Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A friend of Betty has something to say!

It's late. I'm checking email and I'm really not "reading" any of them in my current state. But I see one entitled "Climate Change Legislation" and which perks my Betty radar. I need to read this one, I think, and I'm delighted that it's 1) brief (hey, I'm being totally honest here) and 2) it's impassioned and true and 3) it's from one of my favorite local community activists - Glenn Short.

I served on the Unitarian Universalists Green Committee one year with Glenn and he is just an amazing force. Silver-haired, a proud and slightly hunched 5'8" (and last year had a fall that forced him to walk with a cane, much to his dislike), he always greats me with a big smile, a big hug, and a passion for change that is so strong in him, you can see it in his quick step. I believe he's well over 70 --I don't know his exact age-- but he certainly doesn't act it, which is delightful. The first green meeting I attended I remember his little black book that was so ink-splotched with dates and times and numbers for community meetings, public hearings, state legislator phone numbers, that it looked as though a pen exploded on it!

By way of that explanation, I MUST share with you his impassioned plea...

"Climate scientists report the uppermost safe limit for CO2 in earth's atmosphere is 350 parts per million, while today we're at 392 parts. Melting glaciers worldwide, Greenland's & Artic ice meltdowns prove we're in the danger zone now. Yet fossil fuel energy producers call for-- Drill Baby Drill! The only way to stop this status-quo, castastrophe-bound trend is to put a legal carbon limit on all greenhose-gas-emitting industries and vehicles. Even billionaires living on this finite-resource planet breathe the same air, drink the same water as the rest of us. Please, for the sake of future generations, tell Senators Warner (202) 224-2023 & Webb (202) 224-4024 we need a Climate Change law NOW, while there's still time."

Glenn Short

Please support Glenn and steps toward turning the tide of Climate Change by being active and involved in legislation aimed at solutions! Betty thanks you for your passion for change.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Betty's summer reading list title #1: Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last week I had to take a staycation, welcome-to-summer roadie to Richmond to see the new addition of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and visit one of my favorite trees at Maymont AND a new discovery: indie bookstore in Shockoe Slip FOUNTAIN BOOKS. Ahhhh. It was a great half-day excursion, but the highlight just might have been sitting in that quaint little bookstore for an hour, perusing new titles, favorite authors, a stellar tree book I MUST acquire soon but DIDN'T write down the title, and Ralph Waldo Emerson's book NATURE. Between grant-writing, mothering, working, and going to school I'm not sure when I'll get to "summer reading" lists, but I've started. Emerson's writing are his life are passionate expressions of his love of the natural world. He was radical in urging Americans of his time to be in the joy of beauty and Nature by walking, noticing, breathing.

I share this quote with you:

"The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence. Nature never wears a mean appearance. Neither does the wisest man extort her secret, and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection... the lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. His intercourse with heaven and earth becomes part of his daily food."
from Ralph Waldo Emerson's (1803-1882) book Nature, Penguin Books (printed on FSC certified paper)


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A More Perfect Patio this Summer....

Deck yourself out with these summer ideas from Betty's June Column for Cville Weekly's Abode Magazine

There’s nothing better than a relaxing summer evening with friends on the patio enjoying great music and great food. This month, Betty reveals eco-friendly ways to make your deck the in place to party outside.

Invite nature-lovers—like butterflies and birds—to your patio party with strategically planted butterfly bushes and bee balm. Find drought-resistant plants grown locally at the farmer’s market or area nurseries. Recycled glass bird-feeders are decorative and eco-minded, or make your own using a cardboard milk carton covered with a collage of old magazines and newspapers.

Lighting sets the mood. I like to get creative with candles: Mason jars filled with soy candles surrounding the edge of your patio offer a natural glow. Solar-powered lights create enchanting illuminated pathways. Energy-efficient options would be outdoor LED or motion sensor lights.

Of course your guests need comfy places to sit, so how about upcycling a great yard sale find (an old wicker chair or paint-peeling patio set) into a patio treasure with a quick new spray low-VOC paint job? Or you could splurge on a pair of Adirondack chairs made of recycled milk jugs, available at the Blue Ridge Eco Shop in a variety of joyful colors ($275; see p. 10).
If you have a wooden deck, a soy-based, zero-VOC deck stain (Velvet CDF, for example) seals the wood for 10 years’ worth of outdoor fun.

Finally, to avoid pesky mosquitoes, spray your patio area with a natural and locally made insect repellent: St. Gabriel’s, which lasts four weeks. Scented citronella candles are another good solution.