Sunday, September 17, 2006

Happy Returns in Falls Church


Annette Mills embodies the gift of thrift. Ms. Mills’ transformed her community from a waste reduction rate of 39% in 1991 to a rate exceeding 65%. Because of her leadership, Falls Church has one of the best recovery rates in the country and a leading state recycling rate of 46%. For seventeen years, Annette has been a trail blazer for various environment improvements in the DC region.

Annette ingeniously enlisted the help of more than 130 citizen volunteers or “Recycling
Block Captain Program” resulting in many successes. Annette’s believes that education through personal contact is paramount to their success. She has created a “tipping point” by empowering many to serve as their community’s conservation leaders. In her words, “The most effective models are those people who are actively working together to build relationship with each other and the natural environment”.

Ms. Mills leads by example. Attending lunches, outside events or meetings, she brings her own reusable glass, plate, utensils, and napkin. Also, Annette’s programs are fiscally conservative. To quote one of the City’s council members, “…many of these programs have resulted in little extra cost and in many cases cost reductions.” Ms. Mills demonstrates frugality from another perspective. Her City’s solid waste management budget was reduced from $1.05 million in 1990 to $630,000 in 1997.

Annette helped initiate curbside collection of 14 types of recyclable materials and including various types of yard debris. The City saved more than $420,000 by implementing their curbside recycling program. Also, yearly she holds “Recycling Extravaganza” where residents drop off a range of specialty recycling items, including eye glasses, hearing aids, clothing and textiles, bicycles, printer cartridges, and electronics.

Annette makes it happen. One council member calls the community volunteers “Annette’s Army” because she brings them out in full force for community programs related to environmental education and stewardship. Ms. Mills has interconnected various positive environmental messages together. She has made saving resources attractive and easy whether it is planting a tree, composting at home or restoring wildlife habitats. Annette has initiated many successful public awareness programs welcoming citizens to show greater reverence for our earth. Annette not only walks her talk but has recruited numerous others to benefit with her. On your departure, Annette thanks for the many happy returns you have blessed both Falls Church and this region!

2006 Used Oil Recycling Update in America

Background

In July 2006, the U.S. Department of Energy Used Oil Re-refining Study[1] indicates that the United States consumes about 25 percent of the total worldwide demand for lube oils. Congress mandated this inquiry under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Section 1839. Most European countries are more advanced in reduction, reusing and recycling used oil. For example Europe has three times more re-refining capacity or the ability of making used oil back into a lube oils.

Millions Sources of Pollution

A key issue is the non point source of used oil pollution by oil changers. Presently DOE estimates that 80% of the Do-it-Yourself (DIY) used oil is improperly disposed into our environment. Also this study concludes that the annual volume of disposed oil has decreased from 426 million gallons in 1996 to 348 million gallons of an estimated million gallons in 2004.

This is an interesting finding since that amount of vehicle miles driven in the US and the number of automobiles has increased. While miles driven in the last few years has increased 8-9 percent this has been matched by oil change interval increases since now people do not change their oil at 3,000 miles rather every 5,000 miles.

Current Consumer Market

Total US motor oil sales have been flat several years now despite these increases. For the DIY portion, there has been little info in trade journals on DIY portion. DIY decline has been estimated is estimated at around.40% and or Do-it-For-Me changes are at 60%. It is important to recognize that this is the volume of oil sold to DIYers, and likely does not represent the number of DIYers. What is not clear if the DIY are driving many more miles between changes now or their numbers are dropping?

Oil Filters

Another curious finding by this study is that oil filters have a 50 percent recycling rate according to the Filter Manufacturer Council. While this may be true in California and some other states the economics to recover these filters make this claim suspect. A Florida study only showed a 22% recycling rate and a Virginia study showed only a 10% rate of recycling.

One good indicator to track actual oil changes instead of folks who buy motor oil to “top-off’ the engine is to follow oil filter sales. In 1998 there were 450 million light-duty oil filters sold in the United States, while 778 million light-duty filters were purchased in 2002.

Reusable Oil Filters

An average used light-duty oil filter contains on the average eight ounces of oil. Widespread adoption of reusable filter systems could virtually eliminate used oil being trapped in filters and prevent steel filters entering landfills.

There are reusable oil filters that are compatible with engines that use the one-piece sealed spin-on filter. No modifications or tools are required to install these filters on any engine that uses a spin-on filter, and they allow for the recovery of all used motor oil. The assembly housing is reused; only the paper element is replaced, and this can be easily recycled or burned for energy. If produced in volume, this filter could be manufactured for under a dollar per unit. At the point of final sale, the replacement filter element would cost somewhat less than the current spin-on filter. Reusable filters were popular up to the early 1960s and are still widely used in the racing industry.

Used Oil Burned vs. Reused

DOE estimates, 780 million recycled gallons of used oil each year, 83 percent is burned, while 17 percent is re-refined into new lubricating oil. It was found that re-refining used oils saved 8.1 percent of the energy content of the used oil compared to combusting the oil for heating purposes. Transforming all used oil that is currently combusted into lube oil products would save 63 million gallons of fuel oil equivalent per year; a savings of $63 million annually at current fuel prices.

Presently most used oil is burned for fuel in America and little is re-refined. Serious environmental and energy questions have been raised by the combustion of used motor oils in space heaters. This report cites that small burners do not provide levels of pollution reduction found in large scale industrial combustion processes since asphalt/ cement plants and steel mills have flue gas treatment technologies.

Policy Options

This study recommends a national workshop of state used oil management officials to exchange to stimulate active recycling programs to benefit from the experiences of those that have well established and successful programs. Also, encourage those states that have not yet passed used oil legislation to take action. This conference would seek to identify the best practices and guidelines for states to follow including funding mechanisms.

Also another need was cited was to assist rural and farming communities since urban areas appear to have more effective recycling programs in place due to closer proximity to recycling centers. DIY consumers in the rural and farming communities offer the highest growth potential for recovering additional volumes of used oils. Thus, increasing the recovery of DIY oil is an important factor in making substantial progress in

used oil recycling.

Targeting cost conscious DIY consumers with effective public awareness and education programs can communicate the benefits of recycling used oils. Also targeting non English oil changers, should also be given to the needs to communicate in a

foreign languages are dominant in specific areas.

South Carolina, A Example of Good Used Oil Management

South Carolina's statewide used oil recycling program targeting do-it-yourselfers (DIYers) continues to flourish. Through a combination of technical assistance and grant funding for local governments, the Office has helped develop one of the nation’s most comprehensive used oil recycling programs targeting DIYers.

For numerous years more than 1 million gallons of used oil was collected in 2003. DIYers recycled 1,124,199 gallons of used motor oil at more than 700 sites across South Carolina. Since the used oil recycling program began in 1990, DIYers have recycled more over 13 million gallons.

In addition, DIYers recycled hundreds of tons of used oil filters and more than 100 tons of oil bottles. Precise recycling efforts are not measurable as many counties now collect and market used oil filters and oil bottles with other metals and plastics, respectively. With this being the case, not all filters and bottles that are being recycled are being counted directly. Currently, more than 40 of the state's 46 counties accept used oil filters for recycling with most of those counties also collecting oil bottles for recycling.

To assist farmers with the proper management of used oil generated on the farm, DHEC continues to encourage local governments to establish oil recycling sites for farmers. Agricultural oil tanks typically hold 600 gallons of used oil and are fitted with a pump and hose in an effort to make it easier for farmers to deliver up to 55 gallons of used oil at one time. Such tanks are currently available at 24 sites in 21 counties.

South Carolina continues to expand its used oil recycling program by adding oil/gasoline mixture collection sites to the county programs. The oil/gasoline mixture tanks are typically 500 gallons and are designed to accept oil, gasoline and oil/gasoline mixtures from lawn equipment and recreational vehicles. Oil/gasoline mixture collection sites have been established at 25 sites in 22 counties.

The Office continues to provide local governments with oil bottle drain racks. Draining the oil bottles often makes them more marketable. Drained bottles can normally be mixed with other HDPE (#2) plastics. Just in California, quart bottles generate roughly one millions gallons of clean motor oil.

DOE Findings

DOE recommends accelerated tax depreciation allowances to expedite re-refining

and to expand re-refined lube base oil production capacity. Such financial incentives can be offered manufacturers to expand production capacity for a base oil end product that is suitable for blending either new motor oil and or industrial oil products. This incentive is not recommended for combustion end users. Finally, require automobile manufacturers to proactively state in owner manuals that re-refined oils are acceptable as a blending component in motor oils as long as they meet the API certification requirements.

Also this study encourages that federal agencies make additional volumes of used oils available for sale for the purpose of being regenerated to re-refined base oil. Furthermore, the government could explore entering into potential joint venture operation with private industry to re-refine those oils and produce products that can be supplied back to federal government agencies.

DOE suggests that the fed’s conduct an extensive study of used oil recycling programs to update what progress has been achieved. Also support initiatives such as programs for extended drain intervals (i.e. every 5000 miles), and enhanced oil filtering systems, and other energy conservation and environmental protection.

Conclusion

In closing the DOE study addresses how to minimize improper disposal of used oil in landfills, on the ground or waterways, and increase re-refining capacity and production volumes recognizing that re-refining maximizes the energy resource preservation with minimal impact on the environment.

U.S. Department of Energy Used Oil Study and Recommendations to Address Energy Policy Act of 2005, Section 1838 Office of Oil and Natural Gas Office of Fossil Energy

U.S. Department of Energy



[1] http://www.fossil.energy.gov/epact/used_oil_report2.pdf, Used Oil Re-refining Study to Address Energy Policy Act of 2005 Section 1839

Monday, June 12, 2006

Can We Afford to Wait?

The debate over global warming raises a question: can we afford to wait? Even if you think this planet is not in any peril, despite the current scientific evidence, is it wise to wait and simply see what happens? What do we do if-- in 10 years our actions result in a “tipping point”: a point where our destruction of the earth becomes irreversible? What is your life experience with what you have seen thus far with your own surroundings? Are you being honest to both yourself and your children to believe global warming is not happening?

Whether you agree or disagree that the burning of fossil fuels, increases in population and other factors are creating life threatening greenhouse effects the greater question is—are the facts gathered by experts alarming enough to act?

Are the facts below in the documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” just convenient lies?

  • Out of 925 recent articles in peer-review scientific journals about global warming, there was zero (no) disagreement.
  • 10 of the warmest years in history were in the last 14 years.
  • Core samplings of polar ice show that CO2 is much, much higher than ever before in a quarter of a million years.
  • 57% of people question the fact of global warming, while 43% of people are support the evidence.

Now many in this country believe what Senator Inhofe, has said, “Global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” Let’s demand objective information regarding our future over the next decade. We can not afford to guess about global warming. Did you know that 12% of Americans surveyed believe Joan of Arc was married to Noah? Let’s get the facts now or later we may be losing our lives and our world as a result of “horrific science fiction.”

Thursday, May 11, 2006

If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It

Deliberate waste directly depletes our earth’s resources. It eventually results in many forms of loss through a degradation of our planet. Improved inventories of what we discard will stimulate a greater understanding of how we can best manage waste. There is a critical connection between waste and prosperity. Our living standards have provoked increased consumption. However, such resource mismanagement taps our limited energy and materials. Better tracking of the entire material generation cycle and material use flows can provide us with a more holistic approach to “best use” of our scarce resources.

Over six billion people now live on this earth. In the next 30 years, another 2.5 billion people are estimated to increase our ranks, making the world’s population estimate in 2030 around 8.5 billion. How we determine to best measure, manage and sustain our current resources has crucial future implications.

Each year Americans use, discard and recycle more than 17.3 billion tons of waste including non-sewage wastewater[1]. The total volume of non-waste water is 4.9 billion tons per year[2]. Just in America’s households, we generate 1.6 million tons of hazardous waste including, paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable and reactive ingredients. Improved feedback as to just what we discard can stimulate a greater understanding as to how we can either minimize and/or recover this waste. We have made great progress with municipal waste but not with the larger and potentially more dangerous waste streams.

For example, the recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) report tracked the amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment for facilities operating during the 2004 calendar year. Roughly 23,600 industrial and government facilities account for 4.24 billion pounds of some 90,000 chemical forms. While this inventory showed a four percent decrease in chemicals released compared to 2003, the EPA has changed the rules for reporting releases that distinctly favor industry. The Public Interest Research Group stated that toxic releases to U.S. waterways increased by 10 percent between 2003 and 2004.[3]

Waste generators in the U.S. include: special waste (mining, oil and gas et at 2.3 billion tons per year): nuclear waste (1.2 billion tons per year); agricultural (789 million tons per year); construction and demolition (350 million tons per year): forestry (280 million tons per year;) and what most people think is ordinary waste-municipal waste is estimated at 232 million tons per year[4][4]. Industrial non-hazardous, hazardous, used oil and medical waste combine to add another 226 million tons per year.[5] Wastewater generation is huge at over 12.5 billions tons per year.[6]

Our increased standard of living results in accelerated resource consumption and triggers two serious questions: Can our environment absorb the continued waste stream from our energy- and material-intensive lifestyles? Does the earth have the capacity to sustain this over-exploitation while these resources are dwindling? Better tracking of the entire material cycle can provide us with a more holistic approach to management of our limited resources.

Upfront pollution prevention is critical and yet a challenge, since our waste may be transformed into other forms such as solid, liquid and gas. Even though we have made major advances in cleaning up our air, water and land, we must refine our focus to concentrate on material flows in all areas of the environment. Some of the key issues facing us are:

· How to lessen global warming. We are 5% of the world’s population producing 22% of the climate altering CO2 (carbon dioxide) added to the atmosphere. EPA recently estimated that greenhouse gases increased 1.7 percent in 2004.[7] Roughly 1.54 billion pounds are US emissions (7 billion is the global number.)

· How to sustain water quantity. Americans use three times more water each day than Europeans, and that’s not for purposes of cleanliness. Each day we use 137 billion gallons of water for irrigation. On the east coast in the summer months, one-third of our water goes to watering our lawns. Agriculture has been cited as the largest water user worldwide. U.S. Power plants consume 131 billion gallons of water each day. Industry demands another 25 billion gallons per day. In addition the U.S. withdraws 339 billion gallons of each day from both underground and river sources. EPA estimates that roughly 40% of our nation’s streams are impaired. This includes over 20,000 individual river segments; 300,000 river and shoreline miles; and five million acres of lakes. According to the U.S. National Research Council, initial clean-up of contaminated groundwater at 300,000 sites in the United States could cost up to $1 trillion over the next 30 years.

· How to safely dispose of our radioactive waste. Each year in the United States, 2,000 tons of spent fuel is generated by the nation’s 103 operating nuclear power plants that provide 20% of America’s electricity. Roughly 40,000 tons of waste has been generated by America’s commercial nuclear plants. Re-use of radioactive waste and final disposal is a challenging matter. Some estimates put the cost to reprocess spent fuel waste by separating the highly radioactive components from the low-level components using chemical processes as high as $400 billion. The cost to decommission the plutonium-manufacturing plant in Hanford, Washington is estimated to be $40 billion. Used plutonium lasts for 250,000 years, and the contaminated nickel in the core of nuclear reactors lasts 3 million years. Finally, providing adequate security for this type of waste presents additional problems for the world population. Only two pounds of plutonium is required to make a nuclear weapon.

· How to manage used oil and gas wastes. Each year 3 billion tons of oil and gas wastes are generated by oil and gas exploration and production in America. However this data is old and was supplied by the American Petroleum Institute We consume more than 250 billion gallons of oil on an annual basis. On the back-end consumers waste hundreds of millions of gallons of used oil and anti-freeze along with hundreds millions of used oil filters that are improperly disposed of by millions of Americans who change their own oil (do-it-yourselfers). In addition to this, we use 2.2 billion pounds of pesticides in the U.S. per year.

· How to better manage our natural resources including our forests, minerals, water, and land. Building and road construction has a significant impact on the environment, accounting for one of sixth of the world’s freshwater withdrawal, one-quarter of its wood harvest, and two-fifths of its materials and energy flow. Each year we lose 136 million tons of construction and demolition (C&D) waste from building and 200 million tons for roads (about 50% if concrete is recycled). Estimates for building and roads is 300 million tons per year[8]. Buildings consume 40% of the raw stone, gravel and sand used globally each year. Each year 2 billion tons of topsoil is lost through erosion, and this in part due to new construction. An average of nearly 17 tons of soil is lost per acre of cropland per year. There are estimates that cropland, pasture and rangeland contribute more than 50% of the sediments discharged to surface water.

· How to improve the manner in which we dispose of municipal solid waste. Each year millions of tons of garbage is going into landfills, some of which may be recovered and reused. Landfills are one of the largest sources of methane released in the United States, and this can be converted into useable energy. Roughly one-half of our solid waste is organic. Besides paper, yard and vegetative waste, over 96 billion pounds of food a year-- or one quarter of America’s food-- is lost. Compost both generates new soil, improves existing soil and controls erosion

· How we can compost and better manage our excrement. More than 16,000 sewage treatment facilities serving 190 million Americans generate biosolids or sludge. These facilities also serve thousands of industrial and commercial establishments. Approximately eight million dry metric tons of biosolids are produced annually--that's about 70 pounds per person per year. About 54% of these biosolids are land applied. Another 500 million tons of manure is produced yearly by agricultural animals.

· How to reform our regulatory process to stimulate environmental improvements rather then increase litigation and/or questionable studies. Each year we spend tens of billions of dollars on various programs at 54 regulatory agencies. We are just beginning to collaborate and understand the effects of these complicated rules and laws, especially since state governments are currently in the worst shape since World War II, and local governments have to act as gate-keepers. Does this expenditure effectively translate into the protection of public health and environment while creating new forms of commerce?

The challenge for the United States is to determine how all facets of materials flow-- waste generation; reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, energy recovery, treatment, storage, and disposal-- interact and affect our lives. Source reduction, improved land use planning, better product design and manufacturing, green purchasing, and numerous types of re-use and recycling can be used to reduce our waste inventory and provide a better system to manage our resources. New ventures such as “green building”, re-use of landfill methane and the recovery of electronics, mercury-bearing products and oil, are various ventures blazing a trail towards conservation and better resource management at the individual level. Just the simple act of leaving your grass cutting on your lawn makes a difference.

We have another type of homeland security challenge, to understand the impact of our consumption and disposal. Protecting all Americans from the by-products we produce can lessen potential exposure caused by possible releases. Fundamental to this process is how we engage people to become part of the solution instead of part of the problem. There are millions of environmental acts of terror that Americans foolishly commit. How can we use our wealth to improve our environment rather than diminish it?

We must take better inventory of our entire waste cycle and material flows to become more efficient and productive in using and conserving our dwindling resources. Such an effort can better identify important factors such as energy, economic and environmental impacts so that we can better set aside resources for the world’s future generations.

Without comprehensive environmental management and integrated planning of the entire materials-flow and by-products cycle, we will be ineffective in transforming our liabilities into assets. Such new ventures can chart a course of action and conservation. Fundamental to this process is a need to engage people to become part of the solution instead of part of the problem. We have an essential challenge: we must seek answers to clearly understand the impact of our consumption. Let’s re-examine how we can make our world better by using less. Can we as a nation afford to waste? If we cannot measure what we discard, we will be in the dark as to how we best manage the impacts of this waste.




[1]David Cozzie,”Waste Generation in the US*, Office of Solid Waste, June 4, 2003, pg 23
[2] Ibid
[3] Bruce Geiselman, “Toxic Drop,” Waste News, 4/24/06, p 23
[4] David Cozzie, ”Waste Generation in the US*, Office of Solid Waste, June 4, 2003, pg 12
[5] Ibid
[6] Ibid pg 11
[7] www.epa.gov/global-warming/publications/emissions.
[8] Ibid pg 22

Exploring Our Oil By-products

A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend who had hired me 25 years ago to build and manage a used oil recycling facility in the Washington DC region. My friend commented how remarkable it is that we have made such few improvements. Interestingly, in the early 1990’s, this friend and his partner in the oil recycling company founded another company that revolutionized the golf industry. Their company, Softspikes Golf Cleats, created a tipping point when they championed a ban on metal spikes, thus forever preserving golf greens around the world. You would think we could show similar innovation with used oil. Tragically, Americans have learned little regarding the price for our vast wasteful consumption of petroleum. We need a car fluid recovery tipping point!

How we can collectively better manage oil has global significance. Years ago there was a Pogo cartoon with a picture of an oil tanker in a backyard, and the caption read, “We have met the enemy and it is us.” At George Washington University in 1977 one of my environmental science text books alerted me to oil polluting my local watershed of Little Falls in Bethesda, Maryland, which ends into a major drinking water reservoir for the nation’s capital. Since then I have promoted the recovery of do-it-yourself automotive fluids from every possible angle. I began this effort in Montgomery County, Maryland and started DC’s used oil recycling efforts. In the last few years I have twice updated Virginia’s consumer used oil collection program.

Each year we use hundreds of billion of gallons of the world’s petroleum supplies. We spend more than $200,000 every minute overseas in our yearly consumption of over 7 billion barrels of oil products. Since the USA constitutes 5% of the world’s population, uses over 25 % of the world’s oil, and produces 22% of climate-altering CO2, we have a tremendous responsibility to better conserve our oil.

On the front end, there is the one trillion gallons of oil-field waste we inject into deep wells in addition to the 3 billion tons of oil and gas wastes we generate yearly by our oil and gas exploration and production in the USA. This does not even account for the price of foreign oil to come to us. Closer to home, Washington DC area motorists dispose of 11.2 million gallons of oil, equivalent to the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, every few years. The improper disposal of used oil, oil filters, oil bottles and antifreeze by those who perform their own automobile maintenance is a ubiquitous environmental concern. These do-it-yourself motorists who change their own oil and antifreeze account for roughly 45% of those owning passenger cars, and conservatively less than a third of used oil is believed to be recovered (and the figure is much lower for other materials.) Even the disposal of discarded oil filters, plastic containers and antifreeze reveals an amount of toxins that is alarming.

The current sampling method to evaluate the toxicity of oil, Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) is not the best test since it was designed for municipal landfills. I ask you to simply reflect on the fact that one gallon of used oil improperly disposed of can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water or ruin the water supply for 50 people for a year.Each year, the United States generates approximately 1.351 billion gallons of used oil; only 57 percent of this used oil is accounted for through recycling. The roughly 45 million people who change their own oil, the so-called do-it-yourselfers (DIYs), are a major source of improperly disposed used oil. Upwards of 300 million gallons of used oil are released into the environment each year in this manner. This does not include the loss of home heating oil from leaking from old tanks at peoples’ homes.

There are other harmful household chemicals. Each year according to EPA, Americans generate 1.6 million tons of hazardous household waste (HHW) including paints, cleaners, batteries, and pesticides. Also there are many small businesses and farms generating hazardous waste and exempt from managing their stuff if it is less than 100 pounds per year of harmful materials. There is limited information on how many tons of these materials impact our health and natural resources. Presently it is believed that a small percent of this toxic material is recovered, and the cost to do so can be expensive. Improper disposal of this non-point pollution threatens public health and the environment in many ways that must awaken us to this real terror in our homes.

We use numerous types of harmful petroleum-based chemicals that are dangerous in their disposition. An EPA study documents that many petroleum-derived products pose an elevated cancer risk to two-thirds of Americans. Roughly 200 million people are regularly exposed to some 32 toxic chemicals. We the people are fighting a different type of war on terrorism—one in which we are our own worst enemy. We must exercise both prudence and wise purchasing decisions so that we do not poison ourselves.
Did you know that roughly in every 16 oil filters there is one gallon of used oil?
Clearly we can minimize pollution by design. One innovative approach would be to promote reusable oil filters that are compatible with engines that use the one-piece sealed spin-on filter. No modifications or tools are required to install these filters on any engine that uses a spin-on filter, and they allow for the recovery of all used motor oil. The assembly housing is reused; only the paper element is replaced, and this can be easily recycled or burned for energy. Widespread adoption of these reusable filter systems would virtually eliminate used oil being trapped in filters and prevent steel filters entering landfills. If produced in volume, this filter could be manufactured for under a dollar per unit. At the point of final sale, the filter would cost somewhat less than the current spin-on filter. Reusable filters were popular up to the early 1960s and are still widely used in the racing industry.

In 1998 there were 450 million light-duty oil filters sold in the United States, while 778 million filters were purchased in 2002. You can estimate by this that possibly over a billion oil filters for cars will be sold this year. Seven years ago an average used light-duty oil filter contained on average six to eight ounces of oil, but this amount may be higher since American vehicles are much larger now

Another automotive fluid lost is antifreeze--a clear, colorless, sweet-tasting liquid that is attractive to small children and pets. This is the same material we make water bottles out of. If swallowed, it will cause depression, followed by respiratory and cardiac failure, and finally renal and brain damage. Annually, 200 million gallons of antifreeze are sold in the USA. It is not known how much of this is recovered. Various paths may be used for the recycling and disposal of antifreeze. Some major collectors may take antifreeze to be disposed of in approved water treatment plants. The end-user market for antifreeze is twofold. Antifreeze may be either recycled on-site for reuse in vehicles or taken off-site where it is recycled and sold as new antifreeze.
Finally, another residual product of the car repair sector is oil bottles. It has been estimated that every year we generate between 2 to 3.5 billion used motor oil bottles, each containing 1 to 1.25 ounces of oil: taken together roughly the equivalent of 1.5 to 3.5 times the amount generated by the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The good news is in the last quarter century the number of consumers recycling their used oil has more than doubled, however the vast majority is still lost in our environment. Also if these oil products go to an energy recovery facility or new landfill there is an increased comfort level.

We as consumers of harmful petroleum products must safeguard the health of our families and communities. There is no more critical timeframe to begin to protect our earth and ensure future hope. We are the source of the problem and the solution. We must create a culture where we reduce, reuse and recycle not just petroleum-based products but all our resources. We must become trail blazers and make the "oil can" mightier than the sword. We will profit from preventing pollution. Our country’s freedom warrants us to safely manage our black gold since it is interconnected to our future prosperity. Can you create a tipping point by exploring where your auto fluids go and ensure that they become a valuable resource instead of a hazardous waste?

Friday, March 31, 2006

May Humans Afford Clean Water?

How many people understand how water touches every living thing? Water is not just life; it connects all living things. Are we aware that only less than one percent of the world’s water is drinkable? How we share this precious resource directly impacts peace and prosperity on this earth.

Most people do not know that one-third of the water used on the East Coast of the United States in the summer goes to watering lawns! Why are we taking the equivalent of bottle water for irrigating our yards? We are rapidly awakening to how water affects all aspects of our life.

Hundreds of millions of women each day in the third world spend their time carrying water long distances. What’s more, they do it in difficult and dangerous circumstances: woman run the risk of being raped when they distance themselves from the group to answer the simple call of nature. There are no sanitation facilities in many parts of the world. Clean water is a critical issue

Half the people of this world live on less than two dollars a day, and one sixth live on less than one dollar a day. Already one-third of our world population or two billion people, live without safe drinking water. With an additional 2 billion people projected to be born by 2030, water scarcity is a fact of life. How Americans address water issues and how that affects the poor has global ramifications. Is it a human right to be provided with safe water? The assured supply for enough water to serve agriculture, sanitation, industry and drinking requirements is essential for a reasonable quality of life.

Conflicts, perils and loss

Our fresh water crisis is causing conflicts not just among political entities, but among wildlife, farmers, industrial entities, and simple citizens. And yes, the poor--who can not afford the simple luxury of clean water--find themselves embroiled in strife over this elemental necessity. The less fortunate usually pays higher than normal prices for their drinking and bathing water. Just a century ago it was common for many to have carry water. Today, a woman in a developing country, on average, must walk 6 kilometers each day to get fresh water. Many in the United States still do not have indoor plumbing and their wells are compromised, if not impaired. In the last century water use per capita increased by six times as our population tripled. Our water use rate doubled the rate of population growth. Presently, we use 54 percent of all available fresh water from streams, rivers, lakes and aquifers. In the next 25 years it is expected that human fresh water use will increase another 16 percent to 70 percent.

This human development comes with a cost. One-fifth of fresh water fish are either extinct or threatened. Over one-thousand bird species are imperiled. Just in the United States, half our wetlands since colonial times are gone. If we allow our natural systems, such as our wetlands, to die, one resource economist estimated that we lose close to $5 trillion dollars per year in flood protection, waste treatment, wildlife habitats, fisheries and recreation use.

Water enables life through more than a simple flush of the toilet or drink of water. So why must we better conserve water? Throughout the world both drought and lack of clean water is alarming. While most Americans take clean water for granted, there are many who lack this essential amenity. This is becoming increasingly true for rural Americans who rely so much on wells and springs. Polluted water is a greater risk to children and the elderly who are more vulnerable. Hundreds of thousands of low-income American households do not have running water in their homes. Here in the United States, and all over the world, recent droughts and water shortages are forcing us to reexamine water use.

We are water, water is us

Increasingly, we are beginning to realize just how much we depend on H20. Just think─ three fourths of our brain consists of this essential compound. One way to understand the value of water is to observe it in our own bodies. One-half to two-thirds of the human body contains water. An average adult contains roughly 40 quarts of water and loses several quarts of water per day through normal elimination, sweating and breathing. Water helps rid the body of wastes, metabolize stored fats, and maintains muscle tone. We must begin to appreciate how our bodies and the earth cycle water if we wish to maintain good health and prosperity. Ironically less then 1% of the world’s water is available to meet our constantly growing human needs.

Increased awareness of water conservation imperatives and quality is critical to preserving our quality of life. We drink less than 1% of our treated water while we use 99% in other ways. Our public water systems produce more than 180 gallons per day per person, more than seven times the per capita average in the rest of the world, and nearly triple the level produced in European countries. By comparison, the World Health Organization says good health requires a total daily supply of about 8 gallons of water per person. We flush an average of 27 gallons per person per day of drinking water down our toilets; 17 gallons per day are lost through laundry and 14 gallons per day in our showers. Another tremendous waste of this valuable resource is watering our lawns. By switching to a landscape dominated by bushes and shrubs, as opposed to grass, you can reduce lawn watering by 80 percent. Simply installing a more efficient showerhead and faucet aerators will save about 7800 gallons of water per year in an average household. Sixty to ninety percent of the world’s consumable water goes to irrigation.

With excessive demands for water, pollution is also on the increase. Polluted runoff from agricultural operations, grazing, animal feeding operations, urbanization and other sources have been blamed for today’s water quality impairment. Such pollutants include siltation, nutrients, bacteria, oxygen-depleting substances, metals, pesticides, herbicides, toxic chemicals and other habitat-altering materials.

As we deplete our water, it becomes increasingly unlikely that we can stabilize water tables. It takes hundreds and hundreds of years for water to cycle back into new drinking water. Fresh water systems around the world are being degraded by urbanization, runoff, wetland loss, dams, diversions, and overuse, threatening our ability to support human, animal, and plant life.

Ground Water in the USA

Millions of Americans are unaware that water also comes out of the ground-- the fundamental and foremost water purification system. Forty-seven percent of the U.S. population depends on ground water for its drinking water. Ground water is an important source of surface water. Its contribution to the overall flow of rivers and streams in the U.S. may be as large as 50 percent. It is also a major source of water for lakes and wetlands. Ground water is tapped through wells placed in water-bearing rocks and materials beneath earth’s surface. Precipitation and other sources replenish the ground water supply, but there are increasingly more frequent drought conditions where the rate of pumping exceeds the rate of replenishment.

There are nearly 15.9 million water wells serving U.S. households, cities, business, and agriculture every day. Forty-two million Americans rely on this private drinking water supply. Homeowners who have well water or springs should schedule an annual maintenance check for their well, including testing the water for bacteria and any other potential water quality concerns. Water should also be tested any time there is a change in taste, odor or appearance, or any time a water supply system is serviced.

So much depends on it…

As time passes we will have to answer a very tough question, “Is a basic human right to have clean water?” Water use in our life time will greatly change. Certainly farms will have to conserve water.. Sixty-nine percent of all our fresh water withdrawal use is from agriculture. Industry accounts for 23 percent, while 8 percent is used for such municipal activities as drinking, bathing, cleaning, and watering plants. In the last 300 years, water use in agriculture has increased 35-fold and worldwide it accounts for 70 percent of the use of this resource. How can we provide enough while maintaining human decency to assist the poor?

We must protect the hydrologic balance of our blue earth. At the same time we must help those less fortunate to survive as we dwindle our limited water supplies. Demand will certainly exceed our finite resource of water. By observing and respecting how the intricate web of life really works, we can discover how to better protect and conserve this vital and self-sustaining process. Without such examination we will not prosper as people or a planet.

Less Gas: Let’s Pray to Become Cool!


Do you think global warming is another example of Chicken Little freaking out? International expert and NASA climate scientist Jim Hansen is outspoken against the editing done by the White House saying that Climate Change is 'real', and that human activity is the most likely cause. Hansen speaks out stating, "the natural changes, the speed of the natural changes are now dwarfed by the changes that humans are making to the atmosphere and to the surface.” What James Hansen cites is that global warming is accelerating. New data reveal massive losses of ice to the sea melting in the arctic and Antarctica. There is widespread consensus from the scientific community that carbon dioxide and methane, and chlorofluorocarbons and other greenhouse gases, are collectively increasing due to human activities. White House political censorship of this life threatening development has been recently documented in two 60 Minutes features.[1]

Can we ignore not just the facts but how many of us deeply feel. Major ecological, economic and social consequences may result in such things as increased storms, flooding, droughts and decreased food production according to both Pentagon and insurance companies. We are finding that we met the enemy and it is us! Americans can reduce global warming by three-quarters by taking steps such as establishing strict energy and fuel efficient standards.

Can we deny that our collective yearly contribution upwards of 7 billion tons of carbon does not harm our earth? An American revolution has to show that our 5% world’s population share producing 22% of the climate altering CO2 added to the atmosphere must change. EPA recently estimated that greenhouse gases increased 1.7 percent in 2004.[2] Can we get real about global warming? Words without action are a more dangerous form of gaseous waste. Life can be a gas only if we show reverence with it.

We are at a crossroads today in the emergence of the human spirit; a rebirth in consciousness. All beings close to this earth are apart of this interconnected ritual. One person’s waste is another’s food. We are all just future compost. When facing tremendous forms of destruction human unconsciousness can awaken. Such soul searching forces us to listen to both past and future voices. Those aware may question if our future is ecologically more endangered each day. Given the exponential growth of our human footprints our world’s survival depends upon sustaining life. As we become more sensitive to how delicate the carrying capacity of our eco-systems we can see a direct connection to our very soul. This is reflected by diverse spiritual and religious leaders appeal to one common universal concern- the fate of our beloved planet earth.

Simply we depend on our environment to live. Everyday you see increased evidence of how people of all walks are sensitive whether our distant generations are left a legacy. Without investing in our future a pandemic of despair may erupt among the young and cause unprecedented societal problems.

Do we belong to the land or does the land belong to us? Already our neglect of the earth is making this planet unlivable for many beings. We are running quickly out of time due to man’s delusion that we are “Masters of the Universe.” What action must we take for us to further survive? We have a sacred instruction form the 60,000 years of shared wisdom that our wise native ancestors left for us to care for our earth. Indigenous people have always believed that we belong to the land not the land belongs to people.

Developing more sustainable ways of living are becoming critical. For example European agricultural subsidies now are economically encouraging farmers to become better land stewards. In other parts of the world two-thirds of water goes to irrigation sparking an enormous debate on what make the best overall sense. Quickly, we are finding how important our environment is with everything we do instead of isolating this as just another societal concern. The canary in the coal mine is beginning to look for air.

Increased attention by all religious organizations is awakening humans to the divinity of our ecological interrelationships. This is a powerful force to shape new lifestyle and attitudes regarding the ills of over consumption of natural resources. Spiritual leadership also is supported by increased scientific findings that the earth is requiring not just increased care but such mending is essential to preventing global destruction.

The real question is can interfaith alliances work together to converge people to unified efforts toward conservation and preservation. Many misperceptions and divergent worldviews require not only dialogue but religious involvement to overcome the barriers for the human species to act. Also there are numerous success stories such as the Sri Lanka- Sarvodaya movement to moderate consumption.

One striking fact is that in religious institutions are responsible for 34 percent of the United States volunteerism.[3] This human capital is focused on how they can best serve to better society. What better way to show our ecological gratitude. One potential showcase is the almost 300,000 American houses of worship ( 5 percent of the commercial building floor space) shifting to more energy efficient upgrades reducing 6 million tons of CO2 saving these sacred locations roughly a half a billion dollars.[4]

However, there has not been a rocky marriage between conservation/ environmental groups and religious organizations in speaking a common language to develop such partnerships.[5] Even though similar values may be shared these two groups in many instances are not singing to the same sheet of music.

Is it because we have not addressed global warming because of fear? Ironically, our cowardice is creating more warming so we must think and be cool since getting heat-up mentally is not going to do anything. Just the simple act of caring has a tremendous cooling effect. Let’s see our journey as delicate and best make our visit enjoyable

This is a critical time to foster a clear insight of how we as a people will walk on this dangerous razor edge ¾our future. Every moment provides us with the opportunity to act with grace. Even seeing our heavens at night is being threatened by this global pollution according to astronomers.

The late Harvard Scientist and world expert, Stephen Jay Gould remarked that this battle to save the environment requires… forging an emotional/spiritual bond between nature and ourselves”[6] David Orr cites that what is missing is love to engage the many polarized organizations to champion a relationship emulating the compassion of Greek God of nature, Pan. Our ultimate question is when and how will religious and spiritual groups going to awaken a significant amount of humans toward collective action. Can we as human invest in making our tomorrow more promising? Finally we will need to pray together not on each other and ask for divine forgiveness since we may have trespassed upon something more grave then our final resting place.



[1] www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/03/17/60minutes/main1415985.shtml.

[2] www.epa.gov/global-warming/publications/emissions.

[3] Ibid page 20

[4] USEPA , “Energy Star for Congregations,” www.epa.gov.smallbiz.congregations.html

[5] Ibid page 25

[6] David Orr, “For Love of Life,” Conservation Biology. December 1992, pg 486

Compost to Save Our Bay




Our nation’s largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay, is threatened due to nutrient over-enrichment. How we better manage our home lawn and yard waste provides us with an opportunity to “Save the Bay”. Composting is one simple way we can help improve our water quality and allow aquatic life to flourish. Compost can directly lessen the loss of sediment. Both nutrient management and storm water runoff controls can be achieved by a well managed and placed compost pile.

If we wish to reduce nutrients by 40 percent yard owners can preserve our Bay for future generations. Million of sources of contamination or non point pollution jeopardizes our quality of life. Just leaving your clippings on your home lawns makes a big difference and provides your yard nutrients and moisture. Citizens who compost their yard and food not only recycle new earth not lessens the need to use more fertilizer. Test your soil out. Also we lessen more airborne nitrogen by not having to truck this valuable organic material to be disposed. Composting can easily save our region in millions of dollars of environmental costs. Everyone who has a yard can make a difference preserving our Chesapeake Bay by wise nutrient and storm water runoff management.

We are all interconnected when it comes to saving our earth. Composting helps also lessen soil loss. Erosion is the leading pollution source to our waterways. An average of nearly 17 tons of soil lost per acre of cropland per year. Just 2 billion tons of topsoil lost through erosion every year

Just a few hundred of years ago our land had hundreds of inches of topsoil. Today we barely have a few inches.

We must promote is both home, local, and regional composting that can lessen erosion and amend our soil. With accelerated building, construction and road development, we must stimulate the market for recycled humus and "buy compost". Not only will composting keep our area more beautiful it can transform our waste into new resources. Let’s lead the way as did George Washington who was our nation’s first composter. Celebrate compost week and make yourself some new humus!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Let's Better Manage Our Nation’s Eco-Capital


For the past 30 years I have advocated for conservation measures in the D.C. area. Each year, do-it-yourself motorists dump the equivalent of one Exxon Valdez spill just from their discarded motor oil, car filters, and anti-freeze in the metro area. It is, indeed, a slippery slope; if we can shift from rampant consumerism to resource conservation, we may be able to safeguard human survival.

Just read the Washington Post’s Sunday, January 29th front page article, “A Debate on Climate Shifts to Issue of Irreparable Change,” about Global Warming. Some experts warn that we may be reaching a point of no return after which it is too late to act. In the meantime, Exxon Mobil announced record-breaking profits for 2005 to the public -- $36.13 billion, the largest profit ever recorded by any corporation in America. Yet, a few weeks ago when I was at the Department of Energy, one official told me that no funds are presently available from the government or the oil companies to address consumer oil loss.

The good news is that more Washingtonians are recognizing that sustainability is not only essential but enhances our well being. When the insurance industry predicts increased environmental disasters for the future, it seems to recognize that man's activities are detrimental to the earth: changing weather through global warming and destroying nature's protective mechanisms such as wetlands. Recent hurricanes and other severe weather phenomena is an eerie reminder that we will suffer if we separate ourselves from our earth. Is our well being as important as our material wealth?

And what about future generations? An "out of sight, out of mind" mindset has arisen in our "wasted mentality" culture. This way of thinking threatens our well being. We must track our disposal of waste more completely and responsibly and document its consequences. Yes, more people recycle than vote in the U.S., but we still tend to value "ending" over "mending."

A new American Revolution will be founded by those who care for their grandchildren and will define what economy truly means. A new environmental seed is sprouting that will uncover a cloak of darkness that befalls us now. There is a silent war where increased disposability represents a form of terror. Can excel science and politics recapture and better inventory the 11 billion tons of resources yearly Americans use, not including nuclear and hazardous waste? The renewal of the American spirit will happen when we demonstrate that recapturing resources illustrate that that non-violence works. Let’s celebrate things that support life. Clean renewable energy, efficient transportation, non-toxic production and measures that protect of our forests, oceans, grasslands and wetlands are all ways that will liberate us. As we show greater respect for people, places and things, we will feel better about out future.

Can there be a tipping point here in DC where we see the opportunity in new sustainable ways? I have seen this happen assisting various area recycling efforts for paper, oil, computers, fluorescent lamps and other recyclables.

The Federal Electronics Challenge is one example where the government is leading by example to recover the 10,000 computer per week that is discarded. Especially, when you think the fed’s 2006 IT budget is $36.5 billion or seven percent of the worlds entire IT market share. Presently, numerous federal agencies are accounting $16.5 billion in environmentally sound management practices.

Our very freedom is in question until we awaken from the myth that we have a limitless supply of goods. We must awaken from the violence of our mismanagement. Let’s show we respect our community and manage our resources more safely for to give hope to our world. In return we find such leadership gives us greater freedom and a peace of mind. Responsible action equates to greater possibilities. Creating sustainable business is a critical democratic challenge demonstrating that conservation matters.

Better managing and accounting for our nation’s eco-capital must become “tenor” not the “terror” of our time. Remember we made a policy over the weapons of mass destruction “better safe then sorry.” Certainly global warming warrants such prudence since there are much graver consequences of ignoring Mother Nature as Hurricane Katrina proved. Once recapture our discards we can show our greater regards for life. Yes, we care for ourselves and the world. Washingtonians as future stewards, let’s not prey on the earth but rather pray and act together. Courage comes when we take the “h” from the front of "heart" and place at end so to spell "earth." Walk softly and act with wisdom and compassion so to enjoy greater liberation!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Reconnecting to Our Home, Earth



We may be approaching a crossroads today in the emergence of the human spirit. Those aware may question if our future is ecologically more endangered each day. Given the exponential growth of our human footprints our world’s survival depends upon sustaining life. As we become more sensitive to how delicate the carrying capacity of our eco-systems we can see a direct connection to our very soul. This is reflected by diverse spiritual and religious leaders appeal to one common universal concern- the fate of our beloved planet earth.

Simply we depend on our environment to live. Everyday you see increased evidence of how people of all walks are sensitive whether our distant generations are left a legacy. Without investing in our future a pandemic of despair may erupt among the young and cause unprecedented societal problems.

Developing more sustainable ways of living are becoming critical. For example European agricultural subsidies now are economically encouraging farmers to become better land stewards. In other parts of the world two-thirds of water goes to irrigation sparking an enormous debate on what make the best overall sense. Quickly, we are finding how important our environment is with everything we do instead of isolating this as just another societal concern. The canary in the coal mine is beginning to look for air.

Increased attention by all religious organizations is awakening humans to the divinity of our ecological interrelationships. This is a powerful force to shape new lifestyle and attitudes regarding the ills of over consumption of natural resources. Spiritual leadership also is supported by increased scientific findings that the earth is requiring not just increased care but such mending is essential to preventing global destruction.

The real question is can interfaith alliances work together to converge people to unified efforts toward conservation and preservation. Many misperceptions and divergent worldviews require not only dialogue but religious involvement to overcome the barriers for the human species to act. Also there are numerous success stories such as the Sri Lanka- Sarvodaya movement to moderate consumption.[1]

One striking fact is that in religious institutions are responsible for 34 percent of the United States volunteerism.[2] This human capital is focused on how they can best serve to better society. What better way to show our ecological gratitude. One potential showcase is the almost 300,000 American houses of worship ( 5 percent of the commercial building floor space) shifting to more energy efficient upgrades reducing 6 million tons of CO2 saving these sacred locations roughly a half a billion dollars.[3]

However, there has not been a rocky marriage between conservation/ environmental groups and religious organizations in speaking a common language to develop such partnerships.[4] Even though similar values may be shared these two groups in many instances are not singing to the same sheet of music.

The Dali Lama in the last few decades has stressed environmental protection as a central theme starting with the Earth Summit in 1992. Also of note is that the late Harvard Scientist and world expert, Stephen Jay Gould remarked that this battle to save the environment requires… forging an emotional/spiritual bond between nature and ourselves”[5]

David Orr cites that what is missing is love to engage the many polarized organizations to champion a relationship emulating the compassion of Greek God of nature, Pan. Our ultimate question is when and how will religious and spiritual groups going to awaken a significant amount of humans toward collective action. Can we as human invest in making our tomorrow more promising? Finally we will need to pray together not on each other and ask for divine forgiveness since we may have trespassed upon something more grave then our final resting place.

"We join with the earth and with each other

To bring new life to the land

To restore the waters

To refresh the air

We join with the earth and with each other

To renew the forests

To care for the plants

To protect the creatures

We join with the earth and with each other

To celebrate the seas

To rejoice in the sunlight

To sing the songs of the stars

We join with the earth and with each other

To recreate the human community

To promote justice and peace

To remember our children

We join with the earth and with each other

We join together as many and diverse expressions

of one loving memory: for the healing of the earth

and the renewal of all life."

- U.N. Environmental Sabbath Program



[1] Gary Gardner, “Invoking the Spirit” Worldwatch Institute, Dec 2002 page 6

[2] Ibid page 20

[3] USEPA , “Energy Star for Congregations,” www.epa.gov.smallbiz.congregations.html

[4] Ibid page 25

[5] David Orr, “For Love of Life,” Conservation Biology. December 1992, pg 486

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Time to Lead by Example


Currently, we suffer a shortage of gifted leaders. There is a lack of skillful gatekeepers who both provide us with future direction and motivate us by their example. Many in leadership positions lack the courage to tackle today's tough issues. This because they are unable to be emotionally present and act from a source of fear rather than love. Both governance and democracy are in question. This crisis forces us to each of us to lead by example. We, the people, must respond to our current crisis of despair by each one us acting mindfully. Also we must deeply explore how we feel. This process can awaken us to make more compassionate selfless choices becoming both more gentle and kind with all things. I believe that once I respect all things I find a form of grace and psychic well being. Also becoming apart of my community gives me both insights that helping others helps me. Making greater connections allows me to become a more engaged leader.

In 1989, in “Seven Habits of Effective People,” Stephen Covey defined pro-activity as how we focus our energy so as to influence and/or change our surroundings. Yet at the same time real change only happens within. It begins as a self-awareness process through which we come to understand our wider circle; our wider range of concerns—family, health, work, environmental issues. These are the things in our lives that make up our Circle of Concern. Accepting our world as it is does not mean we have to become detached from it.

Within the larger world is a smaller one which is our individual selves. Such an inward awakening defines those things we can exercise our true liberation. Those things we can enjoy our personal freedom are called the Circle of Influence. This concept depicts three areas of control: direct control of our own behavior; indirect control regarding other people’s behavior; no control of past or situational realities.

The optimal solution is to proactively interact with these three kinds of control within our Circle of Influence. This means to be smart, value driven, and interpret reality in order to best deal with the given situation.

By concentrating on efforts in the Circle of Influence, individuals positively magnify what they can do something about; this, in turn, widens this Circle of Influence.

What distinguishes these two circles from one another is that the Circle of Concern includes actions with “have” as their motor (If only I had more money; if only I had not said that; if only I can have this job…) while the Circle of Influence is about being (I can be wiser; I can be kinder; I can be happier…)

When we believe that a problem is ‘outside ourselves,’ we mistake this to mean that it is out of our control. By changing our perspective, we can change ourselves instead of trying to effect change on what is external to us.

Covey further clarifies that in the Circle of Concern what we are free to choose are actions, but we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions. He refers to this as picking up the other end of the stick. We make the choice, yet the resulting consequences may not be to our liking. So we may either learn from our mistakes and correct our actions or rationalize and deceive ourselves. The latter will cause deeper self injury. How we respond to our mistakes affects whether we empower or defeat ourselves.

To be proactive, we must awaken to our areas of weakness, improvement and strengths. Next, we must act on this awareness to control our lives by either making a promise or setting a goal. By achieving inner commitments we develop the basic habits of effectiveness and personal integrity while building greater self-honor.

Developing these skills requires daily practice to be mindful of how we respond to all things. For example, when you see something happening attempt not judge it, however, observe it. Instead of telling someone what to do, it may be more skillful to act as a role model. Empathize and look at the faults of others with compassion. This will also allow us greater kindness in our own self- examination.

Developing greater insights so that our thoughts may determine our response is critical to changing our mental frame of reference. By becoming more aware of what is happening in the moment instead of what we think is happening, we become more proactive. The key is to develop a mind-set that allows us to respond and identify how we normally react. The key is to not be controlled by reactive responses. When we become “RESPONSE-ABLE,” we become more responsible and effective.

Now, all of us can benefit when we each lead by example. Let's not become of a society of followers like a dog who chases his own tail. This is a critical time for every individual to explore within what freedom and happiness is all about. Otherwise we suffer a form imprisonment. Also such indifference is a form defeat. Such complacency with the status quo threatens our prosperity and the future of liberty. Let’s take a risk and show action by example in a peaceful and productive way. Leading is liberating once we understand we all matter.

"You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.

Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.

And there are things to be considered:

Where are you living?

What are you doing?

What are your relationships?

Are you in right relation?

Where is your water?

Know your garden.

It is time to speak your Truth.

Create your community.

Be good to each other.

And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

This could be a good time!

There is a river flowing now very fast.

It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.

They will try to hold on to the shore.

They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination.

The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of

the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.

See who is in there with you and celebrate.

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally.

Least of all, ourselves.

For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt. The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.

All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we've been waiting for."

The Elders

Oraibi, Arizona

Hopi Nation"


.