Archive for Random Musings

The sixth Sense!

Ever since my father showed me this video, I could not stop thinking about it. I am not sure how it is related to sustainability and going green but I feel there is some connection. I am amazed by the fact that human are that smart. So it is about a guy and group of other researchers from MIT who invented a technology that can replace many of today’s technologies such as smart cell phones, digital cameras and even computers.I like what they called it “The sixth Sense”   

I highly recommend you to see this video and tell me what you think of it! Here is a shorter video.

Needa L

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The Olympics Have Gone Green!

In 2008 when Beijing was used as a host city by the Olympic games, the environment was left with breathable air for the 12 million+ people inhibiting the area.  The games were used as an impulse to improve the environment in one of the most polluted areas on earth.  Ever since then, the games have been pushing the “green effect” on all of the host cities.  There is now an award for “the greenest games ever”!  Now in the 2010 Olympics being held in Vancouver, there are green roofs, solar panels and water harvesting being used. There are plans to make the villages eco-legacies, converted into sustainable living communities after the games are over.  More information on this here.

It is exciting that more and more events and people are “going green”.  Does anyone have some ideas on what else could be turned “green” in today’s society?

-Erica Nickerson

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How clean is your bowl?

Toilets flush more than our own waste, and in efforts to clean people often kill beneficial organisms and poison waterways.  It is a common misconception that a toilet bowl must smell like flowers and have blue water.  However, blue toilets mean nothing and they actually create problems for the environment.  Many toilet cleaning products have chlorine, ammonia and hydrochloric acid as ingredients, which kills bacteria that breaks down waste.  There are many more dangerous chemicals to clean toilet bowls that are environmentally damaging.  Often these chemicals are not removed water treatment facilities.

Instead, to keep your toilet clean, the regular use of a toilet brush will only takes a few seconds to do each day.  You can also use baking soda or vinegar to get a good clean feeling.  Thanks to help from this site.

-Erica Nickerson

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Bottled Water Out of the Tap

Recently in class we were discussing bottled water vs. tap water and, correct me if I’m wrong, a good portion of the class agreed that there was essentially no difference and that Portland’s tap water “is great” and “some of the best” put by Jacob.  It was also brought up, in disgust I might add, that some companies even bottle water straight from the tap.  Well I don’t disagree that there is worse water out there than Portland and I’m not saying that I know the properties and makeup of water, but I do know that Portland does not have great tap water. 

I know this because I grew up in the small town of Culver, Oregon, having a population of about 1400 people and a high school of fewer than 250 students.  How does this have anything to do with water?  Simple, Culver is home to Opal Springs. Our unpurified tap water, which is also piped to Metolious and Madras, is the same water bottled at a company called Earth2o and shipped to places all over the Pacific Northwest.  The water that I showered in and flushed the toilet with for more than 18 years was better than the water you Portlanders have ever tasted from the tap. I dare say it is really some of the best water in the world. 

So the next time you decide to take a break from the same old, nasty Portland water, grab a bottle of Earth2o and support the small community of Culver, Oregon and experience what I did everyday for 18 years.

Nevin Lewis

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What makes us happy?

After the final chapter of The Myth of Progress, I wondered what personal fulfillment really entails. In psychology, our discussion of happiness turned my original view upside. Personal fulfillment really comes from selfless awareness. An increase in income does not raise a person’s life satisfaction once a person’s basic needs are met. Living in a sunny environment such as near Mexican and Californian beaches does not increase happiness. Instead, making time for friends and family connection creates a better state of mind.

Claudia Wallis, The New Science of Happiness, January 9th 2005, Time Inc.

Katie P.

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one mans trash

Some people in a small town not far from texas are taking the next step to becoming sustainable. Their roofs are made of license plates, and their windows of crystal platters. Almost anything discarded and durable is potential building material. Standing in one of these houses and looking at colorful, zigzag-patterned ceiling that are made out of thousands of picture frame corners.80 percent of the materials are salvaged from other construction projects, hauled out of trash heaps or just picked up from the side of the road.  Dan Phillips is responsible  for building these houses, he said he wanted to find something more sustainable so he goes to local construction areas and ask’s for anything that they are getting rid of, or goes to local dumps in search of things to build another home.   here are some pictures below





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sustainable snowboards

Anyone associated with winter sports is particularly aware of global warming’s potential impact. The Snowboard industry is dependent on snow, and on the natural surroundings for its success. This is where i thought of the idea to look up sustainable snowboards. there are many Companies such as Venture Snowboards and Arbor  that are using sustainable harvested wood, bamboo and organic cotton and hemp. By using these materials we are helping to save trees from being clear cut all around the world. In being an avid snowboarder i think that its a great idea to use alternate products instead of things that can harm our environment.

I also read in another article that snowboard companies are taking action in becoming more green an are shutting down the electricity and using wind and solar power to run there companies.

below is a sight of snowboards that are made to be more eco friendly! 🙂


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Could a world like Pandora from “Avatar” have existed on Earth?

This is something I have to get off my chest since I have seen the movie Avatar.  Before anyone laughs at me; because yes, I have to say the movie moved the hell out of me; I would like to explain what I truly got out of it.  Despite James Cameron’s gimmicky techniques to draw his audience in with incredible CG effects, and the outcome of his many years of work on the special 3D camera, I took with me a strong message that can’t seem to be stated enough.  It is a pretty obvious theme throughout the movie that there is a lot to learn from nature around us if we just listen or tune in.  It reminded me of a lot of issues that have been discussed in our class last term, such as Jensen talking about getting rid of our technological world and living off our land again in a more primal form.  Well, I thought before that it would be impossible now to do what he suggests, and I still think that way due to the probable up-rise of overwhelming majority of people to keep the comfortable lifestyle they have achieved, or grown up with.  But the movie made me think; what if Cameron’s idea is to show us the future of mankind if we had chose to evolve with our world instead of separately from it?

I got choked up when I first saw the imagined world of Pandora and then continued to do so when it uncovered more glorious scenes of that world, such as the floating mountains.  Okay, so I’m a sucker for fantasy and pretty neon colors.  But what immediately came to mind with the concepts of the imagined world was that it was just fantasy and no world is that symbiotic.  And then it came to mind that we can think of this imagined world to be a lot older than Earth.  Maybe because the humanoid inhabitants decided to evolve with their world around them instead of separately, like we have chosen with man-made technology, that they and the nature around them evolved to the point of a seamless system.  Too far fetched?  I don’t know but I do wonder now hypothetically; if we as Earth’s inhabitants have continued to live like hunters and gatherers, could we and nature around us have evolved differently then we are now?  Maybe more fit and in right response to our fight or flight instincts, which cause so much anxiety in people today?  Could organic technology have evolved from our need for knowledge like it did on Pandora?  I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on this because I know that when I was watching the movie, a sense of nostalgia came over me as if I realized all of a sudden that I didn’t quite fit into my surroundings.  Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Anne-Marie Aguilar

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