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Earth Day 2014

May 1, 2014

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The Inyo Register
A Supplement to
Earth Day Celebration at Bishop City Park: Who, what and when
ponsored by the Sunrise Rotary Club of Bishop, the fourth annual Earth Day Celebration at Bishop City Park promises plenty of returning favorites along with many new additions – not the least of which is a brand-new, regionwide talent competition. Festivities get under way at 10 a.m. in the front of the park and continue to 4 p.m., encouraging Eastside residents and visitors to learn about and embrace healthy lifestyles, eco-friendly practices for the home and office, and various local businesses and agencies dedicated to making the Eastern Sierra – and the world – a better place for every living thing. Following is a look at most if not all of the offerings in store for attendees. Event organizer Dee Younger was still receiving interest from potential vendors and entertainers as this publication went Joy Fatooh’s all-woman African percussion ensemble will be back at Earth to press. Day today to inject rhythm and culture into the day’s festivities. • Joy Fatooh’s all-woman African percussion ensemble will be back to inject rhythm and culture into the day’s festivities. • Aside from the performances of this uniquely talented local group, Earth Day 2014 will be offering a cornucopia of entertainment via the first annual “Sierra’s Got Talent” talent show, set to begin at 11 a.m. Acts include soloists and duet partners, a juggler, a poet,
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LIVE ENTERTAINMENT
Photo by Sterling Schat
prints of earth paintings and letterpressprinted paper goods and music CDs • Bishop Waste Disposal • Numu Naturals • Nuts ’n Twigs EcoBoutique’s reusable, organic, environmentally-sustainable products for a healthier home and lifestyle • Jessica Lee Delong of Flow Motion Pilates • Owens Valley Edible Gardens raisedbed garden displays • Praxis Associates and updates on the Digital 395 Project • Recycled Jewelry by Linda Robinson • Solar Energy Designers’ Ron Saenz giving solar photovoltaic system installation training for homeowners. • Vitality Wellness Spa offerings massages and health info, Juice Plus sales and a Tower Garden hydroponic garden machine demo • John Webber free-form woodworking
actors, dancers and maybe a stand-up temporary body art by A Whimsical comic or two. (Sign-ups will be taken Face right up until 11.) VENDORS HAPPENINGS Local businesses and artisans plan• Arts and crafts for all ages ning to have booths where they can • A Recycled Art Competition hosted showcase their eco-friendly products by the City of Bishop Parks and and/or conservation efforts include: Recreation Department for youth ages • Upcycled artwork and jewelry by 8-10. Projects must be made completely Shawna Svacina and Trace Lewis of recycled items with the • Summer Thompson with her handexception of tapes, glues painted silk art and paints that may be • Bishop Creek Farms and its fresh used. The Grand Prize produce, home-delivery subscription serwinner will be awarded a vice and scary-fast, converted-to-electric, basket worth more than vintage Chalmers tractor $250. The winner will also • Kyle and Russ Markman and their get to have their project electrical bicycles and e-bike tours displayed at this year’s • Boundary Peak Pottery’s handTri-County Fair. Sponsors thrown wares for this competition include • Clothes and crochet by Barbara Suddenlink, Wilson’s Pino Eastside Sports, Great • Natural-made soaps from Lisa’s Basin Bakery, Sierra Handmade Soap Conservation and the Tri• Amy’s Rope Rugs, made of recycled County Fair. climbing ropes • Earth to Sky BUHS • Jaspen Corporation, presenting Calculus Club strato- ways to reduce carbon footprint through spheric helium balloon web design launch • Eastern Sierra Conservation Project’s • David Herbst’s creek- business and residential curbside recyside demonstrations of cling service the value of water, eco• Mt. Whitney Hostel and Hotel and system goods and servic- Blue Mouse Handcrafted Skin Care • Ed Cereda’s handcrafted bird houses and protecting water resources es and picture frames • Tree-plantings at the • Gourd Art by Dick and Marilyn Residents of all ages had fun at Earth Day 2013 arboretum with Bishop Buhler visiting the various vendor and educational Sunrise Rotary and Public • Happy Hoods’ anti-bullying smiley booths and displays – including the Sierra Nevada Works shovel-yielding hoodies, which support non-profit youth Bighorn Sheep Foundation’s photo stand-in. personnel organizations Photo by Marilyn Blake Philip • Face painting and • Independent Project Press, featuring
Local organizations and government entities on hand to spread awareness and offer educational material will include: • Bishop Chamber of Commerce • Bishop Dog Park with its Memorial Tree program and other fundraising efforts • Bishop Sunrise Rotary Club community service projects information, Rubber Ducky Derby ticket sales and Earth Day T-shirt sales • Bishop Volunteer Fire Deparment raffle • Buckley Ponds Restoration Project with Dick Noles • Bureau of Land Management • California Broadband Consortium • California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists, who will lead a free Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep field trip, 9 a.m. to early afternoon. Bring food, water, sunscreen, layers, hiking boots and binoculars. Meet at the corner of Church and North Fowler streets. • California Native Plant Society Bristlecone Chapter • Eastern Sierra Wildlife Rescue • First 5 Inyo with early childhood development information • High Sierra Energy Foundation • Inyo County Waste Management • Friends of the Inyo • Owens Valley Committee dealing with DWP on water issues • Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation As he did last year, Younger encourages Earth Day event visitors to walk, bike and carpool when possible; every little bit of love humans can give the earth is appreciated.
AGENCIES AND NON-PROFITS
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arth Day has been around for more than 40 years, and during that time, it has inspired millions of people to increase their awareness of, and their appreciation for, the environment. Since the dawn of the twenty-first century, people increasingly have adopted eco-friendly lifestyles and attitudes, and the continued embrace of environmentally friendly practices and principles has made the struggles of Earth Day pioneers, like former United States Senator Gaylord Nelson, more than worth it. Nowadays, children grow up learning about the environment in school and at home. For example, many households participate in their community’s recycling programs, and such households are raising eco-conscious children, perhaps without even recognizing they’re doing so. While a transition to a more eco-conscious lifestyle might not be seamless, it’s far easier than many might suspect and even easier for kids who have yet to develop a lifetime of habits that might not be so ecofriendly. With Earth Day on the horizon, the following are a few ways parents can get their kids involved in activities or lifestyles that benefit the environment.
Earth Day is a great teaching opportunity for parents E
that weren’t grown with pesticides or harmful chemicals and explain this difference to kids. Shopping locally provides another opportunity for parents to involve food when teaching kids about the environment. Explain to kids that shopping locally reduces reliance on fuel because products don’t need to be shipped, be it through the air or on the ground, to your community, minimizing fuel consumption. the constant reminders kids need when it comes to dental hygiene. But use these daily reminders about brushing and flossing as an opportunity to impart a lesson about the environment. Instead of keeping the faucet running while brushing your teeth, turn the faucet off and encourage kids to do the same. When they ask why, explain that this helps conserve water, and show them how it’s just as easy and effective to clean teeth without the water running as it is when the faucet is on. This teaches kids that conservation is simple and often just requires minimal effort to make a big difference. There are additional lessons about conservation that parents can impart. For instance, when grocery shopping, always make a list before leaving the house and explain to kids that you do this so you don’t have to make two trips to the store and waste the gas that the second trip would require. In addition, encourage kids to turn the lights off when they leave a room to better conserve energy.
Organic foods have grown more and more popular, and parents can use this growing trend to teach their kids about the environment.
Explain to kids why you’re choosing these products, and let them know such products wouldn’t be possible without their own recycling efforts. Another way to help kids realize the value of recycling is to make crafts from recycled products. For instance, make a papier mache globe to celebrate Earth Day by using old newspapers as
your primary material. Such lessons show kids their efforts make an impact and increase the likelihood they’ll continue this eco-friendly lifestyle well into adulthood.
Owens Valley Edible Gardens
Edible Garden Installation & Management
Instead of keeping the faucet running while brushing your teeth, turn the faucet off and encourage kids to do the same.
Teach Conservation Techniques Conservation provides another easy opportunity for parents to instill ecofriendly ideals in their children. Conservation is about reducing waste, so conservation techniques don’t involve sacrifice. Instead, they involve being more responsible when it comes to using our resources. Parents know full well
Address Eating Habits Over the last several years, the opportunities to eat in an eco-friendly manner have increased dramatically. Organic foods have grown more and more popular, and parents can use this growing trend to teach their kids about the environment. When shopping for groceries, choose organic products
Purchase Recycled Products Recycling is a practice that many of today’s kids grew up with, and as a result, many of them might take it for granted, failing to fully realize the positive impact they’re making whenever they recycle. If recycling is as natural to kids as breathing, then it’s no surprise they might not recognize its impact. One way parents can address this issue is to purchase products made from recycled materials. A host of products are made from recycled materials, from the paper you put in the printer to the toys under the tree onChristmas morning.
happy earth day
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Is this the demise of the honeybee?
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relationship with nature goes much further. Honeybees are instrumental in transferring pollen from plant to plant, which helps to foster new life for many agricultural species. In addition to wild flowers and other plants, bees pollinate many of the crops that end up as food on dinner tables across the globe. Bees help pollinate more than 90 commercially grown field crops, citrus and other fruit crops, vegetables and nut crops. Without these insects, crop yields would decrease dramatically, and some foods may cease to exist. Without bees, food production would diminish and the prices of produce would skyrocket. Commercial beekeepers in the United States have reported deaths of tens of thousands of honeybee colonies. Ninety percent of wild bee populations in the United States have disappeared, according to Target Health, Inc. In the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, bee species have declined considerably, and some have even become extinct. Since 2006, millions of honeybees have died off due to a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. CCD refers to the absence of adult honeybees in a colony with few or no adults remaining. Worker bees simply disappear, leaving behind the queen and vulnerable developing young. Bees are not usually known to leave the hive unguarded. While similar disappearances have been documented in the last 100 years, those incidences have grown considerably in recent years. Officials in the United States Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have not been able to determine why the honeybee population has undergone such a steep decline, though some believe that a complex combination of factors, including parasites, lack of genetic diversity, poor nutrition, and pesticides, could be responsible. Examination of dead bees has found residues of more than 100 chemicals, insecticides and pesticides, including some used to control parasites,
ees flitting from one newly sprouted flower to another as they collect pollen is one of the more common sights of the spring. Honeybees are content to buzz between plants for hours. But in recent years the honeybee population has declined c o n s i d e r a b l y, and scientists and environmentalists continue to study and debate why bees seem to be dying out. Although bees are best known for their honey production, their symbiotic
Honeybees pollinate many of the world’s plants. But their numbers are on the decline, and the environmental impact of that decline is significant.
in bee hives. Other factors that come into play involve climate changes that affect wildflower production. Without wildflowers, bees have no sources of food. Rainy, wet or overly dry weather can wreak havoc on the landscape, resulting in fewer flowers and, as a result, a smaller bee population. Scientists are still
studying the situation and working toward a solution to restore the honeybee population. Individuals can do their part by keeping plenty of blooming flowers in their yards and never killing honeybees found on their property. Disturbing an established hive can result in the bees abandoning their work, leading to even greater losses.
Though Earth Day is synonymous with protecting the environment, the holiday can trace its roots to an environmental disaster that occurred in Southern California in 1969. Over a 10-day period that began on January 28, 1969 just six miles off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif., roughly 80,000 to 100,000 barrels of crude oil spilled into the Santa Barbara Channel and onto the beaches of Santa Barbara County. Thousands of birds and marine animals, including dolphins, elephant seals and sea lions, were killed as a result of the spill, which at the time was the largest such spill to ever occur in United States waters (it is now the third-largest spill after the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010 and the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill). Though devastating, the Santa Barbara oil spill proved inspiring to Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, who is today considered the founder of Earth Day. Senator Nelson used the sense of social consciousness that prevailed throughout much of the United States in 1969 and the outrage at the Santa Barbara oil spill to infuse energy into a growing movement to raise awareness about air and water pollution. His risk paid off, as more than 20 million Americans took to the streets on April, 22, 1970 to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. 4 - Earth Day - The Inyo Register - April 19, 2014
Did you know?
Natural causes of air pollution
he air we breathe is very often taken for granted. Harmful pollutants in the atmosphere can pose a significant threat to human health. When air quality is compromised, people, animals and the ecosystem can pay the price. A study from Scottish researchers found that something as simple as jogging near heavily traffic can reduce blood flow to the heart. Air pollution has been shown to reduce lung function in both children and adults and may put children at increased risk for ear infections. While the burning of fossil fuels and other manmade chemicals cause a substantial amount of air pollution, there are natural causes of air contamination as well. Here is a look at some of the more surprising causes of air pollution. • Pine trees: Plants and trees help filter the air and provide clean air. However, research from Neil Donahue, director of Atmospheric Particle Studies at Carnegie Mellon University, determined pine trees can contribute to air pollution. Biogenic particles form in the atmosphere when gas emissions from the pine trees react with airborne chemicals. These biogenic particles can muddy the air. The hydroxyl radicals produced by the trees react with aerosols already in the atmosphere. According to research that replicated what happens in nature, hydroxyl ages the particles in the air, altering their properties and concentrations and producing three times more particulate matter than what was originally released into the atmosphere. These small particles can influence cloud formation and rainfall and affect human health. • Wind erosion: The United States Department of Agriculture says wind erosion works by picking up loose particles of dirt and soil and distributing them
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How open windows benefit the environment
arm days full of sunshine give homeowners good reason to open windows and let fresh air into their homes. Not only can open windows boost mood and create an inviting living space, but open windows also can be good for the environment. • Open windows improve indoor air quality. Indoor air pollution has been described by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as a primary environmental health problem. Indoor air quality can be up to five times worse than outdoor air. In addition, the American College of Allergists states that 50 percent of all illnesses are caused by polluted indoor air. Because many homes are built to be airtight to conserve energy and money, unhealthy levels of air pollutants can build up inside homes when windows remain closed. These pollutants may include radon gas, cigarette smoke, chemical fumes from paints and solvents and leached chemicals from modern building and furnishing materials. Opening windows for extended periods of time allows fresh air to spread throughout the home. Houseplants can also filter indoor air and make it healthier to breathe. • Open windows reduce energy consumption. A cool breeze entering a home through open windows can reduce the temperature inside of a home without having to turn on fans or air conditioners. This not only helps individuals save money, but also it reduces reliance on electricity and fossil fuels. Opening several windows on opposite sides of the home can create a crossbreeze that will keep the home cool without the
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Air pollution can result from natural sources, including pine trees.
through the air. The particles land on surfaces or in water supplies. Dirt particles can be breathed in and cause respiratory problems. Wind erosion may be most prevalent in areas that are drought-prone. • Volcanos: Volcanic eruptions send lots of gas, soot and ash into the air. Sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are just some of the gases pushed into the atmosphere. These materials can be harmful when inhaled, and they can mix with water vapor to produce acid rain. • Radon: Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless radioactive gas. Radon is released into the atmosphere and ground water through evaporation from the Earth’s crust. The Environmental Protection Agency says radon is the second-largest contributor to lung cancer after smoking. • Natural decomposition: Methane is produced when organic material decomposes. The EPA says methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the United States.
Opening windows for extended periods of time allows fresh air to spread throughout the home.
help of energy-guzzling appliances. Open attic vents can release hot air trapped inside the house as well. • Open windows reduce reliance on chemical air fresheners. Fresh air can quickly remove odors from a home. These can include old cooking smells, cigarette smoke, pet odors, or simply stale air. By opening windows, homeowners can clean the air in their homes naturally without covering it up with chemical air fresheners or other cleaners. The fresh air itself may simply smell good, or this pleasant aroma can be enhanced by blooming flowers or other natural scents from outdoors. • Open windows cut down on use of cleaning products. A home that never gets any fresh air can quickly succumb to allergens such as dust, dander and soot, necessitating the use of vacuums and other cleaning tools and products. But open windows can greatly reduce the buildup of such allergens, and therefore reduce reliance on appliances that guzzle energy or products that release harmful chemicals into the air. Open windows allow fresh air to flow throughout a home, improving personal health and benefitting the environment at the same time.
Many environmental problems can be traced to a number of factors. Chemicals can contaminate soil and water, and farmers’ use of pesticides and chemical herbicides to produce more crops is a source of considerable chemical pollution. But according to www.greenbuzz.com, homeowners use 10 times more chemicals per acre than the average farmer. These include the detergents, cleaning products, automotive substances, and other chemicals that are often stored in garages and beneath sinks. Individuals willing to make small changes in regard to the use of such products could make a profound impact on the environment. Concerned consumers should be conscious of which products they purchase and use around the home, selecting ones that have minimal environmental impact. Additionally, many natural substances, such as vinegar, baking soda and borax, are much safer to use than many chemicallybased household products.
Did you know?
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How to go green at the grocery store
hile adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle might seem like a major commitment, many people find such an endeavor is far easier than they initially expected, as some relatively minor modifications here or there can make a substantial impact on the environment. One of the easiest ways to go green is to make more eco-friendly choices at the grocery store. Shopping for and preparing meals can be done in an eco-friendly way, and men and women will be happy to know they’re not only making changes that benefit the planet but their personal health as well. Here are some ideas for going green at the grocery store that do not require a big commitment. • Begin in the produce aisle. When shopping for
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produce, stock up on plenty of organic fruits and vegetables, which are now readily available at many grocery stores. Stick to organic for the “dirty dozen” foods, those which are the most likely to have high levels of residual pesticides and herbicides. Even produce that is not labeled “organic” may be organic. To determine if it is, look at the sticker codes on the fruits and vegetables. A four-digit code means it was conventionally grown, while five-digit codes starting with an eight indicate genetically modified food. A five-digit code starting with nine indicates the item is organic. While shopping, ask the produce manager if the store sells locally grown produce, and purchase only those products when they are available. • Buy only what you need. Shoppers are often
tempted to go from aisle to aisle, buying items they both need and don’t need. Caving in to such temptation can be wasteful unless items purchased have long shelf lives. Before visiting the store, make a shopping list and stick with it. Not only will you save money, but you will avoid throwing out spoiled foods as well. * Purchase store-made items. If you’re looking for deli meats or bread for dinner, visit the stores’ bakeries, kitchens and delis, where employees cook foods right inside of the supermarket, a practice that cuts down on shipping of pre-made frozen foods produced elsewhere. Many stores carry their own homemade breads, cakes, doughnuts, dinner entrees, and sandwiches. • Ask questions in the meat department. Don’t be shy about asking store
Eco-friendly shoppers can focus on organic items, including produce, to decrease their carbon footprints.
butchers where the beef and chicken for sale comes from. If the meat and poultry is not locally raised and all-natural, look for alternatives in the store or shop elsewhere. • Shop only the perimeter of the store. Many stores stock dietary staples along the outer edges of the store. The interior bulk of the store contains packaged, processed foods that are not as eco-friendly. • Buy in bulk whenever possible. Stock up on staples like toilet paper and other items. Bulk items are packaged together, which reduces the amount of packaging needed. Separate meat and poultry into smaller portion sizes at home before freezing.
• Bring reusable tote bags. Even though many plastic shopping bags are made from recycled materials, many of these bags end up in the trash after use. Reusable cloth bags are more eco-friendly. Just be sure to wash them frequently so you clean them of any bacteria that may accumulate over time.
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How to be an eco-conscious pet owner
wning a pet is often a rewarding responsibility. Pets make for loyal friends, and for every late night walk in the cold pet owners must endure, their pets repay those gestures in spades. While the greatest responsibility pet owners have to their pets is to ensure their furry friends live as comfortable and healthy a life as possible, pet owners also have a responsibility to the planet. Eco-conscious pet ownership can have a positive and substantial impact on the environment, and the following are a few simple ways for pet owners to care for their pets and protect the planet at the same time. • Say so long to plastic bags. Picking up pet waste is arguably the worst part of owning a pet, and some pet owners simply want to pick up the waste without giving it a second thought. But how pet owners pick up their pets’ waste can impact
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Simple ways to go green in the kitchen
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in a way that also benefits the environment. Foodies, for example, can take a look around their kitchens to find ways where their love of cooking and food can be joined together with their desires to be more eco-friendly. The following are just a few ways to go green in the kitchen. • Banish bottled water in favor of filters. Bottled water can be very wasteful, even when bottles are made from recycled materials. Energy is necessary to produce, ship and dispose of plastic water bottles. But bottled water can be easily replaced with water filters, which filter contaminants, such as lead, from tap water to create a refreshing beverage that’s readily available at any home connected to a water supply. Water-filtering pitchers are inexpensive, which cannot always be said about bottled water that needs to be periodically restocked. Faucet-mounted filters can be directly attached to the faucet to make the process of filtering water that much easier. • Reconsider how you store leftovers. Many people store their leftovers in plastic containers. While such containers might seem convenient, even ones made from recycled plastic are not necessarily as eco-friendly as consumers may think. That’s because plastic containers are made from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource. Instead, ecoconscious foodies can opt for glass or ceramic containers rather than the more popular plastic alternatives. • Feed your lawn after you feed yourself. Many people don’t like to throw away food, but it’s not just leftovers that can be repurposed. Coffee grounds and eggshells can be put to use in the garden. You can add them to the compost pile in your yard, where items you would otherwise discard can help enrich the soil, making for healthier lawns and gardens. • Fire up the dishwasher only when it’s full. Dishwashers are typically more eco-friendly than washing dishes by hand, but only when the men and women loading those dishwashers refrain from running them until they are entirely full. Once the dishwasher is full, choose an efficient setting and let the dishes air dry rather overnight instead of drying them with heat. If you need the dishes for hosting duties, dry them by hand with a towel instead of drying with heat. • Rely on smaller appliances. Many home cooks rely on large appliances when working in the kitchen. But unless you’re cooking for a big
the environment. Using plastic grocery bags leftover from trips to the store is bad for the planet, as research has shown that such bags can take as long as 1,000 years to degrade. That means that plastic bag full of pet waste might still be around come the dawn of the next millenium. Instead of using plastic bags to pick up their pets’ waste, pet owners can use biodegradable waste bags made from materials other than plastic. Such bags might not make the task of picking up pet waste more enjoyable, but they are certainly more ecofriendly, taking far less time to degrade than plastic bags. • Embrace organic pet foods. Pet foods have evolved considerably over the last several decades, and pet owners now have more healthy options at their disposal. Organic pet foods make for healthier alternatives for pets, eliminating the buildup of residues of chemical
additives, pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides in pets. Such residues have been shown to have an adverse effect on pet
antioxidants than nonorganic alternatives, adding to the nutritional value of organic pet foods. Organic pet foods also are produced without the use of conventional pesticides or artificial fertilizers, benefitting the planet as a result. Before altering their pets’ diets, pet owners should consult their veterinarian for advice and tips on how to make the transition from traditional foods to organic alternatives as smooth as possible. • Look for products made from recycled materials. More and more pet products are being made from recycled materials, and pet owners can encourage manufacturers to keep that trend going strong by purchasing such products whenever the opportunity to do so presents itself. Leashes, bowls, toys, and scratching posts for cats are just a few of the many pet products made from Many pet products, including leashes, are made recycled materials. Before from eco-friendly recycled materials. buying pet products, pet
health. In addition, a study funded by the European Union found that organic fruits and vegetables have up to 40 percent more
owners should read labels to determine if a given product is made from recycled materials. • Clean green. Like their human counterparts, pets need to bathe. While they might not bathe every day like their owners, pets such as cats and dogs need to be shampooed and cleaned every so often. When buying cleaning products, pet owners should look for nontoxic products. Many traditional pet shampoos or pet beauty products are laced with chemicals, and such ingredients can have an adverse effect on pet health while also harming the environment. Nontoxic grooming products can still give pets’ coats a beautiful shine, but they do so without taking a toll on the planet or the animal’s health. Pet ownership is a significant responsibility, and pet owners should recognize that part of that responsibility involves caring for their pets in an eco-friendly way.
dopting an ecofriendly lifestyle is a great way to protect the planet for future generations. As the “go green” movement continues to grow in popularity, men and women are realizing more and more ways to reduce their carbon footprints. While some might still associate making green strides with carpooling and changing light bulbs, those are not the only ways men and women who want to be more ecofriendly can accomplish their goals. One method to find new ways to be more environmentally friendly is to examine a favorite hobby and think of ways to enjoy that hobby
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group, use smaller, more efficient appliances to save energy. For example, when cooking for one or two, use a toaster oven instead of a stove. The toaster oven won’t use the same amount of power as the stove, and the smaller appliance may even cook the food faster. In addition, when heating water for tea, hot chocolate or coffee, use an electric kettle to heat water instead of the oven cooktop. The smaller appliance is more efficient and won’t consume as much energy. Those who spend ample time in the kitchen have myriad opportunities to make that time more eco-friendly and efficient.
co-friendly lifestyles aren’t just for adults. Encouraging kids to go green at a young age can set them up for a lifetime of making decisions with the environment in mind. The following are just a few ways parents can impart a sense of responsibility to the environment on their youngsters. • Lead by example. Many kids try to mimic their parents’ behaviors, and moms and dads can take advantage of that by making sure kids see them as they recycle, conserve water or make other eco-conscious choices. If kids want to know why you’re separating trash or opting for tap water over bottled water, explain to them the positive impact that such behaviors can have on the health of the planet.
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• Encourage ecofriendly hobbies. Today’s youngsters have a host of technology at their disposal, and parents know full well that such access can be both good and bad. While technology can enhance learning in the classroom and beyond, gaming systems and other electronic devices have made it easy for kids to forgo outdoor activities in favor of more sedentary hobbies. Many medical researchers believe that such hobbies are contributing to higher rates of childhood obesity. But they also can harm the environment. Gaming systems, whether played on televisions, computers or handheld devices, use a substantial amount of energy. Parents who encourage more ecofriendly activities, such as reading or playing outside, can get the best of both worlds, as kids will be getting out and about and embracing activities that don’t harm the planet. • Ride bicycles more often. Reducing fuel consumption is one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint, and even though kids can’t drive, that doesn’t mean they can’t pitch in to conserve fuel. Children who attend school close to home can ride their bikes rather than taking the bus or hitching a ride with mom or dad. Explain to youngsters the impact that such a choice can have on the environment, and ride bikes with your kids whenever possible, be it on trips to the park or to visit friends and family members. Many kids love to ride their bikes, and they might like it even more if they understand the positive impact that such a hobby is having on their
planet. • Teach kids to reuse products. Waste is a significant environmental issue, but reusing products is a great way to cut back on waste. Items that would once be tossed into the trash after serving their purpose can be repurposed when tackling projects around the house, and kids can get in on the act, too. Rather than purchasing store-bought decorations for holidays like Halloween or Chanukah and Christmas, reuse old products to craft homemade decorations. Birthday gifts or items exchanged during the holidays can be wrapped in old newspaper instead of store-bought wrapping paper. Many products that would otherwise be discarded can be reused, and kids might enjoy finding new Many kids love to ride their bikes, and they might ways to make use of old like it even more if they understand the positive items. impact that such a hobby is having on their planet.
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Eco-friendly lawn care can be easy
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spread around the lawn to promote healthy soil. The pH level of the soil should also be checked to ensure the lawn can fully absorb nutrients. Speak with a local lawn care professional to determine what a healthy pH level is for soil in your area. • Choose a grass that can thrive in your climate. Though you might prefer the look of a certain grass, choosing a grass based entirely on appearance is a mistake that could cost you money and prove harmful to the environment. When installing a new lawn, opt for one that’s suitable to the local climate. Installing a lawn that needs substantial amounts of water in a region known for drought can rob the lawn of its aesthetic appeal and will cost homeowners a substantial amount of money to maintain. If an existing lawn struggles to stay green regardless of your best efforts, then consider replacing it with a new type of grass that might be more suited to the local climate. • Don’t cut too low when mowing. Homeowners who don’t enjoy mowing their lawn might be tempted to simply cut the grass as low as possible to extend the intervals between cuts. But the United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends that grass never be cut more than one-third of the height of the grass blades. Longer grass can take in more sunlight, allowing it to grow in thicker and develop a deeper root system.That deep root system can help a lawn survive drought and prevent disease, two
omeowners know that a healthy lawn can add considerable curb appeal to a property while giving residents of the home a place to relax and enjoy the great outdoors. But few might know that a healthy lawn can also benefit the environment, especially when homeowners take a proactive approach to lawn care that emphasizes eco-friendly techniques. A proactive approach to lawn care can prevent certain problems, including disease, insect infestation and weed growth. When such problems arise, many homeowners opt to combat them with pesticides, which can harm the environment. But a proactive approach to lawn care can reduce the likelihood of developing such problems and protect the planet at the same time. • Emphasize healthy soil. Healthy soil promotes strong roots, which leads to a more robust, lush and aesthetically appealing lawn. While a lawn needs to be fertilized in the spring and at various points throughout the summer, it’s important that homeowners avoid overfertilization, which can create thatch that, when allowed to thicken, will prevent nutrients from penetrating the soil. Lawns need more nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium than soil can typically provide, so fertilizing throughout the warm weather seasons and into early fall can promote a healthy lawn. But choose a slowrelease fertilizer so it gradually feeds the lawn. Compost and grass clippings can also be
potentially costly problems that often force homeowners to embrace solutions that are not eco-friendly. Ideal lawn height depends on the type of grass, so consult a lawn care professional to ensure you are cutting your grass to a healthy length. • Avoid overwatering. Excessive watering not only wastes water, which is not very eco-friendly, but also hurts the lawn when dry periods inevitably arrive. That’s because shallow and frequent watering encourages roots to stay near the surface, so when dry periods arrive, the roots struggle to find water. The EPA notes that an established lawn should not need daily watering. Instead, watering responsibly when the lawn needs water and when evaporation can be kept to a minimum, can strengthen a lawn and do so in an eco-friendly Lawns should be mowed at an appropriate height so they can develop a way. deep root system.
Did you know?
Watering a lawn can do more harm than good if the lawn is not watered correctly. Excessive watering is a waste of water and can cost homeowners money while harming the environment at the same time. Water that is not absorbed by the lawn can result in runoff, which causes nitrogen in the grass, any fertilizer that was applied and chemicals in the water itself to run into gutters and eventually pollute streams, rivers and oceans. In addition, grass needs oxygen in the soil to grow properly. But when a lawn is overwatered, the oxygen between the soil particles is pushed out, depriving roots of the oxygen they need to grow in strong. This leads to shallow root systems, which make a lawn more susceptible to stress, disease and insect infestation. But overwatering can also be unsightly, as lawns that are overwatered tend to have more weeds, robbing even the greenest of lawns of its aesthetic appeal.
10 - Earth Day - The Inyo Register - April 19, 2014
How to reduce home improvement project waste
he home improvement industry has grown considerably over the last several decades, as homeowners increasingly took steps to turn their homes into personal oases. But such projects often produce substantial amounts of waste, negatively impacting the environment as a result. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 170 million tons of building construction, renovation and demolition-derived wastes were generated in 2003, a year when the housing market was thriving and homeowners were not shying away from costly home improvement projects. With the housing market once again on the rebound, the home improvement industry figures to benefit once again. There are steps eco-conscious homeowners can take to reduce waste while improving their homes. • Save salvageable materials. Some materials simply must be discarded when making improvements to a home. But many more materials can be salvaged. When making renovations to a home, separate materials like lumber, hardware, fixtures, and even appliances that can be salvaged from those materials that must be discarded. Many communities are home to organizations that collect salvageable materials, and these materials can be reused by fellow homeowners or other organizations down the road. • Speak to contractors about recycling. Contractors working on a home typically know which materials can be recycled in a given area. When discussing prospective projects with contractors, homeown-
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Building and maintenance projects can apply for LEED certification, which means they met certain standards for environmental sustainability.
mbracing an ecofriendly lifestyle is more than just recycling cans and newspapers or campaigning for endangered species. Smart environmental living also extends to our homes and offices. In recognition of that, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design system, often referred to as “LEED,” was established to exemplify green building, maintenance and operation in offices, homes and neighborhoods. LEED is essentially a rating system for the building and maintenance industry. Established by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED has become an internationally recognized mark of excellence. According to the USGBC, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions. Since the system was created in 1998, LEED ratings standards have been applied to more than 7,000 projects in the United States, as well as 30 additional countries,
What is LEED?
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and more than a billion square feet of developed area has been LEED classified. Various parameters must be met before a building can receive LEED certification. LEED requires a set of prerequisites and credits. Prerequisites include required elements or strategies that must be included in all LEEDcertified projects. Credits are extra incentives that can be included in projects to work toward LEED certification. The ratings system generally uses a numeric scale of 110 points for buildings, while LEED for Homes has a scale based on 131 points. Credits are allocated based on the environmental impacts and human benefits of the buildings and operations. Projects can receive basic certification between 40 to 49 points, and Platinum status is reached at 80plus points. LEED v4 is the next incarnation of the rating system and will focus even more on increasing the lengths to which projects go to employ green goals. While the rating system was developed through an open, consensusbased process that involved USGBC volunteers and working groups, third parties are
responsible for verifying that a building, home or community was created using strategies aimed at high performance in environmental health. These include, but are not limited to, water savings, energy e f f i c i e n c y, sustainable site development, and indoor environmental quality. USGBC says LEED is flexible enough to apply to all project types. LEED is also internationally known and accepted, and in 2003 the Canada Green Building Council received permission to create LEED Canada-NC v1.0. Examples of LEEDcertified structures include the Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Penn., which has multiple LEED certifications, including the world’s only PlatinumCertified greenhouse. Shearer’s Foods plant in Ohio is the first food manufacturing plant to receive LEED Platinum status. Since 2011, Taipei 101 has been the tallest and largest green LEED Platinum-certified building in the world. Individuals can visit www.usgbc.org and search the USGBC directory of more than 64,000 registered and certified LEED projects to see how each achieved their certification.
There are steps ecoconscious homeowners can take to reduce waste while improving their homes.
ers can mention their willingness to recycle materials. Wood is a versatile material that can be turned into reclaimed or composite wood products, including decks or other items used around the home. Old wood being removed from a home may even work as mulch, which homeowners can spread around their yards to add aesthetic appeal and protect plants on hot summer days. Even asphalt and concrete can be recycled into new products, and homeowners should discuss their wishes to recycle as many materials as possible. • Choose recycled content building materials. Another way to reduce home improvement project waste is to make use of other homeowners’ discarded materials. Recycled content building materials are products that include materials recycled from previous projects. These once-sparse materials are now commonplace, and labels often include the percentages of postconsumer and recovered materials used in each product. Materials such as drywall, insulation, kitchen countertops, glass tiles, carpet-
ing and carpet padding may include recycled content, and the growing popularity of such products has made them relatively simple for homeowners to find. When working with contractors, homeowners should emphasize their desire to use materials made from recycled content. Such materials are both pleasing to the eye and the environment. • Embrace adaptability when designing a new home. Rarely do homeowners design their homes with renovations in mind. When building a dream home, homeowners do not consider the likelihood that they will one day move out or even outgrow the home. Estimates vary considerably with regard to how long the average homeowner stays in his home, with some suggesting as little as seven years. While data collected from the United States Census Bureau within the last decade suggests that roughly half of all homeowners had lived in their homes for at least 10 years. Homeowners building new homes should expect to one day move, and ensuring their new homes are easily adaptable is both financially sound and eco-friendly. When a home is built with adaptability in mind, prospective buyers won’t have to make costly overhauls. In addition, homes built to facilitate future renovations won’t produce the same amount of waste as homes that are less easily adapted. Many homeowners embrace home improvement projects as opportunities to turn their homes into private sanctuaries. But those who do so with the environment in mind can significantly reduce waste and still end up living in luxury.
The Inyo Register - April 19, 2014 - Earth Day - 11
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