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    Idealists Making It Real

    I’ve been an idealist all my life. I can get so fascinated with an idea that I lose track of the practical implications. I know that. But I’ve also spent my professional life leading businesses through changes they needed to make to survive. I learned how to get things done, and so came to my own understanding of the ancient Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu’s, saying:

    “Strategy (great ideas) without tactics (execution) is the slowest route to victory.”

    We can’t afford to take the “slowest route to victory” on issues that affect our personal, environmental, and social health. GreenerDailyLife.com is about putting beautiful ideas into practice every day. It’s about how you and I can make real the idea of an economy that is healthy for consumers, producers and the planet.

    I want to revisit several recent recommendations because they are precisely about idealists making beautiful dreams real.

    Restore Slash-and-Burn Land to Build An Ideal Coffee Farm

    What It Is Tambo Quinde is a sustainable coffee farm that is being built on land that was once devastated by slash-and-burn cattle ranching. Brian Krohnke and ornithologist Juan Manuel Carrion have devoted 20 years to returning a section of degraded land to its original beauty – restoring a natural rainforest 6,000 feet high in the Andes, with coffee trees growing naturally in the shaded understory. The whole ecosystem supports incredible biodiversity amid a sustainable agricultural economy.

    Why It’s Important Brian is building more than just a coffee farm. It’s a model for restoring a damaged ecosystem, creating sustainable jobs, and cultivating a thriving economy in the ashes of a an environment damaged by thoughtless “development.” Our world needs this kind of model – lots of them. Here is one we turn into a reality today.

    How to Make It Real Brian has launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund needed equipment, restore more acreage to expand the farm, build eco-tourism facilities, provide jobs and help grow the local economy.

    What’s In It For You A variety of perks are offered to supporters of Tambo Quinde’s Indiegogo campaign – most enticingly, many levels of support entitle you to a package of Tambo Quinde coffee. My favorite offers a coffee shipment monthly for a year. The first shipment of beans has already arrived in Minneapolis for roasting by Tiny Footprint Coffee. I can almost taste it … but don’t underestimate the psychic satisfaction in being part of a project that is leading the way in learning how to regenerate critical habitat and build a sustainable economy that can coexist.

    I can’t wait to taste the first fruits of this project! Click here to learn more and join me in supporting this amazing project on Indiegogo.

    Get a Veggie Subscription You’ll Love

    For years, we’ve read about the industrialization of agriculture and the demise of the family farm. For years, we’ve known that this trend can’t be good for us, even though it fits the old economy’s demand for “efficiency.” Well, idealists, here’s a way to help save local family farms and get a veggie subscription you will absolutely love:

    Join a CSA, a Community Supported Agriculture organization. When you join a CSA, you are subscribing to receive a share of a farm’s (or a group of farms’) crops for a specific period of time.

    What’s the point? The best source for discovering a CSA near you, Local Harvest, lists advantages for you and for the farmer:

    Advantages for farmers:

    • Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
    • Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow
    • Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow

    Advantages for consumers:

    • Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
    • Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
    • Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
    • Find that kids typically favor food from “their” farm – even veggies they’ve never been known to eat
    • Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grow

    How to Make It Real Take a look at Local Harvest’s listings. Make a call. It’s one of those things in life that truly is a win-win.

    Get Connected to Wind Power

    The Challenge: Electricity generation is the single largest contributor to our personal carbon footprints, accounting for about 31% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and those emissions are still increasing. I’ve often thought about putting solar panels on my roof, but for various reasons, including the fact that I need to replace my 27-year-old roof, I haven’t yet taken that step. But I found the next best thing.

    How to motivate the idealist in you Go to the EPA’s “power profiler” (here), enter your zip code and select the name of your electric utility. It will show you how your utility’s standard energy is generated. My utility’s mix is 24% coal, 31% oil and gas, 40% nuclear, and just 3.4% renewable energy. Yuk!

    How to implement better tactics The EPA is helpful again – go to their “green power locator” (here), which lists all of the clean electricity options available to consumers by state. While your electric utility has a monopoly on delivering power to your home, they don’t have a monopoly on generating power. That’s a choice you can make.

    In about the time it will take you to read this email, you can make a phone call or visit a website and switch your home’s electricity to clean, renewably generated power. You can buy power produced by dozens of alternatives. My provider, Ethical Electric, is available only in certain states, but others, like Arcadia Power, are available nationally. Here’s a happy little email statement I received recently from Ethical Electric:

    March Clean Energy Stmt from Ethical Elec

    You will pay a little more for green electricity. Arcadia Power’s website provides the formula for calculating this additional cost. For example, the 796 kWh my home used in February would cost $11.95 more, if bought from Arcadia’s wind-generation sources rather than the dirty power my utility would otherwise deliver. That’s less than a penny per pound of greenhouse gases I that I did not generate last month. And as more of us demand clean power, the costs will keep coming down.

    Flexing Our Idealistic Muscles

    As consumers, we have enormous power … if we choose to exercise it. In “The Ecology of Commerce,” one of the cornerstone books of green business, author and entrepreneur Paul Hawken puts it this way: “The cash register is the daily voting booth in democratic capitalism. We don’t have to purchase products that destroy or buy from companies that harm or people who are unresponsive.”

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