Joining us is Denise Hamler from Green America. An organization who’s vision is to work for a world where all people have enough, where all communities are healthy and safe, and where the bounty of the Earth is preserved for all the generations to come. www.GreenAmerica.org
Today’s conversation is with Christina O’Brien from SISR Architecture located in Marlow, NH. They provide sustainable building solutions for a healthy environment, innovative planning and design ideas, and socially Responsive answers and advice to their clients’ questions.
Christina O’Brien, AIA
Born and raised in Niagara Falls, New York, I lived in Buffalo for several years after graduating from the State University of NY at Buffalo with a Masters degree in Architecture. Fascinated with history, I found myself working for a local archaeologist doing historic map and deed research, and even some field work digging in the dirt. But after a year and a half of that, and starting to feel the need to put my degree to good use, I found a job at an architecture firm doing residential and commercial renovations and additions. But as city life started to wear on us, my husband and I decided to move to the country and fell in love with New Hampshire. We are now happy to be raising our young son in this beautiful state.
The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA demonstrates that it is possible to operate a top notch hospital while also going green. With a lot of people that want to do what’s right. Changing how things are done. It comes down to scrutinizing every choice and purchase for the right reasons.
- They started with 1 sustainability coordinator, Beth Lipman – Her job was to make the hospital more efficient, but without any additional staff or money.
- 9,000 staff and a million sq ft of office space
- Throws out 15.7 pounds of material per patient per day (including outpatients)
- The hospital saved $236,000 in 2010, $309,000 in 2011, $308,000 in just the first half of 2012
A few ways they are eliminating waste
- Sent 1.5 tons of food to the compost pile every week, mainly by scraping the leftovers off of patient trays. (It goes to a farm north of the city)
- Begun to eliminate the delivery of 50 tons of medical journals, mostly by canceling subscriptions sent to doctors who no longer work at the hospital.
- By replacing disposable plastic water pitchers with reusable plastic mugs in its maternity wards, BIDMC has reduced its hydration supplies by 20 percent.
These are just a few examples of what can be done to reduce waste.
Did you know the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year. That’s a total of nearly 3.7 million tons of copy paper used annually in the U.S. and it translates to over 700 billion sheets.
Here are a few simple ways you can personally reduce your paper usage:
- Print double-side – Use both sides of the paper for printing, copying, writing, and drawing when possible
- Reuse paper that is printed on one side
- Minimize misprinting paper in your copy machine and printer by posting a diagram near them so you can easily remember which side goes up or down
- Use efficient copying- use the size reduction feature to use less paper
- Don’t print out draft documents; review, edit, and share on screen
If you like to eat meat but also care about the treatment of farm animals, you’re in good company. A growing number of meat eaters are turning away from factory farms and buying meat from farms that raise animals with dignity.
And joining me today is Caroline Abels from humaneitarian.org to enlighten us on this amazing movement.
Caroline Abels is the founder/editor of Humaneitarian, a project that inspires meat eaters to switch to humanely raised meat. She’s been a humaneitarian since 2009. A Vermont resident, she is also the editor of Vermont’s Local Banquet, a quarterly magazine about food and farming. She has worked on a number of livestock and poultry farms in Vermont, and is particularly interested in America’s rare heritage breeds.
Studies reveal that each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas waste in the U.S. increases 25%. Here are 11 key ways your can reduce your holiday impact and add less waste to your local landfill. That means more than 1 million tons of additional waste is generated each week nationwide over this holiday time.
In fact, 38,000 miles of ribbon alone is thrown out each year–enough to tie a bow around the Earth.
1. Bring your reusable cloth bags gift shopping with you and you’ll help prevent more plastic bags from entering your local landfill.
2. Wrap gift isn recycled or reused wrapping paper. Or my favorite use newspaper and the comic pages for the kids. After everyone opens their gifts, save the paper and reuse it next year. (Yes everyone in my home is used to me very carefully opening each gift so I don’t tear the paper. Some of our wrapping paper has been reused for over 10 years now. It’s kind of fun to read all the crossed out names and reminisce who received the paper before)
3. Large gifts don’t need to be wrapped in all that paper. How about a scavenger hunt. Hide the large present somewhere in the home and then pass out a series of clues for the recipient to follow in order to gather his or her gift. It sure can be a lot of fun.
4. Send holiday cards made from recycled paper. This way you’ll reduce the amount of virgin paper used during the holidays. An estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards are sold each year in the United States, enough to fill a football field 10 stories high.
5. Or send electronic greeting cards and completely reduce paper waste. Just don’t send the same card to everyone in one bulk mailing. That feels so cold and uncaring. Take the time to send one at a time just like you would if you were mailing them. A great waste-free alternative.
6. Remember to recycle any holiday cards you receive.
7. Are you giving any gifts that require batteries? If so, buy rechargeable batteries and a changer. This way all those used batteries won’t end up in the local landfill. Did you know about 40% of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. That’s a lot of batteries. Plus, rechargeable batteries can save money in the long run.
8. Approximately 33 million live Christmas trees are sold in North America every year. That is a lot of waste when the holiday is over. Check with your town to see if they are collecting trees to chip them up.
9. To help save a tree and prevent waste, you can also buy a live potted tree and plant it after the holidays. Or rent a tree – http://www.livingchristmas.com, http://plantman.com/live-christmas-tree.html
10. Gather the family together and host a create-your-won decorations party! Why buy more decorations, when you can make some pretty amazing creations from old greeting cards, cookie dough, garlands made from strung popcorn or cranberries, potpourri made from kitchen spices like cinnamon and clovers.
11. Make wreaths from artificial greens and flowers. This way you can use it year after year, No waste
So let’s come together to help reduce the more than 1 million tons of additional waste that will be generated during this holiday season.
I look forward to seeing you in the next episode. Until then enjoy your day and the world around you.
Why are you spending so much time out shopping this holiday season? That’s a silly question, Cause you love your family and friends and want to buy them special gifts they can cherish for years to come.
But would you agree, it’s also important to buy from reputable companies that treat their employees fairly, sell quality products produced in an ethical manner, and of course a company that cares about their impact on the community and world around them.
I just received an email from Green America who has a mission to harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.
The email is to remind us that “Amazon.com may be the #1 online retailer in the world, but when it comes to sustainable practices this company is at the bottom of the barrel. Amazon won’t even track its carbon emissions and has no plan to reduce them, and its warehouse workers make less than Walmart’s. If you plan to shop online for your loved ones this season, choose a responsible company that cares about the quality of the products they sell you, their employees, and the impact they have on the earth.”
Here are some amazing alternatives to Amazon:
Ecoplum – ecoplum.com
Is the green shopping rewards site with eco friendly products and green living ideas that makes it fun, easy and reward to go green. Featured them in episode # 52
Books, Audio Books, DVDs
Operates a fleet of biodiesel-powered trucks, purchases wind power, and generates electricity from solar panels on their roof.
Better World Books betterworldbooks.com
Books, e-books, DVDs
By circulating previously owned merchandise,has recycled over 216 million pounds of books and offset 44,000 tons of carbon emissions.
Viva Terra vivaterra.com
Eco home décor, accessories,artisan goods
Offers a wide range of organic, all-natural, fair-trade, artisan-made, recycled, chemical-free products, all made in the USA.
Artisan-made crafts, jewelry, art
Connects shoppers directly with sellers of artisan-made crafts, jewelry, and art. Robust environmental reporting program ensures the company minimizes their resource use and carbon footprint.
Ten Thousand Villages tenthousandvillages.com
Fair Trade arts and crafts, jewelry, music, food
Handmade art, jewelry, and textiles are focused on providing equitable returns to artisans in developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.
Terra Experience terraexperience.com
Fair Trade Mayan arts and crafts
Supports environmental education in supplier countries, uses energy efficient technologies, post-consumer recycled paper, hybrid vehicles, and website hosted by 100% wind power.
Fair Trade gifts
All products are handmade, often locally, and are shipped using recycled paper, packaging material, and boxes.
Fair Trade/Eco Clothing
Makes high-quality clothing honoring both the people and the planet from natural and organic fibers such as cotton, silk, wool, alpaca, and Tencel; committed to using environmentally-friendly dyes.
Maggie’s Organics maggiesorganics.com
Fair Trade, organic clothing
All clothes are made with certified organic fibers, fair labor practices, using low-carbon production methods.
Equal Exchange equalexchange.coop
Fair Trade coffee, tea, chocolate
Imports organic coffee, tea, chocolates, candy bars, cocoa, sugar, nuts, cereal bars, bananas, and olive oil. Helps sustain 75 farmer co-ops in 30 countries.
Green Pages Online greenpages.org
Everything green—home décor, clothing, jewelry and beyond. Thousands of great gift ideas!
The over 3,000 businesses listed on GreenPages.org have undergone a rigorous certification for social and environmental sustainability.
There are better ways to shop online. Download Green America’s cheat sheet with direct links to each website:
Thanksgiving is upon us and folks will be coming together to celebrate. As you give thanks for all the amazing people and things in your life; family, friends, health, employment, etc., remember to also give thanks for Mother Nature and the amazing world around us. After all without the environment there would be no food on your plate.
Along with all this celebration comes lots of trash; everything from paper & plastic plates, utensils, beverage cans & bottles, uneaten foods, and the list goes on. Thousands and thousands of pounds of waste will needlessly end up in the local landfill by the end of the day.
According to https://www.dosomething.org. “Here in the U.S. The average Turkey Day dinner travels 1500 miles to get to your table.” That is a lot of wasted travel since everything you need can be purchased right in your own community.
The mission of today’s podcast is not to take away your fun, but in fact to expand your joy. Think of how nice it can be to enjoy the company of family and friends by hosting a green and grateful Thanksgiving. One that uses minimum disposable items and generates barely if not any waste that is put into the landfill.
Here are a few easy ways you can enjoy a green and grateful Thanksgiving.
1. Serve a Healthy Turkey. Most commercial turkeys are given hormones to speed up their growth, injected with antibiotics to resist disease, and fed grains that are covered in pesticides. Serve your family and guests a locally grown or Heritage Breed Turkey. Discover more about Heritage Breed Turkey’s http://albc-usa.etapwss.com/index.php/resources/internal/heritage-turkey
2. Buy Locally Grown Side Dishes. Support your local farmer by selecting side dishes that can be purchased from local farmers. Many communities have farmers markets you can shop at and this is a great way to support your local farmer and neighbor who’s working hard everyday to bring you healthy, high quality foods. Also when shopping, remember to bring your reusable shopping bags with you.
3. Use Real Dinnerware. Why serve the meal on a flimsy paper plate, a yucky plastic plate, or worse yet a styrofoam plate (which lives in the earth for over 1,000 years). Your guests deserve so much better and so does the earth.
Skip using paper or plastic plates, serve the meal on real dishes instead and eliminate all that waste.
“If every family in the U.S. bought one less package of paper plates a year, we could save almost half a million trees.”
If you don’t have enough silverware for everyone, ask your guests to bring their own place settings or use cutlery made of sugarcane or corn. Say no to plastic utensils.
4. Decorate with Nature. Instead of buying paper and plastic decorations use your imagination and create your own eco-friendly table decorations. Select items (Pinecones, branches, colorful leaves, etc) from your backyard or from the park down the road. Natural items can look so pretty as a centerpiece.
5. Share the Extra Food. Most families prepare far more food than can be consumed in one sitting, therefore how about asking everyone to bring a takeout container they can fill it with leftovers to bring home. No need to use plastic wrap and zip lock bags that are only going to eventually end up in the landfill and pollute the earth.
6. Compost the Food Scraps. No need to toss the food waste in garbage when composting can turn your organic matter into high quality soil. If you don’t compost yourself, no worries recruit someone from the party who is composting, and have them take it home. Most compositors are excited to get more waste that turns into brown gold for their gardens.
7. Give back. When shopping and preparing your Thanksgiving meal, buy extra items and donate them to your local food pantry. This way all your neighbors can fill their tummies and enjoy the day as well.
8. Say Thank You. Thanksgiving is a perfect time to say thank you to those that matter most in your life. Sometimes life can be shorter than we expect, so take this opportunity to call, email or write them a note (on recycled paper of course) and say thank you for all the ways they have touched your life.
Enjoy your time with family and friends and be proud you took these simple steps in keeping more trash out of your local landfill. You are one step closer to enjoying a greener, cleaner lifestyle.
I’ll see you in the next episode. Until then enjoy your day and the world around you
Local Harvest: Find a Farmer’s Market near you – http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/
Heritage Breed Turkey’s – www.HeritageBreeds.org
Talking Hergonomics™ with Ann Adams and Liz Brensinger owners of Green Heron Tools. Discover why these tools designed specially for women are easiest, safest, more comfortable, and most effective for women.
Let’s Face it, Women’s bodies are different from men’s and our tools should be, too. Ladies, this means no more struggling with heavy cumbersome tools that are hard to use. Listen to this podcast to learn more and visit www.greenherontools.com to check out their amazing tools.
Ann Adams & Liz Brensinger are founders and co-owners of Green Heron Tools, LLC, the first company in the world dedicated to scientifically designing agricultural tools and equipment appropriate for women. Avid organic gardeners, they spent 15+ years as small-scale farmers prior to starting Green Heron Tools. With master’s degrees in nursing (Ann) and public health education (Liz), they have researched the tool-related needs and preferences of women gardeners and farmers throughout the U.S. and presented numerous workshops to gardeners and farmers. Their company has received two USDA Small Business Innovation Research grants, the first of which funded development of HERShovel, a hybrid shovel-spade designed specifically for women. They hope to introduce a safer, more user-friendly alternative to the walk-behind rototiller in 2015.
Green Heron Tools, LLC
High-quality tools, gear, equipment & apparel for women farmers & gardeners
Ann Adams & Liz Brensinger, owners
6239 Schochary Rd.
P.O. Box 71
New Tripoli, PA 18066
Customer service (610) 844-5232
Joining us today is Tam Hunt, owner of Community Renewable Solutions, a consultancy and law firm specializing in community-scale renewables.
I came across his article 5 different ways to invest in renewable energy at green tech media.com and thought it would be a great topic for us to learn more about.
“Tam Hunt is founder and owner of Community Renewable Solutions LLC, a renewable energy consulting and project development firm based in Santa Barbara, California. Hunt is a lawyer and received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 2001. He is a regular columnist for www.greentechmedia.com and teaches climate change law and policy at UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management.”