Sunday, January 27, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
In the age of SUV's and McMansions, economist-activist Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future.(Times Books, 2007), contends that the more Americans acquire, the less happy we are, and the more we deplete our environment. To compound this dilemma, developing countries are coming online with our consumptive lifestyles and if they continue to follow our lead, the planet will not be able to support the mass rabid consumerism.
The artistic world has held a concept for many years about good design, "less is more". By scaling back and choosing voluntary simplicity, will we actually discover a better design for our lives? We would certainly have to live more consciously. Studies have shown that shoppers at local farmers markets interact 10 times more than shoppers at a supermarket. Think about your last trip to the grocery store. Did you have even one coversation with anyone except maybe a few words to the cashier and in answering the question, "Paper or plastic?"
McKibben decided to test his theory by proclaiming a year of eating locally for his family. Searching out local food was more time consuming and more thoughtful. McKibben forged new relationships with his community and his neighbors. "The winter permanently altered the way I eat," he said. "It left a good taste in my mouth. That good taste was satisfaction."
Post about it: What do you think about the pace at which we consume to support our lifestyles in America? Should we downsize? Have you taken any steps to downsize your life? What steps, big or small, have you taken to lessen your carbon-footprint impact?
Read about it: Voluntary SimplicityBuzz it up
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is the hierarchy of earth-friendly social action. You want to stay as high on the hierarchy as possible. When it comes to junk mail, that means REDUCE. Here are a couple of websites that can help you reduce the junk mail hitting your mail box.
The first one is catalogchoice.org. This service allows you to pick the catalogs you want and nix the ones you don't. The second service is ProQuo.com. ProQuo helps get your name off of those nasty marketing lists that generate mountains of paper in your mail box.
This tip comes from Chris Pirillo. Website: live.pirillo.com featuring live tech talk.Buzz it up
To date, 772 mayors across the US have signed The U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. The agreement states that cities will try to reduce environmental impacts through various actions, ranging from anti-sprawl land use policies to urban forest restoration project to public information campaigns.
Check the list of signing mayors on The U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Center . Is your mayor listed? If not, you can encourage your mayor to sign by sending the signature page along with your encouragement to make your city part of the effort to protect our environment. You will find the signature page at this link: The U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement - Signature Page.
I am proud to say that my mayor, Jeff Meyers of Shawnee, Kansas is one of 20 mayors to sign the agreement in the Kansas City area. What is your city doing? Encourage your mayor to sign if he/she hasn't signed yet.
Check it out: The Top 10 Greenest CitiesWhat the countries mayors have agreed to do:
- Inventory global warming emissions in City operations and in the community, set reduction targets and create an action plan.
- Adopt and enforce land-use policies that reduce sprawl, preserve open space, and create compact, walkable urban communities;
- Promote transportation options such as bicycle trails, commute trip reduction programs, incentives for car pooling and public transit;
- Increase the use of clean, alternative energy by, for example, investing in “green tags”, advocating for the development of renewable energy resources, recovering landfill methane for energy production, and supporting the use of waste to energy technology;
- Make energy efficiency a priority through building code improvements, retrofitting city facilities with energy efficient lighting and urging employees to conserve energy and save money;
- Purchase only Energy Star equipment and appliances for City use;
- Practice and promote sustainable building practices using the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program or a similar system;
- Increase the average fuel efficiency of municipal fleet vehicles; reduce the number of vehicles; launch an employee education program including anti-idling messages; convert diesel vehicles to bio-diesel;
- Evaluate opportunities to increase pump efficiency in water and wastewater systems; recover wastewater treatment methane for energy production;
- Increase recycling rates in City operations and in the community;
- Maintain healthy urban forests; promote tree planting to increase shading and to absorb CO2; and
- Help educate the public, schools, other jurisdictions, professional associations, business and industry about reducing global warming pollution.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Read the Point/Counterpoint and then add your comments to the blog to let us know how you are using shopping bags and what you think of this growing national debate.
For more on this topic: the plastic bag debate.Buzz it up