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Our solar system hurtles through the universe, spinning and turning with the precision and timing of a fine watch. The biosphere of our planet is perfect, able to forever sustain all life in perfect balance and harmony while requiring the addition of nothing other than sunlight. The ‘simplest’ form of life is represented by a one-celled bacteria, acknowledged to be many times more complex than the most complex thing ever created by man. However, the living cell also possesses the miraculous capability of self-reproduction! The human body is comprised of at least twenty trillion cells (20,000,000,000,000), each of which is more complex than a bacterium. Shortly after the human female egg is fertilized it begins producing cells. Somehow, each one of those cells immediately knows where to go and how to begin functioning in combination with other cells in the formation of a greater sub-system, and each sub-system understands how to interact with and begin coordinating with many other systems. Hundreds of millions of cells begin forming into what will eventually become the optic nerve, which is actually an optics and electrical communications bus of fantastic complexity and refinement that allows the brain to process optical data and interpret and regulate functions of vision. In fact, the human eye with its complementary systems is infinitely more complex and refined than the most advanced video camera, and just the lens of the eye represents a level of achievement in optical science that far surpasses the multi-tiered optical systems of the most advanced telescopes. Other processes begin that somehow lead the direction of calcium and mineral carrier cells in the construction of thousands of different, complex designs of bone and tooth formations of varying densities and consistencies. Some have enamel layering depending on function, and others mobile connecting joints with built-in permanent lubrication systems along with blood producing factories located within bone cores that represent nothing less than wonders of technological design. All the while this intelligently guided planning is being organized and inter-coordinated with other processes resulting in the creation of nerve, hormonal, glandular, digestive, lymphatic, pulmonary, muscular, auditory, cardio-circulatory and olfactory systems, sub-systems and organs that reflect a truly incomprehensible degree of complexity, intricacy and engineering mastery. The human brain is by far the most complex thing in the universe. With the tremendous advancements in knowledge gained in recent years as to how the brain functions and what it does, scientists will affirm that using presently available computer technology they could not duplicate the human brain’s processing power or data storage capacity even if they could construct a computer the size of the planet earth! (The fastest, most powerful super-computing arrays yet developed by IBM and NEC have processing speeds equivalent to at most one-third of the brain-of a common housefly.) In fact, it has been estimated that the power and capacity of the human brain to process and store information is infinite! Most of what our brains do is performed without our conscious realization as hundreds of thousands of complex, elaborate systems are constantly monitored, regulated, controlled and communicated with via untold trillions of instruction sets per millisecond, 24 hours a day, over a nervous and chemical network that makes the entire world’s satellite and fiber optics telecommunications systems combined seem like a crude, simple and primitive toy. However, the most amazing thing done by the brain is something that no computer can begin to do, which is to enable the generation of original conscious thought, reason and emotion.

During the 19th Century it was thought by scientists that the universe consisted of two basic entities-matter and energy. Due to the great scientific advancements that have occurred in the 20th Century coupled with a deeper awareness and level of thought, it is now seen that there is a third, vastly more important entity at work in the universe and that is required for life to exist-information. Information is a mass-less quantity that is not reducible to energy. This awareness is forcing another realization that is taking root among many contemporary scientists and thoughtful people-the acknowledgement that information is only generated by intelligence, and intelligence is meaningless, impotent and even impossible apart from an original, driving purpose-in other words a will and a desire-a personality.

Of this kind of science [evolution] it might truly be said that it was `knowledge falsely so called.’ ” Dr. David C.C. Watson, The Great Brain Robbery (1976).

Almost 150 years after the publication of Darwin’s “The Origin of Species”, the postulated law of biogenesis remains unchallenged-life can only come from previously existing life. In Darwin’s time biologic and organic systems were thought to be many, many times simpler than they are known to be today. Just the likelihood of all of the tremendously complex organic components being formed and then coming together by any imaginary scenario of chance to create the nucleus of cellular life, DNA, can be shown to be an impossibility “of the highest order”. Yet even then the DNA could not have survived without the equally complex, highly structured systems of support needed and that are present in the simplest living. The double strand helix of DNA is called by scientists: “The most densely packed and elaborately detailed assembly of information in the universe.” Far from being able to create life in a laboratory, scientists today will readily say that they have only scratched the surface in uncovering the seemingly imponderable mysteries and complexities of organic life. Note: Evolutionists admit that the possibility of the right combination of atoms and molecules falling into place to form just one simple protein molecule is at least 1 in 10 raised to 113- a number that exceeds the estimated total number of atoms contained in all of the billions of stars within each of all the billions of galaxies in the known universe combined! Mathematicians dismiss as having never taken place, even regardless of an infinite time frame, anything that has a probability of occurrence of less than 1 in 10 raised to 50. But far more than one simple protein molecule is needed for life. Some 2000 complex protein molecules are needed just for a cell to maintain its activity, and the chance that all of them could occur at random is greater than 1 in 10 raised to 40,000! However, many scientists feel that this calculation does not represent the most difficult challenge to the spontaneous generation of cellular life, since it doesn’t take into consideration the issue of structure, in the same way that a huge pile of steel, aluminum, plastic and glass is not automatically structured into a Boeing 777.

“Scientists who go about teaching that evolution is a fact of life are great con men, and the story they are telling may be the greatest hoax ever. In explaining evolution we do not have one iota of fact, it is a tangled mishmash of guessing games and figure juggling.” – T.N. Tahmisian, physiologist for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

Within the genetic code of any living thing there is allowance for variation. For example, all members of the feline or cat family could have sprung from just two original cats, a male and a female. But variation and speciation (formation of a new ‘species’), among felines does not represent evolution since there is no vertical or upward increase in genetic complexity that has occurred. It is an example of horizontal change with no increase in complexity, as when dog or horse breeders selectively breed those animals to bring out certain characteristics. A dog can be bred to a certain size, either smaller or larger, but there is a point at which there is no further change possible since that limit allowed for in the genetic material (DNA), has been reached, and it is impossible for a dog to be inter-fertile with any other family of animal. A dog can never become anything other than a dog, and there is no evidence to indicate or even suggest that it has ever been anything other than a dog. Almost all of the so-called ‘evidence’ of evolution that is cited in textbooks represents this type of horizontal adaptation that occurs continually in all living things, however it would be a complete mistake to think of it as evolution as this is not what is taking place. The evolutionary idea that change occurs gradually in living organisms due to the passing on of inherited mutations has been completely discredited, yet this impossibility is still taught as fact in most school systems world-wide! True genetic mutations are extremely rare in nature and of those, 99% are demonstrably harmful to their recipients and render them no beneficial advantage. The extremely small percentages of mutations that are not harmful are seen as being neutral. Finally, almost all mutations are repaired and blocked from genetic transference within 3 generations due to the self-rejuvenating nature of DNA. Just as was the case with the peppered moth in 19th Century England, living organisms are constantly giving birth to a wide variety of non-exact duplications of themselves that are allowed for within the limits imposed by their genetic sphere, and one particular variation can become dominant in any population due to the very real process of natural selection through ‘survival of the fittest’ (but this never results in vertical, upward change representing increased genetic complexity). Dr. Jay Y. Chien, an internationally respected scientist with the Nanjing Institute of Paleontology and Geology in China is best noted for his extensive, groundbreaking research into the best-preserved fossil fields in the world representative of the ‘Cambrian’ geologic era, located in China’s Yunnan Province. Dr. Chien has stated that his research convincingly reveals Darwin’s hypothesized ‘Tree of Life’ to be in reality almost exactly the opposite of what Darwin proposed, (Darwin’s ‘Tree’ is always displayed in high-school and college biology texts as accurately representing the history of all evolutionary descent on earth, and is the most famous icon of evolutionary dogma). However, long-standing research by scientists into the Cambrian era, evolution’s so-called ‘Big-Bang’, has always shown that almost all now existing animal phyla (types) had suddenly appeared in that one geologic time-span. In the words of scientists: “almost overnight”, geologically speaking.

“The creation account in Genesis [Bible] and the theory of evolution could not be reconciled. One must be right and the other wrong. The story of the fossils agreed with the account of Genesis. In the oldest rocks we did not find a series of fossils covering the gradual changes from the most primitive creatures to developed forms, but rather in the oldest rocks developed species suddenly appeared. Between every species there was a complete absence of intermediate fossils.” D.B. Gower, “Scientist Rejects Evolution,” Kentish Times, England, December 11, 1975 [biochemist].

Evolutionary explanations have no means of accounting for instinct in living things, which is the pre-programmed ability of some animals, birds and insects to perform feats that sometimes reflect what almost seems to be a superhuman wisdom. Certain ant colonies in sub-Saharan Africa build large above ground communities that incorporate a very ingenious method of natural air-conditioning that can maintain the interior temperature of the hill at a level 15 degrees cooler than the outside air. The delicate ant larvae within the community need to be maintained at this lower temperature or they will not survive. The exact way in which this impressive feat of engineering was accomplished was studied for many years before it was fully understood, and now the same principle of design is incorporated in civil engineering allowing for the building of much more energy-efficient structures. Evolution has no way of rationally explaining how co-dependency in biologic or ecological systems, also called ‘irreducible complexity’, came about. A very simple example of this can be illustrated by the clotting of blood in all warm-blooded creatures. It has been discovered that the clotting of blood is a very complicated chain of processes involving 8 separate chemical reactions. If one reaction does not occur, or if a specific enzyme or other organic factor is not present, blood will not clot. An evolutionary explanation would require us to believe that the first warm-blooded creature had possessed this extremely complex ability, or it would not have survived, and it would then have needed to pass this ability on as an inherited mutation to its offspring.

“Evolution is baseless and quite incredible.” John Ambrose Fleming, President, British Association for the Advancement of Science, in ‘The Unleashing of Evolutionary Thought’

Oftentimes, highly touted bone-fragment finds are disingenuously portrayed through the media and in textbooks as representing the ‘part animal, part man’ ancestors of humans. However, when the fragmented skeletal remains of these purported ‘ape-men’ are examined by experts in blind studies (when they have no prior knowledge of what they are examining), scientific consensus consistently and virtually always identifies them as representing either the remains of extinct apes, or as in the case of so-called ‘Neanderthal Man’, of a human with an advanced bone disease. When impressive artistic and digital renderings of these peculiar looking creatures as well as the evolutionary stages they supposedly transitioned through are graphically depicted in textbooks, TV programs and magazines, it is on the basis of pure speculation, imagination and wishful thinking. The strongest ‘evidence’ that evolutionists have in attempting to prove that there was once an ape that walked on two feet is a very short span of the imbedded hind prints of an ape without accompanying fore prints located at the site of an ancient volcanic lava flow in Tanzania, Africa; so that this site is world famous among evolutionists. Insofar as several animals including apes can be witnessed running on their hind legs for short distances today, and given the fact of the lava being extremely hot at the time the ape was there producing the prints, does this constitute proof? Note – evolutionists will admit it is the strongest proof they have!

“What is it [evolution] based upon? Upon nothing whatever but faith, upon belief in the reality of the unseen, belief in the fossils that cannot be produced, belief in the embryological experiments that refuse to come off. It is faith unjustified by works.” Dr. Arthur N. Field.

Why would an ‘ape-man’ that represented an improvement over a mere ape go extinct, while its inferior predecessor would not? How is it that flowering plants evolved the necessity of being pollinated by honeybees, therefore requiring a flower, when the atmospheric dispersion method used by most non-flowering plants is much more efficient, and why so many different types and colors of flowers when pollinating insects are for the most part attracted to one flower just as well as any other, and are insensitive to color? Should we expect an ape to possess the highest level of intelligence and reasoning ability in the animal world, as an evolutionary model would suggest? However in many specific aspects this is definitely not the case, and an ape is no more intelligent overall than many other animals. In its evolutionary progression toward becoming a reptile, did a fish undergo the thousands of changes necessary in order to evolve the ability to breath without gills (no small feat), concurrently with evolving the thousands of changes that would have been necessary before its fins became reptilian legs? Did the changes that occurred before the fins became usable as legs or the gills became usable as lungs render the fish a survivability advantage, or were many thousands of useless mutations retained and passed on?

“The theory of evolution suffers from grave defects, which are more and more apparent as time advances. It can no longer square with practical scientific knowledge…The Darwinian theory of descent has not a single fact to confirm it in the realm of nature. It is not the result of scientific research, but purely the product of imagination.” Dr. Albert Fleischman [Erlangen zoologist].

Evolutionists once tried to say that humans possessed hundreds of useless organs that were carry-overs from previous evolutionary stages, what they called ‘vestigial organs’. This was prominently cited as a proof of evolution in the past and it was taught as such in school textbooks, but now it is medically recognized that there are no vestigial organs in humans, none at all. It was once thought by many evolutionists (and taught in some textbooks), that the human embryo mimicked many stages of its evolutionary past while developing in the womb, including one stage where an attempt was made by the fetus to develop fish gills. This is now acknowledged by medical science to be complete, ridiculous nonsense. Evolutionists like to flaunt the fact that there are species of plants and animals living on the Galapagos Chain of islands that exist nowhere else (located off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos is where Darwin formulated many of his ideas on evolution). However this is insignificant in terms of even suggesting evolution, as those referred to species are closely related to and inter-fertile with their parent families that do exist on the mainland of Ecuador, so that this represents nothing more than another example of horizontal adaptation. In the book “The Blind Watchmaker”, Richard Dawkins reveals great imaginary talents in illustrating a purely conjectural explanation of the evolutionary process, while offering absolutely no proof of it (and by his own admission the simplest living organism contains at least enough structured information to completely fill all 30 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica!)

“I have always been slightly suspicious of the theory of evolution because of its ability to account for any property of living beings… I have therefore tried to see whether biological discoveries over the last thirty years or so fit in with Darwin’s theory. I do not think that they do. To my mind, the theory does not stand up at all.” Dr. H. Lipson, “A Physicist Looks at Evolution,” Physics Bulletin (1980).

While it’s true that the ages of some organic specimens are often erroneously reported as being millions or billions of years old, these ages are arrived at 1) through the use of radiometric dating techniques that are admittedly highly suspect, and acknowledged to be unreliable due to many factors and variables especially as one goes further back in time, but primarily 2) through forcing the age of the specimen to fit into an estimate that ‘seems’ reasonable according to an arbitrary evolutionary time-frame. The practice of arriving at age estimates in this latter way is widely criticized as an example of what is referred to as the ‘*circular reasoning’ of so much of what constitutes evolutionary logic; the presumption that since evolution is true, therefore this is how old it is, this is how it must have happened, etc-a way of thinking that is becoming increasingly ostracized for its lack of scientific soundness. Variables that call into question the validity of radiometric dating methods include ozone layer consistency over time, magnetic field disruption, the very imprecise science of accurately measuring rates of decay (resulting in great disparity of age estimates produced by different laboratories taken from the same sample, or even from the same sample at the same lab), and most fundamentally the extremely flawed assumption that isotopic samples represented a state of zero radioactive decay when first formed. In fact, the trend in science today is to dismiss the validity of ages arrived at through radiometric dating for ages over a few thousand years.

“Therefore, a grotesque account of a period some thousands of years ago is taken seriously though it be built by piling special assumptions on special assumptions, ad hoc hypothesis [invented for a purpose] on ad hoc hypothesis, and tearing apart the fabric of science whenever it appears convenient. The result [evolution] is a fantasia which is neither history nor science.” James Conant [chemist and former president, Harvard University], quoted in Origins Research, 1982.

For many people, objections against considering the possibility of creation are based on a very narrow, artificial definition of science, which states that only observable physical phenomenon belong within the appropriate realm of science to consider. Since creation would require acknowledging the existence of an unseen creator, it is a concept they say exists outside of the proper boundaries of science to evaluate. Yet this violates the true spirit of science which is after all a pursuit of uncovering that which is true, and is tantamount to saying that truth cannot be acknowledged. It is true that an intelligent creator cannot be seen, but many of the most noted scientists of world history-Copernicus, Confucius, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, Pasteur, Darwin, Von Braun and many, many more did not doubt the reality of a higher intelligence behind the existence of the universe.

“Unfortunately, in the field of evolution most explanations are not good. As a matter of fact, they hardly qualify as explanations at all; they are suggestions, hunches, pipe dreams, hardly worthy of being called hypotheses.” Dr. Norman Macbeth, Darwin Retried (1971).

Home Grown Young Scientist

How would you like to see your children get excited about learning science? “Yeah, right”, you’re thinking. “You don’t know MY kids”. True, science doesn’t rank very high on most kid’s popularity lists.

Oh sure, they get a kick out of seeing a mock volcano experiment or some other flashy science demonstration, but when it comes right down to actually learning the principles involved, well, that’s a different story. But don’t despair. There’s still a hands-on learning approach that will teach the necessary knowledge while retaining the fun of those wacky science experiments that sometimes go awry.

What exactly am I talking about? Educational science kits, that’s what.

Sales for children’s educational science kits are on the rise, and with good reason. They are becoming a great blessing to children, teachers and parents. Many homeschoolers are investing in these kits in order to give their children that hands-on experience many public school students get in the classroom, and more.

Good science kits consist of tools which encourage exploration through activities that make learning fun. They are filled with activities to engage young imaginations and build creative minds and critical thinking skills.

The types of science kits available are nearly endless. There are kits for learning about plants, animals, chemistry, electronics, robotics, geology, even the weather. They come fully equipped with all the materials required. And these kits are designed for specific grade levels.

For example, most first graders are required to learn about the senses. The My Senses Kit
encourages children to conduct experiments exploring the five senses. Included in the kit are a stethoscope, a telescope and a prism. When making a decision about which kit to buy, keep in mind that there is more to these kits than meets the eye (no pun intended). They’re chock-full of great learning tools and experiences for your young student.

The Mini Ant Factory is also good choice for the very young. Measuring 8″ by 8 1/2″, it provides great lessons in responsibility. Of course, if you are worried about ants running all over your house you might prefer The Bug World. This kit includes a net, a magnifying glass, charts, and no ants, at least not indoors. Both of these kits teach students all about ecology and the insect world. Bugs not included, but we’re sure that won’t be a problem for your budding entomologist.

If your student is a little older, he may be interested in electronics. Science kits are tools that can help both children and adults decipher the world of electronics by introducing some basic knowledge. Electrical science kits are great because you usually end up with a device that can be used over and over for both fun and practical uses.

One example is the Short Wave Radio Kit. You can learn about electronics as you build a radio. When you are done you have your very own short wave radio. There are other kits that teach how to build telephones, cameras, doorbells, and even kites and simple rockets. These kits are not only fun to use, but they also teach the scientific principles involved in how they are made and why they work.

Commercial science kits are attractive and can be convenient resources. They are perfect for those who have trouble rounding up all the stuff for experiments. These kits are comprehensive, high quality learning tools. Many science kits are supplemented by very clear teacher’s and student’s manuals, as well as worksheets.

Science kits are particularly helpful for children who have not had concrete experience with science. They are packed with materials to help children enjoy learning about science and how scientists work. Science kits are filled with activities to engage young imaginations and build creative minds and critical thinking skills.

Science Kits are indeed inexpensive, fun, and educational science experiments in a box.
They are an excellent way to give our children hands-on science time in our homeschooling activities. Science kits are popular with the students and reinforce scientific concepts through experiential learning.

How do people come up with all of these ideas for science kits? Are their developers mad scientists with too much time on their hands? Hardly.

Science kits are based on sound theory and backed by real-world testing. The kits are a result of years of working with teachers, scientists, museums, and students. Science kits are high-quality science and technology related educational products for children of all ages. And they are teacher-friendly. They are great education aids that make science fun.

Science kits are also a great choice for multi-sensory learning. If your child is one who learns by doing, science kits are the perfect tools to use to teach. Let’s face it. Books can only take a child so far. Science kits can take him or her to the next level with hands-on activities that he or she will really enjoy.

Science Kits are a truly unique, scientific, fun way to get kids loving science. These comprehensive, high-quality science kits are perfect for redefining science and engaging minds and hands in worthwhile play. The science kits are curriculum in and of themselves.

Learning science can be a wonderful experience. Most public and private schools have lab equipment so that students can gain the hands-on experience they need, although the variety of the equipment and quality of the instruction they receive varies greatly. Homeschoolers, however, rarely have access to such equipment.

That is why it is so important to invest in educational science kits. They can give your child that hands-on experience that will help to prepare him/her for college, work or both. Who knows, maybe your child will one day become famous for developing some wild and wacky scientific demonstration. Better yet, perhaps he or she will make a significant scientific contribution that will improve the lives of mankind for generations to come.

The Austin Science and Nature Center

Hidden in the midst of the hike and bike trails that lead through Zilker Park is an Austin jewel: the Austin Science and Nature Center. The nature center offers many educational and interesting features, including interactive displays, hands-on exhibits, science trails with recorded information at each stop, and a live wildlife collection.

The center also is home to the Discovery Labs, which include seven mini-labs that explore the study of mammalogy, ornithology, herpetology, and geology, and there are collections of butterflies, bats, and bones along with the labs and other displays. There is also an authentic Texas cave to explore, and eco-detective kits for children and young adults to study and make conclusions based on evidence they obtain while on the trails regarding the different sciences and ecologies in and around the center, reinforcing the participant’s learning abilities and critical thought processes while having fun.

There is also a Small Wonders exhibit with different insects, reptiles, bugs, and other small creatures, and the live wildlife exhibit features over fifty different types of wild animal life native to the central Texas area, including a large collection of owls, hawks, eagles, a red fox, a wolf, an alligator, and many other species, some with their young.

In the summer, there are many different camps held at the center for kids with emphasis on marine life, biology, and other scientific disciplines, and a breakfast with the birds series for younger children too. Currently, there is an interactive exhibit called the Naturalist Workshop and Trade Counter where children and young adults can study, view, experiment and trade among themselves the different rocks, bones, shells, fossils, and other interesting flora and fauna that they find, including microscopes and reference materials for their use, and staff members to assist and monitor them while they study.

An interesting feature which was fairly recently added to the center is the dino-pit where a simulated dinosaur environment has been set up for study of fossils, and other pre-historic finds, such as ancient bones, fossilized leaves and the like. Another very educational facility at the complex is the Beverly Sheffield Education Center which is housed in the old bathhouse at Barton Springs Pool, named for one of the first lifeguards at Barton Springs who went on to become the first director of the Austin Parks and Wildlife Department years later. Mr. Sheffield remained active at the center even after retiring from the city position, and he was commemorated for his many years of service and outstanding contributions to the Science and Nature Center and the Zilker Park area as well.

One of the most educational and interactive exhibits at the center studies the Barton springs ecology system along with the Edwards Aquifer and its many distinctive features, and the exhibit is called the Splash into the Edwards Aquifer. This exhibit also includes the study of conservation and the interactive exhibits include real life phenomena, live specimens, and working models so youngsters can study ways to contribute to the environment that relates to their community and lives.

The Austin Science and Nature Center is located at 301 Nature Center Drive, and the center is open most days until shortly after sunset, so if you want to see some really creepy crawly things, and find out how they work, where they live, and many other interesting bits of nature-related information, be sure to visit the center soon!

Eco Living and the Path of Sacred Ecology

Any dialogue on Eco Living must surely include not only the eco-systems of the world around us, but also the inner ecology’s of us as human beings. This article will inform the reader on how he or she can live a greener lifestyle, but also seeks to inspire everyone, to become good stewards of ourselves and the planet.

This involves taking a look at the material world and the ways that we might co-exist in harmony within our fragile environments (Eco-Living). It also means that we must examine the correlation of mind, body and soul as well and the ecology of the individual self in relationship to the mind, body, soul AND the mind, body, soul connection to our immediate environments. To do this, we need not subscribe to any one particular religious affiliation or faith, nor do we seek to impose any particular spiritual belief system upon the reader as it is not necessary for the goals that we seek to accomplish. This aspect of discovering our True nature in order to affect a positive change in ourselves and the world around us, is available to any person and its only requirement is an open mind and a willingness to affect change. So, finding and experiencing permanent solution to the most pressing problems in the world today, is really just a matter of becoming aware that we CAN do so. A by-product of this awareness is peace, joy, environmental balance a deeper connection to ourselves, each other and the beautiful world in which we live.

Regardless of how we get there individually, or collectively, it has become painfully clear that science and technology can only take us so far and that a transformation of our inner ecologies on a spiritual level is paramount to the evolution and continuation of us as a species. On a higher level, this God/Self Realization is paramount to the evolution of the soul and can enable one to find true liberation from suffering. But so as not to lose some of our readers who cannot or will not open themselves to the notion Sacred Ecology, let’s get back the fundamentals of environmental ecology and what we can do as individuals on a day to day basis.

It is our responsibility as the stewards of this planet to live as Eco-Conscious as we can. Developing a lifestyle of Eco-Living is where we as individuals, then collectively as nations can actually turn the tide in our favor giving rise to immediate and dramatic positive effects on the environment… and after all, the survival of our planet depends on it!

Here are some tips and tools to help you on your path to Eco-Living.

Shop green: Now that we have an idea of where we’re going wrong, let’s get into how we can start to make a concrete difference in the world. And what better place to start than our buying habits. After all, how you spend your money greatly affects how companies and manufacturers conduct themselves. As demand for earth-friendly, efficient products and services increases, so will supply. Your dollars often speak louder than words.

Conserve by Consuming Less: One of the best ways to reduce your impact on the earth is to reduce how much your purchase in the first place, when what you have right now is still functional. As stated in Part 3, every product on every shelf out there requires the infusion of at least some natural resources like wood, cotton, plastic (a petroleum product), water, or chemicals. Choosing to forego new clothes, new furniture, or new toys for your kids is one way to reduce your spending (saving you money), while cutting back on the amount of resources you take from the earth. Buying less means fewer resources extracted. The Buy Nothing Day campaign encourages this kind of activism.

Abstaining from shopping isn’t the only way to reduce your overall consumption. Here are a few more ideas to cut how much your purchase on a regular basis:

Take your own bags: Worldwide plastic bag consumption is about 1 trillion every year, which equals 2 million bags per minute or 330 bags per person annually. Paper bags are also eco-unfriendly since making them produces 70 percent more air pollution and 50 percent more water pollution than plastic.To avoid this mess, take your own bags with you when you go to the grocery store, shopping mall, farmer’s market, or wherever your shopping trip takes you. Store them in your car’s trunk, put one or two in your purse or briefcase, and make it a new habit.

Repair and upgrade: Electronics: Computers, monitors, mice, keyboards, speakers, printers, telephones-these electronics are made with (often unrecyclable) plastics, heavy metals (lead, mercury, chromium, cadmium, and more, which make them toxic to create and even more so to dispose of. So instead of getting new machines every year, try to buy good quality up-front so that it will last you a good long time. And then upgrade and/or repair it whenever possible instead of replacing it.

Appliances: Air conditioners, furnaces, refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, microwaves, dishwashers, and hot water heaters all require replacement at some point, but before chucking what you have, see about repairing and/or upgrading it first. A simple cleaning or tune-up may make it much more efficient, saving you loads of money on energy and water bills and keeping resources from being sent to the trash.

Clothing and furniture: Whether your jeans have a hole or your chair a wobbly leg, it’s usually more cost-effective and less resource-intensive to repair than to replace. Take your worn clothes to a seamstress, of if you’re handy with a sewing machine do the repairs yourself. Likewise with furniture-a little dab of glue, a nail, or a screw, and you’ve got a functional piece that should last you a long time. Professional carpenters may also be able to assist you with more complex repairs.

Reusable Goods: While reusing, repairing, and upgrading various products in your home is a great way to reduce how much you buy, so is the habit of choosing reusable over disposable products. Whenever you buy paper plates, plastic cups, one-use mops or sponges, TV-dinners, paper napkins and paper towel, plastic cutlery, and more you support a system based on waste. These companies want you to buy more and more of their products indefinitely, feeding your desire for convenience. But these products will not only cost you more than reusable options, they add mounds and mounds of waste to landfills and require the extraction of more and more natural resources like crude oil, trees, and chemicals. In just one year, for instance, Americans use enough disposable cloths and pads (Swiffer dry cloths and wet pads, Clorox, Lysol, Pledge, and Windex wipes, Grab-it cloths, Mr. Clean MagicReach to name a few) to fill a caravan of 18-wheeler semi-trucks 68 miles long. Instead, look for reusables whenever possible:

Dishes, cups, mugs, and cutlery: Use your everyday dishes and flatware for regular meals, even when guests are over-that’s what the dishwasher is for. And if you’re worried about breakage while on a picnic, buy some inexpensive reusable picnic ware that’s also durable so that you don’t have to worry about losing or wrecking them.

Cleaning products such as mops, rags, towels, sponges, and scrubbers: Go for reusable microfiber, cotton cloths and rags, reusable sponges and scrubbers, and so on.

Food storage: Quit sending your kids’ lunch in plastic baggies and containers that get used only once. Instead, buy some durable glass or stainless steel storage containers that are not only safer for storing food, they’re reusable and easily washed.

Secondhand, and recyclable content: Another way to seriously cut the amount of resources required for your consumption habits it to buy items that either contain recycled content, are secondhand, or can be recycled in the end. With these principles in mind, you’re considering the entire lifecycle of products, ensuring old products get a new life through recycling and reuse projects and supporting these efforts by purchasing these products over others.

Home improvement products: If you’re about to undertake a remodeling project, think carefully about any new building materials you may purchase. Wood, flooring, cabinets, and more now come with recycled options. Look for reclaimed wood for flooring, roofing, cabinetry, and other building materials. Carpeting now comes made of recycled pop bottles. Recycled paint options are now widely available in a variety of colors. Cabinetry can be made from recycled agriculture products like wheat and straw (called wheatboard or strawboard). Countertops can be made of recycled granite, aluminum, concrete, plastic, glass, and more. Tiles can be made from recycled glass and porcelain. Many roofing products are now made with recycled options like milk jugs, metals, and more.

Paper products: Everything from printer paper to toilet paper contains trees, most of which comes from virgin forests. Stop the deforestation by opting for paper goods made from recycled content. Look specifically for claims of post-consumer recycled content (you want at least 50 percent) to ensure it comes from paper put in blue bins around the country. Options can be found for printer and stationary paper, toilet paper, facial tissue, paper towel, and napkins.

Clothing and furniture: Fashion is a fickle thing, changing nearly every moment. It’s hard to keep up with the latest trends, especially if you’re on a budget or want to reduce your consumption. Thankfully, many options are now available made from recycled-content: T-shirts made from recycled plastic bottles, purses made from recycled car tires, and shoes made from recycled canvas. Alternatively, instead of buying new, look into second hand stores, online swaps, and exchanges for sweaters, jeans, T-shirts, shoes, coats, tables, chairs, books, beds, cabinets, and accessories. You may be surprised how many fashionable, retro, unique pieces you can find. Buying used doesn’t require new resources, so it’ll save you money and reduce your resource use, too. Good sources to find free or buy used goods are: Camping Swap, Craigslist, Freecycle, Furniture Trader, Goodwill, Once Upon a Child and Salvation Army

Jewelry and accessories: Mining precious metals (gold, silver, etc) and gems can cause serious environmental damage. Gold mining, one of the most polluting industries around, can result in cyanide spills, heavy metal pollution (including lead and arsenic), and acid mine drainage, which poisons watersheds, soil, and air. Just one 18-karat gold ring results in 20 tons of harmful mine waste. And aside from the sociopolitical conflict related to diamond trading, diamonds and other gems are also responsible for destructive open pit mines and the resulting ecosystem damage. Looking for vintage or recycled jewelry is a great way to avoid the ills of the conventional jewelry industry.

Compostable/Biodegradable Goods: Natural, plant-based products are another great choice when shopping since they are more than likely either compostable or biodegradable. These are preferable to things that require recycling or incineration because they can be returned to earth with very little effort and low amounts of energy. Choose toys made of fabrics and wood over plastic. Opt for clothing and other home textiles made from cotton, wool, hemp, or bamboo over poly-blends. Look for plastic bottles made from corn plastic, which will biodegrade in a short period of time (under the right conditions), whereas petro-plastics take between 700 and 1,000 years to break down.

Sustainable Wood: We’ve already explained the enormous services the forests to for the planet, so it’s no wonder that we want to preserve them. It is therefore important to purchase sustainably-harvested wood whenever possible. Although there are now several forestry certification programs in existence, the only sustainable organization recognized internationally by all of the biggest environmental groups is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). They rigorously ensure that everything through the process is handled in a sustainable fashion-from how trees are replanted to how they are harvested to how they are transported and finally how they are packaged and labeled. You can find their stamp of approval on: Furnishings (bedframes, couches, tables and chairs, desks).Paper and stationary. Building materials (raw timber, flooring, etc.)

Nontoxic Choices: Our homes are filled with toxic products-from cleaning solutions to off-gassing furniture and paint. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed indoor air quality a one of the biggest concerns for homeowners, since the air inside our homes can be two to five times more polluted then that found outside. Many factors contribute to this indoor air pollution:

VOCs (volatile organic compounds): As the source of most indoor air pollution, VOCs come in with paints and stains, candles and air fresheners, caulking and adhesives, cleaning products, pesticides, dry cleaning, and furniture.

Formaldehyde: This chemical is often applied to carpeting, glues, cabinetry, furnishings (especially those made of particleboard), and wood as a flame retardant and can be harmful to human health.

Particulate matter: These are tiny particles that come from cleaning chemicals, asbestos, HVAC filters, carpeting, and fiberglass. But indoor air pollution isn’t the only source of toxic exposure for our families. We can also be exposed in the foods we eat, the drinks we sip, and the clothes we wear. Removing toxins from your life will not only improve your health, it will mean fewer of these hazardous materials are produced in the world, which makes it safer for us all.

To find nontoxic products, look for those with these certifications. Green Seal: Certifies products as low-VOC and low toxin. Scientific Certification Systems (SCS): Certifies products that are low-VOC. GREENGUARD: Another organization certifying products for air quality purposes.

Locally made/produced Products: Greenhouse gases are a big issue in almost every area of life. You can reduce your load by choosing products that are produced and sold locally. This means that instead of having your potatoes or sweater or furniture made overseas and shipped via plane, truck, or boat, your chosen products are made or grown right around the corner. Getting to and from the store on foot, by bicycle, or using public transportation will even further reduce the transportation emissions related to your purchases. Some locally-produced options may include: Food and beverages (produce, especially from farmer’s markets, but also including fish, meat, wine, beer, and even soda). Clothing and furniture. Building materials (especially heavy materials, like tile, granite, stone, etc). Personal treats (soaps, candles, and so on).

Organic Choices: Many products today are made with chemicals as a way of speeding the process or creating bigger and better crops or individual resources. But the chemicals commonly added to soil and water can harm your health and most certainly disrupt the health of the ecosystem in which they’re applied. Looking for organic options reduces the chemicals used and results in a healthier product for you, too.

Look for organic when you’re shopping for: Food and beverages like; produce, grains, wine, beer, meat, fish, coffee, chocolate, and tea. Bedding & mattresses, like; cotton, wool, natural rubber). Cleaning products, kitchen, bathroom, car care, etc. Clothing; cotton, hemp, bamboo. Personal care products; hair care, skin care, soaps and cleansers, etc.

Alternative materials: Many of the products we take for granted-paper, cotton, wood, plastic-require enormous quantities of chemicals, energy, water, and other resources to produce. Many new, innovative materials are now being used to produce common products. These materials have some type of environmental advantage, making any new purchase less costly in terms of earthly resources. Bamboo is one of those miracle materials. Bamboo is essentially a grass that can be used in a wide variety of applications: from paper to textiles to furniture. It requires no pesticides or fertilizers and very little (if any) irrigation, making it better than cotton. It breaths out a great deal of oxygen as it grows and can add one meter to its height every day, making it a rapidly renewable resource and quicker to produce than wood for paper, furniture, and other building materials. Hemp is also another long-used material. Hemp plants create three times more fiber per acre than cotton, uses less water and fewer chemicals, and benefits the soil by adding nutrients and fostering microbial life. It can be used to make paper and textiles as well. Modal is used in textile applications and is made from beech wood cellulose (a waste material). It’s super soft and infinitely washable.

Soy fabrics: Brands such as Tofutech make soy-based fabrics that are used in clothing and home linens. The stocks of soybeans are used to make this fabric-using the waste fiber reduces landfill waste. Soy retains heat well, is easy to care for, and lasts a long time. Coconut fiber is yet another option for textiles, CoCoNa brand uses waste coconut husk fibers to make this naturally odor-resistant fabric.

Paper alternatives: Tree-free alternatives to regular paper are numerous, including bamboo and hemp (which we’ve already mentioned) as well as kenaf, jute, and flax. Waste products used to make paper products include sugar cane husks, wheat, rye, oat, rice, and barley straw, and even elephant poop.

Rattan: Grown in tropic and sub-tropic zones, this climbing palm can grow to over 600 feet, is strong like bamboo and easy to work with. It provides stability for soil (preventing soil loss) and can be used for furniture and other building applications. Syriaca: Taken from the milkweed plant, this material can be used as a down alternative, saving birds from suffering in confined animal feeding operations and making great bedding for those with allergies. Supporting companies that are using these materials in a sustainable manner encourages industries to explore new possibilities and reduces the demand for conventional materials whose extraction might otherwise disrupt natural ecosystems.

Energy- and Water-efficiency: If you’re in the need for new items for everyday living or your home, look for the most water- and energy-efficient option around. Although these can cost more up-front, consider that those aren’t the only costs incurred in the life of a product. As you use an appliance or electronic, you’ll be paying for water and energy consumption, too, so it’ll save you in the long run to buy with efficiency in mind.

ENERGY STAR is your best bet in this regard. These products go through rigorous testing to ensure they’re more efficient than industry standards. They use less water, less paper, and less energy (depending on their function, of course) and are your reassurance that you’ve got a vetted product.

The following products can be found with the Energy Star rating: Battery Chargers – Boilers and Furnaces – Ceiling and Whole House Fans-Central and Room AC-Clothes Washers-Computers and Monitors-Cordless Phones-Decorative Light Strings-Dehumidifiers-Dishwashers-DVD Products-Home Audio-Home Sealing (Insulation and Air Sealing)-Light Bulbs (CFLs) and Light Fixtures-Printers, Scanners, Fax Machines, and All-in-Ones-Programmable Thermostats-Refrigerators & Freezers-Roof Products-Room Air Cleaners-Televisions-Water Coolers-Water Heaters (Gas Condensing, Heat Pump, High-Efficiency Gas Storage, Solar (Whole-Home Gas Tankless)-Windows, Doors, & Skylights

Sustainable Food: The types and quantities of food you eat also affect your overall environmental impact. Choosing sustainably-grown and raised options means you’re producing less toxic waste, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and helping to maintain healthy, vibrant forests, soil, and waterways.

Buy fewer pre-packaged items. Make your own food rather than buying convenience choices which are not as healthy and create more waste. You can even make your own wine, beer, and soda.

Eat less meat. As we’ve explained elsewhere, the meat industry contributes to growing deforestation, poisoning of rivers and lakes, more greenhouse gas emissions than cars, animal cruelty, wasted water, and inefficient use of land. Vegetable protein, on the other hand, is less cruel, more sustainable on all accounts, and healthier, too.

Look for sustainably-caught wild fish and seafood. That means it’s line-caught and not taken using trawlers and big rigs. And if you choose farmed fish, look for responsibly-raised seafood. Two guides to purchasing sustainable seafood are: Environmental Defense Fund’s ‘Smart Choices’ and Blue Ocean Institute’s ‘Seafood Guide’.

When buying animal protein (meat or poultry), try to steer clear of that which is produced in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). These contribute to larger greenhouse gas emissions, more animal waste (which can poison waterways), and greater animal cruelty. Instead, buy these items from farmer’s markets or a Community Support Agriculture organization (CSA). Some search engines for this purpose include: Farmer’, LocalHarvest, and the US Depart of Agriculture’s Wholesale and Farmer’s Markets listing.

Choose organic ingredients. Organic can do more for your carbon footprint than purchasing locally-grown and raised food.

Green your habits: Besides how you spend your money, you can also make some simple habitual changes to green-up your life.

Cut water consumption: Water may seem abundant, but although it covers 70 percent of the planet’s surface, only 1 percent can be used for human consumption, and of that 1 percent, much of it has already been polluted. Experts agree that wars in coming decades will be fought over fresh, clean water. Millions go without every day throughout the world, including humans and animals, so we ought to be conserving this precious resource.

Indoor – Use shower timer: Cut your shower time and save a ton of water by using a simple shower timer. Aim for 5 minutes or less. Flush less often: Whether you put a toilet dam in your toilet tank to reduce the water per flush or follow the old “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” adage, flushing with less water doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. Fix leaks: Millions of us have leaks-our faucets and showerheads drip, our pipes leak, and our toilet run on end. Fixing these leaks can be inexpensive and yet will save thousands of gallons every year.

Outdoor – Install a rain barrel: Capture clean, free water falling from the sky with one of these simple tubs. Use the water to irrigate your lawn, vegetable garden, or flower beds. Use mulches: Wood chips, rocks, straw, and even newspaper (shredded) can help to conserve water by preventing premature evaporation. It’s cheap and very effective. Grow drought-tolerant plants: When choosing plants for your garden, select those native to your region and ones that require little to no irrigation.

Lower your energy consumption – Most of our energy is produced using dirty, out-dated technologies. Choosing to reduce your energy consumption will save you money on your heating, cooling, and electricity bills and will reduce your carbon dioxide and other air pollutant emissions. Plus, it’ll help our country reduce its dependence on foreign oil. Seal air leaks: Just as with water leaks, your home may be hiding all kinds of cracks and gaps that promote heat transfer. Stop up these air leaks and you’ll save money and reduce drafts, too. Automate energy savings: Make it easier to save on heating and cooling costs by automating thermostats that control various appliances and electronics. Lower the temperature on your water heater, raise the temperature in your refrigerator and air conditioning system, get a programmable thermostat for your central HVAC, and use timers for your lights (indoor and outdoor).

Wash laundry in cold water: Ninety percent of the energy used to wash clothes goes to heating the water, so it stands to reason that you can significantly cut energy use for your laundry by washing in cold. Hang clothes to dry: Here’s another freebie-hang your clothes for a no-cost way to dry your laundry. Upgrade light bulbs and fixtures: Swap even two or three of your incandescent light bulbs for CFLs to save a ton of energy on lighting.

Reduce waste. Donate and recycle bulky household goods: Whether you’re getting rid of old carpeting, appliances, furniture, or clothing, try to find a way to either donate it or recycle it to reduce resource waste and landfill use. Recycle e-waste: The electronic waste segment of trash is the fastest growing in the US, increasing 8% yearly.

In 2005, there were 250 million obsolete computers in the US that year alone. Add to this mess the broken and discarded cell phones, monitors, printers, copiers, mp3 players, video cameras, batteries, and more, and you’ve got a pretty big pile of obsolete electronics. As mentioned previously, these contain many toxic components, including lead and mercury, and should therefore be disposed of carefully. Find recycling solutions for your e-waste to keep these toxins out of our soil and water.

These are simple everyday lifestyle choices,that make a huge difference in our various eco systems. It is a noble and worthy effort that we must engage in, in order to sustain the fragile ecosystems upon which we depend.

Inner Healing for Outer Wholeness and the Path of Sacred Ecology – War, hatred, fear… all of these negative attitudes, emotions, and actions are a manifestation of an unhealthy collective unconscious. And because we’re so intimately interconnected with one another, when a person or an animal is hurting, we all feel it in one way or another. Obvious examples of this interconnectedness between one another can be seen in simple acts of love, altruism, heroism, etc. Research has shown that emotions not only create coherence or incoherence in our bodies, but, like radio waves, also radiate outward and are detected by the nervous systems of others in our environment.

There also exists a tangible interconnectedness between ourselves and our planet and the scientific community is only now beginning to understand and define technically, this connection between individuals, living systems and the earth. There is evidence in some cases that people’s brainwaves can synchronize with the rhythm of the electromagnetic waves generated in the earth’s ionosphere. When a person says they “feel” an impending earthquake or other planetary event, it’s possible that what they may be reacting to, are actual physical signals. It is now clear that our nervous systems detect these electromagnetic waves generated by others in our environment, but there is also evidence of a global effect when large numbers of people create similar outgoing waves. A well-known example of this, is work done by for the Global Consciousness Project by Roger Nelson and a team of researchers at Princeton University. They used a worldwide network of random number generators. Their data provides evidence that human consciousness and emotionality create or interact with a global field, affecting the randomness of these electronic devices. This outward demonstration of our inner connectedness is exciting news with far-reaching implications and gives us tangible reason for a new shift in consciousness. Just think what the possibilities might be if we were of all contributing to this planetary field in a positive and loving manner!

Globalization is turning strangers from across the globe into closely-connected neighbors. Sacred Ecology reminds us that were never separated to begin with. When we, as individuals, communities, or even nations, experience suffering in isolation, we are often left without hope and rely on limited, egocentric solutions. We have lost sight of what truly causes suffering, and fail to recognize the roles we play through selfish actions, as well as inactivity-thus creating a cyclic pattern of constant emptiness. At a global level such behavior manifests in the rapid and progressive destruction of the environment.

Sacred Ecology is about holistically cleansing the inner pollution of personal life, so that we can naturally and spontaneously change the outer ecology of the world. This journey begins with shedding the obstacles which keep us from realizing our true selves. Together, we can make a difference. Collectively, through prayer, meditation, healing rituals, and more, we can clear away the negativity within us so that we can naturally manifest a healthier planet. Individually, we must do the work of cleaning up the psychological, mental, and soul levels of our being, where all of our negative karmic memories reside. When we do this, we immediately feel better about ourselves and become more productive, peaceful, healthy people. This lighter, unburdened, more happy feeling and attitude can expresses itself in the world in a happier, healthier manner.

The pursuit of Sacred Ecology empowers us as individuals to bring humanity together to support each other in living more spiritually integrated lives, and in doing so positively influence the environment. The Focus of Sacred Ecology is on that which is sustainable from an eco-spiritual view, becoming fully conscious of the intimate connections and intricate dependencies existing between living organisms and their environment and acting in ways that do not exploit them.