Combining fun and solutions

Many people spend at least part of their days playing games – whether solo or with others, whether face to face or across cyberspace.  So why not combine the fun of a game with the challenge of solving the world’s environmental problems?

Cool It is a card game from the Union of Concerned Scientists that teaches kids about choices that have to be made in solving climate change.  It includes a teacher’s guide, and is available here.

Fate of the World is a new video game that challenges players to “manage a balancing act of protecting the Earth’s resources and climate versus the needs of an ever-growing world population, who are demanding ever more food, power, and living space”.  It’s available here.

People like having fun – so why not make that fun time productive?  These and other games like them can help!

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Recycled… or recyclable?

November 16, 2010

It’s good to know your symbols

One of the symbols below means ‘recyclable’.  The other means ‘recycled’ (IE containing recycled material).

Q: Do you know which is which?

A: The one on the left means ‘recyclable’: the material can be recycled.  The one on the right, with the circle, means ‘contains recycled material’.  (There are colour variations and the recycled logo sometimes indicates the percentage recycled content.)

The difference between the two might be subtle, but it REALLY MATTERS because:

1. if you specifically want to buy products that contain recycled materials, the logo on the left is meaningless; the logo on the right is the one to look for

2. the ‘recyclable’ logo on a product doesn’t automatically mean that it ends up getting recycled; that depends on your local program.  For example, Styrofoam© (polystyrene) is recyclable but is not accepted by most recycling programs.

The bottom line: it’s always best to REDUCE, but when that’s not possible, look for products that contain a high percentage of recycled material and are themselves recyclable.

Eco-friendly coffee breaks

Unfortunately, coffee breaks at the meetings many of us attend typically generate lots of trash.  But hosts of a meeting I attended last week laid out the greenest coffee break I’ve ever seen.  It featured:

  • Fair trade coffee with a lighter eco-footprint
  • Real mugs instead of anything disposable
  • Unrefined sugar from a sugar bowl instead of individual packets of white sugar and chemical substitutes
  • Real spoons instead of stir sticks
  • Milk from a pitcher rather than from small plastic containers
  • Snacks made from local and organic ingredients, with no plastic wrap or disposable aluminum trays with plastic lids

The next time you plan a meeting, why not ask your caterer to ‘green’ your breaks?  With the above small steps, you can make a big difference!