Archive for December, 2008

Environmental New Year's Resolutions

These are recommendations for the New Year from the Tennessee Recycling Coalition:

A new year brings about changes as well as new responsibility. We all should be conscious every day of how we can personally take responsibility for our environment. The following are a few tips on how you can be “greener” in 2009.
Travel Efficiently: Take public transportation, carpool or map your route for the greatest efficiency and least amount of fuel consumption when making trips.
Pass on Paper: Take a pass on paper products. There are numerous free Internet resources to send electronic invitations and greeting cards. Set your tables with reusable dinnerware, silverware and cloth napkins when possible, or for casual gatherings, try serving finger foods that don’t require a plate or fork. Try to make your own wrapping paper out of newspaper, children’s artwork or other reusable or recyclable items. Most store-bought wrapping paper is not recyclable and ends up in landfills.
Buy Local: Buying local for your special meals is good for the economy, reduces fuel usage and adds a special touch. In addition to seasonal vegetables at your local farmer’s market, Tennessee is home to numerous specialty items like hams, baked goods and cheeses. Learn more at http://www.picktnproducts.org/.
Energy Star: Look for the Energy Star rating for your electronic products. This will provide greater energy efficiency throughout the year. And don’t forget to recycle the old electronics to keep them out of landfills. Visit http://www.earth911.com to find out where you can recycle in your neck of the woods.
Take Advantage of Nature, etc.: Watchable wildlife make great gift ideas. Consider bird feeders, bat houses and butterfly boxes paired with a book on the same subject when buying gifts in 2009. Also, consider activities like cooking school, canoe trips or tennis lessons for gifts. Visit http://www.tnstateparks.com for more ideas.
Extend the Useful Life of Gifts: Before tossing the old to make room for the new, check to see if you can donate, reuse or recycle it.
Create Your Own Heirlooms: Frame family documents or children’s artwork, or attach brass plaques to special items such as cribs.

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Environmental New Year’s Resolutions

These are recommendations for the New Year from the Tennessee Recycling Coalition:

A new year brings about changes as well as new responsibility. We all should be conscious every day of how we can personally take responsibility for our environment. The following are a few tips on how you can be “greener” in 2009.
Travel Efficiently: Take public transportation, carpool or map your route for the greatest efficiency and least amount of fuel consumption when making trips.
Pass on Paper: Take a pass on paper products. There are numerous free Internet resources to send electronic invitations and greeting cards. Set your tables with reusable dinnerware, silverware and cloth napkins when possible, or for casual gatherings, try serving finger foods that don’t require a plate or fork. Try to make your own wrapping paper out of newspaper, children’s artwork or other reusable or recyclable items. Most store-bought wrapping paper is not recyclable and ends up in landfills.
Buy Local: Buying local for your special meals is good for the economy, reduces fuel usage and adds a special touch. In addition to seasonal vegetables at your local farmer’s market, Tennessee is home to numerous specialty items like hams, baked goods and cheeses. Learn more at http://www.picktnproducts.org/.
Energy Star: Look for the Energy Star rating for your electronic products. This will provide greater energy efficiency throughout the year. And don’t forget to recycle the old electronics to keep them out of landfills. Visit http://www.earth911.com to find out where you can recycle in your neck of the woods.
Take Advantage of Nature, etc.: Watchable wildlife make great gift ideas. Consider bird feeders, bat houses and butterfly boxes paired with a book on the same subject when buying gifts in 2009. Also, consider activities like cooking school, canoe trips or tennis lessons for gifts. Visit http://www.tnstateparks.com for more ideas.
Extend the Useful Life of Gifts: Before tossing the old to make room for the new, check to see if you can donate, reuse or recycle it.
Create Your Own Heirlooms: Frame family documents or children’s artwork, or attach brass plaques to special items such as cribs.

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Happy New Year!

As I started writing this post detailing my New Year’s Resolutions, Sam Cooke’s Keep Movin’ On played on my iTunes. What a great song for me to hear as I begin a new year. Here are the lyrics:

Keep movin’ on, keep movin’ on
Life is this way
Keep movin’ on, keep movin’ on
Everyday

When I go to sleep at night
I add up my day
Trying to recall the things I’ve done
And debts I have to pay
For there is one thing that I know
What you reap is what you sow

Keep movin’ on, keep movin’ on
Life is this way
Keep movin’ on, keep movin’ on
Everyday

Brother, mind what you do
And how you treat your fellow man
If you’re like me, you’d try to live
The very best you can
For if you spread good all around
You’d be able to sleep when the sun goes down

My resolutions seem insignificant to the message in this song. Happy New Year!

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What's in the sludge?

TVA, EPA have yet to share test info; Bredesen to visit site

By Anne Paine • STAFF WRITER • December 31, 2008

From the air on Tuesday, the dump trucks, bulldozers and other heavy equipment looked like Tonka trucks in a huge dingy sandbox, moving mounds of gray-black muck.

They’re part of an around-the-clock effort to clean up a massive slide of potentially toxic ash sludge at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston power plant.

Gov. Phil Bredesen is planning to take his first tour of the Roane County spill today with his top health and environmental officials to discuss the cleanup operation and safety issues surrounding the debris.

On the ground, TVA officials updated media and residents about steps taken to control the spill.

But one piece of information is still missing: What exactly is in the slurry that is now haphazardly heaped across 300 acres of people’s yards, forests and fields?

Okay, Gov. Bredesen, I know that it is the holidays, but you are the governor, and this is one of the largest environmental disasters ever. Stop George Bush-ing around and get this fixed.

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What’s in the sludge?

TVA, EPA have yet to share test info; Bredesen to visit site

By Anne Paine • STAFF WRITER • December 31, 2008

From the air on Tuesday, the dump trucks, bulldozers and other heavy equipment looked like Tonka trucks in a huge dingy sandbox, moving mounds of gray-black muck.

They’re part of an around-the-clock effort to clean up a massive slide of potentially toxic ash sludge at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston power plant.

Gov. Phil Bredesen is planning to take his first tour of the Roane County spill today with his top health and environmental officials to discuss the cleanup operation and safety issues surrounding the debris.

On the ground, TVA officials updated media and residents about steps taken to control the spill.

But one piece of information is still missing: What exactly is in the slurry that is now haphazardly heaped across 300 acres of people’s yards, forests and fields?

Okay, Gov. Bredesen, I know that it is the holidays, but you are the governor, and this is one of the largest environmental disasters ever. Stop George Bush-ing around and get this fixed.

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Litter is Trash

Since I was employed by magazine publishers the past ten years, I automatically pick up magazines. During a walk yesterday, I saw a magazine facedown on the side of the road. I picked it up and immediately dropped it. I did not have a litter bag with me to take it back to my house to recycle. And I definitely was not going to walk through my neighborhood with this in my possession:

tennswingers_1292

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Asphalt Dumped in My Neighborhood

Some paving has been completed in the Riverwalk subdivision. Should I suspect that this pile of asphalt off Newsom Station Road was left behind by the pavers?

asphalt_1294

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Unrealistic Referendum Will Cause Real Confusion: English only

nodumping_0564There is a great article in the Nashville City Paper this morning about how the English only referendum (if it passes) will cause confusion in the Nashville community.

My community has lots of illegal dumping because we are out of the city limits and had lots of new homes constructed in the 90s. Many of the workers were Latino. And they did a great job at building my home. I watched them work from sun up to sun down; weekends; holidays.

When I complained to the Metro Public Works department about the construction trash being left behind, the city erected this sign in both English and Spanish. Would these signs only be printed in English if the law passes?

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Why I Hate Plastic Products

dscn1287My mother-in-law always brings her au gratin potatoes for holiday dinners at our house. Her cheesy potatoes are a favorite of my husband.

She likes to bring them in a black plastic container that she can cook in, store in and carry in somewhere. I’ve always looked upon this plastic cookware as something just not right. Plastic products too often wind up in landfills and languish there for who knows how long. Plus cooking in plastic just cannot be healthy I suspect.

As the four of us only ate about a third of the potatoes for Christmas dinner, she left the dish to her son for later meals. “Just put a cookie sheet under the plastic dish and blah-blah-blah in the oven. You can cook in it,” she explained.

Okay, the day after Christmas, we removed the dish from the refrigerator. We removed the clear plastic lid as indicated on the product. We placed it on a cookie sheet, blah-blah-blah in our conventional oven. Our mouths watered as we smelled the cheese baking on the potatoes. Leftovers are always better than the original.

As I surfed the internet, the husband removed the dish on the cookie sheet from our oven. “It melted!” he shouted. “Is it safe to eat?” he asked hopefully.

I rushed to the kitchen to see some really appetizing au gratin potatoes sitting atop a melted blob of plastic. “I’m not eating any of it,” I cried. “It’s full of plastic wastes!” as I smelled fumes in my kitchen.

John called his mother and described the hazardous dish to her. “You forgot the aluminum foil on top!” she explained. “Then why use the plastic container to begin with if you have to place it on a cookie sheet and top with aluminum foil?” I asked.

The entire blob (potatoes, melted plastic and a well-used cookie sheet) is heading for the landfill.

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Standing up to a flood of trash

GREENSPACE
Lennie Arkinstall braves rough weather to keep tons of urban debris in the L.A. River from reaching the open ocean. December 27, 2008
When it rains, Lennie Arkinstall scrambles to stanch the outflow of urban debris churning along the Long Beach area’s swollen rivers and channels.

It’s a routine task for Arkinstall, who last week was out in blustery weather resetting yellow trash-catching booms used to corral tons of lawn clippings, toys, plastic bottles, sofas and tens of thousands of cigarette butts.

What a hero!

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