Back from the dead, watched “An Inconvenient Truth,” starting to take bus

Wow – I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve posted. Yikes.

So I finally watched “An Inconvenient Truth.” I feel like kind of a dumbass for not having watched this when it first came out. I think the year it was released in theatres, there were a bunch of other really great movies out as well. I figured I’d eventually get to it.

The movie was great, but not nearly as powerful as I thought it would be. I think this is mainly due to the fact that the media is currently saturated with all of the same information that is disclosed in the movie. Which is a good thing. But now that I’ve heard everything before, its emotional effect is lessened. However the information is still very much viable and applicable to our current situation.

Some of the most powerful images from that movie were of lakes and channels that had completely dried up over the span of a century. That is truly frightening. Also, the fact that third world countries are most suseptable to the effects of global warming really hit home.

Additionally, finding out more about Al Gore‘s background in environmentalism was enlightening. I had no idea that he had been giving those presentations over a period of several years.

So, as I resurface from having my head way up my rear end for a couple months, I realize that I still have such a long way to go with this whole green thing. But I’m o.k. with that. I do what I can and that’s important. One really big advance, however, is that I am planning on taking the bus starting next week. My husband is currently away on an extended trip out of country, and I am left commuting by myself to work everyday in my car. I can’t tolerate the fact that there’s just one passenger in the car. And since my husband and I had tossed around the idea of commuting by bus a few times during the work week, I thought I should give it a test run while he’s away. If we start getting into the habit of taking the bus, this will be a huge step for me and my self-greening campaign. Although I have to be honest – I loathe the bus. I mainly loathe the downtown buses, which usually have a number of smelly drunks on them. But since we will be coming from the outskirts of downtown Denver, I’m thinking the number of smelly drunks might be very small. Here’s hoping!!

Just like a five year old

When dealing with toddlers, you expect the usual responsibility-skirting that takes place right after something valuable shatters on floor. Unfortunately we also have to deal with this same sort of behavior from our president.

Today Bush spoke from the rose garden about global warming and the impending climate change. As expected, he blabbed his way through his speech, and, just like a five year old, pointed the finger at other high-emission-producing countries saying “if we have to change, then they (China) do too.” Real freaking mature.

Let me just say that I should’ve known better than to turn my head 20 degrees to the t.v. in the gym to hear what Mr. Potato Head had to say. Nothing of what he said was surprising, however aggravating still.

Bush has also been repeatedly rejecting proposed legislation for industry emission cuts. One such proposed bill expected to be taken up by the Senate in June calls for a 19 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2025 and about a 70 percent reduction by mid-century from power plants, transportation and industrial sources. Apparently “Mikey doesn’t like it.”

Basically it boils down to the fact that Bush is not willing to threaten any relationships he currently has by passing more drastic bills. And what’s good for W is good for the country, and for that matter the world, right?

Greendimed

After coming home to mountains upon mountains of catalogs, I decided it was time to take action. I have to honestly say that part of me was sad to cancel catalogs from such companies as Crate & Barrel, Chiasso, West Elm and CB2 (my favorites), but my feelings don’t justify the waste I’m producing by taking in these publications. And, I can always peruse the internet if I need to satisfy my window-shopping urge.

To handle the task of managing my junk mail and catalogs, I turned to GreenDimes. Not only do they monitor your junk mail, but they also plant trees 5 trees on your behalf. Yes, it costs more than the average junk mail monitoring program ($20), but to eliminate junk mail and plant trees – it’s worth it. Plus, it’s super easy to keep track of your account online.

So far I haven’t noticed much of a difference, but they warn you ahead of time that it’s going to take a while for your cancellations to start kicking in.

Here’s a sidenote: Victoria’s Secret does not cooperate with junk mail monitoring programs. You actually have to call them on their normal customer service phone line to cancel your catalog subscription. Which can really suck if they are particularly busy with orders. Bad form, Victoria’s.

Lights out on March 29

earthhour.jpgChances are you already know about Earth Hour, which is a green World Wildlife Fund initiative urging businesses and individuals alike to turn off their lights for one hour on March 29 of this year. Well, if you didn’t know about it, now you do! (If you live in Denver Earth Hour happens 8-9 p.m.)

Our green-savvy mayor here in Denver, Mayor Hickenlooper, is supporting this intiative whole-heartedly and has been calling on local businesses to turn their lights off during Earth Hour. Even the folks at my place of employment, the Denver Newspaper Agency, have been discussing the possibility of participating. However, this remains to be seen, or not seen as the case may be! I certainly hope the DNA does participate. I of course am planning on participating, and this means I’m going to need to break out the candles. Soy candles are preferred but currently I’m trying to use up all of my naughty paraffin ones.

Anyway, I urge everyone and anyone who reads this blog to participate in Earth Hour. Imagine the amount of carbon emissions saved during an hour’s worth of lights out. Very, very substantial. Plus, it will undoubtedly reassure people that the world doesn’t come to end when you turn the lights out. The t.v. will still run efficiently, the oven will still function and your alarm clock will be fine. Now if you’re living or working in a basement, my condolences, and of course consider yourself exempt. Unless you have a flashlight you can work by.

This will really be a fun initiative as well if we can get local restaurants and bars to partipate, with it being a Saturday night and all. And really, is there anything more romantic than dining by candlelight?

To find out more about Earth Hour, CLICK HERE.

To view Mayor Hickenlooper’s letter to Denver businesses urging them to participate in Earth Hour, CLICK earthhourmayor.pdf

Can we afford to be picky?

My answer is no. Let me explain.

Every so often, when I actually have some time to scour my environmentally-focused websites of choice, I notice articles slamming a company (usually big business) for being “not quite green enough.” For example, I recently read an article on Grist regarding Wal-Mart’s new greening efforts. Immediately the article went into a tirade about how these meager efforts are merely tools of distraction from Wal-Mart’s multitude of sordid operation issues. While I agree that Wal-Mart is certainly no innocent and has a history of some serious anti-environmental choices (building ginormous new buildings that take up tons of land, huge energy consumption, partnerships with overseas suppliers who are not operating under environmentally-friendly regulations), there’s no denying that Wal-Mart’s latest green attempts (major plastic bag recycling & bundling, green-built stores) are a few small steps in the right direction. Isn’t that worth something?

When we live in a period of history when we’re facing serious environmental issues, and still millions of people and influential world leaders either ignore the problem or don’t think it’s important, ANY action taken to make a change is important. If you surf green sites like I do, you’re bound to notice the saying somewhere, “Even if you changed just one light bulb in your home to a CFL bulb, it makes a difference.” Shouldn’t this same logic apply to big business?

We are not in the position to be picky. Any change is fantastic and more often than not, resonates MORE change.

So, instead of taking on an all-or-nothing attitude, I think people need to continue to encourage change, no matter how small, to turn this pebble rolling down a giant hill into an enormous boulder.

Any change makes a difference.

Making strides at work, however small

grnguide.jpgOn Monday, another one of my goals was realized. I finally had the “Denver Newspaper Agency Green Guide” posted on our company’s intranet. Furthermore, I printed out a bunch of new, permanent posters for our recycling bins around the building, which clearly indicate what CAN and CANNOT be recycled. Lastly, our HR Department sent out a company-wide email about the DNA Green Guide to not only DNA employees, but also to Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post employees. Success!

While I am excited at the prospect of folks starting to change their mindset about recycling in the office, I’m not putting the cart in front of the horse. This new initiative may or may not do a damn thing to change anyone’s daily routine here in the DNA. But at least the possibility of change has now become greater, with more visibility and buzz.

I’ve already received words of thanks and encouragement, which is fantastic. It will be interesting to see if anything changes.

Greening my lunch

bento.jpgI can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself wishing that there was some sort of adult lunchbox out there that people could use – one that had sealable containers within a big box, thus eliminating the need for plastic ziploc bags and brown paper bags. After doing some research, I found the Laptop Lunchbox, which is very suitable to American-styled lunches and as a result, pretty ugly. Then it hit me – Bento Boxes! I’d seen tons of them in Japan when my family visited in the 80′s. I delved deeper into the internet and found myself saturated with endless bento box-inspired sites, blogs, etc.

Can I just say how much I love the Japanese? They thought of everything, and they make it look super cool. After surfing endless sites, I settled on a modern bento box in my favorite color, red (pictured above). It even comes with a pair of chopsticks. Now I just need to learn how to make super tasty Japanese bento box lunches. Until then, I’ll have to settle for turkey sandwiches, carrots and chips. Interested in getting your own super cool bento box? Here are some great sites to visit:
bentoyum.com, shop.aranziaronzo.com, jbox.com, and of course, ebay.

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