Tamara J Gordy

Facilitating sustainable environmental and social impact

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Natural Skincare – the start of an obsession

Lately I find myself more and more turned off by mainstream drugstore products for skin, hair, and home. One look at an ingredient label is enough to know that rubbing that stuff all over yourself does not sound like a bright idea. Even many products marketed as natural and organic have ingredients that are known or suspected toxins. I want to find out if we can do better.

By making my own, I get to experiment with some of the best things nature has to offer, like essential oils, Shea Butter, Kukui Nut Oil, Coconut Oil, and Sweet Almond oil. These are rich luxurious cold-pressed unrefined natural oils, filled with naturally-occurring nutrients, interesting aromas, and healthy fatty acids.

I’d like to invite you to join me so we can learn about natural, small-batch DIY care for face, hair, body and home together. So far I’ve learned that there is a wealth of information and experience that we can tap. I also learned that, just like with cooking,  just because someone publishes a recipe on the internet or in a book, does not mean that it is a good recipe, and that things like the quality of ingredients and technique make a huge difference in the awesomeness of the final product.

I’m in my happy place. Learning, researching, experimenting, and playing in the kitchen.  And my skin has never felt so soft.

What are your experiences making and using natural products for skin and home?




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The Wild Olympics bill

I’d forgotten how fun it is to write Letters to the Editor.

Someone from the Wild Olympics campaign recently called to tell me that Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) reintroduced the Wild Olympics bill and asked if I would write one in support of the bill. The bill proposes creating a 126,000 acre buffer around the treasure that is the Olympic National Park. They even helped by working up a personalized first draft based on our conversation.

I was inspired by help from the campaign and what I learned about the bill.  Part of what interested me was the way supporters engaged in deep listening to understand other points of view, then crafted solutions that earned often elusive support from locals, visitors, and wilderness supporters alike.  [UPDATE:  The Seattle Times and Kitsap Sun are both publishing sometime this weekend]

There is a lot to say about the bill. It was hard boiling it down to 250 words for the Kitsap Sun. Even harder after I discovered that Seattle Times limits to 200 words. The discipline probably helped me stay positive and stick to a few key points.   I aimed for short statements showing folks precisely what I support and why. I chose elements where people often assume positions that may come from incomplete information amplified by inaccurate information.

I also wanted to include an “ask” to give a path for those who agree with me to channel their energy. I have a theory that doing something positive when we see a need for change in the world releases tension in a healthy way.  I’m convinced that over time, holding on to concerns without acting leads the tension to build into anger, fear, resentment, and cynicism,  Especially if you care deeply and are awakened to the many opportunities for the world to be even better.

I’ll ask you, dear reader, to please like the Wild Olympics Facebook page and contact Rep. Kilmer.

Here is the letter I submitted. I’m curious to see the response, and I feel sad about subjecting myself to some of the newspaper comment section crowd.

I support the Wild Olympics bill. Wild Olympics designates a wilderness buffer around the Olympic National Park. The consultation process over the past 4 years earned support from groups that sometimes disagree. I urge readers to contact Rep. Kilmer and ask him to support the Wild Olympics bill.


There’s more you can do in designated Wilderness than what you cannot. Hiking, camping, climbing, rafting, kayaking, skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, fishing, horseback riding and berry-picking are allowed. Mining, logging and motorized use are not.

No forest system roads are inside the 126,000 acres of proposed wilderness. This preserves public access. Existing roadways remain available for motorized uses like snowmobiles and four-wheelers.

The proposed wilderness does not change existing trailheads. The place you start your hike today is the same place as after the bill is passed.

The proposed wilderness does not close new areas to logging. It only affects land where logging is already off-limits, earning endorsement by a Port Angeles timber company and a mill in Cosmopolis.

Washington’s outdoor recreation industry supports 115,000 jobs and contributes $11.7 billion per year. Other purely economic beneficiaries are in food, fishing, lodging, retail, real-estate, fuel, and services. Economics like this are especially powerful because they support family businesses on a recurring basis, year after year.

Please ask Rep. Derek Kilmer to join 20 hunting and fishing organizations, 200 Olympic and Kitsap peninsula businesses, Democrats, Republicans, and conservationists, and support the Wild Olympics bill.

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Cultivating connection: How labels get in the way of understanding

We judge each other all the time. It happens so fast that we barely even think about it.

Our minds like categorizing things. It simplifies the otherwise hard work of processing complicated information. We mentally classify people into varying shades of good and bad, right and wrong, in and out, like and don’t like.  We use labels to describe what people are like.

I am….

You are …

They are …

Judging and labeling aren’t wrong in and of themselves.  You won’t catch me making a judgement about judgement here. It is just that sometimes we let our judgement get in the way of our connection.  Every time judging shortcuts communication, it is a missed chance to really understand each other.

Have you ever noticed how once you’ve made a judgement about someone, they almost immediately do something that seems to confirm it?  Once labelled selfish, that guy is sure to act selfish.  Or at least that is what I am going to see. It turns out that our brains like to be right so much that we tend to over-weight signals that confirm our diagnosis, and ignore or underweight ones that show a more subtle picture.

We seem wired to fool ourselves into thinking that the labels we assign are complete and correct, and that there is no point in looking any further. The conundrum is that if we are truly after connection and understanding, the only way to get there is to by actually looking further.

It strikes me that suspending judgement in order to give ourselves time enough to be curious is the best way past this dilemma.  Instead of “what a jerk”, I have a chance to wonder why this person does the things he does, how she came to believe things that sound totally crazy to me. By staying curious and interested I have the chance to deepen my understanding and our possibility for connection so much more than if I jump to judgement.

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Sustainable energy for all

In the spirit of the Rio+20 Conference, it seemed a good time to share the goals of the United Nations “Sustainable Energy For All” initiative.

  1. Ensure universal access to modern energy services

1.3 billion people – that is 1 in every 5 people around the globe – do not have electricity to light their homes or conduct business. Twice that number—nearly 40% of the world’s population—rely on wood, coal, charcoal, or animal waste to cook their food—breathing in toxic smoke that causes lung disease and kills nearly two million people a year, most of them women and children.

Access to modern energy is essential to reducing poverty, improving women’s and children’s health, and broadening the reach of education.

2. Double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is such an obvious winner that it is sometimes hard to believe that there are people who argue against it, but then politics is politics.  Energy efficiency saves money, improves business results, and generally delivers more for less.

Energy use in the U.S.
Image from: http://bit.ly/KSgzK8

Commercial and residential refrigerators cost the same but use less energy; planes, trains and automobiles travel further on less fuel; and buildings need less energy to heat and cool.

3. Double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix

Renewable energy sources

Increasing the share of energy from renewable sources can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut local pollution, protect economies from volatility in fuel prices, and avoid over-reliance on risky supply chains.

In 2011, investment in electricity from  wind, sun, waves and biomass grew to $187 billion as compared to $157 billion for natural gas, oil and coal.


Free ebook – How to Write a Killer LinkedIn Profile

Have you ever wondered how to make better use of LinkedIn? Here is a handy resource. (Please note that Many LinkedIn functions have been updated since this post was written) Even better, it is free today (Of course that can end at any time, so be sure to check the pricing when you go to order it). It is a Kindle ebook, How to Write a Killer LinkedIn Profile & 18 Mistakes to Avoid by Brenda Bernstein, on Amazon.com

Here is her list of 18 Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Ineffective use of keywords
  2. A boring uninformative headline with no keywords
  3. No profile photo or an unprofessional or distracting photo
  4. No status bar or a status bar that’s over a month old
  5. Websites labelled generically, e.g. “Company Website” or “Personal Website”
  6. Public profile url (link) with lots of numbers, letters, and slashes at the end
  7. No recommendations or very few recommendations
  8. Recommendations that contain spelling, grammar and punctuation errors, or are just plain boring
  9. Fewer than 500 connections
  10. Blank or ineffective summary section
  11. Blank specialties and skills sections
  12. LinkedIn Partner applications and special sections not utilized
  13. No descriptions or weak descriptions of job duties and accomplishments
  14. Lack of consistency/discrepancies in format and structure
  15. Spelling, grammar and punctuation errors
  16. Unattractive formatting
  17. Insufficient or ineffective group membership
  18. A static (unchanging, outdated) profile

(Yikes- Looks like I’ve got some work to do – perhaps we can collaborate by reviewing and making suggestions on each others’ efforts)

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Tamara’s Blogging weekend

This weekend is the Biannual Blogathon Bash. The bash is basically a motivational blogging challenge. It asks for as much blogging as you are willing to do over a 3-day period. There are mini-challenges and prizes. 

My goal is to make at least one post per day. With my son visiting from out of town and a BBQ on the other side of the water, I don’t want to over-commit. My main reasons for joining the blogathon is to inspire more learning about online tools and to keep writing.

If you decide to join the Blogathon Bash too, let me know in the comment section so I can come and visit.

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Back in my day

Do you remember the Rio Earth Summit in 1992?  Landmark agreements were made – Agenda 21, Forest Principles, and the Declaration on Environment & Development.

We’ve seen loads of progress since that time.  Nonetheless this weeks’ Rio+20 also offers a stark reminder of the difference between promise and follow-through when it comes to international agreements. Many goals and promises stand unfulfilled.

Rio+20 is sometimes thought of as kicking off a decade of environmental awareness.  But instead of getting stronger, American Public Media’s Marketplace program reports that surveys indicate that millenials, or people born between the late ’70s and early ’90s, report much lower levels of concern for the environment than do Gen X and older groups. Many report that they do not engage in any sort of personal action to conserve energy or protect the environment.

Is it true that caring about the world we live in is fading out of style? What can we do to engage more members of this up and coming generation in the issues that so deeply affect us?