Monthly Archives: February 2007

Disposal of Fluourescent Bulbs

I’ve been considering going to compact fluorescent bulbs for a while, but the disposal issue has bothered me for a while. They have mercury in them, so they are more hazardous to just throw out. But I didn’t know how to handle it.

But there’s a story on one of my local news station’s website about how we’re supposed to handle them. I actually hadn’t been aware that in San Diego it is against the law to throw out fluorescent bulbs. For city residents, the landfill has a hazardous material disposal site where you can make a Saturday appointment to get rid of your bulbs.

But I’m not within San Diego limits. Fortunately, it turns out that Ikea does fluorescent bulb recycling too. Now this is not exactly convenient to me, as they’re at least a half hour drive away if traffic is good. But I certainly like that they offer this service.

I’d love to see other retail stores offer this kind of service. Walmart, Target and Home Depot immediately come to mind as places that sell the bulbs. Be very handy if they helped with the disposal too. Continue reading →

Looks Like a Job for Al Gore!

After all, he’s the problem in this case. I’ve read on a number of blogs now about the report released that included information on his energy consumption, which is higher every month than most people use in an entire year. Even if it is mostly green, that’s a lot of energy use.

I read that a part of the excuse is that he works at home. So do I, but I still can’t imagine what could be causing such an absurd amount of energy usage. It sounds to me like he needs to learn how to cut back.

Al Gore is a major figure within the environmental world. If he can’t do better, how much reason is he giving other people to sacrifice and live more environmentally friendly lifestyles? Sure he has plenty of money, but that’s no excuse to not set a good example.

I am glad to read that he is installing solar panels and taking steps to do better, but what took so long? Even with how long it can take to get permits and solar panels, I would think he could have done this sooner. Continue reading →

Is Organic Cotton at Risk?

Reading this article about a deal between biotech giant Monsanto agreed to purchase Delta and Pine Land Company strikes me as a warning for all kinds of problems for organic crop production in years to come, not just cotton.

The basic risk to cotton with this merger is the increased chance that genetically modified crops will mix with regular cottonseeds. Now I understand the premise of genetically modifying crops, but I can’t help but wonder if we really understand all the risks.

Then there’s this charming quote from the article:

In response to industry concern, company officials have pledged not to introduce Terminator seeds, but say they reserve the right to reconsider.

Terminator seeds are ones which die after one season, so farmers cannot save seeds for the next year’s use. They have to buy all over again. Continue reading →

Travel and Climate Change

I love to travel. Most people do. Seeing new people or people you love, travelling to someplace other than home is just a lot of fun.

Unfortunately it’s not all that environmentally friendly. Travel can produce a lot of carbon.

I’m not against all travel. Taking a trip to a new place means seeing new things and maybe learning about a different way of life, if you travel to someplace not like where you live. It helps keep us connected to the rest of the world and to realize why living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle is important.

There are ways to make your traveling plans more environmentally friendly. It won’t work for every trip, but you do what you can. Consider traveling by train. If that won’t work, consider buying carbon offsets. Expedia has partnered with TerraPass to make it easier for you to buy carbon offsets to match your travel. It’s not perfect, as offsetting is still in its infancy, but it’s certainly better than nothing. Continue reading →

So Hard to be Green Sometimes

Just figuring out how to be green is tough a lot of the time. I read a story a week or two back about how scientists are realizing a lot of biofuels aren’t so environmentally friendly as they thought. Turns out the production techniques cause more environmental issues than the use of the fuels solves.

A lot of trying to live green is like that. You think you’re doing something right and it turns out to not be as good as you thought. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are more efficient and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, but they aren’t so good in terms of what’s inside them. How should we handle that waste? Which one is really better? I’m still not 100% certain.

Other things work a bit better. Organic gardening done right is very good. Buying organic produce can be good, but where did it come from? If it’s not local you aren’t being as environmentally friendly as you thought.

Living a greener lifestyle definitely means educating yourself constantly. Sometimes you think you have the answer and it turns out that the implementation is more harmful than doing things the old way. It’s a tough problem, and you can’t always spot these things up front.

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