terra, not terror

sharing ideas about a simpler way to live

Lifestraw for clean water March 12, 2008

Filed under: social consciousness, water — terra @ 1:00 am

lifestrawMore than 1 billion people don’t have access to clean water. With that in mind, Lifestraw has created a filtration device, a straw, that people can wear around their neck and use to filter their drinking water. Lifestraw “claims to filter 99.9999 percent of bacteria and 98.7 percent of viruses using a halogen-based resin.” Each Lifestraw provides a year’s worth of clean drinking water per person.

Perhaps most exciting is the cost: Only 2 dollars US if sold individually (presumably, volume discounting could apply). Obviously, this is a large amount of a subsistence farmer’s income, but the amount of wages earned during the time lost to illness is probably comparable. – Treehugger

You can help distribute Lifestraws by clicking “Make a Donation” on the Lifestraw homepage.

I also like the Hipporoller for transporting water easily.


Artificial Solar Leaves March 11, 2008

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

A group called SMIT (Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology) has designed artificial solar leaves that attach to your house and collect solar and wind power. Instead of mounting huge photo voltaic panels to your roof, you can attach these little “leaves” which flutter in the wind and look like climbing ivy. (The tricky thing is, they all have to be wired together!)

It’s an inexpensive way to generate solar and wind power for your home. You don’t get as much power as with the large panels, but you don’t pay as much either. It might be a nice option for a home office or a hot water tank.



Can it! March 10, 2008

Filed under: conserve, local, reduce, water — terra @ 7:00 am

As we’ve transitioned from cans to bottles for beverages, consumption and thus disposal of plastic has increased. Where does all that plastic go? It doesn’t biodegrade… ever.

Except for the small amount that’s been incinerated – and that’s a very small amount – every bit of plastic ever made still exists.Best Life Magazine

The plastic ends up in the ocean. I’ve touched on this before – the floating continent of garbage. There are two of them. One is near Japan, the other near Hawaii. Twice the size of Texas. To prove it, an Oceanic Research Vessel Alguita set out to find the plastic continent and document it. Here is their video:

What can we do? Stop using plastic! Just stop. Don’t buy disposable, single-serve containers. Don’t buy bottled water. You don’t need to put your produce in a plastic bag. Just put it in your cart. You’re going to wash it when you get home anyway. Use reusable grocery bags.

Choose glass, cans, reusables, less packaging, and fresh, local food. We won’t be here forever, but our plastic will be. Glass, metal, and paper are the only things that can be truly recycled. If you have to buy pop, buy cans, and then recycle them.

When you throw something away, ask yourself where it goes. And then where does it go after that? And then where? We have to get back to a culture that emphasizes personal responsibility. When we buy something, we are responsible for it.

Please read Plastic Ocean in Best Life Magazine. You will learn about your health, your children’s health, and the health of our oceans. It’s an interesting article about a sea captain and his discovery.


Philadelphia March 8, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — terra @ 8:57 am

Philadelphia_SkylineI was in Philadelphia this week, and I wanted to share a little about this wonderful city. Philadelphia is a beautiful city with some of our country’s best historical monuments. I was able to walk through Independence Square and see the building that the Liberty Bell is in. I’ve been to the Liberty Bell before, and didn’t have a lot of time for tourist activities, unfortunately. I noticed a lot of environmentally-friendly elements in Philadelphia.

Most people walk, and for good reason. The streets downtown are all 3 lanes wide, and all one-way. One lane is reserved for parallel parking, so there are only 2 lanes to drive in – aggressively!

I saw a lot of people walking, but Philly also has a great train system, and buses, which a lot of commuters take advantage of. It seemed like such a healthy atmosphere because everyone walks.

If you do have to drive, many people use PhillyCarShare, a “nonprofit organization that seeks to maximize the economic, environmental, and social benefits of reduced automobile dependence.”

I love trains! I took a shuttle to my hotel, and it took about an hour to dodge and weave through traffic. On the way back to the airport, I took the train, and it took 1/2 a hour. The train to the airport picks up just blocks from Independence Square.

People who weren’t walking, taking public transportation, or car sharing were riding bikes! Lots of bikes weaving in and out of cars and buses, and zipping down sidewalks. Philly is relatively flat, so bike-riding is convenient. Even business people had their backpacks, helmets, and bikes.

Most of the shops were locally owned, non-chain stores. That was fantastic! It really added to the uniqueness of the city.

My favorite people on this trip were the guys in the Detroit airport who escort people around in wheelchairs. They really put their heart into their job and took an interest in the people they were helping.


Don’t Print this Post March 5, 2008

Filed under: reduce — terra @ 7:00 am

Looking to save paper? GreenPrint can help. Download this free program, which removes unwanted pages, lets you decide what to print, includes a pdf writer, and keeps track of your paper and $$ savings.

The basic home edition includes ads, but you can upgrade to “Premium” for only $35. GreenPrint has estimated that the average user will save $90 in ink and paper.

“millions of trees can’t be wrong”

p.s. Google maps can be sent straight to you cell phone, reducing the need to print the map (and the annoying extra page that GreenPrint could eliminate for you). Text the word “GMAPS” to 466453.


The Bus Goes On March 4, 2008

Filed under: local — terra @ 11:00 pm

The Metro levy passed by 52%.  People need that bus to get to work and maintain their lives. Without it, we would see our costs rise as employers would have to pay higher wages, and many workers would become unemployed.

Good job Summit County!

          Issue 8 - Metro Regional Transit Authority
          Sales/Use Tax, .25%, Additional, Continuing
          (Vote For Not More Than )  1
              (WITH 475 OF 475 PRECINCTS COUNTED)
           YES  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .    80,960   52.14
           NO.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .    74,319   47.86

Vote today in Ohio! March 4, 2008

Filed under: government, local — terra @ 6:52 am

Today is an election day. Please vote to keep the Akron Metro RTA system running. I’m not getting political here, but the Metro is critical to keeping our economy as affordable as it is. Without the bus system, workers won’t have a way to get to work, so employers will have to hire people with cars who demand a higher wage, which will increase the cost of goods we buy in the Akron area, not to mention putting thousands of carless people out of work. The Beacon Journal did a good job of explaining the importance of the RTA. Please read the article with an open mind. Think long-term about the economic consequences.

Also, the MetroSCAT is at stake today. SCAT is used by people with disabilities, and seniors who need to get to the grocery store and to medical appointments, etc.

Vote yes for our economy, and your neighbors.

Find out where to vote here. Polls are open 6:30 am – 7:30 pm. If you have problems voting, call your local Board of Elections. (Summit County – 330-643-5200)


Waste less at the grocery store March 3, 2008

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

Real Simple has come up with 8 ways to cut waste when grocery shopping. Keep these things in mind to save money, and the environment:

1. Skip single-serving items.

2. Purchase juice concentrates.

3. Avoid disposable goods.

4. Use your own canvas or string bags.

5. Use produce bags only for moist or small, loose items, such as lettuce and berries.

6. When possible, purchase goods in cans or glass instead of plastic containers. Glass can be recycled indefinitely.

7. Look for multipurpose cleaners instead of buying one for each kind of surface. Or, make your own.

8. Close the loop. Purchase products that have been recycled and can be recycled by you.