Why Don't You..Schedule a Yearly Tune-Up for your Lawnmower?

Keeping your lawnmower in good working order will cut emissions by up to 50 percent and reduce fuel consumption by 30%. Most local hardware or home improvement stores offer lawnmower tune-up services.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Smart Green Tip: Think Before You Print

From our friends at the Green Business Bureau!

One of the easiest ways for small businesses to save money is to manage office printing.  An organized printing policy can help your business save not only paper but also ink and toner too.
Following are 5 simple tips from the Green Business Bureau to help you cut your printing costs and save natural resources:

  1. Set computer defaults to print double-sided.  Set all computer software to print double sided by default. Also encourage office employees to print on both sides of the page. These small steps double or quadruple your printing efficiency!
  2. Post informative signs near printers and copiers. Use catchy language such “Think Before You Print” or “Print on Both Sides and Save Trees.”
  3. Print in draft mode for internal communication. By selecting lower quality print, you save ink and toner.
  4. Click preview before printing.  This is particularly useful when printing web pages. Make sure you are only printing information that you want.
  5. Download the Ecofont. Save up to 50% on printer ink and toner with EcoFont software.

Learn other paper reduction strategies from the experts at Ask Green Irene.

Green Business Bureau

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Seattle to Build Nation's FIRST Food Forest (all together now: "oooooooooh!")

Thank you to Michelle Underwood for sending this in!

It’s Not a Fairytale: 
Seattle to Build Nation’s First Food Forest

Forget meadows. The city’s new park will be filled with edible plants, and everything from pears to herbs will be free for the taking. 
by Clare Leschin-Hoar
February 21, 2012

Seattle's new food forest, Beacon Hill fruit trees
Hungry? Just head over to the park. Seattle's new food forest aims to be an edible wilderness!
(Photo: Buena Vista Images/Getty Images)
Seattle’s vision of an urban food oasis is going forward. A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest.
“This is totally innovative, and has never been done before in a public park,” Margarett Harrison, lead landscape architect for the Beacon Food Forest project, tells TakePart. Harrison is working on construction and permit drawings now and expects to break ground this summer.
The concept of a food forest certainly pushes the envelope on urban agriculture and is grounded in the concept of permaculture, which means it will be perennial and self-sustaining, like a forest is in the wild. Not only is this forest Seattle’s first large-scale permaculture project, but it’s also believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.
“The concept means we consider the soils, companion plants, insects, bugs—everything will be mutually beneficial to each other,” says Harrison.
That the plan came together at all is remarkable on its own. What started as a group project for a permaculture design course ended up as a textbook example of community outreach gone right.
Friends of the Food Forest undertook heroic outreach efforts to secure neighborhood support. The team mailed over 6,000 postcards in five different languages, tabled at events and fairs, and posted fliers,” writes Robert Mellinger for Crosscut.
Neighborhood input was so valued by the organizers, they even used translators to help Chinese residents have a voice in the planning.
So just who gets to harvest all that low-hanging fruit when the time comes?
“Anyone and everyone,” says Harrison. “There was major discussion about it. People worried, ‘What if someone comes and takes all the blueberries?’ That could very well happen, but maybe someone needed those blueberries. We look at it this way—if we have none at the end of blueberry season, then it means we’re successful.”
Want to help out? 
We are looking for Beacon Hill community members, local institutions and city wide volunteers to join together, build and grow a Food Forest.  You can join our mailing list or become a volunteer by going here. You can also donate money to the project by going here

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Introducing 5 New National Monuments!

President Obama has just protected key wild places and wildlife by designating FIVE new national monuments.

The new national monuments are:

Washington State's San Juan Islands
"President Obama today designated a national monument in the San Juan Islands, proclaiming the archipelago “a refuge of scientific and historic treasures and a classroom for generations of Americans.” The designation will offer additional protections for some 1,000 acres of undeveloped federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. It does not move any new lands under federal control." --Seattle Times

Rio Grande del Norte
"The Río Grande del Norte National Monument will boost economic growth in northern New Mexico while permanently protecting the heritage,  water and approximately 240,000 acres of natural areas and wildlife habitat in the region. “I applaud President Obama protecting Rio Grande del Norte National Monument because many of the wildlife species that live in that corridor come in and out of this area.  Left unprotected, there may be very few animals available that the Native American people of Taos Pueblo depend on for food, clothing and shelter," says Benito Sandoval, Taos Pueblo War Chief." -Indian Country Today Media Network

Harriet Tubman Historic Site in Maryland
"President Barack Obama set aside 480 acres on the Eastern Shore on Monday as a national monument to honor Harriet Tubman — a victory for advocates who have long sought to memorialize the abolitionist's role in leading dozens of slaves to freedom. Advocates and a bipartisan group of lawmakers described the rare presidential proclamation as a significant step in what has been a long and often grueling campaign to pay homage to Tubman, who escaped slavery but returned to the Eastern Shore 13 times to free others."  --Baltimore Sun

Charles Young House in Ohio
"Col. Charles Young, a distinguished officer in the United States Army, was the third black to graduate from West Point and first to achieve a colonel ranking. He later became a professor of military science at Wilberforce University. Young served as an army superintendent of Sequioa and General Grant National Parks before the National Parks Service establishment in 1916." -Dayton Daily News

First State National Monument in Delaware
"Delaware has 689 historic places, 13 historic landmarks and now one national monument. President Obama created five new national monuments Monday, including the first one for Delaware and the 400th unit of the National Park Service. First State National Monument (Delaware was first to ratify the U.S. Constitution) includes several colonial sites, starting with Dover Green, where the legislature met to make its historic vote in 1787, and the New Castle Court House, where the then colony voted to separate from Britain. " -LA Times