Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)! 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.

There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you don't have the time right now, you might find the following quick links helpful:

Last week we took a look at our water footprint, specifically our indirect water use. What a fascinating and educational exercise. While the calculator wasn't a complete picture, it certainly gives us a place to start. To my surprise, coffee and tea are my top "offenders". Grains/cereals also came in high. Armed with that information I began doing comparisons, searching for options with a lower impact ... I'll be choosing those items on future shopping trips.

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. Here's what they had to say:

Janet accepted the challenge. I loved her comment, "Very interesting to see that the actions we take to reduce our indirect water usage is also healthier for us. It confirms the interconnectiveness of everything - healthy people, healthy planet!"

Ann included our banner in this interesting post entitled Save the world: charging customers for window shopping.

Argentum Vulgaris calculated his water footprint and posted the results. Can you guess his numbers? On the plus side, he lives alone and is very frugal ... on the other hand, he eats meat. So what do you think? Find the answer HERE.

Lisa had a great comment, " Why...why...why do I know about this only now? I am totally in!"

Alicia joined the fun and had this say, " Wow it is amazing to see how much water usage it takes for the foods we eat each day. Several years ago we cut our sugar consumption down by at least 75% and when we do use sugar it it evaporated cane juice instead of white sugar.Really we cut out pretty much everything "white" as in white flour, sugar, rice and pasta. Anything that I know that has been bleached we don't eat! I am so glad that we don't eat meat. I know that the corn they feed the cows causes methane gas which is so harmful to the environment. I didn't however know about the water usage associated with meat. Another good reason not to eat it! We drink green tea over coffee and eat lots of fruits and veggies.I know this is considered direct water usage but we always have a big garden each year and this past year by the middle of the Summer we started having drought conditions.We bought a stand sprinkler system to help water the plants so they would not dry up. In this process we more than doubled our water bill! We said if that ever happens again we will be better off to save the water usage and just go to the Farmers Market and buy our produce. We probably could have purchased all the veggies for the price of the extra water usage and saved the water as well. Lesson learned. I had no idea of the water it takes for grains, meats and sugar. Just goes to show how there is so much more that we all need to educated on. Thanks for this great info!"

Lois is in. She shares this, "I try to watch every drop of water being used, but will use this to tweak a few thing in my diet as well."

We have a new participant this week ... a big welcome to Kaye Brennan of Elkieb's Weblog. Kaye wrote a lovely post entitled Walking with purpose has opened my eyes. It shows what can happen when we pay attention to our surroundings. By the way, Kaye is a campaigner and administrator for the Woodland Trust (the UK's leading woodland conservation charity). There's a lot of great information on that site about how we can protect our forests, no matter where we live. So if you get a chance, check it out!

Katie calculated her footprints. She shares this, " I have never thought about my water footprint. How neat! Dairy was my highest category, followed by meat (even though I'm vegetarian). The calculator didn't consider fish, unless it's counting fish with meat." I'm curious Katie ... how does a vegetarian have a high meat count? I'm guessing that you have some meat-eaters in your family.

Betty Manousos dropped in ... so nice to see you again, Betty!

Intricate Knot also stopped by ... thanks, IK!

Scarlet accepted the challenge and said this, " Water waste is something most of us rarely even think about. I'll definitely be more conscious of how much water I use every day."

After reading this challenge, Kris wondered about the water footprint of Easter candy. Click HERE to find out what she learned.

Kristina used the calculator and was surprised. She shares this, "Wow. I can't believe how much water meat takes! I have cut back quite a bit already and it was still my highest category by a long shot! Need to rethink that one."

Lady JC accepted the challenge. She shares this, " Thank you! The calculator and figures you gave us are such a great tool. I think we often focus on direct use like showers, or water for household tasks, but the indirect water consumption has en even bigger impact. We're doing well in the food (and transportation) as the bulk of our intake is organic fruits, veggies, tea & grains, and we only take the subway. There's always room for improvement in the goods we choose to purchase or not purchase so I think that will be my focus as well as finding creative ways of using water more conservatively now that the gardening season is upon us. Thank you so much. Great challenge!"

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation ... here's what they had to say:

From @TrueNatureEd
- good timing, just as Spring revives us! it's the little things that count most
- Don't dwell in the past, don't dream of the future–concentrate on the now

From @campaignerkaye
- Right, it's lunchtime and I am getting out of the office! Going to walk with purpose - thanks for the #CTWW challenge

From @GiveTreeGifts
- Walking with a purpose for #CTWW: Sadly, every time we walk our dog we're picking up trash discarded by motorists.
- Walking with a purpose for #CTWW: Aside from the need to get from point A to point B I walk to get fresh air exercise & unwind from busy day
- Walk for Health and Environment - Benefits of Walking - The Daily Green:
- Walking & Environment > Wonder Walkers:,563,
- 5 Ways Save the World, While Getting Fitter, Saving Money, Simplifying, and Becoming Happier : zenhabits:
- 5 Benefits of Walking to School | Free Help from The Beehive:

From @dusdifissette
- Count me in! Bought #theoriginalcaliforniaduster to 2 clean my car w/out using #water to reduce my #waterfootprint

From @rulesofgreen
- calculated my water footprint last week with this calculator:
- It's a fast calculator to get through but a bit annoying it takes the shopping habits for granted

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who share our challenges on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I highly recommend following them ... they have a lot of great things to say. Let's meet them:

@89linz @a_kiasi @allnaturalkatie
@almosttruth @amotherlife @anitaadamsnc
@beatepdx @bstoneblog @campaignerkaye
@catherineolivia @conservationm @crazedkitchen
@dusdifissette @earthyurban @ginavalley
@givetreegifts @gogreenbeans @greeneral
@groovygreenlivi @intricateknot1 @ithoughtiknewma
@jamiastar @kaskadia @kiboomu
@laalicia @ladyjcmuses @lavishandlime
@lifelovemusic1 @littlegreenblog @lowimpactmama
@marjoriemcatee @mom2tle @momgamerwriter
@mrflinty @ntiveheart @oneadayart
@rozdb @rulesofgreen @ruralmoms
@spilldmilkshake @squishablebaby @startanewleaf
@stilettofiles @theworld4realz @timsimms
@treesgroup @tristinandtyler @truenatureed

My Final Thoughts:

It's easy to reduce the impact of the things we see on a daily basis ... or the things which result in a bill at the end of the month. It is, however, only a part of the story. When we take a look at the natural resources used to produce our food or fuel our cars ... when we know the true cost of our clothing, our coffee and everything we touch ... we begin to understand the true nature of our impact. That's the story we must concentrate on ... and improve. When the book on our environmental history is finally complete, what will your chapter say?

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

This Week's Challenge:

How many CDs/DVDs do you have? I'm guessing that everyone has at least a few. Did you know that they are made from a variety of materials including gold, plastic, aluminum and water (to name just a few)? Did you know that at least 100,000 pounds of CDs become obsolete each year and that billions are thrown away? That's a lot of resources ... and a lot of waste. Here's your challenge ...

This week, apply the three R's (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) to CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, etc.
  1. Reduce - Rather than buy, consider other ways to listen to music, watch movies, play games or obtain software. For example, listen to the radio or find your favorite station online ... borrow from a friend or the library ... download software from the manufacturers site ... rent from places like Netflix, RedBox or Blockbuster. If you must buy, consider buying second hand ... check thrift stores, garage sales and stores like GameStop ... or browse online shops like or (please note ... I've never used these online sites so use your best judgment when buying/trading through them).
  2. Reuse - Donate discs to a charity or your local library. Give them to a friend who might enjoy them. Sell them. Get creative and find new uses for obsolete discs (reflectors in your garden, bookmarks, coasters, wall art, etc).
  3. Recycle - Discs are considered plastic #7 which is a general category of miscellaneous plastics and typically isn't recycled. Some recycling companies will take them so check with your waste management service. If your service doesn't accept them, check out Earth 911 for online recycling services.

Will you accept this challenge?

As always ...