Tips 4 Planet Health

If you’d like to see what we are up to, you can also follow @thesageandthebutterfly on Instagram. There you will see regular posts and videos on our Feed, Stories, Highlights and IGTV. We also have Highlights called “awareness” and “wisdom” where we post some of the insights we come across, as well as solutions and issues that are being faced by humanity and all species around the world.

First a little background about our journey, and then scroll down for suggestions and actions, while we wait for infrastructure and policies to be implemented by politics and industries.

Way before we got married and went on this adventure, I (Vio) was educated in an international setting at the United Nations International School in NYC, where we were immersed in multiculturalism and global issues from a young age. While I wasn’t necessarily a great student, there were topics that interested me and I was good at: anthropology, protest literature, art and sports. A lot of what I learned sunk in. When I was about 20, I moved to 9th Street off 1st Avenue, around the corner from Prana organic market and near a local food co-op. Since I moved on my own and could finally buy my own food, I have been eating organic food and mostly vegetarian. A choice I made for environmental reasons. Later, I became a vegetarian, until I went full on vegan almost 10 years ago.

 

 

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I went into the creative field of fashion design in the late 80s. I worked for different apparel companies and at non-profits like NYPIRG and the Citykids Foundation to balance my varied interests. I always emphasized the need to be more energy and resource efficient. Pushing for better ways to do things and using products and materials that were sustainable. There were less choices back in the 80s and companies were not always open to these suggestions. In the early 90s, I started my own slow fashion earth friendly line. In between, I still periodically worked for other apparel companies. My line satisfied my need to merge fashion and sustainability. My design jobs paid the bills. In early 2000s, I also worked with Amazon Watch – working to protect indigenous and nature rights in the Amazon Basin from devastating multinational extraction mega-projects.

 

 

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In 2003, I finally found a company that aligned with most of my values. I was senior designer at Patagonia for about 6 years, where we developed new innovative sustainable materials and collections. After I left Patagonia, I was called to work with talented empowered indigenous women artisans in the Amazon rainforest and started the brand ORG BY VIO jungle bling to sell their artistry and promote protection of the rainforest. Amazon Watch connected me to the first Amazon jungle community, the Cofan, which opened the door to meeting other like-minded social entrepreneurs and indigenous leaders working on sustainable development projects in the Amazon region.

 

 

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At the end of 2004, I bought a 1952 modern home that I converted to 100% fully solar, including water heating. I even canceled all gas service, switching to all energy efficient appliances and electronics. It generated more electricity than the house needed, where 2/3 of the excess went back to the grid, making it a less than zero emissions home/ZEH. The roof was upgraded to a PVC free reflective roof. We never needed to use AC, since it kept the house cool. The gravel on the old roof was reused in the front landscaping. I lived here from January 2005 till I sold it at the end of 2011. The new owners are enjoying all the green perks and credits.

 

 

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From a young age, Dylan had a love for reading a lot of books on topics that questioned life and death and the way we live our lives. One of the books that caught his attention and inspired him was Diet for a New America by John Robbins. He has been vegan for almost 20 years. He worked a number of jobs in Edmonton, Alberta. He later became a machinist, where he honed a number of skills that eventually lead him to working with metal in creative ways. His knives and razors are sought after worldwide with collectors and clients all over the globe. They are beautiful, indispensable tools that last for generations. We share similar values and vision for the future of the world.

 

 

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In 2017, we left the creative and sleepy town of Idyllwild, two hours east of Los Angeles, California, to live on the road in our huge off-grid toy hauler trailer-tiny house. We remodeled it and outfitted it with solar panels, a powerful set of batteries, and a back up gas generator that seldom gets used, because solar generates almost all the electricity we need. We have all the tech gadgets to make our life and work easy, as we travel. Dylan remodeled the garage at the back of the trailer into his metal workshop where he makes his knives and razors. I work and create in the living area and outside the trailer. I also do pop-up shops at trade shows and art fairs in key cities.

 

 

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We decided to live this way for a number of reasons…

I prefer the ocean, lush tropics, plus the culture and diversity of a city. Dylan prefers the mountains and forests for the beauty and because no one can hear his loud machines and the sound of pounding on metal when he forges. This way we experience all at different times. Plus we spend longer periods of time with family and friends spread allover North America.

Another reason was that with the extreme weather and unexpected natural disasters just about everywhere in the world, we didn’t want to buy anything permanent. We’ve both owned homes separately in the past. Neither of us wanted a mortgage again. We wanted freedom and a low carbon footprint.

Our energy use is extremely low compared to a conventional home. Even with the driving to and from places around the North American continent, once we settle in a place for a few weeks or months, we don’t drive at all. We create and play wherever we are and only go out to buy food when needed. We use a truck that runs on diesel and look forward to a long-range electric truck that can haul a huge trailer when they come out in the market, because biodiesel isn’t available in most gas stations.

 

 

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We prepare organic vegan meals in our kitchen daily, because we love to cook flavorful and nutritious food and hardly any restaurants offer organic vegan options. Unless we are in cities with eateries that cater to vegans. We only turn on the water heater for no more than 20 minutes at a time when we need a warm shower. We also have a composting toilet that needs no water or flushing. Our gas use is tiny compared to a home that heats water constantly. We replace the gas tank every three weeks or more.

 

 

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Life is exciting, stressful, fun, but it is not simple. There are breakdowns along the road. The trailer or truck need upkeep and repairs. We’ve come across really bad highways and roads allover North America and our truck and trailer have taken a beating. I mean a beating! Broken trailer frames, broken drive shaft on the truck, blown tires. What is also exciting is seeing our energy and water use. We are very aware of how much we are using, because it’s self-contained and off-grid. Whenever, I (Violeta) may be in a funk, I realize how cool it is to live off-grid on our own terms!

The more we implement environmentally friendly practices, the better for the planet, the animals and our health. For anyone wanting to minimize your carbon footprint, here are some suggestions:

1. Eat organic vegan food and lead a vegan lifestyle. Jane Goodall was asked in an interview by Guy Kawasaki “what is single thing that a person can do” for the planet? She said, “Stop eating meat.” You can start by eating less animal meat (red meat, fish or chicken) and animal products. Animal farming and agriculture uses extreme amounts of resources and create harmful greenhouse gas emissions, as well as being inhumane to animals. Land is clearcut and fires are ignited to make room for cattle grazing, mass animal farming and agriculture in the Amazon jungle and forests around the world.  A recent article notes findings that, if the whole world would go vegan, greenhouse gas emissions would drop by 70%. Lead researcher Joseph Poore said adopting a vegan diet is “the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use, and water use.”

2. Grow your own food. Plant Trees. Growing your own organic food ensures you are putting healthy food in your body and is better for the planet, too. This is locally grown at its best, reducing food miles and resources. You can grow food in your gardens, on balconies, rooftops, indoors, and even on the sidewalk. In Paris, people are planting gardens in the streets. Planting trees helps sequester carbon emissions and protect people from heat waves. Growing your own food, planting trees and green spaces also lower stress levels and inspire people to exercise and socialize.

3. Stop using Single Use Plastic and Synthetic Clothes and Fabrics. Plastic bottles, straws, bags, containers, synthetic clothing are contaminating oceans, wildlife and human health. Plastic bottles and straws are not the only problem. Yoga clothes and fashion apparel made of (virgin and recycled) nylon, polyester and spandex are also the culprit. Studies show that 83% of all drinking water worldwide is contaminated with microplastics. There is plastic waste in every ocean. Fish and wildlife are dying by ingesting plastics. This affects the balance of the oceans, affecting us all. Less than 35% of plastic waste is recycled. Most of western trash and plastic waste gets shipped to developing nations, which have began returning container ships filled with western trash and recycling to the respective countries. While we can tackle recycling on the consumer end, we must also urge all industries to restructure their product offerings and packaging strategies by writing to them and by not buying their products.

4. Walk. Ride a Bike. Carpool. Take Public Transportation. Drive Electric Vehicles Run on Renewable Energy. Take a Train. Fly Less. Vehicle use creates most of the harmful greenhouse gasses around the world. Fossil fuel extraction drive governments into unnecessary resource wars and devastate forests where the resources are extracted, affecting local communities and ecosystems. If we can walk or ride our bikes as much as possible, it would make a huge positive impact on the environment. Most people live far from their jobs and offices. An option would be to take trains and buses. Many places across North America do not have good public transportation. Carpooling, driving fuel-efficient or electric cars run on renewables are the next choice. Flying less would also lower one’s carbon footprint. Opt for traveling by train or efficient vehicle. If you must fly, choose to offset your energy use with a reputable organization.

5. Shop Local. Buy Less. Buy to Last. When you shop locally, you are helping the local economy and reducing the resources needed to transport goods. With the advent of fast fashion and low quality made goods, people are driven to over consumption. Whether it is getting the latest tech, gadgets and clothes, it all contributes to more environmental devastation. Not only are fast goods bad for the planet, but most are made in conditions that violate human rights. Repair. Swap. Thrift. Upcycle. Keep your phones, electronic gadgets, clothes until they can no longer be repaired. Choose goods that are made to last with sustainably sourced materials in ethical working conditions.

6. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Upcycle. Of course!!

7. Use Green Web Hosting. If you have a personal and/or business website, move it to a hosting service that uses renewable energy and buys clean renewable energy to power and cool their data centers. Reduce your time on the internet, mobile streaming, etc. Data centers have already surpassed the airline industry in greenhouse gas emissions. Green Geeks and Canvas Host (I use CH) are two options that use renewable energy.

8. Choose Solar, Wind + Other Renewable Energy. If you own a home, are remodeling a home or are planning to build one from scratch, choose to retrofit or add it to your home build plans with solar panels, innovative wind turbines or use an alternative electric company, if you rent. Arcadia Power is an option for home and business to buy clean energy. For solar or wind, use your local companies. If you are a developer, include these sustainable alternatives in your building plans.

9. Donate and Divest. Donate to organizations working in the frontlines. These are some of the organizations you can contribute to: Amazon Watch, Amazon Frontlines, Amazon Conservation Team, Rainforest Action Network, Rainforest Alliance, Survival International, Cool Earth, and Greenpeace. These organizations work to help protect the environment, the Amazon jungle, nature and indigenous rights. Divest and get your money out of big banks and financial institutions that invest in destructive multinational projects in the Amazon and the world. Oil and gas extraction, mining, logging, mass animal farming and agriculture are possible with investments made by banks and financial institutions that hold your money. If you haven’t already moved your money to a credit union or community bank, do it. Without your money, the banks can’t invest in multinational projects.

10. VOTE.  When you vote with your dollars (euros, yen, pounds, pesos, soles, etc.), you affect demand. You tell companies what you need and want.  When they see that what they sell isn’t selling, companies make the shifts necessary to stay in business. Buy from companies and businesses that use sustainable and ethical practices. Small companies are usually more conscious, because they are not owned by big conglomerates. Green America has a vast directory of businesses to choose from, including the brand, ORG BY VIO jungle bling that I (Vio) founded.  Vote at the polls for politicians that will do everything to protect nature and the environment. Learn about all the politicians that are running, not just the ones that the media promotes. Read and learn about their platforms and vote for those that have solutions to protect nature and the environment. 

Here there are some resources for you and your business www.violetavillacorta.com/eco-resources.

These are some of the things that we can act on while waiting for governments and politicians to create bills and laws, and industries to restructure their product offerings and practices to protect nature, people and planet for present and future generations.

I’d love to hear what you are doing to make this world better. DM us on Instagram.

You can also read our blog posts of some of the experiences we’ve had at thesageandthebutterfly.com, where you can also shop for our unique work and other ethical lines. And for the gorgeous work handmade my talented and empowered indigenous women artisans with sustanaibly-harvested plant materials from the rainforest, visit ORG BY VIO junglebling.org.

We are currently shipping orders from British Columbia till end of August.

Love from BC.

Vio & Dylan

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Posted in Awareness, Featured, Update and tagged , , , , , , .

I am the one overseeing this website, creating content, posting, sharing... While we are both creative artists, Dylan prefers to spend little time on the screen. I enjoy creating as much as playing with the social aspect of this virtual space. I love to sing, swim, paint, design, dance, skate, surf (though I haven't in way too long), yoga, being with family and friends, naps, though I rarely take one. Born in Peru and raised in New York City, I am a designer by trade, artist from the heart, ecopreneur and vegan. A lover of people, planet and culture.

You can follow me and my work on Instagram @violetavillacorta | @violetavillacorta_official | @violetavillacorta_art | @ORGbyvio | @theSageandtheButterfly | Twitter @viointheamazon | www.violetavillacorta.com | www.orgbyvio.com | www.wildvioletmusic.com

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