Posts Tagged ‘energy conservation’

It’s a Spring Wednesday

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

I’m sorry, I know it may not be spring where you are but my crocuses (croci?) are blooming. I spent some time wandering around our small yard and thought it would be a good time to chat about it.

We are on a big lawn reduction campaign. Honestly it is because we hate to mow. Its loud, it uses fuel, and mostly we’re lazy. While we are being honest I should mention that I have never mowed the lawn here. Aidan does it and when we are away our neighbor mows it. So I can’t really use that as my reason to hate the grass. I just find it useless. We don’t throw a frisbee around out there, or picnic on the ground. It is just useless green stuff that requires too much water so that it will grow and you can mow it. Seriously a nice lawn requires way more water than native plants and if you want it to look fantastic, you probably need to use some questionable weeding and feeding products. You know lots of fertilizers are petroleum based right?

I will also argue that it is not as pretty as other front yard options. We planted some azaleas, as they grow quite well here with no care. And we planted some grape vines, blueberry bushes, apple and plum trees. Talk about useful. Instead of re-seeding the front lawn this year I’m adding creeping phlox, an evergreen ground cover that blooms in summer, spreads a lot, and is drought tolerant. I’ll probably throw in some spring bulbs because the early blooms make me happy.

One of our neighbors has a vegetable garden on the front lawn. I think its great, not sure how the other neighbors feel, but he has stuff growing there almost year round. If i didn’t have big oak trees up front I might do the same thing.

So lose the lawn. Save on water. Reduce pesticides and petroleum based fertilizers, reduce fuel use and noise of mowing. Just a little lawn reduction each year goes a long way.

What’s in your yard?

Got a minute? Save the world.

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Want to help me save 119 million killowatt hours of energy this year. It will only take a minute.
I was making pasta last night. About a minute before it was done I turned the burner off. I always do this. I always have. To me, it just seemed obvious that this would save energy. Not much, just a little, just doing my part. Just 119 million killowatt hours per year. Okay, that’s not the amount I save, it is the amount we can save if every household in the United States does this just once a week… and that assumes that every american uses the small burner and has an efficient stove. So really we’ll be saving more than 119 million killowatt hours each year.
Don’t worry about the pasta, it will turn out just fine. Trust me. The pot is hot, the water is boiling, all that heat will stick around for another minute.
How much easier can it get. You do nothing for a minute you save 119 million killowatt hours of energy a year. Have I said that number enough? Its huge !
We can do this. You and me. And all of our friends and family. Spread the word.

Its Wednesday, time to save the world again.

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Another Wednesday, another chance to make a difference in the world by making small changes in our lives. 

I listened to the State of the Union address last night, as I am sure many of you did.  We should really change the name of these televised speeches, as they are more like rallying sessions and really don’t address the state of the union.  But, that’s another conversation.  So today I wanted to tie into at least one of the subjects that President Obama was trying to get us energized about… health care, budget deficit, education…. lots to choose from.  But what sparked my interest was the interest in changing businesses and focusing on new technologies.  The scientist in me wants to be a part of creating an energy efficient new world.  The folk musician in me thinks that’s too big for a Wednesday.

I care about preservation of resources, but the solutions I’m hearing about all seem to involve buying something.  I have a 60 year old furnace.  I should buy a new more efficient furnace.  But that’s not going to happen, especially since my gas bill was less than 30 dollars in December.  I don’t need a new car, and the evidence is still sketchy that electric cars are any greener than an efficient combustion engine.  I doubt my roof can support solar panels, and don’t get me started on CFL’s.

But I have a solution that actually requires buying less.  Less meat and animal products.  Don’t worry, I am not suggesting anyone become a vegetarian or a vegan.  I like a rib eye on the grill as much as the next person, and you are not taking away my cheese.  But the UN Food and Agriculture Organization did a study a couple of years ago about the impact of raising livestock.  It found that large scale operations produce the majority of meat and meat products and that production has tripled in the last three decades.  Further, they found that since livestock requires large amounts of fodder crops, the use of fertilizers and pesticides has also increased dramatically.  The processing operations are much more energy intensive than processing of grains and vegetables, and the cold storage and transport needs of meat and dairy create another drain of fossil fuels.

But we – this small group of 900 committed, engaged, active, intelligent, music lovers – can do something about that.  We can impact energy consumption by eating a little less meat.  If you eat meat at most meals, have a vegetarian dish once a week- perhaps every Wednesday.  Eat a smaller serving of meat and add more grains and veggies on your plate.  When you are bringing a dish to a house concert pot luck, consider a meat free option.  We’re eating vegetarian chili tonight and I predict a quinoa and vegetable casserole in our future.

If you need help, I have lots of recipes for really easy vegetarian and vegan dishes. I even have a few vegan desserts and breakfast bars that I make.  Happy to share, and I bet others on the list are willing to share as well.