Climate change has raised many new problems impacting everyday life. One challenge we recently wrestled with was the combined effects of smoke from surrounding forest fires and the stifling mugginess of a heat wave. Keeping the windows closed to keep the smoke out made it more difficult to control the temperature in the house, but beyond that, too long with the windows closed leads to a very stuffy environment.
Storage of electricity is expensive, because batteries are expensive, and lose power over time. Batteries are getting less expensive all the time, though, and are easy to add to existing systems. Batteries are a good way to shift excess power from peak generation time to peak load. This was never something anyone had to even consider doing in the past, because it has only been recently that peak generation has out-produced demand during the daytime. So, traditionally, people only think of long-term storage needs, which batteries are not good for.
Here is my UPDATED water plan.
Somewhere along the road in 2014, I read an article about Ugly Produce. I had heard in the past that somewhere around 50% of our food goes to waste, but Ugly Produce brought home the idea in a whole new way. I had always assumed the waste was the result of inefficiencies in the system—food that spoiled before it got to someone who wanted to eat it. Ugly Produce was the first time I thought about perfectly good food being discarded because it didn’t meet some standard other than edibility.
Today we made the sad discovery that our Queen had died, and our hive had passed away. There were some signs that all was not right a couple of weeks ago when I looked in and saw that there were very few bees in the hive -- only two or three frames covered in the brood box, and none elsewhere. Last week it seemed like things were looking up, as there were bees active up in the super, but when I came back today, there was no activity at all.
So we have been trying to figure out how to not burn gas to visit Santa Cruz from Brisbane (136 miles round trip) for a while. Its a great trick considering that much longer than the range on the Leaf.
This weekend we were finally brave enough to take our Nissan Leaf over to Santa Cruz. Actually, in the past the issue was not so much bravery as lack of time to charge back up to 100% for the drive home. This trip we were able to do that, though, so we took the leaf.
Winter is coming and its going to be a long winter this time around. How do I know? I dont really know. But in 2008 during the housing market & banking crash, the media said it was really really bad, but dont worry it will all be fixed right away. I knew one of those two things was a lie because they cannot exist together. I told everyone either it isnt really bad and it will get better immediately, or it is really bad and its going to take four to five years before it looks right again. Many people chose to argue the media line with me, but
City of Brisbane Open Space and Ecology Committee presents
What lies beneath? No Deposit, No Return.
Sunday May 5th at 3:30 pm
An interesting look at Brisbane's history, the future of the Baylands and the story of our garbage and its impact on our environment.
Please come. Kid friendly, community oriented, and munchies.
We decided to do another challenge this year. Many of the Riot for Austerity folks agreed to do a month without groceries (many of them excepting 1-2 special items. ie: milk for the kids). We couldn't agree on it as a family so instead we pulled our Red List concept out of the hat.
Basic idea is to write down everything purchased grocery wise for a month to give a seasonal snap shot of what we are buying and how much. This is what we bought for the month of March.
Well, this is where the heartbreak happens. After only two weeks we had to disassemble our Thermal Bin. Not because the temperatures had dropped but rather because we noticed that the free mulch was infested with red spider mites. They had laid low when we were shoveling and moving the stuff, but a little after a week we started to notice them crawling everywhere. Turns out to be a good thing that we didnt get it plumbed in but not for any of the reasons the plumbers gave for not helping.
We had a mixture of wood and leaf matter from various sources. Jean Pain used wood chips to build his pile but we are using what is on hand, free and local.
Im calling this 2.5 because our original paper plan quickly showed itself to have some problems.
Here is how we are constructing Thermal Bin 2.5
We know how hard it is squeak by on a sustainable level of Natural Gas. This is becoming more and more important with the advent of Fracking.
Weather you choose barrels or totes is up to you and will depend on availability, budget, inclination towards plumbing, atheistic and space. For more information, check out our page on daisy chaining rain barrels.
If you choose totes, here are a few things we have learned from our experiences.
A few years ago, my wife told me about a group of people who make a pledge to not buy new things for a whole year. There are exceptions on their list, of course; there is no such thing as used food or fuel, or other consumables, and it is expected that certain important items like underwear will still be purchased new, but for the most part, the rule was to buy it used or do without.
I was traveling recently and found I needed a crochet hook to finish what I was doing. First I asked the people I was visiting if they had one. No, but they were sure I could buy one at Walmart.
Its the end of September and we have almost exhausted this topic. It brings us good news and bad news. Bad news out of the way first.
We had estimated that we would use 9.1 therms during our final month long experiment. The results are that we used 10 therms. Why is that? Either the one afternoon of canning ketchup is responsible, or some of our assumptions about how much the pilots burn is slightly faulty. Either way its a reasonable margin of error considering we dont have more accurate instruments.
We are building this page to be a compleiment to our Greenest Eco School & Office supplies page.
For this page we are putting together best places to look for supplies. As always, we advocate making do and using up what you have first. If you really need to buy something, here are some good places to look.