Hwangchil: An Earth Citizen Plant

A symbol of the Earth Citizen Movement that’s going steadily forward is the hwangchil tree. Hwangchil (Dendropanax mobifera lev) is a broad-leaved, evergreen perennial tree known for its many healing properties and the golden laquer made from it. It grows in any windy, hot, and humid coastal region.

The core goal of the Earth Citizen Movement—to create health, happiness, and peace for ourselves, other beings, and the earth—can be said to be very hwangchil-like. Hwangchil has a mild but distinct aroma that quickly calms the mind and body. According to some studies, hwangchil has also been found to strengthen liver function, promote healthy bones and gums, promote circulation, activate the metabolism, and reduce cholesterol. It also evens out skin tone when applied topically.

In order to support the movement, Ilchi Lee and his partners developed healing products with the leaves, bark, and roots of hwangchil. They’ve made soothing teas and cosmetics. They’ve also put it in honey and made elixirs from it. Now Ilchi Lee has received permission from the government of New Zealand to grow hwangchil trees at the Earth Village we are developing on the North Island.

See how the trees are growing in this video from Ilchi Lee’s YouTube Channel:

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint by Changing Your Commute

Biking, running, carpooling and taking public transit to work are all great ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

One of the major causes of carbon emissions in the world is vehicle traffic. When every employee at your place of work drives to and from the office each day, that’s a lot of carbon that is eroding the ozone layer and will cause serious environmental decline. There’s hope, however. If you change the way you commute, you can reduce your carbon footprint and improve your health. Here’s how:

Do you have a rusty Schwinn in the garage? Give it a quick tune-up, put air in the tires and hit the road. Biking to work will allow you to take one car off the road and get in shape at the same time. You can improve your respiratory and cardiovascular health by becoming a cyclist. Plus, you may find you lose weight and overall feel better just by switching from driving to biking to work.

Some people aren’t huge fans of bicycles and would rather spend their commute pounding the pavement. Some people are concerned that they’d need a shower after getting to work. If so, stop at a local gym to do so, or give yourself a quick face wash, towel-off and fresh application of deodorant in the bathroom before putting on your work clothes. Keep an outfit at the office so you don’t have to worry about carrying one while you run. Make sure your running shoes fit properly so you don’t get blisters. You may even find you are more energetic and productive after running to work than if you’d sat in your car and driven there.

Take Public Transit
For many employees, running or biking to work isn’t possible because they live too far away. If that rings true for you, see if you can take public transit instead of driving. Find a bus, train or combination of the two that will allow you to get to work in a timely manner. This will reduce your carbon footprint and you can even enjoy reading a book on your way to the office.

Not every area has a public transit system and you may not want to run or bike to work. Instead, find a colleague that lives near you and switch off driving. Have him or her drive one day and you the next. This way you are still eliminating one car from the roadway, and you can make a new friend or strategize for the workday on your commute.

April 22 is Earth Day

Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 by planting trees, picking up trash and respecting the Earth as Ilchi Lee does in his teachings. 

Ilchi Lee believes the Earth is a sacred place. In order for the planet to continue creating energy and hosting living things it must be in good condition. Wednesday, April 22, is Earth Day and you can help keep our planet alive by doing these activities:

Earth Day Activities

  • Pick up trash in your neighborhood. Don gloves and bring garbage bags to clean up all the fast food bags, dirty cups and other detritus that is clogging up your community. 
  • Plant trees. Trees turn carbon dioxide into oxygen, which helps to filter out harmful pollutants from the air and make it more breathable for living beings. 
  • Calculate your carbon footprint to see how much of an impact you are making on the world. Now see if there are ways you can reduce this number, like biking to work instead of driving or purchasing local goods instead of ones manufactured overseas.
  • Visit a nearby shop to buy groceries. Much of what is available at supermarkets and grocery stores comes from faraway places and is made with a lot of packaging. Instead of choosing vegetables that are wrapped in plastic and were shipped in from another state, look for locally-grown organic veggies that come as they are. This will help to protect our natural resources, and reduce waste.
  • Consider purchasing only things that are made with recycled materials. Instead of looking for a new pair of jeans or a blanket for your sofa, seek out items that have been made from other, already existing ones. 

Ilchi Lee and the Earth
"This is a beautiful and hopeful time to be alive. We are at a turning point, and your contribution to the world is needed more than ever. All of your struggles, all the struggles of your ancestors, all the struggles of all life have led to this moment right now. You are the culmination of life's great yearning; you are the hope of the world." Ilchi Lee wrote in his book, "Brain Wave Vibration: Getting Back into the Rhythm of a Happy, Healthy Life."

Ilchi Lee teaches that it is important to value the Earth as we respect ourselves. Instead of taking this into consideration once a year on Earth Day, keep the thought close to your heart at all times. Treat the planet how you would want to be treated and always look for ways to make a more sustainable world.

Celebrate Air Quality Awareness Week

Ilchi Lee believes in protecting Mother Earth. You can help by celebrating Air Quality Awareness Week from April 27 – May 1.

April is an important month as spring occurs and nature awakens after many cold months. From April 27 to May 1, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Weather Service celebrate Air Quality Awareness Week. During this time, it is important to learn about air quality and what you can do to keep Mother Earth happy and healthy.

Air Quality Tips
We don't always think about how the products we use and things we do on a daily basis affect the planet and ecosystems. During Air Quality Awareness Week, try these tips to improve the air around your community:

Plant Some Greens
Leaves filter out the bad qualities of the air, including the carbon dioxide, and produce life-giving oxygen. They also grow fruits and vegetables that feed livestock and humans and keep us growing physically and spiritually. To improve the air quality in your home, consider purchasing leafy plants to place throughout the space. They will filter the air and bring in some positive energy.

Buy Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
Many of the ingredients in common cleaning products are harmful to the air and humans. Look for labels that are more green and eco-friendly. Avoid aerosol spray cans, as they can deplete the ozone and you can even make your own home cleaning solutions to totally avoid exposing your family to questionable ingredients. Vinegar water works well for cleaning countertops and surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms. It's a lot cheaper than ready-made solutions, too.

Clean Up After Your Pet
Animals can offer wonderful companionship and many pets are considered to be a part of the family. Our furry friends can be hazardous to our health, however. To keep the air clear, be sure to vacuum frequently so their hair and dander isn't causing breathing issues. Give your pet and his or her bedding a wash regularly to keep germs and dirt outside of your home. Plus, your house or apartment will smell much better when your pets and their areas are clean.

Do the Laundry
Don't forget to add curtains, bedding and blankets to your weekly laundry load. This large pieces of fabric can hold on to dust, allergens and even dust mites. A quick wash in hot water can minimize the effect of these air pollutants and make your home effortless to breath in. It's much easier to feel calm and at home in a space that doesn't make you sneeze or feel stuffy.

Save the Earth by Helping the Bees

Ilchi Lee believes people have the desire to help even if they won’t receive anything in return. Help create a sustainable world by assisting the bee population.

Bees are dying in large numbers because of the multitude of chemicals and pesticides that both home gardeners and big agriculture companies are using on their plants. Without the bees, much of the produce we enjoy would not be available. There would also not be food for animals because it wouldn't get pollinated.

In his book, "Brain Wave Vibration: Getting Back Into the Rhythm of a Happy, Healthy Life," Ilchi Lee states he believes that humans have the Noble Desire to help others without expecting anything in return. Although we need not require the bees to help us because we have made efforts to assist them and create a more sustainable world, their existence is vital to our survival in that they have a major role in helping food production. Help the planet by helping the bees. Here are a few ways to assist the insects in living and thriving:

Plant Some Flowers
The habitat that bees flourish in requires plenty of flowers. Whether you have a couple acres to till or a few pots on your patio, planting these flowers will feed bees:

  • Basil
  • Flowering broccoli
  • Snowdrops
  • Sunflowers
  • Dandelions
  • Tomatoes
  • Winter squash
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Lavender
  • Strawberries
  • Chives
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Pumpkins

Don't Use Chemicals
Many pest control solutions that can be purchased at your local gardening store contain amounts of neonicotinoid, a harmful pesticide that can cause colony collapse disorder and decimate the bees in the area. Instead of turning to store-bought options, use natural solutions to rid your garden of unwanted visitors. If you have a slug problem use a lime to make a juice trail around your plants. The slimy gastropods will not cross the line. You can also try placing shavings of ivory soap and a sprinkling of vegetable oil throughout your garden to deter nibblers like rabbits and deer. If you have a mite problem, add cayenne pepper and hot sauce to the ivory soap and you'll find they leave your garden alone.

Use Safe Bee Removal Techniques
When someone spots a beehive in their yard they may want to immediately kill the bees with an aerosol spray can type pest control. Instead of eliminating the bees from the planet, consider contacting a local beekeeper or beekeeping club to see if they offer safe removal services. If they do, they can come to your residence and take the bees and their hive away to a better place. This way the bees are out of your yard and don't pose a danger to your family and they will live on somewhere away from humans.

3 Sustainability Tips for Spring

Earth Citizens and all of Mother Earth’s children can make small changed to help protect the world’s natural resources. 

Spring is a wonderful time of year that prompts people to head outside, soak up some sun and explore the beauty of nature. As people spend more time outdoors, they are often reminded of the grave importance of protecting the planet's natural resources.

As Ilchi Lee teaches, living with the earth as the center of your principles is an integral part of being an Earth Citizen, not just during spring, but every single day. If you're looking for ways to live a healthy, sustainable life all year-round, try some of these suggestions:

Carry a Water Bottle
The warm weather and heightened activity may prompt you to drink more water, but avoid purchasing disposable water bottles that are a detriment to the environment. Rather, carry a sealable bottle with you and, when it's empty, fill the container up at a nearby water fountain. If everyone did this, we could spare the world of much of the non-biodegradable trash accumulating in the Pacific Ocean.

Spring Clean Wisely
This time of year is when you bring out the cleaning supplies to clear away the dust that has settled during the winter. However, you should stick to products that are environmentally friendly. Avoid cleaners that contain phosphate, chlorine or bleach, which are toxic to the earth. Fortunately, organic cleaning products are growing in popularity and can be purchased at increasingly affordable prices. Another option is to make your own cleaning supplies – nontoxic ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda can be combined to created a potent yet environmentally friendly all-purpose cleaner.

Choose Sunscreen with Sustainability in Mind
Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is essential, particularly when the weather begins to warm and you spend longer hours outdoors. When shopping for sunscreen, make sure to review the ingredients to ensure that the list does not include nanomaterials, which have been shown to be destructive to the environment. Organic, non-toxic varieties are generally best in terms of sustainability.

These simple tips can help Earth Citizens greatly reduce the negative impact on the earth. Pass these suggestions on to others to help further the efforts to save the world's natural resources.

Earth Citizens: Celebrating Earth Hour and Raise Environmental Awareness

During Earth Hour, people around the world show their solidarity with Mother Earth by shutting off their lights for 60 minutes.

Reducing humanity's carbon footprint is a growing concern as climate change becomes more evident each year. The emission of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide and methane, eats away at the atmosphere and leads to global warming, drastically upsetting the natural balance that makes this planet livable for human beings.

With climate change looming closely overhead, now is the time to take real, tangible action to save Mother Earth. As Ilchi Lee teaches, recognizing your role as an Earth Citizen is key, as is spreading the word to raise awareness among others. That's precisely what the Earth Hour movement strives to do.

Earth Hour is a worldwide event that asks all people to turn off their lights for the same span of 60 minutes. It began in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, though today it is based in Singapore and is backed by the World Wildlife Federation. In the past eight years, has grown to reach 138 countries and territories around the globe. The aim is not to make a massive reduction in the amount of energy used within that one hour (though a massive amount is saved), but rather to raise awareness and, in effect, make a much larger, long-term environmental impact.

In 2015, Earth Hour will take place March 28 at 8:30 p.m. local time. Join the millions of others who flip their light switches off to demonstrate their commitment to the planet.

Earth Hour, by helping teach others about the drastic effects of energy consumption and waste, aligns with Ilchi Lee's teachings. People must put Mother Earth at the core of their personal value systems, as Lee explains in "Earth Citizen: Recovering Our Humanity."

"Human beings need to acknowledge that their greatest allegiance should belong not to a human-designed government but to the power on which their very existence depends," explained Lee. "People must identify themselves as Earth Citizens before any other designation of identity. Through this simple, painless shift in thinking about ourselves and one another, I believe we can make great changes in the world and its destiny."

With awareness, effort and a shift in our set of values, humans can help maintain the world's valuable resources and keep Mother Earth alive and well for future generations.

3 Simple Tips for Sustainable Living

From making your own eco-friendly products to selecting energy efficient appliances, there are many ways to enhance sustainability. 

As Ilchi Lee emphasizes in his teachings, all citizens of the planet must live with Mother Earth in mind. However, with the modern world's focus on electronics, consumerism and comforts, it can be difficult to follow a lifestyle focused on sustainability. As Ilchi Lee explains in his book, "Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential," finding a natural sense of balance is key.

"Continuous external growth, like continuous inhaling, is not sustainable," Lee wrote. "But because we have been inhaling for so long, consuming for so long, even though we see that it can't go on this way, we don't know how to alter the pattern. We have to recover our natural sense of balance . . . only when we exhale can we inhale again, and that's how life continues."

With that in mind, consider these simple ways you can make everyday living more environmentally sustainable:

Opt Out of Junk Mail
Many people simply throw away the onslaught of flyers and other unwanted letters they receive in the mail. Even recycling these products is not enough – get yourself removed from these mailing lists altogether to reduce the volume of junk mail and, in turn, the number of trees and other resources wasted on these materials. Certain sites such as Catalog Choice allow you to opt out of several mailing lists at once.

Make Your Own Cleaning Products
Using eco-friendly cleaning supplies is a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint. However, the cost of such products can add up fast. Earth Easy recommends making your own non-toxic all-purpose cleaner using basic household ingredients: Mix a 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/2 gallon water for a cleaner that can be used on bathroom, kitchen and other surfaces throughout the home.

Shut Down at Night
You've probably heard it countless times from your parents: Turn off the lights when you're not using them. The same applies for all aspects of everyday living. Make sure to shut down your computer every night or when you will be away for an extended period. You should do the same for your monitor, printer, speakers, television and all other electronics. Additionally, select appliances and electronics developed for optimal energy efficiency.

What other small changes can you make in everyday life to increase sustainability?

Volunteering in your local community

It is your responsibility as a citizen of the world to make your community a better place to live.

It is your responsibility as a citizen of the world to make your community a better place to live. Volunteering your time, energy and wisdom to help improve the lives of those around you is extraordinarily beneficial. Committing to a cause is good for others as well as your own well being. Know how you can use your skills to fulfill your duty and positively impact your community.

Volunteer for others
Find out what is important to your community and commit your time and resources to those particular causes. If hunger and homelessness are prevalent issues in your area, volunteer your time at a shelter or prepare and serve meals at a local soup kitchen.

Also, consider the skills you can offer. For example, if you are a health care professional, think about offering services and medical opinions to those in need, or if you are a teacher, volunteer at an after school program and give lessons. Utilizing your abilities is a great way to connect with your community, help out and offer your expertise.

Another option to consider is volunteering to clean up trash and other debris along a highway or in a local park. You can help improve your environment, contribute to a more green world and do your part to help the earth.

Reach out and ask where your services might be helpful, or browse the Internet for opportunities available in your community.

Volunteer for yourself
According to World Volunteer Web, dedicating your time to others has number of advantages. You can grow alongside other volunteers, learn new skills and help establish a sense of solidarity and teamwork.

In addition, Idealist noted that those who volunteer feel more fulfilled. Working toward a goal or cause gives you the chance to take a break from every day stresses and it can help you feel valued by your community.

The Corporation for National & Community Service also noted that dedicating your time and energy to help others can benefit your overall well-being. You can live a healthier life by volunteering and finding unique ways to contribute to society.

Promoting a more sustainable and peaceful world is important to Ilchi Lee. Taking time out of your day to help improve the community and make the world a better place. How can you reach out and provide your time and services to contribute to a better world?

Embracing green living in your home

As citizens of the world, it is our responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint.

As citizens of the world, it is our responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint. By tweaking your lifestyle, you can make your home greener and contribute to a more sustainable world. You can easily make a few changes to the way that you operate your home and become more earth friendly.

Improvements for your bathroom and kitchen
Each room in your home may be responsible for contributing waste and contaminants to the environment. Evaluate each area of your residence and make a few simple changes to help improve your environmental impact.

Your kitchen is a integral part of your daily life. There may be a great deal of waste that occurs in this space. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, you actually may be wasting more water by washing your dishes by hand. If you do not have a dishwasher, invest in an energy-efficient unit. This can help you save water.

In addition, your garbage may have a number of recyclable items inside. Always break down any cardboard, paper products, cans or glass and recycle these items. You can also start a compost pile for a garden or any landscaping around your home. Use food scraps, tea bags or egg shells to help add nitrogen and carbon to your soil, according to Eartheasy.com.

Your bathroom is another room that may be behind a great deal of water consumption. According to the EPA, approximately 30 percent of a home's water use occurs in this area of the house. Toilets are often the culprit behind this. Consider investing in a composting toilet or a WaterSense bowl. You can save on your water bill and help contribute to a greener world.

Cleaning products
Some of the harsh chemicals in cleaning products may be dangerous and harmful to the environment. Consider a natural alternative that still keeps your home sparkling and beautiful. Eco Cycle recommended using baking soda to deodorize, and when added to warm water, it serves as an effective cleaning element.

White vinegar or lemon juice are great cleaning alternatives in the kitchen. They both cut through stubborn kitchen grease, and lemon has a pleasant scent.

To create a general household cleaner from safe ingredients, mix baking soda, borax, vinegar and water. Borax is a disinfectant, and you can find it near laundry soaps at the store.

Ilchi Lee is a proud advocate of a peaceful, sustainable world. Improving the world around us is crucial to that vision. Living a greener life at home can help enhance our lives. How can you make changes to live a green lifestyle?