Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A great website: Explore.org

We wanted to tell our readers about a great site that has launched recently called Explore.org.
This website is the online portal for Explore, which is a multimedia organization that documents those around the world who are devoting their lives to making the world a better place. By showing the selfless acts of others, Explore has helped showcase what helping others and the environment is all about.

On Explore has a library of 250 original films and 30,000 photographs that have been taken around the world and showcased at film festivals, as well as on television and the internet. As well, those featured in explore films receive explore funding from the Annenberg Foundation, and to date $15 million has been awarded to 100+ non-profits around the world.

Check out this video of their great work: http://explore.org/videos/player/cr-tortuguero

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Great Facebook Application

Recently Layla and I were made aware of a new campaign being done by Naked Juice and Facebook. The campaign has created a Facebook application that helps the launch of Naked Juice reNEWabottle, which is a bottle made from other bottles. For each bottle, the company is donating one dollar for every bottle that is passed on the Facebook Application. To pass a bottle, all you have to do is go to http://apps.facebook.com/messageinabottle

The reNEWabottle is the efforts by Naked Juice to keep plastic bottles out of the landfill by making their bottles from other bottles. This means their bottles are 100 percent recyclable and made from 100 percent recycled materials. This means they will use 48 percent less packaging and lower their oil consumption by 57,000 barrels per year, which is a great thing.

The entire Naked Juice line will be using the reNEWabottle by 2010.

Back to Pass The Bottle, the company is trying to raise $20,000, which will all go to Keep America Beautiful, which is a non-profit that works to prevent litter, reduce waste and protect the resources of the United States.

A good cause that Layla and I are happy to support and spread the word on.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's Time For A Green Book Review: Last Chance By Larry J. Schweiger

First, Layla and I would both like to say that we were honored to be asked to take part in the "One Day, 100 Bloggers, 100 Green Books, 100 Reviews" campaign. Created by Eco-Libris, it is a day to help promote books that are printed using recycled and FSC certified paper. As described by Eco-Libris,"The idea is to have 100 bloggers simultaneously publish on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009, their book review of a green book of their choice. We want to use the power of the internet and social media to promote green books and increase the awareness of both publishers and readers to the way books can be printed responsibly and sustainably. We hope that the magnitude of this initiative will help grab readers, publishers and others' attention and get them to think about and discuss the future of books and how the green factor should be part of it."
The book we chose to read is Last Chance by Larry J. Schweiger.

In Last Chance, Mr. Schweiger paints a vivid picture of not only the dangers that humanity is facing as we move into the 21st century, but also the dire need to preserve life as we know it on Earth.
The book begins by taking us to the year 2020, just over 10 years from now, and paints a picture of a world that is already different from the world we inhabit today. Mr. Schweiger makes it clear that the business as usual attitude of humanity will not cut it as we move into the future.
Mr. Schweiger pulls absolutely no punches with this book. From the beginning he shows that we are much closer to global warming catastrophe than people like to admit. It is easy to see 2100 as a long ways off, but with this book any reader will see that in just ten to twenty years, our world will be very different. Mr. Schweiger shows that the signs have been there for decades, and even the mother of the environmentalist movement, Rachel Carson (author of Silent Spring) saw that things were changing back in the middle part of the 20th century.
Throughout this book, Mr. Schweiger displays to the reader that dangers are all around us relating to the environment. Mercury from coal pollution, melting ice in the arctic releasing methane to the plight of sea turtles.
The first part of the book puts science where Mr. Schweiger's mouth is, while the second part brings into focus those who know there is a problem and do nothing, either through apathy or a need for money and a love of greed.
It is the third part of the book where the real message lies though. It is here that Mr. Schweiger tells us that the future is in our hands, and that we can change the future. From pushing the politicians, to getting down and working in the soil to grow crops for ourselves, he gives us the road map to change. He ends with a call for a last chance to do something.
As he says, America, and the world, is at a crossroads and the road we take will greatly influence the future outcome of life on Earth.
One wonderful feature of this book is that at the end of chapters, there are objectives that people can achieve to help make the future a better place, and to pressure those in power to make the change they should have made decades ago.

Last Chance is a phenomenal book that is a must-read for anyone who is concerned about the environment. The president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation has written a book that will open the eyes of even the most ardent global warming denier. For both Layla and I, it was a great read and one that is not easy to put down. When you do put it down, it is hard not to think about the changes that are going on around our planet right now, nor the incredible need and requirement we all have as humans to preserve life on Earth.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A great new blog

Recently, Layla and I came across another blog that is blogging about their own green journey, so we thought we would give them a shout out from our own blog.

Shelagh Dunn has committed to doing one small green thing every day to help combat global warming. So far she has atteneded a green event, bought local, offset her carbon and unplug everything in her house.

One of the best things on her site is the running tally on the side of the green impact she has made. As of today, it stood as:

  • Buying Local Produce: 1 week
  • Cold water washers: 2
  • Meatless Lunches or Suppers: 1
  • Time unplugged: 1.5 hours
  • Minutes of water running saved: 24
  • Bottle of water saved: 1
  • Plastic bags saved: 19
  • Trip by car saved: 2
  • Carbon saved so far: 378 pounds
Both Layla and I wish Shelagh luck with her green journey. We really enjoyed our own green journey and continue to live the green life and are happy for it. We will also be keeping up on her blog and seeing where her green journey takes her in the future

You can visit the blog at http://everysmallthing.blogspot.com/


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Garden Update and Rotary

It has been awhile since we posted, mainly due to being busy and because we are focusing primarily on posting on our Atlas Bear site (which we have also been away from due to being busy, but will get back to daily/weekly postings right away).

However, it is time for a garden update. So far we have been picking corn and potatoes of the the garden. The cobs of corn are turning out quite good, and the potatoes vary in size from about the size of a small rock, to a bit bigger than my first.
As well, we finally have pumpkins appearing on the Giant Pumpkin plant we have, and the other pumpkin variety (my grandma gave us the plant as a gift). Carrots are turning out great, and we have a good row of lettuce. The spinach and peas have been picked and harvested and look pretty good.

Layla and I also did a talk today to the Rotary Club of Stony Plain and we wanted to thank them for having us come out and talk about going green.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Picking Peas


The time has come for us to begin harvesting the peas in the garden. So, this morning we went out and began to pick the peas that are ready. We were able to fill up two big bowls with pea pods and there is still a lot of peas still on the vines. Should be a very good year for peas at the ranch :)


Monday, July 27, 2009

A very green way to mow the lawn


Layla and I are lucky enough to have some horses at our ranch, and that makes keeping the lawn short much easier. Instead of bringing out a gas mower, or mowing the large amount of grass by hand, we can use the horses. That way we save on hay, and the horses get some nice green grass.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

A tour of our garden, and the first potatoes from the garden


Here is a quick tour of our garden, and some of the potatoes that I pulled out of a hill for supper tonight.

video

Here are the potatoes:


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Garden and Alberta Primetime

Well, the garden is coming in great for us here in Alberta. We have five rows of peas shooting up, three rows of beans, two watermelons, two pumpkins, celery, radishes, corn and pumpkins all doing amazingly well. Our indoor tomatoes and outdoor tomatoes are also doing well. We have some spinach plants up, and the corn is trying to pop up with a few plants showing. The peppers aren't doing well unfortunately.

Pictures soon!

Also, thank you to Alberta Primetime on Access, who were nice enough to invite Layla and I into their studio yesterday to do an interview about Our Green Year and our selection as two of the most influential people in Alberta.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cool News!

Today, we appeared in Alberta Venture magazine in their annual list of the 50 most influential people in Alberta. This is a really big honor for us to be considered one of the most influential people in Alberta and we thank Alberta Venture for considering us.

Here is what the magazine said:

Craig and Layla Baird
Eco Bloggers

Ecologically speaking, Craig and Layla Baird know little things make the difference – especially after spending a year performing one environmentally conscious deed a day. As part of the commitment, the Stony Plain-area writers told of coffee-ground body scrubs and clothes washed with shower water in their blog Our Green Year, garnering a global readership. The year may be over, but the project isn’t. On Day 365, the Bairds vowed to turn the experiment into a lifestyle.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Support Tree Planting With Odwalla

Trees are our best friends in the fight against climate change because trees take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into wonderful oxygen. For whatever reason, we feel the need to cut down trees so it is important that we do what we can to bring more trees onto Earth.

That is why it is good to hear that the Odwalla Plant A Tree Program is working with people to donate trees, free of charge, to state park systems in the United States. By visiting the Odwalla Plant A Tree (http://www.parkvisitor.com/odwalla) website, it is possible for individuals to plant a tree in one of 11 state parks with just the click of a mouse. Visitors can make a donation to help the program and get trees planted.

Odwalla is donating $100,000 worth of trees in California, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Utah, Ohio, Texas, Maryland, Michigan and Viriginia. The program runs from May 27, 2009 to December 31, 2009.

A Reader's Solar Cooker

One of our readers, Alice, recently built a solar cooker and was nice enough to send us photos of the solar cooker. As she describes it:

"This small solar cooker is made of cardboard and duct tape. I cut a piece of metal hanger to support the lid; bought a piece of glass for insulation, and painted an old pot for cooking. Very simple and small, just enough to bake a few small potatoes. I put the potatoes in the pot in the morning, by dinner time they are ready."

Great Job Alice :)

Product Review: Clean+Green

About a week ago, the nice folks at SeaYu were nice enough to send Layla and I a complimentary green cleaning product after hearing about our green cleaning efforts on the blog. While we are not clean freaks, we do keep a clean house so we were really interested in trying out the cleaners they had sent us.

SeaYu is a company that offers excellent green solutions for cleaning, with an emphasis on not only creating a healthy and clean environment free of chemicals for humans, but for their pets as well. Too often, companies will issue out products that have harmful chemicals in them without thinking of the animals who may come in contact with this. It was refreshing to see that SeaYu was forward thinking and cared about the welfare of our pets.

The two products they had sent us were for carpet and upholstery and the car. On the couch we have had for years, which has become quite dark because of dogs sleeping on it, we tried out the carpet and upholstery cleaner. We sprayed it on the couch and were able to clean it quickly and easily, without any chemical smells coming off the couch. In fact, the couch looked almost new thanks to the SeaYu carpet and upholestery cleaner. We found that the SeaYu auto cleaner, which eliminates odors, removes stains and operates as a general cleaner in the car, worked just as well as the carpet and upholstery cleaner. Both products were excellent, quick acting and we did not worry about what we were breathing in when we used the products, which is refreshing for sure.

The cleaners are:

  • Non-Toxic
  • Non-Flammable
  • Non-Corrosive
  • Non-Carconogenic
In the products, there are no:

  • Oxidizers
  • Hydrocarbon Solvents
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
The SeaYu products are also all-natural, containing no harmful ingredients. The ingredients are:

  • Cane sugar
  • Botanical Extracts
  • Hydrated Cellulose
  • Purified Water
  • Nitrogen
There are no fragrances with the SeaYu product, and the cleaning agents are completely biodegradable.

All in all, we found the products that SeaYu were nice enough to send us completely perfect for the heavy duty cleaning that baking soda didn't always take care of. We did not feel sick after using the products as sometimes happens with bleach and other cleaning products (before we started Our Green Year).

If you need a good cleaning product, and you have pets, this is the perfect product for you. Especially if you care about what goes into your air and what goes into the environment as well.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

And...The Rest of the Garden is In

Quite a surprise today when we were watching Global National and saw ourselves on it talking about going green, from two interviews we did with Global Edmonton News.

We were able to get the garden in today in advance of the rain, despite a pretty bad sunburn on my part (stupid not wearing something to protect myself from the sun). We were able to plant tomatoes, peppers, two kinds of onions, spinach, lettuce, carrots and asparagus. That makes the entire garden in, as well as the herb garden closer to the house.

This pic is of three tires we found behind the garage here at the ranch, and decided to use for the onions, which are a type that keeps coming back each year without replanting.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Half the garden is in

*First, to explain why Layla is holding a hammer, we were hammering in the posts for our pea plant fences*

We spent today putting our garden in. It was a beautiful day that just made us want to go out and spend the day working in the garden. We planted one row of cucumbers, one row of radishes, a row of rosemary, four rows of corn, five rows of peas, six rows of potatoes (50 hills total), ten pumpkins, five watermelons, two rows of broccoli and a row of rosemary. In addition, our seed starters are going great and we have several wild flowers growing inside, oregano and thyme growing inside and will be transplanted outside when they are ready, one broccoli seed, lots of marigolds and two tomato plants.

Everything in the garden was planted in a manner that the vegetables and herbs around it were beneficial to each other, helping everything grow better. We are hoping that companion planting will increase the yield of our vegetables, eliminating any need for any chemicals to increase vegetable yield.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Preparing to put the garden in

Now that we have a bigger garden here at the ranch than we did in Rossland, we are going to be planting more vegetables to get us through the winter. This week, we have started planting in the garden as well as expanding what we are growing inside the house.

In the garden, we will be planting:

  1. Cucumbers
  2. Radishes
  3. Parsnip
  4. Corn
  5. Watermelon
  6. Potatoes
  7. Broccoli
  8. Rosemary
  9. Oregano
  10. Peas
  11. Pumpkin
  12. Beans
  13. Celery
  14. Raspberries
  15. Asparagus
  16. Tomatoes
  17. Mint
  18. Carrots
  19. Basil
  20. Onions
  21. Spinach
  22. Thyme
A lot more work yes, but we are really looking forward to the garden this year and the bounty we hope it provides.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The First Plant Sprout in Our Seed Starters

Only took a few days but the first sprout has appeared in our seed starters. We have found three more sprouting (it is in the second row from the top, in the cup on the edge. Click on the photo to see a larger picture of it). Once they get larger we will transplant them into the soil outside.

We also planned out the garden today. We are using rain barrels, compost, soaker hoses and companion in the garden to get the maximum yield from our herb and flower gardens without having to use pesticides or herbicides.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Talking To Kids About The Environment

Today is a big day for Layla and myself. Not only is it our five year anniversary, but we are going to the Youth Center in Stony Plain today as we were invited to talk with the kids about eco-awareness. Should be a lot of fun.

We will also be attending an eco-event at Meridian Mall on May 23 in Stony Plain, designed to spread eco tips and knowledge so if you are around, come check it out.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Seed Starters

Here is a pic of the seed starters we have going in my home office. We have several wild flowers and other types of flowers in place. Once they are ready, we will transplant them into the soil outside. The egg containers are made of paper and cardboard and previously housed organic and free range chicken eggs

Saturday, April 25, 2009

We have launched a new environment site!

In an effort to expand on Our Green Year, Layla and I have launched AtlasBear.com (name explained on site). This site will serve as a website that offers a wide variety of environment information. From projects to tips, news to interviews, AtlasBear.com is a one-stop information resource for all things environmental.

We are looking for volunteer writers for the site as well, so if you are interested you can contact me at craig@clbairdmedia.com

Thanks!

AtlasBear.com

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day 365 of our Green Year: Going Green....For Life

We have finally made it. Day 365 of going green. A long undertaking but well-worth it in more ways than we can count. Over the past year, we have met a lot of great people and changed our own lives by going green with 365 different green things. From the first day when we began to put out green tips to now, we have covered the gambit of different green tips that everyone can do. We have had difficulty at times, but it has been something we really enjoyed doing.

So, what do we do for Our Green Year's last day? Well, the best thing we can do and that is to continue going green for the rest of our lives. Stopping going green now? Why would we do that? We need to continue going green because that is the commitment we have made for ourselves with Our Green Year.

Our decision today to go green is to keep that message going.

This past year as been an amazing one for us. We have learned a great deal about the environment, both through research and through talking to people about it and hearing from people who come to the blog. We have received a lot of support from the people who come to our blog and while some have called us self-righteous, many many more have told us they support us in what we are doing.

When we started Our Green Year we did it with the only goal of educating ourselves and the environment. We didn't do it for money, for press or anything else. We started it knowing that not everyone could do everything we did, and not everyone would agree with all the posts that we put up. However, by doing 365 things, we knew that we would appeal to a broad spectrum of people and that two very different types of people could take at least 10 tips from our blog to use in their own lives.

Yes, some of our blogs were a bit out of the box for tips, but when you are doing 365 things that is just the way it goes. We supported environmental charities, donated to other causes, signed petitions and used click to donate buttons. These may not have been something everyone does or even thinks helps, but they all serve their purpose in helping the environment.

What comes next for Our Green Year? Do we stop now and go back to the way we were before? No, not at all. We started this blog so that we could change our lives and live green for the rest of our lives. The decisions we have made here will continue in our lives, and we will not fall back on anything.

Day 365 is not the end of Our Green Year, it is only the end of the first phase of something that is very important to Layla and myself and that is going green, educating ourselves, learning from others and helping to spread a green message to those who want to hear it.

Thank you to everyone who has come out to our blog this past year, and we hope you will keep coming after Day 365.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day 364 of our Green Year: No More Toothpicks

One day left! Almost over for blogging each day, but not over by a long shot for going green and continuing with this lifestyle. Thank you to Jessica from AM 1150, who was nice enough to do an interview with us today.

Now, back to our second last blog for Our Green Year's first 365 days. Today, we are banning toothpicks. Toothpicks are nice when you have something stuck in your teeth, but it is a piece of wood that is used once and thrown away. Doing some research about toothpicks, we found out that toothpicks are actually older than our own species! Apparently Neanderthal skulls have shown evidence of toothpick use. It is our oldest dental instrument but now thanks to Eco-Dent and baking soda toothpaste, the time for the toothpick has passed.

Toothpicks are made from birch wood. Birch logs are spiral cut into spiral sheets, and then those are chopped, milled and cut into toothpicks. We use them once and throw them away, and our world has lost a tree that can take CO2 out of the atmosphere.

So, Layla and I are banning toothpicks and instead using toothbrushes and Eco-Dent to clear our teeth. It is better for the environment than cutting down a tree, and our teeth won't suffer from the loss of the toothbrush.

At the event we were attending yesterday to help raise money for the Youth Center, we were given two tree saplings and some bookmarks that have wildflower seeds inside so you can put them in the ground and grow wildflowers from. Below is a picture of one of the saplings that we planted.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 363 of our Green Year: Ensuring Clean Filters

Today was a great day for us! We attended the Youth Center Thrift Store Fashion Show where we had an Our Green Year exhibit set up and we met some great people. Thank you to everyone who came by the booth to talk to us, it was nice meeting all of you!

For today, which is our third last day, we are ensuring clean filters in our home and vehicle. As we have mentioned several times during Our Green Year, it is important to check your filters because if they are clogged, then more air needs to be pushed through and that puts more work on the furnace and on the car.

To improve fuel efficiency, you should keep your filters cleaned, as well as for the health of your car. The dirtier your filter is, the more gas you will use because the engine has to work that much harder.

For your home, cleaning the filter for your furnace is important for the environment and your health. Poor filters require more airflow and that takes up more energy, and not as many pollutants will be filtered out by the air filter.

Thanks again to everyone who visited our booth!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Day 362 of our Green Year: Disposing of Grease Properly

Sometimes when we cook, especially when we make eggs (Bison has nearly no grease and we eat it only once every few months), there is a bit of grease. It used to be people would just drop the grease down the drain and then follow it with hot water to keep it from becoming solid in the drain. However, as it turns out this not a very good idea and there have been plenty of commercials on television advertising this fact.

When you dump grease down the drain, it causes sewer blockages that can then cause overflows and ruin homes, cause problems for the environment and even cause health problems for people. You can find that raw sewage will back up into your home, your neighborhood and even in parks when these types of blockages happen.

Instead of just dumping the grease down the drain, Layla and I will put the grease in a container and when that container is full, we will take it to the proper disposal facility. That way we prevent environmental damage, and we keep sewage from backing up into our property! No one likes a backed up septic tank!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Day 361 of our Green Year: Celebrating Earth Day and Spreading The Green Message

The countdown continues to the end of the year! Four days to go! Today we went to the Farmer's Market and picked up some organic honey from a local supplier. It tastes great in the coffee. It was also refreshing to see so many local people selling food that is organic and preservatives free!

As for today, we are going green by celebrating Earth Day. In fact, we are celebrating Earth Day a few times this next week and a half!

On Monday, we are attending a Earth Day Thrift Fashion Show, where we will have a display of the things we have done this year. We are going to be talking with people who come by and spreading our own bit of environmental wisdom (as little as there may be) from the past year.

Then, that following Sunday we are going to the big Earth Day event in Edmonton. We are not speaking or have anything on display, but we are going to go and see others who are celebrating the Earth, learn more about what we can do to help and maybe make some new friends.

Then, on April 28, we are going to the Youth Center to talk to the kids about environmental issues, answer their questions and spread some more information about going green. We are really looking forward to this because our main goal with Our Green Year has been to help others learn about going green, and help them go green as well.

Only a few days till Earth Day everyone! What are you planning on doing?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day 360 of our Green Year: Picking Wild Berries

Well, five days left! We are counting down and are amazed that the entire year is almost over.

Now, as for today's blog, it comes to us courtesy of Jenni who made a good suggestion about ways that we can have some great berries, but without the CO2 to get us the berries, or the plastic packaging that comes with those berries.

It involves picking berries, and before we go any further it is very important that you ONLY PICK BERRIES THAT YOU CAN IDENTIFY AS GOOD NOT POISONOUS. Don't be stupid and just grab a handful of berries that you find in the forest. If you don't know what the berry is, then don't eat it!


Now, in Rossland we had wild huckleberries growing all around us and when we would go on hikes we would pick them. They made great and healthy snacks for both us and the bears who frequented the area.

Now, where we are in Alberta, there are actually plenty of berries that we can eat, especially close to us along the banks of the North Saskatchewan (about two km away from us). As well, on our property there are even raspberry bushes growing! This is great because Layla and I are big fans of raspberries, and to find out we have some growing on this property was a great bit of good news.

So, instead of buying strawberries and other berries at the store and dealing with the travel CO2 and the packaging of those berries, we will instead pick them from the wild here to eat. We will only pick those we can identify as safe (as should everyone else) and we will only pick enough for a pie or a dish, never more than we should have lest we rob local wildlife of this wonderful delicacy.

A cool bit of news. Layla and I were getting a lunch at the organic cafe here and we saw a poster for the Earth Day event we are attending with an exhibit of Our Green Year. It was actually really cool because when we looked on the poster, we saw that we were labeled as special guests, which we thought was a really cool honor and something we were not expecting at all! Thanks Jennifer!

If you are in Stony Plain on April 20, come out and support this wonderful event at the Stony Plain Community Hall from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. It helps the local Youth Center and will have many great things to come out and check out! While you are there, drop by our table and say hi!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day 359 of our Green Year: Disposing of CFLs

Way back, about 350 days back or so, give or take a few days, we switched our house to CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights), or rather our old house in Rossland. At the new ranch, we set up CFLs as well. Some of these lights can last for upwards of 10 years, and that means that even though they are incredibly energy efficient, they will need to be replaced and if you want to be environmentally friendly, you won't just throw them in the garbage.

It is amazing, but only three percent of CFLs are disposed of correctly, or correctly recycled. The rest ends up in landfills and this creates a problem because the bulbs contain mercury. It is unfortunate that such an energy efficient product, that can literally save millions of tonnes of CO2 from going into the atmosphere, can also contain an element that is so poisonous to the environment. Mercury is so bad that if you drop one of these bulbs on the floor, everyone in the room should clear out for 15 minutes so that the dust can settle and the broken pieces can be swept up. Once you sweep it up, seal it in a bag and put it in the trash, most places won't take CFLs like this unfortunately so it has to go in the trash.

Thankfully, recycling CFLs is very easy because many companies and stores will take the old CFLs and dispose of them for you. Home Depot and IKEA are two places that take CFL lights. You can also visit Earth911.org and call 800-CLEAN-UP to find a list of places that you can dispose of the CFLs at.

One cool note. We were at Rona recently picking up another recycling bin for our ranch to help better organize everything and we saw this sign at the checkout. Good Job Rona!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Day 358 of our Green Year: Renting Bikes

A few times during Our Green Year, we have mentioned ways that we can all go green with vacations. We have already practiced a staycation this year, and next year we are taking the train to visit friends out in Ontario for a wedding. Well, while we are there we have decided that instead of renting a car for getting around, we will go green and rent some bikes.

Jenni was nice enough to suggest to this us by sending an e-mail to us and we really do appreciate it :)

Taking a train is greener than driving that long distance as we showed in the original post, and rather than create more CO2 in the atmosphere, we will bike around. Of course we did address biking out to Ontario but it is 3,000 kilometers and we just can't take that long of time away from our company.

So, Min, Jay, Faith, Stacey, and The Dude, we will be seeing you next year and we will be visiting your wonderful town on bikes, not in a car.

Thanks again Jenni for suggesting this!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day 357 of our Green Year: Blue Planet Products

A little while ago, I saw a commercial from Canadian Tire that advertised their Blue Planet products. I was intrigued because of their promise to plant a tree for every Blue Planet item bought, so I thought I would look into it.

From April 11 to May 8, 2009, anyone who buys a Blue Planet product will have a tree planted in their name. According to Canadian Tire, roughly 100,000 trees should be planted, and that means millions of tonnes of CO2 being taken out of the atmosphere as a result. Since these trees are only planted when you buy environmentally friendly Blue Planet products, you are creating a double whammy of help for the environment.

The products that come as part of the Blue Planet line include CFL bulbs, rechargeable batteries, energy meters and natural household cleaning products. Even reusable shopping bags, lawn products and solar panels are included in this.

So, not only are Layla and I spreading the word about this great initiative, we are also going to pick up a few products that we need, or will need in the future, to get a few trees planted to help out the environment.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 356 of our Green Year: Banning Leather

A long time ago, way back in the summer, Layla and I banned beef in our lives because the livestock industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gases. Well, today we are banning leather in our lives because of its effect on the environment.

First of all, the practice of getting leather is not at all green or nice for the animals whose skin makes up that leather. We have heard about a video that shows a cow being skinned alive for its hide. That alone is reason enough for us not to buy leather. It should be noted that those companies that use those types of practices are the minority rather than the majority.

Second, the tanning industry in large scale terms uses a lot of energy, and as we all know, energy means CO2 production usually, and that means greenhouse gases being put into the atmosphere.

To understand the effect of the tanning industry on the environment, here is the process.
  1. The hides are prepared by using salt.
  2. The hides are soaked with perfectly good water to remove all that salt.
  3. The hides are then treated with one or more of the following chemicals to get rid of the hair: sodium sulfide, sodium hydroxide, sodium hydrosulfite, arsenic sulfide, calcium hydrosulfide, dimethyl amine, sodium suphydrate
  4. Once the hair is gone, the hides are put through another salt and suphuric acid treatment.
  5. The hides are soaked in water again
  6. The actual tanning is performed with chromium sulfate.
Instead, Layla and I will stick with our commitment to buy green clothes only when we need them, and from now on leather is out of the question for us.