Posts filed under ‘environment’

Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing

Tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day (aka Black Friday Consumerism Disaster) in US and Canada, whick for me and international ClosetReaders, is on Saturday the 24th.

So here is my appeal to you. Buy Nothing! Think about the impact your consumption has on the worlds resources. Think before you buy useless shit no one wants anyway.

But most importantly, go out and have fun. Do stuff that doesn’t involve spending money to feed the capitalist establishment. You’ll be much happier, really.

And now, to the ‘pull the ember to my sardine’ part of this post, here is what what’s going down here in Wageningen, NL. I have joined the local hippy crowd in organizing Buy Nothing Day activities. We are setting up a living room in the main market square, with live music, free tea (maybe even coffee if we’re lucky), free hugs, free shop, traditional games, board games, newspapers, massages (maybe), professional portraits, and workshops.

The goal is to try to lure passersby away from consumerism with happy activities that don’t involve consuming, the key word in this being ‘happy’, seeing that HappyJMA Wageningen is organizing.

You can also revisit this post, where I shared with you guys a video about Wageningen Buy Nothing Day in 2006.

So today, my message to you is: Be happy. And buy nothing!

Ps: I also wrote a post about BND for Celsias. Check it out for the hilarious adbusters tv spots.

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November 22, 2007 at 5:56 pm 2 comments

The hand that rocks the Cradle to Cradle

Michael Braungart

Welcome back ClosetReaders, and please excuse me for the punny title… it was just too much to resist. I know its been a long time, but once again I will throw myself at your feet and beg for your indulgence. Oh Gods of Blogdom, please accept this post as my humble offering to thee.

So anyway. Exactly 2 weeks ago I went to the Cradle to Cradle conference in Maastricht making use of my press privileges (true story). Believe it or not, I have press privileges, which basically means I get to go for free and have the undisputed right to harass anyone (which I did). Haha, suckas!

You can read my official version of the events at Celsias (which also came out today, in case you think I’m, like, holding out on you or something). So if you read that, you will know that Michael Braungart was presenting. I got to harass him too, with my annoying little “practical” questions and poorly thought through opinions. He’s a good sport though, fun to harass.

As this here is the unofficial version of the events, I might as well tell you that greenwash is everywhere and this was no exception (You know who you are, Mr. Greenport Shanghai).

In other news, it was at this conference that I ate my first piece of meat in over one month. It was organic chicken, if you are wondering. It was tasty. *sigh*

And now, to conclude is style, I’ll share with you the wonderful things I learned at this conference:

  • Mattel is the evil.
  • If possible, industrial composting is preferable to home composting.
  • And composting paper tissues and napkins and what not is probably a bad idea because of chlorine and dioxins.
  • You can take the girl out of engineering school but you can’t take the engineer out of the girl. Metaphors are lost on this one.
  • The only reason people go to conferences is to pull the ember to their sardine (don’t you just love Portuguese expressions?)
  • Law of networking: the amount of asses you need to kiss is inversely proportional to your position in the food chain. (as you can imagine student bloggers rank pretty low there)
  • Inversely, your position in the food chain is directly proportional to the amount of people standing in line to kiss your ass (Braungart=long line)
  • If you don’t have business cards because you’re a (broke) small fish, at least pretend like its on purpose. Write your name on a pretty piece of cardboard and say that’s for environmental reasons. Not that I know anyone who would do this *whistles and looks around*
  • If you want to see a conference for free you should walk in and announce you are covering the event for the *insert name of the conference here* blog. And act like you belong.

Just one last thing. As we all know, when it rains it pours, and today you can read not one, not two but three! posts written by yours truly:

Enjoy!

November 16, 2007 at 4:10 pm 3 comments

Wal-Mart, Tesco roasted on Celsias

Hiya,

Just to let you know I have a new post on Celsias (a nice one, that even has those things, whatcha cal’em, opinions, yeah, and facts too, facts are cool.).

So if you are in the mood for a barbecue, head on over there and watch me roast some Mega-Corps.

And feel free to show your support with some diggs or reddits or stumbles and what have you 😉

World’s Largest Companies Exert Pressure on Supply Chains

October 24, 2007 at 1:55 pm 1 comment

Why you should dry clothes inside out

Ok, so this is not exactly Part II of ‘Green Clothes’. Rather, consider it as an example and a cautionary tale.

What happens to a T-shirt when you leave it “drying” in the sun for 2 weeks? (and it falls and sits there all crumpled and no one bothers to pick it up)

T-shirt

Thats what happens. So dry inside out. Not too long. And don’t be a dumbass.

And yes, part II is coming soon.

October 17, 2007 at 4:50 pm 5 comments

Blogroll update

I decided to clean up my blogroll. I’m removing some older links to make space for new ones. I apologize to those people who’s links I am removing. I want to add some new things and I don’t want my blogroll to grow unreasonably long, so I decided to remove the blogs that haven’t been active in a long time or that have strayed from the environmental theme. Sorry. (Activist Mommy, if you’re out there, I’ll add you back when your blog gets back online. Let me know.)

Check out the new additions:

Apt – Furnishing her apartment in an aptly eco fashion.

Conserve Plastic Bags – plastic bag awareness.

Ockham’s Razor – Clare says she is the lazyst environmentalyst.

Organic Picks – green products and reviews, organic but not only.

Tiny Choices – because we make them every day.

Green LA Girl – long overdue.

Oh, and thanks to Michelle from Conserve Plastic Bags for tagging me with the 8 random things (or was it facts?) meme. Since I already did 7 of them, I’ll just add one more:

*drum roll please*

8. I used to be kind of metal chick. My favorite band used to be these guys. Army boots, skirts, all black, the whole shebang. Fortunately, I outgrew this phase, but in a way it still shows because my color palette still goes from pink to black including various shades of purple and red.

*crowd freezes in shock*

So anyway, I’m tagging all of the above mentioned blogs. Except Michelle because she already did it. I hope you guys read this blog because I feel too lazy to go leave comments about this.

October 16, 2007 at 4:56 pm 6 comments

Why I’m NOT doing Blog Action Day

Ok, dearest readers. You might find it strange that talk about Blog Action Day has been going around for some time now, and I haven’t been promoting it, or even mentioning it. That’s because I’m not doing Blog Action Day.

Blog Action Day is supposed to go something like this:

  1. Write something about the environment.
  2. Donate the day’s blog revenue.

That’s great. Except:

  1. This is an Environmental Blog. ALL my posts are about the frikin’ Environment. On this blog, Blog Action Day is everyday!
  2. I don’t have any revenue.

And more:

  • I’ve always had trouble doing something just because everyone is doing it. This is why I hate those songs you hear in clubs that dictate the choreography, “put your hands up” and so on.
  • I fail to see what, exactly, is Blog Action Day trying to achieve. Is this supposed to be like Bloggy Live Earth or something? So everyone writes about the environment for one day. “Imagine what could happen”. I’ll tell you what will happen. Nothing. Just like after Live Earth.

So please excuse me if I sit this one out.

October 15, 2007 at 3:31 pm 10 comments

Overdue post about that trip to Portugal

AveiroBack when my camera still worked.

Well, seems like that sign I put up on my last post was more than accurate… I didn’t mean to. I really did mean to write about my adventures that very day but then I never got around to do it.

In the meantime, I packed up all my shit and moved, my boyfriend left and now I’m more or less settled in my new place. This time I will not get sidetracked. I will tell you all about my moving and my new place on one of my next posts.

Anyways, I’m gonna spare you all of the “ahhh we went here” and “ooh we went there” and all that “it was so nice” crap and cheesy pictures of us in front of this and that and get right down to the environmental stuff. So lets get on with it shall we, in a neatly organized fashion.

It rocked:

The metro network.It is only a few years old, but its really really good. Most of the times, it is more convenient than driving because its faster and parking is a pain. My boyfriend arrived a couple of days after me and I decided to try the metro service to pick him up. I was pretty impressed, it was really fast, VERY close to the terminal and no parking (which, at airports, is quite a rip off). The bus network is very good as well, but its not as easy to figure out, and the schedules are less predictable.

The recycling. Recycling is slowly making its way into mainstream culture. Now you have recycling bins in most public places like the airport and metro stations, and it looks like people actually use them. The recycling infrastructure is quite good. I missed the composting bin that I was used to here in Holland, but I think they are working on that too, they already started collection biodegradable waste from large producers. My mom is a very thorough recycler. I got her into it when I was still a pre-teen. I am very proud of her in this matter.

The market. Whereas most of supermarket food in Portugal is imported, the food at the market, where I demonstratively bought vegetables, was very local, most likely organic and dirt cheap. Now I just need to convince ClosetMom to shop there more often.

ClosetFriends. I was very impressed that ClosetFriends have the habit of picking up old batteries, if they see them laying around in the street and depositing them in the appropriate recycling bin. Bravo, ClosetFriends. Something I can learn from you. (insert suggestion for Vanessa here)

It sucked:

ClosetMom refuses to use the metro. Her work involves a lot of driving around the city, including during rush hour. She could totally use the metro at least for some trips, if it wasn’t so much trouble to figure out where the stops are *roll eyes*.

Smog. ClosetMom picked me up from the airport (see above). The first thing I noticed on the drive home, was how smoggy Porto looked. I didn’t remember it being like that last year. The horizon looked yellow, and I’m not exaggerating. Coincidence or not, I got a sore throat about a week later, that quickly developed into a cold. Yes, it could have been just a cold, but I think it was pollution related cold.

Plastic Bags. Man, this country has a plastic bag problem! Even if you buy just one tiny little thing, they stuff it in a bag before you have time to open your mouth. I have to say, unlike in the Netherlands, getting away without a useless bag took considerably more effort. But at some point, I got very good at announcing “No bag, please” as soon as I hand them my purchase.

The receipt holder fad. Now this was annoying. Since last time I was in Portugal, apparel shops developed this new fad. Now instead of just handing you your receipt, now they put it in a nice little cardboard receipt-holder thingy. WTF?? This time, I didn’t manage to develop a defense against this one because I was too perplexed to react, but next time I’ll be prepared. Bastards…

My camera may or may not be broken. It died on me in the middle a shot. I still have hope that it could have been the batteries (even though there was no indication that they were getting low), so now I am dreading the moment of truth, when I change the batteries and realize that I have to do something about the matter. In the mean time, I have no camera, and have already recurred to borrowing from strangers once. (Before, I was using ClosetBoyfriend’s digital to take all those fabulous pictures of my groceries). Now I’m thinking of buying a crappy second hand one to tie things over.

Greatest Accomplishments:

Refusing mom’s well meaning ride offers and getting around quite easily by metro, bus (1x) and walking. Managed to keep use of car to a minimum. Used the metro to go to the beach (thanks, global warming), the airport and city center bunch of times. In almost 2 weeks, used the car 5 times, including 2 trips to the airport and one ride from friends.

Addressed ClosetMom’s bottled water habit. She claims tap water is bad for the kidneys (bullshit) and it tastes bad (tasted just fine to me). Explained how bottled water has less quality and how plastic gives you cancer. Refused to drink bottled water thus proving there is nothing wrong with tap water. Before she used a plastic cup to drink from the water cooler in the office. Now keeps a cup there and explains to co-workers how plastic gives you cancer. They don’t believe her, saying “they wouldn’t deliberately give us all cancer”. So naive…

Got 2 ClosetFriends more interested in vegetarian food, and even got them to try some meatless cooking by themselves. Score. ClosetMom is more resistant to the idea, but I’ll get to her too… eventually.

Resolution of the washing machine ordeal.This one requires a little more background explanation. When I got to Portugal, I was informed that our washing machine was broken and that a new washing machine was scheduled to be delivered the next day. I, of course, was shocked that ClosetMom, despite being broke, ordered a +-500E washing machine, without even trying to fix the old one (age 7, and a very good brand, so technically, its still middle aged in washing machine years). I explained how the washing machine must be a cheap fix, and that ClosetMom was too quick to cough up 500 euros she didn’t have. However, it was already too late. However, it just so happened that ClosetMom was buying the display model and that the delivery guys were dumbasses. Because it was the display model and they were too lazy to pack it up, they were delivering it without any packaging, and then tried to fit it through the building door. Sure enough, when my mom saw her brand new washing machine all banged up around the sides, she knows nothing more than to say “well then, you can take your ~@?$^%*# washing machine and stuff it (…)”. And so, I had ClosetMom call the official repair service and for 50 bucks the thing was good as new. If that ain’t Karma, I don’t know what is. Now, whether this was a good or bad outcome in terms of greenness I don’t know. I really don’t know what they will do with that banged up washing machine. Maybe they’ll fix it. Maybe they’ll sell it. Maybe they’ll just recycle it. All I know is that ClosetMom wasn’t having a banged up washing machine. And I don’t think I would either.

For next time:

Get ClosetMom and ClosetFriends to Bring Their Own Bags when they go shopping. This time I didn’t have time to go shopping with ClosetMom, so the plastic bags issue didn’t “come up”. I’ll get them all next time. MauAUauahahAAHahAHA!!

Get everyone DivaCups for their B’days. I already started psychologically preparing ClosetMom, showing her my Diva, telling her how great it is… I think I’ll get her one for Xmas now. MauAUauahahAAHahAHA!!

Lessons Learned:

  • You must know your enemy and be prepared to strike back. It’s the surprise attacks that screw us over.
  • When trying to get someone to change their ways, people always respond better when you put things in terms of “What’s in it for me”, like “save money” or “NOT get cancer”. I found that “its better for the environment” crap gets you nowhere, so I don’t even go there.
  • It’s not that people are trying to harm the environment, its just that sometimes they don’t know any better. Most of the time, they just don’t know there is a better way. Like ” you don’t HAVE to take bags every time just because they try to give you one”.

And so, even though I didn’t offset my trip (partly because I’m broke, partly because I still haven’t made up my mind on offsetting), I would say that the overall impact of my trip goes a long way towards canceling out the plane rides. Or at least I prefer to think so.

 

 

October 8, 2007 at 1:55 pm 5 comments

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