Saturday, April 24, 2010

Raising Baby

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, especially about my daughter. She's getting so big so quickly, and really starting to pay attention to what I do. It's going to matter now more than ever that I set the right example for her. This year, Earth Day was probably bigger than I have ever seen it. This is probably because it 'in' right now to go green. That's not necessarily a bad thing, so long as is sticks around and is not just another fad. I've really been thinking about it, though. I was raised by parents to whom the environment is last on their concern list. My husband the same. Make me wonder how we came to care so much, without the parental influence. I don't want to be so extreme with her that as an adult she is turned off because it was shoved down her throat, but she does need to be aware. I've always wanted to have a lot of kids. I think siblings are great, but what kind of world will I be bringing them into? And on the flip side, I believe I could raise great children who would really make a difference. There is so much to think about when it comes to being a parent. But it's totally worth it, becuse, well, isn't she cute!

Carbon Footprint Calculator - What's My Carbon Footprint ?

Carbon Footprint Calculator - What's My Carbon Footprint ?

The above link will help you calculate your carbon footprint number in pounds of co2 per year. Mine number, four our household of three (though it didn't take into account that one of those three is only eight months old) was a 47. The US average is 80. It make me feel good to be below average, but at the same time I know that it's not enough. We have a compost, and we recycle everything that we can. We turn off lights when not in use and have fluorescent bulbs, but our house still uses A LOT of energy. We have an older home with outdated appliances. We desperately need new windows to cut down on our heat loss, and a new, more efficient ac unit and water heater. These things cost quite a bit, though, and we just don't have it...yet. We will eventually though.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day - 40 Years

In celebration, here are a compilation of article and post I've found interesting on the subject

by Clayton Browne
Earth Day 2010: A Brief History of Earth Day and a Look Back at 40 Years of Earth Days

Earth Day is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin as an environmental teach-in held on April 22, 1970. Earth Day is celebrated in spring in the Northern Hemisphere and fall in the Southern hemisphere. Some places celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues. The first Earth Week was in Philadelphia in 1970 (it began April 16 and culminated on Earth Day, April 22.) Earth Day Network, a group that wishes to become the coordinator of Earth Day globally, asserts that Earth Day is now observed on April 22 almost everywhere on Earth.
World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5 in a different nation every year, is the main United Nations environment-related observance.
My, how have times changed. So strong was the antibusiness sentiment for the first Earth Day in 1970 that organizers took no money from corporations and held teach-ins “to challenge corporate and government leaders.”
But now, forty years later, Earth Day has turned into a major marketing platform for selling a huge variety of goods and services.
For this year’s celebration, Bahama Umbrella is advertising a specially designed umbrella, with a drain so that water “can be stored, reused and recycled.” Gray Line, a New York City sightseeing company, will keep running its buses on fossil fuels, but it is promoting an “Earth Week” package of trips to "green spots" like the botanical gardens and flower shopping at Chelsea Market.
F. A. O. Schwarz is using Earth Day to showcase Peat the Penguin, an emerald-tinted plush toy that, as part of the Greenzys line, is made of soy fibers and teaches green lessons to children.
Eco-consumerism, creeping into our society for decades, is intensely frustrating and detracts from Earth Day’s original purpose to many long-term environmental activists.
“This ridiculous perverted marketing has cheapened the concept of what is really green,” said Denis Hayes, who was national coordinator of the first Earth Day and is returning to organize this year’s activities in Washington. “It is tragic.”
By the same token, the eagerness of corporations to be a part of Earth Day also reflects the environmental movement’s increased tolerance toward corporate America: Many “big greens,” as leading environmental advocacy organizations are known, now accept that they must take money from corporations, or at the least become partners with them on some levels, if they are to make significant progress in changing social behavior.

How the First Earth Day Came About
By Senator Gaylord Nelson, Founder of Earth Day What was the purpose of Earth Day? How did it start? These are the questions I am most frequently asked. Actually, the idea for Earth Day evolved over a period of seven years starting in 1962. For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country. Finally, in November 1962, an idea occurred to me that was, I thought, a virtual cinch to put the environment into the political "limelight" once and for all. The idea was to persuade President Kennedy to give visibility to this issue by going on a national conservation tour. I flew to Washington to discuss the proposal with Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who liked the idea. So did the President. The President began his five-day, eleven-state conservation tour in September 1963. For many reasons the tour did not succeed in putting the issue onto the national political agenda. However, it was the germ of the idea that ultimately flowered into Earth Day. I continued to speak on environmental issues to a variety of audiences in some twenty-five states. All across the country, evidence of environmental degradation was appearing everywhere, and everyone noticed except the political establishment. The environmental issue simply was not to be found on the nation's political agenda. The people were concerned, but the politicians were not. After President Kennedy's tour, I still hoped for some idea that would thrust the environment into the political mainstream. Six years would pass before the idea that became Earth Day occurred to me while on a conservation speaking tour out West in the summer of 1969. At the time, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, called "teach-ins," had spread to college campuses all across the nation. Suddenly, the idea occurred to me - why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment? I was satisfied that if we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force this issue onto the political agenda. It was a big gamble, but worth a try. At a conference in Seattle in September 1969, I announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate. The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air - and they did so with spectacular exuberance. For the next four months, two members of my Senate staff, Linda Billings and John Heritage, managed Earth Day affairs out of my Senate office. Five months before Earth Day, on Sunday, November 30, 1969, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the astonishing proliferation of environmental events: "Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental being planned for next spring...when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...." It was obvious that we were headed for a spectacular success on Earth Day. It was also obvious that grassroots activities had ballooned beyond the capacity of my U.S. Senate office staff to keep up with the telephone calls, paper work, inquiries, etc. In mid-January, three months before Earth Day, John Gardner, Founder of Common Cause, provided temporary space for a Washington, D.C. headquarters. I staffed the office with college students and selected Denis Hayes as coordinator of activities. Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.

Also, I came across this footprint calculator interesting...more on this topic later