Thursday, August 26, 2010

Starting your day with a cup o' green.

The first few things you should be conscious of when preparing for another day.

The Bathroom
1. Use as little toilet paper as needed or a even a cloth will do justice!
2. If it isn't brown don't let it down. Conserve gallons of water and flush later.
3. Get a low flow nozzle and be conscious of time spent in the shower.
4. Do not shower because it's your everyday habit, only when you need to!
5. Keep a jar under the nozzle and reuse your bath water. Water your plants.
6. Don't use harmful bath products when scrubbing! Shop for enviro-friendly.
7. Shut off your lights and open the window curtains. Put that natural lighting to use!
8. Reuse your shower towel. Chances are it's not "dirty", it just dried your clean body.
9. Cold/regular water requires less energy to heat up. So, consider it!
10. Brush your teeth but keep the water off. Use a cup of water to wet your toothbrush!
11. Take a piece of tape, a marker, or a soap bar and darken a line marking your bathtub half full. Now, plug it the water stopper. Very good. Lets play a game. Every time you take a shower or bath do not let the water go above that line. Take a look at how many gallons of water you use to clean yourself. Think of all the water wasted when you forget to shut off the sink when you hesitated to put all that energy in while brushing your teeth. Think of the billions of people everyday that use less than that amount per week just to satisfy their thirst and, mind you, it's not as clean as yours. Now, in making the game a challenge, you need to lower that line every week/ when you feel necessary and make it sure you'll never let it fill over that line.
The purpose of this is game is simple: conserve water, be more aware of how much is wasted, and take action.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The fight for a greener lifestyle!

Q: How can we get the average person "Joe" to contribute?

It is going to take all of us: the engineers, the government (to an extent), and consumers doing our part. The average Joe does not want to convert to greener products, change his habits, or think anything green at all if it means he has to spend more money. Engineers need to create viable substitutes that adjust to the extended interests of consumers. Everyday consumers, as it is their constituted right, have self-interests therefore in a food market/supply store, variety is essential for the consumer to choose from because that is not only what s/he likes but also because anything otherwise would be characterized as a monopoly. Joe may/may not have knowledge or care for our environmental, energy, sustainability crisis so purchasing sustainable products will not be on his mind. This means that to have the product be widely available and affordable is not enough because it all comes down to adjusting to the extended interests of consumers. So in short, other important factors of getting the average Joe/sephine to contribute is considering the quality, quantity/moneys worth, variety of sustainable products/not just one brand and most importantly how environmentally aware the consumer is. These matter because at the end of the day s/he will buy what s/he wants. This is when we must combine the economics to science. We have the ability to make green products and clean energy, we just need the demand in the market. It's truly up to the engineers to create these products that are just as user friendly and can be sold for cheaper than the current unsustainable products. But it's up to YOU, me, and communities world-wide to spread the word about going green and how purchasing sustainable products is truly making a difference.

The hardest part in making Joe contribute to ending our environmental worries is making Joe change his habits. BUT no one wants to change their energy consumption habits! And that is what makes it almost impossible. This is a problem because our current energy sources fueling America may be the cheapest but are also the dirtiest! We are in need of clean, renewable and efficient energy alternatives NOW so then we would not have to worry about Joe and the rest of humanity's bad energy consumption habits.

That is why it is so vital that companies and organizations provide greener products and promote the "going green" trend. The higher demand for these products will in turn lower their prices and then consumers like Joe would not mind purchasing the greener products - if they are affordable!

But why do we have to go this far when it should be so simple for someone to choose the greener choice to support our planet?

The main problem is when people like Joe, are so wrapped up in their content lives, they are not willing to make a change in their wallet or lifestyle. They'd rather be in denial that their habits are destructive, simply state that they "don't care", or choose to believe that they have no role in the climate process. But if greener products are more affordable and widely available, (which thankfully most are these days) then Joe and many others would be forced into the trend by taking the initiative in contributing to a cleaner planet and combating climate change simply by being a green consumer. And Joe and others are doing this not necessarily because they want to but because they wouldn't have to make a change in their habits nor their wallets and as long as it's affordable/cheaper than the unsustainable products and effortlessly available then they will continue to do so (sometimes even unknowingly).

It may sound like they are being tricked into going green but that can never be a bad thing!

For example:
My grandmother is like many from her generation, scared of "change". But if she only understood how urgent it is that we preserve our earth's beauties and precious resources she probably would think twice before slipping a plastic bottle into the garbage can. (BTW it takes an estimated 1000 years for plastic to disintegrate into the ground) Anyways, when she knows she has to go out of her way for something she will just put it down altogether and feel that it is not worth the effort. - (Stated earlier with the failure of separating recyclables and garbage.) Also a while back when I asked her to make me some vegan pancakes for breakfast, she refused to make them because they would take a little extra time with the apple sauce and the whole wheat mix in contrast to the non-vegan complete mix that contains eggs and milk. She got upset because I said forget it and now she continually mocks the vegan diet and all it stands for.

It's the extra time and the extra money that really get people going nuts but I guess the solution must all come down to persuasion. "Persuasion is not selling or convincing, it's reaching a mutually beneficial outcome." - Jay Cogner, Harvard Organizational Behavior professor

Just the other day when she was food shopping she was told that she had to pay for each plastic bag that was used to bag her items. The food market was going green. The other alternative was to get 5 cents off for every reusable bag she used. And that's when it all started. My grandmother bought a reusable bag! Yeah, pretty neat way to persuade one to go green right? She uses it all the time now too. She especially likes getting 5 cents off her purchase when using her reused bag.

Another example of being tricked into going green again or just another way to get people into the trend? Either way, it's a lovely idea of taking action!

These examples of companies making the products, stores selling them, and people buying are all strategic ways to influence environmental action!

But did you know about the governments role in sustainability?
Besides setting laws and regulations then enforcing them, the government supports green-living by offering tax-incentives!! Did you think about how much money you can save by switching to solar panels in your house? Or installing a solar water heater! How about those tax rebates from that newly purchased hybrid car? "But what is it that you say? I can even get a rebate for saving energy?? Whatttt I should totally go green!!" . . .yeah I heard you from way over there.

Now seriously guys, these are green (as in cash-saving) things you should consider.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Think. Address. Resolve.

How do we address an environmental related problem?

1. Acknowledge the problem and its source.
2. Who will it impact?
3. What can they do?
4. Who will it not affect?
5. Why should they care?

1. The current disappearance of honeybees at an alarming rate due to pesticides, mites, virus and other unknown causes/still being researched.
2. It will impact farmers: local economies/agriculture, consumers, beekeepers:employment, food chain, and the natural balance of the environment.
3. Plant honey bee friendly gardens, support beekeepers - purchase honey, help research facilities by donating funds, hold educational presentations, and spread awareness.
5. Honeybees are responsible for 1/3 of food supply. They assist farmers by pollinating, beekeepers with honey and consumers with beeswax products. Honey is in cereals, granola bars, ice creams, salad dressings, candy bars and more! Beeswax is used for candles, dread lock wax, lip balms, crayons, furniture polishing and more! Not supporting honeybees will lead to an immense down-turn in local economies of farming areas, employment for bee keepers, and decline in honeybee made products!

The Washington Youth Summit on the Environment

I told you on this blog awhile back that I will not fill you in on my WYSE journey, aware of the time, effort, and of course environmental impact of typing it all out for you which may take hours or days online. But to not share with you all the ideas and knowledge I've gained from the speakers and people I've met from the summit, well that would just be so foolish! SO my entire experience will be noted here. Please read through but mostly share your thoughts as well!!! You can never truly conclude anything without first opposing viewpoints so let me know what YOU think.

WYSE introduced guest speaker Davey Rogner, an environmentalist, revolutionist, musician and an overall just chill kind of guy that leads Pick Up America.
Pick Up America is simply a group of four recent college graduates travelin' on the dirty roads of America and cleaning up after everyone else' mess. Their campaign's number one goal is to clean as much plastic waste possible but also educate and influence community members to step up and make this change that they need - creating a zero waste lifestyle and society. They receive funds as a nonprofit organization to fuel them to areas in desperate need of clean up! For more information on what they've been doing or where they're going next, please check their updated website here.

From what I remember, these are a few things about him -age 25, lives in a RV with three friends, he is a musician and while travelin' plays at open mics or gigs, most importantly he is an environmentalist that has dedicated his life to support our green-livings. He is an asthmatic but has fully devoted his life to doing what he believes in while fighting off poison ivy, ticks, and anything else he can possibly catch where ever the cleaning journey may lead him (and his friends.)

"We are not waiting for someone to act, we are going to do everything we think possible. " - Davey Rogner

How can YOU contribute to a cleaner future?

Tip #1 Take Action "We have figured out how to allow many to live in comfort, but forgotten how to nurture a community or how to maintain a healthy environment." He suggested we should openly discuss solutions that not only our government can take but also as a community to make a positive difference. To think, protest and demand such is not as powerful as to practice and apply these changes we need to support and influence a green trend. We must sustain comfort by addressing our environmental problems and seeking to resolve them.

Tip #2 Therefore never shut anyone off. As I earlier stated, in order to truly understand an argument, it is vital for one to oppose viewpoints. Davey stated, "It may be the bum on the side of the road to Barack Obama. . .we can all gain something from their position and knowledge."

Tip #3 Acknowledge your leadership abilities and strengths and use them. It is our generation that has been left with so much baggage and is depended on to find the solutions for our hurting planet. Davey reminded us that "We are the weight of transitioning responsibly to clean and renewable resources. . .we can be the generation that frees this world from the tribulation."

Tip #4 Relearning how to be American: sustaining true comfort.
With Pick Up America, Davey has been working in the best interest of humanity and devoted his life to something he believes in. With the group he "raises consciousness about living in comfort and harmony with the planet. . . It is not about the physical comfort we can obtain in a given moment to forget a gaping problem, but rather about the sustained comfort we can obtain by addressing our problems and seeking to solve them once and for all."

Lastly, get up and go. Do as much as you can, whenever you can and where ever you can.
Davey let us know that there is hope for us "weird" fellows that actually care for things besides ourselves. With these simple words he said it all. "There is no greater sacrifice than stifling what you believe in because the “real world” has not yet evolved to accept it. Instead, you must lead that evolution."

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Vegan Diet

I get a lot of questions as for what name brands to check out/foods you can get when turning to the vegan diet. Making the switch is a great challenge and although I highly recommend a healthy vegan diet over the junk food vegan diet, when you begin it is almost vital that you adapt to tasty substitutes and alternatives to keep the diet interesting. SO here are plenty of name brands that are flexible when it comes to your dietary needs whether you are vegan, kosher, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, soy-free and many more.

My favorite fast-cooking, tasty meals filled with lots of iron and protein, are Gardein products. (Garden Protein)
The meals I like most are their frozen packaged chick'n scallopini, marinara chick'n good stuff, and the chick'n crispy tenders.

My second favorite brand is Amy's Kitchen.
I love their dairy-free burritos and delicious vegetable pot pies! They also have gluten-free pizza that my friend enjoys!

The only vegan veggie-burgers/chick'n patties I like are Boca burgers! They are my number one choice for you because of their variety and how they satisfy the dairy and egg-free needs of a vegan!! Another brands may let you down and may only be vegetarian-friendly.

I love almost anything made from eggplant and Celentano's vegan eggplant rollettes sets the perfect dinner meal for me! I have yet to try their other products but this one is a done deal.

And now to the good stuff / desserts!!!

If you're going vegan but you're struggling as an ice cream/dairy lover then you must try out Purely Decadent's chocolate obsession and cookie dough ice cream!!! They have the flavors not only in soy but if your allergic (my mom is soy-free) they also use coconut milk!!!
YUM check out more flavors here!

Another brand of ice cream I enjoy is Tofutti. My favorite of theirs is the ice cream sandwiches. I also tried their ice cream cones which are fun to lick up on a hot sunny day! And I hear they have dairy-free cream cheese, sour cream, and regular cheese slices which I've never tried but I'm going to look for them! Drool over this!!

When I'm reading or blogging or facebooking I like to eat ZenSoy pudding! I tried three different flavors but my favorite is their vanilla-chocolate pudding!
They also have other products but I have yet to try them. Check 'em out!

MILK - I've tried so many different alternatives of milk!
Here are my favorites. . .
1. Almond Breeze unsweetened chocolate almond milk
2. Silk unsweetened vanilla soymilk
3. Ricedream organic regular rice milk
4. Pacific Natural Foods hazelnut milk

During the school year I love to keep cookies in my locker. My favorites are Enjoy Life chewy chocolate chip and no oats "oatmeal" cookies!!! They're gluten-free, casein-free, egg-free, dairy-free+ as well.
My other favorite cookie brand is Back to Nature. I hear they have good crackers and granola bars too!

If you'd love to snack on healthier chips and pretzels or just prefer organic then please check out Saga Valley yellow corn tortilla chips! They are %100 natural with no added preservatives!

Also try UTZ Snacks organic blue corn chips - i'm lovin' them so much!!!

As for pretzels, i choose to buy gluten-free Glutino pretzels and i think they are way tastier than any other brand of pretzels I've ever eaten!

Organic granola bars and cereals are my favorite to shop for because I choose EnviroKidz!! It's gluten-free and when you purchase their products a certain percentage goes towards saving an animal species!! I love the lemur frosted flakes, peanut-butter gorilla munch cereals and the cheetah crispy rice bars!

Another brand of bars I munch on when I need some energy (especially before SATS) is Clif Bars!! My favorite is the chocolate peanut butter mojo bar!

Nature's Path Organics - I've never tried any of their products but I passed by their website and they have more reviews on vegan foods, tips for the diet, and ideas on how to increase your green!!!

I will keep you updated because I'm always open to new vegan brands and I love to give reviews and help YOU on your journey through your vegan diet and lifestyle!!
With love <333333 talk to you soon!