to make people buy stuff they actually do not need. I do my laundry without any softener and my clothes and bed linen feel perfectly soft. And remembering the times when I did buy fabric softener- I couldn't tell the difference when I used it and when I had run out of it. So stop letting yourself be fooled by colorful advertisements. And if your water is really, really hard- try some greener alternatives like vinegar!
Eco Mama gave me a kick to say something about this, but the thinking about the toxic smells of laundry started this weekend when I had to make a bed for my cousin. When I started to live at my parents home again, I persuaded my mom to use the ecological laundry detergent not only occasionally, but for all their laundry as well. So from then on we all used the same one. But this weekend we had many guests to my grandmom's 70th birthday party and I was pulling out the linen that was deep in the closed unused for loooong long time.. So long that it had been washed with the conventional detergent.. (note- I started living back here almost 7 months ago). I have a habit of smelling the clean sheets before making the bed. Oh my... It smelled.. toxic! Yuk! You recognize the synthetic fragrance as Eco mama says: "the same way a non smoker smells smoke  ". And it just made me shiver when I realized how long it stays there= how noxious it is. Any natural smell would have evaporated by now.. I think the worst part is that this is the smell that seems attractive to many people who have got used to it, and it is so wrong! It is quite like smoking- when you do it, it doesn't seem so awful and smelly. But when you quit, the longer you don't smoke, the more repulsive the smell becomes.. I think it's worth to take the education mission on and tell your friends, family and other people how different their life can be. And maybe they will see that they sleep better in toxic-free bed and feel better in clothes that don't smell like plastic green apples..

The only mainstream stuff I still have had for a while was make-up and perfume bottles and I made a promise to myself to obey two basic rules for future. First- I'm not buying a single conventional perfume or make-up ever again. Second- I'm not buying any make-up item before I run out of that particular color or item that I already have. Same applies to perfume. And I have managed it all perfectly well.. Until recently I realized how bad was the stuff that I actually have..
It's been five months since I've become a mom that obviously spends most of her time at home.. It's been almost seven months since I've been living in the country side. That means I've lived make-up and perfume free for most of my time (I've been having luxury of mascara when going somewhere out).. But recent festivities like New Years eve and my grandmom's birthday made me want to have something more of my make-up kit. I had my great Clarins eye shadows, YSL mascara and BY bronzer.. Well, mascaras never provoked anything with me.. but these eye shadows made my eyes water in about an hour for the rest of the night.. Awful experience! And perfumes! Yuk! At the moment I sprayed on my lovely j'adore I felt sick.. it seemed so unnatural, poisonous and strong that I felt like I'm endangering myself and my child by wearing them.. I guess I will have to buy some greener options with a hope that it doesn't have the same effects.. (I did like some Pacifica perfumes I found in Whole Foods while still in London like Waikiki Pikake)

I guess living in countryside free from many previous daily practices can spoil you after all. I want to live my life toxic free and that means also toxic smells free. No artificial smell makes you or your clothes smell more clean than they can be without the synthetic fragrances. Let's have some clean break for our noses on green carpet!

sestdiena, 2012. gada 21. janvāris

Fighting winter colds II

Umf, to some sneezing we added coughing - some sick times continues on green carpet. Well, winter is here and it's said that it's one of worst winters in pneumonia cases, so we continue to take in some natural remedies.

My little one:

  • She has already tried her first syrup- the same homeopathic one I'm having- Stodal. She kind of liked it! 
  • I had Unckalor homeopathic drops ready in case her cough gets worse since it's natural antibiotic, but very strong one. No need for that yet since she's in a good mood, playing, smiling, eating and sleeping quite well, and it seems we're getting better every day!
  • I also tried tapping massage her with olive oil- that helps to expectorate.
  • Instead of bathing her every night we are doing "steam bath"- putting a pot of boiling chamomile tea with a dash of baking soda. 

  • She has experienced her first mustard patches on those tiny feet couple of hours every day. 
  • I massaged her feet with cedar tincture for the night. 
  • I made potato warmers for her. This is how to do it: boil a potato, smash it a bit, put it in a linen cloth and keep it on her chest for a while. It helps wonderfully, but be careful to check the temperature first on yourself since it's very hot!!! And remember, that babies have much more sensitive skin than you do. And check it under the warmer constantly! 
  • On every nappy changing I put new warm linen cloth on her chest- linen has wonderful properties of keeping the warmth, so I just warm it up on the bathroom heater and then put it under her top.  

I also have "updated" my own remedy list:

  • Homemade cabbage syrup: boil few cabbage leaves in little water, let them cool and soak in more, then drain and add honey to the liquid. Take by tablespoon several times a day. 
  • Mustard patches on my feet and pepper patches on my chest. 
  • Black radish syrup- if you have a large one, carve the radish and put the honey in it, let it soak for a while and take in the liquid several times a day. If you have a small one- grate it finely, add honey and let it soak. 

  • I also had some potato warmers for myself (look above). 
  • I also made some warmers from linseed. Here's how to do it: since  microwave are no no!, heat the linseed on the stove in a pan, then put it in a cloth bag or use the nylon sock, then put it around your neck and keep it there till it's cool. Got my voice back quickly. 
  • My mom arrived from her trip and had another advice- there are those detox patches you put on your feet during the sleep to detox your body from all heavy metals, toxins etc. Well, we did put it on our chest. 

The basic things to eat and do to avoid the ills and to get rid of them faster:
  • Garlic! One of the most basic natural remedies that can be there- eat it, chop it finely and put around the room to. 
  • Pollen- eat it pure or with honey, how ever you like, but do eat it. It's rich with loads of good stuff.
  • Black currant juice- drink a sip every day to keep your vitamin levels up! We make a lot in summer to last for whole winter.
  • Ventilate your rooms. Even though it's middle of the winter, I still keep a tiny opening in my window during the night and we sleep very well. 
I have to say with pleasure- we're getting much better and soon we'll be back in our daily business! 
But we still have to be careful, germs are spreading around- my brother and my husband also got sick. I hope we will manage to get them well faster than ourselves. 
Now it's time to take another cup of herbal tea that smells so sweet of hot summer day..  Be well all of you!  

piektdiena, 2012. gada 13. janvāris

Fighting winter colds..

Today I was supposed to go to the Environmental Forum at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development. This Forum covers the NGO work in environmental protection, cooperation with ministry and developing resolution. Well, the words "I was supposed to go" already tell you that I didn't. Why?
Winter colds put me and my little one down for a while..
Good news though- Ministry is streaming the forum online. Although I can't manage to see it all, at least I can grasp some moments, which is so much better than nothing, thank you so much!

Most of my attention though is now directed to get better. Since my little one has only running nose at the moment, I try to keep her daily life (walks outside, playtime etc) as usual, just watching her closely and "spraying" some breast milk in her nostrils. It is actually the best cure for little babies, known for generations and generations, and even suggested by my GP!
Weird thing- in the latest magazine Mans Mazais (Eng: My little one), which is one of the largest baby magazines in Latvia it was said that doctors do not suggest it since it may clog the nose even more due to sugars and fats in milk. Hmm... really weird? No.. sad actually. That makes me think that some magazines and doctors are bought by medical companies again. I mean- you can't sell the breast milk in the drugstore like other  'stuff', so you just tell people it's bad and they will go to look for something they can buy to help the baby. Horrible. I'm very happy that my GP is not one of such people and that I can find better reads like The Mother magazine- an international natural parenting magazine.
So for now I'm just keeping my baby drug-free and cross my fingers that she's getting better really fast!

As for myself- I'm still in the process of getting better. My coughing is less horrible today and nose is less running so that's a progress. So, here's a list of my remedies now (order is not prioritized, I use all of them together constantly):

  • Hot milk (organic, unpasteurized) with tablespoon of honey (organic), then I add pinch of bicarbonate soda and 1/4tsp ghee or pure natural butter; other option- add ghee and turmeric powder; other option - add ground cinnamon. I drink all versions!
  • Hot linden tea with honey. Sometimes I add some other herbs as well. More on teas - in this post
  • Hot raspberry drink- add hot water to the frozen raspberries from summer and add honey. 
  • Eat few teaspoons of aloe with honey every day.
  • Stodal syrup - a homeopathic remedy for coughing. 
  • Angin-Heel - a homeopathic remedy for coughing. 
  • Herbal Ayurvedic Balm by Siddhalepa from our honeymoon in SriLanka- putting it under/around my nose to relieve breathing, put it on my chest to warm up. I also smear it around my room - on my bed railings, on my little ones bed to relieve her nose as well. It's actually very very multi-purpose balm and really good. 
  • Mudras for upper breathing system and cough. 
  • And all this is accompanied with handful of cranberries and bags of mandarins, yumm. 

Crafts for ladies II- crocheted hair bands

This Christmas almost every gift was hand-made right here on green carpet. Some of my close and dear friends are lovely girls who received the hair bands along with the rest of the holiday package.

I admit, I have to start using models since they look better in hair than on the flat surface :)
These pieces were boxed together with some homemade Chili Jello or Spicy Mandarin Jello, some homemade chocolates, sugar coated almonds, ginger breads and other tasty bits.

ceturtdiena, 2012. gada 12. janvāris

Story of Electronics

Next Story of Stuff project re-posted on green carpet- on e-waste.
It has always annoyed me that computers and other new age technologies are designed to last so short period. I remember the time when people used to have same cell phone for years.. and have same PC on their desk for years.. now everyone is running to get the latest smart phone, tablet, laptop, screen, TV etc as soon as it is available in store. The worst is that it is not depending on whether the old gadget is still working or not!
Personally I can't do it that way.. I used my PC for many years and then I gave it to someone who is still using it. It's been 8 years since we bought it.. And I still have my laptop, it's about 3 years old. It's surprising, but in technologies 3 years is really old. As one of my close friends who works with computers explained to me- laptops are created to last for about a year, maybe 18 months if you really want.. then- no matter what you change in programs and software- the hardware slowly dies.. Well, mine is a bit slow. OK, my husband says he gets old while doing anything on it. But I manage to read, write, watch videos, listen to the music. Humorous part- maybe it's good that it's slower than some others- it teaches patience and slow living.
Of course, the time will come for me to change it inevitably, but then - I'm happy that nowadays I can choose laptops that are designed from recycled materials, few companies are having at least some green policies and maybe, if I wait long enough, the super-green technologies will come out from the experimental stages and I'll use them..

But for now- I feel sorry when I see how people are rushing into gadget stores to have more and more e-junk at home. And I believe that the greatest devil who started this super-speedy overconsumption of technologies was Steve Jobs with his least green company in the world- Apple. Do you know any other company that makes people change most of their gadgets every year or whenever newest model is out? And here's a little insight in how Apple creates all this junk revealed by the Ecologist. And remember-toxics in, toxics out. While some companies like Samsung, GreenPC and others are going green, carbon neutral etc, Apple seems to stay it's way forever. Well, I hope it will crash down soon in a modern world where there's increasing demand of green, sustainable and ethical technologies.

Comment on e-waste now. If your gadget producers don't offer take back, use someone who collects all the e-waste not depending on the producer. While I was living in the UK, I found some companies that utilize the e-waste, you can even send them via Royal Mail in the package. I sent them some stuff like- mouse, cell charger, some old cells, and all it cost me was couple of stamps. I believe there are companies like this everywhere, we just have to dig deeper and find out how they deal with that stuff.

But now- time to enjoy some funny stories about serious stuff:
"The Story of Electronics employs the Story of Stuff style to explore the high-tech revolution's collateral damage—25 million tons of e-waste and counting, poisoned workers and a public left holding the bill. Host Annie Leonard takes viewers from the mines and factories where our gadgets begin to the horrific backyard recycling shops in China where many end up. The film concludes with a call for a green 'race to the top' where designers compete to make long-lasting, toxic-free products that are fully and easily recyclable." Annie Leonard

I would love to have toxic-free, recycled material and long lasting technologies.

trešdiena, 2012. gada 11. janvāris

Crafts for baby V- crocheted baby shoes and butterfly hat

It's nice to remember colorful summer and butterflies in the midst of winter, so here's a little piece of crafts on green carpet again. Baby shoes and butterfly hat for my little butterfly made of baby alpaca wool.

And one of the best things about this pretty hat is that I will be able to add some more layers to increase its size when she grows bigger!

sestdiena, 2012. gada 7. janvāris


Some reading time on green carpet was filled by the Economist article on the success of our neighboring country Estonia to develop world wide movement- World Cleanup. I'm proud of the Estonians! And I'm proud to be a citizen of its neighboring country- Latvia, that also participates in World Cleanup. Every year Latvians are rushing to various places and picking up litter, cleaning the territories. Some add in  planting trees and bushes as well.
Of course, it is fantastic that such movement grows global and that those countries that are facing the real problem of trash in parts of Africa and Asia are joining in. With them on board (let's hope- not only picking up litter, but also waving flags of protest that would say "no more foreign trash") we could get a step ahead with today's garbage issues.
But is it really people of Cote d'Ivoire, India, China and Guatemala that are supposed to clean up their countries from most of the global garbage? I would say that they shouldn't have the global garbage in their territory in the first place! Maybe, when they say- Enough!- Western world will suddenly realize that it's time to change the whole idea and framework of production (read. designed to dump) to more sustainable. When West will have to deal with its own trash they've thrown away, they would finally realize, there's no such place as "away".

Of course, not all countries ship their rubbish somewhere else , but I wouldn't say that by not doing so they have found out the way how to rid themselves from illegal trash. Take Latvia for example. The Economist has said: "Estonia has a tradition of volunteer efforts aimed at cleaning up the blight of illegal rubbish dumping in public spaces (part of a legacy of environmental abuse during the Soviet occupation era)" . I suppose, we're very similar with Estonians. But if we are so concerned about illegal rubbish dumping in public spaces, why do we still need the movement to clean our country? That means- somebody is still dumping the trash, and that somebody is no one else but us. Well, maybe not me, not you, but people living among us. And even if they come out once a year to clean it up, it's not enough.
In Latvia we've had advertisements of Cūkmens (In Latvian people who trash may be called pigs, so Cūkmens=Pigman was an image of anyone littering in public) and how bad it is for the nature, how ugly it is. We have advertisements on how much waste and rubbish is thrown into our Baltic sea. On the one hand- it's fantastic that we finally talk about these problems, explain on TV, radio, internet, newspapers how damaging it is for environment, for ourselves. On the other hand- it just makes me so sad that we are in need of it.
It should come naturally to everyone that if you see a packaging paper, bottle or anything that does not belong in the forest, river, meadow, roadside etc. - you pick it up and take it to the proper place. I do that almost everyday when walking with my little one! Why can't you do it?
Some say- it's not mine. So what it is not your ice cream wrapper? It's your environment and your nature. Do you like it littered? I don't, so I pick it up. And I am not afraid to tell others to do it. And to tell them to pick up whatever they've just thrown on the ground. Maybe they'll remember next time and tell someone else too.

I do love those two new terms I learned from the Economist-

  • Garbology- is a word popularised (and possibly coined) by A.J.Weberman, a writer and activist whose credo was "you are what you throw away". / the Economist /  

  • Glocally- dealing with big global problems through myriad small or individual actions. 
These are truly inspiring and I think of acting "glocally"  as the best solution to environmental issues. Don't wait for politicians, corporations and "big guys" to act, start with yourself! 

And to finish on a positive note- I am happy for World Cleanup 2012, I'm joining in every day, I hope you will too. We might not be able to rid the planet from all the trash yet, but hey- Let's make this world clean from illegal garbage!

piektdiena, 2012. gada 6. janvāris

Crafts for Baby IV- crocheted tiny hat and baby shoes

Those tiny little hats and super-tiny shoes for babies are just adorable! So my little princess had a pair of those as well. Made of baby-alpaca wool, warm and super-soft!

She's growing so fast! These did look cute on her tiny feet a while ago.. But yes, we still keep her pictures private :)

ceturtdiena, 2012. gada 5. janvāris

Story of Bottled Water

Last year I started to re-post videos of Annie Leonard in Story of Stuff series, and I intend to continue that. Now- off to bottled water issue. It's huge!
I've lived most of my life in the countryside where we drink water either from the well or later in life from the tap. I've lived in Norway, where it's so very "normal" to have your own water bottle that you fill everywhere- at home, at work, at a drinking fountain in a park, even in the WC of McDonald's! Then I moved to London. Also there it's very simple- drink from the tap everywhere unless there is a sign not to do that. And I haven't seen those too often.. It's just "normal" to order a tap water in a restaurant to go with your meal.. at no cost, obviously. 
And then I moved back to Latvia.. Even though the water from tap in our city apartment is considered drinkable, it tastes... well, it has its "city tap water" taste of metal and "stuff".. 
Even though it's regulated to be drinkable and clean, people are still in doubt.. unfortunately since I am breastfeeding, I am too a little wary.. So I use a filter for my city drinking water. We just started to use the same that was left by my friends in my apartment. I still haven't figured out how to utilize used filters. So one of my New years resolutions is- buy the tap filter that you don't have to change that often! 

But many people buy water. In plastic bottles.. in huge plastic bottles for home.. in small plastic bottles on the go.. in medium plastic bottles for work.. and so the plastic bottles keep surrounding us on daily basis! I have a plastic bottle of water in my car too! But I fill it often at home, so I don't run out and don't have to buy another one in the store or gas station. It is my own "solution", because I do not believe the beautiful pictures and commercials on water bottles.. but here it's not common at all to walk into gas station and fill your bottle in the WC.. Just the thought of it is a little scary actually since it's not a living premises.. I hope one day it will change and I will be able to walk through the capital city of my country and fill my reusable bottle at a drinking fountain on the street, park, old-town.. Hmm.. maybe I should drop a line to a city council actually! 
But then again- we must fight with this image of drinking fancy bottled water, because many people think they look better when having a bottle of expensive bottled water on the table instead of having reusable to refill or going with a glass to the tap. Hmm.. another resolution- put to shame everyone I know for buying bottled water as a regular habit instead of "emergency case"! 

But now- back to the Story of Bottled water
"The Story of Bottled Water, released on March 22, 2010 (World Water Day) employs the Story of Stuff style to tell the story of manufactured demand—how you get Americans to buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week when it already flows from the tap. Over five minutes, the film explores the bottled water industrys attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces." Annie Leonard

Enjoy watching and drink from the tap! 

And here's a fact sheet- Myths Versus Reality:

trešdiena, 2012. gada 4. janvāris

Best wishes in 2012!!!

I wish you health!
And may your health comes from your healthy lifestyle, natural remedies and ancient wisdom when help is needed...

I wish you prosperity!
And may your prosperity comes from your creativity and talents without a cost of neither your family time nor planet...

I wish you knowledge!
And may your knowledge comes from great teachers, trustful sources and brings the joy of learning...

I wish you time!
And may your time is always right for what you have planned, and enough to spend it with your closest and to have some for yourself, and more to share with those in need...

I wish you love!
And may your love is great and unconditional towards your family, friends, humanity and the earth we live on...

Have a wonderful, adventurous, joyful, happy and green New Year!!!