I have been trying to figure out what to do about mailing cards this season. Went to the closet, pulled out two shoeboxes of cards received over the past few years, trying to find all the addresses I’d need.
Then it dawned on me, can’t I put these festive things to good use? I am going to use the picture side of the card (slice off the half with signatures under the greeting) and make them into POSTCARDS that I can drop in the mailbox.
This reduces the paper waste at least in half, because there will be no envelope. Toss in that these are recycled and bam! All I need are stamps.
3.5 million tons of trash rotating in a gyre bigger than Texas in the NE Pacific
80% of it plastic
80% originated on land
Patch has grown tenfold every decade since the 50s. (SF Gate article)
“The U.N. Environment Program estimates that 46,000 pieces of plastic litter are floating on every square mile of the oceans.” (LA Times)
“Derived from petroleum, plastics eventually break down into carbon dioxide and water from exposure to heat and the sun’s ultraviolet rays. On land, the process can take decades, even centuries. At sea, it takes even longer…Seawater keeps plastics cool while algae, barnacles and other marine growth block ultraviolet rays.” (LA Times)
“In the future, the twentieth century will be clearly visible in the geologic record by an indelible layer of plastic, as if a vast rain of synthetic meteorites had crashed to the earth. All we can do is to stop producing more of the stuff. We cannot quit the habit overnight, but slowly we must wean ourselves off this invidiously convenient drug.” (Institute for Figuring)
Excellent article in the LA Times from last year:
“Plague of Plastic Chokes the Seas”
From the San Francisco Gate:
“Continent-size toxic stew of plastic trash fouling swath of Pacific Ocean”
From the Institute for Figuring, the same group that did the Crochet Coral Reef:
“THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH”
But if you read CNN you learn:
“How Nikes, toys and hockey gear help ocean science”
Tis the season to get a heap of unwanted catalogs in my mailbox. What a huuuuge waste of paper! Most are addressed to my apartment’s prior residents. The free service at CatalogChoice.org allows you to select the offending catalog from a list, enter your customer number found near the mailing label, and they do all the rest.
Just purchased TerraPass carbon offsets. One accounts for every flight I have taken in 2007, including my upcoming holiday visits home. They have a handy calculator to figure out how many pounds of CO2 your flights produced. Mine amounted to over 10,000 lbs of CO2.
They had a different calculator to determine the offset for using my car. I drove much more after hurting my ankle than I had in quite some time. My ten-year-old car has 130K+ miles on it, so instead of figuring out how many miles I went this year I just used 12K. I drove those miles at some point anyhow. That is over 8600 pounds of CO2.
This is no substitute for reducing my driving and flying, but it helps make up for it a little by investing in alternative energy. Better than doing nothing.
This Tim Minchin song is hilarious, and so damn catchy that you may never forget your canvas bags again. Honest :)
Live (which I prefer):
Or the music video:
I re-took the quiz today at myfootprint.org and I’m down half a planet :) that is probably mostly from getting my veggies from the CSA this year.
Other things I am currently doing:
- put all my electronic things on power strips that I only turn on when they are in use
- use the tv less than 5 hours per month
- use earth-friendly cleaning products
- use biodegradable kitty litter
- use recycled garbage bags and toilet paper
- recycle glass, plastic, metal, paper at home and work
- pick up recyclable litter when I go for walks
- use only cold water for washing laundry
- vegetarian, with minimal eggs and dairy
- on the green team to make my workplace more earth-friendly
Still I am at 2.3 planets!
Things I could still do:
- eliminate eggs and dairy
- not use the laundry dryer
- cut back computer use especially out of boredom or anxiety
- not buy clothing that isn’t organically made
- cut back driving, as possible as my ankle heals
- take stairs instead of elevators, as possible as my ankle heals
- take shorter showers
- change to compact fluorescent lights
- fly less, which will happen once I change jobs
- buy fewer packaged food products
- buy fewer cosmetics (shame I do this at all)
- cancel the magazine subscriptions I don’t read sent to me by good-intentioned parents
- many more things, I’m sure…
Chicagoans, anybody want to join me tomorrow? Let me know!
I’d love to have some like minds alongside me.
In case you are not familiar with BP’s new plan to dump more toxic crap into Lake Michigan, here is some background info.
WHAT: Flyering at BP stations to let consumers know about BP’s dumping plan.
WHEN: Tomorrow! Saturday, August 11, 2007, starting at noon
WHERE: Environment Illinois office, 407 S. Dearborn, Suite 701,
Chicago, IL 60605 ph. 312-291-0696
You can meet us here in the office for a short how-to session, or just
print the flyer and go to your neighborhood BP station. If you’re
doing the latter, please let us know when and where.
Please RSVP if you haven’t yet to let us get a good count on how many people to expect.
If you’re reading this message from beyond Illinois and can’t make it
to Chicago this weekend, please check out the BP Day of Action events
that our sister organizations Environment Michigan and Wisconsin
Environment are running a BP Day of Action in Michigan and in Wisconsin.
If you still need to print out the flyer, you can download it here.
This goal has been really hard to wrap my head around. When I think about it, it’s really obvious, and there are many concrete ways to get started. But then my normal behavior is so ingrained it doesn’t occur to me in the moments when I make decisions.
I visited the Massive Change exhibit at the Chicago MCA this morning. Very inspiring… still, I need to wrap my head around the decision points and make better choices.