With the down turn in the economy, my workplace is also experiencing cuts. Offices are being closed in an effort to consolidate services. So a couple of my colleagues drove out of town to clean out the Boston office. They came back with among other things three pink and one burgundy conference chairs. Now who in a business setting would want a pink chair in their conference room. My guess: someone who cannot afford a chair! Folks at work thought that perfectly fine chairs should be disposed in the dumpster. The "GrreenMomster" in me would not permit me to be silent at such a suggestion particularly, since I work in the environmental field. Now it takes money, time, courage and sometimes a combination of these to deliver solutions to save four chairs from ending up in the landfill. Four such chairs that have a lot of life left in them. So I called the Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way, the Jerry Lewis Charity for Multiple Sclerosis ...... Nobody accepted the chairs or they did not have a need for them. Then I discovered Freecycle.org and a local group at Rutgers University and greatnonprofits.org. I join the groups, posted my four chairs and waited. In 24 hours I had one request for photographs of the chairs from a non-profit group. It turns out to be an orphanage which has a conference room but no furniture and hence no use for the room. They like the chairs. The main question "how will the chairs get to them?" I should know more tomorrow, but I am glad that such online tools are putting people in touch, helping keep objects out of landfills, and providing opportunities to make a change. One such opportunity is Leo Goes Grr's Grrecycle Room. Post to it, buy from it and grab your opportunity....
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Last week the White House broke ground on its South Lawn to raise an organic garden. The idea was to motivate people to grown their own food and promote healthy eating habits.
It certainly motivated my family. As soon as my husband heard the NPR report about the White House organic garden, he texted: "Add create organic garden to our to do list". Actually last year, my husband's aunt Sulbha, who lives in NJ, had fantastically green foliage on her patio. She has always had a green thumb but last year she used it to grow vegetables in containers. It was such a hit that she plans on continuing this year and this year she is not alone. My friend Ritu has started her seedlings already. And I? I have started the planning process. My issue like many in NJ is deer grazing. So I will contain my vegetable garden to my deck. I have wood slats in my basement which will be nailed together. The wood will be treated for water proofing (I need to find a green way to do this...any ideas?). By the time, we get around to doing this, it will be mid-April. So why not wait a bit and have a "plant a garden" birthday party for my 51/2 year old.
So what make a garden organic: the soil and the fertilizer. For planters, I would recommend large bags of organic soil and a couple of bags of compost from the local nursery or Coop. If you are planting in the ground, an organic compost will help turn over your garden in three years to be qualified as organic. Go the extra mile by harvesting rain water in a rain barrel available from http://www.aquabarrel.com/ and use it to water your garden. Remember to place it at a higher elevation than the area intended to be watered. Here are few more ideas http://planetgreen.discovery.com/home-garden/kitchen-plants-container-gardens.html.
Choose a sunny spot, water regularly and enjoy!!
Monday, March 16, 2009
Here's my new dryer! It dries clothes and is free.. well not free. It costs $19.99 + tax and is available at http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50095091. It can hold one standard laundry load. It can conveniently be folded for storage when not in use. It will lower your utility bill guaranteed. Now for the added benefits:
1. Slows me down since I can only dry one load at a time. The pressure is off!
2. My 5.5 year old daughter loves to empty the washer for me.
3. Many household members want to help me put the clothes out to dry.
So all in all, use alternate sources of energy-solar and wind and now laundry is a feel good activity.
Monday, March 2, 2009
As parents of school-going children, we are eternally asked to contribute to our children's school. I remember the first day back from school and my kids came home with a fundraiser. My first thought was "Are they going to school to learn or to raise funds?". As the year progressed, I saw more such requests. As a parent, I was over-whelmed, not only with the number of fundraisers, but also requests for additional funds needed for small projects - class parties, extra-activities planned by the teachers, school trips etc.
When the school year began, I checked with several parents about participating in the Home and School Association. Many of them were of the opinion that once you attend you get pressurized to participate and of course you volunteer, taking on one more responsibility when you are already stretched thin. Nonetheless, I had made up my mind to find out for myself. I decided to make it a priority to play an active role in the school's Home and School Association equivalent to a Parent Teacher Association. Mind you "active" for me at this time does not mean serve on a committee, it meant, merely, attend a monthly meeting.
Contrary to the feedback I received from many parents, the HSA was an extremely welcoming and warm group of parents. These parents are just as strecthed out as I. But they have chosen to prioritize their children's school experience over some other activity. There were no pressures, only opportunities..... Ultimately it is my choice to either participate or not. One HSA meeting and I realized how important it is for parents to support a group of individuals whose only objective is to make the school experience as educational, fun and memorable as possible. To me thats a selfless cause.
And thats how the idea of Grreen Fundraisers was born! Check out Grreen Year-Round Fundraisers on www.leogoesgrr homepage. Leo Goes Grr kicked off its first Grreen Fundraiser at Woodfern Elementary School in Hillsborough NJ. A lucky patron will be awarded an Imagination Box from Leo Goes Grr Grreen Shop!