terra, not terror

sharing ideas about a simpler way to live

Friday Recipe: Make your own Pizza Crust February 29, 2008

Filed under: food — terra @ 7:21 am

Easy, Yummy and Quick Pizza Crust

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted soy margarine (both work fine)


Preheat oven 425 degrees. Mix the yeast with the lukewarm water until the yeast is dissolved. Let it stand for a couple minutes. Add the salt and vegetable oil/melted margarine. Mix. Add the flour, and mix. Roll out the dough. Put it in the oven for 5 minutes. Take it out and rub margarine over it. Add toppings, and cook for 10-15 more minutes.

Preparation time: 20 min.

Add your favorite toppings, like a homemade tomato sauce, mushrooms, peppers, onions, pineapple, olives. Yum!



Reminder: Live Presentation at UA today February 28, 2008

Filed under: education — terra @ 1:31 pm

An Inconvenient Truth will be presented LIVE in the University of Akron’s Student Union, Room 312 @ 4pm.

Alvidas Jasin was trained by Al Gore and will present the award winning slideshow/documentary for UA students today. Food and beverages will be provided.


Geothermal power in Alaska February 28, 2008

Filed under: alternative, energy, environment — terra @ 7:00 am

Alaska has tapped into geothermal power. At a plant just north of Fairbanks, the water coming through a geyser is only 185 degrees, but it turns out that it’s hot enough to power a geothermal plant and “generates electricity, it heats the resort’s buildings, maintains a greenhouse and keeps an ice museum frozen year-round.” 

Heat stored beneath the Earth’s surface holds 50,000 times the energy of all the oil and gas in the world combined. If it could be harnessed, it would be an ideal source of base-load power: Geothermal is cleaner than fossil fuels, and more reliable than alternative sources like tidal, wind, wave and solar.

Unlike oil, which is not renewable, geothermal is predictable, renewable, and inexpensive. Unlike a coal plant, which takes a long time to build (and blow the tops off mountains), this geothermal plant was constructed and producing energy at 5 cents per kwh in less than 5 years. What are we waiting for?!

-Popular Mechanics


Extra Day to be Green February 27, 2008

Filed under: conserve, reduce, reuse, social consciousness — terra @ 7:00 am

This is a leap year, which means we have an extra day to do something for the planet! This Feb 29, do something easy to reduce your impact. The Big Green Switch has these suggestions:

1. Installing low-energy light bulbs in your home
2. Planting a tree
3. Draught-proofing any breezy windows, doors, or letterboxes in your home
4. Cancelling your junk mail
5. Starting a compost heap in your garden
6. Switching your energy supply to a green energy option
7. Enquiring about getting cavity wall or loft insulation installed
8. Giving your car a service and check your tire pressure
9. Working from home to cut out your commuting emissions


Veggie Wash February 26, 2008

Filed under: cleaning, food, garden — terra @ 7:00 am

If you feel like you need to wash your veggies in more than just water, try this recipe from Planet Green:

DIY Veggie Wash

1 tbs organic lemon juice
10 drops grapefruit seed extract
2 tbs baking soda
1 cup filtered water
3/4 cup white vinegar

1. Mix well in a sprayer bottle.

2. Shake before use.

3. Spray produce (except mushrooms, because they absorb and retain water) and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

4. Rinse well


Beet Juice in the News February 25, 2008

Filed under: cars, environment, government, local — terra @ 12:00 pm

NPR did a story about beet juice de-icer this morning on Morning Edition. They highlighted the benefits beet juice has over calcium chloride (rock salt). Stuff like … better for the environment, safer, longer-lasting, works at colder temperatures, better for roads and cars. It costs more per gallon, but it spreads better and only has to be applied once, rather than 3 times for calcium chloride. It also saves taxpayers’ money on roadFOOD SEASON-BEETS CS repair, as it does less damage to roads than the salt. The citizen they interviewed from Akron didn’t seem impressed, because of the immediate cost. I think he must have forgotten the long-term benefits of saving money on road repair. How exciting for Akron to be featured on a national program for reducing our impact on the planet by thinking differently!

The Cleveland Plain Dealer also featured a story about the effectiveness of beet juice. According to the article, “the juice blocks ice from forming on pavement even at extremely low temperatures.” Fantastic! I have definitely noticed a difference. The streets aren’t slick when they use beet juice. They’re much less predictable when the temperature is in the 20s or 30s and they use salt. Also, my dog hasn’t had hot spots on her feet this winter. I love that!

(Sarah from the PD contacted me for her story, but unfortunately I hadn’t been checking the blog while I was out. Sorry, Sarah!)


Air-powered car coming to the US? February 25, 2008

Filed under: alternative, cars, energy — terra @ 7:00 am

aircarMDI, a 15-year old French company has invented a car that runs on compressed air. The Air Car will be distributed in the US starting in 2009 or 2010, and will cost approx $17,000. That’s about the same as a small or mid-sized gas car.

The car does require a small bit of gas to get the air-engine working, but it will go 95mph with a range of over 900 miles per tank.

If you can, imagine a vehicle that runs on air, achieves over 100 gas-equivalent mpg and over 90 mph, has zero to low C02 emissions, seats six, has plenty of space for luggage, cuts no safety corners, and costs no more than an average economy to mid-size vehicle.

These new, more energy-efficient cars are smaller, but they take safety seriously. It looks pretty cool too!



No More Junk Mail February 24, 2008

Filed under: reduce — terra @ 4:14 pm

Today I threw away (correction: recycled) 2 lbs of junk mail that’s been piling up on my counter, since I’ve been sick. (thanks for the well-wishes, everyone!) That’s a lot of junk mail. Now, we can all log onto ProQuo and get rid of pesky junk mail and weekly circulars.

Not only does it help the environment, but it can help prevent the pain and irritation of identity theft.

Sorry, Newman!

-Planet Green


Out sick February 15, 2008

Filed under: food, social consciousness — terra @ 7:00 am

I’ve been sick. Still am sick.

A few of my thoughts about being sick:

  1. If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t share with others, please.
  2. If your kids are sick, keep them home. See above.
  3. Pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than any other. Mix it with orange juice and you’re on your way to health. (Pom juice is kind of expensive, that’s why I go 1/2 and 1/2 with OJ)
  4. Tea is good too.

I’ll be back soon, with more interesting and relevant news.


Elephant Art February 11, 2008

Filed under: social consciousness — terra @ 7:00 am

elephant art

The Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project (AEACP) is trying to save the elephants. To accomplish this goal, they are selling the artwork created by domesticated Asian elephants. (The piece on the right was painted by Tukta.)

The majority of Asian elephants are domesticated to work for people. These animals are losing their jobs because the logging industry is declining in some areas of Asia. What happens then? The AEACP seeks to find them other jobs, such as painting, or to improve the education of their handlers, and to provide safe and healthy lodging.

For more information, check out books such as, When Elephants Paint, or Elephants Can Paint Too.

- Boing Boing


Drink Wine, Help Dogs February 9, 2008

Filed under: food, gifts, pets — terra @ 7:00 am

The Dog Lover’s Wine Club will deliver wine to your door, and deliver money to a dog rescue or shelter to help our furry friends.

What a great gift idea! You can even get your dog’s picture on a wine label.


Friday Recipe: Oven-Roasted Mushroom Soup February 8, 2008

Filed under: food — terra @ 8:55 am

Oven-Roasted Mushroom Soup

1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 pounds shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps roughly chopped into large pieces
1 1/2 pounds cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped into large pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon coarse-ground pepper
1/2 cup very finely chopped shallots
3/4 cup white wine
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Roast the mushrooms. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the olive oil in a large (about 16- by 13-inch) nonstick roasting pan. Add the mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and toss. Roast on the lowest shelf in the oven for 20 minutes. Add the shallots, stir to combine, and continue to cook for 10 more minutes. Remove about 1 1/2 cups of the mushrooms, set aside and keep warm.

2. Make the soup. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and pour in the wine; stir, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the roasting pan. Add the chicken broth, 2 cups of water, and thyme leaves. Return the pan to the oven and let cook, simmering, for about 20 more minutes. Remove pan from the oven and transfer its contents to a large serving bowl.

3. Finish the soup. Remove 3/4 cup of the mushrooms with a slotted spoon; puree with 1/4 cup of the soup liquid in a blender. Stir the puree, cream, lemon juice, and remaining salt and pepper into the soup. Serve hot, topped with the reserved mushrooms.

(based on individual servings)
Calories: 95
Total Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: g
Cholesterol: 6 mg
Sodium: 294 mg
Carbohydrates: 11 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 8 g

Found on The Daily Green


Give up carbon for Lent February 8, 2008

Filed under: energy, gifts, reuse, social consciousness — terra @ 7:00 am

“Two senior Church of England Bishops have called on people to give up carbon rather than chocolate for Lent,” according to the Telegraph of London. Christians usually give up chocolate or sweets. These bishops are encouraging people to reduce their energy use, and see how easy it is to live carbon-less.

Here are some of their specific suggestions:

* avoiding plastic bags
* giving the dishwasher a day off
* insulating the hot water tank
* checking the house for drafts with a ribbon and buying draught excluders

Another great suggestion by the bishops is to remove one lightbulb from their home, and live without it for 40 days. Perhaps on Easter, they can replace it with a CFL. Replacing just one regular bulb with a CFL saves 60lbs of carbon per year.

This idea is part of a Tearfund initiative. Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency working with a global network of local churches to help eradicate poverty.

Bishop James points out “It is the poor who are already suffering the effects of climate change. To carry on regardless of their plight is to fly in the face of Christian teaching.”

(P.S. Another Valentine’s Day gift idea… pink reusable bags. Pink!)

I brought this back to the top because I think it’s a great idea. What light could you give up?


Solar Installation Training in Ohio February 7, 2008

Filed under: education, local, solar — terra @ 12:00 pm

Owens Community College in Toledo is offering a “photovoltaic principles and application training program” in the spring of 2008. It’s a 5-day program for people interested in installing and integrating photovoltaic panels with “utility-based or off the grid power systems.” The class covers basic electricity, PV systems, and PV theory.

This is exciting for anyone who wants to get a jump on the new service-based industry that will be in high demand very soon. Owens Community College students installed solar panels for OCC in 2005. It’s great to see colleges get on board with saving energy, and providing a real competitive edge for their students by demonstrating renewable energy.

Find more information here.