Archive for March, 2008

Celebrate Earth Hour Tomorrow!

You are invited to join thousands of your Chicago friends, neighbors and businesses and millions of people around the world to make a bold statement about climate change on March 29 from 8 to 9 p.m local time.Turn out your lights for one hour. Earth Hour.

As World Wildlife Fund’s flagship city for the United States, Chicago, a leader in environmental initiatives, is encouraging its residents across the region to make the pledge to help fight global warming by voluntarily turning off their lights for 60 minutes. Signature skyscrapers, key landmarks, theater marquees and shops on the Magnificent Mile will voluntarily turn off their lights.
Earth Hour’s not just about cutting back for one hour. It’s about taking a stand and thinking ahead about what you, your neighbors and your city can do to slow climate change.

Seize the Earth Hour moment and change some of your outdated energy-wasting light bulbs to new, efficient and inexpensive compact fluorescents. Think of other ways you can cut your energy usage and trim your electric bill after Earth Hour has passed.

Other ways to celebrate: host a candlelight cocktail party, go camping, plan a scavenger hunt in the dark for your kids.

One hour, Chicago. Earth Hour.

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Word of the Day: Lifecycle Assessment

Remember the Secret Word on Pee Wee Herman’s show?  Every day, my hero Pee Wee would pick a Secret Word, like petunia.  Whenever someone on the show said petunia, everyone would freeze and scream!  While I don’t expect anyone to get hysterical over Lifecycle assessment, and I also realize that it’s 2 words, I thought I’d share the definition with readers to help build your green vocabulary.  This info is care of the good folks at Natural Home & Garden magazine (on sale at Green Home Experts!) So, today’s Secret Word is:

Lifecycle Assessment
Reviews the environmental performance of a product or building over the course of its life, including financial costs, energy efficiency and maintenance requirements.  The process includes an assessment of raw material production, manufacture, distribution and disposal.

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You Grow Girl!

Getting ready for spring?  Can’t wait to try out your green thumb this season?  Then be sure to visit this great blog I just discovered,  You Grow Girl.  Written by Canadian Gayla Trail in February 2000, it has grown into a thriving online community that speaks to a new kind of gardener, seeking to redefine the modern world’s relationship to plants.

This contemporary, laid-back approach to gardening places equal importance on environmentalism, style, affordability, art, and humor.

I found it a nice escape from winter, and it got me thinking about making plans for spring gardening!

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Word of the Day: Passive Solar

Passive Solar: A structure’s ability to collect, store and distribute the sun’s energy in winter (for heating) to block summer sun (for cooling) to greatly reduce additional heating and air-conditioning needs.  Passive solar design can be incorporated into any architectural style in any climate, but it requires careful site planning and selection of construction materials and building features.

A lazy woman’s guide to passive solar, or ways to achieve passive solar gain when you’re not building or remodeling:

In the summer, keep your curtains closed in the day time in order to block out light.

In the winter, keep your curtains open for solar gain during the day and closed at night.

Purchase a retractable awning or window treatments so that you have better control over solar gain during the day.

Use trees, shrubs, vines, and other greenery to ask as natural shades from the sun.

Other thoughts?  Post them in the comments section!

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My kind of diet

Dieting isn’t exactly my favorite topic, but this one’s definitely my favorite!   Sometimes it’s difficult to associate the enormous topic of carbon emissions and global warming with our individual actions.  Will the polar bears really starve if I don’t turn my thermostat down before going to work?

Well, with a little bit of homework, which is well worth your time, here’s a quiz you can give yourself to see just what kind of an impact your actions and routines have on the planet.

Visit the Low Carbon Diet Calculator and get on your carbon diet!

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Word of the Day: Net Metering

From our friends at Natural Home Magazine:

Net metering:  A method that allows homeowners’ electric meters to turn backward when they generate more electricity (via solar panels, for example) than they use.  When electric meters turn backward, the customer receives retail prices for the excess electricity generated.  Without net metering, a second meter usually is installed to measure the electricity that flows back to the privder; the utility company purchases the power at a below-retail rate.

Two of my favorite solar websites:

http://www.chicagosolarpartnership.org/index.php?src=gendocs&link=HomePage

http://www.illinoissolar.org/

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The Match Game

I recently saw an ad for GreenSingles.com, “where hearts and minds connect,” according to their website.  Apparently they’ve been around since 1985, and somewhere along the line went online.

So if you’re looking for “progressive singles in the environmental, vegetarian, and animal rights community and other green singles who love the outdoors, holistic living, personal growth and spirituality,” then visit the website!

Or just do what I did and go to DePaul University. 

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