We are currently participating in daily challenges and have completed our sixth week (they began on Wednesday, March 9th, and will continue through April 24th). You'll find additional information by clicking HERE (information is located towards the bottom of the article).
Let's get started with a look at this week's activities:
- Day 36 challenges us to give up our cars.
- Day 37 asks us to double up our journeys.
- Day 38 suggests that we say "no" to bottled water.
- Day 39 wants us to look for an alternatives to using our cars.
- Day 40 encourages us to volunteer for groups that work towards Eco-justice**.
- Day 41 asks us to end junk mail.
- Day 42 challenges to use our washing machines efficiently.
**Just a note on Eco-Justice ... I actually had never heard the term before. After a bit of investigation, I learned that it can mean several things:
- Some use the term referring to environmental justice for all people regardless of sex, race, religion, etc. In this vein, supporters fight to protect social-economic groups who have historically been subjected to higher levels of pollution due to their close proximity to landfills, hazardous waste sites, etc.
- Another definition applies the concept of justice to the environment, giving value to other, non-human parts of nature, entirely independent of their usefulness to humanity. In this vein, the natural world is included in an evaluation of ethics and morality.
- Eco-justice is also a movement being embraced by many religious organizations. Basically, this movement encourages churches to protect "God's creation by working towards social justice and environmental sustainability".
Our Honor Society wrote some great articles this week (which I have promoted through the usual social networks):
- In this POST, Mrs. Green talks about calculating her carbon footprint. While she and her family came in well below the national average, Mrs. Green was disappointed with her score and wonders what other actions she could take to reduce it further.
- Argentum Vulgaris made a life-altering decision 19 years ago. In the process, he learned that he doesn't need something which many of us take for granted. Can you guess what it is? You can find out HERE.
- The DR Daily gave our challenge a front page spot. They found us through a tweet by @TheRiverWanders.
- Mrs. Green asks: "Is planting a tree the answer to going green?" She shares some interesting thoughts and really make me think about my own position on the subject. Here's her POST?
- The Shopping Charity gave us a nice spot in their paper! And, in this EDITION they picked up my tweet about one of your articles. Who was the lucky author? Head over to find out.
- Ann posted our change the world Wednesday banner in this POST.
- Mrs. Green wrote this ARTICLE about maximizing fuel efficiency. In it she reminds us that carrying too much weight (perhaps in the trunk) reduces efficiency. Thanks, Mrs. Green ... I had forgotten about that.
- Kristina wrote two wonderful articles about reducing junk mail. You'll find them HERE and HERE. One of her suggestions is to ask your credit card company NOT to send you convenience checks. Brilliant!!
- Have you checked your tire pressure? Mrs. Green has ... you can read about it in this POST.
We also had some wonderful comments:
- Jenn is a new follower and says that she hand washes her dishes. Thanks, Jenn ... nice to have you with us!
- Jessica is another new follower and shares that she always looks for ways to challenge herself to be greener. Thanks for joining us, Jessica!
- Even though EcoGrrl doesn't drive, she's going to encourage her friend to leave the car parked. Hopefully, together, they will use public transportation to go to their soccer team's season opener. Did it work out, EcoGrrl?
- She had some great comments on saying "no" to water bottles including a caution about water filtration pitchers ... they contain plastic filters which need to be changed often. While they can be recycled, EcoGrrl points out that they are "downcycled" meaning that they don't become water filters again ... so, not using them is still the best option. She also shared an article about choosing a good, safe reusable water bottle HERE.
- EcoGrrl asked for some examples of Eco-justice groups. I did some searching but found it difficult to come up with local groups. My suggestion is to investigate volunteer opportunities with any environmental group.
- She washes her clothes with cold water exclusively and shares that high-efficiency laundry detergents are made for cold water. She also suggests drying clothes on a lower temperature setting ... they dry just as fast and less energy is used. Thanks, EcoGrrl!
- Nikki says that she hates having to leave the house once she's home from work so ... she tries to double up on journeys. She says that doing so is more out of laziness and a desire to save gas but ... I say that it just goes to show that living "green" conserves energy (our own) and money ... in addition to helping the planet. Thanks, Nikki!
- Nicki had an interesting thought ... if the nation consumed just 1/2 of the bottled water that it now consumes, it would be huge. Wow ... you're right, Nicki!
- Melanie is part of the "green team" at work and encourages her co-workers to buy reusable water bottles. She's also bought a filtration system and reusable bottles for her parents, significantly reducing their plastic waste. As she says: "... its much easier to refill a bottle rather than BUY one!"
- Kristina says that doubling up on journeys makes sense, especially if one has children (think loading and unloading toddlers). To maker her trips more efficient, she keeps a "to do" list of errands and/or things to pick up ... then, when she goes out she never forgets a thing. And ... she uses a smart phone to keep these lists so ... no paper waste. Yay!
- Not wanting to buck the system, she sent her daughter to school with disposable drink containers per the school's instructions. Then she learned that they really didn't have a good reason for the request so she started packing a reusable container in her daughter's backpack. Wow ... sounds like an opportunity to suggest that the school make a "green" improvement to the system. Kristina is going to tackle her children's sports activities ... currently, parents share the responsibility of bringing drinks for the team ... usually bottled water. She's going to suggest that the kids bring reusable containers and then parents bring one large container of water ... preferably a reusable container. Let us know how that goes, Kristina!!
- She would love to walk to nearby stores but shares that her area doesn't have sidewalks, making it unsafe to do so. For anyone in that situation, contact local authorities to see if community plans include building sidewalks ... and suggest it if they aren't being planned. Also, check out this SITE to see how Columbia, Missouri, is tackling the problem (includes some great suggestions on how to advocate bike/walking trails, etc.).
- Kristina washes her clothes in cold water and only washes a full load. She realized a few things, however ... for example, the sensor in both the washer and dryer may not work properly which could mean that water temperatures are not what you'd like them to be and/or dryer times are unusually long. She solved the problem by using other settings.
- How do you spend your holidays? Relaxing? Not our dear Ann ... she volunteers for a group called "Zero Waste". They visit festivals and teach others about the importance of recycling and they pick up trash. Brilliant, Ann ... you are a true super-star!!
- Ann feels fortunate that she lives within a 15 minute walk of the market. When she needs to drive for groceries, she carpools.
- She's also fortunate that good, clean water is available from her tap. She made a great comment that her son won't drink out of the plastic bottles because they smell.
- Ann tries to sun dry her clothes but she lives in an area with high humidity so it's not always possible. She also shares a tip ... if one spins fitted sheets for too long, the elastic will fail. Thanks, Ann!
- Junk mail is no problem for Ann ... in her city residents simply place a sticker on their mailboxes refusing it. If it is delivered, the carrier (who works for a private mail company) will be fired. Wow!
- Mr. Uyar reminds us that walking/bycyling is very good for our bodies. I totally agree!
- Kim won the Versatile Blogger Award (Congrats, Kim) and passed it on to Reduce Footprints. WhooHoo! You'll see the award in the sidebar. However, if you've followed my blog for any length of time, then you know I'm terrible about meeting all the requirements of awards (my bad). But I do appreciate the honor!!
- Alicia hates junk mail so was happy to find the links included in our challenges. By the way, Alicia writes a blog called Eco-Friendly Homemaking ... it's really wonderful so, if you have a minute, stop by!
- Tiffany likes the suggestion to walk, ride a bike, etc. instead of using the car. Nice to 'see' you Tiffany ... it's been awhile. Tiffany recently wrote an excellent article on plastic bags. If you have a minute, be sure to head to her blog and check it out ... it's well worth reading.
- Nicole washes all of her clothing in cold water ... except for diapers. She's wondering if any parents have had success with getting them clean in cold water. Anyone have a tip for Nicole? She's also going to try wool dryer balls which are supposed to significantly reduce drying time. Anyone tried them? We'd love to know how they worked out for you!
Our #CTWW Gang was busy again this week tweeting about our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. They're great folks and if you're on twitter I recommend following them:
We're getting close to the end of our daily challenges ... only a few more to go. Are you up for it? I know that you are!! Here's the next one:
Ask your electricity and gas suppliers if they have a green or renewable energy plan such as that offered by NSTAR Green. Make the switch to a green plan today. Bonus: Switch to an energy company that supplies 100 percent renewables such as Good Energy.
My thanks to all of you for stepping up and meeting these challenges! Until tomorrow ....
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!