This is the story of one of our neighborhood tree. It's a beautiful lone tree in one corner of a otherwise everyday life city road. Like every season, this season too it has been giving gifts to all in abundance. Don't even know how much it has given to how many -- the fruits are naturally falling and becoming compost food for the micro-organisms at its and other plants roots, seeds birthing new seedlings, birds and squirrels are feasting on them, fruits have reached countless homes in the neighborhood, reached far & wide to Wednesday meditations, community yoga, urban gardens, temples,  monasteries, churches, karma kitchens, janitors & security in business offices, anonymously into the bags of homeless people, hands of playing children in the parks, hands of many hard working urban farmers in local community gardens, lunch bags my co-workers, tagged along with other gifts at a local author event in the library, creative healthy recipes for the season, food for new compost pile, as a gift to a new born's mother, several smile card moments....and the list goes on...unending...

What a beautiful lesson this tree is teaching me just by standing still, holding ground, giving unconditionally.

Thank you TREE & all your family in the world -- may your clown THRIVE :-)

Photo courtesy of DailyGood
 
 
Healthy food is in crisis. Big business has made profits more important than your health. More important than the environment.

This crisis has reached such epic proportions that we are actually calling this summit The Food Revolution.  Because a revolution is what’s needed. 

And a revolution is what’s happening. 

From rural farms to urban dinner plates, from grocery store shelves to state ballot boxes, people are rising up and taking action.  We’re reclaiming our food systems and our menus, and we’re taking responsibility for our health.

Names you might recognize include NY Times best-selling authors Joel Fuhrman, MD (Eat To Live) and Marianne Williamson (Spiritual Principles for Weight Loss); expert doctors such as Dean Ornish, MD (Preventive Medicine Research Institute) and T. Colin Cambell, Ph.D (The China Study); culture-changers and icons such as Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me) and Rory Freedman (Skinny Bitch); natural health pioneers such as Joseph Mercola (Mercola.com) and David Wolfe (Radiant Health Now); and food system innovators such as Vandana Shiva (Stolen Harvest) and Ronnie Cummins (Organic Consumers Association), and many more inspiring visionaries.

Over seven days, you’ll get training, inspiration and practical know-how from modern day heroes of health and sustainability. You’ll get answers to burning questions, tools for dealing with family and peers, and practically useful insights, ideas, motivation and tips, all from the comfort and convenience of your phone and computer.

The Food Revolution Summit launches Saturday.  More than 12,000 people have signed up so far.  We’re so enthused to have you with us!

To register (for free) you can use this below link
Get more info on the amazing speakers, and register today:
Food Revolution Summit

Courtesy: The Food Revolution Summit
 
 
Continuing from a recent post from our Community Yoga, we are so blessed to witness the flow of more and more ripples around. A few sampling that spontaneously opened up as I started to write them, sharing the joy :-)
  • Our community celebrated the Earth day with a dedication of Community Yoga practice at sun-rise with a theme of "Health & Healing" for all the beings and the Mother Nature.
  • Following the practice, a band of us head to Hayward Community Garden, while working there, unbelievable connections and serendipity started to flourish -- my wife & I got to know that we have been gifted this priceless piece of land to cultivate the soil (in the process our souls), how beautiful of this gifter to give us this opportunity to experiment with our green thumb along side some 200+ other farming families in an area of around 5.5 acres of land.
  • As we started planting some new seedling on this new plot, all other neighbor farmers (our new friends) welcomed us with their open hands & hearts -- some gifted us bounty of beets, some lent their tools, seedlings, expert advices, fresh tasting samples of newly harvested crops, their labor of love to plant the seedlings, help with removing litter and the list goes on & on...the day was so rich in experiences of seamless exchange of giving & receiving. Just a few days back, another young man, a regular participant in our community Yoga tagged us by tilling the whole plot and readied it for the new season of sowing. Deeply moving and humbling feeling to witness all these ripples to unfold from one small, simple act of opening our home & hearts unconditionally to the community. As Dr V would say -- "it's ourselves we are serving, it's ourselves we are healing".
  • This morning as we were finishing up the practice and sharing each other's offering of fresh&healthy breakfast goodies, the grandson of a local beekeeper opens this big box saying -- "I have something for you all" -- that was a huge piece of just harvested honey-comb staring from their honey-hive that this family has been a loving care-givers for many many years. This gift from the local honeybees, loving offered by this beekeeper family touched our taste buds & created a deep sense of contentment in our hearts -- everyone beaming with bright smile :-) thanked this young man for his special gift to the circle of sharing.
  • Community is organically stepping up collectively to support local library staff to "Stop staff loss". The space is seeding this new effort, will share what emerges from this new effort as it unfolds with a new blog sharing soon. Please join us with this effort, our beloved community need it the most at this time. Thank You :-)


 
 
                                              A Very Happy Earth Day

"Waste not even a single grain, single drop of water; for it amounts to waste of our own and someone else's love, labor & life. Everything is a gift of God" --LiveWell

We have been often asked about our journey and share our practices around minimizing waste especially around food, water, materials, transportation & living space. In a nutshell, it's our experience that once we live with minimal waste, one begins to see uncluttered, cleaner, brighter and welcoming space to live, to live well & thrive.

There were challenges that we had to consciously work through and change our old habits and patterns that had become a part of our daily life! It was not a easy path for us, but we stayed with the changes and now it's a very natural process for us. We cannot imagine our life with old dangerous habits and patterns that destroys everything precious on this planet Earth, home to billion of humans now. We have been living minimal waste life for the past few years, we feel grateful that we are able to do it and we hope our journey will help others to embark on this journey because we know it's possible to do it and do it now!

Lets first start with kitchen where there is a possibility of generating a lot of waste each day. It was the first place we decided to look into when we decided to make changes to reduce our waste.

Important steps to reduce the waste:
Kitchen
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  • We always have a bucket in the kitchen to collect the water after we  wash our vegetables, rice, lentils.
  • We also have a vessel in the sink to collect the water when we wash our hands, other vessels, vegetables, rice and lentils.
  • We use a Eco-friendly hand and dish wash liquid so that we can collect the water and use it for our plants and compost.
  • We collect all the vegetable waste to compost at home, we like to do it at home than sending it away in a large truck to be turned into a soil in a far off place, by doing it at home we are able to reduce the impact far more. In fact composting is one of our favorite work to do around the home.
  • Once you have collected the vegetable waste in the kitchen, add them to the big compost bins along with dry leaves, a little water and mix it up to allow proper amount air to flow through it to make a rich, fertile, healthy soil in a matter of 3-4 months.
  • We never use paper towels at home, always use a cloth napkin to clean counter tops and appliances and definitely to wipe hands.
  • We have taken a pledge not to use paper/plastic plates, spoons or cups in this life, so no using them at home or at any events.
  • We have a limited set of plastic & cloth bags that we re-use for their full life, always keeping some of them available handy in the car. We use the emptied rice bags, bulk lentil bags as re-usable bags & use them for their full life & eventually recycle them.
  • Waste not even a single grain, make an effort to pick up any few grains of rice, mustard etc spills. Once you practice this in one area it would apply to all aspects and you will soon see that you do not throw away even a tiny pencil, small piece of paper or a shipping package. I was deeply inspired from this Sri Ramana story.

Bathroom
  • We never allow the water to run while brushing our teeth or just rubbing soap while washing our hands.
  • We always collect the cold water in milk gallons before taking shower so that we do not waste the cold water. We use the same water to flush the toilet through out the day.
  • We also stop the water when we apply shampoo or soap during the shower so that we can save some more water.
  • We use Eco-friendly Dr. Bronner's soap and shampoo for hand wash and bath.
  • We use natural oils like almond oil as moisturizer rather than using a regular moisturizer which normally has a lot of harsh chemicals.
  • We do not use perfumes,  regular face wash, no nail polish instead we make our own face wash with lentil powder, sandal wood powder and almond meal. 
  • We take bath in warm water rather than hot water, it is not only good to environment, it's very good for our skin.  
Living Space
  • We sit down to eat, have minimal furniture in the living room. All done by choice to de-clutter our space. Space feels open and inviting and becomes available for our community Yoga and such wellness practices several times each week.
  • Have a very limited absolutely necessary electronic gadgets, promptly powered off after use. All un-used electric sockets sealed off with baby proof closures to avoid energy dissipation.
  • Maximize the use of natural sun light for all our activities, rise before sun rise so the morning activities can be done by the sun rises, sleep early (avoids using lights etc late at nights). Harvest rain water -- a simple trash cans with open lids during heavy rain is a easy way to get started, starting is the key, it becomes a new pattern and high chance of keeping up the practice continuously improving along the way.
  • We repair kitchen stuffs, electronics stuffs, stitch torn cloths -- great way to learn new skills and understand the value of everything in life. Instead of throwing away & getting new stuffs, a conscious shift to choose the options mindfully.
  • Limited set of cloths (we are still working on reducing on this front), very limited set of shoes -- very basic ones for walk, hike, sports & work.
  • We love our home decors as live plants (except in place of sleep) instead of artificial plastic/fiber/wood/cotton made decors. Connecting with indoor plants inspired us to start growing our own food and connect deeply with the plants outside. It's really true that "it all starts at home", applies to this one as well nicely.
Events
We are always attending different events, we made sure we do it a nature friendly way and keeping this in mind we started making an extra effort to carry our own bowl, spoon and water bottle. Now after many events, it's the most natural thing we do :-)) It feels the right thing in life.
Few more ways we reduce the waste:
  • We always have cloth shopping bags with us, it's stylish too.
  • We drive a Prius and we always make extra effort to drive less and less and walk more and more, plus carpool where ever there is a possibility. It's fun because we  have always end up meeting strangers who are our dear friends now :-)) we are a big fan of public transport as well.
  •  We shop from local farmers market, it's been years that we have gone to all those big-marts!
  •  We always carry our own containers if we are shopping for grocery at Rainbow, Sprouts or Berkeley Bowl
  • We always turn off our computer and TV and unplug it when we we are not using them.
  • We dry our clothes outside in the Sun, it not only helps to reduce our energy usage and costs, it has an additional benefit of natural immunity from Sun rays that embeds in our clothes.
We have few more ideas outlined in our previous blog. These are some of the things that are really simple and easy to do, I am glad that we changed our old habits and patterns and now cannot imagine our life with out these practices. It's Earth Day in a few days and we wish many of us would look into our habits and patterns and make conscious choices that would help the Mother Earth to heal and feel healthy again! 
 
 
Beautiful experiences, stories, ripples & community connections from the launch day of KK in Hayward, a glimpse of these from the eyes of the volunteers, sending it out to the universe with love & respect to all  :-)

Finally, couple of months of planing made way to our first Karma Kitchen in the heart of the bay - Hayward. It was a beautiful Sunday, a sunny day after a long week of stormy weather with lightning and thunder, I feel it was natures way of expressing it's joy for launching  Karma Kitchen in Hayward in collaboration with  Snappy's cafe a small warm cozy place, located in the downtown Hayward.  

Thank you KK-Berkeley for unconditional support, guidance and everything else :-) to make this happen in this part of the world. Everyone who came in the doors yesterday were filled with positive energy, it almost felt like a marriage hall in India, where everyone was excited about the new beginning, making everyone feel at home even though we were at the cafe! We all met in the cafe rolled up our sleeves and got to work as soon we entered the cafe, rearranging the tables, setting up gift table with many beautiful gifts for our guests, writing the menu out on the white board.

Afternoon started with a circle of sharing our intention for being at the Karma Kitchen, the words that were heard were Trust, Intention, Support, Community , Abundance, Family, Courage, Impact and Gratitude to the cafe for having the open mind to experiment with some thing as crazy as Karma Kitchen concept. We also had our first guest join in our circle, It was truly special for all of us.

A long time well-wisher while reflecting on her experiences being in the space co-created by core volunteers who are all connected through community projects (such as Yoga for all, Healthy Cooking etc) expressed a poignant note. She said - "the other day I was having conversation with a co-worker, and happen to discuss the community events in Hayward,  the co-worker immediately responded that Hayward isn't a desirable neighborhood at all for people like us for it's issues with litter, homelessness, gang violence, poverty etc." Our well-wisher steps up by showing her presence, after witnessing the "Be the change" events such as KK launch, Infinite Vision, Community Garden & Community Yoga projects encouraged us to keep walking this path patiently & persistently with absolute courage & conviction. This community needs it the most.

We had a very natural flow of mostly local people in the cafe, some of the reflections from our guests and volunteers:

A teacher  was so thrilled that she would love all her students to be part of the Karma Kitchen, she was celebrating the beautiful day at Karma Kitchen with her mom and aunt, they were blown away with the generosity that they experienced and they now want to be part of it every month.

A student of language was so delighted that he now wants to visit all the other Karma Kitchen and be part of it.

This was absolutely necessary in Hayward as this town does not have a good image as other places in east bay, and it is only known as a place not to go to.

One said it felt like a historical event and they just couldn't miss this one! & loves be part of it in future.

There are people who really want to serve others and Karma Kitchen really facilitates that and so it's absolutely necessary that Karma Kitchen grows and they would help to keep it sustainable.

The gift table just blew them away and they were so touched by the anonymous gifts that they were being tagged with, and also promised to spread it around.

A DailyGood moment: Co-ordinator in our local library (who was instrumental in organizing the Infinite-Vision Documentary screening, book reading in a group and Author (Pavi) Live event) was kind to honor our invite & joined KK launch. She walked in as DailyGood co-ordinators were leaving Snappy's, tags Pavi with a copy of book A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster. Authored by another brilliant local bay area author who will also be hosted live in our community soon as part of California Reads literacy program. The conversation that followed the tag has opened to the possibility of a DailyGood article soon on this author & her work .Beautiful to see all these interconnected ripples emerging from this space.

Initially employees were little hesitant to join the begining circle but  we could clearly see the transformation that had already happened by the end of the afternoon, as we see them come by and sit with us in the closing circle and share their smiles and gratitude with  us.

It was such a beautiful feeling that we all walked out with. No words will make justice to that feeling!

And the photo to add more to the fun :-)

Smiles :-)

Image courtesy : Karma Kitchen.org
 
 
It has been some years now since we have been offering our living room space for anyone to walk into Community Yoga practice. We held this one day every week, recently we stepped it up by doubling it -- twice a week, every week. Every week beautiful stories & connections (to soil & souls) emerge. We have been sharing these with our friends and family over casual conversations. A lot of them encouraged us to share this with the wider community online. Each of these experience humbled me, helped me grow, so offering these in the hope that these will help bring smile & inspiration to someone like you somewhere on the face of this beloved planet (Mother Earth).
  1. An energy healer recently heard about this Community Yoga practice at Casa De Paz, was kind enough to join the practice & in one of the sessions, towards the end during our reflection circle said "the practice that gave me an experience in both Physicality & Spirituality". Moved by the practice this healer declares "my intention is to offer my time to this community whoever is in need of some healing through what I know best -- massage therapy". How beautiful it is to witness such organic outpouring of support from someone who just walks into the practice, experiences it and pays-forward unconditionally to someone who's in most need.
  2. A Yoga teacher who is a regular, rain or shine shows up on time, one day recently shared that - "I am so touched by this generosity, I don't think I told you this before, I started inviting all my neighbors to my large backyard deck for our neighborhood group yoga & wellness practice, I didn't ever think before that I could use this space this way to open to the community to come together in the spirit of improving health for each other - thank you." How could I respond to such a creative gesture where this person looks around her own backyard and says I have an abundant resource (my deck space)? I said -- "thank you, thank you for keep coming, really."
  3. Another person silently assigned a task for oneself -- to find joy in offering some simple, healthy, fresh breakfast to everyone, this manifested into a group breakfast, where there's enough food for everyone every-week although we have no idea how many would actually show up.  One day this person says  - "I am sorry, I couldn't prepare something today, but I got this freshly made dosa (indian pancake) batter just in case if there's a way we can make them here." My wife & I said why not, we said we absolutely can & we all ended up having a flash dosa mob :-), how cool is that to start the day in this spontaneous way!. Another day, I particularly remember one time where some additional people showed up for the first time, we thought we might run a bit low on food, as it would puzzle us all, one person says - "I love to share with my presence with you today & offer this flower & I am on fast today." There seems to be some magical way how this all seems to work out just the right way.It's Yummy! to the tummies every-week :-).
  4. An artist surprised all of us one early morning. She walked in with some large stuff in her hand, we couldn't see it well as it was still bit dark. At the end she shows this beautiful hand drawn art and shares the story -- how deeply she was moved when she saw a little girl  one time while waiting in a community health clinic,  she seemed to be longing for some motherly love that she seemed to have lost in her life due to some unfortunate reason & she dedicated this piece of art to the little girl & named it after her -- Isabella. We were in tears as we heard this moving story and to witness this transformational shift in this artist.
  5. Another time, someone gifted a hand-drawn picture of another participants dog who had passed away recently. These two people didn't know each other, had just heard about the passing of this dog in previous week class reflection. It's so deeply touching to see this space connecting these two people in such a deep way.
  6. Another elderly man rehabbing from multiple surgeries, becomes part of this practice in the community and recently said " Now I have moved from  the space of constantly complaining about the chronic pain into a space of starting to enjoy life & have quality time with family". His next door neighbor summed it beautifully at a chance meeting this past week, she said -- "My elderly neighbor smiles a lot these days, he's a happy man & his wife is happy and together they are sharing all kinds of plans they are thinking of doing now, they are full of young & vibrant energy all over again".  So many more stories, what a joy to witness all these...Thank you all for co-creating these experiences -- none of us could have scripted any of these exactly how they are unfolding all alone. Thank you universe.

 
 
Dear Friends -

Love share sampling of the ripples flowing in all directions from this recent event. Here they are -

"Indeed, yesterday's talk was riveting and the author/presenter was outstanding both as a professional and especially as an individual. Thank you for organizing this very inspiring event and thanks too for encouraging me to attend. The little extra nudging from you worked!
I know that we have met before, but hadn't really interacted in any meaningful capacity. I'm blown away by your dedication and your enthusiasm. You're a beautiful young couple living a purposeful life with evolved aspirations. We don't see that everyday. Bravo! Thank you for doing what you do--it's motivating for the rest of the world to follow in your footsteps. One thing I forgot to do yesterday was to sign my book for you. Will do it the next time we meet :)
Thanks again and take care."

"I want to thank you again for your wonderful presentation on Saturday. The room was abuzz with enthusiasm and interest in your book, and for you! You did a great job presenting the subject for those who haven't yet read the book. It was clear and coherently presented, and impressive! It was really an honor for us to host you."

"It was a wonderful afternoon for us. Really pleasure to be with the guests and of course any time with you folks. Thanks for organizing it and making us part of it as well. We will continue meet up for this kind of events moving forward. With this + went to HSS shakha on Sunday and then my 1 hr walk + Visit to Fremont temple + my usual surya namaskara + Kriya- made my weekend beatufiul actually."

"Just wanted to say thank you again for forwarding me the information for the Infinite Vision talk at the library.  I really enjoyed it.  It was also nice to see you again, even briefly, and to meet your wife.  I hope to make it to a yoga class or cooking class in the near future, and I have another talk at the library in May, maybe I'll see you both again soon!
Take care :-)"

"I have so much to share that I dont know where to start. Let me start by saying that I am glad I did  dishes on Amma's birthday at the ashram :). If not, I may not have met the both of you. It is amazing how people's path cross and I am super happy ours did.  
The talk by Pavi  (on "Infinite Vision" ) last weekend at the library was incredible to say the least. Thank you so much for including me in this wonderful experience. I was at the Wednesday yesterday. It was a sacred space of learning and recognizing the commonality in all of us.  
I am getting into a wonderful space of knowing and experiencing inspiring things.. thank you so much for playing a crucial part in that. As you know, I am planning on starting a resource center for children with disabilities in India. With all these wonderful experiences, I feel like I am getting closer and closer to my dream.   I look forward to seeing both of you soon. 
Take care
In spirit,"

Many of you requested for the full video of the documentary that was showed after the author's speaking live event, here it is for you - http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-430943131005128104

We encourage you to share further reflections and your stories from personal journey and learning moments from these events -- Thank you.

Smiles :-)
LiveWell :-)

 
 
A beautiful experience emerged from our Community Yoga practice. This week, along with other participants, a young athlete also joined the group practice for the very first time. I had witnessed this person playing Badminton, he has an excellent flair for this game -- reflexes, positioning and sound strategy. We got to learn that he's very active in the local Badminton circuits. It was beautiful to see this person embrace the practice of Yoga. Observing from his movements & alignments through the flow of the practice, it was clear, like so many other athletes, he needed deep improvements in the area of flexibility.

He managed to persist, survive the full session :-) of the energy flow. In the end, as we concluded the practice with our customary deep relaxation to body & mind (and a group offering of  gratitude for the greater good of all beings)  the beautiful smile on his face said it all. He's in it for life. Witnessing this spontaneous transformations week after week, practice after practice, person after person has been a beautiful journey. Personally, I'm grateful for this opportunity to be an instrument to hold the space for smiles to emerge naturally. A thought immediately flashed, flexibility at one level (physical) could simultaneously stretch one's others dimensions (mind & emotions) as well. Commit to a regular practice, speaking from personal experience it's the sure way to improve flexibility in all dimensions of one's total personality.
 
 
Hayward is a small little town called aptly as Heart of the Bay has great historical significance. This place has been deeply touched by the works of many extra-ordinary people many absolutely invisible and some famous people like Cesar Chavez. This is a diverse community with people from all walks of life -- homeless, gang affected families, struggling to survive mom-n-pop stores, big marts & all kinds of typical clueless corporates, bee-keepers, community gardeners, everyday people living a life of value to do good in the community . Being rooted in this community and working closely at the grassroots level has been deeply humbling, grounding & spiritually growing.

Serendipitous meetings with ServiceSpace has been a big inspiration to us and many more in our community. This gave birth to our first child few years back as Sunrise Yoga, where we offer our living space to everyone in practice of Yoga, Meditation & Healthy Living Circles.

We all had a dream of spreading the generosity we experienced as the receiver to many more in the bay area, and a beautiful space Snappy’s opened up right here in the Hayward community with a open heart to work with us to make it a reality.

The owner of Snappy’s cafe is an amazing person who followed her values, left her well paying corporate job and started the cafe a few years back and now she is very excited to bring in the concept of gift economy restaurant to the Hayward community by introducing Karma Kitchen.

Today we are all very excited to share the launching of Karma Kitchen in April and we are awaiting the community to experience the abundance and generosity that we have experienced in life. May the ripples from these sincere efforts reach far and wide out into the universe.

Image courtesy: KarmaKitchen.org

 
 
This morning as I was finishing up my early morning routine of exercise a thought flashed, it was a quick one, before it was gone too fast, I took a deeper look at it, an insight emerged. Realization showed that the thought was about the choices we make in our daily living. For instance the choices I was presented with in this experience I am sharing with you now.Several years back, we had moved into a new home, new neighborhood, new circumstances, new in every aspect, all were unknown. As part of the move, we had to forward all our postal mails to a hold service before we could start receiving them at the new address. The stuffs were piling up, it was time for us to fetch them from the central post office. A quick look at the map indicated that the post office is approximately about 1.5 - 2 miles from our new home. Driving by car for a quick ride to take care of this errand was the easy first choice that came to mind, followed by another thought doing a quick value check. Result of that value check opened the doors to another choice -- how about I take a walk -- although to most standards in this part of the world it could be considered a long walk to do this one simple task, given our commitments to values I chose this and opened myself to all opportunities of exploring the new neighborhoods, share some smiles with people on the walk and fit in my daily dose of fresh air and outdoor exercise. I pat myself on the back for doing a quick value check and feel good about this conscious choice I am making, although not knowing what's going to unfold as part of this experiment. I put on my walking shoe, put on a sun hat and start to walk.

Along the way, I got lost few times, that didn't bother me much as it opened doors to explore the neighborhood even more and connect with the place and people I encountered. Arriving at the post office, I was feeling so joyful with that walkers high, I am smiling and run straight to an empty counter thinking how nice that I can be out of here very quickly. I smile and ask the person on the other side of the desk "How are you? I would like to ask you a quick question - I am here to collect our mail holds - can you please help me?"  He showed me the long queue that circled the building and came back inside, so this left me with couple of choices either to go back home or stay put and wait for my turn to collect the mails.
I decided for the later one and stood there making good use of the time, watching and making eye contacts, passing on the smiles to many who I came in contact with.  Finally  after 30 min reached the window, still holding on to the smile and had a good conversation with the person on the other side, finally collected the mails and said our byes wishing each other well.

This incidence in my life made me stronger in my commitment to serve  "Mother Nature" every moment in simple and small ways for the rest of my life, no invention was needed for me except to invent a shift in self consciousness and to identify the small acts that will make the earth sustainable for many generations to come!