Archive for March, 2009

Take A Stand, Mom! 4 Pressing Issues Busy Moms Can Focus On

Green has become all the rage. It’s everywhere you turn — products, companies, cities, campaigns, and government programs. But because going Eco is talked about so much, you may feel overwhelmed. There are a lot of topics, and many of them are confusing and scientific. So here’s the scoop in simple terms about some top environmental issues that affect the planet.
Save Our Oceans
According to Seafood Watch, nearly 75 percent of the world’s fisheries are either fished to capacity or are over fished. By taking so many fish out of our waters, we damage delicate ecosystems and run the risk of not having healthy fish for our own consumption. The easiest thing you can do to help protect our oceans and their related ecosystems is to buy safe and sustainable seafood. Get safe and sustainable seafood choices.
Protect Your Food Supply
Whenever possible, purchase locally grown and organic food. Food that is produced locally does not have to travel so far (which saves on gas consumption) but it also means that your surrounding community is working to feed its own people and stimulate the local economy; this offers food and economic security. USDA Certified organic food has less water-contaminating waste, is better for the earth, and is better for you and your family. Locally-produced food from smaller farms is often found at farmer’s markets, along with good prices on organics.
Reduce Toxic Exposure
Toxic chemicals and materials have found their way into our daily lives and cause known and unknown health issues and long-standing pollution. To start to combat this problem, you can help!
• Make the choice to buy primarily non-toxic products,
• write to companies with products and practices that concern you and tell them what you want changed,
• inform your local, state, and federal government officials about your concerns and what you would like to see regulated and changed.
Clean Our Energy
So much of how we power our world creates pollution, whether it’s the electricity we get from a coal plant or the emissions from our car. So, look for ways to use cleaner energy. Check with your power company to see if you can opt into renewable and cleaner energy supplies, like wind, solar, or geothermal. Drive your car less overall. And when it is time to buy a new car, look into hybrid-type cars that use less fuel and have some form of zero emissions technology.
Terra Wellington is the author of The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home. She only buys sustainable and safe seafood at the store and restaurant, and if an eco-helpful option isn’t available she passes up seafood for something else.


7 Cheap Ways to Go Green By Terra Wellington

One of the myths of being eco-friendly is that it takes a lot of money. While some large-scale changes may require a chunk of change, such as buying a tankless water heater or adding solar panels to your roof, the majority of going green choices don’t have to cost a fortune. Here are 7 ways to go green on the cheap.

Be a Friend to Farmers
The best prices on organic produce are usually close to home at your local farmers’ market. Organic is best for your body and the planet. By shopping more directly with the organic producers you can not only save money but also put more cash in the farmers’ pockets and support local food production. Find out more about living and eating organically.

Clean for Under a Buck
Did you know that you can clean most of your house with a non-toxic cleaner that usually costs less than a dollar? That magic bullet is baking soda. A little water and baking soda makes a terrific cleaning paste for tubs, sinks, stoves, and other surfaces. Its whitening effect is great for cleaning grout. Add a handful to your whites in the wash for brighter clothes. Baking soda is also a great deodorizer, and it won’t irritate your lungs.

Fertilize with Garbage
One of the great benefits of eating is that there’s waste. Seriously. Put your food scraps to work in an at-home compost and voila! You’ll have a free supply of soil amendment and mulch from the compost that can also be used as fertilizer for your lawn and garden. Compost is organic and non-toxic, extremely healthy for plants and the soil, and gives back to the planet with minimal effort from you.

Super Sun Savings
Open those blinds and curtains and turn off the lights. Sunlight is free … and completely renewable. You’ll save on electricity. And sunshine is better for your body. The sun’s rays are just the right brightness and spectrum to give you more energy, better regulate your sleep patterns, and improve your mood. Sun equals smiles.

Well-Contained Lunches
Opt for reusable containers for lunches whenever possible. You have a one-time investment on the containers that can save you a boatload – throwaway baggies and individually packaged lunch items (like juice boxes and applesauce cups) are much more expensive than if you filled up reusable containers at home with juice, fruit, and a sandwich. And that means less goes to the landfill too.

Old News is Good News
Have a package to send? Avoid the expense and waste of bubble wrap. Instead, reach for yesterday’s newspaper as packing material. It might seem old fashioned, but what was good for grandma is still good for you.

Save Money and Miles
Put on your thinking cap next time you plan errands and schedule them together on a miles-saving route. By strategically combining errands and avoiding unplanned trips to the store, you’ll save gas and make your wallet a little fatter. Plus, you’ll be spewing less pollution into the air from your car.

Terra Wellington is the author of The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home. She figures that anytime she can save a few cents while being green her wallet gets a little fatter and that brings her one step closer to spending money on what really counts – fun-filled family outings.

Skystream 3.7 land wind generator

Owner Manual

The Skystream 3.7 land wind generator is designed for utility interconnect applications. The 3.7 features the latest in electronics technology and has a manufacturer rated output of 1.9kw nominal, 2.6 kw peak at 240vac or 120vac, single phase.

This model connects directly to a dedicated (double pole) circuit breaker on your existing breaker pan; However, most utilities will require a manual disconnect near the tower or meter pan for times when they are working on the grid and want to manually disconnect the turbine.
The Skystream 3.7 has the potential to provide all or a significant portion of the electrical needs of many small homes or businesses. Like any wind turbine it must be installed on a tower of the proper size and height to give it unobstructed access to the wind.
The Skystream 3.7’s built in power inverter (UL listed) automatically stabilizes variable wind power to constant, utility grade AC electricity. This usually allows the Skystream 3.7 to be utility approved right of the box, making it even easier for Skystream owners to take advantage of net-metering laws, thereby slowing or stopping their utility meter and effectively running their electrical meter backwards during surplus production.Available at http://www.neutralexistence.comskystream3-7

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage Post By Thomas Husnik

At Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage we understand how difficult it can be to live sustainably and responsibly within modern US culture. We believe that we can work to build a healthy alternative– a social structure that is both non-exploitative and vibrant. As our village grows, we see this ideal take shape more clearly every day: a diverse range of people living ecologically sound lives in a community that truly serves as an example of positive human action within the natural world.
In 1997 the DR Land Trust (DRLT) purchased 280 acres in the rolling hills of northeastern Missouri. We are now 12 years deep into pioneering, constructing buildings while planning and developing community structure. People’s social and economic needs are met primarily on-site and locally, though a few support themselves doing web work or off-site consulting. There is an ever-increasing emphasis on internal economy, including a lot of barter and a well-used internal currency. Eventually, we see 500-1,000 people living in our village, with businesses and homes surrounding the village green.

As you might expect, ecological sustainability is the primary focus of our long-term vision and our daily lives. Residents agree to follow ecological covenants and sustainability guidelines. We build our homes using alternative techniques such as straw bale and cob, powering them with renewable energy from sun and wind. Vehicles at DR are owned cooperatively and powered by biodiesel. Overall, we eat an ever-increasing amount of local, organic, and in-season foods, including many home-grown vegetables.
We strive to be good stewards of our land, with much of our acreage reserved as wildlife habitat. In the grasslands we are reintroducing native prairie plants to help revitalize our region’s biodiversity. We have planted over 10,000 trees to restore our land to its pre-settlement ecology, stabilize the riparian zone, and provide a sustainable source of wood for our community in years to come.
Diversity is an important element within our human population as well. Our village is composed of individuals, families, and an income-sharing community. We look forward to having other sub communities join us, and encourage the development of cohousing and cooperatives. To allow for economic diversity and simple living, we keep lease rates and membership dues low and have no buy-in fee.
In addition to being a wonderful home for us, DR is a model for social change. Outreach and education are integral to our mission. Rather than isolating ourselves completely from the mainstream, we promote DR as a viable alternative. We enjoy sharing discoveries and ideas of sustainable living with people who have a wide variety of lifestyles.
If you are interested in Dancing Rabbit, you have lots of options: receive our newsletter, arrange a visit, or come do a work exchange stint. We are actively seeking new members to share our lives and goals. Together we can build our dreams!
http://www.dancingrabbit.orgIntentional Communities Website

Everyday Green in 4 Simple Steps

Many super-busy parents cringe in fear when they see the words “go green,” thinking they don’t have the time or the money to do it, especially in this economy. But the reality is, there are simple ways for families to begin to ease into green living. It is possible to find a way to make healthy choices and protect the planet within the resources we have at our disposal.

So, what are the next steps? There are many things that most of us already do each day that can be slightly altered to inspire you to create eco-habits, instead of eco-obligations. Here are some ideas:

Veg Out
Try eating less meat – especially red meat. Cows require a lot of feed or grass to survive, they pollute water with their waste, and produce a large amount of greenhouse gases. For you and your family, eating a lot of meat can be strenuous on your digestive system and disagreeable for your overall health. Since you have to shop for food and make meals anyway, why not change it up and eat vegetarian a few times a week. Again, it’s about habits.

Simply Recycle
Each piece of your trash has a final destination. You have landfill trash, recyclables, compostables, green waste, and donations. Create an easy way for everyone at home to sort their trash into one of these five areas – all on the fly. Make the process painless by having a simple system in place: regular trash bins, recycling receptacles, a bowl for compost items next to the kitchen sink, the green waste bin outside, and a box for donations in the garage.

Slow the Flow
While it’s great to encourage family members not to waste water, a nearly effortless way to improve on those results and also help your bottom line is to install low-flow fixtures and low-flow toilets. You can easily exchange your showerhead for a water-saving variety that saves a gallon of water a minute. A faucet aerator for the kitchen or bathroom is a cheap replacement and can immediately cut water consumption in half.

Those Shoes are Made for Walking
Are you used to jumping in the car just to pick up milk from the corner store? Before you grab the keys, consider walking instead – to run errands, to get exercise, to go to the park for recreation. Have your children go with you. And as your children get older, they can take on these errands themselves. Walking is free, saves energy, produces no emissions (unless you count the production of the clothes and shoes you wear), and keeps you healthy. Viva la green!

Terra Wellington is the author of The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home. She encourages her kids to walk or ride their bikes to school whenever possible, and she gets her cardio outside for free on most days instead of driving to the gym.

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Vegetable Gardening:Post By Thomas Husnik

Vegetable gardening has lately become just as popular as going to the grocery store for produce. Vegetable gardening can produce vegetable that are usually cheaper than store bought, and vegetables from a home vegetable garden definitely taste better by far. Vegetable gardening is no different than growing herbs or flowers and if the proper steps are taken and the plants are given the proper care they will flourish and produce very tasty vegetables.
First you must decide what size of garden you wish to plant and then select a place for it; somewhere that has good drainage, good air flow, and good, deep soil. It also needs to be able to get as much sunlight as possible. Because vegetable gardens have such tasty rewards, many animals, such as dogs, rabbits, deer, and many others will try and get to your veggies. One way to prevent this is to surround your garden with a fence, or put out a trap to catch mice, moles, and other animals.
Before planting, the soil must be properly prepared. Good soil for vegetable gardening is achieved by cultivation and the application of organic materials. The soil must be tilled (plowed) to control weeds and mix mulch into the soil. If you have a small garden, spading could be a better bet than plowing. Mulching is also a vital part of soil preparation. Organic matter added to the soil releases nitrogen, minerals, and other nutrients plants need to thrive. The most popular and best type of mulch you can use is compost. While the kind and amount of fertilizer used depends on the soil and types of plants, there are some plants that have specific needs; leafy plants, like cabbage, spinach, and lettuce usually grow better with more nitrogen, while root crops like potatoes, beets, turnips, and carrots require more potash. Tomatoes and beans use less fertilizer, while plants like onions, celery, and potatoes need a larger amount.
One thing that is vitally important in vegetable gardening is the garden arrangement. There is no single plan that will work for every garden due to varying conditions. One popular way to arrange a vegetable garden is to plant vegetables needing only limited space together, such as radishes, lettuce, beets, and spinach, and those that require more room together, such as corn, pumpkins, and potatoes. Try and plant tall growing plants towards the back of the garden and shorter ones in the front so that their sunlight does not get blocked.
When you are finally ready to begin planting your vegetable garden, make sure and plant at the right time of year. If you are dying to get an early start, you may want begin your garden inside in a hotbed and then transplant when the weather permits. After you are finished planting, make sure your vegetables receive the appropriate amount of water, which depends on the type of plant. Most plants will need the equivalent to about an inch of water per week.
Weeds must be controlled in vegetable gardening because they will take up water, light, and nutrients meant for the vegetables and they often bring disease and insects to the garden. You can get rid of weeds by cultivation or mulching. To protect against disease and insects you can buy seeds that are disease resistant or use controlled chemicals.
Vegetable gardening is many people’s favorite form of gardening because you can actually taste the fruits of your labor. Vegetable gardening is not that expensive to start and the taste of home grown veggies definitely beat out that of supermarket vegetables. Your vegetable gardening days will be full of produce if you take the proper precautions when planting and continue maintenance of your garden.
For More Information About garden Click Here

Natural Cleaners – Vinegar and Baking Soda

I really hadn’t thought much about the cleaning products I used until recently. I grew up with the mindset that the harsher the cleaner, the more sterile the surface became. My husband and I started thinking about natural cleaners after our son was born. We read up on the benefits of using vinegar and baking soda and started using that in our laundry, and especially when it came to washing our son’s diapers. Before, we only used detergent on the diapers, but it would mask the smell. The combination of vinegar and baking soda took out the odors completely. Lets go over the benefits of both components.
This alternative cleaning article showed us how we can use vinegar not only to disinfect and deodorize laundry, but for all of our house cleaning needs.
You’re probably wondering, but what about the smell? Once the vinegar dries, the smell disappears completely.
You’re also probably wondering if the acid in vinegar could harm certain surfaces. Yes, it could harm tile or marble, so make sure it is diluted well.
Of course, in areas like toilets, the higher the concentration, the better, as it is wonderful at taking out toilet rings: After first reading this, I tried it and it works very well.
Diluted vinegar is also excellent at getting rid of soap scum and hard water stains! Put some in a spray bottle and it also works great for cleaning floors, counter tops, stoves and appliances. I don’t know about you but I’ve tried many cleaners, many harsh ones, that claimed to work but they didn’t, so I’m excited to share the good news about the wonders of vinegar.
Baking soda is widely known for combating odors, but did you know it’s also wonderful to use instead of your typical “scrub” cleaners, not to mention much healthier! Another natural cleaning article mentions that baking soda is wonderful at dissolving dirt and grease in water, so as previously mentioned, it is wonderful to add to your laundry. Two tablespoons of baking soda diluted in a liter of water create a safe all-purpose cleaner.
Another tip: Create a paste by adding a bit of water and you can eliminate those stubborn coffee and tea stains. I also found another way vinegar and baking soda work fabulously together—as a drain cleaner. Pour a half cup of baking soda, then a half cup of vinegar, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then pour a kettle of boiling water.
Try these tips yourself and you will see how effective and economical these two ingredients are!