Friday, March 27, 2009

Don't Forget Earth Hour 2009 Saturday Night!

UVA, Charlottesville City, Albemarle County, and Better World Betty urge you to join millions of people across the world tonight in Earth Hour from 8:30pm-9:30pm by turning off ALL YOUR LIGHTS for an hour! As a family we plan on going around the house and unplugging ALL the outlets as well. Excellent life/ecology/energy lesson here by raising awareness about just how much we humans "take" and the importance of joining together as a human race to find a more sustainable symbiotic relationship with Mother Earth - the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil which gives trees, plants and thus sustenance.

This year, Earth Hour has been transformed into the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming.

For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard.

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

In 2009, Earth Hour is being taken to the next level, with the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote. Unlike any election in history, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday.

We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.

VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour.

Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'll buy that for a dollar!!

I enjoyed a fabulous lunch today at Bizou on the Downtown Mall with fellow mom and local dynamo Gwen Goodkin, who is responsible for bringing the first annual Unicef TAP project to Charlottesville! As you can imagine we hit it off famously and I'm pleased to announce she will be joining Betty as a volunteer after she takes a lull/break after the TAP project concludes on Saturday.

Last year Gwen personally decided to do whatever it would take to get this program to Charlottesville, after having bought a dollar for tap water at a Richmond's Kicker game! She attended training, gathered support of area restaurants and funders, publicized the event, and voila! So far, so good. One enthusiastic diner on Tuesday donated $100 to the project on the spot.

It's not too late to get out there tonight, tomorrow or Saturday and show your support of this project, whose aim is to provide clean water for the millions around the world who go everyday without clean drinking water. The added bonus is that the funds raised here in Charlottesville will 100% go to that effort and will be matched by the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation and given over to the Rivanna Conservation Society!

All you have to do is dine at one of the 25 participating restaurants and give them a dollar for your tap water that you would normally get for free.

I am personally inspired by this effort and it gives me lots of hope for some of Betty's future plans. This program started a mere three years ago in New York City with 300 restaurants participating. Last year it was in 16 major cities. This year it's happening all across the United States, including Charlottesville!

Gwen, thanks for raising our awareness and making a difference here and around the world.

RESTAURANTS: Aromas, Bang, Biltmore Grill, Bizou, Blue Moon Diner, Bluegrass Grill, Boar's Head Inn, Cassis, The College Inn, Downtown Grille, Duner's, Eppie's, The Flat, Fleurie, Horse and Hound, Hotcakes, Il Cane Pazzo, Petit Pois, Rapture, Revolutionary Soup, The Box, Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar, X Lounge, Zinc, and Zocalo!

If your favorite restaurant in Cville is not listed, be sure to inquire why they chose not to participate in this worthy cause. There's always next year!

Moms Rock!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What's going on backstage, Betty?


So I would like to say I'm purposefully reducing my virtual carbon footprint created by excessive blogging which is why I haven't blogged in many, many days!

The truth is, the closer it gets to Earth Day, the more booked and busier I get! I am knee deep in grant-writing, web updating, sponsorship-seeking, kid raising, dinner-making. Where does blogging fit in anyway?

Before I make any more excuses, here is a pastiche of goings on...

I would love to share the advice I got from Bryant at Creative Conservation last week when he stopped by to check out if I could save some money and home energy use by having more insulation in the attic, which if you remember energy is our focus this year (short answer: we are doing well by keeping the thermostat at a consistent 61 degrees, and it would definitely help to add 2-4 more inches of cellulose insulation to the attic and above our master bedroom. But the existing fiberglass batting insulation does a decent job - there are much better options out there now - but changing probably wouldn't be the best use of funds).

I would love to share my thoughts on the recent recycling broohah hah (how do you spell that) - the lawsuit involving VanderLinde and RSWA, but I'm hoping that David McNair at the Hook will include my comments that yearn for a community collaboration among all interested stakeholders to make recycling in this town a total win-win for people and the planet.

I would love to include my big dreams for Betty's future which I am writing into proposals as we speak.

I would love to include my solo and much needed one day getaway to the consignment shops and used book stores of Carytown in Richmond - tonight's beet salad comes from my used recipe book find: The Balanced Plate by Renee Loux. Now do I dare wear the circa 1970 knit tank top I believe Cher once wore?!

I would love to include the green cleaning tips from Friday's Bruce and Betty show. Wait, I promised you that one. So here are a couple:

Make a past of baking soda, vinegar, salt and water for a great sink, counter, toilet, tub cleaner

Mix 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda at the location of the drain (it will fizz up). Let sit for 15 minutes and flush with hot water.

1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 tsp castile soap or mild detergent (phosphate free/chlorine free)
2 cups water
6 drops of lemon juice or essential oil like lavendar (optional)

I would love to share the design prints for the upcoming, limited edition organic cotton t-shirts to celebrate Betty's one year anniversary. But it's not ready yet. Be on the lookout y'all. Last year's picnic goers advice on the slogan is being heeded! :-)

And that's just four days worth of stuff!

Back to the messy kitchen...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Best Wishes from Betty!

It's hard to believe that it has been a year and a half ago since I sat down at Mudhouse envisioning plans for an online community resource when I ran into Dave Norris. I had always admired his work in our community on behalf of the homeless, affordable housing, the environment, education, the list goes on and on. So I was a bit nervous to introduce myself and share my admiration and appreciation for him and his work. Of course Dave is so approachable, I think back on it and laugh.

In his typical humble fashion, we didn't talk too much about him. Instead he asked a simple question, "What are you doing, Teri Kent?" So I shared my vision for Betty with him and he listened. Not only did he listen, he encouraged me and inquired how he could help. At the time I had no website experience and little money to put behind the idea, but he put me in contact with people who could help me realize my vision. At the time his committee on sustainability was making lots of plans, one of which was a green city webpage. So we decided to collectively kick off the two websites last January - a celebration of collaboration and synergy in the name of a healthier sustainable community!

With his support, we continue to build partnerships with other groups in town. We meet at least once a month, so I can get caught up on all the green goings on at the city level and make sure he's getting more than a few hours of sleep at night doing great things for our city (I volunteered to head the Mayoral subcommittee on Rest and Relaxation - turns out part of the RandR plan included less subcommittees).

Thanks, Dave for being one of Betty's first friends in town and such an integral part of her success!

So it is with great pleasure that I invite any friend of Betty to be a friend of
Dave and attend the campaign kick-off party this Thursday the 12th from 7-9pm at South Street Brewery to recruit volunteers and supporters for his re-election campaign. I plan on bringing the whole fam damily!

In his words:
"We have made some good progress in my time on Council, though, and I have too many 'irons in the fire' and initiatives under development to give up now. Accordingly, I have decided to take the plunge and today am announcing my candidacy for another term on City Council.

One last thing. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate asking for money. But we do need some funds to help cover the modest expenses we expect to incur in the months ahead. Virginia law allows for unlimited donations to local candidates, but I detest the corrupting role that money plays in politics so I have imposed a voluntary limit of $500 per donor. Even if you can only give a fraction of that, though, please consider doing so. Checks can be made out to "Dave Norris for City Council" and mailed to 1409 Early St., Charlottesville, VA 22902, or go to his blog for details."

See you all there!

Monday, March 9, 2009

World Water Week is coming: make change for a dollar!

Did you know that 900 million people worldwide do NOT have access to clean water?

That's why Charlottesville will join cities around the country participating in UNICEF's Tap Project this year.

During the week of March 22-28, restaurants will offer Charlottesville diners the chance to pay $1 for their glass of drinking water. Funds raised will go to UNICEF's efforts in water starved nations around the world and will be matched to fund local clean water projects in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area.

The Tap Project will involve numerous restaurants around town, including:

Aroma's, Biltmore Grill, Hotcakes, Revolutionary Soup, Blue Moon Diner, Gluegrass Grill, The X Lounge, Zocalo, Eppie's, Zinc, The Flat, Rapture, Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar, Bizou, Downtown Grille, Gang, Cassis, Fleurie, Petit Pois, Il Cane Pazzo, College Inn and MORE!!

Take part in this important event that has been brought here locally by Gwen Goodkin. I'll be interviewing her in the coming days to bring you more details and Monday, March 22nd a la Betty's Blog I will remind all you Bettys and Baldwins to get out to your favorite local restaurants, pay a dollar for your tap water, and make a difference!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Betty called -- She needs your help in the kitchen!

Better World Betty's long-awaited survey is waiting to be taken BY YOU! Come on... A few extra minutes on the computer to help the PLANET will feel good right about now.

Currently Better World Betty is the number one resource for all your green needs in Charlottesville. But this is just the first generation Betty. We want to know what's working and what's not so that Betty can be a true community-driven resource to meet all your green goals!

The recipe:

You provide the ingredients/information which will help Betty reach her main mission: helping to make Charlottesville the healthier, sustainable, eco-conscious community we all envision.

We collect it and mix in a little creativity and innovation.

Stir in lots of business sponsorships and grant funds and private donations hint hint.

Bake (we don't know how long just yet)

And VOILA! Out pops an even Better Better World Betty. That's a mouthful.

Sounds good, right? So let's get started!

Please take a few minutes... It's your green action for the day! Your privacy is important to us, so your responses are entirely anonymous.

Thanks everyone!