Posts Tagged water

The Great American Cleanup – Get Involved

 It’s never too late to improve your community’s environment. Keep America Beautiful’s annual event, The Great American Cleanup takes place between March 1 and May 31 in communities all across the United States. This is the nation’s largest community improvement project.

Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful, Inc.’s mission is to “engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments.”  This is done through their various programs such as The Great American Cleanup.  Each year, people work together to beautify their neighborhoods: picking up litter in parks and roadways, cleaning up beaches and other waterways, planting trees and flowers to restore public spaces, painting over graffiti, repairing local homes and businesses, and holding recycling drives and workshops.  The concept is two-fold—educate and participate.

The Keep America Beautiful, KAB, website makes it easy to get involved in a program near you.  KAB provides the tools  to locate or start your own community based beautification project; from how develop partnerships and corporate sponsors to curriculum for teachers to utilize in their classrooms. You can also visit the history of KAB and witness the beginnings of the green mentality long before it was fashionable.  Oh yes, I vividly remember the first public service announcements; one in particular with the single tear running down the Native American’s weathered cheek.  The message was, and still is, clear: pollution is disgraceful and we need to work together to save our planet.

Remember, it’s never too late to volunteer your time and effort for The Great American Cleanup.

And visit Earth Promise to make your promises to help clean up America!

 

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Tap Project’s Good Deed

Growing up, I always made the assumption that (clean, drinkable) water would always be available.  My wasteful habits are astonishing to look back upon: running water while brushing teeth; not turning the hose off while washing the car; and running the kitchen sink while washing dishes. The millions of gallons of water my family and I wasted make me cringe with disgust.  This careless water behavior of mine has come to a screeching halt.   The news about our dwindling water supply and countries around the world not having safe drinking water to survive is not so new.  With our environment in peril, it’s time to truly make a change in behavior.

Today, the lack of clean water is the second largest killer of children under the age of five.  This global crisis is due to the high demand for fresh water in our world.  In a 2008 CNN interview with Maude Barlow, author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water,   Barlow explained: One way or another, we have taken accessible clean water … and we have rendered it unusable. We take massive amounts [of water] and we irrigate the desert, where it evaporates. We’re pumping groundwater all over the world far faster that it can be replenished by nature. We are actually running out of fresh, clean water everywhere in the world, including here in North America. We have to give up this myth of abundance. We have come to the limits of the planet.”

How can we help our fragile planet’s water supply?  This upcoming March 22nd through March 28th is World Water Week.  We can all make an extra effort to support clean water access to everyone around the world.  New York City based, Tap Project assists UNICEF’s endeavors to bring clean water to children all over the world.  Participating “restaurants would ask their patrons to donate $1 or more for the tap water they usually enjoy for free.” 

Starting in 2007, Tap Project was solely a NYC endeavor with 300 Manhattan-based dining locations.  In 2008, it has grown more than 7 fold to 2,300 participators nationally (restaurants, corporations, volunteers, advertising agencies, community groups, local governments and everyday diners). 

The Tap Project website allows you to locate a participating restaurant near you.  Although it is too late to volunteer or sign up your restaurant for this year’s Tap Project, donations can be made to support UNICEF’s project to provide sanitized water for children around the world.

To kick off 2009’s Tap Project, a walk in both New York City and Chicago will occur.  Although it is only a one mile event, the participants are encouraged to carry a minimum of one gallon of water to show support for “the millions of children worldwide who must carry water from distant sources each day.”

Be sure to visit Earth Promise as it has many ideas for you to change your wasteful water habits. 

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Water Bottles: Bad for Our Planet, Bad for Our Body

We’ve been flooded with information about the how’s and why’s single-use plastic water bottles are outright terrible for our planet and our bodies:

·         Fastest growing section of beverage department

·         (Many) end up in landfills

·         They are shipped either from overseas or just across our own country (burning fossil fuels and diesel fuels).  All this travel to simply get our fill of H2O; something that we have access to right nearby!

·         This, then, causes our gas prices to rise.  Creating and shipping plastic water bottles generates a demand for oil and thus depletes our oil reserves.

·         The estrogen (female sex hormone)-mimicking toxin is found in these deposable bottles.

 What should be done? Start by promising  to curb your bottled water purchases.  Also, make a promise to drink tap water when dining out when possible as opposed to bottled water.  Small changes like these, then, will halt the amount of estrogen-like pollutants entering your body. (At least via water bottles!) Below are some great scientific sites that provide detailed data regarding hormones found in plastic water bottles:

The report in The Globe and Mail reveals the consistent contamination of bottled water with a hormonally active substance leaching from PET, one of the world’s most popular packaging materials. The plastic is also used for soft-drink bottles and a host of other food and beverage containers and is identified by the recycling-industry symbol of the numeral “1” encased in a triangle.” 

Science News reports about a water bottle study done at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt.  Scientists conducted research on mud snails, animals highly responsive to female hormones.  Their results were astonishing: a production of up to twice as many embryos.  Be sure to read the article in its entirety.

All this news is outright frightening.  I thought #1 was one of the good plastics?!  How to remedy the situation?  Carry your own non-toxic plastic water bottle, but be wary of the bottle you choose.  Or, avoid plastic altogether and purchase glass bottles to refill and stainless steel ones to tote around.

Earth Promise has many eco-friendly living tips that make a big impact…for the Earth and your body.

 

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Hair: The Ideal Renewable Resource

Did you ever wonder what could be done with the abundance of hair clippings that cover the floors of salons and pet groomers around the world?  My stylist enlightened me about an eco-friendly company that actually collects hair clippings to make Oil Spill Hair Mats . Over 300,000 hair salons from the US, Canada, China, India, South Africa and beyond mail their hair trimmings to San Francisco based, Matter of Trust.  Think about it: hair, the most ideal renewable resource, naturally absorbs oil and acts like a perfect sponge.  These Oil Spill Mats, that look and feel like a large SOS pads, are a completely organic method of waste removal.

This eco-absorber du jour, hair, can also be collected to make fertilizer mats for plants.  According to Smart Grow, hair is a natural by-product that keeps the plants moist and prevents weeds without chemical laden fertilizers.  Living in Florida, my potted plants are loaded with weeds and constantly need to be watered.  Tests conducted on “container-grown plants grown with SmartGrow mats remained healthy and floriferous even after 18 months without fertilizing.”  Now, that’s worth trying!

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SCHOOLHOUSE ROCKs The Earth

“Now if we only had a superhero who could stand here and turn the generator real fast, then we wouldn’t need to burn so much fuel to make…electricity.” (Electricity, Electricity— SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK!)

 

OK, this may not be the most memorable of the SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK! tunes, but it was no doubt, catchy and forward thinking.  Just like Dr. Seuss with The Lorax (published in 1971), the creators of SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK! along with our beloved, Theodore Geisel, initiated eco-topics years ago.  It has not been until recently that the general public is taking notice. The music, lyrics and animation for this ultra-cool and timeless Saturday morning educational series, will always be remembered.   The creators cleverly instruct grammar, history, math, politics, and science in a magnetic way almost every 40 year-old American can recall. 

Just as they did with verbs, electricity and the solar system, SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK! has taken it upon themselves to approach the eco-friendly trend.  Indeed, perfect timing on the creators’ parts: wedged between Earth Hour and Earth Day, the original architects (Bob Dorough, music and lyrics and  Phil Kimmelman, animation) will reveal their talents once again on March 31with the release of SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK! EARTH . Thirteen songs will be used as a learning tool for old and new fans.   Some of the characters we grew up with (Interplant Janet and Mr. Morton) will make cameo appearances. Trash Can Band, Little Things We Do, Savin’ Water and The Rainforest are just some of the amusing, green topics that will infiltrate our minds.  SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK! EARTH will no doubt be a huge success as it is modern and in touch with the eco-generational change.

Get a sampling of some of the video shorts here Afterwards, have your kids join you to make some inspiring Earth Promises.

Friends at The Daily Kool  really talk up the Schoolhouse Rock! (Special 30th Anniversary Edition).  They, like me, are of the age that absorbed Conjunction Junction, Three is a Magic Number, and Interjections!   I secretly had a three-ringed notebook in my room where I’d quickly write all what my 5 year old brain could retain.  My Saturday morning comrades at The Daily Kool enthusiastically watch it with their children (as do I).  They recommend the Schoolhouse Rock! (Special 30th Anniversary Edition) not only because it is their “official birthday present for all of (their) children’s friends,” but because they, too believe ROCK! is a breath of fresh air compared to what our children are exposed to today.  So be sure to visit The Daily Kool to reminisce and be on the lookout March 31st for SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK EARTH!

 

 

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Water Rationing Is Not Just For Californians

California’s third year of drought is cause for alarm.  Reservoirs are low even though there have been large amounts of snow from storms lately.

NPR’s, Morning Edition  announced, ”California has declared a statewide water emergency in the face of a punishing three-year drought. It could result in some drastic conservation measures and water rationing over the coming months, stretching from California’s farm belt to major coastal cities like Los Angeles.”

Also the Sacramento Bee  has an eye-opening article how the lack of water is causing a detrimental trickle effect; the “thirsty farms”, the dwindling number of fish in the estuary, and lack of jobs is real and frightening.  The amount of produce the country relies on California for is staggering.  Some farmers will buy water on the open market to keep orchards alive”  Purchase water?  Is this what our over-indulgent country has deteriorated to?  This is an enormous wake-up call for our country to take action now.

Make promises to help our precious Earth.  Here are a few of the countless suggestions from Earth Promise that everyone can do that will make a big difference: 

·         To take shorter showers.  Every two minutes you cut down on your shower can conserve more than 10 gallons of water.  This will not only save you time, but money on your water bill.

·         To run only full loads in the dishwasher. By running the dishwasher when it is not full, you will do so more often, thus using more electricity.

·         To not pre-rinse dishes if possible before putting them in the dishwasher.  If you do need to give them a rinse, don’t allow the water to run. 

·         To turn off the tap while brushing my teeth.

·         To flush one less time per day (obviously picking the right time not to).  By doing this, you can save up to 5 gallons per day.

·         To plug the drain in the tub before turning on the water instead of waiting for it to get warm.

·         To use drip irrigation or soaker hoses in my garden and/or flower bed instead of regular sprinklers which will use less water.

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Basic Green Bathroom Ideas

Continuing from yesterday’s list of small changes within your house that can have a big impact on our environment, we’re moving out of kitchen and into the bathroom.   These basic green bathroom ideas will save you water, energy and quite important in today’s economic climate, they will save you money.

– For a great investment, purchasing a low-flow toilet will, no doubt, pay you back over time.  However, if replacing your toilet does not fit into your budget these days, here’s another option:  To place a small plastic bottles, filled with water or stones in the toilet tanks to displace the amount of water in toilets, causing a “low-flush toilet” effect

Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.  Think about all that water going down the drain as you brush!

Take shorter showers

Replace your shower head with a low-flow version.  Installing a low-flow head is the best way to conserve water. These low-flow shower heads range from $8 to $50 depending upon the features. Important to note: these low-flow varieties will lower water waste, and still offer strong shower head pressure. 

To plug the drain in the tub before turning on the water instead of waiting for it to get warm.

Use 100% recycled toilet paper

 

To get inspired with more great green changes that you can do in your home, visit, Earth Promise.

 

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