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NRDC: Trashy Habits — Reducing Your Waste

NRDC: Trashy Habits — Reducing Your Waste.  So, everything is about the “Green Life” these days.  Linux themes, many blogs, and even some green washing.  One of my favorite sites for information is the Natural Resource Defense Council.  And, it looks like they’ve picked up on the demand for Green Life blogs (linked above).  Today’s blog was on Trash.  A favorite topic of many the greeny.   How do we dispose of our waste in a more responsible manner so that we’re not sweeping the issue under the rug?  The author-urbanite provides some quick logic and a no-nonsense look at what we waste, why, and how to reduce it.

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Sleeping & Camping

A person in a sleeping bag
Image via Wikipedia

In a previous post I mentioned that my Grave’s Disease has come back.  The hormone levels didn’t even take long to get out of range.  I am already feeling the difference: my handwriting isn’t as controlled, I’m not napping as well, I’m not sleeping as well, and I feel more jazzed up.  So, my doctor prescribed another Beta Blocker for me.  Last night was the first night with this new Beta Blocker and I slept.  Sure, I had to read a bit to calm my mind; but I slept.

Continue reading Sleeping & Camping

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Nature Cures Clinic on the Health Benefits of Organics

Nature Cures Clinic : A Naturopathic Clinic in Portland Oregon.

The timing is a perfect follow up to the last paragraph of my blog yesterday.  Some of the highlights:

  • First off, the study says nothing about the health impact of daily exposure to residual pesticides and herbicides.
  • It says nothing about the health impact of GMO foods, which are well established, even if they are not acknowledged by the FDA.
  • And it says nothing about the detrimental health impact of the environmental degradation that results from conventional farming.

Add to the conversation – what do you think the health benefits are of organics?

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Eco lunches

Peter's Eco Lunch Bag
A homemade duck-cloth lunch bag.

I’ve noticed lately two things:  1) there are a lot of tips to show you how to build a green lunch and 2) there is a lot of talk about how organic food doesn’t hold any more nutrition than conventional food.  The discussion that could happen based on these trends is amazing, and I would like to add a few points to hopefully further the discussion. Continue reading Eco lunches

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Greenville in the News

Some time ago, I posted a link about United Solar Ovonic and its new plant in Greenville, Michigan, my home town.  Well, the piece finally aired:  NBC Nightly News & United Solar Ovonic.  It’s a short piece that describes how former Electrolux employees are being trained and employed at the new solar-cell plant.  The company will manufacture solar panels that stick on roofs, and will then be distributed across the world, especially Europe.

I love to hear that  my home town gets to partake in the reinventing that is needed given the current economy and how awful it has been for folks living there.  But, caution is the word that comes to mind when I hear stories like this.  Sometimes, it seems we become so eager to jump on any bandwagon that screams new jobs when so many are hurting for lack of work, we then forget to ask questions to see if it is truly a good idea.

In my previous post, I wrote about how Greenville has a history of smokestacking to attract industry and how that has contributed to the situation Greenville now faces with no industry where industry once flourished because the jobs have all fled to places that offer cheaper labor, such as countries in Asia or south of our borders in Mexico.

I suppose, the only thing I want to offer to anyone reading this blog is to consider the 3 Es of sustainable development, economy, equity, and the environment.  So, even though the new plant boasts green energy, how is the product manufactured?  Is it done with the 3Es in balance with each other?  Does it reach the Triple Bottom Line? Are the folks working the line being paid a decent wage, with adequate time off so they can spend time with their families?  Is the company borrowing on borrowed time to pay for its venture, or do their own books balance?

I just hope those questions were asked before this deal was brokered.  I do hope the Green can be put back in Greenville, both monetarily and with the environment in mind.

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The Triple Bottom Line

One aspect of sustainability is something called the Triple Bottom Line. It’s gone by different names such as the three-legged stool concept and the 3 Es. The idea is that you factor the economy, the environment, and social issues on the same or a level playing field, each getting equal weight when being considered for a decision. So, if something doesn’t consider the economic impacts of say an environmentally sound project, it wouldn’t balance by the Triple Bottom Line assessment. The questions we should be asking ourselves, according to this idea, would be: “How does this policy/plan/product impact the environment/people/economy?” If we’re considering outsourcing jobs, for instance, who is being displaced then by lack of a job? How would that benefit those who are losing there jobs? Is there another plan we could use that could balance the economic side while not exploiting the people who get the job done?

A Last Push to Deregulate itemizes some of the recent rules President Bush plans on putting through as his term nears an end.  How does relaxing drinking water standards, for example, impact people and the environment?  Is it a good decision for either?  Would it balance under the Triple Bottom Line assessment?  Does it take into account a longer impact such as health impacts from drinking potentially contaminated water?

No, rules like this do not take a Triple Bottom Line assessment into account. How long will we go before we realize that this type of planning will only serve to harm us? Perhaps the November 4th election will proffer hope or change no matter which party rules this new administration. Perhaps we can see a more complete form of planning for the next 4 to 8 years.

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