29 February 2012

Films about the Environment and (Love?)

This year, the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital will mark its 20th year. The festival runs March 13-25.

Included in the great collection of films is A Fierce Green Fire, which I blogged about last month. Another entry of interest to me is Moomins and the Comet Chase, which comes from Finland. Moomin characters are huge there.

The last film I'll mention (be sure to check out the full list) is Expedition Blue Planet: North America, which caught my eye because the film's director, Alexandra Cousteau (pictured), caught my eye. She is the granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau, which automatically gives her coolness; but on top of that, I think I'm in love. She definitely has my vote as the face of environmentalism.

On a more serious note, if you're going to be around Washington, DC, during the middle of March, keep the film festival in mind. Even if you can't make the festival, think about seeing what films are on the schedule and maybe trying to view them somewhere else.

26 February 2012

The Many Lives of Trees

If you're lucky enough to live on property with trees but unlucky enough to have had one of them die, don't consider its death the end.

TreeHugger provides some suggestions for what to do with a dead tree. I particularly like the idea for turning the tree into a place for bees. Mason bees would probably really love it.

The suggestion about making the tree into a bee habitat brings up another important point about dead trees: They actually play a big role in ecosystems, attracting many species with food and shelter. Woodpeckers have lots of fun with them.

In terms of what trees do for an ecosystem, their life has the potential to extend well beyond their time for living. If you happen to end up with a dead tree on your hands or already have one, consider some of the ways you might give it an afterlife.

23 February 2012

Ideas You Shouldn't Throw Away

In the past, I've blogged about the need to reduce trash and also shared one of the ways I remind myself that trash starts with a purchase. Today, I wanted to share someone else's ideas for dealing with trash.

Terri Bennett recently gave her top seven ways to be less trashy. I like that the ideas address all three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. In particular, I find the suggestions for reusing electronics and recycling clothing of great use. Also, I enjoy seeing that her seventh suggestion echoes my call to think about the trash that might result from buying something.

If you like Bennett's suggestions about trash, be sure to check out the rest of her Do Your Part Web site.

14 February 2012

Love is in the Land

Tonight, I read a blog post from an intern at the National Wildlife Federation about her crush on the Pacific Northwest. She highlighted 14 reasons she loves the region, and it got me thinking about my own affection for the PNW.

First, I'd like to add to the nice list compiled by the NWF writer by drawing attention to the Willapa Hills and the Washington coast. The hills embrace you warmly, and our beaches have a unique beauty. I also think we have great animal and plant species that contribute to the PNW's personality (the orca for example).

Finally, I don't think I'd call my feelings for the area a "crush." This love runs deep--the kind you feel for your family or a soulmate. The environment and lifestyle here shaped me, so no matter where I go, the PNW will always be a piece of me.

Where the Grickle Grass Grows

Today is Valentine's Day of course, but it is also the 40th anniversary of CBS's airing of The Lorax, a television special based on the book by Dr. Seuss.

Although I wasn't around for the initial airing, I remember watching a taped version of the show when I was a kid. Because of the impression it made on me with its messages about pollution and greed, I thought I should mark the anniversary with a post about it.

I think many of our ways of interacting with the environment have improved since 1972, and I hope that trend continues.

12 February 2012

This One Counts

Another opportunity for citizen science is coming up this week. The Great Backyard Bird Count runs February 17-20.

By enlisting the aid of the general public, the count helps scientists track bird populations and provides insight into the overall health of different bird species. Individuals can participate by watching birds for as little as 15 minutes during one of the days, or they can commit even more time if they like. Sharing the results online gives everyone an easy way to contribute and see what others are finding.

The count is organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society. For more information, click here.

09 February 2012

Local Eating in the Palm of Your Hand

Eating foods that are grown and sold locally is an important part of sustainability, and the Natural Resources Defense Council is trying to make local eating easier with a new app called Eat Local, which is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

The app allows you to determine what foods are in season in your area, find where local farmers' markets are, and discover seasonal recipes. For more information, click here. Eat Local is another tool from the NRDC's collection of resources for Smarter Living.

06 February 2012

Plastic: Time to Wrap it Up

Besides doing away with my need for gasoline, cutting down on the use of plastic is one of my biggest environmental goals. The problem is that plastic comes with so many things we use all the time.

It definitely takes a conscious effort to avoid plastic. For example, when I think I want to buy something, I ask myself if it or its packaging contains plastic. If the answer is yes, I often decide against buying it or choose to look for alternatives.

Sometimes, my attempts to keep plastic at a distance need a little help though. I found some in this article about five packaged foods you never need to buy again. It contains information about making things like soup, soup stock, and, my personal favorite, cereal.

Now, I can take my anti-plastic life to the next level.