Monday, people across the globe were doing good deeds to help our planet and celebrate nature. Here at Vermont Woods Studios, every day is spent helping our planet (we are the top retailer for locally sourced, sustainably produced furniture, after all) so we took some time out of the day to donate blood at the Vermont Advent Christian Home.
While Peggy has donated before, this would be my first blood donation experience. Being a first time donor, I was a little bit nervous going into it. I had always wanted to donate before, but I am kind of a wimp when it comes to pain so I have always talked myself out of it. But after the events during the Boston Marathon last week, a city near and dear to my heart, I knew that this was a fear I had to get over.
Looking back now, I have to say I kind of enjoyed it! We decided to walk over, since it was only a five minute walk from the office. After a little bit of paperwork and a quick check-up, I was in the chair, ready to donate. The volunteers and American Red Cross workers were very helpful and talked me through every step of the process and answered all of my questions, which helped to ease my mind. The actual donation only took about 10 minutes and it was not as painful as I was expecting it to be. My other fear was fainting after I gave blood (I’ve never fainted before, but there’s a first time for everything!). But after drinking some juice and enjoying some homemade baked goods, I felt fine and was ready to head back to work. For anyone nervous about signing up for their first time blood donation, you have nothing to worry about! It was easy, fun and you’ll feel great about making a difference!
It is a great feeling being able to help those in need. At Vermont Woods Studios, part of our mission is to be an active part of our community and participate in local service projects. I am so lucky to work for a company that is willing to support the causes that not only matter to our mission, but ones that matter to me as an employee. When I brought up to Peggy that I was interested in the blood drive, she, Kendall and Liz all signed up with me. Now who wouldn’t want to buy furniture from people like that?
Greetings from Southern Vermont on Earth Day! We hope you’re celebrating — perhaps with some local organic food or by joining a community gardening project or cleaning up the roadside or whatever. Last year at Vermont Woods Studios we launched the Green Up Your Workplace Challenge where we used Facebook, our blog and some other physical and virtual venues to promote sustainability at work.
This year we’re swamped with our Stonehurst Fine Furniture Showroom project and haven’t had a chance to launch a 2013 Earth Day campaign. But in lieu of that, I can report that we’ve been very careful to use local lumber and building materials for Stonehurst and we’ve re-used, re-purposed and recycled as much of the original design and structure whenever possible. Stonehurst will truly be a green workplace.
We do have a couple modest Earth Day activities on tap today. We’ll be installing the bluebird nesting boxes we made last month out of a Norway Spruce tree that had to be taken down from Stonehurst in the Fall (because it was leaning on the top of the building). And we’ll be indulging in some local fare for lunch today… maybe from The Blue Moose Cafe or The Works in downtown Brattleboro. If you’re in the Southern Vermont area you know we’re lucky to have many fine farm to plate local eateries to choose from on Earth Day and every day. Maybe we’ll see you at one of them. Bon appetite and Happy Earth Day!
I did this a few times last week at Vermont Woods Studios and the results varied. I found that everyone who made lunch at home and brought it in to work, used re-usable containers. But on average, my co-workers order take-out about 1/week and that gets delivered in styrofoam containers.
So how do you think we're doing? How do we measure up with your co-workers? And does it really matter anyway?
I found some interesting food for thought on this topic: disposable lunches generate 67 pounds of waste per year/per person and that's for school kids (according to wastefreelunches.org). Since adults eat more and work more days, I'd guess you could probably double that for us.
So for Earth Day, how about persuading your co-workers to ditch the disposable, single-serve, gut-wads they're picking up at Seven Eleven and start packing re-usable lunch containers instead? Here are some ideas on what to pack, how to pack it and why it's good for the planet and your health!
Earth Day is just one week away, on Sunday Aprill 22, 2012. At Vermont Woods Studios we're encouraging our customers, craftspeople, vendors and friends to Green-up their Workplaces by instituting earth-friendly office policies like going paperless, recycling, using compact fluorescent lightbulbs, buying Energy Star rated equipment and so on.
You can celebrate Earth Day by virtually attending our Green-up Your Workplace Challenge on Facebook. It's just a click of your mouse and we'll plant a tree for each person who "attends" the event.
So here's today's Earth-friendly tip: get your office "green certified". It's easy- nothing too official but I think it's worth doing, if just for the insight you'll get as you think through your answers to the certification questions.
The process was developed by GreenLine Paper Company. There are 24 questions on your office energy use, building construction, office supplies, waste reduction/recycling and transportation, which will determine your score. It only takes 5 minutes to complete and it's a great (and Free) way to show the world that you are making an effort to be sustainable and environmentally conscientious. Check it out and let us know how you score!
OK, I know (if you don't work at Vermont Woods Studios) people don't count down to Earth Day like they do for say… Christmas, so I'll just go ahead and remind you that Earth Day is less than 2 weeks away. It's on April 22 this year.
Did you know that?
After 40 years of Earth Days coming and going, are you beginning to wonder if it really means anything anymore? If any real positive change ever comes out of Earth Day? Well, here's you chance to pitch in and make the world a little greener, better place on Earth Day 2012.
The first thing you can do (very EASY) is make just 2 clicks and join our Green-up Your Workplace Challenge on Facebook. This is a virtual event we've set up so we can share ideas with you about how to help make your workplace greener.
Next, check out The Nature Conservancy's Picnic for the Planet. All over the world, TNC is sponsoring picnics to celebrate delicious, local, organically grown food. For example, in Vermont we're having a picnic in Burlington's City Hall Park where local chefs, restaurants and farmers will come and whip up their ideas of the perfect Vermont springtime picnic. We'll have live music, exhibits and activities too.
Last year, there were more than 600 picnics in 61 countries on Earth Day. This year TNC is trying to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest picnic event in a 24-hour time frame. You can help! Host a picnic in your workplace. Then tell us about it on Facebook and keep Earth Day alive and going strong!
Here's Manjula, Shannon and Douglas at our last Vermont Woods Studios staff meeting. I'm happy to note they all have re-usable water bottles in hand (although they're all making fun of me for taking a picture of it).
Anyway, as part of our Earth Day Green Up Your Workplace Challenge, we're trying to persuade you to bring a re-usable water bottle to work instead of buying drinks at the vending machine.
Here's a couple reasons why:
- This year more than 25 billion disposable, single use plastic water bottles will be sold in the United States alone (that's 2 million every 5 minutes!) and more than 80 percent of those will end up being disposed of rather than being recycled
- Over 1.5 million barrels of oil were used to make thees plastic bottles-–and that doesn’t include the petroleum used to transport them. That’s enough petroleum to power 100,000 automobiles for a year! (Dave Chameides discusses these and more reasons to give up reusable bottles at Care2.com)
So even though we can transform disposable, single-use plastic bottles into beautiful Polywood outdoor furniture like the recycled plastic Adirondack chairs we're sitting in here, there are still 22 billion bottles that end up in landfills or polluting our oceans every year. Check out this video on ocean plastic pollution to learn more. Then be sure to attend (virtually, of course– it only takes a mouse click) our Green-Up Your Workplace Challenge on Facebook and see if you can persuade your co-workers to give up disposable plastic bottle for good!
As part of our Green Up Your Workplace Challenge, we're scouting around for fun things you can do at work to get your co-workers involved with Earth Day.
How about setting up an Earth Day vegetarian party like this one by Kristine Shin Designs?
OK, I'll admit we're probably not going to make anything that extravagant happen in our small office at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture but maybe if you work with a large group, you could do it? Then you could post pictures of your veggie feast on our Green Up Your Workplace Facebook event )
I am ashamed to say that my home office decor is deplorable. You can see it in this video taken last year when I had 6 other people working in it with me.
I started looking for ideas at HGTV and was delighted to find they are showcasing over 125 home office design ideas submitted by homeowners and interior designers.
They've got modern home offices, eclectic home offices, traditional home offices, contemporary home offices, arts and crafts home offices, cottage home offices, tropical home offices, English country home offices, transitional home offices, mid-century modern and even Mediterranean home offices.
I hope they add a green home office project with all natural, all American made wooden office furniture: desks, file cabinets, credenza, occasional tables and chairs (maybe even using reclaimed, recycled barnwood). Then add in organic cotton rugs, draperies and upholstery, energy efficient electronics, light bulbs, light fixtures and maybe even FSC certified wood flooring. That would be a good project to post on Earth Day, HGTV. Just a suggestion.
If you had to give your workplace a grade for "greenliness" what would it be? Most people I've talked to say they at least have recycling containers at work. For paper that is. Not many have recycling for cans or plastic though. Not many have consistently emphasized programs for energy efficiency either (with a focus on turning computers and equipment off at night, turning lights out when not in use, replacing old incandescent bulbs with high-efficiency ones, etc.)
Come on now. It's 2012. We've had 42 Earth Days come and go since the first one in 1970. What seems to be the problem? Don't settle for a "D" on your report card.
At Vermont Woods Studios we're trying to help make this year's Earth Day (April 22, 2012) a little more successful in the workplace. Manjula and Dennis cooked up a "Green Up Your Workplace Challenge". It's a virtual Facebook event and we're asking you to attend. You can do so by liking us on our Facebook and then attending the "Green Up Your Workplace" event (a Facebook page where we'll post photos, links, stories, tips and advice for how to get an A in 'greenliness" for your workplace).
Give it a try! Our goal is to get 400 people to attend the "Green Up Your Workplace Challenge" between now and Earth Day and we're going to plant a tree for each person who attends. How about giving us a hand?
Earth Day is just around the corner, on April 22. This year is a Big Milestone: the 40th anniversary of Earth Day so I thought you might want to do something special to honor Mother Nature. How about planting a tree?
As makers of wood furniture, we at Vermont Woods Studios are all about tree planting and hugging and such. I love this website, called Trees Are Good. It's run by the International Society of Arboriculture in Champaign, IL. In addition to extolling the many environmental benefits of trees (like moderating climate, improving air quality, conserving water, and harboring wildlife) they also point out virtues like beauty, serenity and tranquility:
"We feel serene, peaceful and restful in a grove of trees. Hospital patients have been shown to recover from surgery more quickly when their room offers a view of trees."
Amazing isn't it?
Trees Are Good has lots of advice on how to plant a tree, what kind of trees to select, care for trees, pruning, feeding, mulching, pest control and much more. Check it out!
Next Thursday, a week from today I hope you'll consider planting a tree in your yard or perhaps in someone else's yard as a gift. Maybe you have someone you'd like to honor or remember with your new tree. Trees make a beautiful and enduring memorial.
Happy Earth Day.