What do you do if you’re a small tree chipping company and you don’t want to spend your money on dumping fees? What do you do if you’re a city planner trying to keep your landfills from filling up so fast? What do you do if you’re a homeowner who wants to do some sustainable and frugal landscaping pathways?
A new website in Portland Oregon solves this three way problem with chipdrop. You open an account and give your address, and whatever local tree chipping company has a load of chips they need to dump, they drive it to your house and dump it free in whatever location you mention. It helps the tree chipping companies because otherwise they’d have to pay dump fees. It helps the homeowner because you get free wood chips delivered to your door. It helps the city because it doesn’t get it’s landfills full of woodchips. Everybody wins.
We took advantage of this new service and created front and backyard pathways! Our load, we were told, was mostly douglas fir, so the whole yard smells wonderful, and it’s safe for our backyard free range chickens.
Posted in Business, Health, Stewardship
Tagged Community, Do-it-yourself, Economics, Free, Frugal, Garden, health, New idea, Sustainable
Here’s an innovative apartment building in Sri Lanka. It uses recycled water (including rainwater) to water the outdoor plants and flush toilets, and a solar panel to run the lobby lights and other shared resources.
When it’s completed in 2016 it will be the tallest residential vertical garden in the world, with planted terraces circling the entire structure. The 164 apartments, each with 2300 square-feet of floor space and an open feel, are designed to give residents a sense of ground-level living, as well as privacy and tranquility in a bustling city.
The planted terraces for each apartment will help absorb sound, provide shade, and cleanse the air. They’ll be automatically watered using a drip-irrigation system of rainwater, and along with recycled water to flush toilets, will help to reduce intake from the national water supply by an estimated 45 percent.
Check out this innovative Sri Lankan apartment building here. Thanks to Gizmag for this article.
Due to severe Detroit city cutbacks, the bus system didn’t meet the needs of the community. So 25 year old Andy Didorosi bought a bus and started his own innovative transportation company. He uses an app that lets riders know exactly when the bus will arrive, creating a new kind of transit system that only runs when and where it’s needed.
Another goal of Mr. Didorosi and his now public/private partnership with The Skillman Foundation, is to get not only people to work, but the elderly and disabled to their appointments, and kids safely to after school programs. With that in mind, he’s created an online portal to show parents every after school program available for the kids by region, and has worked with these programs to create bus stops convenient to both the kids as well as the programs themselves – and this after school transportation is FREE to the students. By creating only the routes needed, the savings are nearly 90% of what a traditional transportation system costs!
The Detroit Bus Company runs on bio fuels, technology, and lots of community support. Read more about this innovative founder and community transportation idea here.
Toby dressed as the ‘Repair Wizard’ at Mac PCx on Halloween 2013
My high school senior is chomping at the bit ready to move on after 14 years of classroom education. He’s going to high school part time and working part time at a computer store diagnosing and repairing computers. His past resume includes volunteering at Free Geek where he learned to take apart and put together computers, then trained others to do so. As a high school sophomore he took computer classes in C++ and other programming languages. He’s currently studying on his own to get CompTA+ certified, and through a school class learning to write code and design his own website. He’s been saving up his work money and when he turns 18 plans to purchase professional design software and begin his own software company on the side.
As a parent, I’m getting bombarded at all sides by society telling me my son MUST get a college degree or he’ll never get a living wage job. My son tells me “I know what I want – to work with computers and design computer software. Why spend 4+ more years in a classroom and be thousands of dollars in debt before I do what I want?”
He’s got a point there.
He says a company should pay to train him in what else they might need because he’s a fast and motivated learner. He also said that computer technology is growing /changing so fast that what he’d learn in a classroom would be practically obsolete by the time he got out of college, so taking courses now and building on those courses as he works makes more sense than spending his money/time on PE 101 and introduction to Lit classes. He is studying and problem solving on his own to be on the cutting edge, and expects to be paid for his work (he feels he’s already done the internship route and proved himself). He is calm about this. He is focused. I’m the one freaking out inside. I’ve heard my whole life “Everyone needs a college education to get a good job”…yet many people in their 20’s (as well as older adults) who have expensive university educations are looking for work that pays a living wage.
My child has his own vision. I trust my son and support his wisdom. And if in a few years he decides that a college education would be beneficial to him, he’ll have the money saved up, or the contacts made, to create a path where he doesn’t have debt. That’s pretty amazing planning/thinking for a 17 year old.
Using free internet plans, your local 3D printer, and less than $10 for materials you can make your own hand prosthetics (what currently cost $20,000 ready-made). Here’s what curiosity, collaboration, and a little love can do.
Posted in Business, Health, Heroes, Media, Stewardship, Tech
Tagged Accessories, Community, Do-it-yourself, Economics, Family, Frugal, health, New idea, Science, Sustainable
GoldieBlox is a toy company that believes girls deserve more choices than dolls and princesses. They support that girls will build the future — literally.
Founder Debbie Sterling is a Stanford engineer who decided last year that girls need more choices than the pink aisle has to offer. She developed GoldieBlox, an interactive book series + construction set starring Goldie, the kid inventor who loves to build. Find more information about Goldie Blox here – and watch this fantastic video as well.
Posted in Business, Heroes, Media, Stewardship, Tech
Tagged Book, Do-it-yourself, Economics, Family, New idea, Science, Sustainable
Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson, is a book of fun and practical ideas written by a frugal French mom living in America with her American husband and 2 boys. While several of her ideas I already have in practice (she details composting, de-cluttering, simplifying), I found many new ideas such as a simple multi-purpose balm, techniques for waterproofing leather, and special towel folding techniques to carry food to picnics and wrap gifts. So far I’ve tried her cocoa powder eye shadow, where I brushed cocoa powder on my eyelids. I then asked my 17 year old son what he thought. He was like “Mom – it makes you look old and wrinkly!” I put on my glasses and sure enough even though I liked the color, this is a tip for someone much younger…but it was fun and simple to try!
Bea gives a list of houseplants that clean the air, tips on travel, recipes, stories from her own family, decorating, cleaning, wardrobe, gift wrapping, simple home building/craft projects, holidays and more. It was a fun read, a cross between homesteading and housekeeping, humor and practicality, simplicity and relaxation. Instead of making me feel overwhelmed, she made me feel comfortable and curious to try new ideas.
Check out Zero Waste Home By Bea Johnson from your local library or bookstore.
Posted in Health, Media, Stewardship
Tagged Book, Do-it-yourself, Economics, Family, Frugal, health, holidays, Humor, Sustainable
FallingFruit.org is an an urban harvesting map that brings together community and city data bases from all over the internet/world. Find, add, and edit information on the wild edibles growing in your neighborhood. Check out http://www.fallingfruit.org/
to find and share free urban fruit that otherwise would go to waste.
Rare earth elements are an integral part of many of today’s electronic devices, serving as magnets, catalysts and superconductors. Recently, scientists discovered that some of these pricy minerals can be reclaimed from industrial wastewater instead of being mined from the earth.
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences knew that a nanomaterial known as nano-magnesium hydroxide (nano-Mg(OH)2) could remove some metals and dyes from wastewater, but that rare earth elements in wastewater tend to be diluted and thus difficult to remove in a practical, inexpensive fashion.
After studying the manner in which nano-Mg(OH)2 works, the scientists proceeded to produce flower-shaped nanoparticles of the material. In lab tests that replicated real-world conditions, these particles were able to capture over 85 percent of the rare earth elements diluted in water samples. By subsequently adjusting the pH, it was possible to then separate the captured minerals from the nano-Mg(OH)2.
“Recycling REEs from wastewater not only saves rare earth resources and protects the environment, but also brings considerable economic benefits,” the team stated in a paper on the research, which was recently published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.
Source: American Chemical Society
Thanks to Gizmag for this article.
The future of debt collection is customer care. In this video, an innovative business leader carves out a practical way to not only make more money, but make a difference.
This do-it-yourself furniture design can be downloaded for local manufacture, and is the start of a very cool idea. In it’s current rendition, there’s a fair amount of wood waste, but what if future furniture designed created less waste because it was square instead of round? I like that the pieces fit together in such a way that you don’t need other tools. I like that you can use whatever is your favorite local material, and give local business a leg up, instead of manufacturing in far away countries and then $hipping the products to you. Maybe this software and technology could be used to create components for my Build-a-Building idea?
Thanks to Gizmag for this article.
Having your own website, analytics, social media, etc. is a great resource if you’re looking to start your own business. With wordpress.org, not only can you get a website free, but the e-commerce plug in is free, so you can make money off your site immediately as well.
If you’ve got more time than money at the moment, why not download a few free themes and play around with them? There’s plenty of youtube videos on how to create your own customized website with these free tools. This is a great resource not only for current business owners looking to upgrade their sites, but also a resource for hard working people who just happen to be at the moment unemployed or underemployed. This free technology helps level the playing field by bringing more people back into the game.
If you like the idea of having fresh eggs straight from the backyard, but aren’t sure if you’re ready to commit, RentTheChicken.com lets you rent some chickens!
Here’s how they pitch their service:
Thought of Raising Backyard Chickens? Every spring, thousands of chickens are sold at local farm supply stores. Often these chickens die before they are ready to start laying eggs (16-30 weeks). Children quickly realize that chickens are not as fun as the Xbox and parents find out that chickens cannot be house broken! The costs quickly start becoming more and more, then chickens are “sent to the farm”. Other people think about chickens but think they don’t have the space, worry about regulations, or just don’t know what they need. Do you build or buy a coop? Do you buy peeps? How do you raise an egg-laying hen if you buy a peep? Did someone tell you about a heat lamp? It can all be overwhelming and we take the guesswork out of all of the questions by offering a portable coop, the food & supplies, and the egg-laying hens!
RentTheChicken.com is based in Continue reading
Posted in Business, Stewardship
Tagged Animals, Community, Do-it-yourself, Economics, Family, Food, Frugal, Garden, health, New idea, Sustainable
Today is the first day of senior year for my son. I’m so excited for what this school year holds for him: a computing systems class, helping one teacher by community mentoring Algebra, and helping a second teacher by making photocopies/classroom assistance, plus a college probability and statistics class and a government/economics class. He’s got early dismissal to continue his paid job working part time at a local computer store.
At this time he doesn’t plan on going to college, but has a thick IT training manual he’s reading and plans to take the certification test. He also has good job and volunteer references from various paid and unpaid computer and tech places. As an honor student he’s got colleges offering him partial academic scholarships, but he doesn’t want to start his work life with college debt – he wants to make money, and when he has money he can decide if and when it would be advantageous to gain more education.
My son is flying in the face of societal norms.
He’s got a clear idea of what he wants and how he plans on reaching his goals. He wants to be a software engineer, and he’s got buddies he’s been creating computer games with for several years. He’s taken classes for fun in C++ programming, taken online computer badge courses, volunteered at Free Geek, has built computers from scratch, and taken business and marketing classes. He’d like to someday start his own company and sell downloads of his games. But he knows that to get where he wants to be, he needs to work hard and learn programming, learn coding, mentor at businesses, be helpful, be open, and enjoy the life he has while creating the life he wants.
My son is unique. He is smart. He is wise. He is kind. It’s amazing watching his mind work to sort things out with his thoughtful, practical demeanor. He’s like a combination tech guy/philosopher.
Here’s a great Labor Day story: Pat McConlogue, a NYC programmer and entrepreneur, offered Leo, a homeless man, either $100 or the chance to learn how to code. Leo chose learning to code. After only a few days of tutoring, Leo now has a facebook page and wants to design a website or an app featuring social environmental change so others can make small changes for the greater good. Leo is concerned about greenhouse gases and deforestation, and wants the U.S. to lead by example to create a better world – and Leo wants to play a part.
Pat has gotten a lot of flack for offering to help a homeless man. I think a lot of people with new ideas get flack (to start with), and I’m happy to say that Pat went through with his idea, even though naysayers were trashing him.
Pat and Leo’s story encourages me not to give up on my ideas, even if others say they won’t work or aren’t good enough. Because how do you know it won’t work until you give it a go?
How might your small ideas and what you have to offer help give someone a leg up or begin positive change in the world?
Thanks to the Good News Network for this story on Patrick and Leo.
For a unique vacation experience, try a tiny hotel in Portland Oregon, where you stay in a tiny house in the Alberta Arts district. There’s lots of sights to see and things to do, plus local food shops will even give you room service!
Learn more from this article.
The Chinese name for Schisandra is wu-wei-zi, which means “five taste-fruits” or “five flavor herb” because the fruits contain all five flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and salty. Sucking on a dry fruit is an interesting experience because of its many flavors. Chomping into a fresh one you don’t quite get the ending sweet note, so are left with a funny look on your face due to the mouth gymnastics. But the after effect is a zing of energy, at least for me. Maybe it’s just because my taste buds get a good work out.
Since I’m working towards an edible landscape, and this is a berry/vine that grows in the shade, I’ve got it growing next the north side of the house in full shade on a wooden trellis. It’s an easy-care vine, and likes well-drained soil with Continue reading
Our family has worked the reduce/reuse/recycle mantra and gone from weekly to bi monthly garbage collection, and we were feeling pretty good about that. When a neighbor friend of mine said that she has been able to whittle down her family’s garbage collection to only once a month, I was impressed. But thanks to Yes Magazine, this story tells how a family was able to pare down their yearly solid household trash to fit into one quart size jar, plus gives 10 tips to a zero waste household.
French Bio Chemist Pierre Calleja discovered that Micro Algae eats CO2 – i.e. car exhaust – and then uses that energy power to create light. This technology was recently tested in a parking lot to clean air – it can capture and filter one ton of CO2 per year – and used the pollution as an energy source to create light. This technology is currently being used to light and filter the air in an underground parking garage, but this would work great in urban areas, and revolutionize cityscapes.
Thanks to the Good News Network for this story.
Wolfberry or Goji berry is a yummy anti-oxidant berry on an easy to grow vine. We’ve got our vine bungee-corded to a metal pole with a curved plant hanger on each side, but you can run this vine up anything from an arbor to a dead tree. The first year it just kinda sat there and looked sad, the second year it had a few berries, but after the third year it’s been healthy and happy and keeps producing more berries as I pick off the ripe ones. They’ve got a definite juicy honey-sweet flavor to them. I’ve found that it’s not a good idea to let them dry on the vine, because they get so sweet they attract ants. Maybe in a few years when the vine is totally full of fruit we might think about picking them fresh to dry, but at this point in time they are so good none get past the picking-fresh-and-popping-in-the-mouth stage.
(Lycium barbarum) Also known as Matrimony Vine, is an attractive Chinese Continue reading