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.