Why sustainability professionals should embrace Black Lives Matter

Source: Charles Orgbon

Black Lives Matter

Long before corporations acknowledged Black Lives Matter, they championed the plights of specific endangered species. Corporate conservation campaigns used phrases such as “Save the [insert your favorite animal],” which have been catchy, effective and oddly similar to the language we’re now using to educate people about the status of Black life in America.

The Disney Conservation Fund protects lions, elephants, chimpanzees and thousands of other species. Ben & Jerry’s brings awareness to declining honeybee populations. Coca-Cola appropriately is the longtime ally of the poster child for climate change, the polar bear.

As a kid, I, too, was influenced by Coca-Cola’s messaging. At just 11, I thought I could stop global warming, so I created a blog with articles urging people, “Save the polar bears.” No one challenged me by asking, “What about the tigers? The tigers…matter, too! All endangered species matter.”

The fact is, polar bears were (and still are) drowning due to global problems. If we addressed the root causes of those global problems such as reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, in fact, all endangered species would fare better.

The phrase “Black Lives Matter” works similarly to “Save the polar bear,” only that Black people are drowning in a sea of systemic racism instead of a rising sea of melting ice.

Want to know how well our society is tackling racial injustice? Look to Black people. If we’re doing good, we’re all doing good.

When someone says something such as “Save the polar bears,” they are also indirectly revealing other information about themselves. Perhaps they eat organic, use public transportation, recycle or take military-style showers.

Likewise, when we say “Black Lives Matter” we are actually making a declaration about our belief that injustice somewhere is a threat to justice everywhere. All lives truly matter when those that are the most marginalized matter.

Want to know how well our society is tackling climate change? Look to polar bears. If they’re doing good, we’re doing good.

Want to know how well our society is tackling racial injustice? Look to Black people. If we’re doing good, we’re all doing good.

I spend a lot of time thinking about how white people are just awakening to the systemic racism that continues to thrive in every aspect of American life and how this systemic racism continues to affect me daily. If so many people have gone so long without acknowledging the reality that people of color experience every day, it’s not surprising that these issues have gone on for so long.

Watershed moment

Sometimes a watershed moment is needed to bring attention to a crisis. After all, no one cared about polar bears until Mt. Pinatubo’s 1991 volcanic eruption, which greatly influenced our scientific understanding of anthropogenic global warming and its impacts on arctic life. The catastrophic event was one of the most significant watershed moments for climate activism.

Now, the Black Lives Matter movement is amid a watershed moment. White people are awakening from their own hibernation and acknowledging that, yes, as the statistics suggest, racism still exists.

For example, Black people and white people breathe different air. Black people are exposed to about 1.5 times more particulate matter than white people. Give more than just a cursory glance to Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” and you’ll discover its truisms: “Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east.” Researchers have found that toxic chemical exposure is linked to race: minority populations have higher levels of benzene and other dangerous aromatic chemical exposure. Lead poisoning also disproportionately affects people of color in the U.S., especially Black people.

A careful examination of our nation’s statistics reveals myriad racial disparities. The polarity of experiences is startling. This influenced many well-intentioned white people to examine numerous situations and ask, “Is racial bias truly at play here?”

I challenge that that’s not the question we must ask when we live in a world with such disparate statistics for communities of color. It’s much more powerful to ask, “How is racial bias at play here?”

Those who fail to confront how racial bias is often at play attempt to live in a colorblind world that does not exist.

When tipping service workers, when selecting your next dentist, when making employment decisions, when raising children, seriously consider that the world is not colorblind. And to create a more equitable world, we have to fight more aggressively to counteract the evil that already exists.

This is what it means to be anti-racist, or as the National Museum of African American History and Culture counsels, “Make frequent, consistent and equitable choices to be conscious about race and racism and take actions to end racial inequities in our daily lives.”

So, what can allies do?

Step 1: Take out a sticky note.

Step 2: Write out the words ANTI-RACIST.

Step 3: Put it on your laptop monitor and do the work. It’s a daily practice to filter your thoughts, communication and decisions through an anti-racist lens.

5 Tips for Travelling With Pets

By: Veronica Lewis

A family vacation is generally not a very happy time for a pet. And that’s not because they understand what’s happening and realize they’re being left out of all the fun, but just because they’ll be left behind for a while.

 

They’ll be left in some kind of pet-boarding location, which can be great for them but it’s not always an optimal environment for a pet, especially if it’s their first time, or with a pet-sitter which is probably a more desirable option but it still means they’ll be away from their family.

 

This can also make for a stressful time for the family itself. For one thing, most people don’t want to be separated from their pet but there’s also the likelihood that they’ll spend a lot of the vacation worrying about how their friend is doing instead of enjoying themselves.

 

And even leaving families out of the discussion here for a moment, even people who just like to travel on a regular basis will usually have to leave their pet behind. Travelling and pets are two of life’s great joys, it shouldn’t be so difficult to enjoy both should it?

 

And yet, a lot of people don’t consider the possibility of taking their pet with them, even if it is a journey that they can undertake by car. The perceived complications and hassle of taking the pet along are probably a big deterrent.

 

There’s also the fact that a lot of people might be concerned that the journey could be stressful or unsafe for a pet. Stuffing them up in the car for a number of hours does seem a little cruel on the surface.

 

But truth be told, it doesn’t have to be a terribly uncomfortable experience for your pet, nor does it have to be a terribly complicated one for you. There are ways to simplify the process of taking a pet on vacation with you.

 

If you take certain measures and effectively prepare for the journey and how you’re going to set everything up, then taking your pet travelling with you, shouldn’t be anywhere near as worrying as people think it is.

 

Here’s a few tips for taking your pet on vacation with you:

 

  1.   Microchip Them

 

Getting your pet microchipped is something that you should probably do anyway, regardless of whether or not you plan on taking them on vacation with you, but if you are going to travel with your dog it’s especially important.

 

Microchipping is not as invasive of a process as people think it is and it comes with too many benefits for you not to at least consider it. For one thing it will last a lifetime, so you never have to worry about getting it redone, but it also dramatically reduces the chances of losing your pet.

 

And if you’re taking them to a different city or even a different country, losing them would be catastrophic. Especially since they’ll be in an unfamiliar environment which makes the chances of them wandering off even higher.

 

No matter how careful you are, the possibility of your pet getting lost is always going to be there, and if you’ve got them microchipped then you will more than likely have them back before too long.

 

So make sure you take this step, it’s the most responsible choice if you plan on taking your pet travelling with you.

 

  1.   Have the Right Documentation

 

Just like you need a passport or a visa or whatever else is required to get into a different country or sometimes you even need certain documents when travelling within your own country, and it’s often the same for pets.

 

You will probably need a health certificate which confirms your pet isn’t running the risk of carrying any dangerous diseases into another place. So this will mean a trip to the vet before the journey.

 

And then if you’re travelling by air there’s definitely going to be some forms to fill out. Most of the time there will be some stuff that’s specific to the airline so contact whoever you’re flying with beforehand and they’ll refer you to the paperwork.

 

  1.   Prepare a Travelling Kit

 

There are certain essential things to bring along that your pet is going to need for the journey and once you get to the destination. You wouldn’t go on any kind of trip without bringing things you need and the same logic applies to a pet.

 

So think of all the stuff that a pet requires when you’re at home because it’s not quite as easy for them to acclimate to a slightly altered lifestyle in such a short space of time. The goal is to replicate their homelife as much as possible.

 

Your travelling kit for your pet should have food and water bowls, a scooper, some treats, your grooming supplies and then any medication that your pet needs and also bring a pet specific first-aid kit.

 

If they’re going to be in a travel crate, then make sure that it’s a spacious and comfortable one. Also, bring along a toy or two to keep your pet occupied during the journey and when you’re doing activities that they can’t join in on. 

 

I’d also suggest that, if you have space, you should bring a vacuum that is effective in getting rid of pet hair so that you don’t leave a mess in the place that you’re staying. This is just a courtesy you should try to offer.

 

  1.   Be Careful With Their Travelling Meals

 

Not a nice thing to have to think about here, but the last thing that you want to have to deal with when going on a long car journey is dog or cat vomit. Sorry for putting that image in your head but it’s a thing to think about.

 

Dogs are not as used to travelling in moving vehicles as we are and it can upset their stomachs. Of course, this does happen to humans too, but we can communicate the fact that we feel unwell and need to get out and throw up, an animal can’t do that.

 

To avoid this, feed your dog about three hours before the journey starts. You can take some long breaks of course and feed them again if it’s a particularly long journey, but don’t feed them in a moving vehicle. It’s a recipe for disaster.

 

  1.   Be Mindful of Accomodation

 

A lot of hotels will be open to guests bringing along dogs and cats, but ideally you should probably choose Airbnb or look for a house or apartment that you can rent. It’s better to have some private space.

 

That way you can be a little bit more comfortable about leaving the dog behind if you want to go out for a meal or something. But also, make sure that the pet policy actually allows for whatever breed you have.

 

And be sure to communicate with the host beforehand and have a discussion about what you’ll be bringing along with you. Even if they allow for pets, you want to make sure that the space is big enough and that there’s nothing that isn’t pet-friendly about the environment.

 

It would be advisable to research local vets in case of emergency as well as what stores are nearby in case you need something for your pet. 

 

There are a lot of things to think about when taking a pet travelling with you, but it’s definitely worth it if it means you can spare yourself the stress and anxiety involved with leaving a pet behind. And it will probably be an enjoyable experience for your dog too.

Summer travel trends and safety during COVID

By: Bankrate Staff

After several weeks hunkered down at home, a quick grocery store run is slightly exciting nowadays. As states phase in relaxed COVID-19 restrictions and the country slowly reopens, it’s hard to ignore the urge to get away – somewhere beyond the confines of your neighborhood.

From national parks and theme parks to hotels, restaurants and casinos –  the hospitality industry is taking serious steps to mitigate risk to their employees and guests. Disney World just announced their reopening July 11 with a litany of restrictions, like limiting the number of visitors, timed entry reservations, mandatory face masks, contactless payments, and temperature testing both guests and employees.

Even with restrictions and safety measures in place, you may wonder if traveling is worth the risk. While health officials from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the US Department of State’s Global Health Advisory advise against travel altogether, states that are opened for business, just in time for summer, are hoping people will choose to take advantage of deep discounts and cheap gas.

The latest statistics from GasBuddy suggest that some 31 percent of Americans are planning at least one road trip this summer. With gas below two dollars a gallon, it’s certainly tempting to take at least a day trip in the comfort and safety of your vehicle. And while there’s risk traveling during a pandemic, the rewards are enough to make many Americans venture out. So, if you plan on traveling this summer, here’s what to expect.

The travel and hospitality industry is going above and beyond to ensure your safety

“The whole industry is pivoting to a different way of operating,” says Dr. Donna Quadri-Felitti,  Marvin Ashner Director and Associate Professor at The Pennsylvania State University School of Hospitality Management. “The hotel and restaurant industry is adapting their real estate for the needs of this crisis, to keep people safe.”

In early May, the American Hotel Lodging Association (AHLA) issued enhanced cleaning and safety guidelines. The “Stay Safe” initiative is focused on enhanced hotel cleaning practices and will seek to change hotel industry norms, behaviors and standards to ensure both hotel guests and employees are confident in the cleanliness of hotels as travel resumes.

Dr. Quadri-Felitti says technology has played a huge role in helping the industry continue to operate under a ‘new normal.’ Contactless check-in/check-out, keyless room entry, touchless elevators, virtual TV remotes and social distancing apps are being deployed by hotels across the world to keep visitors safe and comfortable.

Bigger hotel brands are rolling out their own heightened safety protocols. Starting in June, Hilton Worldwide will launch its “CleanStay” program – implementing contactless technologies in addition to rigorous cleaning practices advised by medical experts from the Mayo Clinic COVID-19 Response Team. Marriott International’s “Cleanliness Council” is testing ultraviolet light technology to sanitize guest keys and adding electrostatic sprayers to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel.

“Cleanliness and security has always been part of the hospitality industry. We are well-versed at  being highly regulated, very well-trained and monitored –  COVID-19 is just taking it to the next level. It’s business imperative that we don’t just meet CDC standards, but exceed them,” says Quadri-Felitti.

Rental properties

Like traditional hotels, person-to-person home rental companies like AirBnB and Vrbo have updated their guidelines around cleaning. AirBnB updated their cleaning requirements for hosts to include new procedures such as wearing a mask and gloves when cleaning, wiping services with disinfectants made of bleach or 70% isopropyl alcohol in addition to traditional soaps, washing all linens in hot water, emptying vacuum after each use and more.

Vrbo also adapted their cleaning practices to the new reality of COVID-19. Their guidelines include focusing on high traffic areas of the rental when cleaning, and letting the property remain empty for at least 24-hours after a renter leaves.

Air travel takes a back seat to road trips 

Whether you’re planning an in-state day trip or a week-long getaway to a mountain rental, road travel provides flexibility and offers a safer, more isolated environment that airlines can’t compete with. And how you get there is just as important as your destination. Road warriors are looking for more inclusive travel and are turning to recreational vehicles and the great outdoors to distance themselves from others and commune with nature.

Self-contained travel 

If spending the night in a hotel or property rental is not your preference – recreational vehicles that offer self-contained travel are increasingly popular. RVshare, a rental marketplace similar to Airbnb, just announced they hit record numbers with a 650% rise in RV rental bookings since early April 2020.

Self-contained RVs provide transportation, accommodation, and a place to cook all in one – allowing travelers to better control their social distance. RV parks and private campground owners are preparing safety processes similar to hotels with specific plans for cleaning, disinfecting and maintaining distancing.

Wellness and wide-open spaces 

Naturally in a pandemic, people look for destinations that offer plenty of room to roam and less interaction with others. With many national parks set to reopen, parks staff, small business staff and owners are preparing for the surge of visitors itching to get outdoors.

Kara Maceross, program manager and guide for Lasting Adventures, a travel service that offers everything from day hikes, backpacking trips and summer camps in Yosemite National Park, started working last week and says business is already picking up. “We’re seeing way more bookings than we thought we would. People want to get out, and parents want their kids to enjoy the summer after months of being cooped up.”

Yosemite hasn’t officially opened (at the time of publication), but when it does, there will be fewer visitors and more restrictions. Visitor capacity will be reduced by about 50 percent to promote social distancing, and day visitors will be required to register for a pass to reserve entrance ahead of time through recreation.gov. Yosemite is one of the country’s most visited national parks, hosting more than 4.5 million travelers in 2019.

Maceross says that besides limiting travel groups to 10 members, they’re also temperature screening employees and camp visitors while implementing strict cleaning procedures for equipment coming back from excursions.

“Sanitizing gear, washing hands more frequently, wearing masks when welcoming guests, and coming up with team-building activities that require no contact is all part of the new norm.”

Advanced planning is required

However you travel, it’s imperative to plan ahead. That means getting more information directly from the hotel or rental property and double-checking your destination’s rules before hitting the road. State, county and even town safety restrictions can change in an instant if COVID hot spots flare up, so frequent checks until the day you leave will help you make an informed decision on whether travel is safe or not.

Be prepared for check-ins and quarantines

If you’re traveling from hot spots like New York, New Jersey, New Orleans and Connecticut, you may be required to quarantine for 14 days. Some states are installing checkpoints and requiring identification and address where visitors will be in quarantine.  Health care officials may also pay a visit at the address given for a health check. It’s a good idea to avoid states with quarantine restrictions if you want to explore the sights and sounds. The CDC has a website where you can check the current rules by state.

Cancellation policies 

Fortunately, cancellation policies are currently more generous than before. However, refunds and credits are up to the hotel, tour operator or travel business. Hotels typically allow cancellations up to 24 hours in advance, but rentals aren’t as lenient. Before booking travel, understand the cancellation policies in relation to state and local laws. Incentives to re-book rather than cancel are being offered by travel companies, airlines and cruise lines.

How your credit card can help you save on your road trip

As you make your travel plans, consider how you can strategically use your credit card to maximize your budget on the road. Credit cards that offer rewards on gas purchases can put cash back in your pocket on purchases you were already planning to make.

 

Eco-Friendly Beauty: Zero Waste Beauty Routine When Traveling

By: Helen Bradford

Are you one of those people who can’t wait to pack their bags and head off someplace new? People who love to travel (sail, fly, camp, backpack, and have road trips) know the importance of proper packing.

27519651

It seems like experienced travelers can fit their entire house into a small backpack, and even when they only carry a small suitcase, they have everything they could possibly need at hand, beauty products included. If you’re striving towards zero waste beauty routine and re worried about how to achieve it while traveling, here’s how you can do it:

Soap and shampoo bars

Shampoo bottles are notorious for randomly exploding and leaking content everywhere in people’s suitcases, especially on long flights. This is why you’re advised to place a plastic bag under the cap or pack your shampoo bottle in a Ziploc bag in case it leaks. Well, with eco-friendly soap and shampoo bars, that can’t happen. Not only are these easier to pack in your bag, but they will also never ever leak (because they’re not liquid), and there aren’t plastic bottles and containers that will pollute the oceans.

There are even shampoo and conditioner bars combined that you can use and save loads of space in your bathroom and your luggage.

Switch to reusable cotton pads

We use cotton pads for removing our makeup and nail polish and for applying and distributing cleansing products on our faces. We use them so often and so much that we rarely stop and think how much wasted cotton that is. Makeup-removing wet wipes are handy, but they contain traces of plastic and take forever to degrade, thus polluting the Earth even further. These are just some of the reasons why you should think about using reusable cotton pads and washcloths instead. These can be used over and over, and once you wash them on high temperatures, they’ll be as good as new. You can keep your reusable cotton pads in a traveling bag, and have another one for used ones, and you won’t have to buy new packs every time you travel somewhere.

Always use natural makeup

Finding makeup brands and products that you like and that are great for your skin takes time, but you should really try to find and buy natural makeup that works for you. You might not always be able to find travel-sized lipstick and eye shadow, but you should at least know that the products you are using are natural and good for your skin and the environment. Also, you don’t always have to carry your big bottle of foundation when you travel: you can pour a bit into a smaller container and pack it in your bag, and wash the container when you get home so that you can use it again next time you go somewhere.

Go plastic-free

We already mentioned soap, shampoo, and conditioner bars and how great these are for reducing the amount of plastic that you buy, but there are more ways you can do this. There are amazing bamboo toothbrushes on the market that you can use instead of regular plastic ones, and seeing as it’s advised that you change your toothbrush every few months, this is a serious change. There is also plastic-free floss that you can switch to instead of a regular one (you won’t even notice the difference). In the end, we would like to mention that menstrual cups are a better choice for your budget, your body, and the environment too, so you might want to think about using them in the future as well.

Use coconut oil

Coconut oil is a God-given beauty ingredient everyone can use and benefit from. It’s great for moisturizing your skin, combining with granulated sugar to create a nice exfoliating paste, using on your hair, and also for removing your makeup. Coconut oil can be found cheap if you decide to buy a bigger jar, and you can always put some of it in a smaller jar or a container and take it with you when you go on a trip. Because there are so many different brands of coconut oil out there, try to find one that’s certified as organic and raw. Some brands even stick to coconuts that are grown on small farms and plant palm trees as a way to “pay Nature back.”

The zero-waste movement has made a great impact not only on the environment but also on the way we look at the world. So many of us have changed our routines and adopted some healthy habits and routines that have made both the world and our lives much better. If you don’t want to change your beauty routine while traveling, try to find ways to adapt it so that you can stick with it no matter where you are and the way you are getting there. Your skin will be grateful and you will make a huge difference.

 

 

How we can fight the pandemic by embracing circularity

Source: Green Biz
Rows of N95 respiratory mask, used as personal protective equipment.
Rows of N95 respiratory mask, used as personal protective equipment.

Shutterstock
Faizzamal

Throughout the pandemic response, a key issue has been a lack of communication and coordination to get personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies to where they are most needed, with many areas of the country suffering from severe resource shortages as a result. The only truly successful solution has been, and will continue to be, to strategically adopt two core elements of a circular economy model: reuse and resource sharing.

The key goals of the circular economy are “designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.” Unlike in our current linear economic model, which generally discards materials once used, the circular economy enables more value to be extracted from an item by eschewing the “take-make-waste” pattern. In a situation where supply is limited, the circular model gets far more use out of the same supply.

Illustration of circular economy showing product, material flow and garbage on white background with arrows and circle.

While the need for a circular economy has been growing for decades, especially as the impacts of climate change have begun to loom larger, this pandemic has caused that need to increase dramatically. Taking on the circularity principles of reuse and resource sharing — and equally important, having a more coordinated approach around those efforts — is critical for directing supplies to the places where there is the greatest need in a timely and equitable fashion.

My company, Rheaply, has pivoted our resource-sharing technology to aid in this approach. In partnership with the city of Chicago, we built Chicago PPE Market, a platform that provides small businesses and nonprofits access to a network of local manufacturers and suppliers of PPE at cost-controlled rates, helping them protect their staff and prevent further spread of the virus. Within the first week of the platform going live, we onboarded 1,555 small businesses, with over 165,000 listings and 2,100 transactions for items such as face coverings, protective shields and various sanitizers.

Yet we are just one company contributing to the efforts to fight the pandemic. To truly fight the virus, we must all adopt a circularity approach, sharing physical resources and human capital. Even beyond the pandemic, this approach will allow us to more efficiently and cooperatively operate as a global community. The first step is to change the way we think about the resources we have.

To do so, we must do the following:

Establish a community-oriented mindset. With healthcare professionals advising “social distancing,” we are all keeping physically distant from others, even as states begin to reopen. Mentally, however, distancing is a way of making people think more about others. You distance yourself to protect everyone, not just yourself.

We have to think about fighting this virus as a team effort, not as something that just healthcare professionals can do.

We also have to think about that “team” more broadly. To combat the virus effectively, the team has to be made up of your family, your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors, your city, your state, your country — the global community. For most people, the most effective way to help the team is to practice social distancing in order to prevent the spread of disease. But for those with the power to do so, it is imperative to think about the broader team and allow for human capital and medical supplies to be allocated to places where the need is greatest now, while also planning for sufficient healthcare workers and PPE to fight the virus when it spikes in new areas.

Think about the resources you have that might help others. There may be other ways to help that may surprise you.

Check your cabinets. Consider what resources you might have in your home or business. If you’re a dentist whose practice has been forced to temporarily close or whose practice has a surplus of supplies that could benefit healthcare providers, consider donating or selling those items to institutions in need. If you’re a graduate student working in a lab, think about the gloves, gowns and masks you’re not currently using and donate them. If you’re not in charge of the supplies at your organization, make the case to your superiors for donating supplies.

Think about your skills. Not all resources are tangible. If you’re someone who is healthy, consider how your skills could be used as resources to benefit others. One example would be people who have put their sewing skills to work to make masks. Another would be individuals who use 3D printers to make PPE.

Pivot your business. If you’re a manufacturer or other business owner, think about how your business could alter its offering to make a difference. If you have the resources and access to certain supply chains, you may be able to shift to manufacturing PPE. Businesses ranging from hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer to fashion brands have begun creating masks. You might be surprised to see how your business’s strengths could be directed toward fighting the virus.

If we spread this way of thinking, both about supplies and human capital, then we can create a system where we all can rely on each other.

Think about using, not owning, resources. Question the way you think about items. Plenty of items don’t need to be owned, but instead just used for a period of time (properly decontaminated N95 masks or face shields) — you may have items that could be reused by those currently in greater need. Ask yourself, “What is the true value of idle resources that I’ve put aside?” If you’re not using an item, then it is of little value to you, whereas it may be of great value to someone else.

For items that should not be reused (gloves), think about how much of these items you actually need. Ask yourself, “Do I need this many gloves right now?” In many cases, your need is probably less dire than the need of overwhelmed healthcare providers.

At the same time, we also should be thoughtful about how we treat and value the skills of our healthcare workers. Those who oversee healthcare providers can’t think of healthcare providers as belonging exclusively to certain institutions; instead, they have to think about them as having transferable skills that could provide a huge benefit to institutions and communities around the country and the world.

If we spread this way of thinking, both about supplies and human capital, then we can create a system where we all can rely on each other. If you lend a hand now, then others will be more willing to help you when you are in need.

These times are tough, and it’s easy to start feeling helpless. But practicing and advocating for the principles of a circular economy are crucial ways to help. You have the power to make a difference. Let’s get started.

Timberline Lodge’s Hand-Forged Legacy

Source: OPB: Ian McCluskey

Darryl Nelson carries on tradition as Timberline Lodge’s third-generation blacksmith. You can’t tell the story of Darryl Nelson without Timberline Lodge; and you can’t tell the story of Timberline Lodge without Darryl Nelson.

Of the two, Timberline Lodge is far better known. Set just above the hem of evergreens at 6,000 feet on Mount Hood’s south slope, Timberline Lodge is Oregon’s most iconic historic lodge, beloved by generations of visitors. It proudly claims its place as one of the great lodges of the American West. It is considered a defining masterpiece of its architectural style, known as Cascadian. And it even had its brush with Hollywood in its cameo appearance as the “Overlook Hotel” in the 1980 horror classic “The Shining.”

Nelson, on the other hand, is so little-known in the public eye that he is essentially anonymous. You might catch a glimpse of him shuffling through the lodge as he totes his heavy toolbox. You may see him wrenching down a bolt with his fingers, thick and calloused from a lifetime of manual work. Dressed in a floppy fedora and frayed chore coat over his plaid wool shirt, he looks like he stepped into the present from the past, as if he had been one of the original blacksmiths of the lodge during the Great Depression. In many ways, he’s exactly that.

 Hope in hard times

Timberline’s story starts in the hard times of the Great Depression. With millions unemployed and growing desperate, President Franklin Roosevelt initiated his New Deal, launching federal programs to create new jobs.

These new jobs would give people immediate paychecks to help feed their families, but just as importantly, the specific projects they took on were inspiringly large in scale and with the purpose of public benefit. They gave those who had been hopeless new hope, a place to apply their efforts, and pride in their work. In doing so, they would create, not just to get America through the hard times of that moment in history, but to make things of enduring value for generations to come.

The Works Project Administration, or WPA, hired artisans whose highly skilled trades could be put to work on public building projects — people such as stone masons, carpenters, and blacksmiths.

The Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, gathered the young generation to build trails, campgrounds and cabins in vast, undeveloped national forests and parks. These young workers had energy and brawn, but needed training. The older craftsmen of the WPA had experience and could mentor the CCC crews.

As the spring snow slowly began to melt in 1936, a combined force of WPA and CCC headed to the south flank of Mount Hood to break ground for a grand lodge.

All hands set to work as they raced to frame the lodge before the arrival of winter snows. Barely more than a year later, President Roosevelt himself was standing on the stone terrace, dedicating the lodge. In his speech, he predicted: “Here, to Mount Hood, will come thousands and thousands of visitors in the coming years.” He was right.

Timberline Lodge created jobs and hope during the Great Depression of the 1930s. 

Timberline Lodge created jobs and hope during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

U.S. Forest Service

Forged from the mountain

The overall shape of the lodge was designed to match the form of the summit that rises behind it. At the center, a hexagonal cone, called the Head House, is a mirror of Mount Hood’s Crater Rock. From the Head House, two wings stretch to the west and east, like the two ridgelines of Hood’s summit.

The lodge was made of the raw materials of the mountain: built from the old-growth trees, hand hewn by adze and broad ax; the mountain’s stones gathered and lifted into place; and each lock and door knob and hinge forged from the blow of the blacksmiths’ hammers. It was a structure simultaneously rustic and grand.

“Even after all these years, I’m overwhelmed by the lodge and the grandeur and the effort that went into it by a lot of skilled craftspeople from all different mediums of craft,” Nelson said.

Fifty blacksmiths labored to create the ironwork of the lodge. “They gave their hearts and their souls when they did that work,” Nelson said. “They were so appreciative to have the work and I think they had a point to prove.”

To create Timberline Lodge, each piece of ironwork in was hand-forged by blacksmiths. 

To create Timberline Lodge, each piece of ironwork in was hand-forged by blacksmiths.

Courtesy of Oregon State Library

A style all its own

To walk up the stone steps of Timberline, you enter a dark stone alcove. The cold basalt chills the air. Some say it feels like stepping inside the mountain itself.

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright spoke of a feeling of “compression and release” and put the concept into many of his buildings during the era. Perhaps more simply, the architecture of Timberline’s entrance mirrors nature: it’s like entering a narrow cave and then suddenly stepping into a cavern.

From the small alcove, the room opens to the ground floor of the lodge. A fire crackles in a massive stone hearth. Many are drawn to its warmth. If you look closely, you may notice that the hefty fireplace andirons look a lot like they were made of old railroad tracks. They were.

“The rest of the iron work in the country we can see most anywhere, but Timberline iron work is Timberline iron work: there’s nothing else like it anywhere in the country or the world,” said Nelson. “It’s a style all its own.”

"There’s nothing else like it anywhere in the country or the world. It’s a style all its own,” blacksmith Darryl Nelson said of Timberline Lodge's metalwork. 

“There’s nothing else like it anywhere in the country or the world. It’s a style all its own,” blacksmith Darryl Nelson said of Timberline Lodge’s metalwork.

Ian McCluskey/OPB

Three generations

Nelson’s story starts when he was 19, pounding horseshoes over an anvil. While attending farrier school, he learned about the tradition of decorative metalwork — shaping raw metal to be both beautiful and functional. After shoeing horses all day, he’d stay at his anvil, practicing his blacksmith skills.

“I shod horses for 13 years after going through horseshoeing school, the whole time trying to build up a blacksmithing business because I really found I enjoyed my time at the anvil more than I enjoyed the time under the horse,” he said with a chuckle.

As he was beginning to master the ancient craft of blacksmithing, Nelson learned that other blacksmiths were eager for connection and collaboration. In 1979, a group of about a dozen blacksmiths started the Northwest Blacksmith Association. They’d take turns hosting the group at their shops for what they called an “open forge.”

At one of the gatherings, Nelson met Russell Maugans.

“Have you ever been to Timberline Lodge?” Maugans asked. Nelson admitted he hadn’t. Maugans then shared with Nelson an unexpected story.

As a commercial airline pilot, Maugans had been assigned the flight between Atlanta and Portland. From his cockpit, he spotted the lodge on the side of Mount Hood. With each flight, his curiosity grew.

As soon as he had a long layover, Maugans rented a car to see the lodge up close. He immediately fell in love with Timberline and started asking questions about the iron work. He learned that Orion Dawson, known as “O.B. Dawson,” had been the lead blacksmith in the lodge’s construction.

He then looked up Dawson, hoping to meet the blacksmithing master. Dawson gladly welcomed Maugans and shared the techniques his smiths had used to build Timberline. Blacksmithing is traditionally a two-person job, according to Nelson. Maugans and Dawson developed a teamwork at the anvil, and a deep friendship.

Dawson died in 1977 at the age of 81. A few years afterwards, Maugans introduced Nelson to Timberline, and they took up the blacksmith teamwork, as Maugans shared with Nelson what he’d been shown from Dawson.

Eventually, Maugans became too old to continue his metal work, and the title of Timberline blacksmith was handed down to Nelson, the third generation.

O.B. Dawson led the group of blacksmiths in creating all the hand-forged metalwork in Timberline Lodge. Later in life, he handed down his knowledge to Russell Maugans, to continue the legacy.

O.B. Dawson led the group of blacksmiths in creating all the hand-forged metalwork in Timberline Lodge. Later in life, he handed down his knowledge to Russell Maugans, to continue the legacy.

courtesy of Oregon State Library

‘I made this for you’

At a blacksmithing conference where Nelson was presenting about his work on Timberline, an attendee asked: “Did you make the frog?”

“You saw the frog?” asked Nelson, surprised.

On Timberline’s main floor, in the display of the lodge’s history, on the back wall, is a metal gate. It features rows of coyote head designs, a motif carried throughout the lodge, honoring the flora and fauna of the mountain. It has geometric patterns, another theme carried through the lodge, honoring the designs of the region’s Native American heritage. And — if you look very closely — on the upper hinge, the head of a bolt is hand-hammered into a tiny frog.

“Yes,” the man answered, “and when I saw it, I felt that you had made it for me.”

“I absolutely did,” Nelson said.

To create the museum gate, Nelson invited other blacksmiths, to make it a group effort, just as the original smiths had worked. He coins it “in the spirit of Timberline.”

“There were 50 smiths that worked up there, they were all individuals, but you don’t know any of their names,” he said. Similarly, Nelson and his modern smiths are essentially anonymous. They all signed their names underneath the gate with the frog. “You’d have to take a flashlight, hold it down there, to be able to see it,” he said. “But we know our names are there.”

Darryl Nelson uses techniques of his trade handed down generations. At his anvil, he works a piece of heated steel with hammer and chisel, tools he made himself.  

Darryl Nelson uses techniques of his trade handed down generations. At his anvil, he works a piece of heated steel with hammer and chisel, tools he made himself.

Ian McCluskey/OPB

Leaving his mark

“Personally, I like the anonymity myself,” Nelson said. “I’d really rather just kind of blow through there like a ghost.”

He often shuffles through the crowds, stopping to inspect a loose bolt or test a latch. Far too often a bolt will come loose; or perhaps more accurately, a visitor will loosen a bolt and pocket it as a souvenir. Nelson makes his rounds, noting the pieces he’ll have to make once again by hand.

“It’s a cycle,” he said.

His work seems so solid — thick metal scalloped by the blows of his hammer — that it could last forever.

“When you make something as a blacksmith, you think it will well outlast you,” he said.  “It’s your form of immortality.” He rattled a window latch that had come loose, and then tightened it with his wrench, and continued his meditative thought.

“But everything wears out with time,” he said as he looked through the widow at the snow and rocks of the mountain. “Nothing lasts forever.”

“When you make something as a blacksmith, you think it will well outlast you,” blacksmith Darryl Nelson said, as he fixed a window latch he made. “But everything wears out with time.” He looked through the widow at the snow and rocks of the mountain and added: “Nothing lasts forever.”

“When you make something as a blacksmith, you think it will well outlast you,” blacksmith Darryl Nelson said, as he fixed a window latch he made. “But everything wears out with time.” He looked through the widow at the snow and rocks of the mountain and added: “Nothing lasts forever.”

Ian McCluskey/OPB

Over the decades Nelson has apprenticed dozens of aspiring blacksmiths. Some have gone on to their own careers. Some have just gone on. No one has stepped up to take the hammer from Nelson when his Timberline tenure is done.

Climbing the stairs, his calloused hands slip over the handrails. The rails are sturdy, with the ends forged into solid pine cones. The metal is polished to a silver hue by the hands of some two million tourists a year.

These rails, like almost every piece of metal in the lodge, holds a story for Nelson. His stories are like those of a kindly grandfather, told with meandering plot lines, myriad details, a chuckle, a twinkle in the eyes — and at the end is more than just a punchline, but a point: an understated moral, that reveals what Nelson values, his relationship to Timberline, and how he wants to leave his mark.

Nelson recalls fondly the day he and Maugans installed the handrails. Before then, there were no handrails on the lodge’s many flights of stairs, perhaps because Timberline had been built in such a rush (or perhaps because it was constructed in an era before modern safety codes).

The two blacksmiths waited until after hours so their installation did not impede guest access between the lodge’s floors.

“And we’d planned it almost too good,” Nelson related, because by the time they’d installed the last handrail on the last flight, no one had come along. Nelson wanted to see if visitors would actually use his new rails.

Then, a small group of guests started to climb the stairs. Nelson watched one guest grab the rail and use it all the way up.

The two blacksmiths grinned. Then they watched the second guest round the corner and grab the rail and exclaim: “Look at these pine cones! Look at these twists! Boy, they don’t make work like this anymore!”

Nelson grinned and chuckled as he repeated: “They don’t make work like this anymore.”

 

Blacksmith Darryl Nelson looks like he could have been one of the original blacksmiths of Timberline Lodge. In many ways, he is. 

Blacksmith Darryl Nelson looks like he could have been one of the original blacksmiths of Timberline Lodge. In many ways, he is.

Clean trucks are more important than ever

Screen Shot 2020 05 05 at 9.42.27 AM

Source: Green Biz

Sadly, big polluters are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to attack vital environmental rules by pressuring government agencies for regulatory delays, rollbacks or weakened enforcement. One target of their lobbying is the ongoing Advanced Clean Truck rule-making, which would put clean, zero-emission trucks on California’s roads starting in 2024. In response, state legislatorsorganized labor (PDF)health advocates (PDF), the clean technology industry (PDF) and environmentalists (PDF) have raised voices in support of life-saving regulations such as the Advanced Clean Truck Rule that provide health, environmental and economic benefits.

Clean trucks, cleaner air, healthier people

Polluted lungs are easy prey for respiratory diseases. So it’s no surprise that people suffering from poor air quality are more likely to become severely sick or die from COVID-19. This is deeply troubling in a state such as California, which has the worst air in the nation and is home to seven of the top 10 most ozone-choked cities in America.

As if that weren’t enough, structural inequalities are causing communities of color (PDF), and African-Americans in particular, to be hit hardest by COVID-19. If you’re black or a minority in America, you’re more likely to die from COVID-19 than if you’re white. This is tragically predictable and, in the case of air pollution, entirely preventable.

It’s predictable because we know what’s causing air pollution: the single largest source in California is the transportation sector and diesel-burning trucks are a major contributor. And, although late, prevention is happening: New regulations at the California Air Resources Board, such as the Advanced Clean Truck Rule, will get dirty diesel trucks off the roads and build a zero-emission electric truck market. These forward-looking regulations not only will provide health benefits but also will stimulate the economy and deliver much-needed stability.

Economic stimulus

Unlike the federal government, which continues to ignore science and attack life-saving environmental laws, California repeatedly has shown that cleaning up air pollution can drive economic growth. The clean technology sector, anchored by strong regulations, is one of California’s most important industries that support over half a million jobs statewide (PDF). Clean technologies, such as electric vehicles, are a top state export and an invaluable source of innovation. Environmental regulations that continue to encourage the electric vehicle market, among other clean technologies, are the foundation of California’s future economy.

As California reimagines its economy, there are valuable lessons from the past. During the Great Recession, some of the largest employment gains came from policies to expand clean technology. As we rebuild society, we must focus on the technologies of the future instead of burdening ourselves with the failures of the past.

Stability and a resilient recovery

One of the biggest failures is linking the U.S. economy to the whims of autocratic rulers overseas. The volatility of the global oil market and its impact on the livelihoods of hardworking Americans underscores the urgency to cut the fossil fuel cord.

It’s all too common for the global oil industry to becomes mired in crisis, prompting wild price swings and mass layoffs. The men and women working long hours in oily mud, and the families that depend on them, deserve better. They deserve stability. They deserve policies that promote new, innovative domestic industries, such as electric vehicle manufacturing, that will curb our oil addiction and are immune to Twitter tantrums or foreign wars.

One study found that in California alone, electrifying trucks and buses would result in almost 2 million new jobs and hundreds of billions in direct investments through 2050. Environmental regulations, such as the Advanced Clean Truck Rule that accelerate transportation electrification, are vital to a resilient recovery.

But it’s not just jobs. Lower fuel costs from filling up with electricity instead of fossil fuels means more money to invest elsewhere — money to reinvest in businesses and workers. Not only that, but take a look at the chart below and tell me, if you’re a transportation company, would you rather make decisions based on the erratic price of fossil fuels or the flat, boring price of electricity?U.S. Department of Energy, Alternative Fuels Data Center, Fuel Prices

Imagine if each month your utility bill was entirely different. You wouldn’t know how much to budget for bills. Instead, you’d be forced to have enough money on hand to cover a high bill or risk having your service shut off. The same applies to companies that depend on gas or diesel to fuel their vehicles. By switching to a more stable fuel source such as electricity, companies can reduce risk and free up capital for strategic investments.

From a mountain of despair, a stone of hope

In a matter of months, we went from record employment to millions of Americans filing for unemployment. Meanwhile, countless businesses — and the people they employ — are barely staying afloat, clinging to solvency through sheer grit and the hope that political leaders act decisively to set us on the path to a sustainable recovery. In this challenging time, there is a renewed resolve for essential environmental protections to help us emerge from the COVID-19 crisis a more resilient society that grows jobs, safeguards public health and protects our climate and the air we breathe.

Natural Ways to Clean Your Teeth and Gums

By: Mia Johnson

test tube

Taking care of your oral hygiene is just as important as taking care of your hygiene in general. Even though dentist appointments are one of the most uncomfortable ones and most people feel like their mouth can take care of itself, leaving your health up to chance is never a good idea. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so take care of your oral cavity in order to avoid some serious consequences. You can clean your teeth naturally to avoid constant exposure to chemicals but still kill bacteria.

1. Orange peels

Orange is a fruit famous for its vitamins and deliciousness. Aside from just being used as a tasty treat or snack, oranges can also help you maintain your oral hygiene and clean your teeth and gums naturally. You’ll need orange peels for this. By far, this is one of the most comfortable ways to clean your teeth as it doesn’t involve putting anything most people consider “icky” near your mouth.

You can apply the orange peel directly to your teeth and gently rub it against the surface. If this doesn’t appeal to you, simply mash up the peel and apply it to the areas of your teeth where you notice staining. Note that it may take some time to thoroughly mash the peel. Make sure to leave the peel on for a little before rinsing it out for the best effects.

This will help eliminate bacteria and microorganisms which nest on the enamel of the teeth. After using the solution regularly, your teeth will be significantly whiter.

2. Glycerin & Aloe Vera

Aloe vera gel is known for its soothing and rejuvenating effects on the skin, but can also be very useful for your teeth. It’s basically the perfect solution for keeping your teeth free of plaque. All you need is a teaspoon of aloe vera gel, half a cup of baking soda, and a cup of water. Lemon essential oil and vegetable glycerin should also make it into the mix. Voila! You’ve got your own natural toothpaste.

Use it just like you would use the traditional toothpaste you buy at the store. If the solution is too aggressive for you, add a bit less baking soda and see how you feel. You can also use essential oils other than lemon, but this flavour tends to work best for toothpaste purposes. Soon enough, your teeth will be whiter than you ever thought they could be with natural toothpaste.

3. Salt water treatment

To keep your gums clean and kill bacteria which causes gingivitis, you should rinse your mouth with salted water twice a day. Avoiding and treating gum disease is very important because it can lead to more serious diseases, tooth decay, and teeth falling out if it’s not handled in time. The benefits of salt water include reducing bacteria and getting rid of bad breath, as well as helping to remove particles of food which are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria.

If you already suspect you’re suffering from gingivitis, you’ll be happy to know that salt water can also help ease the pain as well as soothe your inflamed gums. The solution should work fine and take care of your problem, but it’s always a good idea to visit the dentist if you notice the problem persists.

4. Baking soda

Baking soda is the ultimate cleaning product for everything from bathrooms to your teeth. When using baking soda to clean your teeth and whiten them, you have to be very careful about how much you use and how often you use it. This is because baking soda tends to be a little more aggressive than necessary. It might pry off the plaque you’ve been struggling with, but it may also be abrasive to your teeth and get some enamel off.

This can make your teeth softer and more vulnerable to disease and falling out. To prevent this, be gentle with how you used baking soda and mix it with other substances. You basically just need a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of baking soda. Dip the solution under the faucet and clean your teeth just like you would with normal toothpaste. Make sure to rinse thoroughly.

Conclusion

As you can see, cleaning your teeth and gums can happen in more ways than one. You can rely on natural solutions to keep up your hygiene, but this definitely isn’t a replacement for your regular dental checkups. These natural ways will help you feel fresh and keep your mouth bacteria-free. We’re confident you’ll get that radiant smile you were hoping for and that you’ll greatly improve your life by staying healthy.

How COVID-19 changes climate communications

Screen Shot 2020 04 06 at 11.14.23 AM

Source: green biz

After a year of climate change being a top media story and public policy concern in many countries, attention is and will be rightfully focused on COVID-19 for some time. This puts climate leaders in a tough situation.

Given the unprecedented disruptions to health, economic and social systems the health emergency is creating, there is a real risk governments, businesses, communities, households and individuals will lack the time, financial resources or emotional capacity to address the climate emergency by cutting emissions and preparing for impacts, even long after the pandemic has passed.

It’s also conceivable that the coronavirus crisis will lead us further into division and political polarization, rather than sustaining momentum around coming together.

Climate action cannot stall out. It’s impossible to know how long the coronavirus crisis will last, but the science is clear that time is running out to avert catastrophic climate change. Climate communicators must find ways to advance the conversation.

Sensitivity is required. Now is not a great time to tout the emission and pollution reductions occurring due to the economic shutdown. It is, however, a moment of great change where worldviews and values are being reassessed and reordered. This creates opportunities to connect the health crisis to climate change and advocate for solutions that address both.

COVID-19 is revealing the vulnerability of the systems we rely on and the need for systemic change to ensure safety, health and economic well-being.

 Many factors that increase vulnerability to COVID-19 — including age, existing health conditions, income inequities, inadequate housing, employment type and racism — are also what create the greatest vulnerabilities to climate change.

Responding to these crises requires systemic change. Expanding access to health care, addressing economic and racial inequities, building community connectedness and preparedness, and improving air and water quality are just some strategies that increase health and climate resilience.

COVID-19 has the potential to shift views regarding civic duties and responsibilities. 

This is not to downplay the suffering many are experiencing or the potential for backlash from the restrictions being placed on business activities and people’s lives.

At the same time, the experience of coming together to overcome a great challenge in which everyone has a critical role to play may increase confidence in collective response and foster a sense of personal efficacy and responsibility. Climate communication efforts should emphasize solutions and provide clear calls to action and resources for the public to be part of the change.

The coronavirus is making painfully clear how interconnected the world is and the importance of launching a rapid and coordinated government response to a global problem

rather than relying on the markets to deliver solutions. The same argument can be made for the need for immediate, global action on climate change. Every country is impacted. None can prepare for impacts or drive the transition to clean energy and low-carbon economies on their own.

Taking steps now provides the greatest number of options and is the most cost-effective and efficient way to reduce harm and disruption.

The critical role science plays in responding to a crisis is also being elevated.

This could be a beneficial development given sustained efforts over the past few decades to discredit evidence-based decision-making and suppress data by industry and government officials.

It’s been clear for some time the importance of amplifying that climate scientists around the world agree that the planet is warming due to human activities and that this is causing devastating impacts that will worsen if emissions are not cut dramatically. This remains true and may resonate more as COVID-19 highlights the essential need to have data and experts guide policy decisions.

Now, more than ever, is a time for compassion. 

Climate leaders have a great deal of experience working through interconnected issues and uncertainties, addressing inequities and tackling climate grief and depression in ourselves, our networks and communities.

This experience can be drawn on to ensure climate communication efforts are grounded in concern for people’s well-being and recognize the grief and trauma being experienced while at the same time offer an inspiring and achievable vision for achieving economic, health and climate resilience.

A little hope can go a long way right now as we care for ourselves and each other while facing the uncertainties that lie ahead.

Wine is Slovenia’s national hobby

wine tour tasting table
wine tour tasting table

If you asked the average European where Slovenia was, even as late as 20 years ago, chances are they wouldn’t be able to tell you. Let alone strike a conversation about the country with someone from another continent. In recent years, however, this has changed dramatically. Slovenian tourism has skyrocketed, sprouting roots in every area; from sports and adventure travel, to gastronomic tourism and, you’ve guessed it, wine tours. But we’ll get to that.

Although relatively unknown to most wine drinkers, Slovenia has been synonymous with high quality wines to many sommeliers in the past. And for good reason.

To understand why Slovenian wine is where it is today, we have to travel back in time.

Fancy tasting rooms and touristy wine trails may be new to this country, but winemaking definitely isn’t. Celtic and Illyrian tribes first planted vines here sometime during the 5th century BC. That’s before any other more renowned winegrowing region in Europe. The Romans quickly picked it up and spread it around these parts. In the Middle Ages, Christian monks would inherit this tradition for both ritual and recreational purposes.

Centuries later, Slovenians have mastered this skill to perfection. Thanks to its uniquely diverse landscape, microclimates and soil, vineyards now represent over 1% of the country’s area. Today, Slovenia is home to 28,000 wineries. That’s 1 vineyard per 70 inhabitants. Not bad for a country of only 2 million. So where can we find this wide assortment of wines?

Slovenia is divided into three main wine regions: Podravska, Posavska and Primorska. Grape varieties in the latter show an Italian influence, while the former two a more Germanic. Generally, however, Slovenian grapevines are subject to an increasingly international or French influence.

In Podravje, Riesling (both Rhine Riesling and Welschriesling) are found, as are Traminec (Gewurztraminer) and Rizvanec (Muller-Thurgau). Sivi Pinot (Pinot Gris) is also produced at large quantities, as is Beli Pinot (Pinot Blanc) and its local “mutated form”, Radgonska Ranina.