Sustainable Declaration of Independence

The Sustainable Declaration of Independence 

Every other year, I repeat this posting with updated links and ideas, as its message is still relevant. And now, more than ever, humanity and the planet need attention.

On July 4th, 1776, 56 of our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence. We celebrate our independence day with fireworks, parties, barbecues, carnivals, concerts, public speeches and family reunions.

Can we lessen our carbon footprint on such a day and still have fun?

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The WHY and WHAT:

We not only think we can, we believe it is imperative that we do. The Popes Encyclical and the Dalai Lama‘s position on climate change can no longer be ignored by the 321.2 million Americans that celebrate this holiday.

Today, Americans will ingest 890 million pounds of beef, pork and chicken and 155 million hot dogs. Imagine the impact of all the refuse from those events, the fireworks, and the carbon footprint of all those burgers, hot dogs and steaks.

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This week’s practice is to become independent from our current cultural conditioning by shifting to a more sustainable holiday tradition, remembering the true spirit of the Declaration.

Instead, try one of these recipes from Serious Eats:


The HOW:

We have our Top Ten suggestions for you:

  1. Read the sustainable version: The Sustainable Declaration of Independence, an adaptation by Dr. Susan Krumdieck, 2008. (Transition Committee of Oamaru, NZ) Consider helping your community adopt this statement.
  2. Buy reclaimed wood furniture for your outside recreation areas.
  3. Try Eco Sky Lanterns instead of fireworks; they are simple to launch and create an amazing spectacle in the night sky.Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 5.37.40 AM
  4. Consider using public transit or cycling to your July 4th event.
  5. Having a vegetarian Independence Day limits your GHG/carbon impact. Several great menu’s can be found on the Healthy Happy Life, the Vegetarian Spotlight, Cooking Stoned, or the MisoVegan.
  6. Instead of ice cubes, consider the Scottish way of cooling with On the Rocks Drinks Chillers.Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 5.39.24 AM
  7. For the kids: make Red, White and Blue Ice Pops (from Inhabitots)
  8. Party organically with VitaFrute.
  9. Recycle, repurpose any waste and/or compost any leftovers.
  10. And most of all, connect with family and friends; share the love, laughter and joy of living a sustainable lifestyle. (“Enough for all, forever”)
Let us know how what sustainable ideas you practiced this holiday on twitter,  (tag us at @terrabluteamsFacebook , comment to our founder on Instagram at @sustainablestruck or comment here.

The Deep Dive:

DIY Vegan, Gluten Free, Egg Free, Soy Free, Nut Free, and Refined Sugar Free Red, White and Blue ORGANIC Popsicles

Eco Picnic Basket

Preserve EveryDay Plates

Solar String Lights

Recycled Fire Pit Sources can be found here:

Reclaimed wood outside dining pieces can be found here and here.

The Transition Towns movement

A Sustainable New Year’s Eve

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 4.09.39 PMThe WHAT, WHY AND HOW of a sustainable New Years Eve! (Week #51)

In the spirit of ushering in the New Year of 2016, send out your party evites with biking and public transportation tips. Encourage them to dress sustainably for your party fashion show; best sustainable costume wins a “sustainable gift” (carbon offset gift certificates or a Luci light, or the Biolite cooking stove).

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If you have a deck or porch, consider cooking one of your food items in a solar oven or the solar cooking tube. Start with serving one or several eco-cocktails under your eco-sky lanterns; spice it up by testing your friends eco-gaming abilities before you serve a sustainable menu on your eco-dinnerware.

Have your composting and recycling bins clearly labeled and placed.

Before the round robin “resolution” discussion begins, did you know only 8% of people are successful at keeping their New Year’s resolutions of the 45% who make them? Although this may be entertaining, at our household we started a different tradition several year’s ago. The group’s elder starts a “round robin” sharing of what they are grateful for in the previous year’s life experience. This practice is as heartwarming as it is a good exercise for the soul.

This week’s sustainable practice is for you to come up with your Top Five Sustainable goals for 2016! It is amazing what can happen in just one year!

Our Top Five Sustainable Practices we recommend for 2016:

1. Eat less meat, get Vegucated. Eat fresh local, and grow local. Consider becoming Vegan or ethically Vegan.

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2. Make your home energy efficient, compost, collect rainwater and make a toxic-free household. Follow Bea Johnson, who actualized a zero-waste household.

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3. Take the 6 R’s Challenge: (Refuse, reduce, recycle, reuse, repurpose, repair) up a notch in 2016; buy only unpackaged sustainable non-toxic goods that are “smart designed”. Steward that resource responsibly to the end of it’s lifecycle.

4. Reconnect with nature, walk, bike and engage your community. Become an environmental/sustainability advocate as a member of an energy/sustainability group, a local land trust, your local watershed, or ocean conservancy. Adopt a natural space and steward it for the next year.

5. Love, laugh, celebrate, dance, and honor life and nature around you, feeding your spirit and those living with you and near you. 

That’s what I call “Living the Sustainable Tiny Life”.

What are your sustainable resolutions for 2016? Tell us now in comments below!

* We are a non-profit corporation whose ethical practices do NOT receive income from any of the products or services we recommend.

The Deep Dive:

Zero-Waste Bars are changing how you drink

The Zero Waste Chef’s Fermented Bloody Mary

Eco-games for children from Green Planet Parties, eco-games for adults, on agriculture, engineering, conservation, energy, eco-systems and design

Eco-friendly sky wish lanterns

Our friend’s documentary about the 6 week challenge for three NYC carnivores becoming  Vegucated

List of environmental, sustainability, energy and advocacy groups

A Sustainable Christmas

Via Growing a Greener World

Via Growing a Greener World

A Sustainable Christmas (Week #50)


In the 2012 – 52 Week Sustainable Practices Challenge, my blog entry about a “TerraBlu Christmas” reflected on the coming holiday and its consumptive waste stream nature. In it I suggested some sustainable products and practices you and your family could integrate into your lifestyles. It was a great blog entry and those suggestions and links are still good today.

This year, I want to reinvent the holiday, yet again. I’ve tried to raise sustainable consciousness with decades of experiments on my family and friends. I subjected them to all kinds of practicing the six R’s of sustainability (Rethink, Reuse, Recycle, Repair, Reduce and Repurpose). Giving charitable gifts in the name of the person I’m gifting, wrapping my gifts in reusable textile wrappings I made from recycled fabrics, gifting green consumer goods, green services, gift certificates, repurposed furniture (with eco-friendly paint), gift certificates or memberships to nature preserves, watersheds or land trusts, etc. Well you get the idea.

Last year I gave the bounty of an organic garden that my daughter and I lovingly nurtured. We had an amazing and sometimes hilarious experience canning and preserving our much loved garlic dill pickles, our Asian Eggplant Camponata and many varieties of tomatoes. We had so many lovely herbs that we experimented that year with infused vinegars, oils, several chutneys and of course, our blackberry framboise.

Those experiences of gardening, laughing, canning and cooking trump the increasing addiction of “digital relation shipping”. We asked all guests to park their smart devices on our digital hat rack before entering!

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I think many have forgotten that giving our love and time are the most valuable gifts of all. 

This year we are going to give homemade hard cider, our sumptuous organic gifts from the garden, including infused oils and vinegar and, for the first time, our “Kindness” coupons. That’s right, acts of kindness coupons. We are recycling Christmas cards into postcards with a customized service for the person to redeem at a later time. It could be babysitting their children so your favorite couple can go out one night, shoveling the walkway of a dear less able relative, bringing a meal to someone who is sick, or offering to volunteer for a day at their favorite charitable organization.

Think of it as a Pay it Forward Coupon to help the greater human consciousness vibrate at a more radiant level!

This week I want you to think about reinventing your holiday experience by incorporating a sustainable practice of your own. Start a family tradition. Or make the tradition of giving a new theme each year; one that fosters kindness and generosity that can be practiced all year.

Be creative and make a sustainable statement to the world. Like NIKE, just do it. Don’t wait to make a New Year’s resolution about it, just do it. And make it fun, please!

Send us your ideas and how they worked in the comments section. Make Merry!

The Deep Dive:

How to Choose a Living Christmas Tree

A modern sustainable Christmas tree, the Tannenboing Only 100 were made in 2012. This link is for their FB page where you can connect with collector’s who may be willing to sell.

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TechChrunch’s article on Digital Hat Racks