|Eco-Gadgets and Innovations
The Dyson Airblade™ Hand Dryer
Here's the scenario. You've just washed your hands in a public restroom, and you have a choice to make: do you use paper towels to dry your hands, or go for the electric hand dryer? You don't want to use the paper, but you know that the dryer will take more time than you're willing to give and you'll probably just end up wiping your hands on your pants anyway. I'd be willing to bet that even the greenest among us have opted for the paper, because hey, we're busy people, right?
But consider these statistics from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
This, of course, is why the hand dryer is the better choice, for the environment anyway. But standard hand dryers typically blow hot air, so while they do save paper, they consume fossil fuel energy. And then there's your time to think about.
- Paper represented 32.7 percent of municipal solid waste (MSW) generation in 2007
- In 2007, 3.5 million tons of tissue paper and towels were generated, none of which was recovered for recycling (not surprisingly)
- Total generation of paper and paperboard in MSW increased from 30
million tons in 1960 to 83 million tons in 2007
Now there's an even better choice. While I have yet to experience one myself, a friend told me recently about a cool new device being used at the San Francisco airport that thoroughly dries wet hands quickly without paper or heat. It's called the Dyson Airblade™, and according to it's manufacturer, it works in 12 seconds, using "sheets of clean air traveling at 400mph to literally scrape water from your hands like a windshield wiper." According to my friend, "It's awesome!"
Not only is it fast, it's energy efficient. According to Dyson, it uses up to 80% less energy than warm air hand dryers and it's the first hand dryer to earn the Carbon Reduction Label from the Carbon Trust.
It's also hygienic, and cost-effective too, as it dries a pair of hands for a fraction of the cost of a paper towel. So check it out and then encourage your employer, local movie theater, favorite restaurant, and any other establishment with a public restroom to look into it as well. Do it for the trees and all the furry critters that call them home.
For more information, visit www.dysonairblade.com.
|Good Green Eats
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
It's no secret that small family farms are hurting. One by one, they are being bought up by large argribusinesses, which are thriving on billions of dollars in annual farm subsidies. According to the Heritage Foundation, roughly 25 percent of the population lived on farms in the 1930s; today, farmers represent just 1 percent of the population.
While you can hardly compete with subsidies from the federal government, you can directly support a local family farm by joining a CSA. 'CSA' stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and as the name implies, a CSA is at least partially supported by individuals in the community.
When you join a CSA, you are essentially buying a share of a farm or group of farms. In return for an up-front payment, you receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
Using the Tierra Miguel Foundation CSA (a certified organic CSA that serves Southern California) as an example, you can buy a full share at $2,100/year or a half share for $1,050/year. A full share buys you 46 weeks of delivery and a half share buys 23 weeks. Your box of locally-grown produce is delivered on a given day of the week to a location (often a farmers' market) near you.
One thing to understand before joining a CSA: because you are making a financial commitment to a farm when you join, there is a shared risk involved here. While it's very
uncommon, it is possible that a CSA might experience unforeseen
difficulties that could impact the quality of the produce grown during a particular growing season. But most people find the rewards of a CSA worth the risk.
But hey, that's part of the fun, right?
For more information about CSAs and to find a CSA that delivers near your home, visit www.localharvest.org/csa. Here you'll find the most comprehensive directory of CSA farms, with over 2,500 listed nationally.
Roses are Red...and Thirsty, Too
Mother's Day is coming up on May 9th, and if you're like one-third of adults (according to aboutflowers.com), you'll choose cut flowers to show Mom how much you love her. It's true, nothing conveys love and appreciation as easily and effectively as flowers do, but like most consumer products, there's a dark side to this symbol of affection.
Yes, the environmental and social costs of regular old cut flowers are steep, but keep reading...there are alternatives for the environmentally- and socially-conscious consumer (like you!).
- Growing flowers is water-intensive
- Pesticide and fertilizer use pollutes surface waters
- Roughly 80% of the roses sold in the U.S. are brought in from South
America in temperature-controlled trucks
- If grown in more
northern climates, flowers may require artificial light and heat in
To help ensure that your flower purchase has not contributed to these problems, choose:
- Poor and unsafe working conditions
- Unfair wages
- Destruction of valuable natural resources (i.e., lakes and rivers)
Another option is VeriFlora, a third-party certification program for the floral and potted plant industries. Flowers and potted plants carrying the VeriFlora "Certified Sustainably Grown" label are guaranteed to have been grown in an environmentally
and socially responsible manner.
- locally-grown flowers at your local farmers' market,
- certified organic flowers,
- Fair Trade Certified™ flowers, and/or
- a potted plant instead of cut flowers
For a large selection of certified organic or VeriFlora flowers, including several varieties grown in California, visit www.organicstyle.com.
On Mother's Day, show your Mother how much you love her and Mother Earth alike.
The National Cristina Foundation
Consumer electronics are now as American as apple pie. Some might even say they are taking over our lives. Indeed, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), each American household is home to some 24 electronic products, on average.
Unfortunately, most of these products are being discarded in landfills, where they're referred to collectively as electronic waste. According to the EPA, in 2007,
Americans generated 3.1 million tons of electronic waste, just 13.6 percent of
which was recovered for recycling. That means that 2.6 million tons of consumer
electronics were sent to landfills that year. And this number continues to grow at an alarming rate, making electronic waste the fastest
growing segment of the municipal solid waste stream.
This is worrisome because consumer electronics contain mercury and other heavy metals that can eventually leach into groundwater. This is why some states, including California, have made it illegal to dispose of consumer electronics in the garbage.
It's also sad because many of these products end up in a landfill prematurely. Still-functioning, albeit outdated, computers,
printers, copiers and other peripherals with seemingly little value do have value in the right hands!
If you've been hanging onto computer equipment that still has some life left in it, let the National Cristina Foundation help you find a new home for it. This non-profit foundation connects donors of computer technology with charities, schools and public agencies that provide education and/or training to people who are economically
disadvantaged or have disabilities.
In a matter of minutes, you can register your donation online, and within two weeks, you'll be contacted by one or more of National Cristina Foundation's grassroots partner organizations in your geographic area. The partner organization(s) will then pick up the donation at your location. Once the donation has been picked up, the National Cristina Foundation will send you a Donor
Acknowledgment Letter, listing the donated item(s) for tax purposes.
Note that you are responsible for removing all confidential data stored on any computer or other storage devices you donate.
For more information and to donate your unwanted computer equipment, visit www.cristina.org.
Events and other stuff for Angelinos:
Upcoming TeachingGreen Workshop Series
Whole Foods Market, Torrance
Wednesday, April 21: Detoxifying Your Planet, Your Home,
health and the health of others by keeping toxics out of your life and
Wednesday, May 12: Tooling Around Town in (Green) Style
the impact of getting yourself from here to there and go a long way
toward greening your life.
Wednesday, June 9: Helping the Earth with Every Bite
Thank Mother Earth for her
delicious bounty by choosing foods that nourishthe body without harming the Earth.
Wednesday, July 14: Green Building and Energy Conservation
Learn about the basics of eco-friendly decorating and remodeling and how to save energy (and money) at home.
Wednesday, August 11: Water Quality and Conservation
Learn how to drastically cut your domestic water use and help keep our local waterways clean while you're at it.
Wednesday, September 8: Simplifying Your Way to Waste-Free Living
Do more than you ever thought possible to stem the flow of natural resources to landfills.
Time: 7:00 - 8:30pm
Location: Whole Foods Market, 2655 PCH, Torrance, CA 90505
Cost: Suggested $5 donation
For more info, visit www.teachinggreen.org.
Earth Day Celebrations for the Whole Family
There are several Earth Day celebrations in Los Angeles during the month of April to choose from. Here's a taste...
SMPA Earth Weekend
Date: Saturday & Sunday, April 17 & 18
Time: 11:00 - 6:00pm
Location: Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, 1600 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica 90401
Cost: Adults $2, kids under 12 FREE
VOICE Earth Day Celebration & Concert
Date: Saturday, April 17
Time: 11:00am - 4:00pm
Location: Polliwog Park, Manhattan Beach 90266 (corner of Manhattan Beach Blvd. and Peck Ave.)
Celebrate Earth Day with CMA
Date: Saturday, April 17
Time: 10:00am - 4:00pm
Location: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium; 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro 90731
Earth Day Whale Fest
Date: Sunday, April 18
Time: 10:00am - 4:00pm
Location: Leo Carillo State Park, 35000 PCH, Malibu 90265
Cost: Free admission; $12 for parking
SEA Lab Earth Day Fair
Date: Saturday, April 24
Time: 10:00am - 2:00pm
Location: SEA Lab, 1021 North Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach 90277
Aquarium of the Pacific's Earth Day Celebration
Date: Saturday & Sunday, April 24 & 25
Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Location: Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach 90802
Cost: FREE with general admission and for AOP members
STAR ECO Station Children's Earth Day 2009
Date: Sunday, April 25
Time: 10:00am - 4:00pm
Location: STAR ECO Station, 10101 Jefferson Blvd, Culver City 90232
Cost: FREE (tours of the ECO Station are $5)
Other Events for the Eco-Conscious
The Politics of Plastic
A panel discussion with special guests from public agencies, government,
and business involved with managing plastic waste in the environment. Hosted by the League of Women Voters of Santa Monica.
Date: Saturday, April 3
Time: 10:00am - 1:00pm
Location: Santa Monica Main Library Community Room, 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403
Cost: FREE. Light refreshments will be served. Bring your own bagged lunch.
Three ways you can help:
1. Bring us your people
Actually, we'll come to you.
In addition to public workshops, we also give presentations for groups, schools, and businesses. Are you a member of a community group, alumni group, Mom's group, church group, or any other kind of group? Have a business you're trying to green and want to get your employees on board?
If so, we would love to come and give a presentation or two for your group! We give presentations on specific issues, such as transportation, food and household toxics, and we also offer a general overview of sustainable living.
Visit www.teachinggreen.org to learn more and to request a presentation.
2. Volunteer or intern with TeachingGreen
We are seeking interns and volunteers to help further our mission of helping people reduce the environmental impact of their personal and professional lives. We need help with curriculum development, fund raising and outreach. Your involvement will help us to grow the organization so that we can reach more people with the message of sustainability.
For more information, contact Kathleen Jacecko at 310-372-7484 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Donate and become a member of TeachingGreen
We are a 501(c)3 organization, so all donations are fully tax-deductible. Your support helps us spread the message of sustainability via workshops, presentations, our wesite and this newsletter. We currenlty operate only in Los Angeles, but even if you don't live here, remember that when we act locally, we help the global environment as well as the local environment.
To make a tax-deductible donation to TeachingGreen, click here.
We hope you find
this newsletter helpful and informative, and should you have any
suggestions, questions or general comments, we'd love to hear from you.