Category Archives: DIY Green

foto av dagen 06.20.09

my first attempt at growing vegetables: a little photo diary…

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seedlings popped!

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slow bolt cilantro looking excited to have found the light.

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the vegetable garden plot.  i had to relocate 7 roses: not fun.

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mexican spice basil!  so pretty.  sadly, they died when i was away for 5 days.

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royal purple beans.  i was afraid i was going to have a hard time distinguishing between the beans & the weeds…turns out they are quite distinct.

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this is about 6 weeks after planting the seeds.

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Roebson & Chadwick tomatoes.  yum.

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tomatooooes.

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trying again with the mexi spice basil.

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teeny tiny basil leaves!

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i had no idea my royal purple beans were going to sprout royal purple flowers!  pretty!!

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beans growing quite tall.

i just planted the tomatoes out in the garden, so i shall have more updates soon.  i hope they make it!!

BikeWise

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BikeWise is a great new interactive resource for bicyclists to report incidents of crashes, safety hazards & thefts.  The idea is that anyone who is involved in or witness to an incident logs a report into the BikeWise database.  BikeWise then records & organizes those incidents by city, state and country and displays them on an interactive google map.  You, as a cyclist can pull up a map for any area or view a list of incident reports. From Worldchanging:

Although the site’s creators are based in Seattle, this tool is available for cyclists everywhere. The site (with about 90 percent accuracy) can sense your location, and will pull up information for the city you are surfing the web from. I think it’s great that Bikewise has created a space for people to talk to each other about how to make their city a better place. The trick will be getting enough users to generate reports to make the data useful for people like city planners, analysts and public policy officials. So, if you’re a cyclist, head to Bikewise and get the conversation started!

That last point is critical – as of today, there are only 11 states reporting any accidents, 18 reporting hazards and incidents, and in total there are maybe a few dozen incidents reported for 2009 in the whole US.  Hopefully word will spread so this tool can be put to use.  If the BikeWise developers are correct in saying that over 75% of cycling crashes go unreported, then no wonder city planners keep ignoring our pleas for bike-safe roadways.

It looks like the site is still a work in progress.  The interactive maps are pretty user-friendly, but the incident reporting could use some organizational improvements, like organize by date, incident type, etc.  It would be especially useful to planners & city officials to be able to download the database info into an excel spreadsheet of some sort.  Maybe this is in the works.

So…let’s start reporting!

Pear Tree Worms – Let’s Try This Again

An adventure in vermicomposting…round two.

It has been just over a year since the unfortunate death of our Savage Worms and the mourning period is over.  Now that our apartment has begun to thaw from the winter chill, I have had a hankering for a new herd of worms.  I know that Pear Tree Worms does not have quite the same ring to it as Savage Worms, but I feel like calling the project Savage Worms II is a little like naming a new pet after a recently deceased one.  Fido II?  Sad!  Besides which, Andrea, founder of the original vermicomposting adventure, has moved across the globe to Papua New Guinea (and has also been on a mission to find a Melanesian breed of food-loving worms!).  Feeding the worms will not be quite the same with out A though.  Remember this?

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So anyway, here we go again with the worms!

First things first, I had to gather the equipment.  I couldn’t find a bin quite as good as our original (A, where the heck did you find that bin?), but I settled for a standard Rubermaid.  I spent a couple frustrating hours drilling holes – lots on the top and upper sides, fewer and smaller on the lower sides and bottom.  Several stuck-in-plastic drill bits and one snapped-in-two drill bit later, I finished (obviously, I am a novice with the power drill).

Next, order worms!  After perusing a couple vermicomposting sites and not feeling strongly about any of them, I remembered having read and referenced Red Worm Composting several times during the Savage Worms days.  Vermiculture enthusiast & blogger Bentley has oodles of great vermicomposting advice on his site, so I figured I might find some worm-buying recommendations.  Well, as it turns out, Bentley actually sells worms!  And at a cheaper rate than the other two sites I was considering!  So that made my choice easy.  So far, the choice has proven to be an excellent one – great customer attention and a nice full sack of healthy worms.

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Step 3, food & bedding.  I started collecting food scraps & setting up the worm bin about a week and a half before the worms were to arrive.  For bedding I used a mix of shredded newspaper, egg carton and trimmings off one dead & one dying branch from one of our palm plants.  I mixed the materials together and wet them so they were damp but not dripping.  By the time I got all of that in order it was Tuesday.  Then I waited for the post!  The worms arrived, as promised, on Thursday.  I was a little concerned that I had not given the bin enough time to equilibrate, and i wanted to give the worms some time to settle after their cross-border journey (Red Worm is located in Canada), so i left the worms in their sack, left the sack in the opened box, and left the box sitting in the worm bin over night.  Overcautious, perhaps, but so far there have been no casualties.  I had wondered if any of the worms might crawl out of the sack during the night – it was tightly sealed, but there were a few worms peeking out when I opened the box.  Sure enough, Friday morning as I parted some bedding to leave a pile of food, there was a lone worm squirming around in the bedding.  Anyway, I opened the sack and burrowed it into the bedding, with the opening facing a nice pile of ripe food scraps so that the worms could venture out at their leisure.

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Can you spot the adventuresome wiggler?

So far, so good.  I have checked on the worms a couple times, trying not to be over-disruptive.  They seem to be adjusting well and have a healthy appetite.  Not one left in the sack, a few wanderers crawling up the sides, but no escapees.  I’ll do a full-on check up and feeding later this week, so stay tuned.

D2E Boston 2009

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zfpw3M28054[/youtube] 

Boston’s premier conscious consumer convention returns!  Down:2:Earth Boston is back for its second year with three days of exciting eco events not to be missed.  There is a “Local Bites” kick off party Friday night, the D2E Video Project returns and this year there is a new contest in partnership with the City of Boston called Pitch the City:

WHAT:
Down:2:Earth Sustainable Living Expo
Build a better future by learning how to eat, work & live sustainably!
A marketplace for eco-friendly products, a public stage for community initiatives, and an educational forum for learning about sustainability issues.

WHEN:
Friday, April 3 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Saturday, April 4 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday, April 5 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

WHERE:
Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston Street, Boston MA 02115

HOW:
Tickets can be purchased online at www.d2eboston.com
Adults: $8.00 ($10.00 at the door)
Students & Seniors: $6.00 ($8 at the door);
Weekend Passes & “Local Bites” Preview Party (includes weekend admission): $20.00
Children 12 and under are free.
 

“Local Bites” – Friday April 3

A festive preview party and artisanal grazing event built around local sustainable chefs, local food producers and sustainable wine.  D2E co-founder Betty Fulton says, “We’re excited to have some of Boston’s best chefs – from The Fireplace, Upstairs on the Square, New England Aquarium’s Harbor View Café, and Henrietta’s Table, among others – sampling their culinary creations at Local Bites.   A special thanks to sponsor Kunde Winery, who among others, will be providing sustainably produced vintages.”  A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit Mass Farmers‘ Markets and New England Aquarium’s Sustainable Fisheries Initiative.

Pitch the City

A contest sponsored in partnership with the City of Boston that seeks creative ideas to make Boston a greener city. Four finalists will present their proposals to a panel, including Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino at D2E, on Sunday, April 5.  According to D2E co-founder Lorelei Grazier, “We want D2E to be a catalyst for community engagement around issues of sustainability – a forum for public and private, profit and non-profit sectors of our economy to come together to build a greener future.” http://changents.com/d2e

D2E Video Project

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[Click on flyer for full size]

D2E invites students, artists, activists, and everyone in between to submit original three-minute digital videos focused on themes of sustainable living and natural landscapes in New England. Your videos should be visually compelling and can explore any related theme, in any style: narrative, montage, animated, documentary or experimental.

Selected entries will be presented on the main stage at D2E. The most effective and creative entries will be recognized at D2E’s Kick-off Event on Friday, April 3.

Video topics could include:
Environmental consciousness in everyday life, volunteerism, nature walks, poetry as a subject, outdoor activities with a message, profiles of people living sustainably, Artists impressions, consumerism, etc. It’s up to you! Video entries must follow the simple rules listed below and must be received by March 20, 2009.

See you there!

.: gettcha tix -> down:2:earth an exploration into sustainable living

Livin’ Off the Grid

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHl0zMQXg8A[/youtube]

Despite how kitschy this video is, the guy has a certain charm about him (I think it’s his tiny carbon footprint). Our friend here doesn’t make it look completely easy or anything, but still manages an amazing proof of concept design here. Not to be a fearmonger, or something, but I hope this type of design makes it to your ordinary consumer (read: Joe Six-Pack) before it’s too late!

Why another video, you ask? Well, why our resident green expert is on her mini-sojourn, we must keep the house tidy. Expect more and better to come soon.

Green Jobs Now: Events in Your Hood

Green Jobs Now is having an inaugural National Day of Action coming up on September 27.  Check for events in your neck of the woods on their handy US map.

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Examples include:
Mayor Menino’s Food & Fuel CampaignBoston, MA
September 27, 2008 09:00AM to 01:00PM
Hosted by Aaron Tanaka
Event Description:
Mayor Menino’s Food & Fuel Campaign is a partnership between government, businesses and non-profit organizations that are helping residents and small businesses address the rising costs of food and fuel. As part of this effort, the Mayor will be hosting a food and fuel summit at Madison Park High School on September 27th. These will provide opportunities for Boston families to come together and learn about programs and services that can help them manage in these tough economic times. Boston Workers’ Alliance will be at the event, holding a voter registration drive to elect the best Green Candidates. BWA will also be providing information on the new Green Jobs / Energy Efficiency training program that is being rolled out at Roxbury Community College this September. We are signing up unemployed residents with criminal records to get involved in the training so we can build our own energy auditing and efficiency business. Making your home energy efficient is the best way to cut costs and reduce pollution. Boston’s going green! We’re ready- are you?

Breaking Ground: Urban Gardening Youth Conference
San Francisco, CA

September 27, 2008 10:00AM to 04:00PM
Hosted by Julia Brashares
Event Description:
We are planning a full day youth conference on September 27th, 2008 bringing together high school students interested in urban gardening, open green space, and sustainability. The conference will feature workshops presented by youth, for youth, in addition to a Green Jobs Now panel featuring green job and internship opportunities for high schoolers to get involved with now.

Green Roofs, Green Jobs!
Bronxville, NY

September 27, 2008 10:00AM to 02:00PM
Hosted by SmartRoofs, LLC and Sarah Lawrence College
Event Description:
SmartRoofs, LLC, a subsidiary of Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx), and Sarah Lawrence College (SLC) are co-hosting an event called, “Green Roofs, Green Jobs!” on Saturday, September 27th, 2008 at 10am on the SLC campus located at 1 Mead Way in Bronxville, New York. **PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR UPDATED INFORMATION.** The event will kick off at 10am by publicly showcasing SmartRoofs’ first official green roof installation, followed by a press conference with local elected officials and heroes of the green-jobs movement, locally-grown refreshments, inspiring workshops, and a networking session. SmartRoofs, a green roof installation company based in the Bronx, is guided by SSBx’s mission to “create environmental justice (EJ) through innovative, economically sustainable projects that are informed by community needs.” Sarah Lawrence College is leading the way among colleges and universities by playing a key role in demanding governmental action for Green Jobs. The installation date coincides with the national day of action, “Green Jobs Now!”—calling for Green-Collar Jobs as a way to lift people out of poverty and restore our planet. By employing graduates of SSBx’s Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training program (BEST) to install and maintain the green roofs we design, SmartRoofs will show this solution in action on the local scale by simultaneously creating green space and green jobs, now! And for this exciting installation, the SmartRoofs crew will be comprised of ten talented BEST graduates! In an effort to show support for the transformation of our nation towards sustainability, SmartRoofs, SSBx, SLC, and GFA are collaborating to call for positive change in our communities. For more information about the day’s events, please contact SmartRoofs Business Manager, Renaldo DaSilva at 646.400.5292 or rdasilva@ssbx.org.

There are a lot of events on the map, but def still some empty states..so spread the word and start something in your hood!

.:: Official page –>Green Jobs Now National Day of Action

Greening The New Republic

So I realize that most of you probably know more about the ‘green’ movement, ‘sustainability’, global warming, etc, than the average reader of The New Republic – but I still thought these videos were worth checking out. Especially when Majora Carter is involved – as she is a ninja extraordinaire.

::videos via The New Republic‘s Environment + Energy section::

Greening 360 Winnett Ave.

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Reminiscent of A PreFab Project, 360 Winnett Ave. is a new site that will chronicle the design + construction of Jeremy Bell’s new home for him, his wife, and their future family. They currently own a small bungalow, and have decided to tear down the existing property to build a larger, contemporary ‘green’ home in it’s place. Working with Altius Architecture Inc., the Bell’s hope that by documenting their experiences building a ‘green’ home they can educate and encourage others to do the same.

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[Image: Front Elevation]

Our story is actually pretty simple — We’re an average couple who is planning on starting a family soon, but we’d like a little more room before we get started. So we’ve decided to tear down our existing bungalow and in its place build a larger, more modern home.

However, at some point along the way our priorities changed. While we still need the extra space, we’ve come to realize we should be building a smarter home and not just a bigger home. We’ve also come to appreciate our eco responsibilities and we felt it was important to document the realities that came with this decision [text from Jeremy Bell].

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[Image: Ground Floor Plan]

While things seem to just be under way, you can head on over to the 360 Winnett Ave. site to see the working drawings and some model shots. There should be more to come in the future as things progress – in particular Jeremy has mentioned some time-lapse photography of the construction process and more high-res images as time goes on.

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[Image: Second Floor Plan]

Should be interesting to see how things develop – we’ll be sure to track this project and feature it again on GreenMNP.

::GMNP thanks to Jeremy Bell for contacting us about his ongoing project – we look forward to seeing the house under construction::

May is National Bike Month!

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If you haven’t broken out your wheels yet, now is definitely the time to do so.  The League of American Bicyclists has lots of useful info for nation-wide events as well as useful tips and tools for commuting and recreational bicyclists as well as non-cycling but bike-friendly folks.  Here in the Bean, Mayor Menino has instigated Bay State Bike Week from May 12-18 with bunches of events and challenges.

Since bikes are pretty much the universal favorite topic of every green/eco/earthloving blog out there, I will now just shower you with a few of the millions of worthy bike links habting the interwebs recently:

D.C. has a new bike share program, Smartbike DC, which will be the first of its kind in the US – similar to Zip Car, but for bikes. Um, one gross thing about it though, it is sponosred entirely by Clear Channel. Yuck.

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Treehugger always brings us worthy bicycle news: New York has a new plan to be more bike friendly; a Treehugger favorite, Ben Wilson’s monowheel makes for an interesting, if not practical, transportation tool; and my personal favorite, Street Films videos of NYC bike mechanic Hal Ruzal walking around the city grading bike locks – I believe my bike locking strategy would get me a D/D+.  Dude is hilarious.

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Grist’s Ask Umbra column this week has been full of fun bicycle gear to get you motivated to hop on that bike – she covers the gamut from thermos holders to cargo bikes.

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There are millions more, but I am out of time.  Be expecting more throughout the month.  Happy biking!!