Personal Shades of Green
Apr 01, 2016 10:56AM
● By Gina Cronin
Anyone can enjoy their own personal shade of green by making Earth-friendly changes in their life that can be as effortless as turning off the faucet off when brushing their teeth or as dramatic as using recycled materials to build their home. These eco-conscious North Texas community leaders have made a difference in their lives and surroundings by rethinking and re-visioning their actions to be more sustainable.
Eric Nadel, the voice of the Texas Rangers major league baseball team, makes eco-choices in his home and at the ballpark. At home, he eats local, organic and unprocessed foods and opts for non-toxic lawn and house care products. He remodeled his home in 2007 with an emphasis on energy efficiency for heating and cooling, and uses 100 percent Texas wind energy.
Nadel is concerned that water is often forgotten in the green conversation and takes every measure to limit his water usage. “I’m a maniac about recycling,” he says. “I’m the guy who gets onto the bus with a giant garbage bag of water bottles to recycle at the ballpark when hotels don’t have recycling.” He also keeps clothing, cars and other products for as long as possible, “I recently saw an interview I did in 1984, and was wearing a shirt that I still wear regularly.”
The link between green living and health: “The more natural products you use the healthier you’re going to be; they go hand-in-hand. It’s better for you and for the Earth, as well.” Nadel describes sustainability as “using energy sources that do not drain the Earth’s resources, buying food with a low carbon footprint and generally conserving in every phase of life.”
Maria Boccalandro, Ph.D., head of the sustainability department for Dallas Community College and director of the annual Sustainability Conference in Dallas brings her mindfulness from Venezuela to Texas. Upon arriving to the United States eight years ago, Boccalandro was shocked by the amount of waste people produce. She believes that understanding the difference between a want and a need reduces unnecessary consumption of the planet’s resources. In her own back yard she has developed a self-sustaining permaculture project that does not require watering, but instead works with the sun, the cycle of rain and the soil to create a drought-resistant and plentiful landscape. She contributes to her community by facilitating solar projects, organizing sustainability events, developing outdoor classrooms and more in the name of environmentalism on college campuses; including bringing in notable national environmentalists and eco-proponents such as Dr. Mark Nelson, of the Biosphere project, Nate Downey, author of Harvest the Rain, Rev, Lennox Yearwood, Jr., of the Hip Hop Caucus, and Joes Salatin, of Polyface Farm.
The link between green living and health: My mother is 87, she is by far the healthiest in the family. She works out every day, dances Zumba, reads about probiotics and essential oils, studies the gut and drives a hybrid. When you have a person who is born in 1930s and is in perfect health, you see firsthand that a natural lifestyle is synonymous with health.” Boccalandro describes sustainability as “the ability to sustain life and to do the right thing for the people, the planet and the economy.”
Trammell Crow Jr., Founder of Earth Day Texas (EarthDayTX.org), is greatly influenced by his father, a real estate developer that believes that humans don’t own property, but rather are its stewards. He admits he is a “terrible carnivore,” but makes amends by not over-consuming and opts for fresh, locally produced food. He is alarmed by how people throw reusable items in the trash, and donates all of his used goods. “I have a large compost and have banned leaf blowers from my life,” relates Crow. This is a significant choice, because a half-hour of gasoline-powered leaf blowing can equal the emissions of 440 miles of car travel. Crow drives only electric or hybrid cars and is founder of one of the largest Earth Day events in the world, Earth Day Texas, which now in its fifth year attracting more than 50,000 people to Dallas Fair Park each year to experience more than 1,000 green, environmental and eco-friendly vendors and exhibitors.
The link between green living and health: “There is a 100 percent correlation”, asserts Crow, “I can’t even name all the afflictions that are avoided with eco-friendly paints and building equipment. It’s ridiculous not to draw correlations like that, and doctors are paying attention to this more and more.” Crow describes sustainability as “a loop of energy; In other words something that can keep on going on its own accord and does not need to be fed or fueled from an outside source.
Kristi Comuzzi, the host of talk radio show Shootin the Breeze, always educates herself on the purest products for her body and the Earth. “I read labels like a crazy person,” says Comuzzi, “Almost every bit of rice in the U.S. has arsenic in it, for example, so I always check the origin of my rice.” She also only eats wild-caught fish, and gave up swordfish after learning how overfished they are. Comuzzi’s “cute little cottage,” as she calls it, is fueled by 100 percent Texas wind energy and features an organic floral and English herb garden. Her hobby is repurposing materials like stained glass, salvaged stone, antique headboards and old crystal doorknobs for her home. Comuzzi is ever on the quest to find those doing environmentally responsible and eco-conscious work to spotlight on her show.
The link between green living and health: I find it baffling that people deny climate change or think that it doesn’t affect them. At the end of the day, you have to be responsible, because we all live on this planet with other humans and birds and bees and animals and plants. It comes completely full circle, whether we like it or not.” Comuzzi describes sustainability as “low-impact, healthy living. If we sustain the planet, all life forms will be sustained. If we destroy the planet we co-habitat we will suffer as humans, along with the flora and fauna.
Garrett Boone, founder and chair of The Container Store, believes every human has a responsibility to help solve the environmental crisis and find ways to mitigate the damage of past generations. He eats only organic and local produce, consumes very little meat and only uses non-toxic cleaning products. “It takes time to change habits; at first you torment yourself by having to remember to turn off water or not take a plastic bag,” Boone describes, “But we must realize we are the plunderers of the Earth and need to change our ways.” He is also on the board of directors of the Treehouse Store, which provides sustainable and efficient building material. Boone is an avid advocate for better conservation and stewardship of Dallas, including great Trinity Forest and Trinity River.
The greener you live the healthier you are, just as the more sustainable you are the more profitable you are. So much increases when you live more sustainably; you save time, you save money and you save your health.” Boone says that sustainability has ”thousands of different meanings, as with the word love, but it is making changes in life that allow for our children and children’s children to inherit a world that’s livable and enjoyable.