Monday, June 28, 2010

Sense and Sustainability

MN Mississippi River Festival 2010 042This last weekend marked my first public ceremony as a oungan. Organized by Headwaters/Delta Interfaith, there was a healing ceremony in Minneapolis’ Boom Island Park due to the gigantic oil spill in the gulf. I was grateful to be a part of such a wonderful event. There were many different groups and faiths represented. Many prayers from a number of diverse religions.

It’s important for me to acknowledge my part in causing the oil spill. We are dependant on oil. Whether that oil goes into our cars, into our plastics or its many other uses – we all continue to demand more and more oil.

We want our purchases as inexpensive as possible. We go to the store and buy the least expensive product on the shelf, often from people who cut corners in the manufacture. Whether that’s low-wage clothing and products, or the oil in our cars. We make the decision every time we purchase to buy the least expensive product, the one that cuts corners, the one that sometimes puts our fellow countrymen out of work. We’re global and we expect everything as cheaply as possible. We want it now.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Trash or Recycling

I have two sets of bins in my kitchen, one for trash and one for recycling.

We live in a disposable society; we tend to throw things away. Things are made to break and into the bin they go. I keep a special place in my house for electronics, batteries and those twisty energy-saving mercury-filled light bulbs. They go to the hazardous waste drop off site. We toss a lot of stuff.

When we moved out to the country, I set a goal for myself to recycle half of my waste. The goal wasn’t huge. I easily attained it and recycle almost 75% of my waste today. It hurts me every time I go to NOLA and can’t recycle. I walk around holding a soda bottle or plastic cup, not knowing what to do with it. (Recycling is one of the many things that haven’t recovered post-Katrina.)

Americans love packaging, so we’re told. Whether it’s over-engineered cardboard that fits neatly into shapes keeping our precious new things safe, or oil-induced plastic wrap and bags, shrink wrapping everything from a toner cartridge to my organic zucchini. I try not to take bags from the store when I can (not often), sometimes I bring my own. I take and reuse the paper ones avoiding the plastic bags if I have a choice. (I do know some dog owners that prefer a free supply of plastic bags they reuse in their own way.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Turning Your iPhone Into A Music Machine

This is a slight departure from my normal blog entries. I’ve categorized my blog into three categories: Vodou, Spirituality and Life. This one fits nicely into the life category.

I love music. From an early age, I sang, played instruments and collected recorded music. I have a good collection, it’s grown and shrunken over the years. I know some people have more and I’m comfortable with that. I’ve had 8-tracks, records, cassettes, CDs and lately it’s all digital. It feels slightly retro that my early digital music was sampled at a lower bit rate to save hard drive space, it sounds slightly compressed and scratchy, like an aged cassette. Most of my current purchases and rips of CDs just purchased (all fitting within the DMCA) are of a much higher sampling, sounding new, crisp and clear. I wish my entire collection was digital. It keeps me from digging in the car looking for “that disc”, the one that my 6 disc changer ate (it died with a legendary 100 discs in that 6 disc changer – anything missing was assumed by my wife and I to be in it).