Label: Carbon Footprint

April 20, 2011


a)   I don’t buy water in plastic bottles. Water from the tap is just fine, and I don’t want to put more non-biodegradable plastic into landfills.

b)   I turn off the water until after I’ve finished brushing my teeth, and wash all the dishes in one sinkful of soapy water, rather than running water the whole time I’m washing the dishes.

c)   I have cut my soda consumption down by more than half. I like water better, anyway.



a) I have replaced all the incandescent bulbs in my house with compact fluorescent bulbs.

b) We are using less energy by keeping our house two degrees warmer in the summer and two degrees cooler in the winter.

c) I unplug appliances when they are not in use for long periods of time. If they’re plugged and even when they are not turned on, they still consume electricity.



a) I walk or bike rather than be driven whenever I can, and try to combine errands into one trip.

b) I am writing to my local government to ask them to design car-free zones and parks that would let people get places by walking, cycling, or driving those cute, tiny electric vehicles.

c) Next time my family buys a car, we want to pick a model that gets good gas mileage, and therefore uses less fuel.



a) I don’t like vegetables, so I just don’t eat any. You’re not responsible for greenhouse gases generated by growing food that you don’t eat!

b) I only buy fruits and vegetables when they are in season so they are not flown in from tropical climates. And I try to buy produce that is grown locally, which further reduces the carbon footprint.

c) Our family has "meatless Monday" every week.











1.   While all these things help, "c" is the best answer. The main ingredient of soft drinks is water - so the big soda companies use massive amounts of water on a global basis. And, cutting down on soda consumption is good for your body, too!


2.   "b" is the best answer. Electric power generation is a big source of greenhouse gases - the average home contributes more to global warming than the average car. The worst appliances are air conditioners, which use up to 1/6th of the electricity in the U.S.


3.   All good answers, but "c" is the most important thing all Americans can do. By using existing technology to produce vehicles that go farther on a gallon of gas and emit less carbon dioxide pollution, Americans can save billions of dollars, reduce global warming pollution, and slash our dependence on oil.


4.   You may be surprised to learn that the most effective choice is "c". Raising animals for food generates more emissions than all of the world’s transportation combined. And for all of you who answered "a" your vegetables, they’re good for you!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Global Warming, Conservation, Earth Day 2011, Carbon Footprint   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 18, 2011

This story is part of our ongoing Earth Week coverage.

  Today is Monday, and making a habit of "Meatless Mondays" is one thing that you can do to reduce your carbon footprint (which means to use fewer resources, create less waste, and generate fewer greenhouse gases). Do you remember our recent, very popular blog entry about Burping Cows? (how could you forget that picture?!).


Raising livestock to produce meat and dairy products creates 18 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions - more than planes, trains and automobiles combined. So some families have started practicing "Meatless Mondays." They commit to one day each week when they will not eat meat…..which helps to reduce their carbon footprint.

One of the hardest things about getting started on Meatless Mondays is that many people don’t have interesting, satisfying vegetarian recipes on hand….and you can only serve fish sticks so many Mondays in a row before your family gives up!

So, I am going to share a delicious, easy, meatless recipe. And, there are seven more equally tasty recipes available for you right here on, in the Educators & Families section. Click on Teacher Guides, Extra Resources to find a whole page of Meatless Monday recipes that you can download and make for your family. Saving the Earth and tasting good, too - that’s hard to beat!


(Serves: 6)




1 can (15 oz) Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) Light Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) Dark Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 package baby spinach (fresh or frozen)

24 oz. vegetable broth

½ c. sun dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips

1 tsp. dried basil

crushed red pepper flakes

shredded Parmesan cheese

Can of Crispy French-fried onions


1.    In large stockpot over high heat, cook garlic and onion in olive oil, sauté until brown.

2.    Mix in spinach, sauté 2 minutes.

3.     Add beans, broth and spices, simmer 30 minutes. Salt & pepper to taste.

4.    While pot is simmering, make enough rice for your family.

5.    Serve over rice, top with cheese and fried onions.  


That’s it. Quick, easy, and delicious, too. Happy eating, Earthlings! 


What are you doing this Earth Week to contribute to the global effort to pledge a Billion Acts of Green? Click on “Comments,” at the bottom of this story, and tell us what you are doing. We will publish all your comments in one big article at the end of Earth Week, to honor each writer’s promise to protect our planet, and inspire other readers to do the same.




Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Earth Day 2011, Carbon Footprint, Greenhouse Gases, Recipes   •  Permalink (link to this article)

August 28, 2010

Many of you have been following the articles written by our 10-year-old environmental blogger, Alana G. We first met Lana back in June, when she wrote to me about how distressed she was about the oil spill in the Gulf, asking what she could do. I replied that although she might not be able to directly influence what happens in the Gulf, she could decide to act environmentally and be a voice for Earth in her community.

I also offered her a chance to write for this blog, suggesting that perhaps she would write three or four stories over the summer, since there is a lot of work involved in actually doing the activities before you can write about them.

Alana surpassed all expectations. She formed her friends and their families into a group called Kids Today for a Better Tomorrow. She landed her own segment, "Alana’s Corner," on a local radio show. She even spoke in front of her City Council and convinced the local Chamber of Commerce to support her group’s activities. And today we are publishing her final blog posting of the summer - her NINTH article!

Alana has asked if she can continue to do an occasional piece of writing for us during the school year, and her mother supports that (as long as she keeps up with her fifth grade schoolwork). I would certainly like to continue to follow Alana’s activities. How about you?

- Seymour

Hello fellow Shipmates,

I have a question for you. Have you ever been to a "Farmers Market?" Maybe there is one close to your home or maybe you have visited one while on a vacation or road trip. If you have that is great but for those of you who haven’t been to one there is no need to worry. Alana G was on scene. grin For those of you who might not even know what a Farmers Market is, I got the low down on these secret markets. 

  Alana with clipboardI grabbed my special clipboard and jotter (all good reporters have to carry around their reporter stuff) and bravely ventured out into the unknown…the place where animals roam and food is plentiful…. Okay, Okay…I just wanted it to sound exciting. Te he. grin I went out and paid a special visit to my local farmers’ market to do some investigating which by the way isn’t secret at all. I thought they were secret markets that only come around once a week so they could hide from the super market giants… but apparently, they have permission to hold these special gatherings. LOL. Silly me.  wink

It was sooo cool. I met many new friends and I learnt so much. Here is what I learned. Farmers Markets are usually held weekly in some form of outdoor setting like a parking lot or public center. It is where a bunch of local farmers and vendors come together to serve the public directly without you having to go into a store to buy things. Awesome!!! They had me at "Outdoors."

Farmers’ Markets are known for selling locally grown and very fresh produce. Some people think that farmers’ markets allow farmers to pick produce when it’s at its best flavor, preserving the vitamin and mineral content of the fresh...

read more

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(5) Comments  •   Labels: Carbon Footprint   •  Permalink (link to this article)

July 28, 2010















It’s late July and gardens are bursting with tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and chard. Tall sunflowers lean against garden fences, berries are plentiful and pots of thyme have a profusion of tiny blossoms. It is a gardener’s happiest season, the bountiful payoff for weeks of hard work in the garden earlier in the spring.

Gardening with your children is a wonderful way to teach them about food sources and the global benefits of “eating locally”…..very locally, if you are growing your own produce!

Kids enjoy the process of planting, they rejoice as everything grows, and they will love the “treats” that they pick themselves. Even a child who thinks she doesn’t like vegetables will love eating a sweet cherry tomato picked right off the vine, still warm from the sun. And kids feel like proud helpers when you send them out to get handfuls of aromatic herbs to chop for a dressing or marinade.

Even if you didn’t plant a full garden this year, it’s not too late to have some of these kinds of experiences with your family. If you have a sunny windowsill or deck close to the kitchen, plant some herbs for cooking. You can still get basil, oregano, parsley, and mint starter plants at your local gardening store.

Of course, very few of us are in a place where we can realistically grow all our own food. But, we can choose to buy our vegetables and fruits from a local organic farmer, rather than from the supermarket. A recent study from the University of Texas/Austin’s Biochemical Institute reported that the average vegetable found in today’s supermarket is lower in healthy minerals (the range was from 5% to 40% lower) than those harvested just 50 years ago.

As an added benefit, when you buy produce that has been grown locally you reduce your carbon footprint. Think about all the greenhouse gases generated in producing food that has been chemically fertilized, stored in refrigerated compartments, flown to your area and then delivered by truck to your local supermarket. Contributing to the creation of those CO2 emissions can be avoided simply by eating sparklingly fresh, locally grown produce. And, they taste better simply by virtue of having just been picked!


Posted by: Liz Nealon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Global Warming, Summer Vacation Science, Gardening, Carbon Footprint   •  Permalink (link to this article)