Carbon Offsets

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 10.39.02 AMThe WHAT and WHY:

In 2012, when I founded this non-profit, recommended you measure your carbon footprint on a choice of carbon calculators as preparation for our 2012 TerraBluTeam 52 weeks of sustainable practices.

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This week’s practice is to measure your carbon footprint more accurately (the scientific community has changed their methodology several times in the last few years); note and honor what changes you have made over the year and purchase carbon credits to offset your remaining footprint.


  1. Identify all the sources of carbon dioxide production in your life (transportation, travel, home energy use, consumption of non-local goods, waste management)
  2. Reduce your greenhouse gas emissions directly, your DIY offsets. (Shop at CSA’s, compost, organic garden, drive less, bike and walk more, make your home energy efficient, install solar, get to net zero)
  3. Calculate your “carbon footprint” today and compare to your December 2011 footprint. Some online calculators very in methodology so take some time to research the one best for you.
  4. Understand how offsetting works. Different offset providers balance out your carbon impact by ensuring that an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide is reduced elsewhere on the globe as a result of your purchase.
  5. Find a quality provider of carbon offsets. Be nosey, do some research. Are they certified? Make sure they meet the highest US EPA standards and that their portfolios are audited annually. Do they have a solid client list? Go for the Gold standard. Otherwise, invest locally where you can see that the greatest percentage of your offset dollar is being used for the purposes you have designated.
  6. Buy the offset and you are on your way to clean living.
  7. Offsets are a useful tool. Send the market a signal by ensuring all your shares and stocks are invested in renewable energy utilities and companies rather than fossil fuel ones.

Global warming is a crisis. It serves none of us to cry over the fact that it may cost us more than both World Wars and the Great Depression combined. In my lifetime alone, I have witnessed courage and determination resulting in increased equality for minorities and women’s rights, the end of communism, apartheid, colonial rule, polio, etc.

We can overcome the seemingly unassailable.

The future is ours to jointly create. So smile. Give your children a cause for hope while you craft your net zero lifestyle, one step at a time.

I started 5 years ago, with no funds, no construction skills, as a disabled, cancer survivor who became homeless due to medical bills and the recent recession and built a non-toxic, NZE (net zero energy) tiny house on wheels as a sustainable education exhibit that will go on tour in 2016. If I can do it, so can you. My tiny house journey to follow my moral imperative to solve climate change, the lack of affordable healthy housing availability, be free of the debt culture and become a resilient human in a world of demising resources is available in my recently released book, “Living the Sustainable Tiny Life”, if you want the details.

Please send us your comments and feedback!

The Deep Dive:

List of Carbon offset providers:

Offset your carbon footprint

Empowering business to be in balance

Carbon footprint calculators:

EPA carbon emissions calculator

TerraPass Online Carbon Calculator

15 best carbon calculators

Carbon Concern a Burning Issue for Southern NE

Re-Occupy Main Street

Reoccupy Main Street/CC BY 2.0

Reoccupy Main Street/CC BY 2.0

Re-Occupy Main Street (Week # 47)

The WHAT and WHY:

As we approach this holiday time of year, many feel helpless and succumb to social and cultural pressures that influence our choices. Not at TerraBluTeams.

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As we approach Black Friday, I suggest you read my 2011 post,  A Sustainable Holiday Weekend: A Buy Nothing Day, Shop Local Day and Make Something Day. In the graphic above you can recognize most all of the suggestions I made that year. This year I suggest a deeper dive.

This week’s practice is to Occupy Black Friday, in your own way, by standing up and taking back your power to influence the quadruple bottom line (Economic, Environmental, Social, Cultural). 

THE HOW: (here are just a few suggestions to get the ball rolling)

• Pay your employees to take Thanksgiving and Black Friday off like REI.

• If you must shop during the holidays, say no to credit cards, buy with cash to avoid contributing to banker’s pockets and thus supporting their agendas.

• Boycott stores with striking workers and support picketers who favor fair labor practices.

• Buy local thereby decreasing GHG emissions, supporting your community and neighbors, for your own health and social connectivity.

• Take a deeper dive, with a friend who differs from your own cultural/spiritual holiday rituals, reaffirm your roots, extend an understanding to them AND take the opportunity to honor theirs. (See my post about UnThanksgiving Day).

• Give a “family gift certificate” to a family in need. Make a coupon book of services (babysitting, mowing the lawn, Sunday dinner, car wash, trip to a museum, etc.)

• Best of all, you could NOT SHOP on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday – send a message to stores that employees should be able to stay home with families and enjoy the day off.

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Please send us your comments and feedback!

The Deep Dive:

International Buy Nothing Day

Occupy Black Friday

Buy Nothing Day/Occupy Xmas

Small Business Saturday

Re-Occupy Main Street

Stores that will be closed on Thanksgiving Day

Huffington Post 11/15/12 article on Black Friday Strikers

Youtube video on Walmart strikes by labor journalist, Josh Eidelson (21 minutes) Interesting examination of Walmart’s labor “philosophy”.

Why Tiny? Why Now?

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 7.38.54 PMWhy Tiny? Why Now? (Week #46)

The What and Why:

Last week I had the distinct pleasure of presenting a brief history of the tiny house movement and speak about my Silver Bullet tiny house journey/build to a group that convenes monthly called Local Poverty Matters.

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I spoke about my moral imperative of solving climate change, the desperate lack of affordable housing, and my homelessness as a single human in a world of diminishing resources.

Most of the homeless, like me, do not want a hand-out. We want a hand-up. After being socially ostracized, discounted and marginalized, we are often invisible to other Americans. The American Dream I grew up with is dead. So I invented and chose a new American Dream. I created the Silver Bullet Tiny House Challenge.

Could I build a non-toxic, off-grid, all renewable energy fed, resilient sustainable lifestyle in a mobile tiny house on wheels? Could it be made of reclaimed, repurposed sustainable materials and cost less than $20,000.? Could it serve as a mobile educational exhibit that could inspire individuals and families to decrease their carbon footprint, their economic costs and improve their community involvement by freeing up more time and control of their lives?


The How:

Taking my future in my own hands, I designed a beautiful, biomimetic tiny house that nurtures my sustainable lifestyle. I used reclaimed resources, found sponsors, repurposed what others left on the roadside, and made my own home. Nature is never more than four feet away from me in any direction. I love that.

The details of my story and build are in my recently released e-Book, if you want to know more. Proceeds from the book support me giving workshops on sustainable living across the USA starting in Spring, 2016.

Here’s the thing about my homelessness. Deciding to take my own fate in my own hands, even with obstacles like my disabilities*, my poor health, no funds, no social or career possibilities imminent, fostered within me a resilience I only fantasized was possible. That is, until I achieved my solution.

Creating my own hand-up was not easy; however, others were inspired by my passion, drive and commitment to live a simple, tiny, healthier, zero-waste footprint lifestyle and they helped me any way they could.

I gained self-esteem, construction skills galore, lost weight, grew muscle (both physically and psychologically), found my “happy place” and finally, I gained social and community acceptance. The journey was incredibly challenging with many turning points in which I almost quit. But like all great journeys and projects, when finished, the joy and glory of seeing my accomplishment, knowing I reached all my goals, was an amazing reward.

I have achieved wellness all around. I live in a non-toxic, all renewable energy, self bio-mimetically designed, hand-built, mobile home.

That’s why “tiny” and that’s why “now”.

You can donate here. Every dollar helps me to help others.

* Although I have been classified by the State of Massachusetts as disabled, I have never collected any disability income from any source, private or public, Federal or State.

The Deep Dive:

Workers Over Fifty are the New Unemployables

The New Unemployables

Brutal Job Search for Older Americans

Not Looking for Work, Labor Force Participation and Recovery