Saturday, December 11, 2010
Designing our holidays to be eco-friendly is not a restrictive guideline, but rather, gives us a chance to open up our creativity channel and let the ideas flow.
Eco-thinking our holiday regime offers us an opportunity to share a deeper level of appreciation for our friends, family and other living things.
So, how do we create eco-friendly, eco-living holiday delight? By understanding what questions to ask and learning what to look for in making choices.
Instead of ringing in the environmental disaster we now create throughout our holiday season, we need to rethink how to create delight.
Your Decorating Fashion: Things to consider before buy
Here are some questions I always encourage people to think about before they buy anything. Decorating for an eco friendly holidays is a good place to start.
Where 'stuff' comes from? How is it made? Where does it go when we’re done with it?
Do we cut down mountains, forests or dig deep into the earth for the resource? Do we make a lot of pollution manufacturing the product? Does it go to landfill and take thousands of years to decompose, if at all? Does it pollute our air and waterways?
Just as businesses have life cycles, materials and products have life cycles. For instance, in business, there’s the introduction stage, the growth stage, the maturity stage and the decline stage.
For materials and products, the introduction stage would be getting the raw materials or natural resources. The growth stage would be the manufacturing or processing of these materials. The growth stage could be the distribution. The maturity stage could be the use and repair of these materials. And, finally, the disposal would be the decline stage.
We can ask these questions of our retailer or supplier. They often know or they often offer to find out and are willing to get back to you as part of their customer service.
If we just ask those questions and evaluate what we are buying, we can make an enormous impact on the environment, on our wallet, on the amount of stuff in our garages.
Cradle to Cradle
Cradle to Cradle, often referred to as C2C, promotes designing things in such a way that we don’t have to manage waste. Before Cradle to Cradle, we manufactured materials on a one-way path: from producer to consumer to landfill.
Currently, our systems intervene in this process but what we end up doing is making less bad materials and slowing down the process of these things going into landfill.
Cradle to Cradle is a design manifesto to create materials that actually become nutrients themselves to the earth, and therefore, there is not waste.
Materials would cycle through either a biological metabolism or a technical metabolism.
The biological cycle would support the earth, i.e., growth, decay and rebirth. There would be no waste. Waste would equal food or nourishment for the earth.
The technical cycle is a closed-loop system where the high-tech ingredients would continuously circulate, i.e., production, recovery, reuse.
This idea totally changes how we look at things.
William McDonough says, and I’m quoting, “Instead of asking, “How do I meet today’s environmental standards, designers are asking “How might I create more habitat, more health, more clean water, more prosperity, more delight?”
For Eco Friendly Holiday Decorating Tips, check out my BlogTalkRadio interview. You will enjoy listening to it because we had a great time doing it!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
This green school kit comes from the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council) and has put forward the notion that healthy, high-performing schools mean healthy, high-performing kids. While this may be a no brainer to you and me, some have yet to receive the memo.
I remember seeing a documentary about the state of schools where it compared schools to prisons. One image stands out above the others.
Buckets were strategically placed on the floor to catch the rain leaking through the roofs of the school and into the classrooms. Prisons were state of the art and narry a bucket in sight. Seems like we may be in desparate need for such things as the 50 for 50 Green School Caucus Initiative.
This school is catching rain but in a way that is instructive and sustainable. Watch this video now.
Schools are beginning to realize that greening their school can save them enough money to hire more teachers. The school kit provides a menu of options, as well as, advancing green school agendas.
In addition to boosting the district’s bottom line, green schools have also been able to show higher test scores and cheer up the staff.
See some green schools in action.