Dreaming of a Green Christmas

Guys, I just love the holidays. My people are home more, and we go visit their families, and there’s a lot of food around–and somehow a lot of it ends up within basset range. It’s pretty much the best. There’s also a lot of stuff around during the holidays. My people come home with bags full of stuff, which they wrap up in other stuff, and then later they throw a lot of stuff away.

This is about the time I should be scaring you with a lot of statistics about the amount of wrapping paper and ribbon that ends up in the landfill every year, or the number of cheap plastic presents that break immediately and get chucked in with all that wrapping paper. But I’m no Grinch. Let’s skip all that dreariness and get straight to the fun ways to have a lovely green Christmas.

1.) Use newspapers, brown paper bags or recyclable wrapping paper.

Instead of stuffing garbage bags full of shiny wrapping paper when the gift-opening frenzy is over, use the Sunday funnies or other paper that can go in the recycle. The brown paper from grocery bags with some twine makes a very simple and attractive gift wrap. Of course, gift bags can be used year after year (and so can the tissue paper!).

2.) Use last year’s Christmas cards as gift tags.

No need to buy a bunch of stickers. Cut the front off old Christmas cards and use those. Very pretty!

3.) Give gifts they can really use.

Instead of buying something silly just so your friends and family will have more things to unwrap, stick with just a few, meaningful gifts. “Something they need, something to read, and something to wear” is a good guideline. Plus, books for your bibliophile buddies are always a good call–they can be given again or donated when they are done reading them. Same goes for lightly-used or outgrown clothes.

4.) Give to charity.

I knoooow, it sounds lame, but you can make giving to charity in someone’s honor a very personal, meaningful gift. Is your girlfriend a feminist? Make a donation to Planned Parenthood in her honor. Does your uncle love hiking in the Appalachian mountains? Give to Friends of the Smokies or the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Lots of organizations give you the option to receive or print a special card naming the person you’re donating in honor of.

What ideas to do you have? How do you keep your Christmas green?

Great Rot!

Guys, I’ve been gone a while. I’m sorry about that. I’ve been reeeeeeally busy napping on the couch, snoozing on the porch, sleeping in the sunny corner of the yard… And my person has been really busy researching rotting food and stuff. She had a lot to say about it, but honestly I just pretended to listen so she would keep petting me.

What’s that? You’d really like to know what she was working on? Alright, if you’re sure…but it’s really long and there aren’t even any pictures! Maybe I’ll convince her to add a couple pictures of this really cute dog she knows to make it interesting. (Hint: the dog is me!)

Continue reading “Great Rot!”

The Dog-Eared Page: Dakota Access Pipeline Edition

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about what’s happening at the Sacred Stone Camp between the Standing Rock Sioux, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the police. It’s pretty upsetting to see how these people are being treated as they try to protect not just the sacred land that belongs to them, but the water that belongs to all of us. This is a really big deal, yet we really haven’t been seeing much about it in the news. So here’s a collection of stories to help illuminate what’s going–plus a way to take action.

First, just a little background–here’s some coverage from NPR from back in September, when the initial protesting began:

Dozens Of U.S., Canadian Tribes Unite Against Proposed Oil Pipelines

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Describes ‘Ecstatic’ Mood After Pipeline Halt

Amid Tribe’s Protest, Construction Of Oil Pipeline In N. Dakota Halts — For Now

And a great in-depth story from Bill Moyers (also from September):

Standing Firm at Standing Rock: Why the Struggle is Bigger Than One Pipeline

And here’s what is going on now:

BBC: Riot police move in on North Dakota pipeline protesters

Romper: Oregon Standoff Leaders Acquitted On The Same Day Dakota Pipeline Protesters Were Arrested

WLOS: Asheville restaurant owner joins ‘water protectors’ against Dakota Access pipeline

US Uncut: The United Nations just made a major announcement on the Dakota Access Pipeline

Occupy Democrats: Outrage: Pipeline Police Strip-Searched Native Girl, Threw Her Naked Into Cell

LA Times: North Dakota pipeline activists say arrested protesters were kept in dog kennels

If you’d like the TL;DR version, here’s a good timeline that boils it all down pretty succinctly: 

ABC News: Timeline of the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests

SustainaBailey’s Tip

Angry yet? Ready to do something? Here’s how:

Sacred Stone Camp: How Can I Help?

Yes! Magazine: How to Contact the 17 Banks Funding the Dakota Access Pipeline

Free Thought Project: 10 Ways You Can Help the Standing Rock Sioux Fight the Dakota Access Pipeline

 

Happy Food Day!

Guys, you may not know this about me, but I love food. Like, a lot. I love hearing it fall into my food bowl in the morning, I love seeing it waiting for me it the same place in the kitchen every day, I love smelling it–even when I’m too lazy to get off the couch to go get it–and, of course, I love eating. (Sometimes I even delve into the forbidden delights hiding in the trash can when my people aren’t home, but that’s another story.)

So, naturally, Food Day is my favorite holiday. And no, I’m not talking about the human holiday when my people’s family sneaks turkey scraps to me under the table (although that one is pretty good, too). I mean Food Day, Oct. 24, when Americans take a look at our diets and food policies. Continue reading “Happy Food Day!”

The Dog-Eared Page: Hurricane Edition

I do a lot of reading. I’m pretty much a self-taught basset, so I like to keep up on the latest sustainability news. So every week or so I’d like to offer you a collection of stories I’ve been reading about sustainability, resilience, conservation–you know, wherever my nose leads me.

This week my friends on the coast got slammed with Hurricane Matthew. But some of the worst damage is still happening as rivers continue to rise and flooding increases. The terrible truth is, extreme weather events like this may be something we have to get used to. Continue reading “The Dog-Eared Page: Hurricane Edition”

Get Wild for Wildlife!

This doggie can get pretty wild, let me tell you. And when the partying gets too ruff (get it?) there are great vets and emergency vets around to get my tail wagging again. But when my ACTUAL wild cousins–those undomesticated critters who still roam the forests for food and never trained a human to do it for them–get in trouble, it can be harder for them to find help.

That’s why some of my people’s human friends are working to open Appalachian Wildlife Refuge. Continue reading “Get Wild for Wildlife!”

Jump on the Local-motive!

As a dog, I don’t have a whole lot of food options–it’s dry, brown meat-flavored bits day in and day out (with the occasional apple slice or piece of dropped chicken thrown in there). But you humans, your choices are basically endless. Especially you humans living in Asheville. There are about 1,000 reasons to choose local food when you can (that’s 7,000 in dog reasons), but I’ve got some napping to do in this lovely autumn sunlight, so I’ll give just a few of them here.

The big reason is your carbon footprint (or pawprint, as it were). One study says that a whopping ONE-THIRD of our greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, including the production of food, manufacture of fertilizer, food storage and packaging. Most of that is from the actual production of food–12,000 megatons of CO2 equivalent a year. And the climate change caused by those greenhouse gas emissions will only make it more difficult for farmers to grow food. Continue reading “Jump on the Local-motive!”

America!

We’re settling in to watch the first presidential debate. Comfy couch–check. American flag–check. Beer to make it all more tolerable–check!

Maybe you’re not into all the barking that goes on in a debate, but there are plenty of ways to make sure you’re an informed citizen. And one of the most important things you can do for the environment is vote!

Make sure you know where your candidates stand on issues like climate change and alternative energy. And remember, there’s more than one race going on. The presidential race gets lots of attention, but big changes happen in Congress and on the state and local levels of government, too.

To make things easy for you (I’m a big fan of easy), here’s a list of links to a few of the candidates’ self-described positions on the environment. Since I live in Asheville, I’m including candidates running for office in my area. Continue reading “America!”

Greenways, please!

Guys. I love greenways. They’re a great place to take your people on a walk so they can socialize and get some exercise. Plus, you can meet other nice dogs. This afternoon we went to Reeds Creek Greenway for a little jaunt. We have quite a few little greenways in Asheville–including a new one at New Belgium Brewing in the River Arts District. And one day, they’re all going to connect.

The best part about greenways is that they’re for everyone. Continue reading “Greenways, please!”

I’m Bailey…

…and I like sustainability. And apple slices. And sleeping on the couch. But mostly I want to talk to you about sustainability. I’m going to tell you all about different sustainability projects happening in my town–greenways, community gardens, eco-houses, all kinds of great stuff. And with every post I’ll share an easy sustainability tip that you can do right away. Continue reading “I’m Bailey…”