plastic or jobs
With gas prices soaring through the roof, people have explored for alternatives. Ethanol has been praised and has even been promoted by many politicians on both sides. “"Ramp up the availability of ethanol," says Hillary Clinton…."Ethanol makes a lot of sense," says John McCain.” It is believed that not only will this be our answer to making fuel costs cheaper, but it will also eliminate our dependence on foreign oil and reduce global warming. You begin to wonder when there’s this much excitement about something, what’s the downfall? Ethanol is made from corn. When you begin to look at the bigger picture of ethanol, you’ll begin to see things you didn’t think you could see. We begin to wonder if ethanol is praised as much as it is, why does it need government subsidies?
The cost to produce ethanol is actually more expensive. The same goes about the amount of energy it takes to produce ethanol, it actually takes more. “"It takes a lot of fossil fuels to make the fertilizer, to run the tractor, to build the silo, to get that corn to a processing plant, to run the processing plant,"
Abandoned piles of household garbage, bags of yard waste, discarded appliances, old barrels, used tires and demolitions debris can threaten the health of humans, wildlife and the environment. These open dump sites can be found in ravines, empty lots, open pastures and along roadsides. These are illegal disposal sites. If allowed to remain, they often grow larger and attract more dumping by others.
Open dumps create a public nuisance, divert land from more productive uses and depress the value of surrounding land. They can also pose the following health, safety and environmental threats:
--Fire and explosion.
--Injury to children playing in or around the dump site.
--Disease carried by mosquitoes, flies and rodents.
--Contamination of streams, rivers and lakes.
--Contamination of drinking water wells.
--Contamination of water wells.
--Damage to plant and wildlife habitats.
--Decrease in the quality of life to nearby communities and residents.
They are causing global warming! There is a recent article in “Wired” magazine that claims old growth or virgin forests contribute to global warming. Listen to what they say: “Over its lifetime, a tree shifts from being a vacuum cleaner for atmospheric carbon to an emitter. A tree absorbs roughly 1,500 pounds of carbon dioxide in its first 55 years. After that, its growth slows, and it takes in less carbon. Left untouched, it ultimately rots or burns and all that carbon dioxide gets released”. As you can see, this is no more than using climate change to log the last remaining virgin forests. Notice that yearly figure of 55—that’s exactly when timber companies like to log their tree farms. “After that its growth slows and takes in less carbon”: well let me inform them that the difference in a 55 year old tree and a 200 year old tree is tremendous—it takes in more carbon during that stage than the first 55—that’s why they are so big! “Left untouched, it ultimately rots or burns and all that carbon dioxide gets released”. They make it sound like ancient forests burn easy and the truth is they are more resistant to fire than a tree farm. Rotting logs? The Willamette National Forest defines old growth forests with about 4 down trees per acre (with 200 year old trees). Then they give us this bit of advice: “A well-managed tree farm acts like a factory for sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere, so the most climate-friendly policy is to continually cut down trees and plant new ones.” Wow, they don’t care about biodiversity, the creatures that live in those down trees or the forest, the great watersheds, inspiration, people’s livelihoods, and sentient and non-sentient beings (trees). This kind of attitude is what got us in this mess; sustainability is using the land for our needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. I guess all they think the next one needs is clear cuts with brush and small trees, invasive weeds, no recreation, few animals, and fire hazards. Trees grow fast in Oregon and there is no reason to stop logging public lands, but this kind of logic evades me.
David Best-PSU student
Here is an informative survey and quiz about Oregon’s old growth forests.
Google recognizes the large amount of energy they use to power their expansive computer infrastructure. To offset their usage they are doing a number of things to reduce their carbon footprint to zero.
Google has also aimed to help push green technology into the forefront of our society with projects such as RechargeIT.
"RechargeIT is a Google.org initiative that aims to reduce CO2 emissions, cut oil use and stabilize the electrical grid by accelerating the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid technology."
Sustainable communities network: http://www.sustainable.org/
The tagline on this website is: “Linking citizens to resources and to one another to create healthy, vital, sustainable communities.” This easily sums up the main premise behind this website. There are resources here that help build the community around a sustainable foundation. This looks to be a great resource for people looking to make a sustainable impact in their community.
There are guides that help a new planner/organizer pull together resources for events, governance, building, and other sustainable development. The website was user friendly, and the documents and resources available were quite readable, and seemed to be written with the everyday citizen in mind. The language presented in sustainable resource document can often be full of confusing 'green jargon,' and can confuse more than help. This was not the case for this website. Another interesting aspect was the emphasis on sustainable communities.
This is so important and extremely relevant to our project in that we are targeting people who may not know much about the sustainability movement, but want to make a change for the positive for the environment. The links were also quite helpful in gathering more information about sustainability. Another useful resource found on this link was a compilation of all of the funding sources available for Non profit organizations. Not only does it help organization form within communities, it also helps these community organizations become financially viable so that they can succeed and grow.Jihae Lim
While this looks promising, the question we must ask is where is the myth? The truth is that planting fields of bamboo all over the world is not a viable option for improving our enviornment today. However if someone wanted to do their small part they could always buy the latest bamboo products ranging from hardwood flooring, tables and bicycles.
This article addresses a survey conducted by MarketTools, and looks at consumer buying behavior of green products.
Survey released on 4/14/08 (very recent)
- Stated that 7 out of 10 U.S. consumers are willing to pay a higher price for sustainable products. (that is 65%!)
- Consumers are savvier, and are beginning to understand and learn more about being environmentally friendly.
- The average consumer is willing to pay $8.30 more on a $100 item made using renewable resources.
- 28% of the U.S. overall state that environmental responsibility is important to them.
- 38, and 39% of Pacific NW and East South Central regions of the U.S. stated that environmental responsibility was important to them.
- Women are more environmentally responsible than men (86% said it was important)
- Income and age are not necessarily connected to reasons behind environmental responsibility, it is based more on individual choice and lifestyle.
It is encouraging to see that sustainability has entered the minds of the consumer as a factor in their purchasing decisions. There is a growing trend towards the "green" market, and this is something that should be fostered and developed by retailers in order to satisfy demand. Companies that are seeing the bigger picture are understanding now that by being proactive in their efforts towards sustainability, they are ensuring their competitive edge for the future.
Consumers - demand green products, and you shall receive! Remember that companies are driven by profit, and if they see profitability in sustainability we can all benefit! See green, Hear green, Buy green!
David Best, PSU student
Being Overweight is Genetic.
There are very few inherited conditions that cause a person to be overweight. If an entire family is overweight, it’s most likely that only the habits have been passed down through generations.
I’m not Athletic.
Experts suggest that a half-hour walk everyday is an effective part of getting fit. Think about getting your blood pumping.
Talking About Weight Encourages Eating Disorders.
Talking about the importance of physical health is important and fitness experts recommend being positive with your kids and talk about healthy lifestyles. The best way is to teach by example, and to put the emphasis on exercise – and not about food. Additionally, don’t let food be a reward or punishment. Reward with activities and more time together.
It’s Just Baby Fat.
If your child is obese before the age of six, the probability increases that he or she will be obese as an adult. Consult with your pediatrician about what a healthy height-weight ratio is, and if necessary, talk about sensible ways to take off weight. There are no quick fixes, just take it one day at a time.
Kids Should Not Snack Between Meals.
Nibbling on healthy items such as fruit or nuts can help prevent overeating during meal times. Play the portion-control game and learn more about nutrition at.
Limit Television/Computer Time.
Watching television and using the computer is a sedentary activity, alternate screen time with equal amounts of healthy exercise and encourage activities that include family and friends.
Give Your Kids Household Chores.
An activity that requires active movement and encourages teamwork not only gives kids the task of various “responsibility jobs,” but it also fosters the concept of working together to achieve smaller, short-term goals.
Set Homework Time for Early Evening.
Instead of immediately doing homework after school, allow some diversion time from the structure of the school day. Kids should be active after school and before dinner.
Choose Fitness-Oriented Gifts.
Items that encourage exercise and adds fun throughout the day, not only builds confidence, but is good incentive for activity. Jump rope, mini-trampoline, tennis rackets, baseball bats and balls, or a membership to the local YMCA builds skills and is a good place to meet friends.
For more information about exercise and nutrition, go to: cdc.gov/nutrition
“The refuse from discarded electronics products, also known as e-waste, often ends up in landfills or incinerators instead of being recycled. And that means toxic substances like lead, cadmium and mercury that are commonly used in these products can contaminate the land, water and air.” (wired.com) 4.6 million tons entered U.S. landfills in one year alone. Some of the metal is removed and recycled but then we exploit poor in other countries to do the dirty work of removing the guts. The National Geographic states that: “Much of the waste ends up being discarded along rivers and roads. Often it's picked apart by destitute scavengers, who may face dangerous exposure to toxic chemicals in the broken equipment.”
Here is an interesting point from vital graphics: “The Computer Report Card says that some U.S. companies have a double standard when it comes to recycling. While some companies have implemented recycling policies in the European Union and Japan, where such programs are mandated, they've yet to do so in the United States.”
This is a real problem and we here at PSU would like your input. Take this quick survey with comments by others and see the results at the same time—but don’t hit “submit” until you see the results.Here is the link
David Best-PSU student
There is a fairly new capstone here at PSU called “Deconstruction” and its time is overdue because I have personally seen a house destroyed with two dump trucks and an excavator; saving nothing. In other words all wiring, plumbing, large timbers, reusable masonry was all gone to a landfill—not to mention the mercury and other hazardous wastes. There is now a new economic niche for this kind of thing like the “Deconstruction Institute”; that’s does a fine job at consulting some of this new technology. However, this is not entirely new as even here in Portland the “City Repair” has the “Village Convergence Alliance” (I think I remember the term), which was into the same thing. Have you heard of “Urbanite”? All it consists of is broken up concrete, but I was in a project that made a beautiful building of it (although small). I have a steep driveway and would love for a few truckloads to just dump it off there.
Deconstruction isn’t all that limited anymore as you can see from this photo from the Deconstruction institute witnessing “R. Baker & Son All Industrial Services, Inc.” doing a large commercial building. I have seen the basement of a 15 story building in San Francisco that had many and huge wooden timbers (and yes, they held up the building) and it would be a crime to waste them.
I think part of the problem is tradition (“just get it out of here!) and ignorance.There is money to be saved in these other recycled materials just like there has always been with copper wire. Some websites are designed to help streamline and make efficient time and labor costs like metrokc.gov. We need to let people know by word of mouth, green building construction, and maybe with the high cost of trucking now builders will look more for deconstruction firms.
A couple thousand dollars can buy one from buyerzone but the ships that come here simple have to keep one empty one usually, or one on a return trip. So it costs nothing except a little manpower throwing garbage in the container.
Enforcement is simple:
1.The pilot makes inspection before port—they better have a container of plastics and hazardous wastes.
2.Companies that don’t comply will also don’t sell any their products here.
3.Very small ships are exempt.
Let’s start complaining:
Unfortunately the US lags behind the rest of the world in this kind of prevention. (Probably to keep the economy going at all cost, and giving us cheap products from overseas)
1. Write your representatives in California, Oregon, and Washington.
2. The White House: Please send your comments to email@example.com. Due to the large volume of e-mail received, the White House cannot respond to every message. For further up-to-date information on Presidential initiatives, current events, and topics of interest to you, please continue to use the White House website.
David Best--PSU Student
Saving our earth today begins with teaching our children the importance of recycling at home and at school. Children will benefit when learning how everyday items such as: glass, paper, and plastic improve our environment when recycled. Check out your local city or school library for books on how to implement caring for the land we live on. The list of books below is a fantastic way to introduce sustainability.
"Don’t throw it out: [recycle, renew, and reuse to make things last]"
...Author: Lori Baird.
...Author: Stuart J. Murphy
"50 simple things kids can do to recycle"
...Author: The Earth Works Group.
"Go green; how to build an earth-friendly community"
...Author: Nancy H. Taylor.
"Martin Bridge in high gear"
...Author: Jessica Scott Kerrin.
...Author: William H. Hooks.
"Recycle every day!"
...Author: Nancy Elizabeth Wallace.
"Recycling: learning the four R’. reduce, reuse, recycle, recover"
...Author: Martin J. Gutnik.
...Author: Don Cooper
"Tin can papermaking: recycle for earth and art"
...Author: Arnold E. Grummer.
"The great trash bash"
...Author: Loreen Leedy.
"Waste not: time to recycle"
...Author: Rebecca Weber.