If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either. Joseph Wood Krutch

Monday, July 30, 2007

Walk a little!

Here is a link to determine how walkable your neighborhood is. I gave it a test and plugged in my current address and came up with a score of 51. I am moving to a location which is much more walkable and came up with a score of 43. So, accuracy may not be perfect. However, I did look up Bill Gates and he has a score of 5, so there!

No, in reality this works pretty well and uses Google Maps. If anything it will identify walkable landmarks in your neighborhood or provide at lest a few minutes entertainment in the middle of your day. So, give at a try.

Walk Score - How walkable is your house?

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Pardon me, I have gas

I come across an article recently  in the Oregonian reporting that the Federal Government uses 7 million, let me repeat that,  7 million gallons of fuel EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Just to fill up one B-52 bomber costs us, the taxpayer, over $100,000.  The tank on this baby holds 48,000 gallons and lasts for about one normal flight.  I did a quick calculation and that is nearly the amount of petroleum I will use in my car in a lifetime.    

When an F-16 fighter jet takes off, it spews $300.00 worth of fuel out the back end in the first one minute of flight.  An army Abrams tank gets just one mile per gallon at a cost to the government (ummm...that's really  us paying this) of about $2.00 per gallon.  Plus, there are ships in the water, transport trucks all over the world, generators, helicopters, other types of aircraft, well I guess there is a pretty big list.   All in all, the government spends 7.1 BILLION dollars on fuel every year. That is a lot of fuel. 

I work hard at reducing my mileage and fuel consumption.  I'm even moving so my car can stay parked most of the time. I have already cut my fuel bill in half and by September I should have that cut in half again.   I hope someday to have it to nearly zero.

I  have committed myself to not being blatantly political in this blog so I am not going to call on people to write their elected representatives asking that the federal government conserve fuel.  However, when I read this article I realized there is a very good reason the government has not been promoting  we all conserve fuel.    It would make them look like a hypocrite. 

I have no intent to go back to my wasteful ways just  because they waste and it "wouldn't make a difference anyhow."  It will make a difference.  It may be smaller than taking one B-52 or F-16 out of the sky but it will make a difference and I will realize an instant reward in my pocketbook as well.    And with gas headed who knows where that is a good incentive to me. Keep an eye on the ticker down there to the left if you want to keep up on the price of gas.  If you commit yourself to using very little of the stuff, it is no longer an aggravation...it's just a number.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The World Clock

Yesterday I added a really cool feature called "The World Clock". Using official sources such as the CIA Factbook, census bureau, and the like it keeps a tally of pretty much everything. Births, deaths, oil produced, cars produced, how people died, species extinct, the list goes on. The clock can be found at the bottom of this page.

The clock has a few radio buttons on top that allow you to change the readout to year, month, week, day, or now. If you click "now" everything starts counting up from the moment you clicked.

Spend a little time playing around with it. Watching the numbers tick by can really give you a lot of insight on the health of our world. Just one thought I had is the fact that terror inundates our news but if you watch watch the death ticker on the bottom of the clock, it is cardiovascular disease that is the real terror since it is nearly totally preventable with a proper diet. But that is a subject for a different blog entirely.

p.s. I have also cleaned up my act a little on this blog and added labels to my posts. They are over there to your left and down just a little. That should make it easier if you want to come back and search for buried treasure...or perhaps toilet paper.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Fake Plastic Fish: Plastic is made from oil. You knew that, right?

I have no official post today but the report Fake Plastic Fish has is so compelling I simply want to share the link. If you have a spare fifteen minutes right now pop on over to her blog and take a look. Be sure to watch the video.

Fake Plastic Fish: Plastic is made from oil. You knew that, right?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ways to conserve

Packing up for a move has been a little hectic so I haven't really had much time for the usual reading and research I do. I am a bit polyphasic and a compulsive reader so this has been a bit of a withdrawal week for me. Lacking proper research time I thought I would just list seven of my own personal ideas on ways to conserve. You may want to adopt a few yourself.

1. Energy Conservation--There are many ways to conserve energy. One of the best is to move into a single level home. Stairs consume a great deal of energy and can be quite a drain on the system. Another is to buy an all in one multi-function remote control. I know I expend a great deal of energy every day just looking for the right remote especially when it slips into the crack of my lazy boy. What with a VCR, DVD, TV, CD and HD system finding the right remote can be very confusing and energy expending. And those multi-functions are about the size of a laptop so losing them is much more difficult. Having a spouse who loves to cook and clean can also help you save a lot of energy too.

2. Water Conservation--There are several solutions but the best option is just to skip the water and drink beer. Microbrew is the way to go. I've heard the big brewery stuff is pretty watered down and that kind of defeats the whole water conservation thing, don't you think.

3. Buy Less Stuff--This is an easy one. Shoplifting. If you do this right you would never have to buy anything ever again. It is difficult with big screen TV's but just take along your teenage son with the large pants.

4. Gas conservation--Eat less beans.

5. Fuel conservation--You could carpool or take the bus but then you have to put up with strangers. It is a known fact that drafting; driving so close to the vehicle in front you eliminate the wind drag; saves a ton of fuel. Your best option is to follow something large like a city bus. You need to be about six inches off the bus bumper for maximum effect. It may take longer to get where you are going since you have to pull to the curb quite often but at least you can listen to Pink Floyd "The Wall" on your own car stereo instead of having to use earphones on the bus. In your car you can crank up the volume and share your music with the rest of the world. Then you don't look quite as silly bobbing your head to the music when everyone can hear your one-hundred and twenty decibels of sound. One note though, if you already tailgate this may not be as effective.

6. Use less plastic--Just pay cash.

7. Use less paper--Well okay I had to at least do a little research on this one. I am compulsive after all. Here is just a few rather unique ways of using less paper from around the world as listed on www.toiletpaperworld.com .

*Hayballs, Scraper/gompf stick kept in container by the privy in the Middle Ages

*Discarded sheep's wool in the Viking Age, England

*Frayed end of an old anchor cable was used by sailing crews from Spain and Portugal *Medieval Europe- Straw, hay, grass, gompf stick

*Corn cobs, mussel shell, leaves and sand- United States
*Water and your left hand, India

*Coconut shells in early Hawaii

*Lace was used by French Royalty

*Public Restrooms in Ancient Rome- A sponge soaked in salt water, on the end of a stick

*The Wealthy in Ancient Rome-Wool and Rosewater

*French Royalty-lace, hemp

*Hemp & wool were used by the elite citizens of the world

*Defecating in the river was very common internationally

*Bidet, France

*Snow and Tundra Moss were used by early Eskimos

Thanks for listening. One can't always be serious. Have a happy weekend!

Am I just a fuddy-duddy?

As I post my blog and comment on other blogs like No Impact Man, some have stated that perhaps I and many others like me are just against progress and should lighten up a little. They are entitled to their opinion but I think they are wrong.

For one thing I am far from being a fuddy-duddy I guess I just have a different definition of progress now. I've perhaps seen the light at the end of the tunnel and it is a freight train headed straight for me and I have nowhere to go. It is a little scary what is happening to the world we live in.

Some seem to feel we must continue our inexorable march toward a better freedom through chemicals and technology. Trust me, I was in that camp with you at one point too. I understand. I wanted the best and the latest. I used things up and then just threw them away without a thought. Out of sight, out of mind, not my problem anymore. But we have been betrayed. It is rapidly becoming the problem of all of us. You can only sweep stuff under the rug so long before the rug begins to become lumpy. We clean our houses but pollute the rest of our world. If you just throw your garbage over the fence into your neighbors yard have you truly cleaned up? But this is how we all live. It's just that our neighbor happens to be a third world country with lax e-laws.

I am a child of the fifties. I remember the world that existed then. The world we have now is not better than the one I knew then. Even though we have so many conveniences. There were no PC's, no laptops, no cell phones, no palm pilots, no...oh, another list. Sorry.

I have no quarrel with those that say technology has improved our output and productivity. It has. But that is part of the problem. We can now produce goods so fast, so cheap and so easily they have lost any value. We now have huge piles of waste as the technologically fragile machines we produce wear out quickly. How many cell phones have you gone through? I've been through a bunch. Ever seen a farm using an old Massey-Ferguson built in the forties? That stuff was built to last and money was made on parts, not new machines. Imagine that...parts!

Technology has also reduced a good percentage of the workforce to button pushing slaves. Well, actually forget about the workforce part, I guess I check myself out at the store now. Swipe, swipe, swipe, slide, push, whir, receipt prints "Have a nice day and thank you for shopping at Wal-E-World. Come again soon and help us keep up our bottom line. It's the patriotic thing to do. Made in China." Then we whisk our treasures out the door, which rapidly fade and become new waste.

Is this really the world we want? I don't. I read the book "Better Off" recently about a couple that goes to live with the Amish to learn their simple ways. Great book, there is a link for it over to the left. I must tell you though that is not really my goal, to hitch up a horse to my buggy and ride into town. I do admire their simplicity and simplicity is what it is all about but I don't really need to go back to the stone age to be simple or live like the Amish. All I really need to do is be aware of my own waste stream and be aware how I consume.

The easiest way to become aware of your waste stream is to end the one can system in your house. I have about ten receptacles for garbage now. Paper, recyclable plastic containers, cans, aseptic containers, batteries, plastic bags and film, e-waste, electronic media (tapes, CD's etc.) cardboard, green waste (vege scraps) and then everything else goes in a can that goes to the landfill. My original idea behind this was just to recycle. However it also had the effect of making me realize what I do to produce waste. I can now attack each one of these individually and find solutions to produce less waste, the goal being, no waste at all. It is a challenge but a good challenge can be fun.

Is that being a retroist fuddy-duddy? Call me what you want. To me it is just being responsible and that is something I can be proud of. Reduce, reuse, recycle. In that order.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Move it!

I woke up early this morning so I have had a bit of a chance to work on a few things. One of them being this blog. I have moved some of the links to a new heading called "Blog Honor Roll" . These are, in my opinion, some of the better blogs out there regarding sustainability. If you only have a chance to look at one right now I highly recommend you peruse "Fake Plastic Fish". Plastic is something I have begun to hate. Not just because we live in such a plastic society, I have seen the damage it does to wildlife and the eyesore it leaves on our roads.

About a month ago I went to the Oregon coast to do some hiking on the Oregon Coastal Trail. The trailhead was not properly marked on the highway and I never found it. I ended up walking 22 miles on the highway. It wasn't the nature experience I had anticipated. By the way I should mention that I did take the bus to the trail. Anyhow, having walked 22 miles of public highway it was quite alarming the amount of crap that lay all over the shoulder of the road. And it wasn't just on the shoulder. It was even blown into the trees and shrubs. Quite ugly. For a visual example of what plastic bags are doing to our environment AND OUR WILDLIFE visit the Photo Gallery at Reusable Bags. com Here is a direct link to the gallery (CLICK HERE)

Another thing that hit me recently, since I am packing, is that I have a lot of crap. Well, I am weeding it out and getting rid of a bunch of stuff. Another thing I am finding too is that I have a huge volume of waste paper that I am hauling to the recycle bins. I think this is going to be one of my projects for self. To reduce my paper consumption drastically. I really haven't paid attention to where this stuff comes from.

Well, that is about all the time I have today to write. Have a great day all.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

$100.00 per barrel oil is coming!

In my hiatus while I pack and move I thought I would throw on a few interesting articles. This one is about the impending jump in the price of a barrel of oil. It is my feeling that the article is correct but may be a little premature. The price of oil is somewhat politically driven, so my feeling is the price will jump dramatically only after November 2008. In the meantime the price we see at the pump will be kept lower than it normally would be. This will be an interesting thing to watch. Remember, the price of nearly everything you buy is affected by the price of oil. I have put a little ticker over to the left side of the blog and near the bottom that shows the current price of gas. You can type in your two-digit state or just watch it tick through all fifty.

On a personal note, I found a place to move that is on the bus lines and walking distance from the grocery we frequent as well as the library. The light rail too is just five minutes away. Very convenient location. This will allow me to park my car except for the most urgent of trips. I hope to reduce my driving to less than one tank per month or less. This would be about one-fifth the fuel I used to consume. I'm getting there.

The house has very little room for a garden (schucks) but I see this move as one more step toward my goal of being off the grid and self sufficient. It is a rental and will afford me the time to find the right piece of property to build least footprint and put in a garden and most likely a greenhouse.

Well, here is the link to that article.

Bloomberg.com: Worldwide

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I'm still here!

Here is a good article to read in the meantime while I get my life put back together.

Half of US food goes to waste

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I'm still here!

For those visiting my blog please accept my welcome and feel free to poke around a bit. I have been getting a little behind on posts because I am in the middle of packing and looking for a new place to live. That has eaten up a lot of my time. I have a few draft posts I am working on and I hope to have them up in the next few days and get back to daily posts soon but until then please just read through some of my older posts or sit back and watch a film or two. Again, welcome.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Part 2: Teenage affluenza is spreading fast. Can we do

Part 2 of the teenage Affluenza program. Watch Part 1 first, then come back here.

Teenage affluenza is spreading fast.

Teenage Affluenza is a horrible disease that is spreading throughout the world. This report is from Australia but is just as true here in the US.

It's only fair--and it's free

Today is a rather short post because I am in the middle of packing to move. Actually I wasn't even going to do a post today but I was given a Fair Trade Manual just this morning to distribute to anyone I choose. I have put this up on one of my servers and it is free for the taking.

The booklet is 24 pages long and is in a PDF format. So, when you click the link it will open in your Adobe Reader. If you want to keep it for reading later, simply save a copy.

Here is the link: FAIR TRADE MANUAL

Saturday, July 14, 2007

New Stuff

I added a new link today, over there to the left for "Little Blog in the Woods". This is written by a guy that calls himself "greenpa" and seems like a great blog. I must say that if anyone is doing this right it is him. Per his blog he has been thirty years off the grid. I love it. That is my goal. Just not sure how to get there yet.

I have also started a new group of the same name "Least Footprint". The link is also over there to the left. This is intended as a forum to exchange ideas or just to comment back and forth freely. The group will be moderated, by me, and that is just to keep the spammers out. If you post something I don't like or agree with (providing it is family friendly) it still goes through. I have another group I moderate and attempted to keep it free and open but got tons of spammers that way. It did no good to kick them off. They just changed their identity and kept on spamming with the same cheap software ads or dating services.

I should mention that there is no need to become a member of the group to participate. There are a few sections that are open to members only but feel free to drop by and comment even if you don't become a member.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Why, mommy, why?

Some feel that the world is doomed and there is no reason to try and live differently. Others believe we can do whatever we want and the earth will just take care of itself-it always has and it always will. I agree with both sides.

Perhaps it sounds as if I am at odds with myself but really I am not. I do believe the earth is rather doomed because, in order to save it, the global population will have to end it's headlong rush to disaster. The odds of that happening are nearly zilch. But on the other hand, as I have said before, nature has a way of taking care of these things. It's called natural disaster, famine, disease, resource shortages...I probably don't need to go on.

There is no doubt in my mind that as we pull at the earth's resources and go against nature, more than at any time in history, we are going to run out of resources and upset completely the natural balance...eventually. I don't know if that will be in my lifetime or not.

We have manipulated our crops to hybrid them and made them ultimately unstable and non-resistant to mutated diseases. One only need to look back in history to know that crops often fail on a massive scale. We have weakened the human immune system through overuse of antibiotics and by trying to protect ourselves have just made some fairly tame bugs into superbugs that can't be killed. We are pumping the aquifers dry at an alarming rate to grow grain for cattle and now cars. What do we do when they have run out? It is practically an endless list of no-no's we are perpetrating as a species on the earth. We consume resources simply to consume. No finger pointing here. Go back a few days in my blog you'll see that I am a guilty man.

It is only a matter of time before there will be wars over water, oil, minerals and the like as the limited resources become scarce. As the aquifers dry up there will be less food and more famine. The green places will desertify and become less habitable. This will bring about great shifts in the population and wars between nations and people will again result. Diseases will appear that will wipe out huge numbers of people in the form of plagues. Again, I could go on with quite a list but the point is, there is nothing I can personally do to stop it on a global scale.

However, every day on the freeway there are accidents. It is inevitable that people will get hurt and die. Can I stop it? No. I have no control over how people drive. Many people get in their cars and tune out the fact that there are living, breathing people surrounding them. They just want to get where they are going...as fast as they can get there...and disobey the rules of safety. And so...we have lots of accidents on the freeways.

I can change me. If I obey the rules of the road, drive defensively, act courteous and limit the number of miles I drive I limit my exposure to harm. Perhaps even save a life. But most of all I help to solve the problem in my own very small way. Do I change the fact that people die on the freeway? No! People are still going to die but my actions still make a difference, even if it is in a very small way. And that is why I try to act responsibly now in what I consume. I can make a difference to me, I can be pleased that I have acted responsibly. Even if it is in just one very small way for me and my neighbors on this big blue marble.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Banana, nana fofana

I made a comment about fair trade bananas a couple of days ago in my blog to to which someone responded "I was not aware of the banana farmer/worker experience". I wasn't aware either until a couple years ago when I saw a video of a banana worker holding a huge hand of bananas while another worker sprayed insecticide, dousing both the bananas and the worker. It was reported that this man ended up sterile from being doused with so many chemicals and had other ailments as well. I tried to locate that video on Youtube but was unable. I was certain it would have ended up there. I plan to keep looking for it. Undoubtedly it is floating out there on the web somewhere.

I wanted to give some of the facts about bananas that many people aren't aware. The facts may surprise you.

Fact 1: Bananas are the worlds most popular fruit. Banana are so popular sales amount to ten BILLION dollars per year. Yes that is a lot of bananas. They are the fourth most important crop after rice, wheat and maize and some civilizations still live primarily on bananas. 96% of Americans buy bananas at least weekly.

Fact 2: Bananas do not grow on trees and are really the fruit of the worlds largest herb...the Musa Sapientum. They contain more digestible complex carbohydrates than any other fruit. They are fat free. (Note: freeze bananas and then whip them into delicious smoothies in the blender.) Bananas are very low in allergen potential and make perfect baby food.

Fact 3: In Ecuador, where a great deal of bananas are grown, workers receive about a dollar per day in pay.

Fact 4: If you are a banana farmer, you are paid as little as one and a half cents for every pound of bananas you grow. Often that is less than it costs to produce the bananas.

Fact 5: Bananas are the most profitable item in the grocery store and account for 2% of the profits. Ever wonder why there are huge tables of them. Sometimes even two or three.

Fact 6: Chiquita, Dole and Del Monte control 65% of the worlds banana market. They are now beginning to offer Fair Trade bananas but it is still a very small part of their market. Chiquita and Dole alone control 50% of the worlds bananas. Only 14% of the bananas raised are actually exported. The rest are eaten locally.

Fact 7: Dangerous pesticides are applied to bananas forty times by airplane during the growing cycle. Ninety percent of this insecticide does not reach the bananas but instead drifts through the air onto the workers and nearby residents. The insecticide of choice is usually Paraquat or DBCP, which are highly toxic to humans. Growers wrap the bananas in plastic and cushion and these wrappers are then removed by hand exposing workers again to the insecticide at close range when harvesting.

Fact 8: Workers often develop severe neurological disorders such as muscle pains, nausea, dizziness, organ damage (eyes,liver and lungs, male sterility) from insecticide and fungicide poisoning.

Fair Trade

Fair Trade coffee has been on the market for years. Fair Trade bananas not quite as long. What fair trade does is add a layer of monitoring to the process to improve the quality of life for the growers and workers and puts limits on the pesticides used. It guarantees fair prices, fair wages, and safe working conditions. Personally, I go one step further and pay the ninety-nine cents per pound and buy the Fair Trade organic. Then I know I am not taking advantage of the disadvantaged and I am not exposing workers to dangerous chemicals on my behalf. The difference in cost is usually about forty cents per pound.

For more information just Google or Yahoo fair trade bananas. Here is an excerpt from one report by Human Rights Watch that gives just one small example of the banana travesty.

"Human Rights Watch interviewed forty-five children who had worked or were working on banana plantations in Ecuador. Forty-one of them began in the banana sector between the ages of eight and thirteen, most starting at ages ten or eleven. They described workdays of twelve hours on average and hazardous conditions that violated their human rights, including dangerous tasks detrimental to their physical and psychological well-being. The children reported being exposed to pesticides, using sharp tools, hauling heavy loads of bananas from the fields to the packing plants, lacking potable water and restroom facilities, and experiencing sexual harassment. Children told Human Rights Watch that they handled insecticide-treated plastics used in the fields to cover and protect bananas, directly applied fungicides to bananas being prepared for shipment in packing plants, and continued working while fungicides were sprayed from planes flying overhead. Sometimes the children were provided protective equipment; most often, they were not. These children enumerated the various adverse health effects that they had suffered shortly after pesticide exposure, including headaches, fever, dizziness, red eyes, stomachaches, nausea, vomiting, trembling and shaking, itching, burning nostrils, fatigue, and aching bones. Children also described working with sharp tools, such as knives, machetes, and short curved blades, and three pre-adolescent girls, aged twelve, twelve, and eleven, described the sexual harassment they allegedly had experienced at the hands of the administrator of two packing plants where they worked. In addition, four boys explained that they attached harnesses to themselves, hooked themselves to pulleys on cables from which banana stalks were hung, and used this pulley system to drag approximately twenty banana-laden stalks, weighing between fifty and one hundred pounds each, over one mile from the fields to the packing plants five or six times a day. Two of these boys stated that, on occasion, the iron pulleys came loose and fell on their heads, making them bleed."

Source: Human Rights Watch Report on Bananas

We have become deliberately oblivious people in our country. It is assumed that if the product is on the shelf it must be OK and certainly it was produced by kind loving people. It simply isn't true. We live in a world that finds money more important than people. What is a human life when a dollar is to be earned. I abstain from waxing religious or biblical in my blogs but the best source I can find for the motivation behind this is in the Bible in 1 Ti. 6:10. which reads in part "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." So true.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Rubbish, just plain rubbish!

As I devote a small part of each day to understanding my own waste problem I find I am actually learning a great deal. If you have been following "No Impact Man's" blog-- which I highly recommend you do-- you are aware of his rants, and a few of my own too in the comments, about e-waste. Yesterday I put a few videos on my blog about e-waste- they are all very short- and collectively they give a good concise picture of the problems e-waste is causing our planet. It is very serious problem. e-waste is a particularly noxious form of garbage since it contains many dangerous pollutants. Many of the pollutants are in a form that is difficult to extract and so they end up buried and pollute the ground and waters.

However I don't really want to continue with e-waste today. I am sure I will come back and revisit it soon since I have a whole drawer full of e-waste I don't know what to do with yet. I'm working on it just like I am working on disposal of my garage full of chemicals I need to get rid of too. That's a topic for another day.

Today I want to take about vegetable waste. Apple cores, potato peels, unusable lettuce leaves, tea bags. Stuff like that. Believe it or not vegetable waste accounts for 29% of the stuff that heads off to the landfills. An additional 46% that gets hauled away for burial is actually materials that can be recycled but just got tossed in the trash can. Only 25% of the stuff that goes to the landfills actually needs to go there. We, as a nation have along way to go. (Source: Office of Sustainable Development, City of Portland)

Vegetable waste is a particular bugaboo because it creates methane gas and methane, a greenhouse gas, is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Hot stuff...yikes!

Landfills, it turns out, are the largest source of methane in the United States but properly composted vegetable matter does not emit methane. Instead, it becomes a useful product for growing more food or even flowers. (Source: Office of Sustainable Development, City of Portland)

e-Waste may be a deadly problem with no easy solution but the vegetable waste problem is remedied by two very simple solutions. Both cost surprisingly little and can actually be personally fulfilling.


The first solution is a compost bin. In my area these compost bins are sold by Metro for just $35.00. The first year they were offered they were only available for one day and there was a line that stretched for about an hour. To use them you open the lid, throw in the stuff and gave it a stir from time to time. Eventually it all turns into nutrient rich compost and you just shovel it out of the bottom.

If you wan to begin composting here is a link for easy instructions on how to do it.

Composting Instructions

A compost bin can also be built for very little as well from wire mesh, old fencing, wooden pallets, cement blocks. Just about anything.


The second easy solution is to use a worm bin. For those that are handy, there is a link below showing plans for building your own worm bin. Some gardening stores sell these already made as well. Just look for a store that sells worms.

Here's the link courtesy of Spokane Regional Solid Waste System:

Worm Composting Bin

These work great outside but if you live in an apartment, as I do, here is a web source for purchasing indoor worm bins:

Indoor Worm Bins

I recently found a neighbor that has three compost bins and am now delivering my own vegetable waste to her weekly. My kitchen trash can is no longer seeing a lot of business. Previously I was dumping it about once a week, now I can probably go about once a month or more. I plan on weighing it each month (hope I remember) to act as an incentive to continue toward my goal of zero waste. I'll post my results here (if I remember).

The place I live in is being converted to condos and our time here is very short. In other words, I have to buy it or move. It's not a bad apartment but condo? No, it is not a great condo. Anyway, once I get moved I am definitely starting a worm bin to compost my own stuff, (sorry Sally, I know you love my garbage). I'll post the results here once I get it going. Worms actually sound like fun and i understand you can even make pet food out of them. Oooo!

If you want to find someone to take your compost like I did just post a note on Craigslist or join a Yahoo or Google group for gardeners and see if you can find a taker. It only took me one day to find someone to take my garbage for compost. It was a simple solution to a very big problem and it cost me absolutely nothing.

e-waste from greenpeace

Save a Life E-waste Campaign Mixed Greens Emerson College

One minute PSA on e-waste

E-Waste-It's Our Problem

This is a great segment from a news program. Length 6:27.

GOOD Magazine: E-Waste

Excellent brief video on what happens to e-waste.

I am a guilty man

I have been taken in by the comments on "No Impact Man" blog and put a considerable amount of time in posting my own comments there rather than writing my blog. Since my blog has not really taken off yet I felt this was a better use of my time since I was communicating with more people. Below is a reprint of comments I left today on the No Impact site. I felt it came out well and decided today I would post it here as well.


When Columbus sailed to our shores he found an unspoiled land full of a people that lived in harmony with it. There were no shopping malls, freeways, power lines or prisons. But these he felt were a "savage" people that must be "civilized" and they stood in the way of his pursuit of new resources for the king. So he claimed the land for the king with an intent to return and "civilize" it and capture its resources.

In 1492 Columbus also discovered Haiti. The native population when he arrived is estimated to have been at least one million and some estimates run as high as three million. In Columbus own words "I found very many islands filled with people without number, and all of them I have taken possession for their Highnesses...As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information on whatever there is in these parts"

He hauled off much gold for the kingdom, and left a delegation to build a fort built from the remnants of the sunken Santa Maria with the intent to "control" the land. By 1596 there were only 125 individuals remaining of the native population. The rest died by sword, famine and disease.

We assume these stories are ancient history, and in the case of Columbus, who is purported to have "discovered America" we just bury it under the rug and declare a national holiday. We are now a modern civilized people who seek peace for the world...through technology. But our "civilization" is still in pursuit of conquest. We just mask it through wars of ideology which are really wars of conquest and annihilation. The goal of these wars...more comfort for the people of the kingdom through the assumption of more resources.

As I look around my office I see a router, a laser printer, a scanner, two speakers, an LCD monitor, a tungsten lamp, a telephone, a tape recorder, computer, a laptop computer, a TV, a VCR, a DVD, a stereo, a label maker...need I go on? These make life very convenient and, I guess, bring me some happiness; maybe just a little; but these did not spring from the earth as fruit of any plant. They were manufactured from oil and ores from all over the planet. Retrieved through force many times so I, as part of the "kingdom" can enjoy them.

To be fair, I acquired much of this stuff long before I began to wake up to the realities. Indeed, if it were not for my computer, I could not be participating in this forum. I am still rethinking the logic of that and am not sure where my future path will take me when these things wear out. Will I replace them? I really don't know.

I learned years ago that most diamonds sold had a price tag of blood attached to them. I vowed not to buy diamonds. When I learned about fair trade bananas I discovered that many workers died or became ill from being sprayed with pesticides and that the banana farmers did not receive adequate compensation from their bananas to even live. I now buy organic fair trade bananas. The more I learn, the less I want to buy.

We can march, we can protest, we can decry needless wars. Shoot we can even build websites and have public forums to sicken ourselves with the facts then legislate against that which disgusts us. But if the wars are fought and people die simply to bring more goods for our kingdom so we can sustain our convenient and comfortable lives are we not then really an accomplice if we buy?

I am a guilty man.