Thursday, March 8, 2012


I've recently joined Pinterest.  Pinterest is basically a virtual pinboard that can be shared with anybody.  I've determined it is also  great place to store infographics that I find.  In my previous post about infographics,  I talk about how easy and informative the graphics are to educate people.  I've been hesitant to post them on the blog because, well, they are graphics and often really big!  Enter my virtual pinboard designed to store and share graphics!  So, from now on I will be 'pinning' awesome and sustainable related infographics on that site.

Recently I've determined I want to focus this blog at college student/first time apartment owners.  Why?
  • This is the age that people start becoming more independent
    • living on their own or with roommates
    • start realizing the relationship between money and responsibilities
    • learning about cooking and food
    • having to transport themselves around 
  • People start making big life and long term decisions
  • Adult behaviors and habits are formed!!!
AND I've noticed that there is not much information for young adults without children with very little money, time or space.  I've read blogs about gardening, families with children, advocacy or news (awesome but not very helpful for individuals), housing related sustainability and a lot of DIY projects that require time and space.  All of that information is good if you already have a place, a family, time and money.  But not so helpful for someone who doesn't.  Therefore, I plan on focusing on sustainable techniques that save money, save time and lower your personal impact on the planet.  I will also have a pin board on Pinterest related to sustainable ideas for college life.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Decluttering: key to knowing your stuff

How often do you run around the house looking for one specific thing and can't find it to save your life?  I have and often wade through all sorts of space-sucking stuff to find it.  Not to mention the time and frustration wasted when a part of your mind is saying, "if you had put it away in the proper place, you wouldn't be in this mess or late for work."  Yeah, but who has the time to schedule when they are going to clean, organize and get rid of junk that's just taking up room?

That's what I love about this calendar!  It is a pre-scheduled decluttering calendar for 2012 breaking up the overwhelming task of major organizing and cleaning into bite sized chunks.  There are even scheduled days off!  It's a practical concrete way of simplifying and destressing one's living space and mind.

Once you know what you actually have from removing excess useless stuff it will be:
a) easier to find it
b) easier to stay organized and
c) most if not all the good things about simplifying one's life including being environmentally friendly, less stressed, have more time etc.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The wonderful world of infographics!

I been reading A LOT of wonderful thought-provoking and inspirational posts from a number of green, simple and sustainable blogs as of late.  So much so I haven't had much time to actually blog myself!  The one thing that has stuck out to me and I always take the time to read are infographics.

I LOVE infographics!  I am a very visual person and I like how infographics use both words AND graphics to educate people.  It's actually quite impressive how MUCH information the posters actually contain too!  In 2-3 minutes you can learn the basics of, well, any topic really.  Not only that, the posters often have cool tidbits and connections with very applicable every day things.  I focus on the green sustainable end of the spectrum and have stumbled on quite a few recently that I want to share.

The first collection of infographics I read were compiled by Paul at  He even has a tab just for the infographics he shares on his site.  The latest one is about Biofuel.  There are also infographics about shark conservation, how much water is wasted in your home, and wind power.

Today I found one about what's in trash shared by Enviro Products by New Wave's Facebook page.  That led me to gold at the end of the rainbow:!!  I'm a kid in a metaphorical candy shop.  I'm going to start sharing the treasures I find here because, well, infographics are a lot more fun to read than paragraphs rattling on about the numbers, percentages and facts :-)

Why I love infographics:
  • visually appealing
  • easy to read
  • chalk full of relevant facts
  • great for a quick read and education
  • VERY accessible to kids and busy adults alike
  • easy to share with people
The only thing I find annoying sometimes is the slight bias I find on occasion.

Anybody know of other must see/read infographics or infographic sites?  I would love to add them!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Simple Living pledge...

Wow it's February already so it's time for the Simple Living Pledge!  Since I'm swamped with work(s) and who best to properly introduce the idea but the person behind the inspiration, I will link to Kanestrand's blog: Simple Living Step 1.  Lovely blog with lots of information about living sustainably, green and simple!


Till we meet again, anon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The meaning(s) of sustainability

As with all terms the term sustainability is a multi-meaning word.

Some people see sustainability as 'sustainable development' or the idea of maintaining the current usage of resources, but using renewable resources instead.  That is the idea that we can continue to live, produce, expand and 'progress' in the same manner we have been.  This is a purely economic engineering idea that progress = expanding/developing, combined with the fact we need to save our resource pool so it doesn't dry up.  This mentality is not about saving natural habitat, biodiversity, or the environment in its undisturbed state.  The article, "Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist" criticizes this definition of sustainability and I have to agree with the criticism. 

Another definition of sustainability is the concept that we need to live with the earth/nature/environment and not against or separate from it.  To live in collaboration with the environment were our waste, impact and consumption are balanced by the enhancement, enrichment and addition we supply.  The example that comes to mind is a bird nest.  Birds use the resources (sticks, grass, branches) to construct their nests and once they are done, the nest is reabsorbed back into the resource pool for another creature to use.  I do not think the destruction of natural habitats for renewable energy sources is sustainable.  Afterall, one of the pillars of sustainability defined by the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002 is Ecology (environment).  This view of sustainability promotes changing one's behavior to live more frugally, reuse resources, and finally, create the least amount of waste by converting used resources into other forms of resources (eg. coffee grinds into fertilizer by composting). 

The latter definition is a modernization of the older environmental movement and green bandwagon.  However, I believe it bridges the gap between human 'civilization' and the 'natural' environment to bring humans back into the cycle of the earth.  We need to limit our urban expansion by protecting the unaltered habitat, but we need to reconnect with and manage (not control) the land as well.  By reconnecting to the land we will strengthen our respect for it, and therefore, increase our desire to protect it in the long run.

But what about these renewable energy sources?  Where are they suppose to go if not on the natural land?  How about on structures we already have?  What about reusing land we already have developed but don't use or are trying to replace with these forms of energy generators?  Solar farms on building roofs instead of in the desert.  The main idea here is to use what we already have!  This reduces the new resources needed, reuses old resources preventing new wast,e and still provides the energy (albeit probably less) that we use.  Being greedy has never been so dirty.

Monday, January 23, 2012

An intriquing essay about Environmentalism

I've been reading and reading about sustainability, minimalism, the 'simple life' mentality, 'green' living, 'green technology' and plastic free and non-consumerism blogs.  Some blogs are focused on new technology and news, others on business, while some are personal blogs about living as eco-friendly as possible in different situations.

One blog entry caught me attention about Environmentalism and how it has changed.  I originally found it through The Good Human blog entry called, "Environmentalists need to stop pretending it's ok" which was a more focused critique of environmentalists saying and not doing plus 'greenwashing'.  The essay that was referenced titled, "Confessions of a recovering Environmentalist" published in The Orion is a more personal reflection of the changes in Environmentalism that the author sees.  Almost, is not more, interesting is the discussion that takes place within the pages of comments to the article.  As with most comment sections in blogs you have the BS you have to wade through, but I there are some thought provoking, intriguing and deep discussions that are worth navigating through the BS.

I, personally, think the articles make strong points and bluntly state the hard truths of the future (like the trouble of 'green energy' destroying natural habitat and decreasing biodiversity).  However, I would disagree about the culprit being 'sustainability' or the oversimplification of 'sustainability'.  The Sustainability movement is just the evolution of the Environmental movement for this day and age.  I stand by the idea that changing something to be slightly greener (or more sustainable) is better than doing nothing at all.  I'm not saying that what we are doing is THE solution, but a step towards more and hopefully more effective solutions.  Name it what you want, but any step to decreasing our negative impact, not just carbon, is a step in the environmentally respectable direction.  Also, the whole debate between spirituality versus practical is a philosophical cycle that doesn't go anywhere.  To me, the black/white perspective is limited and unrealistic.  Finally, the idea, romantic or not, of a static Movement is crippling to the flow of time.  Yes, the Environmental movement of a few decades ago is very different than the one today; but why does that make the one today wrong?  To think that the movement today should be like the movement of the past is wishful dreaming at its best, and naively ignorant at its worst.  We can't go back to the past, but we can make sure the FUTURE resembles the ideology or the values of the past.  I personally think the idea of a pristine environment of the past environmental movement helped create the separation of human and nature.  But I don't think the past environmental movement was worse or better than the one today; just different and appropriate for the time.  I would wager that in a few decades from now, the Sustainability movement will seem old fashion, romantic and make us nostalgic like the Environmental movement of the past.  I think the most important aspect of both is the drive to DO something and not just talk and debate about the philosophies of said perspectives.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cliffnotes version of The 'R' Cycle

In Elementary school you learn to find the key elements of an essay: who, what, where, when, how, and why.

Here are the main elements of the 'R' Cycle:

Who: Everyone. 

What: Actually, everything.  Ok, well, everything that is a physical product or item, and I'm not talking skirt length.  I'm talking about the amount of items one buys.  Many items are now recyclable, but choosing items made from natural elements (like metal or wood) are better than the plastic equivalent is better any day.

Where: In your home, office, car, garage, closet etc.  Currently, you don't have to apply these to internet space, but maybe in the future you will (however, data storage is becoming more efficient and environmentally friendly so buy that extra e-book on gardening!).
There are locations specifically for recycling many different types of materials from plastics, metals, appliances, electronics, and toxic chemicals like paint or car oil.  All one has to do to find these local sites is to search it in a search engine or just ask your local government.

When: NOW and in the future.  In all aspects of your daily life.

How: Start with a small easy item that you buy or use somewhat regularly.  Take a second to think about how much you will use, the alternatives and the actual need of the item.  Do you really need that extra cup or cardboard coffee sleeve when you buy your morning latte?  How about that extra top or pair of shoes?  Even food choices can be viewed in the same way.  Do you need individual packets of cheese or ketcup?  Will you use all of those napkins?  From there you can start applying it to other parts of your daily consumption like having a reusable water bottle versus buying a case of plastic water bottles.  The ways to reduce, reuse and lastly recycle items is rather endless if you take a second to think about it.

Why: This is probably the biggest driving force to implement the 'R' cycle in your own life.  Why does someone change their behavior to live the Cycle?  Some do it to have a small carbon footprint or have a low environmental impact on the the earth.  Other people do it save money.  Still others do it because they just don't have the storage room in their living situation. 

The main reasons people follow the Cycle:
  • Decrease the amount of toxins, waste and pollution produced
  • Save natural resources and energy
  • Decrease their carbon footprint
  • Increase health
  • Save money, and even earn some extra cash
  • Save space
  • Stay more organized with less clutter
The why is a personal reason that varies from person to person.  Some people live 'The Simple Life' mentality which is the extreme end of the Cycle while others try to incorporate the basics into their lives the best they can.  As long as one honestly tries to apply the 'R' Cycle in their daily lives, the planet has a brighter future.