Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday Thoughts

When I was in high school, I was in a group called HOPE, which stands for Helping Our Planet's Environment. We had t-shirts that said "I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree," which is from the poem "Trees" by Alfred Joyce Kilmer. In honor of both earth day and National Poetry Month, here's the whole poem:

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

I don't remember all we did in that group (I think I joined it for mostly social reasons). I know we planted some trees and talked about the environment. We recycled and probably judged people who didn't recycle. We talked about reusing paper and most likely shook our heads in disgust when others didn't use both sides of the paper. Without a doubt, we made a difference.

Now, all these years later I wonder what I'm doing for the environment. My efforts are about the same: Recycling, judging people who don't recycle, refraining from littering, shaking my fist (from the privacy of my car) when I see others litter, and pretty much just hoping for the best as far as the earth is concerned.

But today since it's Earth Day, I thought it would be nice to do something for the earth. The only problem is, I can't decide what to do. I tried calculating my carbon footprint, but it was really a lot more work than I'd anticipated. Another option is to join my company's commuter challenge, but that doesn't start until May and I want to do something today (besides simply joining). The third thing I came up with is to recycle my pop bottles after work but that's kind of self serving because of the $ refund.

In my brainstorming, I came across this fun website with ideas that I'm pretty sure are geared towards children but since I'm an Earth Day beginner, I think it's a good place to start. It even has this great quiz. I got 9/10 right. Top that!!

Anyway, I'm debating between two projects on that website, one is the compost bin (is it ok if I don't decorate it the way they've shown? I'd prefer to decorate mine in a more adult way - like with Spongebob stickers or something) or the eggshell planter (but I'm pretty sure you have to have the hands of a surgeon for that one). If you have any Earth saving tips for me today, I'd love to hear them. Happy Earth Day!


Sarah said...

As a fellow HOPE member (remember Mrs. Symons...she was so full of energy and dedication to the earth!), I thought I'd put this out here for all of your avid followers. :) Even tho this isn't something we can do today, we can start collecting these items right now!
The Ann Arbor Public Schools, along with UofM and Apple Computers, is hosting 3 free e-waste recycling events designed to help Southeast Michigan residents, small businesses and non-profits responsibly recycle electronics they no longer need or want.

· General public: May 9, 9am – 2pm, Pioneer High School (Main Street entrance), 610 W. Stadium Blvd.

· Local business and non-profit organizations: May 7-8, 9am – 2pm, WISD- District Office Parking Lot, 1819 S. Wagner Rd.

An EPA-certified company will responsibly recycle all e-waste items from the events. The collected equipment will be destroyed and recycled in the U.S. in accordance with all local, state and federal guidelines, regulations and laws pertaining to the collection, transportation and recycling of electronics equipment.

Materials Accepted at e-Waste Recycling Events

Computer Systems/Accessories
LCD displays
Wireless internet cards
Hard drives/Optical drives
Wires and cables
Audio/Video Equipment
DVD players/VCRs
Games systems
Handheld Devices/PDAs
Cell phones/telephones
Pagers/Two-way radios
Office Equipment
Fax machines/Photocopiers
Adding machines

Kathy said...

One thing I just did was switch to the reusable shopping bags. I put them in my trunk so that I can try and remember them at the grocery store. Trader Joe's cooler bag was only 1.99, and we fit all of our frozen foods in it. I also unplug any small appliances after we're done using them.

Today my goal is to convince Justin that he doesn't need to drive his monster truck to work everyday. And if he does, he should remove the plastic pop bottles from the bed so that they stop flying out and littering the streets.

justin said...

someone just got 10/10 on the quiz. that someone may be me. I'm the "original" Earth Day Ace. I know there are some imposters out there.

I always unplug my small appliances after using them as well. Kathy stole that idea from me. I also recycle my ink cartridges.

While Kathy is busy throwing her pop bottles into landfills, I save mine to use for fun little projects (i.e. oceans in a bottle, bathtub submarine toys, and small thingee holders). My monster truck just happens to be the most convenient place to store them.

Kathy said...

"Original"? Ha! I heard you telling Elizabeth that organic food means it was made while someone was playing the organ. There's no way you scored as high as me.

And btw- I use my pop bottles to make Mentos bombs.

Sarah said...

Oh dang, I forgot to spread the word about my Baggu Bag!! I swear I don't work for this company, but I adore my reusable bag:

jules said...

My neighbors just got a big compost bin. I don't know if I could commit to raking it around every 4 or 5 days for the rest of my life.

BUT...I do unplug all the electronics I am not using (lamps, chargers, coffee makers) and bought "smart" power strips to reduce the pull from my computer and it's components. I also changed my light bulbs to the compact flourescent, I no longer use store bought cleaners only vinegar, amonia and water. I don't use paper towels to dust with or clean, I bought plain towels at the dollar store and can wash them when I'm finished. OH! AND use them on my Clorox clean up mop.
Here's a good one too....I use old socks that no longer have mates for dusting! I just put it over my mit and rinse it when I'm finished!

A Gallon jug filled up with sand and put in your toilet tank will decrease your water use.

I use paper even after you'd think it's all used up. I use both sides, then cut it into quarters and use it for scrap paper.

I am trying to ween myself off bottled water...but that is a tough one! I hate washing my "green" water bottle! But I do take the bottles to the recycle place. :)

Katherine said...

Wow! I'm impressed with all of you! I vow to do better, too! (That rhymed! Take THAT, National Poetry Month!) I also do love the tree poem. I'd better not make this comment long so I can turn off the compy and save some energy... ;)

Jenna said...

Ha! I went back to work and got a bunch of free stuff from the office breakfast, free lunch, free bags, lightbulbs, and ironically, TONS of phamplets and flyers that I am sure most of the recipients just threw away!!! Now THAT'S a holiday! Free Stuff! Happy birthday, Earth!