Small Earth-Friendly Actions Can Create Big Change

I’ve always been what you would call an environmentally conscious person. It’s just the way I was brought up. My dad has been known to go around our home not only turning things off, but actually unplugging them. See, even when something is plugged in it is actually draining minute amounts of energy. Being an environmentally sound person encompasses a lot of things, even as minute as not littering, to something more complex like efficient resource management.

Being green is not a type of person; it’s not something one does for fun in their spare time. Thinking sustainably is something that every person and every business needs to be doing. It is an essential. We eat to survive. Being environmentally responsible is a necessity for our survival. If we do not act in sustainable ways then how are we supposed to go forth? It’s a serious topic that gets a lot of attention and yet it is not enough attention. One particular aspect that many people overlook and I myself overlooked for quite some time is electronic waste.

Technology is advancing faster and faster every day. This means that items such as our phones, printers, computers, TVs, microwaves, etc. are becoming obsolete faster and faster. Well the problem is one can’t just throw these items out in the trash. The bigger problem is most people do. The even bigger problem is that most people don’t know that they shouldn’t or don’t know why they shouldn’t.

Electronic waste, otherwise known as e-waste, contains things harmful to not only our environment but the human body. These hazards include mercury, lead, arsenic, and a whole lot more things that cause cancer in humans. A poignant article on puts it this way, “In the process of taking apart the electronics, these overseas workers are exposed to dangerous toxins, putting themselves, their families and their environment at risk. These toxins include heavy metals such as lead, beryllium and mercury, as well as chlorinated solvents, flame retardants and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These are all deadly chemicals. Why should people in developing countries have to pay for the greed of our wasteful consumer society?”

Let’s stop letting these chemicals leech into our environment and into our bodies. Let’s recycle our e-waste! We can reuse the precious metals and keep our home nice and clean. Everyone from individual citizens to companies of any size should be properly recycling all of their e-waste. Check your local listings to find out a place near you.

Anyone in or around the New York area should check out 4th Bin. They have been issued an e-Stewards certification. “Certified e-Stewards recyclers adhere to the e-Stewards Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Equipment®; written by the environmental community with leaders in the industry to protect human health and the global environment.” This is important because a good amount of places that claim to recycle ship the e-waste overseas where the metals are reused but the chemicals still leech into our environment.

e-Stewards make sure that e-cycling is carried out to the highest standards. 4th Bin is one of the great mindful companies bringing us into the future. Tuesday March 27th 4th Bin will be attending the CBSAC/NY hosted event, “Cash for Trash.” The CBSAC/NY (Columbia Business School Alumni Club of New York) “Provide convenient networking opportunities that encourage members to get acquainted, forge business contacts, make new friends, keep up with old friends, have fun, facilitate access, and pursue shared interests in a stimulating, receptive, supportive, and collegial environment.”

Cash for Trash will be held at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP 300 Madison Avenue, PwC Auditorium SW Corner of 42nd Street from 5:30 – 9:00. CBSAC/NY members will receive a discounted entrance fee. Registration in advance is suggested and cheaper. There will be networking and exploring opportunities to turn trash into money through proper recycling. Artists and furniture designers have even figured out how to make money from electronic waste! So remember, recycle your electronic waste, don’t spread cancer.



Tormenting and Inspiring Young Minds Go Hand in Hand

My internship advisor Nick asked me to write a blog about a class I am currently taking, or something I do outside my internship that could be considered life experience. Enjoy.
Ever have a substitute teacher? I remember loving days when substitutes would be in. It was usually an easier day and I could find ways to take advantage of them. I remember one time in the fourth grade my friend Alison and I switched seats and had the substitute thinking each of us was the other causing some gender naming confusion she suspected but could do nothing about, and a few laughs.


As a part time job I am currently a substitute teacher at a K-8 private school. This is not a formal private school either; it is a very liberal and easy going place. I’ve been subbing for a few years now so a lot of the kids know me, and it’s really been a great time. When I started out, I knew it was going to hectic because of all the stuff I used to pull on the subs. Of course on the first day they handed me to the 8th graders. I was only 18 at the time and upon walking into the classroom I could hear the murmuring of young minds excited to take advantage of the gift that the administrative office had given them. I really knew nothing about the school yet or if I was even if the right room. I asked, “Is this the eighth grade room?” Several of them in unison responded “Nope.” I knew I was in the right place.


I’ve learned a lot from substitute teaching. For instance it is way easier to tell people to do work than to actually do it. All my life I’ve been assigned class work and homework. Finally, it was my turn to hand out some devastation. The look on their faces when you give them a work packet…I remember that pain. One of my favorite things to say to some kids I have is, “Don’t worry, it doesn’t get any easier.” Another classic which I use even when it doesn’t make perfect sense to is, “You’ll understand when you’re older.”
Man, that’s the worst thing to hear as a kid. But in all seriousness I’m pretty nice to the students and it seems as though they like me too. We talk a lot of sports, music, and movies while they do their work. Sometimes the teacher leaves behind a substantial amount of work for the students to complete and they have their noses buried in the work (most of them are good students). This is when I play a little game. Usually a kid will come up to me and point out that it’s time to leave. I tell them “Good clock awareness, you may leave but do so quietly and don’t tell anyone else.” Sooner or later there are a few kids looking around confused as to where their classmates are. I get a good laugh and send them on their way.


I’ve also learned a lot about younger children. I’ll get assigned to kindergarten classes sometimes. They get a lot of play time which is pretty fun for me too. When else do I get to play with Legos or Brio? Never, that’s when. It’s hard for me sometimes because I don’t realize that they can’t grasp certain concepts. They start crying about something and I try to explain it to them in a way that makes sense to me. Usually this doesn’t help. When they do stop crying I find that it’s generally because I’ve just confused them and they are more focused on trying to figure out what in the world I’m saying rather than their previous debacle.


One day two five year old boys were playing checkers. One of the kids double jumped the other. Problem was the other boy had never heard of this rule and started to throw a tantrum. This was a tough one to sort out but instances like these have taught me patience, listening skills, and clear explanatory skills.
The number one thing I have learned by substitute teaching is to set the tone. I can’t be easy going all the time even though I’d like to be. If some kids are messing around with another child I have to be stern and let them know that won’t fly in my classroom. Sure they are only children but I like to believe this job has helped develop my leadership skills and thus life experience in some manner. Because let’s face it, disagreements in business between adults are not that much different than a checkers match showdown.


Why Mom’s Love Wireless and Predictions for the Future

In middle school during one of my sciences classes, I was taught about natural selection. The idea that if an animal or organism has better features than its competition it will survive and thrive while the latter will eventually die off. Well, I’m not a student of biology but I can still see natural selection happening today with technology.
One day my father bought me a printer. He said, “Now you don’t have to keep coming in my office anymore to print my stuff out.” I thought this was great, but a few years later my printer was gone. He walked into my room and told me he got rid of my printer because his was better and now I could just print wirelessly from my room to this office. Plus, ladies dig no wires.


When I was younger I always asked my grandfather about new things coming out during his lifetime and took interest in how shocked he was about newfangled televisions or computing devices, and when I was younger, I’d always wondered what previously unthought-of technological advances I would live through. Now I see a big transition to wireless technology that just happens to make life a little more comfy.


Printing wirelessly is just one of the many things available to today’s consumers. IOGEAR  with their 4-Port USB Sharing Hub (Disclaimer – I help with PR for IOGEAR) allows any USB device you have (such as an external hard drive or webcam) to be accessed remotely from anywhere in your home or office. This is a big win for both my father and I because we won’t have to hear my mother nagging about “gross, ugly” wires running through her home. Not only does wireless technology make life easier, it also calms the household environment.


Looking a little deeper into the world of wireless, one thing that can be annoying is plugging my iPod into my receiver and pressing the right buttons to make the sound come out of the right speakers inside/outside my house. Like Edison I generally fail a few times before I get it right, unlike Edison I usually get someone’s help to make it happen. Luckily for me natural selection took over and using Apple’s Airport Express I can just press play on iTunes in my laptop and make the magic happen. That means when I want to change a song I don’t have to run back in the room to scroll through my iPod. I can just take the laptop out to the deck with me and peruse my playlists while never leaving the conversation.


There are also other simple devices that just make out lives easier such as IOGEAR’s wireless keyboard w/optical trackball. Sit back in a comfy chair and type away without worrying about the limitations of a corded keyboard or tripping any stray wanderers you might have lurking through your home. No mouse needed as this keyboard incorporates a trackball. This goes great with a wireless audio/video kit where you can cordlessly view your computer screen on a nice big TV while sitting back on a reclining couch or chair and typing.


I remember when wireless video game controllers came out it was a big deal. Not only could people sit where they wanted to in the room but they didn’t have to worry about being disconnected in the middle of their game. Now, wireless internet is a must. The ability to take your laptop anywhere is super convenient and has made us more efficient. Companies have gotten on board as well offering free Wi-Fi so that their customers can come in and stay awhile. Almost any cell phone that comes out now is hooked up and ready to surf the web wirelessly. Every day more and more items are being connected to wireless networks that never used to be.
Eventually, much of the world will operate this way making the transfer of and access to information immediate and constant. And to spice things up, I’ve added three of my predictions for the future of wireless technology:


1. All traffic lights will be remotely controlled by the local Traffic Control station. They will stream real time data so the control center might make adjustments or monitor certain situations over time and capture trends.

2. People will save things less and less to their hard drives and more and more to the cloud. This way anywhere you have internet access you may retrieve your files. Instead of having to buy physical products for hard drive space people will just be buying the space and not have to deal with an actual storage item.
3. Everyday appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators will hooked up to the wireless network allowing people to start that wash they forgot to before they left for work or turn up the temperature in the fridge because you heard the power might go out soon.
4. To save public money everyone will be home schooled and children will be taught through an advanced interactive system where the professor will be able to view all the children and the children will all be able to view the professor. This could be 3D and the professor would have a live feed to what the student is working on so that he/she might be able to correct them before they do the entire assignment wrong.