Category Archives: sustainable life

issues: blue or red pill?

recent NYTimes article  talks about ‘issues’.

Seems we’re turning benign things into issues and turning those into problems that divide us.  Here’s an excerpt:

“…this is what makes ‘‘issues’’ the perfect word for the current moment. It is a word that acknowledges problems without actually addressing them, that minimizes them in hopes that they’ll just drift away. It’s a hedge and a dodge, at once overly punctilious and contemptuously dismissive; it’s contingent, euphemistic, underhanded and easily weaponized. Our culture has all kinds of prohibitions against plain speech, but we’ve long treated agenda-driven spin as just business.

Likes and dislikes on social media are indicative of this.  We rarely state why we’ve done this, we just put thumbs up or thumbs down, as if each one of us was a Roman emperor feeding the christians to the lions without so much as giving a reason…. just because.

More fundamentally, I think it centers around our instant gratification for everything 24/7, faster/ cheaper/better/’don’t bother me: I’m comfortable’.

It’s the result of our hi-tech addictions programmed by the big frightful five  controlling our everyday lives.  More subversive than the tobacco companies and subliminal than embedded ads, these companies dictate what we hear, see and will soon taste and feel. Have they taken control of our senses from our free will?   I think so – because new they’re working hard on how to control our very thought processes: witness the rise of fake news and our willingness to accept it.

Instead of the Matrix (movie) red & blue pills defining our reality, we’ve set up our own red & blue divides based on political beliefs.

You may not be liberal enough for Beserkeley, or you may have to rely on an opposing color scheme to help you out in time of need.  Which is it?


Here’s the concluding part of the NYTimes article:

“It’s no surprise, then, that everything is at issue now. We’ve arrived at a polarized, blue-pill/red-pill place where reality has splintered into countless alternatives, each one tailored to someone’s particular tastes and beliefs. Even basic, verifiable facts are now potential points of contention — possible issues. Everything is debatable, which means everything — from other people’s beliefs to objective reality — can be dismissed as someone’s tendentious pleading for a specialized cause.”

beyond off-grid

when people introduce me and say ‘fred lives off the grid’, While I appreciate the intro,  I always want to say: ‘I’m WAY beyond off-grid’… and if a conversation engages around it, I like to throw in the moniker: ‘I live off the dreadmill’… let me explain.

Our society loves path dependence. The history of humans is written on it. Path dependence implies we continue down the current path even though we know better paths – because it’s convenient and we ‘need to pay the mortgage/rent’.  And of course, many industries profit enormously from the current path.  it. Take oil, fast food, big box stores, etc. 

I like the sound bite‘ we didn’t stop using whale oil for lighting because we ran out of whales’  And so too, we are blazing new paths not because we’re running out of resources (which certain groups want you to believe) as much as there are better options on the horizons (uber, AI, self-driving cars, robotics, etc) 

Most people consider off-grid to be about energy independence.  Beyond off-grid is doing the full monty on cutting the cord that ties us to centralized services – usually operated by far-away corporate conglomerates.  As costs increase, reliability decreases and other issues arise; some people are thinking ‘there’s gotta be a better way’.  Enter Elon Musk,  Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and others trying to tie us to a new ‘grid’ : one based on techno foundations that eerily remind me of just a different flavor of the same ole dreadmill – but with even more addictive, co-dependent properties.

the worse company…

Of all the ‘evil corps’ out there, whose the worse?

… and the winner is

For the last decade my list of bad actors in the corporate world usually put Coca-Cola on top of the list with Monsanto and others way down.  Coke has the audacity in its long-term strategic mission to envision replacing water in 3rd world countries – not that they’ll ever admit to that. But the anecdotal evidence supports this: witness their exclusive FIFA (global soccer federation) youth league contracts in Africa and Asia where they supply free Coke samples to young kids that can barely get clean water in their villages.  And you thought Monsanto was the bad boy with their ‘let’s own all the seeds of the world’… well, water is WAY more critical than seeds… and Coke takes the Darwin award on that.

But stay tuned – there are a couple new bad actors out there that put Coke’s world domination of water supply to shame:  Nestle and Unilever. Both of these global behemoths control a massive network of smaller regional food companies. I am familiar with Nestle from a more local perspective with their water games in California and Oregon. If ever there was a poster child for underhanded and deceptive corporate shenanigans in trying to privatize and control mountain spring water that’s in the public domain – it’s Nestle.  And if control of our cities’ drinking water isn’t enough, Nestle is now diversifying spreading junk food and obesity (do they own some medical centers also??) 

Here’s what the junk food transition looks like in Brazil. There are now more obese than underweight adults in the world. Sales of ultra-processed foods have more than doubled over the last decade — even spreading into developing countries.

Nestle’s logo says: ‘Good food, good life’ Yikes! If there’s anything that Nestle does NOT do – is sell good food.   Nestle and Unilever are doing what is common for large profit-obsessed corporations: increase profits by increasing market share. USA, Europe and China have wised up to the bad effects of junk food. So the only place to easily grow market share is in 3rd world countries: Africa, Asia, South America. And are they every successful in that effort!

A recent NYT article about obesity in Brazil highlights Nestle’s new approach to hooking people to their junk food for a lifetime of addiction, obesity and diabetes.

Food vendors have become the local mom and pop of the neighborhood. This is the new preferred way for the large corporations to infiltrate local hoods and hook people on their junk.  No need to have a store front. Like Avon and Tupperware parties, just get locals to sell the junk food under the guise of providing local jobs.

this kind of corporate double-speak makes me want to throw up. How can a new generation of executives (millenials?) come up with this?

Nestlé markets across Africa are today showing their commitment to young people with numerous programmes and initiatives in celebration of Africa Youth Day. Nestlé’s activities on the continent form part of the company’s global youth initiative, Nestlé needs YOUth, with an ambition to help 10 million young people get access to economic opportunities by 2030.”

This is nothing more than being a glorified drug dealer. Get a free sample, buy low-cost food right in front of your house, enjoy the sugar/fats/oil flavorings, get addicted to it… eat more… gain weight slowly, decrease exercise slowly… and before you know it you’re on the treadmill to diabetes, insulin, gangarhea and an early death. But not before becoming a burden on the health care system, on your family, and on society in general: so starts an epidemic.

Recycle headaches

If you already recycle, try avoiding purchasing these three things:    Juice boxes, single use plastic bags AND diapers:  which are not just for babies, coming to  baby boomers soon!  

According to the San Fransisco state-of-the-art Recology recycling plant, these are their three main headaches.  Also, I do remember Dr. Michael Braungart also mentioning how difficult it is to recycle and reuse colored plastic bottles.  He recommended that if one has a choice to always, always stick with neutral, clear colored anything in the packaging and chemical world.

Juice Boxes

They are a perfect example of composites, a vexing category for recyclers that includes a wide range of items, like furniture, diapers,  or consumer packaging that binds different materials together, such as plastics and metal and paper fibers.  (The juice-box industry says a typical nonrefrigerated carton, as it’s called, includes 74 percent paper, 22 percent polyethylene and 4 percent aluminum.)

Those layers help preserve drinks, but also make the boxes extremely difficult to pull apart.

And to recycle, you must first sort. “It’s like separating an egg yolk from an egg,” Mr. Liss said of the composites problem. “It’s much easier to do before you stir it up.”

One possible solution is to create packaging that allows the materials to be more easily separated. Mr. Liss said an industry recycling group, The Carton Council, had been created to address the problem by developing additional sorting equipment. “The good news is that the industry is trying to figure it out,” Mr. Liss said. “They saw the problem, and they’re stepping up to address it.”

Shower water – wow!

This is an excerpt from a friend and Schauberger activist who focuses on water.   I find it truly amazing that we are not made more aware of the impact of chlorine + flouride ++ chemicals on our open pores while we are innocently taking a shower.  Thanks so much, Nevin.

I can hardly imagine what similar effects on our bodies are done in over chlorinated swimming pools and hot tubs!


Clean shower water is much more important than you may think.  Each day a person drinks about 1-2 gallons of water… but exposes one’s self to 25 gallons of water when showering.  The American Journal of Public Health determined that up to two-thirds of harmful chlorine exposure can be due to skin absorption and inhalation while showering.  The Journal also links chlorine to “significant increases in certain types of cancer, asthma and skin irritations…” and stated that “up to two-thirds of the harmful exposure was due to skin absorption and inhalation of chlorine in shower water”. The steam inhaled during a shower can contain up to 20 times the concentration of chlorine (and other synthetic chemicals) as tap water.  One can absorb as many toxins in 1 shower as you would drinking tap water for an entire week.  Studies show that after a 10-minute shower in chlorinated water, your blood levels of THMs (common disinfection byproduct – DBP) can potentially increase by as much as  700%.

How can your exposure to chlorine and its associated DBPs be higher when you shower.  Why doesn’t the chlorinated water just bounce off your body?

Simply a hot shower causes the pores of your skin to open, which in turn elevates the absorption rate of chlorine and other chemicals directly into your system and causes the body to directly absorb foreign chemicals into your body tissues and bloodstream.  Not to mention the fact that chlorine strips the natural protective oils from skin, causing excessive drying.    Different from drinking unpurfied water where your digestive system has the ability to filter out some of the harmful contaminants, in the shower, these contaminates are directly absorbed into the bloodstream..

Absorbing and inhaling chlorine and associated DBPs are not healthy for you or your family. Long-term health risks certainly can spike due to chlorine effects on your bodily functions.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – When chlorine vaporizes in steam in your shower, it converts to chloroform gas. Chloroform can be a strong respiratory irritant and cause fatigue.
The bottom line – When absorbed or inhaled into your body, chlorine DBPs can potentially cause a weakening of your immune system… disruptions to your central nervous system… damaging effects to your cardio system… unhealthy functioning of your renal system… and harmful impacts to your respiratory system.

Shower filtration is one of the best and easiest ways to reduce our harmful exposure to chlorine and other tap water contaminants.  The bottom line is is your not already filtering your shower water, you should be.  Its very important to one’s health to have a high quality filter and to be changing the cartridges on a regular basis.

After trying many different filters I have decited to offer two different systems.

First the Aquasana, by far the very best basic filter available.  A two-stage shower filter that uses a combination oShowerFilterf copper-zinc oxidation media and coconut shell carbon to reduce 91% of the chlorine in your water, and also reduces synthetic chemicals and enhances pH balance. This means that you’ll be able to enjoy the health and cosmetic benefits of showering in clean water,  significant reduction of exposure to toxic chemicals while benefiting from softer skin and healthier hair.   The Aquasana filter cartridges last 6 months or 10,000 gallons, this filter allows you to shower in the healthiest water for the best value.

shower_filters_1.jpgSecond is a shower filter with the ability to remove Fluoride.  this filter utilizes a aluminum resin to remove Fluoride, Arsenic, Heavy Metals and Chlorine.  Fluoridation has become common place in most city municipal water treatment.


For those who wish to go beyond just filtering their shower water to enhancing their  Shower water.  This filter first filter contaminates from your shower water, than enhances the water with rare volcanic minerals, far-infared ceramic beads and magnetic rings.  These enhancement medias soften and ionize your water and infuse your water with anti-bacterial qualities that help lessen the effects of atopic dermatitis.


For more information email: