Tag Archives: sustainability

end semester review: Sustainable Me

This post rounds out the completion of a semester’s project.  To bo honest, participating in a blog has gone completely against my nature: I am a very private person, so much so that I do not even commonly use facebook. I am uncomfortable with the notion that these electronic logs will exist long after we pass away, and that the words and thoughts expressed in them can take on a life of their own.

That being said, particpating in SustainableMe has served a purpose: there is much I have learned from my fellow bloggers about little and big changes one can make in life in an effort to make the world more sustainable.

For me, the has coincided with what we have been learning in tandem with our Merchandising class- my userstanding of the concept of sustianablity has gone from basic to analytical. Initially, the word “sustainability” applied only to the environment, but as we proceeded with our lessons, I cam to understand the economic and social aspects as well.

English: Sustainability chart

English: Sustainability chart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That said, I did not accomplish all I had planned to achieve.  I still have a number of “outstanding” agenda points to take care of, such as:

Dansk: Glødepærer med med forskellige fatninge...

Dansk: Glødepærer med med forskellige fatninger: E10, E14 og E27. De to sidstnævnte er købt i Danmark. E10 er en 40 watts glødepære fra Kina og den er svær at finde i Danmark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1.) Properly dispose of my “hazardous waste” recyclables- I have been hording batteries and light bulbs to take to the Richardson Hazardous Waste Recycling Center, the pile keeps growing, but I simply have not been able to make it out of my routine to take the stuff there. But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel- Finals are almost over! Ya Hoo!

 

 

 

Česky: Pitná voda - kohoutek Español: Agua potable

Česky: Pitná voda – kohoutek Español: Agua potable (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2.) Water Conservation– my guest bathroom faucet has a slight drip, which falls back into the sink. It has been driving me nuts, even more so as we have discusses all the water issues throught this learning, and has become a real point of contention between my spouse and myself (he does not see it as a problem, as the water drips back into the sink basin, and our water bills are low). Again- I will steahily have to attack this issue when the time allows- get a few repairmen in, to evaluate the costs of repair, and get some estimates.  As we learned with many “corporations”, sometimes the only way to sell sustainabity improvements is based on a “cost/benefit” analysis, which is what I am going to have to perform for my very frugal husband!

 

 

I feel particularly proud that this project has moved me into a course fo action: for example, joining my child’s elementary school Green Acres Garden board in an effort to launch their school garden and sustainable food program. This will evolve over time, and as the kids are very young, should have lasting impacts until they reach middle school.  It will also give me the chance to learn how to “operationalize” sustainability in the “public works” realm- dealing with multiple stakeholders: school boards, governance bodies, and small companies from which we will be soliciting support, and families.

Learning by Doing

Learning by Doing (Photo credit: BrianCSmith)

God bless you all and have a wonderful “sustainable” holiday season!

Sustainability at the family level: sharing the message with my kids

The EPA was directed to set standards for radi...

The EPA was directed to set standards for radioactive materials under Reorganization Plan No. 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, now that sustainability is a lifestyle change, how do I get my kids to understand what it’s all about?

Well, there are a number of fantastic resources to help “spread the word” at a child’s level:

For example, the EPA themselves offer a number of “games” to play vis a vie using sustainability as the backdrop for action, which I am super excited about as an alternative of letting the munchkins roam free on “barbie” or “disney” . (mind you, these sites off some info as well)

http://www.epa.gov/students/

Teacher Resources and Lesson Plans

As an extension of the EPA’s Environmental Literacy program, they offer an array of environmental and science based lesson plans, activities and ideas.

http://www.epa.gov/students/teachers.html

EPA Resources

External Resources

EPA also has tons of fun games to play and learn about the environment! Here is a snapshot of a few:

Games

Air Quality Index Grades: 3-6 What should you do when the Air Quality Index is orange? Let the chameleons K.C., Koko, and Kool, show you how EPA measures pollution in the air.

Beach Kids Games Grades: 2-4
Visit this site any time of year to play games about beaches.

Detective Training Activities Grades: 3-5 We need your detective skills to help us protect the earth! Solve these mysteries and you’ll learn how you can take care of the environment too!

EEK! Environmental Education for Kids Grades: 2-7 Learn about animals, the earth, and people who work in environmental jobs with this online magazine from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Energy Information for Kids Grades: 3-8 This site has games, riddles, word find/crossword puzzles, and science fair experiments on energy.

Energy Quest Grades: 3-6
Learn more about energy and avoid being an energy vampire!

The Environauts Mission to Earth Grades: 2-5 Help! The planet Ergon is filling up with trash and they need some help…..fast! Can you teach the people of Ergon to protect their environment? I bet you can!

Go with the Flow Grades: 6-9
Let NASA teach you all about the flow of water.

Lose your Excuse Grades: 3-7 Fun games and activities that teach about energy conservation.

NASA’s new Climate Kids website Grades: 3-7 Geared toward students, the multimedia-rich Climate Kids site uses games, humorous illustrations and animations to help break down the important issue of climate change.

National Institute of Environmental Health Science Grades: 1-4 Games, puzzles, art, and more — all about science, the environment, and environmental careers.

Nonpoint Source Pollution Awareness Word Search Puzzle Grades: 6-9 Can You Find The Words?

Recycle CityGrades: 2-6 Explore Recycle City to see how the people of the town reduce waste, use less energy, and even save money by doing simple things at home, at work, and in their neighborhoods.

Roofus’s Solar and Energy Efficient Home Grades: 3-6 Learn how to be energy efficient at home.
Sewage in Your Face  Grades: 2-6 Get to the bottom of sewage in an interactive and fun way.

Sort Mania Grades: 2-6 This interactive game teaches you how to recycle.

Thirstin’s Word Scramble Game Grades: 2-4 In this animated game, you’ll unscramble words to show how much you know about water.

UV Radiation Crossword Puzzle Grades: 4-7 If you’re good with words, and think you know all about ultraviolet radiation (or want to learn), then you’re sure to enjoy this crossword puzzle.

Waste no Words Grades: 4-7 How much do you know about garbage and recycling? Find out in this totally awesome crossword puzzle!

Water Stewardship Grades: 3-7
Check out some of these games, virtual models and fun water activities made just for YOU!

What’s Wrong with this Picture? Grades: 5-8
Can you find all the ways that we pollute the water around us? Click on the picture to learn about some of the most common things to avoid.

Cool Stuff

The Groundwater Story Grades: 1-3 Animated music video about the the water “down below”, its importance to living things and how to help protect this hidden resource.
Interactive Water Cycle Grades: 1-4 In this animated activity, you control the water cycle as you learn.

Loop Scoops Grades: 1-5 Loop Scoops are short, funny videos to get you thinking about the stuff in your life and what this stuff can do to the environment.

Planet Protectors On-Line Coloring Book Grades: 1-2 Do you like to color? Do you like to color on-line? Visit this page and you’ll find a really awesome picture that you can color over and over again!

WaterSense Kids Page Grades: 3-7
Thirsty for knowledge about water?

Yucky Worm World Grades: 3-7 Learn about worms and what they do for our environment.

Another great site is National Geographic Little Kids, which also offers a number of resources and literature on the matter: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/games/actiongames/recycle-roundup/

The 1st PBS Kids ident. Used from August 2, 19...

The 1st PBS Kids ident. Used from August 2, 1993 to August 31, 1999. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PBS kids, another mom favorite, has launched an online program called “meet the greens” to help inspire daily participation on this issue:

http://pbskids.org/loopscoops/

http://meetthegreens.pbskids.org/info/

http://meetthegreens.pbskids.org/episode7/

The GREENS is a site for kids from WGBH about sustainability and green living. You might know WGBH as the maker of shows like Frontline, NOVA, Masterpiece Theatre and Antiques Roadshow. Or maybe you’ve seen ZOOM or Arthur or Curious George on TV. We make those shows too.

The GREENS is a different kind of project because it has launched online. It’s not a TV show, at least not yet. The GREENS promotes a strong educational mission, something that is consistent with all of WGBH’s work.

With The GREENS, kids get thinking about the world and their place in it. The GREENS project is upbeat and optimistic. It encourage kids to make informed choices and meaningful changes. Through the animated episodic adventures, a blog, kids’ mail, and regular updates,the program explores green living, sustainability, ecology, environmental care, and social equity. It nudges kids to research, to challenge, to discover, and to take action whereever and whenever they can. Green Business named the program as one of the “Ten Best Environmental Sites on the Web.” The GREENS is a partner with PBS KIDS GO, National Geographic Educational Foundation, Project 3650, TVO Kids, and Zerofootprint.

The characters: Izz and Zoë, Zoë and Izz

Not only is a young woman named Zoë the voice of Izz in its videos, games and iPhone app, she’s also the main inspiration for The GREENS. Zoë’s own efforts to re-use, recycle, inspire, and greenify the world have found their way into the animated stories and blog entries in The GREENS over the years: Her bake sales for green causes, donating her bike, redirecting her birthday gifts to charity donations, conserving water at home, and supporting projects abroad like Beads for Life. The GREENS has often followed Zoë on her travels and everyday exploits, to her school, and even to her local town dump to see where the saved items go. Izz and Zoë even share a vague angst about squirrels. But it’s Zoë’s enthusiasm for the planet that has brought a real touch of reality and passion to Izz and this animated project.

For Teachers

The site has created Green Games and a rich array of supporting content. The games are entertaining ways to engage kids in learning about conservation, re-use, and saving energy. The service encourages students to explore our Web site, enter their own data in the Carbon Calculator, and write back to share their own stories about being green. One can also download the GREENS Activity Guide, which offers projects that can be done in class or after school.

For more information:

PLASTIC STATE OF MIND (Empire State of Mind Parody)  Another highly entertaining take on the raising awareness in the side of “critical rhetoric” is this viral piece which speaks to the “dangerous” use of  plastic bags in our society.  The piece is highly satirical, it’ll have you rolling, but raises a good point. You can Share this comedy musical w/ the family from Green Sangha: http://bit.ly/greensanghaplastics

Uploaded by BenZolno on Nov 16, 2010, http://youtu.be/koETnR0NgLY

Made by passionate volunteers on a super tiny budget, on the behalf of Green Sangha! www.GreenSangha.org/​plastics-campaign/​
and http://www.NewMessageMedia.com/​contact/​

LYRICS
Shoulda brought your own bag
Yeah but you forgot it though
You were busy dreamin of ice cream and
all that cookie dough

Your life is wrapped in plastic
Convenience is your motto
But plastic addiction’s worse
than they want you to know

BP’s oil spill
Almost like we did it –
We use one million grocery-bags
every single minute

Recycling them’s a joke yo
That baggie don’t go anywhere
It turns to little pieces
and then it spreads over everywhere

Into your food supply
Into your blood supply
Not to mention birds and fish and
Cuties you don’t wanna die

Just look at baby Sammy
Dioxins in its milky way,
cuz even her breast milk it’s got
PCB and BPA

OK now you get it
How you gonna stop it though
Banning Single Use Plastic Bags
is the way to go!

Join other states and cities
Kick the nasty habit
Tell your representatives
Ban single-use bags made from

Chorus:
Plastic
Fossil product all your crap’s made of
There’s one thing we can do
Ban bags made of plastic
Skip the bag, the cup and spork dude
Convenience will kill you
Ban single use plastic toxic bags

Bridge:
Sustainably we go forth and save our cities
Bringing your own bag and forks and bottles should be easy
But corporations selling toxins bought the government
Stand together for yourself, your kids, the planet sayin’

Yeah, yeah,
Ban single-use bags made of

Chorus:
PLASTIC
Fossil product all your crap’s made of
There’s one thing we can do
Ban bags made of plastic

Bring your own don’t you forget dude
And let your reps know too
Ban single use plastic toxic bags!

FAQ
Q: How many plastic bags were used in this video, eh? Mm? Eh?
A: We asked volunteers to bring in only used bags they found lying around outside, and other plastic bags were part of the bag monster costumes. After the shoot, the bags went back to the homes or put back onto the costume.

Sometimes we have to do environmental harm to have a larger benefit, e.g take an airplane to Washington DC to help pass effective pollution emissions policy, but in the case of this plastic bag video, we didn’t have to do so.

Ben Zolno – Writer/Lyricist/Director/Bag Boy/Editor
Glenn Sauber – Shopper
AshEl Eldridge – Rapper http://seasunz-and-jbless.bandcamp.com/
Jenni Perez – Singer
Bex Kanengiser – Cashier
Many awesome Green Sangha volunteers – Shoppers

Amy English – Production Coordinator, AD
David Nakabayashi – DP
Harrison Pierce – Consultant, Animatic, AC
Bo Cox – Camera Op
Seneca – Rap Recording Engineer
Colin Menzies – Working Music Track
Amurai http://bit.ly/amuraipsm – Final Music Track and Mastering

Sponsored by
Good Earth Organic – http://bit.ly/goodearthorganicpsm
To-Go Ware – http://bit.ly/togowarepsm
Chico Bag – http://bit.ly/chicobagplastic
People Towels – http://bit.ly/peopletowelspsm
Sponsorship Coordinator – Carrie Staller sustainablesales at g mail dot com
NEWS FLASH: Congrats to ITALY going Single-Use-Bag Free On New Year’s Day

Introduction: Why Sustainability? What does Sustainability Mean to Me?

Image

For my family and I, sustainability is a lifestyle decision, a filter which we use to evaluate all of our purchase patterns and choices, whether they about our environmental, consumption, or transportation decisions.  As a parent, I am very conscious regarding the fact of how my example of stewardship will impact my children’s future and the generations which follow.

Background

My “earth” connection probably began in my childhood- where we had a small single acre garden in our backyard where we grew a variety of vegetables for our personal use and consumption.  Often times, whether due to rabbits, birds, dear, or just us overly eager children, the fruits of our harvest never made it to the dinner table.

Both my grandparents had large gardens of their own, and we would often hear about life during the war, when they as “baby boomers” were very involved in canning and rationing. Those stories of self sacrifice for the greater good, how to make do with less, had a profound impact on my psyche, and began to surface once I started my own family years later.

Conclusion

We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go.  There are so many opportunities for me to improve- such as really analyzing my families’ water consumption or reviewing our energy outputs due to potentially outmoded appliances.

But one has to crawl before they can walk- my first task will be to finally haul off all those light bulbs and batteries that no longer work to the designated hazardous waste disposal facility, as detailed by the city in which I live.

I recommend we all take a look at what our own cities offer as aids to help “raise the bar” when it comes to applying sustainability into our daily lives.