|Happy Holidays from TeachingGreen!|
| Greetings! |
Happy Holidays! In the spirit of enjoying an Earth-Friendly Holiday this year, here are three tips to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle between now and the New Year.
During this season of excessive consumption, I can't help thinking about a scene from the animated movie 'Up' that challenges the idea that material possessions = happiness. In the movie, the main character, 78-year old Carl, decides to travel the globe airborne by attaching thousands of helium balloons to his house. He does this in an effort to escape the sorrow of losing his wife and beloved companion, Ellie. In the end however, Carl discovers that the home and all the possessions it contains, cherished as they may seem, are not the key to his happiness.
When Carl finds himself unable to get off the ground (due to a large number of popped balloons), he throws not some, but all of his possessions overboard. The symbolism here is clear: Carl is only able to accomplish what is truly important (saving his new pal, 8-year old Russell, from certain demise) by freeing himself of the possessions that weigh him down.
It was a drastic step to take, for sure, and one most of us would never want to take, but it does raise an interesting question: when it comes right down to it, what really makes you happy? Sweaters and cologne and even iPods are nice, but the thrill eventually wears off. When it comes to enduring happiness, nothing beats relationships and experiences.
So as you think of the loved ones on your shopping list this year (and next year and beyond), consider getting them something that doesn't need to be wrapped in a box and wrapping paper. A gift certificate for a massage or cooking classes, or tickets to the theater or a sporting event are sure to please, won't add to your loved one's accumulation of stuff, and can do more to stimulate the economy than buying stuff made in China.
And for the person on your list who has everything, a donation to a nonprofit organization that does work near and dear to your loved one's heart can make a nice gift. TeachingGreen could sure benefit from such a donation! See details below...
When it comes to Christmas trees, until recently there were two options: a fake tree made of metal and plastic, or cut tree, already in the process of dying before it reaches your living room. For many of us, live trees don't make sense because we have no place to plant them in the New Year.
Residents of Southern California now have another option: you can rent a live Christmas tree from The Living Christmas Co.Simply choose from one of five varieties, of varying size, and within a few days, your live, potted tree will be delivered to your doorstep. After Christmas, your tree will be picked up and returned to the nursery in Redondo Beach until the following year.
Visit www.livingchristmas.com for more information.
There's no denying it: the holidays just wouldn't be the holidays without the countless twinkling lights strung up on trees, buildings, fake deer, and anything else that will support a string of lights. But those old incandescent holiday lights are serious energy hogs - all you have to do is feel the heat coming off even the smallest bulb to know this is true.
Fortunately, over the past few years, LED holiday lights have become increasingly available and attractive. Using less than 1/11 as much energy as traditional bulbs, switching to the new, ultra-efficient LEDs will take a big bite out of your energy bills and your carbon footprint.
The only problem, of course, is what to do with those old strings of lights. If there are no holiday light exchanges happening in your community, you can pack up your old lights and ship them to HolidayLEDs.com. In exchange, they'll send you a coupon good for 25% off any purchase of LED holiday lights at HolidayLEDs.com. According to their website, last year their recycling program yielded more than 10,000 pounds of old lights for recycling. Instead of going to a landfill, the lights were sent to a commercial shredder and chopped up into little pieces, which were sorted into the various components that make up the lights (pvc, glass, and copper).
One other tip for recycling holiday lights: check with your local Home Depot, as they have been known to hold holiday light exchanges as well.
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TeachingGreen launches new program for kids!
TeachingGreen is thrilled to announce a new program for elementary and middle schools in the Los Angeles area. Scheduled to launch in January, the Growing Up Green program will offer three lessons covering the golden rules of sustainability: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Over time, we will add other lessons as well, focusing on specific environmental issues, including energy and water conservation.
Teachers need help...TeachingGreen will be there to help them.
Even though we have not yet actively promoted the Growing Up Green program, more than twenty teachers throughout Los Angeles have already requested one or more presentations for their students. The total number of children who would learn about environmental protection through these requests alone: roughly 3,000. We are confident that once the program is officially launched and promotion of the program is in full-swing, teachers throughout Los Angeles will take advantage of the Growing Up Green program to bring fun, engaging environmental education to their classrooms.
Will you help?
The continued success of TeachingGreen depends largely on support we receive from people who believe in our mission of providing comprehensive and empowering environmental education for the people of Los Angeles and beyond. Teaching children through the Growing Up Green program while continuing to offer classes for adults through our Green Life program is going to require considerable resources and we can't do it without your help.
We are making a difference!
TeachingGreen is one of only a few organizations offering comprehensive "green living" education in Los Angeles County (population: 10 million), and the only such organization serving the South Bay area. During the 2½ years that have passed since we launched the Green Life program for adults, we have reached nearly 2,000 people in more than 100 presentations. An additional 500 subscribers receive our quarterly e-newsletter and hundreds more learn about sustainability when they visit our booth at community events.
We can't do it without your support.
During this gift-giving season, please consider supporting our work with a tax-deductible donation by clicking here. Your support will help us to continue to bring high-quality environmental education to the people of Los Angeles and beyond.
Our members are mission-critical.
TeachingGreen is only as strong as its members. If you agree that our best hope for protecting the natural environment is an educated, motivated citizenry, especially the youngest amongst us, please help us by giving whatever you can.
Please visit our website at www.teachinggreen.org for more information.
Thank you so much for your support.