Josie Yorgason Blogalist Winner 2013 – Debute Blog on ‘Earth Day’.

University of Mary Washington on Earth Day

The first Earth Day of 1970 was filled with anti-war sentiment and planet conscious
festivities. Every year on April 22nd, people across the globe come together to celebrate and
appreciate the earth for its many wonders.

The picture to the left is University of Mary Washington on Earth Day, April 22nd 2013.

This year, I wanted to celebrate earth day by reducing my use of plastics and avoid
buying products with excessive packaging. Clearly, doing this for only one day is not effective
so I set my challenge in place on Earth Day and have stuck with my challenge thus far. The
first day, I had to focus and pay attention to everything I bought or used throughout my day (it
is a challenge, right?). However, even after one week, I find myself bringing my reusable bags
everywhere and asking for ceramics instead of plastic cups at coffee shops. I am happy to report
that I am approaching full-awareness of all the plastic that I would be using every day.

 

 

Besides being more conscious of all of the plastic and packaging wastes that can accrue
even after one day, this Earth Day, I focused on how others celebrated Earth Day in my current
city of Fredericksburg, VA. After talking with some friends, I found some common trends.
Walking instead of driving, eating lunch outside, shopping with reusable bags, and avoiding
shopping were among the top answers. After this, I wanted to see how my community as a
whole celebrated Earth Day by taking a walk around the town to see if I noticed anything in
celebration of Earth Day. I found some banners and signs that said, “Butts are Litter Too: Keep
Fredericksburg Litter Free”. This sign was a great reminder that even small things like cigarette
butts have no place in the environment and should be disposed of properly.

Butts are litter too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I wanted to learn more about how residents of my community were celebrating Earth
Day, I visited my regional libraries (Rappahannock Regional Library and English Run Library),
where I was lucky enough to talk with the Adult Services Coordinator, Michele Brown, and two
authors of the recently published book Traveling the 38th Parallel: A Water Line Around the
World, David and Janet Carle, about the importance of Earth Day:

“Is the recognition of Earth Day important to you?”

Michele- “Yes, I actually remember the very first Earth Day I had in high school,
specifically. I was allowed to walk to school instead of riding the bus. This was the only day out
of the year we were allowed to do this!”

David- “Yes, I think it is very important and powerful that people are taking the time
to mark environmental issues, this is special. It is especially helpful when places and people
celebrate Earth Day the entire week.”

“Is the recognition of Earth Day important for the city of Fredericksburg
specifically? If so, in what way?”

Michele- “ Yes for Fredericksburg, it is important. We have many beautiful natural
resources that we must preserve.”

Janet- “It is universally important. For Fredericksburg, the Rappahannock River is so
closely tied that it is vital. We even wrote about the Rappahannock River and river preservation
efforts in our book.”

“What is one thing that you have done in honor of Earth Day in order to be more
environmentally aware?”

David- “Writing our book! Also, we both had park ranger careers which allowed us to
work with educating children on Earth day.”

“Is there a specific issue you would like to promote in honor of Earth Day?”

Michele- “Yes! Out global garbage situation is not pleasing. We have so much waste and
packaging wastes that we just don’t know what to do with. This problem is a national issue.”

David- “Yes, awareness of water and sustainability should be addressed. We all need a
better understanding of resources values.”

Janet- “ Yes, I think we all need to focus more on long term rather than short term
sustainability. Global sustainability is key.”

From my findings, I think the messages are very clear and honest. We are a global
community as inhabitants of the earth. Although April 22nd is the designated day to celebrate the
earth, we should try to understand Earth Day as every day. Now, this is where we turn to you,
what will you do to make Earth Day every day? Thinking about your everyday impacts is the
first step. The earth will surely thank you.

-Josie

The Ecover Message In A bottle Campaign – It will be your bottle, your message, WIN one today!

So my head is always bursting with idea’s, how to save the world, how to save money, how to save using chemicals, how to fit everything into my busy day. Some times ideas come easy and some times they get lost in my head, sometimes they arrive at very inconvenient hours of the night.

The main purpose for my ideas and my main reason for doing what I do is I love to engage everyday people. To captivate, to invigorate people, in ways that collectively we can make a change. I like to view myself as a catalyst for change as sometimes it is not easy to see the wood from the trees and as an individual living in a world full of 7 billion it is very easy to say – to heck with little me making any kind of difference. Well I say to heck with that thought as if everyone thinks like that, yes the outcome is negative but imagine if everyone said OK I can do this then together we can make a difference?

Take my little tiny snow flake story that I use as an example – each tiny snow flake is as individual as you are, beautiful intricate designs as unique as your finger prints. Some are smaller than others and some bigger.  Collectively the snow flakes fall from the sky and can cover continents. But imagine if each tiny snow flake said “Oh No I can’t fall from the sky, I am so tiny I will not make a difference?”

When I went to London for the Ecover bloggers event and for the unveiling of their fab idea to close the loop on recycling and use plastic reclaimed from the sea as well as their very own plantastic made from raw sugar cane. You can read my post on this here. And can view all about this on the Ecover webpage here. I had the idea and shared it with the group that wouldn’t it be very effective if we could get people power to get behind a natural, environmental or political problem and each of us wrote  and posted our Message In Our Bottle’s to for example the Prime Minister in the UK the Taoiseach in Ireland or who ever we collectively wanted to target to make change happen.  Ecover and Jen Gale from My Make Do and Mend Year decided that my idea was a good one and we are now in the process of rolling it out 🙂 Jen has already started and you can read all about her recent blog post here.

JENS ECOVER BOTTLEI am waiting on my Ecover Personalised bottle with my name on it to arrive my husband will now definitely not do any chores as the cleaning product will have my name on it…LOL! But while I am waiting I have taken Jen’s bottle to show you what it looks like.

Ecover have given my readers the chance to WIN one of 5 personalised bottles – That is an Ecover product with YOUR name on it, so you can keep the cleaning all to yourself, ha ha – but you can use it to be refilled or write your letter and post it to highlight a cause. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS TELL ME IN A COMMENT BELOW WHAT CAUSE YOU WOULD TARGET WITH YOUR MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE TO WHOM AND WHY?

Lauren from Ecover, Jen from My Make Do and Mend Year and myself will be picking the best causes and taking them a step further we will also be giving the winners of the best 5 causes a free personalised bottle. In time we will also create a centralised information point where the Message In A Bottle Campagne can grow into a worldwide effective system to highlight hot environmental topics.

You bring your concerns to us we get groups of people to jointly post the message in a bottle and together all our bottles and all our messages make such an impact that the person, political party, company or who/whatever sits up and listens to us all and makes a change.

The first area of change I would like to target with a message in a bottle is the mental fact that the UK, still has not brought in a plastic bag levy? In Ireland we were the first to bring in this change and it has worked a treat everyone brings their bags to the shops and if you forget you pay or go without – the crazy thing is people will actually pile all of their shopping into a trolley and they into the car boot rather than pay for a bag. This would be the first change but I have a million more to follow….

My new Laundry Basket – its better than my old one!!

I firstly want to dedicate this to a friend and fellow Eco warrior Jen Gale of My Make Do and Mend Year. Jen you have posted about your laundry basket and its clinging to life state so I hope this blog post helps you out 🙂

I was always sick to death of repairing my plastic laundry basket, you know the type you cart around on your hip in and out of the washing line, the one that kids like to play boat in and the one that ALWAYS breaks!!

These plastic laundry baskets are reasonable to purchase although they can be pricy, my bone of contention is they will snap at some point and I always like to purchase an item that will last and will be easy to recycle or turn into something else (upcycle). My current laundry basket is held together with insulating tape and has reached its last legs and will need to be put out of its misery soon 😦

It is made from PP5 Plastic, also known as Polypropylene and is one of the most widely used plastics particularly for rigid items such as laundry baskets, yogurt cups and tubs, baby bowls etc. This type of plastic does not transmit chemicals into your food and is easy to recycle. Although you will need to check with your local council to ensure you can recycle these plastic types.

So for the time being I found found a replacement in the cupboard under the stars – its the Blue IKEA Reusable Bag. It is made of 100% Polypropylene (PP5) the same as my old laundry basket and can be recycled. But, it has a max load of 25kg!! Pretty good so it should support quite a lot of washing time and time again. The key reason I like this bag so much is it is not rigid so it will not break as easily as the rigid traditional laundry basket.

Other benefits include:

  1. Its soooooooo easy to store
  2. Better for your back, the two handle lengths make it easy to use
  3. Easy to clean just use soap and water
  4. It can be brought to the shops
  5. used in the garden to sit on or kneel on – waterproof
  6. so many other ways to use this bag but guess how much it costs €0.50/ £0.40 amazing value
  7. IKEA is also quite a good company to champion and support Sustainability check out more here.

This is my IKEA Bag in full use hanging with a Kitchen hook on the washing line holding a wash load of wet clothes. No more bending anything to make a job easier!!photo (12)

 

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If you have an Eco product then it makes sense to have an Eco bottle!

This time last week (06-03-13) I was sitting around a table in the heart of London with some great minds.  Bloggers with a GREEN core and the good people from ECOVER to discuss a secret mission! It was an early flight but I was excited to be invited and even more excited to find out what was going to unfold!

The mission was top secret and it had every good reason to be. ECOVER’s Message In Our Bottle was a very exciting pledge. The pledge to close the loop and create a fully sustainable and recyclable plastic. Reducing the amount of raw materials in their bottles which is always a good thing as an eco product more than any other product needs an eco bottle. Generally the customer who buys an eco product has already bought into a personal mission of doing a little bit to save and help the planet. But when you really look at the bigger picture the green customer probably accounts for less than 10% (if even that) of the global consumption of the product. Lets take the product as cleaning products as this is what Ecover sell. Generally when people purchase cleaning products the cost, smell maybe even the branding have huge bearing on the choice the customer makes. Large brands have very large marketing budgets and they use these budgets as it is a dog eat dog world with lots of profits to be made. I fully appreciate that you need to make healthy profits to keep a company viable but what are massive profits to a company when the resources needed to produce them are reducing and the environmental impacts are so catastrophic. Large brands do not spend as much on constant environmental development like the eco alternative brands. And ironically the eco brands do not spend much on advertising!

Every one knows that eco products are a little more expensive but when you equate the little extra cost to the peace of mind that when you clean your loo or pop on the dishwasher the local eco system can at least have a breather. Ecover have been in the driving seat of developing and implementing new environmental products and techniques using their Plant-Astic plastic made from 100% sugar cane since 2011. You can rest assured that you little extra is funding a team of scientists and engineers developing new innovative ways to save our planet, making it easy and convenient for consumers to reduce their carbon foot print.

Imagine paying fishermen to land their haul of sea plastic as well as the fish – this is now a reality! It is a very worthy and clever idea Waste Free Oceans and the fishermen that participate should be applauded. By 2014 each Ecover bottle will contain some amount of sea plastic that was ‘fished’ by fishermen already at sea, hence no extra consumption of raw materials to land the haul of sea plastic.

MIOB infographic_cmyk_final

The other lovely ladies who shared this experience where:

Nicola Baird – Homemade Kids

Melinda Watson –  E for Good & The RAW Foundation

Jen Gale – My Make Do and Mend Year

Lynn Fancy – A Slice of Lemons Cake 

I am not sure if there was a trend with the amount of women to men in the room was a whopping 7:1, are women more interested in protecting out planet?? This is a little thought to follow up on I think. I hope Ecover’s Digital Manager – Peter Rosier  was not too out numbered or too overwhelmed! I really enjoyed the trip, met the good people behind the scenes at Ecover and some very lovely lady bloggers like me! Not to mention Ecover’s Message In Our Bottle….it is a very good green message indeed 🙂