I first caught wind of the #48DaysofBlue campaign via Natalie. I signed up immediately, because I love the ocean. Uh, duh, I guess. We all love the ocean, I know; it's a cliche at this point to rhapsodize about living on the beach. But I mean for real: I. love. the ocean. I love the experience of being in the water or on a boat or whatever, but more than that, we all kind of take the ocean for granted. At best, we don't really understand just how essential the oceans are for human life as it's come to be.
But before I go on, you should go and sign up for #48DaysofBlue. Every day from Earth Day (already over, oops) to World Oceans Day (June 8th), you'll get a simple, actionable challenge you can do to help the oceans and to shift your thinking and habits to be more ocean-friendly.
Seriously, go now.
Okay, now you're back.
Since, as of this writing, I'm a few challenges behind, I'm going to get caught up on a whole bunch at once. You can do it, too!
Days 2 & 3: The Lights-Out Dinner
This weekend’s challenge is to host a lights-out dinner!
Once you’ve loaded the dishwasher with the plates from tonight’s feast, take a minute to look into the types of lighting around your house. When it comes to replacing lightbulbs, go for the more energy-efficient options, like CFLs or LEDs. And of course, leave the lights off whenever the opportunity arises.
In the summer, keeping the lights off can even help cool down a room!This one was a bit of a shoo-in for me: I live in Sweden, where CFLs and LEDs have been the norm for way, way longer than they've been in the US and our preference for incandescent lighting. Our apartment is also so small that it's impossible to forget to turn off the lights—if I leave them on in the kitchen/my office, it's too light to fall asleep.
Now that we're past the vernal equinox here in Sweden, the days are only going to get longer, until we could conceivably never have to turn on the lights? That would be an interesting challenge: use only sunlight for light in the summer.
But I'll admit: I didn't go for the full-on lights-out dinner.
Day 4: Skip the Straw
So, this challenge is interesting. JV loves straws. He has a tendency to underhydrate (he's one of those people who just doesn't get thirsty), so generally anything that gets him to drink more I'm in favor of. But I've known for a while that plastic straws are a mess, so it's one of those times where either your health or the health of the planet is going to lose out and you've just got to make the call....right?Did you know that Americans use (and throw away) about 500 million plastic straws each day? That’s enough plastic to fill 127 school buses!Still want to sip that soda through a straw? Or maybe your kiddo needs the help? No problem. Ditch the disposables, and try a reusable glass straw instead—some companies, like Simply Straws, even offer a bendy option!If you want to make an even bigger impact, encourage local restaurants and bars to go straw-less with you. When you’re out to eat and notice a restaurant serving drinks with straws included, have a quick chat with a manager. Ask them to help support the strawless cause by bringing drinks to the table sans straw!This simple switch could keep a considerable amount of plastic from our waterways.
Maybe not anymore! This challenge alerted me to Simply Straws. I think I know what I'm going to get JV for Christmas now—and an extra wide one for myself, because smoothies just taste better through a straw.
Day 5: Skip the Stream
Did you know? You can save up to 20 gallons of water by skipping the stream each time you wash your dishes!
Looking for more ways to conserve water while washing dishes? Don’t get too generous with the dish soap. Those extra suds translate to extra water—reduce rinse time by using only the soap you need.
If you’re using a dishwasher, make sure you have a full load before hitting start, and opt for an eco-friendly detergent.We don't have a stream option on our tap, so this one is another moot point. Our detergent of choice isn't labeled as eco-friendly, but we're nearly out of dish soap anyway, so I can pick up the green version of this brand. I'm already stingy with the dish soap.
Day 6: Trash Journal
Skipped this one; we're very good about recycling and right now I don't need the pressure of BE THE PERFECT RECYCLER in my life. I saved this one for another day.
Day 7: Beware of Vampires
Did you know that dormant electricity can account for 5 to 10 percent of your home’s energy use?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, appliances use about 75 percent of their energy when they’re turned off.
Take a scan of your home and unplug the appliances you’re not using. Toasters, coffee makers, microwaves, lamps, phone chargers, game systems—the list goes on and on. And don’t forget about the office! Taking the extra effort to shut off your computer at the end of the day can help save energy.
For convenience, plug appliances into a central power strip with an on/off switch. Turning off the power strip simultaneously cuts the power to all of those electronics, keeping the energy vampires at bay.
This is good to do. I am guilty of just letting my laptop run constantly. I don't really need to
Unplugging is a tougher question. We unplug things when we go on trips, but our outlets are not all easily accessible for easy access.
But, on the plus side, we also have the option of switching our power source to wind! (Even though we're one of like 90 apartments in this building; I don't know how they can individually allocate power sources like that and I suspect it's some kind of math magic but close enough.) It comes at no extra cost to our current (ha, ha) energy bill so I don't know why we haven't done it already. Oh wait, yes I do: we both hate calling people on the phone about anything. >.<
So as of this early blog writing (on Thursday the 28th), these are all of the challenges that have been available so far.
Even though things have already started, you can still sign up for #48DaysofBlue! It doesn't have to take a lot to make a difference. :)