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Hey all, my sis-in-law, Shawna, turned me on to an incredible website (and movement) called Healthy Child, Healthy World. As the name indicates, it is devoted to one thing: the health of our children. It’s an amazing site, and obviously well-supported. And the topics (like GMO labeling and enchanced chemical regulations) are near and dear to my heart.

Take a look at this well-produced trailer to get a sense of the founders’ commitment and the scope of their project. It’s very exciting!

I wonder if Healthy Child will be able to generate that all-important critical mass to affect real and sustained change. I certainly hope so, because although the focus might be our children (which is plenty important enough), the effects of the changes would be far-reaching.

I’d like to know what you think.

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ROOSTER
A carbon footprint is a way of measuring how much energy, Carbon Dioxide, CO2, we use to sustain ourselves. Average American household uses 53 tons of carbon each year. Average World use, 11 tons per household. I took the carbon test and our (2 people) carbon count was 15 tons. 15 tons of gas seems like a lot for 2 people. However, carbon is a naturally occurring substance. As a matter of fact it is a necessary element for life. Without it we would die for sure. So the trick here is balance. That is what Nature is all about. Balance. That is Mother Nature’s sole purpose in Life is to maintain balance and there is no stopping Her.

Things get out of whack and she reacts almost instantly to set things right. Less fruit on the trees in dry years, more fruit in wet years, more baby animals are born when things are good and food is abundant, less when things are lean and mean you know the drill. She does whatever she has to do to keep things balanced.

Before man started burning oil, coal, and gas roughly around the time of the Industrial Revolution in the 1700’s, everything was pretty much in sync. Oh, there was the occasional Krakatoa, ice age, melting of the ice caps, meteors crashing into the earth, forest fires from lighting strikes, but nothing as devastating as the sustained and constant abuse from the newest addition to the food chain, human beings. Naturally billions of tons of atmospheric CO2 are removed from the atmosphere by oceans and growing plants, and are emitted back into the atmosphere annually through this natural processes. When in balance the total carbon emissions and removals from the entire carbon cycle are roughly balanced. Before the Mechanical/Electrical/Transportation Age the demand on nonrenewable resources, the coal, oil and gases from the dead plants and dinosaurs buried in the earth, was pretty sustainable for everyone and everything.

One day Krakatoa erupted.

kraktoa

www.washingtonpost.com/…/index_krakatoa.html

It put tons of extra stuff into the atmosphere. And then it stopped. For the next 5 or 10 years Nature worked it’s little hoofies to the quick getting everything cleaned up and back in sync. Humans on the other hand are an on-going-never-ending Krakatoa. We do not stop erupting. We do not allow for down time to regroup and replenish our resources. We are like the energizer bunny. We just keep using that nonrenewable energy like there was no tomorrow.

Unlike Mother Nature, who only uses what she needs and recycles everything, we humans just gobble up the resources without thinking about where our next meal is coming from. This is not going over real big with Mother Dearest. We use way more energy than we produce and that causes the balance of things to get all screwed up.  Things have to be balanced in order for them to work properly. And the worst part is that upsetting the balance just pisses Mom off. A pissed off Mom is never a good thing. She WILL get even and that is not always a pleasant thing.

In the past She pretty much looked to the 4 and 2 legged inhabitants as the source of her frustration with the imbalance. Remember that dinosaur thing? Then on the other hand plants, trees, vegetation in general seem to get it. They know what it means to be fair and equal. It is what they do. So She doesn’t pick on them so much and perhaps for good reason. They don’t piss her off nearly as much as humans who are always taking more than they need and giving back less than is required to maintain a balanced cycle. She does have a way of weeding out the gross polluters and currently all indicators of a malfunction in Her perfect world is pointing to us.

So, if I want to stay on Mother Nature’s good side my carbon footprint better start looking like  broccoli

broccoli

or a sweet pea or, oh yes, a chicken. Chickens are great little eco factories. Food in food out. Pretty ‘eco’ nomical.  My 15 is going to come up on Her radar screen sooner or later. I could do a couple of things to get the number down. One thing, and not my first choice, is die. That pretty much forces me to stop using carbon and to start giving it back (decomposing is a great equalizer). Another way, and my favorite, is plant some plants. This would help offset at least some of the nonrenewable energy resources with some renewables. Planting a tree, preferably a female one, or anything green kicks the recycling thing into gear. This would explain why deforestation is such a big problem. The Rain forest is disappearing at the rate of 3,000 acres an hour. Without trees the ocean is working overtime processing the excess carbon we are burning and is just not able to keep up. The ocean can recycle but honestly it can’t do it alone. It takes both the photosynthesis of live plants and water to make things work right.    No wonder Nature gets pissed off.  She gives us all these great gifts air,water, sunshine, trees, plants, animals, (mosquitos and roaches not so great ) for free, and we destroy them without even thinking about it.

If you would like to see what your footprint looks like and what your true color is take the test.   http://www.nature.org/initiatives/climatechange/calculator/. If you come up smelling like a rose, then good for you. Now convince one other person to do the same. However, if you come up smelling like c—p, a stinky, gassy emitter, you may want to make some changes. This is really what being green means. We have to act more like a  tree or bush that creates renewable energy and less like a dead dinosaur that is stinking the place up with a lot of bad gas. Pee you.

I am pretty sure if we don’t do something about this carbon thing Mother Nature will do it for us. She has been very patient with us up until now. But that patience may be wearing thin. We have seen some pretty bizarre weather patterns of late. Could this be a warning of things to come? Whatever is happening all I know for sure is that Mom is at Her best when everything is Balanced. It is all about Balance.

Bill McKibben is on this Carbon thing and is doing his level best to get us back on track. He has an event scheduled in October. It is going to be a biggie. Read all about it. www.350.org

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Hey all:

After mucho technical difficulties, I’ve managed at last to get the full interview up. I hope you enjoy the topics. Adam’s a great guy to talk to, and I hope we can do it again in the future. So here, without further ado (or technical issues), is the video.

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We have a wonderful, shiny new episode for you! It’s summer garden planting time, and that’s just what we do. We’ve learned a lot from last year’s planting and we use that to make this year’s garden even more prolific.

But wait, there’s more! In this episode we have a lively discussion about sustainability and government with Adam Hill, newly elected county supervisor. He’s also a former English professor of mine from Cal Poly, so the conversation is an easy and a fun one to have.

And if you act now we will even throw in a segment about building a clothesline, complete with all of my struggles, mistakes, and brilliant recovery. In the end, it actually works. And five months on we’re still hanging clothes exclusively. FYI, major money savings! Check out the Project Expense Tracker and our Energy Savings Tracker to see how our savings are adding up.

But you must act now! Hurry, my mom is standing by to hear your opinions of our latest endeavor!

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Habitat For Humanity Wins The Green Business Award!
San Luis Obispo County Green Award 2008

This is a great place to shop. I got a 12 foot metal pole for our clothesline for $4.30! Bathroom fixtures, lighting fixtures, paint, tools, hardware, nuts, bolts, screws, tile…oh my!

Even kitchen sinks.

Very helpful, friendly volunteers, and even customers, seem glad to help a damsel in distress, which would be me. I am trying to put together an outside antenna contraption and don’t know what the heck I am doing. So, if you are in the market for a project and need some materials I would give the ReStore a look see. I like to know where my money is going and this sure makes me feel good when I spend it here: all the proceeds go to building green Habitat for Humanity houses.  They provide a great service to our community and, well, look they won the Green Business Award for goodness sakes. The press release is below (with links from lil’ ol’ me).

Habitat for Humanity is one of six businesses to win the Green Business Award from the Sustainability & Resources Committee of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, for the environmental benefits of our ReStores located in San Luis Obispo and in Templeton.

Criteria for selecting award finalists include long-term environmental benefits, project transferability, environmental leadership, creativity and other considerations. Members of the Green Awards Committee include individuals from the City of San Luis Obispo, SLO Air Pollution Control District, Ride-On, SLO Regional Rideshare, SLO County Agricultural Commission, The Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo County, Integrated Waste Management Authority and SLO Chamber of Commerce.

‘We are truly honored to win this years Green Award,’ states Penny Rappa, Executive Director of Habitat. ReStores help the environment by reducing the amount of usable building materials dumped into our local landfill. ‘Since the opening of the Templeton ReStore in January of 2005, and San Luis Obispo ReStore in October 2007, we estimate over two tons of materials have been diverted from the local landfills annually,’ states Rappa.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores are building material thrift stores, receiving and selling new and used building items. ReStores provide an opportunity for the public to donate building materials and to buy quality building materials at very low costs. Doors, windows, cabinets, sinks, light fixtures and other building supplies are given a second life. All proceeds from the ReStores are then used to build new Habitat homes in San Luis Obispo County.

Habitat of San Luis Obispo is in the process of completing four homes within the City of Atascadero, with a home dedication planned for December 13, 2008. Plans are also in motion to build four similar homes within the City of Grover Beach in 2009.

Habitat for Humanity of San Luis Obispo County has built simple, decent housing in Paso Robles, Cambria and in Atascadero. HFHSLOCO was established in 1997, as a non-profit organization and an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. All donations to the ReStore are tax-deductible.

The ReStores are open Thursday through Saturday from 9:00am to 3:00pm.
For more information on what building materials the ReStores accept and sells please call: Templeton 434-0486 OR in San Luis Obispo 546-8699.

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Well, now we’ve gone and done it: organized our first event. We’re inviting people and everything.

This event is going to be different, though. Are you surprised? You really shouldn’t be. We are different. Or so my friends tell me. All the time.

So here’s the event. And you’re all invited. And if you can’t make it, don’t worry, you’ll see our edited version soon enough!

What: a frenetic cross-town exposition on plants, allergies, and health with Tom Ogren, author of Safe Sex in the Garden.
When: Wednesday, April 8th, from 1PM to 3ish
Where: Three separate locations around downtown SLO
What to bring: A notebook, questions, and a form of transportation

Details: We will meet at Meadow Park by the basketball courts. I will be your MC, and we will be filming the whole thing. Tom will take us on a tour, explaining the causes behind our allergies, showing us the worst plant offenders, and explaining how we can be proactive in reducing allergen propagation.

Come and join us! It will be a blast!

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First, for those of you with RSS readers, I fixed the blog title so it shows up on the feeds again. (Thanks for the heads-up, Chris!)

And now, the next episode! It’s a  jam-packed one. My mom and I are really starting to get the hang of this—except maybe for the whole indoor lighting thing. You’ll see what I mean.

Wait until you see the garden! It’s insane how big the veggies (and the sunflowers) got. I mean it. Insane. We also get to the SLO Farmers Market, where I interview some of our local farmers (and a bee keeper). Logan and Kaia track down some lizards to show us, and my mom and I have a coffee and talk about the triple bottom line philosophy. Like I said, jam packed!

I’m totally stoked at the momentum we’re building for Hole in the Fence. There are great things happening here and I can feel the energy! I hope you do, too.

Let us know what you think in the comments. We love your feedback!

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