It is true we are possessed of an intellect like no other species, but it is also true that we come with some rather unpleasant add-ons, also unique to our kind: avarice, pettiness, jealousy, pride, a yen for cruelty that staggers the gentler minds among us…
While we are capable of great good, and that much touted intellect gives us the vehicle to create a virtual utopia for ourselves and our animal fellows upon this earth, that baggage prevents us from greatness as a species and instead of a utopia we find something more akin to a hell, especially for our animal fellows. That intellect can also be used to magnify great evils…
While it is a fact that our cruelty is neither a modern, nor a Western phenomenon exclusively-after all, there is ample evidence aboriginal and tribal peoples the world over, almost from the dawn of “humankind,” warred and sold other tribes, and other nations’ tribes, into slavery-the progress we tout as a species over the centuries ought to have brought our barbarism toward one other and all living things to an end. It has not. Instead we find ourselves, under the very guise of progress, facing the greatest crisis our species has ever known, and perhaps its last.
What we do in the next few years will determine our fate, and seal our legacy. Were we great, or were we simply the most dangerous animal that ever lived, one that made extinct not just itself, but every other living thing on the earth, and left the planet itself a scorched and barren wasteland?
Time will tell, though there may be no one left to read our story.

La Parida: Where the Wild Things Were

Excellent-and heartbreaking-post by Krista Schyler. What have we done?

krista schlyer

Wednesday morning at dawn a solitary pied-billed grebe paddled through a misty oxbow lake called La Parida Banco in the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. La Parida translates from Spanish as: one who has just given birth, perhaps the most apt description I’ve ever heard for a wildlife refuge. I contemplated this meaning as the little grebe and I shared a cold February sunrise in the North American tropics of South Texas.

Though we occupied the same space, we came to La Parida on different errands: his was a search for food and safety on an island of wild sanctuary within an ocean of human development. Me, I was surveying the site of the first major border wall construction in Texas since 2009, the construction that would devastate the pied-billed’s home.

(c)Krista_Schlyer border-02342

Yesterday, wall construction began. I walked the Rio Grande levee at dawn and instead of the usual…

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Help Idaho Black Bear Rehab by participating in the Be My Bearentine Campaign.

If you love bears and want to help a great cause, Idaho Black Bear Rehab has just launched its Be My Bearentine Campaign. The non-profit is selling shirts to help care for their three orphaned black bears, brothers Russell and Charlie, and little Watanya.

As you might guess, Chuck and Russ are named after famed Canadian naturalist Charlie Russell, who died last year at the age of 76.

Watanya, a female cub, is named after Watanya Cicilla, a moniker given Annie Oakley by Lakota leader Sitting Bull; the name means, approximately, “Little Sure Shot,” homage to Annie’s expert marksmanship…er, marksWOMANship?

There are several styles and colors to choose from, so why not lend a hand to a great cause and make three little black bear cubs your Bearentines this Valentines Day?

Follow the link here:  Be My Bearentine Campaign



The above is just one of the styles and color choices available.

I’ve followed IBBR for several years now and they do great work for bears. They are a non profit and could really use our help.


~Kelly, the Greenizen


I’m going to make it my greenest year ever. Are you with me?

Happy New Year, world! It’s time to once again vow to do better for the Earth and for future generations, by reducing our carbon footprints and harmful impacts on our planet.

Not just vow, but keep the vow. Not always easy, I know. Old habits are really hard to break.

But remember, small acts do add up, when lots of folks join in. Don’t put off doing that small thing just because you think one person can’t make a difference. All of us CAN!

Vintage Polar Bear, artist unknown, public domain:


I spent my holiday vacation from work thinking about ways I can use less of the Earth’s resources and generate less greenhouse gases.

I identified a few areas in which I’m doing less well than I would like, and while the last few years I’ve cut my consumption, and hence garbage creation, by 75% or more, there’s still a lot of room for improvement in my life.

I love to craft, so I’m looking for ways to reuse everything I would have had to take to the refuse plant in some kind of crafty way. Of course, simply buying less items in packages is even better, but I’m not at Zero quite yet…

I went vegan several years ago, but still was buying some packaged foods I hadn’t yet learned to make at home…and now I’m biting that bullet and learning. Wish me luck!

Another area I’m considering is buying thrift shop (or ThredUp) clothing, as I really, really need some new (at least to me!) clothes this year.

What are your ideas to help us be greener? I’d really love to hear them!


~Kelly, the Greenizen


Out of the wreckage: George Monbiot tells a story to believe in

Great stuff!Anna Pigott and George Monbiot.

Anna Pigott

GMphoto George Monbiot discussed ideas from his book ‘Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis’ Source:

Once upon a time, planet Earth’s inhabitants faced a multi-pronged crisis, so frightening and sad that many people could scarcely bring themselves to think about it, let alone act: climate breakdown was underway, and land use and agricultural systems had driven biodiversity to collapse. Inequality was soaring, and this gap between rich and poor both exacerbated the causes of environmental destruction, and hampered people’s ability to respond. Meanwhile, a strange and wicked beast called ‘neoliberalism’ sprinkled its toxic ideas over the land like an invisible dust, hypnotising an already down-trodden people into a belief that politics was pointless, and that society could only change through the economics of ‘the market’. Earth’s inhabitants were indeed in a tight spot (some tighter than others), and catastrophe loomed. Despair was…

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Why recycling just isn’t good enough-and the Other “R’s.”

If you’re like me, you probably, quite optimistically, bought into it. All you need to do is recycle all that stuff-it’s easy!

No need to be inconvenienced. Go ahead and buy, buy, buy…anything, everything you want!

Just make sure that when you’re done with it, it goes into the proper curbside bin.

Well, over time, what once worked may no longer work, and such is the case with recycling. It makes us feel great, but the truth is, most of what we carefully sort, believing we’re doing right by the planet, ends up in the landfills anyway.

Here’s a shocking article from the L.A. Times for you to peruse. Oh boy.


Environmentally minded Californians love to recycle, but’s no longer doing any good:

What a slap in the face, huh?

It gets worse. Yeah, I know.

California has a recycling crisis. The only way to solve it is to stop making so much trash:


“Recycling has never been the solution to the problem posed by empty beer cans, plastic takeout containers and other single-use items, just a way to mitigate the effects enough to pretend that all this waste is not really wasteful.”




But it’s NOT just California. It’s America. We love our STUFF. And we’re drowning in it.

Recycling is not going to save us. We’re GOING to HAVE to BE INCONVENIENCED.

We’re going to have to stop making so much trash in the first place.

So, what do we do?

Let’s look at the other 7 R’s, courtesy of

Don’t forget the other 7 R’s:

Let’s go over them.

  • Reduce: Just use less. This one’s easy enough!
  • Return: Producers should take back what they sell. This will take legislation. Demand it of your lawmakers!
  • Reuse: Almost boring, but we throw too much stuff out too soon. Keep using it if it’s still good. You can upcycle, too. Make new stuff out of old stuff. 
  • Repair: Fix and mend things rather than replacing them. This can also be cheaper than replacing!!!
  • Refill: In Ontario Canada, 88% of beer bottles are returned to the beer store, washed and refilled; just south of the border in the USA, the number drops to under 5%. This too will take legislation, but if we demand it, it will happen.
  • Rot: Compost what is left over, turning it into valuable nutrients. This equals natural, free garden fertilizer. 
  • Refuse: Simply refuse to accept this crap from the manufacturers any more. All the stuff in the world won’t make you happy, and too much can do just the opposite. Invest in experiences, not possessions. You’ll have memories, rather than just something to throw away one day. 

So, in the coming days, we’re going to examine ways to implement the OTHER 7 R’s in our lives.

It will be a challenge but it could be fun, too.

We’ll be sharing some resources and projects and ideas to consider concerning the need to make less trash.

Until next time, here’s a video from the Fixx, a song titled How Much Is Enough? Valid question.

How Much Is Enough-the Fixxhowmuch


See ya soon!

~Kelly, the Greenizen

Happy Earth Day, Greenies!

Happy Earth Day to all of you out there…

I hope you are celebrating in some Earth friendly manner this important day. It’s my “veganversary,” too, so it’s doubly important to me personally.

On Earth Day I spend time contemplating how well I am doing being kind to Mother Earth and how I can do better. This year I am proud of the way I’ve cut my use of plastics and paper towels (paper in general, I think). And of course, another year vegan! But I still have so much to do to truly be a good green citizen. It’s hard work, what with companies spending billions of dollars trying to trick you into buying useless and harmful goods from all angles, every single day…

On another note:

I’ve agonized about how often I should post here-I know I need to keep people interested, yet I myself have recently unsubscribed to blogs that hit me DAILY with 6, 7, even 8 or more posts. EVERY DAY. That’s too much. It feels like harassment, not involvement.

So, what’s good? Three times a week? Weekly? Bi-weekly? I am still not sure, to be perfectly honest.

There are so many different kinds of things I want to share: recipes, eco-friendly ideas, great green products I’ve tried, books I’ve read on green topics, and so forth…that I guess I’ll have to do an experiment to see what you all will tolerate. Ha ha.

If you want to let me know, feel free.

For now, I found these awesome articles on which I want to share. I am putting in my veggie garden this week and these ideas are just the kind of thing I’d been looking for.

6 homemade herbicides (that won’t harm the planet!) via

8 natural pesticides (that won’t harm the planet) via

And of course, more on our ongoing war on plastics!

10 plastics you can give up right now via

11 easy ways to reduce your plastic waste today via

Get outside a bit and enjoy the glory of your Earth on this Earth Day 2018. How do you intend to improve your GREEN rating with our Mom? Let me know!


Photo via St Margaret Mary Catholic Church

~Kelly, the Greenizen

Minimalism-for the planet’s sake.

For decades, Americans (and many other citizens of the Western World) have been sold a scam by those whose only real care is lining their pockets. They’ve beat it into us that in order to be happy, we must surround ourselves with THINGS, always the newest and trendiest things. We must keep up with the Joneses; if we don’t, or can’t, there’s something wrong with us, some deficiency we must, with expediency, correct. We need the nicest homes and cars, the luxest wardrobes, the most top of the line gadgetry; we must strive for Society’s ideals of success, beauty, desirability and acceptability, or we are frowned upon, shunned, or even exiled from our own communities.

So we, like hamsters running on their tiny wheels, going fast, faster, faster still, going nowhere, get on this wagon train…we buy, buy, buy, we strive, strive, strive, for what they TELL US will make us happy. If only we have enough things, are attractive enough, have enough social standing…

We work hard, we fight to scrabble up auspicious employment ladders, to catch all the right eyes, believing that if only we had more money to buy more things every aspect of our lives would suddenly be just golden. If only we could be beautiful and model-thin, our lives would be peachy perfect. If only we could make everyone love us, the world would be our oyster.

But somehow, each thing we buy, each goal we meet, leaves us unfulfilled. There’s always one more thing to buy, one more pound to lose, one more person who remains not quite impressed enough…always SOMETHING preventing us from being happy. This can go on for a long time, years or even decades, depending on the person in question.

For the very- and fortunate- few born with that innate sense of “I am all right just as I am,” there may be none of this rat-race. For the rest of us, depending on our upbringing and psychological makeup, there may be years or decades of it. There may be, if we are lucky, little or no damage done as a result of this never-ending game, but for most of us, damage there is, and it can be devastating.

After years, or decades of chasing this carrot, we will look around one day and see we are swamped with STUFF. We’ve spent countless hours working to look, and act and be what Society want us to be…and yet we are bereft of happiness, devoid of inner peace. Overwhelmed and exhausted. No closer to that perfect life…

And our planet? It has paid a tremendous price for our neediness, our greediness. Deforestation, pollution, climate change…decimation of countless species of plant and animal, even the deaths of other humans is the price paid for all that stuff.

If we are honest with ourselves there will come a time when we admit to ourselves, STUFF won’t make us happy-indeed it can do quite the opposite. And the price paid, far far beyond dollars and cents, is too great. It simply isn’t sustainable. So much of what the television and the glossy magazines tells us we simply cannot live without will be dumped into our landfills in a few months, if not weeks. Will will in fact live without it. We will shake our heads and roll our eyes and wonder: why did I buy this? as we toss it into the waste can, our money and the resources it took to make the item, gone forever…bad for us, bad for our planet.

And the effort-so much effort-we put into looking perfect and acting in a socially acceptable way…the strain of trying to keep up this facade often becomes too much, causing irreparable emotional harm. We allow ourselves to be enslaved to society’s ideas of how and who we should be, and we end up not knowing who we really are at all.

After decades of this, running in the hamster wheel of consumption and societal approval-seeking, people are starting to wake up. They are starting to see not only that having a lot of STUFF doesn’t guarantee happiness, that in fact it may do just the opposite. That trying to always be in style and trendy and attractive may have left us hollow inside. We are overwhelmed by clutter and depressed by the stifling effect of trying to be the perfect Member of Society.  We realize that all that time spent chasing what we thought would make us happy, and did not, is gone…forever.

We yearn for a simpler, purer life…

So how do we break free, once we have realized what ails us? How do we get better once we know what makes us sick? How do we bust out of that life of endless “obtain, consume, repeat,” that “lose one more pound, make one more friend” mentality?

That is what this blog is all about. It is about wanting and seeking and finding a SIMPLER life, a life less cluttered with stuff, a life where your time is not spent trying to be beautiful and impress others, but to truly make yourself happy, by finding out who you ARE, and celebrating that amazing person, and finding out what you love and doing that, with all the gusto and joy in your heart. It is about YOU. It is about all of us. It’s about what truly matters in our lives-experiences, not possessions.

I have added the “eco” into this because for me, the journey had a lot to do with putting the brakes on my personal environmental impact on my planet. I hope you share this concern with me, but even if your reasons for seeking a minimalist lifestyle aren’t environmentally driven, you will, by default, reduce your footprint on this earth by adopting a minimalist lifestyle, and we all will benefit from that. Ready? Join me as I continue my own journey toward simplicity. I’ll share with you steps I have taken to free myself of clutter, better my health-both physical and emotional, and find out who I really am and what I really love. It’s been fun, thus far. I still have a way to go, but I’m not turning back. I’m finally free-well, almost.


Thanks for stopping by!


The Greenizen


This Image: 

Go check them out!

The Language of Bears-a webinar

Have you ever wondered how bears communicate, with each other, and with other species-like us? This is your chance to find out. Attend the Language of Bears webinar on Thursday, March 15, at 6PM MST (8PM EST, 5PM PST).

You can sign up for this webinar by emailing and asking about registration. You attend via the Adobe Connect virtual classroom software, which is free and very user friendly, from your computer or smartphone!


The webinar is given by Daryl Ratajczak, former manager of Appalachian Bear Rescue in Townsend, Tennessee and a long-time employee of the state of Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Now living in New Mexico, he works for the US Forest Service and has decades of wildlife experience to draw from. These webinars are as fun as they are educational, and only $15.00 per registrant.

Join Daryl and the class (myself included!) as he sheds light on the fascinating world of bear language.

For more information, you can visit Wildlife For You’s Facebook Page HERE

To learn more about Daryl, check out his blog Nemophilosophy on Blogspot HERE

Hope to see you at the next webinar, Thursday, March 15 at 6PM MST!


The Greenizen