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Calling All Daredevils Thrill Seeking and Extreme Sports

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Daredevils

The view over the canyon is breathtaking and the climber knows it. As she sits near the edge breathing in the clean air on the summit, she marvels at the beauty here at the edge of a basin carved out by water eons ago. She finishes a protein bar and gets up, checking her shoelaces and patting all around her as she makes sure her equipment is secure. She backs up from the edge and takes one last deep breath before running forward and casting herself over the edge. As she plummets to the ground the bungee cord she’s attached to swings her on a wide arc. Involuntarily she wonders, as she always does, if her companion measured and secured the rope properly. She will soon find out.

The Risk is the Reward

For the habitual thrill-seeker, the feeling of adrenaline that accompanies death-defying feats is the toppings on the sundae. Without that cocktail of anticipation, fear, exhilaration, regret, relief, triumph, and jubilation, none of the activities would hold the same appeal﹘no matter how beautiful the view, or how strenuous the effort. Why do they do it, when the alternative is complete finality? Reasons include:

  • The Respect of Onlookers: The old adage of “if it was easy everyone would do it,” is never more true in sports, and even more so in extreme sports. Whether the person is competing to finish a marathon or surf a tidal wave, they are willing to put up with a lot of punishment in the lead-up to a moment of pure adoration by those around them.
  • The Feeling of Exceeding a Limitation: In much the same way para-athletes train their mind and bodies to overcome the limitations caused by their disability, participants of extreme sports look at the metaphorical (or in some cases, literal) Everest and say to themselves “what if?” There is no better feeling than seeing an old boundary sail past you in the rush of accomplishment.
  • Chasing the Bucket List: Some goals are driven by the hope of apotheosis, others by curiosity; bucket lists take all sorts, and seeing that list get crossed does a lot to convince that life has been well-lived. 

For people falling from a cliff with a thick piece of elastic string attached to their ankles, they may have goals that took them to the top of the mountain, but that carousel of feelings while suspended in the air is the gas that makes it go.

From Provocateur to Professional

It’s true that over time the amygdala﹘the emotional center of the brain, where feelings like fear and happiness come from﹘can be conditioned to accept a certain level of risk. After all, the subject of the 2018 documentary Free Solo, Alex Hannold, famously showed no stimulation in the amygdala while taking an MRI and answering questions designed to elicit an emotional response to thrill-seeking. But what happens when those who are drawn by the myriad of emotions from their sport are able to manage that emotional response practically; when they have moved on from provoking the amygdala? Well, many of them become professionals.

The path to these so-called “extreme professions” is different for everyone, but for those that involve passengers, such as a pilot or stunt driver, there are special academies that provide the appropriate licensure. Other individuals forego the route of becoming a professional doer of the sport and opt to be in a career adjacent to the thing that they love, either because they are past their physical prime, or because they want to qualify for more robust insurance. These might include professions like a sports coach or a pit boss.

Practical Skills

The often unforeseen consequence of participating in an extreme sport is that in order for an athlete to have the greatest chance of survival over a long period of time, they really need to become an expert in what they’re doing. Car enthusiasts become exceptional car mechanics, and go on to work in auto care shops wherever they live; surfers become swim instructors. 

Everyone gets good at estate planning.

That is another side effect of extreme sports: when you’re waiting for the bungee cord to got taut, the fear is abated in part by confidence in your preparation, both for what you’re doing and if something should go wrong. No matter what the sport is, all thrill seekers﹘from skydivers to scuba divers﹘should get acquainted with their local estate planning law firm.

The world of extreme sports is a thrilling one but comes at a high risk. It’s the type of thing where everyone can try it once, but only the people who have dedicated themselves to technical perfection, who are meticulously attentive to details, and who are able to master their emotions ever get the chance to do it a second time.

Lifestyle

Sustainable Ways to Eat Meat

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Ways to Eat Meat

When discussing sustainable eating and ways to help the environment, eating less meat is usually one of the recommendations. However, there are ways you can keep meat in your diet without having such a big environmental impact.

The Environmental Impact of Eating Meat

Even if the animals being raised for meat are treated well, there are other concerns when it comes to being a carnivore. A lot of resources are used to raise the cattle and prepare the meat for consumption.

Animals Need Land

To raise happy and healthy animals, ranchers need a lot of land. In addition to needing the space to graze, they can contaminate water sources, prematurely deplete the soil of nutrients, and contribute to erosion. 

How Much Water Livestock Requires

  • Beef: More than 4,000 gallons of water per 2.1 pounds of edible meat
  • Pork: 6,000 gallons of water per 2.1 pounds of edible meat
  • Chicken: More than 1,100 gallons of water per 2.1 pounds of edible meat

In contrast, 2.1 pounds of fruit only require 264 gallons of water, and 2.1 pounds of vegetables just 79 gallons.

Livestock Contributes to Greenhouse Gases

While not the straw to break the camel’s back when it comes to damaging the atmosphere, livestock does contribute to greenhouse gases. The animals themselves not only expel menthane but the facilities that process meat are emitting pollution into the atmosphere, as are the trucks that transport meat products to stores. studies show that livestock greenhouse gas emissions total 14.5% of all man-made emissions. This is equal to the number of emissions produced by all of the world’s transportation combined.

On the flip side, plant-based foods require fewer resources to get from farm to table. So, cutting out the middle man when it comes to purchasing meat may be one viable option. Let’s look at some others.

Tips for Sourcing Meat Sustainably

Put in some extra effort to research where your food comes from and know that you’re doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint.

Buy Local or Raise Your Own

You may pay slightly more for locally raised meat, but it often tastes better and it’s better for the environment. Wagyu beef, such as that raised by Bear Lake Beef in Utah, eliminates the need for a trip to the grocery store by delivering flavorful, tender cuts right to your door. See if there is a local cattle rancher that can provide you with premium cuts of meat, whether it’s via a farmer’s market, pickup, or delivery.

Tips for Buying Local or Sustainably Raised Meat

  • Look up farmers’ markets on the National Farmers Market Directory (NFMD)
  • Join a meat share, such as Good Meat Switchboard
  • Search national databases for a farm that aligns with your values
  • Browse Niche Meat Processors Network for farms that ship

You can also reduce your carbon footprint by raising your own meat. You might not have enough room for a cow in your yard, but backyard chickens could prove a less cumbersome way of keeping meat in your diet while getting rid of the middle man. 

Hunt

Maybe the thought of raising livestock doesn’t appeal to you. It’s a lot of work, and you run the risk of getting emotionally attached to your backyard breakfast. Hunting your own meat may be a better option for you. It can combine the skill of using a firearm or bow with learning how to responsibly obtain food.

Tips for Hunting

  • Invest in quality tools (firearms, bow and arrows, etc…)
  • Get certified and apply early for permits
  • Stay in designated hunting areas in designated hunting seasons
  • Wear bright clothing
  • Be mindful of other hunters
  • Make yourself known to other hunters for safety
  • Keep an eye on pets

Purchase From Ethical Ranchers

Whether or not they’re local, ethical ranchers can make a difference when it comes to the environment. By focusing on quality rather than quantity, ethical farming practices are less harmful to the ecosystem as they don’t intensively farm and mass-produce meat.

For Ethically Raised Meat, Look for the Following Labels

  • Pasture-Raised
  • Certified Organic
  • Certified Humane
  • Certified Animal Welfare Approved

Purchasing directly from a farmer or a butcher is often the most convenient way to source ethically raised meat. 

Switch One Meat Product for Another

Some livestock requires fewer resources than others, so switching from red meat to white may be a way to increase your sustainability. 

Cows are said to have a bigger carbon footprint than other types of livestock, such as pigs or chickens. Even just switching to another source of meat can make a positive difference for the environment.

Reduce How Much Meat You Eat

Maybe the only change you make is simply reducing how often you eat meat and reducing your portion size when you do. Switch to eating meat one less day per week, or using less in your favorite recipes. 

Reduce Food Waste

Whatever food waste you have left over, consider composting it to reduce your carbon footprint. Landfills produce additional greenhouse gases, so when uneaten meat products end up in the garbage it’s like giving them a second chance to produce methane. If composting isn’t an option, be more mindful with your meal planning to avoid purchasing more food than you need that will end up going to waste.

Buy Meat That’s Been Fed a Sustainable Diet

No matter what you’re purchasing, or from whom, if your meat has been fed a more sustainable diet it can help the environment. Science Direct published an abstract stating that cows fed red seaweed as part of their diet produce 50% less methane. Follow to food chain when purchasing meat to see how everything is sourced along the way.

With a few changes, you can feel better about keeping meat in your diet. See what substitutions you can make in your meals to reduce consumption, and be willing to do a little homework to source meat from ethical farms. It can make all the difference.

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Sustainable Food Disposal: How to Save Money While Saving the World

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Cash use making a comeback

Disposing of excess food and food waste in a sustainable way is not only profitable for consumers and businesses but charitable to the rest of Earth’s residents. No matter the scale of your kitchen, a couple of simple changes such as donation and composting can contribute to a worldwide shift toward the conservation of both individual and environmental resources.

While wasted food from corporate farms and distribution centers makes up a large portion of our world’s losses, widening this win-win waste management scenario’s implementation starts from the roots up— right in your own kitchen, as well as in restaurants and markets throughout your community.

The US Department of Agriculture estimates that about one-third of the food produced in 2010 was wasted before it even reached the shelves. Now, imagine how much of that was actually eaten, and how much went straight to the landfill.

If the general public starts making moves to ensure foods from supermarkets and F&B suppliers either get eaten or disposed of responsibly, expectations and pressure will arise for those with more power in the industry to reduce their waste statistics as well.

Dawn a new day in food disposal— Start recycling or getting rid of your food waste in a sustainable way today, as well as supporting businesses that strive to do the same. This will set an example for those around you, setting humanity up for a more successful future while saving you money in the process.

  • Donate Excess Food

Feed the Hungry — Feed Your Wallet

Donating excess food to a school cafeteria, homeless shelter, or similar organization is easy. In the end, not only does it make you feel good but it also saves you money in more than one way:

  • Help Provide Meals for Schools and Shelters

Stop feeding landfills and start feeding your community— As long as your excess food is still safe, edible, and healthy, it can feed the hungry mouths of school children and the struggling citizens of the world. 

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, about 805 million people across the globe went hungry between 2012 and 2014. If all food loss was eliminated, we would have enough to provide sufficient nourishment for all of these people.

  • Reduce Your Bin Weight & Reap Tax Benefits

When you donate your edible excess, you will have less trash in your bin and less tax to pay to the IRS. If your waste management company is charging you by weight, which is especially likely if you are running a restaurant, your disposal fees will drop.

In addition to freeing up your budget to provide more fun for your family or an even more exceptional restaurant experience, you can write off these charitable donations on your taxes and receive more of your hard-earned money back.

  • Compost Food Waste

Return Nutrients — Reduce Methane

Why throw food waste into a landfill where it will rot in a plastic bag and add more methane to our atmosphere? Return it to where it came from to decompose— the dirt. Then, it can be used to grow more plentiful and healthy food for the people of our planet:

  • Conserve Resources and Enrich the Soil

Earth’s systems are naturally sustainable, promoting proper growth and decay by sharing resources through exchanges of energy. When we allow food waste to rot away in a landfill, it won’t be able to return to the soil it came from and carry on its nutrients to produce the next batch of crops.

After enriching the soil, this energy translates into nutrition for the human body. Composting food waste, whether it be at home or through employing an eco-friendly waste management company, will help supply hearty harvests and well-nourished livestock— sustainably supporting humanity’s health for generations to come.

  • Separate Your Waste and Save on Pick Up

When you separate your waste to be sent to specialized facilities, it will not only help save the planet but could also save you cash. A waste management company that cares about our carbon footprint will often encourage composting and recycling by offering money-saving incentives to pre-sort your trash into different bins.

Starting a compost pile in your backyard is a great way to provide you and your family with a freer budget, more nourishing meals, and a little extra exercise. If you set up your pile to perform the composting process properly, it will support your finances as well as the health of your soil, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides that harm our planet.

Donating your excess food and composting your food waste is simple. Take a step towards sustainability today to start saving money, feeding the hungry, returning resources to Mother Earth, and cleaning the ozone through decreased methane output. Even better, start using whole-food ingredients and from-scratch methods in your restaurant or home kitchen to support human health and the sustainability of our home planet.

Resources for donating and composting food waste:

  • Education:

The Basics of Sustainable Food Management

The Food Recovery Hierarchy

  • Donation:

National School Lunch Program

Feeding America

  • Compost:

Composting 101

Composting at Home

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Lifestyle

A Yard for All Seasons

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Summer is upon us, which means we’re getting ready to enjoy warm nights in the backyard around the pool and patio. But have you given thought to how you can cultivate a yard that invites you outside all year long? When summer fades to fall, how can you make your outdoor living space work in the cooler temperatures?

Year-Round Landscaping

Create a visually appealing yard by planting vegetation or adding hardscaping that works hard year-round. Based on your climate, plant trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals that provide greenery and blooms with the changing seasons. This means you’ll never have to spend another winter staring sadly at spent blooms, wishing for some warmth from Mother Nature.

A staggered planting plan incorporates coniferous and deciduous trees, as well as both early and late blooming shrubs and flowers. While we all anticipate the first yellow daffodils each spring, what else have you planted that you can look forward to at the end of summer? How will your foliage change when autumn arrives? Instead of being surrounded by bare branches when fall colors fade, make sure you have evergreen plants that invite you outside.

There are many vegetation options available to ensure you have a bit of greenery in your backyard oasis year-round. Talk with a local nursery or landscaping company to determine what will work best for your yard, The following are some top choices for bringing color, texture, and variety to a yard from spring through winter:

SPRING

  • Forsythia 
  • Lilacs
  • Mountain Laurel
  • Hawthorn

SUMMER

  • Crepe Myrtle Trees
  • Hydrangea Shrubs
  • Rose of Sharon

FALL

  • Maples (for their foliage)
  • Oaks 
  • Sumac Shrubs

WINTER

  • Japonica
  • Red Osier Dogwood
  • Variegated Holly

While vegetation is extremely important for creating an inviting outdoor space, don’t forget about the hardscaping that complements it.

Hardscaping 

Does your yard have shelter from the elements? What about heaters or an outdoor fire pit for cool nights? If you want to make your yard a place you can enjoy year-round, be sure you consider your hardscaping options.

A seasoned, premier landscaper like Cottonwood Landscapes, based in Utah, knows to use weather-resistant materials for outdoor spaces. The building materials and textiles used in your yard should be made to last so you can enjoy being outdoors any time of year. Since Utah can experience all four seasons in one “spring” day, Cottonwood knows how to bring a backyard vision to life with materials that can withstand the elements.

Hardscaping for an inviting outdoor environment should include defined seating areas, pathways, and cover from sun, rain, and snow. Get the most out of your yard by considering the following additions:

  • Deck with a pergola or cover
  • Fire pit or fireplace with built-in seating
  • Outdoor kitchen
  • Lighting and heat sources
  • Pavers and flagstone for pathways and sitting areas
  • Retaining walls
  • Privacy screens
  • Water features
  • Textiles

Portable heaters or a firepit may be the best investment if you want to enjoy your outdoor space year-round. You may also be surprised at how alluring a hot tub can be even when there’s snow on the ground.

Best Hardscaping Materials for Winter

Snow, snow removal, and de-icing chemicals can quickly take a toll on your hardscaping. Concrete slabs and wood can deteriorate over time due to freezing and thawing, so it might be good to look at other options.

Pavers

Compared to big, concrete slabs, individual pavers can better withstand expansion and contraction in temperature fluctuation. This means they undergo less stress as the seasons change, offering a longer lifespan than an expanse of concrete, which tends to crack over time.

Another benefit of pavers is that you can employ a variety of materials: brick, concrete, or even stone makes for beautiful, study pavers in your backyard oasis. Laying them like tiles gives a lot of flexibility when it comes to design, and if an individual piece is damaged, it can be removed and replaced.

Cement

Yes, never-ending slabs of concrete just got slammed above, but different applications of cement can fare better than others in cold climates. If your concrete hardscaping is properly sealed, it can withstand the elements a bit better. Also, concrete has come a long way and the possibilities for stamping and coloring it are practically limitless.

Brick

As previously mentioned, brick is a sturdy material to use in harsh winter climates. Whether for a patio, walkway, or wall, brick can last hundreds of years with regular maintenance. Keeping it clean, and ensuring the brick is sealed will go a long way toward preserving its integrity.

Besides providing long-lasting gathering areas in your yard, hardscaping is often a necessity for preventing problems. 

Benefits of Hardscaping

Prevents Flooding

Installing proper drainage in your yard is imperative for preventing flooding, and keeping pests at bay. Make sure you’re not stuck with standing water or mosquitoes by incorporating barriers and drains in your hardscaping. Thoughtful hardscaping can also divert water away from your house to protect the foundation from damage as well.

Prevents Soil Erosion

You’ve worked hard with your landscaper to cultivate a beautiful yard; don’t let erosion sweep it all away! The right hardscaping can keep flower beds intact and ensure your hard work doesn’t wash away in the next spring rainstorm. Keep mulch, plants, and dirt in place with a variety of barriers to prevent soil erosion.

Defines Spaces

If you want to make your yard the gathering place for family events, use hardscaping to define spaces. Create pathways through vegetation so guests can explore your plants without trampling them. Use pavers to create sitting areas where chairs have steady footing and no one runs the risk of topping over when they take a seat. Carve out the perfect grilling spot with permanent shade structures and food prep areas. 

Remember, you don’t have to dream up or execute your yard plans on your own. You can employ the help of a designer to get your yard sketched out and use a landscaping company like Cottonwood that does it all. From decks to patios, swimming pools to outdoor kitchens, make your yard work harder for you by incorporating variety.

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