relax

Author Topic: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living  (Read 46128 times)

Offline enigmacat

  • Governor
  • ***********
  • Posts: 3817
  • Gender: Female
  • I am not a minion of evil. I am upper management.
Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« on: February 10, 2007, 03:36:34 PM »
This is something I've become more and more interested in. I've started thinking about ways I can live more frugaly/simply, reduce the amount of trash I produce, and improve my environmental impact. I thought I'd see if others are interested in dialogue.

The Twin Cities Green Guide

Green Map "global eco-cultural movement, energized by local knowledge, action and responsibility."

Green Apple Map

Ethical Consumer UK magazine that publishes information on various companies and products.

http://ethicalconsumerism.tribe.net/

How To Compost

Simplicity

Simple Living

Offline enigmacat

  • Governor
  • ***********
  • Posts: 3817
  • Gender: Female
  • I am not a minion of evil. I am upper management.
Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2007, 05:51:23 PM »
Warning To Humanity "Some 1,700 of the world's leading scientists, including the majority of Nobel laureates in the sciences, issued this appeal in November 1992. The World Scientists' Warning to Humanity was written and spearheaded by the late Henry Kendall, former chair of UCS's board of directors."

mc

  • Guest
Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2007, 10:13:26 PM »
Along the lines of this topic (and I hope I'm not getting off-topic), does anyone know how/where I can recycle used plastic shopping bags?  Can they go out with the rest of the recycling?  It's not like we have that many, but I'd like to recycle what we do have rather than throw them out with the trash.

Offline enigmacat

  • Governor
  • ***********
  • Posts: 3817
  • Gender: Female
  • I am not a minion of evil. I am upper management.
Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2007, 10:29:42 PM »
I don't think you can recycle them, though I could be wrong.

I reuse mine to line wastebins.

Cabanird once crocheted a tote bag out of them.

The other thing is to take a backpack when you do your grocery shopping and ask them not to bag anything except meat.


Offline jayme

  • Senator
  • ********
  • Posts: 1416
  • friends of mine
Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2007, 10:42:54 PM »
When the CSA gets going again, you can donate them.  We really appreciate it!
These are pigs.
See francis's friends for kitties.

Offline Christine

  • Governor
  • ***********
  • Posts: 2223
Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2007, 01:07:20 AM »
oh yeah, I'm all about the plastic-bag reuse! I try to keep one in my purse and use what we have stored at home for the small wastebaskets. When I go for a lot of grocery shopping, I bring the "granny bag" (you know, the plastic thing that fits in the granny cart.) I'm amazed how much you can cram in there!! It's like a clown car, honestly.

Don't forget to get a sturdy, cheap bike for around town and even commuting  :wink:

Other than that, I'm afraid I'm not very "green" at all. Getting any kind of food delivered or take-out, especially Chinese food for some reason- it's an enormous amount of garbage. Ditto my coffee everyday- the thought of keeping a mug at work skeeves me out (hard to wash properly in a public bathroom facility.)

Organic food is expensive, so I have to pick and choose which ones to go with. But I rarely eat meat so that helps cut back on the pollution and waste of slaughterhouses.

It's not easy being green  :roll:
"Apparently these are the best women Queens has to offer. Now pick one and let's go home."

Offline Melee

  • Citizen
  • ***
  • Posts: 111
  • Gender: Female
Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2007, 03:44:52 AM »
Bah - I beg to differ. To start with - by living in NYC one is already MUCH more efficient than the average suburbanite. If you don't drive everywhere, you're also already winning. If you dont' drive at all, or use a car, except for the occasional taxi, so much the better. Some other basic things you can do:

- Buy compact flourescent lighbulbs for your lights. This is simple, will save you money, and cut down your energy useage HUGELY. Importantly, as a chick living on her own, for me this also means changing lightbulbs NEVER as these things last for 9 YEARS! Seriously. Home Depot had 6 for something like <$10 when I got mine in September - I did the whole apartment for less than $30, and its awesome!!

- Try to cut down on plastic bag usage, as you mention. Use a backpack, get things delivered in boxes, refuse bags when you can. Reuse as much as possible, recycle in normal recycling - so far they've taken mine just fine.

- Buy locally produced food. Home delivered grocery shopping cuts down on greenhouse emissions hugely, when compared to everyone driving individually to the supermarket. However, buying locally produced food, providing one buys in season, also reduces the amount of greenouse gases used to produce said food. This requires some smart thinking - it has been shown that buying locally grown rice in California, for example, costs more in terms of greenhouse emissions than buying Bangladeshi grown rice in California would. Rember too that water is a precious resource. In a nutshell, eat seasonally and locally - this is why a CSA is such a good idea, provided the farmer isn't running greenhouses that are heated etc. Essentially, if you're eating a ripe tomato in New York in winter, you're doing the wrong thing, in this world view. Can your fruit, eat peaches and mangos that are preserved (in winter), use the old fashioned ways to get around the cold - forget expensive importing.

- Use public transportation

- If you own, move towards green roofs and solar heating

- Even if you don't own, pressure your landlord for green roofs, and change your electricity supplier to ConEd Solutions, who do supply green energy (wind mostly) to NYC homes.

- Do not buy factory farmed meat. Avoid non-organic produce of any kind where possible. All these types of agriculture are harmful to the environment and require socio-economic practices that are also questionable. Never eat non-free range eggs, chickens or pork. Always aim for grass- fed beef.

I'm sure I'll think of more. But those are simple things I'm doing that I think are easy to incorporate into everyone's lives. Sure, there are days/months one cant' afford organic everything, but whatever effort you do make, makes at least that little bit of difference. Something is always better than nothing!

Offline jayme

  • Senator
  • ********
  • Posts: 1416
  • friends of mine
Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2007, 06:10:57 AM »
Also buy for the longterm.

This is lesson I'm working on learning as short term solutions are so appealing -- but when you are buying "disposable consumer goods" (my words) like electronics, clothes, housewears -- buy quality items that will last multiple seasons/years.  Buying good quality increases the life of the product and means less waste.

And if you buy it -- use it.  Eat your veggies rather than letting them rot in the fridge (I know I'm guilty).

*Know* where it comes from.  Clothes, consumer goods, food.  Think about the materials, the craftsmanship, the pesticides and make an educated buying decision.

Compost!  I don't yet know how indoors but it's on my project list.

Turn things off.  Lights, fans, cable boxes.  Find "wall warts" (chargers plugged into the wall drawing power after item is charged) and unplug them.

Eat at home.  Or if you're not eating at home, reject the wrappings.  NYC loves the packaging.  A coffee (or a bagel) with a wad of napkins in a paper bag every morning is a little excessive.  Just say "no bag please".

Wash and properly sort your recycling.

These are pigs.
See francis's friends for kitties.

Offline jayme

  • Senator
  • ********
  • Posts: 1416
  • friends of mine
Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2007, 06:12:57 AM »
Oh.  And kill your television.   :-D
These are pigs.
See francis's friends for kitties.

Offline megc

  • President
  • **************
  • Posts: 6167
  • Sea turtles need our help.
    • Harmonious Belly
Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2007, 07:46:16 AM »
When the CSA gets going again, you can donate them.  We really appreciate it!

And I'll put a reminder in the newsletter about this.  I think our cry for bags was quite successful last season.

I used my plastic bags as trash bags around the house:  kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.  Works great (we used big Hefty bags when I lived on LI).  And recycles the bags with no purchasing of big plastic bags anymore.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2007, 07:53:27 AM by megc »

Offline megc

  • President
  • **************
  • Posts: 6167
  • Sea turtles need our help.
    • Harmonious Belly
Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2007, 07:50:44 AM »
Home delivered grocery shopping cuts down on greenhouse emissions hugely, when compared to everyone driving individually to the supermarket.

Can I ask:  what is up with the packaging with Fresh Direct??  My housemate gets FD every couple weeks and we are always apalled at how they over-package things.  Last night she got a medium sized box that had only one thing in it:  a small bag of dried cherries.  Crazy.

Offline daisy

  • President
  • **************
  • Posts: 5714
  • Gender: Female
Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2007, 08:09:22 AM »
Can I ask a question about these flourescent light bulbs?  Do they blink and flash like the ones in office buildings do?  I'm an artist and most of the time we shut these lights off, and either work in the dark or with a regular lamp, because of the kind of light they emit.  The constant blinking which you can't normally detect but your eye does, in addition to the constant blinking of the computer, messes with your eye - which is a big reason you don't blink as much when you're on the computer and why you end up with dry red eyes.  The lights also isn't great for judging artwork color by.  And it's so harsh too.  And your skin looks so bad in that kind of light.   :-P

Have they started making flourescent bulbs that are more like sunlight?  That would be much better.

Offline wasabisam

  • Senator
  • ********
  • Posts: 1097
  • Gender: Female
  • Missing Astoria
Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2007, 08:37:56 AM »
Over time I have gotten a lot more involved and interested in green living so this is a really great topic IMHO.

We got a compost bin nearly a year ago and have been composting ever since. It is really great because we're able to turn around and use it in our garden, which means healthier and more diverse soil and less waste overall.

Yes - you read that right - we have a garden. I'll call it an urban garden. We do container gardening since we don't have any sort of dirt other than store-bought and homemade. We try to grow our own tomatoes to save money (and food miles) over the summer. Tomatoes are almost always the most expensive thing that we buy, and additionally it is very likely that they are not grown near NYC, so this is a great one. We also try to grow other things like herbs. We love doing it, so it is rewarding in so many different ways.

I try to buy most of my clothes at the thrift store. As a general rule I hate paying full price for something when in a regular store, so this is even better. I have gotten a lot of good quality clothes, too, (my best jeans come from the thrift store) and I usually leave the store having only spent $20 or $30 for clothes that would have originally amounted to more than $100 - $200. Additionally, I turn around and donate clothes to the thrift store. I think it is a great way to save on material waste. There are some things that I have a hard time buying at thrift stores - underwear and shoes. I will pay full price for a good pair of shoes, and I'm happy to buy underwear on sale as long as it didn't have a previous owner.

I do generally try to get a lot of organic food products, but don't always. One thing I struggle with in my own mind is the "organic but not sustainable" thing. There are some really great organic products that are from California, for instance, yet the amount of pollution it took for those products to get to NYC kind of cancels out the organic benefit. It is rather ironic that a product that wasn't made with pesticides harms the environment anyway just because of the vast amount of distance it travels. This is one reason why I love CSAs - you're supporting food that was grown near you. Great benefit to the farm(er), great benefit to you (organic/local), and great benefit to the environment (CO2 emissions are much lower).

Great thread! :mrgreen: It's giving me extra ideas!
Chief Wiggum: Uh, no, you got the wrong number. This is 9-1... 2.
My vegan recipes blog

mc

  • Guest
Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2007, 11:20:45 AM »
We do a couple of things that are probably as good for the environment as for saving money:

Instead of using paper towels, we bought a whole bunch of white cloth dishtowels and use those for clean-up instead.  Every other week or so, we wash a load of them with bleach.

I have a reusable cloth sack for carrying my lunch from home.  I wrap my sandwich in foil and recycle after several uses.  In general, we try to recycle and re-use as much as we can.  I refill my water bottle and recycle only after it gets too gross to continue to use.  Old clothes get used for workout gear, rags, etc. if too ratty to be donated to the Salvation Army.  Old toothbrushes and sponges are saved for cleaning.

We buy large size containers of cooking oil, dishwashing liquid and laundry detergent and refill smaller, easier to handle containers.  All cleaning solvents are biodegradable and organic.

I'd love to get into the habit of turning off power strips when leaving the apartment, but it seems like too much of a hassle.  I have a friend who does that, though, and she saved big-time on her electricity bill.

daisy, we use energy-saving lightbulbs that work just fine and don't flicker - I don't know what brand they are, but they come in a coiled shape.

What I'd love to know is what to do with vegetable waste (we eat veg at home) if we don't compost or garden.  Any ideas?

Offline enigmacat

  • Governor
  • ***********
  • Posts: 3817
  • Gender: Female
  • I am not a minion of evil. I am upper management.
Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2007, 11:45:19 AM »
Wow, there are so many great ideas here.

The "no shopping" compact I am participating in this year is helping me really be more thoughtful about what I buy. (I have one shopping day a month where I can shop in places other than thrift stores). I'm amazed at how little I miss shopping - it may be harder when spring arrives. I do occasionally catch myself oggling some awesome boots on my way to work, but I have not succumbed.

Something else I am interested in is sharing resources. Instead of everyone buying a lawnmower, maybe sharing a lawnmower with your neighbors. Of course, none of us have lawnmowers, but it's a thought.


 

Visit our sister site Jackson Heights Life