Posts tagged ‘green’
Summer is vacation time. Time to pack up, head out, cook out, sleep in or stay home and lounge about. But mostly, summertime is about staying cool. Fortunately, finding ways to stay cool and still stay green is easy.
Call 511 to avoid traffic jams due to construction or accidents. Idling gets ZERO miles per gallon. For every two minutes a car is idling, it uses about the same amount of fuel, it takes to travel one mile. Besides being annoying, traffic jams potentially increase the number of times you hear, “Are we there yet?”
More than 630 green lodging options, including cabins in several state parks, provide sleep over accommodations throughout Florida. Designated Green Lodging facilities implement sustainable practices in several areas of operations: communication and education about sustainability to their employees and guests, waste reduction, reuse and recycling, water conservation, energy efficiency, indoor air quality and transportation. While you’re there, don’t forget to turn out the lights when you leave your room.
Summertime crops are ripe. Tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, butterbeans, peaches, peppers, blackberries or honeydews make tasty additions to any meal. According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, produce travels more than 1,500 miles before it gets to your table. Shop at a nearby farmers market for the best taste of the season and to reduce fuel waste and emissions from long-distance shipping.
While you’re catching summer sales—in the market or in the mall—don’t forget to take reusable bags for your purchases.
Barbecues are another way to keep heat out of the kitchen and your A/C from working overtime. Skewer fresh local veggies to grill along with your favorite meat or seafood for a tasty meal that’s healthy for you and for the environment.
Boating is another cool summer activity. An ocean, a gulf, bays, lakes, rivers and streams provide endless opportunities to catch a breeze. Florida’s one million registered boats provide one million opportunities for boaters to protect water quality and the quality of our aquatic lifestyle, both at the dock and on the water. Bring trash and recyclables back to the dock for proper disposal. Florida’s 222 Clean Marinas, 33 Clean Boatyards and 11 Clean Marine Retailers make it easy. And, please, use pumpouts. Tonight’s seafood platter comes from the waters we sail today.
While you’re casting for the catch of the day, don’t forget to reel in and properly dispose of that tangled mess that started out as fishing line. The fine art of knotting doesn’t belong it the water. Many public fishing spots, the fishing platforms along the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail for example, provide receptacles for monofilament gone awry. If you’re fishing from a boat, bring your tangled webs back to the dock for proper disposal.
Pack a waste-free picnic and head to your favorite swimming hole, shady green space or back yard for some cool-down down time. Pack food in reusable containers. Take along reusable plates, cups, cutlery and cloth napkins.
Save money and reduce waste with a smarter water. Instead of buying bottled or canned beverages, punch up a pitcher of water with berries, mango or watermelon slices for flavor and nutrition.
Clean out your file cabinets and desk drawers, round up those old cell phones and stray chargers, clear those plastic bags out from under your counter. Then bring it all to DEP’s Easy As One Collection at Jacksonville’s Riverside Arts Market on Saturday, June 26, from 10 am until 4 pm.
Bring plastic bags to recycle, paper to shred and recycle, and used cell phones (working and non-working) along with stray chargers to donate to Hubbard House. Participants who bring in 15 or more bags for recycling will receive a reusable shopping bag. Those who bring a cell phone or paper for recycling will receive a day pass to a Florida State Park. While supplies last.
Easy As One Collection
Date: Saturday, June 26
Time: 10 am – 4 pm
Location: Riverside Arts Market, Jacksonville, Riverside Avenue
Check out the flyer.
Also at the Riverside Arts Market: local art, entertainment, music, fresh produce, food venders.
Family outings on beamy pontoon boats … friends returning from fishing trips, their relationships richer for the experience…sailors catching the afternoon sea breeze… kayakers skimming across a lake at sunset… a shrimper heading out at dawn … images that remind us how Florida’s greatest natural resource — its water — affects the quality of our lives. Regardless of why we’re out there, for recreation or to make a living, we share responsibility for preserving the boating life we love by keeping our waterways and shorelines vibrant, clean and healthy.
Simple practices, applied consistently, and a little planning are cornerstones of responsible boating. Preventing fuel leaks when we fill up, cleaning with elbow grease and water instead of harmful chemicals, keeping our boats in top running shape are all relatively easy ways we can help protect water quality. Planning for the types of trips we will be taking before we leave the dock, also goes a long way toward preventing pollution – manufactured and manmade. How many people will be aboard? Is it a day trip or overnight cruise? Usually day trips do not generate much waste. Overnight trips virtually guarantee it. So we need to be prepared to stow our trash and to make sure our heads and holding tanks are in good working order. We need to know where our pumpout facilities are located and use them. And, we need to chart our courses carefully in advance to keep from damaging sensitive sea floor habitats or injuring marine life.
Choosing Florida’s designated Clean Marinas, Boatyards and Retailers for our boating needs moves us beyond individual action to supporting more than 250 businesses statewide that implement Best Management Practices to keep our waterways clean and healthy. These facilities and their trained staff are our partners—our trusted crew, ready with guidance and education on everything from boating regulations and environmentally safe products and services to the best ways to clean and cook our prize catch.
On Saturday, June 12, National Marina Day, we have an opportunity to join marinas around the country that are opening their doors to their communities. This year, ten marinas across the country will offer everyone who is interested a chance to participate in boating and fishing activities, hands-on workshops and seminars, boat test drives, boat races, and more. Support Boat.Fish.Live. At National Marina Day. It’s a perfect time to introduce a newcomer to clean boating. It’s something every boater and every marina can do right now to help keep our waterways clean for everyone to enjoy. Boaters can do their part. Marinas can do theirs to ‘Make it last, keep it clean!’
What a beautiful day in Tallahassee to have our first collection event! Sun was shining, a nice breeze and lots of great people came out to recycle and donate. Thanks to everyone who came out and donated. Thanks also to Shred-It, FAMU Green Coalition, the Downtown Marketplace, Florida State Parks, Florida Retail Federation, Walmart, CVS Caremark and Winn Dixie.
Total items collected:
- 2000+ plastic bags
- 300lbs of paper
- 58 cell phones
- 65 chargers
Clean out your file cabinets and desk drawers, round up those old cell phones and stray chargers, clear those plastic bags out from under your counter. Then bring it all to DEP’s Easy As One Collection at Tallahassee’s Downtown MarketPlace on Saturday, May 15, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Bring plastic bags to recycle, paper to shred and recycle, and used cell phones (working and non-working) along with stray chargers to donate to the Big Bend Victim Assistance Coalition. Participants who bring in 15 or more bags for recycling will receive a reusable shopping bag. Those who bring a cell phone or paper for recycling will receive a day pass to a Florida State Park. While supplies last.
Easy As One Collection
Date: Saturday, May 15
Time: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Location: Downtown MarketPlace, Tallahassee, corner of E. Park Ave. and S. Monroe Street
Also at the MarketPlace on May 15: local artists, fresh veggie vendors, food, Blood Mobile and Book Fair.
Unless my air is visible, I don’t think much about it. Out of sight, out of mind. What I know is this: No air, no life. How much air do I need? According to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average adult breathes more than 3,000 gallons of air every day.
Now that I’m thinking about it, what is air anyway? What I remember from middle school science class (with a little help from Google) is this: Air is 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.03% carbon dioxide and 0.003% other trace gases. Water vapor (also known as humidity) is also present in air, particularly evident on a hot August night in Florida. I suspect pine and oak pollen are also present.
What endangers our air quality most? Emissions from motor vehicles account for almost a third of the air pollution in the United States, so this month’s Easy Action list was created especially for drivers. Evidently, Floridians have places to go and people to see—13 million of us have a license to drive.
Whether we’re on the road, on the deck or on the couch, all of us can protect air quality. Here’s a starter pack:
Burn calories instead of fuel. Walk or bike to travel short distances. Sweep the deck or porch instead of using a leaf blower. Power plants burn fossil fuels to generate electricity. The less electricity I use, the better my air quality.
Save time, save energy, save money. During hot months, let your hair dry naturally. Hair driers use electricity and heat up the area where you’re primping, which causes the AC to work harder to cool the room.
Save fuel, save money, save the aggravation. Avoid the morning and afternoon rush hour traffic–telecommute when possible.
Take it. Take reusable bags shopping. It takes energy to make those one- or two-time-use bags. Saving energy helps protect air quality.
Leave it. Plant a tree or adopt a plant. Leaves absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, helping to clean our air. Trees provide shade, another energy-saving feature.
Check it out. Find your air quality index at http://www.airnow.gov/.
We can’t decrease the amount of air we breathe, but we can easily decrease the amount of emissions we cause.
Our office is pretty green. Recycle bins for paper, plastic and metal live on every floor. The recycle bin overflows long before the trash can fills. We rarely print–we e-mail, e-file, forward or CC. Our default print is set to grayscale and two-sided. At the end of the work day, computers and monitors are shut down. When we leave our office for lunch or a meeting, and at the end of our work day, it’s lights out.
We’ve gotten the green office memo. At a meeting last week, I realized that we’d taken it personally. All of us were drinking our morning caffeine or water from reusable containers.
Curiosity aroused, I surveyed my colleagues to find out what green things they did on their days off. (This was not strictly a scientific survey; the sample wasn’t random—we all work for DEP.)
Survey Question: What easy thing do you do after you get off work that protects air or water quality, conserves water or reduces waste?
Protect air quality
- Nancy uses green cleaners to keep her home clean and free of harsh chemicals.
- Shelton traded his car for a more fuel-efficient ride. He gets 40 MPG, saves on gas money and reduces emissions.
- Kristin upgraded to energy efficient appliances that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and her utility bill.
- Martha carpools with two other people who work in the same building. They all save on gas. Emissions from the work commute are 2/3 less than if all three drove.
- Ann keeps her car tuned. She gets better gas mileage and fewer emissions enter the air.
Protect water quality
- Amy has a professional change her oil. Oil change centers recycle the oil. Motor oil, if not properly disposed of, can contaminate groundwater.
- Deas is a boater and uses pump outs. After a day of boating, she brings trash and recyclables back to the dock with her for proper disposal.
- Brad actually reads and follows the directions on the bags of fertilizer he uses on his lawn. Too much fertilizer contaminates groundwater and surface water.
- I catch rain to water plants. Rain is free. The oregano and thyme, which didn’t have to fly in from another state, make tasty additions to many recipes.
- Lauren mulches her flower beds to retain moisture and reduce the need for watering.
- Everybody surveyed turns off the water while brushing their teeth.
- Dianne bought reusable plates, cups and flatware for her staff. This keeps about a dozen paper products out of the landfill every time we order pizza.
- Leah feeds kitchen scraps to her chickens. Then the chickens lay eggs to feed Leah and her family. It works out nicely.
- Kathalyn doesn’t buy flavored water in bottles. She flavors water from her tap with fresh fruit, mint or lemon grass. Less wasteful, more tasteful.
All those surveyed have adopted easy green habits. Whether we brought those habits to the job or the job brought them to us, we’re pretty sure that protecting our air and water quality, conserving water and reducing waste makes sense and saves dollars.