Making Communal Use of Vacant Lots

Urban-farming

Over the decades many cities have suffered from population loss. This degeneration may show in the staggering amount of vacant lots and houses. On average, 15 percent of a city’s land is vacant. The term ‘vacancy’ can pertain to many things in relation to a city. Some lands deemed vacant are abandoned houses, others brown fields or empty lots. Even though these areas are unoccupied, sometimes deemed unsuitable for occupation, they can still cost cities considerable amounts of money. There have been temporary fixes for these vacancies, including use as a pasture or for storage. It is a sad state… read more

Self Washing Dishes to Casually Save Tons of Water

Self cleaning dishes

Self cleaning dishes may soon be a product on the shelves thanks to Swedish Design studio Tomorrow Machine. Their dishes need not be washed with gallon after gallon of precious water. They will actually clean themselves, without the need for scrubbing, just as soon as you are finished with your meal. The leftovers entirely will simply slide right off the plate leaving no grime to scrub. The development of these dishes got started when Swedish Forest Industries Federation asked researchers and designers to make a product that could be created with tree-based cellulose. Tomorrow Machine teamed with KTH Royal Institute of… read more

Build A Backyard Grape Arbor

Build A Backyard Grape Arbor

Consuming grapes has several health benefits as they are high in many essential nutrients. Rich in manganese, they are potent antioxidants and have proven cardiovascular system benefits. Organically grown grapes, unlike conventional varieties, do not have the extra worry of contaminated soil and water runoff from pesticide residuals. Installing a grape arbor in the backyard can be done on a budget. With a little research, planning and building a main structural support system, establishing a successful start for a grapevine is a project that will pay off. Garden Guides has ideas for basic construction materials to use for a grape trellis. A… read more

Improving Produce Without Genetic Engineering

Improving Produce Without Genetic Engineering

A lot of focus on the food production and farming industries may seem to concentrate on genetically modified foods. However, some plant breeders are working to also bring focus to an age old way of growing premier foods, without using any genetically induced alterations. Rapid genetic analysis, or sometimes referred to as marker-assisted breeding, uses conventional farming techniques and plant breeding with quick ways of identifying alleles and DNA markers and how they are structured. Combining the more traditional forms of farming along with these processes can produce crops with more flavor and color, as well as a more appealing presence and shape. It… read more

Get Outside and Climb a Tree

Climb a Tree

When former US President Ronald Reagan said, “If you’ve seen one redwood tree, you’ve seen them all”, he spoke from a belief system rooted in his disconnection from the natural world. All human communication emerges from belief systems. In the case of environmental communication, beliefs (the complex fusion of feelings and attitudes) inform how we variously see ourselves in relation to the nonhuman world. In an age when environmental beliefs play a critical role in whether society shifts toward sustainability, it’s important to be mindful of our belief systems. Particularly important is the need to be watchful of the environmental… read more

Beat Indoor Boredom With These Activities For Kids

Beat Indoor Boredom With These Activities For Kids

Weather events have been extreme over the past few weeks, with many experiencing either blazing hot temperatures or frozen days, depending on which side of the globe you are on. It can be easy for kids to become bored being indoors, and introducing a few new things to do can break a case of the stuck in the house doldrums. Family Education has a good roundup of imaginative things to do, and many just require some time and household items. Kids will enjoy games like coming up with unnecessary inventions and spin the globe. For silly conversation, everyone will want… read more

Dip into Nature, Not Chlorine

natural pools

The next time you take a swim, consider what you are diving into. It is known that chlorine and other chemicals are commonly used to disinfect swimming pools. But with natural, chlorine free options available, why expose your health to these chemicals? Beyond turning hair green, chlorine also reacts to bodily fluids, including sweat and urine. When combined, toxic breakdown products, called chloramines, are formed. Another of chlorine’s most common effects is eye irritation. This isn’t surprising. What is surprising is that we continue to immerse ourselves, eyes open, into a pool of the stuff. You can cool off in a… read more

Grow Winter Greens

Grow Winter Greens

The cold winter months can actually lend to a versatile growing season for many hearty plants. A winter garden does not require too much space and many herbs and vegetables can also be grown in containers. However, many cold weather plants need to be rooted in the ground in order to flourish. Plants will need to be well covered under a protective barrier, such as cold frames or row covers, in the winter months. An encasing helps to shield delicate leaves from frosting and traps in heat. A good multipurpose herb to have around is wintergreen. Its oil, which also… read more

Naturally Effective Produce Washes

Naturally Effective Produce Washes

Many consumers are concerned about pesticides or sprays used in the production of fruit and vegetables. As a consequence, produce washes are available for purchase. Are they as effective as plain water, or do they leave a residue behind too, and money wasted? According to experts, specially developed fruit washes are not needed, and do not provide any benefits over rubbing foods under running water. Preparing produce with clean hands, utensils and at sanitary workstations helps to ensure contamination doesn’t sneak in also. Though thoroughly washing with running water provides effective cleansing, a Cook’s Illustrated study concurred that after examining different methods… read more

Neat Projects Inspired By Ocean Plastic

Neat Projects Inspired By Ocean Plastics

The issue of plastic pollution in the oceans is a growing concern. Understanding the need for awareness, some have initiated interesting projects that turn litter into new objects and ideas. A few years back, the vacuum company Electrolux came up with a line of vacuum cleaners that were made from recovered ocean plastics. They were not for sale due to the high cost of producing them, but were created to initiate a Vac from the Sea project that would bring attention to the vast amount of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. Plastics were collected globally for the campaign and assembled… read more