I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. Mr. Sony was my best friend in college. We shared my first dorm, then my first apartment and eventually went to work at the same office.
Mr. Sony was my first stereo – a bulky, black boombox with dual cassette deck, single CD player, detachable speakers and non-digital tuner. In our youth, we rocked to the Singles soundtrack, partied to Nirvana’s “Nevermind" and chilled to The Doors (who made a comeback thanks to the 1991 film starring Val Kilmer).
But as we grew older, Mr. Sony became ill. His antenna drooped. He hiccupped when he played a CD. He developed an appetite for mixtapes, chewing them to bits.
Since I spend so much time talking about how to protect consumers, I think it makes sense to dedicate today's column to mentioning how consumers can protect our world. So here are some easy ways to think green – and some Earth Day giveaways!
- Save a paper cup by using a mug – coffee stays warm longer and you’ll often receive a discount! Starbucks will even give you a free brewed coffee or tea today if you bring your own travel mug.
- Plant a tree. Lowe’s home improvement stores are giving away 1 million saplings on Saturday.
- Carry a reusable shopping bag to the store. And avoid buying and chucking plastic water bottles – it takes 450 years for one to decompose. According to the EPA, 30 million tons of plastic waste were generated in 2009 and only 7 percent was recycled. Yikes.
- Become Facebook friends with a environmentally friendly mascot such as Seattle’s Bert the Salmon.
- You and our planet will be clean and pretty when you recycle. Bring your old cosmetic empties to an Origins location for a free facial cleanser.
- Ride your bike.
- Breathe fresh, clean air. National parks and monuments are free this week. For a limited time, you can also download a free national park app for your iPhone (just 99 cents for Droid).
- Don’t print documents unless necessary.
- Participate in an Earth Day event near you.
If you haven’t seen Google’s interactive Earth Day logo yet, visit the main Google page and roll your mouse over the different creatures. The panda likes having its belly rubbed!
Bing’s logo is neat too. At first, it appears to just be a photo of a jungle canopy. But move your mouse around for the “secret” messages. Then hit one of the arrows in the bottom right corner for additional photos and "hidden" notes.