Thursday, March 18, 2010

Another Use for Paper

So here I am thinking how great it would be to do another DIY project found on the trusty DIY Green website. One material that could be recreated into multiple things is paper. Yes recycle, recycle is good, but if there is something you need and will go out to the store to go buy, if you can reuse old paper to recreate it then that is even better.

And then I noticed that because I do not have coasters, I am ruining my furniture and getting little rings caused by my cups. So I decided to make coasters out of newspaper.
First, I found newspaper and tried to use ones with the most color so that they weren't just all black and white.
I then opened it up and ripped it down the middle. Taking one half, I started on the longest side and folded in about 1/2 inch.
I kept folding till the paper was in one long strip and glued it shut.

I took one end of the long strip and started rolling it in gluing it as I went. Folding it tight and compacting it, I had to use multiple strips of paper and glued it in to look like a continuous strip. Once the roll was perfect coaster size, I glued the end and Wallah!
Now I have coasters!

I Can Do It Too!

Since I have helped create a DIY green website that can be used as a tool to find resources on different Do-It-Yourself and how-to projects, I thought it's only right if I show a couple projects that I have done. On our website, there are many different categories where you can find tips and projects on how to be more sustainable and create your own things with the stuff you already have. One category is beauty and I decided that instead of going to the store and spending more money on beauty products, I would just create my own. And here are two projects that I did:

1) Make a face mask using spoiled yogurt.

When you realize your yogurt is past its expiration date, find another use for it like making a facial mask. All you need is a cup of yogurt, a half a cup of honey and a cup of blended cucumber.

First combine the honey and yogurt, and then mix in the cucumber.

Then apply it to your face and leave on for 15 minutes. When done, wash you face and enjoy smoother and better looking skin without feeling guilty for spending and consuming.

Now for another DIY project:

2) Whiten your teeth with only a strawberry and baking soda.

Nobody wants gross yellow teeth! So lets whiten!
People can spend a lot of money a year on whitening strips and whitening treatments. However, whitening stips are not FDA approved and many question whether these treatments and stips destroys the enamel from the teeth. With this project you can protect your teeth, spend less and produce less garbage.
First get one strawberry and smush it up with a fork till its pulp. Then add a half a teaspoon of baking soda and mix both together. Use a toothbrush to apply onto your teeth and leave it for 5 minutes.

Brush your teeth thoroughly afterward to get the mixture off, and rinse with water.

You will have a whiter smile in no time!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Schools Make A Change

With all my focus centered on brands and corporations, it is nice to be reassured that other organizations and institutions are making efforts to improve the environment. I am currently an event planning intern for a local charter school, the Village School. It's a small school that is recently new and trying to establish itself and make contributions to the community. They need funding, they need support and they need to be recognized as promoting creative learning and good education. This is why I am so excited and happy that they chose a fundraiser that is dedicated to Earth Day and the environment.

Every year they have a walk-a-thon quite similar to the ones that almost every other grade school has as a fundraiser for their school. I even remember mine, the hassle of going door-to-door in the neighborhood asking for donations to just have the door slammed in your face and then waiting around all day on the lawn until it was your grade's turn to walk around the track for an hour. And why did we do all this? Because if you got the most pledges and walked the most laps then you could win a cool T-shirt, or a movie collection, or a neat radio or pizza party for your class, or a one time trip in a limo to McDonalds during lunch!

However, this year the Village School is teaming up with Eugene City Parks and having an Earth Action Day on April 22nd (Earth Day). And instead of walking around a track all day, they are volunteering at the Campbell Center, weeding, planting native plants and cleaning up the parks! While some of the pledge money will go towards the school, some of the proceeds will go towards Walama Restoration Project, a non-profit environmental organization.

I am so proud! Schools are changing their traditional way of fundraising to keep up with today's issues and help make the planet a better place. Instead of encouraging children to raise money so they can get that toy or that pizza party, we are starting to encourage them to care for our planet and give back! You are never too young to learn about how to make the world a better place.

DIY Project

For my Green Brand Strategies class, my group presentation and project focused on the Do It Yourself trend in sustainability. After researching about the DIY trend and realizing how many sources are out there to gain inspiration and expertise from, we decided to create a website that can be used as a tool to find different DIY projects that focus on sustainability. We have provided resources on projects focusing on beauty, solar energy, home improvement, up-cycling and how-to guides on basically everything. We even added a section on green brands focusing on which companies are "doing it themselves" to be sustainable and have green business practices.

With these projects and DIY how-to guides, we are trying to promote the idea of up-cycling and reusing in order to reduce consumption. It is great to recycle, but it is even better to consume less. When you realize that their is something you need or just really, really want, it is important to see if you can recreate what you desire with your old trash. By using our website as a resource, you can find out how to do exactly that and will be surprised to see what you can create out of old things.

Need to decorate your home with vases or candles holders?.... Check out Project College Student on the website to find out how.

Even more, we created an Extreme Makeover Sustainable Edition video to show how you can make small changes in your home to be more sustainable and decorate through up-cycling.
Go To the Website

Safeway Becomes Sustainable

Safeway is one brand that is doing wonders for sustainability. In 2006 the company established a Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sustainability Program coupling with environmental projects and developed a new strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The goal was to improve the communities in which Safeway serves by reducing the company's carbon footprint and improve air quality. As a result, they reduced more than 320,000 metric tons or 700 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. According to their website, "these reductions included approximately:

  • 120,000 metric tons through strategic electricity purchases
  • 79,000 metric tons through the application of technology, process improvements and education
  • 55,000 metric tons through renewable energy purchases
  • 66,000 metric tons through a wide range of efficiency initiatives and technologies with our truck fleet."

  • And to keep up on their sustainable initiatives, Safeway recently announced their involvement in the Sustainability Consortium initiative. The Sustainability Consortium publishes findings on life-cycle impacts on foods, non-foods and agricultural products promoting a more sustainable global supply chain. Safeway is the first U.S. grocery to join the Sustainability Consortium group as a founding member. Also, in 2007 Safeway was the country's fourth largest retail purchaser of renewable energy.

    It is very important that a leading grocery corporation is making changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a sustainable businesses practice. Consumers and corporations have a huge influence on the environment. Being committed to such a positive movement, Safeway can influence other corporations and consumers to make changes in their sustainability practices.
    Go Safeway!

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    Sustainable Start

    Even though people are not doing enough to care for the environment, some businesses have made huge steps in the right direction. Burgerville added compost bins in their restaurants and decided to make all of their material compostable. They also created their fast food containers and napkins out of recycled materials. Even more, last year they announced that they will allow bicyclists to order and pick up food from the drive-thru.

    Quiznos also made changes to be more eco-friendly. They used to wrap their sub sandwiches in multiple paper wraps, but now they have changed the wrapping to a single pouch. The pouch is completely recyclable. Also, they implemented 100% compostable cups and their napkins are made from recycled materials and fibers. And even though its important to make these changes without bragging about it and bringing too much attention to it, their campaign of "Eat Toasty, Be Green" helps bring more awareness about making greener choices in a consumers everyday life.

    Also, Sun Chips has added to the green trend. They have made their bags into 100% compostable. Even more, they have focused their campaign and website to be dedicated to sustainability and green improvement.

    Thank you Oprah

    Click here to watch Oprah's Earth Day Video

    This video clip, shown in class for a presentation on sustainable packaging design, amazed me. I couldn't believe it. How gross are we. How disgusting that we let out great beautiful world turn into such a dump, a garbage can. The largest landfill is the Pacific Ocean!

    I am so upset that we have become so blind to the destruction we have created. Our goals and dreams that we pride ourselves on are having the ability to consume as much as we want. Eat, buy, take, use, that's all we do and all we want out of our everyday lives.
    Think about it, we work hard so we can have the money so we can buy the stuff to fill our homes and our mouths. The focus on the consumerism lifestyle has not only lead to obesity and depression but has lead to a destruction of the beauty and sustainability of the nature in our world.
    According to the class presentation, only 3-4% of people recycle their plastic. Paper accounts for most of the waste in America and a person uses one 100ft Douglas fir tree each year! Wow I am shocked!

    When are people going to start to realize that they need to consume less? When are they going to understand the severity of their everyday actions? Why do so many people focus on crap that they do not need and still don't understand the simple actions that could significantly improve the world?

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Chevron vs Ecuador

    Yesterday in class a group of students presented on the Chevron vs Ecuador case. First of all, I had no idea that Chevron was ruining the land and destroying the lives of so many Ecuadorian people just so that Americans can get their fuel. It disturbers me and hurts me that we live in a country that just takes from others and destroys the lives of many just to improve the convenience of our everyday lives. And in the mean time, Chevron has promoted their "will you join us" campaign portraying that they do care for and value the environment and want everyone else to join in and save energy. What a load of bull crap! How can a company stand up and pledge themselves as environmental "do gooders" when they just finished dumping more than 18 billion gallons of toxic waste into Ecuador's land.

    Transparency. Before Chevron starts a campaign encouraging the American public to join them in making greener choices, they need to completely clean up the mess they made. Were they just thinking that no one would hear about this Ecuador problem? Did they think if they kept avoiding the true messes they are making and start a campaign claiming that they are making positive environmental changes everyone would see through it and LOVE that an oil company is being green? Well people are seeing through it and its about time. Chevron should be making greener, environmentally friendly choices. They should do it without a campaign shining the light on their greatness. They need to go great positive things and clean up their messes before they start claiming and screaming out loud that they are a great green company.

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Coca Cola Cans Are Green?

    Coca cola has recently produced "green" advertising. This ad, found on the greenwashing index promotes sustainability and green awareness. Which is great! A leading brand like Coca Cola is jumping on the band wagon to changing their business practices to be more green and remind its consumers the importance of living a green lifestyle.
    However, this ad makes no sense to me. The can is green... great but what does that mean? Apparently Coca Cola is shifting to green advertising in order to explain to the public that they are making changes to be Eco friendly. This advertisement does not explain that one bit. The can is green.. why? The consumer doesn't know. Are they just changing their color because they need a change and like the color green?
    Coca Cola is apparently making all these changes and becoming a green company but these ads don't explain any of it. Ok so its green, Coca Cola is becoming green but what actions specifically are being taken? How does this ad prove that the company is in fact green? They may not be greenwashing with their words and inaccurate claims, but they are green washing through a lack there of.
    And even more, it's Coca Cola. How can they claim that they are a green company. They are producing millions and millions of aluminum cans that contain dehydrating liquids that are contributing to the rise in obesity and supposedly cancer. What good for the environment do they stand for? Don't get me wrong, its great that the company is making changes to being more green and sustainable ... go Coca Cola, but they are anything but a "green" company.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    Adam Werbach Speaks to Class

    Today our class had the pleasure of being able to hear from and speak to Adam Werbach through skype. He talked, we listened, we asked, he answered and the experience was inspiring and a privledge for our class. There were many things that I took away from him and his wise words in regard to sustainability.
    Whether the legality of the claim allows it, it is unethical to use the words all natural or green when advertising a product. The age of green washing is calling bullshit all over the place and it's finally time to move into the phase of transparency. It's about knowing the science to make a credible claim.
    It says nothing to talk about being "green." When advertising a product people need to talk about the specific things that make it sustainable and express the sustainable value of the product. Promote blue because blue means sustainability. They need to define why the product is good from the green perspective and bring it into real life situations so that consumers can understand its benefits.

    Employees can really make a change at the grassroots level. If they speak to their customers about the right products to use then they can become a successful resource of marketing and can become really involved in bettering the company and customer's sustainability.
    A big theme is "make a change but shut up about it". However, it is important to use communication to accelerate the positive change. Once the company has invested enough and there is no point of return then it is very important to communicate and get the message out. You need to justify the time and energy that is put into making a company sustainable and still need to be gaining in business terms. If the company is investing capital, then they should be talking about it.

    Friday, February 5, 2010

    Businesses Need to Join

    Some companies and businesses are exemplifying the motives behind The Green Generation by focusing on manufacturing sustainable products, making their production more sustainable and changing their business strategy to focus on sustainability. However, many businesses are slow and apprehensive to make any change. In the worrying economy companies do not want to think about reconstructing their entire business. The first thing many companies are cutting, in response to the economic downfall, is producing environmentally friendly products or creating a sustainable business.

    The main reason is that it costs more and they feel that customers will not be willing to pay more for an environmentally friendly product. Most companies also, have the belief that green business practices will not make a significant impact on the company. Even more, many do not feel that it is their position to address environmental issues and claim that the government should be providing public services to fix the catastrophic problems. Many businesses pride themselves on their traditional values and ways. The new green movement and suggestions for sustainability cross between the boundaries of their traditional practices and focus. They have been doing the same things for years and have been okay, so they question why they should change now.

    Not only do businesses need to change their production and manufacturing for the benefit of the environment and the lives of future generations, but in order for companies to be able to compete in today’s and tomorrow’s market they need to create a sustainable business and product. Consumer value for sustainable and environmentally friendly products is increasing. People are starting to understand that their purchases affect the environment and that they can make a difference by purchasing those products that are sustainable or environmentally friendly.

    Sustainable production in companies will also be cost effective in the long run. If a company reconstructs its building to use solar panels for energy use, then they will save more on utility bills. Even the simplest transformations in packaging a product can account for more spacing in trucks and thus, lower transportation cost and an increase of supply in stores. Finding ways in which a company can reuse their waste can not only clear up space in landfills but can be cost effective. Also, if companies make changes to eliminate unneeded packaging and use refillable containers as their packages, they will save more money in the end and will appeal to more customers.

    Businesses and companies have the opportunity to act as role models for the rest of The Green Generation and can significantly impact the deterioration of the environment. No longer should there be blue-collar and white-collar jobs, but everyone should join to establish their role as a green-collar worker. The Green Generation is the beginning for all people to make the change and decisions that benefit the society we live in. America is at a standstill, trying to find jobs and improve the economy without looking to the real solution. Too many people are blinded by old tradition and denial of ecological problems. Sustainability in the workplace and implementing green jobs is the first step in improving the economy. Earth Day is more than just one day devoted to thinking about the environment and remembering to recycle. It is a movement, a direction. It is a resource for everyone to realize their new role and responsibility as an American citizen, to become a true member of The Green Generation.

    The Green Generation

    The Green Generation, the campaign launch for 2009 and 2010 on Earth Day Network, focuses on ordinary people who want to improve their heath, their school, and who want to help find solutions to environmental problems nationally and globally. The network claims that this upcoming Earth Day 2010 is the beginning of the year where people will change their ways of living and business practices to be sustainable. The Green Generation applies to everyone. Any individual can make changes in their lives that will improve sustainability of resources and the environment. Corporations and businesses especially will have a huge impact on sustainability efforts and will become leaders in the Green Generation campaign once they realize that sustainable products and business practices will lead to future success.

    The Green Generation not only focuses on change in thinking about sustainable living, but also about a new economy. By focusing on improving the environmental crisis, new green jobs are needed and the unemployment rate will soon decrease, improving the economic state. According to the American Solar Energy Society, in 2006 the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries supplied 8.5 million jobs. Even more, by 2025, if 25 % of all American energy was produced from renewable sources, 5 million new green jobs would be created, claims a report by RAND Corporation and University of Tennessee.
    Green jobs are defined as “well paid, career-track jobs that contribute directly to preserving or enhancing environmental quality; they range from low-skill, entry-level positions to high-skill, higher-paid jobs, and include opportunities for advancement in both skills and wages” according to Green For All’s website. These jobs could range from reconstructing buildings, to creating sustainable buildings, to manufacturing a new green product, to organic farming, or even just teaching in green schools. However, one of the biggest concerns is that many of the people who need these green jobs do not understand the ecological complexities that most of these jobs require.

    In response to this concern, The Green Jobs Act of 2007 was proposed. When the bill becomes law, 35,000 people a year will benefit from the 120 million dollars available for training programs. These programs will educate and train people on how to work in ecological fields. Soon anyone who takes advantage of these programs will be able to compete for the new jobs of the future that will improve the state of the world. For many who are behind in the job market, these programs and work opportunities may be the way out of poverty and unemployment.

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Earth Day's History

    Senator Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day, began this movement by drawing concern that the environment was a non-issue in U.S politics. In November 1962, he established an idea to persuade President Kennedy the importance of addressing environmental issues by going on a national conservation tour. The president, liking the idea, began the tour in September 1963. Even though the environmental issue was not addressed into the national political agenda, the tour was the first big idea that eventually led to earth day.
    Then in 1969 Nelson, influenced by the student anti Vietnam War protests, began the idea to involve environmental concerns with the public and use the anti-war energy to influence politics to address environmental issues. With the announcement of the nationwide grassroots demonstration that would take place in the spring 1970, Nelson received numerous letters, telegrams and telephone inquiries from people all over American who finally had the means to express concern for the environment.

    Then on the first Earth Day April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans of all ages railed from coast to coast and organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Organizational groups that had been fighting for specific environmental protection aspects, came together to realize that they had common goals and values. Individuals all stood up together for protection of their environment and made a permanent impact on political action in America. This monumental day led the formation of United States Environmental Protection Agency and eventually the passage of numerous acts that promote environmental sustainability and protection.