Wanted! Top Sustainable Living Reports

| 11/25/2013 2:29:00 PM

Tags: Earth Day, Green Living, Environmental Footprint, Hannah Kincaid,
Homemade Recycle Bin

What step(s) are you most proud of that your family has taken to reduce your environmental footprint? Perhaps you have made your own greywater system, for example, built a super-convenient recycling setup, or even switched to a cargo bicycle or a more fuel-efficient car. We are collecting short greener living reports for an article that will run in our upcoming April/May 2014 Earth Day issue.

Please send your ideas — and don’t forget the photos — to Letters@MotherEarthNews.com by Monday, Dec. 16. You can also leave your reports in the comments section at the bottom of this article. If published, you will be compensated $25, plus $25 for a photo.  

12/12/2013 9:15:34 AM

I am the director of non-profit that is “cherry picking” technology from the 19th to the 21st century in an effort to develop small, low cost, farm equipment, to help people around the world live more sustainably. This equipment includes a grain grinder, corn sheller, press, mixer/spinner, hammer-mill, thresher, and power cart. Most equipment can be operated by hand or hydraulically driven using vegetable oil as the hydraulic fluid. The power cart uses a diesel engine that can run on bio-diesel or preheated vegetable oil. The multi-use power cart can also be used to run other belt drive farm equipment - irrigation pump, generator, pressure washer, etc. while charging batteries with the on board alternator. A low speed (15 mph) articulated farm vehicle is under development using the diesel power cart as the hydraulic drive. The vehicle will haul up to 1 ton of produce to a local market or compost to the garden, and the rear trailer can be used as a garden cart when not needed as a vehicle. In the future we envision this vehicle might run on an ultra-light rail system within an intentional community getting over 200 miles/gallon on liquid solar energy (vegetable oil) made right on the farm!

12/9/2013 10:30:07 AM

When you need to take down large pine trees and don't need any more soft wood for burning, cut the lengths to 16-18" and turn them on end to form the structure of a raised garden bed. This is just the right height for sitting on while you are gardening, especially for seniors. I also use old bathtubs and cut 55 gallon barrels in half for raised gardens. It's much easier on the back and the knees! If you have potted plants and need to go away for a length of time, put them in a kiddy pool with water. It will also protect them from a light frost in the fall. Perhaps you'll be lucky to have a resident frog to eat any mosquito larvae that appear.

12/7/2013 4:07:53 AM

We are committed to keeping as much as possible out of the landfills. It's disturbing to see what people throw out. We will drive thru an area the day before garbage pick up and fill up the bed of the truck. What we cannot use is given to people in need off Craig's List, or donated to the local SPCA and Salvation Army thrift stores. Just this past week we picked up an old fashioned push mower. It was in perfect condition. The chicken coop I am building started out as a queen size bed frame we pulled out of the trash. One of the houses down the street threw out an old door so I brought that home for the coop. The nesting boxes were old shelving units that a new neighbor threw out. Our whole garden was built with trash from the side of the road. We built arched trellises for our beans from old hose that was thrown out. We landscaped the front and back with designer brick that we got for free. The new property owner we met didn't want it and also did not want to be bothered selling it. Sometimes we have to pass stuff up that's laying out on the curb as trash, because the bed of the truck is jammed full, and we are tired. A very sad feeling. So I guess you could say we work on reducing 'other peoples' environmental footprint.

12/4/2013 4:41:25 PM

We put 34 solar panels on our home, then when we saw how great they were, we went out and got an electric car (Nissan Leaf). This past summer we had our first garden using horse troughs, and even planted a strawberry patch. We trade veggies with a neighbor for fresh eggs. And of course we compost. We are very proud of the impact our choices are having on the environment and the conversation it begins with our friends and neighbors, who have wanted to do something, but weren't sure how to start. We have seen how each little step has lead us to bigger and better ideas.

12/2/2013 6:59:57 PM

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nils peterson
12/2/2013 3:37:04 PM

I am building a DIY solar water preheater for a commercial kitchen, but the thought I'd like to share is the analysis I did to help me lay plans to phase out all of my family's direct carbon footprint. Examples include gas cooktop, gas hot water, as well as coal-fired electricity. THis might make a sidebar kind of thing for your main article, maybe called "a personal roadmap" or maybe "divestment from using carbon fuels" Here is the piece I wrote while thinking it thru https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xPl-f1M352h2CcZR1QghimKHdPb5Gj-BRA_-BvH07GE/edit Nils Peterson

marilyn wall
11/27/2013 8:44:07 AM

Hope you enjoy my project I sent you

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11/26/2013 7:06:25 AM

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