Repower America With Clean Energy

International Day of Climate Action
Image by Earthprints via Flickr

America faces unparalleled  economic, national security and environmental challenges. The solution seems simple- make a  transition to clean, renewable energy. A majority of Americans support a clean energy future, but powerful special interests block our path, and are spending millions of dollars to protect their interests.

What can you do?  Call your  US Senators today and tell them you want a clean energy future and real comprehensive climate change legislation. Don’t just call once, call often and tell your friends to do the same. Then add your voice to the Repower America Wall.

Here is an excerpt from the Repower America Wall recorded by  our beloved science guy, Bill Nye. In this video Nye talks about the need for patriotic young Americans to get excited about math and science so that they can develop the new technologies for energy and sustainable living. “If we don’t act on climate change, other countries will… The United States invented light bulbs. It invented audio. It invented television. The United States sent the first people to the moon…Why shouldn’t the United States come up with the new technologies in energy? Wouldn’t that be great?”

Nye concludes, “Add your voice. Influence our leaders. Let’s get going on this. The problem is real and its serious.”

Links to Get You Active on this Issue:

Where to Find my U.S. Senators Contact Info

Repower America: Together, We Can Solve It

350.org

1Sky

LeMieux EarthDay 1
” I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as if they were great and noble. The world is moved along , not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”- Hellen Keller

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Worms – Nature’s Greatest Recyclers

Ian with Worm FactoryTesting Out Our New Worm Factory

The latest addition to our garden is this composting worm bin system by The Worm Factory. We purchased ours locally at  mce_href=Donna’s Garden Gate and she even included the worms, free.

The Worm Factory Worm Composter unit comes with a helpful guide that tells you how to set it up, some interesting facts on vermicomposting, the anatomy of worms and a troubleshooting section. It also includes all the bedding that you need to get started. This makes it an ideal unit for beginners.

Although their are many different species of worms, the red wigglers are ideal for a worm compost bin. They love darkness and despise light. Some species of worm like light and will exit your worm bin if they feel there isn’t sufficient light available.

As a side note, on a recent trip to Costa Rica, I visited a fair-trade coffee grower and learned that although his farm was natural and completely sustainable, he had imported his red wigglers from California. So, make sure you get the red wiggler. A website that the guide recommends is Find Worms.com.

Adding worms to the composter

Every three months, the red wigglers in this composter can be expected to double in population.  Worms lay eggs and are incubated in cocoons. Each tray in this vermicomposter system can hold three pounds or 3,000 worms. The guide says overpopulation isn’t a concern as the worms who live in this upward migration system can travel freely between trays.

Red wigglers require moisture to breathe because they  take in oxygen through their skin and will die if they dry out. Too much moisture and the worms can drown.

The guide says the moisture should range from 60%-80% in your bin. An easy way to test moisture is to squeeze a small amount of the bedding between two fingers. You want to see a drop or two of water. It should be as wet as a wrung out sponge, damp, but not dripping wet.

Worms can eat three times their weight in a week. So one pound of worms will consume three pounds of waste and organic fiber in a week.

The Worm Factory can be housed both indoors and out. If you are keeping worms outdoors keep them in a shady area. Make sure the worm bin is protected from the rain. The optimal temperature range for your worms is from 60˚-80˚F (15˚-26˚C).

Looking forward to sharing more information with you as our project continues.


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Living Beyond Earth’s Budget & Happiness

Thanksgiving is a recognizable holiday to most Americans but can anyone remember the event that fell on September 25th of this year?

September 25th was Earth Overshoot Day and marked the day when humanity begins living beyond its ecological means.

According to the Global Footprint Network, collectively at the present time, humanity is using 1.4 planets worth of resources. Many people in western countries like the US  are using four to five planets worth of resources. Since we only have one planet, I want to pause here for a moment because living beyond our means in this context doesn’t mean just paying some interest on a credit card. It is, quite literally, taking more than our fair share. In order to be sustainable, civilization must meet current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

But even today, we have over a billion people on the planet whose basic needs are not being met. While those people need to consume more, others are literally drowning in ‘stuff’. Annie Leonard used the term “stuff-saturated”  to describe this phenomenon in her presentation to the Bioneers Conference this year.

The Environmental Protection Agency reports the United States produces approximately 220 million tons of garbage each year. That’s an average of five pounds of garbage for every man woman and child in the USA. But, guess what?  Studies show Floridians generate almost double the national average of garbage – creating nine pounds of municipal solid waste each day.

What you throw out is only part of the story. In order to get one can of garbage, approximately 70 garbage cans of waste were created upstream in manufacturing the products we throw away. Looking at this system, it becomes painfully obvious that we are trashing the planet.

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Image via Wikipedia

So does having all this stuff make us happy? The studies show a resounding no!  The Happy Planet Index measures happiness over resource consumption or the efficiency that a country converts natural resources into human well-being. In 2009, out of 143 countries, the US ranked 114th, ahead of just a few African nations. The happiest country on the planet this year was Costa Rica, which is a country that notably has no standing army.

Another Happiness Index was just published this month by Mainstreet.com. It found Florida ranked dead last in happiness of Americans by state. Is it a coincidence that Florida showed up as both the top producer of waste and the bottom of the Happiness Index?

Next time we will explore some alternatives to going crazy at the mall this holiday season as I pack for my holiday in Costa Rica.

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