Posts tagged ‘environment’

Doing Good

387828In a previous post, Create a Wave of Good Feeling, we talked about the pleasure of doing something nice or showing a special kindness for another person. We recently received a book, 1001 Ways to Do Good, that is filled with ideas for performing small acts with great consequences. The author, Meera Lester, points out it doesn’t always take a lot to make a difference and there are many things individuals can give that require little or no expenditure of time or money.

The book is divided into four major sections, Do Good Globally, Do Good Locally, Do Good Around You, and Do Good for Yourself. Since it’s the heart of summer and many folks are on vacation, I turned to Chapter 15 to get some tips on Having an Impact While Traveling. One of the author’s suggestions is to help a young family off a plane. She points out that parents traveling with small children frequently have many items to carry including their children, diaper bags, toys, a stroller or baby carrier, extra clothing, etc. They are allowed to board first but when a plane lands, they have to disembark in the order they are sitting on the plane. Ms. Lester suggests that if you are seated near such a family, you “do what you can to help them get off.” I certainly would have appreciated assistance when my two daughters were younger. Another tip is to stay at an environmentally conscious hotel or inn and she provides a link to the website Greenhotels.

In the chapter on Protecting Your Environment, Ms. Lester provides 101 good ideas for taking positive actions to preserve and conserve resources. She covers one of my pet peeves, store bags, and recommends saying no to using the paper or plastic bags that are used at bookstores, hardware stores, etc., since so many of the products sold there can be hand carried or dropped into a purse or pocket. My own personal suggestion is to always have a few bags in your car (paper, plastic, or my favorite, canvas) and bring them with you whenever you shop. And if you’re like me and you occasionally forget to carry them with you, don’t be too lazy to go back to your car -you’ll be doing the Earth a favor!

The book has a helpful appendix that includes Internet sites and resources organized by chapter topics, such as keeping the planet healthy, helping those in need, supporting a worthy cause, standing up for your beliefs, providing worldwide medical aid, helping local business thrive, protecting your environment, seeing what you can do for medicine and science, and many others.

It may seem silly to check out a book from the Library to get ideas about how to be nice or how to do the right thing, but during these troubled times why not get some inspiration and encouragement for helping others? And for Boomers with grandchildren, the book is simple enough to read and pick out some activities to do together. As the author says, “If each of us tried to do good deeds every day, we can make our neighborhood, our country, and our world a better place. And, at the same time, create some good karma.”

August 6, 2009 at 5:21 am Leave a comment

Water’s for fighting about!

CB055213“Whiskey’s for drinking, water’s for fighting about!” —attributed to Mark Twain

Water is in short supply for many cities, farms and businesses in California, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Drought conditions and environmental problems are reducing water deliveries to key regions of California. These regions will continue to see shortages even when normal rainfall returns. As demand for water continues to grow, Californians and their respective communities will need to educate themselves on the key issues involved in the water debate.

To learn more about our current situation and to plan for the future, please join us for a free screening of the documentary, “The American Southwest: Are We Running Dry?” at the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library on Saturday, June 27, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. Immediately following the film, Charles Gale, Metropolitan Water District, will address the audience on ways Californians can insure a continued supply of this precious resource.

And just in case you think that California’s problems are unique, NPR’s Morning Edition offered a feature on competing interests for water from Colorado’s Yampa River, “Yampa River Runs With Possibility And Protest. ”

For more information on water issues see our previous posting on June 15, 2009, “Are We Running Dry?”

June 23, 2009 at 4:26 am Leave a comment

Are We Running Dry?

j0433143Water is essential to California’s quality of life. Our economy depends on it, our families and communities cannot thrive without it, and it is an integral part of the state’s physical beauty and diverse ecology. Unfortunately, California’s water system is in crisis; for the first time in the state’s history, the water supply and delivery system may not be able to meet our growing needs. At the same time, criticial environmental resources are in peril. From aging infrastructure to population growth and climate change, we face a complex set of problems that threaten the future of California’s population, economy, and environment.

The Torrance Public Library, in cooperation with the Torrance Library Commission, the Torrance Water Commission, the Torrance Environmental Quality and Energy Conservation Commission, and the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California, will be screening the film, “The American Southwest: Are We Running Dry?” on Saturday, June 27, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. in the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library Meeting Room. The film will be followed by speaker Charles Gale, Jr., Principal Government and Regional Affairs Representative (MWD) who will be discussing ways Californians can ensure a continued supply of this precious resource.

A few *facts about water and its use:
—99% of the earth’s water is tied up in oceans, in water that is too saline to drink or to use on crops or in gardens
—The average American uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water per day
—The country as a whole uses about 323 billion gallons per day
—Landscaping accounts for about half the water Californians use at home, showers account for another 18%, while toilets use about 20%
—About 75% of California’s available water occurs north of Sacramento, while about 80% of the demand occurs in the southern two-thirds of the state
—Groundwater provides about 40% of the state’s water supply; in dry years, that percentage can go as high as 60%

*sources: Association of California Water Agencies
Green Your Home by Jeanne Roberts

According to an article found on the website LiveScience, desalination is not economically viable at this point in time. Several days ago, National Public Radio reported on using gray water, “Recycling ‘Gray Water’ Cheaply, Safely” to help conserve and recycle. However, until these and other methodologies to increase our water supply become safe and readily available, it would be wise for all of us to become more aware of how we use and abuse water and how we can best conserve this essential resource.

Here are a few websites to help you familiarize yourself with water issues and water conservation:
Water Education Foundation A Briefing on California Water Issues
California Urban Water Conservation Council
Water – Use It Wisely
Save Our Water
Calculate Your Water Footprint

Please join us for what should be a very interesting and useful program!

June 15, 2009 at 7:47 pm 1 comment

Torrance Goes “Green” – Environmental Fair

indexThe City of Torrance is hosting an Environmental Fair at the Madrona Marsh Nature Center on June 13. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about environmental concerns, energy conservation, and what you and your family can do to help make your community more environmentally friendly. In addition to picking up information on green home improvements, energy efficient transportation, and water conservation, stop by our library booth to get a sampling of the wealth of library resources available on environmental concerns.

One of the best new books we’ve received on the subject of converting to a more environmentally conscious life style is Green Your Home by Jeanne Roberts. The book is loaded with great information on how to conserve electricity and water, ways to create a healthy home environment, and how to lessen our adverse physical impacts as we go about our lives. For example, did you know that computers are “energy vampires” and use power even when off? The book reports that computers and servers use 3% of all electricity produced in the country, and the Department of energy expects use to continue rising in the next decade. You may not realize that 33% of the energy is going to your computer monitor, so Roberts suggests you turn the screen off or put your computer on “sleep” mode every time you leave your desk. While it’s just one method to help me cut my energy consumption, I’ve started this practice every time I leave my office or home computer.

It’s never too early to help young people understand the importance of preserving our natural resources and library staff suggest some of the following books to share with your children or grandchildren:
What Can You Make of It? By Fritz Brandenberg

Dinah for President by Claudia Mills

The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry

Afternoon on the Amazon by Mary Pope Osborne

Flush by Carl Hiaasen

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Judy Moody Saves the World by Megan McDonald

Robert Takes a Stand by Barbara Seuling

Firestorm by David Klass

Helping Children Get Involved

Recycling by Charlotte Wilcox

Reducing and Recycling Waste by Carol Inkstapp

The Lazy Environmentalist on A Budget: Save Money, Save Time, Save the Planet by Josh Dorfman

Mission Save The Planet: 10 Steps Any Kid Can Take to Save the Planet by Sally Ride

The Library’s website also has links to helpful resources on ecology and environmental science.

June 5, 2009 at 8:48 pm 1 comment



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