Green Living News & Tips Archive

Feb 2011

Green Living Events

The Green Living Committee is off to a running startthis year with our first Green Living Series Movie Presentation on January 8 in the cottage. The movie was"Trashed" and the event was well attended. We followedup with a small group discussion on January 16 aboutrecycling and compost. Our presenter was memberBryan Gordon, Sustainability Manager at SempraEnergy and long-time environmental activist.Please join us for our next event, a documentarymovie showing on February 26 in the cottage at 7 p.m.We'll be showing "Ripe for Change" (2005). This is a documentary about food in California. Farmers, chefs,authors, activists, scientists, and children involved inThe Edible School Yard project are featured in a powerful film about food.

Jan 2009

Starting January 10 a new class is being offered. It iscalled "Low Carbon Diet." The four-session class willprovide a small group of four to eight people a plan forcarbon "weight loss" through a self-study guide.

This group is part of a challenge put forth by the UULegislative Ministry for UU congregations to lose onemillion pounds of carbon emissions before EarthDay,2009. To learn more about the program, go to http://uulmca.org/programs/climate_water/low_carbon_challenge.html. Here is an opportunity to learnways that will effectively lower your energy usage andsave pollutants from entering the environment. Enrollmentis limited. The small-group setting fosters aclose-knit unit in which to share your successes andchallenges. The class meets every other Saturday at 3p.m. in Room 4. Please contact Lindsay Pinkham tosign up or to get more information.

 

Home Energy Survey is Offered

Southern California Edison offers free customizedenergy reports. They have a 15-minute online survey at http://www.sce.com/survey or you can call for a copy to bemailed to you at (800) 278-8585. Southern CaliforniaEdison will provide you with a customized report identifyingopportunities for saving energy and money inyour home.

Dec 2008

We are Nminated for an Energy Oscar

Susan Stevenson of the Interfaith Power and Light,Regeneration Project, called in November to reportthat our church has been nominated for an EnergyOscar with their association. Each year I fill out a surveyform from California Interfaith Power and Light,telling all the things we have done to save energy.We are nominated because of our church's energyefficiency. Changing most of our light bulbs to compactfluorescent bulbs, remodeling our cottage toLEED standards, employees' taking the bus to work,training our staff for awareness of saving energy -these steps have added up to a reduction of the energyour church uses. Our efforts stood out compared toother faith congregation members.The winners will be announced on December 4 inBerkeley, CA. What an honor for all of us.

 

Rethinking Bottled Water

We all love individual-sized water bottles. They areso easy to use, to bring along, and they're recyclable.However, according to the Environmental DefenseFund, bottling water has major environmental consequences.The 30 billion plastic bottles produced in2006 used the equivalent of 17 million barrels of oiland created 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. Inaddition, three gallons of water were wasted for everygallon bottled. That is something to think about.Hauling water has high costs, too. An EDF reportfinds that 25% of bottled water is shipped acrossnational borders. Fiji Water must travel 5,000 miles ormore from its source in the South Pacific to the supermarket.Manufacturing and shipping a one-liter Fijibottle produces half a pound of global warming pollutionand uses almost seven times as much water as thebottle contains. All bottled water is transported fromits place of production to markets all across the U.S.According to Consumer Reports, water filters,such as Brita, are a good way to remove the chlorinetaste from tap water.Try tap water again for your drinking needs.Reusable bottles filled with tap water or filtered tapwater will be a significant way for you to have a largeenvironmental impact. Let's rethink our bottled waterhabits and make a change for the better.

-- Sandra Trutt

Oct 2008

Why Beef Gets a Bad Rap

According to EarthSave Foundation, there are somemajor reasons why eating beef is bad for the environment.

World livestock production is now a significant factorin the emission of two of the four global warminggases: carbon dioxide and methane. Every steak we eathas the same global waming warming effect as a 25-miledrive in a typical American car.

On top of that, the metabolic processes of cattleresult in the emission of large quantities of methane.Each cow produces one pound of methane for every twopounds of meat it yields.

These are two good reasons to eat less beef. The nextgeneration thanks you.

- Sandra Trutt
Green Sanctuary Committee

Sep 2008

UCLA Collects Hazardous Waste

West Los Angeles' firsthazardous waste collectioncenter is nowopen for business at UCLA. It isoperated by the City of L.A. andthe university and may be usedby all individuals, regardless ofwhere they live. Business wastewill not be accepted.

The center is located at 550Charles E. Young Drive West atStrathmore Drive. You can justdrive up and drop your stuff off.They are open Thursdays, Fridays,and Saturdays from 8 a.m.to 2 p.m.

Some of the items theyaccept include paint, solvents,used automotive fluids, cleaningproducts, pool and gardenchemicals, aerosol cans, medicine,used motor oil and filters,and used car and householdbatteries.

On Saturdays only the centeraccepts electronic waste,including computers, monitors,printers, cables, telephones,TVs, microwaves, video games,and cell phones.

There is another location onthe Westside that collects electronicwaste. It is called CaliforniaRecycles. It is located at 1932Cotner Ave., L.A. 90025, nearPico Blvd. They are open Mondaythrough Friday 8:30 a.m. to5 p.m. You can drop off TVs,monitors, VCR and CD players,fax machines, phones and systems,printers, stereos, modems,and PDAs. They refurbish andresell items if possible and recyclethe rest. Call them at (310)478-3001 for more information.

- Sandra Trutt,Green Committee

Jul 2008

1. Cat lovers, please do not flush kitty litter and itssolid waste down the toilet. This waste must go to thelandfill. Cat droppings carry diseases that the city sewersystem cannot filter out. These diseases are transmittedto wildlife and are contributing to the decline in the seaotter population off the California coast.

2.Why reuse? Reusing items reduces the amountof energy used to create new ones. It also cuts down onthe amount of emissions we pump into the atmosphere,which affect the Earth's climate and its life forms.

 

Green Sanctuary Meeting

The Green Sanctuary Group will meet on Saturday,July 12, at 11 a.m., in Room 3. We will discuss environmentaljustice issues and new classes to offer. Everyoneis welcome.

Jun 2008

Making Green History at the Ports

On March 20, the Port of Los Angeles unanimouslyapproved its landmark Clean Trucks Program.Major environmental and public healthgroups, harbor community residents, and port truckdrivers and their families cheered the Port of LosAngeles for approving a strong and sustainablediesel emissions-reduction plan. The program makesthe trucking industry permanently responsible forturnover to - and upkeep of - a clean-technologyfleet, in tandem with a progressive ban on old, dirtytrucks calling at the ports.

But Long Beach Harbor has rejected the comprehensiveand sustainable solution adopted by thePort of Los Angeles. According to the Coalition forClean and Safe Ports, "In bowing to corporate pressure,Long Beach Harbor commissioners are assuringthat kids in Long Beach will continue to sufferfrom asthma and respiratory illnesses."

The Green Sanctuary Committee has invited aspokesperson from Clean and Safe Ports to talk to usabout what we can do to help Long Beach Harbortake responsibility for cleaning up the pollutioncaused by goods movement and improve the porttrucking system.

Sameerah Siddiqui, lead organizer, will speakabout this topic from 11:30 to 11:45 a.m. in the cottageon Saturday, June 7. Join us to find out how wecan make a difference on this issue.

 

Reduce Unwanted Catalogs

There is a new website that will help you conserveresources by way of not receiving unwanted catalogsin the mail. To opt out of receiving these mailings:

  • Make a pile of your catalog rejects that you wishnot to receive any more, or just rip off and save theaddress page.
  • Log on to: http://www.catalogchoice.org
  • Enter your name, the catalog name, and the customer# on the back of the catalog.

If you don't have a computer, ask a friend whodoes to help you reduce this wasteful use of paper.

 

Making Compost

Helen BrownHelen Brown, long-timeUUCCSM member, hasbeen making her owncompost for years. Shesaves her food waste in alidded crock in the kitchen,then adds it weekly to thecompost pile in her yard.The new food waste isadded to the top. The finishedproduct, compost,comes out at the bottom.

Sustainable Works statesin their workshop that youcan compost vegetablescraps, egg shells and coffee grounds - no meats orfats, please! Add grass clippings and pruning scraps, too.

Composting keeps waste out of the landfill and createshealthier soil by allowing vital nutrients to goback into the earth.

Visit smartgardening.com or call 1-888-CLEANLAfor information on composting and for informationon gardening workshops in your area.

 

Think Small When Recycling

It struck me one day about all the little pieces ofpaper, foil and plastic we use each day - wrappersfrom a tea bag, foil seals on food coffee cans andyogurt cups, candy packaging, cash register receipts.All these can be recycled and may often be overlookedas "just trash."

These small pieces should be contained in a largerbag so they won't fly out of the bin on trash pick upday. You can use a plastic bag to collect bits of plasticand plastic bags. A paper bag can hold paper scraps.Be sure to tie, tape or staple the tops before puttinginto the recycle bin so it won't become litter.

Packaging often has recyclable cardboard and plasticfilm, including such items as cereal boxes, plasticfilm from napkins, cleaned foil from treats or cooking,and so forth. Once you start paying attention to whatyou throw away, you'll be amazed at how much canactually be recycled.

In no time you will notice that there is less trash tothrow out each week. You are taking a step on yourway to having zero waste.

 

Re-Use Everything

  • Disposable items can often be reused for thesame or different purposes - margarine tubs, glassjars and many food containers and bags.
  • Paper that has been printed or written on oneside can be flipped over and the blank side used inthe printer or for writing drafts.
  • Blank back sides of ads and coupons from mailingscan be saved, stapled together and used forlists and scratch pads.
  • When printing from the computer, be sure to click"Print page 1 to 1", then turn the sheet over andinsert it into the hand feed to print "Print page 2 to2", for double-sided printing. Or set your defaultprinter settings to double-sided printing.

I am sure you can think of many more examplesof reuse than I have here. Doesn't it feel good to bethrifty and use fewer natural resources everyday?

May 2008

E-Waste Collection Day

Saturday, May 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will be ourE-Waste Collection Day. State law requires that all electronicequipment be recycled. This includes TVs, computers,monitors, modems, cell phones, VCR and CDplayers, fax machines, phones and phone systems,printers, stereos, and PDAs. All of these items will becollected at no charge. Please do not bring batteries orany other non-electronic items.

The collection site will be in the alley behind thecottage. For more information, call Sandra Trutt.

 

Recycle It

As our congregation works to grow and be moreresponsible to the environment, we are adding recyclecontainers in each room. Our goal is to have one recyclebin by each trashcan in all our classrooms andmeeting rooms.

All recycle containers including the one in theoffice can be used for cans, bottles, paper, and plastic.Items must be clean. If an item is dirty from food andcan't be washed, please put it in the trash containergoing to the landfill.

Thank you.

Apr 2008

Sustainable Works, a non-profit environmental educationorganization sponsored by the City of SantaMonica and Santa Monica College offers a 6-weekGreen Living Workshop designed to help residentslearn about important environmental issues, savevaluable resources, lower utility bills, and protecthousehold health.

The Green Sanctuary Committee is sponsoring theirnew workshop starting Tuesday, April 22, 7-8:30 p.m.Cost is $25 for Santa Monica residents ($35 for LosAngeles residents) for the full six weeks, but no onewill be turned away for lack of funds. Meets in ForbesHall.

To reserve your space, contact Barent Roth atroth_barent@smc.edu or (310) 428-8716 Ext. 1. Formore information, contact Sandra Trutt.

Mar 2008

Tree People Events

Tree People has many planting andtree care events every week. They arealso part of Million Trees L.A., joiningthe Department of Recreation andParks to help plant 300,000 trees incity parks over the next several years.Visit www.treepeople.org for moreinformation or call (818) 753-4600.

A tree care event will occur onSaturday, March 15, in downtownL.A. Teams will care for young pinktrumpet trees. To register, contactLisa Sotelo at volunteer@treepeople.org or (818) 623-4879. Let meknow if you want to carpool togetherfrom church.

- Sandra Trutt

 

Reducing Carbon Emissions by Diet

Lester Brown, in his new book, "Plan B3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization,"writes that we can also reduce carbonemissions by moving down thefood chain. The energy used to providethe typical American diet andthat used for personal transportationare roughly equal. A plantbaseddiet requires about onefourthas much energy as a dietrich in red meat. The reduction incarbon emissions in shifting froma red-meat-rich diet to a plantbaseddiet is about the same as thatin shifting from a Chevrolet SuburbanSUV to a Toyota Prius hybrid car.

- Sandra Trutt

 

Eco Secrets in the Home

We all take actions at home that are good for theenvironment. In asking others to share what thingsthey do at home, I got a surprising variety and numberof useful ways to save energy and water andto have less impact on the world.Here in their own words aresome eco secrets of ourmembers and friends.

"Instead of heatingthe bedroom, I use anelectric mattress pad towarm the bed beforegetting into it at night. Iturn it on for about 20minutes before bedtime,then turn it off when I retire forthe evening. This saves the energy that would beneeded to heat the mostly unused bedroom."
- Catherine Farmer

"I keep a pail by the shower tocollect cold water wasted before thewater gets hot. This saved water isused to flush the toilet. In thekitchen, the saved water is takenout to use in the garden."
- Diana Spears

"I boycott Kleenex brand tissues asthe company refuses to use any recycledpaper in its products. All their products are madefrom virgin paper. I use 100% recycled tissueinstead."
- Lyndon Hallows

"We as a household run no heat at allthroughout any part of the home.Webuild a fire in the room we spend mosttime in and wear whatever extra clothingis necessary to stay warm. Often weare in jackets throughout the night. In thesummer, we keep only the same one roomcooled. In the bedroom, we run ceiling fansduring sleep and keep all windows covered withheavy, heat resistant shades.We are hoping to usemore of Alison Kendall's ideas for future savings."
- Diane Ludowitz

"I use L.A. Times plastic covers for garbage going tothe city dump."
- Eleanor Eagan

Janie Spencer sent in these practices:

I wash out resealable plastic bags (except for thoseused to store meat) and hang them to dry on chopsticksin a plant on the window sill above my sink, so that Ican reuse them.

I gave my nearest neighbors a basket to put theircans and bottles in and collect them and takethem to the recycling center alongwith mine. The money goes in apiggy bank and is used for"mad money."

I hang my clothes todry, instead of usingthe dryer.

I buy pre-ownedclothing from re-saleshops.

To avoid using energyto cook, I eat more raw foodsand one-dish meals.

Most important, I use all green householdproducts, which I buy from a wholesaleclub, so they are less expensive than toxic ones.

Leslie Reuter shares:

Close off unused rooms so theyaren't heated.

Keep the house temperature lowand use an Energy-Star-rated space heaterto heat only the room you are in.

Instead of using air conditioning, use afan and open the windows in the eveningwhen it is cooler outside.

When buying something, think: Do Ineed it? Can I buy it used instead of new?Can I buy it with less packaging (buy inbulk)? Can I buy it in a natural materialinstead of a synthetic material? Can I buy aversion that doesn't consume energy (handoperatedcan opener instead of electric)?

Wash clothes in cold water.

Run full loads in the washer and dishwasher.

To the contributors above, thank you for giving us alook into your home and lifestyle and for inspiring uswith these thoughtful, heartfelt actions. More to comenext month.

- Sandra Trutt,Co-Chair, Green Committee