Sunday, April 19, 2009

Being Green

Last year, my friend gave me a book, her Chinese translation of the English book, it is titled “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - A Year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingsolver (with Steven L. Hoff and Camille Kingsolver).

The author recorded one year of life, in which she and her family lived only on the animals and vegetables produced either by themselves or by the locals. The book is informative and humorous; it is fun to read. After I finished the Chinese translation, I read the original English book. I learned a great deal. One example is the asparagus, I never knew that asparagus grows into a four-foot tree; the shoots grow so fast that one can tell when it is growing; there was a 2500 years old recipe for it. There are many other things I learned from this book, the most important things I learned are food itself and food carbon emissions.

Before I read this book, I knew that United States (our cars, factories, people and cows) contributes 25 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide, but I did not know that our food choices count 30 percent of our carbon emissions. A big portion of the money we paid for food is actually paid for shipping. I feel that I am responsible for my own carbon footprint. When I finished the book, I decide to buy more local food from farmer market.

I also thought about to be a green arranger by using more local flowers. Since I regularly donate flower arrangements to the office lobby at my work and there is a large yard with trees and plants, I talked to my director about being green and got permission to use the floral materials in the yard. She suggested that I could put a bucket in the kitchen to accept floral donations from coworkers’ yard. I followed her suggestion. So far, I did not receive any donation yet, but I am sure that I will get some later.

In early March, I helped with taking down at Ikebana International Flower Show, I picked up a few quince branches that were dumped by people. I arranged them in the office lobby to form a frame. Used the frame, I first inserted a few calalilies given by a friend, then some azaleas, later replaced with branches from sweet pea bush (polygala myrtifolia). I have challenged myself to provide flower arrangements at work all year long and only use the floral materials from people’s yard and dumpsters. I will report how that goes on next year’s earth day.

Enjoy the flower arrangements, Happy Monday and Happy Earth Day!

In Friendship through Flowers,

The pig in the picture: few readers asked me about the pig in the picture. I had no idea who placed it there. I relocated it, few hours later, I found the pig was back in the same spot. I relocated it again and it was back once again. I gave up. The flower arrangement and the pig have shared the same table since and they are in harmony now.


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