Essentials of Eco-Friendly Home Design

Essentials of Eco-Friendly Home Design

Sustainable Living
Sustainability comes in many forms and ways and anyone can find a way to adapt it into their lifestyle and their home design. This is especially true for all those fans of eco-friendly home design out there who want to spend their lives in a green and sustainable space. If you too are looking for ways to make your home more eco-friendly and unlock your own green potential, here are a few ideas for you to explore. Solar panels This is the simplest and most effective way to introduce sustainability and eco-friendliness into your home, particularly if you live in a hot region with lots of sunny days. All you need to do is install some high-quality equipment, learn how to maintain it regularly and you’ll be ready to start…
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How to Build a Rain Garden

How to Build a Rain Garden

Sustainable Landscaping, Sustainable Living
There's a new garden in town. It is (mostly) easy to install, looks good year-round, requires almost no maintenance and has a terrifically upbeat impact on the environment. No wonder a rain garden is such a great new gardening trend! Storm water runoff can be a big problem in summer during heavy thunderstorms. As the water rushes across roofs and driveways, it picks up oil and other pollutants. Municipal storm water treatment plants often can’t handle the deluge of water, and in many locations the untreated water ends up in natural waterways. The EPA estimates as much as 70 percent of the pollution in our streams, rivers, and lakes is carried there by storm water! By taking responsibility for the rainwater that falls on your own roof and driveway, you…
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Climbing the Green Ladder

Climbing the Green Ladder

Community, Gardening Humor, Sustainable Living
by Monica Roberts, marketing consultant, freelance writer, and mom Creating a way to feel superior to your neighbor is just human nature. In my grandparents' day, it was whether or not you ironed your bed sheets and tea towels coupled with how often you went to church. During my adolescent years, self-worth was often linked to how much a person weighed, namely me. This was ironic because my mother has always struggled with her weight. But, by golly, she had a daughter who wore a size 6, so that made everything OK. Plus we attended church every time the door opened. Self-esteem was at an all-time high. One of the great benefits of our day and age is that we have so many more ways to one-up the next guy.…
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Life is a Stage and We Are Stuntmen

Community, Our Homestead, Sustainable Living
... from the Natural Handyman Every now and then I wonder, "Will I be found out?" Ever have the sense that you are in the wrong place, or that you really aren't who everyone thinks you are? Perhaps you are a businessman, a nurse or postal worker. You get up every morning and do the best job you can. But in your mind's eye there is a nagging doubt that your success is not your own but an accident, and someone will see you for what you are... a fake! How is it possible that we could feel like stunt men in our own lives, stand-ins for our real selves who are much less confident and brave than the face we show to the world each day? I think it's…
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Enrich Soil Naturally – How To Make Compost

Organic Gardening, Soil & Compost, Sustainable Living
Anyone who prefers to buy their vegetables and flowers from the local grocery store will have a difficult time understanding the gardener's delight digging into a smelly pile of compost, or having a truck load of manure dumped in their yard. Really, who in their right mind, would pay to have a substance excreted by animals brought to their home? A gardener. One who knows that good manure and compost can be the difference between a lush garden and a sparse, struggling one. And lets not forget the aroma, a gardener will describe the smell of compost or manure, as "sweet", or "rich", the average person, with no interest in gardening, is more likely to use the word "disgusting". An experienced gardener knows that compost and manure are the life-blood…
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Seed of Tomorrow

Seed of Tomorrow

Community, Food Supply, Organic Gardening, Seed Saving, Sustainable Living
There are many reasons to make open pollinated ["heirloom variety"] seeds an integral part of your gardening experience and food storage. If seeds are collected from F1 hybrids, the plants grown from those seeds will generally not have the characteristics that you desired in the parent plant. Open pollinated seeds allow the gardener the option of saving seed and growing the plants you like, year after year. In the April 1991 issue of National Geographic, in an article titled, "World Food Supply at Risk", the authors point out past failures of agriculture being based on only a few varieties. Such disasters include the 1970 corn blight that destroyed much of the US crop and the potato famine that killed over 1 million in Ireland. Such disasters are not new. The…
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Garden Art! from Trash?

Recycling, Self Sufficiency, Sustainable Living
April begs me to do something outdoors! How about you? The weather is about right all over the USA for gardening. Besides planning what to put into your garden as far as plants, you need to think of the special additions that make a garden unique. Gardens need "bones" to ground them. No pun intended! Garden sculptures, hedges, specimen trees, and shrubs all help make good bones! Now what about those extra touches that make your garden distinctively yours? Below is a list of ideas that you can use with your own twists to create all kinds of garden goodies for your own garden, or to give as gifts! Broken plates-don't throw away those chipped plates, especially the pretty ones! Stick them into the garden with the chipped parts hidden…
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Become an Urban Farmer

Community, Organic Gardening, Small Scale Farming, Sustainable Living
Anyone can be a farmer. Growing plants can be done almost anywhere. You don't have to have large fields and hundreds of acres. You have to have imagination. People who grow dope do it in cellars and in caves. Select plants to raise that that you see being sold in quantity by local nurseries or garden centers. In our area arborvitae are in hot demand. These plants can be started from cuttings or you can buy rooted cuttings. Thousands can be grown in a 20'x20' area in small containers. Arborvitae are not the only plants that you can choose. Dwarf conifers and bonsai are other avenues to consider. The first thing to consider is what plants you like. They make a nice starting point. I like arborvitae. Plus they are…
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Engineer designs system to put wastewater to work

Sustainable Living
In the midst of the worldwide energy crisis, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have been continuing their work on a microbial fuel cell that generates electricity from wastewater. Advances in the design of this fuel cell in the last year have increased the power output by a factor of 10 and future designs, already in the minds of the researchers, hope to multiple that power output by 10 times again. More...
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Professional Skateboarder Teaches Sustainability

Sustainable Living
In late April, at the first of a series of planned sustainability events at California Whole Foods markets, professional skateboarder Bob Burnquist performed stunts for his audience of young skateboarders and taught them about organic food, renewable energy, and green living. Sponsored by the Action Sports Environmental Coalition (ASEC), the event also drew environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill, and included skateboarding music blasting from solar-powered speakers.
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