Discover more from Priscilla’s Newsletter
Our natural world can be a resilient engine of regeneration. We just need to give her some space, so that she can show us what she can do ~ Enric Sala
It’s mid-summer already and it’s been a hot one. Hope you are managing to stay cool wherever you are. Thank you for joining me and welcome if this is your first time reading my Newsletter, which is driven by my deep love for nature. We are also nature after all. Previously, I published a monthly (then quarterly) Almanac Newsletter, from 2009 until 2020, (92 issues) about everything positive happening in the environment and about the wonderful people doing amazing work to better our planet. This Newsletter also shares inspiring stories with a greater focus on feeling hopeful for the future. Hope is a motivator. And so, in this issue, my hope is that you are motivated to read all the stories and find something that inspires you, starting with one that has an impact on your health (if you are a tea drinker). Other stories include Sustainable Delivery Boats; a Bus Shelter made with 98% recycled materials; a great tip on what to do with Zucchini, especially those enormous ones (which I have several) and about my recent visit to Paris and the Good Planet Foundation. Enjoy!
#1- Organic Tea
Do you know why I only drink organic tea (as opposed to conventional teas). I started when I found out years ago that conventionally grown tea is heavily sprayed with pesticides, which aren’t washed off after the leaves are harvested and dried. Yuck.
Furthermore, those “silken tea bags” are actually made of plastic, where billions of microplastics have been found. Also, many teas have added flavorings, extracts and fillers. Just as with other store bought foods, it’s a good idea to check the ingredients before purchasing.
I have found that a much healthier alternative is loose organic tea. I store my tea in a reusable glass jar, and scoop up a spoonful into one of my mesh strainers, which I use either in a stainless steel travel mug or a ceramic mug. Once I have had my tea, I add the used tea leaves to my compost pail.
My favorite brand is Frontier Co-Op, where I buy my tea in bulk and store it in the fridge. I also keep a glass jar full for regular use in my pantry.
Frontier Co-op was one of the first suppliers to actively advocate organic products and organic agriculture, and have carried organic products since 1978.
Movie about Tea
I highly recommend the documentary All In This Tea, which was made in 2007. The film follows world-renowned tea expert David Lee Hoffman to remote regions of China in search of the best handmade teas in existence. It’s fascinating.
It’s available for rent via Vimeo.
#2- Sustainable Delivery Boats
- Grain de Sale and Schooner Apollonia -
Grain de Sail
- currently on its way back to France -
Grain de Sail wines ships organic and biodynamic wines from France to NYC with the first modern cargo sailboat.
Thanks to the power of the wind, they ship wines and spirits from France to the United States of America with the lowest possible environmental impact.
They believe the traditional way of transporting by sailboat puts not only sustainability back into the mix but also people. Our vision is to operate the world’s first modern cargo sailboat shipping routes between Europe and the Americas. By harnessing the power of the wind, Grain de Sail can produce and sell great gastronomic products with a low carbon footprint to cross-Atlantic consumers.
On your side of the Atlantic, what we mean by great gastronomic products are never seen artisanal French wines made by amazing winemakers who 100% shares our values: Taste, adventure and sustainable farming.
Learn more about Grain de Sail
- sail freight on the Hudson river –
Schooner Apollonia delivers cargo from the Hudson Valley to New York City sustainably by wind, bringing sail freight back to the Hudson River.
The Apollonia is the Hudson Valley’s carbon-neutral merchant vessel. Powered by the wind, the Apollonia can transport her cargo sustainably. This is not a living-history project trying to make the past “come alive”. We are part of a growing sail freight movement committed to relevant, intelligent (earth friendly) solutions.
To learn about Apollonia’s schedule, including the various ports it stops at and what merchandise is available for purchase, click here
#3- Bus Shelter Made with Recycled Materials
A bus shelter in Ghana, was made using 98% recycled materials and it looks fantastic!
This is the first-ever bus stop shelter made of recycled plastic waste collected from the streets. It has been billed as a novel and sustainable way to put discarded plastic to use and fight pollution. The country generates over one million tons of plastic waste each year, but less than 6% of it is recycled. The rest ends up clogging gutters, drains and polluting beaches.
The photo doesn’t do the bus shelter justice but it’s the only one I could find. Watch the video at the end of the post which shows how great the bus shelter looks. An “ art installation” that serves a function for the community. Inspiring indeed!
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mckingtorch Africa, Makafui Awuku, said the project is meant to explore the use of plastic waste to develop building materials, pointing out that the bus stop shelter was built from plastic waste products. such as water bottles collected from the shores of beaches.
The specific objective relates to designing, fabricating, and installing sustainable public space shelters from recycled materials and to promote further research and investigate into plastic waste in Ghana,” he explained and added that the company also wanted to discover how these materials respond to adverse weather.
Watch short film about the bus shelter:
#4- Extra Zucchini
Mid-summer can mean to some of us who grow our own food: lots of zucchini and in my case, some gigantic ones. With the goal always being to reduce waste, even huge zucchini’s can be used for something.
What you will need:
Grater, one used to grate potatoes
Vacuum sealing device + BPA-free food storage bags (I use one by Anova)
(Vacuum sealing deprives your food of oxygen, which prevents harmful mold and bacteria from growing, which is important for long-term food storage. Which means less food waste and more dollars saved.)
Use wide mouth pint size canning jars and pack the zucchini almost to the top, leaving an inch of headspace. Store in the freezer for a year.
*If I had the space in my freezer, I would use the glass canning jars. The BPA-free food storage bags allow me to store more of the food I have grown or foraged. As often as I can, I reuse the bags.
Wash the zucchini and grate them into a large bowl.
Fill 2 cups of grated zucchini and add to the medium bowl.
Add 1 cup of sugar and mix it all up.
Prepare a food storage bag (make sure one end is already sealed shut) and write on the bag what is in it, how much and the date using a fat black sharpie pen.
Spoon the mix into the bag and using the vacuum sealer, suck out the air and seal it shut.
I forgot to write on this bag! I did it before storing it.
Repeat until you either have no zucchini left, no sugar left or you are just done (fed up) with the task.
Store the zucchini in the freezer for one year. Over the fall, winter and spring, you can make zucchini cake, bread or muffins.
The following is a suggested recipe. I haven’t tried it yet but I will this winter!
Chocolate Zucchini Abundance Cake Recipe
Makes one 9-by-13-inch cake
2 cups well-packed fresh zucchini or a pint jar from the freezer
½ cups sugar if using fresh zucchini, or 1 cup if using frozen
1 cup vegetable oil
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with butter and flour, or parchment paper. If using fresh zucchini, mix with the sugar and allow to set for 10 minutes to soften.
2. Whisk eggs, oil and cocoa powder together until smooth. Whisk remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then stir into the egg mixture, add the zucchini (including any accumulated juices) and stir the batter until no streaks of flour remain.
3. Pour into prepared dish and bake for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a rack.
4. When the cake has completely cooled, top with your favorite frosting or simply a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy the abundance of summer, no matter the season.
Source: Mother Earth News
#5- My Visit To The Good Planet Foundation
I wrote about the Good Planet Foundation in my last newsletter, but in case you missed it, I’ll share again why the Good Planet Foundation is so inspiring.
The Good Planet Foundation was founded in 2008 by the photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, of whose work I have been a fan of for many years. Its aim is to support ecology and sustainable development. The foundation’s location in a park in Paris, is an educational site that hope’s to encourage people to take concrete action for the Earth and its inhabitants.
The entrance to the foundation, located in the Bois De Boulogne, a beautiful 2090 acre public park.
The Good Planet Foundation’s headquarters
A walk along the path is a source of education. A bat house is mounted on a tree to demonstrate what an important animal bats are for us, as the eat thousands of mosquitoes every night.
An insect house that provides nooks and crannies where pollinators can live undisturbed.
A compost area showing what composting looks like
An apiary hub, with beehives from several countries. I thought this was magnificent. I loved seeing other cultures and beehive styles represented.
The interior of the foundation had a mixed media art show and installation.
Do you know the work of Yann Arrhus-Bertrand? His book Earth From Above is a favorite of mine, as well as his movies Home; Human; Legacy and Woman. He is currently in Calais working on his next film, Immigrant.
I’ll close this newsletter with one of his images, Detail of a village near Tahoua, Niger, shows typical Hausa architecture.
See you mid-August!
Until then, be well in all ways, as well as your loved ones.
All the best,
P.S. Help me spread the word by sharing my newsletter. Thank you!