Why would people hang their babies out the windows in cages?

A lot of people are having a giggle at these photos of baby cages that are making the rounds of the internet, sticking out of apartment windows in London in the twenties and thirties. We have written about them before in How to Add Some Space in your Apartment for the Little Ones. The question keeps coming up: why would people do such a thing? Or as Buzzfeed titled their post, WTF Is Going On With This 1930s Baby Cage Madness?

It's not madness at all, and people were not insane. The answer goes back to a book,The Care and Feeding of Children, first published in the 1890s by Dr. Luther Emmett Holt, which became the bible for child-rearing for decades. Dr. Holt prescribed "airing" of babies and children and keeping rooms very cool, sleeping with windows open unless it is below freezing. Airing the baby meant dressing her up and opening all the windows, even in winter, starting when the child was a month old. It sounds crazy, but here is an excerpt. His book is written as a Q and A:

Read more: http://www.treehugger.com/health/why-would-people-hang-their-babies-out-windows-cages.html

If You Want to Stop Wasting Water and Energy, Stop Wasting Food

We throw away 40 percent of our food, but new technology is helping cities and companies reduce that refuse before it hits the landfill.

We Americans worry constantly about how our appetites affect our waistlines, but we spend almost no time wondering how our food consumption affects our waste streams. In the United States, 40 percent of the food grown each year is discarded uneaten. That’s a significantly higher amount of waste than the global average, which runs around one bite of food thrown away for every two bites eaten.

As a result, food waste is the single largest source of refuse heading for American landfills. Once buried in a landfill, discarded food decomposes anaerobically and creates methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

And of course, growing all that food just to throw it out wastes water. According to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the U.S. wastes 50 cubic kilometers of irrigation water each year growing food that’s never eaten. That’s about one-fifth the total output of the Ohio River where it flows into the Mississippi. And growing that uneaten food also means wasted fossil fuel and pesticides: About 300 million barrels of oil globally go into growing, transporting, and preparing discarded food each year.

Read more: http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/09/09/how-stop-food-waste

How to Build a Cold Frame

/images/backyard-gardening/Opener1.jpgCold frames allow you to start plants early in spring and keep them out longer in fall, extended your planting and harvesting dates.

An inexpensive foray into greenhouse gardening, a cold frame is practical for starting plants six to eight weeks earlier in the spring growing season and for hardening off seedlings. Cold frames can also be used, however, to protect plants from the upcoming fall frost.

Basically, a cold frame is a box set on the ground and topped with glass or plastic. Although mechanized models with thermostatically controlled atmospheres and sash that automatically open and close are available, you can easily build a basic cold frame from materials you most likely have around the house.

The back of the frame should be about twice as tall as the front so the lid slopes to a favorable angle for capturing sun rays. Build the frame tall enough to accommodate the maximum height of the plants before they are removed. The frame can be made of brick, block, plastic, wood or just about any material you have on hand. It should be built to keep drafts out and soil in.

Read more: http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/urban-gardening/backyard-gardening/cold-frame.aspx

‘We need to ask who should be allowed to create money’

Ben Dyson talks about the progress made by Positive Money in sparking the debate about monetary reform over the past four years

4550761104_17bd3f3af9_oThe last six months have been full of breakthroughs for the movement to democratise money. Since 2010 we’ve been working to raise awareness of the fact that the same banks that caused the financial crisis currently create 97% of the money in our economy and decide where that money goes.

One of the early challenges was simply getting people to believe that banks create money. Even the UK Treasury would reply to letters from members of the public with the line: “Banks have no authority to create money, digital or otherwise.” But this argument was settled in March 2014 when the Bank of England released the paper Money Creation in the Modern Economy, in which they explained that “the majority of money in the modern economy is created by commercial banks making loans.” This confirmation from the Bank of England has already led some university lecturers to update their teaching on money and banking, and means that the debate can move on to the crucial issue of who should be allowed to create money.

The Positive Money movement continues to grow online and offline, with more than 30,000 followers on Facebook and 30 local groups around the UK (15 new groups have been set up this year alone). These local groups host film screenings, reading groups and run stalls at festivals. In addition, our members have been contacting MPs, local councillors, like-minded grassroots societies and the media to raise awareness of the fundamental problems with money. Internationally, there are now groups in 21 different countries, with Swiss group MoMo launching a petition that aims to get 100,000 signatures calling for a referendum on monetary reform.

Read more: http://positivenews.org.uk/2014/economics_innovation/16199/allowed-create-money/

Localism and the Internet

By Ajax Greene:

Many “buy local” campaigns are very welcoming of the local chain store on the corner, but are anti-internet. This makes no sense to us.

Let me be totally clear: Localism loves the internet — when the sellers are locally owned and independent. Just because we are pro-retail does not mean we support large chain stores. And being pro-internet does not mean we support shopping at publicly traded mega sites like Amazon.

In fact, Re>Think Local has several criteria we use for screening members:

  • Do the business owners who have a controlling interest (greater than 50% of ownership) live in Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan, Columbia or Ulster County?
  • Is your business registered in the state of New York, with no corporate or national headquarters outside of the previously noted Mid Hudson Valley Region?
  • Do you have full autonomy to make your own independent decisions regarding your unique business and its purchasing, operations and distribution, as well as the name and look of your business?
  • Do you pay all your own marketing, rent and other business expenses without assistance from, or payment to, a corporate headquarters?

Why are these questions important? It all has to do in part with how money circulates. As a recent study Re>Think Local conducted here in the Hudson Valley shows, locally owned businesses circulate a dollar 3 times more than a non-local business, and this includes internet businesses.

Read more: http://www.rethinklocal.org/blog/2014/09/localism-and-the-internet/

Florida Makes Off-Grid Living Illegal – Mandates All Homes Must Be Connected To An Electricity Grid

It’s no secret that an opposition to sustainable living exists. Earlier this year, Texas state brought several SWAT teams to a sustainable community and threatened to shut it down. Each one of the community members were initially handcuffed at gunpoint. It was called “The Garden of Eden Community,” and was totally self sustainable.

This time, it’s Robin Speronis that’s come under fire. She lives off the grid in Florida, completely independent of the city’s water and electric system. A few weeks ago, officials ruled her off-grid home illegal. Officials cited the International Property Maintenance Code, which mandates that homes be connected to an electricity grid and a running water source. That’s just like saying our dependency on corporations isn’t even a choice. The battle to live without most utilities has been ongoing for Robin, the self-sufficient woman has lived for more than a year and a half using solar energy, a propane camping stove and rain water.

In the end, she was found not guilty of not having a proper sewer or electrical system; but was guilty of not being hooked up to an approved water supply.

So what exactly is off grid living?

“It means living independently, mainly living independently of the utility companies. Providing your own power. It does not mean living in the stone age, it’s not about bush craft. It’s about generating your own power, your own water, dealing with your own waste. Probably as part of a community, not living on your own like a hermit. It’s also about being more self-reliant and being less dependent on the system. Perhaps realizing that the system isn’t really protecting us anymore and we have to look after ourselves.” - George Noory

Our potential as a human race is quite extraordinary, we just don’t realize it. Sustainable living is not about giving up a certain lifestyle, can still have all the modern amenities, design and beyond. Living off the grid wouldn’t be a problem, we have technologies that can generate over-unity power, we have technologies that can provide unlimited amounts of clean energy. I’m talking about free energy, which goes far beyond solar energy. We can have neighborhoods exactly like we do today, even better. They would be totally green, off the grid and self-sufficient.

The only problem with off the grid living is that corporations lose their ability to control others. With a completely self-sustaining life style, no body would ever have to work. What would happen then? Think about that for a moment. We would be free to expand and create, to discover our full potential as a race and move forward into the world of exploration and discovery, all the while living in harmony with nature, not against it.

We’ve accepted the monetary system, and deem it necessary for the proper function of society. Money doesn’t ever have to come in the way of necessity, we’ve just been made to believe that it does. It’s time for the human race to move past the concepts of competition and greed into one that benefits the whole.

Read more: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/03/09/florida-makes-off-grid-living-illegal-mandates-all-homes-must-be-connected-to-an-electricity-grid/

Be a living fish

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

SalmonLeapingRapids1I shall be making use here of some of the lines from the lyrics, to some degree, translated, of a German evangelical free church children's song for the purpose of explaining how we all need to change in order to achieve a new society that is fairer and better for humanity and the Planet. No religion involved here.

Be a living fish
swim against the flow
rise up and be brave
victory will be yours

Fish that are alive are capable of swimming against the stream and will do so vigorously, and in case of the salmon, even jump weirs and other obstacles, to get upstream.

Only if we are living fish and brave to turn and swim against the tide can we bring about the change that is needed to create this new society and achieve the victory that we desire.

Only the dead fish swim with the flow
let themselves be carried by the others
they neither have the courage
nor the strength to be different
wanting to remain in the big crowd

Today there are many dead fish everywhere, it seems. Everywhere where we look no one is prepared, almost, to step out of line and swim against the stream, against the flow of the current. Yes, there are people who are eccentrics or who buck some of the trend, but very few are actually prepared to kick the system that enslaves us all and is about to destroy the very Earth we depend upon for life.

They do not have the courage and strength, even if they are aware of the fact that a change is needed, to turn and say enough is enough and I am going to stand up for what is right and am starting to make changes. They want to stay in the big crowd that offers safety, not being noticed, and thus not becoming a target for ridicule or worse.

Have the courage to be different
to most of the people around you
even if they decry you as crazy
ask only what must I do to be the change?

It requires courage, real courage, to be different and to either stand out from the crowd, stand against the crowd or to stand on your own apart, and that even if they decry you as crazy and they will, and even worse.

But, when the time comes also be wise and courageous to stand with those that, like you, have decided to swim against the current, to stand against the crowd, to work together for the new society and to give birth to it.

No one is going to do it for us. No god, no king or elected official. Only we, ourselves, together, “we ourselves” (sinn fein), can do it. Therefore, to do it we must swim, like living fish, against the tide and current and overcome weirs and rapids so as to reach the our goal, a society that honors and respects both man and Planet.

© 2014

Localization: For People And The Earth

The movement for localization is growing rapidly, worldwide. These international voices from the 2014 Economics of Happiness conference in Bangalore, India, succinctly tell us why globalization is so damaging, why localization is the most strategic antidote, and what we can do to help make the shift from global to local.


Doctor’s Orders: For Better Health, Put Your Hands in the Dirt

Health care workers in this Virginia town are prescribing gardening time.

“Eat more fruits and vegetables,” says every doctor everywhere—the kind of vague advice easily forgotten when passing apples on the way to the end-of-season ice cream sandwiches on sale at the store. So a clinic in Virginia has decided to get specific. Health care providers tear a page from a prescription pad, then walk with their patients out the back door and into what they say is the best kind of produce aisle and pharmacy: the garden row.

Health care, healthy eating, and nutritional subsidy programs commingle in The New River Health District Farmacy Garden in Christiansburg, a new collaboration between the Virginia Department of Health’s New River Health District and Montgomery County’s Virginia Cooperative Extension. The way it works is simple: Volunteers do all of the gardening work, and after an hour pitching in to weed or harvest or seed new crops, the gardeners—patients of the clinic and women who qualify for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children—go home with a bag of fruits and vegetables.

Read more: http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/09/05/farmacy-garden

10 Reasons to Quit Excessive Consumerism

10 Reasons to Quit Excessive ConsumerismWith advertising bombarding our senses everywhere we go, it’s very hard to not be tempted to buy the newest gadget or gear on the market. While buying things is a part of life, a balance must be implemented or things can get out of control. Here are 10 reasons to put the plastic back in your pocket.

1) Less Stress

Chasing the lure of the next great purchase, that one thing that will finally make you happy, can get addictive. Unfortunately, no matter how happy you are when you buy something, that feeling fades. The bills, however, don’t. Most families are burdened with too much credit card debt because they decided that having that next greatest thing was more important than saving or staying out of debt. The stress caused by excessive consumerism and financial turbulence is showcased in statistics for divorce, suicide, and healthcare costs.

2) Less Stuff

About two years ago, I left a very lucrative job, sold our house, car, and all of our stuff, and moved to another country to join my husband who had been living overseas due to a career advancement opportunity. It was very difficult selling everything that I had used to create my comfortable cushy life. I was emotionally attached to all of my stuff, however, once I let it go, an unexplainable calm came over me. It was like all my things had been weighing me down, and suddenly I was free to breathe again. When you have a lot of possessions, you have to take care of them, organize them, maintain them, and manage them. I have moved many times, and lugging all of my junk around was exhausting. Now, I can go anywhere, do anything, and not have any extra weight holding me down. I have never been a minimalist before, but after being forced to experience it due to life circumstances, I will continue to embrace it in my life.

Read more: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-reasons-quit-excessive-consumerism.html