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Ok, I know this is an older story but I couldn’t help it. Especially since it invovles a cat!

It seems the little critter is all about using public transportation cause the kitty is concerned about the environment. Alright, maybe its just because it gets to ride the bus for free. Whatever you or I make up about this, it is still a cute way to remind ourselves to use public transportation (or even walk) to get to our destination.

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 Here are three must read/view stories if you are interested in hearing some goods news about what is happing in our world regarding the environment.

Enjoy!

 190 countries reach ‘historic’ deal on ozone threat

Nearly 200 countries have agreed to accelerate the elimination of chemicals that threaten the ozone layer and exacerbate global warming, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) says.

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InterFaith Group Meets in Greenland to Pray for Healing the Earth’s Climate

Interfaith leaders met up in Greenland to see the first hand results of climate change and to pray to help heal the earth.

See video…

Can These Ceramic Tubes Stop Global Warming?

A story posted on inhabitat.com takes a look at an interesting invention, ceramic tubes, that could have the potential to remove carbon emissions from power plants and automobile exhaust.

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The following article was submitted by Adam Motiwala. I am including it here since it has some points that were not covered in the post How to Have an Eco-Friendly Iftar

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Gathering around the Daster khan every evening anxiously awaiting what your mommy has cooked up to fill your empty stomachs, trying to sneak in a last minute Dua for your fast to be accepted, yes this is Ramadan. The horizon is filled with different delights that are only prepared once a year for the satisfaction and reward of obtaining from one of our basic necessities and wants for the entire day, FOOD! We quench our thirst, gluten our stomachs, and set aside our personal desires for a night of prayer and worship attempting to extol Allah’s bounties.  

Throughout this month we are constantly challenging ourselves, restraining from what may seem as normal. We set everything aside to gain a deeper relationship with our creator and ourselves. However there are a few habits we tend to over look.   

When opening our fasts with dates we make dua to bless the entire ummah and to accept our fasts, we reflect on our day, on our fast. We reflect how we can make our next fast better. In that process do these questions enter our minds:  I wonder if the workers that picked these dates earn a livable wage, if they themselves can afford a box of these authentic ‘Saudi’ dates?  I wonder how many green house gases were emitted for these ‘Saudi’ dates to be transferred over to my stomach? Perhaps it would be prudent for me to purchase dates that are grown locally (if available)?  

These are all important questions that affect our worship and need be taken into consideration. Before your next iftar reflect on how you have become closer to your creator by ensuring the meal you’re having has incorporated a few of the procedures outlined below.   

As Muslims and creatures of this earth we should try to incorporate these practices as part of our daily worship and iftar this Ramadan.  

Use as many re-usable products as possible, (pots, serving trays, utensils, plates, cups, cloth napkins etc). If re-usable products can not be used, use compostable products. Please avoid all Styrofoam and make sure all products are recyclable.  

Avoid having products that use excessive packaging. Instead of having individually wrapped products or drinks, for example have a pitcher of water and use fresh fruit to make blended drinks. 

Have three bins to sort trash. Trash should be minimal if the above is followed. The first should be used for food waste which can be taken to a compost bin. (use compostable trash bags for the compostable paper products ). The second bin should be for recyclables, such as glass, aluminum cans. The third could be for real trash (things that cannot be reused as they pose a health risk). 

Use compact florescent bulbs for lighting.

Majority of the dishes should be vegan/vegetarian as our high meat consumption is a contributor to high methane levels, and known greenhouse gas. Try to only have one meat dish or have meat sparingly, more as a garnish than as a main course. Buy produce and grocery that has Fair Trade and Organic certifications. You will find this listed on the packaging. Examples are “USDA Organically” and/or “Fair Trade certified”. 

When cleaning up after the Iftar use only biodegradable cleaning products. Avoid vacuuming by using throw rugs that can be shaken out after the Iftar. Ramadan Mubarakh Author: Adam Wotiwala

Adam Motiwala is a graduate with a B.A in Business and a board member of Hikma –Hikma.org. Adam currently lives and works in Los Angeles California.  

Tuesday night my clothing iron went out. I mean it was gone. Not a good thing, if you consider that I do not enjoy walking around in wrinkled clothes. I figure a clothing iron is essential so next day I went out and purchased another iron. I got this on sale for only $30 bucks, normally $50. It is awesome, all digital and has auto shut off (which is good for me since I keep forgetting to turn my iron off), a retractable cord, and it has the ability to spew out both vertical and horizontal steam.  

Well, last night I went to go iron my cloths and without thinking picked up my old iron (cause it was still right beside the ironing board) and started using it. All of a sudden I was like, “hey this thing is suppose to be broken”. It worked perfectly, just like new! (Ok, well maybe not like it was new cause it did not have the new clothing iron smell). How could this be, I know what I witnessed and the iron was totally gone.  

Here’s what I am thinking. Could being apart of the Ramadan Compact mean that we have super human powers that allow us to fix electrical deficiencies in stuff by just doing nothing? I mean if that is the case I figure I could go stand next to someone’s car (of course it would be a hybrid Lexus) and with my super human powers by pass the keyless entry system, start the car (just by sitting in it), and drive off. Of course this might be considered stealing and may not be compatible with the spiritual path that I would like to maintain during Ramadan. I would only want to use my powers for good and not my own gratification.  

My first act where I  use my powers for truth, justice and…something else… will be to return the super duper digital iron. I am a bit sad ‘cause I really started to get attached to the new iron and was imaging all the many ways vertical steam would cause me to be happy and fulfilled. However, good must triumph over an iron in the landfill.  

Read comments for this post at Ramadan Compost

Author: Anila Muhammad

About three years back I was involved in a self imposed month long social experiment. I wanted to see how easy or how difficult it would be to detach myself from consumer culture. For one month I was going to commit to buying only items that were essential.  I had never really been the type of person who was into labels, having a lot of stuff, and hanging out at the mall. Given my lack of being a consumer I thought “no problem, this will be a piece of cake”.  

Well it was a piece of cake, chocolate cake to be exact on day one, and day two, up until day three. That was the day I stepped into a Target.

My intentions were honorable; I was there to purchase something for my home. What exactly that something was I did not know. Until I saw this beautiful, brushed stainless steel, every so sleek looking spatula.   

You see buying stuff for my home was OK, because it was for my home, and not for me, so it was essential. Right? Especially if that something was a kitchen gadget. And kitchen gadgets, I rationalized, are essential because I have to cook, so I can eat, so I need another kitchen gadget.  Right? Plus it was so beautiful, and it would look so good once I got it home, and it made me happy (I think), and I had been working hard, and didn’t I deserve some happiness in my life.

The crux of Consumer Culture is the belief that consumption will provide me with happiness. Meaning that the more stuff I have the happier I will be (if only this were true there would be many happy people in debt). The problem with this model is the pressure it puts on our environment. More consumption equals more stuff that goes into our landfills, and more emissions that come out of the factories that produce the goods, and from the transportation industry that gets these goods to me and you. The other problem with consumption is that it does not contribute to greater happiness or fulfillment. (Take a look at this article by National Geographic on Consumer Culture and the Environment).

For me the spatula (remember its brushed stainless steel), was happiness. At least happiness in that moment 

As a friend of mine, a self professed shop-a-holic, puts it “(consuming) is a high. When I am looking for something to purchase I am on a high, I’m happy, I’m excited, until I purchase it then the high fades and I have to start the cycle all over again”.  

I believe I was in that very cycle when I was contemplating my purchase. And here is the irony, since I was never heavy into purchasing a lot of personal stuff (such as jewelry, a gazillion shoes, designer clothing) I thought I was immune to this very thing.  

You’ll be happy to know that I did not purchase the spatula (though it probably would have enhanced the taste of my omelets). I also took the one month of learning and extended it over several months. I can’t say that I was completely faithful during that entire time since a new spatula mysteriously showed up next to my other two (I think it must have been a sleep shopping incident). I did realize that the consumer culture belief system has more influence on me than I initially thought. 

Realizing this at the hands of a spatuala (sorry no pun intented here) was, indeed, a very humbling experience.

Read comments to this post at Ramadan Compact

Author: Anila Muhammad

 A young woman I know, Sanjana Ahmad, recently asked me to join the Ramadan Compact. The Ramadan Compact is a blog based community initiated by Sanjana, who has been involved in exploring the Islamic bases for environmental awareness, and activism, and encouraging a dialogue in both Muslim and non-Muslim communities on the environment. Being an agent for environmental change is nothing new for this young woman who holds a MA in Public Policy and is currently working with a DC area non-profit on climate change policy.  

The Ramadan Compact takes its idea from The Compact movement started in San Francisco where a group of friends made a commitment to buy only essential items for one year. However, those of us in the Ramadan Compact are asked to make the commitment to buy only essential items, and explore how consumer culture is influencing us, for one month.  

Since Ramadan is a time for enhancing self awareness; joining the Ramadan Compact will provide a collective forum to reflect upon how our small decisions, to consume items we do not need, are influencing the delicate health of our planet.  

Go to the Ramadan Compact site.

It is estimated that seventy percent of the human body is composed of water. Water is an essential element needed for biological functions from carrying nutrients, to ridding our bodies of toxins, to lubricating joints and tissues.

With limited intake humans can suffer headaches, dizziness, and a decrease in energy levels. More significantly, lack of sufficient water can cause dehydration. Water is a necessity that the human body can not do without.

For millions of people in developing nation’s access to not just water, but clean water, poses a serious challenge.

The World Health Organization estimates that Diarrhoeal, a disease associated with unclean water supply, sanitation, and hygiene “is responsible for the deaths of 1.8 million people every year”, with most of these deaths being children in the developing world.  

A recent post on Inhabitat looks at a small but effective solution to the problem of clean, safe water. Lifestraw, a small plastic filtering system allows access to clean water for drinking. Lifestraw is portable, inexpensive, requires no electricity, and can filter up to 700 liters of water. 

A step in the right direction. 

Read more…

Posted by: Editor

In a legal setback for automakers, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that Vermont can follow California’s lead in setting new regulations that govern the emission of greenhouse gases by automobiles. 

Said Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Pew Campaign for Fuel Efficiency, the ruling “bluntly articulates what Americans overwhelmingly believe, what the National Academy of Sciences has found and what foreign automobile manufacturers have demonstrated: greater fuel efficiency is achievable without sacrificing vehicle size or power.” 

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Son of Libyan leader, Moamer Kadhafi, Seif al-Islam Kadhafi will head up an environmental effort to perverse the ecological and cultural make up of the Green Mountain region.  

Norman foster, whos firm (Foster and Partners) is well know for other environmental initiatives such as Abu Dubai’s zero emission city, will be developing the plan for this conservation and restoration effort.  

The Green Mountain project is multi-fold and will include renewable energy, eco-tourism, conservation of land, plants, and animals, and preservation of local culture through cottage industry development.  

Read more…

 Posted by: Editor

The following story was submitted by Mohamad Chakaki and can be found at World Changing.com. The original piece was posted on World Changing and is written by Dawn Danby. ____________________________________________ 

South Africa‘s Roundabout has devised a way to harness the energy generated by kids playing (ingenious in itself), as they spin on an outdoor merry-go-round. Carrying water several kilometres per day results in hours of lost employment, and widespread use of poor-quality water; this is a win-win alternative.

NPR’s The World recently reported on the playpumps:

“The children push the merry-go-round again and again. As they run, a device in the ground beneath them begins to turn. With every rotation of the merry-go-round, water is pumped out of a well, up through a pipe, and into a tank high above the playground.

A few feet away from all the fun, students in uniform turn on a tap. Clean, cold drinking water pours out. This is Motshegofadiwa Primary School, 15 miles north of Pretoria. It’s in a town called Stinkwater; locals say there’s a good reason for that name.

The water around here used to smell. School Principal Peter Banyana says the water supply was also erratic before the Play-Pump arrived… Now Banyana says the children can pump enough water for everyone.

There are 500 Play-Pumps around South Africa, most of them installed at schools like this one, where students live in poverty and resources are few.

The roundabouts also serve to display social marketing on AIDS awareness, and are partly financed by billboard advertisements.

Posted by: Editor