What to Do with My Garbage?

I read most of the posts at Sven Eberlein’s blog, A World of Words. Natural balance within the world’s ecosystems and our ways-of-life are of utmost importance to Sven; he has a big-picture, insightful outlook on how to heal our intentions and our corrupted planet. I think about his ideas, yet there is no nice way to say this: We ignorant Americans, in the blissful, forward-motion of living large, have done a great deal of damage to our home planet, the great living being, Gaia, who holds us in space in incredibly beautiful settings, provides the food we eat, the water we drink, and materials for our shelters. The enormous profits generated by those giddy to feed our never-ending ‘make it bigger, better, faster, more-more-more’ mindset, have been earned at the expense of our health and our world’s health. We must stop ourselves individually–change course–to change the course of those who supply us.

The first time I noticed anyone speaking of the dangers of becoming dependent on one exhaustible product—oil–for energy, was in the 70s during the ‘oil embargo,’ when we had to wait in long lines to get gasoline, and some days the gas stations ran out. I remember one man saying, “We can use the sun to produce energy, for God’s sake!” Even back then, powerful, wealthy men had created massive systems of pumping, processing and distributing oil. People speaking of alternative, inexhaustible systems of generating energy and products have always been shut down by extremely well-paid lobbyists who have learned campaign donations buys government compliance. All of this has made those powerful people believe they are invulnerable. We may want big-screen, high-definition televisions and cool phones and cars, but they want to control us, the world’s governments and dictate how our lives will unfold. “Curse you, you ignoramus’s! You WILL use oil and you WILL use our products made from oil!”

Though Sven’s writing at A World of Words inspires readers to believe we can learn new (old) ways to live without destroying ourselves and the world, my trying to grasp how far-reaching the problem of oil/plastics is (after I read a piece at Grist.org excerpted from a book by journalist Amanda Little called Power Trip: From Oil Wells to Solar Cells—Our Ride to the Renewable Future) left me deeply discouraged. Here are several paragraphs from Little’s book:

“So one morning I took a small, quiet, but personally momentous tour around my office. My aim was to count the things in my midst that were, in one way or another, tied to fossil fuels. Since nearly all plastics, polymers, inks, paints, fertilizers, and pesticides are made from petrochemicals, and all products are delivered to market by trucks, trains, ships, and airplanes, there was virtually nothing in my office—my body included—that wasn’t there because of fossil fuels.

I had understood intellectually…that the energy landscape encompasses not just oil fields, coal mines, gas stations, and the vast network of copper wires that feeds electricity to our homes and offices. It’s also the cornfields in America’s heartland, the battlefields of Iraq, and the medical labs that produce penicillin, Novocain, chemotherapy drugs, and many other treatments and cures. It’s the cosmetics shelves and magazine racks in our drugstores. It’s the constantly humming, behind-the-scenes network of ships, planes, trains, and trucks that transport products to our store shelves. It’s even our own bodies, which we routinely drape in synthetic fabrics like spandex and nylon, and feed with crops that were fertilized by fossil fuels, and stitch up with plastic sutures.

Once I connected the dots between so many seemingly disparate elements of my life—my car, my clothes, my email, my makeup, my burger, even my health—I saw an energy landscape far more vast and complex than I’d ever imagined. I realized also that this thing I’d thought was a bad word—oil—was actually the source of many creature comforts I use and love, and many survival tools I need.”

Amanda Little goes on to say it was American ingenuity that resulted in our using oil for everything (at this point), and it will be American ingenuity that inspires products and propels into being the emerging energy technologies, the alternatives to fossil fuels: solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels, and hybrid-electric cars like the Toyota Prius. Just like Sven, her outlook is positive, and rightly so. Should we just give in or give up on ourselves and our world?

After reading and watching so much about the environment in the last couple of years, I began to feel a connection with our planet. A new thought crept into my consciousness: I’m not doing my part. I’m using my ill health/disability and lack of income as an excuse. It was like a punch in the gut. I’m embarrassed by my selfish my thought-processes revealed here:

“But wait,” I argued with my best-self. “I use those free plastic grocery bags to pick up my dog’s daily deposits. I’m supposed to pay for biodegradable doggie-pooper-scooper bags out of our small budget IN PLACE of the plastic bags I already have? (Yes. Stop putting them in the garbage cans, thus into landfills, where they will remain forever.)

“How will I bring our groceries home?” (Buy the cloth bags—they’re available for a dollar now at many locations. Bring them into the store and ask the checker to use them.) “How will I remember to bring them to the store?” (After you carry in your groceries, carry the bags back out to the car. It’s a matter of changing your habits. I promise you will learn to remember them after you have to go back to your car a few times.)

And, though we had recycled for the many years we had a home and recycling service, I argued: “But I can’t recycle in these apartments; they don’t do recycling here.” (You will find a way.)

So, I found an unused (plastic, of course) garbage can, hand lettered a sign on bright yellow card stock with the word “Recycle” and I pinned the sign above the empty garbage can, which now sits next to our throw-away garbage can. The very next time I went in the kitchen, I washed and recycled a can that had contained beans. It felt so good, like I had come home. I added milk and orange juice bottles and glass jars, feeling more weight come off my shoulders with each item dropped into the ‘recycle’ can.

When my daughter got home, she said, “Mom! This is awesome! We’re recycling again! But they don’t recycle here. Where will you put it?” After I said, “Don’t ask me,” we discussed collecting bags of recycled items, driving to the ritzy apartments next door, and, using mental cloaking for our old car (a dead giveaway that we don’t live there), speed in, slow down in front of their recycling bin, and my daughter would throw the bags in. Then we’d peel out on two wheels. I also spoke with a neighbor who I knew collects bags of stuff to supplement the family income, but only plastic water bottles and aluminum cans, neither of which we use.

Two days later my mom stopped by. “Oh!” she said with a big smile. “You’re recycling again! But where will you put it?” “Don’t ask me,” I said. She sat and we talked and later she smiled again and said, “I can take it and put it in with my recycling.” “Really?” I asked. “You’d do that?” “Of course I will. You know that.” My mother has taken three bags of containers for recycling already. I did find a way–or it found me. My best self, who often writes here, was right. For now, I’m ignoring the thought that those tall kitchen garbage bags containing our recycling probably can’t be recycled. I don’t even know where to buy garbage bags that are biodegradable.

But since we started recycling again, I realized there is something every family can do. I bought eight cloth one-dollar grocery bags the last time I went shopping and the checker was happy to use them. I looked at the blue pooper-scooper bags, but they didn’t say biodegradable, so I didn’t buy them. I might have to go to a pet store for them.

Making a difference all starts with deciding the earth, and our relationships with it, are more important than our whiny or careless thoughts and habits. There must be a hundred little things we can choose from in order to use less stuff and energy, like unplugging our toasters and computers when we’re not using them, or combining our errands into one trip. Years back, we had a seven-year drought and were asked to turn off the water when brushing our teeth and to flush our toilets only for bowel movements. We live in a desert and I still do those things. I’ll keep my eye out for a list of other things. A lot of caring for our planet is about using what we already have, or thinking of creative ways to re-use our stuff. While it’s true that my efforts, or your efforts alone, don’t make much difference, a whole bunch of us together makes a whopping difference. Think of NOT getting the latest and greatest as something you want to do. That’s how the ideas above, so small yet important, snuck up on me and bulldozed me to again take more responsibility for the garbage I create–with my mom’s help.

Here’s a link about alternatives to plastic bags at a great WordPress blog called Liberated Spaces. And I found a list at Sustainable Environment for Quality of Life of 100 little things we can do, that added up make a big difference.

Community: What North America Lacks Most a Guest Post by Michael Brine and Nikki Satira

By Michael Brine and Nikki Satira

The other day while having my usual morning cuppa in the local Westmark, I got chatting with the young waitress serving me who was new, and we discovered we were both vegetarians. It wasn’t busy so our conversation ranged onto other subjects and as a result I realised I was talking with a quite profound young person. As a result, Nikki–her name–shared with me, and I am now sharing with you that she had recently written an essay relating to a subject matter that meant much to her: Community. It is a subject I too have been reflecting on, so here are Nikki’s thoughts on this subject which, with her permission, I am presenting here for you also to reflect on. She is only 20, I might add.

Community: What North America Lacks Most
By Nikki Satira

Most people associate the idea of community with lame fairs, awkward neighbours
and 80s has-been bands playing in the local park, but what community really
encompasses is a group of people inhabiting a common location – sharing
resources like food and water, sharing recreational activities and contributing
to a part of the local economic infrastructure. A community is based on love,
friendship and compassion – they help each other out where help is needed. This
is what we need most in the world. This is my calling.

I am an environmentalist at heart, but it means something completely different
to me than what it means to most. Modern environmentalism, which is a growing
movement in North America, is entirely human-based — saving the planet for the
survival of our own species rather than for the sheer love of the planet and
all of the creatures within it. This has created one of the most disheartening
afflictions of our time – individualism. Not the type of individualism that
refers to any personality traits someone might have; I’m talking about the “one
man for him or herself” mentality. We don’t share anymore, we don’t ask for
help or advice, we don’t love as openly – we shy away from people when they say
“hello” to us on the street because we are programmed from our time of birth not
to talk to strangers. We fence our yards, shut our curtains and talk on the
Internet – just about anything to keep ourselves from interacting with one
another face to face.
Forget what music we like, forget what we’ve read, where we’ve been, where we’re
born or how much money we have – these aspects of our lives are all trivial in
the grand scheme of things. The fact of the matter is simple: We all have one
common denominator, one single aspect of our lives that connects all of us: the
Earth. Whether you see it terrestrially or celestially, it is one aspect of our
lives we can share in the most gentle of ways. The earth houses us; it feeds
us, gives us water and provides us with the most beautiful landscapes ever
known to the human eye and we have turned our backs on it. We know the issues
and disasters; we’ve seen them on the news or read about them in the papers and
we know that there is a limit to our consumption. Our output of product far
exceeds our input of resources and there is little left to argue about global
warming. We are at a tipping point, if I may suggest, and it may only get

When I walk by someone, I say “hello” (with a friendly smile). I say “hello” because
we are not strangers crossing paths but two people sharing the same space at the
same time – a part of each other’s lives for a brief but important moment in
time. I feel it is important to let others know that there is life here — that
there is beauty and love and friendship all around and we are not alone. You
should do the same.

We are all sharing one planet.
We have already destroyed it.
The only thing we can truly succeed at is embracing the human connection while
the earth is still habitable for human kind, and all the other life forms we share it with.

Now, if that isn’t profound — very touching and indeed, sadly a discomfiting truth — what is? Remember, she is only 20 and already she can see where Humanity has faltered. A fresh face will often see what we have become blind to, or, just as sadly, accepted imbalance as the ‘way it is.’

I, too, have been reflecting on the issue of how we share this Earth within the limiting confines of ‘countries’ — those lines on a map I have so often referred to in previous writings — and those ‘others’ across our separating borders. We are surely one humanity, only with differing backgrounds conditioned to see the world from the perspective of the culture we are born into. It is these ‘lines on a map’ that have largely set the stage and sadly separated us from each other; and the conditioning of distrust so often reflected in our conduct and attitude towards others, those who are “not us — different” resulting usually, in an attitude of caution.

Well, you know, I was all set to write an ongoing article and extend what Nikki has written and allowed me to share with you, but I think she has in essence said it all. This I will add: that in a world with escalating populations to almost critical levels, ‘Community’ would seem to be, if for no other reason, a sensible way to proceed in order to husband more carefully the diminishing resources of our shrinking world. It is my opinion that as a global society if we are to survive, it may well be the only logical way to continue. Whether we — humanity as a whole — will be able to make this transition and recognise that it would be a sensible way to deal with this growing crisis, is sadly doubtful. Our conditioning of mistrust of cultural differences, along with the dividing element of religion (that is growing), will likely stand in the way. The evidence is already uncomfortably before us with an increasing almost daily reality. I am sure that that God in the sky must be sadly shaking His head whose message delivered those many years ago that said, “Love ye one and other.”

Perhaps our ‘salvation’ lies in these younger members of our societies like Nikki who have an uplifting vision — but then they are only kids who don’t understand — they are too young to know that what they suggest is unrealistic — too simple — so who will truly listen?  You know, isn’t there a quote somewhere that says, “And a little child shall lead them,” or close to that? Hhhmmm — indeed!

Thank you, Nikki, for this vision and the underlying warning it carries — but also the vision that is also truly there. It is to you — all of you — that follow after us, like Nikki, to whom we should apologise, for you are the ones who will have to deal with the mess we have been creating. However, I have a feeling that you will — so on behalf of the rest of us, “Good luck,” and thank you for this vision, and maybe — just maybe — we will — all of us — pick up on it and move forward together. That’s the vision. Are we up to it?   YES!!

Other articles by Michael Brine here at NAtP  may be accessed by clicking on his name in the Categories section and  on the following web site – www.missionignition.net/btb.  Michael’s e-mail address is wild.brine621@gmail.com

Healing with a Wild Red Tailed Hawk, A Guest Post by Renee Prince

By Renee Prince

Here is the second post from Renee Prince, who has a good friend who is a wild Red Tailed Hawk.  She had a chronic illness (as do I) and believes her relationship with Tennerin is what has healed her. This is very interesting to me because I’ve been slowly healing since I made contact with the Red Tailed Hawks who come and go from my neighborhood. Here are more of Renee’s own words on healing and Tennerin; the pictures in this post are hers, taken of Tennerin.

Note: Renee Prince crossed to the other side on June 29, 2015, after a tough battle with cancer. She is missed by all who knew her and even those like me whose life she briefly touched…

“Thank you for writing back! It is always wonderful to read of other people’s hawk experiences.  At my website, reneeprince.net,  there are pages about Tennerin and another story about him, as well as some other pages you might find interesting, especially the metaphysics (although the finishing up is woefully out of date—I need to update all sorts of things on the site and will try to do that this week). Also on my site are pages about Candace Pert, the neurobiologist who discovered the opiate receptor; she believes that thoughts actually change our cellular structure by increasing the amounts of neurotransmitters, whether they are “sad” transmitters (which in circular fashion make us feel sadness) or “happy” transmitters (such as endorphins, which give us, among other things, that famous “runner’s high”), formed by our thoughts. Our cells constantly change the amounts of receptors for these particular neurotransmitters and eventually if you are “happy” more often, your cells will change the number of “happy receptors” and allow more of these happy neurotransmitters to hook onto our cells, thus changing our feelings positively in a whole-body way through a circular, interconnected feedback system.

I am indeed planning to write a book about Tennerin, and one of the theories I have about how he (and other animals that we have a close, loving, or sacred relationship with) can heal us, is that the love we exchange, unconditional and powerful, changes us at the cellular level over time, via a mechanism like Dr. Pert has discovered. This doesn’t make it any less miraculous—but it does move this kind of healing from the “new age, weirdo fluff” area to real, demonstrable phenomena. This in turn will (I hope, through my book, books like it, and through the work of Dr. Pert, as well as organizations like the Institute of Noetic Sciences and researchers like Charles Tart and others, makes such healing more acceptable, and more accessible to all kinds of people.  I also hope it will give people a new sense of the value of our relationships with animals and their potential.

I really wish I could find the time to make another film of Tennerin, because I have years of great footage, especially this year of the hawk air show, but I am so busy right now. It will happen, I just have to prioritize. The only reason I am not writing a book about Tennerin right now is that I am in the process of finishing a dolphin book which I feel very strongly driven to send out into the world, as soon as possible.  However, I have been keeping a Hawk Diary of every day we have had together, exploring metaphysical issues, subtleties of our relationship and some amazing communication experiences between us, and so the book is actually being written in that form, at least.

Your experience with the two hawks who had the “wall” up is interesting.  I have had the same type of feeling from Tennerin’s mate, who I call Chocolate, and sometimes from Tennerin when he is on watch guard duty, when there are eagles in his territory or stranger hawks.  He seems to be very annoyed by my stupidity in trying to talk to him during those times, and it really hurt my feelings, until I realized that it is life or death to him up there, and I might seem frivolous and so completely ignorant of the real world, with all its dangers.

One day he flew to me and screamed angrily at me over and over again, while I stood there asking him, “What’s wrong?” again and again.  Then the hair on the back of my neck rose up and I turned around to see a pair of adult bald eagles charging through the air toward us both.  I ran inside the house and Tennerin disappeared, too.  He was trying to get me out of harm’s way and risking his own safety to do so.

With Chocolate, she (or he—I don’t know what sex Tennerin is, really) will take food if I leave it out for her and then I go wait up at the top of the hill (you’ll see the layout by the river in the video).The feeling from her is that the food is nice, but the thing (me) that is leaving it for her is an uncomfortable, probably dangerous creature that doesn’t matter.

In fact, the two hawks look so alike that one of the ways I can tell them apart is by how they treat me. From Tennerin I have received such benign affection; it seems to radiate from him, even when he is sitting far up at the top of a tree downriver. But Chocolate does have her affectionate times, too. It’s usually at the end of the season, when their hormones are many times more active than during the non-mating season. Then she will wait quietly by me for hours, watching me and even listening to me talk. Tennerin is more a game-player, and loves to play tricks on me. I will have to explain what those are, though, when I have more time.

So, thanks again for your letter and I hope you enjoy the links.  Feel free to comment on my blog site, as well, or you can write me here, too.

Blessings to You,


PS–A friend of mine told me I was a “Borderlander” from a book about people like me (and I think you are, too).  Here is the link to the author of that book’s site for some fascinating insights: Profile of the Borderland Personality at Borderlanders.  There are others all along the path, and it is always good to connect as we pause along the way and look around that path through the eyes of others, both human and animal.”

Other Posts by Renee Prince:  My Friendship with a Wild Red-Tailed Hawk

On Crows, Feathers and Telepathic Communication with Animals

Education of the Heart, A Guest Post by Michael Brine

I will continue posting in the next weeks some very interesting pieces from fellow moms and dads on their parenting experiences. I hope you will be as inspired as I am by my friends and the depth of their insight. Michael Brine resides in the Yukon in Canada and has dedicated his life to spreading love and consciousness-raising. He tells his son’s story here and believes our educational system needs to be reborn. After meeting some of the lost teens who live in this apartment complex, I couldn’t agree with him more. (Only fifty percent of high school teens graduate in our state, a very sad state of affairs.) Please visit Michael at Mission Ignition , Beyond the Box, or email him at wild.brine621@gmail.com. If you know of any revolutionary schools or plans, please let me know at notesalongthepath@gmail.com. Thank you, Pam, NAtP

Girl w Basket M Brine ParentingBy Michael Brine    

My father was a strict British Army Officer and I was raised in that kind of environment. He later left the army and immigrated to Canada during the depression of the 1930s and became a school teacher. With me, he was always very strict.

It follows that later when I became a father I found myself following this pattern of strictness with my son—it was all I knew—until one morning when I woke up from my sleep, I suddenly saw what I had been doing to him. It seemed that I had had an awakening during the night. I now realised I had to break this unhealthy pattern.

With this new understanding, I realised he was so unhappy in the school system and with his poor marks, that as a working single parent, I might come home one day and find him hanging in the bathroom. I was aware of a couple of recent cases of suicide of students, although these are not usually reported. With this new knowledge, I saw I had been projecting onto my own son what my father had done with me.

That same morning I sat him down and apologised to him for my behaviour, and told him that I could also see that the existing school system was dumbing him down, and how unhappy he was in it. At the time he was part way through his grade nine.

So I gave him a choice. He could either carry on within the system or he could leave school and that I would support him until he got on his feet. I pointed out that if later he wanted to complete his formal education he could do that through what we call Night School. That option was always there.

He couldn’t believe I would allow him to leave — but he took up my offer and I did support him until he got on his feet. He then became very interested in T’ai Chi and pursued it to the extent that he followed his T’ai Chi master to China where he lived and studied for five years. He earned money to support his passion by teaching English. He also became fluent in Mandarin—no easy accomplishment.

After also spending an additional year in Taiwan, he eventually returned to Canada (Vancouver) and is now attending the University of British Columbia, in his third year, taking a course in Asian Studies. I kid you not, he gets As and A+s on all his exams and his teachers are amazed. No one knows he never finished grade nine! I am being absolutely honest with you—this is not just a boastful parent—As and A+s in ALL his submissions! I believe the university has him marked as a future professor.

As a result of what we will call my ‘awakening,’ I have little use for the existing system. We dumb down our children and it is primarily for teaching a child how to “earn its living.” It removes the excitement of following his or her passion and creativity, which a Russian School I am aware of does not, with simply unbelievably amazing results, producing happy and creative children who complete in a fraction of the time what in our system takes children 10 years or more! They also cook, write textbooks and perform the administration at the school. They swim in mountain streams, dance, draw, sing, and work the crops in surrounding fields. They can use both automatic rifles and swords. Information about the school is available at TEKOS.org.

The School is the brainchild of the headmaster, Mikhail Shetinin, but there is no doubt that the teachings of a young woman called Anastasia are reflected in it. Anastasia lives in the Siberian wilderness with her grandfather and, until he died, her great-grandfather, and with the animals and birds who all love and protect her. She is considered to be a surviving member of an ancient Vedic civilization and exhibits extraordinary powers and knowledge. Books about Anastasia are available at Ringing Cedars.

The proof is in the pudding. It’s time we saw what we are doing to our children and the sad results manifesting within our societies as a consequence.