If You Want it Green, There’s a Way

13 Nov

Mr. Arn,  a Butch Cafe regular,  posted this comment yesterday:

Hi Butch,
Yes, I agree. We have to do something. The problem is what is something. Should we plant trees? Where? Should we do something about the garbage, but how?

I know that some of you also harbor the same questions so I am posting here (sans express permission) an article from last month’s Discovery Magazine.  I took this into consideration when we planned for our Family Christmas this year and I promise to push this agenda to the organizers of the other parties that I’d be attending this Christmas Season.  Needless to say, this will also affect the things I’d be giving away as gifts henceforth this Christmas.  I urge you as well to start greening your ways.  It may not seem comfortable at first and it takes a lot of getting used to.  But if it’s a better and greener world that we desire the call to action is a change of mind and lifestyle.  No more, no less.

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Join the Green Party

Throwing a party?  Make it environmentally friendly.  Far too much waste is generated through thrown-out leftovers and disposable party products.

1. DISPOSABLES

Instead of serving food and drinks in polystyrene or paper cups and plates, use ceramic, glass, or melamine.  These can be bought cheaply at a thrift store or even rented.  Have someone help with the washing up, or encourage partygoers to wash their own dishes.  Or hire the services of a caterer that takes all the dirty dishes back and off your hands.

2. FOOD

Instead of having a barbecue (heavy on charcoal) with air-flown meat (heavy on fuel consumption), switch to potluck parties where guests each bring a plate, ideally using sustainably grown vegetables or meat from local farms.  And opting for organic meat, wine, and beer helps reduce the consumption of pesticides, chemical additives, and antibiotics.  To prevent food wastage, plan for 70-80 percent of the estimated turnout, and have takeaway bags (or better still, reusable containers) ready for leftovers.

3. ENTERTAINMENT

Screen an educational documentary on wildlife preservation, or even invite a conservationist to present a talk or slide show.  For music, include local musicians, records, or world music albums to keep cultural heritages alive.

4. ART OF GIVING

As a host, tell guests your wish list.  This prevents wastage of unwanted products and packaging.  If your list is expensive, have your guests share the cost.  If you don’t need or expect a gift, ask for donations to a good cause.

5. BALLOONS

Balloons are pretty but they’re a health hazard.  Made of synthetic latex, they gice off noxious fumes when burnt.  When released, they eventually fall into rivers, seas, and nature reserves, causing pollution and animal hazards– for example. turtles mistake deflated balloons for jellyfish, swallow them, and choke to death.  Get biodegradable latex balloons made from natural products, and compost-used ones.  Avoid helium balloons, as helium is better reserved for scientific purposes.

6. DECORATIONS

Make decorations from recycled materials such as wrappers, fabric, leaves, or flowers.  Displaying children’s crafts is a winner at children’s parties.

7. RECYCLING

Provide boxes with labels for sorting and recycling, and abother box or bucket for waste that can be composted.

8. LIGHTING

Outdoor parties are cool as they can be held with natural light.  While for indoor ones you can use low-powered lighting such as LED, saving precious energy.  Projecting messages onto a plain background or screening patterns and photos saves material costs as well as the waste from banners.  If you like candles, use soy-based ones which, unlike paraffin candles, emit very little carbon and soot.

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