Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

Happy Thanksgiving!

New-Girl-1x06-Thanksgiving-new-girl-26505860-1950-1300Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that grows on you as you get older. When you’re a kid, it’s a rather boring and anticlimactic holiday, merely the pretext of what’s to come in December. You start to appreciate it more when the prospect of gifts is no longer the most exciting thing in the world, when the event itself becomes what to look forward to. Whether the idea of a familial gathering makes you anxious or filled with joy, there’s something about the atmosphere of Thanksgiving that feels warm, renewing, and full of life. If you’re aiming to give thanks to the environment this year by having a more sustainable thanksgiving, here are a few things you can keep in mind whilst pilgrim-dancing and avoiding your creepy Uncle.

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Dealing with Holiday Consumerism

Christmas-Shopping-Fever-2An unfortunate addition to the warmth of the holiday season is the spirit of consumerism. Accompanying goodwill and hot chocolate and round-the-clock Bing Crosby is the increased desire to shop, one that I do not claim innocence from. For me and likely most, it isn’t only about the material goods; it’s about the activity itself, the buzz and lights and rush of it all. It’s something that we all know to some degree in the back of our minds but often choose to ignore; this seasonal shopping order has us right where it wants us.

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Staying Warm Sans Heat

blog photosIn case you haven’t noticed, Seattle has recently turned into an urban icebox, winter announcing its arrival in staggeringly brisk form. I’ve been wearing a total of four layers outside, and have still been cold. It’s super tempting to get the heat going inside, but I’m doing my best to hold off as long as possible. It seems natural to take off our layers once we get home, but keeping on a sweatshirt or two can do the trick when looking to stay warm in sustainable fashion. This is the time to put those old sweaters you don’t want to be seen with anymore to use. Continue reading

A Reflection on the Sustainability of News

ChrisAndAnnHow do you react when you hear bad news? Usually all we need to do is turn on the local news to find out. To put it broadly, bad news seems to have either a depressing or motivating effect, with the former often being dominant. To be motivated by bad news is something at once very difficult and very important for us to attempt at various times in our lives. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by negativity and thus succumb to it, but to overcome it and instead become energized to make a difference, whether it’s in our own lives or outside of them, is a truly sustainable human achievement.

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Learning From Other Countries

earth-158805_640When it comes to Sustainable practices, there is a lot to feel encouraged about here in the U.S. With the city of Seattle being a prime setting, examples of both individuals and institutions that are ramping up their green efforts can be seen all over the place. While negligence is decreasing more and more, the country as a whole is still lagging behind in terms of recycling, with only 32.5% of the total waste in the U.S. being recycled. Several countries around the world have put unique recycling initiatives into motion, and the U.S. could stand to consider the examples below.

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The Pros and Cons of Not Having a Car

jeffI wish I could say that I never longed for a car. It’s easy to ignore the desire when bus trips and rides with friends are smooth and available, but there are moments when my lack of four-wheeled convenience grows difficult, and I have to remind myself of all the reasons I’m glad to be carless. Continue reading

SPU’s Transportation Incentives

2x15_Sword_of_Destiny_(18)If you’re an SPU employee looking for a little extra motivation to sustainablize (coinage) your commute to campus, I have info to share. Did you know that SPU offers free lockers and shower access at Royal Brougham Pavilion to employees who bike or walk to work at least three days a week? SPU’s two zipcars are also available for up to 2 hours a day and 12 hours a month for personal use to those who go green to work. Even better, an SPU orca card is available to eligible employees for anytime use, letting you bus around the city for free. You can check out a complete list of the potential benefits SPU offers to sustainable commuters here.

Ways to Cut Down on Winter Electricity

davidnewkirk-elise-sam-davidnewkirk-elise-sam-01Because papers, books, and studying require light well into the dark nights of winter, us college students end up using a lot of electricity around this time, as most everyone does. Reducing your electrical usage during these winter months takes a little extra attention, as our instinct is to flip on the lights when its dark and leave them on even if we’re in a different room. The comfort of a well-lit home often supersedes our environmental goodwill. Below are a few methods you could try employing In the effort to reduce any unnecessary use of electricity that might be occurring under your very nose (more likely above it in this case, but oh well).

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Seattle Ranked in the Top Ten Most Walkable Cities

scarfChalk up another sustainable victory for Seattle; walkscore has ranked it as the 8th most walkable city in the country, with an overall score of 70.8. You can check out the full list of cities here. How often do you walk to your destination? If the chill of an impending winter is deterring you, my advice would be to bundle up, keep the benefits in mind, and take a thermos of something hot with you (quite the cozy sensation in both hand and throat, turning the cold into a positive factor). Also, scarfs. They are delightful.

Fighting Off Sickness

Sick-Ron-Swanson By now, we all know the difference between getting sick in Elementary school and getting sick in College. One of them means a cozy and relaxing day at home, watching cartoons and eating ice cream while worrying about very little. The other means trying to do as much as you possibly can in the midst of your illness, stressing out about everything you’re missing, and dreading all the work it will take to get yourself back up to speed. Continue reading