Archive for the ‘Earth Day’ Category

Earth Day 2014

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Earth Day is just around the corner. Next Tuesday (April 22), millions of people in 190 countries will celebrate Mother Earth by participating in eco-friendly events. From book recycling to biking, beach clean-ups to nature walks, animal conservation to learning more eco-friendly habits, people all over the world will act together to make the world a little greener.

The global theme this year is Green CitiesScreen shot 2014-04-16 at 10.14.50 AM

“With smart investments in sustainable technology, forward-thinking public policy, and an educated and active public, we can transform our cities and forge a sustainable future,” says EarthDay.org, the Earth Day Network’s (EDN) website. “Nothing is more powerful than the collective action of a billion people.”

The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. While it started with only a few million people, it soon grew to be the largest civic observance in the world, according to EDN. It even led to the creation of the United Stated Environmental Protection Agency!

So how can you get involved? You can either search for an event in your country or state, or you can plan your own event. EDN has a host of resources, including online toolkits that can help you get started. If you want more personalized help planning a discussion in your community, you can send an email to greencities [at] earthday [dot] org.

In addition to physical activities that reconnect you to Mother Earth, you can get on the web to make a difference. EarthDay.org has a selection of online activism topics to help get you started. These range from banning new coal power plants to bringing bike shares to your city.

Here are 10 of our favorite Earth Day celebrations happening this year:

Austin, Texas, April 26, 12 pm—6 pm at the Historic Browning Hanger at Mueller

Cincinnati, Ohio, April 19, 12 pm—5 pm at Sawyer Point

Indianapolis, Indiana, April 26, 11 am—4 pm at White River State Park

Nashville, Tennessee, April 19, 11 am—6 pm at Centennial Park

New York, New York, April 22, 11 am—7 pm at Union Square

Reno, Nevada, April 27, 10 am—5 pm at Idlewild Park

Sacramento, California, April 19, 11 am—4 pm at Southside Park

Saint Louis, Missouri, April 27, 11 am—6 pm at the Muny grounds of Forest Park

San Francisco, California, April 19, 10 am—6 pm at the U.N. Plaza/Civic Center

South Tahoe, California, April 26, 10 am—4 pm at the Bijou Community Park

 

This guest post was written by Keen Communications intern Robyn Campbell.

Screen shot 2014-04-16 at 10.15.11 AM

Green Your Home This Spring

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Green: A Great Color for the Home

It’s hard to believe, but spring is just around the corner. For many of us this means it’s time to begin knocking tasks off of spring cleaning to-do lists and gearing up for those home improvement projects you began realizing were long overdue while cooped up inside all winter. Whether you’re looking to remodel your bathroom, upgrade your kitchen tile, or turn your backyard into an oasis, The Cincinnati Home and Garden Show, held at the Duke Energy Convention Center, is the place to be. The show is open to the public today, March 5th through Sunday, March 9th.

This year will also feature a Go Green Cincinnati Show, presenting dozens of retailers offering sustainable products and services, helping residents of the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky lead greener lives. While not everyone can afford to install solar panels on their roofs or invest in new, energy efficient appliances, there are plenty of ways to go green for little to no cost. Here are 10 easy tricks to add a little green to your life and your home.

Create your own low-cost compost bin  
Composting is a great way to make use of things that would normally end up in a landfill. You can throw all kinds of things into your compost bin which will, in turn, create natural and nutrient rich soil for flower beds, gardens, or even the grass in your yard.

Wash laundry in cold, rather than hot, water
Although using cold water can take a little longer to properly clean clothes, it will clean them just as well as hot water. According to Energy Star, almost 90% of the energy used by washing machines goes towards heating water.
Bonus Green Points: Line-dry clothes. Again, you’ll be saving money and energy, but the UV rays of the sun can help kill germs and bacteria too!

Shop at local Farmers Markets
One of the best and easiest ways to go green (in addition to helping your local economy) is to shop at local Farmers Markets. Your food is almost certainly guaranteed to be fresher, more nutritious, and more flavorful than items bought at a grocery store.

Unplug unused and rarely used appliances
Although it may not seem like it, many appliances that aren’t in use but are still plugged in continue sucking up energy. All kinds of appliances from toasters to televisions use “standby” power when they aren’t in use. If unplugging all those unused appliances seems like too much of an inconvenience, another option is to invest in a Smart Power Strip, which monitors electricity use and stops sending power to appliances that have been idle for a certain amount of time.

D.I.Y. cleaning supplies
Not only do most name brand cleaning supplies contain toxic chemicals, but they are expensive. With a handful of inexpensive and basic ingredients you can make a whole host of cleaners for the entire house.

Invest in energy efficient light bulbs.
Energy Efficient bulbs may have more of an upfront cost, but you’ll be saving in the long run and helping the environment. Even changing a few bulbs throughout your house can save you hundreds of dollars annually.

Donate old newspapers to animal shelters, old plastic bags to participating grocery stores, or buy/make your own reusable bags.
Animal shelters are a great place to drop off plastic bags and old newspapers. Lots of grocery stores take bag plastic bags to reuse or recycle; talk to your local grocery store to see if they accept donations. Or better yet, you can buy or make your own reusable bags and avoid the plastic ones altogether! Most patterns are simple enough for beginners to use and only take a few minutes to make!

Lighten the load
How many of us avoid the cluttered, black hole that is our car’s trunk? If you’re like me, the trunk of your car has slowly accumulated knick-knacks over time. Cleaning out your trunk (or the entire car, for some of us) will lighten the overall weight of your car, helping improve fuel efficiency. Improved fuel efficiency decreases the amount of gas you’ll need, so lighten the load in your car and you can lighten your weekly gas bill, too.

Caulk windows
This is a project that sounds much more daunting than it actually is, and will greatly improve the energy efficiency in your home. Something as simple as re-caulking your windows will only take a couple of hours and will help keep the warm air in during the winter and the cool air in during the summer. It’s a quick an easy project that will prove beneficial for any season.

Repurpose!
A little creativity will go a long way with this one. With a little craftiness and a good google search the options are limitless. Sites like Pinterest, Apartment Therapy, and DIY Network are all great places for inspiration. From old t-shirts to baby food jars, just because it’s served its original purpose doesn’t mean those objects can’t be repurposed for another use. Repurpose! Reuse! Recycle! It’s fun, easy, and all these small acts can make a huge difference for the environment!

The contributor for this article was Katie Butts, an intern for Keen Communications.

Ways to Celebrate National Wildflower Week INDOORS

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

This year, National Wildflower Week is from May 6 to May 12.

For those of us who suffer from seasonal allergies, the blooming of wildflowers is something to guard against rather than to celebrate. However, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center offers us some tips on how to enjoy Wildflower Week indoors, protected from those pesky allergens.

Van Gogh, 1888

 

Visit Local Art Museum

dare you to find an art museum anywhere in the world that doesn’t somewhere house artwork dedicated to the beauty flowers bring to our many landscapes. Stroll over to your local art museum and find these gems! And don’t just look at them. Read the placards that describe the artwork. Learn about the artist. Educate yourself on why these flowers are some of nature’s finest artwork!

 

Pick Up a Book

Just like artists devoting their craft to wildflowers, numerous authors have, as well. The most obvious example would be the slew of wildflower guides available on the book market today. Pick up a book, and learn something new! Here are a few worth checking out!

 

Have a Wildflower-themed Snack

There are a number of ways to construct an indoor snack that reminds you of the beauty there is outside. How about a mixed greens salad? Or for the grown-ups, mix yourself a mimosa or other flower-themed cocktail. You can even bake flower-themed cookies or cupcakes.

 

Advocate for Endangered Flowers

Yes, flowers show up on endangered species lists, too! Learn which flowers indigenous to your area have become endangered, and write local officials expressing your concern for conserving these botanical beauties!

 

Start a Recycling Plan

These days, it’s no secret that at the center of any conservation plan is a sustained devotion to minimizing waste. Even a simple recycling bin for your home or office will show your appreciation for the wildflowers blooming in our gardens and parks.

 

Click here to see wildflower guides available from Menasha Ridge Press and Wilderness Press!

Celebrating Earth’s Beauty

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Today is about celebrating what Mother Nature has given us! It is also about celebrating the people and organizations that work to protect the beautiful lands and waters we have. If you have forgotten some of the picturesque landscapes our planet has, the Mother Nature Network has gathered some stunning photos to remind you.

Photo via MNN: poorpoor/Flickr

Photo via MNN: poorpoor/Flickr

I could go on and list ways for you to be green for Earth Day, but this year, I’m just going to urge you to get outside and remember that everything beautiful that you see must be maintained and protected. And documented! Make memories out there and really appreciate nature. The only way to guarantee our planet’s survival is to pass on the importance of appreciation of our surroundings to younger generations.

Have you Ever Thought of Recycling your Tissues?

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Tissues are recyclable, although most people discard them in the trash. The question is, can you dispose of a dirty, used tissue? While many people will squirm at this idea, the answer is YES! When you’re sick, I am sure you stock many tissues and go through almost all of them, leading to a lot of wasted compost. Who wants your snotty waste? Many people claim that the high temperatures during the composting process will kill your germs, while others believe they will fight through that tissue and land in your veggie garden. But, isn’t it the same as recycling your soda can full of backwash? As controversy continues, go with what doesn’t make you gag and remember to dispose of your tissues if you don’t want the risk of bacteria floating around your garden.

Check out Mother Nature Network for more on this topic!

To Frack Or Not To Frack

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Many people do not know what hydraulic fracturing is until the sound of drills are puncturing their family’s farmlands. But, to all the fans of Matt Damon, his newest movie Promised Land sheds light on the environmental issue. Hydraulic fracturing, or colloquially known as “fracking” is the process of drilling fluids at high pressure into the ground to fracture shale rocks that will release natural gas. It has proved to be successful in providing economic benefits to participating societies.

However, the risks may outweigh the beneficial recovery of hydrocarbons which are nearly inaccessible without fracking. Workers’ health has proved to be a concern which has caused OSHA and NIOSH to release hazard alerts due to the amount of  respirable crystalline silica (dust) during the fracturing process. Water usage is a main concern due to the high amount each fracturing job needs in order to drill, which on average is 1.8 million gallons of water. There is also a chance of water contamination in towns that are undergoing the process. There have been over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination in areas participating in hydraulic fracturing, which has caused sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage.

The environment is also in harms way. There have  been links of seismic activity relating to hydraulic fracturing such as the 4.0 magnitude earthquake that took place in Youngstown, Ohio (hitting us close to home here in Cincinnati) on New Years Eve in 2011. Also, the process of drilling leaves toxic fluid that is not biodegradable in the ground and the waste fluid evaporates, which releases harmful volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere, leading to contaminated air, acid rain, and ground level ozone.

However, hydraulic fracturing proves to be successful, creating 300,000 barrels of natural gas a day. This leads to a clean and efficient energy source, although it is at the price of health and environmental safety.
Do you think the risks outweigh the benefits?

 

Recycling & composting in the modern age

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

I have been recycling for what seems like my whole life and stressing the importance of recycling to others along the way. It was only recently that I considered composting, and in my research to begin that process, I came across many very interesting and helpful articles and organizations. I want to be the best recycler and composter that I can be, and I want you to do the same!

The Mother Nature Network has offered some great advice on things you should definitely not compost or recycle. You’d be surprised at what should NOT go into your bins. Some things are common sense while others answer those long asked questions: I can just throw this in there and they’ll take care of it, right? Everything from motor oil and batteries to printed papers and pizza boxes is covered, with suggestions for what to do with those non-traditional recyclable materials. I know I’ll be printing this list off and taping it to the top of my recycling bin at home!

In addition, I have often found myself wondering how to properly dispose of cooking oil/grease from my kitchen. I knew that flushing it down the sink was most likely not the proper way (imagine how fatty foods clog our arteries–just imagine what repeated flushing down the drains does to the pipes in your home and through the city!), so I did a little digging. Am I able to just throw the grease in the trash in a sealed container? That didn’t seem right to me, but, it appears to be one solution. Another solution is to take your grease to a local restaurant (one that offers collection) for a larger-scale removal. However, the most sustainable solution to getting rid of your cooking oil/grease is to partner up with a local restaurant where you can take your grease and have them donate their grease to the Alternative Fuel Foundation. The AFF ‘recycles’ cooking oil and grease from restaurants and turns it into clean-burning bio-fuel! You can read more about the benefits of bio-fuel at their website. Very cool, and very green!

There are tons of organizations and companies that are recycling in creative ways, collecting hazardous materials, other recyclable materials such as light bulbs, batteries, motor oil, etc. throughout our communities. An example of just that is GLOBAL RECYCLE, a small company based out of New Orleans that is working to better the community with their local recycling program. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get in contact with someone knowledgeable on the subject: I plan to see if our local green grocer, Park + Vine, collects cooking grease. I’m sure that they can teach me all kinds of things about this, composting, and much more!

 

Greenpeace for a cleaner Earth

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Greenpeace International is a great non-profit, direct-action, environmental organization that you should really know about. I wanted to share a video they created for Earth Day because it is beautiful, surreal, and captures just what Earth Day is all about and how we can help. You can view other videos from Greenpeace International on their YouTube channel (they have some very cool videos).

Click image to view video on YouTube

Don’t forget, you have through this Friday, April 27 at 3:00pm EST to enter our Green Gear Giveaway! For details on how to enter, please visit Hot On The Trail… may the odds be ever in your favor!

Earth Day Green Gear Giveaway

Friday, April 20th, 2012

In celebration of Earth Day and Arbor Day 2012, Wilderness Press is launching an awesome giveaway to our fans with the help of these generous, eco-friendly sponsors: Mountainsmith, Enviro Products, Solio, Kentucky Royalty, and kigo footwear. The contest runs from TODAY through FRIDAY, APRIL 27.
Check out all the information about the giveaway including details on the prizes and entry guidelines over at Hot On The Trail.

In addition to the giveaway, Wilderness Press and Menasha Ridge Press will be offering a 30% discount on all of their books and maps online through next Friday, April 27. Pick up those guidebooks for your summer adventures!

Best of luck, and remember to stay GREEN!

Serenbe, a sustainable community

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

If you’re not obsessed with HGTV like I am, well, let me give you a chance to reconsider. Aside from their fantastic programming on TV, they hold some pretty stellar giveaways such as the Dream Home Giveaway and the Green Home Giveaway, which is going on now through June 1, 2012 (you can enter twice daily).

This year, the green home is really above and beyond. Located less than 30 miles outside of Atlanta, Georgia, HGTV’s 2012 Green Home is located within Serenbe, a hamlet of sorts that sits on 1,000 acres of land. On that land is everything you need in a community from organic farms to a blacksmith to a school and retirement center. And the whole community has been structured upon green and sustainable living practices. HOW COOL IS THAT? I urge you to at least read more about Serenbe. Maybe even enter to win, because you never know what might happen.