terra, not terror

sharing ideas about a simpler way to live

Upcoming Events August 2, 2008

Filed under: education, local, social consciousness — terra @ 8:41 am

Do not miss these fantastic upcoming events in NE Ohio.

Farmers Markets

… are in full swing in August! Choose from Lock 3, Stan Hywet, Mustard Seed, and so many more.

Great Lakes Burning River Fest

Besides having a really cool name, this is seriously the best festival ever. You’ll find great food, education, activities for the kids, music, and fun!

Saturday, August 9 from noon to 11 p.m.
Nautica Entertainment Complex, Cleveland
$8 online preorder, kids Free

Green Energy Expo

by Green Energy Ohio. Meet local green energy companies, learn more about what you can do to reduce your impact, maybe even find a green collar job!

Saturday, August 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
John S. Knight Center, Akron
Free

 

Taking Time Off July 3, 2008

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

I have decided to take a break from this blog. I hope to do it for just a month, but it may be longer. I’m doing this so I don’t quit outright. This decision has been influenced by 2 factors.

If you want to keep up with what I’m reading, you can follow my del.icoi.us news at http://del.icio.us/terranotterror/green. This is where I bookmark all the articles that I find online that relate to reducing our impact on the environment. These will include all the fantastic ideas that I enjoy reading. So, you won’t get my summaries, but you’ll be able to see the resources I find to write them.

Reasons:

1. I work two jobs, and am trying to continue my schooling. One job involves staring at a computer for 8 hours a day. Since I don’t write posts when I’m at work, I have to write them at home, when I’m pretty tired of looking at a computer.

2. See comments for my 2nd reason. It gets political, which I’ve decided won’t get a place on the main page. I will make one request – take a look at the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, and then call your Senator if you are as concerned as I am about privacy and upholding the bill of rights. The FISA bill (HR 6304) will be voted on July 8th. United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Super Thanks to Senator Sherrod Brown for sticking up for the Constitution so far.

Happy 4th of July!!

 

European Sustainability June 24, 2008

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

I just got back from a trip to Europe, and have a few notes I found interesting. Itinerary: we flew from Cleveland to Philadelphia to Amsterdam, and then Prague.

There’s no recycling in Cleveland – to be sure, I even asked an employee where I could recycle my drink bottle and he said “oh, just throw it in the trash.” Philadelphia Airport had thorough recycling – with separate containers. Amsterdam gets its own paragraph. Needless to say, recycling is available in Amsterdam (except in the “travel-to-America” section). Upon return, we landed at the Akron-Canton Airport, which does recycle. What’s up, Cleveland?

Philadelphia

We had a few hours in Philadelphia, so I look my husband to see the town. We both appreciate history, and especially the freedoms our founding fathers had in mind when they created this country. After our experience in the Cleveland Airport, I bought a pocket Constitution to comfort me for the remainder of the trip. Philadelphia is a beautiful city, where public transportation is used by anyone who isn’t already riding their bike. The streets are 2 lanes, so cars are bothersome. I wish we had more time there.

Amsterdam

As we flew into Amsterdam, we saw fields of windmills generating power for this coastal city. The air was crisp and clean, and the city was just beautiful. We saw many more windmills in the city, and a fantastic irrigation system for the fields. I’m sure the food there was deliciously fresh!

Prague

IMG_0856Our final destination was the free country of the Czech Republic. Prague was just as beautiful as anything we imagined. And talk about public transportation! … We rode the tram, train, or bus throughout the city and found public transportation to be clean, safe, stress-free and overall enjoyable, even in a foreign language.

Recycling is available everywhere. Trash cans (and trucks) are noticeably smaller than recycling containers.

I especially loved the local markets that were specialized. Instead of going to a one-size-fits-all shop for your culinary desires, you can go to the fruit and vegetable market for the freshest produce, the bread store for delectable pastries and loaves, and the cheese store for dairy treats. There were locally-owned, specialty shops for everything you need. For convenience, all-in-one shops are also plentiful. It’s nice to have choices. How could I forget the tea shops? They were delightful!

The cuisine was largely meat-based, but we were able to find great vegetarian options everywhere we went. Our best discovery (our friend took us there) was an Afghan restaurant. Delicious!

Dresden and LeipzigDresden

We took a train to Dresden and Leipzig for a day trip. These beautiful German cities demonstrated reduce and reuse, and everyone rode bikes. It was fantastic. After the US firebombed Dresden in WWII, the city decided to rebuild itself using the same bricks that were used in the original buildings. They had to incorporate some new bricks, and the result is a city full of charred-black and new-white speckled churches and city buildings.

The train stations were nearly the highlight of this trip. They were so clean and efficient. The Leipzig train station doubles as a 2-story shopping mall. The food here was also good, but heavy, with lots of cheese and everything fried. Good thing we took public transportation so we were forced to walk off our calories.

Confessions

Because of “security” rules, we weren’t as environmentally responsible as we would like. Therefore, we drank a lot of bottled water, and even had to use styrofoam. We refilled our bottles whenever we could, but were forced to go through so many security checks – despite leaving an airport – that we consumed and disposed of many bottles. One time we bought bottled water, but it was warm and tasted like plastic, so I dumped it out and filled it with drinking fountain water. Ha! It was unfortunate that we aren’t allowed to stick to our ideals. In the future, we will bring our empty bottles and have them filled inside the airport (if we’re lucky), and bring our mugs for coffee and tea. Do you think I’m allowed to bring my bpa-free metal bottle? I’ll try it.

Overall, it was a wonderful trip. We learned a lot about history, experienced the joy of public transportation, and saw some good friends. I can’t wait to get back!

 

Video Friday: Fair Trade June 13, 2008

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

 

LEED Metro Building Open for Tours June 9, 2008

Filed under: conserve, education, energy, environment, garden, local, social consciousness, solar, water — terra @ 7:00 am

The Metro Parks, Serving Summit County building is having an open house June 21-22 from 1-4 p.m. each day. This building was recently renovated, and includes these wonderful, sustainable features:

  • geothermal heating
  • waterless toilets
  • solar panels
  • a green roof
  • lumber from downed trees
  • recycled carpet, furniture and cabinetry
  • porous pavement to let rainwater through
  • a rain garden
  • rain barrels
  • and native landscaping.

If you want to tour the Metro building, you can pick up a shuttle at the Metro RTA Park-and-Ride lot at 530 Ghent Road, or you can park along the path and walk. The building is located on the corner of Sand Run and Revere Road.

The cost of the environmentally sustainable features cost an extra 15%, but that will be recouped by energy savings throughout the year, as the building won’t have to pay for their energy use. Most of that extra cost is also paid for through grants and donations. It really makes a lot of sense for public buildings (including college and university) to become more environmentally sustainable.

-Akron Beacon Journal

 

Video Friday: Earth University June 6, 2008

Filed under: conserve, energy, environment, food, organic, social consciousness — terra @ 7:00 am

Earth University was founded to reinforce the tenet of triple bottom line – community, environment, profit.

They’re growing bananas organically, paying workers above minimum wage, and making paper from waste!

(click the picture to start the video)

earth u

 

Windy Future June 5, 2008

Filed under: alternative, energy, local, reduce, social consciousness, wind — terra @ 7:00 am

Wind power is getting really exciting! As new designs emerge that are more practical, less expensive, and safe for birds and bats, wind is becoming a more viable source of power. Check out these innovations:

Oregon Wind

windThe Oregon Wind turbine is compact and designed for urban and rural areas. It has less noise and vibration, and birds view it as a solid object, so they avoid it. These turbines can be linked, stacked, or mounted on a building in clumps to form a “wind forest.” They hope to have these available in 2008 for less than $1,000!

Cities could even use these to generate power at the top of LED streetlamps!

Community Wind Farms

National Wind is a company that helps put wind farms into community’s hands. They provide the supplies, and help the community come together to generate their own power – out of corporate hands. They’ve been successful with farming communities who have a cost advantage to create their own power. National Wind is active in 7 states. We all win when we work together as a community to help each other. -EcoGeek

Don’t forget about solar. The price of solar panels is expected to plummet! Nothing but good news today.

 

30 Days: In a coal mine June 2, 2008

Filed under: education, social consciousness — terra @ 7:00 pm

If there is any tv show I recommend, it is “30 Days” on FX. “30 Days” is written by Morgan Spurlock, and it’s a documentary of people doing something out of the ordinary for 30 days, to gain a new perspective on an issue that is facing society. Last season had Morgan spending 30 days in jail, while other people spend 30 days learning first-hand about gay/straight issues, Christian/Muslim issues, a binge-drinking mom (college daughter), outsourcing to India, and Morgan lived for 30 days on minimum wage. Not as easy as it sounds.

This year’s season kicks off with Morgan working for 30 days in a West Virginia coal mine. It will be riveting! Watch “30 Days” on Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m. on FX. (we record it and watch the next day) The 2nd episode features a retired football player living for 30 days in a wheelchair.

Morgan Spurlock is the genius behind SuperSize Me, What would Jesus buy, and others.

Update: I just finished watching this episode, and I have 2 things to say. As an environmentalist, we have no right to do what we’re doing to those mountains. As a humanitarian, we must stop this.

Certainly we can’t change our energy sources right away, but we have to make a real dedication to move forward. If not for the environment, then for our fellow citizens.

If you missed it, set your DVR for Sunday at 11:00 p.m.

 

Video Friday: Thoughts from within May 30, 2008

Filed under: conserve, energy, environment, food, reduce, social consciousness — terra @ 7:00 am

In case you missed it earlier…

(click the picture to start the video)

woody

 

Neighbors Day Akron May 21, 2008

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

This Saturday is the 2nd annual Neighbors Day Akron. The purpose of the day is to get to know your neighbors. People used to know their neighbors like family. That’s less common in recent years.

The theme is “Living Together Better.”

Neighbors Day can help create a more closely knit community that can mean a healthier environment for children to live and learn, while lowering crime rates.

Residents are encouraged to plan a neighborhood event, or just talk to a neighbor you don’t know. So, take that extra step this Saturday and get to know a neighbor.

Speaking of neighbors and Akron… David Giffels’ book All the Way Home comes out in a week. Don’t miss the book that GQ calls “the book people should be talking about this summer.”

 

Wal-Mart goes Fair Trade (coffee) May 20, 2008

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

In its quest to improve its image and gain new customers, Wal-Mart has ventuered into organic food, energy saving appliances, and now, Fair Trade. That’s right, Wal-Mart is selling Fair Trade goods. They have decided to pay people a fair wage for the products they produce and supply to the mega-store. Wal-Mart is starting with Fair Trade coffee, but if it sells well, maybe they’ll move into other fair trade goods, like clothes, food, paper products, you name it. Maybe they’ll learn that it’s nice to pay people a living wage for the work they do, and pay everyone fairly! Fair Trade products are often no more expensive than their non-Fair Trade counterparts. The difference is that the people who made your stuff have a chance to improve their lives and communities.

Fair Trade goods are not only made with the producer in mind, but the environment as well. You can be sure that your fair trade coffee wasn’t first drenched with pesticides, and your clothes will be made from organic materials. This is also better for the workers, since a lot of the stuff we buy are produced in countries with fewer worker protection standards in place than in the U.S.

While this is nice, David Nassar of the Organic Consumers Associations suggests “If Wal-Mart wants to ensure that producers of coffee are paid a living wage, it should show the same concern for people who produce the 139,000 other products that they sell at the store.” And, Beth Maxwell of American Rights at Work points out that “consumers who want to respect workers’ rights around the world have helped create a demand for fair-trade products, but Wal-Mart should know that the same consumers also care about how companies treat their workers in the U.S. as well.” Wal-Mart is aggressively pursuing the 5 goals set by H. Lee Scott, but a lot of consumers are still demanding more.

Wal-Mart’s pursuit of Fair Trade is great, but more is required before Wal-Mart becomes a responsible member of society.

 

Voice Yourself May 19, 2008

Filed under: education, reduce, social consciousness, water — terra @ 7:00 am

Woody Harrelson has been inspired to start a site called Voice Yourself, aimed at encouraging people to learn more about getting off the grid, growing and eating organic food, and taking our planet back. Why?

Our mission at Voice Yourself is to connect you with others, to share information about alternatives biodiesel, sustainable clothing companies (i.e. hemp, organic cotton and bamboo) and to get clean and natural cleansers into your hands and homes this is only the beginning.

Woody was also inspired by Ted Danson (together, they’re Sam and Woody from possibly the best tv show ever – Cheers). Ted Danson does a lot of work for American Oceans Campaign, educating people about the atrocities of drift-netting, ocean trolling, and all the pollutants that are dumped into the ocean.

When you have little extra time on your hands, check out Voice Yourself, and learn more about some easy and fun ways to reduce your impact on the planet. Please don’t miss Woody’s Thoughts from Within. Even if you’re not a big fan of poetry, it’s truly moving.

 

Recycle your Shoes May 13, 2008

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

I know Crocs aren’t the cutest things, but they are so comfortable.

When your crocs are worn out, you can recycle them through Soles United. Your Crocs will be melted down and made into new shoes which get sent to places around the world where people can’t afford shoes.

Nike also has a shoe recycling program called “Let Me Play: Reuse-A-Shoe.” Worn out shoes – any brand! – are processed and made into playing fields, courts, tracks, and playgrounds.

Since the birth of Reuse-A-Shoe, we’ve recycled more than 20 million pairs of athletic shoes and created more than 250 sport surfaces; giving thousands of young people access to new playgrounds and athletic facilities around the world.

 

Mother’s Day and Mother Earth May 8, 2008

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

If you get mom some flowers for Mother’s Day, look for Fair Trade Certified flowers, or flowers that are sustainably grown.

Buying Fair Trade and sustainably grown flowers ensures that all of Mother Earth’s creatures are treated well. Most flower workers are women (or children) and buying Fair Trade certified means that the workers are paid a living wage, and their working environment is healthy and safe.

VeriFlora sells certified sustainably grown flowers. You’re likely to find VeriFlora at your local grocery store. Make the right choice for your mom, and the workers who picked her flowers.

Visit FairTradeCertifiedFlowers to learn about the workers who pick the flowers, the farmers who grow them, and where to buy.