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Take a Pledge!

5 Aug

Back in my high school days, I was a very active member of the Alliance for Climate Education (http://www.acespace.org/), national non-profit organization dedicated to educating high school students about climate change and motivating them to do something about it.  Ever since I began college I have still been following them and taking inspiration from their actions.  One of their campaigns that will always resonate with me is their DOT campaign.  A DOT is a pledge to ”Do One Thing” to help the environment.  Whether it is using a reusable water bottle or unplugging electronics, whatever you choose to do will contribute to the greater good of sustainability.  Together out DOTs can make a huge difference!

My DOT is to abstain from using the plastic forks/spoons/knives I usually get when I get to-go during my lunch breaks and use my own reusable and portable spork.

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According to a study done by the EPA, in 2009 the United States generated 13 million tons of plastics waste from containers and packaging, and 7 million tons of nondurable plastic waste. Only 7 percent was recovered for recycling.  Furthermore, when plastics break down, they don’t biodegrade; they photodegrade. This means the materials break down to smaller toxic fragments which contaminate soil, waterways, and animals upon digestion and lead to an increase in carbon dioxide and methane content in the atmosphere. 

What’s your DOT?  Take a pledge by clicking on our “Get Started!” tab and share your DOT with the community!

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Where are our Young Activists?

19 Jul

Interesting fact of the day:

“One third of boomers, 25% of Gen Xers and 21 percent of Millennials said it’s important to become ‘personally’ involved in programs to clean up the environment.”

Wait, what.

I thought my generation is supposed to be the most active and involved in environmental issues.  Aren’t we known for our proclivity towards innovation, our desire to transform the world and lead the fight against global climate change?  I would think so, since I have grown up with fellow activists and been exposed to countless sustainability events, rallies, fairs, etc.

Then why does our generation have the smallest percentage of respondents who personally care about cleaning the environment?  Possible reasons: 1) We’re lazy 2) We’ve been overexposed to these issues 3) We have less trust in our government 4) We have less faith in mitigating these issues

Okay, honestly none of these reasons are good enough to explain our generational deficiency.  WE are the future generation, so we should have the most concern!  With every passing day, environmental issues are becoming more and more pertinent…so we should be getting more and more urgent.

Come on, young people!  Stop watching Netflix and DO SOMETHING.  Join an environmental club at your school, volunteer at a local cleanup or even Read my blog and email me at studentssavingenergy@gmail.com.  I’m open to discussion, comments, advice, or just a nice hello :)

P.S. Keep on the lookout for more posts about an idea I have for a personal slice of activism I have in mind…

Read more: http://www.blisstree.com/2012/03/15/sex-relationships/todays-20-somethings-arent-as-green-as-their-parents-123/#ixzz2ZVmLOiqk

Gen Y…Too Connected?

12 Jul

Living-Technology-2560x1024So I’m doing research at my internship and learning a lot about the various mindsets of different generations.  The Baby Boomers (1946-1964) grew up with the onset of television, the Vietnam War and a boom in production of consumer goods.  Generation X (1965-1980) grew up with dual income families and lots of independence.  Generation Y (1981-2002), my generation, is known for receiving immense parental support and reinforcement, as well as being surround by the latest gadgets.  Does the ability to work with all this technology make us smarter?  No, it just means we’re more dependent. 

Growing up as a Millennial, I have seen the vast transition from cassettes to DVDs and MP3 players to iPod, from flip phones to smart phones and computer monitors to sleek laptops.  I have owned them all and have never even thought twice about how freaky FAST everything is changing.  Pretty soon, our smart phones will become an ancient relict of the past.

Which gets me thinking, how is technology transforming so quickly, yet we still cannot settle on a clean and stable source of energy?  We’ve been fighting about Keystone XL for so long, Apple is already moving on to the sixth generation of the iPhone.  And what happened to the Cape Wind project?  Yeah, Obama finally laid out a policy for climate change but come on, it’s been 20 years overdue already.  It’s easy to talk the talk but now it’s time to walk the walk.

If technology is advancing this quickly, I’d like to see some of that money and R&D put into things that really matter.  I wouldn’t mind downgrading my phone and laptop for the sake of investing that money in wind farm construction.

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Loudoun County Schools Va: $45 Million Savings

28 Jun

Here’s a video from Tim Dunn, Energy Manager of Hopewell Public Schools in Virginia. Their school system works with Energy Education, an organization that provides people-based energy conservation programs to help organizations reduce their consumption of electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, and water, resulting in financial savings that are invested in the lives of the people and encompasses all aspects of conservation.

“We have been associated with this organization since 2003 and have saved well over $3,000,000.”

Being Sustainable in 2013: How Business is Going Green

27 Jun

As you pack your suitcases and get ready to embark on the plane to [insert paradise name here], keep in mind that no matter where you vacation for the summer, it’s easy to stay green.  Here is an article written by Sam Marquit, an independent ‘green’ contractor and co-author of Fair Marquit Value. Read on to see what he has to say about environmentally responsible modern day tourism:

“Responsible tourism is important in today’s society and I believe that people and organizations that go the extra mile to provide the services and products that abide by the LEED certification should be recognized more prominently.”

Doing business with clients as a commercial contractor, you begin to notice that while business owners will go through a lot to get LEED certified, they won’t take the extra steps to be a sustainable business or even an eco-friendly business. Many business owners just want to do enough, but they don’t want to change their policies or use materials that are really beneficial for the environment. That’s where these initiatives and programs come in. There are a variety of different organizations around the world just trying to do something different to help save our world.

Green America is changing the way that people think about big business. They want investors, consumers, business owners and the marketplace at large to really take notice of those businesses that engage in corporate irresponsible tactics to cut costs but not make the planet any healthier. They also do a lot of promoting for businesses that are changing and making a difference with green materials, projects, products and processes. Green America also travels around the world to help build sustainable structures for different communities.

In addition to programs like Green America, green facilities are continuing to be built. The ink48 Hotel is a gem in the heart of the Big Apple. With organic food, recyclable materials and much more, the hotel also sponsors a program called “Earthcare” which aims to teach members and bring others together to discuss major topics in green and sustainable energy for the planet. It’s amazing to see a business really trying to change the mindset of its travelers and workers, while also taking part in the community as well.

The Las Vegas Palazzo Hotel and Resort is a luxurious place to stay in one of the biggest cities of all time. Vegas is known for entertainment, lavish casinos and of course, the quick wedding. However, it’s also one of the places to find eco-friendly hotels like the Palazzo, which recently won an award for being the most eco-friendly hotel in America. The hotel won this award because of its sustainable facilities including solar energy panels, water reuse program and waste recycling.

Commercial contractors work with all kinds of businesses. It’s my pleasure to work with those who really have a heart for the planet and want to do something different for a change. It is important for all of us to continue this trend. It is great to see new green Las Vegas hotels catch on. However, more and more businesses must embrace sustainability if we are going to take this trend to the next level.

Summer of Opportunities

25 Jun

Summer is a time when you can kick back, rid yourself of anything that might induce brain activity and enjoy the hot and glorious sun.  For me, summer is a time when I can explore my passions to the fullest extent without the hindrances of homework, extracurricular activities and sports practices.  What better way than working at a sustainable business?

This summer, I am interning at a company called Recyclebank.  Based in NYC, it provides incentives for consumers and businesses to recycle and rewards them through a loyalty program.  I’m definitely learning a lot about market incentives, especially in terms of sustainability.  The department I work for, Consumer Insights, is pretty cool because it keeps a pulse on consumer behavior and trends in the marketplace.  Check out their website here: https://www.recyclebank.com 

What are your plans for the summer?  Whether its a job or a project, share them with us!

From SEA to ECO…tackling sustainability in College!

30 Jan

Hi all,

Yes, I admit, it has been a while since I last posted on this website.  It has been quite a ride transitioning from high school to college (which is ABSOLUTELY amazing).  I wish I could say things are finally settling down, as I am well into the second quarter of the year, but honestly every day is busy and full of action!

As you can probably guess, I have left my high school’s environmental club (SEA) and have joined my college’s environmental club (ECO).  I will continue to be in touch with SEA and plan to keeping updating you about their progress with Turn Off the Lights, the Earth Day fair and many other projects on the way.  In addition, I have so many awesome opportunities and stories to share about my own experiences here at college that I don’t even know where to begin…

ECO, the Environmental Conservation Organization, is a club I am a part of that is committed to on-campus sustainability projects.  In the fall, we implemented multiple projects– some of which included an Alternative Energy Panel, a double-sided printing workshop and creating large demonstration posters on what to recycle/compost/throw out.  My favorite was the Alternative Energy Panel because we invited a couple of professors, students and advocates to talk about different aspects of alternative energy in a laid back “round-table” discussion format.  I learned a lot about my college’s current progress on the renewable energy front (which I hope to become a large part in changing in the near future!) as well as current local and global issues.

Another project that was a success last term was the double-sided printing workshop.  A few of us stationed ourselves in the library and helped students change their default settings on their laptops to “double-sided” when they print.  Although it sounds like a simple task, you’d be surprised about the number of people who would have never taken the time to change that specific setting.

This term, we have a couple of new projects that we are going to tackle that I will be posting soon.  As always, please leave a comment!  And if you’re a college student, please contact me!  I would love to share ideas with you about your on-campus efforts as well!  Stay tuned…

Try This for the Next Five Minutes

20 Aug

You know, the problem these days is that people have become so attached to their iPhones, laptops and millions of other gadgets all day that rarely do they ever see broad daylight.  There are so many things to do on the internet, people wonder if other forms of entertainment even exist.

You know what I think of that?  I think that you should get up, stretch, close your laptop (or perhaps even power off??), open your windows and take a look outside.  In fact, venture so far as to even take a step outdoors (if you dare).  Bask in the sunlight.  Admire the trees.  If you see flowers, bend down and take a whiff.  Nature has so many more details than those pixels on your computer screen.  There is more to this world than just a little rectangular box.

Today is a beautiful day.  Try turning off all your electronics and go outside.  You’ll thank me later :)

How to Beat the Summer Heat from Eco Ed

2 Aug

One of the perks to my internship with Eco-Ed Schwartz is that I learn so much about simple green home living solutions.  One of his most recent articles deals with ways to beat the summer heat.  So far, we’ve had four official heat waves this summer, and it’s not going to stop anytime soon.  Here are some simple tips I’ve learned from my boss, the Eco-Warrior that you should definitely share with your family:

-        Be sure that your cooling equipment is properly maintained.

-        Get a home energy audit. Research to see if your state has a rebate program.  I know that in NJ, the Clean Energy program allows for rebates up to $5,000 per house, plus interest-free loans of up to another $10,000 for qualified homeowners!  Tell your parents!

-        Use a programmable thermostat to measure temperatures throughout the day.

-        Follow the sun by drawing blinds or curtains to minimize direct sunshine.  And of course, for a longer term solution, plant shade trees and shrubs on your property!  This is the most natural way to cool down your house.

-        Keep lights and other electric appliances off, and switch to compact fluorescent and LED bulbs.  

-        Use solar lights in your yard to minimize electricity used at night.  The selection is becoming greater and quality is improving constantly.  Start small and add lighting features as desired.

-        Do your laundry in cold water and only when you have a full load (this goes for dishes as well!)

-        Check to see if your roof is compatible for solar panels.  If so, this installation can greatly offset electric costs.  I think it is one of the most valuable investments!   If not, consider another option: how about painting your roof a light shade?

Post your comments below! :)

The Most Sustainable Bus…Ever.

16 Jul

Summer is slowly trudging by, and I am counting down the days until I head off for college in the fall.  One of the things I am doing every day to keep in touch with Dartmouth’s amazing programs is keeping up with the Big Green Bus (http://www.thebiggreenbus.org/).  It’s a bus that is run completely on waste vegetable oil and this summer, 11 Dartmouth students are touring the entire nation to spread environmental activism.  It is a true model of a youth-led sustainability initiative and one that inspires me to continue my own environmental efforts with SSE.  I think it’s really empowering to see this group of students spending weeks together, all united around one goal: to represent the young

minds in our world working to make a difference, one community at a time.  At every stop they make, they impact people, build connections, spread the influence.  It’s so powerful the way they slowly build the momentum as they travel across the nation.  Sometimes, it’s community work by helping kids in Arizona plant popcorn.  Sometimes its visiting the nation’s

Capitol and engaging in meetings.  Everything they do will contribute to a powerful, rippling effect that can change perspectives and even more, lead to direct sustainable actions.  I’m definitely going to continue to follow their journey…hopefully a few years from now, I will be able to have a spot on the BGB crew!  Good luck on the rest of your trip BGB ’12!