Gardening may improve your wellness and relationship with nature

The approach of spring brings another opportunity to improve your life and the world around you. Gardening gives you an opportunity to grow healthy food, connect with nature and even improve your overall mood. Start a garden this spring and grow more than vegetables.

Weed out harmful chemicals
According to BBC, organic gardening can provide you and your family with a bountiful harvest of delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables without the use of chemicals. In addition, adopting an organic gardening method is more conducive to the wildlife around you.

Making a compost pile out of peelings, newspapers and other green waste can provide rich nutrients for your plants without the need for chemical fertilizers. You can also control insects and weeds naturally. Mail-order suppliers can provide you with other small insects that can wipe out pests that destroy your crops. Also, pick weeds whenever you see them.

Dig in and connect with the earth
Gardening is a great way to experience nature. Earth Share recommends including flowering plants and birdbaths in your garden blueprints to encourage wildlife to enjoy your oasis as well. In addition, you can find ways to inspire nature to work in your favor.  Encouraging the presence of hummingbirds, butterflies and bees can help spread seeds and help your garden grow.

A study published by the National Institutes of Health indicated that gardeners enjoy the vegetables grown in their own gardens more due to an emotional connection to the garden. The general enjoyment experienced while planting, providing caring and harvesting may encourage individuals to participate in more activities that connect them with nature and improve overall well-being. 

Cultivate happiness
Eartheasy noted that there are a number of benefits associated with gardening. Satisfaction from work, integration into nature and physical activity in the garden can stimulate a more positive mood. Gardening can serve as horticultural therapy and help with overall happiness.

According to a study published in the Journal of Health Psychology, heading out to the garden can help alleviate stress. Participants who spent 30 minutes each day outdoors working with plants and tending the space saw their cortisol levels drop. This indicated a decrease in anxiety and worry. 

Ilchi Lee, a proud advocate of a peaceful, sustainable world, encourages citizens of Mother Earth to improve the world around them. Organic gardening can help promote a healthier lifestyle, improve your relationship with nature and help decrease the use of harmful chemicals. What can you do this spring to help our world blossom?

Ilchi Lee Shares His Philosophy, Life Story and His Own “Call of Sedona” in Meaningful Book

“Meaningful” is a succinct way to describe Ilchi Lee’s book, “The Call of Sedona: Journey of the Heart.”  At first glance, the book would seem to be a wonderful guide for the best nature sightseeing that Sedona has to offer. But as you traverse the book’s 222 pages it quickly becomes an inspiring handbook for self-discovery.

Since his very first visit to Sedona in 1996, Ilchi has shared the messages and inspiration he received from this magical land with the world.  The Call of Sedona: Journey of the Heart is a vibrant account of Ilchi’s personal journey. The softcover edition includes Sedona meditations, spiritual insights and ancient history of the land and its profound effect on those who journey from all corners of the earth to experience its magic.

Offering an open invitation to visit, Ilchi shares the many inspirations he has received from being in Sedona, and believes Sedona’s beauty and energy will help visitors connect with the most powerful parts of themselves and reignite their dreams and passions.

Ilchi writes, “It is always our dreams that lend meaning and value to our daily life. If you need a dream, or if you need to rediscover a dream you’ve lost, come here to Sedona.”

Whether you are looking for armchair adventure or the real deal, Ilchi’s The Call of Sedona shows the way to meaningful experiences to reconnect with nature and to our true inner nature as well.

For an intimate look at Sedona from your desk, visit www.CallofSedona.com. This beautiful and inspiring website is the companion to The Call of Sedona book and offers information on upcoming Sedona meditation retreats and workshops, a guide to organizations which can help you transform your life, book reviews, an insightful weekly blog, and more, all based on the beautiful Sedona message Ilchi wishes to share.

Ilchi is a New York Times bestselling author who has dedicated his life to empowering people to live their fullest potential.  He has penned thirty-three books including Healing Society: A Prescription for Global Enlightenment and Brain Wave Vibration: Getting Back into the Rhythm of a Happy, Healthy Life.

Tao Fellowship Part of Ilchi Lee’s Lifelong Endeavor for World Peace

As a young man, when Ilchi Lee began asking himself, “Who am I and what is my purpose here?” he stopped struggling with life and began a journey that would lead him to study, among other wisdom, the spiritual practice of Tao.

Ilchi Lee believes that developing the potential of the human brain holds the key to discovering the true potential of all of humanity. It was he who initiated the spiritual movement of enlightenment which led to the formation of Tao Fellowship, the 501c (3) non-profit organization established in 1998 to promote the spirit of Tao as a universal principle of harmony and peace. Although he doesn’t currently hold a title or position within the organization, Ilchi occasionally lectures for Tao Fellowship as his other endeavors with this ideal continue.

Tao Fellowship works to amplify and develop the spiritual and peaceful nature of the brain and “to close the gap between a person’s personality and his/her divine true nature.” The dream for one harmonious, peaceful world continues to be carried out through Tao Fellowship core teachings of meditation, holistic healing and Qigong. Learn more about the tradition of Tao for spiritual awakening and natural healing of body, mind and spirit at the website, www.taofellowship.org.

5 Tips for Improving Your Recycling

Ilchi Lee is an advocate of a peaceful, sustainable world. As such, he encourages all people to take action as Earth Citizens and make real, tangible change to positively impact the environment. One such way to do that is to recycle every day.

This act takes little effort, but the importance of it cannot be emphasized strongly enough. The process of recycling conserves raw materials and turns used trash into fresh, new products, thereby keeping another of Mother Earth's resources alive and well. Keep these tips in mind to improve your recycling habits:

Prepare your cans: Get aluminum cans ready for recycling by washing them with water to remove food residue. Labels don't have to be removed, as they burn off during the melting phase of recycling. The same goes with paper labels on other recyclable materials. 

Know your papers: Most paper materials, including magazines, letters and cardboard, can be recycled. Non-recyclable papers are tissue, carbon and waxed paper.

Don't break glass: Glass bottles are recycled materials. However, they may not be accepted for recycling if broken, particularly if different-colored glass is combined.

Keep a recycling bag in your car: Many keep a trash bin in their car, but you can also place a brown paper bag in your vehicle to collect recyclables. This is an easy way to pre-sort your disposed items. When it's full, toss the entire thing into the recycling bin.

Buy recycled content: Making the choice to buy recycled materials is how people close the loop on the recycling process. After all, what's the point in recycling if no one benefits from the end product? These items are also typically less expensive. To determine if your purchase is made from recycled products, look for three green arrows in the form of a triangle. 

With these tips, you can make sure recycled materials you use are properly utilized in order to help preserve the natural resources provided by Mother Earth.

Do you know of someone who could benefit from these tips? If so, pass them along to help make the world a healthier place for this and future generations.

4 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

It is every Earth Citizen's person's responsibility to keep our planet healthy, a notion that Ilchi Lee emphasizes in his teachings and writings. However, reducing humanity's carbon footprint is not a project that can be completed in one fell swoop; rather, it requires lifestyle changes both big and small that minimize the negative impact we as a species make on this beautiful planet. Implement these suggestions into your everyday life to reduce your own carbon footprint:

Utilize Public Transportation
Driving a fuel-efficient car is a great way to reduce the amount of toxins you send into the air. Unfortunately, it's not the simplest or most affordable solution for most people in our current economic climate. Rather, you can choose to take the bus or train when possible. Public transportation greatly reduces CO2 emissions. You might also form a carpool group with coworkers – if five people drive in one car, you can potentially reduce the amount of CO2 emissions to around one-fifth the amount of five people driving separately.

Turn Off the Lights
When you leave a room, make sure you flick the light switch off. Doing so won't just save you money on your electric bill but will also help minimize your carbon footprint. The same goes for other electronics that may be an energy drain – turn them off when not in use. You should also be sure to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), as they use one-third the energy of incandescent bulbs.

Buy Local Produce
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 13 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in America are caused by the production and transportation of food items. If you live in California and purchase oranges grown in Florida, the amount of energy consumed and CO2 emitted is astronomical. When you buy local, you significantly reduce the carbon footprint involved in the process and you help to support small, local farmers.

Skip the Animal Products
Eating less meat and dairy may help reduce the amount of harm caused to the planet. That's because these foods are often produced using fertilizers made from fossil fuels, not to mention pesticides and other harmful toxins. Another great benefit is that reducing meat consumption leaves room for a more diverse array of fruits and vegetables in your diet, which can work to improve your overall health.

As an advocate of a peaceful, sustainable world, Ilchi Lee encourages all people to take action in their everyday lives to conserve Earth's natural resources. With Lee's guidance and these small but important changes, Earth Citizens around the globe can reduce their carbon footprints and leave the world a better place for future generations.

NY Times: Solar and Wind Energy Gaining Traction

A great piece of news came downwind from The New York Times: Solar and wind energy are finally starting to become competitive with conventional, environment-damaging fuels such as coal and natural gas. 

For the first time ever, it's now possible to produce renewable energy at a cost equal to coal. In some markets, "green" energy has been cheaper than the dirty fossil fuels. A handful of companies have signed contracts, called power purchase agreements, for solar and wind at prices below that of natural gas, particularly in the Southwest and Great Plains. 

So, what does this have to do with you? Quite a lot in fact. And it will affect your children and grandchildren even more than you. Global experts point out that climate change is a stark reality that all citizens of the earth face today – not in 30 years or next week, but now. According to a White House report, California has been experiencing devastating droughts, low-lying U.S. cities such as Miami already experience high flooding, and farmers across the country are having to reassess their crops to confront the weather alterations. 

According to The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia's national science agency, global sea levels rose about 6.7 inches in the last century, and the rate in the last 10 years is almost double that of the last century. What's more, the period from 2001 to 2012 was warmer than any previous decade in every region of the U.S. on record. 

Fossil Fuels
One of the leading contributors to this climate change is fossil fuels.

"The burning of coal, oil and gas, and clearing of forests have increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by more than 40 percent since the Industrial Revolution, and it has been known for almost two centuries that this carbon dioxide traps heat," the researchers wrote in the White House Report, titled "National Climate Assessment."

A Change in Dialogue
As a result, even over the last year, the climate debate has shifted from "Is climate change real?" to "What are we going to do about climate change?" As solar and wind energy become more viable, we can start cutting our output of fossil fuels and work toward greater sustainability. 

This paradigm shift directly aligns with the views of Ilchi Lee, The New York Times' bestselling author and a proud advocate of a peaceful, sustainable world. Lee aims to reduce our carbon footprint and leave a legacy of the world better than how we found it. 

That's why the solar energy shifts are so important. 

Earlier this year, Austin Energy in Texas signed a deal to create 20 years of output from a solar farm at less than 5 cents a kilowatt-hour. In Oklahoma, American Electric Powered tripled the amount of wind power it had initially sought after recognizing how low the bids came in. These are only some of the examples. However, at least for the near future, the low prices will not allow wind and solar farms to supersede power plants, experts concede.

Khalil Shalabi, vice president for energy market operations and resource planning at Austin Energy, suggested the falling prices of renewable energy is still a great sign. 

"Renewables had two issues: One, they were too expensive, and they weren't dispatchable," Shalabi told The New York Times. "They're not too expensive anymore."

Do You Recycle Your Aerosol Containers?

Chances are you've used an air freshener, a bottle of hair spray or whipped cream before. And many of these sprays come in aerosol containers. But once you're finished with these products, can they be recycled? The short answer is yes, but only if they're empty. In this case, you can put them in the bin designated for steel or aluminum at your curbside program.

If the can has contents left inside, contact your local recycling facility about disposal options. Oftentimes, an aerosol with leftover material must by properly disposed of by a household hazardous waste-processing facility. Be sure never to puncture the bottle, as it may cause harm.

What Are Aerosols Exactly?
Aerosols are collections of tiny particles of solid and/or liquid suspended in a gas. In fact, these particles are so microscopic that they measure from about 0.001 to 100 microns (a micron is one-millionth of a meter). Aerosols are typically categorized into different subgroups: fumes, dusts, mists and sprays. 

Are Aerosols Bad for the Environment?
To fully understand the answer to this question, let's take a step back and look at the environment itself. The Earth's atmosphere consists of a number of gases, including nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor and atmospheric aerosols. Roughly three-quarters of all aerosols found in the atmosphere come from natural sources – sea salt, soil debris, smoke from forest fires and volcanic eruptions are all contributors. 

Because of concerns that aerosol sprays were damaging the environment, in the 1970s the U.S. banned the use of the chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), which are compounds inside certain aerosols believed to be linked to ozone layer damage. Clean Air Act and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation further restricted CFCs for non-consumer products.

Today, aerosol cans use propellants such as hydrocarbons and compressed gases like nitrous oxide that do not deplete the ozone layer. Aerosol spray cans produced in a handful of other countries might still contain CFCs, but they cannot be legally sold in the U.S. 

Still, even though deodorant sprays and air fresheners aren't depleting the ozone layer, they are not in any way deemed good for the environment. The hydrocarbons or compressed gases are known contributors to climate change. Scientific American says every time you use them, you are growing your carbon footprint very slightly.

Ilchi Lee, a proud advocate of a peaceful, sustainable world, has long encouraged people to take responsibility for their environmental actions on earth. Simple, daily changes can help enhance our energy efficiency and conserve natural resources for generations to come. Enlightenment, Lee states, is not just knowledge. It is also action.

"So one obvious way we need to recalibrate our lives to is minimize the waste of resources that supports our lifestyle," Lee wrote in his book titled, "Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential." "In pursuit of a more natural life, perhaps we ought to sit a little less and sweat a little more,"

As a collective, we can make a conscious effort to reduce our carbon footprint one step at a time. If possible, use an alternative to aerosol containers, such as a regular rub-on deodorant or homemade whipped cream. When you do use aerosols, be sure to recycle them or dispose of them properly.

Food Sustainability 101

Going green has been doctors' diet advice for decades. Spinach, apples, broccoli – all sorts of fruits and vegetables that are wonderful for you may also be great for the environment. Here's how: 

What is Sustainable Food?
Sustainable food is a way of growing, raising and consuming food in an ecologically and ethically responsible manner using practices that protect the environment. It provides fair treatment to workers, humane treatment to farm animals and decreased exposure to harmful substances such as pesticides, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and unhealthy food additives.

All of these measures factor into living in a sustainable world. Generally, the most sustainable food producers are family farmers and family-owned businesses that have a personal connection with the land they work on.

Why Eat Sustainable Food?
Not only is eco-friendly food better for the farmer's side of the equation, it provides a number of health benefits for you. Consuming sustainably grown, unprocessed (or minimally processed) foods such as whole grains, legumes, and fresh fruits and vegetables is known to decrease cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of certain cancers and improve digestive function. 

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, eating foods produced locally has "distinct advantages." The paper highlights that foods grown far away spend a significant amount of time on the road, and thus have more time to lose nutrients before arriving in the marketplace. On the other side of the spectrum, produce sold within 24 hours is at peak freshness and ripeness, making it a great choice.

"Second, farmers growing for a local (and especially a direct) market favor taste, nutrition and diversity over shipability when choosing varieties," the author Kathleen Frith wrote in the white paper. "Greater crop diversity from the farmer means greater nutritional diversity for the eater." 

The takeaway? Often, local is more nutritious!

Where to Buy?
You can shop for sustainable food at farmers markets, food-buying clubs, community-supported agriculture (CSA) and other places. When you become a member of a CSA, you can purchase a share of vegetables from a regional farmer. Other farmer-run options include farm stands and "pick your own" farms. 

If you shop at a large, chain supermarket and want to find sustainable foods, simply ask. When signs aren't posted to label food from organic or local farm food, ask the store manager to start labeling produce. You can ask the manager of the meat department if any of the meats sold are organic and/or sustainably raised.

To get your own produce, consider gardening yourself. Whether you have a backyard, urban rooftop or community garden, gardening is as local as it gets. 

As a consumer, you play a big role in determining the health of the environment. Sustainable food has an array of benefits for the environment, and sells nutritious food with a delicious taste. In other words, sustainable food is a great chance to start celebrating local, seasonal and artisanal ingredients by purchasing fresh produce directly farmers close to your communities.

Takeaways from the People’s Climate March and UN Summit

On September 21, an estimated 311,000 people descended on the streets of New York City, marching with a message of alarm for world leaders to start taking action on climate change. 

Though everyone from Sting to Al Gore to Leonardo DiCaprio were among the brighter beacons of the environmental movement who attended, the event was rooted in the thousands of ordinary people dedicated to changing the course of history by averting climate crises. It was the largest climate-oriented walk ever. 

One demonstrator was asked why she attended.

"I'm here because I really feel that every major social movement in this country has come when people get together," Carol Sutton of Norwalk, Connecticut, the president of a teachers' union, told The New York Times. "It begins in the streets."

International Inaction
Many have been frustrated with the international inaction on global warming. Ilchi Lee, a long-time advocate of a peaceful, sustainable world, recognizes that maintaining the earth's environmental balance is a not a single country's dilemma or a partisan problem, it is a human issue. 

The legions cruised through the heart of Manhattan to Times Square and the Far West Side. But as big as the single event was, it was not alone. Demonstrations took place across the globe, from Paris to Papua New Guinea. More than 150 countries joined the protests. The walks were in preparation of the United Nations Summit Meeting on climate change that took place two days afterward. 

One of the main organizers of the event, the international advocacy group Avaaz, presented a petition with more than 2.1 million signatures demanding action on climate change. 

"It's a testament to how powerful this movement is," Ricken Patel, executive director of Avaaz, told The New York Times. "People are coming in amazing numbers."

What We Learned From the People's Climate March

  • Many people are passionate about taking action on climate change. 
  • It's not too late to do something about climate change. 
  • Climate change is indiscriminate; it impacts everyone, all citizens of the world. 

United Nation's Climate Summit
About 120 world leaders convened in New York City for the United Nation's Climate Summit to discuss climate change. It was the first such meeting in five years. Speakers included President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Nelson Mandela's widow, Graça Machel, and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

So, what was accomplished at the Summit?

A total of 73 countries and more than 1,000 business, including Norwegian oil company Statoil, signed a World Bank initiative to encourage governments to set a price on carbon. At the summit, 25 of those companies, including Philips and Unilever, committed to pricing carbon internally and boost their efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

Establishing a carbon tax is essential because it penalizes wasteful companies that continue to add harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. 

The summit also debuted the rollout of the New York Declaration on Forests, which proposes cutting the rate of natural forest loss by 50 percent by 2020 and eliminating it altogether by 2030. 

Dozens of city mayors were at the conference and planned to cut emissions at the local level. A new study from the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group found that by 2050, cities could cut their annual emissions by an amount equivalent to half of yearly global coal use. 

In the upcoming weeks and months, those who marched in N.Y.C. and others around the world will see what comes of the U.N.'s Climate Summit. 

Why Leonardo DiCaprio Joined Fight Against Climate Change

A week before the United Nations Climate Summit, actor Leonardo DiCaprio was named a U.N. Messenger of Peace. Like many others citizens of the world, DiCaprio said he felt a moral obligation to reroute our perilous path toward climate change. 

Alongside President Barack Obama, former Vice President Al Gore and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, DiCaprio at the summit called the earth's shift an undeniable threat that must be urgently addressed by every nation. The actor implored more than 120 world leaders to do their part to fight global warming. 

"I pretend for a living. But you do not," a bearded DiCaprio told the gathering. "The people made their voices heard (at protests) on Sunday around the world and the momentum will not stop. And now it's your turn."

DiCaprio, who has given millions of dollar to environmental causes, said the argument is over and the scientific facts have spoken. 

The actor's views on sustainability align with those of Ilchi Lee, advocate of a peaceful, thriving world. 

The U.N. Summit was the largest gathering of world leaders to discuss climate change in history.