Tag Archives: 350.org

JOURNEY TO ZERO WASTE

By Maya London-Southern

Though the United States ranks third in the world for highest population, it generates by far the most trash. The nation produces over 250 million tons of waste annually, with the average American throwing out about 4.5 pounds of garbage each day (China, with a population four times that of the US, generates about 190 million tons per year). But for thousands of years, humans did not produce any trash, and people have proven that even in this era of consumerism, it is possible to live without generating garbage.

Source: Armaud Martinez. www.istockphoto.com

Lauren Singer is such a person. She is at the forefront of the Zero Waste movement, and can fit all the trash she’s produced in the past four years in a 16oz mason jar. She is the author of the blog Trash is for Tossers. In 2014, she founded The Simply Co, which makes sustainable and toxin-free laundry detergent, and this past May, she and Daniel Silverstein opened a pop-up store called Package Free in Brooklyn.

I first heard of the Zero Waste movement in passing, but didn’t pay much attention to it until I saw a New York Times interview with Singer in January 2017. I was attracted to the way the lifestyle massively simplified her life, and I realized that what she was doing actually aligned with my desire to live minimally. The sustainability aspect was a plus in that. As I read more of her and Bea Johnson’s (a woman living a Zero Waste lifestyle with her family of four, and author of the book and blog Zero Waste Home) blog posts and watched each of their how-to videos, I realized that if I lived this lifestyle (or even just adopted aspects of it), I would declutter my life and save money, all while reducing what I send to landfill. It would need some adjusting to, but I saw the massive benefits to be well worth any growing pains.

I started with the basics, which was really just a consciousness of what waste I produced every day and an understanding of what could actually be reused, composted or recycled.

The simplest change was always bringing a reusable bag with me when I went shopping. A lot of people already know about this sustainable alternative, but by making myself commit to refusing any plastic or paper bags, I saved resources, resources that if I had used would have either sat around in my room or I would have just used for trash (but in not producing trash, you don’t have a need for the plastic to dispose of it either).

Source: http://www.istockphoto.com/

 

I would also sometimes throw out banana peels and apple cores when I wasn’t near a compost bin on my college campus, but over 25% of all food the US produces for domestic sale already ends up in landfill. What’s more, when food waste is in landfill and unable to compost, it generates methane, which traps heat within the atmosphere. And according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, landfills make up 34 percent of all methane emissions in the country. When possible, the best option is to eat or use your food scraps for something else. This saves the energy that would otherwise be used to grow and transport new food products. For example, you can make water infusions with citrus peels (more resourceful ideas to come in later blog posts). But if nothing else, please please compost your food waste. Producing more soil instead of more landfill and methane was something I had to learn, but it’s actually a very easy transition.

Through Trash is for Tossers, I also learned that there are some easy swaps I could make. Instead of plastic toothbrushes (between 850 million and a billion of which end up in landfill each year in the US alone), there are toothbrushes made of bamboo, which are compostable (except for the bristles, which can be removed and recycled) and packaged in recyclable and/or biodegradable products. Singer recommends Brush with Bamboo. When you’re done with the toothbrush, you can also upcycle it for cleaning, art crafts, or plant markers (I upcycled my first one to use as a bottle cleaner).

Source (both photos): https://www.brushwithbamboo.com/

 

I made these changes over the school year, but I decided that I really wanted to try to go completely (or as much as possible) Zero Waste this summer. I started on June 1, and so far the only waste I’ve produced are a few fruit stickers, which I keep in my designated summer garbage jar. Dede Cummings recently gave me marigolds from her garden, so I emptied my trash jar to use as a temporary vase (it looks much nicer filled with fresh flowers than with trash).

I will talk more about what I’ve done to avoid producing trash in future posts, in the meantime, check out Trash is for Tossers and Zero Waste Home. I hope my own blog can be a way to get the word out about Zero Waste and encourage more people to adjust their lifestyles. Not everyone has to go completely Zero Waste in order to make a difference, but there are a lot of small changes anyone can make that will not only be better for the planet, but also get rid of unnecessary clutter in your life, save money, and be better for your health.

Thanks so much for reading, check back for more Zero Waste posts soon!

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Maya London-Southern is a 2017 Green Writers Press summer intern and a student at Middlebury College. 

 

The Climate Rally & Our Fabulous Fall List

IMG_1889.JPGThe People’s Climate March
Green Writers Press authors and editors were down in NYC in full force with the rest of the world watching as 1% of Vermonters and almost half a million people marched for Climate Justice! We are proud beyond words to have been asked to carry the Vermont flag. Here are some photos from The March—one of Dede Cummings and Vermont-Irish poet from our book, So Little Time, Greg Delanty! Please share and keep the momentum going….March On!

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Summer Recap & The Climate Rally

-cbbf001afadaaa2fAs I sit on the Amtrak “Vermonter,” hurtling through the Connecticut countryside, I’m reflecting on how amazing the summer was for us at GWP: the Bread Loaf / Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference, Bookstock in Woodstock, the Greensboro Writers’ Forum and my poetry workshop — “Making the Global Personal: Using Poetry as an Activist Tool”—were just a few of the highlights of the summer, along with hiking, biking, swimming in Vermont’s rivers and gardening, of course.

GWP poet, Greg Delanty, had a beautiful poem published in The Atlantic, and under his name, they mentioned our book, So Little Time! We are so proud and honored to have Greg as one of our authors. He will be down in New York City with us, this Sunday, for the Climate Rally, along with thousands of Vermonters.
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A new day, a new dawn

As the Keystone XL pipeline clears a hurdle, we await word from the Obama administration. A New York Times article sums up the plan well:

Environmentalists said they were dismayed at some of the report’s conclusions and disputed its objectivity, but they also said it offered Mr. Obama reasons to reject the pipeline. They said they planned to intensify efforts to try to influence Mr. Kerry’s decision. For more than two years, environmentalists have protested the project and been arrested in demonstrations against it around the country. But many Republicans and oil industry executives, who support the pipeline because they say it creates jobs and increases supplies from a friendly source of oil, embraced the findings.

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Word is spreading . . . just the beginning we think

logo-transWe are pretty psyched by the media attention we are receiving. Here a short list and other news. Thanks for helping us spread the word!

Advance Praise for So LIttle Time—Pub Date February 11, 2014:

“A book of eloquent testimony, in poetry and image, to the mystery and beauty immanent in nature, now so desperately imperiled. Like all art, it asks that we look up and see.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Environmentalists long ago won the scientific battle, but we needed to reach people’s hearts as well. This superb volume will do exactly that.”—Bill McKibben
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Climate Talks in Warsaw begins with devastation

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There is no question: We are experiencing the effects of global climate change. According to the BBC, “Negotiators from around 190 countries are meeting in Warsaw to try to advance steps towards a global climate agreement.” The link above goes right to the major donation spots.
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Making our first film to introduce the new press

Dede writes: I’ve worked on some book trailers before, for some of my author/clients in the publishing business, most notably for David Blistein and his book, David’s Inferno. For that book trailer, I got to go to help set it up and work on the story board, and attend the filming, which was at Ken Burns’ Florentine Films in New Hampshire (not far from where I live in Brattleboro).

It was “wicked” exciting to be there, hanging out with one of my heroes, well, Dave, my client, but KEN BURNS! I think Ken’s work is brilliant….. so, in any event, I was suitably inspired last night when I went to hear Ken give a talk and presentation for his new PBS series, The Roosevelts. In fact, I was so inspired, I went home and made this video so that we can raise tons of money and pay our printing bill for The Bird Book, So Little Time, and The Beavers of Popple’s Pond… If we raise even half of our $20,000 goal, we will be in good shape, so I am hoping for $10,000. Maybe, just maybe, this little earnest film—with my son, Sam Carmichael, playing an original composition on the guitar….will bring us there!

Here it is, and tell us what you think? I already got feedback on the bad sound quality 🙂 Going to try to fix that or rerecord… Please share! We will list your name on our site as supporter if you donate, too! Our big party is November 1st, Putney, Vermont at Next Stage Arts Project!

So Little Time ~ A Poet & New Photographer

So Little Time . . . Our new book is coming out in one month, and editors Dede and Alexandra have poured their time, their heart and souls into this project.

Marlboro College graduate and multimedia storyteller, videographer and photographer, Willow O’Feral, has just signed on to offer a few photos from her black and white collection, of which you can see in this post’s slideshow. Willow presently lives in NYC but hails from Northern California. She got a Bachelor’s degree at Marlboro College in Vermont, with a double-major in French and Film/Video. She plays dobra in the all-women samba-reggae percussion group, Batala NYC. Willow is a multi-media artist who primarily works in photography and video. See more of her work at http://snippetproductions.com
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Exciting new book signed from GWP!

WHY I RIDE: Because a Bike Pedal Lasts Longer Than a Gas Tank by British Slam Poet, Hollie McNish

WHYIRDIEcovPage to Performance, a poetry organization based in Cambridge, UK and led by Hollie McNish and Inja, worked with a group of amazing young people for three months in summer, 2013, to find out what it is they all love about riding.
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