Sustainability Committee at Grays Harbor College Rotating Header Image

February, 2010:

Treat yourself and do Good!

Ben & Jerry’s has recently committed to sourcing every possible ingredient from Fair Trade Certified producers. In 2005, it became the first ice cream company to use Fair Trade Certified ingredients and today it has announced that all flavors will be Fair Trade Certified by the end of 2013.

According to the company, this means significant changes:

Globally, this involves converting up to 121 different chunks and swirls, working across eleven different ingredients such as cocoa, banana, vanilla and other flavourings, fruits and nuts. It also means working with Fair Trade cooperatives that total a combined membership of over 27,000 farmers.

Ben & Jerry’s has long been a leader is global activism. In 2008, Ben & Jerry’s and Greenpeace introduced “Greenfreeze,” a climate-friendly ice cream cooler. The company also supported the Climate Change College, which funded a six-month, part-time program for six people to complete a course of study, including a ten-day field trip to Greenland, in order to become ambassador’s for the World Wildlife Fund’s Powerswitch Campaign.

This week’s sustainability tip is brought to you by Jennifer Barber, English as a Second Language.  Thanks for the tip Jennifer!

Start Gardening!

This week’s tip comes from Ralph Hogaboom in the IT Department.

Making time and space for a small garden is a great way to step into a more sustainable lifestyle. You receive flowers or produce that is (almost) free, definitely fresh, you get outside a bit more, you potentially increase the value of your land & home, and you don’t use the resources consumed by commercial farming: the mechanical planting & harvesting, packaging, then transportation (CO2 emissions) to get that food to you.

In Hoquiam, the community garden is entering their third year growing food behind the police station. Plots are cheap, water is plentiful, and the soil is getting pretty good. Contact Traci Wood at 360-532-5700 x240 or twood@cityofhoquiam.com for more information.

Our library has a few books on gardening to get you started – and the local Timberland Regional Library system has many many more. Get a book and get out in the yard.

Extra-special bonus tip – start composting your kitchen waste now to build up some good soil. The Oregon State Dept on Environmental Quality has a PDF on simple composting that’s worth a read over at http://www.deq.state.or.us/lq/pubs/docs/sw/compost/UsersGuideCompost.pdf.

Happy gardening!

Eat Less Meat

This week’s tip comes to us from the archives! Thanks to Jennifer Barber (again!) for the tip!

Greetings! Below is your Sustainability Tip of the Week. It is composed of several small actions you can take to reduce your ecological footprint. Remember, there are a lot of us humans and if we all make small, easy changes it makes a big difference.

Set 0.5 inch margins to use less paper. Copy double sided whenever possible. Offices and schools use A LOT of paper. This saves quite a bit over time. http://www.nrdc.org/GREENSQUAD/library/paper.html

If you use plastic sandwich bags, you can wash them out with hot water and soap, hang upside down to dry and reuse several times. There are special dryers just for this.

The library already makes small scratch pads from one-sided copies. If you want larger ones, just turn the copies over and put them on a clipboard. Voila! Recycle when you’re finished with the paper.

cows

Eating meat helps contribute to climate change in several ways. We all know that what goes in a cow comes out in a different form – essentially methane, a major greenhouse gas. Also, in many countries around the world, forests are being clear cut to make room for growing beef. Cutting down trees reduces the planet’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide. Did you know a beef cow produces about 5 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent over its lifetime? Every cheeseburger (not including the cow’s contribution) is responsible for emitting between 1 and 3.5 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions – taking into account the energy needed to turn the beef into a burger, the transportation, etc. http://omaog-staging.cbc.ca/Act.aspx?actID=79

This week’s sustainability tip(s) brought you by Jennifer Barber, English as a Second Language Instructor and Volunteer Literacy Program Coordinator. Thanks Jennifer!