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Apparently Canada has Waste Reduction Week, and I found this video so I’ll open with that first. Then I’ll go into what kinds of waste reduction there are and how you can do it. (AGAIN, with the Sesame Street…honestly I didn’t just go to youtube and type “Sesame Street” haha) Honestly if you wanted a mascot for Waste Reduction Week, I think Oscar The Grouch is the perfect mascot.

The video is actually an advertisement for Waste Reduction Week for Canada. Waste Reduction Week (WRW) in Canada is intended to raise public consciousness about waste and its environmental and social ramifications. The WRW theme, “Too Good To Waste” is about conveying an appreciation for the richness and beauty of our diverse world and the importance of working toward ecological sustainability by conserving resources and curbing wasteful practices. Our ultimate goal is to educate, engage and empower Canadians to reduce waste through provision of access to relevant information, opportunities and options. WRW in Canada is coordinated by a coalition of 13 recycling councils and sister organizations from across Canada. Collaborating on a national level, this partnership promotes waste reduction on provincial/territorial and local levels. This year the week is of October 17th-the 23rd.

Waste Reduction Week’s origins can be traced back to the mid 1980s, when a number of recycling councils and environmental organizations began holding provinicial Recycling and Waste Reduction Weeks. In 2001, these organizations came together and decided to pool their resources and expand their efforts into a national event called Waste Reduction Week in Canada (WRW). Since 2001, Waste Reduction Week in Canada has been organized by a coalition of non-government, not-for-profit environment groups and governments from each of the 13 participating provincial and territorial jurisdictions across Canada. WRW is currently held the third week of October each year. The success of the WRW in Canada program continues to grow with the number of participants in all three targeted audiences – schools, local governments and small to medium sized businesses – more than doubling in the last six years alone. To date WRW in Canada has garnering over 100 million media impressions and appearances on network News as well as CTV’s Etalk and CBC’s The Hour.

Waste Reduction Week provides an excellent opportunity to encourage waste reduction within our organizations and communities. The Waste Reduction Week National Executive Committee aims to educate, engage and empower us all to reduce our waste. The theme of Waste Reduction Week, ‘Too Good to Waste’, is meant to draw attention to the richness and diversity of the natural world and the importance of working towards ecological sustainability through waste avoidance and resource conservation.

*Information was collected from: http://www.wrwcanada.com/*

I think the United States needs to jump on the bandwagon and start a campaign just like Canada is doing. I think its sad that we don’t already have something like this in place.

There are so many ways that we could reduce our waste/ trash, that there isn’t really a set policy or structure to doing it. Just simply recycling plastic bottles could be one easy way. Some of the main ways that we could reduce waste are as follows:

Resource optimization: Minimizing the amount of waste produced by organisations or individuals goes hand-in-hand with optimising their use of raw materials. For example, a dressmaker may arrange pattern pieces on a length of fabric in a particular way to enable the garment to be cut out from the smallest area of fabric. I know my Dad has done this with old furniture, by taking it apart and making something else with the pieces.

Reuse of scrap material: Scraps can be immediately re-incorporated at the beginning of the manufacturing line so that they do not become a waste product. Many industries routinely do this; for example, paper mills return any damaged rolls to the beginning of the production line, and in the manufacture of plastic items, off-cuts and scrap are re-incorporated into new products.

Improved quality control and process monitoring: Steps can be taken to ensure that the number of reject batches is kept to a minimum. This is achieved by increasing the frequency of inspection and the number of points of inspection. For example, installing automated continuous monitoring equipment can help to identify production problems at an early stage.
Waste exchanges: This is where the waste product of one process becomes the raw material for a second process. Waste exchanges represent another way of reducing waste disposal volumes for waste that cannot be eliminated.
Ship to point of use: This involves making deliveries of incoming raw materials or components direct to the point where they are assembled or used in the manufacturing process to minimise handling and the use of protective wrappings or enclosures.
Heres a video from Sesame Street about recycling (seriously that show has everything!) 

I found an interesting website advocating on getting people to bike in the North Texas area instead of driving when possible. The website is: http://www.bikedfw.org/. Bikedfw brings together other bicyclist around the DFW area to bring aware of problems and concerns related to cycling. I think we need to get cities to make a stronger push towards getting citizens to ride their bike rather than drive their cars. A lot of people don’t realize how easy it can be to just simply ride to work or to the grocery store, so by educating, it would get the word out. Getting kids involved would be a big plus because starting young could create a habit that a kid can grow up with into adulthood.

I also found a real cool video about Ryan Leech and how he incorporates riding a bike into his everyday errands. Granted he is a professional stunt rider but he makes some good valid points. The video also has statistics throughout, which are very informing and alarming.

Key Statistics:

  • 24% of all trips are within a mile of the home.
  • 40% of all trips made are within 2 miles of the home.
  • The average person loses 13lbs the first year of commuting by bike.
  • just 3 hours of bicycling per week can reduce your chance of heart disease and stroke by 50%
  • In 1964, 50% of kids rode to school…obesity rate was 12%.
  • In 2004, 4% of kids rode to school…obesity rate was 45%.
  • 50% of the working population commutes 5 miles or less to work.
Looking at the statistics, I’m shocked and appalled. We have become one lazy world, I’m guilty of it as well. How much less population would we be putting out there if we just simply walked or biked more and left the car in the garage? I know I’ve taken drives to just around the corner of my house.

 

Before I get into the pro and cons of land trusts, I first want to define what a land trust is and the kind I’ll be talking about in this blog post. There are two types of land trusts, Conservation and Community. In this blog post I will concentrate on Conservation Land Trusts.

Conservation Land trusts, also called land conservancies and more rarely, conservation land trusts, have been in existence since 1891. The goal of conservation trusts is to preserve sensitive natural areas, farmland, ranchland, water sources, cultural resources or notable landmarks forever. Land trusts conserve all different types of land. Some protect only farmland or ranchland, others forests, mountains, prairies, deserts, wildlife habitat, cultural resources such as archaeological sites or battlefields, urban parks, scenic corridors, coastlines, wetlands or waterways; it is up to each organization to decide what type of land to protect according to its mission. Many protected areas are still under private ownership, which tends to limit access as well. However, in many cases, land trusts work to eventually open up the land in a limited way to the public for recreation in the form of hunting, hiking, camping, wildlife observation, watersports, or other responsible outdoor activities. This is often with the assistance of community groups or government programs.

Some PROS:

  • Saves land for protected species
  • Gives the environment a natural resource
  • Protects scenic quality
Some CONS:
  • Takes up prime real estate
  • Attracts wild animals
  • Protects unwanted species

The ULI mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.

They are committed to:

  • Bringing together leaders from across the fields of real estate and land use policy to exchange best practices and serve community needs;
  • Fostering collaboration within and beyond ULI’s membership through mentoring, dialogue and problem-solving;
  • Exploring issues of urbanization, conservation, regeneration, land use, capital formation, and sustainable development;
  • Advancing land use policies and design practices that respect the uniqueness of both built and natural environments;
  • Sharing knowledge through education, applied research, publishing, and electronic media; and
  • Sustaining a diverse global network of local practice and advisory efforts that address current and future challenges.
The ULI has nine statement of principles, which are as follows:

1. ULI will increase its effectiveness locally.

2. ULI will accelerate its expansion worldwide to increase the exchange of ideas.

3. ULI will create a “virtual ULI”, a strong network for communications, interaction, and information exchange.

4. ULI will retain its culture of sharing and learning from each other.

5. ULI will coordinate its many activities through a strategic, integrated, mission driven, Program of Work.

6. ULI will reorganize staff resources to more effectively support its mission, its members, and the Program of Work.

7. ULI will continue its commitment and emphasis on being inclusive and diverse.

8. ULI will devise a leadership structure that will enable it to effectively manage the business of ULI and govern the organization worldwide.

9. The ULI Foundation will increase its effectiveness in supporting the ULI Mission.

ULI is a innovative organization focusing on  providing a responsible solution on allocating land for future use. To be honest, I didn’t even know this type of organization existed until I looked it up. I think this is great, because I’ve seen land that was badly missed and wondered if there was a type of company or person or something that could’ve determined that was a bad idea.

I’m posting a video of Gerald Hines speaking in Houston on building green.

Before we look at the effects of burning trash on air quality, I want to inform you on what exactly is in the air when we do burn trash. This is from The Department of Conservation of New York.

It is difficult to tell exactly all the compounds that are released when someone burns trash. What comes out depends on the types of trash that went in, the temperature of the fire and the availability of oxygen.

Here are some of the air pollutants that have been found in the smoke from a burn barrel and their potential health risks:

  • Dioxins and furans (immune suppressions, hormone system disruption, cancer)
  • Benzene (leukemia)
  • Formaldehyde (eye, nose and throat irritant, difficulty in breathing, skin rashes, cancer)
  • Particulate matter (respiratory problems, cardiac arrhythmia, heart attacks)
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (cancer)
  • Hydrogen chloride (corrosive to the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes, may cause respiratory tract irritation and chronic bronchitis)
  • Hydrogen cyanide (neurological, respiratory, cardiovascular, and thyroid effects)
  • Carbon monoxide (reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood)
  • Ash which may contain the following heavy metals:
    • Cadmium (lung damage, kidney disease)
    • Arsenic (gastrointestinal problems, anemia, kidney and liver disease, cancer)
    • Mercury (nervous system and kidney damage)
    • Chromium (respiratory effects, cancer)

Smoke from any fire can affect your health, your family’s health and your neighbors’ health. The smoke from backyard burning is released close to the ground where people can easily breathe it. The smoke from the fire can also deposit chemicals on garden vegetables and garden soil. People can be exposed to those chemicals by eating fruits and vegetables grown near the trash fire or in garden soil tilled with the toxic ashes. Young children may be at greater risk than adults because of their playing behaviors, their small size and their developing bodies.

The chances of developing health effects from contact (exposure) with smoke from backyard or burn barrel fires depends on how much smoke a person contacts, how a person is exposed (e.g., breathing the smoke or eating vegetables affected by the smoke) and how long and often the person is exposed. Some people may be more or less sensitive than others to chemicals in smoke. People exposed to smoke could experience burning eyes and nose, coughing, nausea, headaches, or dizziness. Some people find the odors produced by burn barrels disagreeable, and they may experience discomfort, headaches, and nausea. Smoke can trigger asthma attacks. People with heart and lung conditions are at greater risks for health effects. Repeated exposures to pollutants in burn barrel smoke may occur when people burn trash on a regular basis and this may increase the risk of chronic health problems. Also, unattended burn barrels or backyard burning can cause accidental fires in surrounding areas.

Very imformative segment by Penn State discussing Organic vs Local. I tend to prefer locally grown food myself for reasons given in the video.  I do think it helps the smaller type farmers when you go to the farmers market instead of the local Wal-Mart. Smaller type farms tend to be more hands-on than bigger more industrial type farms, so you tend to get the better quality crop when you buy locally. It also helps the local farmers compete with the big farms that have contracts with grocery stores.

[UPDATE]

In doing some research on organic farmers markets in my area. I found a website: http://www.cowtownfarmersmarket.com

It has information on farmers markets in the Fort Worth area. I was looking on the website and even found a farmers market close to me that I had no clue about. I will definitely be making a stop there Saturday morning. Seeing how I like to cook and I like to support the local farmers because I know their job isn’t easy. The food, to me, also taste better. Example: an organic tomato vs a tomato bought at Kroger. Kroger gets their produce from a farm thats so big that they have to grow their produce like its an assembly line in a factory.

Anyways, what do you guys think of Organic food vs. Local food? I want to hear what you guys think….Do you think its worth it to buy organic or locally grown.

I know this video isn’t very informing but I saw this the other day when I was taking care of my niece. I thought it was ironic how it fits into this class. Sesame Street has everything! It did make me wonder that if we all did turn off our water while we brushed our teeth in the morning, and at night, how much water we would save. With all the watering restrictions we have today, we could save a lot if we did.

Another solution, but very unlikely, could be that everyone go out and get those motion sensor faucets and install them in their bathrooms. seen here: Kohler faucet. Its not very logical to ask everyone to do that though. Not everyone wants a new looking faucet in their house. Some people renovate a house to get it looking like the house did back in 20’s or 30’s. Which brings me to a question. Does anyone know of a faucet that has a old time feel to it but has a sensor on it? That could be a solution to that problem.

[UPDATE]

After posting this blog entry, I noticed that I was becoming cautious about how much water I was using while I brushed my teeth in the morning. I caught myself several times turning off the faucet to brush then turning it back on to rinse. While I did find more faucets with sensors on them, I never did find ones that would fit a “old timer” look. That could be a new product that faucet company could produce and make money on.

Another thing I noticed about the faucets with sensors, is that they pretty expensive compared to manual faucets. I know with time, technology becomes cheaper. This could lead to more people being more acceptable to buying faucets with sensors in them.

The country of Israel is a great innovator in Science and Technology,here they show one example for loosing the dependance on fossil fuels to produce electricity,making Solar power even more economically viable. It makes me wonder that if Israel can start doing this, could the US follow?…I think that would be great. It could cut down on pollution here!

After watching the video and giving some more thought into this idea. I researched the cost of installing solar panels in a home on WHOLESALE SOLAR’S website. (http://www.wholesalesolar.com/solar-cost.html) While the initial cost of installing solar panels is high, it would greatly save you money in the future. The initial cost is actually what detours everyone from having panels installed on their home. That and its not actually appeasing to the eyes when you see solar panels on the roof of someones home. Which brings me to a question, does anyone know of a solar panel that can be installed and hidden, so not taken away from the homes beautification, that is actually out there?? That could be a solution to this problem.

[UPDATE]

I have been watching some youtube videos about hiding solar panels on a house. I must say they are quit interesting and unique. The ideas that people come up with when hiding the solar panels out of the line of site are pretty extraordinary. One guy put his solar panels up in his back yard so people couldn’t see them from the street and another put disguised his by building a frame around his on his roof that made them look like a skylight. If its easy as what they did, I have no idea why more people don’t install solar panels on their homes.

This is my introduction video for my SUST 5301 class.This was my very first video I’ve recorded on youtube, so I was a bit nervous and sadly to say this was the best version. I’m very excited to be in this class and hope to have fun in the next five weeks with everyone. Thanks, David