Many years ago, when my family was the only year round family on remote Gotts Island I actually did "Black Friday." Black Friday is literally going to a mall after Thanksgiving and buying stuff. I believe it came about because I listened to a talk radio station out of Boston. This is long before talk radio was so political, of course the station talked national and local politics but also covered many human interest stories, food, psychology. For me, it was background conversation while I worked alone in my log cabin. I'm sure I was influenced by all the ads for Black Friday- it seemed the thing to do.
So we headed ashore- no easy task- involving boats and our car. I have no idea what we bought. Probably broccoli and other fresh vegetables. It was crowded, we ate at a fast food joint and by the time we got home we were all cross and grumpy. That's my one and only Black Friday adventure.
This year, celebrate sustainably and slow down. There is no need to pile the family in the car, deal with hordes of people to buy cheap stuff made in China. There are so many other things to do.
#OptOutside was started by the outdoor gear company REI a few years ago. They are closed for business the Friday after Thanksgiving. REI's mission is to connect people with each other and nature instead of spending time shopping for bargains.
Another alternative to Black Friday is Buy Nothing Day. This began in Canada to highlight overconsumption. Instead of shopping the idea is to slow down and participate in a community event, get outside or even spend a bit of time doing what you love. It's a perfect day for some self care.
Both #OptOutside and Buy Nothing Day are movements and philosophies. We're a small business which depends on sales to survive. We understand how complex the world and economies are. We also knowing making choices about your purchases is a way to vote for the kind of economies and world you want.
9 Ideas for #OptOutside & Buy Nothing Day
1. Take a walk no matter what the weather is. Bundle up, put on rain boots or rub in the sunscreen- just get outside.
2. While outside pick up trash. There's nothing like picking up lots od single use plastic to help you make better buying choices.
3. Clean out a closet, cupboard or room and donate useable items to your local charity shop.
4. Write letters, postcards or call family and friends far away.
5. Make holiday cookies or gifts.
6. Read a book, play cards or do a puzzle.
7. Get some ART and visit a museum or gallery.
8. Dedicate some time to self care, give your self a facial, a hot soak in the tub or simply a bit of time doing whatever you love most.
9. No matter how you spend the day- do an activity that nourishes you and helps your community and environment.
Halloween is coming. I actually love this holiday especially when I was teaching. It's an opportunity to celebrate the season, indulge in goodies and a chance to dress up and pretend.
The problem with all holidays is our enjoyment creates mountains of trash- bags of candy, plastic decorations and tiny toys make a lot of trash.
Here are some ideas to help you put the green into trick or treat bags.
Plastic free candy is a challenge, look for candy wrapped in foil or paper or cardboard boxes. They will be bulk packed in plastic but it is better than handing out plastic wrapped candy.
It's easier to skip the candy and pass out other sorts of treats. My favorite idea is a bowl of nature items including shells, sea glass, acorns and stones. If you live in the city this would be a real novelty for some kids.
Paper straws are a great treat to help raise awareness about the problems of plastic. Amazon sells boxes of 150-300 and depending on your street a single box could last a few years.
Sidewalk chalk, tiny cookie cutters, pencils, erasers, bandages, magnets, coloring books or printed coloring sheets, remelted crayons all are lower waste treats and last quite a bit longer than candy.
You can also buy an activity card set and hand out one card per child. Your local bookstore or toy shop will have a selection. Expect to pay around $10-12 for a deck of 50 cards.
The website Teachers Pay Teachers has some different printables including Halloween Yoga cards and Halloween PE. Download to make cute books, printable bookmarks are another option. The downloads cost between $3-5 making these a fun and cheap treat.
The materials to make a craft are also nice treats. Friendship bracelets made from embroidery thread are a calming way to end the Halloween frenzy. You can make a kit for each trick or treater and include directions. Here is a link-DIY Printable Friendship Bracelet .
I hope this blogs helps you think about ways to celebrate without making lots of extra trash. Handing out an eco item can help raise awareness about our planet. Let's all work to make Halloween more green.
I'm a cooking junkie. I love to watch cooking shows, my favorites being Top Chef, Chopped and The Great British Baking Show. I also love cookbooks. I often buy a regional cookbook as my souvenir from a trip. The books most often checked out on my library card are cookbooks.
I have been enjoying (and learning a lot) from Ocean Greens written by Lisette Kreischer & Marcel Schuttelaar. In addition to enhancing the flavor of your food and adding some serious nutrition another reason to explore seaweeds in your kitchen is sustainability. "On the cutting edge of food and sustainability, seaweed and sea vegetables are good both for you and—with the potential to drastically reduce our carbon footprint—for the planet" (quote from Ocean Greens website).
One section I really loved was "Special Ingredients". I tend to use seaweed as a spice and often reduce or eliminate the salt. As I read thru there was a section about salt, especially sea salts. Sea salts are more complex and nutritious than ordinary table salt. In the book they prefer Danish smoked salts for their intense smokey aroma. I'm totally thinking seafood as I'm writing- just the idea of that smokey aroma. In addition to the intense aroma Danish salt is also high quality in terms of the salt making process and mineral content. Being in Maine we have some great salt makers including the Maine Sea Salt Company. My two favorites happen to be their Hickory Smoked and Dulse.
Another spice I'm eager to try with seaweed is Smoked Paprika. According to Ocean Greens Smoked Paprika adds a deep meaty flavor. Don't use regular Paprika but look for the smoked variety which is from a particular pepper cooked over an open flame.
An ingredient not mentioned in the book but that I particularly love with seaweed is dark rum. Prannie Rhatigan's Irish Seaweed Kitchen introduced me to the world of baking with seaweeds. Now whenever I am making a cake, muffin or brownie I replace the vanilla with chopped dulse soaked in dark rum. I let it mellow together when I start mixing my batter and at the final few stirs fold it in. It's totally yumminess. Ocean Greens has some beautiful sweet recipes including Chocolate Chip and "Weed" cookies and a lovely Chocolate, Raspberry and Seaweed Cake. I can't wait for my backyard raspberries to ripen.
Earth Day was the idea of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. He felt that environmental issues and awareness needed to be more prominent in both the media and in politics so he created the first official Earth Day back in 1970.
Of course, Earth Day should be everyday. This year, the official theme is "Environmental and Climate Literacy". In order to get a bit more literate in this area I'm reading Naomi Klein's "This Changes Everything- Capitalism vs the Climate". It's not an easy read for me, I tend to like complex mysteries that allow me to escape into a book and this book makes you think. Another everyday way to celebrate our planet is to get outside and pick up trash. Noticing all the bits of litter can be very eye opening. Besides helping to make the earth a tiny bit cleaner you are setting an example for others. People need to see folks out there not ignoring litter but picking it up.
It's nice to get out and about and connect with others on this Earth Day Celebration. Here's a list of events around the state of ME.
JUST EAT IT- A FOOD WASTE STORY
Sunday April 22 at the Strand Theatre in downtown Rockland
This event is hosted by Renew Rockland, The Strand and Good Tern Coop. Check out their Facebook Page for more info.
EARTH DAY CHORAL CONCERT
Camden’s Quasimodal Chorus will celebrate the Earth with song. At the Camden Public Library on Sunday starts at 2:00 and a donation of $10 is suggested. More info- http://www.librarycamden.org/event/spring-concert-april-2/
EARTH DAY WORK DAY at MOFGA
Earth Day Planting Day on Sat April 21 from 9-3 at the Common Ground Education Center in Unity. More info from MOFGA.
A WALK FOR MOTHER EARTH
Sears Island to Belfast on Sat April 21 from 8-3. Here's a link to the route.
CELEBRATE SCIENCE & EARTH DAY- WHAT WOULD RACHEL DO?
This event honors Rachel Carson and is from 10-2 on Sat at the Waterhouse Center in downtown Kennebunk. More info here-https://www.someplaneteers.org/
TERRA MATTERS YOUTH CLIMATE SUMMIT
Sat 9-12 at Hannaford Hall in Portland. Environmental clubs from Me's high and middle schools will present their projects. After the event join the march and rally and remember to bring your refillable containers for food and drink. More info here- http://terramatters.org/
EARTH FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES AT THE PORTLAND CHILDREN'S MUSEUM
Seeds,mud, stories, face painting and more! From 10:30 to 4:30, cost of admission to the museum. More info- https://www.portlandmaine.com/events/earth-day/
WELLS RESERVE AT LAUDHOLM
This place is beautiful and on Earth Day there are family friendly events including bird watching, a concert, beach clean-up and more. https://www.wellsreserve.org/
A DAY OF MINDFULNESS
If you'd like to experience peace and quiet head to Nurture Thru Nature Retreat
starting at 9:30 for singing, chanting, meditation and more peaceful activities. Check it out- http://www.ntnretreats.com/
EARTH DAY AT COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC
Roadside cleanup, picnic lunch, puppet show, e car and a showing of the film
"The Story of Stuff". More info-http://www.coa.edu/calendar/#!event_id/28712/view/event
I know this list is incomplete- feel free to add any events in the comment section.