The Consumption Conundrum

“America is where 5% of the world’s population uses over 30% of the earth’s natural resources.” ~ Annie Leonard

Re-blogging from last year, because this stuff never gets old.

StoryOfStuffWe love our stuff.  

A life of consumption is pretty awesome when you’re the consumer, especially if you live in Texas.  We live high on the hog, whether we can afford to or not, with pick-up trucks and SUV’s the standard one-driver vehicle, strip shopping centers and fast food convenience at every corner, recycling but an afterthought. Waste is rampant here.  Hip-high piles of garbage lay on curbs, awaiting the twice-per-week haul to the landfill.  It’s convenient — cheaper even — than sorting all that mess for reuse or recycle.

We are addicted to our stuff.

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DirtNKids Thanksgiving


“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” ~ William Arthur Ward

We break from work each year to celebrate an explorer and on another day to remember our country’s leaders present and past. We celebrate mothers, fathers, and war veterans. There is the birth and resurrection of a Christian savior, and even a day set aside just for lovers. We continue to shop and consume resources on all those days — plus a few more — as if our very lives depended upon it.

Yet we dedicate only one day for gratitude and thankfulness in America. Tsk tsk.

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Winter Residents Arrive To What Remains


“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.” ~ Paul Theroux

Every year, warblers, water fowl, and other winter bird residents arrive right on schedule (early to late fall) to our woods and creek. In a few more months, some of them will move on again to nesting grounds to the north, but in the meantime, they dig in here.

Birds are migratory, so these arrivals are cyclical; we can count on them every year.

It’s a fine place to be, if you asked me, with water, plenty of food and berries, with trees and shrubs for both foraging and protection from aerial predators. With continuing destruction of habitat to make way for 6,000 more homes and subsequent toll road, schools, and churches, birds have few places left for refuge. Our 1.5 acre space is a welcomed paradise to them.

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‘Who Will We Be?’ by Dr. David Eagleman

Don’t miss the sixth and last episode in the series The Brain with David Eagleman, which I only just watched last night. The first episode of the series has recently become no longer available for streaming, and the second one expires at the end of today.

Many of the scenes are shot right here in Houston.

Given the recent atrocities carried out by extreme Islamists in Paris and Mali, it’s interesting to consider that our genocidal ways as a species can be explained in terms of brain plasticity and the neuro-network that links us. It also makes me wonder if a recently Fresh Pressed piece — on Homni the Super-organism — got inspiration from this last show in the series. The whole subject is quite eye-opening, and Dr. Eagleman gives it the scrutiny it deserves.

We are more connected to — even disconnected from — each other than we like to admit, and I’m not talking about Twitter.

The Brain
Who Will We Be?

Chasing Red-Heads: An eBird Obsession


Photo credit: Flicker Photo Farm

“Red is the ultimate cure for sadness.” ~ Bill Blass

Obsess, Dream, Obsess

Birding is supposed to relieve stress. An escape from reality. Pretty feathers. Cute faces. Freedom in the truest sense.

Our journey of birding has been worth all the effort put into building a knowledge base in the brain. Games of strategy are played with every chase, and persistence generally pays off with the big prize (I’ve blogged about three such instances, here and here and here).

This year, the red-heads are giving me a red face. Both happen to be woodpeckers.

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We Survived Four Days Without The Internet


What’s the scariest thing you can think of for Halloween? Is it a chainsaw toting or knife wielding sociopath? Perhaps it’s the vampires or werewolves? Or maybe you are a little cautious about Pixie sticks coming into your children’s candy buckets?

Whatever your Halloween spook, living without the Internet probably ranks right up there among the most unnerving frights. Many people simply have no idea how to live without it. When a 15-yr old coaxial cable decided to fail unexpectedly, our household was suddenly thrust back in time 20 years when life was decidedly less ‘connected.’ If you ask the kids, who really have never known life without the World Wide Web, it was a worse than giving up cheese.

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