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 Treehugger.com

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


Two upcoming webinars on cougars!


Join wildlife biologist Daryl Ratajczak of the US Forest Service for these educational AND FUN webinars on cougars, America’s Colossal Cats.

Only $15.00 for BOTH classes!

For more information see www.WildlifeForYou.com or contact Daryl at wildlifeforyoutraining@gmail.com.

~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 Treehugger.com 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 Treehugger.com

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

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

10 plastics you can give up right now via Treehugger.com

11 easy ways to reduce your plastic waste today via Treehugger.com

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: Platinumcomplex.com 

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 wildlifeforyoutraining@gmail.com 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





Reblog-excellent post about gun violence by an Army vet. READ IT!

America, can we talk? Let’s just cut the shit for once and actually talk about what’s going on without blustering and pretending we’re actually doing a good job at adulting as a country right now. We’re not. We’re really screwing this whole society thing up, and we have to do better. We don’t have a […]

via “Fuck you, I like guns.” — Engineering, Parenthood, and a Solid Attempt at Adult Status

Attend an educational AND fun webinar on wildlife with real wildlife experts!

The Greenizen invites you to join us for some fun and very educational webinars taught by actual wildlife experts. These webinars can be attended via the easy to use Adobe Connect Meeting software from your smartphone or computer. Registration fees for paid webinars are very reasonable and sometimes are donated to wildlife causes. Some past beneficiaries have been Appalachian Bear Rescue of Tennessee and Bear Smart of Colorado.

Wildlife For You Training is the brainchild of wildlife biologist and US Forest Service officer Daryl Ratajczak, who has more than 20 years of experience working with wildlife. He was Appalachian Bear Rescue’s very first manager or “curator” and spent many years working for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) before moving to New Mexico to join the US Forest Service where he now works with the large carnivores such as wolves, bears and cougars and educates the public on coexistence with these crucial but often poorly understood animals. From time to time, Daryl brings in guest instructors to join in these webinars.

Please consider joining us for one of these classes. You can find Wildlife For You on Facebook here:

Wildlife For You on Facebook

Here is a list of upcoming topics that will be covered in webinars in 2018. Message wildlifeforyoutraining@gmail.com for more information.


Hope to see you there!

~Kelly, the Greenizen

Happy New Year-resolution time!


If you’re like me, every year you write out a list of resolutions with the best of intentions, and for a while, a few days, weeks, maybe a few months (Ha ha, not often!) you do pretty well. Then you fall off the wagon, as the saying goes, and it’s right back to those bad habits and at the least, disappointment in yourself. Or, depression. Yeah, that’s me, with my failures year in year out. What’s wrong with me that I can never keep my resolutions?

Well, after many years of being unsuccessful at keeping the resolutions I made, I started to seriously analyze my trouble. It really shouldn’t have been so hard to figure out why I was failing: I made too many resolutions and they were all extremely difficult, very severe, extreme actions that were too much of a “shock to my system.” The unpleasantness was such that all joy seemed to have gone from life. No wonder I couldn’t keep my resolutions!

So I decided to try some less extreme measures last year. Instead of “lose 30 lbs” I resolved to eat healthier and get more exercise. I resolved not to “save $1000” but to employ some frugality tips from various awesome blogs and put whatever was left from each paycheck into savings, if possible. I decided that rather than trying to stop buying ANYTHING, I’d just make it a goal to analyze EVERY non-necessary purchase I wanted to make, to see if I could live without it, with the goal of reducing my consumption. I set less goals. and they were less severe, but here’s the thing: I succeeded remarkably well. I met the goals, and even went further than I intended in some instances. Because I made the goals manageable and relatively painless and in some cases, it was actually FUN!

So, having had some success, and feeling at year’s end that I’d become a better person, improved my health and financial situation and also reduced my burden on the planet, I used this method again to craft my resolutions for 2018.

More of same regarding health and money: I resolve to continue looking for healthier options and increase my exercise, which I KNOW after this year’s success, will lead to weight loss, more energy, and less aches and pains! I resolve to continue building my savings using my former little trick AND add to that if I can swing it. Always on the lookout for ways to save.

As for my green goals: last year I made huge progress in every way. I THOUGHT about every material purchase I made before I made it, often waiting months before deciding to buy or not to buy (and more often than not, ultimately not buying!). I cut down on plastic usage big time. As a vegan, I made more of my own products from scratch instead of buying them and upped my game as a vegan cook. WIN WIN WIN!

So no, I didn’t, in 2017, lose ALL the weight I needed to lose, end up with a bursting savings account, or end the year a Total Waste Maven. But I got a lot closer to each of those goals, doing so well that I approach 2018 with excitement and energy to do more and better. For my happiness and health, and for my planet.

My focus, green-wise, in 2018, is on further reducing consumption. My ultimate goal is Zero Waste, but that’s hard, and like crash dieting, not doable all at once for most people. My household produces very little trash, and I’m working on reducing that every single day. I’m seeing my success. I’m loving it.

So: make your resolutions, but don’t set your goals so lofty you simply cannot succeed. Be reasonable. Going about something slow and steady and actually completing the task is far preferable to trying to take things to extremes and being so miserable you bail after a few days or weeks. THAT helps no one and will demoralize you and leave you reluctant to jump back into the self improvement movement.

Ready, set, goal!

Here are some great ways to reduce plastic usage in 2018, courtesy of One Green Planet !!!

20 Switches To Get Plastic Out Of Your Life

7 Amazing People That Prove Living Plastic Free Is Possible

Simple Guide To Waste-Free Grocery Shopping

Waste-Free Laundry

Simple Steps For A Waste-Free Beauty Routine

Check Out These 5 Zero-Waste Grocery Stores

Why We Need to Wake Up and Do Something to Tackle Plastic Pollution in the Oceans!!!

Happy New Year and here’s to a better world for all of us! WE must be the ones to make it better, one little action at a time. Be the change you want to see in the world. YOU CAN DO IT!

~Kelly, the Greenizen