All The World Is Green

February 11, 2013

Each of us has one color that resonates strongly for us, just as we have deep preferences for certain tastes or activities. But colors have a primal life of their own which can affect your senses, alter your mood, and soothe your soul as you allow the color vibrations to enter your heart and mind. And our choice of favorite color can give us valuable information about the nature of our soul, and its task in this life.

think-green

And for many of us ‘Green’ is the new cool thing. Sustainability not only makes our world better, but it also seems to bring the best out of people. Making our world a better place to live in is never a bad thing. All of us wouldn’t a healthier and greener place to call home.  So no wonder companies are taking advantage of that.

Green is the color we associate with the heart chakra, and is linked with Libra, the traditional sign of love, romance, and marriage. Green attempts to harmonize, mediate, balance, and bring equilibrium in life. As a primary color of nature and the plant kingdom, this color is soothing and calming.

Green has a dynamic quality that we associate with moving forward, confirming that a project, plan, or activity is approved. However, there is an “institutional” side to green, associated with illness and government-issued green cards, that conjures up negative emotions, as do the “slimy” or “bilious” greens.  And, when our heart centers are off kilter, we can experience jealousy and negative emotions.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but, well — we’ve got quite the tumult crashing through our economy at the moment. It’s already ravaged Lehman BrothersBank of America has purchased Merrill Lynch, and AIG has been bailed out by (whom else!) us! Oh, and you there, American citizen,  now own a bit of AIG Insurance now.

Lucky us. It only cost the federal government $85 billion — chump change. But did it calm the ailing market? No. No it didn’t. And if the Fed can wrangle up $85 billion and it barely makes a dent, well, what hope do we have?

Let’s just say we are holding on to our money with a lot more constraint. Sadly, though, some important issues are being forgotten. The sustainability of our planet through the help of “going green” is one of those issues.

Although the importance of environmental protection has not completely left the market, it certainly has dwindled as of late. When presented with the choice to buy green products versus the often less expensive, but less environmentally friendly alternative, most people are beginning to choose the latter.

But, what hasn’t stopped, though, is the public outcry for the greening of businesses and their products; although we don’t want to help the process by paying for the greening — we still want it to be green, damn it.

It’s like condemning the fatal outbreaks of malaria in Africa, but refusing to send over a few mosquito nets. It just.. doesn’t.. make.. sense!

First, to define what “going green” truly is, at its core, at this very moment, going green is a luxury. Buying organic, buying environmentally sound products, owning a hybrid, powering your non-hybrid vehicle with vegetable oil, outfitting your home with photovoltaic panels — it isn’t necessary in the sense of stringent and absolute survival.

So, how can we ever know what “acting for the best” is in a given situation? It seems commonplace for some people to use the terms ‘nature’ and ‘environment’ interchangeably.

So let’s begin with the root of the word, ‘environment’ which means “that which environs us.” Being “environed” is being encircled or surrounded. Broadly speaking, the environment should be understood as the overall physical and emotional context in which we are located.

It is very important, therefore, to recognize that environments are different from place-to-place and from time-to-time, depending upon who we are and where we are. The environment of a fresh-water trout is clearly different from that of a desert tortoise.  And, as human beings, the relevant physical context that environs us can also be quite different depending upon who we are and what culture we come from, especially, what kind of technology we express.

We cannot discuss a specific environment without identifying those who are environed by it; perhaps more surprising, however, is the fact that we cannot discuss and understand ourselves until we acknowledge and understand the environment to which we are related.

Most of environmental abuse, today, starts within and is caused by the contemporary fact that we are short-sighted and ignorant about the specific environs that nurture us.

We should not view nature as something from which humans are inherently absent; and wilderness, as a natural place from which all trace of humans is absent.  This is a problematic concept.

As the world increasingly embraces the mantra of green products and services, the legal community is encountering a proliferation of litigation surrounding false and misleading environmental marketing claims. Popularly called “greenwashing,” this recent, albeit alarming, phenomenon merges the concepts of “green” (environmentally sound), and “whitewashing” (to gloss over wrongdoing) to describe the deceptive use of green marketing which promotes a misleading perception that a company’s policies, practices, products or services are environmentally friendly.

Eco-Friendly,” “organic,” “natural,” and “green” are just some everyday examples of widely used labels that can be confusing, and even misleading.

The attempt to provide a ‘green’ and caring image for a corporation is a public relations strategy aimed at promising reform and heading off demands for more substantial and fundamental changes and government intervention.

Public relations experts advise how to counter the negative perceptions of business, caused in most cases by their poor environmental performance. Rather than substantially change business practices so as to earn a better reputation many firms are turning to PR professionals to create one for them. This is cheaper and easier than making the substantial changes required to become more environmentally friendly.

One of the ways PR experts enhance the image of their clients and show that they care is by emphasizing their positive actions, no matter how trivial, and down playing any negative aspects, no matter how significant.

We need more detail. The solution to our environmental problems depends on oikophilia more ostentatiously Greek, is “love of home”.

We are at the environmental equivalent of the United States moments from dropping the bomb on Hiroshima.  WE are Guttenberg before he unveiled his printing press, the ancient residents of Easter Island poised tocut down thelast tree, the Bolsheviks just before launching the October revolution. In short, we are human society on the edgeof environmental collapse or social evolution – and how and what we consume is a critical piece of the picture.

Some of the the eco-fixes offer easy targets, for example, the largely symbolic Earth Hour: turn off your lights for sixty minutes while you merrily run the air-conditioners for the next six months. And, yes, eco-tourism is largely a feel-good illusion that inevitably destroys the very environments it claims to protect.

In this world of rapidly diminishing resources, there’s one commodity that we have too much of—greenwashing.

Scientists agree on this much; by nearly every measurable indicator, humanity has wrought enough environmental damage to bring our continued future (in any significant measure) into real question, unless we fundamentally change our relationship with the planet.

But it’s also easy to be a naysayer when it comes to the environment. Alternative fuels and energy sources have indeed remained unviable and come with their own downside, be it solar panels, windmills or ethanol. But failure is hardly a reason to continue our efforts – with ever greater urgency – to devise eco-sustainable sources of energy. The same holds true for carbon offsetting, which has fallen victim to widespread corruption and abuse.

Vegetarians who fly in exotic greens and fruits from around the world often leave a larger footprint than those who consume local meat or poultry in moderation. A 2010 World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report nailed the charade by pointing out that highly processed vegetarian meat-substitutes or foods made of imported soya might use more arable land and resources than their meat or dairy equivalents.  (Just something to think about Hollywood!)

Ecological resources have factored into many national conflicts–either through competition for scarce resources or greed to exploit plentiful ones. But some scholars see another role for the environment: fostering peace. Resources managed jointly can quell regional hostilities, or better, keep lines of communication open so that a conflict never starts.

Sometimes we forget that we are not the only species on earth. Yet, the reality is that humankind, is a single species among the 15 million that we know about and has only emerged in the last million years — hardly a moment in the planet’s seven billion year history . We have come to exercise a terrible power to collectively destroy the environment. The energetic imbalances we create in doing so have brought disharmony, and this disharmony invariably degenerates into conflict and violence.

With the exception of the polar regions, deep oceans, inside caves and deserts (where rainfall is very sparse), green leaves and plants abound. Yet they are by no means all the same shade of green – they may be grey-green, yellow-green or blue-green.

Green is a color, the perception of which is evoked by light having a spectrum dominated by energy with a wavelength of roughly 520–570 nanometers. In the subtractive color system, it is not a primary color, but is created out of a mixture of yellow and blue.

Green occupies more space in the spectrum visible to the human eye than most colors, and is second only to blue as a favorite color. Green is the pervasive color in the natural world, making it an ideal backdrop in interior design because we are so used to seeing it everywhere!

The natural greens, from forest to lime, are seen as tranquil and refreshing, with a natural balance of cool and warm (blue and yellow) undertones. Green is considered the color of peace and ecology.

Going green is urgent and necessary. And this push toward monoculture greening is omnipresent. But, Why?

Maybe somebody is trying to remind us about something?

Green is the color of the Heart Chakra, also known as Anahata. 

This chakra is located at the center of the chest area and is linked to the heart, lungs, circulatory system, cardiac plexus, and the complete chest area. 

The Heart Chakra bridges the gap between the physical and spiritual worlds. Opening the Heart Chakra allows a person to love more, empathize, and feel compassion.

These days, green is the new black. And, corporations and politicians are falling all over themselves to demonstrate to current and potential customers that they are not only ecologically conscious, but also environmentally correct.

So much so, that the average citizen is finding it more and more difficult to tell the difference between those companies genuinely dedicated to making a difference and those that are using a green curtain to conceal dark motives.

Consumers are constantly bombarded by corporate campaigns touting green goals, programs, and accomplishments. Even when corporations voluntarily strengthen their record on the environment, they often use multi-million dollar advertising campaigns to exaggerate these minor improvements as major achievements.

However, many people believe that if we put an end to the violence toward our environment, and instead act to conserve our forests, rivers, oceans, plants, and animals, cleansing the air we breathe and the water we drink, we would automatically be creating the conditions for peace and healing within society.

On the other hand, if we continue to destroy our environment through acts of greed and insatiable development, we will every day be cutting even more our chances to attain peace — locally, nationally, or globally.

It could be said that the root cause of conflict is greed. And, that it is the lack of willingness to share, compromise, and accept other another person’s way of being.

In the pursuit of earthly pleasures, we want more and more to satisfy ourselves, and we are creating a terrible and unsustainable burden on Earth’s natural resources.

Peace, on the other hand, is not about taking everything from Nature. True Peace requires a fundamental change in many of our attitudes. Peace is sharing the resources equally with your human neighbors and all the natural elements: the forests, the birds, animals, plants and minerals.

People find excuses to ignore Nature and abuse her. But peace, and even survival, will be hard to reach if we continue to do this.

Today we are faced with more and greater threats of dangerous pollution experiences, global climate change, and loss of species that will never again be seen.

Our irrepressible demands to consume more are depleting all our resources. And it is the scarcity of resources that creates conflict.  If we can increase our societies’ understanding of the need to care for and nurture the environment, we create a powerful movement toward peace.

A polluted outer environment increases illness, conflict, and an unhappy society. If exploiting and destroying Nature leads to violence, in the same way giving back to Nature just as surely creates peace.

The importance of ceasing to destroy our environment is something that should be in our conversation, our media, our votes, our purchases, and our prayers more often.

Think of all the scientific and technological discoveries that were inspired by observation of Nature. And in return for the great knowledge that we received from Nature, how do we pay her back? By destroying her, by taking even more from her. How much greed can we possibly have?

If we are truly serious about reaching peace we have to start back at the beginning. Nature is that beginning. Nature is the power of sharing, generosity, respect, love, and peace. Nature is free. It is there for all of us, if we will but walk the paths she has laid out for us. Nature has lived harmoniously on Planet Earth from the beginning of time.

This infographic by Marketing Degree illustrates the advantage that companies have taken by misleading consumers and making them “Greenwashed”. Greenwashing is a term that defines a company’s marketing tactics that mislead consumers about the environment-friendly product or service that a company has to offer and in a sense, ‘brain washing’ consumers to think that they’re being green and sustainable. This infographic highlights 7 common ways that companies mislead consumers and how you — the person who strives for sustainability — as the consumer, can avoid such traps.

No largescale project will succeed if it is not rooted in our small-scale practical reasoning. For it is we in the end who have to act, who have to accept and co-operate with the decisions made in our name, and who have to make whatever sacrifices will be required for the sake of future generations. It seems to me that current environmental movements, many of which demand far-reaching and even unimaginable government projects, as well as fundamental changes in our way of life, have failed to learn this lesson. Their schemes, like their cries of alarm, frighten the ordinary citizen without recruiting him, and he stands in the midst of a thousand warnings hoping to get through to the end of his life without going insane from the noise.

In 1854, when Henry David Thoreau retreated to a cabin at Walden Pond, he began a lifelong process of personal education about the natural world. Thoreau is often criticized, today, because he did not really expose himself to “wilderness.” His critics argue that Walden Pond was just a few miles from town and that his aunt kept him warm and fed whenever he needed. But what these critics fail to see is their own assumption, namely, that exposure to wilderness was the point.

Thoreau has to be read for what he was and not for what we might want him to be. Walden is intellectual autobiography and not a contemporary wilderness trek.

Thoreau does not say, “I went to Walden Pond to try myself against raw wilderness.” What he says is, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

The book is a collection of reflections about human life engaged with the natural world.

If the environmental movement begins with Thoreau in some real sense, I think it begins here in Thoreau’s voyage of self discovery, and it begins here in two fundamental ways.

First, what Thoreau discloses to us, chapter by chapter, is the fact that we never see or know the world around us until we take the time to really observe it and that we can do this only by making a commitment of time, energy, and concentration, in other words, to careful and detailed observation.

Typical American life styles, even in the 1850s and even in village life, shortcut us past all the detail. And, unless we examine and observe the world in detail we will see none of its reality. The case is far worse today, when automobile travel, multiple obligations of family and workplace, and many other factors keep us on an endless treadmill with no time for anything else.

Second, and fundamentally most important, we do not really know ourselves until we know the nature in which we are necessarily embedded. When we begin to really observe nature, we really begin to observe ourselves for the first time. What Thoreau experienced was the excitement of breaking out of the typical Western categorization of “a pond is a pond,” in which the world is reduced to the merely objective realm and the human subject is celebrated as the only significant value.

When we look into the pond and know it as a living thing, subject and object unite as co-inhabitants of a living realm.

If we love a place, we will be motivated to “adjust our demands” on the environment, “so as to bear the costs of them ourselves” rather than pass those costs to our descendants, and will seek to “put pressure on businesses to do likewise.” We will only do this “if we have motives to do so – motives strong enough to restrain our appetites.” And those motives will stem from local attachments. If we don’t love the places we actually live, we will not bother to preserve them for our children.

Live and Learn.  We All Do.

Thanks for reading. Please pass this on to someone who means something to you.

Please don’t forget to leave a comment.

Related Articles:

http://www.greenwashingindex.com
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=418699
http://featured.matternetwork.com/2008/12/short-history-green-marketing.cfm
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FreeRice is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Programme. FreeRice has a custom database containing questions at varying levels of difficulty. There are levels appropriate for beginners and levels that will challenge the most scholarly professors. In between are levels suitable for students of all ages, business people, homemakers, doctors, truck drivers, retired people. everyone!

Green Marketing Exposed

April 12, 2012

There is an awesome article in the Dallas South News  illustrating the advantage that companies have taken by misleading consumers and making them “Greenwashed”.

A Wake-Up Story

April 3, 2011

A Wake-Up Story has been out for quite some time now but it’s a nice reminder to keep us focused on our mission for the next generation – in sha’ Allah. Pass it along to your fellow family member, neighbor or friend and join the movement.

JOIN THE MOVEMENT & VISIT : A WAKE-UP STORY

P.S. You may watch the video on mute. The background music is not necessary.

Earth Hour

March 26, 2011

Saturday March 26th at 08:30 PM marks the annual Earth Hour. At 0830pm (local time) cities around the world will be turning off their lights to stand against climate change! Get together with your family and friends to participate in the earth hour global movement!

For more information check out www.earthhour.org

Cook Those Tomatoes!

March 23, 2011

Interesting article on HealthyMuslim.com points out that one of the most common ingredients in many dishes, salads and meals is actually more potent and bioavailable when cooked! Very surprising considering that one seems to hear more and more about the benefits of raw foods over cooked food. It’s nice to know that some things, when cooked, can be beneficial! subhan Allah! It also contains information regarding the surplus of diseases and chronic conditions it can protect us from. Also nice to note that warmer weather and tomato growing season is around the corner so find your local farmer’s market or plant your own organic lycopene-rich fruit!

Check out the article below:

Eating more tomatoes and tomato products is associated with increased health and decreasing the risk of conditions such as cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, according to a review.
Not only that but cooking or processing tomatoes increases the potency of the disease-fighting nutrient lycopene.

The researchers found that tomatoes are the biggest source of dietary lycopene; a powerful antioxidant that, unlike nutrients in most fresh fruits and vegetables, has even greater bioavailability after cooking and processing.

They found a relationship between eating tomatoes and a lower risk of certain cancers as well as other conditions, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, ultraviolet light-induced skin damage, and cognitive dysfunction. Tomatoes also contain other protective mechanisms, such as preventing blood clots and anti-inflammatory functions.

Tomatoes are widely available, and are available in many forms:

“Leveraging emerging science about tomatoes and tomato products may be one simple and effective strategy to help individuals increase vegetable intake, leading to improved overall eating patterns, and ultimately, better health.” write the authors.

“Tomatoes are the most important non-starchy vegetable in the American diet. Research underscores the relationship between consuming tomatoes and reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, and other conditions,” the authors conclude.

“The evidence also suggests that consumption of tomatoes should be recommended because of the nutritional benefits and because it may be a simple and effective strategy for increasing overall vegetable intake.”

Lycopene is the most common carotenoid in the human body and is one of the most potent carotenoid antioxidants. As well as in tomatoes, it is also found in other red fruits like watermelon, papaya, pink grapefruit and pink guava.

Other studies have demonstrated that lycopene reduces the risk of prostate cancer and also has cardioprotective, antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Lycopene is insoluble in water and is tightly bound to the fiber in fruits and vegetables, that the bioavailability of lycopene is increased by processing. Therefore products such as tomato juice, soup, sauce, and ketchup (preferable home-made), produces the highest concentrations of bioavailable lycopene.

Cross posted article from HealthyMuslim.com, Read full article by clicking here

Southern California Green Deen Blog Team & Islamic Institute of Orange County Invites

Community Members of All Ages to Participate:
THE 2011 EARTH DAY CONTEST

DRAWING: UP TO 5TH GRADE
ESSAY: UP TO 10TH GRADE
SHORT KHUTBAH/POEM/SPOKEN WORD: ALL AGES

Submission Deadline: Friday March 25, 2011
Thursday March 31, 2011 (NEW DEADLINE)

Award Ceremony & Display: Sunday April 10, 2011 at the IIOC Earth Day Festival

ENTRY GUIDELINES:
Drawing Contest:
Draw a picture, poster or collage that explains what it means to be eco-friendly and how it relates to Islam. Texts from the Quran and the Hadith may be included (**NO ARABIC TEXT as it raises an issue of storing posters). You may also include words, numbers and other inanimate objects that reflect eco-friendly topics and teachings, but MAY NOT include humans or animals.

Age Categories: Up to 1st Grade, 2nd and 3rd Grades, 4th and 5th Grades

Specifications: No larger than 11” by 17” in size. All entries MUST BE in a form of drawing. NO model, sculpture or other object will be accepted. All entries MUST HAVE a COVER SHEET that includes: full-name of the participant, affiliation (school or MSA/Youth Group name), name of parents/guardian and contact e-mail address.

Essay Contest:
Write a 2-3 page essay about the relationship between Islam and living green. Use examples from the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). Any citations from the Quran or hadith must be referenced.

Age Categories: Up to 8th Grade, 9th and 10th Grades

Specifications: All essays MUST BE: Between 600 to 1,000 words in length, double-spaced. All essays must be accompanied with a COVER SHEET that includes: full-name of the participant, affiliation (school or MSA/Youth Group name), name of parents/guardian and contact email address. NO NAMES OR ID INFORMATION ON THE ESSAY.

Short Khutbah/Poem/Spoken Word Contest:
Write and deliver a short khutbah, poem or spoken word piece relating to Islam and a Muslim’s duty to live environmentally friendly. Draw connections between the lives of the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions. Also, use aya’s from the Quran. Any citations from the Quran or hadith must be referenced.
Age Categories: Up to 8th Grade, 9th and 10th Grades, 11th and 12th Grades, College and above.

Specifications: No longer than seven (7) minutes in length. All entrants MUST submit: a printed copy of a khutbah, poem or spoken word, and a video clip of your delivery in DVD. All entries MUST HAVE a COVER SHEET that includes: full-name of the participant, affiliation (school or MSA/Youth Group name), name of parents/guardian and contact e-mail address.

All entries from school and youth groups should be submitted to respective group leaders and all other entries should be directed to 1220 N. State College Blvd., Anaheim CA, Attn: The 2011 Earth Day Contest. ALL ENTRIES MUST BE RECEIVED BY MARCH 25, 2011 – POSTMARKS NOT ACCEPTED.

For More Information, Please Contact IIOC Administration Office at (714) 533-6271 or via E-mail at publicrelations@masjidomar.com


With the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear scare in Japan one can only wonder how many micro-particles of radiation will hit the shores of the United States. Bloggers are already starting to research ways to naturally prepare yourself and your family from such a scare.

1) Eat brown rice: whole grains, especially brown rice, are high in fiber and phosphorous, which help remove harmful toxins from the body.

2) Eat seaweed, kelp, and other sea vegetables: Canadian researchers have reported that sea vegetables contain a polysaccharide that selectively binds radioactive strontium to help eliminate it from the body. According to this account, “In laboratory experiments, sodium alginate prepared from kelp, kombu, and other brown seaweeds off the Atlantic and pacific coasts was introduced along with strontium and calcium into rats. The reduction of radioactive particles in bone uptake, measured in the femur, reached as high as 80%, with little interference with calcium absorption.”

3) Eat miso soup: In 1945 when Dr. Tatsuichiro Akizuki, M.D., Director of Internal Medicine at a hospital in Nagasaki, had his staff eat a diet of brown rice, miso soup, seaweed, and pumpkin, and prohibited them from eating any sugar or sweets, his staff and patients were much healthier and did not succumb to radiation sickness.

4) Stop eating sugar or sweets of any kind: You’ve known forever that sugar, especially refined sugar and corn syrups, are harmful for you and your children. With this crisis in Japan it is a good time to go cold turkey and stop the sweets, which is another of Akizuki’s recommendations.

5) Consider iodine supplements: This might be the most important thing you can do in the longterm but I put it last on the list because I think whole food intervention should be our first defense and because I worry about the quality of supplements. Still, we want to make sure our thyroids don’t absorb radioactive thyroid. To do this, we must have adequate iodine levels in our bodies, but we also need to be careful not to take too much iodine and be aware that iodine is secreted into breast milk.

Cross posted from Eco-Child’s Play, to read full post click here.

Fellow southern California environmentalists, if you’re looking for a fun-filled day of learning how you and your family can help better the environment and become a more eco-conscious muslims, check out the Earth Day Festival at the Islamic Institute of Orange County!

(Click on here to register, click here to enlarge eflyer)

Food Revolution!

January 12, 2011

This morning on my way home from work, I was surprised and delighted to hear that my favorite celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver has moved to Los Angeles. The move is part of Jamie’s well known Food Revolution campaign (and TV show). The Food Revolution is a campaign geared toward teaching people to become more conscious about the food they eat. He teaches viewers how to read labels and trace where exactly ingredients come from (with regards to what part of the animal and also geographic location).

Last year, he went to Huntington, West Virginia in an effort to change the towns dietary habits for the better. Jaimie opened a free kitchen where citizens of Huntington could go to learn how to cook food that was healthy, economical and tasted good. He also played a crucial part in changing the type of food that was being served in local schools by getting rid of processed food and substituting it with food that fresh and free of preservatives.

This year, Jamie is in Los Angeles. His goal is to learn more about the type of food being served in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Unfortunately, however, the school district has, as Jamie told Kiis FM’s Ryan Seacrest “blocked [him] out.” Jamie has asked to see a list of ingredients being used in the food served in LAUSD schools, but no one in the school district has responded to his requests to meet.

Jamie is opening a free kitchen in LA to offer free cooking classes to residents of Los Angeles. The kitchen opens to the public tomorrow at 1230pm and is located at 1038 Westwood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90024. Everyone is welcome to show support for this great campaign.

As a nurse, there isn’t a day that at least one of my patients is a diabetic or overweight or both. Some of it is genetic, but one cannot deny that a lot of it has to do with poor dietary choices early on. Such choices are taught at home and in school. And its about time that the trend is changed.

If you’re free, go out and show some support. If you can’t make it, at least sign the Food Revolution Petition and keep your eye out for the show on ABC.