terra, not terror

sharing ideas about a simpler way to live

World Fair Trade Day May 10 May 5, 2008

Filed under: local, social consciousness — terra @ 12:00 pm

World Fair Trade Day is May 10, and NE Ohio is celebrating! A World Fair Trade Fashion Show is being held in Independence from 5-8. The event is sponsored by the InterReligious Task Force on Central America (IRTF), and by Catholic Schools for Peace and Justice.

Expect a fantastic fashion show, speakers, poetry slam, food, energetic tables, and loads of information on how you can buy fair trade products.

Saturday, May 10 5-8pm
Independence Civic Center
6363 Selig Drive

In Akron, you can find Fair Trade goodies at the Market Path, Brueggers Bagels (coffee), Hattie’s Cafe (near UA).

 

Friday Video: Awareness Test May 2, 2008

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

Take 30 seconds and do the test in this video. You’ll see why later…

I hope everyone passes this test! I didn’t.

 

UA Earth Day Wrap Up, pt. 2 April 22, 2008

Filed under: cars, education, energy, environment, local, recycle, reduce, social consciousness — terra @ 7:00 am

Keynote Speaker and “The Digital Dump”

I would love to highlight all the participants. One in particular was the keynote speaker. Dag Adamson came to Akron from Colorado, where he is the president of Lifespan Recycling. Lifespan Recycling handles technology recycling. Most products we buy come with planned obsolescence. Computer companies don’t build computers that will last 10 years, because they’d only get your money every 10 years. That’s not very profitable for them. So, they design computers that will be obsolete within 3-4 years. You can’t just buy a piece to upgrade it – you have to buy a whole new computer. They also don’t provide a way to safely dispose of computers. What has happened is that some people or organizations like the IRS and many universities send their computers to be “recycled.” What they don’t know is that the computers are sent to Africa. A majority of these computers don’t work, and many times, the data has not been erased! Your personal data could be on a computer in Africa.

So, Africa is left to dispose of our computers. Do they have some advanced technological processing center? No, they dump them in a field and when the pile gets too big, they set it on fire. The burning plastic runoff enters local streams and pollutes everything for years to come. It’s sinful! Africans deserve working computers. Computer companies should provide a way to safely dispose of computers. If you missed Dag’s speech, please check the UA Earth Day web page in the next few weeks. We plan to have a podcast of his speech.

If you haven’t seen it, you must see The Digital Dump. Here is a preview. The entire film (22 minutes) is available from The Basel Action Network, an organization dedicated to eliminating toxic trade.

Others

All of the participants were noteworthy. Students saw that there are other options besides the conventional way of doing things. This was Akron’s 2nd Earth Day, and I must say, the alternative energy and other educational booths were really eye-opening. Next year’s event will only be bigger and better!

Part 3 tomorrow…

 

UA Earth Day Wrap Up April 21, 2008

The University of Akron’s Earth Day “Do it now for the enviROOment” was last Wednesday. It was really a fantastic event, and generated a lot of student interest by showing practical renewable energy solutions. There was a wind turbine, 4 cars, a VegiTerranean food demo, bicycles, the Akron Metro RTA, a rain barrel, and so much more. The outside stage was powered by solar panels – Renewable energy in action!

Cars

IMG_9561It was so great to see the students checking out the electric cars. The Myers Motors NmG was featured, along with the Zenn electric car, and a self-converted Honda DelSol. Dr. Ross brought his biodiesel VW Beetle. It’s simply a diesel beetle which he runs on used vegetable oil from VegiTerranean.

I love the NmG from Myers Motors. It’s a one-person car, which is so practical. We all drive 5 person cars, but we only have 1 person in it for a majority of the time. Why not drive a 1 person car? And then have another car for family trips. Technology usually innovates to match our lifestyles, but continuing to make 5 person (or more) cars is one area where innovation has fallen away. It would make sense for each family to have a 1 person car, and a family car. Myers is currently working on new battery technology to make it run longer. They would also like to make a 2 person car.

I’ve never seen the Zenn electric car before. North Central Zenn brought their electric car. It was awesome! At $17,000, it’s the same price is a regular new car. The one displayed had a cloth roll-top. It seats 2 (very practical), and is designed for city driving. (The Zenn is pictured)

IMG_9619I loved the biodiesel VW Beetle. By using vegetable oil, he can operate his car cost-free. He simply separates particles from the oil and pours the pure oil into his car. Diesel engines were meant to run on vegetable oil, so this solution is so efficient. It’s a pure reuse. Instead of using ethanol, which comes from harvested plants, biodiesel reuses oil that normally would have to be processed.

Part 2 tomorrow…

 

Movie Friday: Amory Lovins April 18, 2008

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

carI’m changing Recipe Friday to Movie Friday. The first is Amory Lovins, “energy guru” and economist extraordinaire. Lovins stresses the importance of creating alternative energy now, because if we don’t, we’ll be buying it from our competitors soon! It doesn’t have to happen all at once, but we must start moving into a new industry. Developing renewable technologies is critical to American jobs, economy, society, … you name it. We must invest in renewable/alternative energy for our survival. Watch the video and be enlightened. (click the picture to see the movie)

Lovins is also the co-author of “Winning the Oil Endgame,” a book which is available for free online.

Next week… the Plastic Island, from CNN. This video is awesome!

 

Biomimicry gets big attention April 10, 2008

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

I first learned about Biomimicry through Bioneers. It’s a concept you can’t help getting excited about. Essentially, biomimicry means looking at how nature designs something, and using those designs to improve efficiency, etc. Nature doesn’t have recalls. Everything in nature has a purpose, and was designed to be the best at whatever it does.

Recently, companies have taken an interest in biomimicry as they seek to design sustainable products and improve production. Nature has already designed things that fly quickly through the air, or filter water, or stick together like glue. When we don’t look to nature for inspiration, we are reinventing the wheel, which isn’t productive or profitable. So, many companies are consulting Janine Benyus for advice on where in nature to look, and how to create more sustainable products. Janine Benyus of Bioneers has written 6 books, including Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. Check out the Biomimicry Institute.

Her clients include “General Electric (GE), Hewlett-Packard, and NASA. … In 2005, Ford’s Volvo Div. developed an anti-collision system based on the way locusts swarm without crashing into one another.” Companies are able to contact the Biomimicry Guild, and talk to a team of scientists to discover “what would nature do.” They are not only making their products more sustainable, but their businesses as well, going from producing toxins to becoming a waste-free business. They’re saving money and the environment at the same time.

Update: Biomimicry in National Geographic. Don’t miss the photo gallery!

 

Green Guerrillas April 7, 2008

Filed under: alternative, education, environment, garden, local, social consciousness — terra @ 7:00 am

Here are some fun ways to go “green guerrilla” in your neighborhood.

Flowers make the world pretty

To brighten up construction lots, abandon property, and other urban blights, throw a “seed bomb” – “compressed balls of soil and compost that have been impregnated with wildflower seeds.” What began as no-till farming has turned into a great way to make a statement about sprawl, with pretty results.

Other Guerrilla Gardening techniques include taking over an abandoned lot, adding soil and compost, and planting a beautiful landscape that residents can be proud of.

Warm up your neighborhoodgreen

Knitters dubbed Knitta Please are warming up their communities by adding knitted pieces to otherwise cold, lifeless city blocks. They knit scarves for telephone poles or stair rails. They began in Houston, TX, and have spread their work to “Great Wall of China, Notre Dame Cathedral, Harlem, and Seattle Washington.” Graffiti? I think not.

Edina Tokodi is greening her neighborhood by adding live art installations throughout Brooklyn. She adds plants and moss, shaped like animals or abstract art, to bare walls in her urban landscape. She believes that “if everyone had a garden of their own to cultivate, we would have a much more balanced relation to our territories.” Check out some of her green guerrilla work at Inhabitat.

Pop up Reminders

Animals are popping up out of subway grates! The animals are made out of plastic bags, and every time the New York subway rushes by, it breathes life into the animal, making it stand up and remind you of its presence. This contribution by an unknown artist reminds us to think outside ourselves and see the impact our lifestyle is having on the planet. Here’s a video.

 

Spilled Milk April 4, 2008

Filed under: education, government, organic, social consciousness — terra @ 9:48 am

Ohio is considering restricting the amount of information that can be included on milk labels. Specifically, it will not allow producers to label their milk free of growth hormones (rBST and rBGH). I think consumers deserve to be as informed as possible about how our food is produced. Not allowing this information is not in the best interests of consumers. That’s my opinion.

You can inform decision makers of your opinion by visiting this site and sending them a letter or e-mail.

The OFPA requires by law that the certified organic milk produced follow strict verifiable standards. Farmers cannot inject or use any growth hormones (including rBST or rBGH) with their cows. To verify that they are following the production practices required by law farms undergo an annual inspection by a USDA-accredited certifier.

I am concerned that adopting the proposed rule would restrict interstate commerce making it difficult for suppliers, farmers and processors to do business in and out of Ohio.

The proposed rule would infringe on the consumers’ right to know about how the products were produced.

I like to know where my food comes from, and I don’t think cow-grade hormones are appropriate for human-sized consumers. It’s my opinion, not based on research, just thoughtfulness and reason. I don’t think we’re missing anything by drinking hormone-free milk. (rBGH is banned in Europe)

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day March 17, 2008

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

Oil for ape scandal - report imagesLooking for something fun and out-of-the-ordinary to do on St. Patrick’s Day, besides drinking green beer?

Here’s an idea from Planet Greenadopt an orangutan! Orangutans are truly beautiful apes that live in SE Asia, and we share 96.4% of our DNA with them. Their habitat is threatened by clear cutting and other sprawl. One reason their rain forests are being destroyed is to plant palm plantations for use in food, etc. A Girl Scout troop in Texas learned that palm oil is used in Girl Scout Cookies, so they are petitioning to have palm oil removed and replaced by something that doesn’t destroy habitat. Good job, Girls!

Orangutan Outreach can help you adopt an orangutan.

On Friday nights at 9 pm ET, check out Orangutan Island on Animal Planet.

 

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.

 

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

 

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

 

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?