Category Archives: Blog

bamboo forest

Why bamboo toilet paper?

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Category : Blog


Oh 2020 and the famous toilet paper craziness. With people staying at home because of business closings and shelter-in-place orders as the news pandemic started, the demand for consumer toilet paper skyrocketed while the demand for commercial toilet paper has decreased. Recent analysis found that American consumers used an average of 25 kilograms of toilet paper per person in a year, the equivalent of 144 Charmin Mega Rolls. So reasonable to consider why staple would be high in priority in everyone’s mind and grocery list.

When considering how much toilet paper we use, can just imagine how much trees it takes to meet this demand. Toilet paper wipes out 27,000 trees a day. Worldwide, the equivalent of almost 270,000 trees is either flushed or dumped in landfills every day and roughly 10 percent of that total is attributable to toilet paper, according to the latest issue of World Watch magazine.

Why does using bamboo toilet paper make sense? It is the fastest growing plant on the planet due to a unique rhizome-dependent system and can grow up to 20 times faster than trees in northern boreal forests. Certain species of bamboo can grow 910 mm (36 in) within a 24-hour period, at a rate of almost 40 mm (1 12 in) an hour (a growth around 1 mm every 90 seconds, or 1 inch every 40 minutes). Bamboo toilet roll, when responsibly sourced, is certainly more sustainable than virgin wood pulp used in the more popular brands.

Bamboo not only grows faster than any other plant, but it produces more than 35 percent more oxygen than trees. It has been found that bamboo can absorb up to 12 tons of carbon dioxide per 2.5 acres in a single year. 

If you needed one more reason to make the switch, Bamboo growing requires no pesticides or fertilizers. The leave that drop to the ground are enough to provide it with the necessary nutrients.  So that means that bamboo is 100% organically grown.

Toilet paper is an item we all need in our homes. Imagine by just making that switch to use bamboo toilet paper versus other popular types, what a small impact that would make. I have already made the switch in my home. My goal is to encourage 20 of my contacts to make the same switch to make an impact beyond my own purchasing power. If you too are choosing to use your purchasing power to influence this change, please share your story with me.

Monica Peña at [email protected] . I will contact you if I plan to share on social media. Let’s collaborate and influence this world in a positive way together !

A Life on Our Planet

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Prior to the pandemic, it was rare that I would watch TV and binge watching movies on Netflix for a whole weekend was not even a consideration. This changed a bit this year for me as it did for many. Between random shows I found one documentary that would solidify the need I had to make small constant changes in my personal life as a stepping stone to a positive change in the world. This was David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet.

I remember seeing his adventures in nature shows when I was young and watching the seriousness about his current message touched a nerve in me to take further action. Sadly, the populations of animals that he filmed in his early years are less than half now in existence. This unique feature documentary is his witness statement after a lifetime of him documenting nature and seeing the decline in whole habitats all over the world. Instead of being happily retired, the 93 year old Attenborough made this film and continues to advocate for our Earth, our future.

Although his message is solemn, there is still hope and it is not too late. We still have the ability to make things right. The documentary ends with action items we can all be a part of and encourage others to make similar changes. As Mr. Attenborough stated, “It’s not about saving our planet. It is about saving ourselves.” We can raise the standard of living around the world without increasing our impact on the world.

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet is definitely a must watch. Please share if this documentary moved you to a change and share what was that change.

Monica Peña at [email protected] . I will contact you if I plan to share on social media. Let’s collaborate and influence this world in a positive way together !

Clarity during a pandemic

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We all remember seeing the pictures after lockdown of the clearer skies in major cities. As complete populations stayed indoors, it seemed the Earth started healing.

Picture of New Delhi’s India Gate in fall of 2019 versus April 2020.

When humans were under strict guidelines to stay indoors, wildlife roamed freely in usually crowded urban areas. At times it even felt like the birds were chirping louder.

Wildlife roam freely.

After the initial shock, what being under quarantine did was give clarity of the world around us. Having our lives as we knew it change so drastically, gave us time to reflect on habits before the pandemic and the importance of being intentional in our daily activities. If changes were going to be made there was no better time than now.

I personally took the time to reflect on even my decisions as a consumer and decide which changes I needed to make. Even small adjustments as a consumer could make bigger differences if constantly followed or others went the same route. I was going to start at home.

I will share my journey during some of these decisions. Please share clarity you uncovered during 2020 or tips that may be helpful to us by emailing me

Monica Peña at [email protected] . I will contact you if I plan to share on social media. Let’s collaborate and influence this world in a positive way together !

Texas Wildflowers

Texas Top 20 Wildflowers


Spring is in the air. We can start seeing an explosion of different colors on the side of our Texas roads due to wildflowers. The range of flowers will be from bluebonnets, primroses, black-eyed-Susans to firewheels. 

Texas Wildflower Center has come out with a list of top 20 most common wildflowers you’ll see in Texas during spring and summer. Be able to identify these with the list HERE.

Two local parks north of Austin that are great for seeing wildflowers and enjoying the day outdoors are:

Cedar Park’s Brushy Creek Lake Park is a perfect spot for family picnics. The park includes a lake, nature trails, picnic areas, and wildflowers. 

Round Rock has 645 acres that are great for viewing the wildflowers at Old Settlers Park . The park includes spots to barbecue and picnic.

Share your wildflower photos with us so we can share by private messaging our Facebook page.

Add Bluebonnets to your License Plate


Love seeing the blooming bluebonnets on the side of the road. Capture that scene when you put a bluebonnet license plate from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on your vehicle! 

Get a Bluebonnet license plate for your vehicle, trailer or motorcycle for $30*, and $22 of every purchase goes directly to Texas State Parks to help fund educational, cultural and natural resource projects, as well as to preserve the unique natural beauty of the 89 state parks and natural areas across Texas.  The cost will be pro-rated for your next vehicle registration renewal. Order your plate HERE. Or, see for more information.

The bluebonnet is the state flower and symbolizes the natural beauty of Texas. Bluebonnet license plate  helps fund several programs.

Bluebonnet license plates buyers have helped make State Parks more “green” than ever before by providing funds to purchase electric vehicles for use in parks. These battery powered vehicles allow staff to perform campground patrol and maintenance duties quietly and without producing emissions. That’s good for park visitors AND the environment.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff and volunteers are leading the effort to educate the public of the important contributions to Texas history made by military units staffed by African-Americans during the period of 1867-1948. The Buffalo Soldiers program brings history to life with stories, costumes and tools to thousands of park visitors and school children each year. Sales of the Bluebonnet license plates help support the Buffalo Soldier Program, and demonstrate the roots of the multi-cultural society that make Texas unique.

The use of fire is an important tool in maintaining the ecosystems in state parks. Safe and effective use of this tool requires the proper equipment for managing wild land fires and protecting employees working on fire lines. Bluebonnet license plate funds have been used to purchase a specialized fire engine to be used for wildfire suppression and implementation of prescribed fires on State Parks across the State.

Amplify Austin

Local generosity movement through Amplify Austin


Amplify Austin Day is a city wide 24 hour online giving initiative. that ignites positive change in the community. This year the Central Texas community collectively raised $12.3 Million for more than 760 local nonprofit organizations!

 The donations meant healthy meals for families in need, new trees and trails in our public spaces, opportunities for local creatives, activities to empower our community’s youth, forever homes for animals, and so much more. 

“Today, I am especially proud to call Central Texas home. Once again, our community met the ambitious Amplify Austin Day challenge. I will never underestimate the power of collective giving around a common cause. Today’s success exemplifies that impact. I am also proud to report that the average gift size increased!” says Courtney Manuel, executive director of I Live Here I Give Here. “Thank you for making today a success and for supporting the critical missions of more than 760 charities. As a next step, I challenge each of you to get to know the nonprofits that you donated to this year and consider getting involved year-round. It’s this generous spirit that makes Central Texas one of the best places to live 365 days a year.”

Skilled worker

Skills Development Fund


The Skills Development Fund is Texas’ premier job-training program providing local customized training opportunities for Texas businesses and workers to increase skill levels and wages of the Texas workforce. The Texas Workforce Commission administers funding for the program. Success is achieved through collaboration among businesses, public community and technical colleges, Workforce Development Boards and economic development partners.

Becoming a Partner

As a Texas employer, you are the focus of the Skills Development Fund. You provide two things — a desire to collaborate with the other partners involved with the project and the commitment to see the project through to completion.

To be considered for a Skills Development Fund grant, the private business, business consortium or trade union must:

  • Partner with an eligible grant applicant, which is a public community or technical college, the Texas Engineering Extension Service, or a private, nonprofit community-based organization in partnership with one of those institutions.
  • Be actively involved in the planning and design of the customized training project.
  • Pay wages to the employees who successfully complete the training program that are equal to or greater than the prevailing wage for the occupation in the local labor market.
  • Disclose any other state or federal grant funds sought or awarded for the proposed training project.
  • Sign an agreement with the grant applicant outlining each entity’s roles and responsibilities in the training project, including reporting requirements related to trainee participation.
  • Provide equal employment opportunity documentation as well as information on the occupations for training, employment benefits, wages and social security numbers for trainees.
  • Use to post openings for new workers trained under the project.

More information HERE.

Find out how Texas’ premier job training program can help your business upgrade the skills of your workforce HERE.

Amplify Austin

Amplify Austin : Citywide day of Giving


Amplify Austin Day is the Central Texas region’s day of giving. It is a local generosity movement that connects individuals, families, businesses, and foundations with the causes they are passionate about to create real, lasting change for the local nonprofits that address our most pressing needs. On Amplify Austin Day, your gifts have the opportunity to be amplified through matching gifts and challenges, hourly prize incentives, and through the I Live Here I Give Here Amplify Fund, which is distributed to all participating nonprofits. Over the past seven years, Amplify Austin Day has raised more than $57 million for hundreds of local nonprofits. When you join your neighbors in giving back on Amplify Austin Day, you are helping your hometown thrive for decades to come! This year Amplify Austin is March 5th to 6th from 6 PM to 6 PM.

Here are a few worthy causes in North Austin organizations.

Drive a Senior – North Central Austin – Providing transportation to area seniors for medial appointments, grocery shopping, social outings, errands and other activities they schedule allows them to live on their own or with family and not feel like a burden. Volunteers love helping, and clients love their volunteers, and the seniors are not charged anything for using the services. The van program addresses group activities such as shopping, social outings, visiting libraries, museums, and senior centers. It allows clients the opportunity to interact with other seniors and not feel so isolated. The expenses to keep the wheels on the ground and seniors on the go is funded by folks like you, one donation at a time.

Drive a Senior Northwest – Drives seniors Cedar Park, Leander and Northwest Austin since 1986.

The Town & Country Optimist Club is a nonprofit organization formed in 1974 by a group of North Austin parents to offer youth sports. The Club promotes the ideals of Optimist International and supports the North Austin area by providing quality youth sports facilities and programs. Club goals are to provide opportunities for all who wish to participate and to promote an environment of learning and sportsmanship in all activities. The Club also supports youth development through involvement in selected youth-oriented community activities. 

Samaritan Health Ministries mission is to provide high quality, affordable health and wellness services that support healthy living among uninsured families in Williamson and Travis counties. Every week new patients come knocking on our doors and we need to be able to see them! Texas has the highest percentage of people without health insurance in the country. Texas is also home to the largest number of uninsured people in the country with about 4.6 million uninsured residents. We continue to grow and expand our hours, and we continue to bust at the seams. Thanks so much for your past support–we would love to have you behind us again this year.

Which organization will you support in Central Texas?

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