Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth Day Tips

Earth Day is April 22nd - but it doesn't have to be Earth Day to think about you can make a positive impact on our planet. Here are a few tips from Metro GreenScape:

1. Buy a programmable thermostat, and lower the temperature.
2. Use a refillable water bottle.
3. Install low-flow faucets, showerheads, and toilets in your bathrooms.
4. Start a compost pile.
5. Buy locally grown foods.
6. Buy in-season fruits & vegetables.
7. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
8. Unplug your cell phone charger and other small appliances when not in use. (Turn off energy strips and surge protectors overnight).
9. Recycle your newspapers, plastics and cans (where possible).
10. Car pool when possible and take the most efficient routes when traveling.
11. Trade kids toys with other friends with children
12. Ride a bike to work.
13. Walk, jog, or run to close-by places like the store or post office.
14. Go to your local library instead of buying new books.
15. Instead of buying gifts for the holidays, make a donation to charity.
16. Get off junk mail lists.
17. Buy products that use recyclable materials.
18. Reuse plastic bags for garbage.
19. Bring your own bags to the grocery store.
20. Shop at you local farmers’ market.
21. Buy organic cleaning products such as vinegar, borax, and baking soda.
22. Plant a vegetable garden of your own.
23. Consider buying a fuel-efficient car or a hybrid.
24. Landscape with native plants.
25. Go paperless. Reading your newspaper and magazine subscriptions onlinem and get your bank statements online.

Do you have a good Earth Day tip -- comment here and share it with us.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Green Life Project: The Water Cycle

This is a fun family project to do to show how water recycles itself!

Things you will need:
- A clean glass jar and lid (mayonnaise jars work well)
- Gravel
- Clean sand (play sand or aquarium sand)
- Potting soil
- A small plant such as moss, or grass seed or small beans
- A bottle cap or small seashell.

1) Layer into the jar the gravel, sand, and then the soil on top. Use thinner layers of gravel and sand, and a thick layer of soil.
2) Add a small plant, or seeds.
3) Gently water.
4) Add shell or cap with water in it, and close lid.
5) Place in a sunny spot and watch the water cycle over the next hours and days!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rain Barrel

Why install a rain barrel?
Rain barrels are great for homeowners who have external downspouts and want to save rainwater to water plants on a dry day or even to wash a car. For gardening, rain water is great since it doesn’t contain chlorine. An average rainstorm can fill a 50 gallon drum within an hour!

How much will it cost?
Rain barrels do not have to cost a lot of money and are actually great DIY projects. You can also buy models that vary in price from $50-$1600. Some cities even subsidize or provide rebates for residents.

Rain Barrel Tips
· Use a mesh screen to keep leaves and animals out of the rain barrel.

· Since airborne pollutants can be a problem in many areas, use your collected water for plants, cleaning your car, watering the lawn, but not to drink!

· Clean out the barrel frequently to avoid algae growth and remove sentiment.

· Put the barrel up off the ground to make it easier to drain the water out of the bottom.