Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My little "green" book

Some guys have "little black books." Not me, thanks to my youngest, Laura, I have my very own "little green book.

Laura gave me this handbook for Christmas. It's a pretty informative book. It's loaded with tips about Green living. What I truly appreciate about the book is that most of the examples are simple and fit with the focus of this blog: average people doing simple things to be responsible tenants of planet Earth.

Now, Laura regrets giving it to me because I've been spouting the details and statistics that are in the book. I can't help myself, they're cool. Hear, listen to this and tell me that it isn't cool:
recycling 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to power a television for 3 hours! Is that not cool?

Being a single, lazy guy, I was ecstatic to find out that it is more Green to use a dishwasher to clean up my kitchen than to wash the dishes by hand! Oh Yeah!

My recommendation, take a swing by Barnes & Noble and pick up one of theses helpful books.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Another "Two Green Thumbs" Award

Today, Going Green is hip. Many businesses have realized that Going Green can bring in some green, so they've started selling reusable shopping bags and providing recycled products. I applaud this.

Occasionally though, a store looks beyond mere profit or at least direct profit and behaves in a way that marks it as a responsible tenant of planet Earth. For this reason, I'm offering my second
"Two Green Thumbs" award to Publix for this:

Egg cartons and plastic bags can't be recycled through our local sanitation commission, so this is great. I especially like the plastic bag recycling. We still use loads of these bags and those that aren't reused in our homes end up either stuffed under the kitchen sink or appeasing our local landfill's appetites. These bins are a step in the right direction, so let's encourage this behavior by using them.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

To you and yours from me and mine...

Have a very Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A "green" Christmas idea

Are there things I can do to have a Green Christmas?

Some would say buying an artificial tree would be a start. I say...Bah Humbug!! It's a real one or it's nothing. The tree I bought was planted and raised for this very purpose and I re-use it through a Greenville County program to make mulch or fish habitat in local lakes.

Not wrapping the presents came to mind, but my whole point in this blog is that I believe we can live our normal lives with only slight changes and still be responsible residents of Planet Earth. I know saving wrapping paper once you unwrap a present and using it later would be a great idea, except for the fact that I'm a big kid when it comes to opening presents, so the pile at my feet on Dec. 25 is only fit for the recycling bin.

As I came home from shopping Saturday (remind me to never do that again) I noticed the colorful bags I was carrying and that's when it hit me. Why not use the bags to wrap some of the presents. The 2 gifts in red you see above are wrapped courtesy of a Macy's bag and the 2 in blue owe their garb to Barnes & Noble. Pretty snazzy wrapping duds if you ask me.

So there's a new idea for me. Anyone else have any ideas?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Meeting of the Minds

Well... nothing so grand as that. This post is simply about where frugality meets going green.

For most of my life I have been concerned with saving as much money as possible to help my mother make her paycheck stretch a little bit longer. Now that I have had a job... even though I temporarily do not have an income right now... I want my own money to stretch just a little further.

Now, I do things that many members of my family think a little bit extreme. In my defense they should take a look at some guy whose name I can't remember at the moment who goes so far as to wash his paper towels, hang them out to dry and use them again. He even when he goes out to eat ask people at the table next to him if they are done with their food and eat that. I definitely do not recommend his actions but there is a middle line to be found.

I'll list out a few things that I do. For instance, when I have sun chips I will put them on a paper towel. Instead of throwing that paper towel away I will use the towel to wipe my fingers off on when I eat my lunch. If I do not use the paper towel at lunch I will keep the paper towel on the table to use later in the day.

Also, I am reading the Harry Potter books in Spanish to increase my vocabulary. I will write down the words that I do not know on a piece of paper. Instead of getting a new piece of paper each time I will use paper that I have written on perhaps one or two times thus making sure that those scraps of paper do not go to waste.

I could go on but that would most likely be quite boring. Perhaps in the future I will talk about other things I do but for my next post I will talk about ways that I will practice going green in the classroom.

Monday, December 8, 2008


After many weeks of hounding I have finally shown up to post to this blog. After all, the trip is my graduation present. :D

For right now I will simply introduce myself and in the coming weeks post on going green by accident... something I am becoming increasingly more enthusiastic about.

I am 23 years old currently on Christmas vacation in between the last two semesters of my MAT program. Lord willing by next August I will be in my own classroom.

As my family can attest I am quite frugal by nature. When I analyze this frugality I notice that many aspects end up being green as well. For instance, to save money I always use plastic baggies at least twice before I throw them away. I could detail other instances of how I reuse things sometimes to the point of insanity in the eyes of my family. :D

Lord willing, in the next few weeks I will go more into detail about different ways to go green, specifically in the classroom.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Not In My Back Yard!

In Cherokee County, South Carolina, a familiar, but sad fight is heating up. The fight is over a proposed new landfill. The company that is building and maintaining the new landfill, Waste Management is proposing a site that does a lot of environmentally friendly things and the battle is not over them, but the basic concept that folks don't want to live near a landfill.

This battle screams to me of a reason to recycle that doesn't require a person to care if "Mother" Earth gets pampered. At the Council meeting where Waste Management presented the details of their plan, one facet of this landfill commanded my attention. The landfill will cover 75 acres when it opens for business with an projected expansion to 300 acres. What a huge increase in loss of land to trash! The property that is being purchased spans 1,500 acres. Will it stop at 300 acres?
Here is a concrete example of how recycling can have a direct impact. The more items recycled, the less landfill space needed. I know personally, that since I started recycling, I have reduced my trash placed in the dumpster by over half. Now, there are probably 6-8 other residents here where I live that consistently recycle. Add their "trash savings" to mine and we have a tiny spot in the land around the landfill that doesn't need to be introduced to trash. Now, imagine the land space that would go unused if all 54 town homes in my community consistently recycled? Here is a very definite thing that the average joe can do that will have a obvious positive effect.

And you folks in Cherokee County, fill up those recycling bins if you want to avoid a new land fill, or at least keep it small.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A fun "Green" product test

This is a Toyota Prius and it belongs to the company that owns the property I manage. It's also the vehicle that I got to drive on my Thanksgiving trip to Grandmother's house.(OK, it was my mom's house, but the song says Grandmother and she is a grandmother). I work for a GREAT company. They lent me the Prius for the trip.

Let's address the Green aspect first. I drove 1710 miles from Thursday evening to Sunday evening. I drove from Greenville, South Carolina to Buffalo, NY and back again, over flatland, and mountains, through rain and snow, in light traffic and in traffic jams that made traveling 10 miles take 2 hours. The average mileage for this trip would have been around 20 mpg. The Prius got an average of 44 mpg. I spent $65.00 instead of at least $120.00 in gasoline. So the main Green ingredients are lower fossil fuel consumption and then by extension, less harmful emmisions. The car has a great system of energy creation and use. I would say that if anyone is wanting to make a big change to be more responsible for the planet they are borrowing for a few years, then switching to a hybrid car would be a great place to start.

But suppose you're an average guy and you're not all worked up about "Saving the Planet," should a hybrid be on your Christmas wish list?


Ok, so your not hyper to Go Green, still I assume you like saving green? I paid close to 50% less on gasoline on this trip. Close your eyes and image spending half as much on gasoline. Now stop smiling and check out a hybrid. The Prius handled well, drove like a charm and had great features like hands free calling with your blue tooth working through the audio system. It also has a built-in navigational system. You can see the energy conversion and track your energy consumption at any time. When I think about purchasing a vehicle, functionality, price and mileage are the criteria I value most and the Prius won on all levels.

To be fair, I will point out a few drawbacks or concerns.

First, price, I did a quick check and $22k+ is their starting point, so it is a bit expensive. My daughter pointed something out to offset that sticker shock. She said, that with the savings you are recieving from better mileage, you could offset the added purchase cost.

Second, I'm kind of tall and the back seat is not a great place for me to sit, as my head attempts to create a sun roof. Even in the 4 door, which is what I drove, the leg room in the back is not a winning observation. The front has plenty of leg room and the car was comfrtable to drive.

Finally, maintenance is complicated. If you buy a Prius, prepare to tell Bubba and his ball peen hammer goodbye. The days of the shade tree mechanic fade away into our story books as more hybrids are made because they have the duel engines and the different energy transferring systems.

My recommendation: someone give me a hybrid Prius PLEASE