Archive for carbon footprint

Welcome to the New Easier Being Green!

Welcome to the new home of Easier Being Green!

During the last few days, I’ve been at the Clean Energy Resource Teams Conference in St. Cloud, Minn. I ran into a few fellow college alumni who work for Kidwind, a group that creates lesson plans and trains teachers to teach about wind.

From the website:
Michael Arquin began the Kidwind Project when he was a 6th grade science teacher in California. Unhappy with the high price and poor quality of commercial products available for teaching wind energy science, he set out to develop his own.

Just a quick post to say hello, and welcome to the new site!


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UN Climate Conference, Bali

The UN finished up a climate conference in Bali (Dec. 3-14), Our friends Tim Anderson and Paul Kelley went to present the Sonoma County Water Agency’s plan to depend on renewable energy only.

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Produce in Season

As it is wintertime, and the idea that we can eat raspberries all year round is a bit silly, this tool from the government in Victoria, Australia seems like a pretty cool idea. You see a list of produce available in the area, click on it, and then recipes come up.

Here is a pretty guide to seasonal produce from the Food Network.

And here is a Southern California harvest chart.

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Green Wine

No, it doesn’t come from green grapes. Green wine is what happens when you buy wine locally (even in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennyslvania).

And.. did you know that east coasters pollute less by consuming French wine instead of Californian wine?
Shocking! Shipping can be more eco-friendly than flying, and the United States are big.
This line comes from a study done by Dr. Vino (Dr. Tyler Colman, a wine blogger) and Pablo Paster (metrics specialist). Read more on TreeHugger.

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Homemade Bread

Well, I don’t know if this is particularly environmentally friendly per se, but it certainly cuts out a transit step (blah blah carbon emissions blah).. pretty much, it’s fun to make your own bread. I like food much better when I see everything that goes into it.

White Bread Recipe
2h30m time commitment: 20 minutes prep, 2 hours waiting.
Shopping list: sugar, active dry yeast, salt, vegetable oil, about 1/2 bag flour.
Stuff you should have: bread pan, big bowl, strong stirring spoon, liquid measure (a pyrex), dry measure (1 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 tablespoon, 1/2 teaspoon), serrated bread knife and cutting board (for eating!)

2 cups warm water
2/3 cup white sugar
1.5 tablespoons active dry yeast
1.5 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups bread flour

Large bowl: dissolve sugar in warm water, then stir in the yeast. The yeast is happiest with a warm environment and food to eat, so don’t boil the poor buggers to death. Wait until the yeast start eating – you can tell when the bowl has a layer of creamy foam.

Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Do not forget the oil like I did. This will require much kneading later and chewier bread.

Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. I like to clean off the countertop and dump a thin layer of flour straight onto it because then I can pretend I have a bakery.

As my mom says, “When the dough looks smooth like a baby’s bottom,” put it in an oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down! I think this gets the air out so you don’t end up with big bubbles in your bread. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9×5 inch loaf pans.
Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans. Preheat your oven when it’s almost risen. On second thought, don’t preheat.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

This stuff is made with white flour, so it’s pretty much cake with less sugar, but you can modify it with wheat flour and honey, says my mom who made it as a hippie health nut back in her early 20s.

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Tesco is Coming

Britain’s equivalent of Super Wal-Mart will cross the Atlantic soon.

This may not be a terrible thing. Tesco has made some strides towards rectifying the negative impacts of big chain stores on neighborhoods and the environment.

The largest solar roof in the world will sit atop Tesco’s California distribution center.

In the UK, they offer a 10p shopping “Bag for Life,” replaced for free if it wears out.

And! It is starting to label its produce with carbon footprint stickers.

How cool is that?

But, as Harry warns, Tesco and other UK big businesses might be in it for the image, not the environment. “[Poll] respondents held BP, Tesco and British Airways most guilty of ‘greenwash’ aimed at creating an eco-friendly corporate image.” I don’t care why they do it as long as they’re greening up, but this business of misleading greenwashing does concern me a bit.

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Buying Local

Two happy things happened this Sunday:

1. I bought bread from a bakery (Village Bakery, 1445 Town and Country Dr).
2. I bought pumpkins from a local farm (Frey Rd, off Highway 12).

The nice thing about buying things straight from the source is that I know more about the size of the carbon footprint my purchase makes, because I transport the product for 100% of its journey (or.. at least its final journey in finished form). And it gives me the chance to support local business & economy (I’m being turned into a republican, help! Quick, go look at the BALLE Project and leave me to wrangle with my growing conservative woes).

I mean, not like that makes any significant carbon difference, when I still continue to buy imported cheese from England with Wallace and Gromit on the packaging (shhh), but it gives me leeway to act smug and tout my $1.50 pumpkin with pride. I mean, I need every chance I can get to be smug. My carbon footprint is huge.

Calculate yours here. Especially if you travel abroad.. yikes. You’re in for it.

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