Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Days 50-56 The Workplace

Day 50 - Get a greener job
With my job starting back up this week, Trudi has been on the hunt for a new job. She took this challenge as an opportunity to find a greener job. She started her new job at Whole Foods this week. Congrats.

Day 51 - Bring organic homemade goods to get-togethers
This weekend friends and I got together to make a short film and I wanted to bring snacks and drinks. The last time we did this I brought plastic packaged chips, bottled waters, etc. This time around I made zucchini bread and brought reused glass bottles to refill with water.

Day 52 - Greener filmmaking
I've spent the last 20 years making videos by shooting on tapes. I would buy tapes, shoot on
them and stash them in the attic. What a waste. With us shooting a film this weekend, we decided to shoot on cameras that record all of the video information on reusable compact flash cards. It's a small step with large implications.

Day 53 - No more disposable static cling
Trudi and I have started using chemical free "Static Eliminator" sheets. They are cloth
sheets that can be reused over 500 times. Not only are we reducing chemical usage and garbage, we're saving money from having to buy disposables. And YES, they work extremely well.

Day 54 - No more paper towels at work
I have sewn together some organic cotton cloth divided up from kitchen towels to bring to work in my back pocket. Now when I go to the restroom and wash my hands, I no longer reach for the paper towels. I reach into my back pocket for my towel and dry away. It feels and smells better too.

Day 55 - Greener workplace
I am in the process of moving campuses into a brand new office and classroom space. It definitely has it's downfalls, having to pack, lift, drive, and say good bye to all my South Campus buddies. It has the advantage of new construction. One of the plusses I suggested has been implemented, the use of motion detector light switches. They turn on when you enter the room, and if no motion is detected they turn off after 15 seconds.

Day 56 - Stainless steels reusable bottles
I was using old glass bottles to bottle up my tea that I bring to work. The caps inevitably last about a week before they begin to leak, and I have to buy new glass containers with lids. What a waste! I bought 2 stainless steel bottles and began using them today, and I think they'll last the entire school year.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Days 45-49 Air Quality

Day 45 - No high fructose corn syrup
In an attempt to stop eating processed foods all together, I felt this was a logical step. It makes people fat, and it's bad for the environment. The corn used to make it is grown in massive fields that cause soil erosion and nutrient depletion. The pesticides and fertilizers used on the corn largely growing in the midwest are leaching into the Mississippi River and and are dropping off in the gulf (as if they don't have enough problems).

Day 46 - Get rid of junk mail
100 million trees get used for junk mail every year. Let's keep the trees in the forrest. Plus it's not that cool that folks are buying and selling my personal information for advertising purposes. I used DMAchoice.org and optoutprescreen.com The funky parts are that dmachoice asks for your email address (so you can set up a phantom address so you don't risk electronic junk mail). opt out asks for your social security number. Hm? Hopefully it worked.

Day 47 - Natural air purification
No more Fabreeze type chemical that toss chemicals around my apartment. Instead I place my fresh daily used coffee grounds out in a bowl and it gets rid of the garlic and onion smells in the kitchen. I've also got baking soda in various places around the house. Our windows are always open while we're home, and sometimes we burn some fresh candles.

Day 48 - Work at the co-op
I ordered some nice organic produce and other items at the Jax Natural Food Buying Club, and instead of just picking my food up, I worked hauling cases and dividing the lots. It is a great community event, bringing like people together. Loved it, and look forward to the next delivery. Check out that produce!

Day 49 - Get houseplants
This goes along with the air purification. Plants remove toxic air emissions including ammonia, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, benzene, xylene, and trichloroethylene. They also make me happy!


Friday, August 13, 2010

Days 41-44 Become active in the community

Day 41 - Use natural dish soap
First let me state that goodsearch.com is great. I have since changed my donation location to Tree Hill Nature Center. I didn't know I could donate my clicks there. Enjoy Chris and Mark.

I used to use Ecover natural dish soap. The fact that I switched to the cheapest possible soap made me lose sleep at night. I am glad to be back. It's made with plant based and mineral ingredients. It's fast and completely biodegradable, has minimum impact on aquatic life, and
there's no animal testing.

Day 42 - Use natural dish sponge
So I've got the great Ecover using a plastic based sponge. Ironic. So, I switch to the all natural biodegradable Twist loofah sponge. It's unbleached, undyed, totally plant based and compostable!

Day 43 - Join food co-op
I joined Jacksonville Natural Foods. It's a community run buying club that provides access to high quality organic and natural foods. They purchase their foods from local farms and warehouses, which eliminate the senseless travel and associated environmental carbon cost of shipping unused item. They purchase and ship in cases only upon what's ordered. Members pick up there food at a church (though they are not affiliated with any religion) when shipments are in. Their motto is "eat green, live green... for less". Seems like the shoe fits. I'll keep you all updated.

Day 44 - Community activism
I have recently become the Artist in Residence at Tree Hill Nature Center, and I don't take this lightly. I am honored to be a part of an organization with a focus on environmental protection and awareness. Along with Chris Robertson of Tree Hill, I am putting together a film festival showcasing films with a focus on environmental improvements and activism. My hope is that it touches enough people that decide on their own to make a few changes toward a better future. I look at it as the "pass-it-forward" idea. I'll keep this updated as it evolves.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Days 37-40 Do good

Day 37 - Pick up garbage

I went to the San Marco library on Friday and parked on the side of the public park. I looked over the fence and saw the remains of a party, empty Solo cups on the ground along with Twinkie rappers etc. Instead of walking back toward the library I spent about 2-3 minutes picking up the trash in the park and disposing of it. I also made the promise to myself to pick up trash when I saw it, making my environment a little cleaner with every effort.

Day 38 - Use GoodSearch

Deep into the second month of this challenge I find myself visiting Google whenever I'm at the computer, about twice a week, at the library or at work. I'm searching for green changes, no 'poo recipes etc. Well, it was from that same google engine I found out about goodsearch.com.
It's a search engine powered by yahoo that donates money to a charity of your choice, every time you type in a search. So bye, bye Google, hello GoodSearch. My charity is Volunteer Jacksonville, a local volunteering service. They donate 50% of their advertising revenue to the charities and schools selected by the users.

Day 39 - Create projects that reuse

Trudi has taken apart one of our tired couch pillows and started quilting together (with fabric from trash destined clothing) brand new pillow covers. This is only the beginning of the reuse projects. More to come.

Day 40 - Quit magazine subscriptions

I just got the notice that my Mother Earth News subscription is up and it is time to renew at a discounted price. All the paper and CO2 that go into the making and shipping of it made me reconsider this thrifty offer. Now when I need to read up on the latest beekeeping or homesteading news I'll just have to get it online, or check out the library's copy of the magazine.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Days 33-36 Travel

Day 33 - Reuse towels and sheets at hotels

With the cancellation of cable at the apartment, out went the internet too, so I've had a hard time trying to update this page. When work starts back up I'll be on computers, and be able to update regularly.

I went out of town this week and decided to bring the challenge with me. Before I left hotel on Monday, I placed the "Do Not Disturb" sign on my door. This prevented the maids from picking up my once used towel and sheets and washing them. It also kept them from spraying everything down with chemicals to clean it, at least for the length of my stay. I kept the sign on the door the entire stay.
Day 34 - Bring your own drinks for travel

I could have stopped at gas stations and restaurants for drinks and snacks along my journey, but that would produce a ton of garbage and useless packaging (often plastic). Instead, the night before I left town I made 4 gallons of tea, placed them in reused gallon containers, and placed them in a cooler for the trip. I also brought a mug to drink out of. They lasted me the entire trip, as did the oranges, which required no packaging.
Day 35 - Research and eat only at local and socially responsible restaurants when traveling

It's easy to stick to local restaurants when in Jacksonville, I know the area. When out of town it's easy to just stop in to a Quiznos and grab a little sandwich, which I almost did. Then I remembered this challenge and decided to do some research. Ethos Vegan Restaurant is amazing!
Day 36 - Drive the speed limit

Driving home, I wanted to get there as soon as possible. I also know the drawbacks, besides getting a hefty speeding ticket. When you speed, you waste gas - and emit more carbon dioxide. Driving the speed limit on the freeway can help avoid over 1,000 pounds of CO2 pollution a year. It also saves money at the pump. You can save over $130 a year just by slowing down.

Another note - I haven't turn the hot water dial on my shower in weeks. The cold showers are so refreshing. I would make this one of my promises, but I'm afraid of the cold winter days with no hot water.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

1 month - woohoo


Day 29 - Navy showers

I got the well done in Middleburg ($2K later). I explain to my neighbor that I didn't really want the well, I want to use rain catchment for all of our water use. He told me "now you don't need to worry about it, you've got a bottomless well." I didn't want to get into my explanation in 115 degree heat index, but maybe someday in the near future. He also warned me about the pump getting stolen, so I'll have to build a pumphouse.

As for the challenge we have shortened our showers to 2-5 minute Navy showers. I didn't have to change a thing, sorry Trudi.

Day 30 - Use towels at least 7 times before washing them

I usually wash my one and only towel once every 2-3 weeks. The humidity and lack of air conditioning has our towels getting stinking a bit sooner. So... 1 towel, 1 week, and wash.

Day 31 - Reduce shaving to twice a week

Whoohoooo. 1 month into it, and looking forward to the next 11. I got that pumphouse built, in the rain. Hopefully it secures the pump enough from being stolen.

I use an electric shaver. I had a tough time selecting it. If I were to use disposable razors, I would be throwing away plastic every week, buying more. I would also be using water to shave. I've had my electric razor for years without replacing anything. Works like a charm. If I shave every day though, I have to charge the razor weekly. If I reduce the shaving to twice a week, I will only have to recharge once every month, using a quarter of the electricity.

Day 32 - LED Flashlights only

I will no longer use battery sucking bulb flashlights. LED only.