I've had enough!

Yesterday on my way to work a guy in a pickup truck pulled onto the interstate in front of me. It wasn't long before I saw aluminum cans flying out of the bed of his truck. Maybe he wasn't deliberately littering, but it's littering just the same.

Tennessee has a campaign called Stop Litter: Tennessee's had Enough.

Did you know?
  • 48 percent of Tennesseeans polled say they have knowingly thrown trash on the street.

  • 1 in 5 people say they do this on a regular basis!

  • $11 million tax payer dollars is what our state spends picking up the trash Tennesseans throw down on the ground. That doesn't even count what your city pays to pick up litter in the incorporated areas.

  • 12,000,000 miles are driven each year picking up litter in our state. Think about all the gas that is needed to fuel trucks for litter pick up.
Tennessee also has a Litter Hotline for concerned citizens to take action and report instances of littering. So that's what I did. There's a toll free number (1-877-8-LITTER), or you can submit identifying information online. The form asks for the date and time you witnessed the incident, as well as several other factors. Most importantly, you have to get the license plate number of the offending motorist.

I'll admit, it feels a bit like tattling, but something needs to be done. The state will send a letter to the registered owner of the vehicle informing them of the negative consequences of their littering actions and providing them with educational materials. The letter will include information about how to contain their litter and inform them that litterers can be fined up to $1,500.

It's a start. Maybe that guy will be looking over his shoulder and think twice next time before throwing trash into the back of his pickup.

Find out if your city or state has resources you can use to help wipe out litter. You can find other ways to get involved here.


Right to Dry

You may have read some recent posts about my clothes line. Check out Kim Komando's video of the day from CBS about clothes line controversy around the nation.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Do you know if you can dry in your neighborhood? What argument do you agree with? Are clothes lines a good way to save energy, an eyesore or both?


Go green at work too!

Ink-jet printer

My place of business is taking another step in "going green." Xerox staff will be on campus tomorrow to program all copy machines for two-sided copy. This endeavor will save paper, which in turn has the benefit of saving money. If employees have a particular need to print something one-sided, they can go in and change the default setting.

This is a great thing companies — large or small — can do to make a big difference. Theoretically, we should go through nearly half the paper as we normally do.

Additional steps you can take to print green include:

1) Decrease the margins. By making the margins on your typed documents smaller, you'll fit more on a page, thereby using fewer sheets of paper to get your point across. MS Word has the margins default at 1 inch for top and bottom, and 1.25 inches left and right. When printing anything longer than a page, try setting your margins at .75 all around.

2) Print it on the back of something else if it's not important. Make a separate stack of paper that has clean backs, and feed this paper into your printer next time you need to print a rough draft or some notes.

3) If it's really not important, don't print it at all.



Australian town bans bottled water sales
By KRISTEN GELINEAU – 8 hours ago

SYDNEY (AP) — Residents of a rural Australian town hoping to protect the earth and their wallets have voted to ban the sale of bottled water, the first community in the country — and possibly the world — to take such a drastic step in the growing backlash against the industry.

Residents of Bundanoon cheered after their near-unanimous approval of the measure at a town meeting Wednesday. It was the second blow to Australia's beverage industry in one day: Hours earlier, the New South Wales state premier banned all state departments and agencies from buying bottled water, calling it a waste of money and natural resources.

"I have never seen 350 Australians in the same room all agreeing to something," said Jon Dee, who helped spearhead the "Bundy on Tap" campaign in Bundanoon, a town of 2,500 about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Sydney. "It's time for people to realize they're being conned by the bottled water industry."

First popularized in the 1980s as a convenient, healthy alternative to sugary drinks, bottled water today is often criticized as an environmental menace, with bottles cluttering landfills and requiring large amounts of energy to produce and transport.

Over the past few years, at least 60 cities in the United States and a handful of others in Canada and the United Kingdom have agreed to stop spending taxpayer dollars on bottled water, which is often consumed during city meetings, said Deborah Lapidus, organizer of Corporate Accountability International's "Think Outside the Bottle" campaign in the U.S.
But the Boston-based nonprofit corporate watchdog has never heard of a community banning the sale of bottled water, she said.

"I think what this town is doing is taking it one step further and recognizing that there's safe drinking water coming out of our taps," she said.

Bundanoon's battle against the bottle has been brewing for years, ever since a Sydney-based beverage company announced plans to build a water extraction plant in the town. Residents were furious over the prospect of an outsider taking their water, trucking it up to Sydney for processing and then selling it back to them. The town is still fighting the company's proposal in court.

Then in March, Huw Kingston, who owns the town's combination cafe and bike shop, had a thought: If the town was so against hosting a water bottling company, why not ban the end product?

To prevent lost profit in the 10-or-so town businesses that sell bottled water, Kingston suggested they instead sell reusable bottles for about the same price. Residents will be able to fill the bottles for free at public water fountains, or pay a small fee to fill them with filtered water kept in the stores.

The measure will not impose penalties on those who don't comply when it goes into effect in September. Still, all the business owners voluntarily agreed to follow it, recognizing the financial and environmental drawbacks of bottled water, Kingston said.

On Wednesday, 356 people turned up for a vote — the biggest turnout ever at a town meeting.

Only two people voted no. One said he was worried banning bottled water would encourage people to drink sugary beverages. The other was Geoff Parker, director of the Australasian Bottled Water Institute — which represents the bottled water industry.

Australians spent 500 million Australian dollars ($390 million) on bottled water in 2008 — a hefty sum for a country of just under 22 million people.

On Thursday, Parker blasted the ban as unfair, misguided and ineffective.

He said the bottled water industry is a leader in researching ways to minimize bottled beverage impact on the environment. Plus, he said, the ban removes consumer choice.

"To take away someone's right to choose possibly the healthiest option in a shop fridge or a vending machine we think doesn't embrace common sense," he said.

But tap water is just as good as the stuff you find encased in plastic, said campaign organizer Dee, who also serves as director of the Australian environment group Do Something!

"We're hoping it will act as a catalyst to people's memories to remember the days when we did not have bottled water," he said. "What is 'Evian' spelled backwards? 'Naive.'"

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Tweet this!

Are you on Twitter? I am. (Barely.) Almost begrudgingly, really. I'm trying to figure it out. How to manipulate it to serve me best. What can I get out of it? I did find a list of green of more than 70 environmentalists to follow on Twitter. They include individuals as well as organizations who tweet interesting "green" information. Check them out by clicking here.

Another resource to check out to find a plethora of green information is from
Cool People Care. You can sign up for the "5 minutes of caring" e-mail, and each day you'll receive a topic and links to research to make the world a better place.

HandsIn is another Web site I frequent. It's mission is to improve the world by mobilizing the unique energy and creative passion of 20-somethings. Their vision? A world community that meets the expectations of those who dare to dream of more. It's about volunteering. Making small changes and banding together to realize big results.

I'm not going to necessarily advocate the use of Twitter just yet, but I wanted to share some ways for you to stay in touch with your green side while you surf the web.

Keep it real. Keep it green. Keep it real green. And I'm out like the light you turn off when you leave the room. Peace.