Monday, March 31, 2008

Carnival of the Green #121 - Wowza!

Last week, it was Victoria E's turn to host Treehugger's Carnival of the Green - and now it's my turn - yay! As I read this week's posts, I really began to appreciate and admire all the good things folks are doing in their part of the world. It's great to take a break from the usual (and hectic!) routine to recognize these efforts. So without further adieu, please enjoy this week's posts!

To get things started, Brave New Leaf discusses how refigerators can be the 3rd greediest electricity suckers in our homes. How can we improve its efficiency? Check-out Brave New Leaf's adventures in cleaning (scary!) fridge coils. Here's a promise: It's not too tough!

Next up, Ed Yong provides us with a thoughtful discussion on how rising CO2 levels weaken plant defenses against hungry insects.

And speaking of food, Joe reveals an easy way to get some free vegetable (or flower) seeds sent to you. According to Joe, growing your own food is the ultimate way to eat locally. Plus, it's fun!

In keeping with this plant theme, Lane from Vegan Bits provides us with a vegan view as to why being a vegetarian may not be satisfactory.

Hey, thinking of traveling this year? Before you pack-up and go, take note of Joel's eight tips on how to be an environmentally-friendly traveler. And his pal Adam reviews the extremely difficult-to-use Magic Wheel - whoa!

And Natural Collection is talking about UK's Cbeebies going green with fantastic live action and animation. You must be wondering - will Tommy Zoom ever defeat the evil Polluto??

By the way, have you marked your calendars for Earth Day (April 22)? Before you do that, read Lynn's post and picture taken at Barnes & Noble - Can you believe the merchants are trying to turn Earth Day into a consumer holiday? Earth Day, of all things!

Speaking of overconsumption, Lisa Spinelli from PayItGreen has a simple message of dramatic proportion: "Go paperless..."

And Dawn C. shares her views regarding an email she recently received about ways to save money on gas. Do we save money by filling up in the morning (or not)?

Last but certainly not least, Beth from Fake Plastic Fish offers us great tips on plastic-free personal care products, including bottle-free shampoo and container-free deodorant.

And this just in (as of 11:22am!): Oliver wants to know what is innovation and how does it relate to rural areas, to farming and to business. Is it about making business more profitable or about ingenuity in the face of environmental necessity? And where does organic farming fit in - is it archaic or forward thinking? Oliver examines the funny word that is innovation, and considers what it might mean. Definitely worth reading!!

Folks, hosting this carnival has been a real blast! The fun continues next week when Agroblogger hosts the #122 edition of Carnival of the Green. In the meantime, keep up the good work! :0) M

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Green Michiana Fair on Facebook

My colleagues and I are trying our best to help spread the word about the Green Michiana Fair on April 12. So, in an attempt to reach 50,000 people in Northern Indiana, I posted information about the event on Facebook - go check it out, sign-up, and share this with your friends! :0)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Green Michiana Fair: April 12

Well, it looks like IUSB has done it again! But instead of hosting BagFest like we did last year, this year we're hosting the Green Michiana Fair. So please mark your calendars for April 12 and feel free to download this flyer and distribute it to your friends, family, colleagues, businesses, etc.

As you can see from the flyer, there's so much fun stuff in store for everyone! But there's still some planning that needs to happen. In particular, we all need to pitch-in to spread the word about this event. The IUSB Marketing Department is helping out, thank goodness, but we still need to contact local schools and churches about Green Michiana. I was also thinking it would be great to invite the Boy/Girl Scouts, too.

Bringing the kids to this event is a no-brainer. After all, we're going to have a Bike Rodeo at the fair! Kids and parents are welcome to bring their bikes for onsite practice bike riding. We'll also have information about safe family biking. And folks can try on helmets, practice riding using safety techniques, and have fun too. They'll also be free giveaways at the Bike Rodeo.

So before all the fun begins on April 12, would anyone be interested in helping me spread the word? I sure could use the support! :0)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Opting-Out of Junk Mail, Spam, etc

My landlord has been on a crusade today - she's been getting spam mail on her cell phone. And to make matters worse, one of her friends started getting porn offers on her cell phone! Good grief! So my landlord gave me some links to stop receiving all that junk mail. I thought I'd share them with you:

Stop cell-phone telemarketing:

Stop credit-card and bank offers:

Maybe this will do the trick!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Experimentaholic's Recycling-Lid Obsession Continues

What does eight years of higher education at the University of Chicago buy you? For Experimentaholic, it's somehow led him to pick through garbage and recyclables at several public venues! :0)

Remember the post about the effectiveness of using container lids on recycling bins? That project was apparently the spark that ignited Experimentaholic's flame in observing "smart" vs "stupid" recycling bins. Not all recycling bins were created equal as we recently discovered.

If you have a free moment, check-out Experimentaholic's post. And if you have a picture of a smart (or stupid) recycling bin, please send it to him and join the recycling-lid obsession!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

APA Monitor: Curbing Climate Change

In this month's APA Monitor, there's a special section on climate change. The question is whether psychology can help curb environmental problems (or phrased more provocatively, "Can psychology save the planet?"). It probably seems like a no-brainer (at least to me*), but that hasn't always been the case. Not too long ago, Susan Clayton** asked psychologists from several APA divisions their thoughts and attitudes on environmental practices. Here's some of the comments she received:

"This seems not to be a psychological issue, and thus not within our sphere."

"This is the silliest questionnaire I have filled out in a very long time. . . . It is virtually impossible to understate the importance of APA divisions [in regard to protecting the environment]."

Well, the good news is that these views are changing, and more people are indeed turning to psychology for ways to address environmental issues. So can psychology save the planet? If so, how?
*Although, thank goodness, other psychologists have gone "green."

**Clayton, S. (2000, August). Greening the branches: Environmental practices in APA divisions. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Research Methods, Statistics, and Guitar Hero

There's beauty in research design and statistics. That is, you can apply these tools to just about anything,* including plastic bags! Going back down memory lane for a moment, it all started with me asking the question of how to make a statistic (i.e., the US consumes 380 billion plastic bags each year) personally meaningful. And as many of you know, asking that question launched me into an eight-month long project, which culminated into BagFest last year.

Good times, good times!

And now I'm reminded of the fun in applying research methods and statistics to a real-world problem. But this time, instead of me asking a question, it's from one of my students: How can we convince Dr. Verges to host a Guitar-Hero experiment in our statistics class?

Brilliant question!

* You cannot however, apply these tools of empiricism to faith-based questions or to other questions that delve into a phantasmal world.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Mark Your Calendars!

IU South Bend is hosting several events in March and April, so please mark your calendars. I've also included two links for more information about these events.

March 18: Public lecture by Erik Reece, author of Lost Mountain (2006)

March 20: Native Gardening Master Class, JF New Nursery

March 25: Public lecture by Dr. Roland Chamblee, St. Joseph County Health Officer

April 3: Public lecture by Dr. Kristin Schrader-Frechette, Internationally known philosopher

April 12: Green Michiana: A Sustainability Fair for Home, Garden, and Road

I hope to see you at some (if not all!) of these events!