welcome to DEEP GREEN blog!

Greetings! This blog is dedicated to helping you reduce your eco-footprint for personal and planetary benefit.

Although a low-footprint lifestyle is fun and rewarding, it is not always easy, even if you are doing it for your own benefit (for example, to attain financial freedom; to free up your time; to radically simplify your life so you can focus on what really matters to you.) The dominant mainstream culture has waste and hyper-consumerism baked into every layer of life. A person setting out to live light on the earth encounters many obstacles both physical and cultural. (Car-dependent housing developments; unavoidable single-use plastics; buildings designed to require climate control 24-7 … to name just a few.)

That’s where this blog comes in. I’m here to offer you tips, resources, and moral support. The posts aren’t in any particular order; I write about things as they pop into my mind. If you’re new here, you might find it helpful to start by reading these posts:

Cultural Roots of the Eco Crisis

Footprint Isn’t Everything

You could also start by reading my book DEEP GREEN, a concise orderly guide to crafting your own ultra-low-footprint lifestyle. You can read it for free here on this blog; and you can order your own print copy as well. Also, since the book was published way back in 2017, I have added a 2023 preface (which is currently available only here online since I didn’t get it done before deciding to make a mini print run of 50 copies for the FRESH Book Festival).

A final note: I don’t post here every day. I might even go weeks or months without posting. Important as writing is to my mission, it’s only one of my channels for actualizing the “Grassroots Green Mobilization.” Whether or not you see new posts on this blog, I am always active and always here for you. You can engage with me on Facebook or Twitter; you can email or call me; you can book me to give a talk, presentation, or workshop for your group.

Enjoy this blog, and thanks for helping me create a kinder, saner, greener world!

Let’s stop “othering” China and other “big bad polluters”

We environmentalists have a sad habit of wanting to “other” other countries, as well as the petroleum industry etc. A lot of my fellow environmentalists like to share memes about how China is a big bad polluter and so on.

I guess it’s sort of human nature, to not want to face up to the pain. We care passionately about the environment, ecosystems, fellow creatures — and the idea that we are causing so much damage just by trying to get our daily needs met is very painful.

But the good news is it doesn’t have to be that way; that’s my basic message in my book and blog and other platforms.

And: Finger-pointing doesn’t solve things. What does help start to get the solution happening, is looking in the mirror; looking at what we ourselves can do.

And regarding China: We are all connected. A lot of China’s pollution comes from USA consumer demand. Also if it’s pollution per capita, USA probably tops the list, or close to it.

World Population Review offers a useful graphic representation of countries’ footprints from a per capita standpoint:


The positive flipside is that our country (USA, and also places with certain similarities of lifestyle such as Canada and Australia) has a lot of power to make change for the better if we put our attention in that direction.

That applies particularly to us Boomers, with our spending power and the sheer numbers of us.

Note, certain petro-intensive economies such as Qatar, Dubai in the UAE do have a higher per capita footprint than USA but they are the rare exception.

Would you like to know your personal footprint and get some tips and inspiration for reducing? Footprint Calculator is a page I’ve been using for awhile to keep rough track of my personal footprint:


My footprint seems to vary a lot between 0.6 earths and 1.5 earths depending on how I calculate my household size, and how much local food I’m eating that week.

But of course, personal changes are no substitute for activism, and I will always be an ACTIVIST first, pushing for policies and infrastructure that support/allow sustainable practices among the general population. It’s no good if I’m living comfortably and happily with my thrifty lifestyle, but other people do not have the same access and opportunities. If it’s not healthy and equitable for all of us, it’s not healthy for the planet.

To get back to the original header of this post: We need to stop othering China and other so-called “big bad polluters.” And instead, if we really want to get to the roots of change, we need to first look in the mirror. LITM!!

Cooking with the sun; and an intro to “food-desert fusion cuisine”

Solar cooking yesterday afternoon. Today’s lunch was cheesy biscuits. Canned biscuit dough smashed flat in the pan, then topped with sliced onion and a bit of butter, and some shredded cheese. Jalapeños on one half.

For veggies, I munched on some celery stalks, and also picked some Okinawa spinach from my little garden. Dressing was the famous super-popular Judah’s salad dressing made by Kale Cafe Juice Bar & Vegan Cuisine.

My name for my genre of cooking is “food-desert fusion cuisine.” Whatever groceries I can obtain within a 25-minute walk of my house. (The nearest full-size grocery stores are 2 to 3 miles away, which makes this area a food desert.)

Ideally, every neighborhood would have a full grocery store within a 10-minute walk. That’s how it traditionally was in neighborhoods. Grocery store, drugstore, and other basic essential needs all within the neighborhood.

My friend Joanne’s wonderful little organic grocery shop, Natural Concepts Revisited LLC, is about a 25-minute brisk walk, over the ISB bridge. She sells local fresh vegetables and fruits, all organic, and packaged foods, nutritional supplements, coffees and teas, and much more. She also hosts classes and vendors’ markets. A real community resource!

Another place I get groceries is a minimart in my neighborhood, where the owner very kindly tries to meet people’s grocery needs to some degree. (That minimart, about a 5-minute walk from my house, is where I got the canned biscuits and shredded cheese and the butter, well actually margarine since they didn’t have any butter.)

Other sources of groceries in walking distance include my little garden, as well as whatever tasty wild nutritious edibles I find growing nearby, which at some times of the year is actually quite a lot – unless the owners of empty lots are being really aggressive about mowing. (I always hate to see a whole field of free food, free herbal medicine, and beautiful wildflowers that provide food & habitat for other species get mowed down to dust!).

There is something humorous yet very practical about a meal that combines fresh-picked wild plants or garden veggies with canned biscuits from the neighborhood minimart, and / or a can of beans left over from the weekly food distribution at the church down the street.

(People who go to the church on Wednesdays to pick up their mixed bag of groceries sometimes leave some of the items on the sidewalk nearby. Maybe because the cans get too heavy to carry home, or maybe they just don’t like canned beans, or maybe their cabinets are full already. Me, I make use of these curbside windfalls to swap out my hurricane rations. Yesterday along with some cans of beans was an extra score, two big bags of raisins!)

I have fun doing this kind of cooking challenge, but I also do it to raise awareness of food deserts, nutritious wild edible plants, the challenges to aging in place, and the need for walkable communities where all have access to basic services.

The ideal would be if we were growing food all over the city. Fruit trees, nuts, vegetables in every neighborhood. And of course a full grocery store in every neighborhood, with lots of fresh produce and other high-quality groceries.

I used to get a very high percentage of my groceries from the Saturday farmers’ market downtown, til it got shut down.

Many people I know use grocery delivery services, which are a great help for people who don’t drive.

Also, a lot of people order food items from Amazon or other online merchants. I myself purchased two big bags of protein powder a while back from a small business I met on TikTok.

#solarcooking #renewableenergy #passivesolar #fooddesertfusioncuisine #PrepperHomeEc #offgrid

You can see pix here.

Recharging my 4Patriots generator with its included solar panel

Testing the solar-panel charge mode of my 4Patriots Sidekick. A compact, handy 300W unit, the Sidekick is the smallest model offered by 4Patriots and is perfect for our household electricity needs, which in times of emergency mainly just consist of keeping our phones charged.

(And in everyday non-emergency times, it’s perfect for recharging my phone/ebook device while I’m glamping in my super stylish urban offgrid she-shed! <winky heart smile>)

There is also a handy LED lamp built-into the generator, which not only makes a super reading light if I’m reading a paper book while glamping in the she-shed, but for times of emergency also has an SOS signal flash mode.

And, I can also use this baby to power my little coffee-grinder, and my Bullet smoothie maker! Tested it out on both and it works great!

The solar panel is a 40W that folds very compactly, Very convenient and easy to stow and easy to use and it seems to work pretty good. Charging is very very slow, but interestingly enough, charging indoors from the AC wall outlet to DC unit is very very slow as well, and at least with the solar panel I’m not having to pay FPL to recharge the unit ha ha.

By the way, the manufacturer estimated charging time for the unit is seven hours. That’s quite substantial, but also in real life it seems to take significantly longer than seven hours. (Update: actually not sure about that, I lost track of the time. I now think it may be pretty close to the seven hours rated by the manufacturer.)

Overall, I am pretty happy with this unit, but the lengthy recharge time is inconvenient. BUT WAIT!! Great news!! — I just now walked back down to the foot of my driveway to check on the charging status, and saw that it had suddenly reached 100% charged!

So either the solar panels work a lot better than indoor AC-wall-socket-to-DC charging mode, or the battery just charges very abruptly, or maybe both.

But whatever the case, I am very happy with how my charging experiment with the solar panel went today. And I’m very happy with this 4Patriots Sidekick unit.

By the way, 4Patriots offers a full line of different-size generators, some of them capable of powering a refrigerator, air conditioner, or even a freezer. But for needs like that, I myself have always found the “soft skills” of living without refrigeration / freezer capability to be a lot more convenient and robust than relying on a generator for such high-wattage needs.

The manufacturer actually recommends running the unit down to zero at least once every few months to keep the battery in shape. This fits in just fine with my newfound she-shed glamping habit. And I will always make sure it’s fully charged going into hurricane season.

Yeah, you can just call me the Martha Stewart of the zombie apocalypse <wink>.

You can see pics here of the setup charging in my driveway.

#DoomerWithASmile #PrepperHomeEc

Support for radical reduction

Q from my Facebook feed this morning (specifically, from the Deep Adaptation group):

“Have you come across the idea that the industrial countries need to lower their production and consumption of everything by 75 percent? Or even more?”

My answer:

Yes! I have come across this thought. That people in the rich industrialized nations need to radically cut their footprint/consumption. In fact, I have even seen the figure as 90% reduction. And I’m part of a movement of people who are voluntarily doing it.

Not that we always achieve that level, but even by aiming for it we are radically reducing. Of course, personal reductions are meaningless unless they are combined with activism, public advocacy, beneficial contagion. All of which we strive to do also.

People interested in exploring this might like to check out the Facebook group Riot for Austerity (also known as the 90% Reduction Challenge).

A deeply related concept is Degrowth. I suggest the Facebook group Degrowth – join the revolution. You can also probably find Degrowth people on other channels by googling.

Some Deep Adaptation and Degrowth members are also members of the Riot for Austerity / 90% Reduction Challenge group, and vice versa.

PS. This thread I am referring to actually goes deeper, to ask how we might go about using advertising and marketing to persuade people to make such big changes.

The OP says: “Often, marketing stories are something that helps us forget our common sense and buy yet another thing that we don’t actually need. How could these stories change so that they remind us of our common sense and we realise we don’t actually need the thing that we see advertised?”

If this avenue of inquiry and activity sparks your interest at all, it’s worth joining the DA Facebook group just for this thread. But a lot of us in climate activist circles right now are getting more into this topic of beneficial marketing and advertising, so you are likely to run across this topic in other groups as well! It’s not a moment too soon.

More thoughts I wrote on that same thread today – Dec 7:

One thing that strikes me, as I am reading this wonderful thread, is that marketing and advertising have their original roots in pure, grassroots, person-to-person word of mouth.

In other words, people just telling each other about things that are going well for them. Things that they like, be it a household tool or a cooking tip or a gardening show or a great new book on household thrift, or a DIY upcycle group or what have you.

Definitely a lot of word-of-mouth transmission around things that save money and human energy has always been a big part of every day chatter amongst neighbors and friends. And now that we have online channels, the chatter can be greatly amplified to the benefit of people and planet.

Thank you so much [OP] for starting this thread, and all who are contributing. Whatever you want to call it be at cultural transmission or marketing or beneficial contagion, I strongly believe that it is the core of healing planetary ecosystems as well as repairing the very torn social fabric of our communities.

It’s a joy to have so many kind, compassionate, intelligent people to do this work with. Thank you all!

And this:

One type of marketing that was not made to sell products, but was made to “sell” ideas, is the posters that governments printed during World War II to get citizens to emotionally buy in to government policies (rationing etc).

Without emotional buy-in to wartime austerity measures, the governments knew that citizen noncompliance would be rampant.

Of course there was still a lot of noncompliance, but not nearly as much as there might have been.

The government policies in that case were meant to enlist citizens in conserving resources so that those resources could be channeled into war.

Right now, the “war” we must wage is a war on consumerism, climate change, ecosystems destruction.

We could make posters for this “war effort.”

And now that we are all online publishers, we wouldn’t even necessarily have the expense of mass printing. Although people could choose to print small batches and take them to neighborhood meetings etc.

People often find vintage posters appealing, and we can make use of that.

Some of us are graphic designers, illustrators, copywriters, marketers, and so on — and we can use our skills to make charming vintage-style posters that are pointing toward a nature-based, degrowth future.

Other poster genres that people find appealing include sci-fi, and solarpunk.

No use getting mad at the oil companies

I do understand getting upset about the high profits of the oil companies. It is in fact very upsetting!

Never know for sure what you read online, but for what it’s worth, a page I follow just posted this:

Exxon and Chevron have announced staggering Q3 profits.

Exxon: $9.1 billion profit
Chevron: $5.7 billion profit

Fellow environmentalists naturally want to think that Big Oil is the root of all evil.

And yet … people keep driving and driving and driving.

Of course, it would help if our society would invest more in bus system & passenger rail.

And, it would help if citizens and local governments would push back harder against sprawl residential development. And push in favor of infill commercial development of grocery stores and other essential shops that would help communities become more walkable again.

End-of-life planning, wills, & so on

Someone started a good thread on Permies on this topic.

I shared in response:

What a great thread! This is a topic I’ve given a lot of thought to, as a single person with no children. A couple years back I had an attorney (who is also a neighbor!) draw up a living will, Last Will & Testament, and power of attorney documents for me. It only cost about US$500 which I felt was a very worthwhile investment.

My lifestyle is very different from that of my siblings. I dropped out of the middle claas many years ago, and my income has been at or well below the poverty level for some years now. I don’t believe in keeping a lot of money around; I don’t invest in Wall Street or other funds etc.

I am a huge believer in the eight forms of capital. The idea that there are so many different kinds of capital other than money, and that they are in many ways much more stable. Examples include buildings, tools, and social capital. 

Because my financial path has been very different from that of my siblings, who have regular jobs and 401(k)s and that kind of thing, I felt it was particularly important to try to make sure they don’t get stuck with some kind of financial burden should I die before them. The fact that I live geographically distant from the rest of my family makes this even more important; I don’t want them to have to mess with a lot of administrative stuff from several hundred miles away. 

Most of my wealth is in the form of my house, which is mortgage-free. I also have a fractional ownership in a permaculture farm/learning center in another part of the state, and I keep a bit of money in the bank for home repairs and such.

Mainly I try to keep my money flowing in the local economy. Which is beneficial to me and to the local economy, but my siblings are not going to see financial benefit from that.

One thing I haven’t done yet, but plan to do, is write up a letter about my philosophy of finances and life. So that if I die suddenly, they might not agree with my unconventional money choices but they will at least know that I gave respectful thought and loving care to how I spent and used my portion of the inheritance that we got from our parents.

Can we stop fighting density! Please!

Dear Fellow Earth Guardians!

I hope you’ve been enjoying this holiday season, however you choose to spend it. If you’re like me, you probably never really take off your eco activist hat even on holidays!

One big thing a lot of us worry about is development that will harm our local environment. But when we fight certain kinds of development, we often end up making things worse.

For example: Many environmentalists fight density. This past week I heard about yet another development getting downgraded to “low-density residential.” That might sound good, but it’s actually bad news.

To explain why, I found this good blog post that concisely summarizes the problems associated with low-density development. See link to full article below.

(If you’re already among those of us who recognize that density isn’t the horrible evil thing some environmentalists think it is, this article will give you some good talking points for communicating with “the other side.”)


“A large percentage of Americans LOVE low-density residential living, and regularly fight against any proposal that would bring more compact development anywhere near them.

“But low-density development has many problems – problems that a growing number of Americans are beginning to recognize. …

“The naive, misguided knee-jerk ‘solution’ is to fight for lower densities, which, of course, simply makes things worse. Increasingly, what this means is that people who should know better (liberals, intellectuals, greens) are urging ‘no growth’ and ‘no change,’and fighting AGAINST smart growth tactics — thereby unintentionally aligning themselves with the black hat sprawl developers. …”


Hope you find this helpful! I look forward to hearing your thoughts. By the way, this whole blog looks like a good resource for urbanism.

On a related note, this coming week I will be hosting a discussion on “Aging in Place.”
Low-density residential developments are some of the worst places for our elderly citizens, especially those who live alone.
The discussion is happening Wednesday, November 29 at 4pm. At the Unitarian Universalist congregation of Ormond Beach, 56 N. Halifax, Ormond Beach 32176. It will be in person, and if possible also by zoom or Facebook Live.