DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!


Aug 31 2009

It’s Not Easy Being Green

by Nolan R

sleeping_naked_is_greenWhen I ran across Vanessa Farquharson’s book, Sleeping Naked Is Green: How an Eco-Cynic Unplugged Her Fridge, Sold Her Car, and Found Love in 366 Days, I was intrigued.  While I don’t think I’ll be unplugging my fridge anytime soon (is that even possible in this heat?), selling my car (sorry, Jnai!), or looking for love (my husband wouldn’t approve), I am interested in living a greener life without going insane (or appearing that way).

I have tried to make small changes at home to be more green.  My husband and I haven’t done anything too drastic–although our families think our recent decision to cloth diaper our twins is a little extreme–but we’ve made minor adjustments here and there that (we hope) will reduce our carbon footprint and maybe save a polar bear or two from extinction.  We changed all our lightbulbs to compact flourescent bulbs, swapped to cloth napkins for everyday, replaced paper towels in the kitchen with dishrags and towels, and put a bucket in the shower to catch the water as it heats (which we then use to water our garden).  We also recycle and compost when we can.  But do we really have to stop eating at restaurants that use styrofoam take-out containers or stop using antiperspirants?

Although afraid of losing her cool hipster status and being mistaken for a hippie, or worse yet, a blogger, Ms. Farquharson took the plunge and began a daily blog about her changes in an effort to provide a humorous real-life view on the effect that living green might have on a regular everyday person.  All the while bearing a tiny, imaginary Al Gore on her shoulder,  she makes changes both small and large:  “Switch to recycled paper towels,” “Lower the temperature on my water heater,” or “Sell my car.”  Some changes are a little more unusual (or just plain odd), such as “Skip gown at doctor’s office” or “Drip-dry dishes in dishwasher rack above houseplants.”

If you’d like to follow Ms. Farquharson’s continuing journey on the road to being green, check out her blog Green as a Thistle.  Interested in finding out your own carbon footprint and your impact on the environment?  Go to the EPA’s Household Emissions Calculator or The Nature Conservancy’s Carbon Footprint Calculator and get a personalized estimate.  Then maybe you, too, will decide to carry a totebag and give up on pajamas…


water_conservation_logo32Now that the drought in Georgia is officially over, residents may have a few questions concerning post-drought water usage. Is there still a schedule for specific days during which we can water our lawns? What about washing our cars outside? Can our kids break out their slip n’ slides yet? Well, do not fret – there are answers to all those questions and your good friends at the DeKalb County Public Library have compiled a short list of resources to help. (The answer to those three questions, by the way, is now yes, but please read on).

  • The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division provides a site that includes water usage rules for both drought and non-drought periods. It also features a link to drought studies conducted by The University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
  • Coping with Georgia’s drought is the name of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s wonderful page offering gardening and water-saving tips, as well as plenty of links on articles relating to the former drought. The aerial photos of Lake Lanier from October 2007-April 2009 are particularly interesting to see.
  • If you are looking tips on water saving products such as high-efficiency shower heads or toilets, Conserve Water Georgia provides a site full of valuable consumer information. There are also handy tips on water conservation for teachers, home owners, and corporations.

And don’t forget:  Leonard Anderson of the DeKalb County Extension Service will give tips on how to conserve water at the Doraville Library on Wednesday, July 29th at 6:30pmMore info here.


Oct 9 2008

Don’t Resist, Save Gas!

by Jimmy L

If you’re looking for more ways to save gas (and thus, money!), then here is something you’ve probably never thought about before, but can make a big difference.  Cars have an optimal speed for gas efficiency, and that speed is around 60mph or less.  “In a typical family sedan, every 10 miles per hour you drive over 60 is like the price of gasoline going up about 54 cents a gallon,” according to this CNN article.  The reason is simply air resistance!  The savings can really add up, especially if you do a lot of highway driving.

Interested in other ways to save gas?  Check out these older (but still relevant) blog posts:


Jul 9 2008

Recycled Crafts

by Ginny C

Here’s a fun idea for all those odds and ends you have laying around the house. Use them in a crafts project! Recycled crafts involves taking items that would otherwise end up in the trash and using them to create something new. This includes pieces of paper, scraps of fabric, cereal boxes, bottle caps, plastic jars and whatever else you have.

If you’re having a hard time imagining how to turn that empty laundry detergent bottle into something else, have no fear. The library has several books to help you get started. Recycled Crafts Box has ideas for things like puppets, jewelry, and castles (toy castles, of course). Ecology Crafts for Kids shows you how to use items from nature as well as household items. Earth Friendly Crafts for Kids is arranged by material (glass, plastic, etc.) and demonstrates how to use these things to make something beautiful.

The message in all of these books is largely an environmental one. They each offer suggestions for how children (and their parents) can reduce, reuse and recycle and to think twice before throwing something away. However, these are also good books for those on a budget. Buying crafts supplies is expensive. A lot of the suggestions in these books require nothing more than the “trash” and some glue and scissors, things most people have on hand. Whether you’re looking to save money or save the environment, these books will help you turn your “trash” into “treasure.”


I wrote today’s post last week, well before this past weekend’s devastating weather.  My heart goes out to those who suffered losses in the storms.  Please note that my last tip involves the City of Atlanta.  Unfortunately, many in the city are involuntarily without power this morning, and whether or not Atlanta will still be participating in Earth Hour 2008, I am not sure.  Please check their websites for more info at a later date.

Being environmentally-friendly has never been so trendy, although I’m hoping it’s here to stay!  Here are ten quick and fairly easy tips for going “green” on St. Patrick’s Day–and every day!

  1. Buy locally grown produce!  Check out the Decatur Organic Farmers Market on Wednesdays from 3:00-6:00 p.m. at the corner of Commerce and Church St.
  2. Conserve resources by contributing to Georgia Power’s Green Energy program.
  3. Start a compost heap in your backyard and put your leftovers to good use (check out your county Extension Office and watch for spring programs at the Library!).
  4. Dumpster-dive from the convenience of your own home with Freecycle.
  5. Bike, walk, or carpool to work.
  6. Swap out your light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and save money and energy (don’t throw them away, though–they contain mercury so be sure to recycle!).
  7. Don’t throw away that old broken cell phone, radio, or VCR–recycle it! Check out the City of Decatur 2008 Spring Electronics Recycling Day at Decatur High School on March 29th from 9am-1pm.  Information on regular local recycling locations can be found at Earth 911, DeKalb County drop-off locations, or at Your DeKalb Farmers Market
  8. Conserve water by checking out these tips from the DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management.
  9. Save money and the environment by using natural cleaning formulas.  Check out a book for more info.  (For more titles, click on “Title Info” and then on one of the subject areas for more books on those topics.)
  10. Participate in Earth Hour 2008.  Join the City of Atlanta and thousands around the world and turn off your lights for one hour on March 29th from 8-9pm.

Small changes can make a big difference in the long run, and sometimes a small change in thinking can lead to an eventual and overall lifestyle change.  Send us your tips for recycling, reusing, or reducing!


Nov 28 2007

Water, Drought, and Conflict

by Heather O

Visiting family in Florida over the holidays I was repeatedly asked
about the drought from an Atlanta perspective: What was Atlanta, or
Georgia going to do if we ran out? What were we doing to conserve? Did
Florida or Alabama have the same rights to the water that we’ve been fighting over for more than a decade? Who owns the

During one of the worst droughts in Georgia history the concept of water as not only a finite resource, but also of an economic commodity no longer belongs in the realm of science fiction. Having never lived in a place where water was not abundant, how important and precious it is never really sunk in. The American West was won by water; where you could get it, people settled. Wars over water have been fought for thousands of years, current conflicts can be partially attributed to and possibly be mitigated by water. From current events from Australia to Southern Europe; droughts can cause wildfires, crop failure, and population displacement. Could water become the most powerful political and economic force in the world?

Interested? Check out these books:

Cadillac desert: The American West and its disappearing water

Every drop for sale: Our desperate battle over water in a world about to run out

Mirage: Florida and the vanishing water of the Eastern U.S.

Tapped out: The coming world crisis in water and what we can do about it

Water: The fate of our most precious resource 

Water wars: Drought, flood, folly, and the politics of thirst

When the rivers run dry: Water, the defining crisis of the twenty-first century

Other websites:

Atlanta-Fulton Public Library Links

Georgia Department of Natural Resources Water Links

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