Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tree Thursday

Riverwalk’s Talipot                                                      Talipot’s Inflorescence

Talipot Palm
Corypha umbraculifera

If you have been to Esplanade Park on Fort Lauderdale’s Riverwalk, you have probably noticed the huge green palm just to the east of the pavilion and wondered what kind of palm is that?  Well, it’s a Talipot Palm.  The most interesting characteristic of the Talipot is not its size but that it lives for 30-80 years and then blooms once and dies!  Of course, it makes a big deal when it blooms.  The inflorescence erupts like a fountain 30 to 40 feet above the crown and takes over a year to form thousands of dark green fruit.  During this time, the fronds yellow and die, as does the rest of the palm. 

The Talipot is one of the largest palms in the world and is native to India.  Individual specimens have reached heights of up to 100 feet, with a trunk of up to 3 ½ feet in diameter.  The fronds are 12 to 18 feet long.  The Talipot palm is not for your normal landscape. 

Growth Rate:                     Medium
Drought Tolerance:           High
Salt Tolerance:                  Low

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Blow Your Nose - Without Blowing Away More Trees

The sniffles are going around, and so is deforestation. When you buy tissues, be sure to buy tissues made from recycled paper.

It's cold season and runny noses are making their annual appearance. The most eco-friendly way to blow your nose is to use the old-fashioned handkerchief. However, if carrying a used hankie in your pocket adds a stomach ache to your symptoms, look into the option of purchasing tissues made with 100% recycled paper.
According to the Resource Conservation Alliance, each American uses approximately 800 pounds of paper per year. By using paper products made from 100% recycled material you not only help protect forests by lowering the demand for trees, but you also help lower the formation of toxic dioxins and furans in the environment by avoiding products bleached with chlorine.
Greenpeace has been waging a public, and recently successful, campaign to get major manufacturers of disposable paper products like tissues to stop using wood from old-growth forests, particularly in the vast Canadian boreal forest.
Here is a list of some of our favorite recycled tissue brands:
For more options, consult this handy Greenpeace guide to recycled paper products (you can even download an app, or print a pocket guide). Or if your ready to give the old hankie a try, check out this pack of reusable organic cotton tissues from Better For Grownups. Just throw them in the wash when your ready for a clean one.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

One Thing

If you can only do one thing to boost your sustainability

Celebrate the seasons.  Relish in the sounds, scents and flavors of each moment.  As a green-roof designer and rooftop agriculture advocate, I help urbanites envision green spaces that foster seasonal change.  From spring peas germinating to pepper plants fruiting to cover crops taking root, rooftop gardens can help city dwellers experience nature’s small miracles firsthand.

When you taste your first homegrown tomato – regardless of whether it was grown on the roof or the ground – something inside of you will change.  You’ll want more.  You’ll become curious about when and where and how you can grow basis to pair with your sun-kissed fruit.  You’ll seek out local mozzarella.  You’ll share your bounty with friends, and tell others how delicious summer tastes (or winter in South Florida).

Experience is the most powerful agent of change.  To think more sustainably, to live more sustainably, get your hands dirty and embrace the seasons as they unfold all around us. 

Lauren Mandel, MLA – Landscape architect, green-roof designer and author

From Urban Farm Magazine (March/April 2013)

Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Office of Sustainability
Office - (954) 828-5785  Fax - (954) 828-4745

Think before you print!

Monday, February 25, 2013

A lonely hearts for lonely parts

Posted by Katee on 25 February 2013 |

Ever thrown something out because it needed fixing but you couldn’t find the part? Or perhaps you got rid of something that was no longer of use to you, but perfectly usable? A new service has just launched hoping to help people fix things more, and reduce waste in the process.

Lonely Parts is a charming new website that matches useable objects with recipients in need of repair. People can list their ‘parts’ - described as “a piece or segment of something such as an object, which combined with other pieces makes up the whole”. People are also able to view ‘impaired’ objects, which are listed as “being less than perfect or whole condition”. For example, this garden chair is in search of a cushion companion:

And this computer arm chair is after a good home:

Lonely parts is a simple, clever service that will hopefully help people be more resourceful and find joy in fixing things. Check out their site and offer a part to share or an item to repair.

PS - Lonely Parts kind of  reminds us of  Glove Love, our matching service for lonely gloves.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tree Thursday - Jamaican Dogwood

Jamaican Dogwood (or Fish Poison, Fish Fuddle)
Piscidia piscipula

Although this tree is rarely used in landscaping, it is a South Florida and West Indies native.  At one time there was a street lined with Jamaican Dogwoods in Hollywood, Florida, but I doubt it is still there. In Fort Lauderdale, I only know of a small one in Snyder Park.  As the common names, Fish Poison and Fish Fuddle, suggests there is an extract from the tree that sedates fish.  Native Americans learned that you could throw branches and leaves from the tree in the water and this would stun the fish and you could then catch them by hand.  Don’t get any ideas because it is now against the law to use the extract to catch fish in Florida.   If you do a search on the web for Jamaican Dogwood, you’ll find that the extract is now used in many herbal products with claims of lots of health and therapeutic uses, including the treatment of migraines. 

The Jamaican Dogwood usually grows along the coast in well drained soils.  The typical height is about 40 feet tall.  The tree does have fragrant pea-like white and lavender flowers that are displayed on stalks between the old and new leaves in the spring.  The tree is a larval host and nectar source for the Hammock Skipper butterfly.   The wood is close-grained, heavy, hard, durable, and holds up well against moisture and rot. As a result of these properties, the wood is known as a good wood carving material and is used to make boat timbers, fence posts, and poles.

Growth Rate:                     Fast
Salt Tolerance:                  High
Drought Tolerance:         High

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The 10 Best Cities For People without Cars

Wanting to ditch the car, the hassle and the expense!  Check out this article (If Miami can get it, so can Fort Lauderdale in the future!):

The 10 Best Cities for People Without Cars
Whether you’re a nervous driver or a staunch supporter of mass transit as a means of reducing your carbon footprint, relying solely upon public transportation will require you to live in a city with a suitable public transportation system in place. Of all the cities in the United States, these 10 have the best mass transit systems in place and are most well-suited to traveling sans car.

1.    New York – New York has the second-highest rate of mass transit use in the country, with estimates running as high as 54.7% of the population relying solely on public transportation by the United States Census Bureau. The entire region is quite dependent upon the public transportation system, which does not include taxis or other small-scale people-movers.
2. San Francisco – When you think of San Francisco, the iconic image of the city’s charming cable cars probably comes to mind. In addition to the cable cars, San Francisco has the BART subway, along with an impressive network of commuter rail, light rail and buses, making it the best city for public transportation on the West Coast and number two in the nation.
3. Boston – Boston’s place on this list was a given when you consider the fact that it was the birthplace of American subways. The compact layout of the city creates an ideal environment for using buses and trains, spurring a significant chunk of the population to do just that.
4.    Washington, DC – The mass transit system in the nation’s capital is one of the best in the country, due in part to the large influx of both tourists and commuting workers that come in each day. Because the transportation’s infrastructure is so sound, D.C. boasts some of the most walkable suburbs in the entire country.
5.   Philadelphia – The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation System is the fifth-largest in the country with the most comprehensive commuter rail, subway and bus system in the United States. Trolley services run as well, and commuters can access all of them with an $11.00 One-Day Independence Pass or a $28.00 family pass for visitors.
6.  Chicago – With the combined efforts of the el train network and the sprawling bus system, it’s easy to navigate the Windy City without a car. In fact, Chicago is the third-largest city in the nation with the second-largest transportation system due to its role as a major transportation hub in the United States.
7.    Seattle – In 1962, Seattle built a demonstration monorail, but waited for years to expand much beyond it. Today, the home of Starbucks and grunge is in the process of building and expanding a modern network of streetcars and a municipally-sponsored car-sharing Zipcar program.
8.   Miami – With the largest mass transit system in the state of Florida, Miami’s Metrorail, Downtown Metromover, Paratransit and Metrobus systems come together to make Miami a city impressively navigable by public transportation.
9.     Baltimore – With 80 bus lines and a comprehensive transit system running throughout the Baltimore-Washington Metro area, Baltimore’s MTA Maryland connects to several other systems in the region, making it easy to travel with public transportation.
10. Portland – It’s no surprise that Portland earns a spot on the list of cities with the best public transportation. As one of the most livable cities, with a high collective focus on reducing carbon footprints, Portland is certainly progressive when it comes to eco-conscious travel. Portland natives and visitors alike take advantage of a rapidly-expanding light rail system, as well as the streetcar lines.

To ensure your safety on public transportation, it’s wise to make sure that you’re comfortable with your knowledge of routes, know how to reach your destination completely and avoid riding buses or trains that are totally empty. Staying awake and aware of your surroundings is also important, as distractions can make you a target for criminals. Taking a few extra precautions can mean the difference between arriving safely at your destination and meeting trouble along the way, so don’t neglect basic public transportation safety.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

If you don't love it any more, let someone else love it!

Lots of charities welcome your donations. Groups like Freecycle and Recycler's Exchange exist to help you get rid of useful objects that you just don't want anymore.  If you're in a Craigslist City , make use of the "free stuff" section.  Give away clothes that don't fit, the boxes you used in your last house move, or the scented soaps that don't appeal to your sensibilities. 

Make it a rule in your house that nothing useable goes in the trash until you've given the community a fair shot at it. 

I know in my area, items that have any use or value that are placed in the alley disappear quickly!  Also, you can have a yard sale and even make a little cash!   

Monday, February 18, 2013

Green Streets

Green Streets
Sustainable Complete Streets
Communities across the country are realizing the ‘green’ potential of their streets. Making our transportation system more sustainable involves many policies and practices that minimize environmental impact and create streets that are safe for everyone, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. Complete StreetsComplete Streets are a natural complement to sustainability efforts, ensuring benefits for mobility, community, and the environment.
Many elements of street design, construction, and operation can work in favor of achieving both Complete Streets that work for all travelers and ‘green’ streets that serve environmental sustainability. Of particular concern are drainage and stormwater runoff issues too common in traditional streets. Optimal stormwater management looks beyond simply removing rainfall as quickly as possible.  Instead it focuses on efforts to retain and treat – or even eliminate – runoff at the source through cost-effective green infrastructure , improving water quality and complementing Complete Streets efforts.
Wide streets are problematic for mobility and ecology – they can be unpleasant or, worse, unsafe, for anyone traveling along or across via foot or bicycle.   They also necessitate expensive drainage and treatment systems. Drainage facilities can affect pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transportation users in various ways as well. Poorly maintained systems create puddles that splash pedestrians and those waiting in bus shelters and that are hazards for bicyclists.
When a Complete Streets policy is carefully followed, considering community context and needs, the issues of too-wide streets can be addressed while also increasing access for all travelers. Many communities are narrowing travel lanes, swapping one automobile lane for two bike lanes (a ‘road diet’), or taking other measures to provide safe space for bicyclists, pedestrians, and public transportation. Furthermore, communities can look to maximize pavement albedo (reflectivity) to reduce the urban heat island effect, improve air quality, increase pavement durability, and improve nighttime illumination.
Landscaping elements that help curb stormwater runoff – bioswales, planters, rain gardens, and street trees – are mutually beneficial for mobility and ecology. Such green elements are increasingly found to be important deterrents of crashes and injuries, and contribute to a more comfortable and visually interesting environment for all users. Traffic-calming elements like chicanes, islands, and curb extensions – all popular in creating Complete Streets – provide site opportunities for bioswales, street trees, and rain gardens.
Of course, Complete Streets make their most basic contribution to green streets by providing space along the right-of-way for low-emission travel Complete Streets policies are an essential tool in providing transportation choices beyond the personal automobile. Walking and bicycling for the shortest trips (less than 1 mile), rather than taking a car, could reduce CO2 emissions by 12 to 22 million tons per year in the U.S. Replace the car with walking and biking for longer trips (1–3 miles), and the CO2 savings come to 9 to 23 million tons annually. Add in the benefits of access to public transportation ridership – which is already cutting CO2 by 37 million metric tons every year – and the environmental benefits of Complete Streets are astounding.
Complete Streets, in conjunction with green infrastructure, is a tremendous opportunity to improve the livability of our communities, both now and for future generations
For more information – Green Streets Factsheet

Friday, February 15, 2013

Junk to Art

So it’s not really a “Friday Funny” but just something light to enjoy on the rainy Friday.   Here’s what one artist, Ji Yong Ho, did with old tires.
The artist of the work below is Yong Ho Ji. 

There’s an article about him at . 




Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tree Thursday - Senator Bald Cypress

The State Champion Bald Cypress, known as the Senator, grew for 3,500 years until it was burned one night so that someone could "see better." 

Unfortunately, if this is the first you are hearing of the Senator Cypress, you will never have the opportunity to see it live.  I have only seen it in photographs myself.  On the night of January 16, 2012, the ancient giant was set on fire by a 26 year-old Orlando-area woman that frequently visited the park where the tree was "to do drugs"Not only was the woman charged with malicious burning of land, a third-degree felony, but police found drugs in her home while executing a search warrant.

The tree that sprouted some 3,400 years before there even was a Seminole County was officially named The Senator but was simply known as "The Big Tree" to most Central Floridians. The Senator was named after Moses Oscar Overstreet, a state senator from 1920 to 1925 who donated what is now Big Tree Park to the county.  Big Tree Park was dedicated in 1929 by President Calvin Coolidge, making it one of the area's oldest parks.  It was one of Central Florida's leading attractions before the arrival of the region's theme parksA billboard on U.S. Highway 17-92 boasted of the tree's age and pointed motorists toward Big Tree Road — now General Hutchinson Parkway. 

The tree was estimated to be 165 feet tall before a hurricane took off the top in 1925, according to research conducted by county historians.  The American Forestry Association bored a small hole in The Senator in 1946 for a core sample that gave the tree an estimated age of 3,500 years.  The park was spruced up and rededicated in 2005. At the time, a companion tree was located and verified to be about 2,000 years oldThe tree was named Lady Liberty.  That one is still there if you wish to visit.  Big Tree Park is currently closed but will reopen on March 2ndThe park is located on General Hutchinson Parkway between U.S. 17-92 and State Road 427 north of Longwood and serves as a Trailhead for the Cross Seminole Trail. 

The official statistics for the Senator in 1993 were:

Circumference – 425 inches
Height – 118 feet
Crown Spread – 57 feet.

For more information on Bald Cypress Trees, see my previous article.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Is it in your nature to try?

From "No Impact Man" blog: April 22, 2008 

Can the way I live really make a difference?
That's one of the things we worry about, right? When it comes to figuring out whether to get involved in the political process or to make our lifestyles more sustainable, we all wonder if, in fact, we will make the slightest bit of difference. Is it worth the effort?
Well, I have a friend, Mayer Vishner, who has been a peace activist since the 1960s. I help him grow vegetables on his plot at LaGuardia Community Gardens in New York's Greenwich Village.
I once joked with Mayer, "Hey Mayer, you've been working for peace for 40 years. Don't you think it's time you looked for a new cause? I'm not sure your peace idea has any traction."
You know what he said? He said, "I've given up on worrying about the results. I have a vision of the way the world should be, and I've just come to accept that it's in my nature to keep trying. So I keep trying."
Michael Pollan, in his New York Times article on Sunday, makes a more rational case for taking action:
"If you do bother, you will set an example for other people. If enough other people bother, each one influencing yet another in a chain reaction of behavioral change, markets for all manner of green products and alternative technologies will prosper and expand. (Just look at the market for hybrid cars.) Consciousness will be raised, perhaps even changed: new moral imperatives and new taboos might take root in the culture. Driving an S.U.V. or eating a 24-ounce steak or illuminating your McMansion like an airport runway at night might come to be regarded as outrages to human conscience. Not having things might become cooler than having them. And those who did change the way they live would acquire the moral standing to demand changes in behavior from others — from other people, other corporations, even other countries."

Friday, February 8, 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tree Thursday - Royal Palm

Cuban Royal Palm
Roystonia regia

The Royal palm is a plant that truly lives up to its common name.  The palms exude majesty and elegance.  Many South Florida Cities have boulevards lined with the palms.  In Fort Lauderdale, you’ll find them on Broward Boulevard, East Las Olas Boulevard and many of the Las Olas Isles streets.  Hollywood has old Royal Palms lining East Hollywood Boulevard.   Royal Palms are massive, reaching a typical height of about 80 feet.   The palms have smooth sculpted trunks that appear to be columns made from molds instead of being formed in nature.  The Cuban Royal Palm was imported in large numbers in the 1920s and 30s and are the most common Royal that you will see in landscapes. There is a Florida Royal Palm (Roystonia elata), but for the most part, you have to travel to the Everglades to see it.  The two types of Royal Palms are very similar except that the Cuban’s trunk casts a much more curvaceous figure.  It constricts about halfway up and then bulges again just below the crownshaft creating a dramatic profile.

While having many positive attributes, there are some problems with Royal Palms.  First the massive size makes them impractical and out of scale for most single family homes.  Also, Royal Palms naturally grow in swamps and are water loving.  Royal Palms are self-pruning which is not always a good thing.  Royal Palm fronds are large and heavy.  They can do a lot of damage if they hit something when they fall.  I’ve seen wall lights busted and cars damaged by the fronds. 

Growth Rate:                     Medium
Drought Tolerance:         High
Salt Tolerance:                  Medium


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Understanding 'Green' Product Marketing Claims

While this was written for the holiday gift giving season, we are purchasing items all the time and most of us are trying to be better informed and ‘greener’ with our purchases.  I know this is long but there’s some good information in this article. 

Understanding ‘Green’ Product Marketing Claims

The FTC has developed new definitions for ’green’ product marketing claims to help consumers make informed decisions when buying new products…
By            Posted Nov 27, 2012

In days gone by, the holiday gift-giving ritual was simpler than it is today. We only had two decisions to make – what to buy and whether the item was in a suitable price range. Today however, responsible shoppers are concerned with a third factor – a gifts environmental impact.
It’s become apparent to consumers that the cost of products goes beyond the price tag. Consumers want to know if the product they’re buying contributes to resource depletion, whether it’s recycled or recyclable, if it’s biodegradable, if the packaging creates excess waste, and how long before the product itself finds its way to the waste stream.
Marketers are well aware of this emerging shift in consumer sentiment, which is why today there are so many products in the marketplace which come with ‘green’ product claims such as “eco-friendly”, “green”, “sustainably made”, and “environmentally safe”. The problem is that these claims are easy to make and hard to prove, leaving consumers confused and sometimes misled about the environmental attributes ascribed to many products.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in the interest of protecting consumers from false product claims, has developed new standards for truth in ‘green’ advertising. They have updated their Green Guides by providing a list of definitions for commonly used ‘green product’ claims. The intent is to help marketers use correct terminology in packaging and promotion, and to help consumers better understand the new terminology.
The following terms have been assigned the accompanying definitions by the FTC:
Marketers who say a product is “non-toxic” must have proof that the product is safe for both humans and the environment. If it’s safe for humans or the environment, the product or package should say which one.
“Free Of”
Companies may make a point of letting you know their products are “free of” a chemical or other ingredient that may be a concern. When marketers say a product is “free of” an ingredient, it means the product doesn’t have any more than a harmless trace amount of it — and the product is free of any other ingredient that poses the same kind of risk.
You may have seen products labeled “low-VOC” or “VOC-free.” VOCs — or volatile organic compounds — are found in paint, household cleaning products, floor polishes, charcoal lighter fluid, windshield wiper fluid, and some hair styling products, among other products. They are emitted as gases, and may cause smog by contributing to ground-level ozone formation, or have negative effects on your health.
Something that’s biodegradable, like food or leaves, breaks down and decomposes into elements found in nature when it’s exposed to light, air, moisture, certain bacteria, or other organisms.
But even if a product is biodegradable under some circumstances, what happens if it goes to a landfill? Landfills are designed to shut out sunlight, air, and moisture. That keeps pollutants out of the air and drinking water, but also slows decomposition. Even materials like paper and food could take decades to decompose in a landfill.
If a company says its product or package is “degradable,” it should have proof that the product will completely break down and return to nature within a year. A company shouldn’t say a product is degradable if the product is headed for a landfill, incinerator, or recycling center.
Most cleaning products that display biodegradable claims — like detergents and shampoos — typically degrade in wastewater systems.
Some materials break down into useable compost — material that enriches the soil and returns nutrients to the earth. Some people compost yard trimmings and food scraps, and many communities collect leaves, grass, and other yard trimmings for composting.
When you see “compostable” on a product or package, it means the manufacturer has made sure the material can be composted safely in home compost piles. If it can’t be, the product or package should say where it can be composted.
A company can say a product is recyclable or can use the universal recycling symbol if most people who buy it can recycle it. But that doesn’t assure that you’ll be able to recycle it where you live. Your best source of information about this: your city or county government.
Recycled products are made with content that was kept out of — or diverted from — the trash either during the manufacturing process or after people used a product. If a product says it’s made from recycled materials, look for specifics. Are the claims about the product, the packaging, or both? How much of the product or package is recycled? If the product or package isn’t made completely from recycled materials, the label must tell how much of it is.
“Made with Renewable Materials”
Products or packages that claim to be made with renewable materials might tell you what the materials are, why they’re renewable, and how much of the product was made with renewable material. For example, a manufacturer could say, “Our flooring is made from 100% bamboo, which grows at the same rate as we use it.”
“Made with Renewable Energy”
A company can power its manufacturing with renewable energy like wind or solar energy, or with non-renewable fossil fuels. A company that uses non-renewable fossil fuels can buy renewable energy certificates (RECs) to “offset” the non-renewable energy it used.
If a product says “made with renewable energy,” all the manufacturing processes should be powered by renewable energy, or by non-renewable energy matched by RECs. If that’s not true, the product package should tell you how much of the process is.
All ozone is not alike. The ozone layer in the upper atmosphere prevents harmful radiation from the sun from reaching the earth. But ozone at ground level forms smog and can cause serious breathing problems for some people.
If a company claims its products are “ozone-friendly” or “ozone safe,” it should have proof that the products do not harm the upper ozone layer and the air at the ground level.
“Less Waste”
It’s not enough for a marketer to claim its product or package is made with “less waste.” The company must have specifics about the comparison. For example, a company could say a product has 10 percent less waste than a previous product.
Carbon Offsets
A company that takes actions to reduce greenhouse gasses, like planting trees, can get credits for those “carbon offset” activities. Some companies that earn these carbon offset credits sell them to other companies that might want to reduce their “carbon footprints.”
Seals and Certifications
You see a picture of the globe with the words “Earth Smart” on a product. What does that mean? Seals or certifications can be useful, but only if they’re backed up by solid standards and give you enough information to understand what they mean. A package also should tell you about any connections the company has to the organization behind the seal, if a connection might influence your opinion about the certificate or seal.
Seals such as Green America Approved, TerraPass, BBB, and EPA WaterSense Partner displayed on e-commerce websites, such as, are linked to the host website where you can see that the company has been approved by the seal authority, and where you can learn more about the company.
The new FTC definitions for ‘green’ marketing terms serve both the marketer as well as consumers. Marketers are forewarned to use sound science to back up the green claims of their products. Consumers are advised to look for specific information — or trusted certifications — on packages and products that tell you what makes the product environmentally friendly — and worthy of a green promotion.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cooking and Being Green

By Nora Lopez                       2013 February 4
Brrrr … It’s cold!  I want to eat things that warm up my belly once I get home from work. But my schedule is pretty hectic. I am lucky, I only work 10 minutes from the office, but when I get home it is around 5:30 pm and I usually cook a real meal every night as we are not into picking up food on the way home… there is nothing like a home cooked meal! However, I do need to be out of the house by 6:30 pm to go to the gym, every night … a commitment I set for myself once the kids were out of the house  Dinner needs to be ready in one hour….oh and by the way, I just started a Paleo diet this week  (if you do not know what it is Google it… and it will open your eyes to a new way of cooking!).
So  what does my ordeal have anything to do with cooking and being green? Let me introduce you to my solution to the rat race: The CROCKPOT! I just put it on early in the morning, before I leave to go to work, and when I come in I have a meal ready, add a salad and voila! Yummy food   I am so much into it that I was trying to convince my sister to get one, but she was very hesitant … she lives in Puerto Rico and electricity is extremely expensive there. So she was concerned that having a Crockpot on all day would increase her electric bill.
So the scientist in me was turned on and went digging for information on the energy efficiency of this pot.  What I found was great information that says that it depends on your stove and type of fuel. The following table I found the most helpful because it was simple to understand. Obviously you need to adjust per your watt costs, but it gives you an idea of the energy consumption:
What I also found is that there are so many web sites for people who are concerned about the energy consumption issue; what is better or not; weighing the pros and cons, that it really made me feel good that so many people think about how our behavior can influence how we can save in energy resources.
As for my sister, once she saw all the information I gathered on how she would be saving money in electrical … she ran to the department store and got an energy-efficient Crockpot and she invited me over to delicious pulled pork the next time I was in Puerto Rico.
My first convert! …. Anyone else?
About the Author: Nora works out of EPA’s Edison, New Jersey facility, where she manages the Region’s Toxics Release Inventory Program.  After work she can often be found channeling her inner chef.

Monday, February 4, 2013

At the Heart of Climate Change

Ted Burnett, Writer and philosopher                 Posted: 11/12/2012

At the heart of the climate change debate is the American economy -- in its current form and size, its role in our nation and in the world and how any changes to it will impact businesses, shareholders, the worker, consumers and the ability of our governments. Reducing greenhouse gases means either increasing efficiencies in energy use through new "green" technology, which is a short-term solution to a long-term problem, or by changing society's values from one that's built heavily on "wants," on consumption and materialism to a "needs-based" economy that puts a greater value on living more simply and in harmony with one another and the environment. America is built-out from coast to coast.
Everyone that wants a place to call home either pays a mortgage or rent or lives in government housing. All these dwellings have utilities (power, water and sewer), furniture, electronics (TV, radio...), appliances, a closet full of clothes and food in the refrigerator and cupboard. Most have some form of transportation sitting in the driveway or out on the street. In truth, Americans need little else, but trying convincing any man, woman or child whose drug of choice, whose "wants" is consuming more and more of the above to dull their pain and suffering with their latest purchase.
Our addiction to stuff is both destructive and self-destructive. A society that's addicted is also by nature in denial. We refuse to face the truth about our addictions, our dependency on this artificial way of life and America's direct contribution to climate change. Having built-out America, our jobs and the factories have moved overseas to new markets where these products can be produced more cheaply and delivered on those same continents and to us.
America's great struggle is moving from a growth-oriented nation to one that's more sustainable, humble and realistic about its needs and wants for the next century or two without self-destructing, in the process. This requires wisdom, which is in short supply, both, in our society and in Washington. It will only occur by taking the time to learn what all previous empires have failed to heed from their predecessors about how to transition successfully from adolescents into adulthood and maturity.