Waste increases by 25% over the holidays. What are some things we can do to reduce waste? My tips for a green holiday
*Use “real” plates, silverware and glasses. Plastic party glasses can now be recycled, but reusable is best.
*Cloth napkins reduce waste and add quality to your dinners.
*Wrap gifts in towels, cloth napkins, reusable shopping bags, or reuse a gift bag. Wrap gifts in materials that can be recycled, composted or reused.
*Purchase products that have a minimum of packaging, and have recyclable packaging.
*Compost food scraps
*Use rags instead of paper towels and chemical free cleaners for cleaning.
*After the holidays place your Christmas tree outside for the birds to use for the winter.
*Reduce use of plastic bags, and reuse them if possible. Always recycle clean dry plastic bags.
*Shop with reusable containers that can be filled with bulk purchases.
*Avoid plastic drink bottles and never use Styrofoam REUSE, REUSE, REUSE and then RECYCLE
Congratulations, you are on your way to a “zero waste” home! Please share your ideas for greening the holidays
How many life threatening storms and floods and droughts can we survive?
Many of us are frightened by the drastic changes we have seen in our climate. Climate Change and Fiscal cliff: Two enormous problems. Both are everyone’s problems and we all need to sacrifice and work together to solve them. Now that the price of gas has decreased $ .46 in the past 9 weeks, I am calling on Congress and President Obama to raise the gas tax. Also, we need a commitment from everyone to reduce our fossil fuel consumption by eliminating one automobile trip a week through carpooling, using public transport, combining trips, or walking/biking. Lack of demand would lower the price of gas even more!!
The costs of hurricanes, floods and drought are staggering. And the costs to the victims, and all of us through reconstruction and insurance is becoming enormous. The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut put the cost of Hurricane Sandy at 82 Billion!
I propose a temporary 50 cent tax on gasoline. Not only would this cause individuals to drive less, it could create jobs to work on our crumbling infrastructure, research for more efficient vehicles, transit, and incentives for cleaner air.
The New York Times makes a plea for investment into our infrastructure:
After a non-winter last year, Thanksgiving was unusual on the weather front. It was a warm, sunny day that evolved into an evening winter storm. The night wind and snow blew across the big lake, and all night the waves pounded our rock cliff. Friday morning 4 inches of snow covered everything. The snowy landscape was beautiful and quite a surprise. In a few hours time lake effect flurries became the norm, and winter began. And 5 days later it continues to snow.
Not bothered by the weather change, chickadees, a nuthatch and common red pole are busy at their feeder. Downy woodpeckers are everywhere and the eagles and seagulls fish the lake. These are our local winter birds.
Most plants and seed heads are now covered with snow but the stately little blue stem still stands proud and is unaffected by the severe weather change.
From land you can observe the silhouettes of enormous waves surging far out in the big lake.
The firearm deer season ended on Sunday and maybe some of the wildlife will come out of their hiding spots to explore this new snow covered land.
Buy Local this Holiday
This week we enter the biggest shopping time of the year. Questions we should ask ourselves are: How can we keep dollars in our own communities? What purchasing choices are the best for the health of our families, friends and our planet?
Every holiday season I start with a goal of purchasing USA/Minnesota made products and putting my dollars into companies that match my values for fair wages and good working conditions.
This week I was thrilled at how much local produce I could find at my local coop, and shopped a local craft fair where I purchased items made from recycled and upcycled Minnesota/USA products which put me on track to reach my “Buy local” goals.
These are my suggestions to buy local:
1. Always read all product labels and become aware of where your purchases are coming from. Ask if they are not labeled. It must say “made” not distributed by!
2. Shop craft fairs and your local stores. Let businesses know you are looking for products made in this country or state, and demand they offer you choices. At our house we do not shop “Big Box” and try to patronize businesses that pay a living wage.
3. Shop your own home. What do you have that you can reuse? Remember grandma, and how she did things. Reuse, Reuse Reuse and Reduce-Cut back on the new items and use items in the back of your closet.
Have a wonderful healthy holiday!
We know this congress won’t take on climate change so each of us needs to take personal action instead of blaming a disfunctional political body. Our own health and safety as well as the health of our earth depends on it.
The election is over and repairing and cleaning from Hurricane Sandy is moving along even though not as fast as some wish. Scientists agree our earth is heating up. We can’t stop mega storms from happening, but maybe simple things we do can lessen the intensity. What lessons can we learn, and how can each of us make a smaller footprint?
Today as I was taking the bus into downtown Minneapolis my thoughts turned to how dependent we are on our cars, and the irony of New York City’s Sandy when many in NYC don’t even own cars. They live the epitome of a “public transportation life.” Just imagine, If each of us in solidarity with New York City eliminated one personal car use this week, or consolidated several car trips, what a big difference for our environment with little effort on our part.
Begin a reduction diet from auto emissions. Walk, car pool, bike or take the bus for one or more trips this week, change the status quo, have more fun, and get some exercise, also!
Vote for our earth
My thoughts are with those trying to recover from the terrible devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the worst storm ever experienced by New Jersey. Meteorologists say this is the new normal? This year in Minnesota areas have had 10 inch rainfalls surrounded by serious drought.
Tuesday’s vote is an important vote for our earth. Are we heading backward to deny that climate change exists or will we move forward actions that help our air, water, wildlife, and our own health? President Obama has taken historic action to protect our environment: Such as fuel efficiency standards, increased clean energy, worked with the international community, and he believes in the EPA and FEMA!
Some candidates sound like business can do no wrong. I am sorry business does need regulation. Just observe the recent meningitis crisis, the hazardous waste dumps and the damage fracking is bringing. Studies show the public thinks that business and environmental standards can work together.
Please remember our earth when you cast all your votes on Tuesday. http://content.sierraclub.org/voterguide/
A confetti of colored leaves covers the ground, and a few brilliant gold leaves cling to their trees, but they are falling. Daily a vole works her way around these fallen colorful leaves.
Pileated and downy woodpeckers, are busy finding bugs, and the chickadees, gold and purple finch create an active bird feeder. Palm warblers and Juncos migrate through, and the eagle watches all the activity from his high perch on Lake Superior.
Some plants are showing their last blossoms: red stemmed asters, golden rod, daisy
fleabane, hyssop, and a full Rudbeckia, but the best fall plant is the hardy little blue stem.
Fog rolls in from the lake, and fog horns from ore boats fill the air.
The energetic white-tailed deer are oblivious to what the next weeks will bring as the hunt begins.
And I dream of which pollinating plants I should add next year.