Monday, November 9, 2009


As of 15 minutes ago, I am a member of Greenpeace!

I was walking toward a coffee shop on Pearl Street, and was stopped by a charming young man with a Greenpeace clipboard. My initial "I'm good, thanks" response wasn't accepted by this guy, and he pushed a little bit, discussing endangered whales, orangutans, and the need to put consumer pressure on trangressing corporations.

"I have no money!" I insisted, but as he was chatting I realized the hypocrisy of my position. I read articles about Greenpeace and Earthfirst every week. I WRITE about them, for goodness sake! And it is my job to analyze the effectiveness of environmental rhetoric and try to make it better. I need to put my money where my mouth is!

So I stopped being a turd, and pledged a little money to a cause I believe in. I'm pretty thrilled about it, actually. Greenpeace does have a number of successes in the past, and maybe my little bit of $ will help them gain ground in the future. In any case, it's gotten me thinking about environmental activism, which I really don't do. I have a lot of excuses: I'm poor, and harried, and incredibly busy. But there is a difference in NOT doing bad things for the environment and proactively doing something positive.

I want a positive project, other than my academic research. Any ideas?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Really Cool Texting Service!!!

I'm participating in Colin Beaven's (pictured here with his mega-cute daughter) No Impact Project starting today, and I found out about something really cool through his How-To Manual!

Apparently, there is a service you can use to find out how green a company is via text! So you text "GREENnike" or "GREENdell" to 66937, and will receive a text back giving you that company's climate score, and also providing the name of the leading green company in that sector. How cool is that?
Today is the first step in the No Impact Project, so I'm pledging to not purchase anything (other than food) for the next week, and gathering all the trash I make today to report what i can eliminate. One of my roommates and another close friend are (allegedly) trying it out too, so I'll report how we do.

I'm really excited, actually. I spent this morning walking around the neighborhood with the little boys I babysit collecting leaves and doing art projects. After I post this, I'm going to do a little work, and then read a book. Even though I don't have to deal with energy consumption until Friday according to the project rules, I'm starting to be more fanatic about it today. For example, I'm sitting in the dark typing this. And I refused to reheat my takeout this morning before I ate it for breakfast.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Holy Crap, Utilities!!!!

At my last apartment I didn't ever get my utility bills. In fact, I was annoyed by having to pay a flat rate because I thought there was no incentive to conserve.

But YIKES!! In my new house, water is extremely expensive; electricity is more than I thought it would be; even garbage adds up! The first 2 months we were here, we left a lot of lights on (some of us are scared of the dark; some of us are lazy), most of us showered once a day, and I know one roommate in particular is extremely fond of long and frequent baths. We also discovered that we've been wasting water unknowingly every morning because our automatic sprinkler goes on at 6 am rain or shine.

Here are the steps I'm taking to deal with this:

1) Only showering every other day (this is tough because earth-friendly shampoo is not as effective at de-greasing the hair, but i'll get a hat.)
2) Turning off (I think...) the sprinkler system and letting the grass look crappy.
3) Going back to my rule of using natural light whenever possible and always turning the light out when leaving the room.
4) Engaging in heat wars with my roommates so the heater isn't always on (at least not in October!)

It's tougher to conserve when you live with others: stuff adds up fast, and it's a little awkward to pester them about changing their own behavior. But I'll do what I can. I'll see if next month's bills are any lower.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Of bikes, sweaters, and crazy Brits.

This post comes to you in three parts.

I don't know why I have such a hard time. I'm not in terrible shape; I can run a good distance before my lungs or my muscles run out. But MAN! Ask me to pedal up a hill and I feel like I'm having a heart attack. I've biked to campus twice now, and once to the grocery store since last week. I'd rather walk. But I know I need to get over this.

Part Two: THE FIND!
I got a really fabulous black cashmere sweater for 5 dollars on Thursday when I accompanied a friend to a "Suit Yourself" event (people donate their business attire and then students can buy it on the cheap to prepare for interviews). It's amazing, and not only is it vintage, it's made in the USA. This act of environmental responsibility, however, was cancelled out by the grey leather knee-high boot purchase on Saturday. It was a moment of weakness. I had to have them. I justified it, saying I'd have them for years (true) and that leather wasn't such a big deal anyway (false.)

In Vivienne Westwood's October 4th show for her Red Label, the clothes weren't exactly green, but they were environmentally... inspired? See below. God, she's bizarre. I love it! The little bibs on the models read "Cool 2010 Run: Keep Gaia Cool" and "Gaia +5 degrees."

Monday, September 28, 2009

I fell off the Green Wagon! - A Recommitment

I quit posting on this blog early last Summer. I'd run out of ways to become more green and econo-conscious in my tiny Boulder apartment. I thought I was doing pretty well not buying stuff and trying to eat locally. However, a lot has happened since then and I've fallen back into many of my old habits. I'm going to start posting here again in an attempt to regain control of my environmental footprint and my (seriously troubled!) bank account. Here is what's happened:

1) I no longer live alone or 5 minutes from my office. Now I live in a lovely house downtown with 3 of my best friends. It's a 30 minute walk or a 15 minute uphill bikeride to campus. School's been going for a month now and I haven't once walked or biked. I hitch a ride with a roomie or take the bus. While this isn't so bad as having my own car, it's not great.

2) I do not shop often, but I do go shopping and buy new things.

3) The new house has a dish washer, a clothes washer and dryer, and I use them with reckless abandon.

4) The house is big, and at times can be a little creepy at night, so we leave lights on to combat this.

5) I go out to bars a lot, and no longer do I feel compelled to drink locally brewed beers. Stoli is back in the freezer.

6) Avocados.

7) I can't be bothered to flip the switch on my surge protector at night, even as I read environmental studies in bed and write scathing articles about how the American public is ignoring our environmental crisis.

What is wrong with me????????? I'm starting over with the Greedy Green project, and hopefully I can get my shit together. I read old No Impact Man posts last night for inspiration. Today I'm making a salad for lunch, pedaling to school on the roomie's bike if it kills me, and turning the lights and extension cords off before I go.