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Blame, Shame and Other Delights October 31, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Environmental Concerns, Personal Observations.
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I’ve been thinking of writing a blog entry about forgiveness. However, I had a tough week. Without whining too much, let’s just say that a number of things did not go the way I would have liked. Rather than bore you with all the gory details, I’m going to settle on the event that I found most upsetting.

I live in a nice little neighborhood which was described by someone I used to date as a “Norman Rockwell neighborhood.” This beauty is due in no small part to the trees which line the streets and live in people’s yards. My own little property does not have any shade trees on it but I do have three pine trees and two dinky little trees that were planted by the borough before I moved in 10 years ago. They have not grown much and I was told this week that they aren’t meant to be shade trees…oh great, I’ve been patiently waiting for 10 years. With all of this said, my favorite tree was an 80+ year old oak tree which grew a few feet from my property line and provided shade and beauty during the summer months. The tree grew on the part of our property known as ‘easement’ which means that technically it is not our property but the borough’s.

For reasons unknown to me, my next door neighbors decided that the tree needed to come down and repeatedly dogged the borough tree manager to take it down. He complied with their request on Monday morning. I looked out to chain saws, trucks and frenzied activity. I was outraged by this on so many levels I can’t even begin to describe it—if you read this blog regularly you know I try for 500 words and I am now at 300. So let’s just say I was angry and upset.

Now to the point of this post. I lapsed into anger, outrage, and blame directed at my neighbors—who have been good neighbors for 10 years. Granted they don’t share my political leanings and blithely assume that I share theirs but that’s another story. (I have come up with an assessment that Republicans don’t value trees/the environment but I realize that it’s based on somewhat limited grounding and I am willing to let go of that one or send it on to Margaret and Helen for full development on their blog. Margaret and Helen’s Blog )

Back to my point, I am now sitting in a place of blame and I gotta tell you, it’s not a great place to be. Since I am in the process of getting ready to explore this very topic with a group of managers this coming week, I’ve been giving it some thought. Blame can happen when we either feel powerless or don’t wish to take a look at our own responsibility in creating a situation. Ok, so far so good. So in the case of my lost tree, I felt powerless to change the event, wasn’t consulted or apprised of the situation in advance. Feeling powerless makes some people feel like victims. As for me, it makes me bloody mad!

I’ve also been thinking that it gets real easy to blame other people when you’re very adept at blaming yourself for things. I think I’m pretty good at that. So what resides in me (or you) easily and quickly gets pointed back at others. Do I blame myself for the tree’s demise? No—but I could make a list of one or two other things that I have blamed myself for.

Well, I am now up to 600 words and I’m just getting warmed up. So I’ve decided to give you a “To Be Continued.” I plan to write the next installment on how to step out of blame. It’s a mind game that has to reach your heart at some point. And maybe by that time I will even have done the work myself. After all I did write a post last week entitled Being Kinder Than Necessary. Last week’s post

If you feel called to, please write a comment about your own experiences with blame and challenges with forgiving others. In the absence of that, I will of course have some thoughts.

Stay tuned..




Love Mother Earth April 25, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Environmental Concerns.
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Earth Day is officially 40 years old this year. Gee, it seems like only yesterday that it started…does that sound like somebody’s grandmother talking??? Well, I am somebody’s grandmother, so I’m allowed.

We use more than our share

Even though Earth Day has been around for a while, we still need to pay more attention to how we use Earth’s resources, especially  we Americans. It’s sad to say but we use something like 70% of the world’s energy resources but we certainly don’t make up 70% of the world’s land mass or population. It just boils down to the fact that Americans use more than our fair share of resources and we need to stop.

I attended a one-day workshop yesterday that was held in a Philadelphia Hilton. At lunch each person was given a lunch that was packaged in a plastic box that had a recycling symbol on the bottom. Good, I thought. One of the hotel employees was coming around to collect the containers. “Are you recycling these?” I asked. He shook his head no. So, about 200 plastic boxes were to be dumped into a landfill—and this is just one hotel, one event on one day in one city. Multiply this by who knows how many and the effect boggles the mind. And it drives me crazy. My intention is to write to Hilton and ask them to review their practices.

And that’s what we all need to do. Even if we take baby steps we need to become more conscious of the little (and big) things that we do that are wasteful. We even have a mainstream word for this now—‘green’. I guess we’re making progress—at least it’s now in our vernacular and our mega marketing machines have taken it up. So good, we are moving in the right direction.

Try these things to be greener

In the spirit of taking on a greener consciousness, I offer a short list of things you (and I) can adopt to do our part.

  1. Take reusable bags to the grocery store—every time you go. C’mon, this is a small thing and it’s not difficult. I used to forget them every time and have to go out to my car to get them. I have now trained myself to remember them more than 90% of the time. We don’t need a gazillion plastic bags in our lives. And most grocery stores now offer cool reusable bags for a nominal price. These bags are also quite useful for other things as well. I am particularly taken with the ones that Trader Joe’s sells. They are strong and attractive.
  2. Be conscious of how you use resources like water and electricity around the house. Don’t let the water run if you are not using it. Like when you’re brushing your teeth or cleaning up in the kitchen. Just turn it off—there’s no charge for using the faucet a bunch of times. And turn off lights when you don’t need them on. This is not rocket science…
  3. Consider buying a carbon offset when you are traveling by air. There are lots of web sites that offer this. What it boils down to is that when you fly or do most anything for that matter, there is a price to pay in terms of greenhouse gases . So you can buy a carbon offset credit that can offset this effect. The companies that sell carbon offsets then invest the money you spend into projects that are environmentally supportive like planting trees or supporting wind power-producing.  Here’s a link that explains how to go about buying carbon offsets .http://www.wikihow.com/Buy-a-Carbon-Offset
  4. Recycle everything that your municipality allows. Most people are good with glass and plastic. But there’s more. My borough’s service allows cardboard, newspaper, magazines and all types of plastic. On recycling day, I don’t see my neighbors recycling everything that’s possible. In fact, some of them never put out their recycling container. What’s up with that?
  5. Use cloth napkins, permanent coffee filters and real plates and glasses. Forget about the plastic and paper. (And we won’t even talk about disposable diapers.)

We can do this!

I could go on but as I said, baby steps. Everything in the list is do-able. We just all need to bring a new consciousness to this issue. It’s not optional—really.


What You Can Do to Save Your Planet–Part 2 April 19, 2009

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Environmental Concerns, Personal Observations.
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Here is the second installment of items from an old list someone gave me. If everyone did just one or two of these things, we could make a real difference for our planet. Be a resource tender. Green is beautiful! —-Amara

1.Use greener cleaners. Baking soda will clean just about anything. Vinegar too, is the equivalent of a miracle drug in the cleaning world. Check out http://www.vinegartips.com.

2.Love your dandelions! Do not use weed killer on your lawn. My next door neighbor hates me for this one. He is a lawn freak and is always worried that my dandelion seeds will blow into his yard. I try to make him feel better by mentioning what a lovely shade of yellow the dandelions are.

3.Turn off the dishwasher’s drying cycle.

4.Shut down your computer when you leave work-especially on Fridays.

5.Swap paperbacks with http://www.paperbackswap.com.

6.Find new uses for old things. Note: This does not mean using your treadmill for a clothing rack-you’re probably already doing that.

7.Shred old paper for packing instead of using Styrofoam peanuts. The only kind of peanuts I can get excited about are the kind that are chocolate coated.

8.Buy recycled toilet paper.

9.Eat only sustainably harvested fish to help protect the health of the ocean. (Visit http://www.oceansalive.org)

10.Print on both sides of the paper.