Green Living Tribe - Part II - Page 11 - Mothering Forums
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#301 of 752 Old 05-25-2007, 08:30 PM
 
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i haven't been here in a while (since "green living tribe part I"!?) so forgive me if this is a repeat but check out this website.....

http://www.betterworldshopper.org/

the book is wonderful, compact & fits in my purse/bag to reference when i'm out shopping. i've committed to only buying products in the A&B categories, if at all possible!

stephanie asl.gif

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#302 of 752 Old 05-26-2007, 01:33 AM
 
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ttc = trying to conceive
bd = baby dance = sex
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#303 of 752 Old 05-26-2007, 01:37 AM
 
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algae huh? wow... that's great! you could build a living machine or constructed wetlands and grow algae to run your car on.

that's another great use for your poop!
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#304 of 752 Old 05-26-2007, 06:50 PM
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I've missed a few pages of this thread, and ya'll have been having a biodiesel discussion without me!

I find the algae option so exciting, I really hope someone makes progress in that direction soon. Using land that is otherwise unproductive, recycling the water, using waste to feed the algae, and coming up with a fuel produced very efficiently at the end of the cycle - wow!

Pixiewytch, I think you asked how people acquire their biodiesel in the absence of pumping stations that sell it. I live in a very small town, and even the closest large city an hour away doesn't have any public stations that sell it at the pump. There is a biofuels co-op in that city, so what we've done is joined them, bought a few "totes" which are 300 gal. plastic tanks enclosed in a metal wire cage, that originally held food oil or glucose syrup or other non-chemical things. We put one empty tote in a trailer and tow it to the site where the co-op will be getting the tanker delivery of biodiesel, and either meet the tanker truck there or leave the trailer for a few days (depending on timing), our tote gets filled, then we tow it home and pump the fuel into another tote, from which we fill the vehicle (since we need to use the trailer in between fuel pick ups and the tote when full is too heavy to get out of the trailer without a forklift). 300 gallons of biodiesel lasts us about 6 months (we don't commute for work or school, and only make 2 or 3 trips each week that are more than 10 miles). This system is working really well for us right now. We've talked about trying to put together a co-op in our immediate area instead of using the one in the city, so we could have the tanker come here to deliver, but we'd have to buy 1000 gal. minimum. We can't cough up that much dough at once for fuel currently, and so far the locals who we know that are interested in running biodiesel aren't interested enough or solvent enough to go in with us to front enough money to get the delivery.

I, too, hope to never go back to gasoline for routine driving. We still have a gasoline truck that gets only occasional use, but once the Jeep (Liberty diesel) is paid off we plan to replace the truck with a diesel as well.

I also find the argument that we shouldn't be using potential food crops to make vehicle fuel to be myopic. There isn't a food shortage in our world, there's a distribution problem - growing more food won't fix that, it won't fix the political and cultural problems that are the root of people going hungry. This gets into the whole issue of the factory farming of animals for food (which is incredibly wasteful of land, grain, water, etc.) and industrialized plant food farming, as well. Land is not being used responsibly right now, in most Western nations or in developing nations. Pasture-based animal agriculture that doesn't use prime crop land and more ecological and integrated plant food farming would result in a much more sensible balance, with plenty of oil/sugar/cellulose crops left over for making either biodiesel or ethanol fuel. Of course, the best thing would be to get away from the infernal combustion engine entirely, but that's going to be a long time comin', I think. The emissions from bidoeisel and ethanol fuels are so much lower than with petroleum fuels (not to mention the carbon cycle disruption that burning petroleum causes, which IMO is the crux of the global warming issue), that any step in that direction is an improvement, even though these biofuels are not the ultimate and perfect answer.

I need to make a new biodiesel sticker for my car, the old one is peeling off. Anyone have a good slogan?

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#305 of 752 Old 05-26-2007, 07:26 PM
 
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"Biodiesel - No War Required" is a popular sticker locally.

... oh i see you have that in your signature.
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#306 of 752 Old 05-27-2007, 02:00 AM
 
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biodiesel stickers at cafe press

Mamatreehugger.gif to two girl beans, Feb 2001hearts.gif and Nov 2003coolshine.gif . DH geek.gif, and two crazydog2.gifdog2.gif . Running on biodiesel since 2004!
 
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#307 of 752 Old 05-27-2007, 04:59 PM
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Ooh, some good ones there! Thanks for the link, beanma.

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#308 of 752 Old 05-27-2007, 05:07 PM
 
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Okay, so DH is arguing with me that a Mercedes costs a lot to repair if it breaks down. Can you all that own one confirm this? Do you have to order special parts that cost more than most cars? Do you have to take it to a mercedes dealership to have it worked on? Just some things for me to ponder.
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#309 of 752 Old 05-27-2007, 09:25 PM
 
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My dad had a Mercedes and I know he was always complaining about the cost of repairs.........

Erin-doula and mama to Ari Beat (4/7/03) and Eli Roots (3/27/06) angel.gif 6/09 angel.gif 10/09 and sweet Bodhi (6/25/11). Now growing #4 who we will meet in October joy.gif
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#310 of 752 Old 05-28-2007, 02:29 AM
 
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Thanks for the new thread. I joined WAAAAAYYYY back when this thread first started.:

Anyway, my DD is turning 2 next month. I have been trying to find a company that is eco friendly for party supplies. Does anyone know of anything? I would like to have a green party for her without taking away from her birthday. Also, what could I do about all that wrapping paper?!??! It's SO wastful. Do you all think it would be rude to request recyclible wrapping paper. Maybe suggest news paper or paper bags?
I don't know if it will work to place such a request. One year we requested no plastic toys please and that was litterally almost all of what we recieved, causing one friend to joke "next year say no twenty dollar bills!). We do collage and other art projects with our use wrapping paper. The girls get a kick out of it. In fact you could have your kids make their thank you notes/scribbles on it. Just a thought. Have fun

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#311 of 752 Old 05-28-2007, 04:59 AM
 
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Consumer Reports bases its car repair ratings on thousands of readers who submit yearly surveys on actual experiences (myself included). That goes for everything else in your house too. We rely on it a great deal for any major purchase.

It's even been better in recent years about including eco-friendly products in its own testing (ie recent detergent evaluations include the eco-friendly kind, and for dishwashers they've even found that enzyme-based, non-polluting, inexpensive ones like from Trader Joe's are top notch!). And if they screw up, they admit it fast, like with the recent infant car-seat test errors.

They've had some good articles lately about alternative car fuels, where the industry currently stands, what's likely in the future (and what's not), the pros and cons, etc.

I highly recommend getting a subscription (either magazine or online or both) in advance of any major purchases. Of course, as anything, it's still one source of information and subsequent sources should be checked.

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#312 of 752 Old 05-28-2007, 01:44 PM
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Thanks for the info, Kimberly. I read the online, non-subscriber version of the alternative fuels article. About biodiesel, it says, "In Consumer Reports' own tests, a car running on biodiesel produced slightly less pollution than the same car running on conventional diesel but achieved slightly fewer mpg." But they don't state what blend they used for their test. B100 produces much less pollution than petrol diesel in every test I've read about, except for NOX emissions, so I'm guessing their test used B20 or lower (20% biodiesel, 80% petrol diesel). They also don't clarify that no conversion is necessary to run B100, only the replacement of hoses and seals in older vehicles, and that it can loosen deposits in old engines left behind by petrol diesel so a couple of fuel filter changes may be required when switching. They say B20 can be run in most diesels with no conversion, but that implies conversion is necessary for higher blends. Do you know, is the subscriber version of that report more detailed and indepth?

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#313 of 752 Old 05-29-2007, 12:04 AM
 
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right on...just want to get in on the green action
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#314 of 752 Old 05-29-2007, 01:37 AM
 
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okay... sorry i abandoned the mb/bd conversation for a minute. i've had strep... ... and a 19 month old... and my partner is off playing with his buddies:... but that's another thread.

so, you asked about the repair prices of mb. yes, it is more to repair a mercedes than say a ford. however, having driven both... it seems that even though my mb's are much older (i have an '83 300sd, a '78 300cd and previously had a '79 300sd) they don't have little things going wrong all the time like my ford did.

there are a couple of things off the top of my head to look out for though (if you plan to buy one):

1) the vacccuum lines. all three of my cars have had problems with the vaccuum lines... and everything in these cars seems to be running on vaccuum. if you are looking at a car and it's automatic locks don't work, that's a sure sign the vaccuum system is having problems. best to avoid it.

2) the blower motor. the blower motor has gone out on both of my sd's. it seems that the entire car is built around the blower motor... so, when it goes out, it's an expensive fix. i didn't get it fixed. i just drive around without heat. it's not too bad, we just bundle up in the wintertime... you wouldn't have to worry about that in florida though.

here are my suggestions to try to minimize costly repairs:

1) buy an mb that has been refurbished. people who own and fix these cars really love them so you can easily find one that someone has put a lot of time and tender loving care into. ask what they have done to the car... make sure they have tested and replaced vaccuum lines where necessary.

2) buy a 240d with a manual transmission if you can find one. the more bells and whistles... the more there is to break, and the more expensive it is to fix when it does break.

3) don't take it to the dealership. find a local mechanic who specializes in mercedes benzes (not just in foreign cars but mb's in particular). often times they can get you used parts and won't charge too much for labor.

4) do whatever work you can yourself. these cars were designed to make minor repairs and maintenance simple. for example: you don't even have to lay on the ground to do an oil change and there the only tool you need is a ratchet w/ a 13 mm socket.

my mb's were so cheap... less than a thousand each, that whatever repairs i have to pay for are still less than if i were making a car payment. and they are solid cars. the previous owner got in an accident w/ our cd, she was rear ended by a mustang. the mustang was totaled, the cd has a small buckle in the rear passenger fender that we've never bothered to fix. the engines routinely go 300,000 miles before needing to be rebuilt. they are definitely a value buy.

however, mb's are not the only cars that run biodiesel. you can run biodiesel in any diesel engine... you may have to changes some seals and hoses but that's really not a big deal. the only diesel i would definitely stay away from is the ford.

i use www.mercedesforum.com alot to ask questions about my mb's, diagnose problems, etc. you might want to suggest dh go there to ask about repair prices vs. other cars (maybe some car guys would have more sway with him than your mdc friends?)
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#315 of 752 Old 05-29-2007, 05:21 AM
 
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Thanks for the info, Kimberly. I read the online, non-subscriber version of the alternative fuels article. ... Do you know, is the subscriber version of that report more detailed and indepth?
I'm not sure which article you read, as there are several that come up on a search for biodiesel:


Alternative autos and fuels 6/06, Biodiesel: A promising blend - free

Greasing our wheels: Making a diesel run on cooking oil, diesel vs. biodiesel vs. vegetable oil 5/06

Greasing our wheels: Making a diesel run on cooking oil, backyard biodiesel 5/06

Greasing our wheels: Making a diesel run on cooking oil, what we found 5/06

Grease-powered cars 6/06: Vegetable oil cars, diesel fuel - free

Fuel cost comparison calculator - free

Ethanol, The future of ethanol 10/06

A Guide to Stretching Your Fuel Dollars - free

Consumer Reports tests show that E85 Ethanol offers cleaner emissions but poorer fuel economy 10/06 - free


There are older ones and newer ones, and even then the newest seems to be from last October so what you're describing could be newer than that. I don't know much about biodiesel myself, certainly not enough to critique the articles. Plus it's also entirely possible that whatever they tested was what was commonly available at the time of testing (which would of course be even earlier than the publish date of the article), since they try to be national in scope as well as look at what things people are likely to be able to get ahold of.

It's definitely not MAKE magazine...they don't go far out on a limb into projects beyond what the average person is likely to be able to do. Doing any kind of engine work is probably something they consider beyond normal capabilities, including replacing hoses and seals.

And while many of us who read this board could easily take on such a task, keep in mind that I get email from people regularly who are afraid to learn to KNIT, as in, scared to pick up two sticks and some yarn and see what happens, let alone do anything with their car beyond drive it. I know an awful lot of people who wouldn't even know what an oil dipstick is for, let alone how to use it or find it in their car.

So Consumer Reports isn't likely to advocate tinkering around in one's car, even on a minimum level. That's not what they exist for. They're there to report on what you can buy and whether or not it works.

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#316 of 752 Old 05-29-2007, 10:20 AM
 
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my mb's were so cheap... less than a thousand each, that whatever repairs i have to pay for are still less than if i were making a car payment. and they are solid cars. the previous owner got in an accident w/ our cd, she was rear ended by a mustang. the mustang was totaled, the cd has a small buckle in the rear passenger fender that we've never bothered to fix. the engines routinely go 300,000 miles before needing to be rebuilt. they are definitely a value buy.

however, mb's are not the only cars that run biodiesel. you can run biodiesel in any diesel engine... you may have to changes some seals and hoses but that's really not a big deal. the only diesel i would definitely stay away from is the ford.

i use www.mercedesforum.com alot to ask questions about my mb's, diagnose problems, etc. you might want to suggest dh go there to ask about repair prices vs. other cars (maybe some car guys would have more sway with him than your mdc friends?)

great info!! man i am really hating my '06 minivan right now...:
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#317 of 752 Old 05-29-2007, 03:47 PM
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Doing any kind of engine work is probably something they consider beyond normal capabilities, including replacing hoses and seals.

And while many of us who read this board could easily take on such a task, keep in mind that I get email from people regularly who are afraid to learn to KNIT, as in, scared to pick up two sticks and some yarn and see what happens, let alone do anything with their car beyond drive it. I know an awful lot of people who wouldn't even know what an oil dipstick is for, let alone how to use it or find it in their car.
I understand what you mean.

The article I read was this one from June '06: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/c...view/index.htm

FTR, we don't know jack about working on cars in this family. I wouldn't try to replace hoses or seals or anything like that unless I had no other choice. We just drive the thing, and leave anything more involved than putting in fluids to the mechanics. We're not motorheads, don't like to tinker or modify or any of that jazz (we may convert to running straight veggie oil at some point, but would seek professional help for the modifications). We bought our Jeep diesel from a dealer who specializes in selling recent-model diesels that are ready to go for biodiesel (making sure all that hose/seal/filter stuff is taken care of).

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#318 of 752 Old 05-29-2007, 10:57 PM
 
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hi! new here!
i just read the last 100 posts, so forgive me if i'm bringing up old news, but here are my contributions to the subjects:

i've read a couple of different places that as far as cars go, 30% of the pollution they cause is from the manufacturing, 30% is from the driving and 30% is from the disposing of the vehicle, give or take. so buying an older car, even if it isn't as fuel efficent, is still better than buying new, since the only way to make vehicles less of an environmental travesty is to drive them until every part of them is unusable, and then use the ancient corpse of a former car as a relly cool planter or playhouse for kids or something. using things up is better than buying new when used is available, non?

greywater systems - we have a sort of accidental, ghetto version of a greywater system in our kitchen. the sink clogged and the clog is too far down the line for the snake to reach so we took out the pipes and made the sink drain directly into a bucket. that bucket is used to flush the toilet. the water stinks too much for anything else, since usually it's been sitting in the bucket for a few days by the time we get to it. we only flush when the toilet has properly dark water, so the amount of water we get from washing dishes is about right for the amount we need for our flushing. we might needs less when i'm not preggo and peeing every 10 minutes, though...

i had something else to say but i forget now. i shall return.
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#319 of 752 Old 05-30-2007, 04:07 PM
 
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Hi everyone. I was gone for the weekend and not to brag...actually I will brag...

We drove 2 hours north to go camping and 2 hours back and our gas meter didn't budge! We were fueled up with WVO and stunk like french fries the whole way!

This whole world eating argument really throws me for a loop b/c I am not sure why we are looking for ONE solution for a gazillion cars, kwim? (when I say we I am referring to the larger voice not our brilliant group!) I mean think about how much cooking oil the country uses and how much fuel we could recycle that into! Then we could have electric cars and other technology. Why are they looking for a blanket solution....oh right, so they can tax it!
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#320 of 752 Old 05-31-2007, 01:07 AM
 
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as far as cars go, 30% of the pollution they cause is from the manufacturing, 30% is from the driving and 30% is from the disposing of the vehicle, give or take. so buying an older car, even if it isn't as fuel efficent, is still better than buying new, since the only way to make vehicles less of an environmental travesty is to drive them until every part of them is unusable, and then use the ancient corpse of a former car as a relly cool planter or playhouse for kids or something. using things up is better than buying new when used is available, non?
i think you're right josybear. dp and i have always lived off of what our society throws away. partly because we're poor... but mostly because we can't buy into our society's throw-away consumer culture.

it's like, you know what, no amount of rain forest crunch is going to save the environment. it's only going to come from us making the concious choice to give up some of our comforts (like a car that you don't have to worry about checking the oil on) in order to leave our children with a chance of surviving.
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#321 of 752 Old 05-31-2007, 01:09 AM
 
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This whole world eating argument really throws me for a loop b/c I am not sure why we are looking for ONE solution for a gazillion cars, kwim? (when I say we I am referring to the larger voice not our brilliant group!) I mean think about how much cooking oil the country uses and how much fuel we could recycle that into! Then we could have electric cars and other technology. Why are they looking for a blanket solution....oh right, so they can tax it!
Sing it sista!
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#322 of 752 Old 05-31-2007, 03:54 PM
 
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i feel like i should wait at the end of the line until others have a chance to post. am i hogging the forum?

oh well, this is cool:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/31/ga...=5070&emc=eta1
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#323 of 752 Old 05-31-2007, 04:04 PM
 
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i feel like i should wait at the end of the line until others have a chance to post. am i hogging the forum?

oh well, this is cool:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/31/ga...=5070&emc=eta1
I love it! They called her a greywater guerilla! How rad is that! I want to be one!
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#324 of 752 Old 05-31-2007, 06:25 PM
 
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hi! new here!
i've read a couple of different places that as far as cars go, 30% of the pollution they cause is from the manufacturing, 30% is from the driving and 30% is from the disposing of the vehicle, give or take. so buying an older car, even if it isn't as fuel efficent, is still better than buying new, since the only way to make vehicles less of an environmental travesty is to drive them until every part of them is unusable, and then use the ancient corpse of a former car as a relly cool planter or playhouse for kids or something. using things up is better than buying new when used is available, non?
From a life cycle perspective, I think that the figure of 30% of energy going into disposal is kind of high, although I agree that a huge portion of energy goes into manufacturing... I recently saw an interesting presentation on this type of study, here is a good link to the research group, and recommendations for vehicle replacement is discussed in the third abstract down...

Basically, they found that when you consider pollutants such as CO, NOx, and particulate matter, there is actually a benefit in replacing the vehicle more frequently, because emissions control technologies (e.g., catalytic converter) are improving very quickly.

However, considering energy and CO2 emissions, there were not life cycle environmental benefits to replacement until the vehicle was about 18 years old...(because on average there haven't been real improvements in fuel efficiency)

They also had a group studying household appliances, and found that for things like refrigerators, there is actually a net savings in energy for more frequent replacement (even including energy required for manufacturing and disposal) based on energy saved by more efficient newer models...

I think that "life cycle" thinking is really essential in making environmental decisions, although it often requires some sort of valuation or tradeoff in impacts...

Callie, mom to Nora (12/7/05)
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#325 of 752 Old 05-31-2007, 08:44 PM
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I just found the Greywater Guerrillas have their own site: http://www.greywaterguerrillas.com/

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#326 of 752 Old 06-02-2007, 05:51 AM
 
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I think that "life cycle" thinking is really essential in making environmental decisions, although it often requires some sort of valuation or tradeoff in impacts...

Almost all eco-decisions seem to require tradeoffs, and many of them truly suck when you know all of the background details. Like the lightbulb thing. Gahhh, so depressing. You do what's supposedly right and then you find out you can't dispose of them properly where you live and so you're contaminating soil/groundwater if you chuck 'em, so if you're like me you pile up dead ones in a drawer and hope someday the eco-fairy will make them disappear.


I came in because I wanted to mention that The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn is really awesome and I think a lot of you would like it. I've been reading a library copy (because OMG I am a huuuuuge tightwad and I'm loving how often I'm already doing the stuff in this book!) and while a lot of it is outdated (early 90s stuff generally doesn't consider internet alternatives), the general gist is ways to save money and also more often than not be eco-sensible. Basics like buying scratch ingredients in bulk instead of pre-made/overpackaged foods, reusing and recycling for all kinds of things, etc.

A lot of it won't be new to some people here but it's very gratifying to learn that you're not the only weirdo out there who does some of this stuff. I almost skipped around the room for joy to learn that I'm not the only person who takes the last bit of a bar of soap and uses suds to "glue" it to a new bar, and worse, joke to their spouse that theoretically there might be soap molecules from a bar over a decade old in there since that's when I started doing it.

Oh, and not only is she a big advocate of cloth diapers, but she's done a lot of the math about them so you can use that to help make the case to others.

http://findinggaia.com - a novel about romance, shifting gender politics, and environmentalism

http://eat-the-evidence.com

http://kimberlychapman.com

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#327 of 752 Old 06-03-2007, 04:40 AM
 
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My husband and I (who are perpetually behind in TV) just got around to watching PBS/Frontline's recent piece on the politics in the US regarding global warming. I can't say it contained much new stuff that we as active people in this area didn't know, but it was a really good summary of the policy issues, especially the manipulation of the public in terms of acting as if there was scientific doubt (there was a very interesting and we believe very accurate linking of how the same tactics were used by the tobacco industry to deny the cancer link for so long).

Anyway, the whole thing is available free online for anyone interested, as are all Frontline pieces, I believe...

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/hotpolitics/

It's a source of tons of info as well for anyone who finds themselves trying to debate people who still claim "the science isn't all in".

http://findinggaia.com - a novel about romance, shifting gender politics, and environmentalism

http://eat-the-evidence.com

http://kimberlychapman.com

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#328 of 752 Old 06-03-2007, 06:15 PM
 
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Hi GLT! I've been lurking here for a while. I saw some posts here about getting rid of plastic, and was wondering what you folks do to avoid buying things packaged in plastic.

One of the things that I've been trying to do so as to have a 'greener' lifestyle is to completely avoid all disposable/non compostable packaging in the food that I buy. DH and I have always used cloth bags and backpacks when grocery shopping, and reuse some plastic bags for produce/bulk foods. I am making some produce bags like these

http://www.reusablebags.com/store/ec...ags-p-689.html

so that I would hopefully never need to use plastic bags for loose produce and bulk grain. In a month or so we will move for DH's work and my PhD research, and I hope to find milk in reusable glass bottles ( we are lacto rarely ovo vegetarians) and use reusable containers to buy bulk herbs and spices (still need to figure out a good system for this). I am also researching making our own tempeh. The problem areas are:

1) Bread–I really like Ezekiel bread (which is wrapped in plastic)and am not sure how to make it at home. Besides, I've heard that it takes less energy to make organic whole grain bread on a bulk scale than to make it at home (forgot where that came from though but I could dig it up).

2) DH is addicted to orange juice and loves soy milk. I've promised to make him smoothies every day but am not sure whether he would consider that a good enough substitute. And I'm not sure I want to invest in a soy milk maker right now, though I might (hemp milk would be nice!).

3) Frozen berries/vegetables. We currently buy packages of frozen berries and spinach when not in season (which is much of the year). I would like to buy a whole lot from farmers markets this summer to freeze, but I imagine wrapping them in parchment paper would be messy. Any ideas on freezing without plastic? I freeze cooked dishes in Pyrex containers but they already take up so much space.

I would love to hear your thoughts on these issues as well as your own experiences reducing the packaged products that you buy. Also if anyone has had success with vermicomposting in an apartment, do let me know!
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#329 of 752 Old 06-04-2007, 06:00 AM
 
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I haven't frozen uncut berries myself (I've frozen reused margarine/large yogurt tubs of cut ones for future jams), but I've read that you should do it with space in between at first, then dump them all into a container if you want to be able to retrieve them separately. If you freeze them all together from the start they'll be a massive lump.

Incidentally, Costco sells various frozen fruits and veggies, some organic, for insanely low prices. Their giant bag of strawberries is awesome for smoothies, jams, etc.

Mind you, I've read that buying frozen veggies/fruit is bad because of the extra fuel needed to transport frozen goods. But I don't know if doing so and making my own jam is better to cut down on packaging. Another one of those trade-offs!

http://findinggaia.com - a novel about romance, shifting gender politics, and environmentalism

http://eat-the-evidence.com

http://kimberlychapman.com

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#330 of 752 Old 06-04-2007, 03:41 PM
 
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What a great thread! I haven't had a chance to dig through all the posts yet, that whole parenting thing is really time consuming
I do, however, have a crunchy roadblock I need help with. We live in a house in the city (grumble, grumble), and I am trying like hell to make it as green as possible until we are able to flee to some acreage. Our lot is long and narrow, less than 1/4 acre, with FOUR mature trees (tulip poplar, oak, two black walnut). I love the trees - they are beautiful and shade our house entirely during the summer so we rarely need the AC, but they unfortunately make gardening next to impossible, and they house many many birds that poop a lot. I would really like to hang my clothes outdoors to dry, but I also prefer crap-free garments, sooo.......
Any ideas on how to rig a bird-poo-proof clothesline? I wouldn't mind suggestions on gardening (vegetables or herbs) in mostly full shade, either

And re: storing berries, I used to go to a U-Pick farm with a friend as a teenager. We would spread berries out on cookie sheets and freeze them, then transfer them into containers later to avoid the aforementioned lump-o-berries. Most of my plastic containers are recycled from other food items we buy (yogurt, sour cream, hummus, etc.)
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