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Electronic Tickets: Going Green on the Go

April 2, 2012

By Heather Trumpfheller

If you’re on the go, why not go green? Here are some tips for to keep on mind next time you’re planning to head out the door.

Credit: iStockPhoto

Airplane Ticket: A paper ticket costs about $10, whereas an e-ticket costs only $1. In the near future, e-tickets will be the only option, saving the airline industry $3 billion a year. In addition to financial savings, the amount of paper saved in this process will significantly help the environment. Using e-tickets is a more environmentally friendly approach. The Air Transport Association estimates if e-tickets were only used the industry would save the about of 50,000 grown trees per year.

Everyone benefits from electronic plane tickets. The customer gets easier handling of itinerary changes especially for last minute traveling. It’s also a more effective way to book, check-in and make sure you don’t lose your ticket! Travel agents also benefit by removing cost of printers, maintenance and ticket distribution. So next time you fly, electronic tickets are the way to go!

Traffic Ticket: Watch out for green parking tickets. E-tickets are quicker tools for writing citations. Your citations may now not be as harsh on the environment. According to KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, along with saving paper, the e-citations will also be emailed to the court clerk’s office instantly and will cut down on thousands of dollars in postage. Oklahoma Highway Patrol tested out a system in July 2010 that copies your personal information from your license, dumps it into the computer and practically writes the ticket for the trooper. Also, Camden County in New Jersey is going the same route. Seven Camden County municipalities will start using automatic electronic ticketing system when issuing motor vehicle tickets to save tax dollars and cut operating costs.

Museum Ticket: The Natural History Museum in London also promotes electronic tickets as a great way to save time and the environment.

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Spring for a Greener Break

March 24, 2012

Local schools let classes out for spring break on Friday and this year we’re starting out with a much warmer beginning than last year’s spring snow flurries. Whether you’re traveling somewhere tropical or enjoying the break locally, 8 Goes Green wants to share some helpful hints on how to make a green spring break even greener.

Snack Organic for an Extra Spring in your Step

No spring break is successful without delicious travel snacks. Though it’s easy to spring for the processed cheese curls and slurpees, healthy organic alternatives will give you more energy for when you arrive at your destination.

The internet is swimming in DIY snacks. 8 Goes Green narrowed it down to some original snack ideas that fit our strict criteria: tasty, easy-to-make, healthy, mess-free, and organic.

Avocado Crackers: Mix ½ of an avocado with a pinch of garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Put avocado dip into a travel-size container. Eat with whole-wheat or organic crackers like Mary’s Gone Crackers.

Serving Size: ¼ avocado + 13 crackers = 220 calories

Homemade Oatmeal Raisin Sugar-free “Larabars”: This recipe is a favorite on the healthy dessert blog, “Chocolate Covered Katie”.

Food process 6 T of oats, then add ½ cup of raisins, ½ cup of walnuts, 1/8 tsp of salt, and ¼ tsp of vanilla extract and food process again until the mixture can be mashed into a dough. Use the dough to form bars or balls and store them in a travel-friendly container.

Of course, for a prep-free snack, fruits, vegetables, and nuts are always an excellent option. Remember that springing for easy-to-eat fruit like blueberries and grapes is healthier than dried fruit, which contains no water and has a much higher concentration of sugar.

Products for a Greener Break 

Now that your body is fueled for a green-tastic break, it’s time to lather on organic sunscreen and pack up your clothes into that organic luggage.  And don’t forget your cruelty-free makeup!

If you’re leaving: Green Cities 

If you haven’t decided where to go yet, spending time in a “greener” city with more hiking, public transport, and sustainability is a great option!

Here are some top picks for U.S. “green” destinations:

-Austin, TX (How can you go wrong with 206 parks, 50 miles of trails, and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center?)

Climb Mt. Bonnell in Austin, TX for a manageable hike and beautiful view!

-Chicago, IL (Even though it’s more of an urban jungle, it still has more than 2.5 million square feet of plant life on city roofs!)

-Berkeley, CA (This place is the best place to eat green with an array of organic and vegetarian restaurants eateries, and sustainable businesses.)

-Portland, OR (Portlandia may have tipped you off to this greentastic city. Travel about town completely green with 200 miles of bike lanes!)

(Source: http://www.mnn.com/health/allergies/photos/top-10-green-us-cities)

If you’re staying: Green Places & Events in Columbia

Katy Trail – See how long you can hike on Missouri’s famous Katy Trail

Earth Hour 2012 – On March 31st turn lights and electronics off from 8:30-9:30 p.m. and use that hour to walk, hike, or head to bed early!

Dog Parks – The warm weather means there’s no excuse not to take Fido for a walk! Take your pooch, or borrow a friend’s, and check out one of Columbia’s dog parks.

Wineries – Carpool with your friends to local wineries, like Les Bourgeois.

And don’t forget to download the best “green” music to play when you travel:

1. Bicycle Race – Queen

2. Green Green Grass of Home – Johnny Cash

3. Where the Green Grass Grows – Tim McGraw

Enjoy the time off and be sure to make it a safe and green spring break – over break you’ll probably discover that it’s actually pretty easy being green!

Don’t just wear green this St. Patrick’s Day—Be Green!

March 17, 2012

Between the shamrocks, leprechauns, green beer, and green clothing, there’s no doubt the color green takes center stage every year on St. Patty’s Day. But this year, KOMU’s 8 Goes Green is challenging you to embrace another type of green on this very Irish holiday. With a few good environmentally friendly tips to always remember—no matter what day it is—we might perhaps be able to give our planet the bit o’ Irish good luck it needs. Erin go green!

Drink Green

Dyed, faux green beer might be your drink of choice this holiday, but did you know that by choosing a local, organic brand (in a non-disposable cup, we’d like to add) over something a little more mainstream, you’re actually drinking real green beer? Believe it or not, organically brewed beer is free of the chemicals found in other drinks—making it a truly green drink.

Wear Green

Okay, sure—you’re probably going to wear green anyway to avoid the ridicule and excessive amount of pinching, but how about truly wearing green by making sure your clothes are organic or recycled cotton? Not only are they sustainable, eco-friendly, and–dare we say–quite comfortable resources, but they also can be worn many times over.

And if you’re one of those who truly can’t part with the ever popular tradition of green beads, hats, and other decorations? No worries—just be sure to save them at the end of the day for future use instead of dumping them into the nearest trash can, or worse, street corner at the end of the day.

Drive Green

Last week, we told you ways to travel green in order to lighten the load on the environment…

and on your budget. Why not put them to use today as you head to and from the parade, bar, grocery store, neighbor’s party, or home this St. Patrick’s Day? While walking is always a great (and healthy!) option—we admit, it’s not always the most convenient. Try catching a taxi, using public transportation, or hitching a ride with your sober friends if needed. We suggest taking the shortest route home possible—which you’re probably hoping to do as well.

Spread Good ‘o Green Luck!

Find a four-leaf clover, and you’ll have plenty of leprechaun luck for yourself.

Plant one, and you’ll pass some of that luck on to the rest of the world. By spreading clover seeds (or planting sorrel, which looks quite similar to those lucky clovers), you’re reducing your carbon footprint, producing oxygen, reducing carbon dioxide, and helping the environment as a whole.

We’d like to know—how are you staying “green” on the most famous green holiday of the year?

Green Travel Saving You at the Pump

March 12, 2012

By Veronica Polivanaya

Gas is at record high for this time of year. Turmoil in Egypt, Libya and parts of the Mideast is to blame, sending gas prices upwards of $3 a gallon. In the long run, shrinking supplies, increasing demand and the possibility of new climate change regulations will result in higher oil prices.

But if an electric car is currently out of your budget, have no fear. KOMU’s 8 Goes Green is here to show you five simpler ways to save money on gas and reduce heavy draw on natural resources. And that’s not all: the more gas we save, the less pollution we create, and the less we rely on those who control the oil supply.

Take Public Transportation

According to the Illinois Public Research Group, the public transportation system in the United States saves 3.4 billion gallons of oil a year, eliminates 541 million hours of traffic delays and cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 26 million tons. That comes out to nearly 222,000 barrels a day, which only amounts to slightly less than 2% of the total oil imported daily. Still, that’s 220,000 barrels per day that the U.S. wouldn’t have to import, burn and transform into pollution. Get in on the savings by hopping on a bus instead of driving your car. Sure, you still have to spend money on bus fare, but consider this: the average U.S. commute is 16 miles, and at today’s gas prices, the average passenger would spend $2.26 going that distance. That’s more or less what a typical public transit fare costs. Plus, you’ll spare your car from wear and tear, a hidden cost of driving that adds up.

Drive Smarter

If bus routes clash with your schedule, or don’t get you to where you need to be, try driving the car you own with greater fuel-efficiency. Experts say you can improve fuel economy 20% by reversing bad habits. Reversing bad driving habits and scheduling regular vehicle maintenance lessens the pollution your car produces by burning fossil fuel. That, in turn, means less smog, less asthma, less acid rain and contributes less to global warming. Here’s how: inflate your tires to the recommended level. Visit your mechanic for a tune-up if you’re due. Don’t forget to have your tires aligned, your air filter checked and your oil changed if needed. Another tip: when making trips, combine errands and get your groceries on your way home from work. When you’re on the road, drive smoothly, accelerate slowly and avoid speeding. Make sure to lay off the breaks as well. Riding with your foot on the brake pedal will not only wear out brake pads, amounting to extra costs at the maintenance shop, but can also increase gas consumption by as much as 35%.

Carpool

Does the bus route miss your workplace entirely? Carpool and split the bill with a co-worker instead! That’s like paying $1.60 for gas that costs $3.20 at the pump. And the more, the merrier. With a car full of four people, the cost per gallon comes down to just $0.80! Want to reap the benefits of saving money, but don’t have anyone to carpool with? Consider joining Divide the Ride, eRideShare, RideCheck, Carpool World or other Web-based tools created to help like-minded commuters find each other.

Trade in Your SUV


If you must drive, replace your SUV with something more fuel-efficient. The most fuel-efficient car for several years in a row has been the hybrid Toyota Prius, averaging 50 mpg. New electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt get around 100 mpg. The least fuel-efficient cars, like SUVs, the Chevrolet Suburban and the GMC Yokun, get about 12 mpg. By swapping your gas-guzzler with an electric car, you could potentially save more than $3000 from your annual fuel bill. At current gas prices, the cost of an average commute in a Prius is $1, compared to about $4 in an SUV. At current gas prices, the cost of an average commute in a Prius is $1, compared to about $4 in an SUV. Meaning, you can go almost four times as far on a tank of gas in the Prius.

Walk, Bike or E-Bike

Whenever possible, walk or bike. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you. If the distance of your commute intimidates you, try an electric bike instead. With each mile you spend on foot, or on the saddle, you save gas and money, all while staying in shape. By trading in a trip in the average car, you’d save about $2 per average commute. You can spend that money on an umbrella for rainy days instead.

Healthy Plants Growing in Your Home

February 29, 2012

By Sophia Petenakis

It’s not just the gas fumes and dirty air of the outdoors that can do your body damage. An array of activities inside the home like spraying bugs with insecticide, frying food on the stove, plugging in an air freshener, or deep-cleaning the carpet with detergent all release different chemicals that swirl around the house.

Researchers on indoor air pollution around the nation caution home-dwellers that toxin levels in homes can be much higher than the outdoors even in big cities with high pollution rates.

To get into technical terms, according to a study done by NASA, the indoor pollutants that affect health are “formaldehyde, Volatile Organic Compounds (benzene and trichloroethylene or TCE), airborne biological pollutants, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, pesticides and disinfectants (phenols), and radon.”

Don’t fret too much…a big, chemical monster isn’t going to come bite you during a night’s sleep. But! It is something to consider and be cautious about. That is why KOMU’s 8 Goes Green Team made this list of three of the best, reasonably priced, in-home plants that will help kill indoor toxins.

The Boston Fern: This little scruffy looking plant can grow up to 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Boston Ferns hate humidity so it is important to keep the soil frequently moist and spray it daily with warm water. It loves direct sunlight so keep it near a window or under a lamp. Boston Ferns are pretty reasonably priced at around $18 to $30, and they will last for years if taken care of properly.
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Peace Lily: A low-maintenance plant, the Peace Lily requires only a little bit of sunlight. It should be placed within 5-10 feet of a window. It requires heavy watering but the soil must dry out in-between watering periods. Peace Lilies also appreciate high humidity, so this $50 plant likes an occasional mist here and there.

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Philodendron: It has a tricky name but it’s a pretty low-key plant. Philodendron’s require less sunlight than most…they thrive in a light shade. A frequent watering of the soil is required to keep this pretty plant healthy and an occasional mist never hurts. Philodendron’s are a bit pricier–listed around $90–but are known to be one of the best indoor plants for healthy air.

Clean and Green: Good for the bathroom and the environment

February 20, 2012

Is your bathroom…green? For the environment’s sake, maybe it should be.

Making a few easy changes in how you get ready to go in the morning could mean a big step toward green living. Not to mention a lower energy bill. Here are a few tips to help you cut down on your environmentally unfriendly waste.

1. Minimize your water usage by turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth. This practicallygreen.com article says stopping the water waste can save 20 to 30 gallons of water per person each week.Green Bathrooms

2. Use recycled toilet paper. Yep, that’s recycled paper. Don’t worry, it’s been cleaned and it’s ready for your sanitary use. Greenpeace.org has an entire toilet paper guide to help you pick the brand that’s best for you.

3. Use baking soda. Many bathroom cleaners are heavy-duty disinfectants. That means the chemicals will kill anything and everything it reaches. Sounds pretty bad for the environment, right? TLC recommends baking soda as a good substitute to the hazardous cleaners. The article also says vinegar can be useful to help clean out those tub and sink drains. The best way to keep the germs out is to prevent them from getting in to start. That means routinely clearing out the drains and pouring in some baking soda and vinegar.

4. Light up your life with energy-efficient bulbs over that vanity mirror. Greenbuilding.com recommends using fluorescent bulbs and LED lights for ambient lighting to save on the energy use. Advances in fluorescent lighting technology mean you can get bulbs in hues that will light up your face just as well as other lights, too.

5. Finally, green can go soft if you pick the right bath towels. Organic cotton takes less pesticide to make than other towels. Plus, the makers usually use more natural dyes and softeners. HGTV says you can even take it a step further by changing out your shower curtain for a fabric that’s more green-friendly.

So, do you think you’re a green bathroom expert? Take this National Geographic Green Bathroom Quiz – The Green Guide  to test your knowledge. And good luck starting and ending your day a little bit greener.

Green Gifts and More for Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2012

By Brian Pepoon

It’s the week of Valentine’s Day, and there are men that have not found their significant others the right kind of gift or haven’t chosen the right place for a Valentine’s date.  If you haven’t decided, this might be the year to keep the earth healthy and give your sweetheart something green rather than red or pink.  As the organic trend has become a staple in America, companies, restaurants, and wineries have begun to cater to those who like their gifts green.  So, here’s some green ideas for all of you this Valentine’s Day:Green Valentine's Day

Organic Chocolate:   If someone has a sweet tooth, go to a local organic market and pick up a box of organic chocolates. They’re not only pesticide free, but are also more likely to support free trade in countries that grow cocao in Central and South America.  Free trade farmers are more likely to make living wages and have better working conditions.

Flowers: Flowers are expected when it comes to Valentine’s Day, but in a week’s time, they start to turn brown and die. Rather than just throw them away, bring them to a composting site. Or even better, put them in your garden, if you have one, because the flowers can act as a natural fertilizer for the soil. Any little bit of natural fertilizer helps prevent the use of chemicals that are dangerous not only to the environment, but can have harmful effects on people as well.

Organic Dinner: Instead of going out for dinner, stay in, buy and cook locally grown, organic vegetables, meat and wine. It’s always romantic and special when you cook a meal yourself, more so than even a fancy dinner at an expensive restaurant. Not only can you help save the environment, but you can also brag about what a great job you did making a special meal.  Or, if your dinner doesn’t turn out great, just say it’s the thought that counts, right? (Just make sure to go online and look up a recipe, fellas.  She won’t care if you had to cheat.) Get some Missouri-grown organic wine for the evening as well and you’ll have a full meal.

Organic Date:  In today’s technologically-driven world, it might be hard to think of anything eco-friendly to do, but a romantic walk along one of Missouri’s nature trails might be just the trick.  If the weather permits, take your date along on a quiet, private walk down a river trail. Don’t take your cell phones with you and just spend time with each other.  If it gets to be too cold, or the weather doesn’t pan out, stay in and cuddle up near a fire and share some chocolate dipped strawberries, or some other food of choice.  Maybe even read a book together.

Organic Gifts:  Maybe the most nerve-racking part of the day is what to get your date.  There are plenty of companies that now sell recycled-goods apparel for both men and women.  There are handbags made of recycled paper, purses made from recycled plastic water bottles, and plenty of clothes made from hemp, bamboo and organic cotton. They’re all more than stylish. There are also plenty of sites that sell organic jewelry, from amber to stones and wooden earrings.

Here’s to a Valentine’s Day that’s sweet and green.

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