Tomorrow, April 22nd, is the 46th Earth Day. Make a commitment to do at least one thing, big or small: write to a legislator and ask them to protect the environment or support a sustainable future, make a pledge to buy less stuff, plant something, recycle something you have been meaning to recycle (computer, old paint), or teach someone else something about the environment. Need some other suggestions? Click here: http://www.greeneducationfoundation.org/nationalgreenweeksub/curriculum-and-activities/activities-ngw/1195-top-10-earth-day-activities.html. What will you do?
Happy Pollution Prevention Week!
(Sept 21-27, 2015)
Courtesy of the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable (GLRPPR)
(Repost: September 21st, 2015 by Laura B.)
“Twenty-five years ago, Congress passed the Pollution Prevention Act. Pollution Prevention (P2) Week, celebrated during the third week of September each year (September 21-27, 2015), highlights the efforts of EPA, its state partners, industry, and the public in preventing pollution right from the start.”
Check out the GLRPPR Blog posts this week for great ideas on how to minimize waste and pollution through your daily activities.
Also, “If you’re on social media, use the#P2Week and #25YearsofP2 hashtags to raise awareness of pollution prevention as the cornerstone of environmental sustainability.”
The radio station WBEZ (91.5) has several feature shows that tell stories about current events and interesting topics. Personally, I like their story-telling style versus a bullet point fact sheet approach to news-telling. Curious City is one of my favorite shows (also podcasted). They take questions from listeners that are specific to curious and “mysterious” topics about Chicago and surrounding areas.
Recently, Curious City was asked about the Blue Cart Recycling Program. Many think it’s just a sham. It’s not working and is just a “feel good” placebo program. I’ll admit, I had my doubts too. After listening to the podcast “What really happens to Chicago’s blue cart recycling?” by Chris Bentley, I am happy to know that at least 80% of what I (and collectively, my Chicago Family) put in the blue bin actually ends up somewhere with the intent to recycle it: to turn them into something of use, reclaim the natural materials and reserve the need to use virgin and raw materials. They will not sit in the landfill forever, never to be used again, wasted.
Oh how I love to sell and buy used stuff. This got me thinking about our students selling and buying our books. I wondered how they could do this. Apparently, our awesome student trustee had this brilliant idea created: http://books.morainevalley.edu/swap_main.asp?. The more people that post, the more savings there will be for everyone. Buying a reused book will not only save money, but will prevent unused books from entering the landfill. It is a win for you, the other person and sustainability. Now go and post your books for sale and buy your books for next semester!
Stores staying open all day on Thanksgiving, Black Friday hype, Christmas ads already blaring… enough! It’s STRESSING me out! And that is not healthy.
I want to relax and enjoy quality time with my family and friends. And I want the experiences to be healthy for me, them and light on environmental impact.
Two things I like to consider to help me be less stressed & promote health for my peeps and my (our) planet: 1. Greening Gifts
2. Greening the Menu
1. On Gifts (and avoiding the crazy, stressful shopping wars!) I’m steering clear of all that hub bub and instead will be home, warm and cozy, preparing my craft room to make my gifts. I love making things! It helps me unwind, plus I know I’m pouring love into the gift and so does the recipient. Win-win!
Not everyone is crafty or inclined to make gifts. But if you are! Here’s a blog with a few ideas I really like and maybe you will, too. 38 DIY Gifts People Actually Want
If you’re not crafty, no problem. You can of course still pour love into bought items, too. And there are plenty of resources out there to help you find the perfect gift for that special someone. It’s perfect because not only do they need the item, it is helpful to them, won’t make them sick and is also created in a way that doesn’t harm the environment. Perfect!
I realize some of us will still want to get out and shop for some great deals… have you heard of Small Business Saturday? A lot of Chicagoland businesses are participating and shopping local is really a great way to encourage local economic recovery!
2. On the Menu: Eating lower on the food chain is a great way to make a difference for your health and the planet. It’s easier than you think, too. Do you have to give up the Turkey? No!! But treating it more like a condiment and enjoying more of your favorite vegetable based sides is a great start. Also, everything doesn’t have to be organic, but I do look out for certain food additives to avoid as well as where and how the veggies or fruit are grown for health concerns.
What’s on my menu? Well, I’m not hosting….but this is what I am bringing
Roasted Brussels Sprouts in a Balsamic Reduction
Kale, Pumpkin Seed, Cranberry Salad
Apple, Turnip, Sweet Potato Saute
Final Greening Holidays tip from me to you… When making your list to give people this holiday season, it helps to consider the following:
- WHAT will be the impact on the person I’m giving this gift to? Will it improve their live in a meaningful way?
- WHERE does this gift come from? Is it locally crafted and supporting local economies?
- WHO made it? Are they paid a living wage and have safe working conditions? WHO profits from me buying this gift? Does it enrich some corporation whose values I do/don’t support?
- HOW was it made? How does the resource and manufacturing impact on the environment?
- WHY? Why should I give this gift? What NEED does it fill?
It’s important to consider these questions so that not just at a personal level, but at a global level you are fully aware of the impacts of your gift-giving decisions.
Woke up to hopeful news this morning!
U.S. President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping coming to agreement to #ActOnClimate Change. Under this new deal, the U.S. would cut its 2005 CO2 emissions by 26-28% before 2025 and China will aim to get 20% of its energy from clean (zero-emission) sources by 2030.
The U.S. and China are two of the world’s top CO2 emissions polluters so this deal is quite significant; it sets a precedent and calls for other countries to also address their emissions in a global commitment to mitigate the most severe impacts of climate change. Perhaps there is hope for the Climate Summit in Paris next year!!
Still have questions about climate change? The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions has a series of podcasts and simple to understand articles that help explain what is climate change; what changes can we expect regionally and globally; what is being done to address these changes (policy and innovations); what else can be done and how can we, individually, act?
Or, Check out Bill Nye the Science Guy explain climate change in less than 5 minutes…
then dig deeper to get wise on the topic. The more we know, the more we can do to make positive change for today and tomorrow.
One of the world’s leading organizations driving conservation efforts across the globe, Conservation International, has launched a new series of short films called, “Nature Is Speaking”. Watching them, words like: beautiful, poignant, true and powerful come to mind.
NATURE DOESN’T NEED PEOPLE. PEOPLE NEED NATURE. ~natureisspeaking.org
Here’s one featuring Kevin Spacey. Wonderful.
See them all here.
#natureisspeaking … are You listening?
Chicago is now home to North America’s first and only all-electric garbage truck, a vehicle is much quieter than conventional diesel refuse trucks as well as has no tailpipe emissions, contributing to a healthier neighborhood environment in our communities. The vehicle saves more than 2,500 gallons of gasoline a year, has a payload capacity of 9 tons, and 200 kilowatt-hours of energy.
The truck, named the Electric Refuse Vehicle, was made by California-based Motiv Power Systems, which won the contract from the City of Chicago in 2012.
“We are constantly looking to modernize and improve the City’s fleet operations through environmentally conscious choices,” David Reynolds, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Fleet and Facility Management, said in a news release. “Chicago is proud to be home to North America’s first all-electric refuse and recycling truck, and we look forward to examining how this truck can boost efficiency, reduce emissions and save tax payer dollars in the future.”
Commitments and Executive Actions Illustrate Federal, State, and Local Leadership to Create Jobs and Cut Carbon Pollution
“The Obama Administration is committed to taking action to combat climate change. As part of that effort, today, the White House is announcing a series of public and private sector commitments and executive actions to advance solar deployment and promote energy efficiency.”
Last night, I attended a presentation and panel on Climate Change and why our brains tend to ignore it. It was fascinating. I’m looking forward to reading this book by George Marshall, who was leading last night’s conversation: Don’t Even Think About It: How our brains ignore climate change
The presentation was a really terrific conversation, but definitely still left me feeling a bit nervous and like I need way more tools to help others understand the importance of discussing topics of climate change!
My nerves were quieted and my hope, for a near future in which we call stop ignoring this
has been reinforced by today’s news from the White House. Here’s more:
“The executive announcements today altogether will cut carbon pollution by nearly 300 million metric tons through 2030 – equivalent to taking more than 60 million cars off the road for one year – and will save homes and businesses more than $10 billion on their energy bills. Those executive actions are:
- Partnering with up to three military bases to create a veterans solar job training pilot;
- Investing $68 million in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in rural areas across the country, including 240 solar projects;
- Proposing an energy conservation standard for commercial unit air conditioners that has the potential to save more energy than any previously issued standard;
- Supporting funding for clean energy and energy efficiency for affordable housing;
- Strengthening commercial and residential buildings codes; and
- Harmonizing the power of national service and volunteerism to tackle climate change and its effects.”
Last night, George Marshall who goes by the twitter handle @climategeorge, said something to the affect:
Climate change is like the big elephant in the room… and right now, we’re INSIDE the elephant. It’s time to get out of the elephant and start talking about it!
So, are you ready to climb out of the elephant, the “let’s all ignore climate change elephant”, and look it square in the eye? YES! Begin to talk about climate change and help lead the discussion for solutions!
Read more about these new climate change addressing actions from the Obama Administration here.