Day 60: Use your local library!

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Who here doesn’t love the idea of owning a personal library? Having a book collection is a symbol of how much knowledge you have, how “wordly” you are, or how much effort you put into understanding the world. There’s something about owning books that makes all that knowledge yours.

But in reality, how many times will you use a book? Maybe once, twice? (Sometimes not at all!) Once you’ve read a book, do you really need to keep that book? Isn’t the knowledge inside it more important?

That’s my understanding as I progress towards having less books and leaning more on my local library. I don’t need to have fresh, new, smelling-like-it-just-came-from-the-printer books. I need what’s inside them. That’s why I believe that having book collections is a thing of the past and what we need now are community libraries – a network of people that exchange all kinds of books. It’s better for the planet, and it’s better for the people.

So, to save the world, use a library instead of accumulating books! Lend out your own books, too. The less we buy, the less impact we have on the world, which really needs to be our goal as we produce WAY too much waste on the planet. Libraries only aren’t for books, either! You can find CDs, DVDs, and audio-book collections in libraries. And the variety of books you’ll find in a library is quite astonishing.

Dip your feet in the pools of knowledge and help make the world a better place by reading and encouraging people to read without creating an impact on the planet!

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Day 59: 10 good (and ecological!) deeds

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A crowd of smiling faces in Ivory Coast. Source: Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Doing a good deed for someone always results in more goodness in the world. You can’t fight evil by putting more evil into the world, right? Doing random acts of kindness not only is good for you (what comes around, goes around) but it is good for humanity. Every time you choose to be nice, you’re putting a little more awesomeness into the world.

Now imagine you do something good that is also ecological! How awesome is that?! Not only are you doing your share to leave less of an impact on the planet, you’re helping someone get there, too – and reducing the impact of that person on the planet. I can’t even count how much “good” you get out of helping someone be a better human on Earth – it’s a gift that keeps on giving. Not only are you being environmentally friendly, you’re actually doing more than your share. Pretty cool, huh?

If you want bonus points on being an Earth-savior, check out my tips below.

  1. Cook a vegetarian meal for someone. Often people don’t have time or mind-energy to think about adopting a greener lifestyle, like taking meat out of their diets. By cooking them a vegetarian meal, you’re 1) showing them that it’s possible and tasty 2) filling someone’s belly with veggies instead of meat – that’s a win for the planet! 3) actually being nice to them by saving time and resources 4) showing them some love.
  2. Sort someone else’s trash and make recycling easier for them. This could even be done at work.
  3. Bring palm-oil free cookies to work.
  4. Listen to someone you normally wouldn’t listen to or on ideas you normally wouldn’t listen about. So much good comes out of listening – people feel appreciated, cared for, loved, and they will be more open to your ideas (ecological ones included).
  5. Forgive your roommates for stealing your soap. Letting go of anger instead of exploding is also an act of kindness that makes you a better person in their eyes. (They will also be more likely to listen when you gently ask them to not leave the water running.)
  6. Let people borrow your tools/sharpies/books/camera/stuff. The more you lend, the less people have to buy new stuff, which isn’t good for consumerism.
  7. Pick up random trash on the street/beach. I’ve seen countless people take on a beach challenge (picking up all the micro trash within a radius of their beach spot) or street challenge (picking up all the trash on their daily walks/commutes). It makes the environment cleaner, nicer, and less likely to be a death-trap for animals. Don’t leave it just because you think the trash guy is responsible for picking it up!
  8. Do someone’s dishes for them – especially for that person that loves to leave the faucet running. Do it for the environment!
  9. Give someone a ride, or car share!
  10. Offer to run an errand for someone, knowing that you could do it with less carbon dioxide (going by foot to do grocery shopping for your eldery neighbor , picking up something on the way home for your friend, mailing a letter for your family member that would rather use a car instead).

Like these? Have more? Share your ideas, I’d love to hear them! Kindness is what makes the world go round.

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Day 58: Use clothes more than once before washing them

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Washing laundry in a creek, in Ivory Coast. Source: Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Use clothes more than once to gain an ecological, sensible and economic habit! Here in my home, I’ll only wash clothes if I’m sure are dirty. That way, I have less to wash and fold, and I use less water and laundry detergent which is good for my wallet AND for the environment. By washing less, I’m polluting less, using less energy, and using less products that contain palm oilless products that contain palm oil. All together, this is a win-win situation for everyone. Continue reading

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Day 55: Why 70°F in February isn’t good news

I could have sworn I woke up in the wrong country this morning. Clear blue skies, sun-bathing conditions, robins singing in the trees? Are those piles of snow on the lawn really from a Nor’easter that hit Albany ten days ago? You could’ve kidded me. The 69°F registered at the Albany International Airport today (72°F on my phone) was a record-setting temperature – never in recorded history has February been this warm in Albany (record temperatures also happened in Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, and in the Southeast).

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Day 54: Resilience

Resilience is one of the definitions they make us learn in Ecology. It’s the capacity to bounce back quickly after adversity. Resiliency is not the same as resistance, which is the degree to which one is affected by something. Why do they make us learn these two terms in ecology? Continue reading

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Day 53: Don’t throw away food

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Gardens in Mali. Source: Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Not throwing away food is another simple lesson that is often disregarded. Unfortunately, we frequently take our food for granted, to the point where we’re even throwing it away. But that wasn’t always the case, and it’s another case where looking at the past can help us determine how we should act in the future. Also, like many eco-actions, not throwing food away not only is good for the environment, but it’s socially sustainable. Continue reading

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Day 52: A little lesson on sustainability from Japan

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Mount Fuji, Japan. Source: Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Yesterday when I was trawling through the Internet looking for another brave person that would endorse using a handkerchief instead of single-use tissues (by the way, I found her, and she’s amazing), I came across several little snipets and stories about the role of the handkerchief in Japanese culture. It would seem that the handkerchief in Japan is still in wide use, and what’s more, it’s out of practicity, not fashion! Continue reading

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