|Coming OUT of the Potomac. SUCCESS!|
In the summer of 2006, I went to see the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" and was truly disturbed. As the credits were playing, I stood up from my seat, I thought, "This is RIDICULOUS! I want to DO something!" As I walked out of the theatre complex into the daylight, I was approached by representatives of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) who asked me if I wanted to help fight climate charge. "Of course!" I answered. When they asked me if I wanted to join their e-mail list, I didn't hesitate to add my name. A few weeks later, I received an invitation from CCAN to attend a Clean Energy Open House at the home of Mike Tidwell, CCAN's founder and executive director. I attended and my life was changed forever; I went from light green to dark green. I saw Mike's solar panels, his laundry drying outside in the sun and his native plants growing in his yard. I went inside his house and saw a video he made about all the energy efficient actions he has taken in his house including using a corn-fired stove, Energy Star appliances and compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs). I left that day with my first CFLs (they weren't easy to find in stores back then) and went home an unplugged my appliances (Mike taught me about phantom energy and how even though appliances are turned off, they are still using energy, running up your electricity bill and putting CO2 in the air). As time went on and I read more and became more active in the green community, I realized I wanted to choose only the most sustainable options for home and work life.
So when CCAN has their annual Keep Winter Cold Polar Bear Plunge, I don't hesitate to get cold for about a minute each January. Two days ago, I participated in my 5th Plunge, which was CCAN's 7th. The first year I plunged, I noticed that the event wasn't very green. This shocked me since CCAN was an environmental organization, but I've learned over the years that even environmental groups don't know how to green events, so for my second year Plunge, I volunteered to help make this annual event GREEN and have continued to help make it green ever since.
How We Greened This Year's Plunge
Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company, a local roaster out of Crofton, Maryland, provided attendees with fair trade, organic coffee (and they also generously provided organic tea while lori hill event productions provided fair trade, organic hot chocolate). You can buy CBRC's coffee in stores. The cups and stirrers were compostable and did I mention how delicious the coffee is?
|CBRC provided a variety of fair trade, organic coffee.|
Waste Neutral Group out of Baltimore ensured that our waste was disposed of properly. They provided bins for recycling, composting and landfill. We barely created any waste and the majority of it was compostable (coffee cups and food waste) or recyclable.
|Waste Neutral's waste free area. From left to right: composting, landfill and recycling.|
Mark's Kitchen out of Takoma Park also gave us a great deal on vegan and traditional cookies. Vegan and vegetarian diets are better for the environment for many, many reasons. Look for future blogs about this topic!
We plunged into the Potomac River by National Harbor which is right by the Woodrow Wilson Bridge at the Maryland-Virginia border outside of Alexandria, Virginia. The air temperature was in the low to mid 30s and the water temperature was 38. We had about 100 or so plungers and about 100 more supporters (who will hopefully join us next year). VIPs included Congresswoman Donna Edwards from Maryland (it was her second year plunging!) and James Hansen, world-renowned NASA climatologist (his first year plunging).
Thanks to my generous donors (47 and counting), I exceeded my goal of $2,000 and raised a total of $2,098 (and money is STILL coming in!). As of Saturday morning, I was the top donor who wasn't a CCAN employee! As of today, Lise Van Susteran (a CCAN board member and sister of Fox News' Greta Van Susteran) has me beat by 82 bucks! For more photos by John Robinette, visit my Facebook page.
|Warm hat, kids' beach towel, mens' bathrobe, ratty sneakers = one glamorous gal!|
|Ready, set, plunge! (All photos courtesy of John Robinette)|