Tag Archives: Sustainable

High School Students Work To Clean The Air

 

April2014Final(1)Be blown away by youth that demonstrate a passion for restoring the health of the environment! The April 26th Sharing Ideas event, features the Roosevelt High School Science Club, a group of students determined to counteract pollution in Portland, Oregon. These local youth are experimenting with planters that recycle polluted air into clean air and testing of air quality surrounding Roosevelt High School. They have been invited to Washington, D.C. later this year to present their findings.

Sharing Ideas events raise awareness of local grassroots efforts throughout Portland Oregon that strengthen community. Project presenters share the inspiration that launched their idea, how it moved into action, where they are today, and their hope for the future.

Everyone is invited. RSVP suggested online or by phone at 503.546.7499. Refreshments will be provided. Childcare (9 and under), transportation, and interpretation are provided upon request, with 48 hours advanced notice.

When: Saturday, April 26th, from 11 AM to 1 PM

Where: Central Library, 801 SW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97205.

Who: You! Bring your friends and family to this free event and discover pathways to new possibilities!

 

Free wood chips help local small business, local landfills, and homeowners

IMG_2450What 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?

IMG_2441A 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.

Self Cleaning Fish Aquarium

This self cleaning Beta Fish aquarium uses no batteries, filters, or fuss. Using physics alone, the clean water you put in flushes the dirty water out.  You can then use the wastewater to fertilize your plants.  The tanks are made in the US and won Best New Aquatic Product at the Global Pet Expo 2013.

Learn more at The Grommet.

Public urinal goes green

pplanterWhat happens when you combine bamboo plants and simple green science to create a public urinal?  The PPlanter.

The PPlanter is a simple and attractive public system that allows you to privately pee in a urinal (there are disposable women’s adapters as well), then step on a foot pedal that brings fresh water to wash your hands.  The fresh water flushes/cleans the urinal with liquids going into a holding tank.  From there, the mixed liquid is pumped into the planter/biofilter, where bamboo plants are growing in a mixture of rocks, wood chips and styrofoam. The water, nitrogen and phosphorous are used by the bamboo, while bacteria living in the growing medium break down carbohydrates and protein.

I talked to my son and he says guys would have no problem with this, but probably women wouldn’t be all that enthusiastic.  According to the Gizmag article, the test project had plenty of volunteers, but they didn’t break down how many were men/women.  Also what would you do if you ended up needing to do more than just pee – this particular invention doesn’t cover that.  But I think it’s a good start to re-imagine how to simplify waste systems.

Thanks to Gizmag for this article.

Garden Terrace Apartment Building uses recycled water and solar power

clearpoint-12Here’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.

A Cancer Therapy

photo 1Even though I don’t have cancer, many of my friends have walked that road.  So I thought reading this book would be enlightening.

In the book A Cancer Therapy, Dr. Max Gerson gives a foundation to understand how cancer can best be framed so that it can be cured.  According to Dr. Gerson, studies show that cancer is a degenerative disease that takes a long time to develop.  So when we find a lump, that is the culmination of years of degeneration, so much that the liver has finally grown too weak to fight the cancer.  This book is a summary of thirty years of clinical experimentation by Dr. Max Gerson M.D. from the 1930’s-1950’s.  He successfully took advanced cancer patients that traditional medicine had written off, and figured out how to heal the majority of them.

Dr. Gerson said that there is no magic pill that cures cancer.  Yes, if you remove a large cancerous lump, sometimes that takes enough of the toxins out of the body where the liver can resume to clean the rest itself.  But many times there is still so much sickness left in the bone, blood, and organs that’s just not showing signs yet, that the cancer ‘returns’.  Dr. Gerson’s therapy was developed to treat not just the end symptoms (the tumors etc.) but the many causes  – such as toxins from our pesticides and poor soil nutrition, using food and rest medicinally, detoxifying gently and slowly so the body doesn’t go into shock, etc.

This book was first published back in 1958.  Today, as then, this research seems to be the last resort for those with advanced stage cancer who have been told they will die.  So they get this book, find out about the Gerson Institute where they can get updated information on how to treat their disease at home, or go to a clinic where it can be treated for them.  The regime is currently a little less intensive then what was written originally in the book, but it is still a slow, steady, time-consuming walk to healing.  While the typical person prefers a faster more heroic rescue to a slow personal climb, if you’re willing (or desperate) to see results, this book is a fascinating read.

I found some healthy concepts I’d like to use/modify for use in my own life.  The suggestions list of potassium rich veggies and fruits (many I already enjoy, some I want to buy and try out) look like a delicious and easy addition to my diet.  And the detox ideas are ones I may explore in the future as well.

solid shampoo is a win

photoSo I’m wandering the haircare aisle looking for a shampoo that won’t strip the oils out of my dry hair, isn’t full of toxic type chemicals, doesn’t cost a fortune, doesn’t pollute the environment, and is in a skinny enough bottle that it will fit on the side of my tub.   I spied a tiny little package – the only bar in the shampoo aisle.  I’d never heard of a bar shampoo so took a closer look.  This is J.R. Liggett’s old fashioned bar shampoo. It has no synthetic oils, no chemical concoctions, no plastic bottle, no detergents, so this shampoo won’t strip the natural oils from hair, is good for our water (from bathing in streams, to city showers because it travels well and doesn’t pollute!)

It sounded interesting, and seemingly fit all my criteria and more.  The ingredients are mostly oils such as  olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, a little bit of New Hampshire spring water, sodum Hydroxide (a binder) and essential oils for fragrance.

Since it was cheaper than most regular shampoos, I bought a bar to try it out. It doesn’t have a noticeable smell, so I can’t tell what essential oils were used.  I rubbed the bar shampoo around in my wet hands to make a lather, and shampooed as usual.  I can’t say my hair came out looking salon like, but it looks and feels CLEAN, and it’s not as dry as when using regular bottle shampoo with no conditioner, so probably all those oils in the bar soap are doing a good job of moisturizing.

I used it on my guinea pig and it lathered up and rinsed out fast and complete ( a plus when bathing animals!).  My husband tried it with his short hair and said he barely used any at all and it was effective.

I think J.R. Liggett’s is a keeper:)

I got the wire chair as an attempt at a soap dish, and it seems to work well to keep the shampoo bar dry.  I think the bar would melt into a sloppy mess if it didn’t have a place to dry out between uses.

25 year old starts innovative ride-where-you-want bus system

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.

Make your own prosthetics for less then $10

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.

Can a toy help girls build our future?

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.

book: Zero Waste Home

zero waste homeZero 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.

Free fruit gleaning from all over the world!

pear tree lots of pearsFallingFruit.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.

Reclaiming rare earth minerals from wastewater

rareearthrecyclingRare 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.

Do-it-yourself furniture is open source

opendesk-3This 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.

TomTato plant grows both tomatoes AND potatoes

This is not a genetic hybrid, but created with the age-old method of grafting by hand the top of a cherry tomato plant to the roots of a white potato plant, so that a single plant produces both tomatoes and potatoes at the same time.

UK Horticulture company Thompson and Morgan states that the Brix (sugar content) of the TomTato’s fruit is higher than most supermarket tomatoes, and the potatoes are fine for boiling, mashing, or roasting.  At this time the TomTato is only available in the UK, but the BBC reports that another such plant has been released in New Zealand, made by the company Incredible Edibles, and known as the Potato Tom.

Can’t wait for the US to develop such a plant – I’ve always had good luck with cherry tomatoes, but never with potatoes.  Maybe if I had a plant like this I could easily grow both on my little city lot – or better yet in a pot?

Thanks to Gizmag for this article.

Moser Lamp: a plastic bottle makes free light

_69142255_img_8451With electricity becoming more expensive, here’s a way to save resources and get free lighting.  The Moser Lamp, invented by Alfredo Moser, is simply a clean empty plastic bottle filled with water and a little bleach.  Using the natural science of refraction, the lamp puts out the energy of a 40-60 watt bulb depending on how strong the sun is.  In areas where power outages are common and in areas of poverty, Moser Lamps are becoming a great way to provide light to homes cheaply and efficiently.

How much energy do Moser Lamps save?  Since plastic bottles are recycled/up-cycled from local communities, there’s no energy needed to gather, manufacture, or ship new bottles, whereas it takes 0.45 kg of CO2 to manufacture one incandescent bulb.  Plus, a 50-watt light bulb running for 14 yours a day for a year has a carbon footprint of nearly 200kg of CO2…whereas Moser lamps emit no CO2 at all!    Even in first world countries, this would be a fun idea for playhouses, garden sheds, pump houses, etc.

To learn more and to see a Moser Lamp in action, check out this article from the BBC.

 

Better idea for news!

If you’ve never heard of Upworthy, I’d like to introduce you. This site is so encouraging/inspiring that I’ve subscribed to.  It’s an example of where media is going – a POSITIVE direction that’s interactive, caring, and human.  Here’s the latest details about how Upworthy is expanding their amazing business, and how you can get involved:

We Had A Kinda Crazy Idea. You Made It Real. Thank You.

Hey all,

We launched Upworthy 18 months ago based on a pretty crazy idea: that if you can catch people’s attention, they actually care more about the most important topics in the world than they do about celebrity sideboobs or iPhone rumors or weird old tips about belly fat.

The thing was: We had no idea if it was true.

We certainly wanted to believe that we could help Continue reading

The neighborhood we all want

Here’s your feel good moment for today – a song written and sung by my husband. Video shot and produced by my daughter. This is a song about the neighborbood we want to see – local, global, and spiritual.

USS Enterprise-like flat LED light bulb could end up selling for $3

LED light in the shape of the Enterprise!

LED light in the shape of the Enterprise!

Not only is this a great energy saving practical idea for a light bulb, IT’S IN THE SHAPE OF THE ENTERPRISE! Here’s the whole article from Gizmag:

Not long ago, we took a look at Cree’s new LED light bulbs. At US$12.97 a pop, the 60-watt-equivalent model sounded like a pretty good deal. If NliteN’s disk-shaped 2D-Lite reaches production, however, it could make the Cree product look downright expensive. Initially slated to sell for $10, the dimmable 60-watt-equivalent “800 lumen-class” bulb is planned to drop to $6 by 2015, and to $3 by 2017.

Despite its rather unique appearance, the 2D-Lite has the same profile as a much more power-hungry and short-lived standard incandescent bulb, and Continue reading

Aronia: The North American super berry with cancer-fighting properties | Fox News

Aronia berry clusterAronia Berries, also known as Choke Cherries, are a native American fruit.  They are full of antioxidents and make great juice.  So why don’t more people grow them?  Well, for one, they taste puckery/mealy if you eat them fresh.  The juice stains your skin. They don’t cook down all that well because of the tiny bitter seeds and skin, and they are terrible dried.

So what do you do with them?  I enjoy them two ways:

1. I wash the berries, take off the stems, and put berries in the blender with about 1 part berries to 3/4 parts water.  Then I strain and keep the juice, composting the remaining seed/skin sludge.  After the juice settles I strain it again to get the second smaller wave of sludge off.  I do this over the sink wearing an apron so I don’t stain anything (the stains scrub out of the sink and off your hands eventually). I put the juice in bottles in the fridge and Continue reading