Monday, December 12, 2011

Recycling Christmas lights-

picture from

There would not be a holiday season without holiday lights. How many of you have spent hours checking those lights or tried to detangle the strings and finally give up and bought new ones? Where do defective Christmas lights go if not in the garbage?

Unfortunately, there isn't a holiday lights recycling program located in Miami (if you know of such a program, please let me know), except for the few days in November when Home Depot accept a trade in.You may see the details here.
However there is a mailing program at where you can send your old lights and get a coupon for LED Christmas lights.
Why choose LED lights? Because they use less energy than their regular counterpart and they last longer. Please see more details on howstuffworks here.

picture from howstuffworks

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stop unwanted mail-

picture from The Catalog Canceling Challenge site here.

You may have bought a Christmas ornament from a catalog three years ago and here you are three years after and still receiving the company catalog. If you buy from different companies, this can add up really fast. Most companies have website now and usually, you may access the same information that the one in the catalog. Catalog can be recycled in single stream but you may want to consider canceling their subscription to save your time and paper consumption for the environment. I did it several years ago as I was getting buried under the pile of weekly catalogs. I am so glad I did.  Most of them stopped coming almost immediately (several weeks are needed sometimes). One kept coming but I notified the site and it eventually stopped.
You may want to give it a try. You don't have to get rid of all the catalogs you receive if shopping on line isn't for you, but you may want to consider getting rid of the ones you know you will not buy from.
You may find the Catalog Choice website here.

And for the catalogs you still have, check out this craft on Zakka life here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Garden in Miami- The Kampong


Located on Biscayne Bay in Coconut Grove, Florida, The Kampong contains a fascinating array of tropical fruit cultivars and flowering trees.
The garden is named for the Malay or Javanese word for a village or cluster of houses. Some of the first plantings there came from Indo-Malaysia, brought there by the renowned explorer/horticulturist who introduced these species to the United States and who owned the property in the early 1900s. The collections were expanded and diversified by the next owner, who eventually gifted the garden to the NTBG.
Kampong Planting Heritage collections from Southeast Asia, Central and South Americas, the Caribbean, and other tropical locales create a cornucopia of exotic fruit, including candle fruit, peanut butter fruit, egg fruit, cocoplums, and over 50 varieties of mango. Numerous species of palms, cycads, and flowering trees are studied by scientists from the world over.
The Kampong serves as the mainland campus for the NTBG's educational courses, as a living classroom used by universities and colleges for botany and horticulture courses, and is a popular spot for plant enthusiasts of all ages.
The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

 Please find more information on the National Tropical Botanical Garden website here.

pictures from

Holiday decorations- Paper snowflakes tutorial

This is a very easy craft for the holidays and the result looks beautiful. Even kids can participate under adult supervision.When you get familiar with the tutorial, you may want to try different types and sizes of papers, even old transparencies to get different effects.

You will need:
6 squares of paper

1-Fold your paper

2-Fold it again

3-Cut it 5 times

4-Open the paper

5-Tape the first square

6-Turn the paper over and tape the second one

Until you get this
7-Repeat another 5 times and attach together

End result shown by Nikki Orchard who taught me this craft last year

Sustainability- Publix

Check out the Publix website on sustainability here and look for the "what you can do" section with tips here.

Footprint calculator-

You can calculate your footprint on here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stickers turn cardboard trash into playtime treasure- Springwise

pictures from

Even in today’s world where children are being treated to their own range of tablet computers, it’s still the case that many are quite content to while away their hours playing with simple cardboard boxes. With that in mind, Arizona-based Box Play for Kids now offer a range of whimsical stickers designed to jump-start kids’ imagination when playing with cardboard.

Read more on the Springwise website here.


ACORE Renewable Energy Policy Conference

December 6-7, in Washington, D.C.

Phase II National Policy Conference: “Renewable Energy in America - Creating Security and Prosperity”   

This year’s renewable energy National Policy Forum takes place at a critical juncture. Our nation’s economy teeters on the balance after the super committee failed to produce a viable deficit reduction plan forcing Congress to decide whether to accept automatic spending cuts or find a more deliberate approach to shrink the massive budget deficit. Discussions are taking place to sort out next steps, such as tax reform legislation, as well as extension of the important 1603 cash grant in lieu of tax credits and the PTC, both set expire at the end of 2011 and 2012 respectively. The Phase II National Policy Forum will define the next steps for the future of renewable energy policy: Will Congress follow through on sequestration and what does it mean for our sector? Will renewable energy face extension, expiration or premature elimination of government incentives? Why should and how can Congress best support renewable energy development in this age of fiscal austerity? 

The U.S. renewable energy market is accelerating, fostering much needed investment and jobs. The Department of Defense is investing heavily in renewable energy while regulatory policies are opening new market opportunities in the utility and transportation sectors.  Join renewable energy leaders from Capitol Hill and across the country in the U.S. House of Representatives Cannon Caucus Room as they assess the volatile state of renewable energy policy today and lay out a best case policy framework for 2012 and beyond. 

See more here.

Campus Sustainability Blogs- AASHE

AASHE released a Campus Sustainability blogs list. You may find the list here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Cinema Green"- The Clean Bin Project

December 8 at the Miami Beach Cinematheque. Please see the details here.

Is it possible to live completely waste free? Partners Jen and Grant go head to head in a competition to see who can swear off consumerism and produce the least landfill garbage in an entire year. Their light-hearted competition is set against a darker examination of the sobering problem waste in North American society. Even as Grant and Jen start to garner interest in their project, they struggle to find meaning in their seemingly minuscule influence on the large-scale environmental impacts of our “throw-away society”. Featuring interviews with renowned artist, Chris Jordan and marine pollution expert, Captain Charles Moore, The Clean Bin Project presents the serious topic of waste reduction with optimism, humor, and inspiration for individual action.
WINNER: Best Canadian Doc Projecting Change Film Festival
Blue Sky Tribute Award at the Vail Film Festival
Mobi Award Journalism Media - Recycling Council of
British Columbia

Exploring and Protecting a South Florida treasure- Temple Israel of Greater Miami

please see the Temple Israel of Greater Miami website here.

Solar plane promises new era of flight- CNN

picture from CNN

Payerne, Switzerland (CNN) -- With the wingspan of a jumbo jet and a scooter-sized engine, the Solar Impulse is a one of a kind.

Thanks to nearly 12,000 solar cells and four electrically-powered propellers, it's the first aircraft in the world that can fly without any fuel -- day or night.

The 63-meter wide, 1,600 kilogram plane is already a record breaker, staying in the air for 26 unbroken hours in 2010.

Read more here.

Also please find the Solarimpulse website here.

Real tree versus artificial tree, one of the dilemmas of Christmas

When it comes to pick a tree, a lot of us have a definitive opinion. Real trees smell so good and remind us of the past Christmases of our childhood but artificial trees seem so much greener and better for the environment. Whatever your opinion is, I invite you to read the following article from that gives an interesting spin on the subject.

Please read the article here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Recycling Resource Database- Ecomb

check out the database on ecomb's website here, spotted by Kelly Jackson.

from the website:

ECOMB, an environmental not-for-profit organization founded in 1994, is dedicated to the promotion of environmental sustainability and the preservation of our community’s ecology. This mission is carried out through the development and implementation of a variety of educational programs and campaigns in an effort to achieve the following objectives:

  • Reduce the amount of litter in Miami-Dade County’s beaches, waterways, islands, parks and mangroves;
  • Increase the county’s residential and commercial recycling rates;
  • Promote, preserve and restore coastal habitats, such as our sandy beaches, near shore coral reefs, beach dunes, mangroves, and Biscayne Bay islands and waters;
  • Decrease our community’s carbon footprint through the adoption of “green” lifestyle practices that are more environmentally sustainable.

ECOMB strives to promote better interactions amongst residents, visitors, businesses and government agencies. ECOMB believes that by educating and encouraging people to get involved, and to act responsibly towards their environment, that together, we will improve our quality of life, save resources, and live more sustainably.

By forming strategic partnerships both with local, state, and national non-profits, businesses, schools and government agencies, ECOMB is able to organize various community cleanup projects, conduct environmental seminars, and promote sustainable behaviors, practices and initiatives with in our community.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Organic Window Blinds- The Trend Hunter

Organic Window Blinds

by Meghan Young on

The Liteon Eco Leaf is Inspired by Trees to Provide Shade and Light

It cannot be denied that window blinds are essential in many homes to provide much-needed shade throughout the day or to simply seal off the rest of the world when privacy is desired; yet the Liteon Eco Leaf takes these simply coverings to a whole new level. Not only does it provide shade and privacy, it absorbs solar energy to emit soft light when dark as well as provide ventilation.

Designed by Lim Wan Xuan and Tang Xueling Jane of XentiQ Pte Ltd., the Liteon Eco Leaf is evidently inspired by a leaf. It uses solar cells that recharge during the day in order to provide illumination later through a unique yet beautiful pattern on its felt-like surface. The Liteon Eco Leaf also incorporates a digital display to inform people the current room temperature.

Please see the pictures on here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

New bike rack on the RSMAS shuttle


Recycling medals and trophies

What to do with all the Marathon medals and trophies you earned over the years? Here are some alternative to piling them in your garage:

from Medals4Mettle:

Run fast. Run far. Run for a greater good.

Medals4Mettle (M4M) is a non-profit organization that facilitates the gifting of marathon, half marathon, and triathlon finishers’ medals. Runners from around the world give their hard earned medals to Medals4Mettle. Our worldwide network of physicians and volunteers then awards these medals attached to a Medals4Mettle ribbon to children and adults fighting debilitating illnesses who might not be able to run a race, but are in a race of their own just to continue to live their life. It is in honor of this mettle and courage in bravely facing these challenges that they are awarded a medal.

Please see their website here.

From Lamb Award & Engraving:

Trophy Recycling

We've recently begun a program to help find a new home for your very old trophies so that they avoid the landfill. We will either donate matching sets to charities in need or break the trophies down for parts. These parts will go on to other trophy winners.

Please send us an email before sending us your old trophies. We also accept old plaques, sculptures, and medals. You are responsible for any expenses related to shipping the old items here.

Contact us at:
Please include recyling in your subject line.

Other ways to recycle trophies are:
  1. Try Donating to your local YMCA or Park and Recreation Department.
  2. Call local Trophy Shop and ask if they recycle.
  3. Post on Freecycle or Craigslist- the plaques can usually be removed and replaced.
  4. Donate to Local elementary school or high school
  5. Donate to Special Olympics
  6. Donate to Day Care Centers

Community Gardens in Miami Dade

Roots in the city

Enchanted Forest

The Miami Beach Victory Garden

226 Collins Ave, Miami Beach. The garden has 20 plots and it's under the care of the Parks and Recreation Department of City of Miami Beach, but it's managed by a core of community volunteers.

Community garden at Liberty Square

Liberty Square Housing Development, 65th Street NW at 14th Avenue, Miami. The garden is made up of more than 40 plots.

Contact Juanita Shanks, Executive Director of Keep Miami Beautiful.



Roots of the Grove Garden

Vegetable community garden located at 3196 Plaza Street at Day Avenue, Coconut Grove.

Roots In The City

The focus of this garden is community development, creating jobs and beautifying Miami's inner city. The organization has established several community gardens and tree nurseries in Overtown.

Miami-Dade County Public Housing Agency

Miami-Dade County Public Housing Agency’s elderly housing development at Robert King High Towers, 1407 NW 7 Street. Contact Brett Bibeau, The Miami River Commission.

Heroes Unite-Enchanted forest

Alice Billman's organization Heroes Unite created a community garden in Griffing Park where locals can plant fruits and vegetables based on what's in season. Through the organization's Giving Back Green program, 17 small plots of land were created in the area of the park called Enchanted Forest, 1725 NE 135 St. in North Miami. The community gardeners will work with students and professors from FIU to maintain the garden.Please find an article about the opening of the garden in Miami Herald here.

36 Green Gift Wrapping Ideas-

It is getting close to the holidays and some of you may have started their shopping already. Gift wrapping is part of the holidays traditions that some may enjoy and some may look at as a chore.Why not start a new tradition and wrap gifts in a green way? Please see the article by Myscha Theriault from here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Green U Roundtable Meeting- Minutes by Lauren Baron

Green U Roundtable Meeting Minutes 11-9

First we talked about the point of Green U Roundtable which is to promote unity, communication and cooperation between student groups by exchanging ideas of ways our campus can be more environmentally conscious. We also hope to share and inform each other of projects each group is working on, and discuss possible collaborations between groups.

The meeting focused on ideas for two large events that we want to do next semester in collaboration with many student organizations on campus.

Water Day (will happen the week of March 22nd)- Water Day would be an event focusing on water use awareness and water issues. There will be a screening of the movie “One Water” ( which is actually directed by UM professor Sanjeev Chatterjee and narrated by Donna Shalala. We will also plan a panel discussion involving experts on water issues, incorporating people and teachers with many different viewpoints and from different disciplines. We’ll promote outreach activities to the campus community by putting information signs along the walkway between memorial and the UC with water facts. We want the experience of water day to be an interactive one for students! We brainstormed ideas to really get the students involved and leave a lasting impact on campus.
Some examples of activities include:

Have students carry large water jugs a certain distance to emphasize how some people in other countries have to carry water over far distances
Showing students how much the average person uses when they brush their teeth and don’t turn the water off, take a shower, wash the dishes etc. by having a water display with the amount of water those activities use
Create a giant pyramid of large water jugs to be placed on the green to emphasize water day and show how much we use
Involve the Wellness Center and a Campus 5k to illustrate how far some people have to travel to get potable water
There would be an information table stationed in the UC or on the rock facilitating all of the activities and with information for people about water issues, the screening of the movie, and the panel discussion

Earth Week and Earth Day-(the week before April 22nd which is Earth Day)
During Earth Week, we want to promote awareness about many different environmental issues and ways in which students can make a difference themselves.
The theme of the week is “Green YOU” focusing on what things a person can personally do in their everyday life to make an important environmental impact.
-We will reserve the rock have a different focus each day about different environmental issues (examples of focuses include food, energy, recycling, pollution etc.)
-Visuals and interaction will also be a big part of this week.
Some ideas include:

the giant framework (skeleton) of a globe that people would contribute their trash to all day and we could paint later turning it into something beautiful
A large board with the question at the top “How can our campus be more environmentally friendly?” that students could come up to and write their opinions on
Maybe a concert the night before Earth Day
A panel with experts talking about different environmental issues could also be formed
We want to promote activities focusing on environment and sustainability in the Miami area as well, so we will encourage students to attend an event called “Sustainatopia” which is downtown and lasts from April 19th to the 25th (check out

We talked about two really important things to make this whole thing even more impactful:
-Mobilizing a Green U Action Network which would be a comprehensive listserve linking the organizations that would work together to put on these events and future events
-Getting every organization on campus involved (every club, every honor society, all of greek life) by getting them to pledge that the week of earth week they will make environmental issues and awareness the focus of their organization for that week (this would promote education, involve a lot more groups and get more people to come to the events)

Finally we talked about what needs to get done and who needs to do it.
Ian- look into the Sustainatopia event, talk to maker of One Water and have him commit to a day so we can reserve the green and equipment
Emily-reserve the rock/patio or table in the breezeway for both weeks that the events will be going on and the previous week for promotion
Lauren-contact RAK and see if they are doing hug the lake this year, what else they had planned and if they want to be involved, contact other student orgs to get them involved

EVERYONE!: Please brainstorm ideas for these two events and start gathering environmental facts that we can use for the visuals and education (The most pressing need is for facts for water day to put on the little signs along the walkway and incorporate into visuals)

Also, if you did not come to the meeting please try to make it to our next one which will be next Wednesday, November 16 at 7:30pm in the lower lounge of the UC (on the couches).

We want groups to be involved and work together!! But most importantly, we want to make an impact on this campus!!!

Please feel free to forward this email to any other student organization you think would be interested in coming to the next Green U Roundtable.

Green U Roundtable

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Green House in Kendall- Changing Coastline

Imagine a house in South Florida that sleeps a family of five and their average monthly utility bill is around $35 year round and only $110 during the hot summer months. Well that house belongs to Albert Harum-Alvarez and his family and it is one of the greenest homes in South Florida, with energy bills around 75% less than comparable houses.

Please see the rest of the article here.

A park on a rail line- New York's High Line

picture from

The High Line is located on Manhattan's West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues. Section 1 of the High Line, which opened to the public on June 9, 2009, runs from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street. Section 2, between West 20th and West 30th Streets, opened June 8, 2011.

You may find more information on the Highline website here.
Also remember to check the beautiful pictures on the National Geographic article "Miracle above Manhattan" here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

America Recycles Day- November 15

Since 1997, communities across the country have come together on November 15 to celebrate America Recycles Day. More than a celebration, America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling in the United States. One day to educate and motivate. One day to get our neighbors, friends and community leaders excited about what can be accomplished when we all work together. One day to make recycling bigger and better 365 days a year. Get involved!
You may find more information on the America Recycles Day website here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

MIT project tries to turn trash into a game- CNN

picture from

By John D. Sutter, CNN
Here's the problem with recycling: It's boring.
But maybe it doesn't have to be. A Boston company called Greenbean Recycle is trying to make the act of keeping bottles and cans out of the landfill into a fun, competitive and engaging game for students at MIT.
The new company, which won an innovation prize this week from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, has converted a beefy recycling machine on MIT's campus into a point tabulator of sorts. When students approach the high-tech trash can to dump in their recyclables, they punch their phone number on a touch screen. A bar-code reader in the machine counts the number of cans, bottles and the like that the person has dropped off - and then uploads that data to Greenbean's website.
Recyclers can track their progress online, and even engage in competitions with fellow students.
Read the complete article here.
Please see the Greenbean Recycle website here.
Check out the Bottle bank arcade video here.
The Recycle bank website is here.
The Fun theory website is here.

The Turkey Vultures are back to Miami

picture from

picture from

Turkey vultures migrations are one of the only indicators of a seasonal change in Miami. Every year, they announce the Fall and leave for Spring.They always come back around October 15 and leave around March 15. You may see them resting on top of the old courthouse building downtown, their wings spread out on top of lampposts on the Rickenbacker Causeway or flying over Key Biscayne. They are part of Miami's every day's landscape half of the year and remind us that wildlife is always close in Florida.

For more information,please see the website for The Turkey Vulture Society here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Boise- Project Up

Sometimes, even little choices can make big differences.
Check out The Project Up undertaken by Boise here.
For those of you who may not know, Boise is the company we use at RSMAS to buy office supplies. A portion of sales of the Aspen recycled paper goes to parks redevelopment projects.