First Alternative declares bag independence

First Alternative declares bag independence

On July 4, 2009, First Alternative Co-op will begin charging 5¢ for every new paper bag used at our checkout registers. This charge is an environmental initiative meant to lessen our dependence on disposable bags and encourage the use of reusable shopping bags. A survey conducted among our customers earlier this year showed overwhelming support for a bag charge.

• An owner survey will determine how the Co-op uses the proceeds from the bag charge.

• Our Beans for Bags program will not change, and customers will still receive one bean for every bag reused at checkout.

• Only the paper handled bags at the registers will be charged for, not the smaller paper bags used for produce and bulk items.

I have been using one of the Blue Co-op Bags for a couple months now. It’s even made from recycled plastic!

Flooding + Iowa + Potential Cause

Iowa Flooding Could Be An Act of Man, Experts Say

Kamyar Enshayan, director of an environmental center at the University of Northern Iowa, suspects that this natural disaster wasn’t really all that natural. He points out that the heavy rains fell on a landscape radically reengineered by humans. Plowed fields have replaced tallgrass prairies. Fields have been meticulously drained with underground pipes. Streams and creeks have been straightened. Most of the wetlands are gone. Flood plains have been filled and developed.

“We’ve done numerous things to the landscape that took away these water-absorbing functions,” he said. “Agriculture must respect the limits of nature.”

[S]ome Iowans who study the environment suspect that changes in the land, both recently and over the past century or so, have made Iowa’s terrain not only highly profitable but also highly vulnerable to flooding.

via the Washington Post

Oberlin College Dorm Energy

Oberlin College Dorm Energy Project - Office of Environmental Sustainability
Oberlin College in Ohio was featured in this month’s issue of Vegetarian Times. Oberlin’s Office of Environmental Sustainability is working on a system to monitor water and energy use in Oberlin’s residence halls. It’s brilliant. The site, “Dorm Energy“, shows electricity usage for 18 Oberlin residence halls.

Continue reading Oberlin College Dorm Energy

Iowa becomes smoke-free

cigarette butts

The University of Iowa has announced that it will become smoke-free by July 1, 2009. I was born in Iowa. Most of my family lives there, so I am thrilled to hear any news on tobacco cessation programs, smoke-free campuses, etc. The last time I went back for a visit I almost choked to death while sitting in the non-smoking version of a restaurant. Excuse me, but the air does not recognize your latticed divider.

The smoke-free dining atmosphere of Corvallis, Oregon is wonderful!

Don’t forget that OSU is going to be tobacco free on July 1, 2008 and Miami University will be smoke-free in the fall of 2008.

I even located a model policy for a smoke-free university

Continue reading Iowa becomes smoke-free

Sustainable Sandal Soles

Chaco Z/1 Sandals A friend of mine received her sandals back from Chaco last week. It was the fourth time that she has had them re-soled. Inside with her newly soled sandals was a note from Chaco:

“Thank you for sending your Chaco sandals for repair. You join the thousands of people who take advantage of our on-site repair experts, a team that last year saved 13,270 pairs of sandals from an untimely visit to local landfills. By doing your part, you help us do our part to operate in the most environmentally sustainable way we can.”

Last summer, I purchased my first pair of Chacos. They are brilliant. I look forward to having them re-soled someday.