Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wanna Know Why We're Fat?

I'm passing on this link to the Civil Eats blog on the change in American diets between 1970 and today. Civil Eats is one of my favorite blogs; I have a link to it on the blogroll. To play with the chart, move your cursor across the bottom of the chart from left to right and watch what happens to total calories and the circles as you progress.

Bug Fest Coming to River Bend

Bug Fest, one of the favorite annual events at River Bend will be the 25th. I am including the flyer, right, for more information.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Interesting Article On the Cost of Going Green

Someone sent me an article on "10 Reasons "Going Green" Can Cost You More Green."

I think most of us who try to do the right thing for our families and our planet realize that in the current marketplace, our green choices can indeed cost us more than the usual products and services and are willing to pay the price.

However, in a couple of cases, the argument may not hold true entirely. For example: yes, if you purchase the cloth bags, you wll indeed pay more than you would using the plastic bags the store would give you for free. I have found that I have received so many cloth bags as freebies at conferences and seminars, I haven't bought bags in a long time and have plenty. Stores should consider charging customers for using their plastic bags to encourage more shoppers to go green.

Paying to have items recycled is also crazy. Currently, city residents who use the organics recycling bins pay $3/month extra for the privilege of the extra pick up. Since you can divert 60% or more of your household waste into the organics recycling, I personally think the city should charge those who do not use the recycling bin extra for putting more waste into the landfill. However, since those who pay the $3 monthly can get three pick up loads of compost a year, then it is very close to a wash. I paid $30 a pickup load of bulk compost last year. I could get $90 of compost because I recycle, greatly reducing the cost of doing the right thing.

Considering cleaning supplies. There is no doubt that purchasing Seventh Generation or Meyer's products is more expensive than the usual cleaning supplies with ammonia and chlorine in them, but truthfully, most of us could clean almost everything fine with vinegar and baking soda.

So I get the point of the article, but sometimes doing the right thing just has to be done. And is some cases we can do the right thing and still save money.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Great Backyard Campout

Each year the National Wildlife Federation sponsors the Great Backyard Campout. For the past three years, the Rolling Plains Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists has sponsored a Great Backyard Campout event at Lake Arrowhead State Park. They will be doing this again on Friday, June 24 at Lake Arrowhead State Park. The event begins at 7 PM and lasts until 9:30 PM

There will be music at 7 PM provided by Ron Calloway, who is part of the band, Prairie Moon. The music will be followed by a nature scavenger hunt, s'more making and owl calling at dark. Families are welcome to come out for just the special event or to camp overnight. You can reserve your own camping space if you would like to stay.

There is no charge to participate in the Great Backyard Campout, although you will need to pay the admission to the park. Call Lake Arrowhead State Park for more information at (940) 528-2211.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Were all familiar with the phrase Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The emphasis has been on recycling. Certainly recycling is an important program and all of us should participate to the maximum extent possible. However, we don't put enough emphasis on reducing the waste we generate and reusing products before they are put into the trash.

Jim Miller of the Rolling Plains Journal blog posted a link on Facebook to showing a video of plastics recycling. The video shows why this is an area where we need to improve. Recycling plastic is indeed important, but just look when you're watching the video notice just how much water people and energy goes into recycling those plastic bottles.

I used to take the plastic bottles that I did have and refill them with tap water so I would not have to throw them away. However, I was told that carcinogens leach out of the bottles when they are reused and sure enough that is the case so you can't reuse any plastic containers that were used for food unless they are specifically identified for that purpose.

If that is the case, our best option for eliminating plastics from the landfill is not to recycle plastic but to reduce to the extent possible the amount of plastic that we use. There are many products in the grocery store that used to come in glass containers that are now only available in plastic because of the weight. However, when we have choices, we should try to choose products that use the least amount of plastic possible. Our purchases are very important in determining what products are made available.

So focus on reducing your waste stream and when you can safely do so, reuse items before they are trashed.