Articles by Wendy Gabriel

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by Wendy Gabriel

Earth laughs in flowers.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Hamatreya”

More flowers from the farm
Buttercup
Some of my favorite photos and photo blogs:
Blog Harbor’s Eye on Monday
Twilight Earth’s Photo Sunday
Oakleigh Vermont’s Mother Nature Sunday
Photo Terri
True to Words’ Friday Photography
Twin Cities Photo Blog

by Wendy Gabriel

Robin Shreeves
is a work at home mom and freelance writer. A believer in writing Robin Shreeveswhat you know, she started writing about her family’s journey while going green on A Little Greener Every Day and eventually she found that people would pay her to write about what she was learning. She now has the best job ever, writing about being green for various websites including Mother Nature Network and Green Options Media network.

How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?

My husband and I both work from home so almost every aspect of making my day-to-day life a little greener centers around our home. The first steps I took in going green were easy ones – changing out conventional light bulbs to CFL’s and replacing paper napkins and paper towels with cloth napkins and rags. Then I moved on to the more time consuming, possibly less convenient things (yet often quite enjoyable and fulfilling) like walking or riding my bike when possible, preparing meals from ingredients instead of buying convenience foods, growing some of our food, and hanging my laundry out to dry. It’s really become a process of looking at the things I do every day and seeing if I can find a way to do them in a way that does less harm to the earth. I don’t always succeed, but I have come a long way.

You are a self-proclaimed “locavore wannabe.” Can you explain why being a locavore is important to you?

How our eating habits affect the environment never occurred to me until I read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. After I read that book, it occurred to me that I needed to change what my family eats for our health and the planet’s health. We do a lot of organics in our house, and whenever possible I buy from local, sustainable sources even if they aren’t certified organic. I call myself a “locavore wannabe” because where I live, eating local all year round is very difficult. I doubt I’ll ever do the amount of work it would take to be 100% locavore. But I do what I can, and I started South Jersey Locavore to help others in my region find sources of local food beyond the farmers market season.

Being a locavore isn’t just important to me for the environmental benefits, though. I’m finding that as I focus on local, sustainable foods, my family is eating a larger variety of foods than we used to. I find that I have more pride in what I place on my table. Even though I don’t announce that “these burgers I’m serving you came from grass fed, free-range happy cows” when I have a cookout, I seem to enjoy serving local foods more to my family and friends. There’s a sense of community and providing that comes along with it that I’m still trying to figure out how to articulate properly.

What have you found to be your biggest challenge as you create an eco-friendly home for your own family?

Honestly, the biggest challenge is my own disorganization. It takes a certain amount of planning and organizing to make sure we have enough time to walk or bike somewhere instead of jumping in the car. If I’m going to create meals from ingredients, I need to shop regularly to make sure those ingredients are in the fridge and pantry. I have to remember to actually get the laundry out of the washing machine early enough in the day to get it the line outside or it ends up going in the dryer. I’m not an organized person by nature, so I end up being my own worst enemy often in my battle to be more eco-friendly.

Not only do you have your own blog and write for a number of other green websites including an eco-friendly food blog for Mother Nature Network, you are a busy mom. Can you tell us one of your favorite fast recipes?

I’ve written about this recipe a few times recently, but really it’s one of my favorites. It’s called Yummy Honey Chicken Kabobs, and I found it one of my go-to recipe sites, allrecipes.com. It takes about ten minutes to chop everything up and then you let it marinade all day. While the grill is warming, you pop everything on skewers, and it only takes about ten minutes to cook.

It’s great for the kids because they like the chicken and they can pick and choose the vegetables that go on their skewer. No mushrooms need ever taint their chicken.

What makes this recipe even better is that in the summer, it can be a local meal. I made it just last week and everything but oil, soy sauce and pepper was found at my local farmers market.

Marinade:

• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1/3 cup honey
• 1/3 cup soy sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 2 cloves of garlic

Other Stuff:

• Whatever amount of chicken breast you want, cut in 1-inch cubes
• 2 inch vegetable pieces such as: mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, green peppers, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, onion

Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour over cut up chicken and vegetables. Marinate for about 6 hours and then pop onto skewers. Grill on indirect heat until the chicken is cooked through.

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As writers, we know that part of good stewardship is sharing information, but Save the World!even the most intelligent among us can not make change without DOING something.

So The Good Human & Twilight Earth, along with The Grass Stain Guru, Lighter Footstep, My Green Side, The Smart Mama, A Little Greener Every Day, Fake Plastic Fish, Allies Answers, and Natural Papa have teamed up to carry our message with one united strong voice. The message is that there are great organizations out there which are suffering in this economic downturn through decreased donations…and they need our help! So we have decided to give you, our readers, a voice and a choice. We have decided to take on a very simple fundraising mission, and we are asking you to donate just $1.00.

A single dollar; that’s all.

Who cannot afford a buck even in these times? We know you can spare a dollar to help out our fellow humans!

But how do we all decide which charities to give 100% of all monies raised to? Well, we are going to put it to a vote and let you guys decide. The 10 websites participating have chosen 5 charities for all donors to vote for, and we are going to let you guys choose which two of them will receive the all monies donated.

Our purpose in doing this is three-fold

  • It gives YOU a voice. As loyal readers and stewards of our environment, we want to offer you the opportunity to make a difference without breaking the bank.
  • It gives the two charities with the most votes some much appreciated funds to continue their mission
  • It allows all of us an opportunity to connect as a community of like-minded people working for the common good of ourselves, our families and our planet.

If the community of folks who care about our planet cannot come together to rise up to a challenge, who will? That is why we are asking you for a $1 donation. While $1 may seem insignificant all by itself, by pooling our resources together we really can make a difference in these tough economic times. $1 is less than the price of a candy bar and can usually be found under the seat cushions of your couch. Won’t you help 2 of these charities with your $1 donation? (Now, if you want to give more, please – feel free. We won’t stop you! And by all means, send this to everyone you know so we can raise even more!)

Clicking below will take you to the poll and a Paypal donation link asking you to choose which of the 5 charities your favorite is. We ask that you please donate a dollar to the charity pool if you are going to vote, and know that even if your absolute favorite does not finish first or second, all the money donated will be going to worthwhile causes. If everyone we know who reads our sites, our Twitter feeds, our Facebook sites, etc. donates just $1, imagine the impact we can have as a group. And please, spread the word!

The 5 charities that we’ve selected are Healthy Child Healthy World, Environmental Working Group, Sustainable Harvest, Kiva and Water for People.

Voting is now closed for this campaign. Thanks to all of you who participated!

Times are tough and our collective might can really help them out. The results will be tallied two weeks from today, and we will write another article detailing the amounts and the two charities who garnered the most votes and will be receiving the money collected. It’s only $1, so please donate!

Please take a moment to vote for your favorite and to donate just a single dollar to these charities.

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by Wendy Gabriel

Where flowers bloom so does hope.
~Lady Bird Johnson

Flowering tree

Wildflowers 

by Wendy Gabriel

Derek Markham is a father, freelance writer, and Twitter addict. He covers Derek Markhamenvironmental and natural parenting topics for a number of green blogs, including Natural Papa, Twilight Earth, Blue Living Ideas, Green Living Ideas, and the Green Options Media network. For the last 10 years, he’s worked in the natural foods industry, most recently as the general manager of a food co-op.

How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?

I’m a big bicycling advocate and commute by bike as much as possible. I have a trailer for hauling groceries and running errands, and we’ve always tried to live within biking distance of our community. We buy only organically grown food, shop exclusively at our local food co-op and farmer’s market, and have been CSA farm members the last couple of years as well as having our own garden. We use only eco-friendly soaps and cleaners in our house, and love to go thrifting instead of buying new. Our family is also working toward establishing an off-grid homestead, with the hope of establishing an intentional eco-community.

 

You are such a wonderful and prolific writer. What is your favorite green topic to write about?

My favorite topics are probably homebirth and homeschooling, which I don’t write about nearly often enough. I try to balance writing about my favorites with the topics in demand at the blogs I write for. I also enjoy writing about natural foods, seasonal recipes and health topics.

 

I really enjoyed the interview you did for Green Talk Radio’s Green Blogger Series. You explain natural fatherhood in a wonderful way. Could you give us a little overview of what being a natural father means to you?

To me, a natural father is one who makes the effort to instill in his kids a sense of reverence for, and a love of, our natural world, while taking the time to connect with them on a deep level; a dad who balances the needs of making a living with the needs of his family and takes the steps necessary to be present with them, no matter what the sacrifice. I’ve been fortunate to be intimately involved with all of my kid’s births, which is an important part of fatherhood, in my eyes. I also believe that dads can and should play a bigger role in the education of their children.

 

With Father’s Day fast approaching, what would be your perfect eco-friendly Father’s Day gift?

I’d be very happy with a gift basket filled with organic Fair Trade coffee, some organic dark chocolate, and gift certificate for a massage. I am also a big fan of green gadgets and bikes, so perhaps a solar powered battery charger for my LED bike lights would also fit the bill.

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by Wendy Gabriel

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude. ~Denis Waitley

I am grateful for the good health and happiness of the goddesses. I am grateful that the Greek found a fabulous new job. I am grateful for the chance to experience a new city. I am grateful for my loving and supportive family. I am grateful for all of my friends. And I am grateful for painters tape!

Baby Greek goddess

Some of my favorite photos and photo blogs:
Blog Harbor’s Eye on Monday
Twilight Earth’s Photo Sunday
Oakleigh Vermont’s Mother Nature Sunday
Photo Terri
True to Words’ Friday Photography
Twin Cities Photo Blog

by Wendy Gabriel

David Quilty
is the founder of The Good Human a website that encourages people to be David Quiltybetter humans through working to clean up the environment, being active in political issues or just being more aware of your life and surroundings. He also writes for EcoTech Daily which is a website dedicated to the latest green technology, gadgets and news.

How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?

Well, I already live a pretty green life, but there are a few things I want to do down the line, like install solar panels. But right now, I collect rainwater/snow melt off the roof to do any and all watering in the yard; I hang all my laundry outside to dry instead of using a dryer; I mow my lawn with a push reel mower; I only use natural, non-toxic cleaning products inside the house; and I live in a passive-solar house that stays cool in the summer without using air-conditioning at all and warm in the winter with an occasional blast from the radiant floor heat. Also, everything electronic in the house is either unplugged when not in use or plugged into power strips that automatically cut power when the devices are off.

You have a wonderful website, The Good Human, which sports one of my favorite tag lines of all times, “Don’t Blow It… Good Planets Are Hard To Find.” Why did you start your site?

I started the site over three years ago as a place for me to document the changes I wanted to make in my life – living more sustainably, “going green”, getting involved with progressive politics and volunteer opportunities I was interested in. Over time, it has evolved from that into trying to help people live cleaner, greener lives without the fear factor or guilting them into action. It makes me very happy to know that so many have learned so much from the site, and the feedback I get from readers is tremendous!

You’ve recently joined with Adam Shake and Derek Markham of Twilight Earth to combine forces at EcoTechDaily. How is the “move” going and what can we expect from the new EcoTechDaily?

It’s going pretty well so far. We are working hard to get the site up and running like we want it to and we aim to turn it into a central hub for all things “EcoTech” related. So far, so good, and I am so excited to be working with Adam and Derek – they are both great guys who really know their “green”.

Do you have a favorite green tip you could pass on to us?

Keep it simple, that’s the motto I am trying to live by now. All the money in the world won’t make you greener, but making the right choices at the right time sure can. “Going green” doesn’t really have to be a mantra to repeat to oneself – if people just use some common sense, chances are that they will be green without even knowing it. Avoid toxins in your products and your food, don’t litter or pollute, conserve energy whenever you can, do the right thing for the “common human” and you should be alright.

Read more in the Four Questions series:
Four Questions with Adam Shake
Four Questions with Dr. Alan Greene, part I
Four Questions with Dr. Alan Greene, part II
Four Questions with Dr. Alan Greene, part III
Four Questions with Lisa Mills Sutherland
Four Questions with Melissa Kushi
Four Questions with Dr. Marti Erickson

Four Questions with Linda McNair
Four Questions with Beth Terry
Four Questions with Ryan North
Four Questions with Leslie Quigley
Four Questions with Janelle Sorensen
Four Questions with Bethe Almeras

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by Wendy Gabriel

To attract good fortune, spend a new penny on an old friend, share an old pleasure with a new friend and lift up the heart of a true friend by writing his name on the wings of a dragon. ~Proverb

Baby Greek goddess finds a lucky penny

Some of my favorite photos and photo blogs:
Blog Harbor’s Eye on Monday
Twilight Earth’s Photo Sunday
Oakleigh Vermont’s Mother Nature Sunday
Photo Terri
True to Words’ Friday Photography
Twin Cities Photo Blog

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by Wendy Gabriel

Bethe Almeras
is an award-winning author, web producer, and eLearning Bethe Almerasdesigner. A gifted speaker and trainer, Bethe prides herself on being a kid at heart and sharing the benefits of play with others.

How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?

For me, being greener starts with getting outside and actually enjoying this beautiful planet of ours. I worry that in today’s society, people are so focused on saving the planet that they forget to appreciate its beauty and teach children to know the Earth before we ask them to save it.

Naturally, I do things like recycle, buy less, and take public transit. Living in downtown DC is a great way to go green. Limited square footage keeps any desire to buy “stuff” in check, and living a block from the Metro is a dream.

What kind of advice would you give parents to encourage them to get their children (and themselves) outdoors?

Start early and make it a habit before you introduce TV and video games. Limit screen-time, including TV, video games, and computer. Trade some of their structured activities for free time. Appeal to kids’ natural interests (e.g. sports: try hiking or canoeing, science: try gardening or rock collecting). Model outdoor time behavior yourself and focus on fun!

For adults, realize the physical, emotional, and mental health benefits of play and time in nature for kids and adults alike. Make the time to unplug and go outside and play, and notice how good you feel.

In an interview you did for Robin Shreeves, I read that you started The Grass Stain Guru because you are so passionate about the issues of unstructured play, connecting people with nature, and education reform. How does your blog address these issues?

Yes, all three of those topics really boil down to one thing for me: restoring childhood, and saving ourselves in the process. I write about all of these issues on my blog, and bring attention to the need for play and nature as part of a healthy, happy lifestyle — and for kids, an important aspect of proper development and learning readiness. I believe strongly that kids should be kids, and a huge part of that is time for unplugged, unstructured play.

What is your favorite way to play outdoors?

It sounds simple, but a nice walk on my own. No MP3 player or agenda — just the sights and sounds of nature to keep my thoughts company. And if I can wade in a creek, I’m in heaven.

Read more in the Four Questions series:
Four Questions with Adam Shake
Four Questions with Dr. Alan Greene, part I
Four Questions with Dr. Alan Greene, part II
Four Questions with Dr. Alan Greene, part III
Four Questions with Lisa Mills Sutherland
Four Questions with Melissa Kushi
Four Questions with Dr. Marti Erickson
Four Questions with Linda McNair
Four Questions with Beth Terry
Four Questions with Ryan North
Four Questions with Leslie Quigley
Four Questions with Janelle Sorensen

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By Wendy Gabriel

You don’t choose your family.  They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.  ~Desmond Tutu

Walking at the Farm

 

Some of my favorite photos and photo blogs:
Blog Harbor’s Eye on Monday
Twilight Earth’s Photo Sunday
Oakleigh Vermont’s Mother Nature Sunday
Photo Terri
True to Words’ Friday Photography
Twin Cities Photo Blog

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