Where are the dead bodies?

I don’t know where worms go when they die.  No, I’m not wondering if there is a Worm Heaven; I am literally saying that I do not know where the dead worm bodies are. RIP Unfortunately, my most recent batch of worms didn’t make it very long.  After only about a month in the bin, I confirmed that they were gone.  I’m not sure what caused their untimely demise, but I still think it is weird that I never saw the dead worms.  No dried up bodies outside of the bin.  No dead bodies in the bin.  My only theory is that the bodies disintegrate very quickly.

So this is my confession that I killed three batches of worms.  My second batch had the longest reign.  Even though I had some trouble with the conditions for my bin, I still highly recommend having a worm bin.  Over the course of my worm bins, I saved approximately 90 banana peels from the landfill.  It might sound like a small amount, but it all adds up.  Also consider that my worm bin was only about as big as a shoe box.  Soon I’ll be moving to a new house where I plan to revive my worm bin and maybe even expand it.  Hopefully all the worms in Worm Heaven will be happy about that.

How to save the world in 1 step

Step 1: Try

You definitely won’t save the world if you don’t try.Try

We each have to try.  Each individual has to understand that if she is not part of the solution, then she is part of the problem.  How can an individual fight global warming?  That individual has to try.  Do something.  Anything.  If that doesn’t work, then try something else.  Even if it does work, do something in addition to the first thing.  We won’t be able to stop climate change if we don’t try.  This philosophy is true for all of the problems that face individuals/ society, not just climate change.  So if you are trying to save the world, remember step 1: Try.

 

I’m gonna pop some tags, only got $20 in my pocket

Shopping at thrift stores keeps items out of landfills and reduces demand for new items.  I’ve known this and shopped at thrift stores for a while, but recently I had another thought.  As I was purchasing 5 shirts from Goodwill (for $15 total), I wondered how much of my wardrobe is actually 2nd hand.  How much do I practice what I preach?  To answer that question, I took an inventory of of my clothes.  I was pleased to find that my wardrobe is made up of 44% thrift store purchases.  But at the same time, I was horrified to find that I own 137 shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, and tank tops (not even counting workout shirts).  Before judging me for having such a horrid number of shirts, remember that 44% of them are 2nd hand and also know that I immediately purged a bunch of stuff from my closet.

Thrift Shop Macklemore

Macklemore’s Thrift Shop is a great song and the inspiration of this blog title.

So with those things in mind, this blog post captures two green actions:  1) Shop at thrift stores.  Like I already said, this will reduce demand for newly manufactured items, and it will reduce the surge of items going to landfills.  It is possible to find good things (clothes, furniture, decorations, dishes) at thrift stores, it just takes patience.  2) Take an inventory of your clothes.  It will emphasize the stuff you have that you don’t wear or need.  Then, give those things to someone else and close the loop on 2nd hand items.

 

Start a Green Team at Work

My company has solar panels and does good by the environment, but we can always do more.  A few months ago, I started a Green Team at work.  We have a company website where employees can share posts.  That is how I introduced the Green Team and invited employees to attend the first Green Team meeting.  When I wasn’t the only one at the meeting, I was very happy. That is how our Green Team was born.

IMG_3542 (1)

This is our recycling awareness sign.

If you want to start a Green Team at work, don’t be afraid.  See if others are interested to help with a project or do a small project by yourself.  Then spread the word that the project was “brought to you by the Green Team”.  Seeing successful projects will inspire others to join your forces.
Recycling awareness was the first project that our Green Team undertook.  We created signs to show what could be recycled in each bin and additionally, we posted signs by the garbage cans that said “Landfill”.  This is a small project that anyone can tackle.  Another easy project idea is the Eco Tray.  Once you get some momentum on your team, bigger projects will be achievable too!  But, first someone has to start the Green Team.

Dear Leo

Dear Leo,

Like many people, I think you’re an amazingly talented actor, and I love your movies.  Also, it doesn’t hurt that you’re exceedingly attractive.  But more than that, I wanted to thank you for your commitment to the environment.  By divesting from fossil fuels,

Leo

campaigning on behalf of the environment, fundraising and donating to the causes that matter most you have become a true champion of the environment.  Winner of dozens of awards, director of environmentally themed documentaries, multimillionaire, board member of the World Wildlife Fund- is there anything you can’t do?

Although I don’t have the money to participate in the environmental movement on the same scale as you have, I have made significant changes in my life in order to reduce my footprint.  I’d love to learn what eco-friendly things you do in your personal life that others could learn from and emulate.

I don’t know you personally of course, but nonetheless, I would like to wish you the best in your career and life.  I hope you have true happiness and the lasting satisfaction that you have made a difference in this world in more ways than one.

Thank you from your dedicated fan,
Michelle

P.S. I’m curious, do you compose your own tweets and Facebook updates?

Now is the Time for Nau

Reducing the amount of things we purchase is the first step towards a sustainable lifestyle, however occasionally there is something that you need to buy.  In those cases, I try to purchase with the Earth in mind.  This is a product review of my Nau brand winter coat.
Last winter I needed to buy a new coat, so I researched eco-friendly options.  I was a little weary of buying a coat online, however it worked out well.  I purchased a Nau winter coat

Nau coat

This is not me.  Also, my coat is charcoal in color.

with an outer shell made from 100% recycled polyester.  The filling is goose down which isn’t eco-ideal, but it is very warm.  This was the most eco-friendly option within my price range.

After wearing the coat for two seasons, I have been very satisfied.  Stylish and lightweight, the coat is also warm enough for Wisconsin winters.  It has pockets with convenient zippers, and a hood for the coldest days.  Many times I get compliments about the coat, and I smile knowing that the coat looks good, functions well, and shows the clothing industry that I value products made with sustainability in mind.

Environmental Justice

Pollution, climate change, and other environmental issues are connected to social issues such as racism, poverty, equality, and human rights.  Environmental justice stems from this concept, and the environmental/ social connections do not get enough attention.  For many people, it is difficult to admit that we have a problem with racism, equality, or other social problems.  And yes, I am talking about in the United States (as well as globally).  So here are some things to consider:

Environmental InjusticeLandfills, chemical plants, hazardous waste sites, other places with lots of pollution.  The real estate value in those areas is less than the clean suburbs or the pristine lakeside properties.  So guess who ends up living near the pollution?  People with less money.  Unfortunately in the United States, this often means minorities.  One source found that minorities in the US have “nearly 40% more exposure to deadly airborne pollutants than whites”.  This source found similar trends.

People are dying because of this, but we don’t hear anything about it.  “Researchers estimate that if nonwhites breathed the lower NO2 levels experienced by whites, it would prevent 7,000 deaths … each year”.  That is crazy!  7,000 people will be killed this year because of environmental injustice.  If a terrorist killed 7,000 people, the world would be in an outrage.  But, if we as a society kill 7,000 people based on social injustice and pollution, no one cares.  If you want to read a specific example from Chicago, check this out.  Also, here is an example about Cancer Alley in Louisiana which is home to primarily African-American people.

We have a lot of problems with inequality and social justice in the United States, but climate change is also causing social concerns around the world.  “A 2014 Department of Defense report identifies climate change as the root of government instability that leads to widespread migration, damages infrastructure and leads to the spread of disease”.  One example is in Syria which is suffering the worst drought on record.  Drought caused instability for farmers and the food supply.  Political instability followed which then allowed terrorist groups to thrive.  Millions of people have been affected as victims and refugees.  Are they refugees from war or climate change?

Environmental justice also crosses national boundaries, and we in the United States are guilty!  In the late 1980s, a barge of hazardous incinerator ash from Philadelphia couldn’t find anywhere in the United States to dump the waste.  Environmental Injustice 2Instead, they went looking for poor, unsuspecting countries which is how they came upon Haiti.  They dumped tons of this hazardous waste on a beach in Haiti.  How outrageous is that?!  This type of injustice is still happening as companies from developed nations export their hazardous waste to countries with less environmental controls.  A United Nations report from 2015 found that 90% of global electronic waste is illegally traded or dumped, and I’ll bet that none of it was dumped in the US or any other wealthy nations.

Those examples from the US, Syria, and Haiti are just part of the story.  Connections between climate change, pollution, racism, and social injustice can be found in many other cases.  So the next time you wonder if climate change matters, ask yourself if lives matter.  And if so, which lives matter?