Study Notes for The Beach
71% water on the planet
Oceans feed us, manufacture oxygen, process waste
4/5 of all species live in the oceans
14 billion pounds of garbage are dumped into the oceans every year
1. Harms coral reefs, fish, algae
2. Benzophenone, oxybenzone – interferes w/hormones; can change male to female in fish
3. Chemicals are found in 96.8% of human urine
GOOD sunblock advice:
1. Get sunblock w/zinc or titanium oxide in it
2. Apply 20 minutes before going outside, not after
3. Wear SPF clothing
4. Wear protective gear in the sun
Plastic soda bottles
1. CO2 –most influential green house gas
2. “Sink Effect” – 50% of the CO2 is held in the ocean
3. Cool ocean holds more CO2 than warm ocean
4. As the ocean warms, more CO2 is released into the atmosphere
5. Greenhouse effect increases as world gets warmer
6. “Positive feedback loop”
7. Carbonic acid is absorbed; PH balance of ocean changes
8. Hard on marine life and coral reefs
1. 25% of all marine life on Earth lives in coral reefs
2. More than ¼ of the coral reefs have died
3. When the PH balance in the ocean changes, the coral cannot make the shells that allows it
to grow and what lives in it to thrive
4. Help: Don’t touch the coral, don’t buy coral, don’t dump waste in the ocean, dispose of
all household cleaners properly
Litter on the Beaches: Cigarette Butts
1. Single biggest litter problem is cigarette butts
2. 4 and ½ trillion are found on beaches every year; 250 billion in the US; 240,000 off the
beaches in CA
3. Birds mistake them for food
4. Made of plastic which has the following chemicals: acetone, ammonia, arsenic, lead,
formaldehyde, tars, nicotine
5. Take 19 years to decompose
6. Block the digestive systems of birds that eat them
7. If fish ingest, you could get sick also
1. Use to be toxic but are 50% less toxic now b/c toluene is no longer in them
2. Buy surfboards made of sugar cane, balsa wood, hemp
North Pacific Gyre
1. Swirling vortex in the ocean, filled w/plastic debris
2. 80% originated on land
3. Choking marine life
4. 34,000 pieces of floating trash, (plastic bags, Frisbees, bottles, cups), per square mile of
5. People use 1 million plastic bags per minute
6. People use 2.5 million bottles per hour
7. We must cut down on usage
What can we do?
1. Reduce trash on or near oceans/beaches
2. Use fewer plastic bags
3. Reuse and recycle
4. Buy eco-friendly surfboards
5. Dispose of cigarette butts appropriately
6. Don’t use sunscreen w/oxybenzone in it
Study Notes for The Backyard
Leaf blower (gas powered)
1. #1 worst gardening tool
2. Does more damage to the environment in 2 min. than a car does in 2 mos.
3. ½ hr. of leaf blower use is like driving a car 2200 mi.
4. 30% of the fuel comes out the tailpipe unburned; ends up in the ground
5. Like being in a 150 mi. wind
6. Noise, plus dust, mold, pesticides, pet waste is put into the air
7. Good idea: instead of using a leaf blower, rake the leaves and chop them up for compost
Swimming Pool – good things to do:
1. Covering it reduces water/heat usage by 95%
2. Clear, solar cover saves lots of energy; traps sun’s heat and keeps water 10 degrees warmer
1. Use of herbicides (atrazine) can cause hermaphrodite frogs
2. When it rains, they get into the streams and ponds
3. Skin in frogs absorbs the herbicides
4. If frogs, what about humans? Exposure can lead to breast and prostate cancer
5. Solution: make a solution of vinegar and water or just pull the weeds!
Charcoal used for BBQs
1. Emit 11# of CO2 in 1 hour
2. 1/3 of the world’s population uses charcoal
3. Link between getting charcoal and gorillas
4. Solution: better education, especially in 3rd world countries; encourage use of portable, clean-
burning stoves which use less fuel and are more efficient
1. Soaks up CO2like a sponge
2. Peat bogs – one of the planet’s most efficient defenses against global warming
3. When the bogs die, all of the CO2 is released into the atmosphere
4. Alternatives: responsible gardening, mulch, compost, leaves
Garden Hose: Don’t drink from it. Hoses contain PVC + lead; standing water in the hose may be
unsafe to consume
1. Global health problem
2. Cause malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, rift valley fever
3. Stagnant water helps breed larvae
4. Development of the pesticide DDT helped
5. Cold weather kills larvae; a warmer world will mean more problems
6. Repellants: Mosquito coil, (made from trees – releases CO2 into the air), citronella oil, apple
cider, witch hazel, eucalyptus oil
Study Notes for The Office
230 million PCs in the US; 60% are in the office
“E-waste” (electronic) – contains lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, copper, gold, etc.
200 T/year of electronic equipment discarded (computers, cell phones, anything w/a circuit board)
426,000 cell phones are discarded every day.
80% of US “E-waste” is exported to developing countries, where it is dumped or partially recycled, which is
unsafe for workers and ground water
Some is made into cheap jewelry, which puts lead against the skin
What can we do?: reduce by upgrading computers instead of buying new, reuse by donating old computers to
those in need, recycle by finding companies that recycle “E-waste”.
Cell phones can be refurbished and given to people in developing countries
Pens – in 1 year, 1.5 billion are discarded: What can we do? 1) buy pens made from recycled materials, buy
pens that use replacement cartridges, buy pens w/refillable wells
Paper: 1.7 million trees to make paper in the US per year; Forest Stewardship Council certifies well-managed
forests; What can we do? By decreasing margins by ½ inch, we’ll use 5% less paper, 6 million fewer trees, and
save 5 million T of greenhouse gases from being pumped into the air.
Transportation to the Office: 1) carpooling saves 500 gal. of gas/year, 2) companies can offer incentives to
employees who carpool, 3) ride a bike to work
Lamps and Light bulbs: 1) incandescent put off 90% heat, not light and are not efficient, 2) fluorescent lights
use ¼ less energy and last 10 times longer BUT, they contain CFL (mercury in CFL’s); What can we do? 1)
recycle hazardous waste, 2) manufacturers are working to make bulbs w/less or no mercury
Polystyrene Cups: made from 3 toxic chemicals – benzene, styrene, ethylene; 25 trillion are thrown away each
year; some take 500 years to decompose; What can we do? Use ceramic mugs
Central Air Conditioning Units (coolant): contain CFCs which are damaging the ozone; huge amts. Of carbon
dioxide are released in the amt. of 100 million T/year; What can we do? 1) ban refrigerants, 2) ban the use of
CFLs, 3) turn off lights, 4) go easy on the AC/heat
Study Notes for Pets
68 million dogs/73 million cats in the US
Environmental impact of dog “pooh”: Dogs have bacteria in their intestines; 40% of owners don’t pick up the
“pooh” which goes into ground water streams, and oceans; 30% of the pollution in most streams is caused by
dog “pooh”; What can we do? 1) pick up fecal waste, 2) use biodegradable bags which decompose in 1 mo.,
while plastic bags can take up to 100 years to degrade
Pet food – what’s in it?
Cat litter: made of clay (sodium bentonite) which soaks up to 10x its weight in water; 2 million T of litter is
disposed of each year which doesn’t biodegrade; What can we do? 1) Use litter made of natural materials, 2)
train your cat to use the bathroom.
Flea collars: have insecticides in them; use natural flea preventatives such as lemon peel and water
Tropical fish: Two types of bad fishing – 1) poison fishing using cyanide and bleach, 2) blast fishing which is
illegal and ruins ecosystems, coral reefs, kills fish, changes swimming patterns; 25% of coral reefs are dead or
dying, 30% are in danger; 1) coral reefs are used for food and income in developing countries, 2) called
“nature’s pharmacies b/c so many medicines are made from them, 3) serve as the backbone of the ocean
protecting from tsunamis and floods; What can we do for the fish? 1) catch them using a net; 2) Marine
Aquarium Council monitors the safe collection of fish so look for their logo
Birds: 17 million in the US, 75% of parrots captured in the wild will die in captivity
Killer Algae: type of seaweed that thrives in aquatic environment; native to the Caribbean but accidentally
released into the Med.; releases toxic chemicals so fish doesn’t eat it; consequences for actions; What can we
do? Keep ecosystems separate.
Study Notes for The Kitchen
Aluminum Foil: It’s everywhere b/c it is so useful; 68 billion # is produced each year; 100% recyclable; impact
cows b/c of how it’s made
Made from bauxite which is put into smelters which release toxic oxides into the air which affect people,
animals, and crops
Cows eat tainted grass which can lead to tooth loss
In people, it can lead to alzheimers, parkinsons, or ALS
Can last 400 years in a landfill
Can be recycled over and over; small amt. of energy is needed to recycle aluminum
125,000 cans are thrown away per day
Refrigerator: most power hungry appliance in the kitchen; used CFC’s as coolants are now banned
Most wasteful thing in the kitchen: HUMANS!
Food Waste: garbage disposal was invented in 1927; sewer systems can’t handle the garbage from disposals;
What can we do? 1) Use the sink strainer, gather the waste and compost it, 2) Buy less and more often, 3) use
vegetable scraps to make soup stock, 4) use coffee grounds on plants to boost the nitrogen levels in the soil
Paper or Plastic? NEITHER
Paper is made from trees, which means cutting them down and into logs, which is made into the pulp that then
becomes paper; degrades in 1 mo.
Plastic bags are smaller but are made from petroleum; can take up to 100 years to degrade
What can we do? Use canvas bags
Non-stick Cookware: Made from complex chemical compounds, (carcinogens), which have worked their way
into 95% of the population; contain PFOA’s, which will end by 2010 and will be entirely gone by 2015. What
can we do? 1) If cookware is not scratched, it’s fine to use, 2) Use appropriate utensils on the cookware, 3)
Don’t overheat b/c toxins can be released into the air
Study Notes for Breakfast
2 billion # of bacon are consumed each year!
BACON: How this impacts pigs: Pigs eat little fish, like sardines & anchovies. The anchovy population is
being depleted b/c so many are being caught for livestock feed (pigs). The humbolt penguin and the brown
pelican food (anchovies/sardines), supply is diminished. The stock of small fish collapses. In 50 yrs = zero!
How can we help? 1) eat more anchovies so the prices increase, 2) eat organic bacon
COFFEE: Most dangerous beverage in the rain forest; 400 billion cups are consumed each year; 50 beans make
1 cup. Coffee beans are grown primarily in the equatorial rain forests, in the understory, where the canopy
provides shade. TODAY: Most are being grown on clear-cut tracts of land; greater yield b/c they’re in the sun;
no shade is hard on the beans and land; ruins natural habitat; palm civet produces the best beans. It eats the fruit
and then passes the beans through its intestines; Kopi Luwak coffee is produced this way – best coffee in the
world; sells for $120-$600 per pound! The civet is indigenous to the rain forest, clear-cutting, to produce
cheaper, robusto beans, is causing big problems for the civet, tiger, and orangutans.
Peter Kettler is a coffee trader; has started a program in Rwanda, (most densely populated country in Africa),
where #1 export is coffee; 97% subsistence farmers, who rely on coffee trade as main income; need truth to be
told to them, so Kettler program provides info and radios. What can we do? Buy organic coffee, look for “fair
trade label”, buy shade grown coffee beans from sustainably grown farms.
INTERESTING FACTS: Paper napkins – one person uses 2200 per year. If each person cut down, we could
save 1 billion # of paper per year! Double wrapped loaves of bread – Use 20% more plastic, waste 60,000# of
plastic per year! Buy bread in single wrappers.
FRUIT/VEGGIES: Food Miles = the cost of food + the cost of shipping. EX: Shipping 1T of apples from
Washington state to London, England = 5T of CO2 into the air! What can we do? Eat seasonally & buy locally.
MICROWAVE: Is twice as efficient as gas cooking and four times more efficient than electric cooking
EGGS: US eats 67 billion per year! Most chickens live on large poultry farms, in small cages where they never
move; stay there until their bones collapse and they die – cruelty! It takes 48 gal of water + 7# of grain to
produce 1 egg, not to mention release of ammonia gas into the air from droppings, which causes dead zones in
the oceans. What can we do? Don’t buy this type of egg OR “free range”. Buy organic, where chickens aren’t
given antibiotics and dyes to make shells look white, and USDA guidelines are followed. Healthy eggs from
Study Notes on Dinner
COWS: Produce 20% of the greenhouse gases by emitting methane. 1 cow = 10# CH4 per month; 100 million
cows in the US = 12 billion # CH4 per year! What can we do? Feeding cows garlic cuts emissions in ½ !
SUGAR: Sugar cane plantations use pesticides, which runoff into streams, which end up in the ocean, which is
destroying the Great Barrier Reef, leading to more Crown of Thorns sea stars which eat coral polyps. What can
we do? Maintain healthy estuaries.
CHOPSTICKS: 1/3 of the world’s population eats w/them. Disposable type are thrown away by the hundreds
of millions each year. It takes 25 million trees to make all of those chopsticks. What can we do? Buy reusable
chopsticks, the kind that aren’t thrown away.
CHOCOLATE: Dark chocolate/cocoa is good for consumption b/c it contains antioxidants. In Africa, some
countries use children or slave labor to harvest the beans. 400 cacao beans = 1# chocolate. What can we do?
Look for the “fair trade” label b/c that means farmers are paid a fair wage.
Study Notes on The Closet
CASHMERE: Comes from the wool of goats in China and Mongolia; 100% natural and cruelty-free.
“Desertification” : Demand is rising; goats multiply and eat; grazing on the grasslands leads to them
becoming dry and like deserts. What can we do? 1) decrease demand, 2)look for alternatives to buy, such
COTTON: 50 million # of pesticides are poured on cotton fields every year; toxic runoff goes into the
ocean, causing many problems. POLYESTER: made from crude oil causing an increase in Hydrogen
Chlorine gas What can we do? Buy the new fabrics like organic cotton, textiles made from plants, and
products made from recycled materials. Donate old clothes to others.
TENNIS SHOES: PVCs in everything; group of chemicals called phthalates make PVC’s soft and flexible
and can leak into the environment; located mostly in the soles of shoes. What can we do? 1) run green –
“green rubber”; recycle old shoes by donating to programs like Nike’s “Reuse-a-Shoe” and “Nike Grind”
DENIM: Average American owns 7 pair; can be recycled and made into insulation
WIRE HANGERS: Most common item in the closet; 90% are made in China; made of steel which is
100% recyclable. What can we do? Look for eco-friendly dry cleaner.
CARBON FOOTPRINT: A measure of the amount of CO2 produced by a person, organization, or location, at a
Study Notes for Nike Grind
Began in 1990 as a program to recycle worn out tennis shoes
Shoes broken down into 3 sections: rubber outsole, foam midsole, fabric top
Ground into tiny pieces called “Nike Grind”
Made into various products, such as:
1. zipper pulls on Nike clothing
2. Jordan 23 – 1st performance basketball shoe made from recycled materials (outsole is Nike Grind)
3. Sports surfacing manufacturers – 10-20% made of Nike Grind
i) Basketball court = 2500 recycled shoes
ii) Soccer Field = 20,000 recycled shoes
iii) Track = 75,000 recycled shoes
Study Notes for The Bedroom
Matresses: fire retardants used in mattresses made before 1998 cause build-up of PBDE’s which are building up
in polar bears, seals, etc.; immune systems are weakening, as are bodies; What can we do? Buy new mattresses
Interesting facts: If we close curtains, we can save up to 25% of the energy lost in the heat and the cold; If we
keep the fireplace damper closed, we can save 8% of the energy which would escape from the chimney; ceiling
fans can save 15-40% of the energy used by air conditioners.
Energy Vampire: TV and electronic devices that are in stand-by mode. What can we do? Plug these devices
into power strips and turn off the power strips when devices are not in use.
Wood pirates: 90% of imported wood is harvested illegally from the rain forests. What can we do? Buy vintage
or recycled wood products.
Carpet: Made from volatile, organic compounds (VOCs) which are released in the factory and home through a
process; What can we do? Buy green label carpets which contain no VOCs or 100% wool w/jute backing
Diapers: A baby is born every 7 seconds; 6,000 diapers per child, are used from birth to potty training; Which is
better? 100% cotton or disposable; 27.5 million disposable diapers are used per year; 95% of parents use
disposable diapers; lots of energy used washing, drying, cleaning cloth diapers. There is no clear winner! What
can we do? Use chlorine-free disposable diapers
Study Notes for The Bathroom
Toilets: 140,000 flushes in a lifetime; 10 qts. Of water per flush; 2 environmental problems: 1) billions of
flushes consume energy and natural resources, 2) 1 million miles of sewer pipes carry 50 trillion gallons of
waste to 20,000 sewage treatment plants. Sludge is the muck left after the sewage process which is dumped
into landfills or spread as fertilizers – the bad news is that toxins remain in the sludge; before 1994, toilets
wasted a lot of water. What can we do? Invest in a composting toilet; empty 1-2 times per year, cost is around
Medications: Don’t flush them down the toilet; drugs end up in sewage plants and sludge; 30,000 # of
medications are thrown out and down the toilet each year.
Toilet Paper: Average person uses 10 rolls per year or 21,000 sheets
Toothpaste: Has active and inactive ingredients; sudser is made from palm oil; rainforests are being converted
into palm plantations; 98% of rainforests will be gone by 2020. Orangutans eat palms, and are caught or killed.
Lipstick: Lead in it; is a heavy metal that accumulates in the body. What can we do? Do research to have less
lead in lipstick or invent an organic type.
#1 thing we can do in the bathroom: CONSERVE WATER!
Study notes for The Attic
Fiberglass insulation: known as “glass wool”, was an alternative to asbestos; most commonly used insulator in
the US; made from sand; can take a lot of heat; glass fibers can cause health hazards if breathed; formaldehyde
is the binding agent in insulation. What can we do? Look to new type of insulation that is vegetable based.
Windows: Upgrade windows; represent 15-50% of energy used to heat/cool homes. What can we do? Upgrade
to Energy Star coded windows.
Moth balls: toxic; contain pesticides which keep moth larvae from eating wool; chemical can kill us and cause
cancer; What can we do? Use lavender b/c moths hate the smell; use moth traps; freeze clothes for 3 days; wash
clothes in 150 degree water (causes shrinkage); invest in a cedar-lined chest
Rats: Can produce 15,000 descendents per year; known for adaptability; an increase in global temps will cause
an increase in the rat population; don’t use poison, rat or sticky traps; What can we do? Adopt a cat; contact a
Solar Energy: Only 1% of the sun’s energy is trapped today; consider installing solar panels; converter box
changes DC to AC current, thereby saving CO2. Solar panels are expensive but there are rebate programs to
Study notes for The Garage
OIL -- common to all garages; We’ve already used ½ of known oil reserves; impact on cars? Need to develop:
Fuel Alternatives: hybrid cars being developed; hydrogen fuel cells; corn (biofuel – made from renewable
resources); ethanol – clean burning fuel, made from corn; uses lots of energy to produce; 40% of farmland
would have to be converted to corn to replace only 10% of the gas we already use; 99% of corn is chemically
treated; corn erodes soil 18% faster than soil can regenerate; driving up prices at the grocery; What can we do?
Consider genetically modified algae; could be the 2nd generation of biofuels; consider vegetable oil; waste 3
billion gallons per year
Car battery: Standard, rechargeable has 18# of lead and 1 gallon sulfuric acid, both bad for environment; 80%
are recycled, which is what we should do
Bicycle: world’s most efficient mode of transportation; we need more bike paths and bike lanes on roads
Buying gasoline: 1) use lowest speed on gas pump; minimizes vapors, get more gas for the same amt of money;
2)don’t fill up if truck’s just been there; gasoline is stirred, particles of dirt can get into your engine; better to
wait and let particles settle
ATVs: Two-stroke are the most inefficient engines on Earth! More than ¼ fuel goes unburned; loud which is
hard on ears and wildlife, increasing stress levels; increase weeds in the garden b/c tires spread seeds from place
to place What can we do? Buy electric start, 4-stroke engines, that run on biofuels
SUBSISTENCE FARMING -- farming that provides for the basic needs of the farmer without surpluses for