Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Save a planet, share a graph

Pictured below is a graph showing the trends of power sources. As you can see, there has been a significant increase in consumption since the Industrial Revolution. Isn’t it strange how climate deniers can look at this graph without seeing any consequences? What do they think happened?

#66 Share information about climate change through social media or in passing. Even if you don’t know someone who still thinks anthropogenic global warming is a myth, distributing information about our environment is still essential for global awareness. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Global environmental solutions: a fiction

The New York Times introduced an interesting debate “Will Fiction Influence How We React to Climate Change?” on their website. I remember watching The Day After Tomorrow in 8th grade science class and analyzing the movie for inaccuracies. The whole experience gave me the shivers. Watching society watch a problem explode in front of them without a solution- I wanted to hide under my desk.  However, is there truth to the exaggerated fictional movie that depicted the Statue of Liberty drowning in the harbor and people running past the border to Mexico?

We have a problem in front of us right now. There are many solutions. Some of them are being tested in labs; others are being practiced in smaller communities. A global solution? Sounds like fiction.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sharing: a new economic force

I believe the idea of “collaborative consumption” is gaining a lot of traction in the marketplace; this message of “sharing” hits the nail of “environmental consciousness”. Already companies like Airbnb, Zipcar, Swaptree, and so many others present consumers with opportunities to share anything from seeds to houses.

A sharing economy has so many benefits. It saves consumers money, it reduces waste, and it forms stronger societies.

I believe Annie Leonard said it best in her 2013 video “The Story of Solutions”. Our world seems to be trapped in this game of “More”. The purpose of the collaborative consumption movement is to change the game to “Better”.

“Just like a game, our economy was designed by people to get everyone to play by certain rules,” Leonard said. “And like a game, it comes with instructions telling us what the goal is."

Each decision made by individuals, groups, businesses, and governments serves to improve the GDP. Instead of concentrating on that number, we should concentrate on the impact we make.

Author Rachel Botsman says that we live in “global village” that enables us to make connections with strangers online and share our belongings easily.

#66 Join the movement. Share something on a collaborative consumption website. Even if that is just adding (correct) information to a Wikipedia article.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

#65 Check your water meter to find leaks in your home. Start by turning off all faucets and appliances that use water in your home (and don't forget the ice maker). Take a reading and check back in another two hours. If the water dial has shifted since your last reading, you have a leak. Fixing this could save money and water. 

(Inspired by Southface)

Monday, January 28, 2013

“Some people fear change, and try to halt it by political means, but they will be no more effective than the legislator who proposed a law to change the value of pi to an even 3.0 because he could never remember 3.14159265.”

-John Fraser Hart (The Changing Scale of American Agriculture)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

President Obama said "We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," in his recent inaugural address. Citing Superstorm Sandy as the wake-up call to action, Mr. Obama is trying to make climate change a bipartisan solution to creating jobs through green industries.The US consists of around 5% of the world's population, but emits a quarter of the world's CO2. What can President Obama do?

Capture carbon. It has been done, it is possible. Carbon capture has become increasingly interesting to companies who believe that capturing carbon, storing it, and then using it for electricity could be lucrative. Researchers at Georgia Tech are already creating a car powered on separating Hydrogen from Carbon Dioxide. Carbon sequestration, or the storing of carbon in places like aquifers underground, is already being done. Yet, major controversy lies in what will happen to the environment around these areas if the carbon leaks. 

#64 Reduce your own carbon emission by taking mass transit at least once a week.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Is ignorance bliss?

Is ignorance bliss?

I am a debater and at a recent tournament the topic was "The United States ought to extend to non-citizens accused of terrorism the same constitutional due process protections it grants to citizens." This blog is not about foreign policy so I will not give you  my opinion but, in this round I was arguing for due process. I argued that a public trial is essential to justice. My opponent asked me "Do you think ignorance is bliss?" That took me by surprise. I thought that ignorance was bliss because I never thought about it; I just accepted it. Is that ignorant? I came to the conclusion that while it may be easier to just not know, it doesn't solve in any problems (and in that case it isn't the way to achieve justice). Same with the environment. While ignoring the pollution may make our minds less polluted, it doesn't solve anything. In fact, it just makes it worse because then we are not even doing the very limited preventative measures that we do now. Don't let the blindfolds of ignorance disable us from solving things. Remove that handicap and make the world a better place. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

To buy recycled paper or not to buy recycled paper?

The Internet has a warning sign before you enter its doors. You might not see the sign but, everybody knows what it says.

“CAUTION: In this realm there is no distinction between truth and lies, and deception will lead you on a goose chase for the right answer. Enter at your own risk.”

Fact or myth: Recycling is good for the environment? I don’t know.

The truth is (and this is actually the truth) the only people that do know are hidden under layers of propaganda inspired by tree-cutting companies and the companies that make recycled paper.

Let’s say you go to the local office supplies store and you are trying to decide between recycled paper and “virgin paper” (that is what they call it). Same price, same quantity. So, wouldn’t you grab the green stuff? You might even take another package just to feel good about yourself. One the package there is even a little certification seal saying some small consumer watchdog company or bureaucratic department with an official looking initials says it’s indeed green. What happened was (and this is happening all over the place), consumption is rising because everybody thinks that it’s all OK since it’s recycled. But, it’s not.

There are more hazardous by-products from a factory that produces recycled paper than a company that makes “virgin paper”. Maybe? According to Friends of the Earth, an environmental campaign based in the England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, studies on emissions from the companies that produce recycled paper are way more limited on the tons of studies that are done on virgin paper. That is understandable, right? Not everyone even knows what recycled paper is. You might not even.

However, Friends of the Earth goes on to quote two studies that found that recycled paper is superior in environmental value. What is interesting though is that this article says “Production of both virgin and recycled paper gives rise to pollutants which are discharged to water, called effluents.” Recycled paper and virgin paper both require bleaching or in the case of recycled paper- deinking. The process is relatively different in the making of both types of paper since recycled paper leaves a larger amount of total suspended solids (chemical) and Biological Oxygen Demand (chemical) while virgin paper leave behind more chemical oxygen demand (chemical).

To make white recycled paper the ink that previously used on it must be “erased”. This “de-inking”, is what causes the high levels of TSS and BOD. Also, extra materials like glue and staples are not always disposed of properly.

Meanwhile, the cutting down of trees and making of paper must have some effect on the environment, right (sarcasm)?

Our friends at Friends of the Earth say that “According to Waste Watch, who are part-funded by the UK Government, ‘recycled paper produces fewer polluting emissions to air and water’.”

In a New York Times article, The Hidden Life of Paper and Its Impact on the Environment, it states “Because of its consumption of energy, the industry — which includes magazines, newspapers, catalogs and writing paper — emits the fourth-highest level of carbon dioxide among manufacturers, according to a 2002 study by the Energy Information Administration, a division of the Department of Energy. The paper industry follows the chemical, petroleum and coal products, and primary metals industries.”

The article names coal as one of the sources of the pollution because paper companies use it as the highly required energy in this process.

Magazines and newspapers make the paper industry so large and dangerous. One study conducted by Times magazine found that one copy will have a 0.29 pound of greenhouse gas emissions effect.

So it is fair to say it is not recycled paper or virgin paper that is the criminal, but the overall paper industry.

There is that package of paper you bought in my previous hypothetical. That certification is right by the “8 ½ x 11” on the box.

Here is the weird texture of recycled paper. It comes in pure white but, writing one something that looks like it was dragged through the mud just has a cleaner feeling to it. Right?

Here is an ad by one of those recycled paper companies. Hard to make fun of because it is so ridiculously charming and I feel confused as a consumer and insecure about my paper selection.

If there is one thing I know, it is that I hate Seventh Generation. Overall great message but, there products are so watered down and flimsy that it makes being green look very undesirable for those that buy the product thinking they will change their lifestyle.

Australia’s Ministry of the Environment offers these solutions to reduce paper impact:
  • #60    using electronic versions instead of paper copies
  • #61    ensuring your printers and copiers can print two-sided and that this is set as the default
  • #62    setting fonts and margins to improve efficiency of paper use
  • #63    re-using single-sided copies for rough drafts and notepaper

Monday, September 10, 2012

I saw a news report about someone dying in their house from carbon monoxide poisoning. 

# 59 Install Carbon Monoxide alarms near all sleeping spaces and on every floor.
You are my readers, ergo I do not wish you to die. Not that all I look for in life is a following, but just that I feel more connected to you. I know I haven't blogged in a while but seeing this was touching.

This was the past 7 days:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Here is a chart and some point I took from a presentation by Larry C. Peterson at the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science in University of Miami.

Temperature goes up and down. But the current level of CO2 is outside bounds of natural variability and the rate of change is unprecedented. During the last period of melting glaciers, CO2 rose in the atmosphere at a maximum rate of 30 ppm per thousand years. As a result of human activities, CO2 levels in the atmosphere have risen 30 ppm in the last 15 years. Take this point, how you want to. I take it to mean that climate change is anthropogenic. Just consider the repercussions if you say that it will bounce back like it did 130 thousand years ago.

By the way, my uncle was in Hong Kong this summer and he kept a blog of his travels (it runs in the family). Check out Thorpe City and one post that I really enjoyed below:


By the way, I am writing an investigative post on the benefits and repercussions of recycled paper. If you would like to add anything, please let me know.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Excerpt from my Phase 1 CLEO submission.

The following is an excerpt from my Phase I submission of the CLEO Project.  For more details about the great project, click on the banner or the graphic at the bottom of this post. By the way, I now am offering advertising space on my blog for free for all non-profits. Comment below to get in contact.

"My first cab drive in Rio was from the airport to my hotel. Although the car ran out of gas, this didn’t upset me because I saw something that was totally unexpected.  The taxi ran on natural gas. It cost 3 cents per kilowatt hour. Oil costs 5 cents per KWH. Kilowatt hours are a unit of measurement that shows the amount of energy that materials like natural gas, oil, and coal can produce. Natural gas is made up of a number of compounds including methane. Although methane is a potent greenhouse gas, it's better than carbon dioxide because it breaks up in the atmosphere after 12 years while CO2 affects the environment for 100 to 500 years after it is released."

I read today that it rained in Mecca despite the fact that it was 109 degrees. This is the hottest downpour in known history.

#58 Plant food. This will save you money and you won't have to waste gas going to the store. Check out my rosemary.

Friday, August 3, 2012

My dad and brother were talking about the notoriously cold weather in Illinois (my brother's moving there) and my brother joking said "At least, it doesn't flood". This is funny because there is great expectation in the scientific community that Florida will flood (we have a dark sense of humor). Now, we are no Maldives (who are expected to be the first country to completely be submerged underwater from rising sea levels), however, Florida is already seeing differences in it's water level. Anyways, my dad who disagrees with me about climate change, didn't find this so amusing.  He said "Going by you logic, won't the Great Lakes flood?"

As my brother tried to explain to him that freshwater areas will recede, I realized there is a misconception about water rising. As I am sure you have heard before, 70% of the world is covered in water. This includes the vast oceans and the less plentiful fresh water rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. Oceans are going up from ice cap melt while, fresh water sources that don't connect to any areas with ice caps are receding from increasing drought. 

To find an appropriate way to explain this to my dad, I came up with a metaphor that you can use to better understand water rising.

The water in the bathtub may be rising because the water is on, but that doesn't mean the sink's water level is rising.

#57 I believe I am on Tip 57 but, I am not totally sure. Anyways, it is nearing the end of summer vacation for us toddlers and soon I will be deep in my studies. So, I think one last hurrah is in order. My tip? Go camping. 

             Step 1- Pick a local park or camp ground.
             Step 2- Don't buy your gear, rent or borrow it!
             Step 3- And GO!

For more eco-friendly tips on how to camp visit http://www.earthshare.org/2011/05/green-your-camping-trip.html.

From: blog.yoink.com

 #56 I got this from blog.yoink.com. There are a bunch of these simple recipes out there for effective and environmentally friendly cleaners. And they smell better than that sweet smell of ammonia and Clorox.

How to Make Your Own Household Cleaners

Commercial household cleaners can be expensive, abrasive and nasty for the environment. Here are a few recipes for you to make your own eco-friendly household cleaners. 
Surface and General Purpose Cleaner
2  cups of water
1/2 teaspoon of soap flakes
3 tablespoons of vinegar 
A few drops of essential oil like teatree, orange or vanilla
Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Use for counter tops, bathrooms and kitchens. 
Window and Glass Cleaner
2 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid
3 tablespoons of vinegar
Mix all ingredients in a spary bottle and shake well. Spray on glass or mirrors and wipe off with newspaper. 
Toilet Cleaner
Sprinkle bi-carb soda around the toilet bowl and leave to soak. Add a little dishwashing liquid and a few drops of essential oil and scrub with toilet brush. 
1/4 cup of laundry powder
1 tablespoon of Borax
1 cup of hot water
1/4 cup pine oil or pine-based cleaner
Slowly add ingredients to water and mix. Pour into spray bottle. Use in the bathroom for the toilet and shower. 
Carpet Deodoriser
Break open some green tea bags and scatter the leaves on the floor, Leave for fifteen minutes, then vacuum.
By: blog.yoink.com from August 9, 2011

Sunday, July 22, 2012

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Capri, take lots of pictures.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

New York Times

Green: Record High Temperatures in the First Six Months of the Year

In June, a home being consumed by flames in Estes Park, Colo.

NOAA is out with a report detailing how the first six months of 2012 are the hottest on record in terms of average national temperatures for the lower 48 states.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Scheduled post:

This is a petition I got in my email from Change.org.

I never expected that a school project would make me an enemy of giant plastics companies. After all, I'm only 12.

But when my friends and I learned that Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags every year, causing huge amounts of litter and pollution, we knew we had to do something. Cities like Austin and Los Angeles have made a huge dent by banning plastic bags, so we started a school project to ban plastic bags in our town, Grayslake, Illinois.

Things were going really well... until the plastic industry started lobbying for a bill that would prevent people like me in every town in Illinois (except Chicago) from taking actions to reduce plastic bag litter. Seriously?? These corporations have no business telling towns like mine that we can't make decisions for ourselves.

The bill -- SB 3442 -- has already passed the Illinois House and Senate. Our last chance to stop it from becoming law is to convince Governor Pat Quinn to veto it.

That's why I started a petition on Change.org asking Governor Quinn to veto SB 3442, the bill that would prevent towns from passing plastic bag bans. Click here to add your name.

One thing that makes me especially angry is that the American Progressive Bag Alliance, which represents the companies that manufacture plastic bags, has said that SB 3442 could be "a model bill" for all states. That means that they could push their corporate interests all over America, preventing kids like me and towns like mine from taking action to stop pollution.

Well, the corporations may be afraid of me, but I'm not afraid of them. I know that if thousands of people sign my petition, Governor Quinn will see that the public doesn't want these big corporations telling our towns what we can and cannot do. And when we win, that veto will be a signal to Big Plastic that they had better not expect to take their bill to other states without a fight.

Click here to sign my petition asking Governor Quinn to veto the bill that would prevent towns like mine from banning plastic bags.

Thanks for helping me with my project -- and helping all towns fight pollution.

- Abby Goldberg

Friday, June 22, 2012

I am at the airport and I am thinking about Different Shade of Green. Meanwhile, the guy in front of me at the airport stands up, walks past the recycling bin, and throws his newspaper in the garbage can. NO! I am so angry. So, before he could get back (he also went to the bathroom) I wrote a note and put it on his chair.

For me, that is normal. I didn't get to see his expression because I had to go but, I hope he got the message. Goodbye, DiSh of Green. I will miss you.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

#52 I am planning on going away for over two weeks so, I am going to unplug everything including microwaves, computers, DVD players, and so on. It is also safe in case of an electrical storm. This is vacation season (and hurricane season) so it is the perfect time for this tip.

#53 Take showers instead of baths.

#54 Video conference instead of travelling or going to a friend's house to work on a project.

#55 Invest in clean energy and the green market.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

#51 This is an idea that not many think of. Lower the brightness setting on your alarm clock. That means less electricity used. :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

I am leaving the country on Friday and won't have access to internet. Therefore, I will try to post as many tips as I can this week. Sorry for the overload.

#46 If you are a parent, give your kids a raise in their allowance if they can lower the utilities bill.
#47 Use a push lawn mower. (great exercise)
#48 Try to create Meatless Mondays (no meat in any meal every Monday) in your home.
#49 Cover holes in your house where air-conditioning may be escaping to save money on you bills.
#50 Paint your roof white so it absorbs less heat and it takes less air conditioning to cool the house.

Friday, June 15, 2012

My grandmother gave me a good idea today.

#45 You know how you turn the shower on and you let the water heat up? Why not use the water that is being wasted? Ways to do this would be to use the water for brushing your teeth, washing your hands, and doing any other morning/evening rituals that use water.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The world is our oyster but, don’t swallow it whole.
Leave water in the watering hole,
for the next generation
but, how do we organize the communication
and operation.
We need education and calculation
To clarify complications.

When did it become so complicated?
What happened to the simplicity?
We were supposed to limit our use of electricity.

There’s nothing wrong with expansion.
Up to the point of overexpansion.
And the mcmansions are just mansions.

I do support progress.
Oh, yes. But, not if nature is left in distress.
When will the time come for convalesce?

For that long shower or leaving the lights on, you want absolution?
Then, come up with a solution
Stand up in the environmental revolution.
Or else Mother Nature, will have her retribution.

Please excuse my horrible poetry but, it is supposed to be inspirational. So feel inspired!

#44 Write a poem about the environment. It will help you care a little more. You don't have to send it to me (if you don't want to), just let/type it out.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Summer break is here and I am already planning my "summer fun in the sun". Well... more like "summer fun indoors and occasionally outdoors". Don't think of me as a couch potato but, I am not the most active person. I don't understand sports and I hate sweating. But, my fear of water will evaporate in the sun this summer. Right now I am taking online courses and haven't seen the sun in a while. I was telling that someone yesterday and she said that she said that she has been obsessing over college application indoors so much that she can't just walk into the sun or else she will burst into flames. We promised each other that we were going to move past the occasional run on the treadmill and so can you.

#43 Do outdoorsy things. Go jogging or take a bike ride. Better yet, garden. I don't have a green thumb so, I  get plants that don't require a lot of attention (I lack that). But, don't go hunting or fishing please. I just realized that as I am writing this, I am looking out the window. I am excited. Off to go see the world. Ok, hello that thing I have been blogging about (nature) and goodbye DiSh Of Green (for now)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

How would you feel if you were a tree? Maybe, your daughter, sister, father, granddad, friend, and so on had been killed in the war against the chainsaw. If scientist were predicting your end. People were throwing trash at your roots. They say that Earth won’t end- just humanity as we know it. But, imagine the extinction of trees. And they didn’t do anything wrong. They provided oxygen for everybody else and took away the carbon dioxide. Yet, their stuck in a stick situation.

#44 Hug a tree. Hey, don’t laugh. I am being totally serious. Hug ‘em. Give them some affection. Maybe give them a friend to hang with. But, give them an embrace. It is the least you can do.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Funny thing happened today. My grandmother sent me a "Happy Environment Day" card. At first, I was flabbergasted. I didn't know that was today. I quickly checked Google to find no Google Doodle concerning the holiday. Then, I googled it and low-and-behold World Environment Day 2012 Today made headlines. I was so surprised that I dug around. According to “The Christian Post” this special day is all about spreading awareness every June 5th for the last 40 years. This is all pulled together by the UN Environmental Programme. This year’s theme- “Green Economy: Does it include you?”. It is as if they read my mind, heart, and blog. Other articles describe beautiful events like 45,000 children that signed Kidzania’s Pledge for a Better World
In Boston, John Hancock Financial’s headquarter offices were certified as Bronze level LEED, which is a measurement of the environmental impact of the building. In India, World Vision and Coca-cola India partnered to help revitalize 100 rural schools. What is happening in your neck of the woods? LVMH is planting 70 trees in Miami and reducing its paper consumption.

#43 Do something for World Environment Day. It doesn’t matter what it is, just do something creative that you normally don’t do. For example, my friend didn’t use any electricity for an hour. Sounds audacious, but very industrious. My grandma chose to send a e-card that spread awareness.

Post dedication to Barbara Williams

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Here is a picture of the never-ending-math-project that is keeping me from my blog. A snapshot of the culprit. Anyhow, you can see those cut up shopping bags under my work. That is my tip.

#41 Recycle paper bags, newspaper, and other unwanted paper products as a mat to protect red paint from your freshly shampooed rug.

Sorry for the poor quality photo and words but, my mind has turned upside thinking about volume and surface area.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's funny how I always saw blogging a way to let out your feelings like a clean slate. I didn't realize that I would have to maintain the slate. Keeping up with this blog is hard. There are times when I can't think of anything to say. But then there are also times when someone says something and there's a flashbulb moment when you know exactly what you want to write about. I was busy all of Friday so this will be my first opportunity to get my thoughts into writing.

Yesterday, my Biology teacher was talking about dissection. You see, instead of doing a live dissection, we will be doing a virtual dissection. I couldn't have cared less. But, to others, this was upsetting news. While my teacher and peers quarreled about the dissection I was preoccupied thinking about my EOC score. Until, my teacher said something that got my attention. She pointed out that dissections were bad for the environment. If you think about it, some might say that it is obvious. By taking animals from their natural environment and chopping them up, it will potentially scar an ecosystem and food chain. Maybe, it was because I don't spend my time thinking about cutting up frogs and fertile pigs but, until she said that I didn't care. So, their is one tip for you.

#39 Care. So simple, so true. Think about your environment and how little things can effect it. Before you do something like pick up the dissection knife, think about what is on the sharp end of the knife.

In 2004, the World Conservation Union reported that six million frogs are killed every year in the US for dissection. What do frogs eat? Bugs. What do farmers hate? Bugs. So if there are less frogs, then there are more bugs and ultimately more pesticides to get rid of the bugs. That is one serious effect of dissections. Another? Have you seen that smoking commercial of the girl in her Biology class that drinks the liquid used to preserve frogs? They say that formaldehyde is in that liquid, as well as in cigarettes. Many people can agree that smoking is disgusting but, how about putting that chemical (which can cause cancer) in the air and water? Every student that dissects something is exposed to that. And if disposed improperly, everyone else. And what does dissecting a frog teach, anyways? It teaches the body system of an animal. Although I am almost positive I will never use this in my future career, I don't think that the virtual dissection will impair my ability to learn. Plus, who wants to clean that lab up? In the end, the consequences outweigh the benefits. The quote above is from PETA's Guide to Animals and the Dissection Industry. PETA sent out undercover informants to the factories that kill and prepare the animals for dissection. The abuse stories are despicable. If I can stop this abuse by advocating virtual dissections, I will. So, that is the next tip.

#40 If you are a student, parent, teacher, or know anyone who is involved in education, stop dissections. There are so many ways to tell the world. As you can see, I am blogging about it. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I was reading my first post of DiSh of Green, today, and I felt like I was reading the words written by my own child. What happened to my utopia of a world with a large market for green products? If you look in the right places you can find that but, I am not satisfied. I see three markets that are disproportional in size.

The first and (arguably) largest consists of non-green items. For example, that pair of jeans in your closet that was made by underpaid children in Indonesia that was shipped to your local mall by gas guzzling ships and trucks. The second market is products that aren’t green but say that they are. In today’s market big businesses can get away with calling anything environmentally friendly. Example? If a company makes permanent markers and instead of dumping waste into pits in the ground (near your water supply and food source) they dump it in the water, they can claim they care about our land. Everybody knows that what I am saying is true, but it is like the “5 second rule”- we ignore the harmful stuff and plaster smiles onto our faces.

Whoa. That was depressing. I get that anyone reading this cares so, my sermon is not addressed to you. This is for the wasters, the ignorers, and the ignorentees.

Anyways, the third and smallest market is the green one. But, it is also the best. The market is culturally diverse with an array of many shades of green. If grown, it can save lives and potentially the Earth. That is why being green is important to me.

#38 Spend some “green” and buy something green. Not the color, the lifestyle. Being green is affordable, charitable, and smart so there is no reason to decline this mission. Online there are websites like http://www.etsy.com/. But, if you prefer your shopping to be tangible, there are farmers’ markets galore. Check out my post on markets

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hello. Sorry if I seem short but, I am mentally pooped right now. And, yes it is actually possible to get me so exhausted that I can talk. I took this special test for a upper grade level and then went to another class to work on a project and then went home to do yet another project. I also wont be able to post tomorrow because I will be working on a group project (I think my teachers want to kill me). At night I am going to a screening of "Over the Hedge". If you live in the Miami area it is at Pinecrest Gardens and will be a ton of fun.  Anyhow, I got this form another blog "Stuff Steph Does". Enjoy!

diy: hanging flower tins

coffee can flower pots
I started this project nearly a month ago back when I was working on the anthro-inspired flower pillow. I was waiting until the fear of frost was gone for Central Ohio to finally plant my herbs and was told May 15 is the magic number for frost free nights. I cheated on May 5 after looking at the 10-day weather forecast and there was no frost in sight, so I’m taking the gamble a few days early.
It’s not like the plants are in the ground anyway; should a freak frost come through I could just bring the pots inside. But they look so cute hanging on the fence who would want to take them off??
Anyway, onto the project.
Here’s what you’ll need:hanging flower pots supplies
and don’t forget:
I used actual tin coffee cans which I don’t know if you can even get anymore. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I’ve been cruising down the coffee row just to check out the container possibilities and all the big “tins” of coffee are now plastic. Fortunately, when I was telling my mom about this idea and how I needed to find some coffee tins I saw little light bulb appear above her head and she quickly scurried away only to come back 2 minutes later with FOUR PRIMED coffee tins! Craft Queen, I tell ya.
The first step is to punch holes in the bottom for drainage and drill the holes in the back for  hanging. Use the hammer for the drain holes and a drill with a metal bit for the rope holes. Make sure you get it just big enough for the rope to go through, not too big.
Give ‘em a few good coats of spray paint. However many you need until it looks good. Let them dry.
Put one of the rope through one of your rope holes and knot it. Then decide on your length and cut the other end accordingly. Knot that end through the other hole.
Voila! A hanging pot!
I put cilantro, chocolate mint, and rosemary in mine. What will you put in yours?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Today I got an A on a Biology assignment (Thanks, Mrs.Leonard). I was checking on my grades when I discovered that an A in her class is within grasp. So, I decided to go all out on my project that I am doing. I am to make a map of a property that I design that includes native plants and animals. Now, my map is going to be the best. My group already decided that they don’t want it to be extravagant so, it will have to be amazing but not too much. But, I like to overdo projects. I mean, this is a project. Yes,yes, this blog’s creation is the works of my Journalism teacher, Mr. Pāñtóñ (you have to pronounce all of the accents), but I over did mine a tad. Instead of posting once a week, I try to maintain a daily regimen of “virtual green passion”.  How did I even get to this topic? To go back to what I was saying, I jumped up from the chair and ran to the art closet and got every piece of green cardstock and ribbon I could find. Before, my arms fell off I ran to my laundry room to put it all in one bag that I could carry to school. Well, low-and-behold there were two new bags. One, I got in 2008 in Whole Foods Seattle on Earth Day. The second one, caught me by surprise. I had never seen it before. “We pay for screens, fish stay in streams”. That’s what it said. Then under is a picture of a fish saying thanks. I was curious I asked my gal Google (Google is a girl in my mind). She informed me of a serious problem that I never really thought about. Now, I love fish. So, when I hear about something that threatens them, I get upset. Did you know that fish are getting into the sprinklers used in farming?

Food for thought…and action.

Thankfully, someone in my family cared enough to by a canvas bag from some organization that is investing money in putting up screens over pipes so fish can’t go in places that are dangerous. I will investigate further and let you know how to help. Meanwhile, here lies my tip.

#36 Below is a letter from Change.org. If you want to be an extra shade of green, signing this petition will literally require less effort than it took for me to write this sentence. Don’t let that go to waste. Sign it.

 Meryl -
Half a billion markers. That's how many plastic markers Crayola makes every year -- enough to circle the earth three times! And since Crayola has no recycling program for used markers, many of those markers end up in landfills, or even worse, the ocean.
Elementary school kids take action. Land Wilson is a volunteer who works with the "Kids That Care" club at Sun Valley Elementary School in California. The kids were horrified to learn that their beloved Crayola markers could end up as trash in the ocean, killing wildlife like fish, sea turtles and marine birds.
You can help. Land and the kids started a petition on Change.org asking Crayola to start a program for consumers to recycle their markers. The kids believe that if thousands of people sign their petition, Crayola will let consumers make sure their markers end up in recycling bins, not oceans or landfills.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers' Day! Besides celebrating my mother and grandmother, there is a very special mother I would like to give a shout-out to. Mother Nature. You see, Earth Day isn't enough for me so, I commemorate the environment on all the other holidays.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed that info-graphic about Earth from its top-down. Did you know that the tallest landfill is in New York? It is called Fresh Kills Landfill (sounds like a vacation resort) and it stands at 330 feet tall (taller than the Statue of Liberty). 

Modern Landfill (n)- an area of land that is used for the purpose of disposing waste; when the waste is stored above the ground it is land raising but, when it is underground it is land filling.

A modern landfill, so called that because it is not 5000 years old (the first recorded landfill was built in the Cretan capital of Knossos), uses newer technology. Yet, some things will never change. Like the gross fact that we are stuck in a pit. Much like the pits that the ancient folk used to dump their trash and much like the pits that we are using today.

What's changed? Well let's look at the picture below. I guess we have a "methane gas recovery system" but that is essentially worthless because we can't stop all of the methane from escaping. There is a treatment system, but that just pumps the waste back into our soil and water supply and again we can't stop everything. Oh wait, I know I difference! We have more trash now and this contraption cost $2-4 million to build. 

Sorry to gross you out and depress you at the same time. But, not to worry. I always have some solutions to make you feel better.

#31 Reduce. How novel. Just use less "stuff" that would have been thrown out and you will already be doing good.

#32 If you are a large company, there are alternatives. Most waste management companies have other options that are greener and cleaner.

#33 Reuse. There are DIYs for any object. For example, when I changed my light bulb next to my desk here is what I did with the bulb instead of throwing it out.

#34 Donate. Somethings can be donated to local homeless shelters. For example, I always donate my old clothes every year. It is more than just green, it is kind.

#35 RecycleThere are still some problems with recycling but, at least it does less harm.