11 Reasons Why We Still Need Earth Day

Earth Day 1970 speaker

US Senator Edmund Muskie, author of the 1970 Clean Air Act, addressing an estimated 40,000-60,000 people as keynote speaker for Earth Day in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia on April 22, 1970.

In 1969 Senator Gaylord Nelson conceived the idea of holding a national teach-in on environmental issues and picked the date of April 22, 1970.

The event, named Earth Day by one of the college students who helped coordinate events, succeeded beyond anyone’s imagination.

Earth Day has been observed on April 22 every year since then. Why was Earth Day necessary in 1970, and why is it still necessary now?

1. The economy depends wasteful spending

Have you ever heard economists and politicians complain that consumers don’t spend enough? Probably every time there is general discussion about economic troubles. It’s the number one complaint and has been since the Eisenhower administration.

The American economy suddenly faced a new problem in the prosperity that followed the Second World War. Always before, humans had to face problems of scarcity. Continue reading

Five New Environmentally-Friendly Technologies for Your Home

Environmentally-friendly technology

Internet of Things

Contributed by Maria Ramos

Sustainability through green, environmentally-friendly products is easier to achieve than ever before because of innovative new products for your home.

Expansive home security and home entertainment systems can be connected with a variety of other smart products such as speakers, light bulbs, or more complicated climate control systems.

Many of these are cheaper than traditional alternatives, and all are part of the “Internet of Things” (or IoT) aimed at increasing efficiency and reducing overall environmental impact. Here are five smart devices that will help you manage your home! Continue reading

Apps to Improve Home Energy Efficiency

Infographic by Stuart Amm, Half Price Shutters

I confess to dismay at how quickly computers, smart phones, and similar gadgets become obsolete and contribute to the growing mountain of electronic waste. I have never gotten in the cell phone habit, but I received this infographic that shows how smart phones can help you achieve more energy efficiency while they’re still new, spiffy, and usable.

Here are seven that are either free or very cheap. In one way or another, they all help to measure and control energy usage, which gives you more energy efficiency and therefore lower electricity bills. Do you want to know how much electricity your home uses and get ideas for what you can easily cut out? There’s an app for that. Several.

One of them even can even control the various energy vampires that are sucking money out of your pocket and giving you nothing of value in return. Continue reading

Composting and kitchen compost bin: a review article

my compost bucket pail container

My compost bucket

Last week I published a guest post about composting mostly yard waste. The author did mention food scraps, and since gardening season is nearly upon us, I would like to follow up on collecting food scraps for the compost pile.

Surely no one wants to take scraps there every day. So collect compostable material in a compost bin in the kitchen until you have accumulated enough to take out and the weather is pleasant enough.

Besides kitchen compost buckets, this post also reviews options for compost bins, in case you do not already have an established system.

I have had the green compost bin pictured here in my kitchen for about a year now. I am not an especially dedicated housekeeper. I should empty the bucket every week. I should rinse it out every time I empty it. I should change the filter every three months. I don’t. I have changed the filter once.

And my compost bucket does not stink. The last bucket full I emptied started out with orange peels. It smelled citrusy until the day I took it outside, but only when I opened the lid. Continue reading

Green waste: what’s usable for compost and what’s not

Contributed by Derek Lotts.

Green waste is grass, leaves, branches of ornamental plants and other similar garden waste generated in gardens. It is also what’s left over from your cooking, such as peelings, or uneaten food left on plates.

In other words, it’s organic waste. It’s compostable, or at least, most of it is. (In forming a compost pile, however, organic waste is divided into “green” and “brown.” These terms will be defined later.)

If you sort and separate your rubbish, you would see that organic waste makes up more than one-third of total waste in your household. The organic waste is all biodegradable waste, for example the remains of fruits and vegetables, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags, plant residues from the garden and so on. Continue reading

9 Green Companies You Should Feel Good Supporting

Contributed by Jon Wikstrom

Profit and sustainability

Profit and sustainability

As time goes on, it’s no longer exceptional for companies to have green initiatives. In fact, it’s now unusual if a business, large or small, isn’t doing anything to lessen their impact on the environment.

But to some companies, the planet is not merely an afterthought or an opportunity for public relations, but rather the main focus of everything they do.

There are certainly a plethora of small, local businesses along with larger corporations that are guided by their concern for nature. I want to share a list of uber-green companies you should feel proud to support. Continue reading

Delicious and Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes

sweet potatoIt used to be almost an unwritten law that sweet potato casseroles had to be made with canned sweet potatoes, gobs of brown sugar, and marshmallows.

Here are some healthier alternatives, and they actually taste better.

A little brown sugar is not bad, but too much added sugar hides the flavor of sweet potatoes. For all of these recipes, use fresh sweet potatoes. The ones in the can are already too sugary and, to my taste, cooked too long. Continue reading

How much do you know about science?

scienceLooking through my collection of PDFs, I came across a report and poll from Pew Research about how much Americans know about science. It’s a couple of years old, but the results would probably not be much different now.

You can care about the environment and practice green living without knowing much about science. But the better informed you are, the better choices you can make for yourself and your family.

Test your knowledge and take this quiz. When you get your results you can follow a link there and read the report.

I will try to present just enough information to get your interest without giving away the questions or the answers. Continue reading

7 Innovative Steps to Save on Home Décor: Electricity, Wood, and Money

Contributed by Jim Taylor

recycled wood table

A reclaimed electric wire reel provided this elegant table.

The last three decades have witnessed a revolution in terms of environmental awareness. In every global forum, environmental conservation is a key topic as evidence of unrelenting degradation becomes apparent.

As a home owner, you can make a timely contribution by making your home more energy efficient. This can be done by saving on electricity and wood, which in turn translates to less environmental exploitation of the environment for energy use. Saving on wood halts deforestation, while at the same time saving you a lot of money. Continue reading