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'Living the 1.5 Degree Lifestyle': Threading the Needle Between Personal and Societal Responsibility – Treehugger

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Treehugger / Photo Illustration by Catherine Song / New Society Publishers
When Treehugger design editor Lloyd Alter reviewed my book on climate hypocrisy, he noted he’d been nervous and reticent to read it—having just published his own book: “Living the 1.5 Degree Lifestyle.” I confess I had my own reluctance to dive into his. The books overlap in the subject matter just enough that I was concerned about a) a fundamentally divergent viewpoint among colleagues (awkward!) or b) so much overlap that one or the other was redundant (even worse!).
Yet what I found, digging in, is that Alter has written a rather fascinating, personal, and decidedly unique exploration of “green living.” It’s one that tests and challenges the much-touted notion that “100 Companies” are responsible for the climate crisis, but also avoids the trap of suggesting that societal-level decarbonization can be achieved through “personal responsibility” alone. 

Perhaps most interesting, to me, was how Alter’s year-long experiment of trying to live within our climatic boundaries revealed just how interrelated our own choices are with the choices of those around us. In the chapter on What We Eat, for example, Alter is very open about the judgment calls he has to make to even assign a number to a simple takeout meal. Here he tries to drill down into the delivery component alone: 
You get the idea. And the transparency with which Alter shares the data—and his rationale for how it is assigned—is a refreshingly honest look at how difficult it is to even separate one person’s footprint from another’s. 

It’s a conundrum I have mulled myself. If I go to see a band that is touring from overseas, for example, do the travel-related carbon emissions belong to the band? Or do a portion of them belong to me? If my boss insists I must travel for work, do my air miles accrue on my environmental RAP sheet or that of the company I work for? These are rabbit holes we can easily get lost in forever.
What Alter has done with his book is offer a transparent look at the process of trying to answer these questions—and some suggestions for where we might land. But for the most part, he manages to avoid dogmatic pronouncements or absolute rules.

He also, to my relief, acknowledges the inherent inequities and systemic differences that make access to low carbon lifestyles easy for some, and more challenging for others:

It’s this humility, which is threaded throughout the book, that saves it from becoming a holier-than-thou exercise in gatekeeping or a call for purity, and instead becomes a rather practical look at identifying when and where it makes sense to focus your efforts. 

Alter is frank, for example, about the fact that he wasn’t willing to go fully vegan—and that because a vegetarian diet is pretty comparable (emissions wise, at least) to a diet that simply avoids red meat, he has chosen to go the easy route. He also encourages us to forget about unplugging every phone charger (pointless) and is even somewhat ambivalent about turning out the lights—as long as they are LEDs. Instead, he suggests a strong focus on a few key areas of our lives: 

And while his numbers—which are neatly spread-sheeted—offer a pathway for folks able or willing to ‘go all the way’ to achieve a 1.5 Degree Lifestyle, they also serve as a useful measure of where all of us can have a meaningful impact, without obsessing over every little thing.  
That’s not to say I don’t have quibbles. One of the primary concerns I have always had about the focus on individual carbon footprints is that they can distract us from where responsibility lies. Alter is someone who has written about the ways that industry uses recycling to distract us from producer responsibility, so it’s not surprising that he takes some deep and interesting dives into the political and corporate maneuverings that shape so much of the world around us. And he is adamant that we should be pursuing political and legal avenues too. 
Yet Alter’s core assertion—that demand drives production, and that we can choose to abstain and resist—does occasionally run the risk of letting the powerful off the hook. It’s hard, after all, to talk about the things we can do, whether it’s eating smaller portion sizes, or avoiding the car, without it sounding like a should. And as soon as we get into the territory of telling our neighbors and citizens what they should do, we can lose sight of the structures and forces that made the harmful behaviors the default ones in the first place. 
Here, for example, he looks at our disposable coffee culture: 
True, we can choose to seek out coffee shops that still offer ceramic cups. Indeed, I often do seek it myself. But we must also recognize that the more time we spend encouraging each other to do so—or worse, admonishing others for not doing so—is time not spent exploring how the oil industry has pushed disposable plastics and packaging every which way that it can. The same is true for portion sizes. Or transport choices. Or any number of other lifestyle factors. 

"It can be unlearned" is true, to a degree. But so too is the idea that "it" can be regulated, reformed, or even legislated out of existence. As Alter himself recognizes, we need to create a system that makes that ceramic cup the norm, not the exception, that makes biking easier than driving a car, and that makes it so that every time I turn on the light, it’s running on renewables—without the need for me to think about it. The extent to which voluntary abstinence is useful, in this regard, is the extent to which it galvanizes a movement that brings about changes on a much wider scale.

As I was finishing “Living the 1.5 Degree Lifestyle,” I found myself reflecting on another book—”The Ministry for the Future” by Kim Stanley Robinson. In that work of speculative fiction, Robinson tells the story of how humanity survived climate change, weaving a global tale of many different actors doing many different things to shift the paradigm. Among those actors were global politicians, aid workers, refugees, activists, conservationists, and even some violent insurrectionists. Included among those groups were organizations like The 2,000 Watt Society (apparently a real group) who tried to model what it looks like to live with a fair share of energy resources.  

I believe the efforts of Alter and others to live as close to a sustainable lifestyle as possible, in a society that encourages the opposite: play a similar role to that of the 2000 Watt Society in Robinson’s book. There’s no way they’ll ever win enough hardcore converts to the cause to get us where we need to go, but they don’t have to. Instead, they serve to light the way by identifying and amplifying where structural challenges lie. They also help the rest of us—however imperfect we might be—to find places where we can start moving in the right direction. 

Living the 1.5 Degree Lifestyle” is available from New Society Publishers, and it makes excellent companion reading to a certain, other, recently published tome. 
Unsworth, Kerrie L et al. “Is Dealing with Climate Change a Corporation's Responsibility? A Social Contract Perspective.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 7, no. 1212, 2016, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01212
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Health and Lifestyle

Mount Laurel police asks public's help in finding child – Courier Post

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MOUNT LAUREL – Police are asking the public’s help in finding a 6-year-old girl who was allegedly abducted by her non-custodial mother.
The girl, Grace Craytor of Pennsauken, was last seen around 7:10 p.m. Monday with her mother, Kristina Maletteri, at Lifetime Fitness in Mount Laurel, according to township police.
The girl’s father, who has a full custody order for Grace, had invited Maletteri to swim with the child during a supervised visit at the facility at Church and Fellowship roads, said a police account.
 “At some point, Ms. Maletteri is said to have taken her daughter and left the area without consent,” the account said.
Maletteri is known to drive a 2017 silver Audi Q3 with New Jersey license plates “S64MPY.”
The missing child is 46 inches tall, 70 pounds, with blonde hair and hazel eyes, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Mount Laurel police at 856-234-8300 or the confidential tip line 856-234-1414, extension 1599.
Tips can also be emailed to Lamaro@mountlaurelpd.org.
Jim Walsh covers public safety, economic development and other beats for the Courier-Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal.
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Healthy Snacks for the Office – How to Pack Food for Work – menshealth.com

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Our product picks are editor-tested, expert-approved. We may earn a commission through links on our site.
Allow these experts to help pack your lunchbox.
Buh-bye, vending machine. Here are four easy ways to boost your energy at work. Plus, three moves to make any lunch meeting extra appetizing.
Combine carbs and protein for long-lasting energy, says Marisa Moore, R.D.N., an integrative dietitian. Mix roasted, lightly salted sunflower seeds and dried blueberries in a small jar for a snack that’s sweet, salty, and crunchy. Bonus: The unsaturated fats in the seeds will keep you feeling full.
A favorite of Cara Harbstreet, R.D., of Street Smart Nutrition, is protein- and omega-3-rich tuna or salmon (StarKist makes packaged versions) spread on sliced cucumbers or mini bell peppers. Drizzle with your favorite hot sauce for a tiny yet protein-packed meal.
Jordan Mazur, R.D., director of nutrition for the San Francisco 49ers, suggests these key ingredients: shredded rotisserie chicken for lean protein; pistachios, walnuts, pumpkin seeds,dried tart cherries, and dark chocolate chips for a healthy trail mix; and antioxidant-rich blueberries or grapes.
Don’t go more than three to four hours without eating, to help keep your blood sugar steady. You can avoid mindless snacking by setting an alarm to get up every hour instead of reaching for the chips, says Kelly Hogan Laubinger, R.D
As we head back to the office, those DIY outdoor lunches can still be the thing to do.
TRY A HEARTY SALAD IN A JAR, says Moore. Build it from the bottom up: Start with a vinaigrette, then add chickpeas, carrots, tomatoes, olives, and cucumbers. Add feta to the top for a salty, tangy finish. Close, and shake when ready to eat.
REINVENT YOUR SANDWICH. Slapping protein and a salad’s worth of greens between whole-grain bread works well, too: Try sliced turkey or canned tuna, topped with sprouts, cucumbers, leafy greens, avocado, and tomato.
MAKE A HEALTHY CHEESE BOARD, says Harbstreet. Go with hard cheeses like cheddar and Gouda and a soft cheese like cottage. Pair pita bread or crispy crackers with jerky or low-sodium deli meats. Then toss in pistachios and blueberries.
This article appears in the October 2021 issue of Men’s Health.

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Health and Lifestyle

Alyson Chu named Mrs. Winter Garden America – West Orange Times & Windermere Observer

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Alyson Chu has created a healthy lifestyle for herself and her family, and she wants to share it with others. The West Orange County resident accepted the Mrs. Winter Garden America title in October, and, through her platform, is partnering with Shepherd’s Hope and its new Healthy Eating Active Lifestyle program.
Chu will compete Feb. 25 and 26, 2022, at the Westgate Resort Orlando for the title of Mrs. Florida America 2022. She is the first person to hold the Mrs. Winter Garden Florida title.

 Email: [email protected]
 Instagram: @_alysonpaige_ 
 Facebook: Alyson Chu
 LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/alysonchu
Contestants are nominated by members of the pageant committee.
“Someone from the committee had known about me in the community and reached out … and (wanted) me to apply and be considered for the role,” Chu said.
She went through the application and interview process before the title was bestowed upon her. She is one of about 20 contestants vying for the crown at the state level.
As Mrs. Winter Garden, Chu is available to speak to organizations and community groups sharing her story and her platform of healthy living. She already has spoken to students at Maxey Elementary School about healthy eating and staying active, as well as a group of senior citizens at the West Orange Neighborhood Center.
Chu said she did her own research after accepting her title, wanting to select an organization that allowed her to give back to the community but also aligned with the healthy lifestyle she has embraced. She reached out to Healthy West Orange, which directed her to Shepherd’s Hope.
“I went to go tour their facility about a month ago, and I was so taken aback by all the services they offer and all the new projects they offer,” she said. “The biggest thing for them is making more people aware that they’re located there and the services they offer.”
Her goal is to raise awareness of Shepherd’s Hope’s HEAL program, which promotes eating healthy and staying active. It is slated to start in the new year.
“HEAL addresses your mind, body and soul,” Chu said. “Examples are eating healthy foods, growing healthy foods, exercising (and) practicing mindfulness. Another part is mental health, and I’m proud to be working with Victoria’s Voice.”
This foundation was started after the death of Victoria Siegel, the 18-year-old daughter of David and Jackie Siegel, who died of a drug overdose in 2015.
Chu said she is excited about this next chapter in her life and the opportunity to help others. She has lived in Central Florida since 2007, and she and her husband Ryan, moved to Winter Garden in 2016. They have a 3-year-old daughter, Aliyah.
“We definitely fell in love with the sense of community the city has to offer,” she said.
The Mrs. Florida America Pageant is a part of the Mrs. America Organization.
The 2022 pageant is Feb. 25 and 26, when Brittany Carson, the 2021 Mrs. Florida America, will be on hand to crown her successor. Carson, a native Floridian born and raised in Central Florida, is an advanced practice nurse practitioner caring for critical patients in the emergency room setting. Her platform is child safety and drug prevention.
Sponsorship is key to being a successful pageant contestant. Chu has several sponsors but is looking for others who can support her platform and her bid for Mrs. Florida America.
“If anyone would like to support my cause, please email me,” she said. “I have some great opportunities that showcase local businesses that help support a healthy lifestyle. I will be working with Shepherd's Hope organization, and a portion of the sponsorships will be helping families in need by expanding outreach and providing healthy meals.”
She also has been working with local farms creating healthy food baskets and giving them to families in need, she said.
“I wanted to do this because I wanted to create a legacy for my daughter to know me as more than just her mommy, but someone who wanted to help give back to her community and help others in need,” Chu said. “I want to continue to show my daughter what it means to live a healthy lifestyle and build a strong foundation.”
 
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Amy Quesinberry is the community editor of the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. She was born and raised in Winter Garden, grew up reading the community newspaper and has been employed there as a writer, photographer and editor since 1990….
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