Nature’s Repellents Outdoors – Part 3

mosquito

 Image Source: http://farm4.staticflickr.com For many, a serene evening under the stars is obstructed by various visitors of winged and multiple limbs. Indeed, contact with some of these pests poses health risks, as with the connection between mosquito bites and dengue fever. Still, though they are sometimes pesky in the context of our daily lives, these minute creatures do play a intrinsic role in the web of biodiversity. Thus, it is not always wise to seek out chemical solutions in order to rid of them. Not only do chemical pesticides harm insects, but humans and pets as well. They also leach… read more

Four Ways To Save Water At Home

Image

Water is one of those commodities we take for granted and tend to use exorbitantly. Whether it’s showering, washing the dishes, watering the garden, or doing laundry, we usually don’t give a second thought to the amount of H2O we’re consuming. If you lucked out and live in an apartment or home where the water bill is taken care of, that’s great, but it’s still a good practice to conserve your water. After all, you never know if the next water shortage might be just around the corner, leaving you high and dry. Let’s start with the easiest one on… read more

Making It Clean With Homemade Soaps

Making It Clean With Homemade Soaps

Sensitive skin, irritating fragrances and expensive prices are some reasons to consider making homemade soap. Store bought soaps can contain synthetic chemicals that can be aggravating. Also, antibacterial soaps containing triclosan, an antimicrobial agent that was initially listed as a pesticide, have been under scrutiny for potentially causing developmental and health problems. Making homemade soap means that any recipe can be tailored to suit personal preferences or address specific skin conditions. Soap crafting can be perfected by the skilled soap maker, but it can also be done by novices. There are countless recipes for do it yourself soaps requiring varying… read more

New Insect Diet That May Reduce Pesticide Use

New Insect Diet That May Reduce Pesticide Use

Agriculture may have a new best friend. And a seemingly unlikely one – insects. Resorting to dousing fields with pesticides to control infestations may soon be a thing of the past. Researchers have been working to find a way to wean off of chemical crop control by integrating more natural means to kill pests that are harmful to harvest yields. And it sounds like they may have found an alternative. By introducing a man-made diet to specific insect populations, they are able to facilitate the eaters to mass produce in huge numbers. Then they can be released into fields where they feed… read more

Nature’s Repellents – Part 2

Blatella_germanica_(German_cockroach)

  The broad market for bug traps and repellents extensively relies on the use of chemical insecticides. This can greatly devalue the sought after benefits of insecticides, as the adverse effects – poison, release of volatile organic compounds, etc – tend to outweigh them. And often, their effects are temporary, ridding you only of pests that persist presently in your home, failing to prevent future bug invasions. Spray Repellents Catnip Tea While harmless to humans and pets, catnip is an effective repellent to cockroaches. This is due to its active ingredient, nepetalactone. As it is an inducer of euphoria to… read more

Phone Books Reinvented

Phone Books Reinvented

Even though the internet is widely used today, I still receive telephone books on my doorstep from time to time. One would think with all the technology at our disposal these would no longer be printed. If you do happen to end up with one on your doorstep here is a few inventive ideas on how to repurpose them rather than tossing them into the recycling bin. Paper bows and gift wrapping look pretty neat when used from old phone books. There are many DIY tutorials on the net showing the many ways to create inventive décor for your presents…. read more

Giant Rice Paddy Art

Giant Rice Paddy Art

Every year hundreds of farmers and enthusiastic locals gather together to create gigantic rice paddy art in Japan. Tanbo Art is a way of expression, a local tradition that started back in 1993 and consists of using rice fields as a canvas to create the most amazing illustrations from different shades of the plant. It started as a way to revitalize the rice village of Inakadate, in Aomori prefecture, and it has now been extended to various areas around the island of the raising sun. For the first 8 years, the farmers created a simple picture of Mount Iwaki, but… read more

Blue Zones, What’s Their Secret?

Blue Zones, What’s Their Secret?

There are certain regions in the world where people tend to live longer, be healthier and report greater life satisfaction. For almost 10 years Dan Buettner has been examining these places, and trying to understand what advantages or environmental differences exist in them. In collaboration with National Geographic, experts in their fields and researchers who specialize in long life spans, they have looked into these sections of the world and their inhabitants. In order to find the top zones, the team investigated 3 global databases involving factors of well-being. Looking at a 95% representative sample of the total world population,… read more

Compost Red Wrigglers

Worm Composting

Worm composting (vermicomposting) creates exceptionally good compost in a relatively short time. Vermicomposting at home is far more sustainable than purchasing compost, which requires environmentally harmful plastic packaging and transportation. Vermicomposting typically uses red wigglers, a small, tough, adaptable worm with a big appetite and a rapid reproductive cycle. A pound of red wigglers can chomp through approximately half a pound of food per day, and as the population grows, this rate should increase. The primary advantage of vermicomposting is that the material produed is superior to regular compost (I’ve found that worm compost boosts the yields of fruit and… read more

Tips For Capturing A Great Environmental Portrait

Tips For Capturing A Great Environmental Portrait

Do your photographs always turn out terrible? Whether you can’t pull off a good group photo, your nature shots tend to turn out grainy or you just want to enhance your image, a few tips for taking environmental portraiture will improve your chances of capturing that perfect picture. Though good photography equipment does help, it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. Using what you already do have along with some suggestions can get that optimal environmental shot of wildlife or people. Try these easy to follow tricks for netting better outdoor images from the Department of Environmental Conservation. Simple tips… read more