Sunday, May 29, 2011

Year Two of Nothing New - Let the Games Begin!


I started Year Two on Sunday, May 22 to coincide with Day One of the LeaderShape Institute with Cornell University students... It was easy to start since Days 1-6 were sequestered at a retreat site in Painted Post, NY! Now the real test begins.

I will be doing monthly challenges again...while I am ramping up for June, I am using the rest of May to get my garden in order, go through closets, clean my office and spare room...

To keep things super exciting, I am also adding three major year-long efforts...

1. No TV for one year! I will take the TV out of my living room so it will be easy at home anyway to NOT will be a little more challenging if I am at a friend's house or in a hotel room whilst on the road...I will be strong! I will not be watching Hulu or any TV on the web either - easy now since all the season finales have taken place - talk to me in the fall when I am missing Glee, Modern Family, The Office and The Good Wife!

2. No Starbucks!!!! I have gotten into a bad habit of a weekly - if not more frequently - iced grande caramel macchiato...I was using it to celebrate - everything from a successful workshop to working with a new client to "Today is Tuesday"...not good! I shouldn't even be drinking coffee for one thing (food sensitivity) or milk! (lactose intolerant) - never mind it is $4 plus every time...imagine a year of savings - $4 x 52 = $208...will bring my own tea and reusable mug if I meet someone at an SB or any other coffee spot...I think I can do this one...

3. Seriously reducing my trash production...even though I compost and recycle, I know I can do more! Had to make a tough decision today at Wegman's - to buy locally grown greenhouse lettuce in a #5 non-recyclable container or lettuce from California in a little plastic bag I can use again or recycle...I opted for the CA lettuce - now I am thinking I should have gone with the local lettuce and found a re-use for the silly container...what do you think? I am also keeping all pieces of paper mail I get from unsolicited sources and making ongoing calls to get off mailing lists...should be interesting to track...

NOTE: I continue to get pulled into the food part of my Nothing New lifestyle...I am working hard to eat seasonally and locally...I found out that yogurt is OK for most folks with lactose intolerance and got me some Chobani Greek Yogurt today - made in NY - yay! It has 23g (that's twenty-three!) of protein in 8 ounces - more yay! Local kidney beans and NY apples are getting me back on track...

More soon - hope you are all well...

Have a Nothing New Day! Kristin

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Water, Water, Everywhere

DAY 425

Last week, I had a great Skype session with a new friend/colleague in Education City in Doha, Qatar, Chris Silva. He is the Sustainability Coordinator for the Residence Halls there - a new position - and he gets to do all kinds of cool projects to teach and learn about sustainability. So great to have first hand commentary and comparison of what important things are happening around the world to take better care of our planet!

Weeks ago when we met at the LeaderShape Retreat in Chicago, Chris told me about some exciting initiatives he is promoting to change perceptions and behavior around water and local food - in particular to change the perception that "nothing grow in Qatar because it's too hot". Look at all that grows there:

Egg plant; zucchini; Chili peppers; tomatoes; gourds; cabbages; bell peppers; cauliflower; lettuce; corn; broccoli; green beans; carrots; different types of herbs; green onions and mint. (thanks for this Chris!) Nice list, huh?

This last chat, Chris shared some of his ideas for implementing a campaign to educate staff and students about the safety of drinking tap water in Qatar. The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of plastic bottles going into their landfills -I share that goal! Apparently the tap water in Qatar is quite safe and in fact is above the standards of the World Health Organization. In spite of that fact, just like many places in the US, the perception is that tap water is not as good (safe) as bottled water... I am sure the whole scenario is much more complex than this and that changing perceptions actually requires a culture shift not mere behavioral changes.

By the way...this info from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN:

Qatar is a small peninsula in the Persian Gulf covering an area of approximately 11,000 km2 including a number of small offshore islands. It's maximum length is about 180km along the north-south axis, while the east-west width is 85 km at its widest point. It is bounded by the Persian Gulf on all sides except in the south where it touches the eastern province of Saudi Arabia. Check the map :)

The movement toward more sustainable living is international...turns out, it is a small world after all...

More to come - have a Nothing New Day! Kristin

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

You Say Tomato

DAY 419

Had a great conversation today with Wegman's manager about the lack of local foods right now - usually there is something at this point but the (too much) rain has delayed Spring planting for our farmers. I appreciated the concern the manager had for the farmers and the time he took to talk with one other guy in produce AND make a phone call...then guided me to some local greenhouse on-the-vine tomatoes, NY apples and potatoes. Yay!

As soon as I can I will get to the public market as well as my little Fairport market to see what else is growing.

My garlic is coming along - just waiting for the leaves to dry back. From what I have read, it will be sometime in July and it is a test of patience and faith to harvest at the right time...then there are all kinds of next steps to cure and store the garlic - who knew? Best advice so far:

"To remove the garlic, take a flat shove and gently loosen the dirt around them. Garlic can bruise easily and bruised garlic does not keep well. Don’t bump it, don’t bounce it. Don’t drop it."

I had no idea it was such a delicate operation - will keep you posted.

I am making my final *new* purchases this weekend - including some garden supplies...very exciting yet oddly relieving to know I am going back to Nothing New...

Bye for now - have a Nothing New Day!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Green Clean

DAY 417

Hello - been a while...miss you!

I am sort of hanging out these two months before starting Year 2 of Nothing New...still have a few new things to buy and then will "go back" to Nothing New. I feel a little bit like I am out of the wilderness to get provisions before going back into the woods. Quite a different wilderness in Fairport, NY compared to perhaps a Walden Pond or Antarctic trek - an adventure, nonetheless. I will track my two months off of spending and report accordingly later...should be interesting.

I am getting ready to plant Year 2 of my garden - need to get seeds and dirt (new). Decided to keep the overall garden space as is - attractive metal stakes and chic wire fencing intact even though I really want to switch out to a cuter white picket version, bigger with more raised beds - that will have to wait til next year. A few more things to get my bike back in working order and a few goodies to get back into swimming again and I will be all set. Starting May 20, I will have to make do with what I have (plenty). Cool!

In the meantime, I continue to search for greener behaviors, methods, and products to ultimately reduce my impact on the planet. I just found a new green dry cleaner for what little I do get dry cleaned. A new shop called "Martinizing" (remember "One Hour Martinizing"???) - a ramped up franchise version of the older company who now uses a process called Green Earth Cleaning The owner, Todd, totally gets it and is a delight to talk with about being green. Prices are reasonable plus they take back hangers and the plastic bags for reuse and recycling. Yup. Like it! Check out his shop:

12 Courtney Drive
Fairport, New York 14450

More to follow - have a Nothing New Day!