Green Tip of the Month


    June 2021 Issue

  • a poster with minimalist illustrations of a sunny beach

    World Ocean Day, June 8

    Plastic waste in the ocean is dangerous to marine life and can break into microplastics.   Save Our Shores has a campaign to minimize pollution from six pollutants: beverage containers, toiletry bottles, microfiber, contact lenses, balloons, and coffee pods. You can donate to their cause, or find other ways to support their campaign. 

    But plastic waste isn’t the only thing threatening the ocean. For example, by conserving water, you can help prevent excess runoff and wastewater from flowing into the ocean. Check out these 10 simple things you can do at home or around town to help our oceans. 


  • May 2021 Issue

  • minimalist logo that reads "World Fair Trade Day, May 8th"

    May 8th is World Fair Trade Day, a worldwide celebration of fair trade’s contribution to the fight against poverty, exploitation, and climate change. 

    This year, UC Santa Cruz passed a fair trade resolution that reflects its commitment to join the efforts of the Fair Trade Colleges & Universities, a division of Fair Trade Campaigns! Help keep the momentum by getting involved with campaigns on campus or in the Santa Cruz community. Not in Santa Cruz? Find a campaign near you!

    Are you planning to celebrate Mother’s Day by buying a gift? Check using this search tool from the Fair Trade Federation to search over 200 verified fair trade businesses. You can even look for online businesses!


  • April 2021

  • yellow and green background with text that reads, "Happy Earth Day! Sustainable Gardening tips"

    April 14th is National Gardening Day. Gardening can be a great way to get outside and produce food for you and your family, so here are some tips to help you do it a little more sustainably!

    Reducing water use is especially important during times when water is scarce or restricted, and it’s a great way to save money. Try to water during the morning or evening (when temperatures are cooler) to limit evaporation. You can also consider planting drought tolerant plants.

    Seed libraries can help to preserve the genetic heritage of food. Consider getting involved with UCSC’s Demeter Seed Library, which supplies information about urban gardening and freely distributes seeds. For those of you outside of Santa Cruz, you can check out this directory to find a seed library near you.


  • Winter 2021 Issue

  • a green background with yellow confetti. onscreen text reads, "spring is here!"

    For all the basketball fans out there, March Madness is coming up soon! Here’s a few tips on how to make your watch party a little more sustainable. 

    Know how to dispose of your takeout containers. Ordering pizza? Make sure you don’t recycle that greasy box when it’s done; throw it in with your trash.That Styrofoam container from the wings? That’s not recyclable either. Plastic take out containers? Make sure they’re clean before you recycle them! Check out Santa Cruz’s “What goes where” guide to help you avoid recycling contamination. 

    Better yet, try cutting down on single use containers with reusable plates, cups, and silverware. If that’s not an option, think about using compostable dinnerware. You also might consider trying to make one of these healthy snack recipes, like roasted buffalo chickpeas, black bean chili, or sriracha cauliflower bites.


  • February 2021 Issue

  • a pink background with white hearts. text reads, "the 14th of February, Happy Valentine

    Sustainable Valentine’s Day

    There is going to be an abundance of chocolate and candy hitting the shelves this month. If chocolate is a must-have, try buying organic or fair trade chocolate. Click here for a delicious vegan truffle recipe that you can make with your chocolate. 

    Nothing says “you’re my Valentine” like a flower bouquet. Consider going to a farmers’ market, or another way to get in-season flowers from a local grower. Check your local county’s regulations to see if you can put flowers in green waste or compost to help keep them out of landfill trash once they wilt. 


  • December 2020 Issue

  • blue background and text that says Happy Holidays

    This holiday season, remember to follow COVID safety guidelines. Check these guidelines to help you stay safe. 


    Being a conscious consumer and buying gifts locally is a great way to support your local economy and reduce emissions. If you do end up buying a gift online, try looking for a brand with a third party verification of their positive impact, like 1% For the Planet and Be Climate Neutral.  


    Coral reefs are crucial to marine life and producing oxygen. Sadly, these reefs are under threat from ocean acidification and bleaching. Consider adopting a coral reef for a loved one this winter to help protect these vulnerable ecosystems. 


    Americans spend about $3 billion each year on wrapping paper. That’s a lot of money for something that will get immediately torn up and thrown away! Consider ditching wrapping paper. You’ll spare yourself the trouble of cleaning it up, and you’ll also help keep paper out of landfills. You can also check out these sustainable wrapping paper ideas.


  • November 2020 Issue

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    Sustainable Thanksgiving tips

    Remember to follow COVID distancing guidelines and avoid large group gatherings; try calling or video-chatting your family members instead of meeting up. Check these guidelines from the CDC to assess the risk level of different activities to help you plan a safe Thanksgiving. 

    Consider buying foods that are local and in-season to use for your meals. Create a detailed list of items you want to buy from the store beforehand. This can help to limit the gas needed for multiple car trips to and from the store, avoid unnecessary exposure to other households to limit the risk of COVID transmission, and prevent you from overbuying food that you would have to throw away.

    To avoid producing unnecessary trash, try reusable dining ware instead of disposable. You can also look at these tips to learn more about ways to reduce food waste.

  • October 2020 Issue

  • onscreen text that reads, "Happy Halloween!" on an orange and black background

    Sustainable Halloween tips

    Make sure to follow COVID physical distancing guidelines. You can hold a virtual movie watching party. Dress up, video chat with other friends who dressed up, and watch a scary movie together while on the chat.

    Instead of decorating with non-recyclable plastics, get crafty and make decorations with reused items from your own home. You can upcycle soup cans to make spooky lantern, or make these mason jar lid pumpkins.

    If you get a pumpkin, consider purchasing one that was locally grown. If you make a jack-o-lantern, you can save the seeds and roast them, and keep the insides to make one of these pumpkin recipes.You can also check out these tips on ways to reuse a pumpkin, in honor of National Reuse Day.


  • June 2020 Issue

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    There are lots of ways to enjoy quality time together without purchasing gifts, like cooking your dad’s favorite meal. Try one of these plant based recipes, which result in lower emissions and water use on average than meat products. You can also enjoy family time over Skype or Zoom.

    Shelter-in-place is a great time for DIY projects. You can make something like soaps or cleaning products.Try using those old things in your house to repurpose into a great gift for your dad that is eco-friendly and useful. 

    Plastic packaging is made from fossil fuels and only about 10% of all plastic is recycled. If you do decide to buy something, look for items from places like Package Free Shop, that don’t use plastic packaging in their products. You can also consider supporting your favorite local business and buying a gift from there.


  • May 2020 Issue

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    How to make your quarantine a little more sustainable!

    Use old clothes to make a fabric mask.  Based on the new CDC guidelines, it is recommended to wear a fabric face mask when in public. By using old clothes or linens, you reduce the need for new materials and/or the emissions needed to ship masks. You can learn more about how to make them and the new guidelines here.

    Tell Amazon you want less packaging.  While we always recommend reusing or shopping local, unprecedented times may be leaving you with more smiley-faced packages than normal. You can request to reduce the amount of packaging in your delivery by emailing customer service. Follow this link to learn how.

    Start a quarantine garden.  In these strange times, many of us have extra time on our hands. It can feel stifling to always be indoors. A great way to get outdoors, stay productive, and maybe even get some free groceries is to start a garden. Learn some more tips and tricks here.


  • April 2020 Issue

  • Artistic Writing of the word 'april'

    Here are some tips to make the best of this April!

    Worried about finding paper towels?  Ditch them all together!  Use hand towels and rags to keep things clean and dry.

    While others are grabbing all the packaged meals, reach for the fresh fruits and veggies!  They are more plentiful in the stores, often come in less packaging, and will keep you healthy in trying times.  If you’re trying to avoid going to stores frequently, most fruits and veggies can be chopped up and frozen to last much longer.

    Instead of rushing the stores, take the time to plant a veggie garden! Gardening will provide a fun, relaxing activity during the shelter-in-place, and also yield some nutritious snacks. It’s a win win! Learn more about gardening here: Grow your own veggies? Orin Martin offers tips for novice gardeners

    Left Over Recipes
    To avoid food waste, trips to the store, and help you cook with what you have left in the fridge and pantry, use this very helpful online tool, that will give you a recipe based on ingredients you have left.

    Social distancing can sometimes feel stifling.  No better way to stay healthy, protect others, and appreciate the Earth than going for a hike or walk around the block.  Get outside! Just make sure to keep your distance from others.

    Try Composting. Hard Core Compost, a Santa Cruz local business, is now offering compost self drop off at the Homeless Garden Project. This service is open to everyone, and is a great way to reduce waste to landfills while working from home! Drop off times are from 12pm -4pm, and you can learn more about it here. They also have a GoFundMe page to supplement lost wages, which you can donate to if you wish.

    While times are hard and things can seem really bleak, it is important to take this time as an opportunity to reflect on our impact on the world.  This is a good time to return to the basics, strengthen community, and spend solitary time in nature.  


  • March 2020 Issue

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    Forget spring cleaning, try out spring greening!

    When clearing out that junk drawer, make sure to take all old electronics (cell phones, tablets, etc.) that are no longer usable, old appliances, and used batteries to an e-waste drop off.  You can drop off your e-waste items at the UCSC H Barn without an appointment on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 12:00PM and 3:00PM.  Or take your items to Grey Bears at 2710 Chanticleer Ave, Santa Cruz to be repurposed or recycled.


    Skip the chemicals when cleaning your house.  Traditional store-bought cleaning products can be expensive and harmful to both the environment and your health.  Follow this simple recipe for an all-purpose spray cleaner. Combine and store in a reusable/old spray bottle 2 cups water 1/4 cup white vinegar; 1/4 tsp. tea tree oil; 1/4 tsp. lavender oil.  Thank you to Earth911 for this recipe!


    No better time than the warmth of spring to try out cycling to school or work!  Not only will this give you fresh air and killer calves, but it will reduce your carbon footprint and air pollution


    Make a pledge to learn more about your local ecosystem while it’s in bloom!  Start a small garden with native plants, buy in season fruits and veggies, or go to a workshop at the UCSC CASFS Farm or Arboretum.


  • February 2020 Issue

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    Don’t make Valentine’s day just about chocolates and flowers, show some love for the environment too!

    Skip the balloons.  Balloons that accidentally get set free often end up in our oceans and hurt wildlife.  Reduce excess waste and stick to thoughtful gifts and romantic gestures.

    Give a live plant instead of cut flowers.  Store-bought bouquets often use flowers that are sourced from other countries and, therefore, use lots of fossil fuels to get to us.  Giving your loved one a locally grown potted plant is not only eco-friendly, but can be a fun new hobby. A gift that keeps giving!

    Make baked goods.  Baked goods and chocolates often come in lots of unnecessary packaging.  Making homemade gifts and baked goods gives you the power to reduce waste as much as possible and shows the people you love that you’ll go the extra mile for them.  

    Skip the steak. Steak is a staple in the “fancy food” world.  Yet, the production of beef has a huge carbon footprint (6.61 lbs of CO2 per 4 oz of meat).  Instead opt for fish, white meat, or even better...veggies!

    Register to Vote! There’s nothing more romantic that helping guarantee your loved ones a bright future.  Get your voice heard and register to vote by February 18th for the upcoming election. 


  • December 2019 Issue

  • happy holidays image

     5 Ways to Have an Eco Friendly Holiday

    DIY your own wrapping paper: You can reuse wrapping paper (they can be used many times over), or use newspaper, comic books, magazines, cloth, even old t-shirts instead. Or, alternatively, do not use wrapping all together, which will be even more sustainable! 

    Use locally grown food on your holiday meals: This will not only help local markets and farmers, but you will know where your food comes from. Much healthier and sustainable. In addition, you can eliminate meats for a change (if that is new to you)! 

    Need new holiday lights? Try LED: If you’re in the market for a new set of Holidays lights, opt for energy efficient LEDs. They use 90 percent less energy than older, incandescent lights. And while they might be pricey, they’ll save you money in the long run. They also last longer than regular holiday lights. 

    Turn off your holiday lights when you're not using them: Holiday lights look better at night, so try to turn them on only when dark, and remember to turn them off when you go to sleep. This will help you save money on your electricity bill and help the planet at the same time. 

    Make your own decorations! You can make your own decorations with pinecones and leaves for example, that you can easily find outside. You can also make things such as chiffon flowers, popcorn steamers and even snow globes. Since many of these projects are done with nature’s gifs or found objects, you’ll be significantly reducing your carbon footprint. On top of being sustainable, home projects are a good opportunity to bond with friends and family members, and to have a great time!


  • November 2019 Issue

  • snoopy thanksgiving image

     If you celebrate Thanksgiving, have a more sustainable event!
    A few simple actions can help, here are some ideas for a great Thanksgiving:

    End wasteful practices 
    Use reusable dinnerware, glasses and napkins. Not only is it better for the environment, but who likes cutting turkey with a plastic knife and hoping the gravy won’t soak through the paper plate? 

    Purchase local and organic food when possible
    There are significant benefits of using local and organic foods, and free range and naturally fed animals taste better. While a lot of these choices may seem cost-prohibitive, buying even one or two items locally and/or organically grown can make a difference. 

    Eat mindfully
    Thanksgiving is traditionally a day for eating to excess, but if you take a few moments to enjoy your food and eat with a purpose, you’ll most likely find that you’ve eaten less than you normally do. 

    Eat less meat
    The meat industry is the number one source of methane gas, which is a major contributor to climate change. Another major environmental impact of a meat-eating diet is the depletion of natural resources. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, try adding a little less meat to your plate and filling the rest of the plate with healthy sides, such as squash, green beans or kale. 

    Get outside
    The temperature around Thanksgiving is perfect for enjoying the outdoors. Connecting with nature doesn’t have to involve hiking up a mountain, just being outside and feeling the sun on your face improves your mood and health greatly. 

    Source: Harvard University: Sustainability 

    We recognize that not everyone celebrates this very controversial holiday and we acknowledge the multiplicity of cultural views around the celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday.

    On that note, we encourage you to attend the Indigethanx event on November 22, as seen on our events page.


  • October 2019 Issue

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    Green Halloween! - Challenge yourself to creating a spooky halloween without the more terrifying environmental impact!

     

    Swap polyester spiderwebs-in-a-bag for a more friendly black yarn option or use old sheets and a marker for a truly hair-raising ghost! Or, opt for the very traditional, very environmentally friendly jack-o-lantern. View more ideas here.