Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour

LONG POST WARNING!

It's 'Earth Hour' day today.

We were so excited when our city (a suburb of Fort Worth, Texas) recently voted for curbside recycling! It is incredibly freeing (and space-saving) for an artist to not feel like he/she has to hang on to everything that they don't want to go into the landfill so they can re-purpose it. Now I only keep the things that I KNOW I have a need for and recycle the rest! Yay!

We also switched almost all of our household lightbulbs to the evergy-saving Compact Fourescent Bulbs.

We shop for used items and participate in Freecycle and other local swap/sell/trade boards on a regular basis and look for ways to re-purpose things. I think my need for thrifting comes from my Paternal Grandmother, who always reminds me that she was born during the first year of 'The Great Depression', 1929.





















Depression Era Junk Shop (National Archive Photo)

From the World Wildlife Fund website:

Earth Hour is tonight, March 29, from 8 to 9 pm local time! Get ready to make it a great celebration for the planet. TURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS for this one hour!

Wondering what to do after you turn the lights out? Here are 10 fun ideas to help you, your family and your friends make a change and make a difference today.

1. Host a Green Party
Get your friends together for an Earth Hour eco-party. Fire up the flashlights and battery lanterns, serve organic food, avoid the disposable utensils, use natural d├ęcor (like flowers and hanging plants) and have a friend provide acoustic music. Talk to your guests about how you're each reducing your environmental footprint and share ideas and solutions for saving more energy, money and carbon dioxide.

2. Give Yourself an Energy Makeover
Use Earth Hour to make your home more energy efficient: Replace your old light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs; install power strips (so you can turn computers and electronics on and off more easily); and change your air conditioner filters. Or go one step farther and install one new energy-efficient item, like an EnergyStar qualified DVD player. And on Monday, call your local utility and sign up for green power-like wind, hydro or solar.

3. Go Green with Your Kids
Earth Hour is a perfect time to talk to your kids about the environment and why we need to protect our planet from the dangers of climate change. Check out books on the environment from the library and read by flashlight, or head into the yard and have a night picnic. Or how about a night of board games? Check out our downloadable Earth Hour kids' activities.

4. Do a Recyclables Scavenger Hunt

Get your flashlights and scour your cabinets and shelves for cans, bottles and cardboard (like cereal boxes) that you don't normally recycle. Make a list of all the non-recyclable containers you're using now (like plastic shopping bags and butter tubs), and figure out ways to reduce your consumption of items that end up in landfills. One easy tip: get reusable grocery bags... and reuse them!

5. Green That Workspace!

Working the night shift? Even if you can't turn off all the lights at work, look around and see what you can unplug, turn down or use less of (like consuming less paper by printing double-sided). Every day millions of computer screens and speakers are left on overnight--shut 'em off! And talk to your coworkers about what they can do to help make a difference, too.

6. Involve Your Local Leaders
If your city or town isn't hosting an Earth Hour event, ask your local government to set up a community "green" discussion this spring. Help organize attendance by reaching out to local environmental and community groups, and come prepared to ask your leaders what they're doing to make your city greener.

7. Clean Up Your Neighborhood
Grab a flashlight and take a long walk through your neighborhood, picking up trash and recyclables as you go. It's a great chance to do some stargazing, too!

8. Unplug and Chill Out
Most of our daily activities--like watching TV, shopping online and texting friends--require loads of electricity, but do we really need to do so much stuff all the time? Take one hour for yourself to just chill... turn off the screens, put down the handheld devices and just take some "you" time to reflect, read or talk to your family. After all, why do more when you can do less?

9. Take Your Temperature
Your thermostat and your refrigerator are responsible for a huge portion of your carbon footprint. If you lower your thermostat by just 2 degrees and set your fridge to 37 degrees F. and the freezer at 0 degrees F., you'll make a big difference.

10. Make a Pledge for the Planet
Earth Hour shouldn't end at 9:01 pm--it's a chance to take a first step toward lowering your overall impact on the environment. So use part of that hour to make a personal pledge to do more--recycle, drive less often, turn off or unplug electronics, and beyond. The only way we're going to stabilize our climate is if we make real changes in our everyday lives. That change begins with Earth Hour, and ends with a healthy planet.

Of course, there are more than 10 ways to make a difference. Visit WWF's website for additional ideas on things you can do every day to help the Earth and reduce your environmental footprint.

Thank you for being a part of Earth Hour and committing to lowering your impact on the planet.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

That's my girl!

I don't want this to turn out to be a 'brag on my kids all of the time' type of blog, but hey. Sometimes I just can't resist!

I was doing laundry and it was quiet. Too quiet. So I look around for my daughter and she's in her room. I peeked in at her diapering one of her dolls and I said, "You're taking care of your baby dolls, huh?"

She said, matter-of-factly...

"Yeah. I'm dedicated."

Holding back the laughter, I said, "You sure are dedicated, aren't you?" She said that yes she was and that she was just diapering her baby. Then she went off to find the clothes and shoes that go to it.

I guess I'm partial, but for a four and a half year old, I thought that was pretty sweet!RM