To grow food at home has lots of significant benefits.
- You cut down on transportation pollution and costs.
- You cut down on monoculture-farming pollution.
- You cut down on pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilization and GMO pollution.
- You eat the freshest food possible which brings you the ultimate nutrition levels.
- You eat clean which is more than organic, with no chemicals in it whatsoever.
- You have fresh air recycled at home.
- You save money.
- You beatify your home.
If you have garden great! Use it to grow as much food as you can it is worthy! You will be healthier, happier and prettier than ever. Unfortunately not all of us have gardens (I don’t for example) so we are going to start this series with plants you can grow inside, all year round.
Parsley is one of my favorite herbs, I use it in almost every dish and I use it for salad leaf.
Parsley is extremely easy to grow at home and it will provide you with leaves all seasons here is how:
- Find a pot. Remember to reuse if possible. Buckets of ice-cream are ideal or any container with decent height (4-6in) will do.
- Make several holes on the bottom of the bucket to provide drainage.
- Find a tray which will be able to collect the drained water from the pot. On top of it place the pot.
- Fill the pot with good organic soil for pots. This could be found in any store or garden center. If you don’t want to spend money for this well… go to the park and gather some good topsoil. Fill the pot a finger below the top without pressing the soil.
- Buy Organic parsley seeds from any store or garden center. Water the soil, place the seeds and cover them with 1/6in soil. Water again. Keep the soil spongy moist and the seeds will sprout in a week or so.
- Space the plants with 2-3 fingers distance between them.
- When the leaves appear cut them with scissors close to the root leaving two leaves on every plant. The rest is your harvest. Always leave the youngest two leaves. This way the plant will produce leaves all year and 3 pots could provide you with enough parsley for a person even if you like it as I do.
- The root will grow bigger and will start producing leaves faster. Eventually when the plant is too old use the root in your soups and plant new seeds at its place.
- Enjoy the taste, the aroma and the health.
Xmas is here! We start wondering in the malls looking for presents for our loved ones, for our friends, for our family. Suddenly we realize, except the presents we should buy some decoration to lift the spirit and to make our holydays unforgettable. A tree perhaps, a tree top, a few wreaths, some lights, lots of ornaments, plenty of garlands and fake snow (not that we need fake one, it looks like till Christmas we are going to be neck deep in a real one) but still it is pretty to have snow inside and brings all of the pieces of our Christmas decoration together.
It is true that sometimes we get a little stressed out along the shopping but it will over soon and we want this Christmas to be the best, the perfect one! We want it to be unique! We want to have good memories from it and to bring joy, laughter and intimacy among all around us. (Well… sometimes we want to hit the guy in the line ahead of us with something heavy because he is soooooo slow and we are soooo tired from all day searching for the best decoration… but yes, except him, we wish lots of joy and happiness for everyone) (and… except the lady who took the last wreath in front of me without even apologize…)
The last two days I was searching for Christmas decoration, which is how I know this. And I noticed something else, on this time of the year the stores are full… no that’s not right… more appropriate will be that they are FULL! This makes us spend a lot of time on the line, honestly I advise you to take a book with you.
Xmas is time for miracles, we all now the tales… miracles happen on Christmas! This is why I want to appeal for a greener Christmas this year.
We could make a remarkable holydays this year. We could make it different and rememberable, it will be unique and we will make it fun and full of joy and Christmas spirit! After all Christmas is not about imported garlands from China and plastic trees from India, it is not about spending money and stressing out on the line. It is about our family and friends and spending quality time together. It is about Christmas spirit, love, happiness, joy, fun, intimacy.
This is what you should do to make your Christmas special!
First it is not necessary to buy decoration every year. All of us have some decoration in boxes somewhere in the garage. Find them, Christmas is about tradition! The more we use the same decoration the more personal it becomes. When you find it, gather the family and unpack it together. Memories will emerge, memories from past holydays, smiles will bloom on your faces, the Christmas spirit is awakened! Then use what you have to decorate your home or garden, don’t throw anything away it carry memories. I remember when I was a kid my favorite decoration was a broken tree topper, it was unique and I demanded to place it myself on the tree every year. These memories stay all your life. I don’t remember any other tree toper we had.
Second, if you need more garlands or decoration elements make them yourself. Gather your family and friends and make some popcorn, with a needle and thread you can make all kinds of shapes and lengths of garlands. If you want some color try the same thing but with cranberries. You can make wonderful fake snow from cotton. If you need ornaments just recycle some shiny stuff you would throw away otherwise. Check this out aren’t they beautiful and fancy?!?
Gather some cones from your yard or nearby park paint some of them, connect them somehow, they are wonderful decoration. Your family will have great fun making your unique decoration!
Lights! If you have old decorative lights use them, don’t fall for the more energy efficient LED lamps. The energy spent for the production of a set of these is much more than they are going to ever save. If you don’t have old decorative lamps and you prefer the electric lamps in front of the natural cozy light from the candles then buy LED lamps it is true that they are much more energy efficient than the others, and last longer too.
Be creative! Your kids can make pictures for decoration, the grownups can have a wonderful time making origami (the little paper figures) there are some very good step by step handbooks how to make them and it is a great fun! You can use poinsettia as a life decoration it is gorgeous on this time of the year! Find some dry branches from the park and bind them together in the form of an animal or a snowflake or a star! Oh yes I can see the Christmas spirit running wild in your house!
Third after the holydays gather the decoration and what you can store put in some boxes for the next year. What is made from popcorn, cranberries and other foods leave outside of the house for the birds. It is great that you are establishing a tradition!
There are some additional benefits to the whole thing. You will save a lot of money. The last survey I checked showed we where spending close to a thousand dollars every year on average per person for the Christmas holydays. My advice is to save this money and then take few more days off, you will be able to afford it. You will enjoy quality time with your family and friends which otherwise you will spend in the malls waiting on a line. You will have the best Christmas decoration! And on top of all that you will save the environment vast amounts of pollution.
Now let’s sum it up. You don’t spend money, you don’t stress out, you don’t waste time, you bring up unique Christmas, the Christmas spirit in your house is stronger than in any other house, you have quality time with your family and friends, you can afford few more days off to spend even more time enjoying life, and you are making an eco gift to the planet. I think this eco-friendly decoration and Christmas approach will make you happy. What about you?
Consumerism – the biggest evil.
Let’s face the facts. We are weak. We have psychological problems. We are humans. And we all know that. There are however people who use this knowledge and people who pretend it does not exist.
Most of the people don’t want to look in this direction, pretending it does not exist. They feel vulnerable admitting their weaknesses and flaws. This results in overprotection of the sensitive areas.
The small but much, much richer part of the people are using it. Advertisement, marketing, incentives, insurances, fashion, cinema, these are only a few of the fields where the knowledge of the people weaknesses and the abilities to manipulate them is the key to success. They need to make people spend more and more, year after year. The easiest way to do this is by pushing the weak spots of people and then offer protection from further pushing. All of us will buy it regardless of the cost.
The economy grows because people spend more. When people spend more there is more profit to be made from the corporations. But we are consuming way, WAY more than we need and all of this over consumption is what drags us deeper into the whole of environmental disasters.
The goods we over consume are the biggest source of pollution we can imagine. These goods suck energy, fossil fuels, materials and labor to be produced. And when we don’t need them anymore, (which is not a while after we bought them, because we actually never needed them in the first pace) they start sucking the same resources again to get rid of them. In this journey we create all of our troubles with pollution.
I’ll offer you a link to a short movie created on a broader version of this subject. http://www.storyofstuff.com/
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle are the the 3 R. But Reduce will have the greatest impact and Reuse and Recycle are damage controls for what we have missed with the first one.
Enjoy the video.
It differs from country to country, in the developing countries is responsible for around 70% of the total waste of the household, in developed countries it is responsible about a third (33%) of the total household waste. We recycle the plastic, metals and glass wastes why not the organic waste?
The organic waste usually is the heaviest part of our garbage. When send to the landfills, because of the slow decomposition on that place, it turns to a great source of methane pollution in the air. Methane is responsible for about 8% of the greenhouse gases and it traps about seventy times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide for the same quantity. The organic waste on the landfills is cause for great wildlife problems. It is a reason for overpopulation of rodents. Which to be kept in control are poisoned and this poison kills their natural predators in turn. Also birds gather to feast at the landfills and swallow plastic peaces which kill them eventually.
If we could reduce or even remove our organic waste we will save millions of liters of fossil fuel from the garbage trucks, thousands trucks. We will diminish greatly the overpopulation of rodents and we will save millions of birds and other wildlife animals.
The good news is that recycling organic waste can be very easy thing to do. If our municipality does not offer recycling of organic waste we could take it in our hands. We don’t need some fancy machines to do that.
Recently people started recycling their organic waste with worm composts (vermicompost). They are very convenient, cheap (sometimes free or as much as 40$) and they don’t smell. We can put them under the sink and just feed our organic wastes there 2-3 times a week.
Not every worm can do the job. There are two kinds of worms that are used for home composting – red wigglers and night crawlers. The worms stay inside the compost bin (in its simplest form an ordinary plastic container with holes for the air) because outside of this bin the environment is too harsh for the worm to survive and inside is like worm heaven. The worms tolerate great variations from their perfect environment and this makes our task easier. They reproduce themselves very fast and they control their population in correlation with the available food and territory. These worms can eat up to two times their weight in a day. But this is more an extreme than a rule. In practical terms you need a pound of worms for each pound of organic waste you are going to feed them in 3-4 days. That means if your household have one pound of organic waste daily you will need 3-4 pounds of worms. It s cheaper to start with a pound of worms and give them big plastic box and enough food and they will be three pounds in less than a year.
We not only reduce pollution and help wild animals with this step, but we have other valuable benefits. The worm castings are the best possible fertilizer for your plants. And no wonder it is among the highest prices in the garden stores. It provides for your plants everything they need and you can not kill your plants by putting too much of it. Also it spread worm eggs among your plants which mean your pots soon will start producing their own fertilizer. Also these two types of worms are highly priced for fishing bites. If you have too much worms you can always give or sell some of them. The web is full with information about worm composting and almost every city have at least one worm farm where you can purchase your starter kit. Just google worm compost or vermicompost and find your local worm farm. They will have all the information you will need and of course, the worms.
To be ECO is not an easy thing!
You need to learn, you need to think and you need to want it enough to give the energy and the resources needed to improve your eco score. That is right I said score. It is a competition as everything else in this life.
No wonder that we can find most of the eco enthusiasts in the developed countries. We will find that most of the eco friendly people are well educated. Most of the eco friendly people are in good financial situation. The winning team of eco leaders is gathering speed. If you are ahead of your social environment, you want to be in this team. If you are aware, or smart, or rich, or a born leader you most probably already are in this team! If you are not there yet, you will be there soon. It is the only solution to continuing the existence of our race. The most powerful instinct of survival leads us there. People which are not on this path are falling behind.
To be ECO beacon means you are thinking long term. This by itself means you are ahead in the game of life. Long term… sounds like long term investments isn’t it? Let’s see.
You like this graph right? I like it too. The steep exponential part of it is ahead…
I like this one even better. So much research is being done in the field of producing eco energy that the technology is gathering such speed that these graphs are jumping up as we speak. Already the power produced from hydropower plants is more than twice the power produced in nuclear plants.
And naturally this leads us to the money flow in the world.
The graphs are from Renewable Energy Policy Network for 21st Century http://www.ren21.net/pdf/RE_GSR_2009_update.pdf .
I hope you know about the green banks, green investment funds, and green brokers and so on. They grow like mushrooms after rain.
Now forget about the financial part of the ecology.
To be ECO means to live longer, healthier and happier! To take your time to choose the food you are eating is one of the most ecological things we can do. Organic foods, reducing the meat and dairy products, raw, fresh, local vegetables and fruits will reduce all kings of diseases and will bring us health for us and for our successor. This will bring us an increased ability to work and learn. And this will push us further ahead in the game of life. No wonder that most of the ECO people are healthier than the average person.
Let me ground this statement. The following data is from the British Journal of Cancer. “…we estimated that a 35-g day-1 increase in consumption of dairy protein was associated with an increase in the risk of prostate cancer of 32%...”,
“The results support the hypothesis that a high intake of protein or calcium from dairy products may increase the risk for prostate cancer.” http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v98/n9/full/6604331a.html
Conclusion:The incidence of some cancers may be lower in fish eaters and vegetarians than in meat eaters.” http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v101/n1/full/6605098a.html
To avoid your confusion I’ll post two graphs. They represent the amount of calories in graph one gained from animals and the amount of protein in the second graph gained from plants.
The first graph trend means more meat leads to more cancer. The second graph means more plants less cancer. http://www.vegsource.com/harris/cancer_vegdiet.htm
Ok let’s leave the health here.
Now I think you understand my thesis from above: to be ECO is a competition. This is competition with ourselves, with others and with the time. And if we are fast enough and clever enough may be we will be able to safe the planet as a bonus.
Yes the whole thing could be put in easy to follow steps. But remember that if you know more about this stuff and implement more in your life you will be ahead in this game. It is a natural selection, nothing more nothing less.