Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Junk Mail

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 shared good news. My good news is about a trend I've seen lately. Namely, more companies are thinking about their environmental impact than ever before. In the process of investigating services and materials for our new home, I've been impressed by the choices homeowners now have. There are some companies who, by their very nature, are Eco-friendly ... companies like solar providers. But other companies are getting on board as well. Before telling them that we wish to have a "green" home, they suggest methods designed to reduce energy. That's been true for everyone we've talked to ... from the people building a foundation, to the windows and doors salesman, to the guy building us a new road. Everyone has talked about environmental choices. Is this just because "green" is currently "in vogue"? My feeling is that it has become better business to go green ... both because it's what consumers want and because, in the long run, it makes for a better product ... and that's always good business. Whatever the reason, it's a refreshing (and surprising) development.

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.

Have you discovered Vicality Santa Cruz? This brand new site is fabulous. It is targeted at the Santa Cruz area and if you are a local, you'll find a great deal of information about living green in your area. That said, everyone will benefit from the wonderful content shared on this site. And (oh my green heart be still), they are participating in CTWW in a big way. When you land at the home page, and linger for a second, you'll see CTWW show up in the banner. Clicking there leads you to an entire Challenge Page. From there, you can click on the Green Guides and find more CTWW info. Scroll down the home page and you're likely to see a post about the current challenge, like this one entitled Celebrate your contribution. What’s your green success? You're going to love this site ... it's beautiful and well thought out. Hop over, give it a visit, and sign up for their newsletter. And while you're at it, let's promote them a bit ... a new site on green living deserves a little TLC! Welcome to the group, Vicality!

Lady JC joined our light pollution challenge and shared this: " Thank you so much for this info. I didn't realize that having the curtain open with lights on at night could add to the pollution. We'll definitely be aware of that, although in the big city we do keep our curtains shut most of the time. :) Also, we've been very conscious of only turning on the entrance and back door lights when it's absolutely necessary. I will definitely share this info with friends and family and change the wattage of our outdoor bulbs." For this week's task, she shares this good news: "It's so appropriate that Wonderful, Wonderful is playing in the background while I type this because that's how I feel about my good news. Finally the composting program has been extended to my area. The Dept. of Sanitation did a test run last year on a few blocks and now it's going borough wide. They will provide special bins for us to put in our compostable organic trash/materials and then they will just pick it up on garbage day. Composting in a big city can be a huge challenge so this is amazing news both for my household and neighborhood."

Lois wrote Change the World Wednesday and Customer Service Lives and shares some of her personal accomplishments. One of them is fascinating ... it involves saving paper via the use of a clever paint job. If you have kids (or grandkids), you'll love this idea! Lois also left this comment: "The news has been very depressing as of late. I just finished reading The World We Made a story told from the year 2050 in which the narrator looks back at all the things that had to be done to provide a sustainable world drawing from some of the ideas currently floating around. It helped for a short time to give me a bit of hope although the key component was that all countries would have to work together which I don't see happening any time soon."

In Change the World Wednesday – 14th May, Argentum Vulgaris (AV) shares his good news ... it involves a piece of furniture and his creative "eye". By the way, AV, so glad that Clorinha is back, safe and sound!

Alicia accepted the challenge and shared some great news about her garden: "This is a great challenge. I look forward to hearing all the positive good news!! We always plant a garden each year, most of the time two. We started gardening organically a few years back. To be honest it has been a challenge to keep pests off of our plants since we started gardening this way. Each year we are blessed to discover more new ways to tackle this challenge One way we found was by simply planting marigolds throughout the garden will keep many pests at bay..It makes us feel really good that we are not using terrible pesticides on our herbs and veggies that we will be eating! We upgraded our fridge and washing machine this past year to awesome energy efficient ones. It has made a huge difference! We also have been on a quest to find non GMO foods. Since we grow a lot of what we eat we don't have to fill in with a whole lot but even chips to have with homemade salsa requires a good amount of label reading to find ones made from non GMO corn. Thankfully more and more companies are opting to go that route. Look forward to reading what others have accomplished!"

Katie had a great observation on her recent trip: "We are currently on a beach trip, staying at a house right on the beach, fairly far away from the center of the city. The moon has been so bright at night, like "nature's flashlight." One wouldn't even need man made lights."

CelloMom accepted our challenge and offers this piece of good news: "100MW from 400,000 solar panels: Pakistan’s First Solar Project Is One Of The World’s Largest. One of those leap-frogging moves! We all so need a bit of good news now and then.... "

Earlier, Clare presented us with her own, personal Eco-challenge. This week she shared a brilliant solution. She says, "This is SUCH a great challenge this week! Like you I read a lot and much of the news is very depressing - particularly regarding climate change and apathy towards solving it. So it was really lovely to take 20 minutes out of my busy day and sit in my garden and think about what I've achieved to live greener over the last 4 years since moving to this little tropical island. I sometimes berate myself for not doing more, but when I actually listed what I do, it was more than I realised. Of course that encouraged me to do even more! Oh, and if you remember I was having a problem with clunking rubbish (see - and my neighbour wasn't (much to my chagrin), well, now I've found the solution - my local beer maker accepts them - hooray! Thanks for encouraging us all - again!"

Ecogrrl accepted the challenge and shared this: "My favorite bit of good news this week:"

Deborah stopped by and shared this: "Re: #CTWW - Good News - I was very inspired by Reduce Footprints' recent post on Water Quality. Clearly, safe, clean drinking water is not a given, even in a modern metropolis. My "good news" is that after months of searching and comparing water filtration options for my home, I finally decided upon a safer, healthier, more environmentally-friendly water filtration system and I have written a blog post about the challenges, my journey, and the benefits in this new blog post: "Drink to Your Health: 13 Reasons Why I Love My Berkey Water Filtration System". How is your drinking water? Do you have a water filtration or purification system? What kind of system do you use? How do you feel about it?"

Our Twitter friend, @KrmbalClothing, joined the conversation and shared the following:

- I think The Oatmeal's comic about owning his Tesla Model S is some funny good green news :)
- In the theme of this week's #CTWW Change the World Wednesday call for some good Eco news, we found…

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 @acuriousgal1
@ai_houston @biggreenpen @bkind3
@bstoneblog @chargeenergy2 @collegegogreen
@compingcrazzy @consillium @counselorholley
@crazykids6 @debsmikdav1 @dehelen
@dieselelephants @eatyoga @eco_novice
@ecocountrytable @ecofriendlyfurn @ecothrifty
@erbaviva @factorydpromos @frederickbrooke
@freshcleanersaz @freshgriller @green_vibes
@greensoil @groovygreenlivi @guayaba
@herbgir1972 @hismerecry @junestoyer
@kaitlingarder @kiser_krafts @krmbalclothing
@laalicia @ladyjcmuses @legsetobicoke
@lorcadamon @lovecanal2020 @magnushrm
@mamasmoney @marikokoloco @marjoriemcatee
@michaelinla3 @momfindsout @pamela_o_plays
@pberk @rainvesselsusa @rckweddings
@realityarts @resourceeguru @resourcejobs1
@rosevine3 @rulesofgreen @ruralmoms
@sbs_brands @sensuouspromos @sfcouncil
@spafloating @superbsolutions @tammycurry
@theworld4realz @treesgroup @twicecreations
@ultimate_social @veggiebeet @violetsbuds
@wencdj @whopaysthepiper @witteeme
@women4earth @zenfarmz

My Final Thoughts:

We don't want to live with our heads in the sand. Sometimes, we have to face unfortunate facts. But often, bad news has a downward spiraling effect ... it makes us feel overwhelmed and hopeless. And then we simply stop trying. Good news, on the other hand, is uplifting! And, it's contagious. When we share good news, we encourage others. We let them know that it's possible to live a healthy, green life. And then an interesting thing happens ... everyone tries harder ... everyone looks for ways to be part of the good news. If we focus our positive attention to the environment, we'll all win. Search for good news and share it whenever possible ... amazing things will happen!

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:

Eliminate junk mail.
Junk mail is a waste of time
and resources
Have you stopped junk mail and catalogs from filling your mailbox?

Unfortunately, eliminating these wasteful items is an ongoing effort. Why? Because every time you move, put your name and address "out there", or even pay taxes, your information becomes available to advertisers.

It's been awhile since we've tackled this subject. Sounds like a challenge!

Here you go ...

This week, eliminate junk mail from your life. Here are suggested ways to do so:
  1. Register with the National Do Not Mail List. If you live outside the US, search the Internet using the words "mail preference service" followed by your country.
  2. Register with TrustedID Mail Preference Service (aka Catalog Choice) to discontinue receiving catalogs, credit card offers, etc. Alternately, write to and/or email companies and request that you be removed from their catalog mailing list.
  3. Avoid placing your address on surveys, raffles, and product warranty cards.
  4. Contact your county tax department and ask about making your personal information private.
  5. Before doing business with a company, especially online, ask about how they use your information and request that personal information be kept private and never sold.
  6. Put a sign on your mailbox which says "No junk mail" or "No free papers". In the US, since it is illegal for anyone, other than the letter carrier, to put mail in your box, a sign won't work ... they'll deliver junk mail if it has your address on the label. Americans will need to remove their addresses at the source.
  7. If you've recently moved, re-register with "opt out" services (see items 1 and 2 above). Mail preferences are for specific addresses rather than names so if you move, you'll have to start from scratch and re-register your new address.
  8. Did you know that Consumer Credit Reporting Companies are permitted to include your name on lists which are made available to other companies? Use to stop receiving credit and insurances offers.
  9. Tired of receiving cash advance checks, in the mail, from your credit card company? Call them and ask that they stop sending cash advance checks to you.
  10. When all else fails, recycle junk mail (if you live in an apartment or your mailbox is located near other mailboxes, place a junk mail recycling bin nearby to encourage everyone to recycle).

Are you ready to clean out your mailbox? I know that you are!

Until next time ...