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Lisa Seyfried's blog

Happy World Water Day!

Today is World Water Day -- a day each year when the world's water activist community holds events and discussions about the state of the world's water.  This year's theme was Water for Cities.  I had the opportunity to attend a symposium held at George Washington University on this topic.  While the presenters ranged from everything from new innovations in water supply to the urban poor to managing stormwater in DC, the underlying theme was conservation.  How can we supply people in the world without water while managing and conserving our own use of water?

What I found to be the most interesting part of this symposium was the presentation by George Hawkins, General Manager for DC Water (the DC water utility company).  He began his talk by pointing out that 1) water is something that everyone needs, 2) we don't know what to do when the water is turned off, and 3) that most people have no concept of where their water comes from and where it goes once they use it. 

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A Book Club Session with Colin Beavan (No Impact Man)

Reminder: Personal Choice Can Have an Impact!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to lead a book club session with author Colin Beavan (No Impact Man).  The book follows his journey to reduce the impact he and his family have on the environment.  He starts with the simple things like using reusable grocery bags and biking to work everyday, but then gets really serious about the no impact plan and takes his apartment 'off the grid,' using solar power to power the few things they needed (like his computer for writing).  ... read more

More To Those Bags Than Meets the Eye

As I've been doing my Christmas shopping this year, running from store to store looking for the perfect gift for people (yes I know it's early -- I like doing it early so I have time to change my mind!), I've been thinking about reusable bags.  When home in DC, I swear by them and take them everywhere with me.  Doing Black Friday shopping in my small hometown in Pennsylvania, the thought never crossed my mind.  

So this got me thinking: are reusable bags more than just a simple way to 'go green'? Have they morphed into some kind of urban elitist thing or a status symbol of some kind?... read more

Reclaiming Wastewater Is Good, Right?

I just read this blog post over at Ecocentric about reclaiming wastewater from communities and using it in power plants.  As I started reading, it seemed like the perfect use of recycling.  Why not use waste water in power plants? Power plants suck up gallons and gallons of water per day that could be used for drinking or other domestic uses.  There is a limited supply of freshwater available, and power plants should not be sucking up the biggest portion of that.   

As I continued reading, it occurred to me that this might not be the perfect solution either.  What happens to that water once it has gone through a nuclear power plant? I had always thought that waste water from a nuclear power plant becomes slightly radioactive.  So even though the water gets a second use, it still would end up in a radioactive pond somewhere, potentially leaking into groundwater sources.  Doesn't sound that wonderful to me.... read more

What can one person do? Take little steps!

I was browsing through my Facebook newsfeed yesterday, and 350.org's posted the pictures for a visual essay by Franke James.  The visual essay is called 'What Can One Person Do When 6.8 Billion People on the Planet are Frying' and the whole thing can be found here.  My personal favorite is the pondering the irony of being destroyed by fossil fuels part.  

While this is a kind of humorous look at what you can do, I think it makes some great points.  Whatever the solution to climate change is, the best plan is to be doing something. I have this discussion with my sister all the time -- she is convinced that the small things won't really make a difference in the long run.  Ok, fine, changing your lightbulbs isn't going to stop countries like Bangladesh or the Maldives from ending up underwater.  But at least it's something! And it's that first step to making your lifestyle a little bit greener.  ... read more

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