Grateful to the LinkedIn Eco-Enabler post today.

Melaleuca and bamboo growth, conservation and sustainability

Don’t mess with Mother Nature … comments CSea

Posted by Green Life Staff

Only someone living in a cave or under a rock will not be able to observe the climate change happening now.  We have unusual weather patterns where the winter season is colder and the summer season is hotter, not to mention that the seasons now overlap more than ever.  As many will say, you can smell it in the air, see it on the ground and feel it in your bones.

So what is a gardener to do when gardening heavily depends on the climate?  Well, let’s adapt to the changes, of course!  This is what our forefathers did before us and we can certainly do it again.

Select Native Plants

With globalization, we have experienced non-native plants being cultivated in many areas of the world.  In many ways, this is a good move considering that biodiversity is a desirable quality in our ecosystems.

The problem, however, begins when the non-native species begin to ruin the natural ecology of the area.  This is possible when the new species carry new diseases to which the local plants have no prior immunity as well as when the non-native plants become invasive.

With that being the case, we should consider reverting to native plants.  This way, you can bring back the natural ecosystem where the plants have been able to adapt to the local conditions.  Plus, you need not worry about feeding water-hungry plants in an area known for being dry and vice-versa.

Rein in Your Lawn

In the first place, do you really need a lawn?  Maybe not especially when you consider the negative impact lawns exert on the environment – the pesticides and fertilizers used on lawns can seep toxic chemicals into the soil while the lawnmowers emit noxious fumes into the air.

Instead, you should put your front yard to good use by planting fruits and vegetables in it. Not only will you be able to help the environment with organic gardening but you will also benefit in terms of good health from the organic foods and the exercise.

Mulch Like There Is No Tomorrow

And speaking of organic gardening, you should mulch as much as possible.  This accomplishes two things:  First, it lessens the trash thrown into the landfills as mulch comes from compost that, in turn, is made of kitchen and garden wastes.  Second, mulch acts as protective barrier against water loss and pests, thus, lessening the need for water and toxic chemicals, respectively.

Help the Animals

It is not only the human species that will be affected by climate change.  We must look after the animals of the Earth especially those involved in food production.  We are talking of everything from little insects like bees and butterflies to big animals like cows and fishes.

While you are it, you should also make sure that you do your part in conserving the other animals of the world.  We have hard choices to make and we have no better time than now to start making them.

Related posts:

  1. What to Grow, Part 2
  2. Creating a Backyard Habitat
  3. 5 Tips to Take Care of Pets and Environment
  4. Victory Gardens – How To Start A Community Garden
  5. What to Grow, Part 1
  6. Autumn Leaves: Healthy Alternatives to Burning Fallen Leaves

More on your ‘cookprint’.

These healthy eco-friendly kitchen gadgets and appliances will save energy.

By Ronnie Citron-Fink
Rhinebeck, NY, USA | Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:30 AM ET


Eco-Friendly Kitchens | Energy Efficiency | Green Appliances | Green Home | Green Your Electricity | Home Energy Use

Would you like to cut your electric bill every month? If you’re like me, you have drawers and kitchen cabinets full of gadgets and small appliances. In an effort to pare down and conserve energy, resources and cash, which of these energy sucking kitchen wonders should you ditch (donate away) and which should stay?

WATCH VIDEO: Emeril’s Vermont Adventures

First, let’s consider at the materials and resources that use energy to prepare a meal. While the term “cookprint” is often used to remind us to eat more plant-based, locally grown and sustainable food, it also represents which appliances and gadgets to cook with. Consumer Reports chose “cookprint” as a top buzzword to describe the energy needed to prepare the food we eat.

“That energy use encompasses the appliances and techniques used to prepare and store food, though the management of leftovers and food waste also factors in–you lower your cookprint by composting rather than tossing scraps into the trash.”

Ditch These Kitchen Appliances and Gadgets

1. Coffee Grinder
OK, it’s early in the morning and it’s awfully easy to plug in the coffee grinder to pulverize fresh beans. Just think how much faster you’ll wake up if you have to do it yourself. Bodum makes preparing and drinking coffee a stylish experience. Check out their hand-crank coffee-grinding beauty.

2. Can Opener
Jaymi has written about electric can openers before and she makes the important point that, “Electric can openers are handy but they don’t save time or effort when compared to a quality manual can opener.” Classic swing-away can openers get the job done.

3. Electric Knife
My mom’s generation swears that the electric knife must come out when the Thanksgiving turkey is ready to curve. But really, why use an electric one when a nice sharp knife can do the same job? Try a hand-held knife sharpener and a good knife.

4. Juicer
Are you surprised to find an electric juicer on the list? This is an easy switch that won’t screw up your healthy juice regimen. Hand-held juicers require a little muscle, but they produce big energy savings. Here are some hand-held juicers to choose from.

5. Electric Mixer and Stick Blender
An electric stick immersion blender has a single mixer attachment, so to make something like whipping cream, a hand-held mixer is your best bet. The old fashioned, quiet hand mixer works like a dream. Often you can find these in antique stores with wooden handles.

Keep These Appliances and Gadgets in Your Kitchen

1. Rice Cookers
Although rice cookers use electricity, they are an eco-friendly alternative to firing up your stove to make rice. Finding a rice cooker with a stainless steel–not “non-stick”–insert is the healthiest choice, because most “non-stick” pots are made with Teflon or aluminum. Teflon contains PBDE, a prevalent contaminant known to cause to the human body and the environment. Here are a bunch of rice cookers with stainless steel inserts.

2. Countertop Grills
These grills are inexpensive and an energy-saving solution to turning on a stove when you want to just make, say, a grilled cheese sandwich. Be aware that George Foreman and similar grills can be coated with Teflon. What’s an eco-cook to do? Get a stainless steel countertop grill.

3. Waffle Irons
The same advice applies for waffle irons as grill pans, especially if you eat waffles often. We have an old, old cast iron waffle iron that makes the best waffles. If you can’t score one of those, I would suggest finding a secondhand waffle iron with cast iron inserts.

4. Hand-Crank Blender
Again, the older “historical technology,” does a fine job. TreeHugger posted on a hand crank travel mixer, and here are some other crank blenders.

5. Mortar and Pestle
A mortar and pestle can be a manual food processor. It’s been used for centuries to make everything from ground spices to mayonnaise. The mortar and pestle’s best feature: It will never require replacement parts.
Are you seeing a trend here? The oldies-but-goodies are making a strong comeback. And making these small changes can significantly lower your cookprint.

More on your ‘cookprint’.

These healthy eco-friendly kitchen gadgets and appliances will save energy.

by Christine Lepisto, Berlin on 01.17.10

Wreckfish at Lost City thermal vents  photo
Image: D. Kelley of University of Washington, IFE, URI‑IAO, UW, Lost City science party, NOAA

Lost City of Atlantis
The Lost City is so named because it juts from an Atlantic undersea mountain named Atlantis and was coincidentally discovered by the scientific expedition aboard the research vessel Atlantis. Scientists who noticed the white columns growing 65 to 200 feet up from the ocean floor were soon credited with finding a completely new type of hot spring environment. Previously, the only hot springs known derived their heat from the hot magma below the earth’s crust.

But the Lost City represents a remarkable chemical process that may now be providing the best empirical evidence for the widely believed theory that when conditions change, relatively rare indigenous species may quickly take over and dominate a biosphere at the expense of previously successful species.

The Remarkable Chemistry of Life
The Lost City Hydrothermal Field benefits from a fantastic chemistry that some scientists believe may point to the origin of life on earth. The mere contact of seawater with the underlying rock suffices to drive a series of processes that provide three essential criteria for a microbial Garden of Eden:

  1. It is a unique type of rock, peridotite, which is normally found only much deeper in the earth, but which juts up to the mantel in the Atlantic massif. Peridotite reacts with seawater, generating heat: ingredient number one for the success of life. Even more important, the heat raises the surrounding waters to only moderate temperatures (around 200°F), as opposed to the scorching hot waters vented from magma-heated springs.
  2. The reaction results in a reduced form of the metal iron, which can use the power of chemical reduction to turn carbon in the nearby rock into hydrocarbons. These carbon and hydrogen chains are the raw material for cell walls and the starting material for the creation of amino acids, the alphabet of proteins.
  3. Finally, the reaction leaves behind a highly alkaline warm solution, between pH 9 and 11, which when vented precipitates carbonate from the seawater, building white carbonate limestone-like “chimneys” that can grow to great heights. The tallest chimney, named Poseidon, is 18 stories tall.

Thus, a beautiful white and cream domicile grows where, even if life did not originate from the unique chemical soup at the hydrothermal vents, microbes find themselves perfectly at home. It is this 30,000 year old home-sweet-home that has yielded the proof of the ‘rare biosphere’ hypothesis.

Winning the Genetic Race
Invasive species hint at what is possible in evolution’s race. Benefiting from a lack of competition or predation, invasive species are increasingly proliferating in environments where they are quite unwelcome. Asian carp in the Mississippi and African rock pythons eating goats in Florida come to mind.

But the ‘rare biosphere’ model being tested in the undersea Lost City has a different premise: an environment is dominated by the successful species, but important genetic material is preserved in rare members of the biosphere — genetic memory that may be exactly what is needed to win the survival race if conditions change.

Scientists initially thought that traces of odd DNA found when analyzing microbial communities were simply artifacts of the DNA sequencing process. But the evolution of DNA sequencing techniques has now made it clear that a large number of microbes exist that are represented only by rare, remaining members of their type. What are so many almost-extinct microbes doing hanging about in otherwise thriving communities?

That is the question that authors of a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences believe they have answered. Led by William Brazelton, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington, the team showed that microbes that are quite rare in some vents are the dominant population in other vents. The “winning genes” depend on the temperature and other conditions that change over time as the vents age and grow. The authors conclude:

The rare biosphere of the Lost City microbial community represents a large repository of genetic memory created during a long history of past environmental changes. The rare organisms were able to rapidly exploit the new niches as they arose because they had been previously selected for the same conditions in the past.

Genetic Memories of Warmer Climes
There is a branch of denialism in the face of global warming studies that responds by pointing out that even if global warming is occurring, and even if it is anthropogenic (caused by man), it doesn’t matter. The earth will survive, life will go on; it always does. Studies like this confirm the robustness of life in the face of inevitable change. But it sure would be nice if some of the fun species could stick around: like dogs and dolphins, toads and tigers, hummingbirds and humans. How will the genetic memory locked in the cells of all species steer the future of life as conditions change? Which are the rare species among us that will dominate the world after warming?

More on Genetic Diversity:
TreeHugger Forums: “2010- International Year of Biodiversity”
What Happens to Cold Blooded Animals in a Warming World (Slideshow)
The World’s Most Lovable Invasive Species

Being a member of the NRDC for years and signing the petitions I believe in and support; I’m sharing one very near and dear to my heart.  If you care about t preventing or slowing polar bears extinction, please read on.

Here is the correspondence I just received and strongly encourage you to take just a couple minutes to sign the petition.  You do not have to donate money.  Congress and especially President Obama do listen to the NRDC.


After eight years of suffering under the Bush Administration’s “polluters-first” policies, the polar bear is now hurtling headlong toward extinction.

It’s up to the Obama Administration to slam on the brakes, put Bush’s dangerous policies in reverse, and give the green light to full-fledged endangered species protection for the polar bear.

But that won’t happen unless millions of Americans speak out now: 

Why? Because President Obama’s Interior Department will be under tremendous pressure from the oil lobby to maintain the Bush policy that puts oil development first and polar bears dead last.
We must make our voices heard if we are to persuade Interior Secretary Salazar to cancel Bush’s “polar bears be damned” approach.
Let the new Interior Secretary know you care deeply about saving the polar bear:
Remind him that the American people expect our government agencies to protect our country’s wildlife — not sacrifice them for corporate profits.
Together, we can reverse eight years of relentless attacks on the polar bear — and finally give these magnificent Arctic creatures a fighting chance at survival.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Senior Attorney

Natural Resources Defense Council

We need at least one million petitions to put the polar bear on the new administration’s radar screen, so rally everyone you know to speak out and say, “I Care More about the Polar Bear than Big Oil’s Profits.”

And only two months ago, Bush officials weakened the Endangered Species Act so badly that it no longer protects polar bears against the two deadliest threats they face: oil development and global warming.

But Interior Secretary Salazar is unlikely to defy Big Oil — unless we mobilize a nationwide outcry that can’t be ignored.

That’s why it’s so important that you send your own Citizen Petition right now and help NRDC ratchet up this next critical phase of our Polar Bear S.O.S. campaign:

The stakes could not be higher. In the last year alone, the Bush Administration auctioned off a vast expanse of Alaska’s Chukchi Sea to Shell and other oil giants — exposing half of America’s polar bears to potential drilling and lethal oil spills.