TheLorax
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Earth Day 2008 is April 22nd

Received an e-mail from a friend and figured Earth Day had to be around the corner so I checked and sure enough, it's the 22nd of this month.

Subject: For Earth Day

All I Need To Know About Life I Learned From Trees
* It's important to have roots.
* In today's complex world, it pays to branch out.
* Don't pine away over old flames.
* If you really believe in something, don't be afraid to go out on a limb.
* Be flexible so you don't break when a harsh wind blows.
* Sometimes you have to shed your old bark in order to grow.
* If you want to maintain accurate records, keep a log.
* To be politically correct, don't wear firs.
* Grow where you're planted.
* It's perfectly okay to be a late bloomer.
* Avoid people who would like to cut you down.
* Get all spruced up when you have a hot date.
* If the party gets boring, just leaf.
* You can't hide your true colors as you approach the autumn of your life.

Earth Day site-
https://ww2.earthday.net/

Little history and miscellaneous on Earth Day-
https://earthday.envirolink.org/

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imagardener2
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Location: Three Rivers, TX

I love this year's official Earth Day poster

[url=https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1807/t/5341/shop/item.jsp?storefront_KEY=227&t=&store_item_KEY=780][img]https://action.earthday.net/images/2008.jpg[/img][/url]
"Our elders instruct us to always walk upon Mother Earth with respect, gentleness, and with thankful hearts. We must never deviate from the fundamental precept of stewardship, or we will be capable of causing great harm."

TheLorax
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Good find!

That is really neat. Great poster. We just watched a documentary on penguins. How appropriate to have used them for this year's poster.

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BirdLover72
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Cool I forgot about Earth Day..
Lorax your have email..

opabinia51
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Earth Day is great but, I think it is very wise to rethink, reduce, reuse and finally recycle everyday of the year. The big on would be rethink.

Like; do I really need an SUV? Especially when I live in a city and will never use an SUV as a 4x4ing vehicle. And, do I really need to have that thermostat on? Also, do I want to buy that product given that it has so much packaging? And of course seeing that this is a gardening forum; do I really need to use these poisons in my garden?

The answer of course is usually "No." as there are a lot of alternatives that are safe and good for the land and for us. But, we have been conditioned by companies to turn first to synthetic toxins rather than find another solution.

It's all the little things that we do that add up to huge changes in the world. And I'm tired of hearing people in North America say: well, we're not the problem, look and such and such country they produce all this waste.

Yes, they do but, it is up to each individual everyday to decrease their environmental footprint. And seeing that North America consumes more than any other continent on the planet and also helped to get this paradigm rolling I think it is up to us to set the example of conservation and environmental impact awareness for the rest of the world.

Another thing is that people like to Recycle, recycle, recycle forgetting about the reuse and reduce. Reuse and reduse are even more important for decreasing our waste than recycling is. Reuse things as often as you can to reduce what you use. And once that object is no longer usable, then recycle it.

And of course, all this starts with Rethinking.

"Oh, I have a well paying job now and don't need to save all this stuff anymore"

Changes to:

"Oh, I have a well paying job now and I am going to continue to conserve energy where I can and I will continue to save this stuff and reuse it. Hey, I have even more extra cash around and I can go on two trips this year instead of one."

And

"Hey, I'm going to invest in some of these new ideas like using the earth's thermal output to heat my home, and hey, I can now afford to use other energy saving additions to my home!"

TheLorax
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I believe our population is fast approaching the point where we will exceed the ability of our lands to sustain us. Our resources are not unlimited. Over consumption is certainly a major concern for me. It's hard changing the way one thinks. It's like reprogramming one's entire existence. I try.

I don't believe it is too late to make changes to soften our impact.

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imagardener2
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On the thread '[url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7395&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0]How will the rising price of Gas and Food effect you?[/url]' several people posted some of the things they do to make a positive difference. I'm going to repost my list here and it is my hope that others will join me. For it is through sharing that we each can learn more about our fellow travelers and learn to do more ourselves.

______________________________


I dry my clothes outside.

We keep our thermostat at 80 degrees during the day.

I've owned/used a front loading, high capacity washing machine (this is my 3rd) for over 30 years.

I water my yard with my washing machine and shower water.

I have:
- an on demand hot water heater
- a toilet that uses .8 gal or 1.6 gal water depending on which button you push
- programmable thermostat
- ceiling fans in every room in my house
- CFL in virtually every fixture inside and out and I will dispose of them properly!
- cloth grocery bags

I use:
- dish towels rather than paper towels most of the time
- a dishwasher
- my used coffee grounds and tea bags in my garden
- rechargeable batteries and buy them for my children & grandchildren to use
- a gas range
- timers on my water hoses

I buy:
- large volume/low packaging whenever possible
- cleaners such as Clorox's 'Green'

We:
- put a metal roof on our house to help deflect the heat gain of our roof
- installed low e windows on our remodel

I bathe by turning the water to almost off while I'm actually washing my hair or body and I turn the water off when brushing my teeth.

I drive a used car my husband rebuilt; it gets 35 mpg. I'm waiting for the [url=https://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4251491.html?series=19]Air Car[/url] to become available; it will be my new car.

I pushed my city until they started a recycling center in '95. Presently I'm pushing them to think toward rethinking their present paradigm and up grading it to present technology. (MERPHs, steam compactors, etc.) I'm also pushing to have the city and school district work jointly in teaching children from kinder on up about recycling and becoming stewards of our earth.

At our 2nd place in the country we're going primarily solar, hope to add a wind turbine, practice [url=https://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?isbn=9780964425835]humanure[/url] composting, will be processing our waste water in a bog garden, are designing our new house to be green from the point of view of natural ventilation/cooling, long overhangs, pointing it due S to use solar gain in the winter, etc.

I'm sure I do/have/use other things but just can't think of them right now. [img]https://geocities.com/d_m_g_s/emoticons/menu-Ponder2.gif[/img]

-----------------------------------
Edited to modify [url=https://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4251491.html?series=19]Air Car[/url] link
Last edited by imagardener2 on Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Our elders instruct us to always walk upon Mother Earth with respect, gentleness, and with thankful hearts. We must never deviate from the fundamental precept of stewardship, or we will be capable of causing great harm."

TheLorax
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Last year I bought a clothesline. I just began drying towels, linens, and sleeping bags outside. Love sleeping on sheets that have been line dried. Forgot how nice they were. My Mom used to dry everything outside.

Have hi-low hvac- big help. Thermostats are zones and are programmable. Temps on second floor are allowed to drop to 60 during the day and raise to 65 at night during cooler months. During warmer months we let it go to 80 during the day and drop it to 75 at night. First floor is programmed to when we are actually home.

Had some sort of a Tyvek house wrap before the foamboard insulation was added when the home was built. The foamboard we selected had a high R value I believe which theoretically reduces the costs of heating and cooling. Rolled thick fiberglass insulation in attic. Some walls have blown in insulation but I don't recall which ones or why. Might be all the north and west walls. Also have some sort of insulation on outside of basement walls. Think it looked a lot like the foamboard used on the actual structure.

All doors are weatherstripped and have storm doors on them.
Skylights are glazed for some sort of solar control.

Beginning to create a windbreak 80-100' from the northwest side of the home using conifers and will fill in with deciduous trees. Based on research I've done, I should be able to reduce the utility costs of this home by at least 10% once the windbreak matures.

Used no synthetic carpets in the home. No wall to wall carpeting here!

Have planted numerous deciduous species around home to create shade in summer.

Never had a front loading washing machine. Was always afraid they'd leak or something. I should check into them again.

Clean the coils to the frig regularly.

Don't know what kind of water heaters we have. They were high efficiency when we bought them. They might be on demand because I can make tea from a faucet in the kitchen.

Don't know about any of our toilets. I suspect they are energy efficient because code here requires energy saver fixtures and these toilets are definitely different than in our last home. Considerably less water but how much less is beyond me. Shower heads are all energy savers per code.

Ceiling fans added to the living areas of the home. Whole house fan added last year. Have roof vents but added some sort of attic fans which will supposedly reduce cooling costs.

Just beginning to use compact fluorescents. Have no idea how we are supposed to dispose of them.

We no longer turn on any exterior lights such as porch lights and such. We do have motion detection floods now that have yellow bulbs of all things. Have some solar lights outside. Have solar iPod chargers.

We turn off our computers and monitors at night and don't turn them back on until we are going to use them. Then we turn off everything that is connected to them by flipping the power strip off. They all have sleep modes which is a good thing because I frequently walk away an leave a screen up for hours on end without coming back while working around the house during the day.

I stopped watering my lawn entirely. I allow it to go dormant and hope to someday eliminate it in its entirety.

Recently switched to a product called Simple Green. Use a mild solution of bleach on some surfaces.

Definitely purchase in bulk when possible to reduce packaging. I purchase a lot of refills so I can use my existing dispensers. I also look for products labeled as having used recycled materials.

Cloth grocery bags but will ask for paper from time to time because we use those for recycling newspapers and such.

We all turn off the water when brushing our teeth.

I do use dish towels as opposed to paper towels as much as possible.
I do use a dishwasher.
Everything that can go in the composter goes in.
I do use re-chargeable batteries.
Do have a gas range.
No timers any longer as we don't water anything other than plants in their first year and only if its droughty.
Windows are double pane, low-e, and argon filled. Looking into a film to apply to deter bird collisions.
Stopped as much junk mail as was humanly possible.
Husband keeps all tires inflated properly??? I forgot why but I think it saves on gas.

I began keeping a to do list as well as a we're out of list on the frig. Instead of driving out and getting what I want when I want it, I wait until I have to go that direction anyway to run errands or make purchases. This new practice has cut my mileage down considerably.

My car does get around 25 miles to the gallon but will buy a hybrid when I need a new car. Would like to be getting at least 35 - 40 mpg. Might consider an air car but would need to know considerably more before purchasing one.

We recycle everything and have been doing so for at least 15 years. Have been recycling metals for at least 30 years.

Incidentally, I think the rising cost of gas is probably a good thing. Will probably create a demand for more energy efficient vehicles which I simply don't understand not being on the roads already. I also believe it may create a demand for better public transportation. And then there will be all the people out there like me looking for ways to cut down on driving which will result in cleaner air. Overall, I think gas costs going through the ceiling might be the kick in the rear we've needed for a long time to force us to start reducing our dependency on petroleum products.

Time for me to go read that thread you mentioned to see if I can pick up more tips. This sustainable alternatives really interests me.

editing to add-
I collect rain water.

opabinia51
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This sort of discussion is great. It would be wonderful to hear what others are doing.

Using local transit is another good thing to do if you live in a city. Rather than taking the car to work, if it is feesible use the bus or some other form of metro. I certainly do as often as I can.

And as most of us here do, grow your own veggies and buy locally. Further reducing your carbon footprint. (It can also be a lot cheaper.)

At the local farm market that I have been going to for years they now even sell this whole grained sweet wheat... Mmmm, bought some the other day and put in my stews, soups and broths... so yummy!

And talk to the propreitors of these places, form a sense of community.

TheLorax
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(sigh) Our local farmers market is 25 miles away and it's not exactly fresh veggies any longer. The other issue with is it is only one day a week and that's only in good weather. I'd kill to find whole grained sweet wheat bread.

Local transit??? Non existent around here.

opabinia51
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Yes, like I said; in cities where there is public transit.

I used to live way out in the bush (well, a half hour drive from the town) and it was great. We even had a little general store nearby that I could walk to if I wanted to (had to watch for bears though) and it was really nice.

However, I've since moved back to town and I have noticed that my carbon footprint has gone down since getting back what with regard to transportation. I will move back out to the country... perhaps way out in the country (as in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada) but, definately something to think about.

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imagardener2
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A handful of us started a Farmers Mkt in my small town years ago. The TX Dept of Ag was so impressed with with it they asked me to get one off the ground in Corpus. It was a raging success, open 3 day a week! (We had business men in suits with ice chests in hand standing outside waiting for us to open!!!) Unfortunately we suffered a 4 year drought shortly after we got it well-established which put an end to it. :cry:

And like TheLorax, we don't have public transportation here either. So for my in-town comings & goings I'm working on my husband to let me buy an electric scooter which I can recharge using solar power. If gas goes up much more [img]https://geocities.com/d_m_g_s/emoticons/dead.gif[/img] I think I'll have him convinced the $500 is worth it.
"Our elders instruct us to always walk upon Mother Earth with respect, gentleness, and with thankful hearts. We must never deviate from the fundamental precept of stewardship, or we will be capable of causing great harm."

opabinia51
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I look forward to the day that hybrid motors are able to put the same amount of power out as the standard internal combustion engine. Then people in farming communities can use them.

However, people who live in cities and in the suburbs can now purchase low emition vehicles and use transit. I saw an advertisement for an apparent zero emmission car the other day.

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imagardener2
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I gleaned these from the 'Net, publications, etc. and a different one comes up at the top of each page of the website I built for our local Recycling committee.
An example of what it looks like........ wrote:Did you know that CFLs use 75% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb and last up to 10 times longer?
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Did You Know...

- if every American home replaced just one light bulb with a CFL we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year?
- if every American home replaced just one light bulb with a CFL we would save more than $600 million in annual energy costs?
- that yard wastes make up about 20 percent of the solid waste that ends up in our landfills?
- if every American home replaced just one light bulb with a CFL we would prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars?
- an ENERGY STAR dishwasher saves approximately 1,200 gallons of water a year - six times the amount of water the average person drinks in a year?
- 60% to 80% of the power used by the dishwasher is consumed just to heat the water?
- 90% of the energy used for washing clothes is for heating the water?
- ENERGY STAR clothes washers use 35-50% less water than standard models, saving about 7,000 gallons a year per household?
- CFLs use 75% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb and last up to 10 times longer?
- your refrigerator uses the most electricity of all the appliances in your home?
- a refrigerator produced in 1990 uses twice the amount of electricity needed to operate an ENERGY STAR model built today?
- the energy used in the average home can be responsible for more than twice the greenhouse gas emissions of the average car?
- over the next 25 years, greenhouse gas emissions from buildings are projected to grow faster than any other sector, with emissions from commercial buildings leading the way — a projected 1.8 percent a year through 2030?
- that over the last 30 years energy efficiency has reduced our country’s energy use by 47 percent and is our greatest energy “resource"?
- energy efficiency is the single largest way for a building to reduce its "carbon footprint"?
- VCRs and DVD player draw 93% of their power while inactive?
- in the winter, each degree that the furnace is set above 68 degrees uses 3-5% more energy?
- lighting accounts for about 12 percent of home electricity use and using CFLs will cut that by 75%?
- electricity production is the leading cause of industrial air pollution in the US?
- that if we recycled another 10% of our printer and toner cartridges, we would cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 100 million pounds -- the equivalent of taking 10,000 cars off the road for an entire year.
- transportation accounts for 68 percent of the oil we consume in the United States and more than we produce?
- the United States consumes over 9 million barrels of gasoline daily - nearly 45 percent of global gasoline consumption?
- blowing air can make you feel 5 degrees cooler?
- the biggest use of electricity in most cities is supplying water and cleaning it up after it's been used?
- about 75 percent of the water we use in our homes is used in the bathroom?
- unless you have a low flush toilet you use about five gallons to seven gallons of water with every flush?
- batteries that are thrown away produce most of the heavy metals - dangerous substances like lead, arsenic, zinc, cadmium, copper, and mercury - that are found in household trash?
- if every American recycled his or her newspaper just one day a week, we would save about 36 million trees a year?
- you can save a tree for every four feet of paper you recycle?
- it takes half as much energy to make recycled newspaper as it takes to make fresh newsprint from trees?
- if each household in California changed one standard bulb for one CFL they would keep up to a billion (yes, a billion) bulbs out of the trash?
- if each household in California changed one standard bulb for one CFL they would keep 974 million pounds of carbon dioxide or 32.5 billion basketballs filled with CO2 out of the environment?
- a CFL generates 70 percent less heat than a regular bulb?
- that up to 25% of your electric bill goes to heating hot water if you have an electric water heater?
- typical household bathing accounts for 20% of annual water usage?
- if just 1 in 10 homes used ENERGY STAR qualified appliances, it would be like planting 1.7 million trees?
- plastic bottle recycling by consumers increased 187 million pounds in 2005?
- compared with programs that only accept bottles labeled as 1s and 2s, All Plastic Bottle programs often result in more bottles being collected for recycling?
- polypropylene (margarine tubs, microwaveable meal trays) recycling increased 4.1 million pounds to reach 10.1 million pounds recovered during 2005?
- it takes 20-40 percent less energy to manufacture plastic grocery bags than paper ones?
- recycled plastic bales maintained their value?
- it takes 1 million years or more for a styrofoam cup to completely degrade?
- that lifting the door on a chest freezer releases less of the freezer's cold air than an upright model?
- that photocopiers are by far the most energy intensive office machines?
- that if you regularly clean your electric coffee maker with boiling water and vinegar, you'll remove the mineral deposits inside and make it more energy efficient?
- that a standard incandescent bulb uses only five to eight percent of its energy to produce light, while the rest of the energy is dissipated as heat?
- that lap top computers use up to 90 percent less energy than a standard computer?
- recycling one aluminum beverage can saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours or a tv for 2 hours?
- the aluminum beverage can returns to the grocer's shelf as a new, filled can in as little as 90 days after collection, remelting, rolling, manufacturing and distribution?
- an average of 113,204 aluminum cans are recycled every minute of every day?
- recycling one ton of aluminum saves 37 barrels of oil?
- recycling 125 aluminum cans saves enough energy to power one home for 1 day?
- it takes 4 tons of ore to produce one ton of aluminum?
- in the U.S. today, 34% of all glass containers are recycled?
- most bottles and jars now contain at least 25% recycled glass?
- glass never wears out - it can be recycled forever?
- recycling glass saves 25-32% of the energy used to make glass?
- 9 gallons of fuel (oil) is saved for every ton of glass recycled?
- Americans use over 67,000,000 tons of paper each year, or 600 pounds per person?
- it takes more than 500,000 trees to produce the newspapers Americans read each Sunday, yet only 30% of all newspapers are recycled?
- recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 2 barrels of oil, 7,000 gallons of water and 4,100 kilowatt hours of electricity - enough energy to power the average American home for 5 months?
- producing recycled paper requires only about 60% of the energy used to make paper from virgin wood pulp?
- that every day Americans buy 62 million newspapers and throw out 44 million, the equivalent of dumping 500,000 trees into a landfill every week?
- that 74% less air pollution is generated in the manufacturing process of recycled paper?
- that 35% less water pollution is generated in the manufacturing process of recycled paper?
- that 58% less water is required in the manufacturing process of recycled paper?
- that 64% less energy is required in the manufacturing process of recycled paper?
- 1 ton of high-grade recyclable paper can substitute for approximately 3 tons of wood in making new paper products?
- every year more than 900 million trees are cut down to provide raw materials for American paper and pulp mills?
- plastics require 100 to 400 years to break down in a landfill?
- producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials?
- for every 7 trucks needed to deliver paper grocery bags to the store, only 1 is needed to carry the same number of plastic grocery bags?
- 56% of recycled PET finds a market in the manufacture of fiber (carpet & clothing)?
- 29% of HDPE recycled bottles go into making new bottles and 18% goes into the plastic pipe industry?
- recycling 1 ton of plastic can save 1-2 thousand gallons of gas?
- recycling tin and steel cans saves between 60-74% of the energy used to produce them from raw materials?
- 1 ton of recycled steel saves the energy equivalent of 3.6 barrels of oil, and 1.49 tons of iron ore over the production of new steel?
- the steel from the more than 39 million appliances recycled last year yielded enough steel to build about 160 stadiums the size of the new Pittsburgh Steelers stadium?
- in 2001 there were 26 cars recycled every minute across the U.S?
- each year steel recycling saves the energy equivalent to electrically power about 1/5th of the households in the U.S. (or about 18 million homes) for 1 year?
- every ton of steel recycled saves 2,500 lbs. of iron ore, 1,400 lbs. of coal and 120 lbs. of limestone?
- that annually enough energy is saved by recycling steel to supply Los Angeles with electricity for almost 10 years?
- you can make 20 cans out of recycled material with the same amount of energy it takes to make 1 new one?
- battery acid is recycled by converting it to sodium sulfate for laundry detergent, glass and textile manufacturing?
- the average person throws away 4 pounds of garbage PER DAY?
- paper is the most common item found in our trash?
- product packaging accounts for 1/3 of our trash?
- solid waste disposal is the third largest municipal government expense after police protection and education?
- the nation's annual generation of municipal solid waste rose steadily from 88 million tons in 1960 to 232 million tons in 2002?
- recycling all of your home's waste newsprint, cardboard, glass and metal can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 850 lbs. a year?
- people in the U.S. throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles an hour?
- studies suggest that between 7% and 8% of the world’s fossil fuels are used in producing new plastics?
- plastic bottles make up approximately 11% of the contents of landfills?
- recycled plastic is found in carpeting, the fuzz on tennis balls, scouring pads, paintbrushes, clothes, industrial strapping, shower stalls, drainpipes, flowerpots, and lumber?
- recycled plastic contains oils that could be recycled and reused as fossil fuels?
- that purchasing 100% post-consumer recycled paper lightens your carbon footprint by 5 lbs per ream?
- that globally we use as many as 1 million new plastic bags every MINUTE at a cost of 2.2 billion gallons of oil a year?
- phantom loads account for 8% of your annual electric bill, enough electricity to power your entire household for a month?
"Our elders instruct us to always walk upon Mother Earth with respect, gentleness, and with thankful hearts. We must never deviate from the fundamental precept of stewardship, or we will be capable of causing great harm."

TheLorax
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Nope, I certainly wasn't aware of those statistics. Really glad we recycle everything we can recycle here and really glad we try our best to cut down on junk mail. Really glad you posted those stats. Real eye opener.

I would really like to know how to properly dispose of these new compact fluorescent light bulbs.

TheLorax
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I had been asking about how to dispose of the fluorescent light bulbs properly. I'm obviously concerned about the mercury in them. Found this which is very interesting, it's a short video on You Tube-
https://youtube.com/watch?v=e-LOtKIIKcg

I had no idea disposal of these lightbulbs was such a problem. I think if this is the route we're going to go, maybe our cities should provide a way for us to get rid of these things safely. Some sort of a specialized collection where we put them out at the curb separate from our regular garbage and recyclables or some sort of a center where we can go to drop them off so that others can dispose of them properly?

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imagardener2
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Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2008 5:55 am
Location: Three Rivers, TX

You can now take your CFLs to any [url=https://www6.homedepot.com/ecooptions/]Home Depot[/url] for recycling.

Or if you bought them from [url=https://www.ikea.com/us/en/]Ikea[/url] you can return them there for recycling.
"Our elders instruct us to always walk upon Mother Earth with respect, gentleness, and with thankful hearts. We must never deviate from the fundamental precept of stewardship, or we will be capable of causing great harm."

TheLorax
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Oh, didn't know that. We've got a Home Depot that is close and we go that direction about once a month. Thanks for mentioning that. Good to know.

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JennyC
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Location: NW Georgia

I'm a bit late to the party, but let's see. A list of what I do to reduce carbon footprint.

1. I work primarily from home. This is probably my biggest single helpful thing, and the environmental impact was part of what we considered in making the change.

2. When not working from home, I teach "hybrid" classes at the local technical college. These are part online, part face-to-face and I think they go a long way toward helping the less technologically-inclined students become comfortable with the technology. Many use a hybrid class as a learning stage and then transition to full online for the rest of their coursework. This helps get not just me, but many people off the road. This quarter, I will make a total of five trips to campus (well, six, since admin insists we turn in final grades in hard copy -- working on that!)

3. Normally, I drive a 1989 Honda Civic in which I get 41 miles to the gallon. ATM the Honda is in need of a head gasket, so I'm driving (gasp) the SUV. But this SUV is a 1986 Isuzu Trooper diesel, and it gets 28 mpg. It's not biodiesel yet, but my husband is designing his chemistry curriculum around biodiesel technology next year, so it will likely be the test vehicle. If it works, his "brute force truck" will be next, as it's also diesel, and perhaps the tractor as well (perhaps converted, it's definitely diesel).

4. We air condition only one room, with a high-efficiency window unit, and only when things get really unbearable (which tends to be about 84-85 degrees in the house). We keep it from getting that hot most days with the following strategies: We open up at night and close again when it starts warming up in the daytime, and we use box fans to circulate air as needed. The house is brick, high ceilings, ceiling fans, laid out so very little sun hits the windows of the living/dining where we cool. I kept up the insulated curtains I made this winter and pull those when the sun starts hitting windows throughout the house. The house is also heavily shaded by trees all around. I avoid cooking during daylight hours if I can help it. I have a countertop convection oven on the carport and use that rather than the oven to keep the heat down. I run the dishwasher at night.

5. I combine errands. I limit myself to two trips to town per week and do everything then. I made myself a spreadsheet and calculated the cost per trip, which really helped me make that happen. Lately, it hasn't taken two trips.

6. I reuse everything I can. I think about packaging when I buy. I don't print documents unless there's no other choice (really annoyed that I'll be printing multiple copies of a four-page syllabus tommorrow). I do bring groceries home in plastic bags, usually, but I use those (repeatedly) and recycle extras.

7. I recycle steel cans, #1 and #2 plastic, paper, and cardboard by taking recyclables to the transfer station here (except steel, which doesn't recycle locally, but which one of the custodians at my husband's school takes to a neighboring town to sell as scrap). Would recycle aluminum, but we don't use it -- it's cheaper and uses less packaging to buy 2-liter drinks, though we also drink a lot of water, Kool-aid, and sorrel tea. I compost organics. This means we produce a bag of trash every couple of weeks.

8. We produce as much of our own food as possible, bringing in as little outside material as we can to do so. We fertilize with manure from the barn here, and will with compost when we have it. We gather and preserve what grows wild around here (and that's quite a bit). I buy mostly flour, sugar, dog and cat food, condiments, and dairy products, and I'm working on the flour -- trying to develop local sources, though I need a grain mill. We're eating a lot less meat, mostly by accident, but it does mean that fewer resources have gone into the production of our food. We intend to raise goats for the dairy food next year. We wanted guineas this year (eggs, meat, flea and tick control), but the farm supply got them in and sold them all between my trips to town, so I'm looking again for a local source.

9. We have all compact flourescent bulbs, which is likely going to mean a major trip to dispose of them properly one of these days, but we will be disposing properly. We may well store old ones until we have several to take or until we're going near a Home Depot for some other reason (have to drive to the city for that!)

10. We don't have television. Reduces both power use and temptation. One of the things I miss the least.

11. We made sure to tell the power company we did not want the "booger light" on the property here turned on -- those things are on all the time. Instead, we can see the stars (we can see the outline of the Milky Way), and the plants grow properly because they know when it's night and when it's day. We aren't adding to light pollution and we're using less power.

Doing something good where it's really needed, using less and living lightly on the Earth -- all these things were tied together for my husband and I in our decision to move here a year ago. We're not completely off grid, and that's not likely to happen soon, but we'd like to get there someday. Meanwhile, we've completely changed our lifestyle (and each change makes the next that much easier) and we've never been healthier or happier.
Jenny C

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