IPCC

On August 9th, The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its latest findings. The report remains serious though it downgrades several points (there is “low confidence” that the Antarctic sea ice will melt; “low confidence” in all-category tropical cyclones; there remain questions on direct linkage of warming to catastrophic weather events; etc.).

Notwithstanding, it is imperative that we address water shortages, rising temperatures, wildfires, suffocating pollution, greenhouse gasses, deforestation, habitat destruction and storms that breach the barriers or break the power grid.  

And whatever your position on climate change, it is incumbent for each one of us to be diligent about recycling, conserving water and energy (“Just Turn it Off”®), limiting carbon emissions, being frugal about using and scrapping disposable products (like plastic water bottles), conscientious use of food products and being attentive to the fact that voices yet unheard will soon inherit our precious planet.  I’ve addressed environmental issues in the past (e.g. 11/29/18 – water; and 12/16/18 – energy; and the very first post- 7/23/11).

Each one of us has the capability to make a difference on protecting our planet.  Just think if everyone felt this way. 

Paper Gets a Second Chance

I do a fair amount of writing on paper. Notes. Phone numbers. Shopping list. Flow charts. Ideas. Cartoons.  Meaningful quotes. Letters. And so on. If I no longer need my scribbles, I put the sheet in recycling and move on to a fresh, blank page.  What’s interesting is that my meanderings are usually penned on used paper. Let me explain.

My printer often spits out more paper than needed.  Rather than toss out the nearly-blank pages, I save them.  Turn them over and clip them together.  And use these slightly-used sheets as my pad of paper.  I have been doing this for years. It started at work – creating my own legal pads from “used” paper. Paper that is blank on one side with printing or writing on the other.

I feel strongly about conservation.  And recycling.  My trademark JUST TURN IT OFF® says it all (see post of July 23, 2011).  Each one of us has the capacity to conserve water, energy and clean air (see May 21, 2012); stretch products like shampoo (see April 11, 2013); reuse “zarfs” (see October 29, 2015); reuse bags (see August 6, 2012).  There are major efforts on a grand scale to address climate change by restructuring energy and transportation systems. And yet — each one of us has potential to make a difference in the world.  Just think if every person saved one sheet of paper, one gallon of water, one kilowatt of energy – each day. . . .  

It’s the little details that are vital.  Little things make big things happen.”   — John Wooden 

The Slop Bucket

Years ago, I worked at a Boy Scout camp in Wild Rose, Wisconsin. Before being accepted for Staff, a young man would serve as a “trainee” for a month. Trainees would rotate through the various camp areas.  Doing the grunt work.   And spending a fair amount of time in the kitchen peeling potatoes, doing dishes and cleaning up.

After meals in the Mess Hall, Scouts and trainees would bus the tables. We would throw paper garbage into one garbage can. And we would put food waste into another.  The food barrel was called the “slop bucket.”  We were always careful about putting food scraps (no bones, no paper) in the slop bucket because we would give the slop bucket each day to a local farmer who would use it to feed his flock of pigs.  Uneaten food was used. . . . .

I have posted frequently on environmental issues.  And I have touted my registered trademark – JUST TURN IT OFF — a motto that applies to cars, lights, water and energy. 

When I read about how the earth is being inundated with waste, oceans are overflowing with garbage, rivers and lakes turning toxic and how many folks remain heedless of our environment, I get a wee bit steamed.   But then I simmer down — and start thinking about what we can do.  “Just turning off” your water, lights, car, energy – is one thing.  But there is also merit in reusing bags, bottles, containers.  And not polluting.  And then there is recycling. 

But there is also composting. Taking food waste and carefully mixing it with soil.  In the garden.  Or backyard.  You don’t need a slop bucket.  

We ALL really need to get on board with this idea of helping our limping planet along.  Pronto. We live here.  But we also have generations of souls who yet have no voice – who will have to live here too.  And they will have no choice but to take what we give them. . . . .   

Recycling

Every day I have lunch. Sometimes I go to a restaurant but most days I grab a sandwich, soup or salad and bring it back to my office.

Everywhere I go, a carefully-wrapped sandwich is placed into a larger bag.  A salad is placed in a large bag.  And a small container of pasta or tuna salad is placed into a large bag. Bags bags bags bags. As soon as I get to my office I would crumple the “bag” and toss it out.   A brand new and perfectly serviceable bag goes deep six into the garbage within minutes.

I see some folks in these places take their sandwich bag from the counter, walk 10 feet, take out their wrapped sandwich and sit down in the seating area.  And pitch the bag into the garbage. 

I considered the waste incurred in this avalanche of paper that — usually within minutes (often seconds) — gets tossed out.   So for years, I bring the same dog-eared bags back to my lunch joints (I have a collection of bags in my office).  And reuse them.  Just think if everyone reused bags (lunch, shopping or whatever).  I would wager that in one day of saved bags, a lot of trees would be much happier . . . . and the environment a wee bit cleaner.   You can also save coffee sleeves (see 10/29/15), note pads (see 7/20/17), water and energy (see “Just Turn it Off” – 7/26/11).  

I figure I’ve saved a tree.  Or two.  And a few gallons of water.  Every little bit helps.  Or hurts.  Do it for your grandchildren.    You can do this!   

Legal Pads

I’m a lawyer. I do a lot of scribbling on paper. Notes. Phone numbers. Client comments. Problems. Flow charts. Ideas. Cartoons.  And so on. When I’m done and no longer need my scribbles, I toss out the sheet and have a fresh, blank page staring at me.  What’s interesting is that I haven’t used a yellow or white lined legal pad in years (unless I happen to be in a meeting).

I have a printer outside my office.  It sometimes spits out more than is needed.  Rather than pitch the nearly-blank pages, I save them.  Turn them over and clip ’em together.  And use them as a “legal pad.”  I figure that over the years, I’ve saved a tree or two.   Just from using paper that’s blank on one side with some words on the other.  

I feel pretty strongly about conservation.  And recycling.  My trademark JUST TURN IT OFF® says it all (see post of July 23, 2011).  Why can’t we all conserve water, energy and clean air (see May 21, 2012); stretch products like shampoo (see April 11, 2013); reuse “zarfs” (see October 29, 2015); reuse bags (see August 6, 2012).  Each one of us has potential to make a big difference in the world.  Just think if everyone . . . . . . 

It’s the little details that are vital.  Little things make big things happen.”   — John Wooden 

Maybe it’s Just Me. . . .

I am diligent about conserving water.  Turning off light switches.  Turning off the car rather than wasting gas – or polluting the environment.  Recycling.  I promote my registered trademark – JUST TURN IT OFF® – whenever and wherever I can.  I’ve often posted on the subject of conservation.  If you want to see what rankles me, see April 10, 2016.  

But I continue to be a skeptic on “global warming” though I tend to agree with the notion of climate change (they are different).  Global warming is a political issue more than a scientific one.  It’s not a scientific law.  Not a theory.  Not even a hypothesis.  It is a consensus.  Of some people.   There are scientists and respectable folks on both sides of the issue.  But the “believers” want to silence those who ask questions.  They want to squelch discussion.  Ever notice that those who raise questions about global warming are put down?  Vilified?  Try discussing the subject among those who have drunk the Kool Aid (“Eeek!  He’s asking questions!”)?  Great.  That’s really productive.    I do wish discussion on this topic would be allowed.  Since discussion, diagnosis and then consensus may be more productive than taking a grand and uneducated leap of faith.  Into the void.   

 

How About It?

Earlier this week, I went to the local fitness center. Nothing heroic. A little Stairmaster and some weights. In the locker room, there’s a guy shaving. He’s got the water running full tilt. He turns around and talks.  Minutes drag by.  Water runs.  Quarts.  Gallons.  He never rinses his razor except at the end.  So clean, safe water just pours out.  Going into the sewer.   Every time I see him – and a few others – it’s the same thing.  Good water.  Wasted.   

Clean, safe drinking water is abundant for those reading this post.  But friends, clean, safe drinking water is becoming increasingly scarce in our world.  Look at Africa.  Flint,  Michigan.  Drought in California.

I have posted before on my idea — JUST TURN IT OFF (see July 23, 2011, and May 1, 2014).   It’s a registered trademark.  I own the domain name.  And I’ve circulated cards bearing this admonition.  But I’d like to do more.  And for you to do more too.  And there’s no heavy lifting.

Water is precious.  Rather than leaving it run – JUST TURN IT OFF.  And turn it on as needed.  Save a gallon for the future.

In the shower, turn on the water then JUST TURN IT OFF and soap down.  Then turn it on to rinse and enjoy the hot water.  Save gallons for your children.  And their children. 

Electricity burns fuel.  Fuel generation causes pollution.  When not using a light in your home – JUST TURN IT OFF – and make a difference.     

This is like recycling.  Saving trees.  Reducing carbon emissions.  Saving a gallon of water a day is not much.  But – just think if everyone did it. . . . .      

Just Turn it Off

In my post of 9/6/12, I expressed some sketicism of “global warming” as promoted by politicians.  The trumpets of global warming are designed to make rich and accrue power for those who promote it.   Did you know that federal grants which question global warming are refused?  Did you know that there is no metric as to what aspect of global warming is due to natural causation and what due to man?  It’s not allowed for discussion.  Some science. . . .

Notwithstanding, in my very first post, I said we should be vigorous in protecting our precious environment.   I share the same objectives (conservation, recycling, renewable energy).  But I view the problem in a different way.  Global warming advocates say we should do these things because of global warming.  I say we should do these things because they are right.  In my prior post, I offered a watchword (my trademark) for conserving water and energy.  Just Turn it Off!   This simple phrase can make a difference and provide a 4 word education on conservation.  I mean what’s not to like?            

Let’s take water — We can’t live without it.  And there’s only so much of it on our planet.  Thus it is natural that we would want to conserve our precious supply of fresh water, use it sparingly and keep it potable. Yet most of the water that enters our homes literally goes down the drain.  So what can the average person do to conserve fresh water and to preserve this valuable commodity for future generations?  “Just turn it off.” 

By turning off the water when it is not in use, you save gallons of fresh water every day.  If every person in America saved one gallon of fresh water daily (the average shower uses 8 gallons), that translates to a savings of hundreds of millions of gallons of fresh water.  For your children.  Grandchildren. What can you do to help?  “Just turn it off.” 

● When taking a shower, turn on the water, get wet and then “Just turn it off.” Soap down while the water is off. Frankly you will probably get cleaner than if the water just continues pouring down the drain.

●  When shaving, turn off the water.  And rinse the razor as needed.

●  When rinsing dishes, reduce pressure or turn it off for each item.

●  Wash full loads of laundry. 

Post any comments on conserving water or energy!  And. . . . . Just turn it off!   

 

Shampoo

In my post of July 23, 2011 (“Just Turn it Off“), I spoke of things we can all do (that cost nothing) — to save water, energy and clean air and to cut down on pollution.  Little things like when taking a shower, turn on the water, get wet – then turn off the water and soap down.  Then rinse.   You’ll actually get cleaner and you’ll save gallons of water that otherwise simply pour down the drain.   Just think if everyone did this. . . .

Speaking of showers, here’s another thought that saves money and helps the environment.  Shampoo.   A few years ago, I was in the shower and there was no shampoo.  I had an empty container from which I could squeeze nada.  Grrrrrrrrr . . . . . So I unscrewed the top, held the container under the water swirled the liquid in the bottle and – voila – shampoo.  It was a little watery but it worked every bit as good as the thick gloppy stuff.  It actually lasted for a few more days.  Today, when the shampoo bottle is making that distinctive “Pfffftttttt” sound when I squeeze it, I unscrew the top, let water drain in, screw the top back on, give it a shake and I have shampoo for another week or two.  Try it.  You’ll like it.  So will your wallet.  And the sewer system . . . .  

Cutting down on Waste

My posts occasionally reference the environment — and conservation.  Here’s another. . . .

Every day I go out for lunch. Sometimes I go to a restaurant but most days I go to a sandwich or salad shop and bring something back to my office.

Everywhere I go, a carefully-wrapped sandwich is placed into a larger bag.  A salad is placed in a large bag.  And a small container of pasta or tuna salad is placed into a large bag. Bags bags bags bags. As soon as I get to my office I crumple the “bag” and toss it out.   A brand new and perfectly serviceable bag goes deep sixing into the garbage within minutes.

Many customers in the restaurants I visit take their sandwich “bag” from the counter, walk 10 feet, take out their wrapped sandwich and sit down in the seating area.  And the bag goes into the garbage. 

I started thinking about the waste incurred in this avalanche of paper that — usually within minutes (often seconds) — gets tossed out.   I would wager that most people are smart enough – and dextrous enough – to carry a wrapped 10 ounce sandwich a few feet.  How about suggesting to food purveyors to offer a bag if needed?   I would wager that in one day of saved bags, a lot of trees would be much happier . . . . and the environment just a wee bit cleaner.    Or – you can do this on your own.   Like I do.  You may want to pass this one along.   Every little bit helps.  Or hurts.