Sustainable Living: What would you make as a rule or law to make the world better?

Kenny Coogan and Anni Ellis, hosts of Sustainable Living
Kenny Coogan and Anni Ellis, hosts of Sustainable Living

On this week’s show, we talked amongst ourselves and the public about being sustainable in Florida today and what the future brings. Specifically, what would you make a rule or law if you could rule the world?

We asked people we knew AND took phone calls and texts. We got some very interesting responses.

Kenny had listened to Jay Shetty’s podcast and asked Trevor Noah. Trevor’s answer was “to be fertilizer for everyone and everything I contact…I hope to enrich the lives I meet. I want to improve people’s lives – even if it is in the smallest of ways…maybe it is in the form of coming up with solutions, helping with directions, and making you laugh….I would hope to do what a good fertilizer does in that it enables the soil to be richer, it enables the plant to grow taller, it brings all of the pieces together, it becomes food, it becomes food that creates more food.”

Other Suggestions:

We do this weird system where 10% of the world’s population randomly in the world could get their bank account swapped out with the lowest person’s bank account every year. I would do that because I think what would happen in that society would make more people feel like their fate was tied to the least of us, they would have a little more compassion and think a little more about how those people may or may not exist.

  • Anni’s Rule is for pesticides to not be so easily accessible. Those stores cannot sell to people that haven’t been extensively trained in how, what, when, and where to use it AND to only use it as a last resort.
  • Also, in tight spaces(neighborhoods), your surroundings from your little square footage must be considered on the overall effect it has. Also, it requires everyone to learn how to grow some food. At minimum to have (and care for to increase production) trees (fruit, nut, medicinal).
  • And that we are REQUIRED to divide our trash into sections for recycling. And that we can ONLY PRODUCE a certain amount of garbage… which I see as teaching a skill of reducing over consumption (throwaway society) That would make us think before purchasing something that we would toss. It would in turn change business models as the consumer would require a change from endless plastic production (as the consumer wouldn’t buy the product).
  • Trudy Hosman McKean: Big box stores should only be allowed to sell native plants (at LEAST NOT allow sales of invasive plants).

Kenny Gil: Got to be something about education on composting (leave the dang leaves where they fall… Within reason) This desire for sterile landscapes is unhealthy and so is the most common solution to arrive at that goal.

We also learned after someone suggested using artificial trees and not live ones…. It’s the opposite, that’s best. 

  • Don’t feel bad about cutting down a tree for the holiday. Christmas trees are crops grown on farms, like lettuce or corn.
  • Andy Finton the landscape conservation director and forest ecologist for the Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts “It’s a lot more nuanced and complex than you think,”
  • Trees made from PVC are difficult to recycle and so end up going to landfill
  • Most artificial Christmas trees are imported into the US from China
  • If you use an artificial tree for 6 years – the carbon cost is worse than that of a real tree
  • If you use an artificial tree for 20 years – not sure who does that – then the carbon emissions are the same as a real tree
  • On average, it takes seven years to fully grow a Christmas tree,
  • Most of the live trees people end up getting are grown at nearby farms.
  • Live trees should be mulched and not taken to a landfill
  • Contact a goat farm or zoo to see if the animals would eat/perch on the spent trees

Cheri – from Temple Terrace: the law should be every restaurant, bakery, and grocery should have to donate the less than perfect and about-to-expire foods to shelters and the homeless.

We suggest organizing it with a restaurant or store and committing to picking up all the unsalable food and distributing it to those that need it. Then give the compostable waste to a sustainable farm.


  • Desiree Mohan Offner – Pick one day quarterly or monthly when you pick up trash in your community or another one.
  • Jenny Thomas – I propose a new county ordinance with a mandatory 100 hours of community service or a $2000 fine for littering. This situation in Tampa is getting out of control.

And we got the suggestion of just being kind from our cherished Jungle Jay Hardeman for Beacon Food Forest Gardens.


  • “IS IT TRUE?”
  • “IS IT KIND?”

Click below to listen to the full show:


And our lovely Kitty Wallace called in to share lots of events coming up. They are all posted on the Coalition of Community Gardens Facebook page:

Make SURE to Tune in next Monday morning at 11 for the next Sustainable Living Show. We will have Anita Comacho with Tampa Bay Butterfly Foundation.

Remember if you are looking for someone to save the world – look in the mirror.

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