PlantMyPhone – Recycle Your Old Phone and Plant A Tree

PlantMyPhone – Click here to sign the pledge and receive and for more info!

Unfortunately at this time this offer is only for people in the United States.

Trees are planted currently in 12 countries:

Belize, Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, India, Nicaragua, Panama, Philippines, Senegal, and Zambia.

Link to the Press Kit

Photos from Planting Projects

How It Works

Step 1:

Send in your phone, free postage.  You can print out a label or request a free mailer bag

Step 2:

PlantMyPhone responsibly recycles your phone and sells the recycled materials to fund tree planting.  Trees per Phone!!

Step 3:

PlantMyPhone emails you about how many trees you planted!!

The following was copied from their website:

We all know that recycling is good for the planet, but why? Recycling your old cell phone enables you to make a difference in the well being of the planet because it limits resource consumption and keeps toxic chemicals out of our home environments.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that each year 140 million cell phones are retired, and the rate of cell phone turnover is increasing. Additionally, it is suggested that there are currently 500 million retired cell phones that have already been discarded but not recycled. This stockpile of old cell phones could be put to good use if they are recycled. PlantMyPhone partners with recycling services that are ISO14001 certified and follow policies that ensure that materials are not exported to other countries or sent to landfills. This means that the materials in the phones are properly disposed of in the United States, in ways consistent with strict environmental guidelines. None of the materials are sent to landfills in the United States or abroad.

When a cell phone is recycled, the phone is taken apart and the pieces of the phone that are still useable are used to reconstruct phones to be sold in other markets. The remaining pieces, as well as cell phones that do not contain parts that can be reused are used instead for raw materials recovery. For every 1 million cell phones recycled, 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, 33 pounds of palladium and 35,274 pounds of copper can be reclaimed. Both of these recycling processes are beneficial to the Earth because they reduce the mining of precious metals and cut down on the energy and resources used in production of new cell phone parts.

Why Trees?

“The symbolism – and the substantive significance – of planting a tree has universal power in every culture and every society on Earth, and it is a way for individual men, women and children to participate in creating solutions for the environmental crisis.”

Al Gore, Earth in the Balance

7 Ways to Precycle, Upcycle, and DIY Your Way to (Almost) Never Recycling Again – Planet Green

A landfill in Poland

Image via Wikipedia

7 Ways to Precycle, Upcycle, and DIY Your Way to (Almost) Never Recycling Again – Planet Green.

Conventional green wisdom used to be that recycling was one of the best things you could do for the planet — you’d be keeping trash out of landfills, using items made from old materials, and trimming your waste all at once. But these days we know that recycling has its own footprint: It requires energy to breakdown and repurpose the original material, and the resulting product is often a blend of post-consumer and brand-new substances.

Learn ways to pre-cycle at the above link. suggests:

1.  Buy in Bulk

2. Ditch disposables

3. Upcycle

4. Think Outside the Kitchen

5. Stop Getting Junk Mail

6. Read mags and newspapers online

7. Make Your Own

Summary and Review of “How To Re-Imagine the World: a Pocket Guide for Practical Visionaries” by Anthony Weston

99.99% of this blog is from either the writer’s own words or a summary of them.   I have added a few anecdotes and thoughts here and there, but almost none of these ideas are mine or original.

How To Re-Imagine the World: A Pocket Guide for Practical Visionaries
by Anthony Weston

“This book is a guide to creative thinking in service of radical social transformation. It is a brief and practical how-to book with examples, offered in the conviction that ordinary people, working together, can begin to re-envision the world in unexpected and dramatically off-the-charts ways” (Weston pg1).

I was at the library and wasn’t even looking for this book or this topic specifically. I think it was the small, compact look of the book along with the awesome illustration on the cover of a man’s (or woman’s :-/ ) head like an atlas cracked open with amazing things bursting forth. I remember thinking that this was the kind of thing that I have been talking about lately.
I know that many of us are still hopeful for the future and many of us secretly believe it is too late no matter what we do (I feel a little of both), but this sort of creativity is what is needed in our works when trying to be heard about the dangers ahead.
The author’s approach is refreshing. Here I offer a summary of some of his amazing ideas and encourage anyone interested in this to either finding this at your library or even to buy a copy.
So, here we go:

He offers also on the first page that we should not be fooled into thinking that we cannot “change the world” and that the world is already changing and he gives some examples. Oil is peaking, genetically modified foods are invading our stores with no shame, the majority of us now are overweight and the rest are starving, etc.

He tells us that alternative futures are already being considered. If you think about it most architecture programs have already integrated green building into their programs. He mentions even the war and his point being that it is a wonder that we can invest so much time, effort, hope, hate and capital into ANYTHING!!

Many things that Weston mentions I HAVE to quote because I can’t say it any better than him. “I propose that what we urgently need right now is not the social pressure or the political power to enforce changes we already know we want. That is a recipe for more of the same…What we desperately need – first – are ideas…” (Weston pg3).

He mentions the Web and how we need to utilize this tool with the networking and person-to-person dialogue where at a second’s notice I could be talking to someone from Afghanistan and then at the same time be commenting on someone’s photos in Japan. We have forums, blogs, websites, social networks, pages for organizations to network with and causes. My point in this is one I have made before: never have we lived in a time where so MUCH information was available to SO MANY people and for free!! F33DyourHEAD!!

He mentions a world with less work, with an alternative WORLD instead that has less need for transportation rather than finding alternative forms of transportation, and student exchange programs rather than shipping young ones off to war. I like how Weston thinks and I think you will catch on quick to his method. It is not a gimmick, it is creativity, which we lack strongly often in our pursuits! “Goodwill and enthusiasm alone do not free us from the usual political and philosophical assumptions — often unconscious” (Weston pg5).

Work from a vision
“Affirmative vision is crucial. Be emphatically, visibly, clear-headedly FOR something, and something that is worked out, widely compelling, and beautiful — not just against the problems or the-powers-that-be of the moment” (Weston pg9).

This is a concept already well-known to some activists/changers-of-the-world. It is dwelling in the positive rather than the negative. Weston gives an example of the Civil Rights movement and how, while it WAS against some things, it was never a wholly negative movement. He reminds us that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said, “I have a DREAM..”, he did not say “I have a nightmare”.

Since I started my program of Conservation Biology at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry I have been relieved to find that we “naturalists” or “environmentalists” are not a bunch of doomsday prophets and I was refreshed by the ideas that emerge on campus. We often have a stigma as being the ones who are preventing economic growth or always living in the worst-case-scenario frame of mind. I believe, over time, we have found that this approach exhausts and disillusions us and gets us nowhere. We are a NEW kind of environmentalist!! A few of Weston’s examples include:

-Anti-war but being FOR multilateralism or FOR a society that supports our troops by sending them only on honorable and necessary missions
-Ant-business or is it really FOR small-scale businesses, FOR community oversight, or FOR a different kind of business-as-usual

Work From A Whole Vision
“Look for overlaps, connections, synergies: ways in which our goals are mutually implicated and mutually reinforcing” (Weston pg15).

When you are forming an argument of your vision, include ALL aspects of what this vision would affect. Don’t leave out the loss of jobs or maybe that saving one kind of habitat might affect another or that by opposing the building of a new highway there is still the problem of traffic flow in the area. In short, cover ALL your bases.

One of his examples is an organization called the New Apollo Alliance, promoting national energy independence. Their vision includes 3 million new jobs AND serving the environment. Some of the jobs that are possible with new ideas would be skill-centered and allow more fulfilling work.

Another example, that I thought was clever and ironic, is the issue of abortion. This is commonly thought of as a polarized debate. There are many things in common when completing the WHOLE vision. They both could work towards strengthening the family, enhancing prenatal and postnatal care, speaking to the hyper-sexualization of the world in the eyes of our teens, equal access to childcare, etc.

With some of the suggestions we are so used to hearing like “listen carefully” or “look around” he adds “look playfully”. He is referring to ways in which we form new ideas. As he is more seasoned than I at the moment in this area I will list a few of his own examples to illustrate his meaning.

He mentions that while in a meeting about the re-building of New Orleans he hears a story of a little colony of off-season artists that had to flee. Following this thought he suggests that artistic communities are often “expressive, experimental, and nomadic…” (Weston pg24). What if dwellings themselves were nomadic in nature? What if there were homes that allowed the wind and water to flow through with minimal damage like having the first floor be simply a screened in porch? He brainstorms nomadic utilities like portable solar power units or cell-phone towers being like buoys or kite-mounted. What about houseboats?

He encourages thinking that might not seem practical, that at first mention we would almost instinctively shrug them off or feign interest in the spirit of brainstorming only to scratch them off the list as soon as someone suggests it would be impossible. This is NOT listening playfully I imagine. I have sat in group meetings and discussions where an idea, when mentioned, is automatically dismissed by the facial and body expressions of the majority in attendance who claim, themselves, to be progressive.

Here he brings up Edward DeBono and a method called “random word method”. You start with a random prompt and ask what ideas or associations come to mind when this prompt is put together with your problem or question. The easiest way? The old flip-through-the dictionary-with your-pointer-finger technique.

He says “watch for the odd fact” (Weston pg29). His example is that cars have air conditioning because the roads can get hot. What about making roads that are less heat-absorbent? Paint the roads white to be reflective…and easier to see at night! Going in another route, why waste all that heat? Install pipes and run water through to heat it up to go to homes for wash water.

We are constantly settling for smaller steps because this has been the “middle-ground”. the easier softer way to change. Weston suggests taking BIG steps, like off-the-scale big. “Ideas…”, he says, “…can stretch” (Weston pg32). He gives a few examples in this chapter of his book relating to stretching ideas. To summarize one, he mentions Doctors Without Borders. What about Students Without Borders, Electricians Without Borders, etc.

“Thinking ‘in the box’ has a usual, preferred or expected direction, pre-organized elements. For creative provocation, methodically reverse them. Flip the expected directions, think opposites, transpose the constituent ideas” (Weston pg37).

For example we often think that speeding things up improves them, the opposite would be to slow them down. He talks about eating slow and that there is already a “movement” for mindful eating. He suggests slow-traveling, slow-cities, and slow learning (Weston pg38).

“Fixed associations dominate our thinking” (Weston pg39). He mentions the phrase “preemptive war” and wonders what “preemptive peace” would look like. Going further he suggests a federal Department of Peace and a Peace Academy (opposite of West Point) that could train cadets in the cutting-edge, strategic use of nonviolence.

What is the opposite of a terrorist?  He says someone who is an ever-present, disruptive possibility but in the other direction.  Delightism?  Rapturism?  “Roving bands of youths, maybe, who transform people’s yards while they’re out.  Or paint magnificent murals on freeway underpasses or building sides, or leave flowers on whole neighborhoods’ doorsteps, or stage unplanned Shakespeare performances…” (Weston pg40).  The thing with this is that there are already people who aspire to act in these ways but are arrested for vandalism or disrupting the peace.  Maybe if it was bigger and more widespread though.  He asks why we should only aim for a world without terrorism…GO BIGGER!

The Problem Is the Solution
Why do we consider things that can be used as waste? Why haven’t we found other ways to utilize these resources. This brings me back to a previous scenario of the heat coming off of the roads. He mentions that power plants see heat as a waste. In Scandinavia their power plants are also their heating plants. I love the story he relays of Bo Lozoff who was living in a yoga ashram and realized that his life was not much different from a prisoners daily routine. He saw his life though was liberating. He co-developed the Prison-Ashram Project to enable prisoners to feel that liberation.

He talks about the aging in our communities and mentions Raging Grannie.  This is a group of elders who are “promoting peace, justice, social and economic equality through song and humour”, according to their international website.

What’s The Next Step?
He says don’t be so easily satisfied with the immediate conclusion. Persist!  Always keep asking, what’s the next step?  He tells us that there is a car dealership down the street from his house that flies an American flag.  Why not windmills with American flags on them?  We could put the stars and stripes on all new technologies.  Give it to both sides.  Next step?  Windmills to pump city water.  A big argument against using windmills is that they are ugly and mar the beauty of the land.  Why not aim to make windmills more beautiful instead of less and in unseen places.  He reminds us that Dutch windmills aren’t seen as ugly.  They are a part of the landscape.  Maybe buildings themselves could be designed to harness wind.  Make the installation of green technology “conservative”.  They could be the source, often, of high-paying skilled jobs.

Inside Tracks
“Right now, inside ‘the system’ and even right around the corner, many of the changes we want are already underway. Find ways to join and accelerate change movements already in flow. Radical change is often an inside job” (Weston pg57). He points out that in the absence of federal commitment, other avenues open up. Oilmen in the White House consistently blocked efforts to join the Kyoto Protocol. Cities like Portland are already taking leadership roles and leaders are rising up in unexpected places. Many products marketed in countries supporting the Kyoto Protocol must meet these standards. Private businesses are already conforming to these standards without our government regulations. Rising gas prices is already accomplishing what 30 years of political infighting could not: which is to radically increase fuel-efficiency. Also, he says he has friends who give away emission permits as gifts. You can buy “offsets”. He believes that offsets will become part of business-as-usual. There are other tracks besides the government is his point.

Leverage Points
He says sometimes we can expend a lot of energy and accomplish nothing at all just because of the way something is, structurally. Tiny adjustments can make all the difference. His example is that a tiny change to an ingredients list can make or break a genetically modified – or organic – food. He mentions real-time gas consumption in hybrids can dramatically change driving habits. This is important enough to include: he says internet-savvy soldiers are blogging about the war with pictures and video, making the war real. Agencies are trying to shut them down on the basis that information could be learned from the enemy. He says that there has to be a way for this to still be available without it being dangerous. Why throw out the baby with the bathwater! Small nudges and pushes can make all the difference.

He talks about the work week and that many people polled would give up salary to have less of a work week. Also, unemployment is high. He suggest cutting back and re-distributing the work. “Part of the reason is that we feel compelled to work more in order to afford intensive activities during our ever-scarcer ‘leisure’- and more ‘labor-saving’ devices to free up time for, well, more work” (Weston pg65). He states that we would need to unlearn some deep habits. Part of the problem, he says, is that when people cut back their work-hours they go to part-time status and lose much needed benefits. (I can identify with school – if I don’t have full-time student status or at least 15 credit hours a semester I lose my grants and loans). There was an estimate by economist Juliet Schor that says that by going part-time people essentially reduce their income by 80%. He suggests pro-rating benefits to work hours. Schor has other ideas if you would like to search her name.

“Promote weedy social change. Aim for changes (new patterns, practices, institutions) that are as hardy as possible and that insistently re-emerge on their own. Self-generative, self-augmenting, readily drawing on natural desires and conditions, diffusing widely and wildly” (Weston pg67).

He says currently our changes are like delicate flowers that need constant tending. I can relate to this analogy because have been wanting to get involved in things in my neighborhood and in the world and it always seems “delicate” in that it is hard to find, only a few people are sustaining the cause draining their energy because it is not naturally appealing. There are people out there who want to act, but can’t find the passion.

He says Unofficial Exchange Networks are weedy. He mentions The Freecycle Network, which is a pure giveaway list! He goes off into ideas again saying, what if cities and towns sponsored community exchange networks (like a flea market without money). What about freecycling non-material things like empowerment or political participation.

“Co-operative structures are weedy” (Weston pg68). He gives an example in history. During the Great Depression mutualism popped up all over the place. There were organizations like UNCRO (Unemployed Cooperative Relief Organization) and UXA (Unemployed Exchange Association). More modern organizations like CSA (Community-Suppported Agriculture are present today. Areas that people traditionally struggle in have lead to weedy pop-ups of, for example, co-op medical facilities. Weston always takes the thought one step further and asks how to amplify them and enhance them: “…spreading the seeds more widely and to other receptive soils” (Weston pg68).

P.S.: He adds that the web itself is weedy!!

Wild Cards
“Futurist John Peterson defines a ‘wild card’ as a low-probability, high-impact event – a surprise that could change everything” (Weston pg71). There are negative and positive wld cards. “If we orient our thinking only by current givens and probablilities, we will be both conceptually and practically unprepared for radically transformative events that are possible though not so probable” (Weston pg72).

He reminds us of the climate-change disasters we are slowly seeing unfold like environmental refugeeism, drought, monsoons, etc. He warns that disasters can be framed in a reactionary way, such as “the wrath of God”. He says that we should be ready to offer an alternative instead of blaming and calling “I Told You So”. An alternative infrastructure could be ready…and already in place. Turn the theologies inside out too. He says we could see environmental stress as God’s way of showing us the Earth is hurt and that it is not vengeance.

Hidden Possibilities
He says many oppressed groups needed to have doors opened for them in order to learn. “What possibilities do today’s actualities hide” (Weston pg 78)? He talks about aiming higher in our schools than we think we can and mentions Prisoner-Victim Mediation. People will come together when they have a common passion to root for or work towards too. He says we don’t need to make people less selfish, we need to fan the flame of intense social energies that are already in our lives. Recovery in all areas can possibly begin with an invitation or gesture.

“Go deep. The word ‘radical’ itself comes from the Latin “radix”, root” (Weston pg83).

Rebuild From the Ground Up
This goes back to his point earlier of when there are roadblocks because of the way things are built up or deigned or are systematically flawed…you start over! The best solution for recycling…get rid of the need for it! Make products compostable or re-usable. I love that he mentions how much time and energy we are putting into redesigning cars to be more efficient or have only water as an exhaust, when the root of the problem is the cars themselves. They are noisy and are eyesores against the landscape and are part of the reason we can justify rushing around in our lives from this thing to that with no enjoyment of the in-between. Get rid of cars, he says. I was writing a paper for a class when I learned about this great city in Spain called Vitoria-Gasteiz. They have totally rebuild their city so cars would not be needed as much. They have bike rental programs, have re-designed streets to be more pedestrian friendly and have put all of everyone’s needs within walking/biking/busing distance!! Look it up, it is VERY fascinating.

Of course, Weston goes further. We feel like we NEED to travel. This goes back to my story of Vitoria-Gasteiz. “Notice that many of the pieces of such a post-transport world are here already: the electronic infrastructure; an energetic co-housing movement and history” (Weston pg87).

He reminds us that all along the SE Coast (not just New Orleans) we have built cities, towns, buildings, structures that are weak and vulnerable. Restoring all the buffering nature can offer is essential. There is actually a movement to restore the Florida Everglades which was a major wetland system that helped the inland not to flood.

Cultures and Practices
“When systematic problems are created by cultural norms and practices, our most creative opportunity is to reshape those practices themselves. Along with issue-based activism we need a culturally transformative pro-activism” (Weston pg 91). Plainly we need to re-imagine our practices and habits. He says the European Union already requires manufacturers to take back their products at the end of their useful life. This might promote products MADE to last!

He asks us to imagine parallels everywhere (like his earlier example of preemptive peace being a reversal of preemptive war). He talks about corporate malfeasance being prevented instead of cleaned up. The Scandanavians answer to welfare is to prevent people from falling in the first place (preemptive welfare).

He mentions (and I don’t smoke weed anymore but I agree with this) the War On Drugs and how social innovations can make some drugs more benign than alcohol. In Amsterdam the bartenders control marijuana use in their establishments.

He adds that we need to look at the reconstructive questions, the basics. Why do so many people want to use drugs? What is the deep compulsion? (Now here is some stuff I know lol). He suggests that they fill a GENUINE need that people have a hard time meeting themselves. He asks, why isn’t learning to reconnect to the land and getting involved in teams part of our education (he mentions it is for indigenous people). I have often wondered the same thing for about 5 years after high school. Why didn’t they teach me stuff i really needed to know, like how to get a job, how to build a network, begin a career, pay my bills??

“Systematic problems trace back in the end to worldviews. But worldviews themselves are in flux and flow. Our most creative opportunity of all may be to reshape those worldviews themselves. New ideas can change everything” (Weston pg 95).

When looking at a problem you want to solve, ask yourself what attitudes and beliefs lead to this problem in the first place. He uses pollution as an example and how did we ever get into thinking that the natural world is our dump?

Poverty? Why do we tolerate radical inequality? He says in many African tribal societies, one homeless person is seen as a disgrace to them all. How did they get to that point that they let a fellow member be homeless?

He brings up many Fundamentalist’s belief that we are living in The Last Days and in The Rapture. Whatever the need to have this belief he says, “…there is an immense energy here for a sense of direction, meaning and for change” (Weston pg96). He talks about poet Nancy Corson Carter and how if they have the rapture, than we can have “Rhapsody”: music, harmony, the singing of epics.

He says native people of the Americas could not understand the concept of a paradise…SOMEWHERE ELSE. Paradise to them was right there. He gives definitions or explanations of modern secularism:
1. Materialism: the world consists of mostly inanimate matter
2. Mechanism: the world and minds work according to reductive physical laws
3. Instrumental and atomized view of nature in which the world exists in disconnected pieces, available for our use…
However, new ideas are coming about that the ‘whole’ is important in ways we may not even understand and reconnecting to the flow of things is our best chance of surviving. Maybe connection is the key, he says.


Everything would have to be reviewed and seen differently.
“Imagine political communities founded on Affirmations of INTERdependance rather than Declarations of Independence: bioregional, deeply participatory and decentralized; spontaneous, festive and multiple in their forms” (Weston pg98).

Now that the author has taken us through this creative crash course (and what a beautifully-mastered crash course it was) he tells us:

“Re-entering the struggle with creative momentum, let us rethink where and how and with whom we stand, how we take up issues, even how we speak. There is space for inventiveness and originality here too, and big moves to be made” (Weston pg 101).

Play To Your Strengths
We must be the change we wish to see in the world. I have heard that that quote came from Mahatma Ghandi. He gives advice a friend gave him: Make demonstrations into festivals and invite everyone, even the cops.

Humor seems to undercut the powers-that-be. He tells us that there is no right wing version of The Daily Show or The Onion.

Celebration seems to be one of our strengths and can bring together similar values in a community. He goes on about festivals for animal migrations, whale-watching, or return of fire-flies. He says, bring back the solstices and equinoxes. Having funerals before our death I thought was a good idea. You pick the time and place and what happens there.

He brings up the fundamentalists mantra to “teach the controversy” in relation to Creationism or (ahem ) Intelligent Design. He says why not? Maybe that will settle it. Don’t try and block what others have to teach. Learn from it and make your own informed decision (which is what F33DyourHEAD is all about, coincidentally). He says “teach the controversy” everywhere and have teach-ins. However, what about teaching evolution in the church? But we should also not totally rely on Darwinism without all the information available is his point. He mentions (I love this), what about the controversy WITHIN Creationism from different cultures?

Reclaim The Language
“Reclaim the actual meanings of words, including more inclusive and edgier meanings latent in the terms we are already using. Adopt new terms that match our new thinking, or terms that themselves enable new thinking” (Weston pg109).

He says we should all declare ourselves Conservatives “and be done with it”. He says then we can debate on what to conserve first (lol). He throws Social Security in there and asks why it got reduced to only being a pension. He said it should mean having a community, family, and support system. Homeland Security could expand to mean protecting our natural resources from threats. War On Terror could be handled as a criminal offense and not military so there is law enforcement and not invasion. What if we thought of terrorism as if it were Desperationism. Why did they do it?

He says terrorists don’t really inflict terror, that they shatter lives and places and symbols. He believes shattering should not be answered by war. We need to make our lives more “shatter-proof”.

More New Words
Resourcism: adopt it to mean the Earth is essentially just a set of resources for our use. A relentless, single-minded, narrow value system.
He reminds us that we will defend what we love. But, we are removed from the natural world too much to love it.
Nature-Deficit Disorder: coined by Richard Louv
Development: could mean improvement
Disposable: call it Perpetual Legacy instead. Call it what it is.
Fossil Fuels: (this one is good!!) good name because they are outdated, “fossils”.
Secular Humanist: opposite of a fundamentalist (because non-religious wouldn’t work) but still the word secular has been made dirty.
Spiritual Creatives: better term for the opposite of fundamentalists. We could free up the language of “Creation”and “Creationism”.
Evolutionary Creativity: view evolution as the story of self-generative creativity of life itself.

Ally Everywhere
Look for commonalities. He asks that you build alliances from the overlaps. Speak also to the underlying issues and not just the position. The world is not truly black and white like we believe when we are in the heat of battle.

He mentions gay marriage and says that the issue arises because some gay couples affirm a traditional value. He mentions the idea of patriotism and “supporting the troops”. Supporting the troops doesn’t mean you have to support the war, but we sometimes think we ARE supporting them by opposing the war.

The Tao Of Change
“The wisdom of the martial arts: don’t resist the onrushing energy of opposition, but let it rush by, use what you can, and as for the rest, work cheerfully just beyond its reach” (Weston pg127). Reminds me of the Liturgy Against Fear from Dune!!

We don’t always need to meet force with force. Side-step, let it rush by and watch for ways you can nudge things to redirect them. Add your energy TO theirs to change direction.

He talks about reclaiming the flag for us. Why does it have to mean one kind of Americanism? We are Americans too!!grab the flag first, he says!

Legal gay marriage he feels will be a way off but there are other things we can do. I really like this section where he talks about turning all of marriage into something better. A “Covenant” maybe.

Do It Now
The sooner the better!Great ideas don’t always need consensus. Tired of inept government? Make your own People all over have organized their own.

I like the Do-It-Yourself money. Communities have been doing this to keep the money local. They have an agreed upon type of exchange between them. He calls what is being done wealth-extraction. You can prevent this by being creative.

Go For Broke
“Never let it be said that you erred on the side of caution” (Weston pg 135). Aim way high!!

To follow up, not only was this book an inspiration but it had real ideas that people so often think are impossible. My brother said to me a few weeks ago that only selfish people believe they can save the world. I would like to prove otherwise!

Recycling Silica Gel Packs

Ok…so I’m refilling my pill tray (whole nother blogging session) and I had two of those silica gel thingies in 2 bottles. Silica sounded kind of toxic right? Can you even recycle these things and how would you? How would I know that they wouldn’t be passed over in the recycling bin or fall out? Can I even put them in the recycling bin?

In my search for answers the best I came up with, which was a pretty awesome suggestion, was to re-use the little suckers!

Some suggestions I saw included keeping old photos and keepsakes from getting moisture damage by placing them in a zip-lock bag with said photos or keepsakes. If you are a gardener they can be used for seed storage. I will have to update this if I can get more creative than what I found quickly in a five minute search.

Part 6: “Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices” by Mindy Pennybacker: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Compact fluorescent light bulb

Image via Wikipedia

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

–recieve and pay bills online. Most companies are switching to paperless statements. I actually pay all of my bills online and it is soooo much easier. I dont need stamps, envelopes, etc. I also don’t need to remember to mail them or leave them in my purse for 2 weeks.
–use paper and wood that are partially or wholly recycled or in the case of paper, not made from wood at all

Green Paper and Wood Labels
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): certified as coming from forests managed w/o pesticides and restricts cutting old-growth trees and the destruction of ecosystems
Green Seal: natural resources were conserved and less toxic waste
Post-Consumer-Recycled (PCR)
Post-Consumer Waste (PCW)
Processed Chlorine Free (PCF)
Recycled/Reclaimed “Good Wood” : certified by the Rainforest Alliance
Totally Chlorine-Free (TCF)

Alternative Materials
Bagasse (sugar cane), elephant dung (yep!!!), hemp, knaff, recycled blue jeans

Green Tips:
–print on both sides, save and re-use wrapping paper, recycle paper

Bad Paper and Wood Practices:
Chlorine-bleached paper, Furniture and paneling made from tropical hardwoods (mahogany, teak), virgin paper products, stop catalogs and direct mailings, using only one side of paper, buying new wrapping paper, tossing recycabled paper in the trash

MY TIP: I take notes in my classes using my little laptop. It saves space even when printing it out, is easier to highlight, and you can edit what you really need in your notes later!!!!

–chlorine-bleaching of wood pulp releases cancer-causing dioxins which collect and rise in the food chain
–recycling captures heavy metal in ink
–preserving the rainforest helps us to find new medicines and are biodiversity “hot spots”
–old-growth trees keep more CO2 out of the atmosphere than younger trees
–logging releases carbon and is a principle source of emissions
recycling paper produces less greenhouse gases
–check out

Recycled Office Paper: PCW chlorine-free, eco-certified, and tree-free papers

Green Household Papers
Atlantic Packaging’s “Ambiance” “Fiesta” and “April Soft” brands
Cascade “North River” brand
Earth First
Seventh Generation
Whole Food’s 365

Recycling Tips
–most municipalities now pick-up paper, plastics (#1 and #2 recycling code), glass and metal (aliminum cans, stainless steel).
–how to recycle almost anything:

–for refigerators, freezers, and air-conditioners: the Environmental Protection Agency‘s Responsible Appliance Disposal Program safely captures coolants called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which destroy the ozone layer
–most appliances have metal, check for local locations

–most turn up as toxic waste in China, India, Ghana, and Pakistan
–only 10% of US computers are recycled
–many computer companies offer free take-back recycling
–Apple and Dell will recycle a computer from any manufacturer if you buy one from them new
–Dell Outlet sells recycled, refurbished, and upgraded computers
National Cristina Foundation gives used computers to disabled and economically disadvantaged children. They are non-profit.
Basel Action Network
Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition

Cell Phones
–can often drop it off in a bin at the store where you bought it
find a place near you
donate to a charity in your area who will take used electronics and tech items or here
–college campuses often have phone and computer recycling programs
Best Buy accepts phones, computers and tv’s up to 32 inches wide for recycling. You have to pay $10 for anything with a screen but they give you a $10 gift card.

–tv monitors contain toxic lead
–check with your municipality’s solid waste department about pick-up or drop-off centers
–Office Depot accepts old tvs
Sony drop-off centers

Hazardous Waste
–do not put these things in the garbage or recycling bin:
antifreeze, batteries, compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) bulbs, paints and solvents, or pesticides

Other links:

Part 7

Part 8

Part 4: “Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices” by Mindy Pennybacker

Look for this logo when considering your new r...

Image via Wikipedia

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Included in this post is the information on appliances, household energy use, storage, etc.

Storage and Cooking
–glass is best, it is recyclable and there is no chemical leaching
–Tempered glass resources
Anchor Hocking
Corningware (representin’…woo woo Corning, NY…sorry)
–do NOT microwave food in plastics even the so-called miocrowave safe dishes leach small amounts of chemicals like BPA


Note: recycling code refers to the little triangle with the arrows that are labels for recycling
Safe Plastic:
–it is safe to eat out of plastics if it is unheated
–LDPE-Low density polyethylene (recycling code #4)
–PP-Polypropylene (recycling code #5)

Unsafe Plastic:
–PC-Polycarbonate plastics (recycling code #7)
–PS-Polystyrene – this leaches styrene

Plastic Wraps
Safe: LDPE-Low density polyethylene (#4)
Ex: Best Yet, Glad, Saran Green (or unbleached), or vegetable wax and parchment paper has some good products
–also Whole Foods Supermarkets

Unsafe: PVC-Polyvinyl chloride or vinyl (#3)
–These are known to leach phthalates

Recyclable plastics: LDPE (#4) and PP (#5)
Not recyclable: PVC (#3) and PC (#7)
–There are some with no recycling code. She asks that you refer to for this information

Other (#7)
Bioplastics (PLA)-these are not easily recyclable but you can check in your area for facilities that might recycle this material
–At the time this book was published San Francisco was the only place that had compostable plastic pick-up.
Recology SF
Is it being considered in your area?

Canned Foods
–almost all linings of canned food contain BPA that can migrate at normal room temperatures. However, only 11% have levels which were harmful to lab animals
–Her tip?: Eat more fresh and frozen foods
–choose preserved food in glass jars
–BPA leaches better in fatty or acidic foods so get foods like tomato paste or soups in cartons
TetraPak’s Tetra Brik– wood pulp and sustainable
Forest Stew (ardship) Council or FSC
–if you are buying canned baby formula go for the dry powder
–if you do buy canned baby formula try Eden Organics (BPA free label except their tomatoes
–the longer canned food sits, the higher the amount of leaching
BPA Timeline: helps determine how much leaching happens in what products in a set amount of time

–when Teflon is OVERHEATED (over 500 degrees F) it releases hazardous fumes that cause flu-like symptoms and has been known to kill pet birds
perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
–Supposedly DuPont voluntarily agreed to phase these chemicals out by 2015, but they will still be collecting in the environment long after
–the good news is that if they are used as intended, you shouldn’t have any problems: throw away if scorched or scratched and don’t use metal utensils or overheat

–you can often receive federal tax credits for making your home more energy efficient
–some states will give utility rebates for the same reason

–the myth is dead, you do not need to wash all your clothes in hot water. Soap is awesome it does it’s job just as well in cold water. Use hot or warm water when you have heavily soiled clothes or are washing something like your re-useable grocery bags (they often have traces of salmonella and other undesirable things) or bedding (dust mites).
–You should start line drying clothes whenever possible. She gives a list of good drying racks on
–the fridge is the most draining appliance you own
–in 2009 EPA finally declared greenhouse gases to be pollution
–Learn about global warming threats: Harvard Center for Health and Global Environment
the greatest potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions comes from the residential sector
–turning off lights ALWAYS when you are not using them is a very easy way to save energy
–as bulbs die out replace them with more energy efficient bulbs
–front load washing machines are more energy and water efficient then top loaders
–look for the Energy Star label on appliances and a water efficient factor less than 9.5
–Dryers: gas models are better and they make dryers that have moisture sensors that shut the dryer off when the clothes are dry

Calculate your household emissions
Calculate annual transportation AND home carbon footprint
Calculator from Inconvenient Truth

Other links:
Consortium for Energy Efficiency
Consumer Reports
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy

–lighting is the quickest AND easiest way to make a huge energy saving difference
incandescent CFL
new LED bulbs
–look for the Energy Star approved label
–incandescents waste 95% as heat and warms the air around it. However this is only 30% of it’s energy output
–LED’s are cooler (as in not as hot lol)
–the cost is higher initially than buying crappy light bulbs at the dollar store, but the difference in energy costs pays for it over and over
–the new LED bulbs are VERYexpensive right now, but the price will go down eventually like the CFL’s did

Recycling bulbs
–IKEA and Home Depot and most hardware and lighting chains will recycle the CFL bulbs. Also, look into whether you have a local municipal household hazardous waste facility
–do not use CFL bulbs in a fixture that is completely enclosed like this one

Good labels:
Feit Ecobulb
Max Lite
Philips with Alto

Light quality
Task or day light: Blue Max or Max Lite
Soft white: n:vision
Desk/reading: Philips with Alto
Warm ambient: GE Soft White or Lights of America Mini Twister

Other links:
Energy Star
CFL fixtures
Environmental Defense’s Lightbulb Sector

~~~~~~Breaking a CFL!!!!~~~~~~~~~
–don’t panic lol
–air out the room for 10 minutes
–wear gloves, cover nose and mouth, put it in a lidded jar
–the mercury will have gathered in drops wipe these up with a rag and sticky tape
–seal in a plastic bag and take to your local hazardous waste facility

Heating and Cooling
–in the winter keep the temperature around 68 degrees F in the daytime and 60 degrees F at night
–use your sweaters dammit lol
–if you have electric heat, keep it below 70 degrees F
–if you use gas heat, keep at same temp but you save more
–in the summer keep the a/c at 78 degrees F or higher
–look for an Energy Star a/c
–treat the windows with either curtains or blinds in the summer (shading keeps your house cooler) or some sort of plastic wrap in the winter
US Department of Energy shades and tips

–keep the thermostat between 36 and 38 degrees F and the freezer at 3 degrees F
–if you have stuff cluttered all over the top of your fridge it can make the fridge work harder and use more energy
–clean the coils once a year with a vacuum and a wet rag
–move fridge away from the stove, which can cause it to heat up and work harder when you are cooking
–cool hot foods on the counter before putting away
–COOL PENNYBACKER TIP: If you want to check to see if the seal around your fridge door is good, insert a dollar bill halfway in the door and close. If it falls you need to replace the sealing
–fridges with freezers on the top are most energy efficient, then ones on the bottom, followed by side-to side doors

–electric-induction cooktop is the best (I have one of these and it heats up very quickly…I love it!)
–gas stoves with electric igniters are second best
–the microwave is the most efficient oven you own!!!!
–use high conductive cookware that holds heat well
–use lids when you are cooking so that the cooking time is less and you are not losing energy to heat loss
–only pre-heat your oven for 5 min

–check water efficiency
–scrape food off because by not pre-winsing you can save 20 g of water a load
–run FULL loads (same with washer and dryer)
–if your dishwasher has an option to air dry, use it
–using a dishwasher is better than hand-washing (so if you have an environmentally opinionated mate this is a good selling point on getting a dishwasher 🙂
–dont run water the whole time you are washing (I am guilty of this but not so much lately)
–fill your sink with soap water and wash. Set dishes in other side of sink (if you only have one sink use a wash basin with water to rinse) then rinse all together
–you can get a low flow faucet aerator for your sink

I have been doing this one for awhile

–utilize the sleep or hibernate mode or turn off when you are not using it
–laptops are more efficient than desktops so 😛
if you are buying new electronics check Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics. They update this quarterly.

Hazardous electronic wastes:
arsenic, lead, mercury, toxic flame retardent, PVC plastics (phthalates)

–you can use solar chargers: Solio
–smart power strips:

–it is best to shower in 5 minutes or less (this is hard to do as a woman especially if you have long hair. We have to shave our legs, pits, and wherever else, wash our hair, condition it, and also clean our bodies…uggghhhh)
–you can use a low flow showerhead of 2g or less
–set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees F
–the UN predicts that 2/3 of the world will suffer from water scarcity by 2025
–there are expected shortages in 36 states by 2013
–climate change will lead to even more water shortages
–the best idea is to use a tankless natural gas water heater or a zero-emission solar water heater
–water-saving supplies can be found at the author’s site:
–water garden and mow your lawn early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid more evaporation
–toilets are the worst water guzzlers
–there are WaterSense toilets that use 20% less than what the federal standard is has a neat trick where you wash your hands with the water that is going to fill in the tank anyways
Toilet Tank Bank
–use deep irrigation lines, water the roots and bases of trees and shrubs when gardening
NE Organic Farming Association gardening manual
–make and use a rain barrel for gardening

Learn about grey water
Barrels and deep irrigation lines
–cultivate native grasses and plants so that they are adjusted to the climate and normal moisture range. This is also best because of the threat of invasive species

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 1: “Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices” by Mindy Pennybacker

Official seal of the National Organic Program

Image via Wikipedia

“Do One Green Thing: Save the Earth Through Simple Everyday Choices”
by Mindy Pennybacker
copyright 2010
U.S. printed by: St. Martin’s Press

Her website:

This is my attempt at retrieving information from different sources and posting what I learn. I’m not, by any means, a pro at documentation….so don’t sue me, I’m trying!!

Food and Drink

–Bottled water is not always safer than tap water
–Bottled water is less regulated
–Social Justice: Companies that bottle water contribute almost no money to the local community in which they receive this water.
–You can use a carbon filter on your tap water or use one of the filtering systems like Brita, Pur, or Zero Water.
–On July 1st your water company is required to send a reprt of what contaminents are in your water that exceed EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) levels.
Or you can look up this information:

–Although they can filter out a lot of heavy metals, parasites, etc. carbon filters DO NOT remove bacteria.
–You can recycle your filters:
Preserve Products recycle Brita filters
You can mail filters to Brita and Zero Water for discounts

Water Bottles
–Stainless steel is your best bet or tempered glass
–Only re-use ones that are MEANT to be re-used.
–Safe: HDPE #2, LDPE #4, PP #5, Other #7
–Unsafe: PC #7 –> BPA
–DO NOT re-use: PET, PETE #1
–BPA can interfere with brain function and hormonal development
–Although you can’t re-use PET they are VERY recyclable.
–There are now Bioplastics made from corn or potato starch, but they are not recyclable.
–Filtered water bottles:
Aquamira w/ microbiolological filter
Fit and Fresh Liv Pure
Katadyn Micro WB
Water Geeks

–organic choices reduces exposure to pesticides
–choosing local preserves small farms and green space
–Because eating organic or local can be expensive, get the produce you eat the most as organic or local. Or you can get the organic version of produce with known high pesticides.

Toxic 13: known to use large amounts of pesticides
Apples, carrots, celery, cherries, grapes, kale, lettuce, nectarines, peach, pear, spinach, strawberries, bell peppers.

Tasty 13: known to use small amounts of pesticides
Asparagus, avocadoes, broccolli, cabbage, eggplant, mango, onion, pineapple, seet corn, sweet peas, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watr melon

What does organic and local mean?

Organic: USDA Certified Organic
–must have 3 years of organic practices applied to the soil before you can be certified.
–40% higher levels of cancer-fighting anti-oxidants
–certifiably free of genetic engineering or modification

–within 100-200 miles of where it is sold
–ask farmer if pesticides used, sometimes they are organic but cannot afford the certification from the USDA

Good Green Labels:
Demeter Biodynamics
Fair Trade Certified (Transfair USA)
Food Alliance Certified
Integrated Pesticide Management (IPM)
Rainforest Alliance Certified
Salmon Safe
Transitional Organic: farmers using organic methods can use this label until certified
USDA Organic

–Best to eat what is in season because of the carbon footprint of greenhouses.
Find out what is in season in your state
Find Farmer’s Markets

Some definitions:
100% Organic – ALL organic
Organic – at least 95% organic ingredients
Made with Organic – at least 70% organic ingredients, may not have USDA logo.

Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate
Bird Friendly Coffee
“shade grown” and cultivated in a rainforest under a natural canopy. Leaf litter creates a natural fertilizer and these crops house more types of forest birds.
–Certified Organic
grown w/o synthetic pesticides using cover crops and other methods
–Fair Trade Certified
prices are higher than commodity market rate, IPM methods used
–Rainforst Alliance Certified
worker’s rights and welfare looked after, no child labor, at least 40% of the crops are grown in shade.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8