Secondhand Goods, Secondhand Art
Feb 26, 2020 by Julia L F Goldstein
When I had diseased birch trees cut down in my backyard a couple of years ago, I saved some of the wood. One of the pieces, in particular, captivated me. It’s shaped like the number nine and would make a great top for a small table or footstool. I’ve gone so far as roughly sanding it. But it still lies in my garage not fulfilling its promise as a conversation-starting piece of furniture.
Jan 20, 2020 by Julia L F Goldstein
My neighborhood got seven inches of snow over two days this month, which is a lot for Seattle. Schools close, events get canceled, and garbage and recycling pickup doesn’t come. As I walk down the street, I can’t help but take a photo of my neighbor’s bins covered in snow.
When Electronics Die Before Their Time
Dec 31, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
Our TV stopped working suddenly. One evening we were watching a show with no problem and the next day it refused to turn on. I tried the usual fixes: turn it off and then on again, make sure there is power to the wall outlet, check the batteries in the remote. None of that helped. The TV was getting power, but we had no picture or sound.
Enjoy the Feast, Temper the Consumption
Nov 27, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
If you are one of my American readers, I expect that tomorrow you will join family or friends for a feast, sitting down to a table laden with at least twice as much food as all of you can eat in one meal. Whether you are going traditional or getting creative with your menu, there will be plenty of food to enjoy.
Three Takes on Materials and Sustainability
Nov 01, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
In October, I had the opportunity to speak to three very different audiences: 1) semiconductor packaging industry executives and engineers; 2) members of a synagogue who are part of the congregation's "green team"; 3) university students enrolled in an environmental health seminar.
The Climate Strikes and Travel
Sep 22, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
I didn’t join the millions participating in the climate strikes on October 20. But that isn’t because I don’t think that addressing climate change is crucial for the future of society.
Summer in Walla Walla
Sep 16, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
LEED Certification is an admirable goal in designing a new building. Certified buildings are energy-efficient, incorporate water-saving features, and meet a vast array of requirements. But LEED is also supposed to consider the comfort of those who are going to live and work in the building.
Travel and the Environment
Jul 29, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
I recently sent an email to my subscriber list in which I asked their opinion about whether I should drive my 2016 Nissan Leaf to the Sleeping Lady resort in Leavenworth, WA, which is located 105 miles from my house. Several people replied and said to go for it, so I did, even though my husband was worried and thought we should take his gas-powered car instead.
Glass, Plastic, or Aluminum?
Jul 07, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
Spotted on the road: a Coca-Cola truck emblazoned with an image of the product in a glass bottle and these words: “Enjoy the Coke, recycle the bottle.” But what happens to these bottles when someone turns them in?
Sharing the Stage
Jun 28, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
When I returned home from Indie Author Night last night, my husband said, “They should have broken in into two nights like the debates.” He had a point. I was one of 22 authors at the event. Dan, co-owner of Brick and Mortar Books, introduced each author, who then had two minutes to pitch their book.
Plastic Packaging and Dental Floss
Jun 20, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
I bought vegan dental floss recently. Don’t laugh, that’s what it says on the package. You might be thinking that dental floss doesn’t usually have animal products in it, so what’s the deal with vegan floss? Here’s the story.
What's in Your Backpack?
May 17, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
It’s Thursday morning and I’m on the bus heading to a business meeting. I’m making good on the promise I made to take public transit more frequently, something I best appreciate when I can avoid the hassle of traffic and parking near downtown Seattle. Also, I can’t write a blog post while driving. My backpack is stuffed with everything I’ll need for a busy day traveling around Puget Sound by bus, ferry, and on foot.
Wash Before Wearing
May 05, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
You probably own clothing with a tag that reads, “wash before wearing.” There’s a good reason for this. In some cases, the dyes in clothing need to be washed away sufficiently that your jeans won’t stain your skin. In other cases, the fabric is coated with a finish that wicks moisture, repels water, or makes the clothing last longer. Unfortunately, many finishes cause irritation or allergic reactions or, even more worrisome, contain toxic chemicals linked to serious health problems.
How Apple-Flavored Water Helps Fight Food Waste
Apr 24, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
In January I published a blog post where I committed to two goals, one of which was to write four posts about food waste. What better day to fulfill this than Stop Food Waste Day, April 24? Jill Lightner’s book Scraps, Peels, and Stems: Recipes and Tips for Rethinking Food Waste at Home is filled with useful ideas. Many of these are things I already do, but the book also includes ideas I hadn't considered.
Hawaii: Land of Lava and Bioplastic Cups
Apr 10, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
I recently returned from a week in Hawaii, where I traveled to the Big Island to compete in the Lavaman Olympic distance triathlon. I posted a race report on Facebook, but that's not what I want to discuss. I want to talk about Hawaii's approach to environmentally friendly products and packaging.
Surfing, E-waste, and the 2020 Olympics
Mar 04, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
Did you know that the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo are going to feature surfing as one of the sports? I learned this fact by talking with another member of The Riveter, the co-working space where I have a desk. He recently moved into the space and had heard that I write website content, so he wanted to chat. One of the things I love about co-working is the opportunity to engage in intelligent conversations during a brief break from writing. Many writers are introverts, but I get my energy from interacting with people, so co-working is a great fit.
Five Takeaways From the San Francisco Writers Conference
Feb 19, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
I’ve spent the last few days holed up at the Hyatt Embarcadero Center immersing myself into the world of writing, publishing, and book marketing. I've learned that I need to change my name, step up book distribution, reconsider quiz marketing, take a copy of my book with me everywhere, and freely approach experts in the publishing industry when I have a question.
SMART, Sustainable Goals for 2019
Dec 27, 2018 by Julia L F Goldstein
As 2018 winds down, you may be thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Personally, I don’t believe in them. As I said in a talk that I gave at a Toastmasters meeting in January 2018, I prefer to commit to SMART goals: goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. It should not surprise those who know me that I always need to be striving toward at least one goal and that my personal goals tend to involve writing or fitness.
When I think beyond myself, my focus tends to be on environmental sustainability. With that in mind, here’s my take on a recent blog post from Earth911 that included a quiz on the impact of potential goals or resolutions.
Silicon or Silicone? One Letter Makes All the Difference
Nov 11, 2018 by Julia L F Goldstein
It amazes me that many educated people do not know the difference between silicon and silicone. I received an email that described a new type of windshield wiper blade supposedly made from silicon. I knew that couldn’t be right. The very idea made me think of fingernails on a chalkboard!
What's in a Name?
Sep 09, 2018 by Julia L F Goldstein
Do you know what ASBC stands for? If you answered American Society of Brewing Chemists, you’re right. That organization appears in eight of the ten first-page Google search results for “ASBC.” The chemists, or the folks they hired to design their website, seem to be on top of search engine optimization. The other two organizations that show up are the American Sustainable Business Council (#5) and the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Virginia (#8).