Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Happy almost 2009 everyone! Is everyone making their resolutions for the new year? Many people make resolutions about finances, organization, family, friends, and exercise, but what about the environment?

Here I've compiled some of my old posts that are easy changes you can use as a simple resolution to better the environment. Some of them are so easy, you could probably pick two or three! Maybe choose one from each category, or challenge a friend to accomplish one of these tasks for a year!


What other resolutions have you made for next year?
Have a safe and happy New Year, everyone! I will see you next year!

This image is from GPS magazine.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Choose Bamboo

Bamboo is fast becoming the hip and environmentally-friendly type of wood. Here are some of the benefits of this plant, according to Natural Environment:

  • Bamboo plants can grow successfully without any fertilisers or pesticides. Here's my post about the harms of these substances.
  • Bamboo grows extremely fast - it’s the fastest growing plant on the planet. Bamboo has been known to grow 3 - 4 feet per day! So, there's an abundance.
  • Bamboo doesn’t require a lot of water to grow. We all know the importance of water conservation!
  • Bamboo is a very hardy plant - it can survive drought conditions and flood conditions.
  • Bamboo plants release lots of oxygen into the air. A grove of bamboo release 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees.
  • Bamboo is a very earth friendly plant. It can reduce soil erosion and desertification. It can actually improve soil quality in degraded and eroded areas. Great for sustainable farming!

So, what are some products that utilize this bamboo? There's bamboo cutting boards (image from Nature Moms)...Bamboo blinds (from Window Visions)...

Bamboo rugs (from Bamboo Rugs Store)...(30% off as of right now!)

...even Bamboo clothes (from Lotus Life)! I hear it's actually quite comfortable.

Oh, and don't worry about the panda bears - like I did when I first heard of bamboo products. They actually consume a different type of bamboo, so they'll be all right!

I couldn't help putting in this adorable picture! (from China Odyssey Tours). It's your reward for reading through this post. Oh, and the picture at the top is from Bamboo Revolution.

Wow, I used a lot of pictures and links in this post! Do you like to use a lot of images in your blog? If you don't have one, do you like to read blogs with lots of pictures?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Environmental Tips for the Workplace

I think I want to start highlighting some online videos each week dealing with some basic environmental tips. This one is pretty informative and helpful, since I don't know too much about workplaces, obviously. It's only two minutes long, and while some of the situations it displays are pretty simple, it could help job your memory on such occasions.

Oh, I just realized I still don't know how to load an online video from Youtube onto a post. Is there a possible way, any of your tech-savvy people? Or I am resigned to just post links?

Well, here it is ...Green Office Project: Environmental Tips from the Workplace.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Reasons for Eating Less Meat

I was just perusing through my newest copy of Reader's Digest this morning, and I came this little excerpt titled "Animal Planet." It gave out some astounding facts, which, though probably weren't news, still amazed me.

1. 60 billion animals a year are raised for food, meaning 10 animals per person. If you think about it, Americans probably have more than 10 animals, because billions of people live in poverty and do not always have access to fresh meat.

2. Growing corn and eating is expends 2.2 calories for every 1 calorie of protein yielded. But take that corn through the manufacturing process to produce feed for livestock, and take into account everything else that the livestock consume throughout their life (electricity, water, transportation), and it takes 40 calories to get the same 1 calorie of protein.

3. Steak dinner for 4 people = driving in a SUV for four hours and at the same time leaving all the lights on at your house.

4. Average American meat eater produces per year 1.5 tons of greenhouse gas than a non-meat eater. Yikes!

So does everyone have to become a vegetarian? I don't believe so - it's all based on your beliefs and values. However, there are some changes we all can make to ease the above statistics. Maybe try eating one non-meat meal a day, or one non-meat day a week. Cut back on portions a little bit - 3 oz. is a serving according to the FDA, not that 20 0z. steak the restaurant served. Try out some substitutes such as tofu and bean burgers. When you eat meat, try to find local sources or companies that don't use added hormones and use humane practices.

The above image, from MSN, is of a steak that is 72 oz.! Craziness.

So, is anyone a vegetarian? What is your reason?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wrapping Paper

Yep, another seasonal post...dealing with wrapping paper! How much wrapping paper do we really use in the holiday season? No doubt the number is up there. Here are a few suggestions to make the tradition a little more environmentally friendly.

1. This is the easiest! Recycle! All that lovely wrapping paper doesn't need to be bunched up and thrown into the trash, where it eventually will end up clogging a landfill. With the same amount of effort, the paper can be placed into a recycling bin.

2. Reuse! This might be a little tricky, depending on whether you are a patient or inpatient gift-opener. If you grab your gifts eagerly and tear right through the paper, it might be a little tough to put back together. However, I know a lot of people who like to unwrap their gifts slowly, without tearing the paper. Therefore, if you are one of the latter, you can reuse the gift wrap later. Usually the patterns, prints, and colors are so nice anyways, so I always feel bad just tossing it away.

Some of my friends have this wacky tradition of giving each other back the same square of wrapping paper. It's crazy - it's already changed hands several times.

3. Get some recycled gift wrap. Here's a website with some pretty cute designs. Another website has some plainer colors, if you like those. No doubt there are some stores around you with plenty of selection.

4. Be creative! Transform the comic page of the newspaper into gift wrap...maybe personalize smaller items such as gift cards with old letters. The possibilities are really endless.

This image is from Asia Ru.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Switch Your Holiday Lights

In keeping with the holiday theme, I wanted to share with you what I learned in an article in the magazine Better Homes and Gardens. Basically, conventional string lights use a lot of electricity, especially when you keep them on all night and use a lot of them, like this crazy decked-out house from Decorated Houses.

So, this fun holiday tradition consumes both a lot of your electricity bill, and fossil fuels to produce the brightly-shining lights. Well, the magazine introduced me to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) which use 80% to 90% less electricity than traditional models, and also can last up to 20,000 hours. They are also very safe, because they are cool to the touch. This year's lights have a lot of improvements over past models. There are many difference choices of color, size, and shape.

The article tells you not to wait for a sale because, "Stores report that they're one of the first holiday items to fly off the shelves, even when they're stocked way before Thanksgiving."

It's really strange that in my neighborhood, people are already starting to put up their lights! Well, I guess it is December now, and the holiday spirit is starting to come out. However, it was not even cold this past weekend - up to 60 degrees on Saturday, so it does feel a bit out of place.

I have a bunch of neighborhoods around me that have competitions to see whose home will be the most outrageously decorated. The homeowners do such a good job that people are lining up in the cars and causing traffic jams just to tour their streets. There are even bus tours arranged to view all these houses. Any wacky holiday traditions in your locale?