There Is No Away

Feeling a little bullish and full of questions about Earth Day.

Do we still need Earth Day?

I remember the first Earth Day. We were told, “Make every day Earth Day.”

Did we?

At the time, our cars slurped leaded gas, power plants belched out smoke and smog without recourse, and our rivers were on fire.

With even cleaner ways to power our vehicles, have we embraced cleaner cars? With mercury pollution poisoning our children and asthma on the rise, is our air clean enough? What will happen to our rivers and ground water if our land is fracked?

Earth Day was inspired by the anti-war movement. It tapped into that tremendous energy to bring public awareness to air and water pollution. In April of that year, 20 million Americans rallied for a healthier environment. Groups fought for less polluting power plants, eliminating toxic landfills, bans on pesticides, and cleaner roads.

How’d they do it?

In a rare political alignment, Republicans and Democrats created the EPA, and then passed the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

Could this be done today?

We’ve got climate change deniers in Congress, and a well-funded pro-polluter lobby drumming the false message that we have to choose between the economy and our precious planet. Such a no-brainer. Where’s the economy headed if we can’t breathe the air, drink the water or farm on the land?

What can we do with such a divided environmental community?

We’ve come a long way since 1970, yet we haven’t answered all the questions. I’m thinking we need a new uprising, a new mission for Earth Day…a grassroots movement focused on the single most important environmental problem of our time–global warming. Our parents fought hard for a cleaner environment for their children. And we’ve learned there is no away.

Maybe it’s time to repurpose Earth Day?

Earth Day 1970…

Poster: IDSA

3 Ways To Knit Green And A Big Cable Coverlet (free knitting pattern)

In my conciliatory effort to catch up, it’s time for another knitting project. Before you grab your needles, let’s take a look at the saving the planet side of knitting.

Since I must examine the eco-friendliness of everything, and I must knit, I must help you find a way to knit without doing any further harm to our precious environment.

Let’s be real. Knitting is not the greenest of crafts. It’s expensive, and there’s a myriad of toxic additives and dyes used in the manufacturing of yarn. The process is not energy-efficient, and not great for workers health. And a large chunk of yarn comes from faraway places. All of this can negatively affect people and our planet.

While the yarn industry may have a long way to go, there are a few things conscious knitters can do.

3 Ways to Green Your Knitting

1. Knit Your Stash – Here’s a fact: Knitters horde yarn. Why? Because you’ll never know when you will need a variegated purple fingering-weight merino angora-blend skein. What was I thinking?

2. Unravel An Old Sweater – It’s spring…go weeding in your sweater drawer. I wrote about how to rip out a sweater and reuse the yarn HERE. Try it. For some, ripping out is more fun than knitting.

3. Consider Your Ecological Impact – Purchase organic yarn from a local yarn shop. Organic yarn goes through the same rigorous requirements as organic meat. Sheep are fed organic feed, free of injected growth hormones, and their cushy fleeces cannot be washed in chemicals. Natural dyes seal the eco-deal.

Big Cable Knitted Coverlet

My daughter sent me a photo of a coverlet she wants for her bed (main image). I pinned it onto my Pinterest Knitting Board. Love the big cables. I found the perfect (free) KNITTING PATTERN (right), and beautiful creamy organic yarn at my local yarn shop.

Cabled and caught up!

Photos: the style files, Lion Brand Yarn

Mobile Greenhouse Teaches Kids To Grow Food

“If you can grow food in the back of a truck, viagra you can grow it anywhere!” ~ Compass Green

Prepare to be inspired by this sustainable farming/teaching project:

via: Treehugger

A Rebirthed Idea: DIY Silk Eggs From Old Ties

Just meander outside and check out the season of birth. Popping up from under the gray/green floor of the winter that wasn’t, is a colorfully vibrant, if not eerily early spring. My husband tells me Easter is always the first Sunday immediately following the first full moon, after the first day of spring.

The tradition of giving eggs represents new life and can be traced back to ancient cultures. But the wasteful carbon footprint of unnaturally bright-colored eggs and plastic grass, stomps on our planet. According to the National Retail Federation, the average person is expected to spend $145.28, up 11% from last year’s $131.04…a record $16.8 billion is projected to go into Easter-related spending. Yikes!

When my kids were younger, we ditched the harmful dyes and created gorgeous eggs (see last year’s post) from natural sources. And of course, we eat our daily dose of chocolate to stay thin. Really. Haven’t you heard the latest study about eating chocolate to help you stay thin?

Last night the kids (and their significant others) ushered in the season with a new tradition. They watched the moon rise from the warmth of our outdoor hot tub. Divine indeed!

An Eggcellent Idea

My father-in-law is a tie-wearer, a tie-collector and a tie-lover. A while ago, I inherited a bag of old silk ties from him with a note: “You’ll find something creative to do with these.”

Voila! I’m beyond smitten with these silk-dyed eggs made from old ties. Just a wonderful idea from guess who? Martha Stewart, who else?

All you need are raw eggs, old silk ties (shirts or boxers), vinegar, water and this tutorial.

Rebirth seems like a good idea. And as Pete Seeger croons, “If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, or recycled, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed.”

Photos: The June Bride

A Kitchen Revolt – Recycled Appliances To The Rescue

My kitchen was out of sink. A while back, I was convinced my appliances had gathered around the triangle conjuring up ways to drive my family crazy. The collapse of the appliances ran the gamut from deranged to deceased…all in one agonizing week.

Here are the sorted story highlights and how it led me on a path to find a sustainable option for a major appliance purchase.

The Kitchen Conspiracy

The nozzle on the faucet sprayed me down every time it was time to clean the pots and pans, depositing water and grease all over. The refrigerator was particularly frisky and wouldn’t shut, leaking precious energy and melting down the freezer in its wake. There were two broken wine glasses in the dishwasher, making emptying a treacherous landmine.

You get the drift, my appliances were as unruly as inanimate objects can get…all but the gas stove, that just up and died at the ripe age of 22.

The Lifespan Of Kitchen Appliances

How long should a kitchen appliance last?

“The life expectancy of a typical appliance depends to a great extent on the use it receives. Moreover, appliances are often replaced long before they are worn out because changes in styling, technology and consumer preferences make newer products more desirable. Of the major appliances in a home, gas ranges have the longest life expectancy: 15 years. Dryers and refrigerators last about 13 years. Some of the appliances with the shortest lifespan are: compactors (6 years), dishwashers (9 years) and microwave ovens (9 years).” ~ Do It Yourself

The Attempted Fixes

The fridge, faucet and dishwasher had their requisite repairs. But, the stove was truly deceased. After cooking on my woodstove for about a minute, I realized we were faced with a major, major appliance purchase. I had been coveting a professional gas stove for a long time. Have you seen the price tags of one of those beauties? Astronomical. So, I searched EBAY and Craigslist for a gently used professional stove and got nowhere – shipping costs would have been prohibitive anyway. I had read about an organization called Green Demolitions. I knew they sold used salvaged kitchens and baths, and I knew they were connected to a charity. But I had no idea they would save my kitchen from imminent demise.

Green Demolitions To The Rescue

Green Demolitions Recycling Luxury for Recovery is a non-profit organization that provides recycled luxury kitchens and baths at 50%-70% off new retail prices. The appliances and fixtures are donated from estates that are demolished or renovated.

To sweeten the pot, the proceeds of the sale go directly to their “entrepreneurial charitable enterprise” which supports outreach programs for AAA (All Addicts Anonymous). The obvious benefit for the buyer is clear; recycled quality appliances for a fraction of the cost. Green Demolitions connects people who want to give, with people who need something, for people in need. The donor gets a tax savings, reduced labor and/or disposal, while the reduction of landfill waste from all those otherwise tossed appliances is a win for the environment.

The knowledge that a charitable contribution goes to self-sustaining funds for a highly effective addiction recovery program was the icing on the cake for me.

Back to the battlefield of my kitchen…

A New Old Stove

From my new hero, Green Demolitions, we purchased a shiny, 2 year old 30″ professional stove that looks just like this. We got it for a song (much less than a lesser new model). It is the focal point of my kitchen, and the object of my foodie family’s affection. And now, thanks to Green Demolitions, the rest of the revolutionaries in the kitchen triangle are on high alert.