For Energy Savers, the Grass is Greener on the Other Side
Sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side. At least that’s true
for homeowners who
incorporate more energy efficient modifications. Not only
are these environmentally-aware
neighbors lessening their footprint on the
earth, but they’re also lessening their energy and utility
Repurposing for Gardeners: How to Use Household “Junk” in Your Garden
Recreate uses for household items and add spunk to your gardens. Before you toss that old light bulb or put the wooden wheelbarrow out to pasture, repurpose it! That is, spruce up your property with a little funk and turn everyday items into a vegetable or flower garden.
Repurpose a burned-out bulb and build a miniature herb garden. Carefully unscrew the brass and remove the black inner part. Then, use tweezers to pull out the inside pieces of the light bulb. Place a small amount of soil inside of the bulb, along with seeds.
Insert string and tie the bulb securely, so that it hangs upside down. One recommended area is in front of a kitchen window, where there is presumably ample sunlight.
Water sparingly daily. You want the herb to grow, not drown. Watch as the plant grows through the light bulb’s opening. Continued
Upgrade Your Existing Water Heater With An Eye Towards Efficiency
Most consumers are not aware that there is a water heater season. The season kicks off in late fall and early winter when water supplied to your home is significantly colder than in the summer. This colder water cause thermal contraction and expansion which is especially tough on water heaters over time. Water heaters made of steel experience thermal expansion and contraction on an everyday basis. This occurs due to the constant extreme change in water temperature when the tank is drained of hot water and filled with cold water, putting a lot of stress on the steel tank and its liner. Coupled with natural wear and tear due to corrosion, the tank weakens over time to a point when it may start to leak.
This thermal contraction and expansion is especially tough on steel. If your water heater is ten or more years old, it may be ready to fail. Due to this frequency of water heater failures, I recommend that homeowners be ready to make an informed choice about buying the right water heater when the time comes. Plumbers experience a significant uptick in water heater replacements around the holidays, when the last thing you want to be thinking about is replacing your water heater! Continued
Natural Ways to Keep Creepy Crawlies Out of Your Home
Keeping your house free of bugs and creepy crawlies needn’t be tough on the wallet or harmful to the environment. Mother Nature is always on hand to provide some reliable alternatives.
It’s tough enough keeping your home up together without the unexpected, uninvited arrival of ants, spiders and a plethora of other multi-legged invaders.
Whilst supermarket shelves are overflowing with pesticides and sprays designed to help combat any unwanted infestations, there are plenty of natural alternatives to keep the bugs from your door.
Here are a few natural, non-toxic and easy remedies guaranteed to keep those critters away. Continued
First Gold LEED Hospital Adds Water Wise Garden
Providence Newberg was the first hospital to earn Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. It is a shining example of how a medical center can incorporate the most advanced technology and forward-thinking patient care design along with energy efficient, environmentally sound construction. So when I was approached to design a garden for the hospital, it was imperative to support their efforts with a water-wise garden.
The hospital was positioned on the property to maximize daylight for heating and cooling efficiency. Specially treated windows improve heating and cooling efficiency. Occupancy sensors control lighting and HVAC, cycling down systems when they are not in use and the system does not recycle air - visitors breathe 100 percent fresh. Continued
Hybrid Electric Water Heaters Qualify for $500 Energy Trust of Oregon Incentive
Visit the Energy Trust of Oregon’s booth at the upcoming Better Living Show to learn about new efficient water heating solutions. Hybrid electric water heaters have the potential to cut energy consumption of water heaters by as much as 50% or an estimated $200 annually compared to standard electric water heaters. Hybrid electric water heaters generate hot water by transferring heat from the surrounding air to the water that is stored in the water heater. The water heater only uses energy to move heat from the air into the water. In case of increased hot water demand, hybrid electric water heaters feature standard back-up elements to give the water a temperature boost.
Oregon home owners living in Portland General Electric service territories are now eligible to receive a $500 Energy Trust of Oregon incentive towards the purchase of a qualifying hybrid electric water heater. Energy Trust of Oregon is looking to incentivize up to 200 qualifying installations through December 31, 2012. Continued
Ten Easy-to-Grow Herbs for Beginners
One of the most satisfying things to grow in your garden are fresh herbs. These plants can be incorporated into your daily cooking and therefore you tend to manage the plants and their moisture requirements more often. But best of all, herbs are hardy and take little care in comparison to ornamental plants. They are a perfect choice for beginner gardeners.
Here is a list of the ten easiest herbs to grow and their growing conditions: Continued
Cleaning Naturally With Five Home Products
Contrary to what adverts tell us, we don’t need all those chemicals eating away at our furniture to live in a safe, clean home. Ninety nine point nine percent bacteria-free just isn’t natural! What’s worse is that many of these modern chemical based products can contribute to asthma, skin allergies and furniture corrosion.
My mother was always against all the cleaning fads that companies brought out so I thought I would share some of her greatest tricks...
Vinegar is a natural bacteria killer and grease corroder. However it’s best to use... Continued
How to Grow Organic Herbs
Growing organic herbs, either indoors or in your garden, is a fun engaging activity, especially when it comes to harvest time. Your own herb garden provides you with a handy source of fresh and pesticide-free produce. You can also grow herbs for medicinal reasons.
Here’s how to start your own herb garden.
For growing indoors in small pots and containers, the following herbs are your best choices because they are fairly small and thrive well even in semi-shaded areas: Continued
Integrated Pest Management: Making Pest Control Greener
When you’re trying to make your life more eco-friendly, the ongoing battle against pests can be a bit bewildering. On the one hand, you don’t want to disrupt the ecological balance by blanketing your property with noxious chemicals meant to wipe out entire pest populations. On the other hand, you’ve got to look after your home’s own ecological balance – one that has no place for disease-laden cockroaches, rodents and other harmful pests.
Fortunately, there’s an answer that lies somewhere in the middle. Continued
Need capital? Turn to the crowd.
Senator Jeff Merkley was in town in May to talk about the Crowdfunding Act, an amendment he co-sponsored that was passed by the U.S. Senate on March 22 and signed into law by President Obama on April 5. Sattie Clark participated in this discussion, representing the American Sustainable Business Council, a key supporter of this legislation, and VOIS.
Region’s First Earth-Friendly Moving Box Rental Company Opens in Portland
Lets face it, moving is hard work. You may be looking forward to the end result, but the process of getting organized, rounding up moving supplies, packing, loading, driving, unloading, unpacking and finally getting rid of all of those cardboard boxes isn’t exactly a fun time. Boxes inevitably get crushed in the process and treasures get broken.
To top it off, cardboard boxes aren’t exactly cheap! $2.50 for a medium sized cardboard box doesn’t sound like much (Portland-area average price), until you multiply it by the 50, 75 or even 100 boxes necessary to move a home or office. True, you can reuse old boxes, but you know they aren’t as sturdy as you want them to be to keep your stuff safe and they’re usually dirty. Continued
Banana Hemp Protein Smoothie Recipe
These days people are so busy that its not always easy to find time for good nutrition. But then along came the smoothie. These things have been popping up all over the place - coffee shops, gyms, grocery stores and more. But many of the smoothies that are sold are extremely fattening and not always made with the healthiest of ingredients.
Here is a recipe for a banana hemp protein smoothie that is not only delicious, but its also high in fiber, loaded with protein, dairy free and vegan.
First Ever Fireplace to be Certified as a Central Furnace Unveiled at Better Living Show
NW Natural’s Blue Home at this year’s Better Living Show is stuffed full of great ideas to make life better and greener. One of the products featured in the home is so new it is not even available on the market yet—you get to experience the World Premier. The new product is Heat & Glo’s Energy Pro Direct Vent gas fireplace. The product is manufactured by Hearth and Home Technologies and will be distributed locally by Portland’s own Fireside Distributors. Now maybe that doesn’t sound as exciting as a blockbuster movie or a breakaway single, but it is still pretty cool nonetheless. Why? Well, bear with me a moment as we Article continued
Thermostats Go Green, High-Tech, and Oh, So Cool!
I love when someone redefines a boring, everyday item. It’s one thing to come out with some new product that no one has ever heard of before, but I think it’s even harder to take a ubiquitous object that we all take for granted and do something truly amazing with it. This year’s Better Living Show features Northwest Natural’s Blue Home, stuffed full of great ideas to make life better and greener. Hidden in this treasure trove is the quintessential “better mouse trap.” Before giving away the secret, let’s talk about the old mouse trap that is living in your house right now. Article continued
Portland Expo Center get charged-up for the Better Living Show
Visitors to the upcoming Better Living Show at the Portland Expo Center will be pleased to find that they now have a place to charge their electric vehicles while they check out the latest in green technologies, eco-chic fashion and sustainable items for the home. Installation of Blink EV charging stations in the public parking area of the Expo Center was completed in October, allowing drivers of electric vehicles to park and plug in with ease and convenience. Charging stations were also installed at the Oregon Convention Center and Metro Regional Government.
The project was a partnership between Article continued
Concerned about air quality in nail salons?
In 2011, the Zero Waste Alliance (ZWA) initiated a Social Determinants of Health project aimed at understanding the health concerns of an estimated 2,500 Vietnamese Nail Salon workers in the Portland metropolitan area.
Concerns associated with high chemical exposures in nail salons have been recognized across the country. However, we have very limited information about chemical exposures in the nail salon workplace and the health needs of Vietnamese workers in these salons.
There is increasing evidence from global, national and local environmental and health organizations that large sectors of society suffer disproportionate health impacts due to Article continued
How to Select Green Flooring and Counter Tops
There are many options when it comes to green flooring and counter tops. And the list seems to be growing every year. Each of them have advantages and disadvantages but all of them offer great green solutions with the proper application and installation. As Anthony Ivelia, Director of Marketing & Sales at Macadam Floor and Design Points out, the question is not whether there are green choices, its how to choose between them.
If you want to go green, here are Article continued
Sustainable Solutions Can Be So Simple
I think as humans we get so caught up in looking for big solutions, we miss small opportunities that have large impact. Take a look at what micro financing has done in impoverished countries. Who would have guessed that you could buy a goat for the cost of a movie and change the lives of families half way across the world?
I found one such solution this weekend at the Good Earth Show in Eugene, Oregon. Sitting in a booth was Chase, who was representing Patrick's Children without Sponsors. This organization is based in Lake Oswego, Oregon and was created in 2004 to help children. They partner with other organizations that cater to children and with an allocated sum, help those children indirectly by purchasing items needed in their daily lives.
7 Resolutions for a Greener Healthier 2012
New Year’s resolutions are often made but rarely fulfilled. Let’s face it, if they were easy, we would already being doing these things and we wouldn’t need to make resolutions. But if we don’t set the bar so high, resolutions can be made with little effort and little sacrifice. And that means your chance for success go up.
So here are seven New Year’s resolutions for a greener healthier 2012 Article continued
The New & Improved, Greener Holiday Season
With the holiday season just around the corner, what better time than now to start planning on ways you can make this season the greenest, healthiest, most sustainable yet? While we tend to have our minds set on 1,001 things (mild understatement) between Thanksgiving and New Years, unfortunately “green” typically isn’t on the top of that list. Yet, the ways that we can all green up our holiday time are extremely abundant and most of them very easy to incorporate. If you’re tired of hitting January 1st feeling like you got caught up far too much in the excess and waste and are ready to simplify a bit, why not start now? If you’re not sure where to get started, here are a few quick things to think about this year.
The Tree: Instead of artificial trees (non-recyclable, non-biodegradable) or cut trees (will never live again), consider an “adopt-a-tree” program or a “potted-Christmas-tree” program (names vary depending upon location). These give you a live Christmas tree for approximately 10 days and then they replant it immediately after Christmas! You can feel fantastic about saving a tree’s life every year while still enjoying the scent and look of the real thing. If you do opt for buying Article continued
How to Install Bamboo Flooring
In my quest to reduce my carbon footprint, I have been slowly incorporating green building material and energy saving measures into my home. I’ve become a more informed consumer and whenever possible, have opted for sustainable choices in upgrading my home. However, along the way, I have realized that most of these steps have been incremental and until I shrink the size of my home, I am still using way too much energy and raw materials – renewable or not.
So I have decided to move to a small farm house that is less than 1,000 sf - shrinking my overall footprint by more than 50%. But before I can move in, the house is in need of a complete overhaul. I took it down to the studs and have been slowly remodeling it in the evenings and weekends. This weekend’s project… installing bamboo floors.
Daryl Hannah and Bethy Rossos to headline Better Living Show
This year's Better Living Show welcomes two celebrities, including environmentalist and actress, Daryl Hannah and “Adrenaline Hunter” star, Bethy Rossos. Daryl Hannah, most widely known for her acting roles in hit films like Splash and Kill Bill will speak out on her longtime commitment as an environmental advocate and her passion for living a low-impact life. Bethy Rossos, winner of the televised reality show, “Wanted II: Adventure Woman” and now, star of her own Comcast reality series, “The Adrenaline Hunter,” comes to the show for an exclusive cooking demonstration, showing attendees how to make amazing pizzas on the BBQ use local ingredients.
Read more about the 2012 Better Living Show
The Future of Alternative Energy in Portland
The future of alternative energy in Portland is more promising than most other areas of the country. In part, this is due to the temperate climate with dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The climate is moderated by proximity to the ocean and lacks both the bitter cold and raging heat common to so many other states. Portland has the perfect climate for use of alternative energy and the public and private will to create a sustainable, environmentally responsible lifestyle.
There is good reason Portland is considered one of American’s “greenest” cities. Alternative energy is an “in” subject today and many cities across the country are looking for ways to capitalize on the environmental movement. Portland has been a forward thinking city for years. When other states were developing as fast as they could, Portland was practicing careful land use planning and developing within strict guidelines. Much of the manufacturing the city is famous for is of products that carry a low environmental impact. Roses are big business in Portland as are microbreweries.
Support Your Local Green Events
There are many green events around the US helping to spread the word about sustainability. They come in all forms; from music festivals and green home & garden shows to eco summits and organic festivals. And as each event passes the hope is that more consumers are exposed to the importance of living in a sustainable manner, for themselves, the environment and their communities.
A large part of living sustainably is buying locally. The result of buying locally is a more sustainable community with local businesses that are owned by local people who are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future. And studies have shown that when you buy from locally owned business, rather than a nationally organization, significantly more of your money is used to support other local businesses which continues to strengthen the economic base of the community.
Where to get Used Carpet for Free
There are lots of places to get used carpet, but when money is short, where can you find it for free? That is what I wanted to know, as I was doing a home improvement project that needed approximately 600 sf of carpet and I was not willing to pay for it. It’s not that I’m cheap, but what I needed it for did not call for plush carpet in the latest color.
A few weeks ago I decided to put a pond in my backyard. After moving some very large shrubs and trees, I built a couple of retaining walls and dug the hole where to pond was going to go. Before putting the pond liner in, I wanted to put some padding under it to protect it from possible puncture from rocks under the liner. At my former house I had the kids go around the neighborhood and collect newspapers that I used under a previous pond liner. It was a great way to recycle newspaper and provided a good padding.
Energy Smart Home offers ideas for inside and outside the home
This year’s Energy Smart Home at the Clark Public Utilities Home & Garden Idea Fair offers ideas for just about everyone—whether you want to reduce our environmental footprint by making your home more energy efficient, learn about electric vehicle charging stations, or are considering investing in a solar water heating system. The demonstration home, built by New Tradition Homes, Vancouver, features the latest in home energy-saving technologies. For example, it has low-e, argonfilled Energy Star® windows, energy-efficient lighting throughout, a tankless water heater, a high efficiency furnace and heat pump, and a solar water heating system. The latest retrofit heating sensation— the ductless heat pump—also will be on display. They offer efficient heating and air conditioning without ductwork, so are the perfect replacement for homes with baseboard heat, ceiling heat or wall heaters.
Portland Mortgage Company Rolls out a New Green Mortgage
The green mortgage is not a new idea, but leave it to a Portland company to put an entirely new spin on things. In a city where 75% of mortgage brokers have turned in their licenses since the start of the housing crunch, one local company, Premier Mortgage Resources, is getting serious about sustainability.
On March 25, 2011, Premier launches its Earth Wise Home Loan at the Better Living Show, designed to give real incentives to borrowers buying green-certified homes. The idea is simple: purchase a home with energy efficiency certification by LEED, Earth Advantage, Built Green, Energy Star or Passive Solar, and receive a .375% credit on loan fees up to $2500. Upfront savings on a mortgage loan of $300,000, for example, would be $1125.
Spring 2011 Color Trends in Makeup: Keeping it trendy, but still green!
GreenBeautyTeam.com founder and international makeup artist Kristen Arnett is sharing expert green beauty tips from the Sustalinable Life Stage on Saturday, March 26 at 2:00 pm. Kristen will use Alima Pure products to make up the models for all the SEMPER Fashion shows this weekend! Alima Pure is based in Portland and recently was awarded the prestigous...
Kristen and Alima Pure share with you makeup trends to welcome Spring!
We just came off an especially “nude and neutral” winter making it harder than usual to get out of our comfort zones and wear the brighter colors which this Spring in particular inspires...
Living Greener Starts at the Better Living Show
Okay, I get it. You don’t want to live in a hut with a thatched roof eating pine cones and wearing sandals in the winter. But if that is your idea of what you have to do to start living greener you are mistaken. And that was the whole motivation behind launching the Better Living Show. We wanted to reach out to the mainstream population and break down some of the misconceptions about living greener.
I grew up in Beaverton, Oregon in a family that enjoyed the outdoors. We did not have a lot of money so we lived very simple yet conventional lives. My father pulled a lot of weeds by hand until he got a little older and then he started nuking them with chemicals. We had large cars because we had a large family. We ate well but not organic per se. It wasn’t until late in my life that I started living greener. It was when I went to Oregon State University and later in my work with school gardens that I really started taking a serious look at my habits.
Portland Celebrates Ecoroof Month in March
The ecoroof industry in Portland, Oregon has been making great strides. Since 2008, the City of Portland has offered an incentive of $5 per square foot of ecoroof on approved projects. Over 100 projects have been funded so far for over 8 acres in vegetated roof space, and the funding will be offered twice annually until 2013. The City now boasts nearly 13 acres of ecoroofs (extensive green roofs) and close to 28 acres of green roofs (intensive and extensive combined).
When did Earth’s most abundant and free natural resource become a commercial ‘beverage’?
What safeguards are in place today to prevent incidents like the infamous Bhopal disaster in India when chemical company Union Carbide leaked deadly gases, killing thousands of people?
Why is the U.S. so far behind other nations in developing environmentally friendly public transportation?
There are many reasons why public transit hasn’t taken off in the U.S. as it has in parts of Asia, Europe and elsewhere. For one, ever since the Model T first rolled off Henry Ford’s assembly line, Americans have had a love affair with cars. Also, a successful plot by General Motors and several partner companies in the 1930 and 1940s bought up and shut down rail transit lines across 45 American cities, replacing them with bus routes driven on GM buses. Meanwhile, the U.S. government embarked on a plan to link the nation’s metro areas via interstate highways, further encouraging car travel. The sexy new car designs of the 1950s then drove the final nail in the coffin, relegating public transportation to an afterthought.
Instead of Efficiency
Efficiency is one of the hallmarks of our society. And, on the surface, creating more desired results from the resources available may seem benign or even beneficial, whether we’re talking agriculture, business, government, or education. However, our quest for efficiency is, increasingly, leading us to dangerous places.z
A good example of this lies in the way we produce our food. Take, for instance, the highly efficient “confined animal feeding operations” (CAFOs). Critics have been warning for years that these massive, inhumane animal factories are incubators for virulent super-pathogens. Knowing that their crowded and unhygienic farms put animals at risk of disease, farmers pump pigs and cattle full of antibiotics, which is the prerequisite for antibiotic-resistant organisms and a potential public health crisis. The industrial farming company finds it more efficient to give drugs to healthy animals than to grow food on small, mixed farms where conditions are humane, animals stay healthy, and customers are nearby. This efficiency serves both corporate greed and consumer desire for cheap food. Article continued
Quinoa: The Mother of All Grains
Quinoa is a grain-like crop that was cultivated in the Andes from wild populations of Chenopodium quinoa some 3,500 years ago. It was a sacred crop to the Incas who called it ‘the mother of all grains’, however the early Spanish colonists considered it unworthy of cultivation. It is considered a psuedocereal – not really a true grain or cereal and not even in the grass family. It is more closely related to beets and tumbleweeds. Its leaves can also be eaten much like amaranth.
Because quinoa is so undemanding it is easily grown where temperatures range from 25 degrees to 95 degrees during the growing season. It does not need much water; usually less than 18 inches, but it does require well drained soils. It actually prefers soils low in nutrients, but adding a little nitrogen will usually increase the yield.
In his recent State of the Union Address, President Obama called for a million electric vehicles on American roads by 2015. How likely is it that we’ll attain that goal?
What’s the latest research on the question of whether cell phone use causes cancer?
According to the federally funded National Cancer Institute, the low-frequency electromagnetic radiation that cell phones give off when we hold them up to our heads is “non-ionizing,” meaning it cannot cause significant human tissue heating or body temperature increases that could lead to direct damage to cellular DNA. By contrast, X-rays consist of high-frequency ionizing electromagnetic radiation and can lead to the kind of cellular damage resulting in cancer. Nonetheless, some cell phone users and researchers still worry about our cell phone usage, given how much we now use them and how little we know about their potential long-term effects.
DISH NETWORK PARTNERS WITH PREMIER HOME SHOWS TO PROMOTE INNOVATIVE TV SOLUTIONS TO HOMEBUYERS
DISH Network reaches buyers and decision makers through national sponsorship of the 2011 National Home & Garden Show Series™
Premier HomeShows, the portfolio of leading independent home and garden shows and a division of USA Expositions, today announced that DISH Network L.L.C., a subsidiary of DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) has signed on as a national sponsor of its 2011 National Home & Garden Show Series™DISH Network, the TV industry’s leader in technology and HD programming, along with several local independent satellite TV retailers exhibiting at each show, will increase its visibility on a national and local level through its participation in all 30 home and garden shows nationwide.
From Garden Pot to Cooking Pot
The local grocery store usually doesn’t stock many herbs that could easily grow in a garden pot and as easily add to the cooking pot. Here are a few suggestions for all to try.
Garlic chives, Allium tuberosum, are easy to start from seed or nursery seedlings. It divides easily and is the perfect pot plant. If you prefer to plant in a garden area, watch out for its ability to easily spread seeds. Pick the snowy white flowers and they will hold up well in a bouquet. The bright green leaves can be chopped up and used in mixed green salads. The leaves can also add loads of flavor to stews and soups. If you are not ready to use them immediately, the leaves can also be dried and used at a later time.
When it Comes to Green Events, I Say Buy LOCAL!
As I am preparing to head down to Eugene, Oregon to attend the Good Earth Home Garden and Living Show, thoughts keep coming into my head regarding green festivals and events and their value to the community. More so, the value that is being provided by the producer of the events. In most cases, these green events are produced by local people, hiring local services for the benefit of the local companies that exhibit in them.
This vs. That: A handy guide to making the tough decisions
We face sustainability choices every day: paper or plastic? Drive or take the bus? Fresh or frozen fish?
It seems like one week a new study comes out claiming X is better than Y, and a week later Y is better than X. How are we to know what to believe? And more importantly, which choices are the ones that really matter?
For years, Sightline has sought to clear the air, helping you understand what really makes a difference, and what you really shouldn’t fret about. It’s this kind of work that we can only keep doing with theof our community—readers like you.
What’s being done to “green up” professional sports?
The last two Olympics were indeed greener than any before, but environmental awareness isn’t limited to the realm of international amateur competition. In fact, in just the last few years all of the major professional North American sports leagues have made strides in greening their operations. Article continued
What is being done to enable ocean fish populations to rebound after being so over-fished?
There is no overarching international agreement to limit overfishing globally, but a few governments have been able to implement and enforce restrictions at regional levels that have resulted in rebounding fish stocks. The success of these isolated examples gives environmentalists and marine biologists hope that protecting marine hotspots from overfishing can save the biodiversity of the world’s oceans.
Portland Expo Center's Recycling Efforts Reach Record Levels
With the help of attendees, the Portland Expo Center reached record levels for recycling and sustainibility
practices this past year. The Portland Expo Center takes its commitment to the
environment seriously, and with over 450,000 attendees visiting the Expo Center
throughout the year, they strive to work with producers, patrons and exhibitors to
create events that are as green‐minded as possible. Expo Center staff
incorporates eco‐friendly practices into their daily practices from operations to
janitorial, to catering to administration. Additionally, they offer recycling and
share environmentally awareness practices with their exhibitors and visitors. By
making these services easily accessible and cooperative, the Expo Center
decrease's their impact on the waste contributed to local area landfills.
Click here for the full details:
Are Atlantic bluefin tuna really about to go extinct?
According to many marine biologists, Atlantic bluefin tuna, one of three closely related bluefin tuna species, are in danger of going extinct within a decade if the governments of the world can’t come together to ban catching and/or selling the lucrative species. The non-profit International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which maintains an international “Red List” of threatened species, considers the Atlantic bluefin “Critically Endangered” given that its population numbers have declined by upwards of 80 percent since the 1970s. Even recently instituted stricter restrictions on allowable catch levels may be too little too late for the huge migratory fish.
Are cigarettes made from organic tobacco any healthier for smokers?
difference and then some since their organic tobacco will command double the price of their competitors’ conventionally grown, chemical-laden variety.
Clark Public Utilities Home & Garden Idea Fair picks Blue Ocean Events
Clark Public Utilities has selected Blue Ocean Events of Portland to assist with production of the 20th annual Home & Garden Idea Fair. The event will be held April 29-May 1 at the Clark County Event Center at the fairgrounds.
Heather Allmain, the utility’s coordinator for the show, said Blue Ocean Events will manage commercial exhibitor activities. “They bring more than three decades of consumer show experience and a commitment to customer service that fits perfectly with the unique qualities of the Home & Garden Idea Fair.”
Book Review: Drowning in Oil – BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit
Loren Steffy’s Drowning in Oil, published by McGraw Hill is a historical look at the rise of BP and the other major oil companies and their endless pursuit of profits. It takes an objective look at the BP culture first created by John Browne and then perpetuated by Anthony Hayward, and how this culture of profit-driven decision making led to such an unsafe work environment that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was bound to happen. It also takes a look at the lack of proper oversight on the part of the various US government agencies that were supposed to keep the public, the employees and the environment safe.
When I sat down to read Drowning in Oil, I didn’t know what to expect - a dry factual account of the history of the oil business or a ‘go after the guy while he’s down’ account of greed and corruption. I was surprised to find neither was the case...
Artist Donates Proceeds from Upcycled Art to Non-Profits Throughout the World
If you walk into the Pearl District’s newest art gallery, Gallery 903, you will see several pieces of art by artist Louise Harris. Simple in design and made of recycled material, the story behind the creator and the art is one of purpose and repurpose.
Louise Harris is a business consultant in Minnesota with ties to Oregon. She owns LH Originals. She works with The Mentoring Project, an Oregon based non-profit founded by Donald Miller who wrote Blue Like Jazz. And every March she spends a week in Portland volunteering at the Better Living Show. That makes her an honorary Oregonian with a heart for service...
Sustain the Earth - Enlighten Our Youth
Many people take our environment for granted. However, future generations may not have an environment suitable for a quality life. Our Earth is in trouble and if we continue our ways, destruction will be at hand. Some people, however, are unaware of simple methods for saving our environment. For example, reducing fossil fuel intake, recycling, and making your home more energy efficient will help the conservation of natural resources. The stress on our rainforests, water supplies, and the atmosphere will be greatly reduced by implementing these simple actions.
The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times
Carol Deppe’s latest book The Resilient Gardener, takes the term ‘practical guide’ to a whole new level. This is not one of those fluff garden books with lots of color photos – its 308 pages filled with wisdom and information. It is a transformational read that simplifies and fortifies the practices for gardening for food production.
I have had the pleasure of working with Weston Miller, Oregon State University’s Community and Urban Horticulturist for the past three years and when we’re not talking about school gardens we’re talking about food insecurity...
What is a Hybrid Water Heater?
Hybrid water heaters combine the benefits of conventional water heaters and tankless water heaters giving the homeowner the best of both technologies. Hybrids work essentially in reverse of a refrigerator or air conditioner. An evaporator unit on top of the water heater draws in ambient heat from the surrounding air and transfers it to the water in the tank through condenser coils. When the ambient air isn't warm enough to keep up with peak usage and the heat pump can't keep up to heat the water sufficiently, traditional heating elements kick in. Because of this dual heating feature, you should rarely run out of hot water.
Give, Advocate and Volunteer - Success of Small Non Profits
I saw a banner in downtown Portland that said “GIVE, ADVOCATE and VOLUNTEER.” It was the message of United Way. And it made me start to contemplate why people support one non-profit or cause over another.
Why is it that millions of children go hungry each day? We all know its happening yet how many step up to the plate and get involved? The needs seem so overwhelming at times that it’s easy to get numb and do nothing. If you are a large organization such as United Way you can afford to produce slick ad campaigns that tug at heart strings.
But if you’re a small non-profit, how do you get the much needed funding and volunteers to make a difference...
Choosing Plants for Pacific Northwest Rain Gardens
Okay, so you’ve decided to build a rain garden at your house and you have your basic design. You have calculated how large the rain garden needs to be and now you are ready to select plant material. Where do you start?
In the Pacific Northwest we have many wonderful native plants to choose from. And although rain gardens do not demand native plants, they are the easiest to care for if the right ones are chosen and properly planted. You will need to observe your rain garden site for a full day or two and determine the amount of sun or shade that hits the garden. Most gardens will have a combination of the two and depending on where you plant larger trees or shrubs, additional shade material may be needed.
Oregon School Turns to Passive Solar to Help with Heating and Cooling Problems
The winter is cold and the children wear coats; the spring gets so warm students cannot concentrate. But I’m not talking about the outdoors – rather the conditions inside Mary Woodward Elementary School in Tigard, Oregon. Despite lots of money spent and best efforts, the school’s design does not lend itself to efficient temperature control. And this affects student performance. So the school turns to passive solar as a solution.
With the help of the city of Tigard, the passive solar solution was implemented...
Choosing Energy Efficient Replacement Windows
For the second time this year a door-to-door salesman rang my doorbell trying to sell me energy efficient replacement windows. The pitch is always the same. They want to set up an appointment to do an ‘energy audit’ and give me a bid for replacing my windows. They tell me they will save me 40% on my energy bills.
Nice Try! But no one can make that statement before the energy audit. How do they know how bad my windows are? And after the energy audit, I guarantee the recommendation will be new windows. After all, that is all they sell. Even if they can save me 40% on my utilities by replacing my windows with energy efficient ones, I would have to stay in the house for 20 yeas to see a return with the windows they were selling. Do a little research online and you will find their replacement windows are three to four times more expensive then comparable windows and the Attorney Generals of Oregon and Washington are after them.
So what should you do if you are considering replacing your contractor grade windows with new energy efficient ones...
Benefits of Energy Efficient Mortgages & Energy Improvement Mortgages
Many people are unaware that the Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) and Energy Improvement Mortgage (EIM) are new tools that allow homeowners to profit from making homes more energy efficient.
The Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) uses the energy savings from an energy efficient home to increase the home buying power of consumers and also capitalizes the energy savings on the appraisal...
What is an Energy Audit?
The term ‘Energy Audit’ has no official definition and has been used for all kinds of processes that look at the energy consumption of a home. It has become a very general and loosely defined term. The title of ‘Energy Audit’ has been designated for everything from utility companies looking at the usage of a single home compared to other homes in the area, to a comprehensive onsite inspection of a particular residence or commercial property. This has led to a lot of confusion for consumers and in some ways slowed the growth of the industry due to lack of clarity regarding the purpose and value of an energy audit...
How to Appeal Your Property Tax Assessment
Property tax statements are arriving in the mail any day now and with property values dropping, many home owners will find that their assessment is higher than the fair market value of their homes. What do you do? How do you appeal a property tax assessment that is too high?
The first step in appealing your property tax assessment is to determine if the assessment is truly higher than it should be. There is a new website – Lower My Assessment - that has a free calculator that does just that. It’s quick and easy and you do not have to sign up for anything. No follow-up emails will be coming your way. In seconds you will know if you have grounds for an appeal.
How to Calculate the Size of Your Rain Garden
After you have contacted your local jurisdiction to find out if you need a permit to disconnect your downspouts or if there are other special requirements, the next step in creating your rain garden is to figure out how big it needs to be. The general rule of thumb is to calculate the square footage of your roof or other impervious surface being managed and multiply that by 10. This is called the 10 percent rule.
Muddy Boot Festival
It’s that time of year again and the Muddy Boot Organic Festival is just around the corner. This outside organic festival is held in the parking lot of St Philip Neri Church in Portland. And, although it is not very big, it is a wonderful event. It features:
I have been a couple of times and have really enjoyed the vendors and music. Last year I sat in on a session moderated by Martin Tull on green advertising. Note: there is a fee for attending the Muddy Boot Organic Festival and an additional fee for listening to the keynote speaker.
A Perfect No-Maintenance Garden Plan
Okay this has been going around for some time now and I cannot find who originally wrote it, but I thought it was so appropriate regarding the absurdity of having a lawn. So I wanted to post it. The feeling portrayed in this post, is why I am building a rain garden. There is really only one low or no-maintenance garden plan:
GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles.
ST. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers 'weeds' and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
Rain Garden Packages: Handle the Rain Water
Running Off Your Impervious Surfaces
Last week I met with Ryan Gorretta of West Coast Natives about building a rain garden in my front yard. West Coast Natives has come out with a rain garden package that bridges the gap between hiring a landscaper and doing it all by yourself. And in my case, I have the ability to build gardens on my own, but sometimes I need a little inspiration and support.
I have a front yard that despite my efforts over ten years, still has a little lawn and I was looking for a no-maintenance garden plan. I want to get rid of that so there is no more mowing. In addition I want to filter the rain water off my roof – an impervious surface – and naturally filter it by building a rain garden. In this way the rain water is not simply going into the storm water system, pollutants and all. Ryan explained, “If your roof is 1000 sq ft and it rains one inch, 600 gallons of water will be running off of your roof and into the storm drain.” Add to that all the other impervious surfaces such as sidewalks and driveways and that’s a lot of rain water. A rain garden can naturally solve that issue. All you need to do is calculate how big the rain garden should be.
So what is included in West Coast Natives’ rain garden packages?
Save Money on Your Water Bill
The sales pitch was compelling: “Don’t let 11,461 gallons go down the drain in vain. Save water, money and time with hot water in an instant.” But this wasn’t from a tankless water heater provider. It was from Kirk Garvey of Craftwork Plumbing and he was showing me the Grundfos Comfort System pump.
As he explained, the Grundfos pump is really quite simple. As the hot water in your pipes cool, the pump kicks in to recirculate that water back to the water heater using the cold water line and heats it back up. This continual flow keeps hot water at you finger tips so that you do not have to run the shower for a long time waiting for the water to heat.
The installation is easy since it uses the existing cold water line as the return, no extra line needs to be installed...
10 Tips for Staying Cool this Summer
There are many ways to stay cooler this summer while at the same time saving money and the environment. Energy prices are creeping up and keeping your home temperatures at a tolerable level is hard to do without air conditioning. But below are ten simple things you can do to feel comfortable and save on energy costs.
1. Drink lots of water to allow your body’s natural cooling system to work at its peak efficiency. This is a good health habit anyway.
2. Keep the windows closed and your shades drawn during the day. If nighttime temperatures drop enough, open them up after dark.
3. Use the microwave instead of your oven to cook your meals or enjoy a cool refreshing salad for dinner, which requires no cooking.
Wonderful Wild Bees
Working quietly behind the scenes, America’s wild bees help with pollination chores. Luscious berries, crunchy almonds, and many more foods that we enjoy each benefit when these mostly unheralded insects visit blossoms and inadvertently—but, for us and the plant, fortuitously—place pollen where it’s needed most.
In fact, the work of America’s wild bees might be especially needed in view of the blows being dealt to the nation’s No. 1 pollinator, the “domesticated” European honey bee, Apis mellifera.
The recent and mostly mysterious colony collapse disorder has pummeled honey bee hives, adding another burden to the bee’s already long list of woes: beetles, mites, and diseases like foulbrood and chalkbrood.
Wild and native bees are also known as “non-honey bees” because they don’t produce the sugary golden syrup. Some carry the moniker “solitary bees” because they live the single like, perhaps making their nests near other bees—in a somewhat gregarious fashion—but at the same time not surrendering their independence to the communal, ultra-socialized lifestyle of a hive, for example.
Everclear Drain System Means No More Clogs
If looking for a greener solution to clogged drains, the Everclear drain system may be the solution you are looking for. Forget about liquid and powder drain cleaners. Not only do these cleaners cost upwards of twenty dollars per bottle, they introduce harmful chemicals into local water systems via drain run-off. Any house with serious clogging issues can expect to spend hundreds of dollars on drain cleaners over multiple years as well as contribute to water pollution.
The Everclear drain system eliminates the need to purchase bottle after bottle of harmful drain cleaner. It works through simple manual operation allowing the user to solve drains problems as they come instead of having to constantly prevent them. The design of the Everclear drain system works by catching debris in its filtering mechanism. This debris builds up over time until the drain forms a clog. At this point, simply push down on the drain head a few times to break of the clog. Run the faucet to wash the broken up clog down the drain and you’re done!
When you think of an efficient garden, what comes to mind? For landscape designer Jacque Authier, it’s pretty simple: “Get the most out of the space you have.” One way to do that is to incorporate edibles into the overall landscape design, rather than in a distinct and separate vegetable garden. Authier explains, “If you’re going to have a tree, why not one that bears fruit like apples or pears? Want an evergreen hedge? Plant huckleberry!” This integrated and holistic view extends to the entire garden. “I look for ornamental plants that attract beneficial insects—those that either pollinate or prey on other, harmful insects.”
Authier’s guiding principles stem from her belief in the concept of “permaculture”, short for permanent agriculture. Initially conceived in Australia, the idea has spread around the globe and is defined as “the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.” An immense subject that defies easy description, permaculture has been described as “a designed system that reconciles human communities with the ecological imperatives of a living planet.”
Ten Easy Steps to Making a Greenroof Bird Feeder
This month volunteers installed a new bird feeder in the bird & butterfly section of Woodward Gardens. This feeder, made by a volunteer, is not your ordinary bird feeder. It has a green roof on top; planted with stonecrop and hen-and-chicks.
The Green Roof Bird Feeder is newest addition to Woodward Gardens in Tigard, Oregon. Greenroofs or ecoroofs are a great way to add habitat to your garden and naturally filter rainwater. While this roof is small is does demonstrate the technique in a fun way.
Planted with sedums and hen-and-chicks, it takes very little care once it is established. The plans for building your own green-roof bird feeder can be found in Better Homes and Gardens SIP called Nature's Garden spring 2008 edition. For those of you that are handy, here are the ten basic steps to building your own...
ENERGY-WISE LANDSCAPE DESIGN: A New Approach for Your Home and Garden
Residential consumption represents nearly one quarter of North America’s total energyuse, and the average homeowner spends thousands of dollars a year on power bills. To help alleviate this problem, Energy-Wise Landscape Design presents hundreds of practical ways everyone can save money, time and effort while making their landscapes more environmentally healthy and energy efficient.
Combining general guidelines with tips, techniques and actions, this fully illustrated guide explains the many opportunities our landscapes provide for conserving energy. Readers will learn how to:
PORTLAND JOINS INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IN CELEBRATING “SUPPORT WOMEN ARTISTS NOW” (SWAN) DAY
Women are creating some of the most exciting and challenging art in the United States today, yet women continue to face employment discrimination in the arts and media. By putting the spotlight on this important issue each year on the last weekend of Women’s History Month, international non-profit arts organization, WomenArts seeks to create equal opportunity for women in all creative fields.
As part of the largest grassroots movement in the world to celebrate women artists, Portland will be celebrating its third annual SWAN Day with a weekend of visual art, music, film groups, writing and performing arts. Kicking off the festivities at noon, Saturday, March 27th will be a performance by Portland’s favorite harmonizing sisters and recipients of the 2009 Portland Music Awards “Band of the Year” award, Acoustic Minds.
Timothy Corey Records History at the Energy Trust Better Living Show
The Energy Trust Better Living Show is celebrating its third year and Tim Cory has been recording the thoughts of the attendees since the first show. He engages the green festival visitors and records their views on subjects from the future of northwest solar to the global water crisis we are currently facing.
Timothy Corey is co-owner of Advanced Approach a facilitation, coaching and consulting company that helps people develop personal and business growth strategies. Tim continues to break new ground using methodologies that touch multiple senses. He attentively listens, internalizes the information at hand, reads between the lines, and graphically communicates a vision. The end result is the ability to offer intuitive insight that his clients find uncanny while helping individuals and organizations create more responsive strategies for communication and support.
PGE Planet Kids at the Better Living Show
Portland General Electric is thrilled with the company’s involvement in the 2010 Energy Trust Better Living Show: a focus on better living concepts for the utility’s customers all based around energy.
“To have a show like this in Portland that is free and accessible to everyone is a great thing for us to support because we want all our customers to be more sustainable and use energy wisely,” says Kregg Arntson, PGE’s manager of community affairs.
PGE is a sponsor of the Better Living Show’s Planet Kids, an educational forum based around energy savings and sustainability that uses entertainment aimed at kids and families. “PGE spends a lot of time and resources on educating kids about energy efficiency and safety around electricity,” says Arntson. “The Planet Kids area is a great connection for us to do that.”
Energy Trust Better Living Show Invades Twitter?
It is a sign of the times when nearly a hundred of our exhibitors have Twitter accounts. And these exhibitors are reaching out to their followers with green news and free gifts. Attendees to the 2010 Energy Trust Better Living Show have a chance to win these prizes simply by following the Twitter feeds from the 2010 participants. Included in this blog post is a list of the exhibitors that we are aware of who have Twitter accounts. So if you are looking for green goodies follow this list and look for tweets containing #2010BLS.
GREEN NEWS: Have you ever seen a floating Island?
Imagine a quiet outfall from a large river system…the water is almost still - tules and cat tails are growing everywhere. At the waters edge and up the bank, willows and dogwoods grow creating shade and cooler temperatures for fish during the warm summer days. As the winter comes, the tules and cat tails fall, along with some of the willow and dogwood branches, creating aquatic structure. This structure provides habitat diversity for aquatic life and surfaces for microbes to attach to. As the vegetation begins to pile up and breakdown it creates wetland-like mats of vegetation - wonderful ecosystems! As these vegetation mats continue to regrow, die back and build up, even more activity occurs within what has now become massive amounts of periphyton and mucky soil. Bio-gasses have begun to accumulate within the newly formed soil This occurs from off-gassing of microbial activity…the mat comes loose from the edge and begins to float, creating a floating natural wetland!
Cascadia Bioregion Hosts Largest Green Home and Garden Show
I was down at the family farm in McMinnville (Yamhill County) last weekend and discussing with the neighbors the upcoming Energy Trust Better Living Home Garden & Lifestyle Show. They were so excited to know the show was coming up because a show of this size only happens once a year and in Portland.
I sometimes think of Portland as so far away from these other communities, but in reality, it is not that far and to be able to find a home & garden idea they can take back home and improve their life and the environment is priceless to quote a popular commercial slogan. And because this show is free to attend, it is worth the time. Whether you are coming from Kelso or Longview, WA (Cowlitz County) or Bend and the central Oregon region, this spring home and garden show is a must.
Human population and it’s affect the flight paths of migratory birds
As human population grows, it spreads into areas traditionally used by migratory birds and shrinks their habitat, thus concentrating their populations. With the spread of the bird flu (H1N1 virus) some worry human expansion could lead to a global pandemic.
According to the World Health Organization, the role of migratory birds in the spreading of the bird flu is not very well understood. However, recent research suggests that these viruses may be mutating into more pathogenic (disease producing) forms that can "jump the species barrier" and infect people and other animals. Something to consider.
Portland 's Green Renovation and Remodeling Show
In order to effectively shop the Better Living Show and save yourself time,first go through the list of renovation and remodeling suppliers you want to see by doing an exhibitor search. You will need to set up an account, but you can then personalize the results by tagging the exhibitors and saving them to your own list. You can even add the seminars you want to attend, to your personal visit list. This means when you walk through the doors, you have a game plan.
Does nitrogen-enriched gasoline create additional pollution?
The practice of adding nitrogen to gasoline has been done for many years. The EPA requires auto fuel fold in the US to contain detergents to help reduce pollution. In some cases nitrogen is added to reduce carbon build up in the engine and to improve performance.
Some worry that nitrogen-enriched gasoline contributes to smog, acid rain and other environmental problems in the form of nitrogen oxide. However, not enough research had been done and many say most nitrogen emissions from autos is caused by incoming nitrogen in the air reacting with gasoline and not from additives.
Portland Home and Garden Show offers nothing but Green Ghettos
Aromatherapy for the Home
Article for Better Living Show Blog from the American College of Healthcare Sciences
You may have seen the term “aromatherapy” on product labels, or even as part of spa services or in advertising. But perhaps you’re wondering, “What does aromatherapy really mean?” Translated literally, aromatherapy is the use of aromas for their healing properties. It is “the controlled use of essential oils to promote the health and vitality of the body, mind and spirit,” as Shirley Price, a noted clinical aromatherapist, further explains in her book Aromatherapy for Health Professionals.
So what does essential mean? Essential oils are the distilled or expressed product of volatile components synthesized by various plant tissues of a single plant species (the healing components). Simply, essential means that these distilled or expressed oils contain the essence or the fragrant part of the plant.
Bottled Water – A Great Idea (for some!)
Next to selling air, bottled water has to be the best idea to come along at the last half of the 20th century! Best that is for the folks selling it but not perhaps so much for the rest of us. A typical 8-ounce bottle sells for $1.00. There are 128 ounces or 16 bottles in a gallon. Sixteen dollars for a gallon of water is no bargain unless you are in the middle of Death Valley or are dealing with an emergency.
Bottled water is often municipal water that has received some additional filtration or treatment. The additional treatment is similar to home water treatment systems offer and the filtration is pretty much the same as the filter on your refrigerator or in the filtered water pitcher in the fridge. The “natural sources” some bottlers claim are often nothing more than a well. Granted there are some city water supplies with “funky” water – moldy odors, excess chlorine, or old metal pipe taste. Home water treatment or filtration systems are perfect for those folks. For the record, no one wants to drink “pure water”.
The Religion of Sustainability
For many people, the journey to going green has just begun. But for those of us that have preached this message for some time, it’s a natural way of life. It is not burdensome, rather a harmonious set of actions that flows with the world around us. And we want everyone to drink from the cup. However, are we getting in our own way? Is sustainability going the way of religion?
The Abrahamic religions of the world came from one origin. And through the years they split into Judaism, Christianity, Islam, the Bahai Faith and a few other smaller ones. Each of these taking a separate road with diverging beliefs and rules. And each of these has splintered even more as their moral compasses give way to legalism. It seems that human nature drives us to break away from others that are not totally in agreement with us and start our own group. We pick at a single thread in a garment rather than embracing the garment itself.
Environmental Health Concerns: A Challenge for Each of Us
How can we connect with garden clubs across our fifty states and carry the message of health as it relates to the environment? We can begin to reconcile behaviors of high technology versus allegiance to the self; understand social and cultural conditions that influence the life of an individual and community.
Do you know about the “dead zone” at the mouth of the Mississippi created by runoff of chemicals, fertilizers and silt from urban lawns, streets and agriculture land?
Do you know what a waste management system is? A flush system and lagoon? Are you concerned having runoff from fields and cattle pens into creeks and eventually into rivers?
What's better for the environment, sewers or septic systems?
Most people don't have a choice when buying a house as to whether they want to be on a sewer system or septic system unless the community is looking to switch to a sewer system. Each work fine in terms of the environment if they are well maintained.
Both systems are designed to handle and treat so-called “blackwater” (wastewater from toilets) and “graywater” coming from our sinks, showers, dishwashers and laundry machines. On-site septic and community-wide sewer systems work in similar ways, utilizing micro-organisms to filter out bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing pathogens before releasing the cleansed water back into the environment.
In either case, improperly treated sewage can contaminate water sources and spread deiseases such as hepatitis. It can also lead to increased nitrates in local water supplies, which is dangerous for infants, pregnant women and those with already compromised immune systems.
What is Leachate?
OK – leachate is not generally thought of as small talk at cocktail parties – but it could be! And no – it is not a by-product of leeches. Leachate is basically contaminated water or liquid produced whenever a material is placed on the ground and either precipitation falls on it or it has its own liquid content. Basically, if it touches the ground it probably produces leachate. And let’s face it – everything is made of chemicals! Therefore leachate contains chemicals. So what’s the big deal? Well, there are a couple of issues here.
First, chemical contamination in leachate goes somewhere right? It just goes away. If you use Google Earth© and punch in “away” it will take you about 8,513 miles from Portland, Oregon to Away, China. But that’s probably not where your leachate will end up. Leachate generally travels either down (due to that pesky gravity) or it moves sideways due to the nature of the local soil type and geology. If it goes down, the leachate will eventually hit the groundwater table. If it moves sideways it will eventually pop out in a stream, creek, or other body of water.
Do TV screens broadcast harmful electronic emissions?
No, children sitting too close to the TV isn’t known to cause any health issues. due to electronic emissions. Nor does it cause vision problems other than eye fatigue and strain which can be remedied with turning off the tube.
Of course, excessive TV viewing by kids can cause health problems indirectly. According to the Nemours Foundation, children who consistently watch TV more than four hours a day are more likely to be overweight, which in and of itself can bring about health problems later. Also, kids who watch a lot of TV are more likely to copy bad behavior they see on-screen.
The bottom line is moderation. Limit your children's time watching television and teach them that it is for occasional entertainment. Then kick them outside and get them active.
Face to Face marketing is your best bet for 2010
What’s the best marketing investment you can make in 2010? Trade and consumer shows. Face to face marketing will be the best use of marketing dollars while the economy is in recovery, and the reason is simple – those who visit consumer shows, have money to spend (hence the term consumer show).
As an apparel company owner and marketer, my sales are a direct reflection of my marketing tactics – and I’m putting my money and time into shows. My Internet sales are seriously down; my show sales are way up. How do I account for this? I’m able to present my brand, my philosophy of service, my benefits and pricing strategy (including haggling), direct to consumers. All those print ads, radio spots, web specials, banner ads and email marketing is being ignored. And frankly, so are the social marketing initiatives – everyone is hoping this is the golden child of marketing – and guess what – you still have to sell to your customers the good old fashioned way – with service, knowledge and a kind smile. I know, we all want to click a button, hit send, and our sales go through the roof – sorry to burst your bubble.
Trade and consumer shows take practice and strategy, you can’t sit there and read your favorite book and hope someone will tap you on the shoulder. You must have sales goals, marketing strategy, info gathering ability, a booth that stands out, and qualified sales staff on hand. I’ve been around shows and events for 20 years, those who complain that their sales stink, were the ones with a scowl on their face and a crappy attitude, those that worked the floor, were courteous and aggressive, did great.
Here are some tips to a successful trade show:
Toxins in Breast Milk
Researchers have found that people living in developed countries carry toxins in our bodies due to constant exposure from our surroundings. Some of these chemicals end up in breast milk and are in turn passed along to newborns. In a 2005 New York Times Magazine article, Florence Williams states that breast milk tends to attract heavy metals and other contaminants due to its high-fat and protein content.
Make Our Milk Safe (MOMS), a nonprofit engaging in education and advocacy to eliminate toxic chemicals from the environment and in breast milk reports; “Along with its antibodies, enzymes and general goodness, breast milk also contains dozens of compounds that have been linked to negative health effects,” which lists Bisphenol-A (BPA, a plastic component), PBDEs (used in flame retardants), perchlorate (used in rocket fuel), perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs, used in floor cleaners and non-stick pans), phthalates (used in plastics), polyvinyl chloride (PVC, commonly known as vinyl) and the heavy metals cadmium, lead and mercury as leading offenders.
However researchers from Ohio State and Johns Hopkins suggest that the amounts in breast milk are very small and we should be concentrating our efforts on reducing indoor air sources of VOCs. And the CDC feel that the benefits of feeding newborns breast milk far outweigh the risks.
Chlorine in Tap Water
Thousands of municipalities add chlorine to the community's drinking water toget rid of contaminants like nitrates, arsenic and pesticides. It is used primarily because it is inexpensive and very effective for this purpose. But what is the downside?
Researchers have found a link between chlorine in drinking water and higher incidences of bladder, rectal and breast cancer. This seems to be caused shen the chlorine reacts with organic compounds in the water to make trihalomethanes, which encourage the growth of free radicals.
Bottled water is no solution as much of it comes from these municipal water sources as well. The easiest way to get rid of the chlorine in your drinking water is to install a carbon-based fileter system in your home.
Grab a Volunteer Mop
As I start on this new exercise of blogging I feel it is only fitting to write my first post about the greatest man I’ve known – my father. I was lucky to see my father almost ever day of my life as I went to work with him shortly after leaving college. Image being able to eat lunch with your dad each day and learn from his years of experience. I am humbled by the man he was and the gift I was given.
Shortly after his death I left the family business to start my own business producing the Energy Trust Better Living Show and following my passion for starting sustainable garden programs at elementary schools. And I bring to the latter, the ethos that my father taught me. He was a humble man that was never interested in being in the limelight. He just showed up and did the work.
producer of Portland's Better Living Home and Garden Show
Portland Expo Center