Holiday Hello

  • By Mark 2nd
  • 22 Dec, 2016

Holiday Suggestions for You

Good Morning, Everyone and Happy Hoidays!

My good friend and savvy expert on sustainability, Betty Shelley,  recently made this very informative short video on recycling for the holiday season:

A few tips to help you enjoy the holidays:

* Gift giving -- draw names from a hat/basket that has the desired gift on a piece of paper.  This avoids the expense of a) buying gifts for all your loved ones and 2) one person each gets what they want.  Saves time, money and second-guessing!

* Gifts for younger children: keep the gifts to a minimum...maybe three to four maximum.  Beyond that number, many little ones get over stimulated/overwhelmed and the thrill of receiving gifts can drop off a cliff.  Keep the gift giving simple!

* Teenagers: if there's a particular gift they want, why not (as the parent) have that son or daughter contribute some money?  I did this years ago when I wanted a 35mm camera (yes, there was photography that didn't involve the use of computers ;   ) by giving my dad $28.00.  It's character-building!  

* Never lose sight of the fact that the holiday season is really about family, friends, love and community!

Inspiration from my Heart to Yours

By Mark 2nd 12 Dec, 2017
The annual shoe drive, taking place now through December 31st, takes place at the Tualitin  California Closets office, located at: 18866 SW Teton Avenue or the Design Studios, 1235 W. Burnside Street, Portland.    I love their tagline: "Wearing out poverty." 

The nice thing about this partnership: Each customer bringing in used shoes, gets a discount of up to 10% off a new closet system, for a maximum of $1,000.00.  Clearly a win-win, if you ask me. Plus, this is yet another way less stuff winds up in the landfill!  

Here's the link/URL to this special program:
By Mark 2nd 11 Oct, 2017
Here's a brief article discussing how Japan, among other countries, is taking the lead in recycling e-waste (shorthand for electronic waste):

My question is...why not the U.S.?  I find it amazing that a country like ours can't seem (or doesn't want) to find a way to address not only electronic waste, but waste products of any sort!  We can do better than this, in my opinion : )  

Here's an article about it:

By Mark 2nd 14 Sep, 2017
Dear Reader,

Very recently, I got this message from a friend who was part of the Oregon Metro, working in the recycling/hazardous waste hotline, who received the following email from an employed of Far West Fibers, a company which handles  a good deal of waste products that, depending on market conditions, are recycled at their various facilities.  Read on...

Hello, Because of the changing market conditions, we will be pulling the bins for comingle plastics, plastic film/bags, and bulky rigid plastics at all the depots. The depots will be set up similar to how they were during the Green Fence operation. We will only be accepting sorted plastic bottles, #2 HDPE and #1 PET. The changes will be in place by tomorrow morning. I’ll try to keep you informed of additional changes as they take place. Sorry for the short notice, things are happening quickly.

Plastic recycling is not an easy process.  So many factors figure into meaningfully reusing/repurposing throwaway's quite a huge problem and, in my view, a true conundrum!

Here is an article I came across, addressing the many facets - and issues - related to plastic's, uh, complicated : (

What are your thoughts about plastics, overall?  You would think with the word "innovation" bandied about by manufacturers, that we'd find alternative materials that don't further foul our precious planet!

By Mark 2nd 17 Jul, 2017
"Made in America"...those three words still strike a chord in many USA'nians.  Often reflecting high standards, good jobs and outstanding quality...does the "Made in America" label still mean or stand for something...or not?  

Personally, I've seen labels that mention something like: "Engineered in the U.S.," or "Designed in the U.S.; assembled in..."China," "Mexico," etc...

There are many products still made in the U.S. but then again, things get blurry when some/most components come from lands far from the U.S.  Seems many products, even with roots in the U.S. are, at best, a mix of components that come from around the world.

Then again, there's the matter of increasing automation, even here in the U.S. which translates to fewer workers.  But then robots and machines don't "need" anything but workers sure do.

I came across an interesting and provocative article through a Consumer Reports magazine dating back a couple of years that got me thinking about U.S. manufacturing, so...

Here's the article I pulled from the Consumer Reports archives for your perusal:

By Mark 2nd 29 Jun, 2017

Greetings Everyone,

I was at a recent gathering/retreat which, among other things, included participation in a "focus group/path group." Mine was based in Earth Marriage and in it, all participants wrote out and shared their "vows" as they relate to their connection to our planet.

Some of mine included the following:

Carrying out my organizing work as if the planet earth mattered.

Living simply so that others may simply live.

To strive to eat less processed foods and eat MORE foods that are healthier for me.

To expand my ability to generously share what I have with others, especially those in need.

To continue to live on my personal "edges" and stay courageous.

What sort of vows, if any, do you make to yourself? To others? To life?

By Mark 2nd 22 Jun, 2017
While working with friends in California, I happened across a small magazine The Ruralite. In it was an article about thrifty living (something I've been doing for years). I'd thought I would share it with you here. I know I've discussed various ways to live more sustainably and lightly on the earth, but this article points the way towards living large ... on less!  Read on here:

By Mark 2nd 01 Jun, 2017
I get the Bee News, which is a Southeast Portland monthly newspaper that reports on many happenings in various neighborhoods.  In the May 2017 edition, I happened upon a full-page ad informing readers of the problems home demolitions.  To see more, look here: .  There are homeowners wanting to move forward and creating an Historic District, which, in their view, would put a crimp in the growing number of home demolitions.

While cycling around the Eastmoreland neighbhood (south of Reed College, near my home), I've also spied upon "count-er-signs, that reference something along the lines of ... "My Home, My Dream..." Some other neighbors are protesting the Historic District/Neighborhood process.  Their complaints relate to costs, little or no greater home appreciation, added bureaucracy, etc.  See this website for more information: .

Personally, I feel how money works in our society (and, locally, Portland and its many neighborhoods), incentivizes profit at any price.  This translates to lots of money being made by, largely, developers, who have been driving the city's redevelopment over the past several years.

What's your take on what's happening to this city's changes unfolding before us?  

By Mark 2nd 11 May, 2017
I came across an interesting article on the impact of plastics on our coastlines (and not just in the U.S.) in AAA's Via Magazine.  In Oregon, the Portland-based non-profit organizes twice-yearly beach clean-ups, often involving hundreds of volunteers who scour the beaches/coastline for trash.  Additionally, there are efforts afoot to clean up microplastics.  Breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces, microplastics endanger all forms of marine life.  To read more, check out the article below:

By Mark 2nd 04 May, 2017
In the past several years, Portland has seen a rising number of home demolitions as developers build larger homes (in my view, some do not fit with the character of many neighborhoods, but that's my opinion!).  But the city got smart and, last summer, passed an ordinance requiring developers to salvage/deconstruct any house built in 1916 or earlier.  

The care, quality of materials, well, everything about these graceful homes should NOT suffer the fate of the commonplace "crunch and dump" process that many demolished homes face.  Instead, places like the ReBuilding Center, will be repositories of hard-to-find materials that wise homeowners can use/integrate into their homes...older and newer!

The new law will ensure those old/older houses will be deconstructed by hand, creating much-needed deconstruction jobs/careers.  A huge plus: the ordinance keeps demolition waste to a minimum, while  creating many benefits to the environment, economy and the community!

Read more about the deconstruction law here:

By Mark 2nd 20 Apr, 2017
It never fails...some people cleaning out their medicine cabinets and bathrooms are tempted to just trash or flush their unused medicines down the toilet.  NO!  Never do this!  Aside from essentially poisoning water resources and all life contained in it, there's the risk of someone picking through your trash bin and taking those unused - and mostly dangerous - medications.

Instead...Check for local take-back centers at

The next take-back day happens next Saturday, April 29th from 10:00am to 2:00pm.
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