Happy Green Halloween

October 21, 2009

If your household is like mine, the approach of Halloween is one of the most exciting times of the year. It also results in a pillowcase full of treats which tend to last into spring.
Even Halloween has a impact on the planet – mainly through treats, decorations and travel. If you’d like to reduce your family’s ‘Halloween carbon footprint’, here are a few ideas:
1. the biggest and best single action you can take is to leave the car home and walk around the neighbourhood. Bundle up, and for added safety consider flashlights, reflective tape, face paint instead of masks, and, if the kids allow it, adult accompaniment.
2. minimize the use of inflatable decorations (they use as much power as 4-6 CFLs or even more) and lights; use timers to turn them off automatically and save money
3. consider ‘greener’ treat options, food or otherwise. Check out http://www.greenhalloween.org for lots of information and suggestions.

In the news:
The President and cabinet of the Maldives, one of the places on Earth most threatened by rising sea levels, held an extraordinary underwater meeting Saturday, to raise awareness and sign a declaration calling for cuts in global emissions. http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/10/17/maldives.underwater.meeting/
The CEO of Shell, one of the world’s largest oil companies, is urging the US Senate to act on climate change legislation. http://www.timesargus.com/article/20091016/NEWS01/910160314/1002/NEWS01

During this flu season, signs advising proper hand washing technique are posted everywhere: wet hands, apply soap, wash, rinse, dry.  I’m no expert in the matter, but it seems to me that the process can be tweaked a bit to get the same benefit with a bit less soap.  

Here’s why.  When I wet my hands first then get a pump of soap, I find that much of the soap slips off my hands and down the drain unused – and so I need to get another pump of soap. 

So instead, my hand washing technique has become: get a pump of soap first, rub it around a bit, then wet my hands lightly and carry on with washing as usual.  Lots of lather, clean hands and a bit of soap saved.  True, it’s just one pump – but if a million people do it…

In the news

Remember “Beds Are Burning”, the 1987 hit by Aussie rock group Midnight Oil?  It’s back, with updated lyrics focusing on climate change.  Supported by a “dream team” of 60+ international music and entertainment stars, the song is being promoted as a musical petition for climate change action in the run-up to the Copenhagen summit in December.