Day 347 – Sustainable America has created a series of useful toolkits to help people live a more eco-friendly life.
GUIDE TO WASTING LESS AND BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE HOME
The guide covers the following:
- Sustainable Steps for the Whole Home
- Kitchen & Dining Room
- Living Room, Family Room and Den
- Laundry Room
- Home Office & Workspace
- Garage, Basement and Outdoors
A TOOLKIT FOR STRENGTHENING YOUR LOCAL FOOD SYSTEM
The guide covers the following:
- Supporting Your Local System
- Building Your Own System
- Investing in Greater Change
A NEW TOOLKIT FOR COMMUNITY CHANGE
The guide covers the following:
TOOLS FOR REDUCING IDLING
Whether you want to educate drivers in your neighborhood or launch your own idling reduction campaign, Sustainable America has a range of resources and toolkits designed specifically for you.
There are so many resources available to us. Many are just a click away. Living a more sustainable life does not have to be a lonely experience. You have plenty of help.
Tomorrow, tips for a more sustainable Christmas.
Day 346 – Merriam-Webster defines keeping up with the Joneses as, to show that one is as good as other people by getting what they have and doing what they do.
We are all familiar with the phrase and most of us, at some point, have been guilty of doing it. It’s not always easy to avoid and more times than not we might not even know we’re taking part.
If we are always trying to keep up with what other people have and what they are doing, we will find ourselves purchasing things we don’t need and maybe even participating in things we would rather not. In the end it is a great deal of waste.
By taking on a more simplistic way of living, we can avoid the competition and the unnecessary purchases and accumulation of stuff.
A minimalist lifestyle is the process of identifying what is essential in your life and having the courage to eliminate the rest. When you remove the unnecessary, you free up your time and capacity to focus on the things that truly matter in your life. Less is more.
Minimalism does not mean you have to get rid of all your belongings or never purchase new things. It does mean that you will take time to consider if the stuff in your life makes you happy and has a purpose. It means you’ll take the time to consider if the items you’re purchasing are necessary, quality made and maybe, go a step farther, and ask how it impacts the planet.
For all we know the Joneses are broke and not very happy. So, there’s really no reason to want to be like them. We don’t need the extra stress and the planet doesn’t need all that extra stuff.
Tomorrow, interactive initiatives that will help you live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Day 344 – I tried writing this post a few times and ending up changing topics, because I couldn’t find a good number of helpful environmentally friendly apps. So, when I saw the post by Earth911, 10 Green Apps To Help You Live More Sustainably, I knew that this would be a good time to share the information. With a new year closely approaching, these apps can help your resolutions to being more eco-friendly, become a reality.
Here are five from the list:
- iRecycle – iRecycle is Earth911.com in your pocket, the premiere application for finding local convenient recycling opportunities when you are on the go or at home. iRecycle provides access to more than 1,600,000 ways to recycle over 350 materials in the United States. Our daily sustainable living articles, podcasts, and recycling how-to guides are available any time you need information.
- Too Good to Go – Join millions of food waste warriors by downloading Too Good To Go – the world’s number 1 app for fighting food waste. Pick up delicious meals and ingredients from local stores. Each year, 40% all edible food in the US is thrown away. At Too Good To Go we want to put an end to food waste by creating a world where food produced is food consumed.
- GreenChoice – We rate food products and curate the best options for you & the planet.
- ShareWaste – We connect people who wish to recycle their food scraps and other organics with their neighbors who are already composting, worm-farming or keep farm animals. Now you can divert organic material from landfill while getting to know the people around you!
- PaperKarma – PaperKarma provides the largest directory in the US for opting out of junk mail, including: Catalogs, Charity Donation Requests, Credit Card & Insurance Offers, Direct Marketers, Local Mailers, National Mailers, and Previous Resident /Occupants’ Junk Mail.
Making a positive impact on the planet is just an app away.
Tomorrow, plastic roads.
Day 341 – I recently placed an order with Toad & Co. and was given the option to choose a reusable mailer. There was no charge for choosing this option, but I was going to have to be responsible for sending the reusable mailer back to the company. I of course chose to use the reusable mailer. Dropping it off at the UPS store with the provided prepaid postage was a very easy task.
When you consider global e-commerce sales are expected to hit $4.2 trillion this year and around 76 percent of U.S. adults shop online, there is no doubt there is a lot of packaging involved. Mailers being just one of the many shipping options. Many of these mailers can be recycled. Some can be recycled with your cardboard boxes. While others can be recycled with plastic film (#4). Some mailers can even be reused. Unfortunately, many people choose to discard these mailers in the trash.
This time of year, the number of mailers ending up in the trash increases tenfold. It’s a hectic time for many and the idea of separating the increased packaging coming through the door seems like a daunting task. More companies need to have the option of sending your newly purchased items in a reusable mailer. The consumer needs it and more importantly the planet needs it.
If you’re ever given the opportunity to use a reusable mailer, make sure you take it. And more importantly, make sure you send it back!
Tomorrow, feeding cows seaweed.
Day 339 – “World Soil Day (WSD) is held annually on December 5, as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources.” – United Nations
One way to keep soil healthy is the use of regenerative agriculture practices. There doesn’t seem to be a very specific definition to describe this practice. However, there are certain methods that can be seen as “regenerative”.
- Incorporating crop rotation and cover cropping
- Increasing plant and crop diversity
- Practicing conservative tillage to prevent erosion and increase soil health
- Animal integration, managed grazing and pasturing
- Composting and waste reduction
- and more
“Whether regenerative agriculture ends up being a scientifically-proven way to fight climate change or not, its methods still offer many benefits to the ecosystem, producers and consumers alike.” – Sustainable America
Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years. In addition to erosion, soil quality is affected by other aspects of agriculture. The need for farming practices that will address these issues is critical to a healthy planet.
“The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself” – President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Tomorrow, a look at what Taiwan is doing.
Day 338 – Traditional farming takes can take up a great deal of space and require a lot of water. Sadly, our planet is running out of space and fresh water. To help alleviate the problem, companies are creating vertical farms. One such company is Plenty, located in San Francisco, California.
Vertical farms provide numerous advantages over traditional farming.
- A perfect environment is offered, avoiding the unpredictability of changing climates.
- No bleach or pesticides used on plants. No GMOs.
- Crop yields are increased over 350x compared to traditional farming.
- Hundreds of acres of farmland are compacted into the size of a big box retail store.
Plenty offers a variety of different greens.
There is no denying that the planet is changing and that climates around the globe will begin to undergo major changes. Many have already started the transformation. Vertical gardens will be key in providing people with fresh produce.
Tomorrow, celebrating World Soil Day.
Day 337 – Back on Day 240, I wrote about Looptworks. They take material destined for the landfill and create items for reuse. They have bags of every kind, aprons, clothes and face masks. I thought I would share even more suggestion for upcycled gifts.
Nowhere Collective – This gift guide lists numerous artists using recycled materials to create their upcycled items. Amazing one-of-a-kind gifts to give to friends and family.
Upcycle It Now – A mother-daughter company that has a three-pronged mission: give materials a second life, create useful and beautiful goods, and provide skilled jobs for their community.
Upcycled – Based in Missoula, Montana, this shop features arts and crafts from local Montana artisans.
Upcycle That – Not only do they sell upcycled items, but also give a wide range of ideas and tutorials for upcycling different materials and making unique items.
Etsy – There is a plethora of artists on Etsy selling their upcycled gifts.
Uncommon Goods – They are known for their unique gifts, but they also have numerous upcycled gifts, as well.
Rareform – Bags made from billboard signs.
A few other great posts to check out:
23 Practical Upcycled Gift Ideas For Him & Her
21 Upcycled Gift Ideas
Give the gift of something old becoming something new this holiday season.
Tomorrow, indoor vertical farms.
Day 336 – Finding the perfect gift during the holiday season can be a challenging task. Being able to help a worthy cause would make a great gift. Here are some amazing organizations in the world that will take your donation dollars and do the most good.
Here is a list of 10 organizations, along with their Charity Navigator rating and mission statement.
- The Conservation Fund (90.94/100) – The Conservation Fund, working with public, private and nonprofit partners, protects America’s legacy of land and water resources through land acquisition, sustainable community and economic development, and leadership training, emphasizing the integration of economic and environmental goals.
- Waterkeeper Alliance (92.61/100) – Waterkeeper Alliance holds polluters accountable. We’re the largest and fastest-growing nonprofit solely focused on clean water. We preserve and protect water by connecting and mobilizing more than 300 local Waterkeeper groups worldwide.
- Ocean Conservancy (94.13/100) – Ocean Conservancy is working with you to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it.
- Amazon Conservation Association (95.14/100) – Our Mission is to unite science, innovation, and people to protect the western Amazon – the greatest wild forest on Earth.
- Wildlife Conservation Society (94.50/100) – WCS uses science to discover and understand the natural world. This knowledge helps us engage and inspire decision-makers, communities, and millions of supporters to take action with us to protect the wildlife and wild places we all care about.
- American Bird Conservancy (94.26/100) – American Bird Conservancy is dedicated to conserving wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.
- Natural Resource Defense Council (96.11/100) – We combine the power of more than three million members and online activists with the expertise of some 700 scientists, lawyers, and policy advocates across the globe to ensure the rights of all people to the air, the water, and the wild.
- The Sierra Club Foundation (95.87/100) – The Sierra Club Foundation promotes climate solutions, conservation, and movement building through a powerful combination of strategic philanthropy and grassroots advocacy. The Foundation is the independent fiscal sponsor of Sierra Club’s charitable environmental programs.
- Environmental Defense Fund (86.78/100) – We take on climate change and other grave threats by identifying what’s most urgent and where we can make the most difference.
- National Park Conservation Association (85.62/100) – We’re protecting and enhancing America’s National Park System for present and future generations.
So many options to give a gift that helps the planet.
Tomorrow. ideas for upcycled gifts.
Day 335 – You may be already done with your holiday shopping. Or you haven’t even started. Whatever the case may be, it’s always a great idea to purchase gifts that will help people and the environment. Not only will you feel good giving special gifts to family and friends, but you can feel good that your gift will have a positive impact on the planet.
Here are 15 ideas from posts that I have written this year.
- Day 21 – Blueland – eco-friendly cleaning products
- Day 152 – Eco-friendly Toys
- Day 164 – Sustainable Phone Cases
- Day 178 – Eco-friendly Sunglasses
- Day 193 – Clothing made from recycled plastic
- Day 199 – Zero Waste Makeup Brands
- Day 205 – Igloo EcoCoolers
- Day 237 – Eco-friendly Yoga Mats
- Day 240 – Looptworks – Upcycled gifts
- Day 257 – Lost Golf Balls – used and recycled golf balls
- Day 272 – Sustainable Pet Products
- Day 293 – Green Goo – Skin care derived from plants
- Day 300 – EcoSports – Eco-friendly sporting equipment
- Day 324 – Rumpl – Eco-friendly blankets
- Day 327 – MC Squares – reusable sticky notes
Other great options include:
- Earth Hero – variety of Earth-friendly gifts
- UNICEF Market
- Certified B Corporation gift guide
- Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange – gifts for the artists in your life
- 4Ocean – gifts that help clean the oceans
- Gift card to commercial composting service
- Climate Pledge Products on Amazon
One more list to help you out:
20 Awesome Holiday Gifts that Help the Planet
Tomorrow, giving a gift donation.
Day 334 – It brings joy to my heart when I read about innovative ideas that are being implemented in Chicago. More times than not, when it comes to the environment, Chicago is behind in making efforts to be more sustainable and eco-friendly. There are organizations and companies doing their part, but as a whole, Chicago is trailing behind other big cities.
So, I was happy to read about new playgrounds being built at five Chicago elementary schools this fall. The schools are O’Keeffe School of Excellence in South Shore, Arnold Mireles Academy and Horace Mann Elementary in South Chicago, Daniel Wentworth Elementary in West Englewood and John Whistler Elementary in West Pullman.
The playgrounds were built with the help of the Space to Grow program. The program is a joint effort between Healthy Schools Campaign, Openlands, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Department of Water Management, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Loyola University, Nutrition Policy Institute at the University of California, and United States Geological Survey. Together they have transformed a total of 30 playgrounds (including these last five).
“Space to Grow transforms Chicago schoolyards into beautiful and functional spaces to play, learn, garden and be outside. The schoolyards also use special design elements to help reduce neighborhood flooding. Schoolyard transformations prioritize physical activity, outdoor learning and community engagement. The green schoolyards incorporate landscape features that capture a significant amount of rainfall, helping keep the city’s water resources clean and resulting in less neighborhood flooding.” – Space to Grow
Providing children a space to learn and play, while helping the environment is truly a win for everyone.
Tomorrow, some sustainable holiday gift ideas.