Friday, May 9, 2008

Three cheers for engineers

Engineers Without Borders is a non-profit humanitarian organization that works with developing communities around the world to improve their quality of life. They design and implement sustainable engineering projects, while involving and training internationally responsible engineers and engineering students.

Check out this article about EWB designing tiny wind turbines for use in Guatemalan villages. My favorite part (besides the fact that it’s engineers doing good deeds) is that the turbines can be assembled from inexpensive materials… it’s not quite as cool as MacGyver saving the day using only a Swiss Army knife, duct tape, and a stick of chewing gum, but still remarkable!

Inhabitat article

Wired article

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Confessions of a tissue addict

On TV awhile back, I saw a clip from a press conference in which Sheryl Crow urged people to use only one sheet of toilet paper in order to save trees.

Now I’m all for saving trees and going green and whatnot, but ONE SHEET? Let’s be rational here. Toilet paper is a must for those of us who grew up after the era of using corncobs or Sears Roebuck catalog pages in the outhouse; but with a little research and deliberation, it’s easy to green your 21st century bathroom habits.

I’ve heard several plumbers recommend Scott toilet tissue because it breaks down quickly and doesn’t cause pipe backups the way thicker paper types do. And while we’re on the subject, don’t flush paper towels or bulky feminine hygiene products that could cause plumbing problems! Disposable diapers are an evil that could warrant a post all their own. Think before you flush.

See my collection of green cleaning tips for more thoughts on plumbing.

Before I close this post, I should explain the title: I am a recovering tissue addict. I had tissue boxes in my bedroom, living room, office, dining room, and kitchen. Half-used tissues littered most of the end tables and nightstands in my house. I have a problem.

I’m trying to convert to the way of the cloth handkerchief, but change is hard. Who wants to carry a snotty rag around with them all day?

Here are thoughts from another convert...

Guess who's green?

In case you haven't noticed, the green movement is going mainstream with marketing campaigns. Companies you never would have expected to join in... are.

Citibank is advertising its online billpay/paperless billing service. Sign up and they will plant a tree on your behalf.

Amazon has a site where you can recommend your favorite green products.

And how about all the car companies touting their new hybrids or green factories? It's easy to be skeptical given the level of greenwashing out there, but let's hope that there is some truth behind these green marketing campaigns.