Hot Fun In The Summertime – Acting eco friendly is important

This is just a fun little site for kids. We are on summer vacation after all.

http://green.thefuntimesguide.com/2012/03/living-green.php

Americans Are Becoming More Environmentally Aware & Conscious Of Their Behaviors

A new national survey of more than 1,000 Americans found that ‘being green’ is becoming more mainstream and has less of a stigma tied to it than it once did.

According to the survey, getting caught littering is more embarrassing to Americans than getting caught cheating on taxes.

Other behaviors that people admit to being socially aware that they’re doing include:

  • not recycling plastic bottles
  • driving a vehicles that gets only a few miles per gallon
  • letting the water run while brushing teeth

It’s clear that it is no longer just a highly motivated ‘few’ who are conscious about their own environmentally friendly actions these days.

It’s The Little Things

For most, it’s important to start small in order to stay committed to living green.

In  my case, I set a few simple actions as my New Year’s Resolutions a few years ago.

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Energy Independence The Funny Way – A good time was had by all

Yes it is true. I am promoting a book I have never read. But you know what? I should have.

http://business-network-land.blogspot.com/2012/05/robert-danziger-funny-thing-happened-on.html

Robert Danziger: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Energy Independence – Author Interview

Humorist and alternative energy pioneer Robert Danziger was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about his hilarious memoir about his life in the world of alternative energy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Energy Independence.

The author finds the humor in such widely diverse places as Cal-Tech, the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), and of course in his own business ventures in the alternative energy field. A true renaissance man, the author has enjoyed more careers, and indulged in more laughter, than many people would experience in two lifetimes.

Thanks to Robert Danziger for his comprehensive and informative answers.

What was the background to writing this book A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Energy Independence?

Robert Danziger: At the gym a couple of years ago a young mother was supervising her two kids, five and eight years old. We struck up a conversation and she told me that she doesn’t let her kids watch the news anymore because the energy and environmental stories had given them repeated nightmares. Partisanship and the escalation of catastrophic rhetoric threatened the sense of security and safety she wants for her children.

My career has been inventing and developing solutions. I am fundamentally optimistic about new technology and our ability to respond to crisis. Scaring people doesn’t work and breeds resentment. I don’t want to be part of scaring kids to accomplish something.

The conversation with that young mother convinced me to take a year or so to listen to people from a broad range of ages, politics, and beliefs to try to find out what people agreed on, if anything. I found three things all of them, at least in these groups, agreed on without exception: people like to laugh; like music; and want energy independence and a clean environment when they are coupled with prosperity.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Milwaukee Has A Pretty Phenomenal Transition Movement – Maybe this post will stay

I tried to post about the Transition Movement in Milwaukee last year or the year before and got slammed for it by some editor/publisher woman there for using “too much” copyrighted text. She also dissed my unorthodox style. So I took the post down and replaced it with one about transition groups in Boston or Los Angeles. Maybe even the mothership in England. Let us see how this goes this time around.

http://onmilwaukee.com/living/articles/transitionmilwaukee.html?viewall=1

Transition Milwaukee: “we’re all in this together”

By Royal Brevväxling RSS Feed
Special to OnMilwaukee.com

E-mail author | Author bio
More articles by Royal Brevväxlin

Published May 30, 2012 at 5:31 a.m.

Transition Milwaukee (TM) is part of an international movement formed, in part, in response to the peak oil crisis and more generally around issues of climate change, economic security and permaculture principles.

Peak oil is a non-controversial acknowledgement from government, academic and industry experts that fossil fuels, a finite resource, reach a peak moment of production and necessarily begin to decline.

Any controversy that peak oil generates is from determining when this peak production will occur, from a few decades into the future to it already peaking in 2007. Bigger questions about what a society that can’t rely on fossil fuels looks like also stir up debate – and emotions.

Permaculture principles are those that inform design and systems theories about how to develop not only sustainable but self-maintained and regenerative ecological systems. Modern agriculture and societies based on oil consumption are not regarded as sustainable.

TM’s goals involve a “whole-systems” approach toward making our economies sustainable and regenerative for seven generations into the future.

“Right now, Transition Milwaukee acts as a network of concerned activists who are working toward reducing the radius in which we get our goods and services, food, water and shelter,” says Jessica Cohodes, TM steering committee leader, press contact and “big-picture synthesizer.”

Members of TM don’t really have official titles. Although it has a steering committee, TM is organized non-hierarchically.

“Transition Milwaukee has always been a group, grass-roots endeavor about the community, from the ground up. Part of its founding philosophy is that it isn’t someone else’s job to get us off oil, but our job,” says Erik Lindberg, a former TM steering committee member who regularly gives presentations on energy and the environment.

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Last Energy Tips For This Summer – Of course it is another energy company

I am fresh out of thoughts on this subject. It all boils down to a decision that ever American has to make. Am I going to take power from the grid or not? If I am when and how? My answer is I would prefer to not get my power from the grid and if I must then as little as possible.

http://www.novec.com/Power_Use_It_Wisely/SummerEnergyTips.cfm

Summer Energy Tips

Summer and the high temperatures it brings can cause increased electrical loads. Keep cool this summer and save energy costs by following these simple tips around the house.

Summer cooling tips

  • Turn off unnecessary lights. Much of the energy from a light bulb is heat.
  • Shut doors to unused rooms.
  • Make sure furniture or drapes do not block your registers for supply and return air.
  • Wear thin, loosely fitting clothes and you may not have to keep room temperatures as cool.
  • Keep the sun out of your house. Close blinds, shades or curtains during the hottest part of the day.
  • On mild days, open windows for natural ventilation and turn the air conditioning off.
  • Use portable or ceiling fans. Even mild air movement of 1-mph can make you feel 3-4° cooler.
  • Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows.

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Summer Energy Saving Tips – With both days in the 90s this last weekend was hot

So I guess it is time to share some summer energy saving tips. This site is not bad. I mean it is California where they have to take energy use seriously. I know there are winter tips, and spring tips and there are even tips on tips.

http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/tips/summer.html

SUMMERTIME ENERGY-SAVING TIPS

These tips are designed to help you choose effective ways to reduce your energy bills. Some measures may not be relevant depending on climate, the age of your home and appliances, and past improvements made to your home.

The savings numbers are based on your total summer electric bill. Equipment mentioned must be electric powered for estimates to be accurate.

Also check out our What To Do Before It Gets TOO HOT! page.

 

FAST AND FREE

The average home spends about $1,900 a year on energy costs. But you can lower your energy bills and help save the environment at the same time!

Be a speedy chef

 

  • Nothing is more energy efficient for cooking than your microwave. It uses two-thirds less energy than your stove.

Push a button to wash your dishes

 

  • Surprise! Your dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand. Then let dishes air-dry to save even more!

Fill up the fridge

 

  • Having lots of food in your fridge keeps it from warming up too fast when the door is open. So your fridge doesn’t have to work as hard to stay cool.

 

Cutting back unnecessary energy use is an easy way to reduce energy consumption while saving money. Here are some additional suggestions you can do at home, at absolutely no cost to you.

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I just put up the beginning. Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Green Burials In Springfield IL – I love these women

The Earth Awareness Fair was this last weekend and I should be reporting on that. But these two women were there, Clada Parker and Jenn Bormann. They are with Roselawn Memorial Park and Butler Funeral home respectively. I am going to do Roselawn today and Butler tomorrow. I just love these guys. They had a woven basket casket with an optional silk liner with them on Saturday. But they have so many options it is real exciting. This is their Facebook page and their website:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Roselawn-Memorial-Park/121946907815445

http://www.roselawninfo.com/

And here is a great little write up on them:

http://wakethememory.com/blog/category/cemeteries/

Are There Green Cemeteries in Illinois?

July 19th, 2010

I am happy to report that the answer is finally, YES!

 

The Green Burial Council in California recently approved Roselawn Memorial Park for green burials. You can now be buried in Illinois without a casket, without embalming, without anything but a shroud if you want.

 

I do not personally think that a green burial ground has to be approved by the Green Burial Council, but they have some strict standards that make sense, and their mission is great. In a previous life, I worked in the architectural world, and saw first-hand what it was like dealing with the logistics of becoming LEED certified, and know how hard it can be. Additionally, it is very expensive to become “Certified Organic”. I think it’s worthwhile to recognize any cemetery or burial product willing to become more natural, and I will support any company that tries to be better.

 

Here is their information. They do not seem to have a working website yet. I will keep you posted and update after I contact them directly.

 

Roselawn Memorial Park – Hybrid Cemetery
924 South 6th Street
Springfield IL 62703
217/525.1661

 

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Next Week Is Earth Week – Actually Sunday is the day

Might as well end the week with a kick off for the next. Earth Day is Sunday, but Springfield can’t seem to get its act together on the actual day. But at least people celebrate it. Happy weekend everyone.

http://digg.com/newsbar/topnews/10_things_we_ve_learned_about_the_earth_since_last_earth_day

April 19, 2012

10 Things We’ve Learned About the Earth Since Last Earth Day

Sunday is the 42nd celebration of Earth Day, which was started in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson to help educate people about environmental issues and demonstrate public support for a conservationist agenda. With that in mind, we decided it was the right time to recap the most surprising, awe-inspiring and alarming things that we have learned about the Earth and the environment since last year’s holiday:

1. Undiscovered species are still out there: Countless discoveries over the past year reminded us that, despite centuries of research, the planet still has plenty of surprise species in store. Among the many finds include seven new forest mice species in the Philippines, a “psychedelic” gecko in Vietnam and a new type of dolphin in AustraliaA new analysis released last August, billed as the most accurate ever, estimated that a total of 8.7 million different species of life exist on earth.

2. Global warming is already driving up food prices: While many fear that climate change will someday reduce crop yields and cause food prices to rise, a study published last May in Science indicates that this troubling trend has already gotten started. The models used suggest that reduced global yields of wheat and corn are related to global warming. Although the effects are relatively small so far, they may cause severe problems in the future, as climate patterns continue to change and food demand increases.

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Gardening Is Good For Your Soul – If you believe you have one

I find gardening to be very spiritual in a way. Nothing like getting back to mother nature where there are no media devices and the birds are singing. The sun is warm and there is a breeze. It feels like life can go on forever.

http://www.planetnatural.com/site/vegetable-gardening.html

Growing Organic Vegetables

By Eric Vinje, Planet Natural

If the thought of a ripe, juicy tomato makes your mouth water, or imagining snapping a crisp pea makes your fingers itch, then growing organic vegetables is for you. Everyone knows that home grown veggies and fruits taste a million times better than the varieties purchased at the grocery store. So, go ahead, grow your own — it’s easy to do.

Planning Your Garden
Whether you are starting a new garden or improving an existing one, it’s best to start with a plan. A well-planned garden will not only be more successful, it will be better organized and easier to manage. Consider the following:

Face South
Make sure your garden site gets plenty of sun by situating it facing south. 6 hours of sunlight is the minimum your garden will need. Also, be sure there aren’t any trees, hedges or other obstacles (like your house) shading your potential plot.

Avoid Weeds
If the area you’d like to garden is full of weeds, be sure to get rid of them before you start preparing your garden site.

Start small — or don’t
Most experts recommend starting small so that you don’t become overwhelmed. On the other hand who wants to do more prep work each year enlarging their garden? If you feel pretty certain you’ll want a lot of beds one day, go ahead and go big right from the start.

Water
Of course, you’ll need access to water.

Slope
Try to find a spot with 1.5% or less slope. Otherwise, plan to terrace your garden to prevent the soil from washing away with the rain.

Garden Design
There are countless ways to design your garden — from the practical to the fanciful. Consider the following to determine your design.

Row Gardens
Row gardens are what most people picture when they think of a garden. Crops are planted in parallel lines, with space between each row. Easily organized, row gardens can have lower yield than bed gardens and can sprout more weeds.

Raised Bed Gardens
Raised beds are just what they sound like — plots that are higher than the surrounding land. In these gardens, all plants are grown together without rows. The bed must be small enough that you can reach into it to pull weeds and harvest your veggies.

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This is a huge site. Go there and read and read and read. More next week.

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Gardening Organic And Other Important Ideas – Great site

This is a great site for all kinds of gardening ideas. I like the idea of combining a naturescape and a garden.

http://www.globalstewards.org/garden-ecotips.htm

 

Environmental Tips for Individuals: Your Garden

Your Garden

Create a Backyard Wildlife Habitat

As people take over more and more of the land, we need to provide food, water, and shelter to the animals that are now relying on us for their survival.

  • Backyard Wildlife Habitat: A backyard wildlife habitat or “naturescape” can be created in your own backyard. A miniature version can even be created on your patio or deck. Basic elements include fresh water (i.e., a bird bath and, if in a yard, water low to the ground); plants and feeders that provide nourishment for birds, insects, etc.; and rocks, trees, bushes and/or bird houses for shelter and nesting. Purchase plants that are native to your area. The National Wildlife Federation has an excellent program: The Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program which provides some helpful, detailed examples.
  • Attracting Animals: Learn how to attract:
  • Protecting Birds: The greatest danger to birds in your yard is window collisions. Audubon provides tips for minimizing collisions.
  • Resources: How to Naturescape provides inspiration and information on switching to native plants.

 

Gardening Tips

  • Organic Gardening: Go organic!! – here are some basics.

 

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Gardening In Illinois – Here is another eco friendly source

I still have some trepidation about how this Spring plays out. I think April and May should be watched carefully. These folks seem to know what they are doing. You might ask them.

http://www.gardenillinois.com/


Native Plants are Naturally Nifty!

Have you heard the buzz about native plants? Native plants are the topic of many magazine & newspaper articles, garden shows, seminars… etc. So why is everyone talking about natives?

Natives make sense! Native plants “grew up” in Illinois. From our soils to our weather, plants that are native to Illinois do more than tolerate our conditions…. they seem to enjoy it!

Since they enjoy our climate and soils they can grow vigorously and fight off most disease organisms and fungal pathogens. This means that you, the gardeners, don’t have to spray them with fertilizers, insecticides or fungicides.

Another benefit to their Illinois heritage is that our native critters, butterflies, birds, bees, etc recognize them as a food source! You might say… ahhh….I don’t want critters eating my new plants…. well, yes you do! Allow me to explain.. once a native plant is established, it can tolerate feeding from our native critters with no problem. For example: a Swamp Milkweek (Asclepias incarnata) can be nearly defoliated by monarch caterpillars- and it’s ok! The plant is no worse for the wear!

Healthy insect populations = healthier food chain. Insects are kind of like the bottom of the natural food pyramid. Many animals, birds and reptiles depend on insect protein for food. When insect populations are not healthy, neither are the populations of certain birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

Healthy plant and animal populations = healthy food chain = cleaner water = cleaner air= healthier humans.

You might be thinking… what does any of this have to do with me and my yard….well- you’re yard is or should be an ecosystem! We have modified 95-97% of the land in the lower 48 states… 42% (approximately) of that land in in agriculture, and approximately 54% of that land is in suburbia. This is where we come in… the gardener. Our backyard gardens have never been more powerful than, more needed, than they are today.

Our “natural” areas are over-run with invasive plant materials like Russian Olive, Japanese Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard, Tree of Heaven, multiflora rose, crown vetch, tall fescue, and the list goes on. If you would like to see a complete listing of INVASIVE PLANTS check out the Missouri Botanic Garden website.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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