Sunday, December 18, 2011

Winter Break

I hope you all have a good winter break. We spent our last meeting of 2011 making snow globes out of jars and knickknacks. Some people have been requesting the directions for making the snow globes, so here we are:

It's a pretty good how-to, I'd say. In January we'll resume initiatives and important club work, but for now, get lots of sleep, be kind to others and the environment, and enjoy your break!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Snow globes!

Don't forget to bring materials in to make snow globes this Friday. Also, t-shirts--buy 'em and wear 'em!

Monday, December 12, 2011

the holidays!

I know that not everyone celebrates Christmas, but for those who do, there are some environmentally aligned decisions that everyone makes every year. For example, Mr. Steussy recently posed the question of artificial vs. fresh tree. That is, which one is more "green"? There are problems with each, and it's up to the individual to decide which option they are more comfortable with.

Our wonderful member Nicola mentioned at either last Friday's meeting or the one before that there was such a thing as a replantable Christmas tree. They're called "Real Christmas Trees". The link takes you to the National Christmas Tree Association's website, where you can find more information. This seems to solve at least part of the problem of cutting down live trees annually while not resorting to the production of plastic. I think it's pretty neat.

The other (and more creative) option is to build some kind of recyclable/renewable Christmas tree. The one above is made from books, which I kind of think is the coolest thing ever.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Just say no!

As I'm a senior right now, college is on my mind a lot. One thing that occurred to me is that nowadays, you don't wait for a fat envelope anymore (although, I'm sure there are exceptions), but you refresh some random webpage to the point of exhaustion. One college kindly informed me "we will provide some admissions decisions only online, not via regular mail. You may request that a copy of your decision letter be mailed to you after you receive it online", which I think is fantastic. This college, in particular, I have no complaints about, but there are some others who are... much less committed to saving the world.

Ever since that fateful day when I took the PSAT as a sophomore and unwittingly said I'd be open to receiving mailings from Collegeboard and their partner colleges (or however the phrasing is that allows them to sell your names to colleges) I've been absolutely bombarded with mailings for colleges that I'm not interested in (seriously, Milwaukee Engineering? I'm looking to be an English major.) and pricey summer programs. So, I think the time may have passed for the PSAT-takers for this year, but if you ever have the choice of opting in for Collegeboard's mailings:

Unless, of course, you actually want your inbox and mailbox to be cluttered wastelands (or if you want to read the 100+ brochures of obscure colleges). 

And, on a slightly-related side note, the same motto (JUST SAY NO!) can be applied to plastic. Be sure to write your letters! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

seasonal cooking pt. deux

well, okay, that's a bit of a misnomer. Baking and cooking are technically two different things. This is a recipe for some chewy ginger cookies that seem nice and appropriate for the holiday season.

There are three different "types" of ginger in this recipe, which, paired with the dark brown sugar, molasses, and other spices give these little cookies a lot more depth than they look like they'd have. They're delicious, trust me. The cookies that this recipe is for are vegan, but feel free to substitute dairy products if that's what you'd like (although the nice thing about these is that they don't have "bad" cholesterol).

ingredients (use organic/fair trade/sustainable wherever possible!):

2 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons of ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 teaspoons of freshly grated nutmeg
a few pinches of kosher salt (kosher does make a difference, promise)
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper (I know, weird, just trust me)
3/4 cup of firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup of canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons of Ener-G egg replacer
2 tablespoons of filtered water
1/2 cup of blackstrap molasses
2 teaspoons of peeled, freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallised ginger
about 1/2 cup of raw (turbinado) sugar


"prep" all of the ingredients: grate the nutmeg, peel and grate the fresh ginger, chop the crystallised ginger, and mix the water with the egg replacer powder (again, this is the "vegan version") until it's smooth and creamy.

(the crystallised ginger, all nicely chopped by my lovely assistant James Curry)

after all of that is taken care of, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

now, mix the flour, ground ginger, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

in a separate bowl, mix the canola oil and brown sugar until it's all nice and combined. Add the egg replacer mixture, vanilla, grated ginger and molasses to the wet mixture. Again, make it all nice and smooth.

add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until juuuuust combined. Don't overmix! It supposedly does bad things! Now, add the crystallised ginger and mix it around. It should be pretty thick, gooey, and dark.

the crystallised stuff gets you pretty sticky, as my lovely assistant found out.

all right, now you've got to take out a couple baking trays and get ready for the fun part. Put the turbinado sugar into a shallow bowl. Take little glops of the dough about 1 tablespoon in volume. Roll it gently in the sugar and place on the baking tray.

Do that until it's all used up.

Space them about 1 1/2 inches apart on the trays, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. You can tell when they're done if the edges are a bit firm and the centers are cracked.

let 'em cool for about five minutes until you transfer them to another plate or rack.

mae thought the dough was pretty tasty, at least.

don't worry, I sanitised afterwards.

well, that's it! happy ginger-ing!

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Hello everyone! I hope you had a good week back from break. Here's the stuff we talked about at yesterday's meeting:
  • Bottles! Katra is in charge of ordering the aluminum water bottles, and she should have it done by our next meeting. Also write your letters to Mrs. Roberson about the reduction of plastic water bottles. Her email is We need those sent!
  • T-Shirts! They have been ordered, and they need to be sold! If you ordered one, go ahead and buy one, they're pretty neat.
  • ASB! There's a meeting coming up at the end of December, but I will speak to them before then about our concerns and requests.
  • Gardens? That's possibly our next initiative. We'll have to decide on the details, though: what kind of garden we want, where we want it, and what kind of plants we want to grow. My own two cents: I think that whatever it is we do, we need to take into consideration the environmental impact/benefits of such a garden.
So yes, that's it! Yesterday was a rather brisk meeting. Now that we have our goals for the water bottle initiative figured out, we must complete the process of actually achieving those goals. So, play your part, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sustainability 101?

This past Tuesday, Mr. Steussy brought to my attention the new major on sustainability launched at SDSU. Upon further research, I found out that sustainability is available in schools across that nation, notably Western New England University, Arizona State University and Columbia University (yeah, the one in the Ivy League).
Yep, this one.

I was rather intrigued by the type of classes offered along with this major. I mean, I always thought that sustainability and environmentalism couldn't be taught. Being green is a lifestyle choice, not an academic endeavor, right?

I found that choosing sustainability as a major requires one to choose from a list of classes including "Challenges of Social Development", "Climate Solutions" and "Survey of Legal and Policy Methods for Sustainable Development". For a more comprehensive list, click here.

So what do you guys think? Would you consider declaring sustainability as your major? How do you think programs like these affect our cause?

Remember guys,

California: The Golden State's nature becoming as rare as it's name

I came across a very concerning issue today, CA's nature is losing almost all of its natural spawning ground. Here is an excerpt from the article by sign-on San Diego journalist Mike Lee:

"The studies show that common trees are fading from their current ranges, premium wine grape varieties are under siege [...]the hub of the state’s water system faces increasing risks[...]"

The new changes in CA's climate and weather(most of which is believed to be cause global warming) is said to be causing the local wildlife change as well.

"[...]Marine creatures are shifting locales[...]and — surprisingly — birds in the state are getting bigger as the weather warms.

Coming across this article makes me think that we should further expand our efforts to get a ban on water bottles, along with a bicycle movement, at San Diego High.

If you you would like to read more into this please visit