Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Last week's challenge was an easy one ... we reduced our margins when printing. It reminds us that green living isn't always about huge, life-altering changes ... it's often about the small, simple steps we take which, when added up, have a huge, positive impact on the earth. Thanks to everyone who participated.
First up, a shout out to our Twitter Honorees. These are twitter members who talked about our challenge using the hashtag #CTWW. And by the way ... they are great folks to follow:
Next up, the Honor Society:
EcoGrrl not only narrowed her margins ... she totally got rid of her printer. Actually, she decided that she really didn't need it and, rather than print things out, she stores "keepers" on her computer. She also reminds us to use every bit of paper ... the backs of envelopes, etc. for writing notes, leaving messages, etc. Thanks, EcoGrrl!
Busy Working Mama stopped in. She elaborated, a bit, about her composting efforts at work ... she saves things in a pretty vase and then brings it home to compost. She plans to set up a bin in the office for coffee grounds. Yay!
Giveaways for Mom stopped in. She found us from the Green Blog Hop (which you'll find in my side bar). Thanks for stopping in GFM!
Our friend Argentum Vulgaris wrote an article about our challenge. He linked to several other posts which he has shared about saving paper so ... grab a cup of coffee, settle in and read what he has to say HERE. Thanks, AV!
The Accessory Lady joined in the fun. She said that it's an easy challenge but something she's never thought of before. I hadn't either, AL! By the way, if you've never checked out AL's blog ... you're missing out! Visually beautiful with a lot to say!
Our friend, Ann, came by. She purchased flax place mats, rather than the traditional mats made from wood products. She also uses sponges rather than paper towels for picking up spills. Be sure to swing by and read her post for the week ... she's talking about Green Walls. As always, thanks Ann for including a link to our weekly challenges.
Ramona stopped in. She decided to print out only essential items ... and found out that very little is essential. WhooHoo, Ramona!!
Fresh Green Kim says that she uses cloth napkins which she finds at thrift stores. She even puts them in her kids' lunches. Brilliant! Thanks, Kim!
It's so nice to see Brian Mongold back here. As always he offers a supportive voice and ... he tweets and posts on Facebook. Brian's site, formally Eazy Cheezy, is now called Five Free Apps and is filled with great information. So swing by and say "hello"!
Miriam found us through the Green Friday Follow Blog Hop (it'll be up in our side bar on Friday). Miriam writes a great blog called Meatless Meals for Meat Eaters which is filled with wonderful, satisfying recipes. One warning, though ... visiting her site will make you seriously hungry. Thanks for stopping by, Miriam!
Noteasytobegreen came by. Her biggest tip for saving paper is to get books from the library or second hand store rather than buying new. This is a huge paper savings as many books are sent to landfills each year. Thanks, NETBG!
Terry is a new friend to Reduce Footprints. She has a blog called My Journey With Candida ... I learned a lot from her site. Thanks for joining us, Terry!
In this POST, Mrs. Green offers us 5 wonderful tips for saving paper. Want a hint? Okay, #3 on the list has us asking ourselves one simple question ... but you'll have to visit Mrs. Green to find out what it is (no spoiler here).
Kris wrote a great article (which you can read HERE) on her paper saving efforts. She enjoys scrap booking and has come up with a great way to very easily sort out the recyclable scraps from the non-recyclable pieces. It's another simple idea with a huge impact. Thanks, Kris!
Our friend Rewinn joined the fun. In a post entitled Back of the Envelope Planner, he shares one of his paper saving efforts ... a hip-pocket planner. It's not only Eco-friendly, it's budget friendly. Thanks, Rewinn!!
Great job, everyone! I learned a lot by visiting your sites. Your articles have been stumbled and tweeted. I'm also on Facebook now so, as soon as I figure it out, I'll be posting your articles there, as well.
Okay ... let's jump into a new challenge! Last week I asked for ideas and you came through for me. This week's challenge comes to us from Rachelle, an email subscriber. I had a lot of fun chatting with Rachelle last week. Here's her idea:
This week, find someone that doesn't recycle and help them get started. Perhaps a friend or neighbor doesn't know how ... so teach them. Maybe a family member doesn't know where to start ... so show them how easy is it to set something up. Look outside of your home and help someone else begin a recycling program.
Thanks, Rachelle, for this challenge. It really kicks our efforts up a notch. I'm looking forward to hearing about how everyone accomplishes this task!
That's it for this week!
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!
Monday, October 25, 2010
In other words ... it's almost Halloween and time for our annual "Spooky" post!
Answer: Pumpkin Pi
It's almost Halloween ... that creepy night of ghosts and ghouls. Little goblins everywhere are getting ready. Can Moms and Dads make it green? Well sure!! Here are some tricks and treats ... I mean tips:
-Are you going to carve a pumpkin ... or decorate one?
- If you haven't grown your own, buy one from a local farm or farmer's market.
- Use every part of the pumpkin. The seeds can be toasted and eaten as snacks ... they are healthy and taste great. One can toast them in the oven or in a dry frying pan on the stove. When they are brown, carefully remove them (they are very hot at this stage) and immediately sprinkle your favorite seasoning on them (mine is creole seasoning but kids might prefer something less spicy ... like a little salt). Not in the mood for toasting seeds? Try tossing them, either wet or dry, into the yard for birds ... they love them.
- Use the flesh of the pumpkin to make a pie, soup, cookies or flan ... it might require a bit more sugar than the smaller, pie pumpkins.
- After Halloween ... compost the shell instead of sending it to the landfill.
Answer: With a pumpkin patch
-Are you planning a party for your little ones?
- Send email invitations rather than the "snail mail" variety. There are a lot of seriously spooky e-cards on the Internet.
- Use re-usable plates, cups, utensils, napkins and tablecloths. Paper party goods can be expensive and just add more clutter to our nation's landfills.
- Serve some healthy, fun treats that aren't individually wrapped ... popcorn, apples, fruit leather (in the shape of worms and snakes) and ghostly cookie skeletons.
- Make costumes from old clothes (downsize adult suits, dresses, etc.)
- Check your closets for "retro" clothing (got any old "hippie" duds? Cool, dude!).
- Pull out costume jewelry ... little princesses, gypsies and pirates love "bling".
- Hats of any kind can "top off" an outfit.
- Shop at Goodwill ... they have not only organized merchandise into a special Halloween section but also offer some creative costumes ideas made from second-hand garb.
OK ... I'm done!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
EcoGrrl gave us this beautiful post. It made me think about what we stand to lose if we don't make some changes.
Kat Magendie didn't post specifically about water but did give our challenge a lovely "shout out" HERE.
Argentum Vulgaris wrote a very thought-provoking post ... read it HERE. He brings up some excellent points about how we are robbing Mother Nature. He also offers some water-saving ideas. Here's a hint ... think about your freezer. Thanks, AV!
Renee, who found us through the Green Blog Hop, dropped in. Thanks, Renee! By the way, check out the Blog Hop in the left side bar and get introduced to a whole bunch of eco-friendly blogs.
In a post called "Water is a Gift", Priti.Lisa shares some wonderful water-saving ideas. Want a hint? Think pasta! Thanks, Lisa!
Busy Working Mama stopped in. She left a comment about composting at work ... at her desk. I'm fascinated by that idea and hope she'll share more about those efforts.
Kris wrote a wonderful post HERE. In it she shares a link to "Five Facts About Water You Might Not Know". Number 2 in the list stopped me in my tracks. Thanks, Kris!
Art gave us Wishful Thinking, his own special spin on Water. I love the title ... and thought that his post conveyed so much. What's your interpretation of title and picture?
Ramona, The Paper Princess, stopped in. Nice to see you, Ramona!
Ann has written several posts on the death of a river. In THIS POST, she passionately writes about conditions in her childhood home. It is a very sad reminder of what happens when commercial interests interfere with nature. Thanks, Ann!
Be sure to stop by and read Mrs. Green's post HERE. It is so brilliant, and simple, it'll make you slap your head and wonder why you didn't think of it. Mrs. Green also shared a post she did on toothbrushes (read it HERE). Wow ... who knew so many earth-friendly options were available ... including a wooden toothbrush. Thanks, Mrs. Green!
Rewinn wrote a wonderful post entitled "Water Should Be No Headache". You might be surprised with this post ... it's an angle I hadn't thought of. Great job, Rewinn!
Cheryl, aka Healing Woman, found us through the Change The World Wednesday post of one of our honorees, Priti.Lisa. WhooHoo - the green word is spreading. Thanks for coming by, Cheryl, and for your warm, supportive comments.
Sarah found us through the Friday Green Blog Hop. Thanks for coming by Sarah ... hope to see you again.
Some wonderful Twitter friends tweeted about our challenge using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're on twitter, be sure to visit these folks and follow them:
Thanks to everyone who took part! I've Stumbled and Tweeted your posts.
Before we get started with this week's challenge, I have a favor to ask ... coming up with new and unusual green challenges is getting tough. So, I need your help! If you can think of a new activity for us, please let me know. Or, if you have a particular area that you are struggling with, pass that along and we'll try to turn it into a challenge ... and maybe we'll all learn something.
Okay ... ready for something new? This week we're going to save some paper. Ready? Here you go:
This week, narrow the margins on any printing you do. This simple act will save paper ... save trees ... and help reduce CO2 levels. Imagine ... this simple act could help reverse global warming. Wow!
If you've already taken this action or don't typically print things out, please write a post on all the ways in which you save paper.
Are you up for this challenge? I know that you are!!
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!
Monday, October 18, 2010
I have an adorable cat! She's also, like many pets, finicky ... she likes one kind of canned food and one kind of dry food. When I shop for her, I find myself thinking that I should buy her other things ... give her a variety of tastes (purely a "human" thing to do). And she always turns her nose up at the new offerings. But just look at those shelves filled with every kind of flavor and texture ... cans of organic food, natural food, vitamin-enriched food ... food recommended by veterinarians, food your pet will thank you for and food rated #1 by cats everywhere (hm ... my cat was never asked to vote).
As I looked around the pet store, I realized that purchasing pet products is an emotional experience ... and big business knows that. It also tends to be an area of our lives where we don't think much about the environment or green living. We see pet toys and think how Fido will love them rather than about what they are made of. We buy flea collars, sprays and drops to protect our animals without reading and understanding the ingredient list. There are cute little outfits to keep our critters warm in the winter, comfy looking beds and collars of every color and style ... and in truth, how many of us consider the "greeness" of these products?
Living with pets can be done in an Eco-friendly way. Here are some tips:
- When buying pet food, consider packaging. Look for recyclable containers and forgo single-serving packages for bulk or large bags/cans.
- Consider buying organic pet food and treats.
- Choose Eco-friendly bowls and dishes for your pet's food ... glass, ceramic, stainless steel, etc.
- To control fleas, opt for Eco-friendly methods rather than buying pet store remedies. Most pet store remedies contain a whole list of toxins which are not only bad for the environment but bad for your pet as well. Click HERE for a good article on natural, earth-friendly flea control methods.
- Most pets enjoy toys. Choose items which are made from recycled products or ones made out of natural, sustainable materials like hemp. And don't forget that many of the items you have around the house can work as toys ... our cat's favorite toy is a shoe lace swinging from a hook under the counter.
- Clean up after your pet. Pet waste contains parasites which can spread to other animals and humans. It also contains bacteria and nitrogen. When it rains, these components are washed into storm drains and can find their way to streams, rivers, etc. Safely dispose of pet waste by either flushing it down the toilet (sewage treatment plants effectively remove all harmful components) or bagging it (use biodegradable bags).
- If you have a cat, choose plant-based litter. Clay litter is strip-mined ... a process which is bad for the planet. And as tempting as those self-cleaning litter boxes seem, consider the amount of energy used to run them and opt, instead, for doing it yourself ... a little more effort but much better for the earth.
- Does your pet travel? Choose parks, vets, etc. which are close to home to minimize driving distance. Or, better yet, walk (good for you and good for your pet).
- Choose a recycled pet ... adopt from a shelter.
- Have your pet spayed/neutered. How is this "green"? Consider what happens if a single cat has multiple liters of kittens. Typically they become too difficult for the owner to deal with ... and often unwanted animals are released and left to fend for themselves. Populations continue to grow creating problems. For example, bird populations decrease in areas with large feral cat populations. For animals not abandoned, there are shelters ... but with growing numbers of unwanted pets, animals are being destroyed.
As always, I would love to hear from you!
Friday, October 15, 2010
Today is Blog Action Day. From the Blog Action site: "Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action."
In supportive of this movement, I've updated a post I originally published over two years ago. I think it's still applicable.
A Brilliant Smile
Every morning when I stumble into the bathroom and brush my teeth, my only concern is waking up (oh to be able to run back to a warm, comfortable bed). I don't think about the fact that my toothbrush is made of plastic or that in a lifetime, most people will go through over 1000 toothbrushes. Nor do I think about the fact that 50 million pounds of toothbrushes end up in US landfills each year.
Plastic toothbrushes in landfills are, all by themselves, a concern. Plastic anything in a landfill is a real problem. But there's more. Did you know that every year approximately 14 billion pounds of trash are dumped into the ocean ... a large percentage of which is plastic? In an article entitled "Trashed", Captain Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation states, "... I now believe plastic debris to be the most common surface feature of the world's oceans. Because 40 percent of the oceans are classified as subtropical gyres, a fourth of the planet's surface area has become an accumulator of floating plastic debris."
Walk any beach and you're sure to see some plastic. Go out on a boat and you'll probably see some floating plastic. But, besides being an unsightly mess, what are the consequences of plastic in our oceans? Plastic is not biodegradable. It does, however, break down physically ... to very small particles. We're talking the size of a fish egg ... and even particles as small as the diameter of a human hair. These tiny particles of plastic persist in our environment for years ... maybe forever.
Perhaps at this point you're saying ... well ... so what ... it's now the size of sand. But guess what ... fish are consuming it ... and it's lethal. And ... there is now a real concern that it's getting into our food chain. Remember the warning awhile back about putting plastic water bottles in the freezer and how toxins leach out of the plastic into the water causing all kinds of health problems? Well ... those toxins are now leaching out into the ocean waters ... and into marine animals ... and plants ... and into our diets. Definitely not good!
So how does all this relate to my toothbrush? Well, plastic ends up in the oceans in many different ways. Recreational boaters, merchant ships, the military, garbage barges and our sewer systems all contribute. Some of the biggest culprits are plastic manufacturers. They use small plastic pellets in their manufacturing process and a lot of these pellets have been found in ocean waters.
So here's how it all relates to my toothbrush. If I don't buy plastic toothbrushes (demand), the manufacturers won't make as many of them (supply) which means they'll require less plastic pellets which means that there will be less opportunity for those pellets to find their way to the ocean. Whew ... we got there!
All of this is to say ... there is a better way. Instead of buying the standard plastic toothbrush, buy an Eco-friendly version from a health store. One can also buy them online through a company called Preserve. Another idea ... buy a toothbrush with a replaceable head ... yes, it's made of plastic but the body is reusable ... for a long time ... and much less plastic will get tossed out every 3 months (the recommended amount of time after which one should replace their toothbrush).
Who knew that being mindful with a toothbrush could help the world's oceans? Now that's cause for a brilliant smile!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Let's jump right into this week's challenge:
For this week's challenge, please participate in Blog Action Day and post something about water, on your blog, on Friday, October 15th. For more information and to register your blog, please visit the Blog Action Day site HERE.
Or ... If you prefer not to formally join Blog Action Day, please write a post about water ... water pollution, reducing water usage, why it's an important subject, etc.
Or ... If you'd rather not write a post, please comment here with your water saving ideas.
So what do you think ... doable?
Okay ... last week we tackled plastic bags. When my family shops, we rarely remember to bring our reusable bags into the store with us. So, we simply ask the cashier not to bag anything ... just to put everything back into the cart. Then, we wheel everything out to the car where we load up our reusable bags. In the beginning, cashiers and bag people looked at us funny. But now we usually get a "thank you" from them because it's less work on their part. It's another Eco-friendly win-win situation. I should say that on occasion we are stopped at the door and asked to show our receipt, which we always keep handy. It's never much of a bother and the extra minute is a small price to pay for not adding plastic to the environment.
Our twitter honor society tweeted about our challenge using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're on twitter, these are wonderful folks to follow:
Now let's see how our other honorees did:
EcoGrrl joined us and offered some additional ideas for avoiding plastic. I especially liked her suggestion to bring a reusable bag to the mall. It's a place which we often don't think about when thinking about reusable bags. Great suggestion EcoGrrl!
Shauna came by. I was browsing her most recent giveaways and she has several "green" contests going on. Thanks, Shauna!
Hanna stopped in. She found us through the Wednesday Green Blog Hop (which is listed in our side bar and which, if you have a "green" blog, you can join ... right here on Reduce Footprints). Hanna has a great blog! Browsing around I found recipes and giveaways and cute pictures of her little one! Thanks for swinging by, Hanna!
Argentum Vulgaris wrote a wonderful post for our challenge. You can read it HERE. AV makes an excellent point ... the cost of "free" plastic bags is too high! Thanks, AV!
Last week Kris found us through the Blog Hop, joined our challenge and wrote a wonderful post (read it HERE). Yay, Kris! Her post combined a reusable bag review and her personal experiences. I won't be a "spoiler" but just let me say that Kris had a total "success" and set a great example. Thanks, Kris!
My Baby's Green (another new follower who found us through the blog hop) says that she uses reusable bags all the time. Yay! She even sells them at her store. From her blog one can enter "green" giveaways, access her store and get a lot of information.
Shannon dropped in. She also found us through the blog hop (hm ... I'm seeing a trend here). In the opening lines on Shannon's blog she says "My new blog about trying to live a more Eco-friendly life whilst trying NOT to lose my mind ...". And that sets the tone! :) Check it out!
I'd like to welcome Jen who ... yep ... found us through the blog hop. Jen wrote some articles about composting Sun Chip bags ... they were really interesting. Hop over and check it out! And while you're there, check out her post about "drawing the line" when choosing an employer. It's a thought-provoking post!
My friend, Priti.Lisa, is a brilliant artist. But what I didn't know is that she is also living a "green" life. Yay, Lisa!! She likes using reusable bags because no one can see what you've purchased. By the way, if you love beautiful, unique art, you'll love Lisa's place ... it is candy for the eye and fuel for the soul. Go ... go now! :)
Another new friend from the blog hop is Kathy. Kathy has a blog called Living Out Loud where she hosts giveaways, writes reviews and shares coupons. She does something else ... she donates all the proceeds of her blog to ending hunger. So ... swing by and follow her blog so that sponsors will search her out ... it's for a good cause! Thanks, Kathy!
Sprout5 ... yep a new friend through the Wednesday Blog Hop ... dropped in. I enjoyed visiting Sprout's Green Family blog ... she shares great information including, if you live in New York, fabulous activities for fall.
Jacqie stopped in. She wrote a wonderful post entitled "What's In That Reusable Bag?". Here's a hint ... no plastic pumpkin for this Eco-friendly mom. Thanks, Jacqie!
Our friend, Ann, came by. In this POST she shares one of our Change The World Badges and talks about saving women. It's an important post!
Sara dropped in and says that when it comes to plastic bags, she could do better. And this week, she promises to do so. Thanks, Sara!
Our friend, Kelli, came by. And oh my goodness ... Kelli posted a great video on her blog about ... our challenge. She offers a lot of information so ... click HERE and check it out! Thanks so much, Kelli ... it was great to see your face ... and Connie is a doll! :)
My brilliant author friend, Kat Magendie, came by and joined the fun. Even though she forgot her reusable bag on a recent shopping trip, she vows to remember it next time! By the way, Kat is a published author and has books on the market. I've read them and I can tell you that they are truly great "reads". Check out her blog and then ... buy her books!! Thanks, Kat!
Our friend, Ange, made a brief stop-over, here, on her way to begin an ethical art project in India. Wow! You can read all about it HERE. Best wishes, Ange ... we can't wait to hear all about your experiences!
REWinn, another long-time change the world Wednesday participant, joined us. In an article entitled Bag It, Bread It and Blog It, he talks about his reusable bags and their stories. You'll read about "Old Blue" and his current bag which came from Dave's Killer Bread. Be sure to watch the video about Dave ... it's an amazing, inspirational story! Thanks, REWinn!
Mrs. Green stopped by. She's also a long-time change the world Wednesday friend. In this POST she talks about plastic bags finding their way to our oceans. It is a sobering reminder that plastic bags are lethal to many ocean species. Thanks, Mrs. Green!
Wow ... what a fabulous list of environmentally-conscious people. Thanks to all of you for everything that you do!
Just a reminder ... if you wrote a post in support of our challenge, it has been Stumbled and Tweeted.
Okay ... that's it for this week. Ready for our mantra? All together now ...
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!
Monday, October 11, 2010
An interesting "by the way" happened in the lettuce bin ... other plants were growing. Were they weeds? Nope ... they were tomato and squash plants ... volunteer plants. Evidently, some of the seeds which lay dormant in the compost bin, were now ready to grow. And grow they did! They grew and produced ... sweet tomatoes and delicious squash. They were healthy and hardy ... and better than anything we've ever eaten.
The next year, the same thing happened. Volunteer plants grew and provided us with the best produce in our garden.
So I began to think about collecting seeds. It turns out that collecting seeds is easy. When we sliced an heirloom tomato, cut into a squash or trimmed the green beans, we took some of the seeds and placed them on a paper napkin (I know ... better not to use paper napkins but read on and you'll see that even they are used). Once the seeds completely dried, they were put in envelopes (a great use for those return envelopes that come in the mail with advertisements). The seeds were then stored in a dry place for the next year.
When it was time to plant, we cut small sections of the paper napkins, with the seeds stuck to them, and planted ... seeds and paper together. The paper decomposed (wonderful recycling) and the seeds grew. And then they produced ... strong, healthy vegetables.
Collecting seeds is economical (just check the price of a small packet of seeds). It's earth-friendly because those seeds, which typically get tossed out and sent to a landfill where there isn't enough oxygen to grow, will be used. There's also something fascinating about collecting seeds ... the idea that the lineage of a plant goes on and the vegetables which we eat have a history. It's like touching the best part of the past.
So ... today's tip is easy ... save some seeds for next year's garden.
As always, I would love to hear from you!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
So ... how did you do with last week's challenge? For me it was an exercise in awareness ... I made an effort to really pay attention to how much toothpaste I was using. And, I tried to reduce it to the bare minimum. My teeth got clean and my tube of toothpaste should last a lot longer. Thanks, again, to our friend Argentum Vulgaris for giving us the inspiration for that challenge. Let's see how our Honor Society did:
The following twitter friends talked about our challenge using the hashtag #ctww (these are definitely great folks to follow if you're a twitter member):
Our friend Ann dropped in. She has been a long time supporter of CTWW and includes our banner each week in a post. Last week she was talking about Vegetable Crisp Bags ... a small thing that has the power to change the world. You can read her post HERE. Thanks, Ann!
Another long-time supporter of our challenges is EcoGrrl. EcoGrrl took the challenge and suggests that we look for all natural toothpastes. She shared a great thought: "One thing my dental hygienist said to me - don't put any toothpaste in your mouth that you would be afraid to eat. A little dramatic, but think about it - you are ingesting a little of it each day."
Argentum Vulgaris is another steadfast supporter of CTWW. He wrote about our challenge HERE and also wrote a very important (and scary) post HERE about fluoride and it's dangers. I hope you'll take the time to read both of his posts. And yes, AV, you may go out and play! :)
Courtney is a new member of our CTWW Honor Society. She's going to watch the amount she uses and ... she says "no" to fluoride. If you like giveaways, then you'll want to check out her blog called Crunchy Beach Mama. Thanks, Courtney, for dropping in and joining us.
Another "newbie" to our challenges is Shauna who hosts a blog called Trying to Stay Calm. Shauna also hosts giveways ... lots of fun giveaways. Thanks, Shauna, for stopping by.
Jacqie, another "newbie", came by. Nice to see you, Jacqie! Jacqie has a blog called Tales of the Wife ... it's a wonderful site full of good information. She's also one of the hosts of the Wednesday Green Blog Hop (which you'll find in my sidebar each Wednesday). So check it out ... lots of green blogs to wander through.
Another long-time supporter is Krys from Two Vegan Boys Weblog. Two Vegan Boys is one of my favorite sites ... it's full of mouth-watering pictures and recipe ideas. I get hungry every time I visit Krys and the boys! Thanks for dropping in, Krys!
Manhattan Air Conditioning Service is a new arrival to our challenges. In Manhattan's words "The environment is polluted and there is too much that is heading unnecessary fr the bin." I couldn't agree more! By the way, if you need professional vent cleaning, check out Manhattan Air Conditioning Service.
Thanks to everyone who came by. And, as a reminder, if you wrote a post in support of our Change The World Wednesday challenge, it's being Stumbled and Tweeted.
Okay ... are you ready for a new challenge? This week we're going to go back to a previous challenge because ... well ... I'm still seeing plastic bags everywhere. So, here you go:
For the entire week (yep, the whole week), refuse plastic bags at the store or anywhere else where they are offered. One whole week ... 7 days ... no plastic bags.
OR ... If you're already "plastic bag free" ... then, within the next 7 days write a detailed post (or email, letter, etc.) on why plastic bags are bad for the environment.
Okay ... all together now:
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!
Monday, October 4, 2010
- If you have an electric water heater, turn it off. As convenient as it is to have hot water ready when you want it, keeping it hot takes a lot of energy. So, to really cut usage ... beyond turning the temperature down and insulating the tank (which are both effective tools) ... try turning it off. If your water tank doesn't have an on/off switch, turn it off at the circuit box. Then, experiment with how long to keep it on to suit your needs. Keep in mind that it isn't necessary to wash your clothing or your dishes in hot water. We've found that approximately one hour a day, close to when we'll need it, is plenty for our household of two people. One note ... this is for electric water heaters only ... if you have a gas water heater, turn the thermostat down, but don't turn it off.
- Turn off the furnace whenever possible and when it's on, keep the thermostat set low. Put on an extra shirt or two. Use blankets while watching TV in the evening. Make use of the tips we shared in 24 Tips for Fall. Get some exercise ... yep, exercise will warm you up.
- Do you have rooms which you aren't using? No sense warming them along with the rest of the house. So, close the vents in those rooms and shut the door ... you'll save the cost, and energy, of heating it up.
- Use counter top appliances rather than the stove and oven. Items like a toaster oven, crock pot or electric skillet will save a bundle on electricity bills. If you choose to use the oven, turn it off 5 minutes before the dish is done ... there will be enough heat inside to finish cooking your food. And once the dish is removed, leave the oven door open to make use of the heat in the room.
- When doing laundry, plan it out so that as soon as one load is finished in the dryer, the next load is ready to go ... this will keep your dryer from cooling down which will shorten the amount of time necessary to dry the next load. And always do full loads ... partial loads are energy hogs.
- Open your curtains during the day and close them at night. During the day when the sun shines in, make use of the heat. At night when it gets cool, insulate the room by closing them.
- Unplug it when it's not in use. This applies to almost every electrical device in your home. There are some exceptions ... for example, one shouldn't turn off the refrigerator. But TVs, computers, coffee makers, etc. don't need to be plugged in ... especially the ones which have clocks and/or timers ... or anything which has a stand-by light on when the device is turned off. These "phantom" devices use a lot of energy. To make "unplugging" easy, use a power strip ... one click turns all the devices plugged into it off.
- Close the windows and doors. This one may seem obvious but there are many people who choose to leave a window open at all times and then compensate by turning the heat up. If having a window open is important, turn the heat off and bundle up.
- Do you get chilly while sleeping? Rather than using electric blankets, try using flannel sheets and extra blankets ... you'll get that warm coziness without using electricity.
Now it's your turn ... what are your favorite energy saving ideas for the cool days of fall and winter?
Need a little more incentive to cut energy use? How about this ... since we employed the energy saving methods described above, we've cut our bill by 50%. I don't know about you, but I can think of a lot of ways to use the money we save.
As always ... I would love to hear from you!
Friday, October 1, 2010
This dish is one of my new favorites ... it's easy and nutritious. I found it at Allrecipes.com ... a great site for exploring new dishes.
I hope you and your family enjoy it:
Spinach Chick Pea Curry
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 (14.75 ounce) can creamed corn (vegan version)
1 tablespoon curry paste
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 (12 ounce) package firm tofu, cubed
1 bunch fresh spinach, stems removed
1 teaspoon dried basil or to taste
1. In a large wok or skillet heat oil over medium heat; saute onions until translucent. Stir in creamed corn and curry paste. Cook, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes. As you stir, add salt, pepper and garlic.
2. Stir in garbanzo beans and gently fold in tofu. Add spinach and cover. When spinach is tender, remove from heat and stir in basil.
3. Serve with rice.
-For a discussion on why vegan meals are Eco-friendly, please click HERE.
-I was unable to find vegan creamed corn so I simply took fresh corn and ran it through the food processor to get that creamy texture.
-For variety, try adding cauliflower, potatoes or any other veggies you have on hand.
For additional vegan recipes, be sure to click on the tab at the top of the Reduce Footprints blog.