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38 posts from October 2007

October 05, 2007

The Global Green Life

As if the pollution and litter caused by plastic bags weren't bad enough, soggy piles of the discarded sacks can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, posing a serious problem in malaria-stricken areas. In Uganda, this concern has prompted another ban on plastic bags, and more interestingly--to me, anyway--a campaign to get people to return to traditional methods of carrying goods instead. And whereas in Japan, that meant wrapping cloths, in Uganda, it means banana leaves.

This fascinating tidbit came my way via the fall issue of Earth Island Journal, which also notes that end-of-life customs are going green in India, where cremation is the traditional Hindu practice. A mechanical engineer has apparently developed an ultra-efficient funeral pyre that cuts the amount of wood used by 95 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by over half. It's great to read about innovative solutions popping up all over.

Daily Tip : October 5, 2007

If you live within a mile or so from your school, try taking your kids via a "walking bus." Walk to school as a group! Organize your neighbors and develop a "bus route." The furthest stop away from school starts, then "picks up" the next nearest, etc. Reverse the plan for the trip home. Parents deal with the timing and safety issues, and everyone gets some exercise, meets their neighbors, and creates very little pollution. Truly public transportation!

--Submitted by Paul

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October 04, 2007

Daily Tip : October 4, 2007

The next time that you go to the ATM, forgo getting that receipt. ATM receipts are a big contributor of litter. You can also contact your bank to enroll in on-line banking.  Online-banking can improve financial control while eliminating the paper bills, statements and checks that harm the environment -- saving 17 million trees and avoiding 4 billion tons of greenhouse gases a year - according to a recent report.


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October 03, 2007

Walk This Way

Children walking to school, helped across the street by a smiling crossing guard--it's as American as apple pie, right? But this wholesome scene is becoming increasingly uncommon, as harried schedules, fear of predatory strangers, and lack of sidewalks and walking paths in many suburban communities Saferouteslogo_2 lead many parents to drive their kids every day, adding to both environmental problems and the obesity epidemic.

In response, a group called the National Center for Safe Routes to School has declared today, October 3, Walk to School Day, but with a little community teamwork, you can help make walking and biking to school safer any day of the year. One idea with a proven track record is a "walking school bus" or bicycle train--essentially, just a group of children walking or biking together with one or more adult leaders. (Since there's safety in numbers, of course.) Sound simple? It is. Just goes to show that improving the environment and kids' health can be as easy as putting one foot in front of the other.

Daily Tip : October 3, 2007

Avoid products that are packaged for single use (i.e., drinks, school lunches, candy, cat and dog food, etc.). Instead, buy in bulk and transfer the products to your own reusable containers. Many health food stores have bulk bins where they sell everything from grains to cereal to cleaning products.

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October 02, 2007

Centenarian Strategies

Perfect place settings and flawless floral arrangements aren't really my bag, so I've got to thank healthy-home guru Debra Lynn Dadd for pointing out this heartening tidbit in her newsletter:

Apparently, the September issue of Martha Stewart Living included an article on "Living to 100" that discussed the importance of environmental health. In it, the author, Dr. Brent Ridge, noted that "Anything we bring into our homes or put onto our bodies can affect our health. I use natural or green products whenever I can--detergents, cleansers, toothpaste, shampoo, etc. If a bathtub cleanser is labeled 'nontoxic,' for example, that means it's safe for kids and safer for me and the environment." Ridge even got in a plug for composite lumber made from recycled materials, saying that it "looks beautiful and works well."

Eco-conscious ideas being promoted to 2 million mainstream readers? Now that's a good thing.

Daily Tip : October 2, 2007

Have an occasion where you need to send a card? Try using an environmentally friendly letterpress house, like this one in San Francisco. They use only tree-free paper and soy-or rubber based inks. That's saving trees in style!

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October 01, 2007

Keen to be Green

Going green at work seems to be a popular topic, so if you haven't gotten your office on board the eco-train yet, you might be interested in some tips from the Big Green Switch for starting a workplace recycling program. Although it's a British site (which I read about this morning on ENN), most of the advice would be useful anywhere, and I like their convivial approach to finding, tracking, and sharing small lifestyle changes you can make at home or school, while traveling, even in pubs. (Not to mention the way they call a recycling plan a "scheme" without meaning anything bad by it.) So why not have a go at it?

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