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Showing posts from May, 2009

Native plant uses class

This Saturday from one to two in the afternoon, I attended a native plant uses class, led by city naturalist Eric Nicholas. The class took place at our city’s new historic park, the Alviso Adobe Community Park . Located where Ohlone Indians once lived, where a dairy farm once ran, and displaying the Californio period of adobe brick, a historic building from 1854 and a newly built hall sit upon seven acres of land in the foothills. Old oak trees and a multitude of newly planted native plants are being naturally propagated and harvested under the expert guidance of Eric. I walked up to the main building and met Eric, a City of Pleasanton baseball cap on his head and a braid falling onto his back. No one else had arrived for the class, so Eric suggested I look at the Pleasanton Art League art show going on in the main building while we waited for more people to arrive. A few minutes later, I walked back to where Eric stood, talking with a mother and two elementary school boys. So the

My week--and green things!

On Monday, my dad and I continued fixing up the old shed in my mom's backyard; we put in some flooring and painted. The yard used to be green, delightful, and full of life. But in the past few years, it's been taken over by weeds and is now merely dirt and trees. I've been thinking a lot about how we're going to redesign the garden and yard, so I've been looking through garden design books, reading through the first issue of Green Gardening magazine (an offshoot of Fine Gardening magazine ), which is an incredible resource that I came across at Lowe's, and trying to come up with visuals in my mind of what our possibilities are. We don't want too much grass because it sucks up water, but our yard looks nice with grass, especially with the green trimming on the shed. We want a vegetable garden and I am hoping we get a compost bin going sometime soon. We've planted some petunias in the window boxes of the shed, but that's pretty much the extent of th

Meatless Mondays (and Tuesdays, and Wednesdays?)

Did you know that cows are big contributors to global warming? Their waste gives off methane, a greenhouse gas that causes global warming. According to , "Cows emit a massive amount of methane through belching, with a lesser amount through flatulence...Some experts say 100 liters to 200 liters a day..., while others say it's up to 500 liters...a day...[either way, it's] an amount comparable to the pollution produced by a car in a day." So avoiding beef and dairy products helps reduce your contribution to global warming by reducing the need for as many cows in the world. Of course, one person boycotting the beef industry for a day won't do much, but if hundreds or thousands of people did, the need for beef and dairy would reduce and there'd be less cows polluting the skies. In fact, all animals raised for food contribute to the use of resources and water--everything does, of course. So reducing the consumption of chicken, turkey, and other


Recycling paper is the least someone can do to help the environment. Rather than fill the landfills with sheets of paper and deprive our world of trees, recycling gives those papers another chance. Most people have gotten used to recycling paper, and that’s a great thing. But let’s take it one step further—reusing paper. When you print on only one side of a paper, why not use the other side? I have a drawer near my printer filled with paper that’s only been used on one side. Look at your printer manual to see how paper is fed so you can figure out how to put used paper into the feed. I use old paper for almost everything I print, unless it’s a formal paper or something that shouldn’t have writing on the other side. Encourage your family to use it for things they print that they will soon recycle. Or tell your sister who loves to draw to begin drawing on the backsides of papers. --- Wrapping paper is one of the biggest wastes of paper. Because of the shiny coating they put on it, it

Reduce Consumption

Our society and economy center around a cycle of purchasing, using, and throwing away. But this cycle is devastating to the environment due to its wasteful mindset. Most of what you buy comes in packaging, which is instantly disposed of. Recycling helps, of course, but it would be so much better if the packaging simply didn't exist, or was at least reduced to a minimum. Try to purchase things without packaging--produce from the pile rather than from the cellophane-wrapped pack. It's also important to keep in mind that consumerism is very much ingrained in our culture, and that this needs to change. Advertisements for the next best electronic make us greedy for the newest gadget--but we need to stop ourselves before we rush out the Apple store. We needn't buy the new appliance until our current one has died, otherwise we're continually fueling the landfills with perfectly good appliances. And even if we donate or recycle the old, it will eventually reach the landfill a

Carbon Emissions Saved by Biking

I just looked up my mom's car, a 1998 Dodge Durango, to find its gas mileage. It's 12 miles per gallon, so for each mile driven, it uses 1/12 a gallon of gas. When multiplied by the number of miles I've ridden since April 20 (7 days x roughly 3 miles), the total amount of gasoline I've saved my mom is 1.64 gallons. (Some days my dad or step-mom drives me, but mostly it's my mom, so I'll calculate based on her car.) According to the EPA's website, the carbon emissions from one gallon of gasoline is 19.4 pounds/gallon. 1.64 gallons of gasoline x 19.4 pounds/gallon = 31.85 pounds of carbon dioxide I've kept from entering the atmosphere :) To calculate your own, check out the formula in the upper right hand column below the quote by Howard Thurman! (Photo credit: UNEP,