Earth Docs – Helping the World Go Green!

Many of us want to “GO GREEN” but we aren’t sure how. Going green doesn’t have to be a daunting task with sweeping life changes.  The Earth Docs program has been created to make it fun and easy for everyone to become an Earth “Doctor.”

You don’t have to be an environmentalist or an adult to make a difference and protect our natural resources of water, the land and the air.  Click on the following tabs to learn how you can save the environment at work, home, school, or at play  – every day!

Pledge to adopt environmentally-friendly choices/habits, and print your Earth Doctor Certificate to recognize you and remind you of your commitment!  As you adopt more green habits, you can earn more advanced “Earth-Docs” degrees!

Green Kids Earth Doctor – 3 green choices – Earth Doctor Certificate
• Junior Earth Doctor  – 6 green choices – Earth Doctor Certificate
• Associate Earth Doctor – 10 green choices – Earth Doctor Certificate
• Advanced Earth Doctor– 15 green choices – Earth Doctor Certificate
• Expert Earth Doctor – 20  green choices – Earth Doctor Certificate

Earth Docs Tips our Hat to the Good Folks of “Uncertain” Texas:
I would like to thank Billy Carter for a fantastic educational tour of Caddo Mills Lake, launching from his lakeside Johnson’s Ranch Marina in Uncertain, Texas (that is really the name of this town of 91 residents). Billy and his neighbors are fighting to keep the lakes clean and clear of a deadly plant called the Giant Salvinia (Salvinia molesta), a floating fern from southern Brazil that is currently one of the most problematic aquatic plants in Texas. It damages aquatic ecosystems by outgrowing and replacing native plants that provide food and habitat for native animals and waterfowl. Additionally, it blocks out sunlight and decreases oxygen concentrations to the detriment of fish and other aquatic animals. When plant masses die, decomposition lowers dissolved oxygen still further. Giant Salvinia infestations often expand very rapidly. It can double in about a week under the right circumstances, as our Texas Parks and Wildlife explains it.

The good folks in Uncertain are doing everything possible to fight this dangerous plant naturally, free from any chemicals. While down there, we joined them by contributing to a local fundraiser that raises awareness and money to fight the harmful plant with the introduction of the Giant Salvinia weevil that consumes the plant entirely. Uncertain has greenhouses and land devoted to cultivating and raising the weevils, the first and largest project of its kind in the world.

If you’ve watched the “True Blood” series on cable, in the introduction credits you can see an image of the lake and a white house surrounded by moss, located only 100 yards from the marina we visited. If you have never been to Caddo Mills Lake, you’re missing out on one of the largest and most interesting lakes of its kind in the entire US of A. We wish good luck to Billy and the Caddo Lake residents as they fight to save our most precious resources and the wildlife that thrives in the area.

Tim Millson  (Founder of Earth-Docs)

Need some tips on how you can Go Green? Here are a few just for you.

Reduce It!  When you use less of something, you do a good thing for the Earth. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth – leaving it on for the 2 minutes can waste up to five gallons of water a day!

Every once and a while leave the yellow ducks a night to sleep and take a shower instead of a bath, because it uses less water.   Plus, it uses less fuel since your house uses fuel to run the water heater that warmed up the water.

Turn off the light every time you leave your room (nightlights are still there to help you find your way to mom or dads room) .

Take your lunch in a reusable lunch box (choose wisely, this must last the whole year).

Never ever litter!

Collect cans or plastic bottles to redeem for cash to spend on a treat.  Did you know that recycling just one aluminum can will save enough energy to watch TV for 3 hours (is that a day’s worth or a week’s worth of TV for you)?

Donate old toys for another little boy or girl to play with – don’t throw them away. Every time you get a toy, it’s time to donate one!

Use both sides of paper to draw, color or doodle.

If you get a new computer, ask for a laptop.  Laptops use half the energy of their desktop counterparts.

Be a ghost buster and get rid of “phantom” electrical draw. Unplug the chargers for your phone and MP3 player when you’re not using them.

Put your computer to “sleep” instead of leaving it on with the screensaver running.

Turn off your video games after you’re done playing – both the TV and console.

Recycle your electronics/Donate old cell phones. About 130 million mobile phones are retired every year, resulting in more than 65,000 tons of waste―including potentially hazardous materials, such as lead and mercury.

Use recycled paper in the printer.

Re-use your gift bags.

Share stuff!  Before you throw something away, think about if someone else might need it.  Either donate to a charitable organization or post it on a web site designed to connect people and things.

Carpool, skateboard, walk or ride your bike to friend’s homes and activities.

Shorten your shower by two minutes – you’ll conserve more than 10 gallons of water.

Hang your clothes to dry and your perfect-fitting jeans won’t shrink!

Use filtered tap water and carry a sports water bottle.

Use candles or natural oils in your room – no air fresheners.

Teens – tell your friends about what you are doing and make twice the impact!

Purchase renewable energy from your local power company.

Turn down the heat!  Get a programmable thermostat or adjust your thermostat settings to 68 or lower in the winter 72 or higher in the summer.

Look for the Energy Star label on appliances.  Energy Star labels guarantee that products are energy-efficient.

Did you know that the single biggest electricity user in your house is the fridge?

Keep it set between 38 and 40 degrees with the freezer between 0 and 5.  Clean the coils every six months.

Use a toaster oven when you can instead of the oven as it uses less energy.

Use energy efficient light bulbs!

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that if every household replaced just one incandescent light with an Energy Star–approved bulb, the energy saved would provide light to three million homes for one year and the pollution reduction would be equivalent to removing one million cars from the road.

Replace or clean your air filters regularly.

Use a high-efficiency showerhead and in a year’s time you’ll save between 1,000 and 8,000 gallons of water. Bonus: The added air makes the pressure feel greater, too.

Turn off the water while shaving. The average faucet releases about 3 gallons of water a minute.

Water your yard early in the morning or late in the day.

Fix leaks!

Drink filtered water from the tap rather than bottled water.   Americans use 3.3 million plastic bottles every hour but recycle only one in five.

Run a completely FULL dishwasher.

Do an extra large load of laundry instead of small loads.  Plus, wash in cold and eliminate 500 pounds of carbon dioxide in a year!

Free lint bunnies – a dirty lint filter can use 30% more energy to get the job done.

Unplug appliances when they are not in use.

Clean green – Switch to a dishwashing powder that’s biodegradable and plant-based. These cleansers cut through grime, but they do it without the bleach and phosphates that threaten river and marine life and leave chemical residue on your dishes.

Close the damper when you’re not using your fireplace.  Keeping it open is like keeping a 48-inch window wide open during the winter.  This can add up to hundreds of dollars each winter in energy loss.

Stop junk mail!  Put an end to incessant mailers and waste and save 69 lbs of junk mail sent to your home each year. Opt for e-newsletters, online catalogs and paperless billing whenever possible.   Use these resources to stop the mailings: to stop pre-approved cc offers and

Pay bills on-line.  It’s a sanity saver!  By some estimates, if all households in the US paid their bills online and received electronic statements, we would save 18.5 million in trees, 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and 1.7 billion pounds of solid waste.

The obvious – Recycle!  Recycled glass reduces related air pollution by 20 percent and related water pollution by 50 percent. If it isn’t recycled it can take a million years to decompose.

Wire hangers are generally made of steel, which is often not accepted by some recycling programs. So what do you do with them? Most dry cleaners will accept them back to reuse or recycle.

Take a travel cup to your favorite java joint

Batch your errands.

Buy recycled.

Buy local.  Shop at your local farmer’s market – local products require less fuel to transport, store and refrigerate.

Bag it!  Take cloth bags to the grocery store.  In an average year, U.S. households use about 100 billion plastic bags, 99 percent of which are never recycled.

Donate to and shop at thrift stores.  Every time someone in your family buys a new item, have them donate a similar item.

Eat less beef and choose pasture-fed, sustainably raised beef whenever you can. It can take seven or more pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef, and livestock consumes 70 percent of America’s grain.  If you alone gave it up once every seven days, you would save the 840 gallons of fresh water it takes to produce a single serving.  If every American skipped meat and dairy one day a week for a year, the decrease in carbon emissions would be equivalent to removing half a million cars from the roads!

Inflate your tires and your gas mileage will improve by at least 3%. You will also prevent 20 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere for each gallon of gas that you save.

Keeping your car regularly maintained will improve your gas mileage and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. If only 1% of automobile owners regularly maintained their car, they would prevent approximately one billion pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

Participate in green activities with your kids – plant a garden or a tree each year.  Make it meaningful for the whole family and plant a tree every year for each member.

Teach your kids – There are many little things we can do in our homes to play a small part in reducing landfill waste, cleaning the air, and preserving the natural landscape, but we double our efforts when we get our kids involved, helping them understand the why to our what.  Share easily illustrated facts like those above with your kids to help them draw connections between their activities and the big picture.

Employee Tips

Reuse! Take lunch in a reusable containers and lunch totes.

Invest in your own coffee cup and skip the stirrer.  Each year, Americans throw away 138 billion straws and stirrers.  Skipping the stirrer doesn’t mean drinking your coffee black.  Simply put your sugar and cream in first, and then pour the coffee

Do you know all that paper people leave by the printer? Here’s a tip: it’s white on the back!

Use email instead of paper to send mail, documents, reports, and records.

Use digital storage solutions.

Use the double sided feature on your copier whenever possible.

When you step away from the computer for more than 20 minutes, turn of the monitor off.

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle and don’t forget to recycle the electronics and empty ink toner cartridges.

Use daylight rather than office lighting when feasible.

Turn lights off when leaving your office or conference room.

Connect your electrical devices to a power strip and shut it off when you leave.

Employer Tips

Take a walk around your office and notice how many offices and conference rooms have lights on despite nobody using the space. Install motion sensors! Instead of leaving it to employees to turn off lights as they leave rooms, install motion-activated light switches. They’ll turn the lights on for a designated period of time (eg: 15 minutes) whenever somebody passes in front of the switch or moves about the room.

Buy Energy Star qualified electronic products.

Identify the greener options in your product range to help you win loyalty among your customer base, find new green customers, and help reduce your organization’s environmental impact.

Develop a green purchasing policy.

Buy environmentally friendly paper. Try as we may to go digital, we still need paper, so try to go with the least of the evils. Insist on chlorine-free paper, and look for high amounts of post-consumer recycled content.

Update Mailing Lists. This is a small but effective tip; by ensuring your mailing lists are up to date, you avoid sending out unnecessary letters, thus saving the paper, printing, and postage.

Go Casual. Not every industry permits this, but if you can, set a business casual policy for the office. Not wearing suits means much less dry cleaning which is not only better for the environment, but also your health and everybody’s finances.

Telecommute. Employees can be just as — if not more — productive when working from home. Most also consider it a perk to telecommute, even if only for a few days per month. The environmental effects of commuting are reduced, employees save the expense (and time), and even air quality and road maintenance takes less of a hit.

Power Down. Would you believe that the majority of office power is consumed by machines that are off, but still plugged into a live outlet? Standby power (or phantom power) is a huge — and hugely unnecessary — environmental culprit and expense. You can improve this process and automate it with programs like Surveyor, which automatically powers down company computers at night.

Watch the temperature in the summer.  Most offices could stand to raise the temperature a few degrees. In fact, look at how many people in the office (usually women) keep sweaters and extra clothing at their desks at the height of summer because the office is so much colder than the outside temperature.

Buy in Bulk. Instead of buying individual packets of coffee, creamer, sugar, pepper, salt, jam, and other consumables, buy these items in bulk instead. Think creatively about using jars or dispensers for these items that make it easy — and sanitary — for all to use.

Go Green — Literally. Make your office literally green with plants! They absorb airborne pollutants (which are rampant with off-gassing office furniture), and emit healthy negative ions and oxygen into the air. Having some green plants in the office also reduces that “sterile” look, making it more comfortable for everybody.