I’d love to have the time to duck down to the local market every morning, but it’s just not as practical as a weekly shop. My parents were big on frozen veg and packaged foods, so I’m breaking new ground with my fresh focus and along the way I’ve learnt a thing or two about how to get the most out of my goods pre-expiry.
Fresh, clean, pure- these are adjectives used to describe bottled water. But is it really?
Commercials are used to sell people wants. Cars, clothes, even love (eHarmony, anyone?) But more and more we’re seeing commercials for a basic human need: Water. Portable, plastic-cased, mass produced water.
There are times in life when the world seems like it is spinning a bit too fast and we’re gradually being left far behind, and for some reason things stop making the proper sense and start dancing a strange out-of-step dance. That’s quite normal, since everyone passes through troubling moments sometimes, but the way each one of us manages to take things back under control is the main point of living a lovely and excitingly free life.
By Cliff Barre
Tags; Travel, Eco-living, Environment
Traveling with an environmental conscience is very easy to do. Cutting your carbon footprint and not wasting resources not only helps the environment, it can also put money in your pocket. Try these simple tips to help you travel green.
Before You Head Out
Turning off everything powered by electricity means better fire safety and less energy usage. Remember, unplugging anything with a standby mode isn't enough. Most coffee makers, televisions, microwaves and chargers need to be completely unplugged. If it's an instant on, pull the plug! Doing this will ultimately save you lots of money as well.
Less is better. Packing lighter can save your back and our atmosphere. Heavy luggage requires more gas to move in cars and much more jet fuel in aircraft. A plane packed with heavy luggage needs to carry thousands of pounds of extra fuel to carry it. You benefit by not being one of those people lugging armfuls of luggage everywhere.
While You're Away
Thinking local wherever you are has benefits on multiple levels. Shopping, buying, and eating with local businesses contributes to the local economy and helps cut overall emissions. You get the benefit of local food and area farmers have outlets for what they grow. Recycle on the road with the same vigor you do at home. If hotels don't make recycling easy, ask them why not. Reuse as much as you can. Those thick and luxurious towels don't have to be dropped to the floor after each shower.
Upstate New York
While many will not not think of upstate New York as a vacation destination, I can assure you that it has much to offer. First, rent a cabin on the Finger Lakes and enjoy beautiful scenery with several outdoor activities to participate in. Go boating, hiking, or fishing all while knowing you’re not doing any harm or damage to the environment. Wine connoisseur? Check out the Finger Lakes wineries holding hundreds of wines for the tasting. The wineries also practice and follow green initiatives to better our environment. If you need a break from the outdoors travel towards the heart of upstate New York to Syracuse. Syracuse is home to the worlds largest green shopping mall in the world.
Known as “America's greenest city” Portland, Oregon is a city with an exploding foodie scene, incredible scenery, and a culture that strives for sustainability. The most bike-friendly city in the country invites you to explore with pedal power. With light rail service in the airport, it's possible to take vacation to Portland and never get in an automobile. The Portland Zoo, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, The Lan Su Chinese Garden, and the hip scene of the Pearl District are easy to reach.
It only takes a little planning to travel to wonderful destinations in a way that is good for the environment.
Cliff Barre, of Vermont, lives with wife Tiffany and son Steven. He would like to think of himself as an eco-friendly, responsible traveler who supports all things green. He says its never to late in the game to go green and hopes that this blog posts and the help of other bloggers can spread the news about green initiatives we can all get involved with!
Follow Cliff on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Cliff_Barre
Wild berries are everywhere and a person just has to go out and look for them. Every year there are a host of berries that grow outside of the farming industry that taxes our natural resources until they end up in the produce section of a grocery store, or frozen in a plastic bag. In fact, there are some wild berries that never end up in our grocery stores because they are too difficult to cultivate in the farming industry.
Across the planet, roughly half (yes half) of the world’s forest and trees have been cut down by humans. Even with new laws in some countries, which enforce re-planting of trees, many countries have no such protection or regrowth laws. Trees are vital to the planet, humans and all life. They are home to many animals and insects and supply food for many of them as well. Trees supply oxygen, are windbreakers, provide shade, support soil erosion, slows water runoff and is used by humans in many facets of our lives. Trees are so important that if the planet were to continue losing them at the current rate, life on Earth will continue to change and be dramatically different in the future. As trees vanish, so does the life living among them and relying on them to survive.
How many times have you eaten something and thought to yourself “I’m just not going to think about what’s in this/where it came from”? If you’re like me, way too many times (especially during exam week, but I digress). Often it is from a fast-food chain, or out of a vending machine. Rarely do we think of our fish dinners in this way; we generally think of fish as being healthy (they often are) and a more sustainable choice than a hamburger. However as a marine biology student I am learning things about the oceans, and more specifically what we humans are doing to them, that are making me think twice about the fish I eat.
Humans have and are still fishing the oceans as if their supply of seafood is bottomless, a real problem considering marine species, like everything else on earth, do not exist in infinite numbers. And fishing does not just affect the species fisheries are aiming to catch- thousands of fish are caught inadvertently through by-catch and are wasted. Some fishing methods such as trawling are horribly destructive to ocean habitats home to countless species. Aquaculture is often no better, introducing pollutants, invasive species, and disease to ocean waters, and destroying natural habitats to make the farms. After learning all this (and I know there is still much, much more for me to learn), I have had to take a very hard look at the fish I am eating, and have found myself asking the question I normally reserve for my guilty pleasure foods: just what exactly is the story behind what I am eating??
There are ways to find out, although for seafood I have found that finding information can be very difficult. Most countries don’t have mandatory seafood labelling which would tell the consumer where and how the seafood was caught or farmed. This information can be crucial in determining whether a product is sustainably sourced or not.
Programs providing a rating system of products based on where and how they were caught or farmed (such as SeaChoice, a Canadian program based off of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program) are a great information base, but since labels of actual products are often lacking enough information, the consumer needs to do some work as well. Start by doing some research on your favourite seafood and see if any of them are sustainable. If upon reading the labels of said seafood product you do not see enough information for you to determine if it is sustainable or not, purchase something different that you are certain about. And start asking some questions: if no one is ever asking for more information, why on earth should suppliers feel the need to give us any?
It is often easy to feel that the earth’s situation is hopeless, that we have already messed up the planet so much there is nothing worth doing to try and save it, but this isn’t true. No one is perfect, but little changes can make a big difference. If you feel that you are in a position to make some changes, give this some thought. Start small, give it a try, and see what happens!
Thanks very much!
Samantha is a marine biology student, looking forward to discovering the countless things she has yet to learn about the oceans