terra, not terror

sharing ideas about a simpler way to live

Car-Free Day… Week… World September 20, 2007

Filed under: energy — terra @ 1:15 pm

car freeSaturday is world car-free day. One day out of every year is selected to highlight the idea that it is possible to live without cars. It really is.

In China, cars will not be allowed on Saturday in 108 cities to raise awareness about pollution, and to ease congestion. Only pedestrians, bikes, and busses will be driving on Saturday.

“No Car Day” will cut 3,000 tons of emissions and save 33 million liters of gasoline, according to the ministry. (that’s 8.7 billion gallons)

Some places have been celebrating car-free week. Greenwich, UK, is celebrating by closing the town square to cars, and having a party with art, music, and a beach. Montreal, Canada, is also closing town square for a concert, and they’re having hiking and other events this week.

If you’re interested, here are 10 ways you can break your auto dependence. Also check out carfree.com.

Britain plans to be entirely gas-free by 2040. It is possible. There are so many options for alternative fuel. It will be nice when consumers have the freedom to choose which type of energy they prefer, and how much they want to pay for it. Good luck, Britain, and thanks for leading the pack!


Fall Cleaning September 19, 2007

Filed under: energy, garden — terra @ 1:56 am

I can’t believe I haven’t written about my favorite yard tool – my push reel mower! My neighbor has one, and it’s so quiet and odor-free that I had to try it. I fell in love instantly. The whirring sound of the blades is actually kind of comforting.

reelThis mower is so easy to use, even I can use it. When we brought it home, and to this day, my husband and I almost fight over who gets to mow the lawn. I’m not kidding! It goes like this… “I’ll do it.” “No, that’s ok. I can mow it.” “No really, you go inside. I’ll mow the lawn.” Finally we agree to split and each mow half. We’ve even had neighbors come over and ask if they can push it around, and they reminisce about the good old days.

Once you try one, you’ll never want to crank up the gas mower again. The smell of gas and grass is not pleasant, and it’s useless energy consumption. The reel mower is so much more fun, energy conscious, good-smelling, and easy. Give it a try.

After searching the internet and garage sales for a used one, we went to Sears Hardware and bought one for less than $100. Do a little fall cleaning and push that gas mower to the curb or the thrift store.


Bioneers Conference in Cleveland next month September 18, 2007

Filed under: alternative, education, environment, local — terra @ 12:11 pm

bioneersBioneers.org brings together people who are committed to the environment, health, social justice and good living. They have a yearly conference in California, which is “beamed” to satellite sites around the country. We are fortunate that Cleveland is one of these sites! Mark your calendars for Oct. 19-21 to attend the Beaming Bioneer Cleveland Conference at Cleveland State University.

The format is as follows – Local speakers and activities in the morning, California conference beamed in the afternoon. Daily yoga sessions, area tours, and panel discussions enhance the experience. Here’s the schedule.

Topics include:

  • Green affordable housing in the city
  • Healthy Workers/Healthy Business
  • Solutions that benefit people, the planet, and profit
  • No Child Left Inside!
  • NE Ohio transportation
  • Plastic from alternative sources (not oil!)
  • Citizen Blogging – featuring terra, not terror

I will be part of a panel on Saturday morning to discuss Citizen Blogging and how bloggers can impact the environment.

I hope to see you there!


Farm Aid September 17, 2007

Filed under: food — terra @ 12:24 pm

farmaidFarm Aid was started in 1985 by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp to raise awareness about family farms, and to raise money for farmers. For 22 years, they’ve been having concerts to educate people about the value of the American family farm.

This year’s concert, held on Sept. 9th in New York City, featured 21 bands. Vendors provided fresh, local food to satisfy the growing demand for healthy, non-factory farm, non-hormone-laced food.

cowsAmerica’s family farms face many challenges from bird flu to genetic engineering, globalization to factory farms. We can help family farms by buying local food, teaching kids how to grow food, and being aware of where our food comes from. Factory farms are producing hormone and antibiotic-laden meat and chemically-produced vegetables that have an adverse effect on our health, which costs billions in the health care industry. Helping family farms helps everyone.

Check out Food Routes, or Local Harvest to find farmers markets near you.


Happy Constitution Day September 17, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — terra @ 11:59 am

VegiTerranean, Metro Living, Save the Civic September 16, 2007

Filed under: food, local — terra @ 10:30 pm

vegiYesterday, we had the Akron experience. We toured Akron’s Metro Living, saw the opening ceremonies of VegiTerranean (actually opens in late October), and attended the rockin’ Akron Civic Theatre benefit concert featuring Chrissie Hynde and Friends.

The Metro Living Tour was interesting, but slightly disappointing for a few reasons. We wanted to take the shuttle, but it never seemed to be available, so we had to drive from place to place. None of the “homes” were taking advantage of advances in renewable energy. There are so many chances to utilize solar power, which will be the norm in 10 years. If you want to be cutting-edge, you’ve got to reach out to the future. The Northside Lofts were ultimate high-class. There was a TV in every room. Coming from a 1-TV house, this was a little extreme. On a positive note, the color schemes were really nice. Spicer Village will be very cool when it opens in 2008. Rooftop gardens!

Next was the opening of VegiTerranean. We walked up as Chrissie Hynde was putting on an outdoor concert. Her voice is absolutely moving. It was a very energetic event! There was a food sampling expo featuring Akron restaurants. Strangely, it was all meat except for VegiTerranean. If you’re having a vegetarian restaurant opening, don’t you bring your vegetarian dish? We didn’t eat. But, the menu for VegiTerranean was extensive, so it should be a nice place to enjoy a good meal.

It’s great to see Akron renovating and trying to rebuild this great city. The views from the Exchange St. dorm make you realize how beautiful our city really is. We have great people here who really care about the city, and their efforts are to be commended. I look forward to seeing Akron’s revitalization in the coming years.

The benefit concert was incredible! My husband’s cousins are in The Diffi Cult, which opened the show, followed by 6 other bands. (I also really liked Pat Sweeney and The Numbers Band) Then, Chrissie Hynde again. She came out in her PETA t-shirt. It was excellent! The whole crowd essentially had to applaud PETA. (her boots, by the way, were made by Stella McCartney) While I am a Person for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, I tend to disagree with some of the tactics and statements by Peta, so even I was a little uncomfortable (I’ll elaborate in the comments). Her set was incredible! Again, what a voice! Finally… Jerry Lee Lewis. They rolled out the piano and the rock legend was escorted onto the stage by Akron legend Chrissie Hynde. His set was so fun and energetic. We had a great view of the shadow of his hands on the piano. What a night! The whole stage was rockin’ and people were dancing in their seats. It was a great show in Akron. I hope to see more fun events like this at the Akron Civic Theatre. Thanks to our good family for the tickets!


What is a Vegan? September 16, 2007

Filed under: food — terra @ 1:54 am

What is a vegan? Chrissy Hynde said a lot of Akronites don’t know, and she’s probably right. In fact, a lot of people don’t know, so I’ll do my best to explain.

Vegans don’t eat or use any products made of, or made by animals. This includes meat, eggs, dairy, gelatin, honey, and refined sugar. Gelatin is made of marrow or hooves; honey is made by bees; and refined sugar is bleached with charred animal bones.

Some good alternatives for vegans include the meatless products that are generally made of soy. In baking, eggs can be replaced by applesauce, bananas, tofu. Soy, rice, and even hemp “dairy” products are good. (check out this video that turned me off milk for good – it’s not gross) Gelatin can be replaced by something called carrageenan, which is made from seaweed (gelatin is not a vegetarian food either, so warn your veggie friends when you cook with gelatin). Honey can be replaced by syrups and molasses. Instead of refined sugar, look for pure cane sugar or turbinado sugar. (I’ve found it really cheap at Marc’s) Additionally, “natural flavoring” can include animal-based products, so that ingredient should be avoided by vegetarians and vegans.

Vegans also avoid leather and other animal-based products, and don’t use products tested on animals.

Why would someone be a vegan? There are many reasons, usually beginning with animal rights, concerns about factory farms, the environment, and health. Vegan and vegetarian diets have been shown to reduce many health problems, especially high cholesterol because only animal-based foods have cholesterol.

(wiki also does a pretty good job explaining veganism, with some great links at the bottom)


Friday Recipe: Corn & Potato Chowder September 14, 2007

Filed under: food — terra @ 2:20 pm

Corn and Potato Chowder
(a favorite at the not terror household)

olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (1 small)
1 cup thinly sliced celery (2 stalks)
4 cups peeled (or not) russet potatoes cut into 1/2 in. cubes (2-3 medium)
3 1/4 cup soy milk or lowfat dairy milk
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
pepper, minced parsley (optional)

*Heat the oil in a 3-4 qt. saucepan. Add onion and celery and saute over medium heat until the vegetables soften, 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently.
*Add potatoes and milk. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 20-30 minutes. Mash some of the potatoes in the pot with a potato masher to thicken the soup. Add the corn kernels and peas. Cook just until heated through, 1-2 minutes. Add the salt and season to taste.
*Sprinkle with parsley.

from the Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook

We don’t use salt or pepper and it’s just as good.
The smashed potatoes give the impression of a cheesy soup. Delicious!


Sustainable Clothes September 13, 2007

Filed under: alternative, organic — terra @ 4:42 pm

For those of us who want sustainable, environmentally responsible lives, we like to consider all aspects, including clothing.

Think about what your clothes are made of … when evaluating natural vs. synthetic products, a lot must be considered. Pleather is not as long-lasting as leather, but it’s cheap and not made from an animal. Polyester is made from petroleum (=oil!). It also doesn’t breathe as well as cotton. Nylon is also made from petroleum, vs. wool made from sheared sheep’s fur.

bambooSome people are looking for more eco-conscious clothes and finding new (not-so-new) materials such as hemp, soy, bamboo, and organic cotton. They are long-lasting, durable materials and easy to care for.

Many companies, including Great Lakes Brewing Company, are also looking towards these new fabrics as consumers are becoming more eco-responsible. I’ve been looking into hemp and soy clothes, and found these options for companies to outfit their staff, or sell to customers. Along with suppliers Kami has found (see comments), these companies are appealing, and their t-shirts don’t cost much more than a regular cotton t-shirt.

Onno.com seems to be the best option for wholesalers. They have some good options, and put the prices and quantity available right on the website.
Efforts in Canada has a good selection of sustainable clothes, and offers wholesale prices with no minimum orders.
Bamboo Clothes offers a lot of clothing at reasonable prices, and they say their bamboo/cotton blend are the softest t-shirts on the planet (…mmm… tempting).
Rawganique.com has many styles, and unisex t-shirts range from $16-18 retail. (no new wholesale customers)

One problem is that a lot of these companies are small, to avoid sweatshops and poor quality, so they don’t offer wholesale volume yet. The trend is catching on, so look for wider availability soon. Ideal Bite lists several soy clothing suppliers, which seem to be more expensive than the hemp clothes.

Check your label … are you eco-stylin’?


Chrissie Hynde featured in Vegetarian Times September 13, 2007

Filed under: food, local, organic — terra @ 12:40 pm

Chrissie Hynde, lead singer of The Pretenders, was featured in this month’s Vegetarian Times. She is opening a new vegetarian restaurant in Akron, called VegiTerranean. It will be a coffee house, bar, and restaurant featuring vegetarian Italian food. Yum! The VegiTerranean preview celebration is this weekend, Sept. 15, and the restaurant will open in October.

In VT, Hynde talks about being a vegetarian for 38 years. She started this lifestyle because of her compassion for animals. We’re now learning about how destructive the meat industry is for the environment – it’s the #2 polluter behind the auto industry.

Hynde wants to know why there aren’t vegetarian fast food restaurants? And why don’t they sell veggie burgers at rock concerts? Thanks to her, we don’t have to ask why Akron doesn’t have a vegetarian restaurant.


Paint-on Solar September 12, 2007

Filed under: solar — terra @ 2:12 pm

Researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) have created solar cells that can be painted or printed onto surfaces. Most solar cells now are made from purified silicon, which is not a readily-available product. These new paint-on organic solar cells are made from polymers, which are a less expensive material. Energy is conducted through carbon nanotubes, which are smaller than human hair, and conduct energy more efficiently than copper wires.

“Someday homeowners will even be able to print sheets of these solar cells with inexpensive home-based inkjet printers. Consumers can then slap the finished product on a wall, roof or billboard to create their own power stations.”

Awesome!! I think this could be the future of power.

If you have iTunes, you can find out more about this solar research by typing “NJIT solar” in the search box and listen to the podcasts or watch the videos.


100 mile diet September 11, 2007

Filed under: environment, food, local — terra @ 2:30 pm

One trend among people who want to eat healthier, environmentally responsible diets is the 100 mile diet. Following this diet means you eat foods grown within 100 miles of your kitchen. It reduces pollution from transportation, and generally provides healthier food. (more reasons)

This diet takes considerable planning at the beginning. If you start cold-turkey, you may get frustrated by not being able to find your favorite fruits and vegetables. You have to learn a lot about the seasons, and your local farming community. Alisa Smith and James McKinnon, who wrote a recent book about the 100-mile diet, said they ate a lot of potatoes in the beginning. Finding wheat for bread was difficult in the Pacific NW. They were finally able to find a local wheat farmer.

People find it to be a rewarding experience that becomes kind of addicting. Now, when traveling, 100-mile dieters strive for local food, and really learn about the food and customs of the country they’re visiting.

It’s a lifestyle change. One that requires flexibility and an open mind. An easy way to start may be a state-based diet, where you eat food only from your state. The goal is to learn more about what you eat, and what you can do to reduce your footprint.


inspiration September 11, 2007

Filed under: environment — terra @ 5:25 am


VW offering Carbon Offsets through January September 11, 2007

Filed under: energy — terra @ 2:09 am

rabbitVolkswagen is teaming up with Carbonfund.org to offset an entire year of carbon emissions for every car bought between Sept. 1, 2007 and Jan. 2, 2008. The money will be directed to “help reforest areas of the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV) in Northern Louisiana.”

Not only does this program help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere but it also restores native trees to habitat, provides food for local wildlife, reclaims barren pastureland and increases water security.