Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

Yardless Gardening

canSo you want to start a garden. Grow things. Hold a watering can and feel like a nurturer of life. The only thing standing in your way? A lack of yard. No outside space to call your own. So you hang your head, lost to an eternal absence of that beautiful (insert favorite color) watering can you’ve had your eye on for so long. But wait! Perhaps there is a way that we apartment-dwellers can have our confining indoor spaces and grow things in them too. Continue reading

Free Trees!

awesomeAttention fellow treehuggers who like free things. Seattle’s Trees for Neighborhoods program starts tomorrow, July 31. Participating means up to four free trees for your yard, along with watering bags, training on how to care for your trees, and ongoing workshop opportunities. To see which kind of trees are being offered and consider what might work best for you, check out this list of available species.

SPU’s 2012 Green Feats

greenCongrats to SPU! Seattle City Light recently mailed the school a report of their environmental achievements for the year of 2012. Participating in the company’s green up program, SPU prevented the release of 63767 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, added 45400 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean energy to the power grid, and had an overall carbon-emissions impact similar to planting 741 tree seedlings. What would the ideal green celebration look like? Perhaps some organic chocolate cake eaten in a circle around a newly planted tree, followed by some dish washing in a nearby river. I’d say SPU deserves this kind of party.

Sustainable Clothing Consumption

tumblr_kvsgcxrgZH1qzi3edo1_500How often do you buy new clothes? How do you handle discarding the old? As it turns out, the answers to these two questions have a sizable environmental impact. Donating clothes to thrift stores always feels good, leaving you with the thought of your obsolete garments having a future on someone else. What I didn’t know was that only about 20% of donated clothing gets purchased, with the other 80% having a less sustainable fate. Continue reading

Relieving Sunburns Around the House

sunWhen it comes to the sun, I’m kind of a downer. I’d much prefer it to concentrate its attention on California and all those other places that are more accustomed to its rays, pushing the heat down and interrupting the haven of cool and calm that is Seattle. I know, I sound like a complete summer scroodge right now. Most Seattleites seem to welcome the sun with open arms, treating it like a special friend who comes around so rarely that every occasion of their presence must be taken full advantage of. Such gusto towards Mr. Bright and Yellow can entail sunburns, especially in a place where applying sunscreen isn’t exactly a routine activity. When such misfortune befalls you, there are a few interesting household remedies you can try to heal the pain with. Continue reading


More Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Being in Nature

skymallAbout a month ago I happened upon an uber-cool nature fact regarding the ability of soil to improve our mood, acting in a similar way to antidepressants. As it turns out, digging into the matter can bring up scads more information on the subject of nature’s human benefits. Speaking personally, the research I found reveals what I’ve always felt when in nature, but never knew had scientific grounding. My guess is that a lot of people might be in a similar boat. Continue reading

Return of the Western Bumblebee

12588The Western Bumblebee has been declining in population since 1998, and hasn’t been seen in Washington state for over a decade. Until recently, that is, when the bee was seen by one Megan O’Donald, as reported by The Seattle Times, in a park northeast of Seattle. Though the cause of the bumblebee’s long absence is unknown, it seems to be connected to the development of commercial bumblebee-breeding programs, these bees being the only native pollinators for tomato plants. Continue reading

The Elwha River and Environmental Restoration

elwhaThe Elwha River runs the length of 45 miles on the Olympic Peninsula and is home to all five species of pacific salmon. For the time being, however, it’s most known for being in the process of undergoing the largest dam removal project in history, part of the Elwha Ecosystem Restoration Project, an initiative of the National Park Service to remove the river’s two dams and restore it to its natural state. Continue reading

Eating Healthier for Less

keep-calm-and-help-me-i-m-poor-12A lot of people (including the writer of this post) would like to eat healthier and more organically than they do, but find the task to be economically unfeasible. The frugal thing to do is to buy six packets of ramen for a dollar, then add imaginary bits of carrot and stir them in with the noodles. Yum yum. Real, fresh fruits and veggies are costlier to come by, an expense that seems impossible to mix with an already strained budget. If you’re eligible for a SNAP EBT card, there’s a super cool program going on called “fresh bucks” that could assist you in your pursuit of non-imaginary produce. Continue reading

Surviving the Heat without AC

heatIf you have issues with hot summer days, then we have something in common. Personally, I’d take the biting chill of winter over the enveloping heat of summer any day. But since humans don’t yet have control over external temperatures (what’s taking you so long, scientists?) we all have to deal with those extra hot days. The fatigue, sweat, and general discomfort caused by heat can make people like me run for the AC, even in a city like Seattle, where temperatures rarely reach high levels. Unfortunately, air conditioning uses up a lot of energy to be so effective. The good news is, there may be other ways to keep your space cool without resorting to the powers of generated indoor breeze. Continue reading