Waste Not Want Not. Right?

I came across this blog and her ideas about accepting personal responsibility for our food consumption AND WASTE is compelling. I have heard the stat that she quoted before: that 50% of food produced in US ends up as waste (!!). Extraordinary!  And truly shameful.

I know I am guilty of not planning meals out properly and allowing veges to mould in the back of the fridge before I use them. I have over ordered at restaurants, maybe even taken the leftovers home but left them on the counter instead of refrigerating them, thereby allowing them to spoil. My kids pour too much cereal into their bowls and don’t finish it. In my weaker moments I allow them too many afternoon snacks which ruins their appetites for dinner.  My sorry list of wasteful confessions could go on and on.

I think being more mindful and aware of how much we really do waste is a good step in a sustainable direction.  But it takes commitment, right?  Being mindful is one thing but following through with action is what really matters.  And firing up the compost heap! I do feel like the spoiled cucumbers aren’t a complete loss of they go back into the garden at some point … right?

Hmm, this post has got me thinking.  What do you do to minimize food waste at your house?

Small Town Soul, Big City Brain

Ever since I watched Dive! (http://www.divethefilm.com/) a few years ago, I have been ultra-concerned with the amount of food we waste. I learned that about 50% of all the food produced in the U.S. ends up in the dump. When students approach me about writing on GMOs “because they are going to save the world,” I’m the (annoying) teacher who challenges their thinking by forcing them to consider the amount of food we waste as a potential solution to the food crisis. My request is logical: Do not overstate the impact of any one solution on world hunger. I must admit that my ulterior motive is to save myself from reading another paper on the GMO debate, primarily because the issue is a confusing mess from which no one has derived a clear definition that distinguishes genetically modified from hybridized organisms. After all, humans have been hybridizing crops since agriculture began. Only one of my students has addressed how…

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La Tour Eiffel Goes Green – Oh La La!

This news story came across my FB feed this morning and I just had to tell you all about it.

Eiffel Tower Goes Green.

A €25 million (£19.7m) renovation of the Paris landmark is expected to improve the tower’s energy performance by 30 per cent.

Solar panels and small, vertical wind and hydraulically-powered turbines will be installed on the tower’s first platform 187 feet above the ground.

The new power generators will not be visible from the ground, or change the tower’s famous silhouette.

“We’re hoping to give ourselves the tools we need to move into the next century,” said Jean-Bernard Bros, president of the Société nouvelle de la tour Eiffel (New Eiffel Tower Society).

“We’re going to produce our own hot water,” and “part of our energy.”

Four solar panels on the roof of one of two renovated buildings, called the Ferrié pavilion, will provide about 50 per cent of the hot water used on the monument, mostly in the restaurants and restrooms on the first floor. Four vertical wind turbines will be tucked away under the same building, creating an estimated 8,000 kWh/year of electricity, and water-powered turbines will be integrated into the first floor’s water supply network, to generate a “mini power station” producing 4,000 kW/year.

Rainwater will also be stored under the Ferrié pavilion, and used for tap water in the restrooms, and 95 per cent of the new lighting will be LED-type, which has a longer lifespan and low consumption.

The Eiffel Tower uses 20,000 light bulbs to make it sparkle every night, for 10 minutes on the hour. The monument consumes 7.8 million kWh of electricity per year, the equivalent of a small village, including 580,000 kWh for all its lights. 60,000 m3 of drinking water, and 705,000 kWh of heating and air conditioning are also required every year.

Eiffel Tower Wind Turbine

Eiffel Tower Wind Turbine

So amazing!  And seriously, those turbines are kinda gorgeous, amiright?  C’est magnifique!  I love that a great big hunk of iron, one that has up until now consumed a hunka hunka resources (what with the elevators and the restaurant and the 20,000 sparkly lights every night) can move towards a more sustainable model of energy use.  If La Dame de Fer (The Iron Lady) can go green then what excuse do we sentient human beings have for not moving that way??!  Collect rainwater and compost, people!!

Now, how to get the HOA to approve a wind turbine in my yard…..

Vive la France!!