The Beacon: wrace's blog

Do One Green Thing: Transportation

This is the fifth in a series of posts about how to green your life, step by step. Instead of burning out on fossil fuels, Will advises taking it easy on yourself and the planet.

Like the final chapter of Mindy Pennybacker’s book Do One Green Thing, my final entry of this blog series is about transportation, which is responsible for 28 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. This is by far the hardest area to tackle when going green. Technology and demand are helping to drive energy alternatives, but at the moment, for an average Joe like myself, it is tough to replace oil.

For an individual, breaking the addiction to fossil fuels can be overwhelming if you try to do it all at once. However, as I have learned from Do One Green Thing, change is possible, but easiest—and most sustainable— in moderation.

Here are some simple steps:

*Did you know that not driving one day a week can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by about 400 pounds a year?

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Do One Green Thing: Green Your Home

This is the fourth in a series of posts about how to green your life, step by step.

Over the past two weeks I have been turning my 3-bedroom, 2-bath home “green”. At first this seemed like no easy task, and I fear most Americans feel the same way.

And like most things, if you bite off more than you can chew, you will choke. Fortunately, I have Mindy Pennybacker's Do One Green Thing, and once again it was a lifesaver. DOGT helped me clear a hurdle I once thought to be impossible by breaking a green home down into manageable parts.

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The Cleanup Is Far From Over In The Gulf

This morning a small expedition on the Oceana Longitude including Oceana’s Soledad Scotto, Carlos Suárez, Fernando Loyola and Gorka Leclercq were sent out to Ship Island to look for signs from the Deepwater Horizon blowout. Although there was too much wind to dive, there was a chance to go ashore.

Ship Island is shared name of two barrier islands off the coast of Mississippi. Hurricane Camille tore through the island in 1969 and split the island in two. The island is famed for its rich cultural significance to the Gulf of Mexico. The Island became so important because of its deep-water harbor that served as vital anchorage for ships bearing explorers and colonists.

Upon the team’s arrival to Ship Island they found a cleaning patrol of around 30 or more people. The patrol was sifting and raking tar balls and oil spatter from the white sand beaches which surround the island. A few staff from the oil spill cleanup patrol recommended the Oceana team travel a bit further down the beach to an area that had yet to be cleaned.

After traveling about a half of a mile down the beach the team reached an area of beach dotted in oil spill patties and tar balls. Also found in the oil soaked sand were various shells and other flotsam and jetsam stained black from the oil.

Meanwhile on the Oceana Latitude, Oceana’s Pacific Science Director, Dr. Jeff Short, finished nailing down logistics of the oil plume experiment. Team members gathered the last of the necessary supplies and began experiment assembly. The team assembled over 800 ganion clips and 40 spliced floats.

Tomorrow we set sail for the Deepwater Horizon site to begin testing the waters.

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Chapter One: Fresh Produce. Go Organic.

This is the third in a series of posts about how to green your life, week by week.

This week, thanks to Mindy Pennybacker’s Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth through Simple, Everyday Choices, I decided to make an attempt to go organic, produce that is. Living in Juneau, Alaska, a town of 30,000 people with no roads leading in or out, the only way to deliver produce is by plane or boat. Therefore, calling the produce here fresh is a stretch. Nevertheless, Juneau does get some produce, and some of it’s organic.  

I went to the local store and browsed the organic produce section. As most of you very well know, unless you are at a whole foods store the selection of organic produce is limited and often expensive. So why go organic? Shouldn’t eating greens be good for you no matter what? Yes, of course, but organic is much better for you and the planet. Organic produce reduces the amount of pesticides that we ingest and carry in our bodies. I always thought this wasn’t life changing, so who cares? After reading DOGT, I realized how many pesticides are used and the health threats they pose to humans and wildlife.

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Do One Green Thing: Nix Bottled Water

This is the second in a series of posts about how to green your life, week by week.

This week, thanks to Mindy Pennybacker’s Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth through Simple, Everyday Choices , I decided to confront my bottled water addiction. Like most addicts, I tell myself that I’m not addicted. Sure, I’ll indulge in bottled water every now and then, but what’s the harm in that, right?

Wrong! If one in 20 Americans stopped buying disposable water bottles, we would eliminate 30 million pounds of plastic waste a year. When Do One Green Thing hit me with this fact, it blew me away. When did it become socially acceptable to eject 30 million pounds of non-biodegradable waste onto the planet? Sure, some of the plastic is recycled, but an estimated 80 percent is placed in landfills, and finds its way to our local waterways and oceans.

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Do One Green Thing

This is the first in a series of posts about how to green your life, week by week.

Depending on what you believe in, life consists of an order of events: you're born, you live, you die. How you believe the day-to-day events between that major three occur is up to you. Whether it is luck, fate, random chaos, or a theory you have specially designed, things happen that change the path we are on.

The other day I returned from lunch to find a book at my desk. The cover read, Do One Green Thing. Intrigued, I started thumbing through pages I found various “green” topics from food to transport. The book looked interesting enough so I popped it into my bag and took it home.

By the next day I had read the book front to back, twice! The book serves both as a novice’s green how-to handbook and a daily guide for more seasoned environmentalists who may, as I did, learn quite a few new facts and tips. It addresses the question: what are the easiest and most affordable green things you can do to make a sizable impact on the world?

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