Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Portion Control

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 adjusted our thermostats by 1-2 degrees. In my area of "the woods" it was cold so turning the temperature down was, indeed, a challenge. To meet it, we put on extra layers of clothing and closed off all but the living area of our home. In the evening, we cuddled up under blankets. I also found that eating certain foods helped keep us warm. Indian food, with its use of spices like cumin, ginger, cinnamon, etc., actually seemed to raise our body temperature. It was an interesting week and hopefully we all learned some new strategies for staying warm (or cool) without the use of extra energy.

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.

Lois has some unusual health issues which make her more susceptible to hypothermia. Ever the "green" trouper, though, she has taken preventative measures which don't impact the environment. Find out how she deals with cold weather in Change the World Wednesday, Baby it’s Cold.

Mrs. Green, a Super Star in the green world, refused the challenge. Oh my!! Didn't she agree with reducing energy use? Didn't she want to join us and help the planet? Couldn't she turn down the heat??? All will be answered in Six ways to keep warm without turning up the thermostat.

From our challenge on GMO foods, Mrs. Green did some research about policies in the UK. In UK laws regarding GM foods and labeling she talks about what's allowed, what isn't, importing foods, and labeling. Her research points out just how pervasive genetically modified ingredients are in the world.

CelloMom brought up an excellent point about adjusting the heat and health. She says, "Alas! CelloDad has a cold this week, and is shivering even layered in wool plus one outdoor jacket; I don't have the heart to turn down the thermostat below 60F right now: I'll do this challenge later, when he's better. Even so, our house is the only one of its kind on the street that still has the snow cover intact on the roof: Either our attic insulation is great (which I know it's not), or we keep it cool enough inside that the heat rising through the attic is not enough to melt the rooftop snow. This means we have an extra layer of insulation for the cold nights. But I have resorted to my last line of defense: the angora-merino blend base layers. I sing the praises of itchless warm washable wool here:"

While we, in the US, are shivering and wishing for a sign of spring, Argentum Vulgaris is celebrating the first guava on his tree. He shares a picture of his treasure in Change the World Wednesday – 29th Jan and talks about how he stays comfortable without a thermostat.

Alicia accepted the challenge and shares this, " We have been having really cold weather here in Tennessee, the third coldest on record. We had turned the thermostat up a few degrees to be warmer.We make a real effort in the Fall to get the house ready for the Winter months and think we do a pretty good job. Well with all of the gusty winds we had a few weeks ago we realized that their were quite a few places in our home that cold air was coming in. We got to work immediately to fix these areas. Oh what a difference it made!! We were able to turn the thermostat down even more than we had turned it up! Also a few years ago I bought us a twin size insulated comforter for us to use when we are watching television. It keeps us so warm and that helps us be able to keep the house cooler in the Winter. Our house is two stories and we are not using one of the extra bedrooms or the bonus room right now so we closed the vents and the doors to these rooms and that has helped make a big difference also. I am so looking forward to Spring and warmer weather!" By the way, if you haven't visited Alicia's blog lately, hop over and check it out ... she's sharing a bunch of recipes this year ... yummy recipes.

James Paulson dropped by and says, "The Second Polar Vortex has just passed by us here in Chicago and I'm learning that turning down the thermostat to at least 60 while at work is excellent at keeping the heating bill in check!"

Melanie G. accepted the challenge and shares this, "Great challenge! During the daytime in the winter our thermostat is set at 65F, and 67F at night. If we get cold we cuddle under blankets or put on a hoodie. It saves energy & our electric bill! In addition, my husband has done a great job of insulating the house, so the heater runs even less."

The Green Verbs Eco Daily gave CTWW a nice mention. I also found articles about upcycled jewelry and green buildings.

CTWW also got a nice mention in Greening it Forward ‘Daily’. One of your articles, from the previous challenge on GMO foods, was picked up as well. Was it yours?

Katie joined the fun and shares this, "Yes! Great challenge and indeed, is a challenge for me. The low thermostat settings during the winter increased to ensure the baby does not get cold. Now that the baby is getting older, I will start to turn the thermostat down during the day and dress the baby in more layers if he's cold. I turned down 1 degree today! As long as the Polar Vortex isn't around, I don't mind turning it down 1-2 degrees."

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @KrmbalClothing
- We've turned down the thermostat twice already, but I've been wanting to do it even lower during the day. #CTWW just reminded me!

From @GiveTreeGifts
- Reduce home heating and electricity use by 10% via @DavidSuzuki @DavidSuzukiFDN #CTWW
- How to Program a Digital Thermostat to Save Money on Utility Bills | Gaiam Life… #CTWW
- 10 Tips for the Thermostat: Your Key to Savings… #CTWW

From @rulesofgreen
- Yey! Did this week's #CTWW challenge already in the morning because I was so warm in the apartment. All without even knowing the challenge:)

From @VioletsBuds
- Live greener by adjusting your thermostat… #CTWW @smallftprints We leave ours at 65F during the day all winter long

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 @89linz @allnaturalkatie
@biculturalmama @biggreenpen @bstoneblog
@ciaraballintyne @collegegogreen @commplacegr
@como_water @crazedkitchen @crazykids6
@dcccd @dieselelephants @eco_novice
@ecoexpert1 @ecofriendlyfurn @elizabethalextv
@gastarbooks @givetreegifts @groovygreenlivi
@guayaba @herbgir1972 @jamiewauthor
@jnjgogreen @johncbader @justanotherhat
@kayelleallen @kirschan @krmbalclothing
@laalicia @lady_bren @leslieveg
@lorcadamon @mamapoolecooks @marjoriemcatee
@momfindsout @myzerowaste @mzazeela
@ourfavadventure @pinkladyapril @rckweddings
@realityarts @rulesofgreen @sayhaytomeg
@shannongrissom @treesgroup @violetsbuds
@wencdj @whopaysthepiper @zenfarmz

My Final Thoughts:

Adjusting our thermostats by 1 or 2 degrees seems easy enough. At the worst, it's a bit inconvenient and we might feel a little uncomfortable. But saving energy has bigger implications. Coal generates electricity for much of the world. You may have seen the news, recently, about the problems Virginia is having. Approximately 300,000 residents have been banned from using water because of contamination via the mining process. Hydroelectric power, another large source of electricity worldwide, appears to be Eco-friendly until we take a look at the amount of greenhouse gases produced by rotting vegetation, in the water, as a result of man-made reservoirs. The CO2 produced by hydroelectric power is roughly equivalent to that of power supplied via fossil fuels. The point is that regardless of where our energy comes from, there is an environmental cost. Reducing our use by a small amount can have a huge impact.

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:

Reduce food waste with portion control
We all love our indulgences, right?

But, have you ever been the victim of "your eyes are bigger than your stomach"? Buying and cooking too much food often causes food waste.

Here's your challenge:

This week, monitor food portion sizes and cook accordingly. Even if you are cooking once for more than one meal, pay attention to portions and resist cooking more than necessary, which often leads to waste. Need help determining portion size? This SITE will give you a general discussion on the topic with some clever ideas on how to determine a proper portion. The CALORIE COUNTER is a search tool. Type in the food you want to make and it'll bring up calories associated with various servings sizes ... the first listing is typically considered a proper serving. The idea, here, is not to restrict calories or in any way "diet". Instead, we are educating ourselves on portion sizes and then cooking just enough so that we eliminate food waste.

Are you up for this challenge? I know that you are!

Sneak Peek: Tomorrow I'm reviewing an Eco-friendly body care product ... if you're lucky, you might win some for yourself.

Until then ...