This blog was started, and is intended to illustrate that environmentalism happens through small acts, is not difficult, and that it does not always have to be some big life changing event that forces you to live in the tree tops with no electricity. All that being said, one of my small acts was to start this blog to gain some friends to help me save the world.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Today's Rant

I know most of the time I am at best, really obvious and not very original,  and at worst, just way behind (some may even say a little slow), but you have got to give me an A, OK, a B+ for effort.  Anyway here is my little rant for the day,  know what you are buying, where it is coming from, and if possible always look for cruelty free and certified humane products.  I have been reluctant to post this entry just because I didn't want to seem too preachy, so don't worry I will keep this short to avoid being preachy or political (I have been censored here from mentioning political names, but there are some scary politicians out there), but we need to start being aware of what we buy, and where it comes from.  Now I am not going to tell you what to buy or what companies to stay away from, we all have to make our own decisions (even though I am always right, kidding kidding kidding).  But if we buy from responsible companies, whether they be environmentally or socially responsible (and usually they are one in the same) we are again making smart choices that help our planet.  Most large companies don't like people that are smart, that do research, or just know stuff.  How can they dupe smart people into buying all the crap that they have to sell.  Well those companies had better watch out.
I keep thinking about this quote that I read form Linda McCartney once, that if the whole world ate more like vegetarians no one would be starving.  Again I am not telling anyone what to do, and I am definitely  not saying you cannot eat meat.  In my own household there are members who eat meat, so this really isn't even about being vegetarian.  But about buying from companies that respect life and use sustainable methods of production.   Companies that exploit animals, and yes even humans, are not thinking long term, just thinking money.  We really have got to stop this short term thinking and look forward.  So I guess all I am really saying here, is look into what you are buying, you may be surprised where stuff comes from and how it is made, and it may change what you buy.  That's all I will be quiet now.
Hope everyone is having a super terrific day.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Back to Leftover Love

So I just need to get one thing out of the way very quickly, I have gone over my paper towel limit for the day. I know there is no excuse for that, and I will not bore you with the reason why I did it. But I just wanted to say sorry and my disappointment in myself is greater than well I don't know what, but it is great. I will try to do better.
OK hopefully we can move past my super disappointing news for the moment, as I would like to present a new challenge to anyone willing to accept (this is so Mission Impossible). The challenge is to call two restaurants that use styrofoam doggie bags in your area and see if you can convince them to offer some sort of deal or promotion for people that bring in their own container. I was thinking maybe they could knock off a dollar (or a pound or a kwacha or whatever your currency may be) off the price of your meal or even maybe offer a free desert. I don't know you can be creative and see if there are any restaurants that are willing to participate. I will be partaking in this challenge of course. And the prize should any one else be participating is... your success (woohoo!). Which is pretty big. I am thinking if we try hard enough we could start a new trend. Any way let me know if you want to do this, and how you do, and of course if you are successful please let me know (I may need to borrow some of your tactics).
Good luck.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sesame Street

So for some reason I am having a hard time starting this entry, and I am really not sure why, but whatever will just try and get to the point.  Again these are simple ideas (not my own, in fact most of it came from Sesame Street 25 years ago, wow I am slow to keep up).  Anyway here they are.  First of all, turn off the lights.  What, wait, no I am not telling people to sit in the dark.  Just very simply if you are not in the room turn off the lights.  I know for some people this is a very hard (cough cough you know who you are are) but really  it is a brilliant idea.  And I am sure we have all already switched to the more efficient fluorescent light bulbs, but that does not mean they have to be left on all the time.  It is so easy just turn off the lights. And while you are at it you may as well unplug any of your electronic devices that are not in use.  Easy examples in my house that I tend to unplug while not using is my mobile phone charger, the toaster, and the coffee maker.  Just because they are not on does not mean that they aren't draining energy.  Power strips are also a good way to help with this.  Wait don't think I am finished,  I have a few more here.  Another Sesame Street one, don't let the water run, especially when you are brushing your teeth.  OMG captain obvious is not finished yet.  Don't stand in front of the fridge or freezer with the doors open.  Not only is that a pet peeve, but my goodness it is just wasteful as well.  And hold on here is  the last idea.  If you have or use a dishwasher and it has the heated drying option don't use that.  OK those are my obvious Sesame Street ideas, but again just because it is easy and obvious does not mean that it is not a good idea.  And not only are all of these ideas good (as well as easy) they help save money for you, and if we can get enough people to do them these seemingly small ideas could have a huge impact.  Just something to think about.  Like I keep saying, remember all your actions, no matter how big or small, count.
Lastly I would just like to provide a quick update on my paper towel challenge.  I am doing well so far.  I did use my full ration yesterday of two paper towels.  But so far today I have yet to rip any perforated edges of those tempting paper towels.  I will continue to report back, and hopefully by the end of the week I will have kicked this dirty habit, or at least drastically reduced my dirty habit, no wait I mean kick.  Oh brother I will never make it.
Anyway I hope everyone has a great day.  And get ready because I think I have a new challenge  idea for tomorrow.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm Back

Alright so it appears that I have been away from the blog for a few days, and that has why all the world news has stopped and most peoples lives have come to a complete standstill .  OK so that may be a slight exaggeration, but let me have my fantasies.  My delusional imaginary world is what keeps me going.
Anyway so while I have been away I have been mulling over my  latest challenge idea for myself.  And really it came to me during my no trash challenge, that is when I discovered that I am addicted to...dun dun dun... paper towels.  OMG what is wrong with me.  I mean here I am preaching and blah blah blahing all day about saving the planet while I am using paper towels like they are going out of style.  No excuse right.  I mean I do have towels and dish clothes etc. that I use.  But for those pesky spills that I do not want to dirty a towel too much I seem to fall prey to the lure of pushy paper towels.  I really do believe that if I stopped using them I could cut my garbage output down even more than I already have.
So lets break this situation down.  Similar to most other world saving techniques that I have talked about, this one is in the kitchen and based on around easy (and cheap or free) ways to cut back.  I have towels, I have dish cloths, I have cloth napkins.  So why am  I being so lazy.  I see no  need to use these paper towels, yet I do.  Now lets not get crazy with this challenge here.  I am not sure that I will be able to do this cold turkey.  And yes we will still use toilet paper in the house (don't see that going any time soon) so lets not get too crazy, paper products will still be used.  But my goal for the week is to use no more than 2 paper towels a day for the first 3 days and then down to one the next 3 days and then...  And hopefully if I can start cutting my paper towel usage down in my house so much that I can eventually cut them out of my life forever.  Who thought that saving the world would also help save my purse.  (One little hiccup in my plan would be public restrooms with no hand dryers, so anyone with suggestions in this area let me know).
What we (and by we I mean me) have to remember is that every one of our daily actions affects a million different beings in many different ways (not always humans and unfortunately not always positive).  So lets try to make our actions positive.  And hopefully one day soon we will see how our positive actions are helping instead of destroying.  We have to continue to be smart and always be thinking of how we affect our planet.  We cannot be pulled into buying all the shiny pretty things on TV and not be fooled by the big companies that are targeting the unassuming consumer.  We are smarter than that and we are smarter than those big companies.  Disposable is not always better.  Honestly I am a clean freak and don't like dirt,  but  I do not think that disposable hand towels and paper towels make my house cleaner, just much more wasteful.   But if you start using those towels you have at home more, just think of the power shift we could potentially create.  All of a sudden those companies that sell us stuff we don't need (and think we work for them) will see who really works for who.  We should be telling them what we need and not the other way around.  So anyway there is my tangent for the day.  I am trying tot break free of my paper towel controlled world, I think I can do it.  As always if there is anyone out there that wants to join me please feel free and let me know how you do.  And if there are people out there with more ideas, let those flow too.
Have a super terrific paper towel free day.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

And the Winner is...

OK so it seems a little weird  to be giving myself homework and also to be the grader of said homework, but whatever.  Anyway so I sort of passed my own challenge with a 97%.  I was forced to throw 2 bits of non-recyclable plastic away yesterday from the dinner preparation, and I picked up a candy wrapper in the parking lot of a shop which I was also forced to throw away (not sure that that should really count, but I am counting it anyway).  But that was it.  Everything else that I have used in the last 24 hours was either recycled or composted, and honestly it was not that hard.  I discovered really that what I throw away most normally would be paper towels in the kitchen, but I was able to avoid that but just planning ahead and using a regular tea towel, kitchen cloth, or even my sleeve :).  So even though I did not score 100% on my own challenge I am still pretty pleased with the results and think that I can drastically cut down even more, with very little effort, on the amount of junk that goes in the bin.   Just a thought.  
Also wanted to say happy birthday to a very dear friend.  Hope it is a good one.
Hope everyone has a great day.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Green Theme of the Day: Trash, Green Challenge of the Day: Trash

So here is something that makes me mad (shocker right) those adverts for the disposable hand towels.  Seriously how stupid is that.  The company that sells and advertises those stupid things is banking on a lazy consumer (and I know lazy people (mostly myself) but I have never met someone this lazy).  How rude, I mean really.  Not sure where they got there data, but my guess is that they just made it up.  If you are that worried about your hand towel being dirty that you think a disposable towel is a good idea, here is an idea WASH IT.  Or better yet go hang out in a public restroom all day, and there you can get your fill of disposable paper towels that should quench your thirst for waste.  This is not a hard concept, washing towels.  And, no we don't need to wash our hand towels individually, believe it or not you can throw them in with a load of regular towels, or sheets, or clothes, do I need to go on.  I mean there are many things in my life that I would rather do than say wash the dishes or do the laundry, but guess what folks, I still do them every once in a while.  Geez.  Anyway so here is my point (I know I struggle to get to it sometimes, the point that is) trash is lazy.  So here is my challenge to myself, no trash for a day.  I can recycle and compost if needed, but nothing can go in my trash bin for a full 24 hours.  Never done this before, so I have no idea if it will work, but I got to try.  And if there is anyone who would like to join me go for it.  I will report back (I know, I am sure that everyone is now on the edge of their seats with anticipation, but you will have to find other things to do to fill your day, I kill me wink wink). So haha take that stupid disposable towel company, I don't need you.
Wish me luck, I need it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I am still cool

OK seriously how many times can I talk about reusing bags, and the answer is... A LOT.  But that is what we have been talking about right, the easy ways to save.  So how about this, reusing your Ziploc bags (am I allowed to say brand names?  From here on out I will refer to them as zipper bags).  Anyway if you want call me cheap, I am fine with that, trust me I have been called worse, and this is for a greater cause then me, so I can take it.  There was a joke on Saturday Night Live (a comedy program in the U.S. just in case you are not familiar with it) about moms that reuse zipper bags.  Don't remember exactly what they said, but the point was to do it is not cool.  OK so it was sort of funny and I laughed, but hey I am still going to do it so hahaha guess the joke is on them (and I am still cool insert insecure laughing here).  Because every bit counts (maybe that should be my motto).
So let’s remember our science class lesson, matter is neither created NOR DESTROYED (yes I meant that to be capitalized).  Everything we have is all that we will ever have.  Stuff doesn't ever just go away.  So just because you dispose of something (even disposable things) doesn't mean it is gone.  May be out of sight, and even out of mind, but it is still polluting somewhere.  So back to the point here, if possible reuse your zipper bags.  Easy as that.  If you had something gross in them and they can't be washed out, OK get rid of it.  But most of the time those bags can be saved and reused a couple of times.  I am not going to lie I have a box of zipper bags that I have had for at least 6 years (maybe longer).  I swear it.  I used to save them or reuse them b/c I really was cheap, but now I can say that I am doing it for the environment (man I was so ahead of my time).  I mean don't get me wrong, I have bought and used boxes of those bags since then.  There are a lot reasons people still use them.  The one reason that I keep thinking about is travel.  You need those clear zipper bags to get all your dangerous sunscreen and arthritis cream on the plane.  Whatever different subject.  Anyway main take home point here is you can save some money and you can save (well at least delay) stuff going into the landfill.  And that works for me, and for the planet.
I am sure there are people that are probably calling me cheap or making fun of me (thanks SNL).  But when they go broke buying tons of zipper bags, then who will be laughing.  We have just got to keep thinking long term and stop this has to be new short term way of thinking.  That doesn't help anyone.  
As always keep suggestions coming. Two (or more) heads are better than one.  And seriously we need some other ideas or I could be talking about zipper bags forever.
Best wishes.

Happy Fathers Day

Just a quick note to wish all fathers out there are very happy  fathers day.  Remember this is the perfect opportunity, if you go out to eat today, to take your own container as a doggie bag.
Enjoy your dinner and your day.
Best wishes to everyone.

Friday, June 17, 2011

This JUST Came to Me

OK so this is not what I had originally intended to write about today, but it just came to me.  But do not worry I will not leave you hanging, as I am sure you are all on the edge of your seats wondering what the heck I was first supposed to bore you with today, and I will try to get to it at some point.  Anyway enough rambling.
So sort of building on the take your own doggie bag and take your own grocery bag idea, is take your own little baggies to the grocery store for your fresh produce.  I have literally just come back from the grocery shop not ten minutes ago, and was all huffy about what I had seen.  The store was charging 15 cents to use zipper bags in the produce section.  Wait a minute, does that seem outrageous to anyone else?  So another super obvious idea came to me.  I hate those little produce bags.  If I can avoid it I try not to use them, but if you get more than 2 apples (fill in favorite fruit or veg here) then you do need something.  So why not look around your house and see what you might come up with.  I mean geez even small paper bags would be better than those annoying one use plastic bags.  Just anything to reduce and/or reuse what we already have.  I guess, and all these ideas are just coming to me now (see, I hope this illustrates that I am no perfect environmentalist/conservationist, we just have to figure out what works for each of us.  I am just making it up and figuring it our as I go along, I am a work in progress, but I am trying, wow I am rambling today) that we could even reuse the bags we take, the free ones that is.  Instead of throwing away those crummy produce bags (do they have a specific name?), keep  a few, stash them in your reusable shopping bags and next time you go to the store you will be so prepared that you will not have to take anymore of those stupid produce bags.   Wow this is easier than I thought, and I told you I like easy (no bad  jokes please).  Anyway that is what I just came up with.  And now there is smoke coming out of my ears so I had better take a break for a minute and put away all the groceries.  But if anyone else has any other ideas let me know.  I cannot emphasize enough how much help I need, and two (or more) heads are better than one.
Happy Friday to all.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Just Think About It

Well I guess by now I must sound like a really bad public service announcement, topped with a the thick layer of cheese (that I seem to apply so naturally to my writing ) which must be pretty hard to swallow at times.  But the problem is I do believe in all of this, cheesy or not, and I know there are others who care as well.  And I do firmly believe that every positive action we do in our day to day lives really counts.  For there is always a reaction to every action (sort of skewing Newton's laws of motion there, for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction).
Anyway so lets think about it.  Just because you throw something away doesn't mean it goes away (doing an action but not thinking or being aware of the reaction).  Like with the styrofoam containers or with disposable water bottles.  They all may leave your home but they go and stay somewhere else.  So I know reusable shopping bags are so like totally 2006, but lots of people are using them and that is great.  But there are other things, like water bottles, that we can start reusing.  OK so here is a really long quote, and I know that in writings you are not supposed to do this, but luckily there are no teachers grading me and I really think it illustrates my point nicely (and yes always shop around for info and facts).  Anyway here it is.  "In the United States, where tap water is safe, bottled water costs about a thousand times as much as tap water and consumes tens of millions of barrels of oil a year (I've seen estimates from seventeen to fifty million barrels); it's been likened to having each bottle of water one-quarter full of oil.  It takes three times as much water to make the plastic bottle as the bottle contains" (Safina, The View from Lazy Point, 290).  I know that tap water is not always safe everywhere, even in the U.S.  But I do know that it is generally not hard to find, especially in the U.S.  And there are alternatives rather than settling for bottled water.  Honestly I cannot think of any normal circumstances that would warrant a person to buy and or use bottled water.  Again I would like to make it clear that I am not asking people to go out of there way here, or spend lots of money, or do anything that drastically changes ones comfortable life.  Because I know that asking a lot is what makes change seem like sacrifice to most, and therefore change becomes very hard to accomplish.  But I do think that if you can pull together $5 or $10 bucks that you can buy a reusable water bottle.  And I know you may not want to spend that upfront but I do think that it is an investment that saves you money in the long run, helps the planet, and makes you look super cool (had to throw some cheese in again, I told you it just comes naturally to me).
We really do just need to start thinking more about where stuff comes from and where stuff goes.  In the Western hemisphere we live in such a disposable world, which we have distanced ourselves from thinking about or knowing where all the stuff we buy and use comes from.  Because the shops and grocery stores are always fully stocked there is really no need to think about it.  But if we do stop and think, we may change our spending habits, and maybe even buy a reusable water bottle.  So if possible stop using the water bottles, keep drinking lots of water from your reusable water bottles, and remember that you are lucky to be able to refill those water bottles.  And maybe just maybe if we stop using the disposable anythings we can help conserve some water and start sharing with those who need it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Please Mr. Postman check and see if there is a letter in there for me

OK so here it is day two and I am still here.  Hopefully that is a good thing, guess we will just have to wait and see.  So today I am looking for suggestions rather than doling them out.  I want to know if there is anyone out there that knows ways to stop or at least drastically reduce junk mail.  I am not a fan, in fact I might be so bold as to say I hate it, and we get so much of it.  Most of it just goes straight into the recycling  bin, and the rest I shred.  But I just found out that our recycling pick up does not take shredded paper.  Now don't get me wrong I do not mind driving to the full recycling center near our house, but what I would like it not have to get the junk mail that I shred in the first place.  Please help.  I have tried a few online sites that you can request the junk mail stopped.  But I have not noticed much of a reduction in volume.  I have also tried writing return to sender on some of the mail and sending the junk back to the junk providers.  But that really did not do much.  So please, if there are any other suggestions let me know.  I really do think that again this is a worthwhile way to help save some parts of our sort of green planet.  I know that mail is becoming less and less due to email and texting etc.  and the post office is desperate to hold on to paper to deliver, but cannot we not make it paper that counts.  Just saying.  But really what do I know.  So any help would be much appreciated.
As always many thanks.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pick it up you filthy animal!

OK so was out walking with some neighbors the other day, and I looked liked such a a fool.  Why you might ask, no not because I can't walk, although I do struggle with that act sometimes.  Here is the reason why.  They were picking up pieces of trash and I was not.  So here it is, another wonderfully simple and brilliant idea, and I am so embarrassed that I don't do it more, so don't think that I am  wagging my finger at anyone other than myself, if you are out walking, pick up and throw away (or better yet try to recycle) whatever you might find.
Now let me be clear I am not asking people to jump out of moving cars or other extreme actions if they see a gum wrapper on the side of the road.  And I am not asking you to pick up dangerous or gross looking things that you may be lucky enough to find.  What I am asking, is if you take your dog for a walk, or if you run, or if you are walking from the shop to your car (OK I will stop with all the different scenarios now) and you see trash, pick it up.  I mean I get that we drive everywhere now, but there have to be a few times when we are not in our cars.  I think I find myself picking up most of the trash that I do find in my own garden, but again if I can expand this even more, and if I can get some help, I think it would be a huge help.  I mean come on, it is so easy.  Just think of it as your community service sentence without having to wear an orange vest, although you can  if you want.
Ahhhhh there are just so many ways we can help without really do much of anything.  I think you will find that I like easy.  So as I said at the start, I know there are a lot of people doing this already, but lets get even more people.  See I don't want much.  Just want people to be aware and care enough, so that all these little acts environmental kindness turn into big acts of environmental restoration.
Thanks to all.

Leftover Love

So I am really not sure where to begin with all this,  I guess I should start at the beginning.  I want to do something that matters.  I guess we all do, so I know I am not special.  But I have always struggled to figure out what that something is.  I know big picture ideas, like I want to save the world and bring world peace through protection and restoration of our environment and planet.  I want to be a good human being, that is kind to others and all that good stuff (blah blah blah right?).  But when it comes down to picking something specific in order to accomplish these large goals, I got nothing.  Don't get me wrong it isn't that I haven't tried.  OK what am I talking about, let me try and get to the point here.  The family was at the beach discussing how no one likes to use styrofoam any more, yet every where you go there it is, especially in the food industry.  So my sister-in-law made the comment of taking your own container when you go to a restaurant.  I had had this idea myself a while back, and had heard others talk about it, but I guess I was not paying attention or something, and so this awesome idea that I should have been doing forever never materialized.  Now it has.  I have a blog and website about this (even though I am no writer, obvious, and no computer expert), about taking your own containers to restaurants so you don't require a styrofoam box doggie bag.  Oh yeah and I do it myself, take my own containers to restaurants.  Seems easy enough, but I will be honest I have forgotten many times (don't worry my container now sits permanently in my car).  But it is such a great and simple idea that benefits all parties involved, and is so easy to do, and I like easy, not going to lie.
Lets break it down.  You save the restaurant money.  Cha ching for the restaurant, and hopefully those cost savings will be passed down to the customer one day, but lets not get ahead of ourselves here.  You keep those disgusting petrochemicals off of your food, especially if you reheat your food in those styrofoam  containers.  And lastly, and most importantly, you reduce the amount of styrofoam that has to be produced and that eventually goes into the landfill.  It is a win win for all.
So what do  I want from this.  Nothing more than just getting a few people (and by a few I mean millions hehehe) to stop taking those styrofoam take home boxes and keep a glass or recyclable plastic container handy so you can use it when you go to restaurants.  I mean there are places that already do something similar with coffee cups, but lets keep expanding.  I am also working on a way to translate this idea to fast food joints that still use styrofoam, and you know who you are restaurants (insert finger wagging here).   I would like this blog and the website to become a forum for discussion, a breeding ground of new ideas that everyone can do, and a support group (because everyone needs support, especially me).  And mainly just as a way to get this awesome idea out there.
We all need to recognize how fragile our planet is.  And if we realize that doing small things add up we may even save ourselves from, well ourselves.  It has got to be better than doing nothing.  And yes it is us, the 6.5 billion, or maybe we are up to 7 billion humans, that take take take from the environment and give nothing positive back.  So lets start trying.  We need to save what we have so that future humans do not inherit all of our bad choices.  Lets not wait for any government too do anything.  No government I am aware of has the cojones to act as fast as it needs to.  So lets just try and do stuff ourselves.  Besides if you want something done I right?
I know this is not an original idea, but it is still a good one and I am not trying to take any credit for it, just start a small, or huge, socially and environmentally conscious movement that could help save the world, no biggie.  That's all.
Love those restaurant leftovers.
Best wishes to everyone, and thank you for all your support.