Articles by Linda

20 Tips on Going Green by “Thinking” Green


1. Know Where Your Trash Goes
“ Where is away?” when you throw something away. There is no “away”. According to the EPA, the average American (you & I) produces 4.5 pounds of garbage per day. That adds up to 1,642.5 pounds per year, and 114,975 pounds over a 70-year life span. Every day the U.S.A. throws “away” 305 million aluminum cans, 426,000 cell phones, 27 million paper bags, 576 million plastic bottles. Yikes! Where does it go? No place(s) you or I would like to visit. Disposables are the bane of our society. “As long as we are trashing the planet and trashing each other, a healthy and a holistic and a healed world is not possible. We cannot have peace on the Earth unless we also have peace with the Earth”. Julia Butterfly Hill. http://www.litin.com/litineco/shop/product_info.php?products_id=96 http://www.thegreenoffice.com

2. Understand the “true cost” of what you are paying for
According to http://www.investopedia.com, this school of thought is on the rise as a result of the perceived need for ethical consideration in neoclassical economic theory. However, the cost of many goods and services that are currently affordable and often taken for granted, could see an extreme rise in costs if their "true costs" are accounted for.
For example, if one accounted for air, noise and other types of pollution caused by the manufacturing and the use of a new car, then the price of the new car would, by estimates, raise by over $40,000.

3. Fair Trade - Follow Your Dollar
This movement advocates the payment of a fair price as well as social and environmental standards in areas related to the production of a wide variety of goods. It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, and flowers. Fair trade's strategic intent is to deliberately work with marginalized producers and workers in order to help them move from a position of vulnerability to security and economic self-sufficiency. It also aims at empowering them to become stakeholders in their own organizations and actively play a wider role in the global arena to achieve greater equity in international trade. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_trade Ask the sales person, store clerk, manager, if they know if the product, from food to furniture, they are selling you, is made in a sweat shop and/or if the laborers were paid a living wage. Let us help each other to help each other.

4. Put the Cap on Bottled Water and Packaging – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
A vast swath of the Pacific Ocean called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_Garbage_Patch) twice the size of Texas, is full of a plastic stew that is entering the food chain. Scientists say these toxins are causing obesity, infertility...and worse. Research shows that clear plastic bottles made of polycarbonate plastic can leach bisphenol –A (BPA) that can lead to low sperm counts and an increased risk of breast and prostate cancer.
Below is an article excerpted from a Blog by Mark Morford at http://www.sfgate.com
“ You ….toss away your little Calistoga bottle or your plastic Safeway bag or …. old iPod case or cigarette lighter or DVD wrapper .., and it will somehow, through a miraculous combination of time and wind and wastefulness and the flow of nature's beautiful eternal pulsing rhythms, wend its way 1,000 miles out to sea and then, .., just swirl around, slowly breaking apart and poisoning all life surrounding it and joining with the mountains of other plastic crap spewed out from our friends and enemies and neighboring nations worldwide.
Your plastic bottle is tossed away. Plastic bottle, along with millions just like it, escapes out to sea, drifts and wanders and ultimately joins a giant toxic stew of other plastic garbage sitting like a massive island in the middle of the….. Pacific Ocean.
Time passes. …Sea birds and other large marine life ingest (and then die from) some of the billions of bits of brightly-colored plastic floating about, as the sun slowly breaks down the rest of the plastic bottle into its fundamental, ultra-toxic polymer molecules. Stew thickens. And then,….. Nature's most efficient organic filters, the sea jellies, absorb those tiny plastic molecules into their bodies. Small fish eat the jellies. Larger fish eat the smaller fish. Slowly, the deadly plastics, which never completely biodegrade, amble their way back up the food chain and back into the stomachs and bloodstreams and ecosystems of larger and larger animals until, voila, there again is your plastic bottle, right there on your dinner plate. Officially speaking, cleaning up the GPGP would reportedly require a massive global effort, billions of dollars and unprecedented international cooperation and widespread admissions of pollutive guilt…..mission impossible?”
It has been estimated that over a million sea-birds and one hundred thousand marine mammals and sea turtles are killed each year by ingestion of plastics or entanglement.
Carry your own reusable tote bag & reuse your produce bags (rinse, dry, re-use). Most Packaging is not recyclable, and will outlive you, your children, and many future generations.
Do not forget to carry your own re-usable produce bags. http://www.reusablebags.com/store/shopping-bags-produce-bags-c-2_10.html . Speak out to your markets about supplying you with re-usable bags. I carry a Chico bag in my very small handbag. I use it often, from Macy’s (no need to take one of their plastic bags), to food shopping. http://www.chicobag.com Stainless Steel water bottles http://www.kleenkanteen.com and http://www.sigg.com

5. Watch the Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard (and share with everyone you know) http://www.storyofstuff.com

6. The cost of Food “A Perfect Storm” Brewing: Energy + Food Production http://www.earthpolicy.org/Updates/2005/Update48.htm
For every calorie of food we take in, it takes approximately 10 calories of energy from fossil fuel to produce that calorie. This is because of our agricultural system’s reliance on transportation, fertilizers, pesticides and mechanization. Become a Locavore, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_food Buy locally grown food as much as possible throughout the year. Grow your own garden, even if an herb garden. Fresh and local is best.

7. Offshore Drilling
Drilling would not lower prices at the gas pump but would put at risk currently protected areas along America's coastlines including ecologically sensitive places and world-class beaches in Florida and California. http://audobon.org/news/DrillingQuiz/quiz1.html

8. Electricity Reduction
Hook up your computer, printer, and fax machine to a single power strip that you can switch off at night. Available at your local hardware store. If not, ASK! Your electricity comes from a grid which is powered by coal, nuclear, hydro, or gas. Renewable energy, such as biomass, geothermal, wind and solar are just beginning to emerge as clean sources of power. http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/sources/renewable/renewable.html
Turning your thermostat down by 1 degree can save up to 10% on your annual heating bill.

9. Water Savings
Switch to energy efficient showerheads and aerated faucets to cut water use by as much as 50% http://www.drinktap.org and http://www.waterlegacy.com/
Install an in home or office water filter. There are many available. Here is one example of what is out there - http://purificawater.com I recommend you ask questions and shop around. Also, in order to reduce the amount of water you let run while your water heats up, visit these tankless hot water heater websites for endless hot water and lower energy bills: http://www.noritz.com , http:www.takagi.com, and www.rinnai.us

10. Solar Hot Water Heating
Solar water heaters—also called solar domestic hot water systems—can be a cost-effective way to generate hot water for your home. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use—sunshine—is free. http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=12850

11. Water Efficient Landscaping
Use native plants suited to your area. Irrigate longer but with less frequency to encourage the growth of deep roots. Connect downspouts to 3% to 4% perforated pipe and lay this on top of soil. Use drip irrigation rather than sprayers.
http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/docs/water-efficient_landscaping_508.pdf

12. High Efficiency Windows
If your windows need replacing, buy double or triple glazed units. Double-glazing can reduce heat loss by up to 50%. http://www.neep.org/initiatives/ES_Windows.html This website also covers Energy Star Appliances, commercial and residential high efficiency HVAC, etc.

13. Sunscreen, Lotions, Etc.
Sunscreen bleaches coral and accumulates in fish and other aquatic life. “Almost 80% of our water in the U.S. shows trace amounts of chemicals from personal care products, which could be sunscreens, lotions, colognes or medications,” according to http://www.Baykeeper.org an environmental watchdog group. 4-Mbc has been detected in human breast milk, and can alter reproductive function. Be on the lookout for benzophenone, homosalate and octyl methozycinnamate. Products with no chemical additives and natural ingredients include Alba Botanica, Burt’s bees, Avalon, and more, found at natural food stores and some drug stores. Visit http://www.cosmeticsdadabase.com, www.teensforsafecosmetics.org and http://www.bodyburden.org for more information. Knowledge is power!

14. Bar-b-que: Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Use low smoke charcoal without added filters or chemicals. www.cowboycharcoal.com and petroleum free charcoal starter www.realgoods.com AND/OR ask your local store to carry such products. Discover what your ecological footprint is by visiting http://www.redefiningprogress.org

15. Clean Green & Read Your Labels
Can you pronounce the names of the ingredients in the products you purchase? Will they break down in time or live for thousands of years in a dump/aka landfill? Stop buying household/office cleaners that are potentially toxic to both you and the environment. David Steinman, author of "The Safe Shopper's Bible," suggests reading labels for specific, eco-friendly ingredients that also perform effectively. These include grain alcohol instead of toxic butyl cellosolve, commonly found in carpet cleaner and some window cleaners as a solvent; coconut or other plant oils rather than petroleum in detergents; and plant-oil disinfectants such as eucalyptus, rosemary or sage rather than triclosan, an antifungal agent found in soaps and deodorant. Or, make your own cleaning products and save some money. Use basic ingredients such as plain soap, water, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), vinegar, washing soda (sodium carbonate), lemon juice and borax. Two useful books on the subject are by Annie Bertold-Bond : "Clean and Green" and "Better Basics for the Home." “The Better World Shopping Guide” by Ellis Jones is a must. I chose my new Cell phone made by Sony based on the rating system in this book. Companies are rated from A – F based on the company’s overall Social and Environmental Records. This is a great website for vinegar use: http://www.vinegartips.com

16. Bedding
Bedding, mattresses, pajamas, made of materials (synthetics) that do not breathe end up costing us dearly. Our bodies rejuvenate and heal at night while we sleep. This natural process is imperative to our health. We stifle this process and sweat in our beds, tossing and turning, breathing toxic fumes, for 1/3 of our lives. We develop respiratory problems and allergies and we do not know why. Indoor air quality in the bedroom is key to a good night sleep. Your bed is the one place on which you place your entire body, from head to toe. You are literally breathing in your bed. No other piece of furniture is this intimate. You need to rest and breathe. A natural mattress breathes. It does not contain polyurethane, a petroleum based product. Traditional bedding contains synthetic materials such as formaldehyde and arsenic. The off gassing from these beds lasts for years, and has been known to create health problems such as asthma, sore backs, and chemical sensitivity, which reduce the quality of a good night’s sleep. Rather than soak a mattress in flame retardant, a layer of natural wool is placed between the core of the mattress and the mattress cover. This use of wool passes Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) open-flame standard, recently published as 16 CFR 1633 http://www.vivetique.com. Since you spend 100 days a year in your bed, this is a piece of furniture to be chosen with great consideration. Visit http://www.coyuchi.com for information on cotton.

17. Importance of Indoor Environmental Quality
Americans spend an average of 90% of their time indoors, where levels of pollutants may be two – five times – and occasionally more than 100 times – higher than outdoor levels according to the U.S. EPA. “Most of a person’s daily exposure to many air pollutants comes through inhalation of indoor air. Many of these pollutants can cause health reactions in the estimated 17 million Americans who suffer from asthma and 40 million who have allergies, thus contributing to millions of days absent from school and work.” World Health Organization, 1999 Air Quality Guidelines. http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/insidest.html

18. Become a Global Citizen
Global citizenship is people all over the world working together everyday making the world a better place. (Wikipedia)

19. Facts Resource
http://www.oberlin.edu/recycle/facts.html Facts are organized by category: water, energy, paper, metal, aluminum cans, glass, plastic, styrofoam, steel, junk mail, garbage, tires, food, and miscellaneous sources.

20. Bonus Point
Have SMART GOALS, which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely. Allow me to help you achieve those goals, as your Consultant for Transformative Thinking and Green Living.

 

© Copyright 2007-2011 Linda Delair