Reduce + Reuse + Recycle = Earth Day

Last Friday I took a hike to the top of Mount Hollywood, a place that has amazingly lovely views of Los Angeles -- unless it's a really smoggy morning and you can barely even see downtown.

I know you think your air is cleaner, but just because you don't live in the Smog Capital of America, that doesn't mean you're air is that much better than ours. A little bit better, sure. Much better? Probably not.

Fortunately though, it's Earth Day today so we can each figure out what we need to do in our own lives to make this planet cleaner. After all, it's not like we can move to Mars if this place gets too toxic. Or rather, you go on ahead to Mars and I'll stay right here and wait for your post card.

Seriously though, what are you going to change? I'm all for holding companies accountable to high environmental standards. After all, I saw Kanye West's "Glow in the Dark" tour last night but that doesn't mean I want to literally glow in the dark because of pollutants in my environment. It's just that I can't complain about toxic chemicals being dumped in the water or air if I don't do my part as well. That means it's time for us all to take a look around ourselves and think about how we're going to step up our reducing, reusing and recycling game.

There's lots of seemingly small but impactful changes you can make that will make the smog go away, not just on Earth Day but on every day. Here's some good ones if you're at a loss for what to do. Of course, I'm also happy to suggest that you make today the day you stop drinking bottled water. (Aren't I helpful?)

I firmly believe we can blame the success of bottled water squarely on the heads of the producers of the film "Erin Brokovich". I mean, it had Julia Roberts wearing a pushup bra and it made us all think about whether we could get cancer from drinking water somebody claims is safe.

Never mind that most bottled water is just tap water in the first place. Now it's too late. We're all hooked on it and the corporations that market it to us are laughing all the way to the bank. Meanwhile, tons of oil and energy is used to make all that bottle plastic -- and it's all part of a vicious cycle that sends more pollutants into the atmosphere, causes smog and thus, global warming! I won't even get into the people that throw their bottle on the GROUND after using it. Since you're reading this blog I just know you can't be a litterbug!

Fortunately, we can stop the bottled water madness together. One way is to go back to drinking the water that comes out of your sink. If you don't like how it tastes, well, get a filter. I've been using Brita pitchers for at least the past eight years and the water tastes just fine. Plus, a filter is a MUCH cheaper alternative to bottled water and it's also environmentally friendly.

What's also really cool is that in honor of Earth Day the Brita people have partnered up with Nalgene to create a campaign called Filter For Good. If you're seriously ready to take the pledge to give up bottled water, I can help two of you lucky readers out with that thanks to the first-ever Los Angelista giveaway!

Brita sent me a couple of their faucet mount filtration systems and two new HDPE Filter for Good Nalgene bottles. All you have to do is leave your best tips for green living in the comments. I'll put all your names in a hat and then pick two of you as the winners of these lovely prizes!

Let's hope the changes we all make today and every day will help next year's photo from Mount Hollywood be a whole lot less smoggy.


1969 said…
Great Post!

I stopped drinking bottled water about a month ago. I now walk around with my own water bottle and clean and refil it as I go.

I also got water bottles for my kids and we take them with us to the playground or for walks.

Online banking and setting up all of your accounts for e-statements instead of getting those pesky bills in the mail is a great way to stop wasting paper.
Unknown said…
Find your local "medicine giveback" instead of throwing away harmful chemicals that get placed in landfills or put into the water system ~ DO NOT FLUSH medicine.

* If I get picked, please dontae it to someone you know who really needs it!

Happy Earth Day!
Anonymous said…
Recycle- all the cans go in one bin all the bottles in another and the paper goes in another. It's so easy the kids can do it. Stop using plastic bags at the grocery store. Change all the lights bulbs in your house. Unplug appliance not in use in your home or if you have alot plug them into a strip and just unplug the strip. Donate running shoes instead of throwing them out. I have a bunch more but is that enough to win!!! LOL
Anonymous said…
I never fell for all that bottled water nonsense. I knew tap water was perfectly drinkable and I refused to pay twice for the stuff. Not to mention all that unnecessary plastic and transportation. A fantastic rip-off. I heard there's an English restaurant that charges 15p for tap water and gives the money to a charity supplying drinkable water in Africa. They've raised about £20,000 so far.
Jameil said…
pittsburgh's air is in the top 5 for dirtiest. when i heard that i was like where did i move?!?! horrendous. the water here tastes awful. AWFUL! i was always a tap water girl until i moved here. it tastes faintly of sewage and you have to let it sit before the cloudiness dissipates. i really can't get down with that. will brita fix that? b/c if not, i'll keep buying jugs and recycling those. at least i'm recycling right?
Liz Dwyer said…
The e-statements are a good idea. Plus you don't have to worry about shredding all that paper in order to avoid identity thieves!

I've never heard of a medicine giveback before. That's a good idea. Wasn't there just a story about fish having Prozac in their bodies? And I will definitely donate to someone if you get picked!

That's a LOT of great ideas! I was just telling a friend about unplugging stuff if you're not at home because it's still using electricity. Your name is definitely going in the prize hat! Depending on how many entries we get today, so far your odds are pretty good!

Charging a bit for tap water to raise money for those who don't have access to clean drinking water is a good idea. That's a lot of money raised! We're really spoiled to be trying to look chic with our bottled water, especially when some parts of the world really do need to drink bottled water or boiled water because the water from the tap isn't safe.

Like sewage? Eww! I don't know if a Brita can handle that but it made Chicago tap water taste okay so I figure it should work for you too. It should filter out the cloudiness too. Otherwise, yeah, you're doing the best you can.
none said…
I think the only way corporations and Americans in general will start thinking green is when it is economically feasible to do so and it directly impacts their pocket book.

Your water filter idea is a great example. I know several people that could save 6 bucks a day on Evian water. What would that save in a year in cash and landfill waste if everyone did it?

Another example is $4 per gallon gas. I stopped driving. I'm also cooking at home a lot more. Truckers are slowing down and not idling their vehicles at night.

Of course, this is driving the economy into the crapper but I guess we have to address these issues one at a time.
Liz Dwyer said…
Not driving as much and cooking at home more are great ideas. You have me thinking how some Americans might get a whole lot skinnier as the prices on all the junk food we're used to eating go up. And those meals out are going to become too pricey and so we might actually get healthier as a result.
the joy said…
Ok first of all, stop bragging about kanye! Not all of us can go see him since he decided not to perform downtown... I'm sorry. He was wrong for that and he knows it.

Also, Atlanta is hella poluted. If its not the almost cali-like smog, its the pollen choking you.

Hmm... Eco friendly, huh? Let's see... I'm all about recycling. I love turning something into something else. Shirts I don't wear anymore into bags and pillows. And ooh, I still have my prom roses in a glass bottle and when its warm out I open it and it still has some aroma. That's my favorite, mainly because air fresheners choke me and the air.
Jen said…
We use nalgene bottles. We're still struggling with awful well water, and britta did very little to help. I think we're going to get our well looked at/treated as part of what we do this year, for ecological reasons.
Sundry said…
Oh yeah! I'm so with you. We've been making some changes here and there over the past year or so.

Using the Brita...but also aware of the warnings against chemical leaching in reusable plastic bottles with the recycling numbers 3,6 or 7, which Canada is about to ban.

I do most of my banking online. I have been calling catalog companies and getting them to stop with the excess mailings.

Contacted the major direct mail companies and asked to be removed from their lists.

When I do 3-4 loads of laundry I usually find that I can hang at least one load up to dry rather than run the dryer. I think my pants are actually happier.

If I can get Blogger to accept my photos I'm going to post about the websites that are set up to help with many of the goals I mentioned above.
YAY!!! I always drink filtered faucet water. I have been hearing about the problems with plastic bottles though, and I'm starting to worry about our reusable plastic. I'm thinking about getting some of those aluminum Klean Kanteen bottles but I'm afraid the kids will lose them right away and they are expensive. I actually heard that the Nalgene bottles are not made out of the better kind of plastic and they might be recalled. What about the one you are giving away? Did they tell you anything about what kind of plastic it is?

Today I joined up with National Wildlife Foundations Good Neighbor pledge to try to reduce global warming by making changes around my home. I am switching out light bulbs, reducing the use of AC, bringing my own bags to the grocery store, and mowing the lawn with an old fashioned reel push mower. I'm also turning off the TV this week, joining a CSA and doing organic gardening/lawn care. I feel GREEN! ;)
Oh and I LOVE that photo of LA! Great forground/background contrast. Beautiful and perfectly fitting this post.
Anonymous said…
Oh gosh. We are really aggressive greenies. We do the usual (and have for 20+ years): recycle, reduce, reuse, buy organic, carry water bottles. Here's some more unusual things we do:

1. We live within 3 miles of work.
2. so we can ride our bikes when the weathers good.
3. We PURCHASE recycled goods - paper, plastic, etc.
4. We keep bees.
5. We don't buy things in plastic that cannot be recycled (yogurt containers, margarine for example)
6. We have used a Community Supported Agriculture program for an organic farm. This year we are growing our own veggies.
7. We don't over water and are very careful about our water use including flushing, running water, full loads of dishing/clothing, low water appliances, toilets. etc.
8. We donate our excess meds to Capuchin Franciscan friends who use it to save lives in their mission in Papau New Guinea.

and on and on.... We hope to get off the electrical grid within the next couple years....
Mamita Umita said…
Funny you should write about this topic - as I just bought a reusable water bottle for myself this past weekend. It cost only $7and I figured it would save me tons compared to the amount of bottles I used to purchase on the go.
Ian Lidster said…
One aspect of the bottled water fad (and fad it is) is that cities and towns have had to erect more restrooms because people have to incessantly pee from all the water intake. Haven't heard that it resulted in an increase in Depends sales. Probably did.
Liz Dwyer said…
The Joy,
Very cool! I love to hear how folks get creative and know how to make something new of something old. I need to do a post on Kanye, but I'm still a little speechless after the show. (I'd get fired if I was a concert reviewer.) -- Anyway, I can only imagine the pollution in Atlanta now that the population has soared so much. And the water issues are no joke either.

One of my aunts lives on a farm and has well water. I haven't visited in years but I remember it had an awful sulfur smell to it. What makes yours so bad?

I'm a little concerned about this plastic chemical stuff too. I hope it's not something that impacts our Brita pitcher. I just got some new bottles at REI that are BPA-free even before the news came out. Thank goodness!

We also hang all our clothes out to dry on clotheslines behind our building. Pretty much everybody in our building does, mostly because we only have one dryer and it doesn't work too well most of the time.

Whew! A push lawnmower? That's hardcore! :) I checked on the Nalgene website and the bottle I have from them has no BPA, so that's a good thing. They have some good, new options on there that are BPA and phalate free.

Wow, you are doing a LOT of stuff and it's cool that you've been doing it for so long. Do you get the honey from the bees (OK, that might be a dumb question because why else would you have them!) And how do you go off the electrical grid? Are you doing solar power?

I've weaned myself off them and I think Elarryo may finally abandon them as well because yesterday he heard a crazy story on NPR about them. I got him a cute portable one at a camping store so hopefully he'll use it.

LOL! Needing to go to the bathroom more frequently is definitely a downside to being more hydrated!!!

Thanks for all your green tips! I'm going to close the contest and go ahead and write everyone's name on a piece of paper and draw two of you from a hat!

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