Viridorari is an environmentally focused blog. The mission of Viridorari is to help you incorporate healthier, "greener" habits into your life, to benefit you, the people around you, and the environment.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Recycling Project: Light bulb ornaments


Happy holidays everyone! Today I am writing to you from the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Maarten, where I am spending my Christmas with my grandparents.


Picture courtesy of: Me

Today I wanted to show you an awesome recycling project for Christmas. The next time your light bulb goes out, don’t throw it away! You can make it into a lovely ornament for the tree or for the garlands.


Materials needed:

Lightbulb
Acrylic paints
Paint brush
Wire
Wire cutters and pliers
Hot glue
Marker (optional)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Climate March Update!

Hello lovely readers! I have an update about my fundraising efforts for the Great March for Climate Action.

My silicone bracelets arrived: they are green (of course) and they say "The Great Climate March" on them. I'm selling them for $2. Here are a couple of pictures:



Also, I am selling catalog items through Nature's Vision, an environmentally friendly fundraising company. The catalog includes shirts, jewelry and accessories, water bottles, mugs, garden supplies (including flowers and bulbs), kitchen supplies, beach towels, fleece blankets, candles, and more. I will earn a 40% commission from what I sell, and on top of that, many of the items donate a certain percent to organizations like the World Wildlife Fund, Animal Planet, and the Humane Society of the United States.


To view the catalog, go to http://www.naturesvisionfundraising.com/artwork/NV_spring.pdf. If you are interested in ordering an item, email me at viridorari@yahoo.com with your name, address and phone number, the item's number, the name of the item, and if it is a shirt, what size you want. I can accept checks or cash for payment. I will be taking orders until April, so if there is a certain time you would like to receive your items by, please include that in the email as well.

As always, you can donate directly at any time on my CrowdRise website here. My first donation came from my lovely grandparents! Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for supporting me.

I also owe a big thank you to the Ithaca College Environmental Society! This student club promotes environmental awareness and responsibility on our campus through education, activism, and stewardship, reaching out within our campus and to the Ithaca community. After attending an ICES meeting and presenting to the members and answering their questions, I have received the club's full support so that I can table at my school to educate the campus and hopefully receive donations. After presenting, a couple members expressed interest in joining the march as well! I am so thankful for ICES's support and I look forward to continuing to work with the club.

Another thank you to my residence floor! My hall mates have expressed a large interest in my initiative and have been buying my bracelets. You are the best support system ever! To read about my floor, the Sustainably Conscious Community, check out my RA's guest writing post.

A couple of my hall-mates sporting their bracelets! Thanks for the support! 
Picture courtesy of: Me

I am still in the process of contacting businesses and organizations and applying for sponsorships and grants. Stay tuned on Viridorari to keep up to date on my fundraising progress!

To learn more about the Climate March, go to www.climatemarch.org, and please email me with any questions! To see my original announcement, go here

Monday, December 2, 2013

December's Animal of the Month!


For the month of December, my mom has requested the erect crested penguin (Eudyptes sclateri) to be the animal of the month. Penguins are her favorite animals. If you would like to suggest an endangered animal to be featured, email me at viridorari@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I am walking 2,000 miles for the planet


I have some very exciting news. While at the Powershift conference in Pittsburgh, PA this past October, I signed up to march a section of the Great March for Climate Action, or the Climate March. The march begins in California in March of 2014, and plans to arrive in Washington D.C. in the following November.
Originally, I planned to only walk from Pittsburgh, PA to D.C. Since I signed up, plans have changed. Now, I am starting in Taos, New Mexico immediately following the end of my spring semester of college. That means I will be walking about 2,000 miles over the course of six months across the country to raise awareness for the global climate crisis and the urgent need for action.
I can’t tell you how excited I am. I will be following in the footsteps of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., women’s rights activists, and nuclear disarmament activists. Yet, my fellow marchers and I will be carving out a path very separate from them. We are fighting a different fight from what our predecessors did, and our work to save the planet might prove to be the most important movement in all of history. We only have one Earth; we can’t afford to ruin it.
I am thrilled to be walking with so many inspiring and amazing people, with ages ranging from 6 to 82 and origins from all over America, as well as El Salvador, Canada, Belize, and Ecuador.


Fundraising
However, I can’t simply join this cause for free. Each marcher is expected to cover his or her own expenses through fundraising, which equates to about $20 for each day we march. I have to raise about $3,800 for my section of the march, as well as the cost for my one-way plane ticket to New Mexico, and a little bit of extra to have on hand for spending/emergencies. Overall, my goal is to raise $4,500.
I need your help to make my dream to stand up for the world we love to come true. I would be eternally grateful if you could contribute to my fundraising in some way, no matter how big or small.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Green Challenge: Paperless Christmas



During the holiday season, Americans will generate an additional four million tons of waste than average just from wrapping paper and shopping bags. With lovely paper that comes in all colors and patterns and with a healthy dousing of sparkles, all those gifts under the tree can make a beautiful sight on Christmas morning. But after all the paper is ripped off and you’re struggling to stuff it all into a large trash bag, it begs the question; is it necessary?
Sacrificing wrapping paper at Christmas doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice the beauty of Christmas morning. There are a few alternatives to typical wrapping that won’t leave you feeling as dirty as a climate denier after everything has been opened.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Notice: Powershift 2013

Hey everyone! I wanted to let you know that I have arrived with fellow students from my college at Pittsburgh, PA for Powershift 2013.

For those of you who don't know, Powershift is an event that happens every other year, and it gathers students and young people from around the country and the world to learn about different environmental topics and develop resistance and leadership skills to progress the environmental movement. There are many inspirational speakers here, many of them figureheads of the movement, like Bill McKibben and Josh Fox. This weekend will be full of education, motivation, networking, and mobilization.

I will be tweeting and retweeting about Powershift throughout the weekend, so be sure to follow me: @Viridorari, and check out the topic #Powershift. To see pictures from the Powershift event, go here. If you want to learn more about the event, check out the website

Expect a more comprehensive post about the event and my experiences, along with pictures, after I return to my college on Sunday.

So, wish me luck, and remember, if we all work together, we can shift the power from nonrenewable to renewable and from corporate to citizen to make a better tomorrow for us and for future generations.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Freewrite: Leave No Trace Backpacking


The honors program at my school offered a weekend-long backpacking trip in which we could learn the principles of Leave No Trace camping and become certified LNT trainers.
            I showed up an hour and a half early to buy tickets because I wanted to be certain I would get a spot. I was ready for an opportunity to get back to nature and become acquainted with my new local environment. Also, I had never been on a backpacking trip or legitimate camping trip— all of the camping I have ever done was in campers, and the only times I’ve slept in a tent were at sleepovers and festivals.
            So, this past weekend, with eight other honors students, three student trainers, and two adult supervisors, we left all technology behind except cameras and plunged into the beautiful natural world of New York (yes, for those of you who don’t know, there is more to New York State than New York City).
            The college loaned us tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and a backpack. My eyes popped when I saw how big the backpack was. It was larger than my upper body, and as I was packing it I became concerned about how heavy it was. But, once I put it on and fastened all the proper straps, I was impressed with how manageable the weight was, but I still knew that the trip would be no walk in the park.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Suggested Reading: Pipeline Failures


I’m running short on time today— I’m leaving in a couple hours for a camping trip and will be away for the entire weekend with NO TECHNOLOGY (besides a camera, woo!). Honestly, I’m looking forward to it; expect a special post about my experience when I get back.
            So, I will keep this post brief, and I will have to skip out on manatees for today. Please check out past posts about endangered animals and feel free to do your own research! If there’s an endangered animal you want to see on Viridorari, be sure to email me at viridorari@yahoo.com or tweet at me (@viridorari) and let me know!
            For today’s Suggested Reading, I want to call attention to two recent events regarding pipeline failures; while both had minimal impacts (according to media), they serve as important warnings about pipeline dangers. Both of these incidents could have had a much greater effect on the environment and local communities.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Recycling Projects: Pen & Pencil Organizer


The school season is in full swing now, and I know when I was in school I was constantly loosing my pens and pencils. This organizer can help your child keep all their utensils in one place, and they’ll have fun making it! This project comes from the blog Random Thoughts of a Super Mom.  
Picture courtesy of: Random Thoughts of a Super Mom
 
         Supplies Needed:

         -Cereal box, pancake mix box, snack box, etc.
         -Toilet paper rolls
         -Scrap paper/decorative paper/wrapping paper
         -Glue and tape
         -Markers/paint/paintbrush (optional)
         -Scissors

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ecofriendly Economics, Reavealing October's Animal of the Month!



What material can be used to make over 25,000 products, including clothing, cordage, fuel, plastic, jewelry, paper, building material, food, cosmetic products, and weed deterrent?
            I’ll give you a hint; it’s a plant. It can be grown in many climates, requires little to no pesticides, has a short growing season and a fast turnout, is drought resistant, is resistant to UV rays, and has minimal impact on the soil.
            Sounds too good to be true, right?  
            Well, it's real. The plant is called hemp, and despite its many uses and soft impact on the environment, it has a bad reputation because of its close relation to marijuana. Hemp does have THC (the chemical that causes the high) in it, but at significantly smaller levels compared to marijuana. It is cultivated to have very low THC levels; to receive a high, a person would have to smoke ten to twelve hemp cigarettes in an extremely small amount of time, which would be very difficult to withstand. Despite this, it is still illegal to grow it in the United States, and therefore hemp must be imported, which is unfortunate because this increases the cost of hemp and the environmental impact from transporting it. Notably, hemp has the ability to replace many current industries, such as cotton, fossil fuels, and tree fibers, which is important to keep in mind when asking “why isn’t hemp more popular?”

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Recycling Projects: Plastic Bottle Butterflies


Plastic Bottle Butterflies
         Parental supervision may be needed for this project as it requires the use of sandpaper, sharp tacks, and cutting plastic with scissors, which can be difficult.
         Supplies needed:
         Empty 2-liter plastic bottle
         180-grit sandpaper
         Scissors
         Paints, paintbrushes
         Marker
         Pins or tacks, a surface to pin on

Monday, September 30, 2013

Recognizing Green Actions & Tigers

I wanted to highlight some green and sustainable things I've noticed on campus!

My friend John re-purposed a Snapple bottle into a coin jar!

 He decorated it with stickers :)
In my hall, we have the option to hang dry our clothes instead of using the dryer. 
Yay for saving energy!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Suggested Reading: Extinction of the Pipistrelle


As you may already know, I have a soft spot for bats. A really big soft spot, actually. I’ve been a bat advocate since I was kid, I managed to become a finalist for a big scholarship at my college with an essay about bats, and Viridorari’s first animal of the month was the golden-capped fruit bat.

            Most people see bats as a symbol of Halloween and creepy things, but many don’t know what an important roll they play in our global ecosystem, and in particular, our agriculture. Insect-eating bats are crucial for controlling pest populations that would otherwise demolish our fields. Fruit-eating bats are essential for pollinating fruit plants, much like bees. 

            I was very saddened to learn that recently, the Pipistrelle bat went extinct. They used to live on Australia’s Christmas Island, but now these tiny, adorable bats with the coolest name ever are gone for good. The Australian government failed to offer aid to scientists and the dying species until it was too late. The loss of any species is a terrible thing, especially when the cause of their death was caused by human related activities. Why is it that we think it’s okay to do as we please on this planet, without any regard to the other life forms that live here?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Guest Writer: Genetically Modified Foods


Today I am happy to have my new found college friend, Aama Harwood, on Viridorari to talk about the problems with having genetically modified organisms (or GMOs) in our food. In her article, Aama provides a very impassioned and convincing argument against GMOs. If you have an opposing viewpoint to hers, be sure to leave a comment. While I personally do not support GMOs, I know the importance of comparing viewpoints so everyone can understand the full story. Also, feel free to comment if you agree with Aama. Comments are just awesome in general.
Now, to introduce Aama, here is a short bio she provided me about herself:
I am a Neuroscience and Psychology major at Ithaca College. I love to hike, bike, backpack, and do yoga. My biggest passions in life are healthy food and helping others. I am a strong advocate for the things I believe in and hope that my ideas and opinions encourage you to ask questions. 
Aama's article was published earlier this year in the Durango Herald. I was able to republish it here on Viridorari with her permission. You can find her article here on the Durango Herald's website. If you have any questions about her article that you'd like to ask her directly, you can contact her at aharwoo1@ithaca.edu. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Recycling Projects: T-Shirt Scarf


It’s starting to get chilly here in New York, so today I want to provide you with a way to make a fashionable winter scarf out of an old, unwanted t-shirt. This will make a great project for young girls, and when their friends ask them where they got it they can proudly claim that they made it themselves. 

         Supplies needed:
         Old t-shirt (keep the color in mind. Do you want a bright color? A pattern? Something more plain?)
         Scissors
         Glue gun (optional)
         Buttons, old/broken jewelry, beads etc. (optional)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ecofriendly Economics: Binder Recycling & Advice from Monks


Staples Recycling
            Now, Staples is offering an incentive to recycle your old, worn-out binders. Instead of throwing them away, take them with you to a participating Staples and turn them in. For each old binder you recycle, Staples will give you $2.00 toward a new binder that you buy from the store. Not only does this offer an outlet for binder recycling, but it allows you to save money on new office supplies! Keep in mind that the $2.00 credit can only be applied to one new binder. So, if you turn in two old binders and buy one new one, you can’t have $4.00 toward that binder. It’s $2.00 per new binder. Go to this webpage to find out more on the offer. 
            Make sure you use your office supplies for as long as you can before buying new ones. I am currently reusing my binders from my senior year in high school for my freshman year of college. They were still in usable condition, so there was no reason to discard them for new ones. The same goes with folders and unfinished packs of loose-leaf paper. I had enough loose-leaf paper left over from my senior year of high school that I didn’t have to buy new paper for college. Always keep in mind how you can reduce your consumption of goods, and subsequently, your money expenditures.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Guest Writer: IC Sustainably Conscious Community


Today on Viridorari I am excited to have my Ithaca College residential hall RA, Rachel Gray, on the blog to talk about the floor that her and I both live on. Our floor is designated as the Sustainably Conscious Community, and unlike normal residential floors, we partake in special activities and programs to learn how to live sustainably. We are also required to do community service, and at the end of the semester we’ll turn in an essay about our experiences. So far I’ve had an amazing time living in the Sustainably Conscious Community, and everyone here is friendly and welcoming. But, before I give too much away, I’ll turn you over to Rachel and let her talk about it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Recycling Projects: Yoga Mat Recycling


Uses for Yoga Mats
         Does Mom have an old yoga mat she’s planning on throwing out? Don’t let her! There are many fun ways to repurpose a yoga mat. My floor RA showed me this awesome page featuring twenty ways to repurpose a yoga mat, and I picked two to display here on Viridorari. Be sure to visit the page to see many more creative projects!

         Decorative Bulletin Board
      
         Supplies Needed:
         Old yoga mat (preferably colorful, especially for a girl’s room)
         Scissors
         Sewing pins (straight pins), duct tape (optional)
         Nails or Command products (to stick the board to a wall. Command products are less damaging than nails and allow easy removal)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Revealing September's Animal of the Month


My experience at an interactive zoo in Oklahoma this past summer inspired me to declare the tiger as September’s Animal of the Month. At the GW Interactive Zoo, I had a unique opportunity to see some of the world’s rarest tigers and hold and interact with two tiger cubs. To read about my experience and see pictures, check out this free write post.

            While tigers are perhaps one of the most well-known animals on earth, revered as majestic, and the subject of many literary and poetic pieces, as a species, they are on their last legs. There are six subspecies of tiger, all of which are endangered. This month, rather than focus on one subspecies, I will touch on all six. Here is an overview of each:

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ecofriendly Economics: Going Green at College

15 Ways for College Students to be Greener in their Dorm and on Campus

As a first time college student this semester living in a sustainably conscious residence hall, I am acutely aware of my impact on the planet and my ability to have a greater control over that impact, especially now that I'm living on my own. 

             Think about it, Freshmen. For the first time in your life, you have complete control over how you live and how you spend your money. That means you can have more control over how sustainable or unsustainable you are.
            So, in today’s Ecofriendly Economics section, I am providing fifteen ways that college students, like myself, can be more green in their dorm and everyday habits. Ithaca College students: look for the bold sections to see information that specifically relates to our college and the Ithaca area.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Free Write: Mount Hope Cemetery, Beautiful & Historic


In high school, I took the crazy route and decided to become an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma student. IB is a rigorous academic program available in many schools in America and around the world. For those of you who have never heard of it, the best and simplest way I can describe it to you is Advanced Placement on drugs.
At the end of a long two years in this program, our school’s IB coordinator, and also the senior year history teacher, took me and the other five diploma students on a relaxed field trip. This field trip was to Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester. That might sound creepy to those of you who haven’t been there, but the place is full of history, which is appropriate for a field trip coordinated by a history teacher. Mount Hope is the resting place of Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Rochester, and Susan B. Anthony, to name a few. To see a more complete list of “notable burials,” click here.
 Frederick Douglass's grave

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Free Write: Washington D.C. Sit-In vs. Keystone XL


On August 12th, I found myself doing something that I never thought I would do. I was in Washington D.C., six hours from home, sitting beneath the beating sun outside of the State Department building, and risking arrest with about sixty other people.
            “One! We are the people! Two! You can’t ignore us! Three! We will not let you build this pipeline!” My voice was growing ragged, but I persisted.
            I was holding a sign that said “Another person who grew up playing outside against the pipeline,” and everyone else risking arrest with me was holding these signs, each personalized to suit their reasons for protesting.
            In front of us was a crowd of about 100 people supporting us, and a swarm of media with their cameras and notepads, running about like a colony of ants. At one point, I looked into the crowd and saw a boy about my age holding up a sign that said “Thank You Climate Heroes.” I almost cried. I typically would consider Bill McKibben or Rachel Carson climate heroes, but today, some thought I was a climate hero.
            Just a couple days before the protest, I was scrambling to get everything together and be on my way. My parents were struggling to swallow the fact that their soon-to-be-college-student was running off to D.C. all by herself, staying at a stranger’s house, and that there was a possibility she would be arrested. And if she was arrested, they couldn’t come get her. They would simply have to leave her there in jail, because that’s how peaceful protesting works.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Free Write: The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoo

While visiting my family in Texas from July 20th-24th, I had the opportunity to visit the world’s largest animal rescue park, The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoo. My Aunt Jane, a frequent visitor of the park, generously drove us three hours from her home to Wynnewood, Oklahoma, where the park is located. She is always eager to introduce her friends and family to the park for the first time.


As we entered the park, I saw a sign that informed visitors that the cost to run the park and care for the animals for one month was $60,000, and that the park was entirely reliant on visitor donations and entry fees. As we traveled through the zoo, I saw countless signs hanging on animal’s enclosures asking passerby to sponsor them (starting at $25.00 a month).

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ecofriendly Economics & Harsh Facts: Oil Spills

Harsh Facts

The Exxon Valdez Spill of 1989 was often considered the worst oil spill ever before the BP Spill of 2010. Exxon Valdez leaked 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound.


Without taking the BP Spill into consideration, an average of one billion gallons of oil are spilled into the world’s oceans each year.

In the BP Gulf of Mexico Spill, 60,000 barrels (2.5 million gallons) of oil were leaked each day. On May 17th, 2010, the slick was 130 miles long and 70 miles wide.

The cost of Gulf Oil Spill to BP as of June 14th, 2010, was $1.6 billion. $1.5 billion is the estimated amount insurers paid as a result of the spill.

About 400 wildlife species were threatened by the BP Spill, including the 25 million birds that traverse the Gulf of Mexico each day. 

2,300 square miles out of a total 7,000 square miles of Louisiana coastal marshes and cypress forests have been damaged as a result of oil drilling. 

The United States consumes 19.5 million gallons of oil per day. 

One estimate expects that over its fifty year lifetime, the Keystone XL Pipeline will have about 91 significant tar sands oil spills (significant meaning at least fifty barrels).  




Saturday, July 27, 2013

Weekly Green Challenge: Ask for a Plastic Bag Ban

Last week, I challenged you to sign at least ten environmental petitions through organizations like the Rainforest Action Network and Care2Petition. How many did you sign? What issues were your petitions about? Let me know in the comments section of this post!

I signed a total of twelve petitions this past week. Here’s what they were about:

I asked that funding for orca rescue programs be reinstated, via Friends of the Earth. I demanded that mountain-top removal coal mines be banned, via the Sierra Club. I supported the Save America’s Pollinators Act, which would ban pesticides that harm bees, with Organize CREDO. I asked that both captive and wild chimps receive protection, instead of being considered separate in the eyes of the law, via Center for Biological Diversity. I endorsed GMO food labeling for the state of Washington with Yes on 522. I demanded that there be restrictions on factory carbon emissions with the League of Women Voters. I told Congress to act on climate change by reducing carbon emissions and increasing use of renewable energy with Care2Petition. I expressed my outrage with the use of child and slave labor for palm oil production with the Rainforest Action Network. I asked for the low speed limit law in endangered Right Whale waters to be renewed with the Center for Biological Diversity. I demanded that American wolves remain protected with Defenders of Wildlife. I said no to Arctic drilling via the Sierra Club. Lastly, I demanded that the bushmeat trade be banned, which would help out endangered chimpanzees, with Care2Petition.

The organizations I listed above make it easy to make your voice heard with petitions and connect with your representatives and leaders. Sign up with them today (for free) to receive action alerts about petitions!

Plastic bags are difficult to recycle, which is why ninety percent of bags in the United States are not recycled. Despite this, between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used annually around the world, with 380 billion of those used in the United States.

This week, I’m planning on writing to my local government to ask for a ban on plastic bags in my town, and I want you to write a letter too.

Activism Spotlight: Protesting Arctic Drilling

Drilling in the Arctic is a big issue right now- the Arctic is one of the last great wildernesses in the world, and is home to polar bears, caribou, Arctic foxes, whales, seals, and much more. Not only does the Arctic house amazing creatures, but the ice reflects massive amounts of sunlight back into space, keeping the Earth cool. If we drill in the Arctic, we risk polluting and damaging an important ecosystem that is already melting away from global warming. As recently as this week, I’ve signed petitions demanding that the Arctic be left alone, along with thousands of other people. I’m sure many have sent letters and called their representatives on the issue. Several organizations are working hard to keep oil companies out of the North Pole.

However, six Greenpeace activists went above and beyond with their advocacy for the Arctic in London. They did much more than make a phone call or sign a petition. They made quite the scene: on July 11th, friends Wiola Smul, Ali Garrigan, Sabine Huyghe, Sandra Lamborn, Victoria Henry, and Liesbeth Deddens climbed the tallest building in Europe, the Shard, to protest drilling in the Arctic. They began their climb in the early morning and reached the top at approximately 7:10pm, where they were promptly arrested for aggravated trespass.