Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ways to reduce your electrical usage and help the environment

There are countless ways to reduce your electrical usage and help the environment. In this post I will cover some of those ways.

1. Get energy efficient appliances. This is a common one. Here are some known high efficiency appliances. ConServ Chest Freezer. The ConServ Chest Freezer is great if you have a lot of frozen items to store. At 90° room temperature, this energy efficient appliance uses only 0.71 KWh/day according to their site. Sun Frost Refrigerators are very efficient refrigerators. If I'm not mistaken, all can run on AC or DC power. You can purchase a refrigerator only model if you plan to get a chest freezer. If you use a computer, you can also purchase an Everex Desktop computer. The models I speak of use between five and twenty watts of electricity. Here is a Linux model and here is a Windows model. Comment if links ever break. Also be sure to purchase an efficient LCD monitor instead of a CRT monitor. If you use laptops, most laptops already use very little electricity, most under 50 watts. If you are looking for a new laptop, look into an energy efficient one. You can also purchase a Staber Energy Efficient Washing Machine. When it comes to drying clothing, hanging your cloths out to dry is best. Let the sun dry your cloths and only use your dryer when its raining/snowing/freezing.

2. Get Solar. Another way to reduce your electrical usage and help the environment is to get a solar panel system to help offset or even supply all of your electrical needs. Solar can be quite expensive up front but it will eventually pay for itself and by using solar, you are helping prevent pollution. offers a lot of solar panel options and have experienced support staff to help you choose the right system for your situation. If you purchase a large enough solar panel system, change your energy use habits and use efficient appliances, your electrical bill could be eliminated. In most areas, the power company could even have to pay YOU for putting energy into their grid. Solar energy is something to look into if you are wanting to help the environment.

3. Use less energy. Sounds simple enough but can be tricky. Most people have a habit of leaving lights on when not in the room, leaving the TV on when not in the room, running the coffee maker when not needed, having the water heater temperature set way too high... I'm sure you are guilty of at least one of these. Use less energy by only brewing coffee when needed and then turning off the coffee maker. Most people will drink their coffee fill before the coffee gets cold. Turn your water heater down if it isn't already. 120 degrees is a good temperature for a water heater. Turn off lights when your leave the room. Use compact florescent bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs. Turn off the TV when you are not watching it. Watch less TV. Unplug the TV at night. Did you know that most TVs use electricity even when turned off? Make sure the insulation in your home is in good condition. Make sure the windows are sealed good and there are as few drafts as possible. Doing all of these will save a lot on electricity.

4. Take shorter showers and avoid taking baths. This one saves water and energy. Baths use a LOT of water and the water heater has to heat all that water. Showering instead of bathing can save on energy and water. To make this most effective, use a low flow shower head also. Most water utility companies will offer affordable or even free low flow shower heads. They work just fine. Another option is to get rid of your traditional water heater and get an on-demand water heater. Here is a link to more information about on-demand water heaters. Yet another option is to use a solar water heater. Here is a link to more information about solar water heaters.

5. Turn your thermostat down in winter and up in summer. 65 during winter is good, 75 in summer is good also. This will save a lot of energy. Some people may know about "swamp coolers". I found out about them when I moved to a northern California town. They are a viable cooling solution for areas that do not get too hot during summer and have low humidity. Around here the summer temperature gets between 70-90 degrees with a low humidity. Almost everyone around here uses a swamp cooler instead of central air. Apparently Swamp Coolers use very little electricity. Click here for some more information on evaporative coolers.

More tips will be added in the future. Keep checking back.

100 ways to help the Environment

Below is a link to a website that has listed 100 ways to help the Environment. Check it out and read up.

100 ways to help the Environment

The Minimalist’s Guide to Simple Housework

It’s a rare person among us who looks forward to cleaning the house. I certainly don’t, but a clean house is something I enjoy perhaps too much.

I love a clean, uncluttered house, and I’m not afraid to admit it.

So how does a person like me — a clean freak — get the house nice and clean without too much work? I’m sure you know by now that if I can keep things simple, I’m happy.

I constantly experiment with ways to simplify my house-cleaning routine, and what follows are some options I’ve experimented with or am trying out now. Not all methods will appeal to everyone, but I’m hoping that at least a few of the ideas will have some use to you, and perhaps inspire a simpler routine in your life.

Guiding Rule: Simplify, Simplify
Thoreau, of course, had three simplifys in his famous quote, but I’ve simplified that rule even further. :)

To keep a house clean with minimal effort, the guiding rule is to simplify as much as possible. The less you have, the less you have to keep clean and put away. Some examples:

  • An uncluttered room, with only furniture on the floor, is extremely easy to clean. See below. But if you have all kinds of stuff in the room, you double or triple your cleaning time (or worse).
  • Fewer clothes means you have fewer things to put away and to wash. Sure,if you have lots of clothes, you can go longer without having to wash, letting the clothes pile up into a huge Fuji-like mountain. But who wants to face that mountain when you run out of clothes to wear?
  • Fewer things on your kitchen counter means cleaning the counter is a snap - just give it a quick wipe with a washcloth and you’re done. No straightening things out, cleaning in between or under things, putting things away.

So the first step in a minimalist cleaning routine is the hardest: declutter as much as possible, so that you only have the things you use often and love to death, and no more. Some guides to doing that: How to Declutter, 15 Great Decluttering Tips, A Guide to Creating a Minimalist Home.

Second Rule: Meditate While You Clean
While housework is not looked upon favorably by many people, if done right, it can actually be very relaxing and destressing. The key is to be mindful and present while you clean.

I like to think of a Zen monk sweeping the floors of a temple when I sweep. It’s corny, maybe, but it really helps me focus on the sweeping, and it’s a form of meditation. In this way, I actually enjoy the cleaning, although I’d rather be writing to be honest.

The key here, again, is keeping the floors clear of clutter. In my living room, for example, I have my couch and loveseat, a coffee table, a minimalist entertainment center (basically a very low, long table with only my TV on it), my computer table and chair, a side table, a lamp, and a small shelf. Nothing else is on the floor, which means lots of empty floor and very easy cleaning.

Once you’ve achieved this, here are some options:

  1. Weekly sweep. If you pick things up during the day and put them where they belong, the only thing your floor should need is a sweep, and perhaps an occasional mop if necessary. Once a week, my kids and my wife and I do a quick 30-minute cleaning — we divide the rooms and clean quickly. Sweeping the floors takes less than 10 minutes, and while I do that the younger kids dust the furniture. The kitchen, of course, needs sweeping a little more than that, but it takes like 5 minutes.
  2. Robot cleaner. The Roomba Vacuuming Robot is something I’m thinking of trying out, and if the weekly sweeping or vacuuming doesn’t appeal to you, this might be a good option. It works best if you leave the floor decluttered, as mentioned above. Turn it on in the morning when you leave for work, and your floors stay clean.

Several options work well for this task:

  1. Weekly or bi-weekly. This is the option we choose. At the moment, we just take our loads to the laundromat, and get it all done in about 90 minutes. With the amount of loads we do, this saves a lot of time. Bring the loads home, fold and hang and put away. With all our kids helping, it doesn’t take long, and then the laundry’s done.
  2. Once daily, with a twist. If doing all your laundry at once doesn’t appeal to you, consider this slightly expensive but environmentally friendly (and power and water friendly) option: the LG front-loading washer/dryer combo. No, it’s not a stackable washer and dryer. It’s a washer and dryer in one machine. That means you can toss in a load in the morning, and when you get back from work, it’ll be dry. Just fold and put away, and repeat the next time you need to do a load. Pretty slick.
  3. Drop-off service. If you’re into outsourcing your work, this is a little more expensive, but it doesn’t get any easier. Many areas have laundry services where you can drop off your dirty laundry and pick it up at the end of the day, clean and folded.

A few points to make on the kitchen:

  1. Clear counters. As with the floors, you should keep the counters clear. That means uncluttering it if you’ve got a bunch of gadgets. I’ve got a toaster and coffee-maker and nothing else. That makes it easy to wipe things down a couple times a day — takes about a minute.
  2. Clean-as-you-go. Another point that’s key is to wash dishes and wipe up any messes, as you make them. Don’t let dishes pile up in the sink. Just wash them as soon as you’re done. Takes about a minute or two. If everyone in the house does this, there’s no need for a long time spent at the sink. Also, there are usually some pots and pans if you cook — take turns doing this. But be sure to clean as you cook, so that there isn’t a huge mess in the kitchen.
  3. Weekly spruce-up. During our 30-minute cleaning session, not only do we sweep the floors, but we do a more thorough wipe-down of the rest of the kitchen. Doesn’t take long as we keep it pretty clean during the week.

The bathroom can get pretty gross if you let it. Here’s how to prevent that:

  1. Clean-as-you-go. Same as the kitchen: when there’s dirt anywhere, clean it immediately. Again, it just takes a minute to wipe up a dirty bathroom sink, to give your toilet a quick swish-and-flush with the toilet brush, or to scrub the shower just before you shower yourself. And you don’t need to do these things every day — just when you see dirt. Dirt on the floor? Sweep it or wipe it — 2 minutes.
  2. Bi-weekly cleaning. If you keep things clean in the bathroom on a daily basis, all you need to do is a quick once-over every other week or so. Do this during the 30-minute cleaning session, when necessary.

Kids Toys
We’ve got six kids. It’s impossible to keep things perfectly clean when six kids are in one house. But here’s what we do:

  1. Regular decluttering. Every 3-6 months, we go through their closets to get rid of stuff they don’t play with anymore. The kids are used to this, and actually do a good job of helping: “I don’t use this anymore, Dad!” Keeping their rooms (relatively) decluttered is key to maintaining sanity. They still have lots of toys, but at least it’s just the stuff they actually play with.
  2. Baskets. It’s important to have lots of baskets and other such containers. When it’s time to clean up, they can just toss the stuff in. No hassle. They also each have a set of three plastic drawers (their “cubbies”) that they can use to toss in their personal belongings.
  3. Quick clean-ups. Throughout the day, messes are made, and we ask them to do a quick clean-up. It’ll be messy again in 10 minutes, but at least it’s a manageable mess. At the end of the day, the last clean-up lets us have some quiet time with a clean house. I will also go through the house from time-to-time and pick stuff up and throw them in baskets.

I’ve got a huge yard. You might not have the same problem. It’s nice for the kids to play in, but a hassle to maintain. A few options here:

  1. Hire out. I finally gave in and hired a yard service, as I just don’t have the time or energy to keep the yard up by myself. I still do a few things when I can, but now the yard looks great with minimal effort. Again, think of it as outsourcing a non-core function — you can probably make more money doing something else (for me, it’s writing) than what it will cost to pay for the yard upkeep.
  2. Minimal yard. If you’re not going to pay for yard upkeep, you’ll want to keep things minimal. That can be anywhere from having no yard, to living in a condo/apartment area where the yard is a common area and maintained by a contractor, to keeping a small yard with very few things in it. That means few plants (only ones that can maintain themselves) and no junk. The less you have in your yard, the better. Some people use a Zen-like rock or gravel garden instead of grass, which isn’t a bad option. Or, be a naturalist and let the grass go wild.
  3. Robot mower. Friendly Robotics RoboMower. Haven’t tried this, but it looks super cool. Similar to the Roomba, but for your yard. Takes a bit of initial setup, but once you’re done … wow. If anyone has used this, let me know!
Original Article

10 Ways Recession Can Help the Environment

by Fion MacCloud
January 28, 2008

This is a special guest post from Fion from Fair Home, on discussing how we can improve our impact on the environment.

As the world economy begins a slowdown, stock markets threaten to crash, and the USA slowly slips into recession, it’s too easy to look at the negative personal impacts of negative economic indicators.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom – recession could do wonders for the environment.

Here are 10 ways this could be helping provide a positive respite to the planet....

To read the rest, click here (opens in a new window or tab)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Innovate or Die - Aquaduct: Mobile Filtration Vehicle

Innovate or Die - Aquaduct: Mobile Filtration Vehicle

Blue Man Group on Global Warming

Your attention please. Thank you for choosing earth as your planetary vehicle. We hope you enjoy the many wonderful features of this ... all » planet, as you hurtle through the cosmos. Please note, that in the event of continued inaction in the face of global warming - your seat cushion can be used as a flotation device. Please take a moment to locate this planet's emergency exits. As you can see, there aren't any!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Do you know where your meat comes from? Graphic but true...

Many people eat meat and never give any thought where it comes from. The ones that do think where it comes from usually thinks it comes from the grocery store. Very few people know the real story.

It is important that people stop eating meat. Why? Watch ALL of the below videos and you will see. If after watching the videos you still think its ok to eat meat, you need some help. For those too chicken to watch the videos, you must not care enough about our environment. If you cared, you would be willing to see what your actions cause. By purchasing meat, you are funding the torture of countless animals. You are giving them a reason to continue. If everyone stopped eating meat, they would find other sources of income, maybe even growing vegetables or fruit instead of killing and torturing defenseless animals.

I know I may be coming on a bit strong but there is no sense in all the brutal torture going on. People don't "need" meat to live. A sensible and well planned out vegetarian diet will provide the nutrition you need including protein.

If the below videos are too small, the links to the full size videos are below each video.

Some relevant keywords for this post include: beef, chicken, pork, slaughter, pain, killing, kill, PETA, goveg, Tyson, blog, blogging, vegetarian, vegetables, meat, food, meats, cooking

Monday, January 21, 2008

Litroenergy, breakthrough?

I just came across an article about Litroenergy. It is supposed to be a light source that can emit light 24/7 for over 12 years without needing "recharging". It is supposed to be non-toxic and very low cost. A patent has been applied for so this is patent pending. What do you think? Feel free to comment.

Click here to see the article I found
Click here to learn more about Litroenergy

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Barefoot better than wearing shoes...

Sometimes people wonder why I go barefoot so much. It's pretty simple really. There are a ton of health benefits to walking barefoot, plus the shoes I do have will last practically forever. Shoes cannot usually be recycled or reused so they tend to end up in the landfill. Also almost nobody washes their shoes and the ones that do don't realize that the shoes are still very dirty after washing.

Barefoot is natural and good for you and the environment. Don't believe me? Read on.

Lynn Staheli, MD Quoted in The New York Times on Aug 14, 1991:
"Children with the healthiest and most supple feet are those who habitually go barefoot, according to Dr. Lynn T. Staheli and a growing number of other pediatric orthopedists. His studies of developing nations show that non-shoe-wearers have better flexibility and mobility, stronger feet, fewer deformities, and less complaints than those who wear shoes regularly. He says that, when a child must wear a shoe, it should be lightweight, flexible, shaped more or less quadrangularly, and above all, should not have the arch supports and stiff sides once deemed necessary to give the foot support. Many pediatric orthopedists strongly oppose "corrective" or "orthopedic" shoes for straightening foot and leg deformities like flat feet, pigeon toes, knock-knees, or bowlegs. Dr. Staheli and others contend that there is no evidence that corrective shoes correct anything, and that most of the supposed deformities correct themselves in almost all cases."
Dr. Staheli is a very prominent pediatric orthopedist .

Dr. Paul W. Brand - Barbara Platte interviewed Dr. Brand in 1976. Here is the account from the San Francisco Chronicle:
"What every kid seems to know instinctively -- that going barefoot is good for you -- has been confirmed by an orthopedist and rehabilitation specialist who has studied foot problems in various parts of the world.
"A high proportion of the world's population walks barefoot most of the time, and the average person who walks barefoot has much healthier feet than the average person who wears shoes, says Dr. Paul W. Brand, chief of the rehabilitation branch of the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital, Carville, La. and professor of surgery a Louisiana State University Medical School.
Dr. Brand conducted an orthopedic clinic in India for 18 years and has also treated orthopedic problems in Ethiopia and the United Kingdom. On the basis of these experiences he suggests that maybe we in America should walk barefoot for at least part of each day.
Common foot problems in the United States include corns, bunions, hammer toes, athlete's foot and ingrown toenail - but none of these is a problem in countries in which most people go barefoot.
"Every one is a product of footwear. They are caused either by poorly designed or poorly fitted shoes, or in such conditions as athlete's foot, by the simple fact of wearing shoes that prevent free access of air between the toes," he says.
Shoe-wearers also receive mechanical stress from walking on the same part of the foot with each step, while the rough, uneven thrust of the ground is transmitted to a different part of the barefoot walker's foot with each step.
In shoes, Dr. Brand says, sensitivity, mobility, and intrinsic muscle strength of the feet are lost.
" The barefoot walker receives a continuous stream of information about the ground and about his own relationship to it, while a shod foot sleeps inside an unchanging environment. Sensations that are not used or listened to become decayed and atrophy. There is a sense of aliveness and joy which I experience walking barefoot that I never get in shoes," he says.
Such direct contact with the ground has a great deal to do with preventing fractures of the ankle from "turning the foot over" by stepping on a rock or edge of the pavement. In India Dr. Brand saw no ankle fractures except in those who wore shoes.
The reason for this, he says, is that a barefoot person has instant information about the situation relayed by the touch-sensitive nerves in the skin of the sole and gets the information in time to avoid putting his weight on the unstable foot.
The person wearing shoes may not get this information in time to remove his weight from the leg to prevent a fracture.
In the Olympic Games, Indian and Pakistani teams have won several gold medals in field hockey while playing barefoot, and have had an impressive injury-free record. They have now turned to shoes in international competition but only in self-defense against players who wear boots with cleats and studs, Dr. Brand notes.
Going barefoot seems to have an additional advantage in preventing arthritis of the hip. For persons of comparable age, this is seen more frequently in Westerners and Indians who wear shoes than in the barefoot population."

From The Pilbara Times, Australia (31 Jan 1980):
"Care For Kids Then Care For Their Feet. Edited extracts from an interview with the president of the Australian Podiatry Association ........
"[Children's] bones are soft cartilage, easily compressible, and they don't feel pain until the damage is done," said the president. The comment was made on the need for parents to be aware of the damage that is being done by children wearing shoes. The Australian Podiatry Association provides a free community service in an effort to create greater awareness of the need to safeguard children's feet.
30% of the children checked in the associations survey (2,500 children) in an eastern Australian state were found to be wearing footwear inadequate for day long use.
"The effects of childhood foot damage can show up in posture and gait in the early twenties," the president said. "The inability for a person to stand for any length of time without stress can also be attributed to early foot problems. Shoes must take a lot of the blame for claw toes, under and over riding toes, bunions and ingrown toe nails, not to mention corns and callus'."
"Australian children probably have broader feet now than they did ten years ago, because so many go barefoot. Between the ages of 7 and 12 years, growth is fairly rapid. Don't hesitate to let them be barefoot. It won't spread or flatten normal healthy feet as the foot only grows as long as the ligaments allow anyway. The majority of foot damage is preventable if parents take proper care of their children's feet by allowing them to grow naturally - barefootedly.""

Recent research has shown that children are more likely to have good posture if they go without shoes as often as is possible and safe, according to Janet Perry, M.P.T., a physical therapist with Rehabilitation Network in Portland, Oregon. "That way they get more 'sensory information' from their feet and will have better walking and postural skills." Children should be allowed to go shoeless ... in places where it's safe to walk barefoot as a way to improve their posture, according to Perry.

Physician says children need shoes that fit, or no shoes at all.

Style and price are not nearly as important as fit when it comes to choosing a good children's shoe. In fact, the best shoe for a child is often no shoe at all, according to Dr. Carol Frey, associate clinical professor of orthopaedic surgery in Manhattan Beach, Calif.. "We are no different from any other animal. We don't need shoes for proper foot development," explains Frey. Walking is a collaborative effort requiring constant communication between the brain and feet. Nerve endings on the bottom of the feet sense the ground beneath and send signals to the brain that help it determine how and where weight should be distributed with each new step. Shoes alter that feedback to the brain. The thicker the sole, the more muffled the message. "Children are forced to walk with their feet further apart to keep their balance," Frey says.
Frey has just compiled a list of shoe-buying tips for the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. "Shoes are not necessary for support or development of the arch, they only protect the feet from the environment," said Fry, who routinely treats foot deformities caused by ill-fitting shoes. Babies and crawlers need only wear socks or booties to keep their feet warm, she said. Toddlers, too, should be allowed to go sans shoes whenever they are in a protected environment. Going barefoot helps children develop stronger and more coordinated foot muscles, Frey explained. Studies also show that barefoot children learn to walk more quickly and have fewer falls.
Besides growing up around man-eating lions, there’s a good reason Kenyans have won the last 10 consecutive Boston Marathons: They rarely wear shoes. This makes their feet extremely strong and far less susceptible to disorders such as fallen arches, says Dr. Frey.

Udaya Bhaskara Rao and Benjamin Joseph.
"The Influence of Footwear on the Prevalence of Flat Foot"
The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 74B(4), 1992, pp. 525-527.
"Abstract: We analyzed the static footprints of 2300 children between the ages of four and 13 years old to establish the influence of footwear on the prevalence of flat foot. The incidence among children who used footwear was 8.6% compared with 2.8% in those who did not.

Barefoot in Nature
Society for Barefoot Living: Health Benefits of Barefooting
Society for Barefoot Living
Facts about going Barefoot
The Barefoot FAQ
Barefoot in Restaurants: Laws
Driving Barefoot in America
Parents for Barefoot Children
Natural and Healthy Barefoot Activities
Shoes and Knee Osteoarthritis

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Homemade Sanitary Pads

On this blog I talk a lot about helping the environment and about ways you the reader can help the environment. The topic of menstruation is something most men will never want to talk about. Many women don't even want to talk about it either. The fact is most women will go through it once a month sometimes for a week out of each month. Most women use disposable pads or tampons (which are very bad for the environment) because that is all they know about or all they are willing to use. I came across a website a few minutes ago and noticed a link to how to make a homemade sanitary pad. In a previous post I covered another method, now I am covering pads.

Apparently making homemade sanitary pads is easy and can be done by almost anyone.

Here is a Link to the page on how to make homemade sanitary pads.

I'm not a woman so I cannot say how well they work, maybe if someone who reads this and tries it can comment for others to hear, that would be helpful.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Earthships: The home of the future?

I've been looking into Earthships recently. It seems that they would be great homes overall. You might want to look into it more yourself.


Earthships are earth-sheltered autonomous buildings made of tires rammed with earth, which are usually arranged in "U" or horseshoe shaped modules. Each tire is rammed full of earth manually using a sledge hammer. Windows on the sunny side admit light and heat. The open end of the "U" shaped structure faces South in the northern hemisphere, and North in the southern hemisphere, so that the house will catch maximum sunlight in the colder months. An Earthship is designed to interface with its environment wherever possible and create its own utilities.

Internal, non-load-bearing walls are often made of a "honey comb" of recycled cans separated by concrete. The walls are then usually thickly plastered, using the pull-tabs on the cans as a lath to hold the adobe and stucco. This is known as a tin can wall.

The roof of an Earthship is heavily insulated.

Some links to check out to find out more about Earthships:
* Earthship
* Earthship Wikipedia
* Earthship from start to finish
* "Our Earthship" a site with lots of pictures and information

Sea Sponge Tampons

Menstruation. Not a topic one really wants to get into but, in the interest of the environment, it's a topic that must raise its unwelcome head. Apart from the obvious damage to the ecosystem caused by flushing tampons, there are the more hidden and sinister side effects such as chlorine bleaching.

The bleaching process is hugely detrimental and totally unnecessary. We have the 'marketing manipulators' to thank for that, by the way. For some reason or other, they have decided that women want pure white tampons. I want to know why? The visual impact of a used, bleached tampon is no prettier than that of unbleached products. These so-called gurus need to change their marketing tactics and honestly, it's up to us women to start lobbying for change. (Write to them, for starters. I've worked extensively in marketing and they do take note.)

Anyway, moving on. To obtain those whiter-than-white tampons, a chlorine based bleaching process is used. This produces chemicals called organochlorines.
One family of organochlorines is the dioxins - the most dangerous member being 2,3,7,8-TCDD. So far, no safe level of this chemical has been found. The risks to our health over a prolonged period of time include damage to our immune system, birth defects, reproductive effects and cancer. Nice? Not.

Then there's the direct damage to the environment. For every ton of paper bleached with, approximately 50kg of organochlorines are formed. This means that between 51,000 and 87,000 tons of chemicals are discharged into the environment every year. Horrendous! All this so that we ladies can purchase snowy white tampons.

Until the manufacturers start to take notice of the damage they're wreaking on our bodies and our world, women should start looking for alternatives to standard sanitary products. There are a few options available, but none of those are all that appealing. Not to me, at any rate. One product I do like though, are the Sea Pearls. Natural, re-usable sea sponge tampons.

I like everything about these sponges. They are natural, washable, easy to use, a heck of a lot cheaper, and the very act of harvesting them releases the sponge's eggs and sperm cells into the surrounding water, making it a renewable and sustainable product source.

Credits go to This post was made here in hopes that it will help the environment. Original post can be found here.

How to install an Earth Floor

There are many options for flooring these days and a few options for environmentally friendly flooring. Earth Flooring is what I will cover in this post.

Earth floors--also called adobe or earthen floors--are growing in popularity for many reasons. Since they retain heat from the sun, they can potentially reduce heating costs. They also have less impact on the environment, and exhibit a natural, unique look. When created, earth floors are built up layer by layer and can include a radiant heat source in the base layer.

Click here to read how to install an Earth Floor

Monday, January 14, 2008

All natural cleaning: Avoid the toxins

Everyone has to clean. In today's world, companies try to shove horribly toxic cleaning chemicals into your home claiming they clean better than the other cleaner and that they are safer than the other cleaner. In reality, you do not need to ever touch a toxic chemical in order to clean.

From my own personal experience, I find a mixture of 50% water to 50% white vinegar will work wonders on cleaning. I recently cleaned a horribly dirty shower that had been sitting uncleaned for years with this solution and it got rid of all the dirt and mold and grime. Yes I had to scrub a little but not nearly as much as I would have if I didn't use the solution. I also was not exposed to any harmful chemicals while cleaning that shower. This same solution can be used for counter tops (except for stone or stone like), stoves, sinks, toilets, you can even make a solution of 2 cups white vinegar to one gallon hot water and use it to mop the floor.

Drain clogged? Try a plunger first and if that doesn't work, try pouring a little baking soda down the drain and chase it with some vinegar.

Need to clean your carpet? Apparently a mixture of 30% white vinegar and 70% hot water works wonders on cleaning carpets.

Below are some links to sites containing information on cleaning without using harsh chemicals.
Non-Toxic Home Care
Clean and Green: Natural Homemade Household Cleaners
Natural Cleaning Recipes

As always, you can search on for how to clean without using harsh chemicals.

A few things you could loose if you don't care about the environment

Below is a link to a site with various pictures from nature. This is just a small amount of what you could loose if you don't care about or don't do anything for the environment.

Besides the below, you could obviously loose your health, your life, your kids (to health problems) and you could be directly responsible for the deaths of so many people and animals.

Click here to visit the site

Bioplastic, The solution to our plastic needs?

Bioplastics are a form of plastics derived from plant sources such as hemp oil, soy bean oil and corn starch, or from a microbial source, rather than traditional plastics which are derived from petroleum.

In today's world, plastic is almost impossible to escape from. Yes there are ways to avoid it, but then it still creeps back into your life in some way shape or form. If you use a computer, there is plastic inside it, the monitor has plastic in it, the mouse, the keyboard, the speakers, printer, scanner, webcam all of it has plastic in it. Sadly, virtually all plastic made is made from petroleum, aren't biodegradable and are usually very toxic. As you can see in my previous post, our plastic use is causing many issues with our environment and it is time we all make change.

One simple solution is to use bioplastics. Bioplastics are made from plant sources and are biodegradable. If we were using bioplastic for the past 50 years instead of petroleum based plastic, the garbage patch in the pacific would be very small or even not there.

The question sometimes comes up, if all the plastic in the world was made from plant sources, wouldn't that create a huge strain on our food supply? As it sits right now, in Europe, it wouldn't. In America, it would. Why? The simple answer is Hemp (Cannabis) seed can be used to make bioplastic. Hemp grows very fast and can grow almost anywhere. Hemp can be grown in most of Europe. Hemp is illegal to grow in the USA. The seeds of the hemp plant can be used to make plastics while the fiber from the hemp plant can make clothing, some papers, even manufactured wood products. The pulp extracted from the cannabis plant could also be used to make all sorts of paper products. Cannabis (hemp) is good for the environment and has much less impact on the environment than growing corn. If cannabis (hemp) was able to be grown everywhere in the world, that would provide all the needed supply of material needed for our plastic needs, our clothing needs and our paper needs. Save trees, save the environment and not use oil. Sounds good to me.

I would suggest everyone urge every manufacturer that uses plastic to switch to bioplastic. If enough people do this, they will change.

Bioplastic Wikipedia Article
Bioplastics Blog
Bioplastics Market Directory

Large Garbage Patch in Pacific Ocean

Something I don't get is how people can overlook the huge garbage patch in the Pacific ocean. It is killing wildlife and polluting our environment. Nobody is cleaning it up either! I did some research on this topic and found most people think it cannot be cleaned up. I say humans are intelligent and could find a way to clean it up. Yes it would take a lot of money. Yes it would take a lot of time. Yes it would be hard work.

I have a solution (feel free to comment to make corrections or offer suggestions):
* Get a lot of attention to this issue
* Raise a lot of money for the clean up
* Buy and retrofit those large fishing boats that "scoop up" fish (I hate them but they will work for this)
* Use the boats to basically scoop up the trash and when the boat is full, take it to various places set aside for recycling
* Recycle everything that can be recycled
* Keep media attention during entire clean up
* Educate everyone about how to prevent such a disaster from happening again

Problem solved. Yes it's simple. Yes it will take a lot to do, but it is possible. Will anyone help me with this? Most likely not, but I can hope and do what I can to help.

Click here for a link to an informative article about this topic

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff is a little movie dealing with the cycle of stuff. It is great watching and I highly suggest everyone watch it.

View "The Story of Stuff"

Solar Overs... An Environmentally friendly way to cook

Some people love to cook. Most people have to cook whether they want to or not. Cooking uses energy and usually causes pollution. Cooking with a solar oven is one way to cook without harming the environment.

Some pros:
* Doesn't use electricity or gas
* Doesn't pollute
* Great for the environment

Some Cons:
* You will likely have to make your own
* Some designs don't work well (research)
* You have to cook when it is daylight

The designs listed in this post are not guaranteed to work. Whether or not they work will depend on how it is made, what it is made from and the design itself. I cannot test all designs.

The No-Tech Solar Oven

A bit more Tech Solar Oven
Solar Food Drier
Solar Cooking Archive

The above are just a few links. Always research for yourself. I suggest using for any searching on the net.

62 Little known uses for Vinegar

I'm sure you know of the importance of not using toxic chemicals. Vinegar is a well known for cleaning, however not many people know how to use it or what to use it for. This post will show 62 little known uses for vinegar.

Vinegar is a liquid produced from the fermentation of ethanol in a process that yields its key ingredient, acetic acid. Ninety percent of American Households buy vinegar. The 4 major uses are for salads, as cooking ingredients, pickling and home canning.

Anyways, I just thought that everyone should know about the usefulness of vinegar other than for the 4 things mentioned above. I’ve put together 61 other things with pictures about everything else that you can do with vinegar. I’d personally suggest using high quality white and apple cider vinegar like Heinz’s when trying the below methods. (Example : A cup of Heinz Apple Cider has 34 calories, no fat, 1.4mg of iron, and 240mg of potassium) The difference between white and apple cider vinegar is that white vinegar is made from acetous fermentation of alcohol and apple cider vinegar is made from cider or apple must.

  1. Clear mineral deposits from a steam iron.
  2. iron

    Fill the water tank with white vinegar. Turn the iron to the steam setting and steam-iron a soft utility rag to clean the steam ports. Repeat the process with water, then thoroughly rinse out the inside of your iron.

  3. Clean lime deposits and calcium sludge from an automatic drip coffee maker.
  4. coffee maker

    Once a month fill the reservoir with white vinegar and run through the brew cycle. Rinse thoroughly with two cycles of cold water.

  5. Clean the hoses and unclog soap scum from a washing machine.
  6. washing machine

    Once a month pour one cup of white vinegar into the washing machine and run the machine through a normal cycle, without clothes.

  7. Clean rust from tools, bolts, and spigots.
  8. tools

    Soak the rusted tool, bolt, or spigot in undiluted white vinegar overnight.

  9. Keep a garbage disposal clean and smelling fresh.
  10. garbage disposal

    Mix one cup of vinegar in enough water to fill an ice cube tray, freeze the mixture, grind the cubes through the disposal, and flush with cold water.

  11. Remove stubborn coffee stained cups and pots.
  12. coffee stain

    Fill the cup with vinegar overnight, then rinse with hot soapy water.

  13. Prevents misty spots on glassware.
  14. glassware

    Place a cup of white vinegar on the bottom rack of the dishwasher, run for five minutes, then run though the full cycle. A cup of white vinegar run through the entire cycle once a month will also reduce soap scum on the inner workings.

  15. Eliminate unpleasant cooking odors in the kitchen.
  16. kitchen

    Boil one tablespoon of white vinegar with one cup of water.

  17. Eliminate odors from used jars.
  18. jars

    Rinse peanut butter and mayonnaise jars with white vinegar.

  19. Turn a chicken bone into rubber.
  20. chicken bone

    Soak a chicken bone in a glass of vinegar for three days. It will bend like rubber.

  21. Deodorize a stale lunch box.
  22. lunch box

    Soak a paper napkin in vinegar and leave it inside the closed lunch box overnight.

  23. Kill bacteria in meat.
  24. meat

    Marinating meat in vinegar kills bacteria and tenderizes the meat. Use one-quarter cup vinegar for a two to three pound roast, marinate overnight, then cook without draining or rinsing the meat. Add herbs to the vinegar when marinating as desired.

  25. Cheese storage.
  26. cheese

    Cheese will last longer if you store it in a vinegar soaked cloth.

  27. Prevent cracked hard boiled eggs.
  28. egg crack

    Add two tablespoons of white vinegar per quart of water before boiling to prevent the eggs from cracking. The egg shells will also peel off faster and easier.

  29. Clean food-stained pots and pans.
  30. potspans

    Fill the pots and pans with white vinegar and let stand for thirty minutes. Then rinse in hot, soapy water.

  31. Relief Jellyfish stings.
  32. jellyfish

    Dot the irritation with vinegar to relieve itching.

  33. Relieve a sore throat.
  34. Put two teaspoons of vinegar in your humidifier. Check out these other natural remedies for recovering from a sore throat.

  35. Soothe sunburn pain.
  36. sunburn

    Apply undiluted vinegar to the burn.

  37. Cure an upset stomach.
  38. upset stomach

    Drink two teaspoons apple cider vinegar in one cup water to soothe an upset stomach.

  39. Relieve itching.
  40. itching

    Use a cotton ball to dab mosquito and other bug bites with vinegar straight from the bottle.

  41. Dissolve warts.
  42. warts

    Mix one part apple cider vinegar to one part glycerin into a lotion and apply daily to warts until they dissolve.

  43. Remove corns.
  44. corn

    Make a poultice of one crumbled piece of bread soaked in one-quarter cup vinegar. Let poultice sit for one-half hour, then apply to the corn and tape in place overnight. If corn does not peel off by morning, reapply the poultice for several consecutive nights.

  45. Relieve a cold.
  46. cold

    Mix one-quarter cup apple cider vinegar with one-quarter cup honey. Take one tablespoon six to eight times daily.

  47. Relieve arthritis.
  48. arthritis

    Before each meal, drink a glass of water containing two teaspoons apple cider vinegar. Give this folk remedy at least three weeks to start working.

  49. Relieve a cough.
  50. cough

    Mix one-half cup apple cider vinegar, one-half cup water, one teaspoon cayenne pepper, and four teaspoons honey. Take one tablespoon when cough acts up. Take another tablespoon at bedtime.

  51. Dandruff treatment.
  52. dandruff

    Simply pour a few tablespoons of vinegar on your hair and massage into your scalp. Wait a few minutes, then rinse and wash hair like normal. Try this for a few days until you see results. It restores chemical balance to the skin.

  53. Acne remedy.
  54. acne

    Remedy for acne skin conditions when diluted 50:50 with water and used as a toner. Careful around the eyes.

  55. Dry skin repair & Skin Softener.
  56. dry skin

    Add one-half cup of vinegar or so to warm bath water when bathing and get double benefits; softer skin and a cleaner bathtub with less work. Smooth a little vinegar on cracked, dried skin to help it heal.

  57. Clean dentures.
  58. dentures

    Soak dentures overnight in vinegar, then brush away tartar with a toothbrush.

  59. Weight loss.
  60. weight loss

    Vinegar naturally helps to remove fat from the body. Apple cider vinegar is especially good for this. Drink some in a glass of water a few times a day. Add a little lemon or honey for a nicer flavor. This will also help reduce your appetite.

  61. Cure the hiccups.
  62. hiccups

    Mix one teaspoon apple cider vinegar in one cup of warm water, and drink.

  63. Prevent yeast infections.
  64. yeast

    Apple cider vinegar is a natural remedy for yeast infections, when diluted with water and used as a douche. For example, douche with one tablespoon white vinegar to one quart warm water to adjust the pH balance in the vajayjay.

  65. Condition dry hair.
  66. hair

    Shampoo, then rinse hair with a mixture of one cup apple cider vinegar and two cups water. Vinegar adds highlights to brunette hair, restores the acid mantel, and removes soap film and sebum oil.

  67. Clean eyeglasses.
  68. eyeglass

    Wipe each lens with a drop of vinegar.

  69. Longer-lasting pantyhose.
  70. pantyhose

    Add one tablespoon of vinegar to the rinse water when washing, and your pantyhose will last longer.

  71. Prevent lint from clinging to clothes.
  72. lint

    Add one cup vinegar to each wash load.

  73. Deodorize a wool sweater.
  74. wool sweaTER

    Wash sweater, then rinse in equal parts vinegar and water to remove odor.

  75. Remove perspiration stains from clothes.
  76. perspire

    Apply one part white vinegar to four parts water, then rinse.

  77. Prevent bright colored clothes from fading.
  78. bright clothes

    Before putting the article in the washing machine, soak it in white vinegar for ten minutes.

  79. Remove stubborn stains from furniture upholstery and clothes.
  80. upholstery

    Apply white vinegar directly to the stain, then wash as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions.

  81. Remove light scorch marks from fabrics.
  82. scorch

    Rub lightly with white vinegar, then wipe with a clean cloth.

  83. Eliminate animal urine stains from carpet.
  84. carpet

    Blot up urine, flush several times with lukewarm water, then apply a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and cool water. Blot up, rinse, and let dry.

  85. Grow beautiful azaleas.
  86. azaleas

    Occasionally water plants with a mixture of two tablespoons white vinegar to one quart water. Azaleas love acidic soil.

  87. Kill unwanted grass like weeds.
  88. weeds

    Pour white vinegar in crevices and between bricks.

  89. Kill germs on bathroom fixtures.
  90. bathroom

    Use one part vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle. Spray the bathroom fixtures and floor, then wipe clean.

  91. Clean soap scum, mildew, and grime from bathtub, tile, and shower curtains.
  92. shower curtains

    Simply wipe the surface with white vinegar and rinse with water.

  93. Clean a toilet bowl.
  94. toilet bowl

    Pour in one cup of white vinegar, let it stand for five minutes, and flush.

  95. Unclog a shower head.
  96. shower head

    Unscrew the shower head, remove the rubber washer, place the head in a pot filled with equal parts vinegar and water, bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes.

  97. Retard patching plaster from drying.
  98. plaster

    Add one tablespoon white vinegar to the water when mixing plaster to slow the drying time.

  99. Wash walls.
  100. wall

    Wipe down your walls with a vinegar water mixture, which helps absorb odors and clean surfaces.

  101. Remove wallpaper.
  102. wallpaper

    Mix equal parts vinegar and hot water. Use a paint roller to wet the paper thoroughly with the mixture. Repeat. Paper should peal off in sheets.

  103. Clean windows.
  104. windows

    Use undiluted vinegar in a spray bottle. Dry with a soft cloth.

  105. Prolong the life of flowers in a vase.
  106. flowers

    Add two tablespoons of white vinegar plus three tablespoons of sugar per quart of warm water. Stems should be in three to four inches of water.

  107. Deodorize the air.
  108. spray

    Vinegar is a natural air freshener when sprayed in a room.

  109. Deodorize a room filled with cigarette smoke or paint fumes.
  110. water bowl

    Place a small bowl of white vinegar in the room.

  111. Repel ants.
  112. repel ants

    Use a spray bottle or mister filled with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water around door jambs, window sills, water pipes, and foundation cracks.

  113. Fish bowl cleaner.
  114. fishbowl

    Eliminate that ugly deposit in the gold fish tank by rubbing it with a cloth dipped in vinegar and rinsing well.

  115. Clean paintbrushes.
  116. brushes

    Simmer paint brushes in pure vinegar, then wash in hot soapy water.

  117. Keep drains open.
  118. drain

    Pour one-half box of old baking soda down the drain followed by one cup white vinegar. When the bubbling stops, run the hot water.

  119. Prolong and brighten propane lanterns.
  120. propane

    Soak new wicks for several hours in white vinegar and let them dry before inserting. Propane lanterns will burn longer and brighter on the same amount of fuel.

  121. Remove decals or bumper stickers or price tag.
  122. decals

    Soak a cloth in vinegar and cover the decal or bumper sticker for several minutes until the vinegar soaks in. The decals and bumper stickers should peel off easily.

  123. Prevent ice from forming on a car windshield overnight.
  124. windshield

    Coat the window with a solution of three parts vinegar to one part water.