Alexa Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

SEPCO's blog on all things renewable and green

How to Have a Green Thanksgiving

Posted by SEPCO

11/20/14 9:30 AM

Green_Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again. The smell of turkey cooking, green bean and sweet potato casserole and of course grandma’s pumpkin pie, but while we are thinking of what we are thankful for don’t forget about Mother Nature. After all, without her we would not be able to enjoy the food on our plate. It may be a little too late to completely rethink your entire plan for Thanksgiving, but there is still time to make a few adjustments to keep your Thanksgiving green and maybe even start some new family traditions to pass on to our future generation.

I have already bought my turkey, farm raised locally, and some of the other essentials for my traditional dinner, but I usually try to buy my vegetables and fruits as close as possible to my meal. There are few ways you can help the local economy and environment with very little effort. Let’s start before we even walk out the door. Grab your reusable bags of any kind to carry your haul home. Any kind of bag you have around will do even those old grocery bags you saved from your last trip to the store. I am guilty of always forgetting my cloth reusable bags when I go to the store so I do regretfully have a stock pile of plastic grocery store bags, since most of us already have them repurpose them. Reusing any extra bag you have lying around is greener than buying a new one, not to mention even easier on the wallet.

Where I live there are green markets that happen every Sunday or food co-ops, so it is easy to go pick up those last minute items that will be fresh and perfect for my Thursday meal. Most of the time not only is the food fresher, but it does not come with unnecessary packaging or chemicals and is usually cheaper. It is easy to grab a few containers along with your bags and put any loose items in them instead of the plastic produce bag. I can buy my lettuce without the plastic package and make sure I have all fresh leaves this way. Many times the farmers will have things like tomatoes, green beans, and blueberries in baskets that are already weighed out. Since it is going to be a big dinner buying in bulk should not be a problem and any extra you may have can be put in the freezer to use at a later time.

An obvious way to go green is to use regular plates and silverware versus the plastic utensils or Styrofoam plates that most of the time are not recyclable and can actually be harmful to the environment. If you don’t have enough of the same matching plates and silverware you could use the regular stuff for the kids table that way you don’t have to worry about the fancy stuff and kids usually don’t judge how pretty their plate looks. Use cloth napkins and repurpose those mason jars as flower vases or beeswax candle holders. Get creative and make some personal decorations. You can create your own potpourri by simply using cinnamon sticks and dried berries. My kids love making crafts and the family loves seeing what their works of art; my personal favorite is the traced hand turkey.

Over indulging is easy to do and something I am guilty of at every holiday meal, but food waste is one thing that can easily be avoided. Instead of stacking as much on your plate as possible start with small portions, it is easy to make a second trip and you are also less likely to consume as many calories. Try to make platters smaller so there is less leftover and not as much temptation to eat so much. I tend to drink water instead of soda as much as possible but it is easy to put more water in my glass then I consume. Any easy way to avoid water waste is to let guest refill their glass as needed and don’t worry about refilling when the glass is half full, or if there ends up being extra use it to water your plants.

Since we are putting smaller portions on our plate it is very likely we will end up with leftovers so try asking your guest to bring to-go containers and that way it doesn’t all end up in your fridge and thrown away because you can’t eat it all before it spoils. Being prepared with to-go containers will make you less likely to use saran wrap, Ziplocs, or a paper plate to send food home. If your family is anything like mine we always have a ton of desserts that we could not eat if we tried. A solution to this may be to plan accordingly so there are not as many made or give it to a neighbor, take it to work or even throw a dessert party for your kids’ friends.

Last comes the dreaded clean up. There are easy steps to take to reduce waste when cleaning up. First uses rags instead of paper towels and sponges and then hang them to dry after use. Turn the water off between wiping down counters and adding dish soap. In my home I try to use environmentally friendly cleaning products which are pretty easy to find and use much less harmful chemicals. Your guest can even get in on the action by properly disposing their waste into different containers that are marked recyclable or trash. Compost the food scraps like vegetable peels and eggshells which can be turned into garden soils. If composting is not an option check out different ways to use the remains for new meals like using vegetable scraps and the turkey carcass to make stock or soups by boiling them down. Leftover break crust or rolls can be used to make croutons for salads later in the week.

We would like everyone to have a wonderful Thanksgiving and try to keep in mind what we are thankful for and what is the most important, our family, friends and the earth we live on. Let’s all do our part to make sure that they are all preserved for years to come by doing all we can to keep it green.

Happy Thanksgiving from your SEPCO Family.

Read More

Topics: Green Ideas, Fun Green Articles, Holiday

Going Green for Halloween

Posted by SEPCO

10/28/14 9:30 AM

green-halloween

Who said Halloween has to be all orange and black? With a little do-it-yourself work and imagination, All Hallows' Eve can go green, too. Like any holiday, Halloween offers an opportunity to go green without sacrificing an ounce of festive fun. Going green for Halloween is also a nice way to cut down on spending, as the average American is projected to spend over $75 toward the October 31st festivities.

diy_halloween_costumeGoing green is actually much easier than some may think. Making your own costume has to be one of the easiest things we can don not to mention it will probably save you some green as well. Another thing to think about with that wonderful store bought costume is how they are made. The truth is many store-bought costumes and accessories contain toxic chemicals that not only are a potential hazard to your child, but also to the environment and the people who helped to make them. Choose fabrics such as cotton, wool and silk or make costumes yourself from materials you know to be safe. Use some of those old clothes in the back of the closet or shop a local thrift store and make something unique that only you will have no copy cats here. You are able to get creative this way and who doesn’t love a little arts and craft project. I don’t know about you but Pinterest is one of my go to places when I need a little inspiration.

The next easiest item to do for a green Halloween is easy. Back when I was young we used pillow cases to collect our candy, cheap and always available. Once again you are not spending money on a plastic pumpkin that usually only last about half way through trick or treating before it breaks but you are keeping the potentially toxic plastics away from our children and the landfill. Pillow cases can be fun since they too can also be decorated and made your own and you can pick some extras up while you are at the thrift store getting your costume supplies. If you don’t want to use an old pillowcase a reusable grocery bag would do the trick as well.

When decorating there are so many options to help with a green Halloween, these are just a few but there are always more. LED lights are the easiest solution for saving energy this holiday. Even though some may not decorate as much as they would for Christmas the decorations are getting more and more elaborate each year. I can even say I have added more to my collection this year. Don’t forget the pathway lights that can be solar powered and you can even choose from a wide variety of colors to match your theme. There are companies that specialize in eco-friendly decorations vs. the “made in China” plastic ones sold at most convenience stores. Did you ever wonder what you might be able to do with those old stockings that have the runs in them, how about turning them into spider webbing? When you receive a package go ahead and save those boxes and cut them into tombstones and you can always paint the packing peanuts to make them look like worms. I use paint sticks glued to the back to my tombstones to hold them up. Even better if you have the storage and are a crafty wood worker grab some plywood and cut the graves from that and they will be able to be used for years to come.

diy_decorationsLet’s not forget about one of the most important symbols the pumpkins we get to carve.  The first thing you should do is buy pumpkins from local farms or farmers markets. Even better, grow your own, what kid doesn’t love to watch something they planted grow.  Something I just learned this year is that if you dunk your perfectly carved pumpkin in vinegar it actually preserves them longer so no need to worry about the sloppy mess that can be left after Halloween. Also those solar lights you picked up can be used to make the inside of your pumpkins glow, no need to worry about lighting a candle. Don’t forget when it is time to get rid of your pumpkins use them as compost. If you choose to paint your pumpkin instead of carving it cut it open when all the festivities and consider using it to make pumpkin pies, bread or even muffins, what a great prep for Thanksgiving. My favorite is roasting the yummy pumpkin seeds as a treat. A little sea salt or honey will make a treat both you and your kids can enjoy. Last who could forget the candy? As with most food these days the easiest solution to going green with candy is to buy organic and also chocolates that are fair grade certified. Many times you can find homemade candy at local farmers markets which helps the local economy and is not only usually better quality but tends to have much less packaging to worry about.

Speaking of packaging, try your best to buy the candies with the least amount therefore creating less waste, there is even some that is made of recyclable material. There is no way to avoid taking home some packaging so a great idea for these would be to get creative. You can make picture frames, purses, jewelry and more, if it can be done with duct tape why not candy wrappers. To help create less waste try handing out only 1 piece of candy per kid vs. a whole handful.  Every kid loves tattoos, bubbles and even that loose change that you have lying around why not pass these out instead of the candy. While it may not be the most popular item in the candy bag an apple is great or healthy snacks are also an option. Not only will this make you feel better about what the kids are getting, many times it is easier on your wallet as well. Halloween is meant to be enjoyed, but somewhere in between “planning” and “cleanup,” many parents find themselves feeling overwhelmed. It might seem that attempting to consider the Earth while planning a great ghoulish party is just too much work and way too expensive. Some fear it might even zap the fun right out of the day. But creating an eco-savvy Halloween doesn’t have to be scary, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg so go out and enjoy the night.

Happy Halloween

Read More

Topics: Green Ideas, Fun Green Articles, Holiday

People’s Climate March and the UN Climate Summit 2014

Posted by SEPCO

9/25/14 9:30 AM

peoples climate march 2014

Last Sunday was one of the largest climate rallies ever, the People’s Climate March in New York City. Climate changes have been on the mind of people since the 60’s and 70’s, but realizing that we need to do something now is pushing people even harder, as we have already damaged the climate permanently and there is worse to come.  Many big names were out there in the crowd along with everyday citizens to demand action in the UN Climate Summit in New York on Sept 23.

Leonardo DiCaprio made one of the best speeches I’ve heard in a long time, see here:

I think my other favorite video this week was Jon Stewart’s video Burn Noticed:

So now what? Well some great ideas were put up and set to be put in action. The Green Climate Fund, which was established in 2009, was set into place to help developing countries move away from fossil fuels; however, it has not been kept up with and is not meeting the goals set forth. Pledges were taken at this year’s Climate Summit to push this program further ahead; however, most of the wealthier countries, including the US, needs to get on the boat and make their pledge.

Carbon emissions were of course one of the largest topics. Countries including Ireland and Chile are working towards reducing their carbon emissions; however, we need large industrial countries such as China and India to jump on board to make a real impact. So are they doing this? 2014 Was the lowest coal consumption year in the past decade for China and they are working to lower their consumption even more. As for India, no one knows as they didn’t show up to discuss their input, but we will see in time what they do.

Food security was another hot topic on the list along with deforestation. Deforestation is on a track to be cut in half by 2020 and finally ended in 2030. Will there be forests or even trees left by 2030? I guess we will see. One of the worst deforestation is due to the Palm Oil industry; however, large companies are finally getting involved and making zero-deforestation pledges and deforestation-free sourcing of palm oil.

As for the future, The UK Prime Minister David Cameron wants leaders to strike a deal in Paris. He states “We must agree to a global deal in Paris next year, we simply cannot afford to put it off any longer.” Maybe this is a good idea, a yearly meeting instead of every 5 years; help keep everyone accountable of their actions and on track for a global change.

All in all, the rally helped raise awareness and showed the people’s support  for action as well as showing  the UN how much everyone (well most everyone) wants change to happen immediately. We all want a green and clean world for our children for generations to come, but we need to start somewhere. Every drop in the bucket towards making the world better is a step in the right direction.

For more information, check out: UN Climate Change Summit, Vice News, The Guardian, Mashable

Img Source: Grist

Read More

Topics: Green Ideas, Fun Green Articles, Alternative Energy

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: What about Repair?

Posted by SEPCO

8/14/14 9:30 AM

Repair

I know since I was a little kid that we have been learning about the 3 R’s of living a more green life; Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Something that seems to have fallen into the shadows many years ago is Repair. Instead of getting rid of that broken item, repair it to allow it to continue to be useful. A lot of things you can repair at home, others may have to be taken into a shop or have a technician look at it, but in almost all cases, the item can be repaired.

I came across this great article, The Forgotten ‘R’: Repair by Elizabeth Royte a while back and it got me thinking. How much stuff do I myself, a green professional and person, get rid of over the year that is broken but can actually be easily repaired? Now, instead of just throwing out that carpet shampooer that won’t do what it needs to, or the drawer of the fridge that is cracked, it is time to get out the tools and fix this stuff. If I can’t do it, I’m sure there is a repair shop somewhere in my town that can fix things.

One thing noticed in the article is the disappearance of repair shops. Manufacturers are making products that they want you to throw away once they break so that you purchase new products. There is something really wrong with this mentality. We have become a wasteful society, and with the increase of global warming and waste being a huge contributor to this, we should be looking for ways to reduce our impact by repairing items. Now, repair shops are starting again, popping up all over.

What to do with that item that just isn’t repairable, where no amount of glue, wiring, screws, etc. will ever make it perform the way it was intended again? We recently looked into Upcycling where you take unusable items and turn them into something new and amazing. If that item really can’t be repaired, look at it from a different angle and see what it may be able to become and breathe some new life into it. Save the unused tiles from a project and create a new top for that scratched up table that you don’t know what to do with. Go online; there are thousands of ideas all over the internet. Don’t know what to do with that broken item and don’t have the time to turn it into something new, advertise it on Craigslist or Freecycle and let someone else take a crack at it.

The takeaway: Let’s all work together to expand the iconic 3 R’s and add a forth by repairing items that break. 

photo credit: Daniel Y. Go
Read More

Topics: Green Ideas, Fun Green Articles

Amazing Changes Happening Now for Sustainable Living: Tiny House

Posted by SEPCO

7/17/14 9:30 AM

Tiny-HomeHomes have become larger and more spacious as time progresses; however, there is a new movement away from those expensive and inefficient homes towards tiny houses. This is great for single people or small families that want to utilize every inch of their home and have more freedom than we’ve had in years. Instead of spending $450k, more and more people are opting to spend $30k or less to build a tiny house that they can even pick up and move wherever life takes them.

Tiny homes are on a huge up rise. These homes range from under 100 sq ft to around 350 sq ft. It is amazing what you can do when you slim down all your “stuff” to your most basic needs, compact your requirements to fit into such a small place, and then build the most functional, multipurpose spaces you could even imagine. There are many benefits to a tiny house including environmental friendliness, easier to clean and cheaper to heat and cool.

Tiny homes can be powered by traditional grid by plugging in to a power outlet, or be completely off grid by installing solar power. Since these homes are so efficient, they do not require a lot of power and only need a 1k solar system or less to completely power the requirements of the home. This combined with some propane or other form of fuel for heating and cooking is about the only costs associated with living in a tiny home.

There are tons of resources available online if you are interested in building a tiny home. You can purchase complete blueprints to just inspirational ideas to create your own unique custom design. Make it as functional as possible to fit exactly what you would need and listing the most important features to the least important to get the most from the space.

If you have a family, maybe you can’t build your tiny house on the back of a trailer like some mobile tiny homes; however, you can still stay with the smaller ideals and have plenty of room for everyone. Or live in an urban area; turn your studio into a lot more by maximizing its design. There are so many options that allow you to live more efficiently in less space than ever before. You just have to look around and get your creative juices flowing to find what would fit your lifestyle best.

What are some of your favorite tiny home resources, ideas and designs? Share them with us in the comments.

Img Credit: Over Grow the System

Read More

Topics: Green Ideas, Fun Green Articles

Amazing Changes Happening Now for Sustainable Living: Fair Trade

Posted by SEPCO

7/3/14 9:30 AM

I-Supporting-FairtradeFair trade is starting to become more popular all over the world. Purchasing products from farmers and workers who are compensated fairly and work for companies that have sustainable business models helps everyone from the top down. Purchasing fair trade also has a great impact on the local communities where the products are being produced. Many organizations are working together to help with the fair trade movement. Here are some of the ways that you can help.

Purchasing Fair Trade Items

Fair Trade USA network certifies coffee, tea and herbs, cocoa, fresh fruit and vegetables, sugar, beans and grains, flowers, nuts, oils and butters, honey and spices, wine and apparel, and certified ingredients are now used in ready-to-drink beverages, body care products and spirits. These products are available in over 50,000 retail locations including big box stores you already shop at. Looking for the logo on your favorite type of products will ensure you are purchasing from a fair trade company. You will typically receive a better product while helping someone in the end.

The World Fair Trade Organization also works with producers, marketers, exporters, importers, wholesalers and retailers for their products. They make sure companies adhere to their 10 WFTO principles of fair trade in their daily operations and demonstrate 100% commitment to fair trade. Looking for their logo on products will ensure that you are purchasing a product coming from a fair trade company, no matter where in the world they are located.

Certify Your Products as Fair Trade

Certifying your products as fair trade means that you adhere to higher standards in your products production. Not every product is on the fair trade list; however, the more companies that list their products, the larger this movement will become and the more socially aware companies will become. Contact the local fair trade organizations and see how you can get involved.

Difference between Fair Trade and Free Trade

Free trade is an economic theory where marketable items can flow without government intervention. Fair trade helps free trade work for the world’s poor by paying everyone from the bottom up a fair cost on their product. These two systems work hand and hand to ensure that, especially in developing areas, people are being allowed to improve their lives by earning a decent wage for their products.

What Difference Will This Actually Make

If we all work together to start purchasing more fair trade products, companies that do not follow these standards will move towards a more socially aware way of doing business. Just like buying organic produce versus other produce will not have immediate impact, but as time goes on, more and more options will become available and more companies will join in the change.

What are your thoughts on the fair trade movement?

Read More

Topics: Green Ideas, Fun Green Articles, Conservation

Go Green for the 4th of July

Posted by SEPCO

7/1/14 9:30 AM

Going green is great to do every day of the year but with the 4th of July being a popular holiday for friends and family to celebrate with picnics, fireworks and maybe even a pool party these are some ways to think about doing it.

green_4th_uncle_sam

First things first, when it comes to picnics the easiest thing to do is instead of using all those disposable plates, cups and utensils opt for a more eco-friendly option They may be convenient for party guest but they are not so great for the planet. The best solution to this would be to use normal tableware that can be washed and reused. If you must go the disposable route try to clean them up after use.  Another option would be to shop for biodegradable tableware. These sometimes cost a little extra but leaving a cleaner environment for our future is worth the extra pennies. If you are using water bottles instead of plastic cups be sure to opt for reusable bottles instead of the usual bottled water from the local store. If you do use them be sure to recycle them instead of just tossing them in the regular garbage.  Speaking of reusable try to use reusable bags to bring all those dishes and food to the party, don’t forget them when you go to the store to buy your supplies either.

green_utensils

The next thing seems like an easy and obvious idea but try to eat organic and buy local. This helps because organic food does not use pesticides which in turn leave fewer chemicals in the air, water and our bodies. By buying locally you know that your food has not been altered to preserve it and also has not had to be trucked across the U.S to be delivered to the local grocery store, not to mention is supports the local economy. In fact if the entire U.S were to eat vegetarian for 1 day it would save an estimated 100 billion gallons of water and 70 million gallons of gas. We are not saying do not eat meat but if you do make sure you buy genuine grass-fed beef which is not loaded with antibiotics and is easier to digest. Don’t forget to buy some organic beer as well and bring out the juicer for the kids.

The third item on the list is how we are going to cook all of the food for the party. When I first thought about this I thought the obvious answer was to use charcoal, but after doing some research the better option is actually propane. This is because charcoal is usually made from mesquite trees that have to be cut down contributing to deforestation and also using of fuel for transport. Charcoal also releases more CO2 into the air; it is actually almost 3 times more than propane. As always with propane make sure you choose the trade-in option which will allow you to exchange your empty tank for a new one and usually will get you a discount. If you would still rather use the charcoal for the flavor aspect look for a sustainably-produced briquette which are made from industrial scrap wood or are produced using clean-energy turbines. Did you know that if you rub the racks of your grill with onion it actually helps food to not stick better than that chemical spray that most of us use?  No matter which form of cooking you are using try to cook as much food as possible at once since this will make it more efficient not to mention you will be able to spend more time with friends and less time standing over a hot grill.

sky_orbs

Who could forget the best part of the 4th of July, the fireworks? Now we could go on and on about how fireworks leave many things in the air that pollute the environment but let’s be realistic this is the one thing we look forward to when we think of Independence Day.  A way to help make less impact of those 4th of July fireworks is to go in groups to a local fireworks show and not buy your own to shoot off at home. Not only can this be dangerous but if every household were to shoot off their own it would be that much more smoke and chemicals being released. If you would still rather stay home there are some companies making perchlorate-free fireworks or you could use sky orbs. Sky Orbs can be lit at night and an added perk is that they are biodegradable.  Speaking of going in a group if you were to car pool to the show you would help by only using one or two car versus everyone driving individually.

Our last recommendation is to basically just get outside. Being outside helps reduce the use of electricity and also lets you just enjoy mother nature. Use the available day light for the start of your party and the cooking part then when nightfall comes and the bugs start to come out opt for a green solution for bug repellent. There are plenty of Eco-friendly bug repellents on the market and you could even make you own. An easy recipe for your own repellent is a combination of a few essential oils like lavender, mint, lemongrass and even basil. Mix the oils with either an oil, like coconut oil for oil based repellent and alcohol or witch hazel for water base one. As far as keeping the area around you bug free grow plants like marigolds, lemon basil, or catnip. Buy soy based candles instead of the regular paraffin ones at most stores.  During the day don’t forget the sunscreen and try to pick out a brand that is Eco-friendly or cover up as much as possible. If you want to take a dip to cool off try to find a natural body of water like a beach or a nearby lake versus going to a pool, which uses a lot of water. Decorate with natural items like flowers or string some berries. Also try to save whatever decorations you can so they can used again next year.

happy_4th_2

While I could go on with this list I will stop here. The most important part of this holiday is to remember why we celebrate and share it with friends and family and do your part to make sure that the generations to come can do so as well. We here at SEPCO would like to thank all of our veteran and current military as well as wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July.

 

Read More

Topics: Green Ideas, Fun Green Articles, Holiday, Conservation

Tips for Maintaining Small Solar Walkway Lights

Posted by SEPCO

6/24/14 9:30 AM

battery_for_walkway_lightsNow that summer is upon us some of you are digging out those solar lights to put along the sidewalk again to make a nice shining light on your walkway. So you put them all in the ground let them charge the whole day only to find out that night that most of them don’t work and the ones that do are very dim and not doing much. Even though they don’t cost much who wants to go out every summer and buy new lights, I know I don’t.

Working in the solar industry we sell batteries with our systems, so it would only make sense that these lights would take batteries too. Upon some investigations of my walkway lights I found some screws in the bottom of them, and me being the tinkering type of person, decided to see just how these little lights worked. What I found upon removing the screws was simply a little AA battery. I guess it never occurred to me that all I would have to do to fix these lights is just replace the battery inside and the next night when dawn came upon us my lights were working again.  Replacing all the batteries in my lights only cost as much as it would have cost to replace about 2 of the lights I currently had. 

nail_polish_on_lightsAnother quick tip that I found is that if the lights are still not bright after replacing the batteries you can try to put some more life into the cell itself. Looking at my own I noticed the plastic on the top looked a little cloudy, this would prevent the sun from being able to give a full charge to the battery. After looking into it I found a really neat idea that made sense so I tried it. I got out some clear nail polish and put a thin coat on top of the solar cells and once again they looked shiny and new like the day I bought them.

I really don’t know how much longer this will extend the life of my lights but it has saved me money for at least one more summer. I think the elements alone will probably affect the lights before they go out themselves so I guess we will see.

pathway_lights

Read More

Topics: Green Ideas, Fun Green Articles, Pathway Lighting

Amazing Changes Happening Now for Sustainable Living: Upcycling

Posted by SEPCO

6/19/14 9:30 AM

Instead of throwing things away after they have been used, upcycling takes what would typically become another added piece of trash in our landfills and turns it into something new. Upcycling is literally taking waste materials or useless products and turning them into new material or products. Upcycling has become a large part of the sustainable living movement happening today.

Finding Ideas

Upcycle-1

There are thousands of websites that exist today to help you upcycle just about anything and everything. My favorite place to look for inspirations is definitely Pinterest since it puts tons of different ideas in an “at your fingertips” fashion and there is never a lack of inspiration. You can even narrow down your search easily to find what to do with something you have left over or ideas for something you may want to do in the future. Or want to watch videos on how to turn that junk into something new, YouTube is always a great place to check out for tons of how-to videos.

Fad or Way of Life?

Pallets-resized-600

Upcycling isn’t just a fad; it is a way of life for a lot of people. Instead of throwing away what you think is useless junk, turning it into something new can give you a sense of pride and ownership of that new item, much more than running to the store and buying the same thing. And what you make doesn’t always have to be something useful, it can just be something artistic to show your passion for making the world a better place and being an eco-conscious person.

Finding Cool Stuff

yard-sale

If you don’t have something you are ready to upcycle at home, there are tons of great places to find things that you can upcycle. Craigslist, garage sales, thrift stores and local classified ads are the perfect place to start. You can usually get things at a really low cost or even free in a lot of cases. You can either upcycle what you get or use it as part of a larger project. Who knows, maybe you can even sell some of your amazing projects.

Now go forth and find all that cool stuff you can make into something new.

Img Credit: Dishfunctional Designs & Old Towne East

Read More

Topics: Green Ideas, Fun Green Articles

Amazing Changes Happening Now for Sustainable Living: Gardening

Posted by SEPCO

6/5/14 9:30 AM

With all the changes in the world today, we are seeing a shift towards sustainable living like never before. Developments in renewable energy and lowering our impact on the earth or need for store bought items is changing how we are working and living. This series will take an in-depth look at some of the largest movements going on in the world today. Stay tuned for a new post every week!

Urban Gardening Movement 

small__3756078760Urban gardening has taken over small porches, rooftops and yards in cities and urban areas all over. These gardens are allowing families to take control of what they produce at home and lower their dependency on stores for their produce. It allows them to provide healthy fruits and vegetables for their family and controls what they use for maintenance and keeping their plants pest free. With the rise of studies against using harsh pesticides and GMO seeds, and wanting to become healthier, urban gardens are a movement in the right direction. What is not able to be produces at home is now being pushed to organic purchases when having to go to the store.

Gardens can be containers large and small, and placed in just about any location that has sunlight available. If you can fill it with dirt, you can grow in it. Popular sites like Urban Organic Gardener are filled with ideas and information on how you can grow your own food from the smallest of areas. Don’t want to scour the web looking for information and ideas, check out sites like Pinterest that puts everything in one place.

Suburban Gardening Movement

Suburban_GardenGrowing food not lawns is becoming the movement in suburban areas. The cost of maintenance of a lawn that basically provides no value back to a homeowner is high. It is much less to turn that green carpet into something that will give back year after year. The reasoning is the same as urban gardens; however, with larger areas to cover, the production can be huge and allow a single family to provide all needed produce for their family as well as share with their neighbors.

These larger areas can also provide small animal farms for fresh eggs and other small animals such as rabbits and dusk to help fertilize the garden. Check with your local statute to make sure that your garden is not located where these animals are prohibited though. Vegetable Gardener has tons of great resources and information on suburban gardening, pest control, small animal and so much more to get you started.

Community Gardening

Community_GardenCommunity gardening approach is for a small neighborhood that can get together and all work together as a community for everyone to share the crops. This can be done in one place such as an empty section in a neighborhood, or in one or more person’s actual yard. Community gardens can also be started in public areas with the approval of the local government. There is a ton of information and resources available online. One of my favorites is the American Community Gardening Association where you can get information on setting one up in your area or even find one that already exists for you to get involved in.

 

Guerrilla Gardening Movement

Guerrilla_GardenThe guerrilla gardening movement is adding a little color or food to unused or abandoned plots of land. These plots range from a space in concrete along a sidewalk to larger areas around town. Instead of just leaving the area without anything but some dirt, people are stepping up and planting something. This ranges from flowers to a vegetable patch and they are being planted late at night in secrecy or during the day to publicly show that the land can be used for something. Guerrilla gardening has become a form of activism that does not create any harm but provides a little bit of life back into the area. There are even seed bombs that can easily be made and then placed just about anywhere.

Keeping the Bees

What about the bees? Urban gardening supports these amazing creatures that we wouldn’t survive without. Bees are essential to sustaining our gardens and keeping food crops alive. By planting gardens, especially organic gardens, and reducing the chemicals used to keep pests off, will ensure the bees will survive and keep our fruits and vegetables keep growing.

What other changes are you seeing in the gardening movement happening now?

photo credit: Bad Alley davidsilver {studiobeerhorst}-bbmarie urbanwild
Read More

Topics: Green Ideas, Fun Green Articles

Subscribe to Email Updates