Earth day, and we're collecting old shoes (Sat, April 26th program)

We forgot to mention that we'll be serving tea and cookies when we show the documentry on Everest Peace Project. Also, please bring old shoes so we can recyle them!

8 Ways to Green Your Technology

Technology is a HUGE part of our daily lives. We carry around cell phones and media players, work all day on a computer and come home to watch television.

But electronic devices make up 70 percent of the toxic waste in our landfills. Here’s eight ways to make sure your need for information doesn’t compromise the environment.

1. E-cycle

Keep your electronics out of landfills at all cost. If they still work, donate them to a second-hand store for reuse. If not, use Earth 911’s recycling locator to find a place to recycle them. It could be a community event, a retail store or even a manufacturer take back program. All of these are better than your trash can.

2. Provide a Second Life for Electronics

Recycling electronics is important, but only if they no longer work. Consider options that will reuse this technology again and keep it out of the waste stream.

  • Trade in video games and movies for credit at stores that sell these items
  • Donate your televisions and computer monitors to Goodwill; you can find second-hand store locations using Earth 911’s recycling locator
  • Offer your old cell phone to a service provider so it can be refurbished

3. Reach for the Energy Stars

Electronics use up a lot of energy. ENERGY STAR products can cut energy use by 50 percent. If you’re shopping for new electronics, check for an ENERGY STAR label. This covers computers and monitors, televisions and even battery chargers.

Some other energy-related notes for when you’re purchasing:

  • Notebook computers use less energy than desktops
  • LCD TVs use less energy than plasma TVs

4. Use Rechargeable Batteries

You already charge batteries for cell phones and laptops. So why are you buying disposable AA and AAA batteries for other products? Rechargeable batteries last up to three years longer, and are accepted by more recyclers than other batteries.

5. Power Down Inactive Electronics

Why keep your TV on when no one is in the room? Booting up a computer may take a few minutes, but at the very least turn off the monitor when it’s not used. Also, unplug chargers that aren’t in use. They still use energy even if they aren’t charging anything.

6. Lay Off the Heavy Metal

Deep inside our electronic devices lie potentially hazardous materials like lead and mercury. These metals are not only a health hazard to you, but make proper disposal of electronics a necessity for the environment. Manufacturers are beginning to respond to this by producing devices with less/no hazardous materials, so look for these in the future.

7. Be Responsible With Packaging

Electronics are fragile, so they come with lots of packaging. Whether it’s cardboard boxes, Styrofoam or plastic bags, all this material should be recycled. Cardboard can be recycled with your paper, and all plastic should have a number on it (e.g. Styrofoam is #6) used for recycling. Use Earth 911’s recycling locator to find out where you can recycle all your packaging.

8. Spring for the Warranty

Warranties allow for your electronics to be fixed instead of replaced, meaning they stay out of the waste stream. They also encourage you to keep products for longer, which is better for the environment.

If you are looking for new electronics, consider an upgrade instead of a new purchase.

  • Use the same case for your computer, with a new motherboard and more RAM
  • Get a digital converter to modernize the picture of your analog TV


Reinterpreting Tea Leaves (in Darjeeling and Assam)

Do you know where your favorite cup of tea comes from? You might imagine rolling hills, exotic climes and colorfully dressed people plucking leaves from well-manicured tea bushes. But that's just partof the picture.

In two of India's most famous tea regions, Darjeeling and Assam, most workers toil long hours for less than $1.50 a day. Houses are overcrowded, sanitation is rudimentary and illiteracy rates hover around 70 percent. What's more, tea workers are hesitant to speak upbecause they fear losing their jobs -- and, since the tea estates own everything within their fences, their homes as well.

Mercy Corps is working to improve life for tea-estate families. We'repartnering with local organizations and estate managers to offer more economic opportunities, better health care and education -- and to empower families to advocate for their own rights.

I traveled with photographer Thatcher Cook to visit some of these families. I invite you to meet those we serve and take a new look at the tea lands.

Roger Burks, Senior Web Writer


Charity event for late Sir Ed and Maya's education fund

The flyer's got all the details. We'll have Lance give a quick talk about his motivation to direct this film and his decision to commit to Maya's education funds!

When: 3 pm, Saturday - April 26, 2008
Where: Tibetan Community Center
6225 NE Stanton St.
(between 63rd & Sandy Blvd.)
Portland, OR 97213
Cost: $5 and tickets at door.


College in the USA?? here's help...

You've Got to Know How!

You have big plans. Big dreams. You know college is where to start. But a dream is not enough. College doesn’t just happen; you have to work to make it a reality.

You know why to go to college; we're here to tell you how. There are specific steps you need to take and this site can help you along the way. Remember, it's never too early-or too late-to start on the road to college.