pirmdiena, 2012. gada 18. jūnijs

Big Ask

Just amazing video I wanted to share on green carpet. Might not be new, but it doesn't make it less true..

Rio+20 events

Online space is buzzing with events, actions, movements, discussions, conferences, blogs, news on Rio+20 topics. 13th June also held one such event here in Latvia- discussion on Rio+20 with political representatives and civil society. Thanks to homo ecos: for the event!
Some thought provoking moments, ideas and statements that were shared there:

  • Mr Edmunds Sprūdžs, the Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, says that Latvia has achieved a lot already, so his speech will most probably be selling 'ourselves', showing off the progress. He believes that Latvia could try a little 'aggressive' tactics when asking others to act towards sustainable development. Mr Sprūdžs hopes to give a speech that will make others to remember Latvia after the conference. 
Well, we don't even recycle properly here. We don't have hybrid or electric cars on our roads. We have hardly few places where renewable energy like sun and wind is collected.. I don't think we can rest on what nature has given us per se like biodiversity and forests. Latvia is a beautiful, green country and we try not to spoil it. But I would not say that we have progressed that much, even though Yale says so.. 
  • Both Mr Sprūdžs and Mr Jurijs Spiridonovs who also represented political side of panel, both agreed that most important for Latvia will be meeting other leaders of states, bilateral meetings with for example Japan, and meetings with various NGOs. Connections is going to be the biggest gain from the conference rather than a document or speeches. 
I could agree that meetings, connections are going to be most important, since I'm not so optimistic on either the necessity or content of a new document or those speeches there. It's all political blaaahblahablaaah that we are expecting from there, unfortunately. What I really hope for is that governments and Mr Sprūdžs himself as well are going to take on board what Civil Society has to say, what we, people, have declared we want for our future in documents like we created last July here, and thoughts that are played in videos, statements etc. 

  • Mr Jānis Ulme from Zemes Draugi- Friends of Earth in Latvia- had more down to earth approach reminding us about the various dangers on what's going on in Rio. One of them is talking about Green Economy that has no definition or real meaning, everyone uses this label on whatever he decides with no regulation, so basically it means just blahblahblaaa again. Negotiators on the outcome document can't agree on text yet, so that shows a lot. Another risky point is the perception that we need a new document. We don't, we haven't yet managed the previous ones, we just put them somewhere aside without saying. 
I can totally relate to all what Mr Ulme said in these terms. One of my university teachers once said- we don't need to start writing a new convention, we need to start implementing the existing one and it will have immense effect (we were discussing genocide, war crime, torture topics). What happened to conventions our predecessors agreed on 1992? What about the Agenda 21? The new document should be an agreement to bind us all together to actually implement those, fill the criteria. 

  • Mr Ulme and Ms Ērika Lagzdiņa, director of Regional Environmental Centre for Eastern and Central Europe, both had some discussion on the participation of the civil society in Rio and decision making processes on sustainability issues. While Ms Lagzdiņa mentioned that original Earth Summit was a revolutionary moment when finally public voice was taken into account, Mr Ulme reminded Copenhagen and latest occasions when NGOs and acting individuals were not only left out of the process but also denied the access and their right to express themselves. 
I must admit this was one of the most scary thoughts- that our ideas, our actions would not be heard, not taken into account? I felt so sure, knowing, that there's this buzz around Rio+20, events and actions taking place during at least a month, not just those two days in June... should we feel worried that our documents are never read, videos never seen, statements not taken seriously? I hope not and I am positive that this time 'they' will hear us. 

20 Years ago 'they' agreed that Climate change is real, environmental damage, depletion and poverty is real and it is time to change our habits, our lives, time for sustainable development. Unfortunately they did let the large oil money color their glasses, they let enormous TNCs (Trans-National Companies) to lead their greedy way instead. This is the very last moment to stop it. This is the last train we must jump in to be able to                                                grant our grandchildren their future. 
I don't want to be remembered by my kids as one of those people who "could have made a difference". I don't want to be one of those who let others make wrong choices that will destroy our planet and take the chance of life away from our future generations. 
We all have to do something. And some of those things are not going to be easy. That's why we have those governments "up there"- to help us do it. We just have to ask them. Louder and probably many times. But we should ask them as many times as it takes- we want sustainable future, fair, clean and balanced lives. 

ceturtdiena, 2012. gada 14. jūnijs

Twitter Storm #EndFossilFuelSubsidies

All the people on green carpet, it's time to act!
I have joined the Twitter storm


and I encourage you to do the same!

I love this time when the buzz around all climate, environment and sustainability issues are high on media, in civil society. The events are overlapping and there are more than you can attend or manage to follow due to Rio+20.
But this is such an easy one to participate and you do know that those little things brought together creates an enormous force, right? So this is one of the little things everyone can do to stop subsidizing things we want to delete from our future scenarious- climate change, dirty fossil fuels, unfair resource management...
Join the 350.org  Twitter storm here and make yourself heard, let the power players know that you want green energy, green jobs and simply - clean and green life for yourself and for your children!

On their Facebook page Mr Ken Winkel posted a Greek proverb, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” adding that  Now is the time and these are the old men who shall prove their greatness or their greed.

I couldn't agree more! But I also think that this is the time that we, all who care, especially young people, remind those 'old men' to make the right choice!

If you are still in doubt, check this info graphic by Priceofoil.org and think whether you really support it?

Make the right choice! Ask for the accessibility to greener energy. I still have to drive my regular car here in Latvia to get somewhere. I do car pooling, econ/ecol driving, route planning.. but it's not gonna help in long term. I wonder, when we will be able to feel some change in that...  Rio+20 might show the way to some! 

pirmdiena, 2012. gada 11. jūnijs

Home made yogurt

It was a while ago when I promised to share my experience of home made rhubarb yogurt on green carpet. It was after my trip to London and eating Rachel's super-tasty yogurts again.
Well, I must say- our home made version is fantastic!

We use the yogurt recipe my mom got in Ayurveda cooking lesson:

  • Take one liter of fresh milk (unpasteurized, straight from the farm)
  • 100g of natural yogurt (I used from dairy Daugava, use a good one that still has the neccessary bacteria)
  • Bring the milk up to the boiling point and remove from heat and let it cool until about 40 degrees C (to the point you can put your finger in it and hold it there)
  • Add the yogurt, stir and pour in jars
  • Leave the jars open on the table for 2-4 hours, depending how sour you want it to become
  • Eat it or close the jars and put it in the fridge

I like adding the flavors only for the portion I eat instead of mixing it all for one taste. 
For now I've tried such additives as blackberries, buck-thorn and maple syrup, pear jam and rhubarbs, of course. 
For rhubarb option just take fresh rhubarb, cut in small peaces, add sugar, let it soak, boil until rhubarbs soft and let it cool. Then add to the yogurt. Mmmm, perfect!
Note- do not add rhubarb mixture to yogurt before it has cooled, it will change the consistence from yogurt to rhubarb compote with cheesy bits! It still tastes good though, in case you still want to experiment... 

Home made yogurt is perfect for summer, since it's plain natural you can add either berries and fruits or put it in green salad, so I hope you try and enjoy this recipe!
Let me know if you have tried any interesting flavors and whether you liked the yogurt! 


ceturtdiena, 2012. gada 7. jūnijs

Sauna turned aroma spa

It was a while ago I posted on how to turn sauna to a perfect home spa where you can smudge yourself and your friends with various masks, scrubs, potions to spend a wonderful quality time plus have an amazing beauty regimen.. Well, we like to keep this sauna tradition, so I have something more to share on green carpet. This time additionally to all the previous goodies we turned our sauna into natural aroma spa.

We began by going out and getting our herbs:

Sweet flag (Acorus calamus) has not only wonderful aroma, but also antiseptic, regeneration properties. 

Lilac (Syringa) has lovely, romantic aroma that suppresses unwelcome bacteria and has positive effect on psyche and organism. Since it has also various medicinal properties, I collected some extra and dried for use in winter.

Apple-tree (Malus domestica) leaves have multiple medicinal properties when drank as tea; additionally to that apple tree in our traditions simbolizes motherhood. As a new mother I value that and add it to my sauna waters.

Linden (Tilia cordata) has a wonderful summer aroma, full of sweet honey. It also symbolize womanhood, therefore all it's parts are of value to our feminine endeavours. More info on Linden can be found here.

Chamomile (Matricaria recutrita) has this gentle smell of childhood and eases the mind. Since we're using it more for aroma and steam qualities rather than drinking, I won't go into more details, you can find them here. 

We placed this wonderfully smelling bouquet of leaves and flowers in a metal basin and poured boiling water on them. Then we placed the basin in the sauna room and enjoyed an amazing natural aroma bath. 
No artificial sauna scents needed (not mentioning they are expensive and not healthy, very unlike this collection). 
What are your favorite aromas for home sauna-spa? Try making some of your own next time ;) 

I also saved many of these for winter as dried herbs that can be used both as drinking teas and as similar aroma basins. 

Take a moment for your body and mind, enjoy your aroma spa!