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Preventing Pollution

Exporting Computers

Most people are against exporting old computers to other countries, especially developing countries. There are plenty of organizations and people out there that are whole-heartedly against the idea of sending our old computers out of the country.

Exporting computers to developing countries isn’t always a bad thing. Sending our trash to them so they can just dump it in a landfill is obviously bad. Sending them useable machines to re-use doesn’t seem like a horrible idea.... read more

Boycott Taco Bell & KFC: Demand an End to Deforestation in Indonesia

Taco Bell Rainforest

Environmental organizations such as Greenpeace recently began to put pressure on YUM!Brands, parent company of many large fast food restaurants, due to the immense damage they are doing to tropical rainforests. YUM! Owns chains including Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, A&W and Long John Silvers and has over 38,000 locations across the globe.... read more

Meatless Mondays!!

Meatless Mondays

I am all about making small lifestyle changes to decrease my negative impact on the environment. While I may not be able to afford solar panels or an electric car, I CAN by local foods, hang-dry my clothes and do other small things which can add up to a BIG impact by the end of the year.... read more

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Food: Reduce Your Carbon Footprint Through What You Eat

Food Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A comprehensive study released on July 18, 2011 by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) outlines guidelines to help you, the consumer, make wiser food choices. We have long known that certain foods create an abundance of CO2 emissions. What this study adds is understanding the roll of the entire life cycle of various foods, whereas previous research mostly focuses on food production. The EWG research tracks food production, processing, consumption and waste disposal to teach us how to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and pollutions that result from our dietary habits.

“By eating and wasting less meat, consumers can help limit the environmental damage caused by the huge amounts of fertilizer, fuel, water, and pesticides, not to mention the toxic manure and wastewater, that goes along with producing meat,” said Kari Hamerschlag, EWG senior analyst and author of the report. “Choosing healthier, pasture-raised meats can also help improve people’s health and reduce the environmental damage associated with meat consumption.”

Five Worst Foods For the Environment:

1. Lamb, especially loin

2. Beef – choose grass-fed and lean meats to reduce your impact on the environment

3. Cheese (this one shocked me! Total bummer!) - Less dense cheese (such as cottage) results in fewer greenhouse gases since it takes less milk to produce it... read more

Solar Panel Cost and Finance Options

In theory, going solar is a no-brainer. The amount of gas saved and emissions reduced annually is tremendous. And the long term financial savings are also clear. However, the initial Solar cost can be more than most homeowners are able to afford (the average out-of-pocket cost after government rebates is about $15k). Paying for solar panels seems out of reach... But it's not! There are many options that include solar loans with low interest rates and solar leases with no money down.

In the past decade, local and national government policies have driven private companies and public policy to make solar panels more affordable for Average Joe. Enter: Solar Loans. Power Purchase Agreements, and Solar Leases.

Solar panel leases are offered through private companies such as Sungevity and Solar City. They allow homeowners to borrow solar systems. The homeowner is often not required to put any money down and then pays a set amount of money per month. This monthly rate is almost always equivalent to the current energy bill, so the homeowner does not see an increase in monthly cost-of-living expenses.... read more

Independent Study Finds San Francisco the Greenest City in the US

San Francisco Greenest City

An independent study conducted in June found San Francisco to be the “greenest” city in the United States and Canada. This doesn't come as much of a surprise – the city has made headlines for leading the way with policies such as mandatory composting and a grocery store plastic bag ban.... read more

Reducing eWaste

Based on recent EPA estimates, over one billion cell phones are sitting around houses nationwide, unused.  Most will probably be thrown in the trash and end up in landfills, instead of being reused or recycled.

Back in May, the United Nations Environment Programme put out a report on recycling metals.   It concluded that less than one-third of 60 metals studied have an  end-of-life recycling rate above 50% and 34 are under 1%.  The UN recommended boost waste management in developing economies and cease keeping old cell phones and other antiquated electronics lying around the house.   Read the report here.... read more

Picking up litter

In an effort to stay in shape, I have taken up running a few times a week.  Yesterday, after my run, I took a cool-down walk around my block.  I spotted an empty plastic bottle lying on the sidewalk.  I decided to pick up the waste and quickly spotted another one.  This process continued for the duration of my walk around the block. 

When I got back to my house, I had accumulated 9 empty plastic containers, 3 aluminum cans, and 5 pieces of cardboard.  Again, this was all collected from a walk around one block, on one side of the street!  I was appalled at the mess that the slobs who travel our street leave.  While we can wish that the litterers of the world will cease their foul habits, the onus of cleaning up must rest solely on those of us who care about living in a clean environment.... read more

Tristin, Tyler and Dynamic Ducks!

Since World Oceans Day is coming up on June 8th, Tristin and Tyler take a trip to visit some friends who live in the water in this episode of Tristin and Tyler's Tales from the City! Caring for the ocean and all of the creatures that call the ocean home is super important.  With the Pacific Garbage Patch growing and growing, it's so important to teach kids about our friends who call the ocean home.

Tristin and Tyler Enjoying The Ducks!Tristin and Tyler Enjoying The Ducks!... read more

Anti-incinerator

A while back Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick reinstated the Incinerator Moratorium. The Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has had in place a moratorium on new municipal solid waste combustion facilities since 1990 (greenfutures.org). Incinerators that produce energy are also known as waste to energy facilities (WTE). These facilities burn solid waste (garbage, trash, etc.) and produce energy from the incineration of trash. Many hope this moratorium will increase and expand recycling efforts.

In a perfect world we wouldn’t need incinerators or landfills. The Governor is pushing towards a zero waste society. No society like this currently exists.

Trash still exists even without new incinerators being built. The trash is instead many times being trucked out of state to landfills. This is far from environmentally friendly. Large trucks hauling trash far distances create a large amount of emissions from the diesel trucks exhaust.

Incinerators automatically get a bad rap from people. They're not as evil as most people think. Modern incinerators create energy and power themselves. Most modern incinerators create enough energy to put back into the grid. In Pittsfield, MA a waste to energy facility powers itself and helps power a paper making facility down the street from it.... read more

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