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Dallas Sierra Club

Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

Dallas Sierra Club News

July, 2009: In This Issue. . .

  • Welcome to Our New Email Newsletter
  • Sierra Club General Meeting: Green Jobs
  • Outings Highlights: Weminuche Wilderness Bus Trip, etc.
  • The Outings Corner: To Stink or Not To Stink
  • Conservation: Recycling News
  • Conservation: Water Agencies Unite
  • Conservation: Urban Environmentalism

Welcome to the Dallas Sierra Club's New Email Newsletter
Due to ever increasing printing and postage costs, the Executive Committee of the Dallas Sierra Club decided to end publication of our paper newsletter, The Compass, after the May-June issue. In its place, we will be publishing this monthly email newsletter.  We hope you enjoy it.

To get the ball rolling with this new newsletter, we pulled email address from our national database and from other Dallas Sierra Club email lists.  We sincerely apologize if we sent you this email against your wishes.  Please click the unsubscribe link at the top or bottom of this email or reply with 'unsubscribe' in the subject line and we will not bother you again.

Sierra Club General Meeting - Tuesday, July 14 at 7 pm

The Anatomy of Green Collar Jobs

Green JobsThere has been a lot of buzz lately about Green Energy, the Green Economy and Green Jobs.  Join us at our monthly General Meeting and hear about what Green Jobs might mean for us in Texas. Avarita Williams from the Texas Workforce Commission will provide an  overview on green jobs in Texas and their impact on the environment and the economy.  She will  discuss how to recognize a “green” job, how to transition to a green career, and how to maximize the WorkInTexas.com website as an employer and/or as a job seeker.  There may also be information on stimulus funds set aside for green job creation and training programs. The meeting starts at 7:00 pm, but come at 6:30 for snacks and refreshment while you visit with old friends and make new ones.  Our volunteer leaders will be available to answer all of your questions about the Sierra Club and its many activities.

Visit our website for complete information about our General Meeting, including a map.

Outings Highlights

Labor Day Bus Trip to the Weminuche Wilderness in Colorado, September 3-8
Escape the Texas heat this Labor Day weekend and join us for our trip to the cool Colorado mountains of the Weminuche Wilderness. This trip has mountains, lakes, streams, and valleys. Trips will range from car camping with day hikes to strenuous long hikes. The Weminuche Wilderness offers a great diversity and all the miles you want to hike. It is a hidden jewel and one of our most popular trips.  Here are a few pictures that will give you a hint of the wonderful scenery in the Weminuche. Complete information is available here (PDF file).  To sign up, download and print the information file, fill in the forms, and send them with your check to the address provided.

White Rock Lake Cleanup, July 11

Walk and talk while helping to pick up trash and recyclables at the Sierra Club's adopted section of White Rock Lake Park. Meet at 8:15 AM at the Love of the Lake office on the Northeast corner of Garland Rd. and Buckner Blvd. Look for a crowd of people drinking free juice and coffee. Gloves, trash bags, etc. provided. Our area includes one of the wonderful prairie restoration areas, so there are always birds and wildflowers to enjoy. Brunch afterwards. Leader: Carol Nash 214-824-0244(H)

For a complete list of our outings, visit our outings page.

The Outings Corner

To Stink or Not To Stink . . . . that is the question
by Faith Casale-Mauk

     Even in the back country you can be clean, smell clean, keep the environment clean and avoid gastrointestinal issues. Let me be clear, you won-t stink and you can avoid diarrhea. Personal hygiene is important to your health but it does pose a conflict with Leave No Trace practices. It takes some maneuvering, privacy and a bit of water to get clean in the back country, but it can be done.
     Whether you are hiking, or just hanging out at camp, you should always practice good hand washing habits each time you use the restroom (in this case the woods), particularly after a bowel movement. Other than contaminated water, contact with feces is the main culprit for the spread of germs and viruses. For a quick wash up carry pre-moistened unscented cleansing wipes and/or anti-bacterial sanitizing gel; both can be purchased at any grocery store. Another method for spot cleaning is to carry a small 6 oz squirt bottle that you can refill throughout the day. You can use this to squirt your hands after visiting the woods, or wash your face, clean out a cut and it-s great for cleaning your toothbrush when you have finished brushing. Always use treated water for anything that may come in contact with your mouth. Giardia is the last thing you want on the trail…believe me. I have first hand knowledge of this creature called Giardia Lamblia.
     When you are ready for the big clean up at the end of the day, be sure to have dry clothing to put on for bed. You may think those socks that you wore all day are dry but chances are good that they are damp…and they stink. If water is limited then you can use wipes to clean your entire body in the privacy of your tent. If water is plentiful then the most pleasant way to clean up is by taking a mini shower in the woods. Heat a liter of water hotter than you-d like then pour it back into your water container (you can add cold when you are ready). Find a secluded place in the woods where you can take off your hiking clothes. I like to strip right down so that I can pour the warm water over me. I start at the top and work my way down. Pour some water over your head and chest just enough to get you wet. Use a minimal amount of biodegradable soap to clean the top half of your body, then rinse. The use of soap is where personal hygiene and the leave no trace theory conflict. Biodegradable soap is not zero impact but it will eventually break down in the soil. Dress your top half and repeat for the bottom half of your body. Clean your feet last and really scrub them so that bacteria won-t grow where it-s moist all day. You will feel like a million bucks and you-ll smell so much nicer.
     Never wash your dishes directly in the water source. In between the usual licking of bowl and spoon, a real cleaning is recommended on occasion, especially if you are on an extended multi-night trip. When cleaning your dishes always rinse them in hot water to get all the soap off. Soap residue can cause a bad case of diarrhea. When you are boiling water for a hot drink sterilize your spoon by dipping it in the boiling water a few times.
     If you need to wash your clothes, thoroughly rinse and wring using just water - no soap. Then let them hang in the sun to dry. It is difficult to get all the soap out of clothing, even in a stream. Don-t wash your clothes directly in the water source if your clothes are contaminated with insect repellent and sunscreen.
     Toilet paper, tampons and pads should always be packed out. For women menstruating while in the backcountry here is a tip: to minimize odor crush aspirin over tampons/pads and wrap it in foil. This is particularly important in bear country. Store in zip loc bags along with your other trash and discard when you are back in civilization.
     Although water purification is not a direct hygiene issue, purifying your water correctly keeps your insides clean from parasites they can make you very sick. When using water from a stream, lake, reservoir or any other non potable water source you must either boil, filter, or use chemical purification. For the boil method, bring water to a rapid boil. Boiling will kill all microorganisms but it doesn-t help with the taste. For the filter method: choose a filter device that best suits your needs and follow the directions completely. Filtering can help with the taste but there is some work involved. Last, and my preferred method, is chemical purification; it-s easy and safe. Your choices are chlorine dioxide or iodine. Iodine is an easy two step process but the iodine can leave an undesirable taste behind and it doesn't kill everything that can make you sick. Chlorine dioxide tabs are an easy, quick, one step choice for water purification. They are mostly tasteless; however, you can smell chlorine on occasion if the water is used immediately. Follow all directions.
     I hope this helps you while you are enjoying our great outdoors. Practicing good hygiene will make it safer and more fun every time you are out in the wilderness.


Recycling News
by Rita Raccoon

Turn Phones in Loans!
     Each year over 170 million cell phones are retired from use, however, less than 20% of these are recycled, according to informinc.org. While some of the remaining 80% of cell phones are stashed away, many end up in landfills and contribute to pollution. Cell phones contain at least eight toxic elements, including arsenic, lead and mercury, and one cell phone in a landfill can pollute up to 35,000 gallons of drinking water. A University of North Texas senior has found a way to recycle the phones and make microfinance loans - founding a non-profit - Recycle to Eradicate Poverty (RTEP) to do just that!
     "There are 170 million cell phones out there, we just want 1 million. In the age of the Internet, this is possible," said founder Weinberg. This Cinderella story began at University of North Texas in March 2007 and has raised over 14,000 cell phones to date.
     RTEP challenges anyone to join its "free system for change" by simply visiting www.turnphonesintoloans.org and requesting prepaid postage bags made of 100% recycled plastic, FREE of charge. Up to five phones fit in each bag, which can be mailed from your mailbox. In doing so (beating the challenge), RTEP can save up to 350 trillion gallons of water from likely pollution and create opportunities for 100,000 people to rise out of poverty through microfinance loans.
     Recycle to Eradicate Poverty (RTEP), a grassroots movement spearheaded by young professionals and students, is daring to provoke the good in people. RTEP is an initiative of The Chiapas Project, an organization dedicated to raising funds for microfinance institutions in Latin America, declaring a One Million Cell Phone Challenge; their goal is to obtain 1 million used cell phones by New Years 2010.
     RTEP will use proceeds from recycled cell phones towards small business loans for poor women throughout Latin America.
     RTEP compliments its environmental stewardship with a desire to protect humanity with the Nobel prize-winning concept of microfinance - the process of providing small loans (US$50-$100 on average) and other services for impoverished women to establish or expand micro-businesses. Whether it's buying raw materials to create textiles or a cow to sell milk, they are able to pay back their loans and create a better life for themselves and their families with the profits earned. Typically referred to as "a hand up, not a hand out," or "teaching one to fish," microfinance yields a remarkable 97% repayment rate all around the world.

Recycling on College Campuses
     Richland College collected a total of 1,952 lbs. of plastic bottles and aluminum cans were during Dallas Cup and the Sting Girls Soccer Tournament earlier this year. That amounts to about 48 large 50-gallon bags of mixed cans and bottles. This was a joint effort between Richland, the Classic Soccer League, Dallas Cup Inc., and employees of GCA, Richland-s custodial contractor.
Colleges are doing their best to recycle and raise awareness on their campuses.
     RecycleMania is a recycling competition among colleges - 206 competed this year. My alma mater, University of St. Thomas, was the 2009 State Grand Champion!
     Richland came in 2nd and 43rd nationally out of 206 schools. During the ten-week competition, the College recycled 66.6 tons of recyclables and decreased waste (to the landfill) by 65.3 tons. Other competing Texas schools were UTD, Texas A&M, Rice University, University of Houston, Northlake College, Trinity University, University of North Texas, UTA and University of St. Thomas.

How Long Does Trash Hang Around?
Ever consider how long it takes the products we use to decompose? Greenlivingtips.com gives us an estimate of how long it takes for these common items to break down:

Glass bottle 1 million years
Monofilament fishing line 600 years
Plastic beverage bottles 450 years
Disposable diapers 50 years
Aluminum can 80- 200 years
Boot sole 50- 80 years
Styrofoam cup 50 years
Tin can 50 years
Leather 50 years
Cigarette filter 1-5 years
Newspaper 6 weeks
Orange or banana peel 2-5 weeks
Paper towel 2-4 weeks

Water Agencies Unite in Marketing Campaign
     Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) and City of Dallas Water Utilities (DWU) launched a marketing campaign to encourage water conservation to help protect the region-s future water supply. The campaign-s underlying theme is: Save water. Nothing can replace it. The goal of the radio, television, newspaper, billboard, and grass-roots campaign is to reduce outdoor watering and waste.
     As part of this campaign, Dallas-Fort Worth water customers have been receiving “messages” from their sidewalks and yards in television and radio commercials airing in North Texas. That-s just one of the creative concepts developed for the first-ever regional conservation advertising campaign so Dallas and Tarrant County water customers receive the same message about saving water this summer.
     In the past, TRWD and DWU have had individual campaigns. In 2009, however, officials agreed to regionalize their messaging to save taxpayer dollars and better communicate with the entire North Texas water consumer audiences. Also, the two water agencies pooled each entity-s resources for a bilingual conservation campaign.
     “Water conservation is much more than a Dallas issue, it-s a regional concern,” said Jody Puckett, director of Dallas Water Utilities. “We all must conserve to assure adequate water supply to accommodate future growth and increased demand. To that end, we anticipate the inclusion of other area water providers in the coming years.”
     TRWD executive director Jim Oliver underlined the importance of a regional campaign in advertising, planning, at the Legislature, and in collaborative planning among the key water agencies.
     “We have regional water shortages; droughts are not a Dallas or Fort Worth problem, and we must work together to protect all of North Texas,” said Oliver. “This first step in our advertising is both educational and provocative. We think it will get your attention. We also want to remind citizens that in these tough economic times, saving water saves money.”
     The television ad begins with ambient sound of a sprinkler system running with a homeowner in the foreground. Soon the character gets inundated with text messages, skywriting, and on mobile billboards urging him to not “over-water” his lawn. Instead, the ad concludes: Save water. Nothing can replace it.
     For more information about this campaign or for water saving tips, visit www.savetarrantwater.com or www.savedallaswater.com.

Urban Environmentalism: Sharing Sustainable Progress - July 31, Friday, 6:30 pm
As we all become more conscious of better using exhaustible resources, there is work being done and surprising formulas for success to be shared. Bill White, Mayor of Houston and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy (1993-1995), leads a panel discussion on stories of success and struggle in incorporating pragmatic green initiatives into civic resources and services. The DFW area began to shift to more sustainable growth years ago, but we can always use fresh perspectives and solutions so that our continuing population boom doesn't overwhelm us financially or environmentally. Bring your questions! Location: The Progressive Center of Texas. South Side on Lamar, 1409 S. Lamar Street, Dallas, Texas, 75215 South Side is on Lamar Street between Belleview Street and Arnold. Enter South Side from Belleview Street. The Progressive Center is located on the ground floor artists' quarters next door to the Janette Kennedy Gallery. Sign up at http://tinyurl.com/UrbanJuly31

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