Earth Day 2011 (April 22, 2011)

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Wind Energy - Green 52Green 52 wants to remind everyone that today (April 22, 2011) is Earth Day.  What can you do to adopt an environmentally responsible habit or practice that you can carry into the other 364 days each year?

Make an Earth Day Resolution:

Earth Day is celebrated in over 175 countries and has been organized for over 40 years.  This year’s theme is One Billion Acts of Green (see EarthDay.org for details).  Please remember that Earth Day is an opportunity to pause from your normal routine of consumption, and think about conservation.  It’s a chance to consider how you impact the environment, and what you might be able to do to reduce that impact.  Just as many people create New Year’s Resolutions before January 1st of each year, consider making an “environmental responsibility resolution” on Earth Day.

Environmental Responsibility can be easy – find 52 tips here!

At Green 52, we devoted an entire year to creating weekly green living and environmental responsibility tips at our website, Green52.com.  On Earth Day or anytime this year, please review the green tips and see if you can find one or more environmental responsibility ideas that you can incorporate into your daily lives.

If your friends and family aren’t aware of Earth Day, and don’t understand how simple it can be to reduce your personal impact on the environment, suggest that they read the ideas on Green52.com.

Corporate efforts to cash in on Earth Day:

Also, be aware that many companies, including corporations with an international/global presence like Starbucks, may try to cash in on Earth Day.  By example, I see that today (1 day out of 365) Starbucks is offering a free brewed coffee to anyone who brings in a reusable travel mug to fill (see info here).  The idea and “contribution” by Starbucks toward bringing awareness to Earth Day and encouraging others to try to shift their habits/focus is great.

However, it would be nice to know approximately how many Starbucks paper cups make their way to the landfill each year because reusable mugs are not used by the average consumer on the other 364 days.  While some of the blame may rest with the consumer, it’s certainly possible that if Starbucks (and other companies) did more all year long to contribute to conservation as much as they contribute to consumption, the world would be a better place.  In viewing the free coffee Earth Day offer at the Starbucks website, it says:     “Last year, when we did a similar promotion on Earth Day, more than 1.2 million of you participated.”  (http://www.starbucks.com/blog/happy-earth-day/993)

So, if 1.2 million people took advantage of the “Earth Day special” at Starbucks in 2010, how many paper cups are used each day and thrown into landfills?  Maybe together, consumers and the businesses that cater to such consumers, can find ways to extend the ideas and responsibility that people think about on Earth Day, into the other 364 days each year.

Weekly Green Tip #52 from Green52.org

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Green tip for week #52 — Week of April 26, 2009

Composting and Using Rain Barrels

For week 52 of Green52.org’s year-long mission of providing weekly green tips, we are providing a two-for-one weekly green tip.  Instead of only one green idea this week, we want to celebrate the past 52 weeks of weekly green suggestions and environmental responsibility initiatives by providing two new ideas in this 52nd green tip post.  This post caps off a complete year of successful weekly green tips, and a strong readership who have hopefully learned to reduce their environmental impact and support the advocacy efforts made by our site.

On to the tips for week 52:

Composting.

For those of you not already familiar with composting, this is a great way to help the environment, while helping your garden, naturally.  According to the EPA, yard trimmings and food residuals make up a total of 24% of the municipal solid waste in the United States.  Composting, in its most natural form, is a ecological process where plants or vegetation fall to the ground, decay, and ultimately return minerals and nutrients to the surrounding plants, animals and microorganisms.

You can easily and cost-effectively create compost in your own yard, which can then be used for plants and gardening. Not only does this provide a way to recycle and reuse yard waste, it can save money, save garbage/collection costs, and reduce your contribution to the landfill . The compost you create can be used in lawns and gardens to help condition the soil and replenish nutrients.

You can find an extraordinary number of composting barrels or bins by simply searching online.  To find out more about how composting works, or how to make it work for you, check out the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) site on composting here.

Using rain barrels.

Rain barrels are an easy way to harvest rain water, to offset part of your water demand, so some of the water used for yard/gardening can come from rain water, rather than from city/municipal water.  Many commercially available rain barrels connect to your home gutter/downspout system, so you can collect a significant amount of rainwater during a rain storm, in turn using that water during  drier day to water plants or your garden.

There are a great variety of sources for rain barrels, and various styles and systems.  Although you need to make a choice that makes the most sense for you, a few resources we can suggest include: http://www.composters.com/rain-barrels.php; and http://www.rainbarrelsource.com/.  There are even companies that use eco-friendly recycled barrels, like repurposed wine barrels, such as BarrelDepot from Minnesota, here.

If you start composting or using a rain barrel outside your home, you are helping reduce your own “carbon footprint” and environmental impact.  Composting helps utilize yard waste, instead of sending it to the landfill (and it can help you get rid of grass clippings, leaves, etc. without paying trash collection costs for removing them.  Rain barrels allow you to conserve water, and have a “free” water supply for gardening and other plant watering needs.

EDITORIAL NOTE AND THANK YOU:

With these two tips on post #52, Green52.org has now completed one full year of green tips, with a total of 52 weekly green idea posts.  Thank you to each and every one of our many readers who have helped make Green52.org a success, and for each of you who have incorporated one or more of the ideas to help the environment, which was the sole focus of the last year of our initiative.  Please contact us by email at: info AT sustainable thinking DOT org if you would like to suggest an idea for future Green52.org posts, or if you would like to partner with Green52.org for a future environmental responsibility and sustainability project.

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For more weekly green tips, review the 52 weekly green tips at Green52.org and tell
your friends and colleagues about the weekly green tips found at
Green52.org.

Weekly Green Tip #47 from Green52.org

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Green tip for week #47 — Week of March 22, 2009

Observe Earth Hour, Saturday March 28, 2009 at 8:30pm (turn off your lights for an hour)

Support Earth Hour

Support Earth Hour

We are all well aware of Earth Day, but have you heard of Earth Hour?  Earth Hour is a worldwide initiative that began in Australia, and is essentially an advocacy and public awareness campaign to help raise the issue of environmental responsibility on the radar of individuals throughout the globe.  The goal is to have homes and business all over the world to turn off their lights for one hour on Saturday March 28th (Earth Hour begins at 8:30pm).  According to CNET news, approximately 2.2 million homes and businesses observed this Earth Hour in 2007, and in 2008 Earth Hour was observed by approximately 50 million.  See the full story here.

The lofty goal for 2009 is to have Earth Hour observed by 1 billion homes and businesses, and thanks to Facebook, Twitter, other social media, and of course Green52.org, that type of response may be possible.  More information about Earth Hour can be found at the website EarthHour.org.

Please send this article to as many friends and colleagues as possible to be sure this year’s Earth Hour is a success in raising the issue of environmental responsibility for 1 billion people.  With 1 billion people focused on the environment, climate issues, sustainable thinking, renewable energy, and similar issues, it could be the type of kick-start our world needs to take initiative in creating a force of change.  Earth Hour, and particularly the concept of shutting off lights, will make a visible and substantial statement, and it will become all the more visible and substantial if more people hear about the intiative and join in.  Even world landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Great Pyramids of Giza will observe Earth Hour by going dark for the hour beginning 8:30pm on March 28th.

Our weekly green tips at Green52.org are typically relatively simple and easy-to-implement green living and environmental responsibility concepts.  Whether you read Green52.org weekly, or are visiting for the first time, we urge you to incorporate this week’s tip and observe Earth Hour on Saturday 28, 2009 at 8:30pm.  Please help spread the word and invite your friends, family, and acquaintances to do the same.  Tell everyone you know about Earth Hour and Green52.org, and encourage others to take environmental responsibility seriously.  For those of you using Facebook, Twitter and other social media, spread the word about Earth Hour, and tell them you heard about it on Green52.org.

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For more weekly green tips, come back to Green52.org and tell
your friends and colleagues about the weekly green tips found at
Green52.org.

Weekly Green Tip #46 from Green52.org

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Green tip for week #46 — Week of March 15, 2009

Use a tankless water heater

Tankless water heaters are an energy-saving solution.  As we all know by now, less energy consumption means less environmental impact, and anything we can do to shift our habits from consumption to conservation can have a profound impact on environmental responsibility.  Tankless water heaters are unique from the traditional water heaters most of us have, as they do not store hot water for an indefinite period, which is what creates wasted energy with a traditional water heater.  Many people who use traditional water heaters keep an unecessary amount of hot water on “reserve” in their water heater, when their actual hot water consumption may only be a fraction of what they are continually heating and storing.

By contrast, in a tankless water heater a heating element heats the water “on demand”, or only when it is needed.  Water flows through the water heater and gets heated for the application it is being used for (shower, sink, clothes washer, dishwasher, etc.).  Since the rate of heating may be insufficient for heavy-demand users (multiple showers in a home or apartment running at once, etc.), varying applications and installation configurations can include multiple units, a unit at each hot water source, etc.  Since traditional hot water heaters (with a tank) have a limited duration of useful life (often 8-10 years), you will inevitably have to replace yours.  Before you purchase a new one, give serious consideration to the enviornmental and energy-saving (i.e., money-saving) benefits of a tankless water heater.

For resources to check out, look at the tankless water heaters from Noritz (tanklessisgreen.com) and Navien (navienamerica.com).

Keep reading Green52.org weekly to find green living and environmental responsibility tips that you can incorporate, with a new tip each week.  Green52.org encourages you to spread the word about resource conservation and environmental responsibility — an easy way to start is by telling your friends about Green52.org.

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For more weekly green tips, come back to Green52.org and tell
your friends and colleagues about the weekly green tips found at
Green52.org.

Weekly Green Tip #43 from Green52.org

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Green tip for week #43 — Week of February 22, 2009

Use reusable bags

This is pretty obvious, but for some reason, Americans are either reluctant (or downright unwilling) to use reusable bags for shopping.  I know, it’s very convenient to drive your big SUV 3 blocks to McDonald’s and then drive two more blocks to the grocery store, only to buy two items, place them in a plastic bag, and drive back home to throw the bag away.  That type of “convenience” is a big contributor to the climate crisis and environmental ignorance our society is faced with.

As a simple change, which will drastically reduce plastic or paper bag production, consumption, and waste, consider storing reusable cloth, nylon or even previously used paper/plastic bags in your trunk, with your bike, or near your door.  Next time you walk, bike, or drive to the local store to pick up an item or two, carry them and tell the clerk to skip the bag, if it’s only a couple of items.  If you have several items, place them in the reusable bag you brought with you, and put the bag back in a handy place where you can remember to take it with you next time.

As a challenge, write down the number of plastic bags and paper bags you use from shopping, the grocery store, etc. during the course of one month.  Just put a tally sheet on your fridge, and add one for each bag that makes it inside your home.  After that month, commit to cutting that number in half, and keep doing so each month until you have the number to zero, or as few as you can possibly get by with.

Then, you will be incredibly well-informed and in a great position of knowledge and personal experience to tell your friends and coworkers to do the same.  For the bags you consumed during the month, be sure to recycle them, and reuse any that you can as trash liners, garbage bags for the car, and other “repurposed” uses.

Like many of the green tips and environmental responsibility ideas found on Green52.org, this is not breakthrough news, it is not rocket science, and most importantly, it’s not difficult.  This idea alone won’t fix the perils facing the planet, but every bit helps.

If you don’t have tote bags or other reusable bags at home, check at your grocery store next time you go, as many have now offered reusable bags as alternatives to paper or plastic.  Obviously there are many retailers and online vendors who carry every variety of organic cotton bags, bags from recycled materials, personalized bags, etc.

If you own or operate a business, consider branding reusable bags with your logo or website to give away to employees to encourage them to use them, or to donate to charities or give away at trade shows.  There are several good resources for reusable bags on the web, including Reusable Bags.com , EcoBags.com, and many others.

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For more weekly green tips, come back to Green52.org and tell
your friends and colleagues about the weekly green tips found at
Green52.org.

Weekly Green Tip #26 from Green52.org

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Green tip for week #26 — Week of October 26, 2008

Tell your friends, family, and local paper about Green52.org!

Believe it or not, Green52.org has been publishing weekly tips for 26 weeks.  That means we are half way through our goal of creating 52 weeks of simple green living ideas and tips for environmental responsibility.  In recognition of reaching our half-way point, this week’s green tip involves reaching out for help, and offering a reminder about something you can do to help us.  Please spread the word about Green52.org, our weekly green tips, and our mission to raise awareness about and interest in environmental responsibility.

If you are one of our many frequent readers who visit Green52.org for new weekly ideas, tips, and reminders about environmental conservation and sustainability, please do your part by telling at least three friends, family members, or coworkers.  Better yet, link to Green52.org on your website, mention it in your blog, or republish our tips in your local newspaper or magazine (with credit to Green52.org, of course).  If you are new to our site, bookmark us and send an email to a friend to let them know about your new discovery.

Seriously, our site operates because of our core belief that responsible people will treat the environment with respect and responsibility. We are convinced that if we all focus on simple ways to decrease our environmental impact, the collective measures we take today, even if they are baby steps, will have profound impact in helping our environment.  Our weekly green tips get read by many, but we need you to help make sure even more people get the message.

Feel free to send us your ideas, leave a comment, or offer other support as you can — but don’t overlook the simple, free, and easy way to ensure that Green52.org has the most impact it can, by telling others about our site.  Spread the word!

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Green52.org is an interactive community — we want you to share your ideas and contribute too! Feel free to click the “comments” section on this or any of our green idea articles to add your comments, suggestions, and discussion.

For more weekly green tips, come back to Green52.org and tell your friends and colleagues about the weekly green tips found at Green52.org.

Weekly Green Tip #23 from Green52.org

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Green tip for week #23 — Week of October 5, 2008

Buy Quality Goods and Products

Every know and again, our weekly green tip at Green52.org is so simple it seems almost self-evident. Yet even the simplest and best ideas often don’t get implemented. This week’s green tip is simply to buy quality goods. What this means, is that whether you are shopping for electronics, furniture, cars, bikes, clothing, or household items, buy the best blend of quality and value you can.

Why is buying quality goods a “green living” idea, and what impact does it have on environmental responsibility and sustainability? Plenty. We are a society of consumers, and product manufacturers have developed increasingly efficient and cost-effective ways of making cheap and low cost products. Cheap and low cost products are sometimes (not always) made of inferior quality and more prone to obsolescence, product failure, and wearing out.

Whether it is a tv, a pair of shoes, a dishwasher, a briefcase, or a living room chair, you will invariably have several options as a consumer. Choices range from least expensive to most expensive. Although differences in price are sometimes based on different options, features, novelty, or brand, the differences also are typically evident in quality of workmanship, construction, and durability. Any time you purchase a product that is made well, made from high grade materials, and designed to be functional for years to come, you have invested in something that can be good for you and the environment.

Replacing low quality goods creates waste, not only from items going to a landfill, but from the cost of making, transporting, and selling those goods in the first place. Any time you have purchased two items in the span of time one might have been used had it been higher quality, the environmental impact of your purchase is often roughly double. Not to mention the fact that savings at the time of initial purchase can often be far outweighed by having to repurchase the same item again during the time the higher quality item may have remained effective.

So, next time you are confronted with the choice of whether to purchase the “cheap” item or the “quality” item, remember that the impact of your choice is greater than simply affecting your checkbook.

Remember that green living and environmental responsibility is not an “all or nothing approach”. Even small steps make a big impact if everyone takes them. Do your part to help keep our environment in good condition for future generations!

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Green52.org is an interactive community — we want you to share your ideas and contribute too! Feel free to click the “comments” section on this or any of our green idea articles to add your comments, suggestions, and discussion.

For more weekly green tips, come back to Green52.org and tell your friends and colleagues about the weekly green tips found at Green52.org.

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