Environmental Video of the Week (7/1 -7/7/12) DOUBLE FEATURE

July 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

This week I’m excited to present you with not one, but two insanely awesome environmental videos. Both come from the amazing series, “The Story of Stuff” on YouTube.

The first video is a unique take on the anti-bottled water campaign. Not only does the video cover the dangerous effects of the bottled water industry, it delves into how and why it got to be the way it is, and provides plausible solutions for the problem.

The second video explains something that even I find very difficult to understand, the Cap and Trade system:

 

 

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Three Cool Stories (Bro)

July 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Check out these three cool stories about environmentally friendly products!

1. Coca-Cola: A011 Energy Efficient Vending Machine – Cat: Creativity and Technology – Creativity Online.

2. Best Buys first small step into green education – Business – Going Green – msnbc.com.

3. Funerals undergoing an eco-friendly makeover – Business – Going Green – msnbc.com.

Green App of the Week (6/24 – 6/30/12)

June 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Today’s App: Eco-Labels

Organic. All Natural. GMO Free. Animal Welfare Approved. Antibiotic Free. Dolphin Safe. Earth Smart. Fair Trade Certified. What on earth do these all mean?! These are the labels that we see every day on our canned goods, groceries, cleaning supplies, meats, and everything in between. They confuse us. We wonder which are more important, and if manufacturers are even telling us the truth about how their products were produced.

This week’s app, Eco-Labels, helps you to decipher just what these manufacturers are trying to tell you. Once you find the label in question in the app’s list, a simple click opens you up to wealth of information. First and foremost, it tells you what the label means. Next it answers a few important questions: Is the label meaningful? Does it have weight in the world? Is it widely accepted as a truthful label? Once you find that rating – usually described with terms such as “highly meaningful” or just a plain “No” – the next thing the app informs you on is whether or not the label is verified by an independent source – basically, does someone other than the company that made the product have any input into the label that gets put on it. Other information the app provides is whether or not the label is consistent, and whether industry members get input into the regulations of the label.

One of the things I really love about this app is that not only does it give you a rating or piece of info – i.e., doesn’t just say that the label is verified – it also explains why. Sometimes these explanations are only a sentence or two, but other times they’re quite extensive, spanning paragraphs of unbelievably useful information. Another favorite feature of mine is, in actuality, so simple that it’s brilliant – it includes pictures of the labels! One last feature of the app that it think makes it more useful than other apps of its kind? A search bar.

Overall, this app is simple, user-friendly, and if anything is just a little too all-inclusive.

My Grade: A

 

Environmental Eight Excite Elite Educations

March 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Last week, I told you about March Madness for Environmental Studies, and their very own Sweet Sixteen. Today, the excitement in the competition grows as the Environmental Eight have been announced. The schools include: « Read the rest of this entry »

Caught Green Handed: On Vacation

March 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Myrtle Beach!

Myrtle Beach!

After a week of midterms, two days of traveling, and a slightly skeevy Super 8, (which all hopefully explain and justify the lack of recent posts,) I’ve finally arrived in Myrtle Beach, SC, and man, it is NICE! As I sit and look out at the beautiful beach and ocean, it hit me. This is what I’m working to save. Everything I’m doing here, with this blog, and with my life, is so that the world can continue to enjoy places as naturally incredible as these.

Another thing hit me, a little later in the day. As I came back to take a shower, I stumbled upon something I had seen many times, and in various permutations.

Save Our Planet!

Reuse Towels, Don't Waste Water!

Think about the last time you went to a hotel – you definitely saw one of the little signs somewhere in your bathroom that reminded you to save water by reusing your towels. There’s even a universal code for how to tell the cleaning staff what you’re doing – dirty towels on the floor, ones you plan to reuse get hung up. But have you ever considered the logic behind all this? The history? The actual environmental impact? Well, I’ll answer the questions you’ve always had, and maybe even a few you never though of:

Let’s do a little Q &A:

Q: What environmental benefits do these policies have?

A: According to Practically Green, a hotel of 250 rooms operating at 80% capacity can expect to save 220,000 gallons of water each year (and $66,000!). Energy, too, is also saved, since most laundry is done in hot water, and therefore requires a lot of energy to heat it to the desired temperature, as well as to power the washing machines and dryers. Chemicals such as chlorine and bleach are often used as detergents, and a decrease in laundry-doing is equivalent to a decrease in the entrance of these chemicals into our environments. Also, many hotels donate a portion of saved funds to worthy environmental causes, which is just an added bonus.

Q: Why do guests follow these procedures?

A: It’s easy. Well, that’s part of it at least. But think about it – it’s the same as if you were at home, except instead of having to take your own towels out of the bathroom or make them neat, housekeeping will do it for you. But that doesn’t fully explain why people do it. One argument is they know that by saving water, the hotel saves money, and therefore charges them less, so by following the procedures, they’re saving themselves money. A Scientific American article points out an interesting observation to take into account. According to the article, people tend to reuse towels more if they think others are also doing the same. Oh, and let’s not forget pure, good-hearted interest in saving the environment as a reason to reuse hotel towels.

Q: Is it a law that there must be these signs in hotel rooms?

A: Nope. Though it might seem like it, since a vast majority of American hotels have the reusing polices and resulting signs, it is purely the hotel’s decision.

Q: If it’s not a law, why do hotels do it?

A: There’s a few reasons for that. First of all, there’s the obvious reason: to help the environment. Now, we all should hope that environmental sustainability is a core belief and goal of every person and organization in the world, but let’s not be too naive. So why do it? Well, there’s the idea of personal gain. The hotels that participate in these policies have something to gain from them. A hotel has plenty of space, but most of it is front of house, guest-accessible space, with little left for waste management – i.e. trash, recycling, and laundry. Therefore, to successfully manage waste, hotels need to actively and masterfully design their programs. So in terms of towels, if guests reuse even a fraction of the towels they use daily, that’s a whole bunch of towels that the hotel does not need to be washing, and therefore less space, time, personnel, and money they need to dedicate to laundry.Oh, and speaking of money, hotels pay utilities just like everyone else, so each towel they don’t wash saves them money on their water and energy bills, and therefore creates more profit for them. (Special thanks to Waste Management World for help with this one).

Hope you found this informative! Have questions you want answered? Let me know!

HP, WWF, Lorax Team Up to Help Environment

March 5, 2012 § 5 Comments

The Lorax

The original picture book!

The Lorax. You almost certainly read it as a child, and if you didn’t, stop reading this and go fix that. The children’s book by Dr. Seuss is a tale of environmental peril, starring a helpless young boy who learns from the Once-Ler about how he ignored the advice of the Lorax, a small orange creature who cares for the environment, and thereby ruined everything – he destroyed a forrest, forced the creatures living there to leave, and bankrupted his own business. It’s the ultimate introduction for a child to the dangers of industrialization. With a movie version released just this past Friday, its message is becoming more widely spread than ever.

As a companion to the movie, HP has teamed up the World Wildlife Foundation to create an interactive Facebook to bring the environmental sustainability encouraged by The Lorax into real life. Through a series of interactive games, users can earn “badges” which can earn actual money from HP, to be donated to the WWF. The challenges themselves are sustainability related – they range from trivia questions about environmental facts and figures, to pledges to make certain sustainable changes, like turning off faucets or reusing water bottles, or even making tin-can flowerpots. Of course, there’s also facts specific to HP and WWF’s environmental efforts as well. Completing this challenges also grows your Truffula Tree, assumed to be that very same last seed provided to the boy by the Once-Ler at the end of the book.

The main screen is bordered by a bunch of other relevant links – to HP’s sustainability site, advertising their new motto, “Every inkling makes a difference” and to the WWF and other environmental sites – as well as various additional facts, and lastly some sustainable printing tips. Overall, the site is an great way to get the young or uninterested to learn and interact with sustainable practices. Check it out!!

I Told You First: Super Bowl XLVI: Greening Efforts To Reduce Environmental Impact

February 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Remember these past weeks when I’ve been posting about the Super Bowl’s greening efforts? Well the Huffington Post finally got around to it:

Super Bowl XLVI: Greening Efforts To Reduce Environmental Impact.

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