Saturday, April 30, 2011

Demand organic products in your cafeterias and canteens

Piton de la Fournaise Volcano, Reunion
Photograph by Philippe Bourseiller
Every year throughout the world about 3 million people are poisoned by, and 200,000 die from, pesticides. In fact, today these products are between 10 and 100 times more toxic than they were in the 1970s. A common way for pesticides to affect human health is for chemicals to seep into groundwater supplies, which provide the bulk of our drinking water. since it takes several centuries for these supplies to be replaced, this contamination poses a grave threat. Therefore, practicing less-polluting agricultural methods also safeguards the future of our drinking water supplies.

Organic food has a place in educational institutions and places of business: Help your child's school and cafeteria at your workplace to buy more organic and locally grown products.
- from the book '365 Ways to Save the Earth' by Philippe Bourseiller

Friday, April 29, 2011

Shop at the local market

Lake Turkana, Kenya
Photograph by Philippe Bourseiller
Three quarters of the edible varieties of produce that were cultivated at the beginning of the twentieth century have disappeared. Today's fruits and vegetables, which have survived the race to increase productivity, are mostly hybrid varieties chosen for their ability to withstand the various demands of mechanized farming and product distribution. Picked prematurely and ripened artificially, once they are on the shelf. their appearance is almost perfect - and generally hides their lack of flavor and nutritional value. The produce in a supermarket is generally sourced from large, intensive factory farms that squeeze smaller farmers out of business.

Buy your fruit and vegetables in the market, from local producers. You will be supporting the local economy and your purchase will be environmentally friendly, because they involve less transport and packaging and therefore less waste and pollution. They will taste better, too.
- from the book '365 Ways to Save the Earth' by Philippe Bourseiller.

Use solar thermal collector panels to produce hot water for your home

(For the 28th of April)

Antarctic peninsula
Photograph by Philippe Bourseiller
Solar energy is available everywhere. It is free and easily harnessed by fitting solar thermal collector panels to your roof. These panels use sunlight to heat hot water and can be easily fitted to your existing hot water system. They can produce all the domestic hot water you need, without producing noise, pollution or dangerous waste in the process.

Solar thermal collectors are efficient and one of the cheapest forms of renewable energy equipment. They can be installed on virtually any roof and government-funded grants and taxes are often available for such installations. Find a local installer today.
- from the book '365 Ways to save the Earth' by Philippe Bourseiller

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Buy toilet paper made from recycled paper

Saguaro National Park, United States
Photograph by Philippe Bourseiller
Every year 25 million trees go into the production of toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, facial tissue and handkerchiefs for EU consumers. Europeans use about 22 billion rolls of toilet paper per year.

If every home used recycled rolls, it would save millions of trees. But don't grab any package emblazoned with '100% recycled'. Always look for the percentage of post-consumer content (these vary, but several brands use up to 80%). The presence of post-consumer waste asserts that a certain amount of raw materials came from recycled paper. In addition, look for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification, which means any virgin materials used were harvested sustainably and avoid products with fragrances, dyes, inks and chlorine bleach.
- from the book '365 Ways to Save the Earth' by Philippe Bourseiller

Personal note: One could try and substitute the use of paper towels as far ask possible. For instance by using a cloth instead of paper towel for kitchen and surface cleaning. Also, instead of using a disinfectant wipe for sanitizing ones hands, a paper-less option as a spray or lotion could be used.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Do not pour cooking oil down the drain

Iceberg, Greenland
Photograph by Philippe Bourseiller
A city of 100,000 people produce over 300,000 liters of wastewater everyday. Before returning to nature, this dirty water must first be cleaned in a treatment plat.

Avoid pouring food oils in the sink: vinaigrette, oil from tuna cans and oil used for frying as they form a film on water that interferes with the functioning of water treatment plants by suffocating the bacteria that remove pollution. It is better to put used cooking fat aside in a closed plastic container that, once full, can be discarded with other non-recyclable waste.
- from the book '365 Ways to Save the Earth' by Philippe Bourseiller

Monday, April 25, 2011

Give your home a 'spring green'

Guelta (water hole), Chad
Photograph by Philippe Bourseiller
A spring clean is a great way to clear out clutter, shake off winter doldrums and refresh our living spaces. Before you throw something out make sure it cannot be reused; DIY magazines and websites offer lots of fun and creative ways to repurpose common household items. Sort through all throwaways to make sure you're recycling or donating as many items as possible. Take the time to perform simple, resource-saving repairs like fixing leaks. As you take stock of your home, make a list of the things you want to improve upon: toxic or inefficient products that still need to be replaced and energy-conservation measures that you have yet to adopt.

Make your spring clean greener - prioritize recycling, reuse and repair. And make sure you buy eco-friendly cleaning products to do it with.
- from the book '365 Ways to Save the Earth' by Philippe Bourseiller

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Earth Day, a little late

I wanted to share these on the 22nd, but wasn't able to. I look forward to seeing these movies with my toddler.

African Cats

Disney Nature will make a donation to the Savanna during the first week of the screening of African Cats.

Born to be Wild

and a video shared by a friend on facebook

Choose compost and natural fertilizers rather than chemical fertilizers

Palm tree, Malaysia
Photograph by Philippe Bourseiller
Overuse of chemical fertilizers containing nitrogen contributes to pollution of water by nitrates. Highly soluble, these chemicals are easily washed away by rain and carried into rivers and aquifers. Nitrates contribute to the eutrophication of rivers by causing them to become over-rich in nutrients, so that algae grow rapidly and deplete the oxygen supply, which suffocates all water life. Large amounts of nitrates in groundwater interfere with drinking-water supplies.

In your garden, use natural fertilizers (stone meal, bone meal or wood ash) and compost made from organic waste to improve soil structure and fertility naturally, effectively and sustainably.
- from the book '365 Ways to save the Earth' by Philippe Bourseiller

Apply Slow Food principles to the rest of your life

(For the 23rd of April)

Capitol Reef National Park, United States
Photograph by Philippe Bourseiller
The credo of the Slow Food movement can be extended to many different arenas, from clothing design to architecture. The Slow movement asks us to slow down, engage with and reflect upon all the things we bring into our life, whether goods or experiences. 'Slow Design' artisans produce handmade goods of high quality in which materials are sourced locally (and are often recycled) and nothing is mass-produced. A 'slow home' is designed by an architect (instead of a developer) who takes time to tailor the property not only to the needs of the owner but also to that of its environment. 'Slow travel' may mean you spend all of your time in one place and really get to know it instead of moving restlessly from city to city or sight to sight.

A slow life focuses on quality, social and environmental responsibility, creativity and personal engagement - an antidote to conspicuous and hasty consumption of inferior, mass-produced goods and experiences.
 - from the book '365 Ways to Save the Earth' by Philippe Bourseiller