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 Susty Hallowmas

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 8.31.27 PMA Susty Hallowmas (Week#42)

The WHAT and WHY:

We are officially beginning the Holiday season by celebrating All Saints Day; that revered Celtic Samhain bonfire lighting, with costumes marking the last harvesting and the beginning of the winter.

Before you don that Dracula party costume you may want to check out energy vampirism. Did you know your smart devices can waste considerable energy in standby power?

According to the US Census Bureau, there will be an estimated 41.2 million trick-or-treaters in the US where there are potentially 115 million houses to choose from. Why not integrate sustainability concepts while the family has a great time!

So dress up, have a joyous evening and know that preserving a culture (Halloween started with the Celtics) defines who we are while preserving a tradition – that’s sustainability!

This week let’s practice a sustainable Halloween.

The HOW:

  1. Repurpose old sheets, shirts, pants and other items for costumes. Hold a costume swap or make a DIY costume, perhaps a trash costume or come as Mother Nature; find out how here. Or purchasing a used Halloween costume from a thrift, second-hand or consignment shop.

    Image courtesy of

    Image courtesy of

  2. Consider handing out treats from The Natural Candy StoreYoDrops (crunchable yogurt, always a hit!), or Yummy Earth. Or find other healthy alternatives here. Serve ethical sustainable treats or Fair Trade chocolate.Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 8.20.32 PM
  3. Try cosmetics for the kids that are non-toxic and use tinted beeswax balm for color or non-toxic fingernail polish.
  4. Host a Halloween Party for the kids!Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 8.23.52 PM
  5. Construct great Halloween decorations out of recycled materials you have collected throughout the year; or better yet, get the whole neighborhood together, share resources and create a themed block of scariness!
  6. Try the ghoulish Kaspa lamps or Jack-O-Lantern lights for decoration.
  7. Perform a terrablu charitable deed while you are out trick and treating: Treats for the Troops – collect treats for our troops overseas.
  8. Serve your party feast on verterra dinnerware.
  9. Play games like: Haunted Hybrid or try one of these 13 great party games!
  10. Consider donating your costumes on Nov. 1st, or hold a Halloween swap party. If you have a garden, why not up cycle the costumes into scarecrows!

Note: is a non-profit organization and does not receive any funds from the product links we suggest.

The Deep Dive:

All links are above.

For the Love of Animals

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For the Love of Animals (Week #40)

The What:

World Animal Day often slips by on the calendar without notice. In 1931, October 4th was declared an animal rights and welfare day by a convention of ecologists in Italy. We have made some progress since then by outlawing certain animal cruelty practices in manufacturing, agribusiness, gaming, racing and animal husbandry.

We love, care and provide our pets with substantive, healthy lifestyles and yet many fail to grasp how little we care for animals outside this family circle. Daily, our dietary, fashion, personal products and other consumptive choices directly impact eco-systems, the environment, global communities and species extinction.

This week I want all of us to re-examine our dietary “wants” versus “needs.”

The Why:

“Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.”

You may be familiar with Bill McKibbens, Do the Math, explaining humanity’s demise if we exceed an additional 2 degrees celsius warming globally, 565 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere, and five times that in the 2,795 gigatons carbon reserves of the oil companies.

A tiny house friend of mine forwarded a link for the movie Cowspiracy: A sustainability Secret, a few weeks ago and I have not been quite the same since seeing and understanding the impact of our global love of beef, burgers, pork and chicken. I suggest you see it now, live streaming on netflix. Thank you Leonardio de Caprio for producing this.

The effect of diet on CO2 emissions, oil, land and water use. From the movie, Cowspiracy

The effect of diet on CO2 emissions, oil, land and water use. From the movie, Cowspiracy

Throughout my long life I have changed my diet. Having been brought up in the Midwest as an omnivore (17 years), I quested for a more nourishing, healthy and satisfying diet that was Buddhist in nature (non-violent). Like many of my generations women, I have experimented with being a vegetarian (12 years), a macrobiotic (5 years), a fruitarian (4 years), an ovo-lactarian (3 years), and have been a flexitarian for most of my existence (25 years). I am committed to become a full-time ethical Vegan by the end of the year!

Skipping meat once a week is like changing a lightbulb in your house to stop global warming. A small step, but it is not enough to stem the tide. Five years ago I moved mostly to fish and seafood twice a week, and ate meat (free range, local farms only) a few times a month, if at all. I am starting with a 30-day Vegan challenge today.

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I think my love of animal secretions (milk and dairy) will be the most difficult practice to wrap my heart, head and body around. After all, I grew up in the grain, meat and cheese belt of this heartland. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Why not join me?

From the World Animal Day twitter account

From the World Animal Day twitter account


Three easy steps:

  1. Watch the movie, Cowspiracy, streaming on Netflix.
  2. Try the 30 day Vegan Challenge from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
  3. Get back to me on this page and let me know your thoughts and challenges.


Streaming on Netflix, the movie, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

Doing The Math

How to improve your pet’s lifestyle