Friday, August 31, 2007

Popcorn Update

Instructables has a cool article on how to make your own microwave popcorn that is diacetyl free. All you need is a paper bag, some popcorn kernels and a little butter, enjoy!

Loser Of The Week - John Edwards

Another talking head that talks the talk, but don't walk the walk. He had the audacity to take an SUV to a press conference where he told us, the little people, to get rid of our SUV's. He promises to be a leader in the battle against global warming, however, he lives like he's on the 'global warming is a scam' side. In addition to getting busted for not only having one, but three gas guzzlers, he also has a 28,200 sq. foot home. He also apparently lied about having a hybid SUV, like that makes it any better.
Snagged! In a recent speech, John Edwards told Americans to sacrifice their inefficient cars, and specifically, to give up their SUVs. But the presidential hopeful is driven around in a Cadillac SRX Crossover, which guzzles gas at 15 miles per gallon. His spokesman says that he drives a hybrid SUV in North Carolina, but reports say the Edwards family has a regular SUV and a small truck as wel
This guy could care less about the environment or you, dear voter. Ann Coulter was wrong, he is a loser.

Butter Flavored Death

Microwave popcorn has always been a sort of 'miracle product' to me. Who doesn't love that in 2 minutes you go from a flat bag to piping hot 'movie theater' flavored goodness. The latest findings from the EPA suggest that the 'movie theater' flavor is a killer. The buttery flavor is due to the addition of a chemical called diacetyl and it appears to be responsible for some serious health problems in the workers who manufacture one of America's favorite treats. This has led to speculation that the consumer may be exposed to some environmenal hazards when the diacetyl heats up and fills the home with that delicious smell. Pop Weaver, a producer of such treats, has removed the chemical from their products altogether as a result of the EPA's findings. The sad news is most other brands still contain it.
Pop Weaver, one of the largest producers of microwave popcorn, is removing a controversial chemical flavoring agent from its products.

The chemical -- diacetyl -- adds buttery taste. Government worker safety investigators have linked exposure to the synthetic butter to the sometimes fatal destruction of the lungs of hundreds of workers in food production and flavoring factories.

And while Pop Weaver has dropped diacetyl from its product, it remains in widespread use in thousands of other consumer products, including the microwave popcorn brands Orville Redenbacher and Act II.
Choose wisely dear friends.
Read all about it at

Thursday, August 30, 2007

High Flying Alternative Energy

Dutch astronaut Dr Wubbo Ockels has successfully demonstrated his new energy concept in a field near the university city of Groningen today. He has flown a high-flying energy kite, creating kinetic energy from huge radio-controlled highflying kites. He has designed 'ladder-mills' to store the kinetic energy and convert it into electricity.

Three such ladder-mills provide enough electricity to power the entire city of Groningen. The experiment was carried out along the northern coastline of The Netherlands where there's usually more than enough wind to raise the gigantic kites into.The radio- controlled, high-flying kites can create some 10,5kw electricity each, Dr Ockels told a local radio station.

Read all about it at

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Our Green Military

Earth2tech has an article on how the military is using green tech these days. While that is nice and all, I would think that if the governments of the world were serious about the environmental crisis, the first thing they'd stop is war. From depleted uranium to landmines being found by kids some 60 odd years after a war, war is pretty tough on the land. On top of that clean technologies would be affordable if we weren't always in an arm's race. Can't we just play chess or have our leaders fight it out in the steel cage or something?

Well that's not going to happen, but you can read about the positive steps our military is taking over at earth2tech.

Former Greempeace Leader Downs 11th Hour

Dr. Patrick Moore, a Greenpeace co-founder, is crying out about the alarmist scare tactics used in Leonardo's high profile environmental film the 11th hour. When it comes to our forests acting as a buffer against global warming, he believes we should use more wood and plant more trees rather than leaving the forests on their own.
There is a misconception that cutting down an old tree will result in a net release of carbon. Yet wooden furniture made in the Elizabethan era still holds the carbon fixed hundreds of years ago.
Berman, a veteran of the forestry protest movement, should by now have learned that young forests outperform old growth in carbon sequestration.
Although old trees contain huge amounts of carbon, their rate of sequestration has slowed to a near halt. A young tree, although it contains little fixed carbon, pulls CO2 from the atmosphere at a much faster rate.
My uncle used to say similiar things to me about the Adirondacks. He noticed that logging responsibly actually helped the forest to renew itself, by allowing new trees to get light and grow, as opposed to the older and mostly dead trees blocking much of the light from reaching the ground. Maybe there's something to all this?
Read all about it

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

In Your Neighborhood

I came across this house while out on a walk the other day. It is cool to see solar power becoming a viable option where I live. I think I will give these guys a call and find out a bit more about the costs involved and the amount of electricity produced.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Beaches To Be Covered In Broken Glass

Yahoo News reports:
Faced with the constant erosion of Florida's beaches, Broward County officials are exploring using recycled glass — crushed into tiny grains and mixed with regular sand — to help fill gaps.
A few years ago, New York City decided to recycle their glass by crushing it up and mixing it into the road pavement. Sounds like a great idea, you get to recycle the glass into something useful, also making that something useful more economical. There was only one problem, the glass was not always crushed correctly and sharp shards of glass jutted out from the pavement on many of the city's roads. Tires took a beating from this solution and I can't imagine feet doing much better. In a world where many areas are undergoing desertification, how hard could it be to scrape up some real sand?

Read the article over at Yahoo news

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hot Wheels

Check out this cool video I found about the Alt Wheels festival in Boston. Its from last year, but alternatives to gas guzzlers are always timely.

Friday, August 24, 2007

With Friends Like These

The Star Bulletin reports:
A new environmental nonprofit group in Hawaii is talking with the city about possibly uprooting and relocating several trees on Magic Island to accommodate its first-ever summit and concert, planned for next year.

Organizers of Blue Planet Festival said putting on a grand four-day event in April, with environmentalists from around the world talking about policies promoting clean and alternative energy, could require several trees to be moved.

This is why many people think global warming is a joke, and for all the organizations that are going to fly their employees all the way to Hawaii for a concert/summit - shame on you. Don't think for a second that spending more money on some carbon credits is gonna offset crap. Can't you do this on the internet... you know... telecommute? How important can what Blue Planet has to say be when they are willing to uproot trees for a concert?

Read it and weep at The Star Bulletin via Fark

Sustainable Farming Defeats Global Warming

QuantumShift tv brings you this interesting video that explains how sustainable farming techniques encourage the soil to retain up to 30% more CO2 while bringing you healthier and better tasting foods. The rejection of chemically-assisted farming and the adoption of no-till and other organic farming practices will reduce our CO2 output by 10% a year, starting in the very first year. Make sure you visit QuantumShifttv and support their program to change the way we farm. Your life just might depend on it.

The Daily Green Does It Again

Another one of my tips has made it onto their site in the 'One Easy Thing' section.
Read Keep Your Shower Clean, Green And Mold Free over at The Daily Green

Amazing Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a useful and pretty easy to grow plant. The medicinal properties of Aloe vera are many, including use as an ointment for burns, cuts, and rashes. It is used also a natural skin moisturizer, that will keep you silky smooth. Used right off the 'vine', you will be sparing the world even more plastic containers that we really have no idea what to do with when they're empty.

A great guide to growing and using Aloe can be found over here at

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Check out these clutches made from recycled candy wrappers at Ecoist
>>sponsored link<<


The small organic farm

pretty inspirational, no?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

'Natural Flavors'

Sometime last year I came across an article on the Interwebs, that claimed the natural flavor ingredient in many of your favorite carbonated beverages was beef. Pretty freaky huh?

I just came across another article titled 'Why McDonald's Fries Taste So Good' that goes deeper into the world of natural and artificial flavors and it's REALLY FREAKY! This excerpt From Eric Schlosser's book 'Fast Food Nation' (Houghton-Mifflin, 2001) is almost guaranteed to boggle your mind.
Read it at

Dear Treehugger, Please Fire Lloyd Alter

I don't want to blame treehugger for the recent barrage of nonsensical crap content on the site - most of it seems to come from this one guy, Lloyd Alter. Who the bleep is Lloyd Alter and why does he post so much stupid crap?

First - He goes off on bottled water for school kids..uhh..isn't it better than soda or 'juice drinks' made mostly from corn syrup and 'natural flavors' (more on that above). What are kids supposed to drink with their lunch? Have you ever tasted the water that comes out of most school water fountains? Try seeing the forest for the trees.
Read original post here

Second - He gives credence to the notion that the farts and burps of Bullwinkle and the rest of the moose population are heavily responsible for global warming. This is almost as stupid as the walking is worse than driving argument. Maybe you're right Lloyd, lets kill all the mooses(sic)!

Even stupider are these bunch of words from the article -
...A moose emits as much greenhouse gas in a year as a car driving 13,000 kilometers. ::Spiegel
Which is a real shame, because Tim Haab quotes Bullwinkle, who was a serious environmentalist...

Let me politely point out that Bullwinkle is a cartoon drawn and written by a human, not a real moose, and your shame connection is just dumb. Get on the cluetrain.
Read original post here

Third - He champions a USB powered greenhouse that is really cool for growing marigolds. Do you really need a greenhouse to grow marigolds on your desk? At 9 inches tall, this stupid hunk of plastic is a bit small to grow anything worthwhile - like a tomato. For a guy whose bio includes, "Lloyd became convinced that we just use too much of everything- too much space, too much land, too much food, too much fuel, too much money, and that the key to sustainability is to simply use less. And, the key to happily using less is to design things better.", why the fark would he want a USB powered greenhouse? I think Lloyd uses too much breath. Not to mention the greenhouse comes with tons of crap in plastic bags, artificial soil and software to remind you to water it.
Read original post here

And finally - He is the fool who suggested that crushing soda cans with a frog shaped thingie might encourage kids to step on frogs. While I think this device is stupid, I think his analysis is even stupider.
Read original post here

Please fire him, he's ruining your site.

Underwater Turbines To Set Record

(Image: Marine Current Turbines)

The New Scientist has an article on a tidal powered rig that should have an output of 1.2 megawatts and be running by year end off the coast of Ireland. The makers are figuring almost 20% of Ireland's electricity could be produced in this manner. Why don't they throw a windmill on top and really get the party started?
Read the article at the New Scientist via Digg

Keeping Your Shower Clean Without Tilex

Many people out there use a spritz of Tilex after showering to keep their bath squeaky clean. While it definitely works, there is a greener and much cheaper way to achieve the same result. Simply wipe down your shower with a towel after use and you will inhibit the growth of mold and mildew. It is that easy.

You will be sparing the water system from whatever chemicals are inside that magical bottle, as well as preventing more plastic from entering the landfill. Even better will be the money you save at the market, making those organic foods all the more affordable.

Walmart Kills Puppies pt. 2

This little guy has a better chance skydiving and living than eating Bestro's Chicken Strips from Walmart.
via Neatorama

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Walmart Kills Puppies

I am totally freaked right now. Dogs are dying because of Bestro's Roasted Chicken Jerky strips purchased at Walmart. I get all of my pet food from Eukanuba, purchased at the vet. All except her snacks. Guess what snacks she eats - Bestro's poison strips! My dog has recently lost control over her bodily functions and apparently Walmart's poison product causes kidney failure. I am not sure what to do to make her better. Can you believe Walmart would want to kill this dog?

Full story at via Consumerist

Recycling Frogs

This little gizmo is supposed to help kids get into recycling. You put a can on the little pad under the frog and then have your child step on it, crushing the can. I have lived in two states that have recycling programs for aluminum cans and neither have requested that I crush the cans before recycling them. So I am a little clueless as to how this activity of crushing the cans has anything to do with recycling. I will say that New York has a great way to get people into recycling, they ticket the heck out of you if you don't do it or are doing it wrong. You 'get into it' pretty quick.

Maybe the video below also encourages kids to recycle?

and finally-
You may find a discussion over a treehugger where some writer is wondering if this frog thingie is encouraging kids to step on frogs. Puh-leeze, the Wacky Wall Walkers phenomenon of years ago encouraged approximately zero people to throw a living octopus into a wall. Oh yeah... and Scooby Doo never encouraged anyone to let their dog make them a sandwich.

Frog thingie link via Plastic Bamboo

More Edible Landscaping

The Oklahoma Food Cooperative has some more info on creating edible landscapes.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Edible Landscape

Marion Owen over at PlanTea has a great guide to getting started on your edible landscape. Chock full of ideas, it is like she managed to get a whole book on the subject into one concise and well written web page. Her site also features organic gardening tips, recipes and Plantea, the non-chemical fertilizer that comes in a sort of tea bag. I make a tea to feed my plants that includes fish emulsion, bat guano and dried blood in equal amounts. This stuff rocks in the garden, but is a little smelly. The Plantea FAQ states that Marion's blend is not only stink-free, but actually smells pretty good. I want to know more, do you?
Check out the edible landscaping guide over at PlanTea

Path To Freedom

I have been looking into edible landscaping and wondering how I can incorporate elements of this concept into my yard. I came across these folks who are doing a really good job of it.

This gem from the treasure chest over at treehuggertv via you tube


I have been thinking about the post below for a while now. I am hoping that since this has become public knowledge, perhaps it will be a good thing. Maybe public pressure will cause the oil companies to work a little bit harder at being green. I also think that Mary Nichols will have to make some decisions against these same companies to prove her dedication to the position she has been honored with.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Same Old Song - WTF?

Global warming watchdog invests in oil, coal, utilities
The new chair of the California Air Resources Board owns stocks in several oil, coal and utility firms, some of which are likely to be affected by rules the agency implements as part of the state's groundbreaking law to fight global warming, The Chronicle has learned.
Mary Nichols' stock holdings include shares in oil giants Chevron Corp., BP and Royal Dutch Shell, as well as a stake in a Bermuda tanker company that transports crude oil, according to economic interest statements she filed this week.

She doesn't have a problem with this, trying to hold on to her money by sticking it in a blind trust. The only ones blinded here are the people of California. It is like Gandhi having some serious cheddar in Raytheon...unbelievable.
Read it and weep over at the

Make Your Own Solar Panels

This incredible tutorial over at instructables teaches you how to take broken solar cells (bought at bargain prices) and reassemble them into working PV panels.
Link via Make Magazine

ps- I am really looking forward to Make's special Halloween issue!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Reduce Landfill With Freecycle

Make sure you check out, this site is pretty amazing. I was turned on to it when a friend asked me to help him carry a big screen TV up to his apartment, one that he got absolutely free. Freecycle keeps stuff out of the landfill, so please give it a shot. Even if no one has posted the item you are looking for, you can add a request to the list. One thing that seems a little weird are the offers of half-eaten food items, personally I would just pass those by, America is full of whack jobs.

Bathroom Humor

You will laugh and be grossed out at the same time, this funny take on a serious subject is a call to action. To take action please visit the American Rivers site and join them in letting your local politicians know just how you feel about this crap.

American Rivers Link via Eco-chick

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Use Plastic Bags To Keep Your Apartment Bug Free

I used to live in Brooklyn and my roommate had a tiny little garbage can that he lined with the plastic bags you get from the market. At first, the little can seemed like a pain in the butt to use, as it didn't hold much and I thought he was being a bit too thrifty (read cheap). I was getting ready to go out and buy a bigger trash can, when he stopped me and told me why he set it up this way. The little can encourages you to toss your trash more frequently and he said, "If there is nothing for the critters to eat in your apartment, the critters will go elsewhere." And they did, our building had lots of critter problems, but they never hung out in our apartment. While the downside of this is taking plastic bags from the market, you will not be buying the larger kitchen bags, so maybe it balances out. You will also not have to keep a supply of poisonous bug killer around.

Waste Not, Want Not

Muhammed Saleem puts together this analysis of AT&T's ridiculous iphone bills. Yesterday on the news there was a story about a 300 page phone bill that was so big it had to be delivered in a box. That's a load of dead trees, the Ents are going to be pissed.
AT&T goes on a rampage: will destroy 74,535 trees to make iphone service bills

While the exact number is yet to be determined, current consensus puts the number of iphones sold at 270,000 for the first day and a half of sales, and expectations at around 10 million devices to be sold by the end of 2008. if during this time at&t does not get its act together and stop sending out bills that are averaging 50 pages in length, they’re going to have a lot more than just unsatisfied customers after them.

Before we go on, let’s look at some quick paper facts (pdf):

A cord of wood is approximately 8 feet wide, 4 feet deep, and 4 feet high. A cord of air-dried, dense hardwood (oak, hickory, etc.) weighs roughly 2 tons, about 15-20 percent of which is water. It has been estimated that one cord of this wood will yield one of these approximate quantities of products:

• 1,000-2,000 pounds of paper (depending on the process)
• 942 100-page, hard-cover books
• 61,370 No. 10 business envelopes
• 4,384,000 commemorative-sized postage stamps
• 460,000 personal checks
• 1,200 copies of National Geographic
• 2,700 copies of an average daily newspaper

That said, with 10 million iphones expected to be sold by the end of 2008, that means 10 million at&t customers that can expect to get 50-page bills, 12 times a year, totaling 6 billion sheets of paper wasted (at around 80,500 sheets of paper per tree, this would mean around 74,535 trees) because of at&t’s stupidity. of course sales aren’t going to stop there so it’s up to us to stop at&t from continuing this madness.

Post copied from

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Farm Of The Future

Polyface Farms, the farm of many faces is the farm of the future. Forget hydroponics and genetically modified plantings, these people are getting it right. The Polyface farm produces around $3000.00 dollars worth of value per acre, as opposed to a regular farm's $150.00 per acre, using some of the most sustainable techniques around.

Disregarding conventional wisdom, the Salatins planted trees, built huge compost piles, dug ponds, moved cows daily with portable electric fencing, and invented portable sheltering systems to produce all their animals on perennial prairie polycultures.

Today the farm arguably represents America’s premier non-industrial food production oasis. Believing that the Creator’s design is still the best pattern for the biological world, the Salatin family invites like-minded folks to join in the farm’s mission: to develop emotionally, economically, environmentally enhancing agricultural enterprises and facilitate their duplication throughout the world.

Old MacDonald has nothing on the Salatins.
Visit Polyface Farms (tours available)

Bird Sanctuary

Now this is a birdhouse.
Read all about it on Burbia via digg

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Consumer Reports Guide To Buying Green Power

Buying power generated from windmills, solar and other green sources significantly reduces the amount of carbon dioxide you'll be responsible for adding to the environment. Consumer Reports has put together a nice guide to buying green electricity, helping you to understand the terminology used, the costs involved and the benefits of going green.
Read all about it on Consumer Reports

Remove CD Scratches With A Banana

Forget about using solvents like acetone to clear up cd scratches.

How To Remove CD Scratches With A Banana

Bonus Points: You get to eat the rest of the banana.
Link via Neatorama

Monday, August 13, 2007

Monday Magic - Buzz In The Air

Special thanks to Eco-Runner for shouting me out. I have bad knees, so I'll be Eco-walking, but I'm in it to win it.

Another one of my tips is featured today over at The Daily Green. Keep an eye on this site kids, their 'One Easy Thing' tips are making it pretty easy to save the planet.

I'm Loving It...Forever

The 'Bionic Burger' must be seen to be believed.

This is the true story of a man who has been collecting McDonalds' hamburgers for 18 years. The weird part is that they haven't decayed one bit in those 18 years. He even gets into just what their secret is, press play now!

Breaking Wind

There are many communities across the country that have reacted negatively to the idea of windmills 'blighting' their landscape. Why people see it that way is beyond me, they should be seeing them as a monument to a long lasting future, the same future they usually want to protect for their children's sake. When you see a windmill, you should get the same feeling in your chest as a person lost in the desert would have upon finding an oasis. It is a sign of LIFE.

So I have been thinking of ways to minimize their visual impact on the landscape and a couple of ideas come to mind:

1. I keep seeing articles on 'invisibility suits' all over the web. These suits use some sort of fiber optic technology to bring the image behind the suit to an array of miniature monitors on the front of the suit. This would create see-thru windmills that people would probably not even notice. I am not sure if this technology actually works yet, but it does show promise.

2. Painting the windmills would probably go a long way toward camouflaging them from public view. In the Nantucket Sound case below, simply painting the windmills the average color of a summer sky would probably make them completely invisible, as they are miles offshore and already difficult to see. Maybe it is that bright white color that has people seeing red.

3. For mountainous areas perhaps we can disguise them as trees, much in the same way many cellphone masts in California are disguised as palm trees. Putting a large green plastic cage over the blade area and painting the 'trunk' brown would probably make these pretty hard to spot on a tree covered mountain. As a side bonus, the cage would help prevent bird injuries from the windmill blades. If some illustrator out there wants to comp idea this up, I'll give you a top-notch shout out.

4. Involving artists in the process of designing windmills would make them into unique works of art. Instead of seeing 'crappy windmills' ruining the view, people would be excited to point out the original Christo (or other artist) they can see from their front porch.

5. Get professional magicians involved in designing windmills. An important part of the magician's toolkit includes misdirection and camouflage. You may have heard stories about how magician Jasper Maskelyne contributed to the war effort in WWII, camouflaging everything from tanks to entire islands for his beloved England. If not, you can find a primer here. Chriss Angel recently did a stunt where he levitated above a Las Vegas casino. If he can convince people that this was an act of unassisted levitation, he could probably come up with some cool ways to make you NOT notice windmills.

See what I'm saying?

Funny How Stupid We Are

Check out this hilarious Daily Show clip about the controversy surrounding a Nantucket Sound windmills at sea project. This perfectly demonstrates what I believe Mayor Bloomberg referred to as 'the not at my summer home mentality'.

Daily Show video via earth2tech

earth2tech is the latest addition to Om Malik's publishing empire. The founder of the popular tech site Giga Om finds the edge where technology and green thinking brush up against each other and serves it up daily with his newest offering.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Take The Day Off

It is a beautiful day out there, I'm taking the rest of the day off and heading for the beach. There is nothing like the smell of the ocean breeze. You should try to get out as well. What is the point of saving the environment if you don't go out and enjoy it?

Bonus Points: Turning off your computer for a bit will conserve energy!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hey Kids, Let's Make Cool Stuff From Junk Today

I was out for a walk today and ran into my friend Jack. He was out with the kids trying to keep them occupied. I think this site full of neato projects could have really helped him out. I mention it here on Green Steam because many of the projects over at are made from recycled materials. This guy could put Santa out of business.

Make the cool helicopter above with a little help from Dad Can Do

Bum-Bum-Bumble Bee

This morning when I got up, I decided to have my morning coffee in the backyard. For the first time this year I saw a honey bee feeding on the flowers. This gives me hope because last year I didn't see any.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Plastic Bagged - Part Deux

Salon covers the rather important issue of plastic bags. I have said before that NOT providing plastic bags is not a barrier to profit making, as Costco so elegantly proves. Salon brings up the extremely important notion that every plastic bag you have ever used is still around and probably will be long after you die. I personally dig it when the supermarket kids look at me like I'm some sort of trail blazer when I tell them I don't need a bag.
Check it out on Salon

And I Thought My Freeplay Was Badass

Check out the Eco Media wind-up mp3 player - 'nuff said!
Link via BoingBoing

Green Washing Machine Info

I have been getting ready to buy a new washer/dryer set and have been doing tons of research on the matter. The new front-loader types appeal to me because they will save me a bundle on my outrageous water and sewage bills while helping out the environment. It is a total win-win situation.

The front-loaders are a little low to the ground and for an extra few hundred bucks you can get these platforms that raise them up a bit. A friend warned me about using these platforms, as they will require a change in plumbing. I am going to save hundreds of dollars and use my existing connections, keeping the machines on the floor. Who would have thought bending down could be so economical?

Update: Not using the bases at all is that much more stuff that won't end up in a landfill some day.

My grandma used a washboard for most of her life, sometimes I wish I had her level of commitment.

ecogeek Weighs In

ecogeek weighs in on the topic of walking is worse than driving. Just as I suspected, the concept is fatally flawed.

from ecogeek-

'Someone took the results of a scientific study on how inefficient our food production system is, did some really bad math, and then found themselves a glorious headline that would send shock waves throughout the blogosphere. You could call it sensationalism...I just call it evil.'

I am not so up on the math part and thank them for pointing this out. What I thought were some well-argued points by the original author, turn out to be pure junk science.

Read ecogeek's post on the matter
My post on the issue can be found here

Check Out The Daily Green

Friends, Romans, Countrymen-
The Daily Green is featuring my longer lasting soap tip today in their 'One Easy Thing - Featured Community Tips' area today.
So, get over there, read my tip again and while you're at it, check out the rest of their awesome site.

The Daily Green

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Garden Of Eden

This and much more over at Spare Room

Tornado TV

My father-in-law appears in the You Tube video below.

Make Your Own Rain Barrels

How cool is this?
The City of Bremerton, Washington has a guide to making your own rain barrels. Not as pretty as the column style below, but DIY has its own beauty, no?
Link via MAKE magazine
The city guide also has some nifty facts about using rain barrels.

Core 77's Water Saving Designs

My toilet recently decided to break, the seal got funky and the water just ran continually, so I decided to turn the water off until I fixed it. Well I never got around to fixing it, but I kept using it. Each day when I am getting in the shower, I use a bucket to collect the water that usually goes down the drain while I am getting the temperature just right. I then use this water to 'flush' the toilet once per day. This is either really green or really insane - I haven't decided yet. Either way I am using a lot less water than usual.

Hint- Keeping the lid closed minimizes stinkiness

Go to Core77's site to see lots of good water saving ideas


Sitting in a cafe in New Hope, PA I overheard a bunch of teenagers making fun of the last kid in town who lives on a farm. This made me sad because when I first started to visit this picturesque town many years ago, the roads were lined with farms. Little by little, the farms were sold to housing developers, who built clusters of mcMansions on them. Where will our locally grown food come from if there no place left to locally grow it?

The Brooklyn Tornado and Global Warming

So Brooklyn gets hit by a tornado and some people are claiming it has something to with global warming. Maybe, maybe not, I am no scientist. All I do know is that Staten Island (right next to Brooklyn) was hit with a twister in 1995 and no one blamed that on global warming - sometimes stuff just happens.

Why are we not asking if it had something to do with all the weather modification going on? Weather Modification used to be in the hard-to-believe realm of the wacky fringe, but now China readily admits to creating rain and the History Channel has been talking about how we 'moved' Katrina. Maybe some kind of 'Butterfly Effect' is going on? ...maybe?

Confessions Of A Bottled Water User

That's right, I am a huge consumer of bottled water - Poland Springs to be exact. I have tried to quit the habit many times to no avail. Something is very wrong with the water where I live, I think it is contaminated. I tried to drink it, really, I even put a filter on the sink to ensure it was nice and clean, but that didn't do much of anything for the poison that comes out of the tap. I drink a large amount of water every day and when drinking from the tap, I found myself inexplicably tired all of the time. My symptoms seemed very similar to people's descriptions of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At first I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me and then I started drinking bottled water. In a few days I felt fine and have never looked back.

We have sold off our water systems to private corporations and I wonder if we are putting profits above maintaining the infrastructure. Why is this never addressed when people rail against bottled water?

Update: I mentioned this to a neighbor and he tells me 'They' tell you not to drink the water.

Nifty Rain Barrel

The ever wonderful treehugger is featuring a pretty cool looking rainwater harvester today.

We have been talking about harvesting rainwater to tend our upcoming garden and this really inspires me.
What types of rainwater harvesters are you people out there using, how nice do they look and how well are they working?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

More Soap Saving Goodness

Over at the Consumerist blog we found an awesome tip for squeezing an extra load of laundry out of your detergent bottle.

"By punching a hole in the bottom corner of the container, Mark is able to extract enough detergent to clean a small or medium load of clothes."

This and more money saving tips over at The Consumerist

Terrible Thought Of The Day -Dolphin Species Extinct

The Yangtze River dolphin has been declared extinct.

Read all about it at Channel 4

Great Idea Of The Day - Eco Running

Eco Running is the wonderfully simple practice of taking a plastic bag with you as you go for your morning run, picking up any trash you find along the way. We here at Greensteam are hoping this trend is bigger than skinny jeans, Bathing Ape and TV reality shows combined.

Run over to the Eco Running site now!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ungenetically Modified Winners

The Monsanto cafeteria will no longer be serving any foods with genetically modified ingredients. Hooray for the employees of Monsanto, now how about the rest of the world?
Information courtesy of the Organic Consumers Association

Genetically Modified Losers


We cannot let one corporation have control over the food supply, let alone allow them to start rocking that 'terminator' gene.
Read all about it here.

Cooler Houses

Here is a little tip from my friend Johnny T-

Make sure you have venting fans in your attic, the temperature controlled type being the best. Summer temperatures in an attic can get up to 220 degrees and the fans can bring that temperature down to around 100 degrees. The cold air your air conditioner produces is being heated by the hot ceiling, making your AC much less efficient. So cool that ceiling down and be like Fonzie.

Walking to the shops ‘damages planet more than going by car’

This is the headline of an article at Times Online. While the author does a pretty good job of making a point, this seems totally crazy. Is the author counting the energy used to make the oil drilling equipment, the energy expended by humans to get that oil out of the ground, the health benefits of walking to the shops and the energy expended in cleaning up oil spills in these numbers?

For example, a friend of mine drives an oil truck for EXXON and he told me of a gas station disaster where a driver burst a tank by putting too much gas in it, causing over 1 million dollars in environmental damage. How often does this happen? How can this be better than walking?

See you later, I am going out for a walk:)

read the article at Times Online

Cows Get Off Drugs

This is good news -

Kroger Milk Will Go rbST Free By Early 2008

"Supermarket giant Kroger, with locations in the Southeast and Midwest, is in the process of pulling milk produced with the artificial growth hormone rbST (also known as rbGH) from its store shelves by February 2008...."

Read the whole article on The Daily Green

Monday, August 6, 2007

Monday Magic - Longer Lasting Soap

During the Great Depression and the war that followed it, soap was hard to come by. People came up with all sorts of tricks to stretch what little they had. My grandmother used to open the box of soap on one end and allow the bar to 'dry out' for a few weeks before using it. This removes the excess moisture content from the soap and makes the bar last longer. I haven't performed any scientific experiments to see if this is true, but from my personal observations I believe it to be.

So get going, open those boxes and use less soap.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Frankenforests: GE Trees Threaten Ecosystem Collapse

Is this really necessary?
I always thought the 'old-fashioned' trees worked pretty good.

Why doesn't someone cross the oil genes from an olive with the size genes from a watermelon and solve the energy crisis? I would even think these plants could be grown in the 'night soils' since nobody would be eating them.

Free Money For Green Thinkers

Now that I have your attention - go check out this awesome site on how to reduce your electricity use and put that money in your pocket!
Save Electricity

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Like Mike

Reducing emissions is a great idea and I am sorry that Mayor Bloomberg's attempts have been thwarted. On the other hand there are reports that the mayor himself has not one, but two cars idling outside his residence ready to whisk him to the subway station of his choice. C'mon Mike - We're All In This Together!

ps- When I used Blogger's spellcheck - Bloomberg popped up and the check thought I should replace it with Limburger.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Not Until

I am looking at the ridiculous pile of phone books I receive every year and it bugs me. Why in the world do we need 2 major producers of phone books? The two major phone books along with all those little local guide phone books - sheesh! That is a lot of wasted paper. In this digital age I am unsure why most of us even need one phonebook.
Why is the phone book not an opt-in experience?
Why are we letting the easy to fix things like this slip by while people are trying to do away with cheeseburgers?


The theme I am using happens to be by Jeffrey Zeldman - He is the guy that taught me the abc's of html many years ago. Turns out he also married an old co-worker of mine. Small World.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Plastic Bagged

I can't figure out why we haven't figured out this plastic bag thing. Costco does not provide any bags at all and they seem to do plenty of business. Aldi's is another small supermarket in my area that does not automatically give you bags and they too don't seem to have any problems selling their wares. People bring their own 'recycled' plastic bags, canvas bags or find a 'second life' for an old cardboard box. Just stop it with the plastic bags and trust that people will figure out how to get their groceries home...really...they'll see.

p.s. I am sick and tired of finding plastic bags flying like flags from the tops of the trees in my yard!

Planned Obsolescence

Have you ever marvelled at how Grandma's ancient sewing machine is still running smoothly or seen a power tool from long ago in someone's garage that is still going like the Energizer Bunny?

If you have, you have probably also wondered why many of the things you buy don't seem to last nearly as long. This may be due to the fact that many manufacturers have realized that making products that last 'forever' is not as profitable as making things that break down after a specified period of time. This concept is commonly known as 'planned obsolescence'.

This business practice is filling our landfills with an insane amout of junk that doesn't need to be there. While it is great that we are asking if our purchases are derived from safe and renewable sources, it may be more important to be asking about how long these purchases will last. Landfill, whether it is 'green' or not, is still landfill.

One seemingly insane example of this at a time where we have fully realized out impact on the environment would be HP printers that are programmed to stop working after a certain number of pages have been printed out. You can read more about this on the Consumerist website thanks to a whistle blower. This is quite frightening -
"...the imaging drum/image transfer assembly will stop the printer from working if you go over the page count."

This factor should be considered when rating consumer products for their 'greenness' and by not purchasing things made with this concept in mind we can change the way the corporate world does business for the better.