On September 22, 2014 some Latvians celebrated World Car-Free Day by building car-size cages around their bikes to make the point that cars take up lots more room on the roads, and that each cyclist helps reduce traffic by exactly that much. Space is more of an issue in Europe, and these caged bikes at the first sight looks like a “protection.” It takes several cognitive steps to connect bike+cage=car/replace car with bike = fewer traffic jams. Overall it was a powerful statement about the vulnerability of cyclists on roads, and a statement that bikes are vehicles too.

The Bamboo Bike Project

The Bamboo Bike Project is a project by Scientists and Engineers at The Earth Institute, Columbia University, and aims to examine the feasibility of implementing bicycles made of bamboo as a sustainable form of transportation in Africa. 

Bamboo bicycles are a really interesting (and solarpunk) concept. I can’t find much about this particular project from more recently than 2011 or so, though there are a few manufacturers producing bamboo-frame bicycles - Bamboobee in Singapore, BambooBikesLimited in Ghana, and Calfee Design in the USA.

6 (More) Ethical Alternatives to Victoria’s Secret
Victoria’s Secret causes me a not insignificant amount of anxiety, as both a lingerie retailer and just generally as a woman who wears bras. Victoria's Secret F

“But even if you don’t have a problem with the Victoria’s Secret version of heteronormative gender and sexuality, there’s another pretty big ethical roadblock, which is: their lack of ethics. Entirely.”

Nutritious powder is made from freeze-dried expiring fruit

Despite record highs in world food production, the number of people going hungry globally continues to rise. More than 40 percent of fruits are thrown away — unattractive or spoiled items are immediately disposed of by groceries and supermarkets as they are deemed unsellable. We recently wrote about the French supermarket Intermarche’s product line — Les Fruits & Légumes Moches — which is produced entirely from fruit and veg deemed too ugly to sell. Now, FoPo food powder is another ingenious solution created by students at Lund University in Sweden, who plan to freeze-dry fruit immediately before it expires, creating a nutritious food product from what would otherwise have been waste, and increasing its shelf-life from two weeks to two years. READ MORE…

Decentralized energy: Nailing the Microgrid

Designing the Internet of Energy


When Nikola Tesla developed our current electrical system in the beginning of the 20th century, he meant for it to be an intermediate state between an unelectrified and a fully electrified world where energy would be shared freely. Due to market forces and perhaps his overestimation of human capacities, his vision of free, sustainable, energy for everyone was never fully realized.

Ever since we have been stuck with the prototype for an electrical system from the 1920’s, requiring a fully centralized top-to-bottom design and being increasingly maladjusted to today’s electrical generation, transport, storage and consumption requirements. In Tesla’s time AC (alternating current) was the only way of converting electric potential from high to low voltages and vice versa, allowing for long distance transportation of energy. Moreover, as cheap abundant fossil resources where available, storage and efficiency requirements where minimal.

Nowadays, the scarcity of fossil fuels (and severe damage to the environment) make sustainable generation and the storage of their intermittent production an absolute necessity. As such, it seems that all of the significant options for sustainable energy production (wind, PV, CSP, tidal) represent essentially DC (Direct Current) sources. The same is true for storage solutions (though some production and storage solutions produce AC, this is not of a fixed frequency and requires prior DC conversion regardless). Moreover, virtually all modern household and office appliances are essentially DC devices, requiring rectifiers and DC-DC voltage conversion for each and every device.

With the current advancement of fast, reliable, cheap and efficient switching electronics (like IGBT’s and power MOSFET’s) together with widely available DSP’s and microprocessors, the conversion of DC voltages has become at least as efficient as AC-DC or AC-AC voltage conversion, but requires less and cheaper parts. As both generation, storage, production and transport are more efficient using DC, the overall system efficiency can be significantly increased.

At the same time, a fully integrated DC grid would greatly simplify the implementation and design of smart microgrids as no power factors, resonances or induction losses need to be taken into account. With DC technology, units of production, storage and consumption can be seamlessly connected in an ad-hoc fashion in self-sufficient microgrids while increasing resilience and reliability.

In addition, a DC grid would be fully bidirectional and thus ‘smart’ from the very start, requiring only minimal management, creating the potential for small communities to manage their own sustainable electrical supply. As the current centralized AC grid architecture is fundamentally limited in the degree to which (intermittent) microgeneration can participate, moving to a full DC grid provides a fast way forward to fully renewable energy production.

In this context, we see the free spread of technology and knowledge as key factors to allow both for wealthier economies to reduce their footprint at a pace in line with environmental requirements as well as to allow developing economies to increase their standard of living with a minimal impact on the environment. Because of this, the software, hardware and overall system design and other documentation available to the general public for use, modification and re-distribution.

Nikola Tesla aimed for a globally coordinated, integrated, energy grid but failed tragically. Instead, we count on human autonomy and decentralized collaboration to allow groups of people to gradually break away from traditional AC systems by building their own, interconnected microgrids. The idea is to learn by doing, building an Internet of Energy and develop, document and refine the technology one community at a time, while retaining full interoperability with legacy AC systems, demonstrating a path for an accelerated transition to decentralized, sustainable energy.

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10 ways you can help earth everyday - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

1. Turn off the lights

Use less electricity.

Coal and natural gas are the most common sources of energy that gets turned into electricity. The burning of these substances is a major factor in world air pollution. Reducing your reliance on electricity is a great way to play a part in saving the planet.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Use solar power for home and water heating.
  • Shut off electrical equipment in the evening when you leave work.
  • If you have central air conditioning, do not close vents in unused rooms.
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120.
  • Turn down or shut off your water heater when you will be away for extended periods.
  • Turn off unneeded lights even when leaving a room for a short time.
  • Set your refrigerator temperature at 36 to 38 and your freezer at 0 to 5 .
  • When using an oven, minimize door opening while it is in use; it reduces oven temperature by 25 to 30 every time you open the door.
  • Clean the lint filter in your dryer after every load so that it uses less energy.
  • Wash clothes with warm or cold water instead of hot.
  • Turn off lights, computers and other appliances when not in use.
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs to save money and energy.
  • Plant trees to shade your home.
  • Replace old windows with energy efficient ones.
  • Keep your thermostat higher in summer and lower in winter when you are away.
  • Insulate your home as best as you can.

Drive and fly less often.

Cars, trucks, planes and other vehicles emissions are another big source of air pollution that has led to global warming. The manufacture of the vehicles, the gas needed to run them, the chemicals they burn, and the production of roads all play a part. If you can drive and fly less often, you’ll be doing a lot to help save the planet.

  • Walk or ride your bike instead of driving, whenever possible. Find bike routes in your town and use them!
  • Join a carpool or vanpool to get to work if biking or walking isn’t an option.
  • Report smoking vehicles to your local air agency.
  • Maintain your vehicle properly. Purchase radial tires and keep them properly inflated for your vehicle. Paint with brushes or rollers instead of using spray paints to minimize harmful emissions.

2. Recycle

Look for Recycling guides just like this one

Recycling helps to conserve raw materials and often helps to save on additional energy that manufacturers would otherwise use in producing new products from scratch. Recycling also reduces the amount of material going into landfills, which is a big bonus given that many countries are fast running out of space for landfill. In addition, recycling can lessen pollution involved in waste disposal and reducing the consumption of raw materials helps to conserve our natural resources.

Unfortunately, not everyone feels motivated to recycle and indeed, it can sometimes seem like a complex undertaking. Yet, coupled with understanding the benefits, once you know how to recycle, you’ll realize it’s not that hard and it soon becomes second habit. Start by making the commitment to recycling in your household and work your way right through to persuading others of its benefits too.

Know what can and cannot be recycled.

Many items are recyclable and over time, more items are added to the list of what can be recycled. Although recycling is dependent on your local collection point’s capacity and facilities, as a general rule, most of the following items are recyclable but you do need to read the policies relevant in your area:

  • Glass drinking bottles (leave the lids off)
  • Milk cartons and other cartons
  • Paper, including magazines, newspapers, waste office paper and Contact books (Contact books can have a special collection time in some places); and don’t forget your greeting cards and cereal boxes
  • Aluminum drink cans; in some places foil trays and foil wrap can be collected, but not all recyclers will collect these latter items
  • Steel food cans (also known as “tins” in some places), paint tins, aerosol containers (minus lids and note not all places accept these), coffee tins, bottle tops and jar lids––how do you know it’s steel? Use a magnet. If it sticks to the can, it’s steel.
  • Plastics with recyclable symbols on them; usually PET or type 1 plastic and H.D.P.E or type 2 plastic; leave the lids off bottles
  • Some supermarkets collect plastic bags (unless they’ve been banned completely, in which case, bring your own bags)
  • However, see the next step for exceptions, which can include recyclable products just because there are no practicable recycling facilities in your area.

Items that cannot be recycled yet. (keep an eye on what new items can be recycled in your area):

  • Light bulbs (although some places provide drop-off areas for compact fluorescent bulbs, to avoid mercury contamination of the landfill)
  • Plastics without recycling symbols might not be recyclable
  • Drinking glasses, crockery, Pyrex or other oven-proof glass, ceramics
  • Carbon paper, foil wrapping, laminated paper, gift ribbon, gift wrapping
  • Stickers
  • Foil potato chip/crisp bags
  • Aerosols are not accepted by all recycling places
  • Mirrors and window glass
  • Broken glass
  • Items contaminated with food spills such as take out containers and pizza boxes; this can vary according to municipality though
  • Items such as Tetra-paks (wax coated or lined cartons), batteries, paint (tins), oil, polystyrene, tin foil, clothing, etc. may be recyclable depending on what processing plants are in your vicinity. In most cases, these items need separate sorting and often require a specific drop-off rather than being collected from your household; even then, they may not be able to be recycled at all in some areas… yet.
  • If your area doesn’t collect milk or drink cartons, reuse them for many home uses including garden use or donate to a school or kindergarten for art projects. Ditto for foam peanuts, polystyrene and clothing.
  • And some things that shouldn’t even have to be said but have unfortunately turned up in recycling from time to time––dead animals, medical waste, used diapers (nappies) or sanitary ware, used syringes and unwanted live animals. Adding such items (and in the latter case living beings) is simply irresponsible, cruel or ignorant.

3. Save your leftover

Buy local goods.

Buying local helps combat air pollution in two ways. You don’t have to travel as far to get what you need, and products don’t have to travel as far to get to you, either. Making smart choices about where your food, clothes, and other goods come from can help make a dent in air pollution.

  • Shop at farmer’s markets and buy food that was produced as close to your home as possible.
  • When you’re online shopping, pay attention to how far the items you order will travel before they arrive. Try to find items that won’t have to travel long distances.
  • Pay attention to where your clothes, electronics, home goods, and other possessions were made. As much as possible, buy items that were made in your region.
  • Never throw away the remains of food, and when it is possible in restaurants ask for a doggy bag.

4. Be nice to the worms

As an earthworm feeds, organic matter passes through its body and is excreted as granular dark castings. You may see these small casting piles in your garden. An earthworm produces its weight in castings daily. Worm castings are a wonderful fertilizer, rich in nutrients otherwise unavailable to plants.

5. Share a book

Ever heard of BookCrossing? Leave a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then will do likewise. We all keep old books unused, and sharing is a way to promote culture and avoid wasting and save precious books from waste.

6. Plant a tree

  • Trees combat the climate change absorbing CO2
  • Trees clean the air
  • Trees provide oxygen
  • Trees cool the streets and the city
  • Trees save water
  • Trees help prevent water pollution
  • Trees help prevent soil erosion
  • Trees shield children from ultra-violet rays
  • Trees provide food
  • Trees heal

7. Use both sides of the paper

Reduce paper usage

  • Think before you print. Do you really need to print it?
  • If you only need one page of a document, only print that.
  • When printing a web page, copy and paste the text into a word processor so that it is formatted correctly for printing.
  • You can print on both sides of the paper with most modern printers. This is often referred to as print ‘duplex’.
  • Adjust margins on your documents. The smaller margin of .75 inch (1.90cm) is becoming more common.

8. Save water

Wasting water is one of the biggest ways individuals impact the health of the planet. Taking measures to use less water is something you can start doing right away. If you live in an area with a water shortage, this is even more important for the health of your region’s environment. Try to check off as many items as possible from this list:

  • Check and fix any water leaks. A leaky faucet can waste a lot of water.
  • Install water-saving devices on your faucets and toilets. A low-flow showerhead could be a good start.
  • Don’t wash dishes with the water running continuously. Use a method that requires less water to get the dishes clean.
  • Turn off washing machine’s water supply to prevent leaks. It doesn’t need to be on all the time.
  • Replace old toilets with new ones that use a lot less water.
  • Wash and dry only full loads of laundry and dishes. Doing a half-load wastes water.
  • Don’t use too much water to water your lawn.
  • Don’t leave the faucet running while you brush your teeth.

9. Clean up trash

Before adding some items to recycling, ensure that they’re clean. Rinse food or drink residues out of bottles, cans and drink water. Do this at the end of your dish washing, to save water and to benefit from using the suds.

  • Don’t add broken glass or sharp items to recycling.
  • Don’t add non-recyclable items just because you can’t be bothered doing anything else with them. This sends an unhelpful message to recycling authorities that citizens aren’t so capable of sorting! Be recycling proud and use common sense about the additions to your recycling.

Dispose of toxic waste the right way. Paint, motor oil, ammonia, and a host of other chemicals should not be poured down the drain or into the grass. They’ll soak into the earth and end up in the groundwater. Contact your local sanitation department to find out where the closest toxic waste disposal site is.

10. Put your underwear in the freezer

What You Need

  • A pair of dirty (feeling) jeans
  • A large Zip-Lock Bag
  • A freezer with some empty space (ie. not too much ice cream)


Fold your jeans neatly and place inside bag. Seal bag and insert in freezer. Remove after one week and wear as new.

While this process won’t remove stains and isn’t really intended for “work jeans” (I think), it is touted to kill any living organisms and make your jeans FEEL crisp and clean again.

Become active

# the earth book todd parr 10 ways I can help earth everyday recycle recycling guide reduce reuse recyclerecycling reduce reduce reuse grow ecology eco sustainable lifestyle sustainability earth hour buy localconserving water environmentalism natural environment climate activism climate action climate changegreen anarchy go green turn off the lights save water save life save water


Summertime photoset! I’ve been so busy with our itty-bitty farm-y life, that I didn’t even notice how much easier things have gotten lately, and how much more I can get done every day. Yesterday I easily lifted a 50lb bag of chicken feed with one arm, and I remember having to strain to pick up 50lbs with two arms not long ago!
And last week I managed to till about three times as much as I could manage a month ago!

Fighting through an acre of rocky clay, and blackberry bushes is going to have me super buff by the end of the summer!

TL;DR I’m getting super strong, and looking hella cute doing it!

This is how cannabis is going to change life as we know it | PowerfulPrimates.com
Cannabis was made illegal back in the 1930s since then there have been no major scientific studies done with it. But over time small discoveries and proofs are finally getting attention and making a crack in the traditional superstitions about Cannabis. It’s much more bigger and beneficial than previously thought. There was a case of a little …
How urban density affects how you get around

Yesterday I wrote about urban-suburban divides within cities. And I argued that built form will largely dictate the kinds of transportation choices that people will ultimately make.

As a follow-up to that, here is a chart based on the findings of a research report completed by Peter Newman and Jeffrey Kenworthy way back in 1989. On the x-axis is urban density (i.e. built form) and on the y-axis is per capita transport related energy consumption.

What this chart shows is that as cities become more dense, “automobile dependence” is reduced in favor of, other, more sustainable forms of transport. 

Here we have Houston at the top left (meaning it has the highest transport-related energy consumption per capita) and Hong Kong all the way on the bottom right. Hong Kong has by far the highest density among the cities looked at in this study, but Moscow seems to have the lowest per capita energy consumption. Still, the trend appears clear.

Some people think of “density” as a dirty word. But there are lots of benefits to dense urban centers. And density does not necessarily have to mean tall buildings.

Chart: Globalization Studies in an Urban World (Penn)


Denis Hayes gives an elevator pitch in a literal elevator—explaining to Grist in under two minutes how to fix America’s beef problems

Hayes is the coauthor of Cowed: The Hidden Impact of 93 Million Cows on America’s Health, Economy, Politics, Culture, and Environment

10 Ways I can help earth everyday - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

1. Turn off the lights

2. Recycle

3. Save your leftover

4. Be nice to the worms

5. Share a book

6. Plant a tree

7. Use both sides of the paper

8. Save water

9. Clean up trash

10. Put your underwear in the freezer


Become active


July 6th 2015

Children learning to care.

We are continually teaching our children necessary horticultural techniques and methods to enable them to become successful growers. They are currently learning how to manage root shock that can occur from transplanting. More precisely, they are learning how to prune wilted areas and divert the growth into the newly forming leaves. Very soon these plants will be strong enough to be transplanted outside. Moreover, the children are learning how to transfer into hydroponic environments with soilless mediums at the studio.

We hope this message finds you growing into the person you see yourself being.



If you are an artist and not strategizing to position yourself as a business, then your 99 problems will continue into forever!!! If #CREATIVITY is your #Resource, treat it as a #Commodity and learn the many ways to get the #Compensation you well deserve!! #arts #artists #support #sustainability #monetize #strategize #build #develop #learn #collaborate #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #artrepreneur #mompreneur #success #abundance #prosperity #network #lotusloveproject


Life in the Pastures with @freegrassfarmer and @shefarmsinfreeunion

To see more photos and videos of life on the farm with Joel and Erica, follow @freegrassfarmer and @shefarmsinfreeunion on Instagram.

Before breakfast each morning, husband and wife Joel Slezak (@freegrassfarmer) and Erica Hellen (@shefarmsinfreeunion) have hundreds of mouths to feed. All the chickens, ducks, cows and pigs on their small farm near Charlottesville, Virginia need food and water before anything else. Plus, the temperature in the brooder needs adjusting for the baby chicks, the hens need moving to fresh grass and the pigs need to be accounted for. “They’re total escape artists,” Joel jokes.

For Joel and Erica, a life connected to the land is richly rewarding. But it’s manual and it’s tough. “The cows don’t leave and the chickens don’t just die when we’re tired. We simply have to keep going until the work is done,” Erica says. “I think what keeps us going is knowing that what we’re doing is a truly viable and better alternative to the factory food system,” Joel adds. “When customers come up and just pour their heart out on why raising this type of food is important and why it means so much to them, it does keep us going.


These creative Eco Reminders wall stickers placed near an appliance, explains how energy is produced and what environmental effects can be different depending on the form of supplies used. Fun and playful, these wall stikers are made of eco-friendly PVC-Free self adhesive vinyl. Source