Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Presidential Debates and Sustainability

Politics will always be a sensitive subject for most people. Especially in these changing times….opinions are stronger than ever. That being said A Sustainable LIFE will reserve comment issues surrounding the coming election. We will however share unpartisan interesting info when we find it.  

I think this analysis by Mother Nature Network (MNN) is worthy of sharing. MNN took a look at the last five elections and analyzed the changing environmental priorities. They combined the presidential transcript debates of the last 20 years and made word clouds! These clouds highlight the most frequently used terms. I love the way some environmental terms are used year after year while others have been added or scrapped.

2008 — Sen. John McCain (R) and Sen. Barack Obama (D)
 
• Full word cloud:
 
 
• Environmental word cloud:
 
 
2004 — President George W. Bush (R) and Sen. John Kerry (D)
 
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• Environmental word cloud:
 
 
2000 — Gov. George W. Bush (R) and Vice President Al Gore (D)
 
• Full word cloud:
 
 
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1996 — President Bill Clinton (D) and Sen. Bob Dole (R)
 
• Full word cloud:
 
 
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1992 — President George H.W. Bush (R), Gov. Bill Clinton (D) and businessman Ross Perot (I)
 
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Meatless Monday

Here are some fun facts about our Meatless Monday veggie of the day, Broccoli. Broccoli is one of the healthiest green vegetables. It’s versatile, inexpensive and tastes great.

Broccoli has been cultivated for more than 2000 years. Cultivation is believed to have originated in Calabria, Italian. This is the origin of the Italian name “Calabrese.”

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, and Kale are all of the exact same species of plant! Many folks don’t believe this as they look so different…. but how does a Poodle compare to a Great Dane?

The name “broccoli” comes for the Latin word brachium, which means “branch,” or “arm.” Broccoli has only been grown in America for about 200 years and for much of that time it was considered exotic. Until the 1920’s, broccoli was virtually unknown by most Americans. Broccoli production in the U.S. increased 700% between 1971 and 1991 and is continuing today.

Broccoli is a “cool weather” crop and does poorly in hot weather. Because it is tolerant to cold, it is available year ’round in the U.S.

The American film producer, Albert R. Broccoli, (April 5, 1909 – June 27, 1996) famous for producing the James Bond movies, claimed his family invented Broccoli. This has been judged a highly dubious claim by most experts.

Broccoli comes in a variety of colors, ranging from deep sage all the way to dark green and purplish-green.

Tom “Broccoli” Landers  holds the current world record for eating 1 pound of broccoli in 92 seconds.

Source: Swampy Acres Farm
Photo: Electric Tree House

Feature Friday

ATide laundry detergent podss a mother of a young child I thought this was something worthy of sharing with the LIFE community. It seems that there is an alarming new trend of children being poisoned after eating colorful, bite-sized and delicious-looking laundry detergent packs. It seems that  the squishy/colorful/bite-sized/delicious-looking nature of  Tide Pods is just too tempting for many curious tykes to resist. Reports of toddlers mistaking the capsules for candy, eating them and falling gravely ill continue to rise. Ken Wahl, medical director for the IllinoisPoisonCenter states: “I’ve never seen a consumer product that had that degree of injury in a child.” If you purchase laundry pods please make sure they’re stored in child-proof containers or out of the reach of your little ones.

Source: Mnn.com

 

Apple Drops Green Program

I’m not what most would consider a “gadget guru”. I enjoy the convenience of technology but I don’t have to have the latest and greatest. I replace the gadgets that get broken but I will not buy a new item simply because it’s a newer model. In today’s society I’m probably in the minority as lots of people sleep outside and wait in long lines to buy new products when they hit the stores.

I wonder what those folks think about Apple’s decision to no longer comply with environmental standards set by EPEAT. EPEAT is a certifier and global registry for environmentally conscious electronics and is backed by the EPA. In the past Apple has held a gold rating from the organization.

Although there are two sides to every story, rumor has it that since MacBook batteries can no longer be removed the machines are unable to be recycled. Because of this the computers don’t meet EPEAT standards.

This move comes as a shock since Apple has spent so much time and energy “greening” its head quarters. Apple fans…..what do you think about this?

Source: Ecorazzi.com

Wordless Wednesday

Source: Favim.com

Interview with a small business owner- Eco Salon and Spa

I think it’s great when I come across a small business owner doing good things for the environment. Not because of regulations, but because it’s the right thing to do. Kristina Green, owner of Eco Salon and Spa has discovered that a little environmental stewardship can go a long way.

eco salon and spas - environmentally conscious salon and spa

Tell me about your business.

Eco Salon and Spa is a full service salon/ spa with an upscale atmosphere @ an affordable price.

Even the name of your salon reinforces your commitment to the environment. As a small business owner what prompted you to go green?

I feel that no matter how small, every effort counts. I love and appreciate the beauty of our planet. A journey of many miles begins with a single step. Together, small business owners can have a positive impact on our environment.

Your website mentions that your 5-year goal is to become completely Eco-Friendly. That’s a pretty commendable goal. How do you plan to accomplish this?

Our 5 year goal: We are continuously looking for ways to improve our environmental contributions. Our plan includes eliminating paper magazines in the salon by replacing them with tablets (like the Kindle), Adding an in house filtration system that would allow us to conserve water use, and partnering with our vendors to host events that will raise awareness.
What challenges have you faced in finding eco-friendly hair and skin care products?

Finding eco friendly skin and hair products hasn’t been as challenging as it may seem. Many manufacturers are aware of the evolving mindset of the average consumer, and they are developing products to fill the desires of these consumers. All of our products are not completely organic, however, they are all environmentally conscious. The packaging is able to be recycled and none of the products are tested on animals.

Have you always been eco-conscious, for example do you recycle/compost at home?

I have not always been eco-conscious. Over the years I have grown to appreciate the beauty of our planet. I have realized that small efforts can make a big difference. I have children now and I would like to leave a healthy planet for them and their children to enjoy. I do recycle at home, but no compost. Not yet.

What type of feedback have you been receiving from your customers regarding your environmentally themed salon? How do you involve your clients in reaching your goals?

My clients love that we are concerned about the environment. We involve them with our recycle program. We sell an organic oil that is a part of our regimen. All of our clients have this oil and must cover their hair with it prior to their appointments @ the salon. The bottles that we use to package the oil costs us about .25 each, but if our clients return the bottles for refills instead of purchasing new ones, we give them a $1.00 off discount.

Change is not always easy….or convenient….what tips do you have for other companies that would like to “go green” ?

My advice to other companies is to start small. Make small changes that you know you can be consistent with. Once you make the small change a habit, move to the next change.

How has going green improved your business?

Going green has improved my business, because people like to support those who take responsibility for the planet. People like to support good causes. My customers are proud to say that they are a part of our movement.

Anything you would like to add?
I would just like to add a thank you to you, for taking the time to focus on our company. Thank you for caring about the planet, and thank you for highlighting our efforts.

Read more of Kristina’s Story at EcoSalonandSpas.com and remember If you know of a small business owner doing great things for the environment contact the Office of Sustainability. We’d love to share their story!

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Why we don’t recycle glass

Each week I am asked by a member of our community why we don’t recycle glass. I found a great letter by Debbie Brady (Sanitation Department) to the people of  Pocatello, Idaho. If I had to write a letter to the people of LIFE it would read much like this.

Not a day goes by that I don’t get asked why glass isn’t collected with the City of Pocatello ‘s recycling program. The City initially had a drop off glass recycling program in 1991. It was discontinued when the cost of collection and transportation to the markets exceeded the value. This is still true today. Our local recycle companies do not accept glass for recycling because 1) there isn’t a local market; and 2) it is too expensive to ship due to the weight. In addition with the co-mingled curbside recycling program, there is a concern that the glass will break during the collection process and contaminate the rest of the recycle materials collected.

I also want to share some additional insight into the issues of glass recycling. During the months of September through December last year, a feasibility study was conducted by the City’s Division of Science and Environment on the potential to develop a glass recycling program within the community. Ultimately, the study determined that no effort should be taken at this time until a more consistent and stable local market for the use of recycled glass cullet exists. Further, the study also revealed the need to conduct more extensive research on the possibility of developing a glass recycling program, complete with a thorough quantitative analysis to gain full perspective of the potential for such a program.

The thing about glass is that glass is made from sand so it is not going to hurt the air, the land, and the water. It takes up space – that’s it. So you have to calculate the cost and the environmental impact of making new glass versus the cost of recycling old glass to turn it into new. Many people argue that the carbon footprint of the trucks and equipment used to collect, store, handle, sort, ship and process glass into new bottles negates most, if not all, of the environmental benefits of recycling glass.

When comparing the environmental benefit of recycling, glass is dead last among all common recyclables. It takes 23 glass bottles with a total weight of 10 pounds to deliver the same environmental benefit as recycling 6 empty aluminum cans with a weight of 3 ounces, or a pound of newspaper, plastic or tin. This is due to the cost of processing/shipping and the carbon footprint associated with the collection and distribution. A community’s proximity to optical sorting and glass manufacturing facilities plays a key role in calculating the return on investment in managing glass.

The City’s Sanitation Department is concerned about the amount of trash that is disposed of in the landfill. As a result, we are always willing to look at cost effective, long term solutions to the disposal of glass. There may come a time when recycling glass is feasible for us and our local recycling companies, but it probably won’t be in the near future.