The World I Imagine

A creative manual for ending poverty and building peace. The essays in this collection introduce creative ideas for ending poverty everywhere, in the hope that humans can finally build a truly peaceful society where everyone enjoys at least the basic benefits of prosperity, for the first time in history.

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Lion's Pride

The mystery set in 1911 Arizona, features murder, adultery, polygamy, and a marauding mountain lion threatening territorial residents! This exciting adventure novel was published by Outskirts Press in 2007.

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We want to know your thoughts on how to end poverty and build a peaceful world.

Please send a message to:

debbie@imaginetheworldatpeace.com

 Or write to us at:

Debbie Jordan
Imagine the World at Peace
1664 E. Florence Blvd.
Suite 4 #145
Casa Grande, AZ 85122

 

Debbie's GREEN PAGE

All articles originally appeared in the Arizona City Independent Edition. www.trivalleycentral.com

As we turned the calendar over to 2008, more of our resolution lists included steps to green up our lives and, thus, our planet. This is certainly an admirable goal for every one of us. Many things we can all do to save energy aren’t difficult at all. Conservation is the ultimate situation where every little bit helps. People rarely become totally green overnight.

Like New Year’s resolutions, conserving precious natural resources takes planning, organization, and determination to do the work involved. If you add one new step to your green regimen every few weeks, by this time next year you can look back and see that you’re making a real difference in the future of the planet.

Of course, we can’t all be like Ed Begley Jr. The well-known actor uses his HGTV show, “Living with Ed,” to demonstrate the many ways in which we can all participate in the fight against global warming. For decades, Begley has been so fanatical about green living that he’s been known to “drive” to awards shows on his bicycle. When he travels longer distances, he’ll “splurge” and use his electric car. You can learn more about this inspirational global warrior on his web site at: www.edbegley.com.

Begley and his wife, Rachelle Carson, aren’t afraid to air their little family conflicts over the lengths to which they should go to save natural resources. Though she supports his ecological goals, Rachelle admits she’d love to enjoy a bit of luxury once in a while, such as a hot shower that lasts longer than her husband’s strict time limit.

The lesson here is that we’re all conflicted over just how much we should do, as opposed to how much we can do, in the epic battle to save the planet. For years, Jim and I have been involved in this effort, to a greater extent every year. Over the years we’ve become more conscious of ways we can help in this most fundamental cause, to save our home, the planet that sustains our very lives.

On the other hand, there are more things we can to do to live greener, and we're taking steps to do more in the future. But medical conditions, especially on my part, make certain things impossible for us to do.

 

Debbie's Green Wish List

And we're doing one more thing to save energy (and money), but the subject is complicated. You see, a lot of people are doing it, and even more are talking about it. Trouble is, most people are doing it the wrong way. I'm talking about using compact fluorescent light (CFLs) bulbs that don't emit ultraviolet (UV) rays. This vital health issue is just as important as fighting global warming. To learn how to obtain CFLs that don't poison you with UV rays, go to: Using CFLs Without UVs

To read an article, just click on the title below:

 
Why Not Green?

(Originally featured in Arizona City Independent Edition, October 8, 2008)

Since late last year, I’ve written several articles in this column on some of the simple things we can do to help save our planet. Of course, "green living" is "in" now, thanks to people like Al Gore, who was sounding the alarm on global warning for decades before it became popular.

Jim and I heard his message years ago. Back then, we were doing small things to help, but it wasn’t enough. We still have a long way to go. Becoming green is a step-by-step process; it doesn’t happen overnight.

No matter how popular it is to fight global warming, there are still nay-sayers, especially among powerful people who, sadly, stand squarely in the way of progress. I fear that they could be signing a death warrant for many species on the planet--including, eventually, the human race.

That’s why we’re involved in this effort. Actually, I made up my mind to join the ecological fight fifty years ago. In the summer of 1958, I witnessed an example of why we must be careful about managing our natural resources.

Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, I loved going with my family to swim in Lake Worth, east of the city. In the early ‘50s, Lake Worth was a nice place for families to swim, picnic, and just hang out. When we lived in Ridglea on the west side of town, we went up there several times each summer, but after we moved to Handley on the east side in December 1955, we didn’t get to the lake nearly as often.

Then one day we took a trip up to Lake Worth, just to spend a day in the country. For some reason, we didn’t wear bathing suits, which we would have done in the early part of the decade. Maybe our parents knew. I never did ask them about it. But it turned out to be an eye-opening trip.

Though it was a bright summer day, there weren’t many people around. I understood why after we left the car and started walking toward the lake. I first noticed that there was a different odor to the air than the fresh one I remembered from earlier days. The closer we got to the water, the more I could smell it, and it wasn’t pleasant.

Upon reaching the water, we realized the lake was much smaller than it had been before. Fort Worth was always going through alternate spells of too much and too little, floods and drought, so a shrunken lake wouldn’t be that much of a surprise. But it was the condition of the water and the beach that shocked me.

The water itself was dark and dirty looking, not like the fresh, clean water we used to swim in. It looked so bad we weren’t even tempted to wade in, which we would’ve done, even if we hadn’t planned to swim. On that day, we didn’t even want to walk across the beach, which was littered with trash and dead fish. Even the soil, the former lake bed, didn’t look or feel like good old Texas dirt. As an outdoor kid, I knew good dirt when I saw it, and this wasn’t it!

The entire area had a doomsday feel to it. Even vegetation surrounding the expensive lakefront houses looked sick. The entire scene had the pall of death. I don’t know whether it was pollution or neglect or just all the trash that had been dumped around there. It was probably a combination of all those things. The lake and the land around it was dying, and something must be done to bring it back to life.

We didn’t stay at Lake Worth for long that day, and it was the last time we went there. The next spring, we moved to Littleton, CO. I haven’t been back to the area, except during a couple of subsequent moves when we drove straight through the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex without stopping.

I do know that since that fateful day, things have changed for the better. Apparently, people took charge of the situation and cleaned up the lake. I discovered this while watching an episode of "Walker, Texas Ranger" and saw Chuck Norris visiting a house on the shore of Lake Worth.

The area was beautiful again, the lake clean, and all the houses surrounded by lush lawns and thriving trees and plants. I’ve since checked the internet and found that Lake Worth is a thriving resort community now. That would’ve been impossible with the lake I’d seen in the summer of 1958.

That’s why I have no doubt that no matter what other factors affect the environment, positive human involvement is vital. Besides, it’s the one factor we can control. We have the choice to ignore the obvious and kill this planet, bit by bit. Or we can nurture it and help it to thrive as a wonderful "mansion" for the enjoyment of the entire human race. It’s up to us.

I plan to be among the positive inhabitants of this planet, our virtual home. I hope you’ll join me in that effort too!

Recycling

Besides turning off lights, electrical appliances, and water faucets, our first big step came when we began using recycling bins in our mobile-home community in Texas. I must admit, it took me a while to realize exactly what was meant by the label on that bin reserved for plastic. By the time we moved away from that house, I knew the difference between numbers one and two plastic and the higher numbers of plastic that recycling services don’t bother with.

In our next home in Georgia, it was still easy for us to recycle. There were no handy collection bins in either of our Forsyth County neighborhoods, but the landfill was just a couple of blocks off the main drag on the way to our favorite stores. Besides being easy to dump all recyclable materials, it was cheaper to pay twenty-five cents per bag to dump trash there instead of hiring a trash-hauling service. Since recycling lowered our trash output, we never paid more than a dollar or two per month to dispose of our trash.

Since moving to Arizona City, and now Casa Grande, we’ve been disappointed at limits to the types of plastic and metal being collected for recycling. Then a few years ago, they stopped collecting glass in this area altogether. When we lived in Arizona City, we did have to make the effort to deliver recyclable materials to landfills or collections bins in several places. But now that we live in Casa Grande, we enjoy the luxury of curbside recycling pickup, as well as trash pickup in the alleys--just like the "good old days"!

Of course, we’re painfully aware that politicians manipulate the tax structure to control what is recycled and what can be made from it. That’s why we must elect candidates who’ll make every effort to encourage recycling of all reusable materials and support businesses that use those materials to manufacture new products for a worldwide market.

Giving Up The Green To Be More "Green"

We’re taking other steps to save the planet too. Since moving into our “new” house in Casa Grande, we haven’t wasted any precious water on the grass in our backyard. We plan to replace the superfluous vegetation with a layer of small pebbles. I admit we were spoiled in Georgia, since humidity made watering the lawn unnecessary, but Jim did waste gasoline by using a riding mower on our spacious quarter-acre lot.

Recent news reports indicate that the historic eastern climate has changed and green lawns are out of style for the duration. But we’ve lived in several places where watering was controlled or even banned, mostly here in the western U.S. Brown lawns and the ubiquitous rocky “Arizona lawns” don’t bother us a bit.

Wet and "Green"

My next tip also requires an initial effort and a bit of discipline, but the long-term savings are significant, in both cash and natural resources. Instead of buying bottled water from the store, install a faucet filter and start saving money right away. The trick is to remember to turn the switch to the filter when you pour water for drinking or cooking, then flip the switch off the filter for other uses. That habit saves a ton of money on replacement filters.

Besides providing great tasting water, these filters remove virtually all those dangerous microscopic thingies that could be lurking in your water, and it kills the bad taste of chemicals that are added to kill those nasty bugs. We’ve used Brita filters in Arizona City and Casa Grande, and our water is always delicious and satisfying. Even better, we never have to recycle all those plastic water bottles, which saves us a ton of effort and more of the world’s natural resources.

Bagging the "Green"

So far in this series, I’ve detailed several steps we’re taking to help save the planet. Some of them also save us money. The latest step we’ve adopted is already starting to make us a bit of change, depending on where we apply the idea.

I recently put several canvas bags in my car to use when I shop, instead of wasting the “paper or plastic” provided by stores. Of course, I always recycle the plastic anyway, but not using them in the first place is much better for the planet. The trouble is, for a while I kept forgetting to bring the canvas bags into the store with me. Finally I began keeping them on the front passenger seat where I couldn’t miss them. Now I’m moving closer to imprinting this new habit into my psyche.

Once I got into the swing of things, I discovered that Fry’s (a Kroger-owned store) gives a five-cent rebate for every canvas bag I fill with groceries instead of wasting their bags. In one trip I save anywhere from a nickel to a quarter. Even better, I’m doing my bit to help save the planet. Maybe the rebate will encourage Jim to remember to use the canvas bags too.

Not all the stores where we use canvas bags will pay us for the effort, but at least we won’t be wasting any more of those plastic store bags. That puts both our conscience and the planet in pretty good stead.

"Green" Living and our Health

Some planet-saving measures aren’t easy for everyone to implement. Some conservation steps take more effort by people with certain medical conditions, but others actually help us with many of our symptoms. That has certainly been true for Jim and me.

Jim and I implemented two resource-saving steps for health reasons. They help me a lot; they’re good for Jim too; and they really aid in the fight against global warming. First we became vegetarians. Now we’re slowly replacing all those chemical-based concoctions with green products, including everything from personal grooming products to household cleaners.

Many people consider these two steps too radical for their taste. They don’t understand the benefits of reducing the consumption of meat, especially red meat. I was convinced that veggies leave less waste in the body than meat when I saw how clean the inside of a pot is after I cook up a batch of veggie stew, soup, or chili. I realized that all the gunk that stuck to the pan when I used to cook anything with meat is the same crud that sticks to the inside of our arteries when we eat meat.

Then there’s the money factor. Try a vegetarian diet for a week or two, then try spending the same amount of money on a meat-based diet during the same period of time. You’ll find that meat tends to pad the grocery bill. Even lower-fat meats and poultry aren’t as cheap or as good for you as plant-based foods. Cutting the amount of animal products you consume will lower your grocery bills and benefit your health too.

Jim and I still eat eggs and use nonfat dry milk powder in cooking or with cereal. One day maybe we’ll try soy milk, but we’re taking this one step at a time. Our lacto-ovo vegetarian diet is still helping to save natural resources. It takes a lot less land and other resources to produce veggie products for human consumption than it does to raise animals for the same purpose.

Though we started replacing our chemical-based products some time ago, it’s an ongoing project. Some years ago, I stopped getting perms at the beauty shop because the chemicals bothered my scalp and skin. I never liked what makeup did to my skin, even hypoallergenic brands. The more I learned about what’s in those products, the more I was convinced that it’s not a good idea to use them. Then I developed a severe allergy to all chemical dyes and even some natural ones, so now I avoid makeup altogether.

Another problem is the fragrances in most of these products. You see, almost all commercial fragrances are made from petroleum. That’s right, the same thing they use to make gasoline. Instead of dabbing on perfume, you might as well go down to the filling station and slap on some gas. And if you’ve heard reports that household scents are causing a lot of people to develop asthma, that’s because they might as well go sniff the stuff in their car’s fuel tank.

If that doesn’t make you think, maybe this will: As my allergies worsened, I realized that commercial scents no longer smell like the flowers and spices they’re designed to imitate. Instead, they smell like the refineries and chemical plants that surround the area where we used to live in La Porte, Texas. That’s what most people smell like to me and others who are allergic to commercial perfumes.

 

© 2007 Debbie Jordan