Water Conservation

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: When you use water wisely you help the environment, save energy and save money.The lake at Glen Hills County Park

We all know that water is essential to life on earth. We need water for a variety of everyday needs from growing food, providing power to drinking.

We are using up our planet’s fresh water faster than it can naturally be replenished so we all need to use our water wisely.

To provide enough clean fresh water for people, water is cleaned at drinking water treatment plants before it is used. And after water is used, it is cleaned again at wastewater treatment plants or by a septic system before being put back into the environment.

Saving water is good for the earth, your family, and your community.

  • When you use water wisely, you help the environment. You save water for fish and animals. You help preserve drinking water supplies. And you ease the burden on wastewater treatment plants—the less water you send down the drain, the less work these plants have to do to make water clean again.
  • When you use water wisely, you save energy. You save the energy that your water supplier uses to treat and move water to you, and the energy your family uses to heat your water.
  • When you use water wisely, you save money. Your family pays for the water you use. If you use less water, you’ll have more money left to spend on other things.

Source: JEA.com

Here are some easy ways you can save water:

  • Xeriscape: Choose perennials, annuals, bushes and trees that do not need more water than normally falls in your region. Native plants are ideal picks for landscaping that thrives in your specific region.
  • Sweep your driveway and sidewalks clean instead of spraying them with a hose.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month.Water pump in Wisconsin
  • Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons of water.
  • Adjust sprinklers so they don’t water your driveway or sidewalks.
  • Use a water-efficient showerhead. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750 gallons a month. And, for added water conservation, take a shorter shower.
  • For cold drinks keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
  • Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • Designate one glass or stainless steel bottle for your drinking water each day. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
  • Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
  • Listen for dripping faucets and running toilets. Fixing a leak can save 300 gallons a month or more.
  • When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your plants, trees or shrubs.
  • When you have ice left in your cup from a take-out restaurant, don’t throw it in the trash, dump it on a plant.

Source: Water Use It Wisely and Big Green Purse

More interesting information about water: Three Myths about WaterCadence by the water in Jamestown

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Water – Use It Wisely

Check out Water – Use It Wisely to find hundreds of ways to conserve water, tips and fun facts for kids, interactive guides an much more. This site has specific information for people who live in Arizona, The Water — Use It Wisely campaign was launched in 1999 to promote an ongoing water conservation ethic among Arizona’s rapidly growing population, but has great tips for conserving water no matter where you live.

LOCALLY:

The City of Fargo has put together a publication to help with Planning and Installing a Xeriscape Landscape. Click here to go to the link.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: When you use water wisely you help the environment, save energy and save money. Observe this years World Water Day by taking a look at some ways you could reduce your water consumption.

We need water for a variety of everyday needs from growing food, providing power to drinking. Water is essential to life on earth.

According to the EPA, a family of four in the U.S. uses an average of 400 gallons of water per day, but even this is not the full picture of water use. National Geographic estimates the average American lifestyle is fueled by around 2000 gallons of water daily, with the vast majority of water use going toward thermoelectric power and irrigation. A significant amount of water is also used for agriculture and industry. You can use National Geographic’s water footprint calculator tool to gauge your own water usage.

The UN observes World Water Day each year, and this year it falls on March 22. The theme of World Water Day 2013 is international water cooperation. Although that’s a big-picture international goal, there’s a lot we can do as individuals and families to reduce water consumption. (Source: USAgain)

Here are some Simple Tips for conserving water:

  • Turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth.
  • Wash your car at a place that recycles water. Washing your car at home with a hose may save money, but it doesn’t save water. Washing the car in your driveway can harm the environment as water runoff flows directly into sewers and storm drains, causing environmental havoc when this water enters rivers, streams and creeks. Avoid this by finding a carwash in your area that recycles water and prevents harmful runoff.
  • Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street. And water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.
  • Do not buy or drink bottled water. The water is being taken from aquifers, lakes and streams. By doing so, that water cannot be replenished back into the natural water cycle.
  • On average, 10 gallons of water per day (or 14% of your indoor use) is lost to leaks. Short of installing new water-efficient fixtures, one of the easiest, most effective ways to cut your water waste is to repair leaky faucets and toilets.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water. Switching from hot to cold water reduces your carbon footprint because heating water is an energy intensive process.
  • Don’t water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.
  • Nearly 22% of indoor home water use comes from doing laundry. Save water by making sure to adjust the settings on your machine to the proper load size.
  • Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants retains moisture and saves water, time and money.
  • Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. A taller lawn shades roots and holds soil moisture better than if it is closely clipped.
  • Choose shrubs and groundcovers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
  • Use a water-efficient showerhead. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750 gallons a month.
  • That quarter pounder is worth more than 30 average American showers. One of the easiest ways to use less water is to eat less meat and dairy. Another way is to choose grass-fed, rather than grain-fed, since it can take a lot of water to grow corn and other feed crops.
  • When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your plants, trees or shrubs.
  • Recycling a pound of paper, less than the weight of your average newspaper, saves about 3.5 gallons of water. Buying recycled paper products saves water too, as it takes about six gallons of water to produce a dollar worth of paper.
  • Recycle your clothes. Don’t throw away an unwanted shirt or pair of pants. Producing a single t-shirt requires around 700 gallons of water. Donate unwanted clothing to a local resale shop or put in a USAgain box so it can be recycled.
  • When you have ice left in your cup from a take-out restaurant, don’t throw it in the trash, dump it on a plant.

Source: Water Use It Wisely and Water Conservation Tips from National Geographic and USAgain.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

USAgain blog

USAgain is a green, for-profit company that diverts millions of pounds of clothing from the landfill for resale here and abroad, generating revenue and creating jobs in struggling communities while strengthening the economy and decreasing unnecessary wastefulness. Their blog is full of great green living tips.

To find a USAgain box in your area, visit http://www.usagain.com/. There are over 20 of the USAgain green boxes in the Fargo Moorhead area.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: When you use water wisely you help the environment, save energy and save money.

We need water for a variety of everyday needs from growing food, providing power to drinking. Water is essential to life on earth.

We are using up our planet’s fresh water faster than it can naturally be replenished so we all need to use our water wisely.

To find out more about what is happening to our water today, watch the documentary Blue Gold: World Water Wars. The films trailer alone will get you thinking. Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ikb4WG8UJRw&feature=channel.

From Quest:

Blue Gold touches on how this cycle is getting interrupted. For example, in cities ground water cannot seep into the ground through the concrete to create aquifers. So most of the run off goes directly back to the ocean. Thus most cities must cart fresh water from far away; water is most often pulled out of aquifers, which creates a desertification of once fertile land. Without the ground water, soils dry out and cannot sustain the fertility of the plants and trees creating a dessert environment. Streams and rivers in a natural cycle will push sediment and nourishment into the land surrounding them. Much like blood is a super highway in our bodies, streams and rivers act like the vein and arteries of the Earth. Huge dams used to harness power and provide drinking water have dried up these rivers and the subsequent land around them.

With the interruption of this cycle scarcity has emerged. One of the biggest culprits of this scarcity is treating water like a commodity rather than a natural resource. Today, this has been seen prominently in third world countries where agricultural goods and water are being exported. In Bolivia, a civil war broke out because a private company owned the water, including rainwater. People could not pay for the water needed to survive and fought back. More about the conflict is outlined in the following article. By using water as a commodity, we are using up the fresh water the planet provides faster than it can replenish it. Source: Do We Have Enough Fresh Water?

Here are some Simple Tips for conserving water:

  • Turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth.
  • Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street. And water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.
  • Do not buy or drink bottled water. The water is being taken from aquifers, lakes and streams. By doing so, that water cannot be replenished back into the natural water cycle.
  • On average, 10 gallons of water per day (or 14% of your indoor use) is lost to leaks. Short of installing new water-efficient fixtures, one of the easiest, most effective ways to cut your water waste is to repair leaky faucets and toilets.
  • Don’t water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.
  • Nearly 22% of indoor home water use comes from doing laundry. Save water by making sure to adjust the settings on your machine to the proper load size.
  • Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants retains moisture and saves water, time and money.
  • Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. A taller lawn shades roots and holds soil moisture better than if it is closely clipped.
  • Choose shrubs and groundcovers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
  • Use a water-efficient showerhead. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750 gallons a month.
  • That quarter pounder is worth more than 30 average American showers. One of the easiest ways to use less water is to eat less meat and dairy. Another way is to choose grass-fed, rather than grain-fed, since it can take a lot of water to grow corn and other feed crops.
  • When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your plants, trees or shrubs.
  • Recycling a pound of paper, less than the weight of your average newspaper, saves about 3.5 gallons of water. Buying recycled paper products saves water too, as it takes about six gallons of water to produce a dollar worth of paper.
  • When you have ice left in your cup from a take-out restaurant, don’t throw it in the trash, dump it on a plant.

Source: Water Use It Wisely and Water Conservation Tips from National Geographic

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

The Water Project

The Water Project, Inc. is a non-profit organization working to provide access to clean water to people in developing nations who suffer needlessly without it. The Water Project, to date, has helped over 125,000 people improve their access to clean water and sanitation. They have funded or completed more than 250 projects.

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Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to . We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Wednesday at WDAY.com or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: When you use water wisely you help the environment, save energy and save money.

We all know that water is essential to life on earth. We need water for a variety of everyday needs from growing food, providing power to drinking.

We are using up our planet’s fresh water faster than it can naturally be replenished so we all need to use our water wisely.

To provide enough clean fresh water for people, water is cleaned at drinking water treatment plants before it is used. And after water is used, it is cleaned again at wastewater treatment plants or by a septic system before being put back into the environment.

Saving water is good for the earth, your family, and your community.

  • When you use water wisely, you help the environment. You save water for fish and animals. You help preserve drinking water supplies. And you ease the burden on wastewater treatment plants—the less water you send down the drain, the less work these plants have to do to make water clean again.
  • When you use water wisely, you save energy. You save the energy that your water supplier uses to treat and move water to you, and the energy your family uses to heat your water.
  • When you use water wisely, you save money. Your family pays for the water you use. If you use less water, you’ll have more money left to spend on other things.

Source: JEA.com

Here are some Simple Tips for conserving water:

  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month.
  • Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons of water.
  • Use a water-efficient showerhead. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750 gallons a month.
  • For cold drinks keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
  • Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • Designate one glass or stainless steel bottle for your drinking water each day. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
  • Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
  • Listen for dripping faucets and running toilets. Fixing a leak can save 300 gallons a month or more.
  • When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your plants, trees or shrubs.
  • When you have ice left in your cup from a take-out restaurant, don’t throw it in the trash, dump it on a plant.

Source: Water Use It Wisely

More interesting information about water: Three Myths about Water

Locally:

Check out the Green Living Health Expo on Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3 at the Fargo Civic Center.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Water.org
Water.org is a nonprofit organization that has transformed hundreds of communities in Africa, South Asia, and Central America by providing access to safe water and sanitation. They empower local communities and individuals to develop and sustain solutions to their own water and sanitation needs.

Water.org maintains an impressive success rate for its projects. A recent study by Emory University found 100 percent of projects surveyed are still operational, including projects up to ten years old.

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Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year’s topic is Water.

Did you know that nearly a billion people in the world don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water? That’s one in eight of us who are subject to preventable disease and even death because of something that many of us take for granted.

Safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights. ~United Nations General Assembly, July 28 2010

Access to clean water is not just a human rights issue. It’s an environmental issue. An animal welfare issue. A sustainability issue. Water is a global issue, and it affects all of us.

I learned a lot of grim statistic while researching water for this article. But there is some good news. There are some great organizations working on solutions and doing things now to address the water crisis.

Organizations like Water.org and charity: water are leading the charge in bringing fresh water to communities in the developing world.

What can you do to reduce your impact? For some ideas to get you started, visit Water Use It Wisely.com.

Now head over to the Blog Action Day site and take action!

More excellent reading about water:

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: When you use water wisely you help the environment, save energy and save money.

We all know that water is essential to life on earth. We need water for a variety of everyday needs from growing food, providing power to drinking.

We are using up our planet’s fresh water faster than it can naturally be replenished so we all need to use our water wisely.

To provide enough clean fresh water for people, water is cleaned at drinking water treatment plants before it is used. And after water is used, it is cleaned again at wastewater treatment plants or by a septic system before being put back into the environment.

Saving water is good for the earth, your family, and your community.

  • When you use water wisely, you help the environment. You save water for fish and animals. You help preserve drinking water supplies. And you ease the burden on wastewater treatment plants—the less water you send down the drain, the less work these plants have to do to make water clean again.
  • When you use water wisely, you save energy. You save the energy that your water supplier uses to treat and move water to you, and the energy your family uses to heat your water.
  • When you use water wisely, you save money. Your family pays for the water you use. If you use less water, you’ll have more money left to spend on other things.

Source: JEA.com

Here are some Simple Tips for conserving water:

  • Turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth.
  • Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street. And water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.
  • Don’t water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.
  • Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants retains moisture and saves water, time and money.
  • Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. A taller lawn shades roots and holds soil moisture better than if it is closely clipped.
  • Choose shrubs and groundcovers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
  • Use a water-efficient showerhead. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750 gallons a month.
  • When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your plants, trees or shrubs.
  • When you have ice left in your cup from a take-out restaurant, don’t throw it in the trash, dump it on a plant.

Source: Water Use It Wisely

More interesting information about water: Three Myths about Water

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

National Wildlife Federation
The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) works to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future. As the nation’s largest conservation organization, NWF and its 4 million supporters are committed to sustaining the nature of America for the benefit of people and wildlife.

Find out How You Can Help Wildlife Impacted by the BP Oil Spill.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

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by Wendy Gabriel

Karen Stoker is the proud owner of the Hotel Donaldson, a luxury hotel in Karen Stokerdowntown Fargo, North Dakota.

In 2000, amid what Karen refers to as a mid-life awakening, she purchased the 115 year old Hotel Donaldson building in downtown Fargo. Her mission was to create memorable experiences. The next three years were spent working toward that vision. In August of 2003, The Hotel Donaldson team opened the doors and began living their mission of creating memorable experiences by celebrating the community’s visual, culinary, performing and literary arts.

Karen enjoys reading, music, cooking, traveling – most of all being a Mom. She considers herself the luckiest girl she knows.

How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?

Keeping our environment in mind has been a part of my life as long as I can remember thanks to my parents, so being conscious and conscientious of what our family does is a way of life. It’s almost a fun game (how many times can we reuse the aluminum sandwich wrapper in the lunch box, or wash and reuse plastic bags before they don’t zip lock (a very long time!). We eat at home a lot. I need to know where our food comes from and how it’s raised. It’s nice there are so many places to get cloth bags now. I buy our eggs and all our meat from local producers and this time of year, the weekly box from our CSA is better than Christmas. Little things such as using a dish pan to rinse dishes before putting them into the dishwasher rather than letting the water run. The soaps we use are detergent free and environmentally friendly. Etc. Etc. Cliché’, but little things really do add up.

I love your email tag line, Please consider the environment when printing emails and living in general. How do you incorporate this philosophy into the running of the Hotel Donaldson?

We’re always looking for ways and again, by being mindful, we continue to do more. We recycle, which I was surprised to learn when creating The Hotel was NOT common. This is becoming easier in the industry, so hopefully more restaurants, bars, and lounges will. Since we opened, we’ve asked our guests to consider water, energy and soap by reusing their towel and we make the beds as nicely as clean sheets, but change them at the guest’s requests. This has become quite common, thankfully. Six years ago in luxury hotels, however, it wasn’t – waste isn’t luxurious. We recently posted a note on the back of the room doors asking guests to turn the lights off when they leave. Many people leave lights on! We work with our vendor who handles our maintenance to stay on top of efficiencies and recently did an energy audit with a specialist. Our bison, beef, pork, chicken, lamb and wild game are purchased within a 100-mile radius. We use local flour and bake all our bread and pastries. Again, this time of year we enjoy a lot of wonderful produce. Our coffee is fair trade, sustainably raised and locally roasted. The list keeps getting longer.

What has been your biggest challenge being environmentally friendly while running a hotel and restaurant?

When we opened six years ago, there were few purveyors and it took a lot of work to identify places where we could get the quantity and consistency we needed. Now, we can get tomatoes from DL or Duluth all winter. Commercial cleaning supplies continue to be a challenge. “Greener” products are more expensive and often don’t work as well as chemical based products. We keep looking and have found some. As the market becomes more aware of the importance, I think consumers will appreciate the effort and be willing to pay more knowing the business they’re doing business with is making a positive difference environmentally. Another challenge is health code related. There are restrictions on sharing food and our hotel toiletries with soup kitchens and shelters. It’s sad to see what’s wasted. It lacks any common sense.

What do you hope the guest of the Hotel Donaldson comes away with after dining or staying with you?

Our mission is to create memorable experiences by celebrating Our Community. We have over 70 regional artists on the property; I mentioned our commitment to local food and to culinary art, local musicians, poets, etc. We hope after guests have spent time with us they leave with a sense of place. National Geographic Traveler chose us to be on their first ever “Stay List” – places that understand and celebrate their sense of place. It was wonderful to be recognized by the world’s most widely read travel magazine for living Our Mission. More importantly however, is that our guests have a memorable experience. It’s an honor to have so much of who we are in this area under one roof.

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by Wendy Gabriel

Katherine Center is an author, wife and mother. Her second novel, Katherine CenterEveryone Is Beautiful, was featured in Redbook and got glowing reviews from People magazine and USA Today. Kirkus Reviews likens it to the 1950s motherhood classic Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, and says, “Center ’s breezy style invites the reader to commiserate, laughing all the way.” Booklist calls it “a superbly written novel filled with unique and resonant characters.”

Katherine’s first novel, The Bright Side of Disaster, was featured in People, USA Today, Vanity Fair, the Houston Chronicle, and the Dallas Morning News. BookPage named Katherine one of seven new writers to watch, and the paperback of Bright Side was a Breakout Title at Target. It was also optioned last fall by Varsity Pictures.

Katherine’s essays about motherhood have appeared in Real Simple Family and in the anthology Because I Love Her: 34 Women Writers on the Mother-Daughter Bond. She has just turned in her third novel, Get Lucky, and is starting on a fourth. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two young children.

How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?

We are big composters. We compost everything–bread, tea bags, coffee grounds. I even dump out my old coffee in the garden. We keep a mixing bowl on the counter and just fill it up as the day goes along, then dump it in the mulch pile before dinner and wash it with the dinner dishes. This summer, I went out of town and saved a bag of compost to drive back with me in the car because I just couldn’t throw those banana peels and egg shells away! I love knowing that I’m keeping our scraps out of the landfill, and I love the idea that it all just magically turns back into soil.

We also have a garden with lots of native Texas plants and herbs in it. It’s fun to think about plants not just as decorations but as functioning parts of our yard’s ecosystem that attract wildlife to the garden. We have hummingbirds, tons of bees, and many monarch butterflies. The kids love it! Though we’re very laissez-faire with the garden and never put chemicals on it or even water it much!

We also do lots of little things, like take re-usable bags to the grocery store and try to use re-usable stainless bottles for water instead of plastic. I have many things I’m not yet doing that I’d love to do, too. I’d love to paint our roof white–it’s so hot down here in Texas!–and I’d love to have a rainwater collection system to save rain runoff for later. I also love to fantasize about keeping chickens in the backyard.

You mentioned that you recently watched Food Inc. How, if at all, has this changed how you look at food?

A lot. It confirmed a lot of things that I suspected about what’s going on with the food system in our country, but it also shocked the heck out of me with very vivid things that I hadn’t even imagined. I was especially horrified by the industrial system’s treatment of animals. The idea that we are voting with our dollars for local food or not, organic or not, has really stayed with me. I’m very mindful at the grocery store about supporting organic and humanely-raised food.

We’re also not eating at restaurants as much anymore. Houston is a huge city with every type of cheap, delicious food you can imagine. But ever since seeing Food, Inc. (and also reading the companion book), we’ve really tried to eat at home as much as possible, cook from scratch, slow down, take our time with food and meals. My kids are very interested in gardening, and we’re looking into joining a Community Supported Agriculture group, too, at some point.

I have read all of your books and have loved every minute of them. As an author what is your view of devices like the Kindle?

Thank you! I’m undecided about all the changes going on now with books. I have an affection for tangible objects, like books and pages, but people sure do seem to love their Kindles! We’re definitely in the middle of a revolution that will determine how people find, read, and experience stories. In theory, anything that makes it easier for people to access books and stories is probably good, but I have no idea what things will look like–for authors, for the publishing industry, or for readers–on the other side…

What have you found is your biggest challenge to living a sustainable lifestyle?

Living in Texas! Three things in my home state put me at odds with mother earth on a regular basis. One, it’s hot as blazes here a good 6 months out of the year. Two, Houston is a sprawled-out, driving town. It’s almost impossible to get anywhere or do anything without a car. And three, the mosquitoes are so bad down here they make you want to slather yourself in poison. That said, we are trying! And the older the kids get, the easier it seems to get!

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by Wendy Gabriel

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for GreenWDAY Green Tips Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a different favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

GREEN TIP: Drink tap water. This simple tip will conserve resources, help the environment and save you money.

As stated at The Good Human website, it is a common misconception for many people that bottled water is safer than tap, plastic bottles get recycled, and no harm is being done to the environment in the bottling process.

The Good Human has put together a list of 12 Reasons to Stop Drinking Bottled Water:

  • American tap water is among the safest in the world.
  • As much as 40% of the bottled water sold in the U.S. is just filtered tap water anyway. Be sure to check the label and look for “from a municipal source” or “community water system”, which just means it is tap water.
  • By drinking tap water, you can avoid the fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, disinfectants, and other chemicals that studies have found in bottled water.
  • Tap water costs about $0.002 per gallon compared to the $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon charge for bottled water. If the water we use at home cost what even cheap bottled water costs, our monthly water bills would run $9,000.
  • 88% of empty plastic water bottles in the United States are not recycled. The Container Recycling Institute says that plastic water bottles are disposed of (not recycled) at the rate of 30 million a day.
  • Plastic bottles can leach chemicals into the water if left in the sun, heated up, or reused several times.
  • Production of the plastic (PET or polyethylene) bottles to meet our demand for bottled water takes the equivalent of about 17.6 million barrels of oil (not including transportation costs). That equals the amount of oil required to fuel more than one million vehicles in the U.S. each year. Around the world, bottling water uses about 2.7 million tons of plastic…each year.
  • Bottled water companies mislead communities into giving away their public water in exchange for dangerous jobs.
  • It can take nearly 7 times the amount of water in the bottle to actually make the bottle itself.
  • On a weekly basis, 37,800 18-wheelers are driving around the country delivering water.
  • The EPA sets much more stringent quality standards for tap water than the FDA does for the bottled stuff.
  • One out of 6 people in the world does not have safe drinking water, and about 3,000 children a day die from diseases caught from bad water…that we know of. This while Americans spend about $16 billion a year on bottled water.

Source: The Good Human

My Green Side’s weekly website pick:

Simple. Organized. Life.
Simplifing your life, one step at a time.

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by Wendy Gabriel

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green WDAY Green TipsLiving to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a different favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

GREEN TIP: Conserve water. It’s the most cost-effective and environmentally sound way to reduce our demand for water, put less pressure on our sewage treatment facilities and use less energy for water heating.The gang over at Water Use It Wisely have a must-read post listing 100 creative ways that you can reduce your water usage around the house, at the office, and while you’re on vacation.

 

Here are a few to get you started:

1. Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.

2. Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.

3. Upgrade older toilets with water efficient models.

4. Choose shrubs and groundcovers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips.

5. Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons every time.

6. Plant in the fall when conditions are cooler and rainfall is more plentiful.

7. For cold drinks keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.

8. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save water every time.

9. Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.

10. Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. A taller lawn shades roots and holds soil moisture better than if it is closely clipped.

11. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth.

12. Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.

Source: Water Use It Wisely

My Green Side’s weekly website pick:

Blue Living Ideas
A great resource for everything water including news, tips, podcasts, videos and a free downloadable book on water conservation.

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