Archive | May, 2008

How Long Items Take To Decompose In Landfills

I found these facts regarding how long various items take to biodegrade after we’ve thrown them in the trash very interesting. Seeing that all BC residents will be receiving a cheque for $100 per family member for the Climate Action Dividend, why not use a small amount of that money to actually green your life?  Don’t forget you must register your children via this form to receive the dividend.

After reading the examples of how long items take to decompose in our landfills, why not pay that small extra amount to buy biodegradable garbage bags?  One very small step can make the huge difference of these petroleum based bags taking 20 years to break down in our landfill…and that’s if they have proper exposure to air, etc.  Or check out the time for a Styrofoam cup to decompose…100 years!  If you are a frequent coffee person that likes take-out, why not invest in a travel cup and carry it with you?  Small steps are going to help us clean up our mess. 

 (Source is the UK Department of the Environment)

  • Plastic bags, 10-20 years
  • Glass bottle – 1 million years
  • Plastic Beverage Bottle – unknown, possibly 500+ years
  • Cotton rags, 1-5 months
  • Paper, 2-5 months
  • Rope (natural fiber), 3-14 months
  • Orange peels, 6 months
  • Wool socks, 1-5 years
  • Cigarette filters, 3-12 years
  • Milk cartons, 5 years
  • Leather shoes, 25-40 years
  • Nylon fabric, 30-40 years
  • Plastic 6-pack holder rings, 450 years
  • Styrofoam cup, 100 years
  • Banana peels, 2-10 days
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Severn Suzuki – Watch and Be Inspired!

Today I was emailed the video clip of Severn Suzuki addressing delegates at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 when she was 12 years old.  Think this video is dated or not relevant in our world today?  Wow – think again.  Watch this video, then go back and read the below text of the words in her speech.  Her words are important for parents, government, anyone to hear!  She was wise before her time…what an amazing speech for a 12 year old.  Although she brought the delegates to tears and to their feet after the speech finished, how much action did they make?  Think about how many times we are moved to act from inspiring people…do we follow through with our action?  Watch Severn – you can’t help but be inspired!

“Hello, I am Severn Suzuki speaking for E.C.O – the Environmental Children’s Organization. We are a group of 12 and 13 year-olds trying to make a difference, Vanessa Suttie, Morgan Geisler, Michelle Quigg and me. We’ve raised all the money to come here ourselves, to come 5,000 miles to tell you adults you must change your ways. Coming up here today, I have no hidden agenda. I am fighting for my future. Losing my future is not like losing an election, or a few points on the stock market.”

“I am here to speak for all generations to come. I am here to speak on behalf of the starving children around the world whose cries go unheard. I am here to speak for the countless animals dying across this planet, because they have nowhere left to go. I am afraid to go out in the sun now, because of the holes in our ozone. I am afraid to breathe the air, because I don’t know what chemicals are in it. I used to go fishing in Vancouver, my home, with my Dad until, just a few years ago, we found a fish full of cancers. And now we hear of animals and plants going extinct every day, vanishing forever. In my life, I have dreamt of seeing the great herds of wild animals, jungles and rainforests full of birds and butterflies, but now I wonder if they will even exist for my children to see.”

“Did you have to worry of these things when you were my age? All this is happening before our eyes and yet we act as if we have all the time we want and all the solutions. I’m only a child and I don’t have all the solutions, but I want you to realize, neither do you. You don’t know how to fix the holes in our ozone layer. You don’t know how to bring the salmon back up a dead stream. You don’t know how to bring back an animal now extinct. And you can’t bring back the forest that once grew where there is now a desert. If you don’t know how to fix it, please stop breaking it.”

  Continue Reading →

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Safety Tip – Car’s Key-less Entry Remote Doubles As House Alarm

A tip I read months ago crossed my mind today. I wanted to share it because I had never heard of it and thought it was a brilliant safety tip.  If you are worried about your safety in your house because you don’t have an alarm or large dog,  just sleep or carry your car’s key-less entry remote or keep it next to your bed/under your pillow. If you needed a loud noise to scare off an intruder, especially effective in the middle of the night, you would hit the alarm button (you know the one your kids always hit by accident when ‘helping’ you unlock the car?). They usually work a far distance away from the vehicle…take your remote to your room and test if it works. If so, you have a free, built-in, house alarm.

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The Greenest Book You’ll Buy….and It’s Dr. Suess!

I’m inspired.  So inspired!!  Usually, I only need to look into the eyes of my children to stay focused with greening my world.  Well today, I re-discovered a book that should be on every child’s book shelf from the time they’re an infant until they fully understand environmental issues.  Let’s see if you can guess the book – it all came back to me as I read a few pages…

“Way back in the days when the grass was still green
and the pond was still wet
and the clouds were still clean,
and the song of the Swomee-Swans rang out in space….
one morning, I came to this glorious place.  And I first saw the trees!”

Still can’t guess? Try this!

“Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax
and all of his friends
may come back.”

It’s The Lorax by Dr. Seuss!!  It is hard to believe this book was written over 40 years ago and honestly, I’ve never reviewed something that explains why we are in the predicament today because of the mistakes we’ve made with our planet.  In the fun way Dr. Seuss reads, the book covers air/fish pollution, clear cutting a forest, driving animals from their natural habitat, and short-term financial gain for long-term environmental ruin.  Really, if you have a child, The Lorax might be one of the most thought provoking, discussion starting, books you’ve read.

This article was going to highlight several green books I’ve researched for young children, but I’m stopping at this book.  As I slowly read each page I remembered being read this book, the vibrant pictures and the wonderful hero of the time…The Lorax.  It all came back to me and I’m inspired once again to keep finding ways to ‘green’ my family.  Now that Francesco and Angelo have been told the story, if they ask me why I’m spending so much researching green options….I’ll respond “because I want to be like the Lorax!” Trust Dr. Seuss to perfectly sum up the problems of our planet and the solution required to fix it. Read this book to a child and discover the power of his message of sustainability.

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First Visit To Local Farmers Market

My quest for local and organic food continues…today marked the kick-off as my clan descended on our local farmers market.  With the weather becoming warmer, you naturally start craving more fruit and raw veggies. All my kids turn into little lawn mowers when corn on the cob comes in season and is added to their dinner plates. 

What a wonderful, simple, relaxed atmosphere at the market.  Vendors are so friendly and helpful with questions – it was a great experience.  We left with some tomato plants and hand-made hair bands for the girls.  Unfortunately, there was only 1 vendor selling produce, because it’s been so cold locally, fruits and veggies will need a few more weeks.  But the discussions with the kids about supporting local farms is wonderful.  I know my kids are learning and embracing this new lifestyle of finding sustainable solutions. I sometimes feel like I have future little Suzuki’s budding and it makes me proud. If you are looking to increase your knowledge about eating locally, the book Eat Here is a highly recommended source: Eat Here: Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket

The fact that the average North American meal travels 2,400 km from farm to plate (as our polar bear friends are discovering), the huge impact of climate change has become significant.  The transportation of food has a significant negative impact globally and to think in my local region…we have over 5,000 farms!  Supporting our local farms is important for reducing our carbon footprint, and the food is tastier, healthier, and contributes to a more successful regional economy.  To find local, sustainable, organic food sources within a small radius of your home, use the postal code finder from the Eat Well Guide and open your options to a great selection of farms, stores, restaurants, online shopping , bakeries, etc.  So even though my farmers market didn’t have the produce I was hoping for, I’m happy to wait until it’s ready on the farms and I can try out some online shopping for organic. That is a very easy alternative and they deliver. 

Need more reasons to shop locally?  Here are 10 more reasons to buy local.

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