Saturday, November 10, 2007


Unless you've been living under a rock you've probably noticed NBC went Green this past week. Every program was dedicated to being Eco-Conscious, from the Today Show to the soaps and into prime time. I consider myself a pretty active green guy. I recycle, I dry my clothes on the line, I've changed my light bulbs and I always try to turn off lights even in hotels. But I was amazed at all the stuff I didn't know. Where do you start?

Water. For washing dishes, hands and food we should be using a pencil thin trickle of water (easier said than done.) And for clothes, use cold water to wash both whites and darks, which won’t waste 35 gallons of hot water to do each load of laundry. Drink tap water if it won't kill you (literally) or invest in filter options. The less plastic bottles the better. That goes for soap as well. It makes sense that bar soaps are better for the environment than body washes and hand washes. It just took someone pointing it out for it to sink in! No pun intended.

Unplug. We should all know by now to unplug, meaning don't leave the plug in the power source when our cell phones, ipods & cameras are fully charged but what about computers? To quote, set your computer to go into sleep mode when it's not in use, and shut it off each night. Shutting down your system every night will help save energy and also prolong the life of your computer (it’s actually better for your computer than leaving it on). As a next step, adjust your settings so that your screen goes dark when you're not using your computer. Screen savers prevent your computer from going into sleep mode and (contrary to popular belief) are not needed to preserve your screen. You can find your computer's sleep settings and energy management settings in your System Preferences.

Food. Buy local for so many reasons. You've probably noticed I'm into going to farmers' markets which is a great resource for not only supporting local farmers and vendors but it's actually quite interesting speaking to them and finding out some info on their products. It's pretty good people watching too, especially around here. What about paper vs. plastic? The jury is still out on this one. Read the full article on msnbc's site but here's the short story: Trees make paper, oil barrels create plastic. To make paper bags creates 70% more air pollution than plastic, but plastic bags create 4x's the solid waste and can last up to a 1,000 years. So what's the right choice? Bring your own bags, cloth or canvas or reuse any bags. Here's a good question though...what is the best choice for picking up dog crap? Many of us reuse the plastic grocery bags for this purpose but if they end up in land fills for years and years, what's a green fingered man to do? Think I answered my own question with just a minute of Google: and They've thought of everything!

Fitness. Kudos to The Biggest Loser advocating eating healthy organic food and for turning off the power to the gym machines. If you're lucky enough to live in a good climate, get your ass outdoors! This is a good one though--did you know you can recyle your athletic shoes? Nike will recycle any brand of athletic shoe through its Reuse-a-Shoe program. (Get details on the Nike Web site.) The company processes and recycles the footwear to make sports surfaces for basketball courts, tennis courts, running tracks and playgrounds. Right now they’re collecting shoes to make athletic surfaces for New Orleans to help bring youth sports back to the city as it rebuilds. To date, about 20 million pairs of athletic shoes worldwide have been recycled through the Reuse-A-Shoe program. It's an amazing program that needs a mention.

Just some food for thought but important none the less. Guess you could call me the Healthy-Tree hugging-Green Irishman.

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