Summer is here and we’d all rather be outdoors. If you wind up inside with a few (or more) minutes to spare, here are some fun ideas to help you get smarter, greener or healthier—for free!
Catch a Berkeley Class
I loved college. Even after I graduated I’d take an occasional class for entertainment—until I started my family and time didn’t stretch that far. But if formal study is not in the cards, here us a great alternative–listen to class lectures on the web. Offerings include Intro to Anthropology, Environmental Law & Policy, Philosophy of Society and many more. (Note that they have recently converted to a new website and there seem to be some issues, so try back if you have trouble.)
Take the Ecological Footprint Quiz
More complex than a carbon footprint analysis, the Ecological Footprint quiz examines a broad range of activities. The result is a 4 point analysis that includes
- Carbon footprint
- Food footprint
- Housing footprint
- Goods and services footprint
I took the quiz and did considerably better than average on 3 of the 4 categories, so I was feeling smug. Even got points for eating local! Then it told me we’d need 3.9 Earths if everyone lived like me. Back to the green drawing board—sigh. Hey, maybe Berkeley has a class that can help.
Watch a Green Youtube Video
YouTube has some fun green videos. One of my favorite producers is Anne Leonard, creator of the Story of Stuff (now also a book) and the Story of Cosmetics (see below). Both are interesting accessible and will take less time out of your day than a sitcom (waaay less than a reality show)
(And if watching this makes you uncomfortable, feel free to check out my natural bodycare store…)
Analyze the Nutrition Content of a Meal
Everyone is familiar with calorie counters; this website takes the concept one step further and gives you a nutritional analysis as well. I put my breakfast and learned that while my scrambled eggs with mushrooms, spinach & parmesan may be a bit high in fat, I got a days worth of vitamin A and about a half day of riboflavin, folate, calcium, protein and more. I may not be as green (or skinny) as I should be, but my vitamin intake kicks butt.
Did you know that milk cartons have a code that specifies where the milk came from? There is a website that gives you directions on how to find that code and a key for deciphering the place of origin. When I learned about this, I headed to our fridge, pulled out a carton and found that—living in Wisconsin, America’s Dairyland–my milk came from (drum roll…) Minnesota. That’s 350 miles away!! More support for the “eat local” movement, I guess.
Do you have a favorite internet activity related to natural living?
- “L” my Recipe is Lime Cranberry Fizz … (and I’m Going on a Picnic!)
- Tomato Basil Feta Salad