Monday, August 27, 2012

Farm Aid 2012

An important part of "going green" is being conscious of the food you eat. It's better to eat natural foods than ones made in a factory with artificial chemicals and such. Farmers are the ones who provide us with natural, healthy foods and they should be supported. Farm Aid is a non-profit organization that aims to help farmers when they are in need. They also teach farmers to use sustainable farming practices, help farmers sell their food to local markets, and protest factory farms. Each year, they hold a concert to help raise money. The first Farm Aid concert was organized by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young in 1985. This year, the concert is set for September 22 at Hersheypark Stadium. Besides the musicians I mentioned before, the concert will also include Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, ALO, and some others... but those are the three I'd be most excited about! Tickets start at $35.75 (plus fees). Definitely worth going to see this great lineup and supporting a good cause. To find out more about the concert, visit

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Plastic Problem

So I will use this post to talk about what I consider one of the biggest environmental problems happening today... bottled water. According to Brita's website, Americans used enough water bottles to stretch around the Earth 190 times in 2008. I got nerdy and did some calculations to find out just how many water bottles that is. Earth's circumference is 24,901 miles and each mile is 5,280 feet. Assuming each water bottle is 1 foot long (they're actually probably a little less), that's 24,980,683,200 water bottles. Another fact on Brita's website states that 69% of those bottles are not recycled and end up in landfills. Which brings me to my first rant... Why would you not recycle?!?! I've seen people throw bottles into the trash when there is a recycling bin right next to it and it drives me crazy. When my eye stops twitching and I come back to the brink of sanity, I wonder, "Are they just lazy?" Even if you don't care about the environment, throwing away bottles is like throwing away money that could help our economy. Bottles put into the recycling are sometimes used to make products right here in America, which saves companies from the cost of having to produce new plastic. More often though, we sell the bottles to China, where they make stuff and send it back to us. So while shipping bottles around the world is not the most environmentally-friendly solution, at least they are being reused and it's making money for the United States. And those bottles in the trash take up lots of landfill space that could be used for our other garbage. If that keeps happening, pretty soon landfills are going to open up closer and closer to your house. Ok rant done... for now.

Producing all those bottles takes a lot of energy, whether they are made from recycled plastic or new plastic. Producing one bottle of water takes about 2,000 times more energy than producing tap water. One of the best and easiest things you can do to help the environment is STOP BUYING BOTTLED WATER. Two must-haves for anyone trying to help the planet are some sort of water filter and a reusable bottle. Brita is a great brand and works really well. You can buy a pitcher or even one that attaches to your faucet... although I have to say, I prefer the pitcher. I had one that attached to the faucet and I found that it was always in the way. Anyway, pitcher water is probably the cleanest water you're going to get. The United States has laws like the Safe Drinking Water Act that ensure contaminants do not exceed set levels. Public water is sometimes chlorinated, but the Brita filter takes almost all of it out. And well water is even cleaner... no chlorine and it is already pre-filtered by the soil. Bottled water is actually sometimes dirtier than tap water. The FDA (a joke of an administration in my opinion) regulates bottled water and does not share it's findings with the EPA or the public. And chances are, if you buy bottled water, you're wasting your money. According to an NBC report, 25% of bottled water comes from the tap at the processing plant, including big brands like Dasani and Aquafina. If the label says "purified" or "drinking water," it came from a tap. So why would you pay for something you can get for free? If you switched to using a filter, you could save a lot of money. Each filter can make an equivalent of about 300 bottles of water before it needs to be replaced and only costs a couple dollars. It doesn't make sense not to use a filter. 

If you're hesitant about giving up bottled water, just give it a try. Get a filter and reusable bottle and use it once in a while. You'll still have your bottled water, but you won't need to use it so much. Slowly switch to just the filter. Maybe keep a case of bottled water around in case the power goes out or something, but make the filter your primary source. Plus, you can buy cool reusable bottles with nice designs or your favorite color. This is one of the most important things you can do to help the environment, so please, please, please do it. And if you already do, you're awesome.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tank Talk

Here's an interesting way to conserve water... if you have an older toilet, try putting a plastic water bottle full of water or small rocks in the tank. This displaces water in the tank and decreases the amount that is flushed. It can save about half a gallon to a gallon of water each time you flush. This can save money  for people who have to pay for their water too. If you've heard about doing this with a brick, it may not be such a good idea because it can disintegrate and cause problems. Older toilets use about 3.5 gallons each time they are flushed, so using a little less should not affect how it flushes. However, newer toilets only use about 1.6 gallons, so putting a bottle in the tank may not leave enough water to um, get rid of things.  But, give this a try and see how it works in your home. If it doesn't seem to leave enough water to be flushed, then take it out. No big deal.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Don't Leave Your Butt Behind

I've been doing some home renovations so I've been busy but also really lazy, so I haven't posted anything in a while. And on that note, I'm going to let Bill Nye the Science Guy take this one. In this video, he has some interesting information on yet another environmental impact of cigarettes. And it pertains to the beach, so it's a good video for summer. Watch, and if you do smoke, don't leave your cigarette butts on the beach... it takes like one minute to find a trash can.