The Real Cost of a Cup of Joe

In New York City the average cost of a medium cup of coffee from your run of the mill corner deli is $1.00, at Dunkin Donuts it’s $1.60, and at the mega brand Starbucks it’s $1.99.

For coffee drinkers and non coffee drinkers alike that’s probably no shock. More than 80% of adults in the US drink coffee. There are literally millions of Americans that start their day with the dark brown liquid with and without cream and sugar, iced, or straight to the point as an expresso. Their daily fix is much less expensive than say, a nicotine addiction, …read more

Oh Goody, More Garbage!

Trash bags and cardboard boxes (Photo credit: www.mnn.com)

Nothing says “Spring is right around the corner” quite like receiving multiple baby shower, wedding, and housewarming invitations in the mail. So far, in 2014 I have a housewarming and a 1-year old’s birthday party this month, a wedding in April, a baby shower in May, and two more weddings in September and November. Apparently, I may be an adult.

Besides feeling relatively old, feelings of guilt started to creep in when thinking about the mountain of wasted wrapping paper, cardboard boxes, and of course over-priced and under-used gifts these …read more

Who Gives A Frack?!

Cartoon depiction of fracking sourced from www.treehugger.com

 

In case you’ve been under a rock or, more appropriately, an ancient layer of gas-rich shale, fracking is kind of a big deal. The full term to describe the process of injecting a highly pressurized mixture of water and sand is hydraulic fracturing, but is commonly referred to as fracking.

Before going any deeper, it is important to understand why anyone should care about fracking. There are several pros and cons to the complicated natural gas extraction process to understand before one could even take a stance on the issue.

The …read more

Harboring Hope

The Waterfront Partnership has proclaimed the goal of making the Baltimore Harbor Swimmable and Fishable by 2020. Specifically, they intend – along with support from local nonprofits, business leaders, city officials and harbor advocates – to turn the currently polluted and trash strewn Harbor into a place where marine life thrives, the water is clean enough to swim, and the public health threat is removed.

The Value of Knowing Where You Are

The Waterfront Partnership released the most comprehensive report ever on the harbor’s water quality – the grade was a C-, admittedly with a large curve, indicating water …read more

One Person’s Trash is Another’s Treasure

Flock of Dry Cleaning Clothes Hangers by Dan Steinhilber

Curbside recycling services make it easy for individuals, families and businesses to support local recycling efforts. But what about recycling obscure household items … do they get tossed in the garbage, or are you able to find ways to reuse and/or recycle items beyond paper, plastic and glass? Here are some everyday items to reinvent, often with a “prettier” purpose:

Transforming Old Clothes and Linens into Art:

Old clothes and linens beyond repair or too worn out to donate or even use as house-cleaning rags can be transformed into paper. …read more

Is the North Pole Underwater? Not Quite, But Don’t Toss Global Warming Aside.

When imagining the North Pole, what do you picture? I see snowy ice caps, cute frolicking polar bears, and Rudolph’s headquarters. Unfortunately, this white utopia I have always visualized was briefly shattered due to newly released photos from the North Pole Environmental Observatory.

A strikingly shocking contrast in landscape is seen from April to July of this year, and icy bliss has turned into a small, clear blue lake. We all know Rudolph can guide a sleigh in a snowstorm, but can he swim?

Have no fear; Rudolph’s swimming ability is not in question quite yet. Much buzz has formed …read more

Comprehending Drought

Rivers of Drought by Shane Townsend, a former Campaign Consultation team member, examines Texas’ significant drought conditions, and with it, community responses to water usage, including:

Homeowners contemplating water preservation vs. lawn and community aesthetics Ranchers importing hay from Mississippi Fishing Guides turned Arborists to tend to drought-stricken trees Government officials fighting for funds to protect the state’s water resources

Townsend’s article makes me think: Drought – it is a word for which I understand the severity, but not a state where I realize the direct impact.

What I found is this: Drought covers the Midwest and extends through to …read more

Water Shortages: Slow Motion Disaster Spurs Community-Based Cooperative Solutions

“The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing.”

–John Muir

Water islands (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Water is our most intimate resource – our bodies are between 60 and 70 percent water. We use water to grow our food, generate our power, manufacture our clothes, and move our waste stream. But water, like most resources, is finite.

While the amount of freshwater on the planet has remained fairly constant over time—continually recycled through the atmosphere and back into …read more

30 Minutes for the Forest

There’s a phrase, ‘Can’t see the forest for the trees,’ which means people lose themselves in the details, forgoing the overall vision. I often chuckle at this phrase because I – to extend the metaphor – often can’t see the trees for the leaves.

I am a detail-oriented person, which is something I appreciate about myself – especially when it comes to my own individual efforts to improve aspects of my life. For the purposes of this blog, I focus on environmental “individual efforts” to preserve (and improve) the environment – which is clearly in the interest of the forest!

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A RE-minder to Reduce Food Waste and Reuse, as well as Recycle

One of my New Year “intentions” is to be more resourceful. This endeavor translates throughout my house – but especially in the kitchen. Cooking is a creative outlet and I want to enhance my hobby by challenging myself to do more with less – which has a positive impact on my budget and the environment.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an American family of four loses an estimate of $1,600 in wasted food annually – much of which ends up rotting in landfills and emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Knowing this, my efforts to eliminate food waste …read more