Archive for August, 2010

Earth Overshoot Day came and went

From the Global Footprint Network website:

August 21st marks an unfortunate milestone: the day in which we exhaust our ecological budget for the year. Once we pass this day, humanity will have demanded all the ecological services – from filtering CO2 to producing the raw materials for food – that nature can provide this year. From that point until the end of the year, we meet our ecological demand by liquidating resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

In other words, from now till December 31st, we are living on credit. Sound familiar? Talk about a “debt crisis!”

Regular readers of this site know that we don’t often report the gloom-n-doom stuff, but this one is always an important wake-up call. In 2009, we noted the date on September 25th, a full month later than this year!

Yes, it’s depressing. But, remember — we are an amazingly creative species. If we can land people on the moon, we can figure this one out! One way to make a significant difference is to green our businesses. What can you do, today, to help push Earth Overshoot Day back next year? Let’s aim for October, shall we?

The Weekly Green: Juice for the Journey #11

photo by: Julie
Week 11

Enough is as good as a feast. ~ Mary Poppins

This speaks right to my heart as a North American, so used to getting whatever I want, whenever I want it. Some say that sustainability will only be possible when those of us in developed countries dramatically dial back our consumption. Polls show that, even with all our stuff and wealth, our happiness quotient has dropped steadily since the 1950’s. Humans need so little to be truly happy. This week, notice when you are content.

More: Learn about positive psychology and happiness.

Read the Weekly Green from Week 10 here.

We always love to hear from you! How juicy is this quote for you?

The Weekly Green: Juice for the Journey #10

photo by: Bill A
Week 10

We face a series of great opportunities disguised as insoluble problems. ~ John Gardner

I like the notion that the seeds of solution lie at the very heart of our most intractable problems. The Buddhist practice of Tonglen is “poison as medicine.” Going right into what causes the most suffering and finding the gold within it. This can be applied on a personal level, in a company, a community, even a nation. How can you see the opportunity in a tough problem this week?

More: Listen to a 4-minute talk about Tonglen practice (on MP3)
Read an article about Tonglen

Read the Weekly Green from Week 9 here.

We always love to hear from you! How juicy is this quote for you?

The Weekly Green: Juice for the Journey #9

photo by: Julie
Week 9

Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction. ~ Albert Einstein

Simplicity is a radical idea. Sometimes I think the complexity of human systems is just a smokescreen for a lack of clarity or confidence that we know what we’re doing. I often find myself longing for a world where nobody tolerates the confusion of our man-made complexity. When we use models, analogies, stories and metaphor, we can simplify and understand systems. This week: where can you move towards simplicity and away from complexity?

More: Explore the Santa Fe Institute, which researches complexity theory.

Corollary: Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler. ~ Albert Einstein

Read the Weekly Green from Week 8 here.

We always love to hear from you! How juicy is this quote for you?

Celebrate green at the office

photo by: Balance Weddings

Guest post by Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson, mother and daughter co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, available at their website, Celebrate Green.

As summer winds down, you might be thinking of an end-of-summer celebration with your office. Here are a few tips for eco-friendly company parties. (Many of these ideas are inexpensive too!) If you are looking for more in depth information, just contact Lynn and Corey at their website.

  • Avoid choosing paper anything unless it’s treefree or 100% recycled and printed with vegetable inks.
  • If you are giving gifts, make them earth-friendly. Potted plants make great centerpieces and can be given away.
  • Instead of centering the party around food and drink, come up with some fun activities that may include poking gentle fun at management.
  • Provide drinks in pitchers, punch bowls or glass bottles. Avoid disposable cups and plates.
  • If you’re having the party catered, seek out one who emphasizes sustainable, local and organic food.
  • Giving out awards? Choose from recycled glass awards, fair trade picture frames, organic chocolate bars etc. You can find these and others at Recycled Products and Green With Envy Gifts.
  • Have your party early enough in the day so that lights are not necessary. If you use decorative lighting, ensure that it is LED or solar.
  • Serve fair trade, organic coffee (shade grown if possible) and/or tea.
  • Plan carefully. Avoid overpurchasing food. If you have leftovers, compost, send home with guests or donate if you can. Unopened bags, boxes and cans can be taken to a local food bank.
  • Consider having your party or celebration benefit a local cause. Invite guests to bring books for local book drives, coats for a coat drive, school supplies or whatever else your local community needs.
  • Clean up with eco-friendly products and be sure to place recycling bins where guests will use them.

If you like these suggestions and want to read more about greening events, check out our guest series from eco-event planner extraordinaire Lori Hill.

As always, we love to hear from you! What creative ideas have you tried for your company celebrations?

The Weekly Green: Juice for the Journey #8

Week 8

There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace. ~ Aldo Leopold

When we connect with what is real in this physical world, we are so much the richer for it. The land, the soil, the rain, sunlight, heat, cold – these are all conditions of life on earth that we might ignore or take for granted. There is a great, mysterious engine behind all of this, which quickly leads to the spiritual. When we connect with this source, our awe and wonder deepens. This week, connect with wonder by asking: where does your breakfast come from?

More: Find a farmer’s market anywhere in the U.S. by visiting Local Harvest.

Read the Weekly Green from Week 7 here.

We always love to hear from you! How juicy is this quote for you?