Friday, June 6, 2008

10 Tips to Help Save Water

Below are 10 tips to save water that I found listed under 110 ways to save water.

1. When you give your pet fresh water, don't throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.

2. If you accidentally drop ice cubes when filling your glass from the freezer, don't throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.

3. Run your washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full and you could save 1000 gallons a month.

4. Wash your produce in the sink or a pan that is partially filled with water instead of running water from the tap.

5. Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You'll save up to 1000 gallons a month.

6. Water your summer lawns once every three days and your winter lawn once every five days.

7. Before you lather up, install a low-flow shower head. They're inexpensive, easy to install, and can save your family more than 500 gallons a week.
Products found at

8. Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.

9. Encourage your school system and local government to help develop and promote a water conservation ethic among children and adults.

10. Encourage your friends and neighbors to be part of a water-conscious community.

Wasting $$ while you sleep?

Many of us are losing money while we sleep from wasted energy from appliances and chargers that draw power 24/7. Some equipment stays in the 'ready' mode when it doesn't need to be, and other standby loads or chargers draw power that is becoming known as 'phantom loads' which are hidden ways that your electric meter keeps running without you gaining any benefit! You might be amazed to hear that US Businesses lose more than $1.7 BILLION each year just from leaving computers on at night!! New ideas include software to more accurately manage power usage, switchable plug strips or new 'smart' strips which can turn off all power to specific plugs. Newer computers and appliances offer power saving modes - particularly those with an Energy Star designation. There's even an organization devoted to more energy efficient computers - check it out at

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Drought Drought Drought!!!!

For the first time in California since 1991, the California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed a statewide drought on 06-04-08. After two consecutive years of below average rainfall and a 2008 predicted reduction in water runoff at 41% of normal years, the Executive Order directs the Department of Water Resources to work with water districts and agencies to improve coordination; help local water districts and agencies with water efficiency and conservation; and expedite grant funding to assist local agencies to conserve. Check out the Executive Order.

Many Water Agencies had expected this declaration and have already moved towards drought mangament programs. Click HERE to read what East Bay Municipal Utilities District is doing and HERE to see what Golden State Water Company is doing.

So what does this mean for all of us in California? It means changing your water use habits which can sometimes can be hard to do. For helpful tips check out 100 ways to save water. Good Luck!

Turtle Time

I came across this website about the endangered "leatherback sea turtle". The organization is committed to protecting the sea turtles. A small thing you can do to help is by disposing of your plastic bags appropriately, or by not using plastic bags at all! One of the big dangers to sea turtles are plastic bags, because they look like the turtles' food -jelly fish. The Great Turtle Race tags nesting turtles, and then tracks them to learn more about the species, and how they might be able to help them.

You can watch the progress of the traveling turtles to their various destinations. You can even "adopt" a turtle. To learn more about them, visit

With gas prices rising and getting out of control. Many consumers are looking to hybrid and smaller cars to fix the problem. Here a older gentleman is extremely interested in fuel efficiency!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Cleanest Line

Pacing Protection.Photo by dadoll via
If you were alive say 20 years ago big wall rock climbing was at the height of its popularity. Everywhere you went you'd see people sporting the "Go Climb a Rock" t-shirts sold by the Yosemite Mountaineering School. Much like the entrepreneurs of the California gold rush, many professional big wall climbers turned their talents from finding holds on granite to finding niches for high quality clothing and gear for the growing market. Among those one name stood apart for high quality goods that were eco-friendly, a new idea amongst businesses in America.

Patagonia was formed in the 1970's as founder and big wall climber Yvon Chouinard sold rugby shirts he had purchased after a trip to Scotland. At that time Chouinard was already well known for his hand crafted climbing gear and "clean" (without the use of permanent anchors, bolts and drilling that damage the rock) outlook towards climbing. While Patagonia continued to grow to profound proportions, Chouinard soon became concerned with the materials that were going into the clothing he was making. After visiting a cotton farm in California's central valley he became alarmed at all the chemicals put on the crops and the runoff from all the pesticides. Chouinard began looking for organic materials from which to make his clothing. Ones that did not hurt the environment either during growing or production.

Today Patagonia is known for their organic clothing (much of which is made from recycled plastic materials) and their commitment to the environment and environmental causes. Yvon Chouinard is still actively heading his company and tours the world talking about his book that helped shape the face of business in America, Let My People Go Surfing.

So the next time you start to buy those dirty, ripped jeans for $150 stop and think a minute, what went into making these? Were any pesticides used that harmed the environment?

For more on Patagonia and their environmental efforts check out their new blog, The Cleanest Line at

Photo by dadoll via Flickr.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Let house plants replace your Ionic Breeze

New research suggests that the air inside our homes can be much more polluted than the air outside. According to the EPA, the air inside your home can contain more than 900 volatile organic compounds that are released from TV sets, printers, and even your couch or carpet. The World Health Organization is now attributing 3 percent of human diseases to poor indoor air quality.

In light of this recent discovery, we have seen a huge number of air filtering and cleaning products hit the market in recent years. Almost everyone has seen the Ionic Breeze advertised on TV and in Sharper Image Magazine, but did you ever think that an ordinary house plant could provide your home with the same type of air cleansing benefits? According to Bill Wolverton, a former NASA environmental scientist who has spent more than 30 years studying how plants purify the air, they can.

Wolverton who has spent much of his time working on life support systems for the moon and Mars says that plant roots have ever-adapting microbes that absorb chemicals and toxicants. The plants essentially filter the air and convert these airborne poisons to energy and food. "Every chemical we tested, plants could take them out," said Wolverton.

Wolverton is currently working on comercializing a plant pot that can increase a plant's ability to filter your home's air. The device has a fan at the base of the pot that draws and traps toxins near the roots, where hungry microorganisms dwell. A version of this product has been sold in Japan for seven years as the EcoPlanter, which includes a mold-killing ultraviolet light. Wolverton claims his new device can make one plant clean as much dirty air as 100 plants.

If you're thinking about purchasing an air purification system any time soon, you may want to consider just adding some plants to your home. Not only can they provide the same air purification benefits , but they will likely cost less and look much nicer with your home decor than those ugly, plastic, air purification machines.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Saving Gas with 4 day work weeks

It used to be that employers looked at flexible schedules to boost morale and productivity, but with gas prices skyrocketing, the practice offers new benefits. Eliminating one round trip commute per week is becoming a more significant employee benefit in terms of reduced gas costs. While impacts on personal budgets are helpful to employees, employers are seeing benefits as well. Unemployment issues notwithstanding, it's still good management practice to retain employees who perform well. There can be benefits for both sides, and with gas prices and congestion on the rise, now there's a new reason to look more closely at new ideas. There's a new article from Reuters on this subject.