How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2012?

I celebrate the earth 360 days a year. This includes being thankful for the abundance it offers my family and me everyday. I show this thanks by putting earth-preserving behaviors into action every single day such as using and purchasing goods that are Fair Trade, staying away from BPA containing products, composting, recycling EVERYTHING that can be, growing my own food, using little water, re-purposing goods, up-cycling goods, supporting local farmers… the list goes on. I hear from my patients, colleagues and friends, “isn’t it hard? what’s the big deal? I do what I can do.” The answers are N O, living an eco-conscious lifestyle is far from hard. Learning calculus was hard, finishing grad school was hard, but all the actions I listed are S O easy. These lifestyle choices require only three very simple things: action, conscious behavior and not being a lazy inconsiderate ass! Sound hard? Not so much right?!

We can all do more, so become aware of how your actions and behaviors affect the earth, your well-being and the people and communities around you.

If you love the earth and like living here, prove it by checking out a few of these articles and putting yourself into conscious action everyday!

Enter Garden Eats Earth Day giveaway to win a copy of Green Housekeeping

Sign a petition to S T O P a farm bill T O protect your food supply and small farmers

To re-wash or not re-wash bagged greens

Activities to take the kids to this weekend

Can I recycle styrofoam?

Newt Gingrich wants our kids to be janitors? Hey, I’d love my kid to be exposed to even more carcinogens!

More E A S Y ways to go green everyday

Why we S H O U L D label G M O foods… this means you would know if your food was genetically modified. Without this labeling, we run the risk of altering our genetic information & developing life threatening diseases.

Mit Romney: what the heck do we really know about our presidential candidate’s stances on G R E E N living?

Farmers think you should care about poop

Ever wonder where that plastic goes?

The Dirty Dozen

The environment might not be all you are disrupting with those cleaners

Label it! In a country that loves their labels, why not label G M Os?

Grow Map: If you are what you eat & what we feed our kids

Re-thinking the front lawn. Why Permaculture is S O important

Wait, do you want that on your skin? What’s in your personal care products?

A fast look at G M O Infographics

Biking: good for the bod, good for the environment

Kids Health

What’s in the water? Your infant’s formula too?

DESIGNhealth: Let There Be Light

Photo via DVice

Photo via Inhabit

One of my clients (thanks Lauren) passed this on because she knew I would love it… And, I do! To replace energy in-efficient street lights, Taiwanese researchers have embedded gold nano-particles into the leaves of trees causing them to give-off a reddish-yellow glow. The glowing installation is expected to cut carbon emissions and energy cost while safely illuminating the pathways for pedestrians and autos.

Photo via PopSci: Luminescence will cause leaves' chloroplasts to photosynthesize; further reducing carbon in the air

For other wonders in bio-luminescence, see my post about Curb’s sustainable design.

Functional Objects of My Desire

My new friend Brit, the founder of Tendliving creates living art through sustainable native plant gardening. If it was possible to “I Dream of Jeanie” myself into any location, the first place I’d visit would be these modular garden pods! Dream on here with more photos from Tend.

Photo by Brit

No Bag Please

Home Farming Unit

Grocery Shopping

Last month while visiting Rochester, I popped into the local market my parents have shopped at my entire life. Only having purchased 3 items, but realizing I’d forgotten my re-usable shopping bag, I opted to go bag-less and carry my stuff out. Before I could get the words, “no bag thank you,” out of my mouth, the young man behind the counter had begun dropping my stuff in a plastic bag. I quickly said, “oh no thanks, only 3 things, no need for a bag, give it to the next person.” To my astonishment he pulled my items out, handed them over, and threw the un-used bag into his garbage!

I can’t wait until the chap behind the counter asks, “hey, how are ya?” instead of, “paper or plastic?” like some robot-drone! Excess packaging and the waste associated with it simply causes my skin to crawl! When I first moved to California, a decade ago, it was amazing how much organic produce was readily available at all times. I was continually baffled at the plastic mess it was packaged in though.

Reaching Beyond

While reading the future thinking Dec/Jan issue of Dwell magazine I lit up to their piece, The Future of Groceries. Here reviewed were three brilliant, yet simple processes to enhance our entire method of procuring and storing the foods we love. Summing it up, creative concept idea machine, Marti Guixe says, “food design, if properly done, should eliminate superfluous packaging.” Complimenting this sentiment is Food Probe’s Home Farming Unit, a biosphere containing live seafood with the ability to grow vegetables. Imagine how wonderful it will be to maintain just what you need, excess free!

Now

Until then though, consider every action you put forward with whole conscious thinking. Buying organic? Great job! Now consider, where am I purchasing my food; from a sustainable source? Go online or ask neighbors where the local farmer’s markets are located. Some area farmers offer a twice monthly service you come to pick up at the farm, chock full of the season’s best.

The next time you’re shopping, or if you’re a letter writer perhaps; compliment your grocer on what you see them doing best. Politely suggest they offer re-usable shopping supplies or perhaps leave produce un-wrapped, free of plastic packaging.

Don’t forget to get an update from your waste management company of the items you may recycle each week with your other trash. At the end of the week our recycling bins are absolutely over-flowing. Almost all materials you consider garbage can and should be recycled. If your company doesn’t take certain items, find an alternative resource for your garbage. We save any plastic bags that might come into the house via guests to be later taken down the street, where our local market will recycle them for the public.


Does the Grass Always Need to Be Greener?

Grass

Anybody know how much water Californians use each year to water their lawns?

Down here in sunny San Diego county, it’s the largest use for H2O at a whopping 60%!

Why It Doesn’t Add Up

Dear California, in case you haven’t noticed, our state is a desert! So, when our most precious resource is becoming increasingly scarce, why are we maintaining behavior that is continuously wasting it?  Growing grass not only drains endless amounts of water, but it also deepens the harmful effects fertilizers and weed killers pose to the local ecology and municipal drinking sources.

Let’s look at the numbers.  Remember the last time it rained?  I do, in fact, it was today.  To give you an idea of how much rain fell, consider the last time you splashed water on your face to wake up.  Yep, that’s about it.  Annual rainfall in San Diego averages at only 9 inches!  Add in the 3 million folks living here, temperatures climbing past 100 degrees F, and it simply doesn’t add up to grow that grass!

What to do?

  • Concentrate your sprawl with native plants and drought tolerant foliage.  Visit Green Eco Service’s handy list of California nurseries offering native foliage.  Try some phlox, juniper, or sedum!
  • Your favorite color is green?  Rip up the lawn and install a carpet that will never need watering.  Turf is the new green.  Unlike others that gas off harmful polycyclic hydro-carbons, check out Ecoalliance’s toxin free waterless sod.
  • Take the 20 gallon challenge proposed by Mayor Jerry Sanders.  Think you can only use 20 gallons of water per day?  Give it a shot!

Anybody have experience with a waterless lawn?  Post your pictures here for other readers to see!

Picture This: What’s in a Label?

Latest in Labeling Standards

If it’s going on your skin or in your bod:

Certified Naturally Grown Logo

Upholding the most stringent standards without the USDA associated price-tag

USDA Organic Logo

Strict labeling ensuring the product is at least 95% organic


Products with at least 95 % natural ingredients and no synthetics suspected of causing health risks
Committed to organic, fair trade, and sustainable agriculture

IFOAM

The International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movement represents global unified standards expressing the principles of health, ecology, fairness, and care of organic agriculture

You want to build something durable and long lasting that:
  • Is non-toxic
  • Has been sustainably or locally harvested
  • Is recycled, packaged bio-degradeable
  • Was transported without burning a ton of fossil fuel

c2c1
C2C upholds high ecological standards aimed at designing products that will be forever circulating, never making it to a landfill

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Ensuring consumer confidence that the purchase of their paints, cleaners, paper products, and windows have met rigorous eco-ethical guidelines

Keep your eyes open for these seals of approval state-side and abroad







Dreaming of Japan… And Conveniently Square Watermelons

I must be hungry…

http://z.about.com/d/geography/1/0/h/J/japan.jpg
Square Watermelon! by solution_63.

Square Japanese Watermelons

Japanese farmers force watermelons into glass cases while still on the vine to mold into the refrigerator convenient shape. Wait, does that say 21,000 ¥?

Refrigerator it fits in keeps your produce fresh, spraying vitamin C into the unit and naturally preserving.

Japanese Bon-bons
Dango, yes please! Peanuts & red beans in mochi.

Thanks avlxyz! Thanks chidorian

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