Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Listen

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:


Last week we began a conversation about population growth and its environmental consequences. Many people tend to think of the problem in terms of birth. While that is certainly a factor, it's only one part of a very complex situation. In fact, fertility rates in the world have actually gone down ... and yet, predicted population numbers are beyond our wildest imagination. Longevity, medical intervention, poverty, education, etc. all play important roles in this story. Our goal, last week, was simply to begin talking about the problem.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

Dani joined us and left this comment which gives us a lot to think about: "A population of 9.7 billion would certainly be hard to feed. Or would it? If pandering to the wealthy with their year round exotic food requirements was severely restricted, and restaurants were penalized for throwing away perfectly good food because their portion sizes are too large / not palatable, there would certainly be more food for the masses and less food thrown into skips. Then we have the whole issue of using land for growing crops for fuel instead of food... Seems to me mankind is wandering down the wrong path and catering for inappropriate requirements. Providing for, and enforcing, communal transport would certainly reduce the provision of land for the production of fuel an free it up again for food. And, in addition, there are those greedy individuals who are renting vast area's of cheap land in Africa, paying a pittance for the labour, in order to grow crops to export - thereby reducing the land available for the locals to plant and grow for their specific requirements. All in all, I reckon that individual / corporate greed and the "I'm entitled" attitude is the root of all the feeding problems we are currently experiencing and will experience in the future."

Argentum Vulgaris maintains that births are not the problem. What is? Find out in Change the World Wednesday – 13th Aug. Argentum also offers readers some interesting thoughts on water. He recently began buying drinking water because his tap water became contaminated.

CelloMom wrote a very interesting post entitled Enough People. In it, she offers some facts about population growth. For example, economic prosperity does not, necessarily, affect fertility rates. She also suggests what might be the best solution to the problem. Can you guess what it is? CelloMom also shared a very interesting map which shows crops grown for human food versus animal feed and fuel: How much of the world's cropland is actually used to grow food?. The map and the corresponding article are sobering.

The Hottest Writers on the Web gave CTWW a nice mention. If you love to read, you'll love this paper ... books, authors, new releases, etc. are discussed.

Lois talked about family size and considered her own family tree to gain perspective. Change the World Wednesday, Population speaks to shelter, food, and the environmental impact of having children. She also asks an important question regarding regulation: "do any of us have the right to make that decision for another?"

EcoGrrl offered us a suggestion: "If you haven't, read the 1960's classic "The Population Bomb"."

It was so nice to see Michael Draper who dropped in and shared this: "Enjoyed reading your blog today. You always seem to have subjects that are important. thank you" Thank you, Mike!

Our Twitter friend, @AndreaPtak, joined the conversation and shared the following:

- #Population http://t.co/ZWbnV2pFrv works to achieve a sustainable balance between people and the #environment http://t.co/9mAUzazt2G
- Family Planning and empowering #women help save the #environment #resources #earth http://t.co/CWqBcw36YU...

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@2kidsandacoupon @a_kiasi @allcollegeplan
@allnaturalkatie @andreaptak @anitaadamsnc
@artbysandra @catertomyman @cellomomoncars
@clothaddicts @collegegogreen @cryptonfabrics
@ecofiber @ecofriendlyfurn @fairytraps
@foggybottomgal @freshcleanersaz @garry_rogers
@ginavalley @givetreegifts @green_vibes
@greenglobaltrvl @greenqueenofmod @groovygreenlivi
@herbgir1972 @kaitlingarder @kayelleallen
@laalicia @ladyjcmuses @lflexkitchen
@mamapoolecooks @marjoriemcatee @momfindsout
@momsmadhousex6 @nolafusion @organicrugs
@plasticfreetues @rckweddings @realityarts
@romerojewelers @sdcdm320 @sfcouncil
@spafloating @terenceflyntz @theworld4realz
@treadmyownpath @treesgroup @turningclockbac
@wencdj @whopaysthepiper

My Final Thoughts:

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away. Our numbers continue to grow. At some point, the earth will not be able to sustain us all. When that happens, we'll see wide-spread starvation, illness, homelessness, poverty, and death. We're already seeing areas where the supply of natural resources is insufficient to accommodate the populace. There are no clear answers to the situation. But it needs to be discussed if we're ever to find a solution. When the earth can no longer support us, we will suffer ... that much is true! Let's keep the conversation going in the hope that we'll find a solution which is good for us and the planet!

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Listen
The United States has only
12 truly quiet places*
Did you know that noise pollution reduces biodiversity by increasing the population of urban-adapted birds and driving out more noise-shy species? Further, it has been suggested that noise interferes with our natural connection to the earth.

There are very few quiet areas left in the world. A quiet area is defined as somewhere you can go for at least 15 minutes without hearing artificial sound at dawn, the hour when sound travels farthest.

Change begins with awareness. So, let's raise ours!

Here's your challenge ...

This week, spend 15 minutes listening to the sounds in your area. You may wish to sit quietly in your home or out in nature. Perhaps you want to find out what noises you hear in a shopping mall or on a busy street. As you listen, try to hear the sounds of nature. Can you hear them or are they drowned out by man-made noise? The idea, this week, is to simply listen and identify sounds.

Ready to exercise your listening skills? I know that you are!

Until next time ...

WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!







Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Population

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:


How are the trees in your area? Last week we headed out to give them a check-up. I'm happy to say that our trees are healthy and thriving. The challenge educated me on what to look for and gave me tips for ensuring their health for years to come.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

Argentum Vulgaris doesn't have a problem with the ALB beetle but he did find a little critter on his tomato bush. Read Change the World Wednesday – 13th Aug and see if you can identify the bug.

Mary joined us and said, "Great post! I like how this one gets us outside to check on our trees! It's very simple but is important. Thanks for sharing!"

Alica checked her tress and reported back with this: "It seems our trees look okay which is great news! Haven't really thought about checking the trees on our land but this challenge was good to make us more aware!"

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @GiveTreeGifts
- "How can I tell if my backyard tree is diseased or dead?" http://t.co/anLgQ501ip
- Pruning at the wrong time can attract invasive bugs that can kill some species of trees. ie Dutch Elm Disease: ow.ly/AieO5
- Detecting Emerald Ash Borer Damage ow.ly/Aif2b
- Know how to spot the signs of a weak, sick or diseased tree to prevent costly emergency services. ow.ly/AifeW

From @laalicia
- RT @ShareAwakening: In the power to change yourself is the power to change the world around you. ~ Anwar Sadat

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@89linz @allcollegeplan @allnaturalkatie
@artandgifts @artbysandra @bstoneblog
@chrisluce87 @collegegogreen @crazykids6
@fairytraps @foggybottomgal @freshcleanersaz
@givetreegifts @greenglobaltrvl @greenqueenofmod
@groovygreenlivi @herbgir1972 @javamazon
@kaitlingarder @kayelleallen @laalicia
@ladyjcmuses @mamasmoney @marbaird
@marjoriemcatee @moha_doha @momgamerwriter
@plasticfreetues @realityarts @romerojewelers
@sampahrumah @shannongrissom @spafloating
@stilettofiles @theworld4realz @treadmyownpath
@treesgroup @wencdj @whywelovegreen
@writerunlive

My Final Thoughts:

Most children learn about basic photosynthesis in school. They are taught that, with the help of the sun, plant life absorbs carbon dioxide and gives off oxygen. Trees are especially proficient in this regard. An average sized tree can create enough oxygen in a year to supply a family of four. In fact, they can significantly reduce global warming. That, in itself, makes them extremely valuable and worthy of our care. But there's more. Trees help eliminate pollution from the soil, waterways, and the air. They provide a home for a variety of species, including some which are endangered (often because of loss of habitat). Simply put, trees are vital!

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Population
There are 7.2 Billion people in the world
By the year 2050, it is estimated that the world population will be 9.7 Billion. In 2012, people were responsible for 9.7 Billion Tons of carbon emissions (up from 6.1 Billion Tons in 1990). The problems associated with overpopulation (that point where the population exceeds the available natural resources required for sustainability) include access to food and clean water, substandard housing and homelessness, and waste control.

We haven't discussed this issue on Reduce Footprints. It's a sensitive subject. But, as it concerns the environment, it's worth talking about ... with respect and consideration, of course!

Here's your challenge ...

This week, let's open up the discussion on population as it affects the environment. Please leave a comment and/or write a post about your feelings on the topic. You might discuss if, in your opinion, our growing population is a concern. Perhaps talk about such things as the earth's ability to support growing numbers of people, or if the number of children we have should be regulated (and if so, by whom). While religious considerations are often a factor in a person's decision to have children, let's keep this discussion environmental in nature. Let's take an honest look at the environmental affects of population growth.

Are you ready to share your thoughts on this subject? I know that you are!

Until next time ...

WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Six Reasons why cooking at home is Eco-friendly

Earlier this month, we asked how many days of the week you cook at home.

Results


Cooking at home is Eco-friendly.

Cooking at home is Eco-friendly.

Comments:
  • I eat out MAYBE once a month. And it's an organic restaurant!
  • we eat out about once a fortnight
  • Eating out is for special occasions, with the once in a while take-out when too busy to cook. Seattle has a fabulous vegan restaurant Cafe Flora!

Discussion


Everyone who answered the survey cooked at home for the majority of the week (at least 4 days out of 7).

Most people ate at home every day of the week.

Since most participants are "greenies", I wasn't really surprised by the results. After all, cooking at home is very Eco-friendly. Why? Here are some reasons:
  1. Six Reasons why cooking at home is Eco-friendly
    We typically drive to and from a restaurant. Meals at home require a quick few steps to the table.
  2. When we cook, we can control the method of cooking and choose energy-efficient ways to prepare a meal. These would include things like counter-top appliances and using the residual heat of an oven instead of cooking for the full, recommended time.
  3. Most of us use "real" plates and utensils at our table. Restaurants, especially fast food establishments, often serve in single-use, plastic containers. Even up-scale restaurants use plastic or Styrofoam containers to send food home.
  4. Six Reasons why cooking at home is Eco-friendly
    Have you noticed the huge portions served at restaurants?

    Even if we take the leftovers, there's a good chance that the food will be wasted.



  5. Some establishments are serving fresh, local products ... they are the exception. When we choose ingredients, we can be sure that we are buying local, sustainable foods.
  6. Did you know that, to meet FDA sanitation guidelines, restaurants use either bleach or ammonia (quaternary sanitizers) in their washing procedures? Both products are hard on the environment. At home, Eco-friendly detergent works just fine!

Bonus Reason:

  • Have you ever noticed how you feel after eating in a restaurant? Eating establishments are in the business of making our food taste good. They are not, necessarily, trying to provide healthy food. Generous amounts of fat, sodium, dairy, etc. are included to give us that "over the top" experience. So, while this is not an environmental reason to cook at home, it is a health reason ... foods cooked at home are better for us!

Conclusion


Eating out, once in awhile, is a treat. We can make the experience more Eco-friendly by walking to the restaurant, choosing establishments which cook local foods in appropriate amounts, etc.

In the end, even the most Eco-conscious establishment is no match for a meal made in a "green" kitchen at home.