Frank’s Famous Lists: New Year Rings in New Ways to Improve Life on Earth

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Hello fellow Earthling. Here we are, the beginning of the year 2020. Have you thought about what planet you want to emigrate to before we reach maximum intoleration for carbon and other dangerous elements in our environment? Well, the nearest Earth-like planet is Proxima Centauri, just 77,000 Earth years from us. Better start traveling now! On second thought, let’s hang around and start this New Year taking care of ourselves and our environment. Our personal actions can range from the micro to revolutionary change.

For 2020, make a solemn pledge to engage in one action a month. That’s a grand total of 12 bits of action we’ll have taken for ourselves and our community. Collectively that could be called a Movement, alone or with a small energized group. Just do it!

We can look back and say that we did it, without even knowing who else was in the game. That’s the best part.

For me, I’m going to concentrate on reducing my load in a whole bunch of different ways. Here’s a sample:

  • Get my own personal straw. No more straws, please, when I’m offered one in a restaurant. Even though a straw-ban bill passed in California last year, it still happens. What convinced me to give up plastic straws was when I saw a photo of a plastic straw jammed up the nose of a sea turtle. (Fortunately it was removed safely, and the turtle lived.) You see every day the billions of straws making up islands in our oceans.
  • Donating books, clothes and other dust-catching items to local non-profits, will also lighten my load.

Here are a few more ways we all can make a difference for 2020, and beyond.

  • Buy a wooden drying rack, string up a cotton rope clothes line, use wooden clothespins. The point is, skip the dryer. It saves money and your clothes will be nice and soft.
  • Remove as much grass area from your yard as possible, and replace with carbon-sucking native plants. This  saves on your water bill. Plus, no more lawnmowers.
  • Put out hanging water containers with plain water, in the shade (no red dye or sugar necessary) for birds and butterflies. They’re suffering from climate change, too.
  • Change light bulbs to LED, It saves money in the long run.
  • Buy an electric vehicle.
  • Use natural fertilizer.
  • Put a beehive in your backyard.
  • Use a rake instead of a gas-operated blower.
  • Walk, instead of driving two blocks.
  • Take public transit.
  • Reduce ghost lights.
  • Install solar panels.
  • Start classes at your local community college.
  • Adopt a senior, take them to lunch and on errands.
  • Write a letter to editor every three months.
  • Suggest a piece of legislation to your local representative; come armed with a petition and signatures.
  • Organize 10 friends to make phone calls to your local community leaders on current issues; along with the thoughts of you and your family. It’ll be a winning outcome.

Bring all of the above ideas to your local school board of trustees, the leaders of your place of worship and your community officials. They need to be part of the overall scheme to help our community create the solutions and preservation of our place here on Earth. That’s why we elect our leaders. Oh, that’s right, and don’t forget to vote in 2020, go to the polls and send in your ballot!

OK, what have I missed? What else should we do?

Frank Treadway
Frank Treadway: Some say baker extraordinaire, some say, 'What is that?' Born in Mt. Shasta with a special sugar sensor, raised in Anderson, Frank has lived in Redding for the last 25 years. He's proud to say that he's found a fine bakery in more than 30 countries. Bon Appetit !
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30 Responses

  1. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    Every Saturday I volunteer at St Marys Food Bank distribution at a local church. The food we give out has been donated and it’s shelf life is up shortly but instead of going in a dumpster we hand it out to the needy. At United Methodist in Avondale we serve 300 families.
    I can not get around much so I will sit out front of my house and watch my grandkids play with neighborhood kids, this keeps them off electronic devices and prevents childhood obesity.
    We have no grass, graveled lot, which we use a special gravel rake to keep weeds down.
    A block away is a grassy park with a playground and the kids go there. I will go down and watch them. We don’t have the crime here in the West Valley like it is in downtown or the East Valley. Our neighborhood watch group Facebook page is mostly lost/found pets and where good Taco joints are. Spanish is not a second language here but a first and I can still communicate.
    I have decided that while I will vote I don’t talk politics with my neighbors.

  2. Avatar christian gardinier says:

    Well, the environment is going down the preverbal toilet so there’s certainly nothing wrong with Treadway’s basically white middle to upperclass list many of us can do to “feel good” and do good; combine yoga and meditation and you are well round…. I guess… Alas, the majority of us are worried about how to keep the low paying job or job(s) we have, get the kids to school in the beater we own, pay the food, water and electric bill; let alone buy an electric car. But, sure, nothing wrong with putting a beehive in the low rent apartment complex we pay more and more for each year. Let’s do that on the way to teaching that class at or community college… right after we get those solar panels on the roof. I wonder, is there a “feel good” list for the rest of us?

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      C’mon, Christian. Everything on that list is intended to serve as a positive contribution.

      You wonder if there’s a list “for the rest of us?” At the end Frank asks us to contribute. Make your own list—.three modest actions. You’re not going to save the world, but you can make it a bit more livable in the coming year.

      • Avatar christian gardinier says:

        Okay, okay… Steve, I’ll do the butterfly feeder, reduce my goast light and…….. only use organic fertilizer…. Will that help you, or someone, feel better? What are you going to do? Oh damn, I left my Pilates blanket in the Prius dog gone it…

      • Avatar christian gardinier says:

        Steve, of course there’s a lot we can all do. Cynicism, is a juxtaposition tool that can be used to bring context to reality… In fact, more than likely, as you and many others that read a news Cafe do, I do “contribute.” In the realpolitik, we need to keep focus. One of the problems that the environmental movement has is it doesn’t have much meaning to a lot of people who are one pay check, maybe two, away from catastrophe, who are so over whelmed in the struggle upended life, that they are emoved from the Silent Spring. Unfortunately, conservatism, a concept that used to be for environmentalism, has hijacked the alienation I’m talking about above, and is using it against not only the environment and mother itself, as witnessed in our modern Republican Party. That Steve, is a concept that we cannot lose sight of.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          Christian — I’m not all that bright, so I’m not sure I’m following your argument. Are you arguing for radical action, or hopeless nihilism? Neither?

          I spent two years as an undergrad, five years as a grad student, and a year as a post-doc while providing for kids. I know what it’s like to live a paycheck away from cratering. You can simultaneously be working toward the goal of getting out of that situation and still hold to and try to live by certain values. Millions of religious people do it. I don’t know why others can’t.

          • Avatar christian gardinier says:

            Steve, intelligence is over rated, that’s my excuse anyway… I also did a bit of struggling to get through under and graduate school. But, I was a very serious “older” student, was white (still am, and getting older…) and came from a very supportive family, and in that I’m privileged. I had (and have) it much easier than many people of color or lower economic status. In other words, I didn’t have to deal with the structural – institutional challenges and inequities that millions of other folks face going through college, or for that mater, much of life. I could never say, “well I did it, I don’t know why others can’t.” So maybe I’m arguing for radical consciousness… To old to be a monkey wrencher.

            In my profession as a licensed clinician, I seldom serve “the worried well” populations, but have had the privilege to work with many folks with acute mental health challenges (and many more intelligent then I am…) be it caused by genetic expression, all forms of abuse, other severe life experiences, often poverty… and sometimes with folks in jail or on the way to prison. Social work code of ethics, that I believe in deeply, would never subscribe to, “I live by certain values. Millions of religious people do it. I don’t know why you can’t.” And the same goes for millions of folks living paycheck to paycheck, who are doing “okay,” but can’t seem to get ahead. But yet, I’m hypercritical, I do say that to tRumpublicans…. The point is we are often products of our culture, socioeconomic status, education, environment and so forth, and not in consciousness literally means, not in mind.

            In a cool paper about environmentalism by Pearson, Adam & Ballew, Matthew & Naiman, Sarah & Schuldt, Jonathon. (2017), they point out that, “race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status (education and income), and gender on climate change perceptions suggests that each of these factors can independently and systematically shape people’s attitudes and beliefs about climate change, as well as both individual and collective motivations to address it. Moreover, the literature suggests that these factors often interact with political orientation (ideology and party affiliation) such that climate change beliefs and risk perceptions are typically more polarized for members of advantaged relative to disadvantaged groups…” In other words, even through it’s the Indigenous Movement and the Greta Thunberg’s of the day spearheading the environmental movement, for better or worse, it is perceived as white, upper-middle-class liberal movement.

            To a large part, I think non-inclusion of non-white and upper class populations in the environmental movement comes from implicit institutional – socioeconomic – class – racial bias, but not with intent. Environmentalists are generally good people, we don’t explicitly believe in race or class discrimination, many support the standard enviro groups and orgs with cash, try to buy local, organic and green, build bird feeders, celebrate at our local earth day, drive our Prius, vote for Green New Deal politicians, yada, yada, it’s all good. But, as the above paper points out, “Groups for whom the issue of climate change (environmentalism) may be less politically charged, such as racial and ethnic minorities and members of socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, may thus represent critical audiences for bridging growing partisan disagreements and building policy consensus.” There is the consciousness that needs to be changed? How?

            I kind of disagree with my good friend Nietzsche, no, God is not dead. That all said, everything Frank and Doug lists are great, no problem… Yes, little steps are often are best and when I sometimes succeed in living my white, liberal, progressive values that millions of others also subscribe too, sure, I do sometimes feel good. Nevertheless, although I’m a vegetarian (okay, most of the time) I can fully understand why a low paid working mom and her kids can absolutely find nirvana and transcendence in a weekly trip to McDonalds, I’ve been there, done that! The skeptic in me says, contemporary environmentalism seems about recycling, driving my Prius, building beehives, studying ants, using metal straws or doing just about anything on Frank’s list, and sure, it’s all good. But the reality is a lot of folks not as advantaged as I am, working class folks, living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to keep that clunker running, worried that medical benefits are going to get cut, dealing with family members in crisis, poor schools, cuts in food stamps, on and on, are often folks most affected by environmental dilapidation… and to often, they are being ignored by us.

            Sometimes it’s kicking that beehive that gets me to think out of comfort zone… but that can cause a bad hair day…

    • Having a bad hair day, Chris? Hang in there.

  3. Avatar Semi Retired says:

    Technically, the decade does not end until December 31, 2020.

    • True enough, but humor us: We’re in 2020 now.

      • Avatar Semi Retired says:

        Hi Doni,
        Thank you for the work you do in bringing us ANC! I do enjoy alternate sources for news and information. My only point is that you can’t have too much accuracy in reporting news. My high school journalism teacher would roll in her grave if she saw what passed for journalism these days. I swear some of the text stories I see online, (not ANC), must use voice recognition software and the reporters have no grasp of the language or grammar! And, it seems there is no editor.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Is that you, Tim?

  4. Avatar Brandon Rogers says:

    Going vegan is the best way to improve your health, and the health of the environment. Raising livestock for meat, eggs and milk generates 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the second highest source of emissions and greater than all transportation combined. It also uses about 70% of agricultural land, and is one of the leading causes of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution.

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      Brandon, I can’t argue your facts because I’m just speaking as an observer, but driving south on I-5 and seeing acres and acres of one-time rich farm land now covered with ticky-tacky housing developments brings me back to this reality: the underlying problem to virtually everything is overpopulation.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        It’s a good, well-intentioned list.

        However, I agree with Beverly that if we don’t dramatically reverse over-population, nothing else matters. A first step toward that goal is to elect Democrats en masse to undo the fundamentalist religion-inspired forced birth horrors of the current administration, then pressure them to make the easy availability of birth control and abortion world-wide a priority.

        Brandon also makes an important – and very accurate – point. I’m a life-long vegetarian, although I’m sorry to say I’m not a Vegan (but should be). It’s not only a much healthier diet with some simple accommodations, but would do a miraculous amount to address greenhouse gas emissions.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          “… fundamentalist religion-inspired forced birth horrors of the current administration”

          Oh good gawd…now it is the fault of the Trump administration and Republicans for overpopulation?

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:


            Trump and his lunatic religious appointees are doing everything they can to contribute to it – even in war-torn third-world countries where rape in epidemic. We need people in office who care enough about children to help prevent them from coming into existence only to starve and suffer in other horrendous ways.

        • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

          In case no one noticed, which is obvious, natural born is declining in all states. Increases in population are from immigration.

  5. Douglas Craig Douglas Craig says:

    Thank you Frank! What a wonderful way to start the new year. I have a few thoughts in response.

    1. Support A News Cafe by subscribing and urging everyone you know and care about to do the same. Why? Not just because we all love Doni, although that is a great reason. I am suggesting this for a more selfish reason: Community. ANC is a unique community of unusually intelligent, articulate, compassionate and socially aware souls. ANC is a vehicle by which the positive virus of ideas is shared and debated in a respectful and often kind and caring manner.
    2. For the same reason, financially support Shasta County’s two community radio stations, KKRN and KFOI. At a time when corporate media seeks to swallow up all print and broadcast sources, these islands of democratized media are vital to the health of any community. Watch or listen to Democracy Now! every day and financially support it and all independent media.
    3. Contemplate the true meaning of the climate crisis. Every ecosystem on the planet is on the verge of collapse. The human species in the only species that ever existed that is capable of destroying itself while knowing it is doing so and simultaneously denying that it is doing so. What can any one individual do about this?
    4. Refuse to give up or give in to cynicism or hopelessness. The climate crisis is collectively caused and will be collectively solved. We need to stop thinking as separate fragments or threads of the human quilt and recognize we are one with all that is. When we operate out of that which unites us all we will come to sense the role each of us can play to bring about the massive planetary transformation that is already underway and will become more clear as this decade unfolds. We each have a part to play.
    5. Whether you are religious or not, get yourself together spiritually. This means go beyond your thinking and doing and connect with your being. Recognize you are much more than you “think” you are. Remember Richard Bach’s book Illusions and this quote: “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.” Bach said “The original sin is to limit the Is. Don’t.”
    6. Don’t just put up a beehive. Study bees! Study ants! And learn. Study any species and recognize that they cooperate. They don’t waste time worshiping their position, perspective or truth while hating others simply because they are different from them and have their own position, perspective or truth.
    7. Wake up to the wonderful truth that as soon as enough of us in our community wake up to our power and peace and begin to cooperate and act collectively, everything can change. Everything will change.
    8. If you really want to know how to solve the climate crisis, read Drawdown by Paul Hawken and then join with those of us who are working in our community to facilitate the transition away from fossil fuels.
    9. Another important book to read on the climate crisis: The Green New Deal by Jeremy Rifkin. The subtitle is telling: “Why the fossil fuel civilization will collapse by 2028, and the bold economic plan to save life on Earth.”
    10. Read other important climate crisis books like The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells, The End of Ice by Dahr Jamail, Losing Earth by Nathaniel Rich, All Hell Breaking Loose, the Pentagon’s perspective on climate change by Michael Klare, and The Climate Report, the National Climate Assessment — Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the U.S. by the U.S. Global Research Program.
    11. Support Peggy Rebol and the Whole Earth and Watershed Festival.
    12. Instead of a letter to the editor once every 3 months, try it once a week.
    13. And yes of course reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible. Drive less, fly less, eat less meat. But again we need to change our leaders not just our lightbulbs. Wake up each day with the knowledge that if you live in Shasta County or any of the 10 counties comprising the first congressional district, you are represented by a climate science denier named Doug LaMalfa. But it isn’t just him. Our Redding City Council and Shasta County Board of Supervisors could be important change agents leading us into what Jeremy Rifkin calls The Third Industrial Revolution. We can’t solve a crisis we are afraid to talk about and our local leaders are terrified to talk openly about the climate crisis as if anything is worse than the climate catastrophe that is already upon us. Help them be brave.
    14. Remember you are not alone even if you feel you are. We are in this together. Think of others. The first and worst to suffer as the climate crisis unfolds will be the poor. Translate your compassion and concern into action. Do not give into hate. Connect with and express love and “truth-force” (Mahatma Gandhi).
    15. Read the books and listen to the podcasts of Enlightened Beings like Adyashanti, Rupert Spira, Eckhart Tolle and others if this feels helpful. And if you are ready, read Seeking Jordan by Matthew McKay.
    16. Look at others with love and compassion. Truly love your enemies. Understand that many are lost in the illusions of this world and are acting out their own inner hatred and confusion. Meditate for at least five minutes a day on love for yourself and all beings.
    17. Forgive yourself for everything. I mean everything. Even the things you have buried deep and forgotten about. Surrender to this new moment and start new. Recognize that you are necessary to the metamorphosis of our collective self.
    18. Be grateful. Focus on truth, beauty and peace. Be kind. Be light. Connect with nature. Reach out to old friends, parents and children, siblings and anyone you are estranged from and let them know you love them.
    19. Remember you cannot control or change the past, the future, other people, even your own thoughts and feelings. However, you can connect with your attention and direct it like a flashlight in a dark room, you can choose your actions and you can be aware of who you deeply and truly are. All that exists is now. You have always been you, here, now. Wake up to that. This never changes. All else is illusion. Accept this moment as it is not as your mind argues that it is or should be. Be wary of your own thoughts. They will lie to you. Connect with your core values and act on them.
    20. And finally see #1 and support A News Cafe! Do it now. Happy New Year! Thanks Frank!

    • Wow. Thank you, Doug. Frank’s column gave birth to your column inside a column. I am humbled and grateful for your No. 1 suggestion.

      All of your suggestions are good ones, and No. 14 really resonated with me: “…14. Remember you are not alone even if you feel you are. We are in this together. Think of others. The first and worst to suffer as the climate crisis unfolds will be the poor. Translate your compassion and concern into action. Do not give into hate…”


  6. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    The main thing at stake in 2020 is our collective sense of objective reality. We must fight for the truth or we’ll lose any concept of it. Put up your dooks, the lies are coming!

  7. Avatar Janet W Williams says:

    Thank you, Frank, for the great suggestions!

  8. Here are a couple of my suggestion:

    Tell management when one of its employees does an exemplary job. It could make the difference between a promotion, pay raise or a positive note in their employment file. Plus, it gives incentives for employees to keep up the good work.

    During the holidays, or on special occasions, leave thank-you notes and treats for not just your mail carrier, but the solid waste folks who drive trucks and pick up trash, recycling and green waste products. (Tie the treats in clear plastic bags with bows and set on top of the trash cans. They’ll see them.)

  9. Avatar Randy says:

    We have some great directions going here and I will share the last line of something I found as I struggled with inner turmoil over these most challenging times, “the best way to fight evil is to make energetic progress in the good”. ( I-Ching, 43, Break-through)

  10. Avatar James Montgomery says:

    The viewpoint is well taken. With regard to electric cars, the case is not so clear-cut. The carbon generated in producing them is significantly greater than producing a gas car, and a lot greater than continuing to operate an old car. Depends on the car of course.
    They are still pretty pricey, too. At this point, electric cars are pretty much a feel-good luxury for well-off Americans, tho their day is coming, hopefully.
    What we really, really need is an electric motor & batteries which can be retrofit into existing cars, thus saving the cost and carbon emissions of producing new ones.

  11. Avatar Barbara Stone says:

    Wow, Frank, you really got people thinking! But of course you are singing to the choir.

    How can we convince people who don’t believe “there’s a problem” to do something? The answer? The pocketbook and the legislature!

  12. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Great article Frank and here are my ideas which will be unpopular I know. Use cloth instead of paper. Hankerchieves, dish rags, napkins, diapers and products for oldelr adults with, like me, who pee when I laugh issues. I’ve made lots of shopping bags, and now I’ve created a light weight bag to use in the vegetable section of a grocery story. It was a sign of success when I was growing up to have a clothes dryer..(we didn’t…it was me hanging up all the clothes in a way that the neighbors never saw our underware)..and not have laundry hanging out on a line like those European peasants and poor people. Time to switch this picture around. By the way, I have sewn personal hygiene products for young women and old that are easily laundered and reused. One other idea….segregate more items at the dump. Anything made of wood can be salvaged and used again. Salvage building material scraps at work sites. I’m not done, but I’ll stop now. Again, great article.