Tuesday, November 29, 2011

North Park Library's "Garden"

Happy happy Tuesday!

I mentioned at a meeting maybe a month ago about how the library I volunteer at is starting to grow some vegetables indoors. I snagged a couple of pictures (see below) today in case anyone was wondering about the set-up and is possibly looking into doing something similar.

If anyone is in fact looking into doing this and wants more information, let me know and I can give you the contact information of the staff member who's behind this! She's quite friendly, and has an environmental non-profit organization. 

Monday, November 28, 2011


hey guys, I hope your break was the best it possibly could have been and your return to school at least somewhat painless!

I wanted to remind you to stop by Mr. Steussy's room at some point before Friday's meeting to pick up your pass to the 1100 building during lunch. I have absolutely no way of knowing how long this new policy will be in effect for, so please do your best to hand on to the passes, as they're meant to be reused every week.

Just a bit of housekeeping to (try to) keep us all on track. See you Friday, hopefully with a few more letters, research, or poster designs!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


The most important thing for all club members to do is to write their letters to Mrs. Roberson! Her email is jroberson@sandi.net. Be very kind in your letters—she's our new principal and we want her help in being able to change the water bottle policy in our school. Very few letters have been written so far... so write, write, write!

We also discussed ASB issues. Primarily, we want an environmental week for our school (similar to "spirit weeks" and preferably around Earth Day). Just as importantly, we want to discuss the issue of unnecessary waste in school events—namely, the releasing of huge amounts of balloons into the air at various school functions. I will personally communicate with ASB about these issues. Again, we want their help in these issues, and I will mention alternatives for the balloons that we have discussed in our class.

Our T-Shirts are coming along, I suppose we're still waiting for our bike rack, and we're considering donating to wildlife organizations. I'll end this post with another detail about the water bottle initiative: we're ordering reusable water bottles to sell in school. It's possible to put designs on them. Do we want a SAVE THE WORLD FRIDAYS logo, or do we want something different? Do want Jiem's BOTTLENOSE SAYS "BOTTLES? NO!"? Do we want REFILL NOT LANDFILL? Do we want nothing at all? These are questions for the ages. What I want to know, is who will be responsible for ordering the bottles? Will it be our treasurer? is that how it usually works

Anyway, that was a good meeting. Have a good Thanksgiving break! I'll see you all in a week.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Putting it into action: Thanksgiving

Boy, do I love Turkey Day. Just family, friends and FOOD. YUM! Right? 

The pie guys. The pie.

Also, I just love that one week off from school. But just because we get a vacation doesn't mean you should take a break from being environmentally conscious! Here at STWF, we've been talking about ways to lead a green lifestyle, so why not put all those ideas in action? Here are links and ideas for being an Earth Defender during Thanksgiving:

Have any more tips for surviving Thanksgiving and coming out green? Leave them in the comments below!

Remember guys, 

PS: Bring the posters ideas and the letters for the meeting tomorrow! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winter is approaching!

With the onset of winter near, I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to put on a sweater or wrap a blanket around before cranking up the heater!

If you're not one of those people who are excited to break out their sweaters and coats, then perhaps this will convince you:

Lowering the temperature 3-5 degrees Fahrenheit can save you up to 20% on heating costs!

If you're still not convinced enough to don a fashionable sweater this season, then consider some other alternatives to staying warm:
  • Increasing the insulation in the walls, ceilings, and between the floors
  • Making sure all the windows are tightly sealed and don't leak in air
  • Turning down the temperature of your water heater to the warm water setting, and the lowest one when you're away
  • Replacing your water heater (newer ones are significantly more energy efficient)
Anyone have any other alternatives? Leave a comment!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Water Bottle Initiative Update

I talked to a friend of mine who goes to OLP where they have had great success with reducing the amount of plastic water bottles on campus. Here's a list of things they did, which you may consider suggesting as improvements in your letter to Mrs. Roberson:

  • Added 3 water filters in the area (for people to refill)
  • Removed water bottle vending machines
  • Sold $5 reusable water bottles (STWF is willing to do this!) during lunch
  • Posters to promote the change (don't forget to create yours!)

Recycling bins were also added in the case anyone continued to bring water bottles from home.

Anyway, don't forget to do your letters/posters/research!

I have searched high and low on the school website and Google for Mrs. Roberson's email address to no avail, but I'll be going down to the main office tomorrow so I'll post it soon!

Edit: Thanks to the anonymous comment below, we now know jroberson@sandi.net is her email address!

Monday, November 14, 2011

more baby steps!

The wonderful and amazing Jiem made a post a bit ago with a few "baby steps" everyone can take to make your daily activities just a little more eco-friendly. I thought I'd just expand on that for a post today. Some of these were discussed in a previous meeting, but it seems a good idea to go through some things in either case.

  • Print back to back: We all print long essays and assignments and whatnot for school, right? Right. In order to save paper, it can be a good idea to print to odd pages first and then the even pages on the backs. Of course, this takes a second of brain power in order to figure out how to put the papers back in so it all works out, but I think that it's beneficial in the grand scheme o' things.
  • Use smaller margins: In the same vein, it can be good to make your margins smaller so you can fit more words on less pages. Now, when you need to do strict MLA or something of the sort and there are specifications this doesn't really work out. Most of the time, though, there's no problem. I usually go for 0.6 inches all around, because after that your printer starts to object.
  • Don't leave the lights on: This seems obvious, I know. BUT, it can be important to remember that, as far as energy goes, simple light switches are the type of device that don't take a whole lot of energy to get going. By that I mean that any extra second the light is on (when you don't need it) energy is being wasted. Like, if you were to leave a room for twenty minutes but were planning on coming back, turn the lights off. TVs and the like should be left on (up to a certain point) because turning them on and off needs a lot more energy. Make sense?
  • Stick a bucket in your shower: I noticed this at a friend's house, and I think it's a neat little idea. So, nobody wants to go into a shower before the water has warmed up, right? That's no fun. But while the water's warming, it's also running, which means there is some waste happenin' there. A good solution would be to get a bucket, name is Wonderfully Helpful Gorgeous Shower Bucket, and stick it under the faucet/head/whatever it's called. It'll fill up with the cold water that you don't want so that when you're ready, you can take it out and go about your business. Use that cold water for something like watering your plants!

So, maybe just pick one thing to try out and get used to and take on another if you're feeling up to it. But don't rush anything and then fall out of the habit. It's better to do a little than too much if that's going to happen!

Baby steps!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Farmers' Markets (a documentary)

Natalie, Joanna and I all made this for Film class. Cool stuff about organic farming, EBT, and living local:

Also: after meeting members of some other school's environmental club, I was really enamored with the idea of developing a community garden on the campus of the school. I'll propose it at our next club meeting—I think it would be good to look at after we have established our bottle initiative.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Out of town!

Hey guys. I'm on a trip right now, super busy. You're all great! Don't forget to write your bottle letters. See you next week!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Do you see this creature?! This majestic, beautiful, and magnificent creature?!
Well, it's called the Western Black Rhinoceros AND THEY'RE ALL GONE. EXTINCT. DEAD. 

This news has been announced by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature just today. Further statements claim that more rhinoceroses are on the verge of extinction as well. There is hope, though. In the past, many animals that have been declared extinct have been "found" and, through efficient conservation programs, have gained numbers. Such animals include the White Rhino and Przewalski's horse. 

Now, I'm not sure how to help out what's going on in Africa from all the way here from San Diego. Picketing? Yeah, raising awareness is nice but unless we do something big, no one's going to do anything. Fundraising? I guess sending money to conservation groups is a great way to help, but that's a little impersonal. I'm up for it. Have any suggestions? Leave them in the comments below!

Also, don't forget to bring letters or designs for posters to the next STWF meeting NEXT FRIDAY!

Remember guys,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

cooking seasonally!

Most, if not all, of my posts so far have been about food. What can I say? Food is great.

Anyway, cooking seasonally is pretty important as far as the whole being-nice-to-our-planet thing is concerned. Our year is divided up into four neat little sections, each one bringing different weather and different crops. The more sustainable (and fun, really) thing to do is to buy what's in season. It usually tastes better, is cheaper, and is more easily available. To find out what foods grow/sell in what seasons, you can always Google it, but it also tends to reveal itself to you. Like, you know it's summer when there are massive amounts of corn at your local market for twenty-five cents a cob. I'd also recommend going to farmer's markets and trying to detect a common theme!

The common theme right about now seems to be squash. Squash and gourds and other silly-shaped produce. I can dig it. I figure it's one thing to tell you to buy and cook around the seasons, but it's quite another to help you out a bit. So, here's a recipe!

Autumn Bisque
(serves 4-6? about?)


1 large butternut squash
1/2 of an acorn squash
1 large potato (or two small ones)
1 medium yellow onion
2 carrots
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 small pear (or apple, whatever you'd like)
somewhere around 4 cups of vegetable broth
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme
(I should have put rosemary and sage in it so I could make a Simon and Garfunkel joke)
1 teaspoon of ginger
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 cup of creamer (I used coconut creamer, normal people could use heavy cream)


preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

before you start prepping the produce, gaze at the beauty of the vegetables. This is a crucial step.

all right, so when you're done with that, you need to peel and dice the squash, potatoes, pear, carrots, and onion. Don't dice the pear as fine as the others - just trust me on this one. The squash can be a bit tough to work with because, well, they're tough. I usually slice them into smaller sections and then just chop the peel off. If you do this, try not to loose much flesh. It's possible to peel a butternut squash, but pretty much impossible to try to do that with an acorn squash. It's kind of a trial and error thing. Be sure to leave out the fibers and seeds from the centers of the squash (you can always roast the seeds for a little snack, though!).

When you're done with all of that, the produce will not be as pretty as it once was. It's on its way to being tasty, though, so it kind of all evens out.

Okay, so transfer the squash, potatoes, onion, and carrot to a baking tray. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss it all around a bit so it's evenly coated.

Stick the tray in the oven and leave it there for ten minutes. After ten minutes, add the pear (or apple, I guess) and continue roasting for another fifteen minutes. You can use this roasting time to chop up your parsley and thyme.

When the vegetables, etc., are done, get out a pot. Put about two cups of vegetable broth in the pot and set the stove to a low heat setting. Now, stick all of the stuff you just roasted into a food processor or blender. Blend it until it's super super smooth. Sometimes it helps to throw a bit of broth in there.

So when that's done, scoop all of the blendy stuff into the pot. Mix it around. Add your herbs and spices and raise the heat level to medium. Add as much broth as you want to make it a texture that's good for you. Thick, but not too thick. I didn't measure everything exactly, but it's nice to just adjust it to your tastes.

So let it all heat there for ten minutes. Then you can add your creamer, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for about half and hour.

Lastly, you should mess with it a little. I added a bunch of cumin and didn't really measure how much. I just kept tasting it to see what it needed. I also stuck in a shake more of cinnamon and some salt. I added a little too much salt, so I put in some turbinado sugar. I think I put more black pepper, too. And a small shake of cayenne.

Serve with some toast or other tasty side!

It was delicious.

If people respond well to this post, I'd like to do more posts like this in the future, but it would be silly to put up a lot of recipes and the like if no one ever uses 'em.

Happy squash-ing!

Friday, November 4, 2011

NOVEMBER 4 MEETING - Water bottle initiative!

Hey hey hey buds. Important, text-dense stuff this week!

We are now pursuing our water bottle initiative. Our main goal is to reduce the use of water bottles throughout the complex. We want everyone in the club to start writing letters for the complex principal. I believe her name is Mrs. Roberson? I couldn't find her email address, but I'll post again later with more information about the letter-writing campaign. A few ideas for what to include in your letter:
  • Your environmental concerns and reasons for supporting the club.
  • A link to or mention of videos, documentaries, or any other sources you find are helpful and informative, as the specific issues with water bottles.
  • A question on how feasible it would be to implement change in the school's relationship with water bottles—how do order vending machine products, who do we order them through, can we change what we order, who chooses what the other school vendors sell, etc. Don't deluge them with questions, but do express a curiosity for how we can affect change.
  • Mention past initiatives of this sort. I believe OLP, another San Diego school, already removed water bottles on their campus? That is something I heard in the meeting, but I'll need a confirmation on that.
These are all just suggestions for the letter—write it however you feel is best, and focus on the issue of water bottles.

Also part of our water bottle campaign will include informational PSA-style flyers warning against the use of water bottles and promoting the benefits of water bottle alternatives. I suppose there's an open invitation for the design of the flyers. Bring any designs in to the next meeting and we'll decide what to do with them.

We must additionally consider the question of where these flyers will be placed. The ideal would be in locations where water bottles are sold (vending machines, near food carts, etc.; they could also alternatively be placed near water fountains). Where we can place the flyers is a different question from where we should place the flyers—I would suppose this would be under the jurisdiction of ASB. I can go to them soon and discuss the guidelines for the initiative.

As part of this initiative, we're also considering purchasing reusable water bottles to resell on campus. This will allow for a more accessible transition to reusable water bottles and increase school awareness of our club. Also, depending on how much the bottles cost, we may even be able to raise some funds. The details for this aren't complete yet—we will discuss this more in our next meeting.

On that note, we don't have a meeting next week! So, in the next two weeks, everyone should start writing their letters for the principal and consider designing a flyer. Otherwise, good job on the recycling initiative and keep up the good work!


A couple questions for our presidents:
  1. Is Mrs. Roberson in fact the name of the campus principal?
  2. What is her email address? I tried to find it on the school website, but it wasn't available anywhere.
  3. What are the details on OLP?
You can just leave your answers in the comments section, and I'll make a new blog post with the correct information.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Baby steps

Yeah, it's difficult to just go green on a whim. As much as I'd like to get a hybrid, I'm not that rich. Cutting animal products cold turkey? I wish you luck. Even though I'm sure everyone wants to help, I'm sure a ton of people are overwhelmed by the great demand to change every single aspect of their lives just to promote a healthy earth.

So, I propose baby steps - small, easy ways to reduce waste and promote a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Don't charge your electronics overnight. This is an easy one - just don't do it. Your phone really takes only one to three hours to fully charge. You don't need to waste six hours worth of electricity on your phone. Charge your electronics right when you get home from school or work. Take it out before you sleep. Done. 
  2. Time your showers. I had a friend who told me that they get their best ideas in the shower. This is also the same friend who took 30 minute showers every day. Please time your showers. You get wet, you lather soap, you rinse it off. I bet you can do that in under five minutes. For extra points, take a "navy shower": turn off the water while lathering, letting the water run only to get wet in the beginning or rinse off at the end.
  3. Look for food in the pantry, not the fridge. Keeping your refrigerator door open uses a ton of energy and exhausts a ton of ozone killing toxins (think of it as a air conditioner for your food). Also, don't keep checking the fridge every two minutes hoping food will appear. It won't. Yeah, I understand that perishable items must stay cold. I'm just saying the next time you're craving an ice cream snack, why not have some chips instead? Or, for the health conscious, an apple and some peanut butter? 

As long as you start, it'll be easy to do other things to help the environment - construct a compost pile, set up a community garden, maybe even sacrifice your Joe-joes to boycott palm oil.

Add your own baby steps below. Remember guys,
The power is YOURS!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Paper everywhere!

I often feel like this gal:

And when I do, the thought always wonders into my head: Is the IB actually trying to kill trees?

Between the massive amounts of homework we get, the countless IAs, we have CAS and the EE, and it just seems like the deluge of paper NEVER ENDS. This probably won't be changing anytime soon, but there are a couple of things you can do to reduce your paper consumption:

  • Print double-sided! (Most printers will allow you to do this manually, where you print the odd pages first and then flip the pages for your printer to print the even pages in reverse)
  • Don't print! (Unless you have to, of course)
  • Recycle all those college letters you're getting! (I use them for scratch paper/homework)
  • Go paperless (pay your bills online, get newsletters online, etc.)