Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Two Item Challenge

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.

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Change The World Wednesday on Reduce Footprints

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 tackled water use. We've done several versions of this challenge because 1) water use seems to creep up on us and 2) we can always do better. The conservation quiz was interesting. I failed miserably and only got two question right. When is failing good? When it teaches us something ... and I learned that landscaping uses a LOT of water. The second part of the challenge was also enlightening. Since we already have aerators on all of our faucets and low-flow shower heads installed, I chose to look elsewhere. When I change my cat's water, I toss it into a house plant. Then I wash and rinse the bowl. While washing, the water is turned off; but, I noticed that I'm an excessive "rinser", taking longer than is really necessary to remove soap residue. So my goal was to rinse quickly. Truthfully, it's a hard habit to break and requires that I stay totally focused on the task. It's a work in progress!

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.

EcoGrrl brought up something which I hadn't thought about ... older fixtures. Here's her comment: "Great stuff. My comments: Because of the age of my wall mounted kitchen faucet, an aerator actually doesn't fit on it! I would literally have to replace the entire faucet (and go figure, those ones are incredibly spendy) or rip out my kitchen countertops to replace it with a water efficient version. Fortunately about 5 years ago I did replace the entire faucet of my bathroom sink with a WaterSaver one, and I have had a dual flush toilet in my bathroom since I bought my home 8 years ago. And ironically, I decided to take a 30 day break from pork last week - not an easy task as it's my favorite meat! But I figure I can do anything for a month and we'll see how that goes!"

If you had to guess, how do you think Argentum Vulgaris did on this challenge? In Change the World Wednesday – 26th Feb he reveals his quiz results, talks about aerators, leaky faucets, bowls in the shower, and his water bill. Check it out!

As I mentioned last week, Lois decided to leave blogging. However, she received a well-deserved outpouring of bloggy love so she has decided to update her blog, occasionally, as life allows. Yay! She also plans to visit other blogs, when she can, and dropped in to check out CTWW. Here are her thoughts: "I woke this morning lost without your challenges and had to check in. The quiz, well I failed only getting 2 answers right. We waste most of our water on landscaping? This has to change! I have low flow aerators on all faucets/shower head and have added a filled bottle to the toilet tank to offset the enormous amount of water used which will be replaced soon with a dual flush model. One place I changed my water usage was in cooking. I eat a lot of vegetables and this time of year pull them out frozen. The way I learned to cook frozen vegetables was to boil them in water, then drain the water off before serving. For the last few years I eliminated the water and simply warm my vegetable in a small bit of coconut oil as a way to both cut down on water usage and to retain (hopefully) all the nutrients rather than have them lost in the water. Another solution you could try with your fresh produce when freezing is to eliminate the pre-cooking of your vegetables before freezing. Mine go straight from the garden to the freezer. This saves time, gas/electric,and water."

The The Green Daily gave CTWW a nice mention! There are a ton of great, Eco-articles in that paper so, if you have a minute, give it a read.

I could almost hear Mrs. Green moan when she read our challenge. She says, "Oh dear; I hate the water challenges; they really test me SF! It's not that I can't improve - on the contrary there is so much we 'should' be doing. But we don't. However, I've taken you up on the idea of a spend less week - it's going to benefit me anyway, so I'm happily on board!" She wrote Reducing our water footprint #ctww ... can you guess which part of our challenge got a firm "NO" from Mrs. Green?

Another terrific paper, Greening It Forward 'Weekly', gave CTWW a nice mention. Again, if you have a minute, hop over to check it out!

Randy accepted our challenge and says, "Treating water mindfully may be easier for a homeowner, since I can do long-term projects. One short-term project I'm experimenting with is simply setting buckets in visually neutral parts of my patio (those corners where I never look) where they are passively gathering water. I got the buckets free from a recycler because he didn't have a purpose for them - so the cost of the experiment is free! I would also highly recommended homeowners reroof in metal rather than composite shingles. This lets you use roofwater without filtering out the pretro-cr@p that comes off the shingles. It costs more up front but a metal roof lasts longer than a person - so it's a wise investment in itself - and the water benefits are a plus!" In Treating Water Mindfully #CTWW he talks about the measures he's taken and what he plans for the future.

Katie admits that she hasn't been focused on water conservation of late. She has a good reason, though ... the birth of her son. That said, in Tips to Reduce Water Waste [#CTWW] she talks about the steps she and her family have taken. One of the steps comes as a huge surprise to Katie. Why? Here's a hint ... her husband likes a green, manicured lawn. Can you guess?

Alicia joined us and shares this: "We have low flow shower heads in all of the bathrooms plus we installed filters in them that filter out the terrible chlorine in the water. Because of this we don't breathe the awful gas that chlorine makes when it mixes with the hot water from the shower. It also helps because chlorine dries your skin so we are able to use less moisturizer. We have aerators on our faucets. We also keep a pitcher of filtered water in the fridge. We have containers on our deck which collect rainwater and we use this to water our plants. We don't eat meat which I know requires so much water to produce. Reviewing our water bill is one that we haven't done in a while so I think that would be a good thing to do this week. Great challenge."

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @pinkladyapril
- we have a water filter jug we keep in the fridge & I use the remains of bedtime glasses of water to water house plants

From @GiveTreeGifts
- We conserve water w/ aerators on all faucets, low flow shower heads, low flow toilets, use fish tank water to water plants ....
- We also conserve water by using grey water for watering outdoor plants & wash dishes in the sink vs a dishwasher.
- Our well water isn't drinkable as is. Reverse osmosis units waste too much water. We opted to buy our own distiller for drinking water
- Water Usage Calculator, Water Conservation and Efficiency
- 100+ Ways To Conserve - Water Use It Wisely
- Water Conservation: 25 ways to conserve water in the home and yard

From @lschreurs
- 5 reasons why #water #conservation is important to you

From @BEFeld13
- California Endangered Species: Plastic Bags
- I’m curious what grocery stores will look like in 2-5 years from now
- the problem is, I’m an organizational freak! What would be considered the “new” container?
- Gave a recent college grad resume advice during lunch...feeling old, but helpful

From @wheeliesmom
- I always thought a dishwasher was better bc it washed all the dishes at once with the same amt of water
- I've researched it and see a full dishwasher uses the least water. Watch toxic soaps tho. @GiveTreeGifts

From @laalicia
- RT @BluKatDesign: 50 Ways to be a Better Human Being #ctww

From @ProAmUSA
- Solar panels on our ProAm USA facilities help reduce our carbon footprint. What are you doing for Change the World Wednesday?

From @learn2bird
- harness the power of the sun: eat plants & watch birds!

From @KrmbalClothing
- Here's an interesting article on the CA drought & how much water it takes to grow some of their major crops

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 @allnaturalkatie @artquench
@aussierichluck @beatepdx @befeld13
@bg_garden @blukatdesign @cleansediva
@clothaddicts @collegegogreen @conservationm
@counselorholley @crypton_home @dieselelephants
@eartheasy @ecofriendlyfurn @ecothrifty
@ecovative @electricpledge @environmentguru
@evelynmccpeters @floursackmama @ginavalley
@givetreegifts @green_vibes @greenearthbazar
@gregorspeaks @groovygreenlivi @guayaba
@halliegrace2 @herbgir1972 @jaemacjustsayin
@kanelstrand @krmbalclothing @laalicia
@ladyjcmuses @learn2bird @leslieveg
@lorcadamon @lschreurs @marikokoloco
@marjoriemcatee @mimibarbour @mindfulmomma
@momgamerwriter @mrsgreensworld @museumoflitter
@nebulousmooch @nikidanforth @nolafusion
@ourfavadventure @pinkladyapril @portbhamevents
@proamusa @rantravewrite @rckweddings
@realityarts @robinpedrero @rpi
@rpialumni @rulesofgreen @sayitrahshay
@sfcouncil @shannongrissom @soulfullab
@spafloating @thefoxymango @theworld4realz
@treesgroup @turningclockbac @violetsbuds
@wencdj @wheeliesmom @whopaysthepiper

My Final Thoughts:

Why conserve? Most people, reading this post, can turn on a faucet and get a clean glass of water. During times of rationing, we are asked to let our lawns go brown and clean our cars less often, but we're still able to shower, wash clothes, and get that clean glass of water. So why worry? Think of it like this: Imagine a fish bowl which contains all the water in the world. We have a filter to keep it clean. We add one or two fish to the bowl and everything is fine. Now add more fish. The filter works harder and the bowl begins to look "milky". Add more fish. At some point, the filter can no longer handle the pollution. The fish die. We are those fish, needing clean water to live. As our populations continue to grow and we find new and unusual ways to use (and pollute) this precious resource, the amount we have to sustain life becomes less and less. At some point, our treatment plants won't be able to keep up. Conservation involves not only using less, but using in appropriate ways. We must seriously consider matters like fracking and industrial uses of water. We must also consider our own personal behavior. Perhaps, someday in the not so distant future, we'll wish we wouldn't have tossed that bit of water down the drain.

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:

Could you live with only two outfits this week?
How many outfits do we need?
Have you heard about the "Six Items Challenge"? It started in the UK and the idea is to choose six items of clothing to wear exclusively over six weeks. The intent is to get us all thinking about our relationship with the garment industry. Sarah Mazzone, owner of the blog "Made In USA", got together with Labour Behind the Label to start a US chapter of the event. Read The Six Items Challenge for the USA for the complete story.

How could this event affect the environment?

If we can manage to live with fewer outfits, we will reduce our Eco-footprint by shopping less. Since washing too often shortens the life of a garment, we'll do less laundry and save both water and energy. Shall we try it out? Here's your challenge ...

This week, choose two outfits and wear them exclusively for the week. This does not include undergarments. To make this challenge work, do not wash clothes more often than usual. If you feel that your clothing needs freshening up, try hanging it in the bathroom while you shower ... or hang it outside for "airing". The idea is to see if we can live with less while maintaining water conservation and good environmental practices.

OR ...

If you absolutely need more than two outfits this week, please do an analysis of your closet. How many items do you have? Where (which country) were they manufactured? Are you aware of the factory working conditions in that part of the world? What materials are used? Are any natural fibers dyed or bleached? If cotton is used, is it organic? Do any items include plastic (buttons, trim, etc.)? Take an honest look at your closet. Once you've gathered the results, how could you make your wardrobe more Eco-friendly?

UP THE ANTE:  Peggy Berk (aka @pberk on Twitter) is asking us to take one more step and do a bit better this week.  In less than 140 characters, she says "Cotton=thirstiest plant on earth, uses huge amt of fresh water resources. Better alts: linen, hemp, abaca".  So this week, as you're going through your closet, think about earth-friendly materials and, if you have them, perhaps choose those outfits as your "2".  If you don't own any, consider them when you next purchase clothing.  Will you accept Peggy's "up the ante" challenge?

Are you with me? I know that you are!

Sneak Peek: Are you hungry? A breakfast ... a snack ... "to-go" food ... this recipe does it all.

Until then ...


Posted at Anything Goes