Why?

Why Natural and Healthy?

Obesity

According to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control, “Results from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) indicate that an estimated 32.7 percent of U.S. adults 20 years and older are overweight, 34.3 percent are obese and 5.9 percent are extremely obese.”

“American society has become ‘obesogenic,’ characterized by environments that promote increased food intake, nonhealthful foods, and physical inactivity. Policy and environmental change initiatives that make healthy choices in nutrition and physical activity available, affordable, and easy will likely prove most effective in combating obesity.”

Watch this alarming trend of the growing epidemic of obesity on this animated map of the US, showing the United States obesity prevalence from 1985 through 2009. CDC, Centers for Disease Control Obesity Trends.

Stress

75% of all illnesses are due to stress. Stress has been linked, either directly or indirectly, to coronary heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidental injuries, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.

About 34 million Americans have high blood pressure. We consume nearly 15 tons of aspirins per day. One out of every six takes some form of tranquilizer regularly.

A 1990 New England Journal of Medicine study discovered that 34% of Americans are using some form of alternative health care — the top three being relaxation techniques, chiropractic care, and massage therapy.

The Natural Health philosophy is that when you regularly relax the body through proper diet, exercise, massage therapy, spa therapies, time off, psychotherapy to get at deep rooted stress, and the many other natural alternatives available, your stress level goes down so it never gets to a chronic state. When it does not get to a chronic state, you avoid it turning into an ailment–an ulcer, migraine or heart attack. Reducing stress regularly also helps the aging process and longevity. 

Why Green and Sustainable?

Peak Oil & Climate Changes

Concerns over climate change and energy depletion are increasing exponentially. Mainstream solutions still assume a panacea that will cure our climate ills without requiring any serious modification to our way of life.

The Community Solution’s Plan C explores the risks inherent in trying to continue our energy-intensive lifestyle. Using dirtier fossil fuels (Plan A) or switching to renewable energy sources (Plan B) allows people to remain complacent in the face of potential global catastrophe. Dramatic lifestyle change is the only way to begin to create a sustainable, equitable world.

The converging crises of Peak Oil, Climate Change and increasing inequity are presented in a clear, concise manner, as are the twin solutions of community (where cooperation replaces competition) and curtailment (deliberately reducing consumption of consumer goods). Plan C shows how each person’s individual choices can dramatically reduce CO2 emissions. It offers specific strategies in the areas of food, transportation and housing.

Plan C is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in living a lower-energy, saner, and sustainable lifestyle.

Community Solutions for more information.

Oil Barrels, 2008Depicts 28,000 42-gallon barrels, representing the amount of oil consumed in the United States every two minutes. | Photo illustration by Chris Jordan, courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery. Click here for more on this article.


Housing

U.S. homes generate 27% of the nation’s CO2 emissions. Today we know how to build homes that use 80% less energy. And we now know how to get similar reductions when retrofitting existing homes.

Buildings are major consumers of energy in the U.S., even more than transportation or industry. They use almost 50% of our nation’s energy, close to 40% to operate them and a little less than 10% to build, maintain, and eventually dismantle them. In addition they have a long life – 50 to 100 years or longer. Our homes use a little more than half of the total energy used for all buildings, about 22% of total U.S. energy. There are 115 million households in the U.S. and new housing construction typically runs between 1 and 2 million residences yearly, although in recent years it has been closer to ½ million yearly.

To achieve the necessary 80-90% reduction in energy use and CO2 generation in our 115 million homes, we need to engage in a major national retrofitting effort. Fortunately, this energy performance standard, needed for both retrofits and new houses, has already been proven possible in more than 20,000 Passive House buildings in Europe.

 

Transportation

Cars generate 24% of U.S. CO2 emissions. But if we shared rides, automobile CO2 emissions could be cut by 80% within a decade.

Many people think that we can solve our future transportation needs with a nationwide energy-efficient mass transit system. The costs required to accomplish such an ambitious project are prohibitive. Our urban sprawl has no precedent in history, making effective mass transit extremely difficult. A true mass transit system for the U.S. may, in fact, not be possible.

Others hope for the electrification of transportation. But this is essentially a move from oil to coal and natural gas, the main fuels for the power generation industry. So the CO2 emissions move from the tailpipe of the car to the smokestacks at the power plant. It will take many decades to provide wind and solar to replace fossil fuels and it is questionable if these renewable resources can ever provide the same amount of energy.

The Smart Jitney concept proposes an efficient and convenient ride sharing system that addresses the problem of transportation in a world climate threatened by CO2 emissions.

 

Food

Food production generates 18% of U.S. CO2, with factory meat, eggs and milk generating most of that. A diet that reduces or eliminates those foods cuts CO2 by almost 50%. The choice is either “diet change” or “climate change.”

The way we produce, distribute, transport and prepare our food consumes enormous amounts of fossil fuel energy. In fact, the heavily industrialized food chain accounts for about 18% of the U.S. fossil fuel used. Food crises are becoming more common in the world and will become more frequent as energy prices rise. There are key facts about our food system that everybody should know. Community Solutions for more information.

 

Plastic

An estimated 4 billion plastic bags end up in our landfills & oceans each year, harming wildlife and the food chain. When tied end to end – that’s enough bags to circle the earth 63 times. Wow…Whats worse is that plastic bags never completely break down in our environment; are non-biodegradable, completely unsustainable, and 100% a thing of the past. Just say no to disposables! See Sierra Club post for more information.

Plastic Bottles, 2007 – Depicts 2 million plastic bottles, the number used in the United States every five minutes. | Photo illustration by Chris Jordan, courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery.

Detail from Plastic Bottles – The U.S. Conference of Mayors calculates that it takes 1.5 million barrels of oil to make the plastic water bottles used in the United States in one year. Nationally, only one in four plastic bottles is recycled. | Photo illustration by Chris Jordan, courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery.

Plastic Bags, 2007 – Depicts 60,000 plastic bags, the number used in the United States every five seconds. | Photo illustration by Chris Jordan, courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery.

Detail from Plastic Bags – Could the ubiquitous plastic bag be heading for the landfill of history? From San Francisco to American Samoa, they’re now being banned or restricted. A five-cent-per-bag charge in Washington, D.C., reduced the number handed out per month from 22.5 million to 3 million. | Photo illustration by Chris Jordan, courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery.


Water

Did you know that the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that in the United States, 32 BILLION gallons of contaminated water runoff enters the oceans each day?

Conserving water helps not only to preserve irreplaceable natural resources, but also to reduce the strain on urban  wastewater management systems. Wastewater is costly to treat, and requires continuous investment to ensure that the water we return to our waterways is as clean as possible. Water.org High School curriculum.

In addition, while the world’s population tripled in the 20th century, the use of renewable water resources has grown six-fold. Within the next fifty years, the world population will increase by another 40 to 50 %. This population growth – coupled with industrialization and urbanization – will result in an increasing demand for water and will have serious consequences on the environment.  See World Water Council for more information.

Already there is more waste water generated and dispersed today than at any other time in the history of our planet: more than one out of six people lack access to safe drinking water, namely 1.1 billion people, and more than two out of six lack adequate sanitation, namely 2.6 billion people. 3900 children die every day from water borne diseases. One must know that these figures represent only people with very poor conditions. In reality, these figures should be much higher.  (Estimation for 2002, by the WHO/UNICEF JMP, 2004).