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Individually Packed Dry Fruit - Wasteful or otherwise?

>> Thursday, 16 December 2010

For all those dry fruit connoisseurs who love prunes (dried plums), here is some food for thought!

nutsonline-com


Bowel movement and overall health are a great argument when it comes to buying prunes in plastic bags. 


or grabbing a bottle or two of prune juice....

 (sunsweet website)


Manufacturers are already adding to the plastic clutter and the ocean patch, and have every reason to rethink their packing methods. And as if existing problems weren't enough, a genius marketing strategy session later, Sunsweet launched its individually wrapped prunes.


 Each prune individually wrapped in plastic...:-(



And then put them in another HDPE container..


Seriously!, did we need more plastic in the world? All in the name of a little of convenience!.. It is sadly amazing to see that consumers do not assess the impact of their choices on the planet? The nutritional information provided on their website, mentions eating "about 4 prunes" to equal one serving.

My question - why not package them in packs of four then? Back to the basic question - WHY the Wrapping in the first place. One logical explanation could be (probably) - that the company has to come up with new shenanigans to appeal to consumers and appear dynamic by showing that they are constantly reinventing themselves. Agreed. As much as that intention is appreciated, individual wrapping is a serious mistake and a definite waste of resources. On a lighter note! imagine having to eat more than one and all the packaging one has to peel..lol...hmm..seems like it is the company's trick for portion control!!! :-)

Given the fact that Sunsweet controls over 2/3rd of the prunes market in the US, higher sales figures for the single-wraps means an avoidable 3 sq inches of plastic wrap in the trash can (for every piece consumed). Isn't it time we as consumers took action and made informed choices?.

Any argument for and against this idea are pleasantly welcome.

(Sunsweet is a US based food and beverage manufacturer specializing in packed dry fruit and juice). 

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Guest Post - The Eco-Friendly Backyard: How to Save a Little 'Green'

>> Wednesday, 8 December 2010

It is a pleasure when thinking individuals acknowledge my crusade and want to put in their two cents! I was contacted by Elizabeth Greene of - My Dog Age My Blog, for featuring a guest post, I agreed. Its a pleasure to introduce Joy Paley and her take on American Consumption patterns and her thoughts on Lawn maintenance in particular. I am sure you will love this post...:). Onto Joy


The post
There’s no place near the “normal” American home that doesn’t reek of conspicuous consumption, and the backyard is certainly no exception. As post-WWII suburbs sprawled across the nation, so did the idea that a happy home was one in which the front and back yards were covered in emerald green turf. Not only does keeping a carefully maintained lawn use up an incredible amount of water (and money!), it also keeps rainwater from making its way through the soil to groundwater and causes pesticides and fertilizers to flow into nearby streams and rivers. Here are a few tips to green up your backyard and save a little dough in the process.

1. Get Rid of the Lawn
What is the alternative to a cushiony green pillow extending from your doorstep to the curb? How about a garden of native shrubs, flowers, and trees? It’ll need to be watered and troubled over much less than a lawn, will allow water to percolate through the soil, and it will attract native wildlife.

2. Collect Rainwater
Having the sprinklers or the hose running all the time zaps money from your pocket and uses up precious resources. Consider putting barrels in your yard or under your gutters to catch rainwater to use on your plants, instead.

3. Mulch Those Plants
Even if you get rid of your water-sucking exotic plants and make the switch to native species, you can still preserve energy by mulching around what you do have. Mulching keeps the sun from sucking up water out of the soil.

4. Compost
Composting is a low-cost way to generate nutritious soil for your garden and cut down on the amount of household waste you send to a landfill. A tumbler or regular barrel is a great way to start. Check out this Cornell site for the basics.

5. Use Earth-Friendly Yard Products
Most people maintain their yards to actively enjoy them, by picnicking, letting their kids play outside, etc. But would you really want your kids playing on a lawn that had been cared for with toxic pesticides and fertilizers? Check out organic lawn care options that are safer and easier on mother nature.

6. Upgrade Your Mower
Some old gas lawnmowers emit an incredible amount of pollution. Switching to a push mower is best, as they use less energy than ride-alongs. If you can’t stand the idea of pushing a mower across your lawn, an electric ride-along is your next best bet.

source: Joy Paley
This eco-friendly "no mow" lawn made of native grasses and plants is more attractive than any suburban turf I've seen

About the author

Joy Paley is a science and technology writer based in Berkeley, California. Check out her musings as a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog or as a writer for Online Schools.


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Guest post - coming soon!!!

>> Monday, 6 December 2010

I was contacted by Elizabeth Greene of - My Dog Ate my My Blog with a request to feature one of their guest authors on The Green Crusader. 


I thought I'd share her mail here ...

Dear Sudha,
Great blog! Your posts are very informative and I appreciate your post entitled "An Introduction to Ecocide".
My name is Elizabeth, the assistant editor at My Dog Ate My Blog. We have been blogging about politics, education, and technology for a few months now and we think it is about time to start reaching out to other passionate people.I would love to have one of our bloggers write a guest post for your blog. If you have any topic or style guidelines for guest posts, send them my way.I am looking forward to talking with you more.
Elizabeth Greene
Assistant to the Editor - My Dog Ate My Blog

PS: 
My Dog Ate My Blog is a creation of editors, writers, and marketers in the education industry looking for an outlet for their general creativity and immaturity.

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Eco friendly Printer - Not really

>> Thursday, 2 December 2010

A friend sent out a group mail with ten eco friendly/green living ideas. One of them was a printer which doesn't need paper or ink. This is how it works-


source:eamusing.com
Company creates a desktop printer that doesn't use ink nor paper



Who says printers only use paper to print documents? It's time for you to meet the PrePeat Printer then. Different from conventional printers, PrePeat adopts a thermal head to print on specially-made plastic sheets. These plastic sheets are not merely water-proof, but could be easily erased, just feed the sheets through the printer again, and a different temperature will erase everything or just write over it. Also claimed by the manufacturer, such one sheet could be used up to 1,000 times so that you'll reduce your expenses on paper for sure."


My take!! - Why isnt this a green solution?...
A very important matter of concern - The plastic sheets used to print and erase content. Inventor(s) needs to work on that part of the invention...one major peeve being, the printer itself is made of plastic, whatever the lifespan of the appliance, it is going to end up as tiny immortal bits of plastic floating across some place in the world...hmm.. i am really hoping that i am not the only one who wants to think green or eco sense as a holistic approach

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PLASTIC STATE OF MIND - Parody with Purpose

>> Tuesday, 23 November 2010



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Go Green with Craigslist and Freecycle

>> Monday, 18 October 2010

Choosing the right kind of furniture for your home is a major influence on how green you could be...It is no harm in wanting the best for yourself. However, it could be a little considerate on our part to reuse heavy and usable furniture items (among other things) and not let them become landfill before their lifespan.

Readers who are familiar with my Design blog, The Design Enthusiast, know my love for preloved furniture. I have furnished an entire single bed room apartment with finds from local sellers via craigslist. Touch wood, it has been a great experience till date. Although, I am not into upholstered furniture, it is better to avoid beds or heavy cushioned sofas unless you are very sure about the condition. Reason being, loads of bugs and dirt may find their way into your abode. And then, there are odour issues we need to deal with. I dont advocate any particular furnishing style, but defintely would like to see minimal upholstery and cushions (read foam) as possible.


There could be more such collaborating websites I am not aware of yet. Another place to look out for is Freecycle. It is a brilliant way to minimize waste and think about greening your choices without much effort.

quoting the Freecycle website-
The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,864 groups with 7,603,875 members around the world. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them's good people). Membership is free. To sign up, find your community by entering it into the search box above or by clicking on 'Browse Groups' above the search box. Have fun!




One very interesting thing about Freeecycle is that people giveaway stuff for free...so take a look, maybe you will find something that may work for you. (I have been a grad student here in the US...so hand me downs dont bother me...however, i dont see a similar vibe among fellow country men who land here with a job and a heavy paypacket. No comments on that though!!)

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Cling foil (Plastic) and the Food network

>> Friday, 3 September 2010

As much as I love the Food network and a few of their regular series, I am not really into the way they use disposable wrapping and cling foil and make it look acceptable and convenient. A simple marinating does not require a ziploc or any other plastic bag. Glass, ceramic or steel containers with a lid would work equally well or prove to be only better. Not sure if I am the only one with this peeve.

Pic source: food network

I get worked up when the cooks/chefs roll out ream after ream of cling foil and wrap up containers or dough. My question - Wont a glass / steel/ ceramic bowl with a lock lid or a simple plate work? (not that the glass bowl with plastic lids make any sense either. :(.. What pains me more is that viewers are pushed into believing that they need such products items and may not be able to work with out them. This translates to excessive consumption of plastics and more non biodegradable pollutants for the planet to suffocate on. Number of products (specially kitchen appliances and products) sold on the home shopping network are a testimony to my point.

Excessive use of styrofoam, plastic and other non bio degradable products should not be made to look good on TV.( Every time I mention : Media's responsibility, it sparks off an interesting debate.) Increased dependence on non renewable resources and non bio degradable elements is nothing but disaster for the planet and its life forms. Making mass production and obscene consumerism seem ok negates efforts put in by certain environmental interest groups

It is quite painful that my own kith and kin tend to ignore simple ways to avoid use of plastic in their lives. We may not be able to sacrifice everything, but a small beginning can make way to more sensible choices in future.

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My guest post for The Green Bag Lady

>> Monday, 30 August 2010

I am elated!!...reason- my guest post on Green Bag Lady. :). I cannot write enough about her commitment to giving away fabric bags to people across seven continents. She recently hit 12000 bag mark. I wish there were more like her.... :)

link >> Say no to plastic or paper bags

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Green Bag Lady announces a giveaway

>> Tuesday, 3 August 2010

I wrote about the Green bag lady earlier >> HERE  and also showed off the bag she sent me :) >> HERE...And now, I take the pleasure of being the unofficial spokesperson for her giveaway....lol...Do try your luck and make sure you follow the instructions to qualify for the freebie :)

Greenbag lady 

Here is the link to her post>> Link 

Best of luck!!

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BP oil spill update - Whats happening to the Marine life

>> Monday, 21 June 2010


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Dish washer dilemma

>> Saturday, 19 June 2010

I am not among those who use a dishwasher. I am used to hand washing my dishes, not in running water but in water held in two large containers after the soaping/scrubbing  session(psst...frankly, I do not even know the technique and the optimal dish washer loading patterns...lol). I wrote about my dish washer dilemma >here

I can very well understand if you are among the dishwasher users. I found this article taking about how pre rinsing doesn't help. Do read through and may be it will save time, energy and resources.


Should you pre-rinse your dishes before loading the dishwasher?: By Lori Bongiorno

source: Getty Images

Let me know your thoughts.....

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Giveaway announcement - Green Bag Lady

Seems like the blogosphere is buzzing with freebies and giveaways. Teresa of Green Bag Lady has announced a giveaway. Please visit her blog for details :) --HERE

 Wishing all good luck

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An Introduction to Ecocide

>> Thursday, 17 June 2010

During my routine research for my blogs, I came across this wonderful website which has coined a new word and has regular updates on earth related topics. I recommend a read. >>HERE is the link to the site - thisisecocide.com

The site talks about Ecocide. which is translated as :

"A CRIME AGAINST PEACE Ecocide is the extensive destruction, damage to or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished..." source: theecocide.com



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BP Spill - A comic approach to illustrating the whole issue :-(

>> Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Though there is nothing funny about the issue. I wanted to share this video which aptly represents the situation and the irrational approach being applied to solve the problem.

source: ucbcomedy-com & green tv

A serious topic and a comic approach to spreading awareness...hope at least this helps

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Feature your Great Outdoors on Renest

>> Thursday, 10 June 2010


I wanted to break away from usual and mention an announcement inviting refreshing, earth/life-friendly ideas to do up your outdoor space. You must have designed or planned a perfect outdoor space to enjoy your summer evenings, right. And if you are proud of your space why not share it with the world. Sounds interesting?...Then read on....Apartment Therapy has invited hobby gardeners, landscape designers, and backyard farmers, irrespective of the size of their "canvas", to show off their outdoor space. The projects could include building a tool shed, planting, setting up an entertaining area, and the activities you would plan in your outdoor space.  

What would be featured -
  • An outdoor How-To or DIY project 
  • Cozy and welcoming outdoor space you've created
  • Vegetable garden 
  • Balcony /terrace/ roof garden
  • Your tips and tricks for eco-friendly outdoor decorating, or gardening
Interested?...here is how you can do it. Send the Renest Division (Green segment of Apartment Therapy) an email at re-nest@apartmenttherapy.com and share your project, space, or tip, include a few pictures. If selected, your outdoor space will find its way among other really wonderful spaces featured on this platform. 


I am sure they do a great job assessing the entries. How am I so sure?... My tiny balcony garden was featured last June (09) (uff I am such a show off!!) 


And this year, they have featured my last year's submission in this announcement.


(Images, clockwise from top left: Bev's Inspiring Country Garden; Sudha's Repurposed Garden Balcony; Toby and Jason's Petite Patio; Nancy's Patio Veggie Garden)
 So Good luck with your outdoor space and your entry.

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Oil Spill 2010; An introduction

>> Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Ever since the Oil spill on the 21st of April 2010. I have been researching and drafting a post on the Mexican Gulf spill /slick. The damage is so extensive that my research is not winding up. I have decided to do a series of posts on the topic.

One look at the amount of damage raise questions and the need for excessive dependence on crude oil and natural gas and the resultant exploration projects across the globe.


source: theage-com

Let me begin with a brief introduction via this video, courtesy: youtube. This is not the recent oil spill but a previous one near the San Fransisco Bay area. So if you thought that oil spills happen only once in a while, think again!!



Recommended read:
Article in huffingtonpost

The fate of Marine life in the gulf



Imagine a hot summer day, and the oil layer hitting a 90 degree C. What do you think it would do to a bird /dolphin/turtle covered in oil? It is like burning/roasting them to death...all when they are alive. Imagine the Planet of Apes and what if we were the victims instead of these harmless creatures?

Just when you may think that you couldnt do anything to help this issue, take one moment out of your life. Think again, we are responsible for the mess. And only WE can make a difference startign with a few minor changes in our lives. We need to revamp our lifestyles and work on our dependence on Crude oil or any other non renewable energy sources.

Let me know what changes you plan to make. Lets give this a serious thought....its high time dont you think?

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World Environment Day - June 5th

>> Saturday, 5 June 2010

My grandfather used to quote from the Ancient Hindu texts. He always mentioned how we need to respect Mother Earth for supporting life, and also appreciate her for being the patient Mother that she is.

Bhoodevi or Bhoomadevi, as Mother Earth is called (Sanskrith/hindi/tamil/telugu etc), is said to have tremendous amount of tolerance and patience.(How else would she bear the weight of all that is loaded on her, and put up with really horrible children (humans) who care nothing about her well being, and still do what she does...!!). Just because someone is tolerating, does not mean that we take them for granted? I am sure she is fed up of her Human population. We all know that she is responding in her own way. (I do not want to reiterate issues, we all are very aware of them.)

It is time for some concrete action and stop hiding behind - "What Can I Do?" or worse - "My irresponsibility doesn't make a difference"

Environmental issues are as pertinent as the Drug mafia, child abuse or any other social and economic problem we humans face. Infact they are nothing when compared to problems the entire life system on the planet is facing. We need to be ashamed that we are endangering other innocent creatures in the name of better life for ourselves. (if you put one and one together, you would understand that every social and economic issue is directly or indirectly related to one or more eco-related issues). We cannot go back to cave living, but can definitely start with something small in our lives. The sense of accomplishment after one small change, is a great motivater in letting us take the effort a step further. All it takes is trying to use common sense and a little sacrifice (nothing major to begin with)

  source: UNEP
WED and the UN
Each year, June 5th is celebrated as the World Environment Day. This tradition was started by the United Nations. In the year 1972, June 5th was when United Nations Conference on the Human Environment began and was concluded on the June 16th. The first World Environment Day was marked for celebration on 5th June 1973.

United Nation has hosted this celebration in a different city each year. As part of the tradition, the theme, all Earth related, is different each year. (An interesting fact - It is Summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere on June 5th).

WED 2010
Pittsburgh, USA is hosting the celebrations this year. The theme for 2010 - Celebrating the International Bio-diversity of life form (human, flora and fauna). -Many Species. One Planet. One Future - World Environment Day 2010



source: Youtube: UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bündchen, supported by a global chorus of real people, brings the World Environment Day 2010 message of action to the world.


 It is another day to reckon, respect and realize what the planet means to every living form and make an attempt to reduce the harrasment we put Mother Earth through.



If these videos do not motivate you to make even a tiny change in your lifestyle for a safe planet, I am not sure what else would. Please share your views and your action plan for a better tomorrow. Let everyday be an Earth Day and a World environment day. Let us celebrate Life and the Silent Support System - Mother Earth!!

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World Environment day- Green Celebrations at Blogadda

>> Friday, 4 June 2010

It is The World Environment day on the June 5th. For many, it is just another "DAY" when the green cult goes about asking regular folk to do their bit. hmm...Or is it more than just that? How could you be responsible for a day and feel ok with harassing the planet the rest of the year? A few regular Joes and Janes take it a step further...they dont care ...no day in particular matters.


Source: ideareader.com

Blogger forums are a nice way to meet up and get chatty with fellow bloggers. I never participate in contests organized by any of the groups, however, this time around, it is something I can relate to (for a change!!). Blogadda is organizing a contest to mark the World Environment Day on June 5th. Here is the contest page >>Blogadda

We are required to use the sponsor - Pringoo.com in the post.so here is what I could do...frankly I dont need to win, but would love people to get smarter and less harming on the planet, and thats not just for this week or the day. Will it ever turn a reality...I am hopeful..but things need to be sooner than never.

Give my world some air to breathe

Someair
Give my world some air to breathe

A very happy environment day in advance. Be sensible ...live better

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Greenpeace - Save the whale compaign

>> Wednesday, 2 June 2010

I am a part of Greenpeace (not surprising!!) and have been working on a campaign to save the whales from commercial whalers. Yes, a practise which was banned 20 years ago has been termed legal by Mr President. The process of killing whales for commercial purposes is going to throw the marine eco system off balance.



This is a mail I got from our Greenpeace network. Thought I need to share it here...

Hi there!

I'm delivering 1.5 MILLION comments in support of whales to the White House tomorrow.  It’s so exciting!

The banners we've made out of your whale cards are so beautiful, and the photos we’ve received are powerful and inspiring.  It’s incredible to see such an outpouring of support.

To make sure that YOUR voice is heard, I need your help – please make a quick phone call to save the whales, and tell all your friends to make a call too!

Here’s the info: 

CALL: White House Comment Line (202) 456-1111

SAY: Hi, my name is _____ and I’m calling from city, state.  I’m calling to ask that you represent Americans at the IWC meeting in June by working to protect the ban on commercial whaling. I'm ashamed that the leader of my country is supporting a cruel pro-whaling position when millions of Americans are deeply against it. Be the leader that you promised by ensuring that the US opposes any deal that legitimizes commercial whaling.

This will REALLY supplement our work tomorrow - we've got to make our voices heard.

Thanks so much for all you do.  Let’s hope that Obama gets the message!
Anna

P.S. You don’t need to be nervous, the President won’t be the one answering the phone :)  Be sure to take one minute to make that call - and let us know that you called!


I hope my friends who are not a part of Greenpeace will try to pitch in. We need to save the whales for our planet to manage its ecology, for us to survive. Lets do our bit.

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Aamir Khan - Sanitation Champion for Indian Schools

>> Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Aamir khan, one of the responsible Super stars in Hindi Cinema, has considerable fan following. He is known to make movies which carry socially relevant messages. Be it about parents managing a Dyslexic child, Indians' approach to education or promoting good values among the generation x, y and Z etc, he really can sway the masses.

source: bollywoodobserver
Indian Human Resource Ministry has recognized this super star's contribution to Indian change wave and aptly made him the brand ambassador for promoting Sanitation programs in schools. With the kind of following he has among Indian audience, I look forward to a better India.



More on the Star's Socially Responsible Assignments...

His movie about Dyslexic Children and their inability to cope with the Indian Education system was wonderfully portrayed in his Movie - "Taare Zameen Par". Imagine the impact this movie made, that this super star was made the  brand ambassador for The Times of India’s Teach India Initiative. He seems quite dedicated to the Project. I say this because, US Secretary of State - Hillary Clinton, during her visit to India, took time out to meet Aamir Khan. Given the number of Autistic and Dyslexic children being given special care in the United states, her gesture to meet this star is understandable.

Another very important aspect of this star making using of his Star power is his work in Videos for Incredible India! A series of videos, aptly called "Athithi devo bhava!" - educating people about protecting our national monuments and being more responsible as citizens of India. A must see. Here are two I liked the most.







I hope his influence on population will lead to a more tolerable, habitable India. I have high hopes for the future citizens. (We, the current voting population, are a complete disappointment. I hope we wake up soon!)

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China's Prosperity- at what cost?

>> Tuesday, 27 April 2010

I see people happy when Walmart and other retailers announce SALE on their stock. These retailers conveniently dump out of season good onto customers. It is quite true that some of the products on the shelves aren't worth the entire retail price. However, does it make sense or justify a buying, just because some product is on sale?

Marketing teams do a wonderful job by making most of the consumer goods look indispensable. Over 70% of the consumer base is led by this "Buy things off season, and during a Sale " mentality.  This group of customers think only about their money saving deals for now and care less about the impact of their incessant buying habits on the supply demand economics. Given this fact, it is impossible to expect them to think in terms of the torture our planet goes through to help them meet their NEEDS.

One look at the overstocked aisles in any store reminds one of the excessive consumerism patterns, such huge conglomerates promote. When companies like WalMart, Kroger, Publix and Whole foods talk about sustainability, it sounds like a joke and a mockery of the earth friendly effort ever proposed/ put in by a human on the face of the planet.



source: americajr.com


World's major economies survives on the health of their retail sector, no denying that. But doesn't that mean that they need to work towards being the most responsible as well. Every retail giant claims to be doing their bit for the planet. REALLY? One look at  these stores' slogans show how tangential their business policies are to their Green claims.

Let us take a look at their Punch/tag lines: Walmart - Save money . Live better; Publix- Where shopping is pleasure, Target - Expect more , Pay less, etc....Retailer talks about Saving green  and never encourage customers to go green with their shopping choices.

Why would they, wouldn't that affect their bottom lines and their sales figures? Hanging a reusable bag at the billing counter isn't helping folks!!

Other than encouraging excessive consumerism, these retailer are doing nothing for the community. A classic example would be Kroger's 10 for $10 sale. Their ads make Stocking your pantry for less seem like saving millions. As part of its green efforts, Kroger conducts a design a reusable bag contest every year. But never bothers to encourage its customers to bring in their own bags.  My question - why not suggest people to get their bags rather than make it look like they want the customers to BUY a bag at the counter. This strategy makes the plastic /paper bag seem like a MONEY saving option for any average consumer.And the entire Green drama put up by the conglomerate moves backstage.

Time and again, I have been putting up with arguments from people about why they should buy a reusable bag when a plastic bag is free? Right, can't they see that they could take their own bag to the store. No one forces them to buy a reusable bag. Where do these people leave their common sense? Is it justified when educated people argue that they cant make simple choices for the better?

One need not be an economist to put one  plus one. It is known that every product sold across the Atlantic and this side of the Pacific comes from the Land of the Forbidden City. Every product ever manufactured may be contributing to this said country's apparent growth and prosperity. But all this at what cost? Is it ok to ignore impact of our mindless living? These impacts are no longer a distant occurrence. We can see the aftermath of excessive exploitation of our natural resources and can no longer ignore the way our life (read health) is being changed for the worse. What would take the majority of the population to wake up?...I am yet to figure that out.



Apart from doing their bit in destroying the planet and adding to the resource crunch. These retail giants kill local, small time grocery stores who could have been greener with their functioning. Not only do these small time stores go out of business, but these giant's monopoly impacts local economic as well. All said and done, do we really need a WALMART in India? No, definitely not!!!

How could I miss sharing this cartoon??

 source: courtneyelizabeth.com


My next article is about the KING? of the retail sector who thinks that projecting a We sell cheap imagine translates to more business and money in his pocket. To hell with the environment and the drastic impact his money making conglomerate would have on the planet!!!

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Earth Day turns 40

>> Friday, 23 April 2010

Like any other DAY celebrations, Earth day was born in the USofA. It was the brainchild of a United States Senator, Gaylord Nelson. He proposed a day dedicated to create awareness towards aspects of the Earth's environment. Although, the day was started to inspire people to appreciate the planet, we need to do a lot more than just that given the current scenario.


source: traveladventures.com
Eco and green groups are known to dedicate an entire week to environment related projects and activities starting on 16th of April each year and culminating into a grand finale on 22nd April. This kind of event was first celebrated in Philadelphia in 1970. Hence, the 40th Birthday of "Earth Day".

There is another day dedicated to the planet, and that is an initiation by the United Nations. It is the World Environment day celebrated on June 5th each year. As a rule, UN tries to observe this day in a different country each year.

As any skeptic would argue, I do not believe that doing our bit on one particular day relieves us of our 24x7 responsibility towards the planet, towards ourselves and our future generations. Being gentler on the planet, doesn't end with banning use of polythene bags or plastics. It goes a lot beyond that, it is more about making the right choices in order to keep our land, water and air fit for life to prevail.

Wishing everyone a very happy Earth Day! Let us put our heads and hearts together and realize our potential in letting this planet remain habitable. Our planet is going through a lot of troubles already, and that includes natural calamities. Let us not add to its woes with our thoughtless actions and mindless choices. All those who are too busy with their lives and don't have energy and time to think and live Green, do spare this day and maybe, it could be your first step towards contributing to a clean and green future.

Here is a brilliant video from the Greenpeace archives shared by a fellow Greenpeace activist.

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Starbucks - Left me alone....and they say - Don't Do it Alone!!

>> Tuesday, 20 April 2010


source: starbucks website
Should we trust corporates when they say - They are on with their Green efforts?...Maybe we should not. Starbucks claims that it allows customers to use their own reusable cups and even encourages green practices. Their punch line – Don’t do it alone, doesn’t seem to work in reality.

Their website carries very fancy content on Green issues.But how many really bother?

source: starbucks website
 I was taken by their reports to promote use of ceramic and re-usable mugs and tried to take my own to one of their outlets. As a rule,  if a customer walks in with a ceramic or re usable cup, starbucks employees are supposed to rinse the mug and pour coffee into it.

However, I was refused to be served in my mug- The lady at the counter said that the sanitation department wouldn’t allow use of any other container other than the one sold at Starbucks!...If this is true, how would their motto to go green ever become a reality. Another report claims that Starbucks intends to reintroduce ceramic mugs and increase use of reusable commuter mugs by 2010. I did not know that they offered a $.10 discount to customers who bring in reusable mugs. If all this was true, why would I be refused when I make a conscious effort to carry my mug for my drink?

I don't know how people could ignore this garbage pile when they buy their coffee in disposable cups...Does it never occur as to what happens to all this unnecessary garbage

source: triplepundits.com
Statistics:
Starbucks stores use billions of disposable plastic and paper cups, this means an enormous usage of natural resources and energy and then cups land in the landfills and the ocean. The Company claims that their cups contain 10 percent post consumer recycled content. And that, according to the company is estimated to save tens of thousands of trees, half a million gallons of waste water, and several million pounds of garbage. And Starbucks claims to be the pioneer in promoting recycled cups in the beverage retailing industry.

Visit this link on their website to learn more about their programs - Link  

Reality:
Did you know that FDA (Food & Drug administration, USA) does not support use of recycled material in food retailing industry? Another very important aspect in terms of recycling – Paper cups lined with wax /plastic to hold liquids cannot be recycled in most recycling plants/systems. I am really not sure if Starbucks can ever achieve its target of making all of its cups recyclable by 2012. Corporate GREEN team says that the company is requesting its customers to bring in their own reusable cups or tumblers in order to meet their recycling goal set for the year 2012. Frankly, I am yet to see one single customer buying his or her coffee in their own mug! So in which part of the world are they pushing their Green ideas then?

Whatz really happening
With over 16,000 retailing locations, it is difficult to claim consistency in their efforts. It is definitely difficult for a company with so many globally disperse franchisees to efficiently and effectively implement a recycling strategy. The least they could do is to support conscious consumers like myself.

Money matter a lot to people sitting in the Shareholder boards…blind that they are to any crisis around them, it is a disgrace that the company's shareholders voted down Starbuck’s proposal to increase recycling efforts. ( I am sure Seattle Times would be faking this news ). And why did they make this brilliant decision? Because the finance guys have to create WEALTH for their shareholders!! (really??)

Although the company seems to have started offering discounts to consumers who bring in their own cup since 1985, how come we do not see anything happening on that front? Isn’t the non green population just living to save money or just Enjoy their life?...I am sure if they were given a chance to save a few cents… at least a few of them would oblige to bring their own mugs (for the amount of coffee consumed in the world, specially in the US) It would make a significant difference in terms of number of disposable (plastic and paper) cups used. What amazes me is that the consumer who is aware that he should not buy hot drinks in a plastic cup refuses to think one step beyond and reduce use of paper cups.

Statistics…again!

Starbucks claims that in 2009, over 26 million customers brought their own tumblers for their cup of Joe…(really!!). This means a meager 1.5% shift from use of disposables and that translated to saving a whopping 1.2 million pounds of paper from being consumed. If this was true, imagine the amount which goes into the landfill due to the million of cups still being used…phew!!...Do you really think you cant make your own cup at home or at least carry your own mug to the café. The least you could do is to choose using their ceramic mugs and have your coffee in store and not bother walking around the mall with your fancy disposable cup.

Another very important aspect of this Industry has not even been discussed yet – The coffee Growing /processing industry and its impact on environment. That makes an interesting topic for a new article altogether!

Painful changes in the Indian scene...
What bothers me is India's growing and booming Cafe culture. Cafe Coffee Day, Barista etc have become a fashion statement of sorts with the Indian Population. I do not have anything any particular brand or product, what pains is the lack of common sense and basic thought towards the impact of every cultural shift
India is going through!

Think before you THINK it is HEP to go to a Cafe and order your coffee in a disposable cup. Think of going green with your choices and let the planet remain habitable!

Read more...

Giveaway win - update

>> Friday, 16 April 2010

I mentioned my winning a Sunset Green home Design Guide earlier. :)...The Book arrived and I am so looking forward to read through the entire book !..


Will post more pics of the insides of the book asap!! 

Thank you Rachel

Read more...

A school girl at the UN Environment summit - Rio

>> Monday, 15 March 2010

I had this video link in my bookmark archives....a very simple and straight forward speech by a school girl from Canada....echoes every environmental concern - relevant more than ever today. This undated video should, among many others, actually help us wake up...its high time...its not about money, career or expensive living. It is all about sensible minimal living which will allow existence of life on the planet.


Does it matter?
Thinking about every thing we do and not hiding behind the very oft used phrases/words - "cant help it" or "convenience" is the need of the hour. If one really wanted to make a sensible choice, they could do it. Ignorance, or lack of common sense is what makes involuntarily-earth-hating crowd, the people they are.

Being eco friendly is lot more than not using plastic bags. I am tired of being called as someone who advocates against  plastic bags.Yes, that I am, but there is more to living a green life than just that. The whole terminology kicks my soul. It is sad that we humans first take the fast lane, do some considerable damage and then trace back our steps to go back to where we were. Given this fact, all the jargonology- Green, eco-friendly all make no sense. It seems like a mockery on groups which work in favor of the planet, in favor of LIFE.

Jargons don't matter. Actions make a difference. People need to understand that the choices associated with food, clothes and shelter (our house, furniture, furnishings etc) are all what influence our earth friendly living, or the lack of it. Fancy terms like recycling, composting don't matter if you buy your grocery and supplies in a plastic bag and use it for throwing your trash. Think about the landfill you will contribute to or the nearest water source you will pollute by using and dumping the plastic bag. Chiffon, nylon, acrylic and polyester clothes you buy, will never bio-degrade. (Let us keep in mind that we have not considered the entire value chain footprint yet.) Give a thought to before you purchase - synthetic furnishings (curtains, upholstery etc), your kitchen chopping board or the throw away plastic spoons and forks, paper plates, tissue paper/towel, hawaii slippers/flip flops, beverage bottle, yogurt container buy etc... Everything we choose to use, has an impact and it does matter. 

You would keep your house clean by dumping out the trash..but all the junk never leaves the planet right...Look at a municipal worker paddle his way through a garbage dump (in a local city water source)

Image source: JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images
A scavenger in a dugout canoe paddles through a sea of garbage along a Manila waterway


All this is to make your surroundings look like this.


 Birds and marine life mistake our plastic garbage and debris for food and ingest them only to die. We are responsible for this. This is neither a regular cyclic change our earth goes through nor is it a natural occurrence. We should be ashamed to see such impact of our mindless actions. We have no right to disturb the eco-system.
source: thechicecologist.com
If you think it doesn't affect your life or health. Think again, look at this cow munching a plastic bag (in india).

source: http://wanderlustandlipstick.com
Cows are revered in my country. And this is what an average cow eats - both rural and urban cows tend to eat everything and anything they lay their eyes on. Thanks to the plastic menace, Cows dying due to ingestion of plastic bags is a common thing as of today. Let us not forget that the same cows and buffaloes are milked to provide us with our daily supply of milk /dairy products. And can we ignore the beef consuming population? So, technically, we end up eating these plastic bags ourselves (remember the "FOOD CHAIN" fundamentals)


Is it too late for a wake up call?
Just like that of other green-crusaders, my quest for minimal footprint lifestyle is a stressful journey too. What I dint know yesterday, I learn today. And what I learn and imbibe, I implement in my life right away. We need the will to open up to ideas and think beyond our comfort zone. This a never ending process and needs time and effort. It is worth the effort and is all for our own good!

I am so tired of people arguing with me or anyone else who speaks about going gentle on the planet. It is just their way to cover up their useless ego and be the escapists they are. It makes the job for a green crusader much more difficult because we not only need to clean up the mess these escapists leave behind but also take things forward with such skeptics in tow. It is tiring but we don't have time to complain, how wonderful would it be if our fellow earthlings, who refuse to do their bit, at least start thinking (for now).

Time and again, I have maintained that, we as a civilized society have gotten used to a certain lifestyle and feel that shifting from usual is difficult. Come to think of it, let us consider a simple things like grocery plastic bags. There was a generation which survived without ready to eat food packs, plastic beverage bottles, and disposable cutlery. It is therefore not unimaginable to survive with out them. Let us make an effort, start with small changes and leave this planet habitable for our children. They deserve that much and more.

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I won..I won....

>> Friday, 12 March 2010

I woke up to a very anxious day today. I was supposed to get a crucial medical report. As first thing in the morning, I sat down to check my email. And lo!...I had a wonderful surprise waiting for me....I had won a nice Green Design Book...Yippiee!!.. I am thrilled to have been picked a winner in a random giveaway!!!!!  Thank you Rachel - for the wonderful book...I am looking forward to receive it!!!

This is the book I won....:-)



Rachel's website... - theinteriorevolution.com is a wonderful Green design and architecture resource..(I recommend that you check it out).  I appreciate Architects and Designers who advocate and really believe in Green, sustainable and eco-friendly design. I read a few articles in her website and loved Rachel for her strong will to make a (Green) difference in the design and construction industry. I am glad to have bumped into Rachel's website. I am sure it is going to be a one stop resource to realize my long standing dream to remodel my parent's home. Also, the book I just won, is going to be a perfect addition to my dream library.

About Rachel
Rachel is an interior designer and an active participant in the green design community. She is a Certified Green Building Professional through "Build it Green" and a member of the Sustainable Homes Committee for the local chapter of the USGBC. Want to know more about this wonderful lady >> HERE is the link

The link to her blog >> HERE

Thank you Rachel, you made my day! 

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Priyanka Chopra sings the Green Anthem!

>> Saturday, 6 March 2010

 source: ndtv.com
What is Priyanka Chopra doing on the Green Crusader?...She has been chosen to be the Green Ambassador for NDTV's Greenathon.

In the due course of my research for green issues and statistics to strengthen the purpose of this crusade, i came across this video on youtube. It is in hindi, however, impact of the visual media can break every barrier, including the linguistic barrier, and can definitely convey what it intends to.

I wish that her efforts go beyond this video and she is actually a Green Champion! I hope to see a considerable impact of a famous hindi film star on the younger Indian population.

Read more...

Green Crusader Mentioned - thank you - The Earth Sign

>> Friday, 5 March 2010

I was supposed to publish this post a long time back, a system crash and ill health delayed it by a few weeks. Better late than never..right!!

I am elated to have been mentioned by a fellow blogger - Poornima who blogs at "The Earth Sign". It is a honour to be acknowledged in the blogger world for posting off beat and not so interesting set of topics.

Why I say this...
In my experience as a blogger, I find it really difficult to get people interested in Green topics. It is sad that many allied topics get prominence over very important ones.

Facts...
There are few blogs and e-magazines which publish posts and articles on home design, cooking, technology, children and green /environment...I hardly see comments for the posts under the green or the environment section (excepting a few)..but a load of them for the other segments. I do know that discussing and posting in forums do not move mountains but what hurts is the masses' lack of interest in such issues

Going green is not a fad or a fashion for few. It is a non existing or uninteresting topic for the rest of the population. I find only a few who are working towards tackling issues related to our planet, the least one could do is start by making small lifestyle changes and grow to being more eco-friendly. However, I do not see it happen in most cases.

People still ask for plastic grocery bags as if they were their life lines and as though life couldn't exist with out these flimsy bags. More so, there are a few others who ask for extra bags without giving a second thought to their action and its impact.

Surviving among all these people and their carelessness, I still like to believe that everyone is doing their bit, and maybe are not vocal with their thoughts...this keeps my spirits up and striving towards pooling more number of people into the crusade to save our lives.

Thank you  - from the bottom of my heart

I would like to thank Poornima for mentioning A Green Crusader at Work and all the encouraging words she has said in her post (with a special mention about my green balcony!)...I am elated and very honoured :)...





I loved the fact that she is trying to do her bit and wants to make a difference. We need more such youngsters to be a part of this race against time in protecting our planet from further damage.

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Milk delivered in earth friendly packaging

>> Thursday, 4 March 2010

I have been scouting for a local diary farm so that I could buy milk in my own container and stop bringing in plastic milk cans. I feel guilty about the grocery store plastic milk can every time I have a cup of tea or gulp down a spoon of home made yogurt.

source:americanprogress.org

My friends who buy milk (including Soya) in cartons aren't doing the planet a favour either. Plastic lining and the lid section on the terta pack and even other biodegradable raw materials which went into manufacture of these cartons are to be given a thought, in terms of their necessity and impact.
 source: svna.org

Until a few years ago, milk men delivered bottles filled with milk and used to take back empty bottles to the dairy/delivery centers.
 
source: momentumspk.co.uk


 source: theprudenthomemaker.com
In the eastern world, even today, we have a milkman delivering milk to our door step. He measures out portions for every household and pours it into our own containers. I would like to share a very nice video about a milkman from Punjab from youtube. In a way, reducing food miles and green choices were/are a part of everyday living with people in this part of the world. ( Simply put, food mile is the total distance traveled by every morsel that reaches our plate and its impact on the environment.)


However, the scene is changing for the worse. With each passing day, this naturally eco-friendly population is leaning towards a non-green lifestyle.

There are milk co-ops and large scale dairy companies which sell plastic (Sic!!) pouches or tetra packs. These small prepacked  portions are delivered door to door or at local distribution stations every morning. Although these options are not very green, they exist. There are a few organizations working on helping the dairy industry making earth friendly options.
source: picturejockey.com

source: chillycrap.com

During one such research, I chanced upon this website which provides a list of Diary farms in the US, which sell their ware in eco-friendly glass bottles. (ah! so much like the old times!!)...I was however disappointed to see that none of the diary farms in the state of Georgia were a part of the list...The website, aptly called Mindfully.org, has provided a list under the segment. here: Dairies Using Glass Bottles for Milk in US

One of the eco-friendly alternatives to plastic cans and tetra-packs would be milk vending stations at grocery stores or public locations. Milk would be supplied to these location from local dairy farms and dispensed into containers we carry from home.
 source: whytraveltofrance.com
These vending machines could be set up by local diary farms and there by reduce food miles. Is this a far fetched thought, not at all. It is very much with in reach of retail chains to set up vending facilities and there by promote local dairy industry and enable supply of fresh milk every day or atleast alternate days. What we need is more number of people in the corporate decision making teams to work on feasible eco-friendly alternatives and think beyond sales figures and return.We as consumers need to think and make wise choices..We have to strive not to leave a claustrophobic planet for our children to live in....

An old proverb always holds good...Long term vision and gains always weigh more than short term returns...

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About me

My photo
My blogs and my thoughts are what I am. See you around!

I Blog Cos I live

My weblog is my journey towards a greener living...I am not into any fad or being green for the sake of it. I feel very strongly about what I write.

My efforts continue - 24x7. I have tremendous support from my amma, my husband and my family who appreciate what I do and try to be a part of this crusade...

Thank you Green Bag Lady

Thank you Green Bag Lady
Bag and the Blog mentioned - Image linked to the post!

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