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Old 06-21-2008, 07:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Green Noise: How being Green is missing the mark

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View: That Buzz in Your Ear May Be Green Noise
Source: NYTimes
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That Buzz in Your Ear May Be Green Noise


June 15, 2008
That Buzz in Your Ear May Be Green Noise
By ALEX WILLIAMS
DESPITE the expense and the occasional back strain, Mary Burnham, a public relations consultant in San Francisco, felt good about the decision she made a few years ago to buy milk — organic, of course — only in heavy, reusable glass bottles. For the sake of the environment, she dutifully lugged them back and forth from the grocery store every week. Cutting out disposable paper cartons, she reasoned, meant saving trees and reducing waste.

Or not. A friend, also a committed environmentalist, recently started questioning her good deed. “His argument was that paper cartons are compostable and lightweight and use less energy and water than the heavy bottles, which must be transported back to a plant to be cleaned and reused,” she said. “I have no idea which is better, or how to find out.”

Ms. Burnham, 35, recycles religiously, orders weekly from a community-supported farm, buys eco-friendly cleaning products and carries groceries in a canvas bag. But she admits to information overload on the environment — from friends, advice columns, news media, even government-issued reports. Much of the advice is conflicting.

“To say that you are confused and a little fed up with the often contradictory messages out there on how to live lightly on the earth is definitely not cool,” she said in an e-mail message. “But, heck, I’ll come out and say it. I’m a little overwhelmed.”

She is, in other words, a victim of “green noise” — static caused by urgent, sometimes vexing or even contradictory information played at too high a volume for too long.

Two years after “An Inconvenient Truth” helped unleash a new tide of environmental activism, green noise pulses through the collective consciousness from all directions. The news media issues dire reports about disappearing polar bears; Web sites feature Brad Pitt arriving at a movie premiere in his hydrogen-powered BMW; bookstore shelves are piled high with titles like “50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth”; shops carry hemp-enriched shampoo and 100-percent organic cotton tampons.

An environmentally conscientious consumer is left to wonder: are low-energy compact fluorescent bulbs better than standard incandescents, even if they contain traces of mercury? Which salad is more earth-friendly, the one made with organic mixed greens trucked from thousands of miles away, or the one with lettuce raised on nearby industrial farms? Should they support nuclear power as a clean alternative to coal?

If even well-intentioned activists are feeling overwhelmed, the average S.U.V. driver must be tuning out. And some environmentalists fear that the public might begin to ignore their message before any meaningful change can be accomplished. For them, it’s a time to reassess strategies and streamline their campaigns before it’s too late.

“We worry about it,” said Carl Pope, the executive director of the Sierra Club. “We all understand that today’s media environment is an extremely crowded one, and message overload is the order of the day.”

A study by the Shelton Group, an advertising agency and market research company based in Knoxville, Tenn., that focuses on environmental products, showed that consumers surveyed in 2007 were between 22 and 55 percent less likely to buy a wide range of green products than in 2006. The slipping economy had an effect, but message overload appeared to be a major factor as well, said Suzanne C. Shelton, the company’s president.

“What we’ve been seeing in focus groups is a real green backlash,” Ms. Shelton said. Over the last six months, she added, when the agency screened environmentally themed advertisements, “we see over half the room roll their eyes: ‘Not another green message.’ ”

Jen Boulden, a founder of idealbite.com, which sends e-mail messages to its readers with daily tips about eco-friendly living, said that “every conversation I have on the professional level is, ‘If people are going to get green fatigue, we don’t want to become irrelevant.’ ”

Meanwhile, environmentally conscientious citizens, she said, “Come in and say, ‘Just tell me what I need to know, just give me the cheat sheet.’ ”

The need to simplify the green message has become obvious, she said, especially after the argument over Nalgene bottles, which are made of a strong, reusable plastic. As recently as last summer, the bottles, marketed to sports enthusiasts, were hailed as an alternative to disposable water bottles, which environmentalists say waste petroleum, both in their manufacture and their transport.

But some environmental groups and scientists raised concerns that polycarbonate plastic, used in the manufacture of some Nalgene bottles, baby bottles and the linings of tin cans, can leach bisphenol-a, an endocrine-disrupting chemical.

Environmentalists and consumer health advocates debated the question — to Nalgene or not to Nalgene — seemingly endlessly. (While the company points to studies that indicate the products are safe, in April it announced plans to phase out products made from the compound.)

Bottled water is not the only issue people find increasingly confounding.

“I would be a much more productive member of society if I didn’t have to worry about, ‘Should I wash dishes by hand or run the dishwasher?’ ” said Erik Michaels-Ober, a 24-year-old software engineer in San Francisco. “There are all sorts of conflicting stories about that.”

Eddie Stern, 38, a media strategist in Durango, Colo., said he recently “went nuts, just trying to buy a car” because of the “overload of info, from the news, from the Internet, from quote-unquote experts on the street.”

Every new tidbit of research seemed to contradict the last. Some environmentalists made the case for a new hybrid, others insisted that buying a used model with a standard engine would save the huge amounts of energy that go into manufacturing a new vehicle. Other environmentalists supported biodiesel, on the grounds that it means, essentially, growing gas. Others countered that biodiesel still pollutes.

Mr. Stern said he finally settled (after a coin flip) on what seemed like the ideal compromise, a used Ford Escape hybrid. Ideal, until his brother, who works in the solar-power industry, asked, “Where are you going to bury the battery?”

In a way, the heightened public awareness about global warming shows that the early public campaigns were successful, said Chip Giller, the founder of grist.org, an environmental news and information Web site.

Along with that success came a torrent of green products from marketers. And it is these eco-pitchmen, trumpeting claims that are not always substantiated, whom Mr. Pope of the Sierra Club blames for generating much of the green noise.

But others in the environmental movement say activists and nonprofits must shoulder their share of responsibility, too, for bombarding people with messages. “The groups that are trying to get them to change overwhelm them with information,” said Diane Tompkins, a founder of the Curious Company, a market research firm based in San Francisco.

Her company has conducted focus groups to investigate the psychological barriers to taking action for the sake of the environment. The activist groups “believe that, surely, if I just gave them one more reason why they should do it, then they would,” she said. “But the fact is, people are not motivated by more facts. That can just reinforce their feeling of helplessness.”

In response to the confusion, the Natural Resources Defense Council last year unveiled Simple Steps, a how-to campaign that broke up advice into three tiers, according to the interest and commitment level of its audience.

People logging onto simplesteps.org can select the depth of information they desire on the basis of whether they want to spend a minute, a morning or a month adopting green habits, said Phil Gutis, the organization’s communications director.

Leaders of Greenpeace also decided to help its audience prioritize environmental concerns, said Kate Smolski, a senior legislative coordinator. So instead of asking people to juggle disparate concerns — including nuclear waste, coal pollution, deforestation and ocean wildlife endangerment — the group now tries to bundle them under the umbrella of climate change.

So now, when the group campaigns against nuclear energy, it labels reactors a “false solution” to global warming. When the group talks about deforestation, the focus is on its contribution to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“It’s very helpful,” Ms. Smolski said, “to show that it’s all connected.”

It may also be helpful to teach patience. Climate change will take several generations to combat, and there will never be a single moment when society can declare “mission accomplished,” said Paul Hawken, an environmentalist and author. “There are no watershed moments in the environment. It’s a century-long process.”

A scary prospect, given that, as Mr. Hawken said, “even people inside the movement have the same feeling — burnout.”
I started to pull out quotes from this article and then realized I had quoted almost the entire article. I've gotten tired of this early on.

Some examples of the disconnect I twisted around on:
  • Save water! It takes gallons of water to clean that glass. So I used paper cups. Don't use paper cups it's bad for the environment!
  • Don't use that dishwasher, wash by hand it uses less electricity and less water. But I bought the dishwasher, it was made with materials that I can't just waste... I want to use the dishwasher because I don't want to stand there washing dishes.
  • Heating oil burns cleaner and is better than using electric heat. Heating Oil keeps us dependent on finite resources, yet electric and natural gas are also based off of finite resources.
  • Get rid of that car and buy a hybrid. But my car is paid for, it gets decent gas mileage, and it already exists in my life. Hybrids have actually larger carbon footprints and batteries have to shipped from place to place, and what happens when the batteries need to be disposed of?

I am very tired of the contradictory messages. I am tired of feeling stupid. I'm tired of feeling like I'm not doing enough or anything. There no one saying, "Yes, you're doing good, here's more that you can do..." in any kind of heirarchy. Maybe a Eco-pyramid or Earth's Hierarchy of Needs (ala Maslow's heirarchy) to help people understand that they should be doing something that makes sense.

But for all of this, the message seems to get diluted to me, to the point where I'm ready to rebel against it.

Example: I know that our building there is a man who picks out the recycling to ensure that we catch it all and don't get fined by the city. So I don't bother to seperate since I'm already paying for someone to do so.

I've changed my light bulbs to CFs, but I hate they light they give off. I love the warmth of incandescant bulbs. I'm not going to just replace all my bulbs, that's completely wasteful. So when my incandescent bulbs in my home burn out I will replace those that are in areas that I don't care are flourescent in look such as hallways and kitchen. But my living room will have the look that I want it to have.

But seriously, I'm very tired of articles, tv segments, movies, anime, etc. telling me I'm doing it wrong, not doing enough or not doing anything.

So I've just given up. I do what makes sense to me and my wallet. I don't find it better to pay an extra preimum just to "save the earth." I'm just going to do what it takes to keep the most amount of money in my wallet.
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Last edited by Cynthetiq; 06-21-2008 at 07:48 PM.. Reason: fixed bad grammar
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Old 06-21-2008, 07:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I agree with you. I conserve when it save us money. I hang laundry, only using the dryer to get out the worst of the wrinkles. Not using the dryer saves me over $200 a year. I BBQ outside instead of using the oven, again saving energy thus the costs, but I'm polluting by cooking outside. I'll stick to the BBQ.
My washer is a front loader-uses less water and energy to run-saves us more money.
I don't drive over the weekends. Less gas=less money.
We drink tap water filtered thru a pitcher. Less recyclables, but then again, I do desire the occasional soda.
I use my own grocery bags because they hold more and they have shoulder handles, plus I get 2c a bag every shopping trip.
Even those that use public transportation thinking they're being green are saving a bundle not paying for gas, car maintenance, etc.
I would love to install solar panels for heat, but the cost of those is exorbitant, so what's the point?
No one knows what, if any, impact their "green thinking" will actually have on the planet. I think the green noise should be redirected to the green of a dollar if they really want to make an impact.
As for the washing dishes: we don't have a dishwasher; I soap up a few things and rinse them all at once. But my kids can't figure that out since they don't pay any bills. They're also notorious for leaving a trail of lights on and not shutting things off, like their fans or computers, when they're done for the day. (Yes, I do "remind" them) They learn about the environment, but they don't see any return, so why should they bother thinking green? And I think that's the issue-no personal reward, no action.
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Old 06-21-2008, 07:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Of course there is noise and confusion; we're still figuring all of this stuff out. The green marketing (advertising, PR, and shifting products and services) from companies that are afraid of losing sales only muddles the mind.

Most of the things that people are willing to do are usually the simplest and cheapest, yet they are more often than not the things that have the smallest (if not negligible) impact.

If or when we hit a crisis of energy and/or environmental degradation, we will need to endure the greatest shift in society we've seen since the end of the Great Wars. It's unfortunate, but I don't see it any other way.

Thanks for the article.
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Old 06-21-2008, 07:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baraka_Guru
Of course there is noise and confusion; we're still figuring all of this stuff out. The green marketing (advertising, PR, and shifting products and services) from companies that are afraid of losing sales only muddles the mind.

Most of the things that people are willing to do are usually the simplest and cheapest, yet they are more often than not the things that have the smallest (if not negligible) impact.

If or when we hit a crisis of energy and/or environmental degradation, we will need to endure the greatest shift in society we've seen since the end of the Great Wars. It's unfortunate, but I don't see it any other way.

Thanks for the article.
Personally I don't think that we're still figuring this out. If we are trying to figure this out, we're trying to figure out how to monetize and profit from it.

Conservation hasn't changed. The underlying ideas of conservation have been the same since I was a kid in boy scouts and people who lived through the depression.

Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do with out.

That mantra seems to make much more sense and fit within the world as we know and have known it rather than "Change your lightbulbs, Change your car." It seems to be that it's just a twist on comsumption of goods and services to light yet another "revolution" akin to the purchasing that was done for Y2K. "We got people to replace all their electronics, let's get them to change all their foodstuff, clothing, books, materials and charge them more for it since it's organic or eco-friendly."
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
Personally I don't think that we're still figuring this out. If we are trying to figure this out, we're trying to figure out how to monetize and profit from it.
This is sort of what I meant. We work primarily in a market economy. If it doesn't fit into this model, it will have a hard time fitting at all. From this system people find out their information, learn what's good and what's not, and ultimately are influenced by it. The Internet, billboards, magazines, television, newspapers, word of mouth--it's hard to think for yourself when there are no filters (or, should I say, too many?).

Profits make the world go 'round, which is why I'm thinking we will need a great and reactionary shift when (or if) the shit hits the fan. People were efficient during the Depression for a reason.
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Baraka_Guru
This is sort of what I meant. We work primarily in a market economy. If it doesn't fit into this model, it will have a hard time fitting at all. From this system people find out their information, learn what's good and what's not, and ultimately are influenced by it. The Internet, billboards, magazines, television, newspapers, word of mouth--it's hard to think for yourself when there are no filters (or, should I say, too many?).

Profits make the world go 'round, which is why I'm thinking we will need a great and reactionary shift when (or if) the shit hits the fan. People were efficient during the Depression for a reason.
But isn't that just the same kind of problem?

I find it to be the same kind of oxymoron as Alternative music. One day their weren't alternative anymore. So what happened to them as alternative? They weren't.

If you get people to consume your eco-product for reducing consumption, you're actually working against what you want people to do which is consume less.

One of the things that I believe is problematic but yet wonderful is the globalization of goods. I love that I can easily get products from Europe without issue. I can get strawberries in wintertime because they are shipped in from South America. I can get cheap goods manufactured in China, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Thailand.

Does that make sense?
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Here's what I do:
All of my appliances and most of my electronics are energy star and all of my light bulbs are those goofy, dim florescent type. Both bathrooms have a half-flush toilet. I've got insulated walls and a vented attic. My windows are all double pane. I've tuned my car to improve it's efficiency (it's now up to 31 mpg highway from 28). I take the light rail to work most of the time. I always do my best to recycle, reduce, and reuse.

What I'm working on:
I need to start landscaping more with California natives, and I need to start using them to shade the walls of my house that see the most sun. My water-heater is gas, but I'm pretty sure I could improve on that. I need to start doing a bit more background research on the food and goods I buy to see if their manufacturing is efficient.

All of this does have a reason and, if done on a large scale, can have a positive effect. I've reduced my water, electric, and natural gas bills. I also save on petroleum gas quite a bit.

Outside of my personal life, I also try to be involved in local politics. I was a part of getting several local creeks clean. I also helped to make several local parks more water efficient by improving their sprinkler systems.


Cynth, it doesn't take gallons of water to clean a glass by hand unless you just keep the water on... and you wash slowly. Using a glass is more efficient than using a paper cup, even if the cup is made from recycled materials and recycled after use. I personally wash my dishes by hand, but there are very efficient dishwashers out there. Natural gas is probably better for heating unless you utilize a lot of solar power. Don't buy a hybrid car in the US. They're not efficient. Buy used, and buy as small as is reasonable for your situation, that is if you want to use a car. All of this information can be demonstrated by simply looking at statistics and basic math.
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
Does that make sense?
Yes it does--completely. In order for us to go beyond the little things of being "eco-friendly" and into a great shift, it has to be economically feasible, which means there has to be a demand. It's a twisted kind of game, where we need to break through the clutter of false leads and into a place where we are actually making a difference. Take solar energy, for example. As ngdawg mentioned, it's ruinously expensive for private household use. However, there are currently schools out there who are fundraising to install their very own. Corporations, with the hope of at least appearing green, are installing their own, too. Eventually, this will fund the solar energy market to allow it to develop the technology needed to open up their market further (i.e. into households). Expanding markets in the right direction is ultimately what I am referring to.

But there is no single benevolent force that can force this; it's all up to a collective effort. We can only hope that those who really know what's good for us will have loud enough voices to influence our behaviour and spending patterns.

Green roofs are another example. Take Chicago. Apparently, every new commercial building project must install one, and renovation projects must do so as well. What was the force behind this? One would hope the citizens of Chicago.

There are more examples out there, but the question is: Will this be enough?
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Last edited by Baraka_Guru; 06-21-2008 at 08:29 PM..
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Willravel
Cynth, it doesn't take gallons of water to clean a glass by hand unless you just keep the water on... and you wash slowly. Using a glass is more efficient than using a paper cup, even if the cup is made from recycled materials and recycled after use. I personally wash my dishes by hand, but there are very efficient dishwashers out there. Natural gas is probably better for heating unless you utilize a lot of solar power. Don't buy a hybrid car in the US. They're not efficient. Buy used, and buy as small as is reasonable for your situation, that is if you want to use a car. All of this information can be demonstrated by simply looking at statistics and basic math.
That information is according to those little table tents that they put on the tables in the 1980's saying they won't give water at restaurants unless you ask. You mean they were lying???
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Old 06-21-2008, 08:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Table tents?
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:01 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Willravel
Table tents?
Fold over cards that sit on the table

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Old 06-21-2008, 09:07 PM   #12 (permalink)
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And what reason did the tents give for the water rationing?
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm surprised you have to ask or haven't seen anything like them at all.

Here's some examples of the table tents and their verbiage.

Quote:
View: Aloha Oahu Restaurateur!
Source: HBWS
posted with the TFP thread generator

Aloha Oahu Restaurateur!
Restaurant Conservation

Aloha Oahu Restaurateur!

In an effort preserve and protect Oahu's finite water resources, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply (BWS) adopted a rule, effective January 1, 1992, prohibiting automatic serving of water to customers at Oahu restaurants. The rule reads as follows:

The Department (Board of Water Supply) shall restrict the serving of drinking water to any customer unless expressly requested at any restaurant, hotel, café or cafeteria, or any other place where food is sold, served, or offered for sale. These restrictions shall not apply to catered groups of 25 or more people. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in the imposition of a fifty-dollar ($50.00) special assessment for each violation, or in the discontinuation of water service and/or penalties as authorized in Section 2-205, 2b and Section 5-501 of these Rules and Regulations.

We ask for your kokua in reminding your staff and customers of this regulation. Under the rule, staff may serve water upon request or may ask the customer if they want to be served a glass of water.

We sincerely appreciate your efforts to help us conserve water while saving money on your water and sewer bill! As you know, every glass of water served in a restaurant requires another two glasses of water to wash and rinse the glass.



To assist you in your efforts to comply with this rule, the BWS has produced table tents available to download and print by clicking here. (Note: When printing table tents, ensure that printer settings are not set to default setting "Fit to Printer Margins." Final dimensions of table tents are 4.5 inches by 7.25 inches.)

Or submit completed Water Upon Request Table Tent Order Forms to contactus@hbws.org.

This water-service-on-request rule helps everyone play an important part in the continuing effort to preserve the precious natural resources of our beautiful island.

Mahalo for your cooperation!
Quote:
View: Water Conservation Tips for Businesses
Source: EPA
posted with the TFP thread generator

Water Conservation Tips for Businesses
Businesses vary tremendously in their water needs depending on the products or services that they provide. EPA's pollution prevention program offers assistance to businesses on ways to reduce water use through their manufacturing processing. Service businesses, like restaurants and hotels, can reduce water use by installing water saving devices and encouraging water conservation by their customers. For example, many restaurants and hotels in Cape Cod, Massachusetts are participating in a Ground Water Guardian Program. Through the program, participating restaurants are placing an attractive table tent on tables, informing patrons that while they are happy to serve water to them, it will not be automatically placed at their table since some guests may prefer other beverages. Participating hotels place vanity tents in the bathroom which suggest water conservation tips, and encourage guests to re-use their towels during their stay, rather than obtaining new towels everyday.



Similar to residential homes, some businesses can use large quantities of water to maintain outdoor areas. Outdoor water use tips follow:
  • Maximize the use of natural vegetation and establish smaller lawns. For portions of your lot where a lawn and landscaping are desired, ask your local nursery for tips about plants with low water demand. Consider planting more trees, shrubs, ground covers, and less grass. Shrubs and ground covers provide greenery for much of the year and usually demand less water. Use native plants in flower beds. Native plants have adapted to rainfall conditions in New England and often provide good wildlife habitat. Cluster plants that require extra care together to minimize time and save water.
  • When mowing lawn areas, set the mower blades to 2-3 inches high. Longer grass shades the soil improving moisture retention, has more leaf surface to take in sunlight, allowing it to grow thicker and develop a deeper root system. This helps grass survive drought, tolerate inspect damage and fend off disease.
  • Only water the lawn when necessary. If you water your lawn and flower beds, only do it once a week, if rainfall isn't sufficient. Avoid watering on windy and hot days. Water the lawn and flower beds in the morning or late in the evening to maximize the amount of water which reaches the plant roots (otherwise most of the water will evaporate). Use soaker hoses to water flower beds. If sprinklers are used, take care to be sure they don't water walkways and buildings. When you water, put down no more than 1 inch (set out a empty cans to determine how long it takes to water 1 inch) each week. This watering pattern will encourage more healthy, deep grass roots. Over-watering is wasteful, encourages fungal growth and disease, and results in the growth of shallow, compacted root systems that are more susceptible to drought and foot traffic. If an automatic lawn irrigation system is used, be sure it has been properly installed, is programmed to deliver the appropriate amount and rate of water, and has rain shut-off capability.
  • Apply mulch around shrubs and flower beds to reduce evaporation, promote plant growth and control weeds.
  • Add compost or an organic matter to soil as necessary, to improve soil conditions and water retention.
    Collect rainfall for irrigation in a screened container (to prevent mosquito larvae growth).
  • When washing a car, wet it quickly, then use a bucket of water to wash the car. Turn on the hose to final rinse (or let mother nature wash your car when it rains).
  • Always use a broom to clean walkways, driveways, and entrances rather than hosing off these areas.
It seems like people in Hawaii can save an additional 3 glasses of water versus those in New England. Someone is wrong or lying.

This is a great example of Green Noise.

Quote:
View: Appeal to conserve water is spread slowly
Source: Signonsandiego
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Appeal to conserve water is spread slowly
Appeal to conserve water is spread slowly


'It's a really tough message to convey,' county official says
By Mike Lee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

December 10, 2007

Regional officials ramped up their appeals for water conservation in June when they launched a program aimed at trimming the county's water use by 10 percent. Ever since, they've relied on a low-budget campaign to push optional measures such as taking shorter showers and serving less water at restaurants.

NANCEE E. LEWIS / Union-Tribune

Have those efforts worked?
July and August were the second and third biggest months for water use since the San Diego County Water Authority started keeping monthly data in 1975. Water consumption dipped in September and October, the latest months for which data are available, but that was expected during the transition from summer to fall.

For the first 10 months of the year, the cumulative total was up by about 6 percent from the same period in 2006, and it was the highest in at least five years.

The region is “not getting as much water savings as we would like,” said Vickie Driver, a water authority spokeswoman. But she also said it's too soon to measure the campaign's effectiveness.

“It's a really tough message to convey, and . . . I think we just have not had as much time and as intensive of a campaign as we would like or need,” Driver said.

Storms that drenched the county in the past two weeks won't bring the region out of its water bind, the water authority said Thursday, when it moved to the second phase of its drought-management plan. Stage 2 allows the agency to buy emergency supplies of water, likely from Northern California and the Central Valley.

Water officials countywide largely have avoided mandatory conservation measures that could inconvenience residents, stir public resentment and create negative publicity for the region. They said a measured approach is best given the possibility that drought conditions could lessen or end.

“We soft-sell everything,” said Steve Erie, a political science professor at the University of California San Diego. “There is this level of insecurity that somehow we will drive residents and businesses away if there's a water crisis.”

Population growth, generally dry weather and other reasons have accounted for the county's higher water use so far this year, water experts said. The region uses roughly 17 percent more water today than it did at the start of the most recent drought 20 years ago.

San Diego County is particularly susceptible to a water shortage because it relies almost entirely on water imported from the Colorado River and Northern California. The region's water supply mainly depends on how much snow falls in the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains each winter.

The size of those snowpacks won't be known for months, but pressure already is growing for stronger water conservation measures in 2008. Water officials are concerned not only about drought but also by a federal court order that likely will slash how much water can be pumped out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

State officials recently said that next year they expect to give customers such as the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California only 25 percent of the water requested from the State Water Project.

“We do have a disaster waiting to happen,” San Diego Councilwoman Donna Frye said during a recent hearing on how to increase the public's knowledge about local water woes.

Raising awareness has been a constant theme among water leaders for months. The big emphasis countywide is curbing outdoor use. Up to half of the irrigation water used at a typical home is wasted through leaks, overwatering and other means.

The county water authority launched its “20-Gallon Challenge” campaign in June to encourage residents to reduce water use by about 10 percent, or 20 gallons per day for the average person.

It has relied heavily on a Web site, news releases and community partners to publicize the program. The water authority also has helped the Metropolitan Water District with that agency's advertising strategy.

On Thursday, the water authority approved a $206,600 budget for efforts to more strongly publicize water conservation. Officials said more money likely will be needed for higher-profile advertising later on.

“We need to make this more visible because (conservation) is such a key component,” said Ken Weinberg, a top administrator for the water authority.

At spots around the county, there are signs that the conservation message is starting to sink in.

The Helix Water District is providing rebates to customers who replace their grass lawns with artificial turf. District spokesman Jeff Barnes is pleased with the initial response.

“More San Diegans are recognizing how much water it takes to have green lawns,” Barnes said.

In Fallbrook, the public utility district has aggressively pushed a combination of voluntary and mandatory water conservation. The agency's water sales in recent months were about 3.5 percent below its forecasts.

At Cafe 222 in downtown San Diego, owner Terryl Gavre is serving water only when customers ask for it. She also has put out “table tents” that educate patrons about water conservation.

Gavre's actions are part of a program launched by some restaurants in the county to help meet the “20-Gallon Challenge.” “It goes along with how I am trying to live my life,” she said. “It's a whole new way of thinking.”
And Southern Californians in San Diego won't even say how much water is saved, just that water is saved.
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:37 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I am trying to conserve energy and finite natural resources whenever possible in my life. Part of it is to clean the environment, but a lot of it is to reduce the amount of money I spend. I don't want to be a prisoner to oil companies and other companies that know we need their product and we have no other alternative. In a perfect world, I could live off-the-grid in some house where I produce all of my own energy and grow all of my own food (using robots to farm). All the water would be rainwater or from a well. I would use the Sun to heat up water and provide the 400-500 kWh of power I use.

I ride my bike to work and to the store about half the time throughout the year, so while it is saving me 25 cents per mile, it is also the most environmentally friendly way to travel. I planted a garden, so I may produce 1-2% of the food I eat. And I am converting a gas car into an electric one. I pay the extra money to buy renewable power from my power company also. I haven't used my air conditioner in my house yet, just a fan in the window for a few minutes before bed (the outside air temp isn't bad here). This area has plenty of water, so I don't need to do anything.

I think what is going on is there are a lot of different people trying to get consumers to go in different ways. There are the old environmentalists who reduce what they do and alter their lifestyles (which many people don't want to go that far in their life, but feel like other people should). There are the large oil companies that want to make lots of money with some green products but prevent the good technology from being produced (which they bought).

I don't know what the outcome of expensive gas will be in the next few years. If it gets to be $10/gallon, I could see us becoming a much more localized place again.
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:39 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Hawaii used to get all its water from rainwater, which was great. Only the population of Hawaii exploded in the 80s. This meant rationing as the government had to deal with tapping more sources (rivers, lakes, streams,
ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells). I'm fairly sure that things are stable now, though Hawaii gets a TON of bottled water shipped in.

Anyway, with the table tepees, how many people get ice water and don't drink it? Imagine that amount every day and night every week of the year. That could eventually effect the bottom line of a restaurant. Also, consider that amount for every restaurant nation-wide.

As for cleaning glasses, they pay a dishwasher. It's just that simple.
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:43 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willravel
And what reason did the tents give for the water rationing?
It does take a lot of energy to filter and process the water to drinkable levels. And in some places in the world, there are a lot of people drinking and using a limited amount of fresh water (not salt water). Most restaurants around here ask you want you want to drink, but only serve water if you ask for it instead of a different drink. I never thought anything about it.

Then again, maybe the restaurants just want to save money by not buying all that water, paying someone or paying to operate a machine to wash all of those glasses, and paying the servers to take the time to place all of those glasses of water.
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:53 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ASU2003
It does take a lot of energy to filter and process the water to drinkable levels. And in some places in the world, there are a lot of people drinking and using a limited amount of fresh water (not salt water). Most restaurants around here ask you want you want to drink, but only serve water if you ask for it instead of a different drink. I never thought anything about it.
Same.

So those establishments that were/are practicing water conservation would serve you whatever you ordered and a glass of water? 2 glasses of liquid?

If that's the case that really sounds backwards to me.

Back on topic, I eat local food because it tastes better. I shop with my own grocery bag because its sturdier, holds more, and it's annoying dragging 100's of plastic bags to a recycle place. I carpool or take transit to school 90% of the time, mostly out of necessity because I can't really afford gas (couldn't afford it when it was $2.50 a gallon, sure can't now)

I don't really do anything out of a conscious effort to save the planet, I do things because they're easier for me.

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Old 06-21-2008, 09:56 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Willravel
Hawaii used to get all its water from rainwater, which was great. Only the population of Hawaii exploded in the 80s. This meant rationing as the government had to deal with tapping more sources (rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells). I'm fairly sure that things are stable now, though Hawaii gets a TON of bottled water shipped in.
Aww c'mon, that's a lame answer. San Diego and the North East have had population explosions as well. Hawaii has desalination plants to create more available water since the aquifers only can hold so much water not to mention since Oahu cannot supply water for Lanai etc.

Quote:
Anyway, with the table tepees, how many people get ice water and don't drink it? Imagine that amount every day and night every week of the year. That could eventually effect the bottom line of a restaurant. Also, consider that amount for every restaurant nation-wide.
You didn't think about that immediately instead of asking "And what reason did the tents give for the water rationing?"

Quote:
As for cleaning glasses, they pay a dishwasher. It's just that simple.
and I guess a Hawaiian dishwasher uses less water than a NorthEastern dishwasher...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNasty
Same.

So those establishments that were/are practicing water conservation would serve you whatever you ordered and a glass of water? 2 glasses of liquid?

If that's the case that really sounds backwards to me.
I don't understand what you are saying here exactly. But I do like to have a soda and a glass of water with my dinner. Water to clear my tastebuds and soda to enjoy a different flavor.

It used to be that as soon as you sat down at a restaurant, as your order or just after your order was taken, they would give everyone seated at the table a glass of water automatically.
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:02 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
Aww c'mon, that's a lame answer. San Diego and the North East have had population explosions as well. Hawaii has desalination plants to create more available water since the aquifers only can hold so much water not to mention since Oahu cannot supply water for Lanai etc.
You mean the Oahu plant built in 2003? Yes, I'm sure that really had a huge effect in the 1980s.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
You didn't think about that immediately instead of asking "And what reason did the tents give for the water rationing?"
Ignoring their rationalization makes no sense in the conversation. You asked why they were doing it and I asked if they gave a reason.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
and I guess a Hawaiian dishwasher uses less water than a NorthEastern dishwasher...
So you think a tiny island gets as much melt water as the NE?
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:16 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Willravel
You mean the Oahu plant built in 2003? Yes, I'm sure that really had a huge effect in the 1980s.
Actually that's more of a response to the fact that in the 90's they continued to have incredible growth being labeled the 11th fastest growing state.



The state of Hawaii is currently close to a drought status, but that doesn't mean much to you discussion of the 80's. It's more again a response to what's required for the future since power plants and desalination plants require planning and time to build in order to meet the needs of the growing population. Build too soon and the building is wasted in efficiency and usage. Build too late and people won't be interested in living where no services are present.

Quote:
Ignoring their rationalization makes no sense in the conversation. You asked why they were doing it and I asked if they gave a reason.
I didn't ask anything of the sort. I asked if they were LYING about how much water it took to wash the glasses. Please read carefully. Please look again at the examples I posted of the table tents, Hawaii 2 glasses conserved, NorthEast 5 glasses conserved, San Diego no mention of how much water is conserved.

Quote:
So you think a tiny island gets as much melt water as the NE?
Melt water has NOTHING to do with how much water it takes to WASH a glass. What I'm asking is "How much water does it take to wash a glass?" So far we have 2 glasses of water, 5 glasses of water, unknown glasses of water to pick from. Someone has to be right and someone has to be wrong.
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:27 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Did you check out the size of glasses?
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:38 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Did you check out the size of glasses?
are you serious?

Both are GOVERNMENT agencies, so they more than likely used a considered STANDARD.

Even if Hawaii used a 8oz glass, 12oz glass, or even 16oz glass, that doesn't account for what the restaurant owner decides to use for their water glasses. I'm not sure you've been to different restaurants since you don't seem to know that restaurants have different glassware in shapes and sizes.
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:51 PM   #23 (permalink)
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8 oz vs. 20 oz would account for the difference.

Both the EPA and... wait which? The "Honolulu Board of Water Supply"? Oh, that's PRIVATE, not GOVERNMENT. The EPA is government, but it ranks about equal with FEMA so far as being trustworthy.
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:56 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Willravel
8 oz vs. 20 oz would account for the difference.

Both the EPA and... wait which? The "Honolulu Board of Water Supply"? Oh, that's PRIVATE, not GOVERNMENT. The EPA is government, but it ranks about equal with FEMA so far as being trustworthy.
right... let's diffuse the argument into what's private not government, and FEMA equal to EPA, population booms in the 1980s...

Really? You've seen 20oz water glassess????
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:02 PM   #25 (permalink)
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right... let's diffuse the argument into what's private not government, and FEMA equal to EPA, population booms in the 1980s...
You brought up the fact they were supposedly both government, suggesting they were using the same system of measurement. They're not and clearly they don't. Suggesting that I'm diffusing anything is intellectually dishonest.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
Really? You've seen 20oz water [glasses]????
I have a 22 oz plastic glass on my desk right this very second. If you've ever been to an A&W on the West Coast that uses glasses, you know they all use 22 oz glasses for water, RB floats and sodas.

None of this is relevant in any way shape or form, though. Anyone who actually wants to be more efficient simply has to do a bit of homework. If your homework is limited to what appears on restaurant tables, you're lazy. If you follow trendy and superficial articles, you're lazy.

I managed to reduce my electricity bill nearly 30% on average. All it takes is a bit of number crunching.
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:08 PM   #26 (permalink)
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You brought up the fact they were supposedly both government, suggesting they were using the same system of measurement. They're not and clearly they don't. Suggesting that I'm diffusing anything is intellectually dishonest.

I have a 22 oz plastic glass on my desk right this very second. If you've ever been to an A&W on the West Coast that uses glasses, you know they all use 22 oz glasses for water, RB floats and sodas.

None of this is relevant in any way shape or form, though. Anyone who actually wants to be more efficient simply has to do a bit of homework. If your homework is limited to what appears on restaurant tables, you're lazy. If you follow trendy and superficial articles, you're lazy.

I managed to reduce my electricity bill nearly 30% on average. All it takes is a bit of number crunching.
Your electricy usage has nothing to do with table tents placed on restaurant tables to state they are conserving water because it uses X amount of water to wash the glass.

Obviously you want to be obtuse in discussing this, since it takes two to tango, I'll walk away from this dance.
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Old 06-22-2008, 12:24 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Cynthetiq

I don't understand what you are saying here exactly. But I do like to have a soda and a glass of water with my dinner. Water to clear my tastebuds and soda to enjoy a different flavor.

It used to be that as soon as you sat down at a restaurant, as your order or just after your order was taken, they would give everyone seated at the table a glass of water automatically.
Must be regional, as I've never been anywhere that did this.

I sit down, they ask me what I want to drink, if I say water they bring me water. If I say coke they ask me what kind, and if I say Ice Tea I'm gonna get it sweet
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Old 06-22-2008, 01:38 AM   #28 (permalink)
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woah, this has been quite the drunken read.

i dont know exactly where i stand when it comes to being "green". i try from time to time. ill walk around the house and flip off all the electronics my little sis leaves on and i try to drive as little as possible, which is really hard when you live in such an area as i. like cyn, i still have the old school incandescent lighting and im waiting to change them for the same reason. why throw out perfectly good lights? f-that, anything is expensive now-a-days. i dont normally eat organic food, when i do its usually at one of my vegans freinds places down in Tallahassee. i dont know if this is a good or bad thing(health and environmentally wise), but oh well.

one thing i know for sure is that my dirty punk rockin' ass never showers. i bet ive saved more water than all of you combined. am i proud of that? no, i just dont care how i smell...AXE will cover that up . also, i used to walk EVERYWHERE. my poor assed family didnt have a car, so i was kind of forced too. but i find that because of this past experience, walking doesnt bother me at all...be it 1 mile or 10.

well, thats all i have to offer.

-passes out-
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Old 06-22-2008, 02:56 AM   #29 (permalink)
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I too have wondered about all this confusion, and am quite surprised that there aren't scores of college hippies researching this.


My eco-conscious goals within the next ten years are to have:
  • energy star appliances
  • solar power be the main energy source for my home
  • a solar heater installed to again utilize solar energy
  • grown my own garden, supplying me with most of my fruits and vegetables (which is not a stretch since my father has been gardening many different things every year of my life)


The actual outcome is to become as self sufficient as possible.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:07 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
Obviously you want to be obtuse in discussing this, since it takes two to tango, I'll walk away from this dance.
You were the one that insisted that somehow because table tents aren't consistent the entire green movement is contradictory. That's simply not the case. Overall, the information coming from legitimate sources is pretty clear and is correct based on what we know.

But thank you for being so lovely in being the bigger man while simultaneously calling my obtuse. For the sake of maintaining correct information, I'm acute not obtuse. Some find me VERY acute, in fact.
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Old 06-22-2008, 10:34 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Hain
I too have wondered about all this confusion, and am quite surprised that there aren't scores of college hippies researching this.


My eco-conscious goals within the next ten years are to have:
  • energy star appliances
  • solar power be the main energy source for my home
  • a solar heater installed to again utilize solar energy
  • grown my own garden, supplying me with most of my fruits and vegetables (which is not a stretch since my father has been gardening many different things every year of my life)


The actual outcome is to become as self sufficient as possible.
I didn't realize that Energy Star was promoted outside of the US.

I just read about a new certification called LEED
Its rating was built into that price. LEED — an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the hot designer label, and platinum is the badge of honor — the top classification given by the U.S. Green Building Council. “There’s kind of a green pride, like driving a Prius,” said Brenden McEneaney, a green building adviser to the city of Santa Monica, adding, “It’s spreading all over the place.”   click to show 


Quote:
View: Eco-trendiness is in the bag
Source: DailyNews
posted with the TFP thread generator

Eco-trendiness is in the bag
By Melissa Heckscher, Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 06/17/2008 01:16:50 PM PDT
It's an everyday conundrum, a question we're all asked once, twice, maybe several times a week:

"Paper or plastic?"

How about, "Neither, I've got my own."?

Turns out, what was once the token accouterment of a Birkenstock-wearing few has become the latest fashion accessory.

"There's an enormous amount of trendiness around the reusable shopping bag phenomenon," said Vincent Cobb, CEO and founder of www.reusablebags.com, a Web site dedicated to reducing over-consumption of plastic shopping bags. "It's one of those easy feel-good things. It's like, `I can't do those big things like buy a hybrid car, but I can do these sorts of little green things so I'm doing something positive and not wasting resources.' "

Cobb's site, which has been around since 2003, sells more than 150 different kinds of reusable grocery bags, because studies have shown both paper and plastic take their toll on the environment.

Paper bags, for instance, often thought to be the "right" choice, actually require 40 percent more energy to manufacture than plastic bags, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; they also require 91 percent more energy to recycle, pound for pound.

As for plastic bags, 500 billion to 1 trillion are consumed annually worldwide. Consequently, they rank as one of the 10 most common trash items along the American coast and pose serious health hazards to sea animals who accidentally ingest them, mistaking them for jellyfish.

In an effort to soften its environmental footprint, Whole Foods has banned plastic bags at all its stores nationwide. Whole Foods customers must either use the store's paper bags or bring their own bags (for which they get a 5 cent credit per bag).

The no-plastic policy has saved an estimated 100 million bags since it was instituted in April. Whole Foods marketing manager Ashley Gibbons called it "the first step in what we see as a long evolution in becoming as green as we can.

"This is shifting us away from a consume-and-dispose mentality," Gibbons said.

Last year, the city of San Francisco banned nonbiodegradable plastic bags from being distributed at all large supermarkets, as well as smaller chain stores (including Rite Aid and Longs). The stores can now only offer recyclable paper bags, reusable bags or compostable "bio-plastic" bags made of cornstarch or potato starch.

Good intentions, sure. But some experts say banning plastic bags may be doing more harm than good.

"We don't think bans are the right approach," said Keith Christman, senior director of packaging for the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council, an organization representing plastic-

bag manufacturers. "Bans will result in a switch to alternative materials; the likely switch is to paper. If you switch to paper, it doubles energy use, doubles greenhouse gas emissions and water use."

Furthermore, he said, surveys have shown that 92 percent of Americans reuse their plastic bags as trash can liners, lunch bags and for pet waste pickup - which saves new bags from being made for those purposes.

But Cobb maintains that the problem isn't using disposable bags; it's wasting them.

"It doesn't matter that it's paper or plastic; it matters that you use it and you toss it," Cobb said. "The problem is the mindless overconsumption of use-and-toss items."

The fashion world is on his side. In the past couple of years, reusable shopping bags have earned a celebrity chic status.

British designer Anya Hindmarch's "I'm Not A Plastic Bag" unbleached cotton bag, for instance, sold out on the day of its release last year, with some shoppers lining up as early as 4 a.m. to get their hands on the $15 tote.

"I hate the idea of making the environment trendy," Hindmarch told The New York Times, "but you need to make it cool, and then it becomes a habit."

If you don't mind shelling out $960, Hermes has its Silky Pop grocery bag made of hand-wrought silk. The bag collapses into a wallet-size calfskin pouch.

Other designer shopping bags include Castiglioni's foldable nylon bag, which retails for $843, and Stella McCartney's organic canvas shopper, $495.

Of course, you don't have to spend a lot to get a good shopping bag.

Trader Joe's sells a variety of reusable bags for less than $3. Upping the incentive to reuse: Customers who use any reusable grocery bag at Trader Joe's can enter the store's monthly lottery to win $50 worth of free groceries.

Some bags have double do-gooding incentives.

The West Los Angeles clothing boutique Intuition (www.shopintuiton.com) donates $35 from the sale of every $85-$100 Market bag to the International Rescue Committee.

And, proceeds from the natural burlap and canvas FEED (The Children of the World) bag, designed by presidential niece Lauren Bush, benefit the U.N.'s World Food Program.

"We tried to make it a dual purpose in helping the kids who are hungry and also using fewer plastic bags," said Ellen Gustafson, Bush's partner in FEED Projects. "If we sell 500,000 bags, we'll be able to feed all the kids in Rwanda's school feeding program in 2008."

And really: You can't get that with a disposable bag.

Melissa Heckscher, (310) 540-5511

melissa.heckscher@dailybreeze.com

PAPER OR PLASTIC?
Plastic

An estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year.

Plastics do not biodegrade. Rather, they photodegrade, a process in which sunlight breaks down plastic into smaller and smaller pieces.

It can take up to 1,000 years for a high-density polyethylene plastic bag to break down in the environment.

Plastic bags are on the top 10 list of most common trash items along the American coastline (both on land and in the water).

About 100,000 whales, seals, turtles and other marine animals are killed by plastic bags each year worldwide.

Paper

Paper bags generate 70 percent more air pollutants and 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags.

2,000 plastic bags weigh 30 pounds; 2,000 paper bags weigh 280 pounds. The latter takes up a lot more landfill space.

It takes 91 percent less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than it takes to recycle a pound of paper.

Sources: reusablebags.com, Planet Ark (an international environmental group), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Here is another conundrum.

I get plastic. I could easily purchase one of these reusable bags. I don't have any interest in getting any since I don't leave my house to go to the grocery. I go to the grocery on the way home. This would mean that I would have to bring the bag or bags with me in order to shop.

I also use the plastic bags as trash bags. If I didn't reuse those bags, I'd be purchasing garbage bags.

So I reuse something that is useful or I just outright purchase something that will be thrown away directly. Which is really better for the environment? Which is better for my wallet?
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Last edited by Cynthetiq; 06-22-2008 at 02:49 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 06-23-2008, 07:26 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Old 06-24-2008, 04:43 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Purchasing appliances for my house made me very aware of the new buzzword.

I did buy HE (high efficiency) washer and dryer. The washer uses such a small amount of water, I still can't figure out how it cleans so well. The refrigerator, by design, minimizes energy consumption because you only open the portion that you need, and the French doors keep half of the cold air in when you open the refrigerator section. Those things make sense to me.

I thought about doing some of my floors. Some say that wood floors are wasteful, to go with laminate flooring is the green thing. Some say as long as the company is raising new trees and not deforesting, it's green. Some say it's the fact that the wood can be re-purposed, if someone decided to rip out your wood floor in the future. I think it's enough to drive anyone insane.

Much the same can be said for nearly anything that's labeled as "green".

I do the best I can, trying to conserve where I can, minimize consumption and waste. What else can you do?

Oh and I use the plastic bags, too. They save me from purchasing lots of kitchen trash bags. My understanding is that most are biodegradable anyway.
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Old 06-24-2008, 04:58 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jewels
Oh and I use the plastic bags, too. They save me from purchasing lots of kitchen trash bags. My understanding is that most are biodegradable anyway.
If your trash is going into a landfill, nothing in there is going to biodegrade anyway. And if it is going to a trash-to-energy plant, plastic has a high heating value. Don't worry about your plastic bags, as long as you aren't letting them float around in the air or water.
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Old 06-24-2008, 08:50 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jewels
Purchasing appliances for my house made me very aware of the new buzzword.

I did buy HE (high efficiency) washer and dryer. The washer uses such a small amount of water, I still can't figure out how it cleans so well. The refrigerator, by design, minimizes energy consumption because you only open the portion that you need, and the French doors keep half of the cold air in when you open the refrigerator section. Those things make sense to me.

I thought about doing some of my floors. Some say that wood floors are wasteful, to go with laminate flooring is the green thing. Some say as long as the company is raising new trees and not deforesting, it's green. Some say it's the fact that the wood can be re-purposed, if someone decided to rip out your wood floor in the future. I think it's enough to drive anyone insane.

Much the same can be said for nearly anything that's labeled as "green".

I do the best I can, trying to conserve where I can, minimize consumption and waste. What else can you do?

Oh and I use the plastic bags, too. They save me from purchasing lots of kitchen trash bags. My understanding is that most are biodegradable anyway.
Oh, the floors... I can't believe some of the claims and things I read about the flooring.

The only green one is Bamboo. Okay, right, because it's renewable so quickly. But it doesn't look as nice as Oak, or Cherry. It makes the space look very different than the look that I want to have in my living room. If the Oak supplier plants trees, then it's green. But how do I know that they planeted trees to replenish what I purchased or used? I just take their word for it?

High efficiency.. hmmm I'll have to investigate that.
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:05 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Bamboo is in style, though.

BTW, without double checking the links, which of the following are bamboo:


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Old 06-24-2008, 09:09 AM   #37 (permalink)
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hard to say from a photo but you can tell when you walk on it.

I was in a wonderful showroom that has 10x10 samples of all kinds of wood flooring. You can feel the difference in the spring back as you walk across each section of flooring. It was what made us decide against laminate flooring.
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:10 AM   #38 (permalink)
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I probably shouldn't have picked a picture that has "Starbamboo" in it. That kinda give a bit away.
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:22 AM   #39 (permalink)
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those all look great... they really do.

but again, once you get up close to it and you walk on it, it isn't the same as looking at oak or cherry.

I actually have a plank of bamboo in my office from when we were looking at flooring. It's a nice blonde color which would look fab in the bedroom.
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Old 06-24-2008, 06:41 PM   #40 (permalink)
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In my opinion, 90% of this 'Going Green' business is a fad. I really do hope that the developed world can create a more sustainable and less wasteful culture, but I am pretty pessimistic about the current state of things.

Personally, I have two 50 gallon plastic barrels (themselves gotten from a Pepsi bottler's trash heap) that I use to collect rainwater from my downspouts. I then use the collected rainwater to water my garden. The garden in turn provides maybe 5% of the veggies that I eat in the summer.

Is this an heroic effort? No. Do I still have to rely on tap water when the barrels run dry? Yes. Yet I feel like these efforts at least reflect a certain mindset that, if it could be exercised on a larger scale, might be quite useful.

I used to take the bus to the university. It was nice, because I could read on my way there. But the bus was late a lot of the time or too crowded to even stop. Of course, if ridership increased overall, the bus system in my city would have to be improved and if it were improved, then I would the ride the bus...

I guess the point I am making is that the general attitude toward sustainability needs to change before we worry about buying the right kind of lightbulbs and floors.

Last edited by PegLeg; 06-24-2008 at 06:45 PM..
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