Great Documentary to Watch: “Food Choices”

I watched “Food Choices” on Netflix (it is available through many sources). I thought it was a great documentary about how to make good choices and the impact of food choices on personal and planetary well-being.

I liked it because it was not heavy handed. I posted two trailers below. I encourage you to watch it and share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

Us & Them

us-and-themThere is no Us and or versus Them there is only  Us – we are all Us. Help yourself  and Us by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Fantastic Energy Summit – Knowledge, Collaboration, Action

I am not sure what happened, but for some reason I never posted this after the summit this past summer. For those interested in creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits, this is a great conference to learn how.

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To me, with my efforts to generate comprehensive improvements by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits, how we live in our environment is key. Living in a sustainable way is the focus of the summit.

From July 18-20, 2016 I had the opportunity to attend the 5th Appalachian Energy Summit. The theme this year was Knowledge, Collaboration and Action, a great motto for what we must do. Once again I was able to learn from wonderful speakers. Amory Lovins and David Orr shared their vast knowledge and we also had the opportunity to hear Bill McKibbin of 350.org. Unfortunately some of the news is sad and scary, however there is hope and the message I got loud in clear is there also must be URGENCY with our efforts.

I love this conference because it is like the National Wellness Conference (NWC) because its focus is on how to help each of us be the best versions of ourselves with the overall aim of improving the common good. Coincidentally, or maybe not, the theme at this years NWC was “Spotlight on Sustainability”.An outcome from which everyone and everything benefits. Another very impressive part of the conference is that not only does it teach us how to be stewards of the environment, the conference is green. Linked description of specific efforts to green the event (also bel0w) are made in regards to Energy, Food Services (and the foods is outstanding), zero waste, water stewardship.

UpcycleCover_webC2C-English_med-e1365807753836UpCycle Chart

This conference demonstrates it is not about doing less, but doing it better and not using traditional methods. There are better ways and McDonough and Braungart explain in Epicycle and Cradle to Cradle (see post here). With regard to this conference, here is an explanation about how they practice what they preach:

Greening of the Summit

Our pristine mountain environment attracts a community of people dedicated to good stewardship. A walk across our campus is proof of our commitment to sustainability: a student-funded on-campus wind turbine, zero waste management initiatives, native landscaping and healthy buildings are among the most obvious indicators.

In good faith and commitment, Appalachian engages in the following activities which contribute to a sustainable summit.

   

Greening Initiatives

Carbon Neutral Event

Like last year, our 2016 Appalachian Energy Summit will be a carbon neutral event. First we will work to reduce our carbon emissions and \ will purchase renewable energy credits (RECS) and carbon offsets. These offset conference operations, accommodations, car and air travel, and food preparation. We have worked with Shift Equity and NC Greenpower to calculate and offset these emissions.

Housing Conferences & Institutes

  • Many participants will be housed in hotel-like accommodations at Mountaineer Residence hall, a LEED® gold certified residence hall

Energy Plemmons Student Union

  • Summit space utilizes building automation to increase HVAC efficiency
  • Summit space has temperature setbacks
  • Summit space and hotel-like accommodations have commercial solar thermal systems
  • Energy efficient high output lighting, including use of LED technology
  • Use of lighting motion sensors

Food Services Appalachian Food Services

  • All meals served will have local and organic content
  • China, silverware, glassware, and cloth used
  • Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free options offered
  • All unopened leftovers donated to the local food shelter
  • Bulk items used (condiments, sweeteners, creamers, etc.)

Waste Reduction Zero Waste

  • We are making every effort to be a zero waste event
  • Recycling containers available at all summit locations and meeting spaces
  • Pre and post-consumer food waste collection at all meal events
  • Use of bulk items rather than individual items such as condiments, sugar, cream, etc.
  • Use of reusable food service items when possible
  • Disseminate conference info and other information electronically
  • Promotion of ‘BYO beverage’ container

Water Stewardship

Plemmons Student Union and Building Services

  • Low-flow sink aerators
  • Dual-flush toilets
  • Green cleaning supplies

Transportation Parking and TrafficZimride and AppalCART

  • Carpooling platform created using Zimride to make it easy for participants to share the ride
  • AppalCART provides free and convenient in-town mass transit transportation for participants

Communication

  • “These come from trees” signs on bathroom paper towel dispensers in Plemmons Student Union
  • Renewable energy kiosk in Plemmons Student Union
  • Electronic invites, announcements, registration, advertising
  • Any printed material (Leadership Luncheon only) is sugar cane-based

I look forward to more conferences, functions and organizations taking similar actions. Please share your efforts and how this can be done even better.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Thought for today!

This great Abraham Lincoln quote was shared with me by a wonderful colleague:

Let the people on both sides keep their self-possession, and just as other clouds have cleared away in due time, so will this, and this great nation shall continue to prosper as before.  – Abraham Lincoln

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

Thank You Mr. Obvious

My work seems obvious so I am confused by traditional practice. I work with health. Most in health work from a disease elimination perspective to create health, despite the fact health is the PRESENCE of physical, mental and social well being and NOT MERELY THE ABSENCE of disease and infirmity. To accomplish this goal I use a salutogenic or health origins/causing framework while others use a pathogenic or disease origins/causing framework.

To me this is obvious, if we want to cause health, shouldn’t we study health’s precursors or causes? How is it possible to cause health through a better understanding of disease? Of course we must know how to cure and treat disease but causing better health has to lessen disease.

Am I missing something?

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Other obvious things seem to happen. For instance a Mr. Obvious comment is, “And I found it in the last place I looked.” This is confusing, should someone keep looking for the item after they find it?

Another Mr. Obvious is reports of Greenhouse Gas (GhG) emissions. I hear reports of percent decreases in emissions and think great, less heat trapping emissions are being dumped into our atmosphere. This however is creative accounting, and not accurate. Generally what they mean is less emissions per square foot. For example, although less emissions are being released, the area using fossil fuels to heat, a/c and more has grown, therefore the emissions needed for that space also grew.

Despite dumping more GhG into our biosphere, a recent report documented “reductions”?

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It is like when we required the catalytic converters for cars. Although less emissions were released per car, we had more cars so there was no decrease in emissions. To me this is obvious, if we want to improve we must actually reduce the emissions in total, not just per square foot. We must find a way to do good, not just less bad (see here for more about this).

In another Mr. Obvious moment, a former student I had in 2006, 10 years ago, saw me recently and was impressed by something that should be obvious. Now she is getting a graduate degree. She said she remembered me because of one thing I said in class. She explained that her group was telling me that they did their best work under a time crunch so there was no reason to get started early. My Mr. Obvious, and obviously memorable comments was:

“Of course you do your best work when you are in a time crunch, it is the only option you have left. If however you do your work early, you have an opportunity to do even better work.”

While she doesn’t remember much else from class, so she claims, she said she always remembered that and now gets to work on her projects early so she can do better work.

To me my work is a Mr. Obvious. We should be doing what causes health because it builds physical, mental and social well-being and enables higher capacities and potential. Higher health is good because when something difficult or tragic happens, which most likely will happen, the person than has the capacity and ability to not just overcome, they can be better. If we only take preventive action, we are less likely to create the potential needed to achieve and reach a higher state of well-being. Increased capacity, skills, and potential is always useful to achieve what is desired and is especially useful if something difficult happens.

To me this seems obvious, yet to others it does not. For me it proved beneficial because at 17 I was in great shape, physically, mentally and socially and also had a great family. I did what I did to have a better life, not in case something happened and would more likely recover, but simply because I wanted a better life to enjoy.

Unfortunately something did happen, on September 21, 1984 I was the passenger of a car that collided head on with another. The driver and the other 2 passengers of the car died and I suffered a severe head contusion. I lapsed into a coma for a week. When I awoke, I was paralyzed and the brain damage caused me to lose all I had known. At the time, it was not expected  to be able to go to college and had a marginal chance of completing high school.

I did recover and am now able to thrive. (To see more of my story and recovery click here) My recovery was only possible because I was in good physical, mental and social well-being at the time. My parents and family were amazing and they were there for me and pushed me to be better.

Therefore, not only did being engaged in physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, vocational, and environmental health promoting activities at that time in my life make my things better then, it also helped me have a better life today. My parents consider my wonderful children, Amanda & Annika a miracle, as do I.

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Engage in health promoting actions to make your life better now. Not only will it make your life better, if something does happen, as things usually do,  it will help you avoid, overcome or recover faster. Make it a great day, week, year, and life!

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

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