Thursday, March 26, 2009

Celebrate Earth Day, Come On!

"It's your world: if you don't like it, change it."
-Mikki Halpin, author of The Geek Handbook

If you currently consider yourself an environmental crusader, then the fact that the infamous Earth Day (April 22nd) is quickly approaching upon us shouldn't be anything of a surprise to you. However, just because you are aware of this upcoming occasion, it doesn't automatically mean you know how to celebrate it or what it's even about, yes?

Let me enlighten you, first and foremost, on Earth Day's origins and main purpose. Basically, it all began on April 22nd, 1970 when approximately 20 million Americans expressed their concern for the environment's problems to the government. This great outpour resulted in Congress being forced to close down due to the masses.

By May of 1971, a whole quarter of the nation changed their perspective in favor of caring for the environment while there were only 1% of these individuals back in 1969. "In the Gallup polls, public concern over air and water pollution jumped from tenth place in the summer of 1969 to fifth place in the summer of 1970, and was perceived as more important than 'race,' 'crime,' and 'teenage' problems" (Whitaker).

With all of this including the scientific facts of an excess in global warming looming upon the public's conscience, it's no wonder that Earth Day of 1970 made such an impact on America to becoming a day to praise our Earth for homing us. Seriously, without Earth, there'd be no humans. Even if it's just for one day, be sure to take advantage of this day to be extra environmentally-friendly. Our planet deserves at least that much.

So it's Earth Day, thirty-nine years later, and what do you do? Stay home all day, so you don't shed any carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere? Perhaps, but staying home all day wouldn't be any fun now, would it? What you can do, however, is look up local Earth Day events in your community, so that when you do plan on leaving the house, you're traveling to a considerable distance that can be manipulated through your city's or town's public transportation; therefore, you are decreasing the amount of pollution expended into the atmosphere.

You can also try contacting your school's Environmental Club (Or better yet, make your own!) and see what they're planning in honor of this momentous occasion. Or maybe you're more of a lone ranger, and would prefer to appreciate the Earth on your own. Why not plant a tree at your local park; educate yourself on Environmental Science to better understand what the issues are about; recycle all of your old clothes (This will work towards decreasing CO2 emissions from those air-polluting planes and trucks shipping clothes for people to purchase when they can get them from local thrift stores with such better eco-benefits); move your home thermostat 2 degrees up so as to use less energy (And money!) in your home; always acknowledge how much waste you're creating as far as food packaging, hair products, make-up containers, clothing, and so on.

Although, we should be considering our environment everyday as we make those daily decisions such as whether or not to walk to the local grocery store instead of drive, choose organic and in-season produce, turn off your lights when you leave the room, and the list goes on. Earth Day is just a way to get people motivated, as I hope this article has gotten you motivated to find ways to get involved for every year's main eco-friendly holiday since 1970; so make sure to mark your calendars!

For a list of more interesting Earth Day activities, check out these websites:

Also, check out this epic documentary, "Earth", from Disney. Scheduled to debut on Earth Day. Looks pretty sweet. :]

Peace & Love, Everyone.
-Dr. Green T

Whitaker, John C. "Earth Day Recollections: What It Was Like When The Movement Took Off." History. Aug 1988. United States Environmental Protection Agency. 27 Mar 2009.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Reclaim Your City

In all honesty, March's Green News meeting was certainly an educational experience as passionate guest speakers like Joel Ramos from TransForm and Lindsay Imai from Urban Habitat took the time from their busy schedules to speak with the members of The Green News on transportation in the Bay Area.

For those of you who don't know: "Founded in 1989, Urban Habitat builds bridges between environmentalists, social justice advocates, government leaders, and the business community. Their work has helped to broaden and frame the agenda on toxic pollution, transportation, tax and fiscal reform, brownfields, and the nexus between inner-city disinvestments and urban sprawl."

On the other hand, the website of TransForm provides this information on its organization: "TransForm works to create world-class public transportation and walkable communities in the Bay Area and beyond. They build diverse coalitions, influence policy, and develop innovative programs to improve the lives of all people and protect the environment" (Goddard).

With all this in mind, you can already tell that this was going to be a very intriguing couple of hours. Fortunately, the building we were directed to go into for the meeting was literally right beside the BART station at 12th St./City Center in Oakland, and therefore didn't require any extra CO2 emissions from any bus or car rides. Therefore, already setting us into the right direction in being eco-friendly with our transportation.

Joel Ramos and Lindsay Imai presented equally compelling arguments about why our society faces such issues with carbon dioxide emissions and how we can go about cleaning our atmosphere once again. Lindsay Imai's presentation which required the assistance of several of the Green News members demonstrated how because of a family's poor economic status, it is more difficult for them to live a more Earth-friendly life because they are so limited as far as transportation and work goes. On the other hand, middle to upper class individuals have a wider variety of transportation possibilities because they can afford to live in locations where such methods are more accessible. It's basically an economic struggle that's truly holding us back from moving forward in more environmental ways of traveling.

Toward the end of the meeting, Joel Ramos educated us with a powerpoint on the "world-reknown sustainable city [and] capital of Columbia, Bogota" (fedwards). This city began with Sundays and holidays as its designated days to open a network of bike paths with 121 km of the major streets closed for alternative methods of transportation to reside. Forunately, the introduction to this new idea became so popular that a permanent network became initiated which, today, contains 329 km of bike paths for almost 182,000 people to travel through daily. An amazing feat to achieve for such a large population as this city is only another added step toward creating more environmentally-friendly means of transportation for the world. This just goes to show that if a city as large and populated as Bogota can change their ways for a better Earth, then anything is possible!!

All in all, the presence of Lindsay Imai and Joel Ramos as this month's Green News meeting was a truly rewarding and eye-opening experience at the reality in the Bay Area's need for growth in not only creating better means of transportation, but in also supporting the lower class residents who deserve opportunities at economic growth that they currently don't receive.

Check out this video from Urban Habitat for more information on the work that's being down in creating an "Equitable Bay Area." :]

Peace&Love, Everyone.
-Dr. Green T

"About Urban Habitat." 2009. Urban Habitat. 15 Mar 2009.

fedwards. "Sustainable City - Bogota, Columbia." Sustainable Cities Net. 28 Jun 2007. VEIL. 24 Mar 2009.

Goddard, Seth. "About Us." TRANSFORM. TALC: Transportation and Land Use Coalition. 15 Mar 2009.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

CFL: Light Up Your Eco-World

Ever wonder if there is some other way to produce electricity in your own home in a more "green" manner? Do the words Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb flip a switch in your earth-friendly craniums? If not, then now is the chance to get educated on such a magnificent addition to the eco-world!

Seeing as how the economy continues to struggle during these harsh times, many Americans are working to find cheaper alternatives for the everyday appliances that they use to take for granted. Fortunately, this is where Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (a.k.a. CFL) come in!! So you know, a popular and more reliable brand for CFLs is Energy Star, an organization that manufactures its environmentally-friendly products to not only absorb 75% less energy than that of a standard lightbulb, but to also last up to 10 times longer. These are primary contributors to why CFLs save approximately $30 or more in electricity costs for their average lifetime (1).

The only downside to these lightbulbs from what I've heard is that they take a few seconds to light up once you've flipped the switch, and therefore aggravates some individuals. However, this is a minor disadvantage compared to the multiple positives that follow purchasing CFLs for your home.

Many hardware stores carry CFLs nowadays which makes it a rather convenient purchase. Nonetheless, if you're still curious as to how to go about conducting the switch from standard light bulbs to Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs in your home, then Go Here. This site will provide you with a step-by-step tutorial on how to properly make the transformation into a more eco-friendly method of producing light in your own home!! :D

Also, I've discovered a video from youtube that gives a fantastic breakdown of why CFLs are so amazing. Check it out.

Peace&Love, Everyone.
-Dr. Green T

1.)"Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs." Energy Star. Environmental Protection Agency. 6 Mar 2009. (

2.) "Compact Fluorescentize Your House." Green. 2009. Instructables. 6 Mar 2009. (

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