Beyond Pretty Lights

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“Chemical compounds probably aren’t what come to mind when you think about fireworks. What comes to mind when you see fireworks? Do you think of the loud noises they make? Or do you think about the stench they leave behind following the grand finale of the display? While fireworks have become a huge tradition on the 4th of July, the chemicals that are used to make them have been found highly detrimental to the environment.

Bright flashes of colors such as red, white, blue, yellow, green, and violet light up the sky— results of the combustion of flash powder oxidizer potassium perchlorate and various nitrates. Strontium nitrate is responsible for red fireworks, barium nitrate for green, and copper chloride for blue.”

To read the full story, click here.

By Kimberly Dallmann, GMC Writer

The Type of Desert You Don’t Want

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In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared June 17th a global observance of desertification, shedding light onto the persistent dehydration of dry land ecosystems.

Desertification is the process in which fertile land becomes desert due to prolonged drought, deforestation or inappropriate agriculture. Desertification actively threatens the most vulnerable populations. In Africa, desertification is prevalent, causing an unsustainable use of local, scarce resources.

Mismanaged land can lead to a myriad of unfortunate outcomes. Improperly managing land can cause the soil to become infertile, decreasing the opportunity to grow food, which leads to food scarcity.

The UN suggests ways to prevent desertification. Reforestation, tree regeneration, and water management are among the best ways to prevent further land degradation. The UN also recommends soil enrichment by hyper-fertilizing soil through planting.

Communities are encouraged to come together to combat desertification. To learn more, visit the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) website.

By Kimberly Dallmann, GMC Writer

Conserving Water When Prepping Thanksgiving Dinner

Photo Courtesy Of: plainvillefarms.com

Photo Courtesy Of: plainvillefarms.com

When you think of Thanksgiving dinner, what comes to mind? A big turkey or ham as the main course? Accent dishes such as stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and deviled eggs? Do you ponder what you’re thankful for at this moment in your life?

However you picture your Thanksgiving dinner and how you plan to celebrate it, one thing can be certain: there are a lot of ways to waste water while preparing your meal. Water conservation is important in everyday meal prep, however, it is especially important when preparing large meals. Here are a few tips on how you can prevent wasting water by doing things a little bit different:

Tips for:

Preparing dinner:

  • Defrost your main course in the fridge rather than using the cold water soak method. Make sure to consult the packaging to determine how long you will need to defrost before it is ready to be prepared and cooked
  • When making mashed potatoes, use the twice-baked method instead of boiling them to ensure that they are soft enough to mash
  • When preparing your food you might need to wash your hands in between dishes such as turkey and mashed potatoes. When washing your hands, eliminate water waste by turning off water in between lathering hands and rinsing them

Beverages:

  • Instead of automatically serving each person their own glass of water, only serve water to those who ask. This prevents water waste in case guests don’t want their water or don’t finish it. This also means one less dirty glass to wash

Washing dishes:

  • When hand-washing dishes, don’t fill up the sink basin with water. Instead, get your sponge or cloth sudsy and scrub your dishes one by one and set them aside. When all dishes have been scrubbed, begin to rinse one by one

          Thanksgiving is a very special holiday for many reasons and it’s a great day to spend with family and loved ones. Celebrate joyously, but celebrate sustainably!

Can you think of any other ways to conserve water when preparing meals? Comment below, we’d love to hear feedback!

For more information on the current state of the drought and water conservation, visit the blog of NRDC’s Tracy Quinn here!

By Kimberly Dallmann, GMC Writer