Posts Tagged Green & Eco Friendly

Land Sharing

Part of the issue of tiny houses is figuring out where to put them.  While building codes are so restrictive, it simply isn’t possible to legally place them on land in most states. landshare There is a county in my state of NC where the minimum square footage is 2500 square feet!  I continue to feel that the only viable is to buy a large chunk of land and have your house nestled deep within it.  But this presents a large barrier for some, including me at the age of 25.  Once I do get a sizable piece of land I have often thought of opening it up and sharing with other tiny houses to form a tiny community.  The group would contribute to a community garden, upkeep and improvements.  There would be public areas such as botanical garden, small park, perhaps a pool or swimming hole.  I apparently I haven’t been the only one thinking about this.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a national treasure–a writer, organic farmer, chef, t.v. personality and passionate believer in local communities. His latest venture is “Landshare”–a scheme which puts people with large unused gardens in touch with gardeners wanting space. He calls it a “food revolution destined to be the next great thing.” With more people wanting to grow their own food and allotments being harder and harder to come by, he just may be right.

It is a simple and optimistic idea. People register their interest as a grower, a spotter –someone who has seen land in their area that may be suitable for growing–or an owner. The register, once it is up and running, will put these people in touch with each other.

The facts are that 80% of Britain’s population live in towns and cities, Britain’s food travels 17 trillion miles every year to reach our plates and it costs four barrels of oil per person to feed us every year.

So there is a good reason why the concept is growing and others are proposing variations. “LandFit” is another group that is “encouraging local food production by matching would-be growers with under used land.” They too want to increase opportunities to grow good locally by bringing untended and ignored bits of land back into use. They see it is a way to not only grow food and encourage organic gardening but also as a way to discourage anti-social behaviour. It’s a variation on Jane Jacobs all over again: when you have a well-kept street with local people interested in what is going on then you have a sense of community and involvement.

It is complicated and political because it involves land ownership and the use of private property by others. The group is in the process of discussing matters such as ” governance issues, and developing a model agreement between gardener and ‘lead stakeholder’, and ways in which LandFit style agreements can be supported.”

These are two examples of groups trying to come to grips with sustainability in food production, taking control of food production and the growing numbers of people interested in gardening but without access to land. Landshare and LandFit

Old Magazines Into Coasters

While I find coasters to be a hassle and I use the Bodum glasses which eliminates the need for them, there are many folks that use them.  In addition they make a great gift if you make them yourself.  So here is a quick way to reuse old magazine to make some fun coasters.

6-24-09coasters11. Tear out 6 magazine pages. Cut off the ragged edge on each, then cut each page in half lengthwise. I stacked them and cut them all at once with an X-acto knife and ruler. (To make a coaster with a finer weave, cut each of the half-page strips in half lengthwise again. And note that weaving will take you twice as long!)

2. Fold each strip in half lengthwise. Then fold the resulting piece in thirds, folding the cut edges inward first so they’re hidden inside. Now you have a long, thick strip. Fold it in half at the center. See steps pictured above. Repeat with each magazine sheet.

3. To start weaving, interlock two strips. This is the bottom left corner of your coaster.

4. Add another strip that wraps around the outside of the horizontal bottom strip.

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Lunch Bots

Recently there has been allot of hype when it comes to plastics and chemical leeching.  One prime example is Nalgene water bottles and how they used to contain BPA’s.  These days you hear about how fill in the blank causes cancer, by the end we find that the majority of things we use will be the death of us.

lunchbot2

I have always loved how in the olden days they used to package everything in great little metal tins, they were so durable, reusable and most often recyclable by today’s standards.  This might just be me, I have come to realize I have this odd addiction to containers, but that’s for another day.

Lunch Bots are basically Tupperware but made from 100% stainless steel, they are washable, recyclable, durable and look awesome!  While they can’t handle liquids like soup, they are good for just about everything else.  Combined these with a reusable lunch bag and your golden.  Buy them for around $15 each or a set of all 4 for $50 here

Eco Pods

I have always been intrigued by creative solutions to housing, in our life the average person spend a third of all the money they make on housing, my question is, how can we change that third to a much smaller fraction?  I found this a little bit ago and what I really like about it is thatecopod

  • It is able to be transported via standard tractor trailer (18 wheeler) methods
  • It uses recycled materials almost exclusively
  • They are relatively inexpensive
  • It can be locked up and short of someone spending an hour with a plasma cutting torch, they aren’t going to get in

All of these things are really important to me because I don’t want to spend my entire life in debt, I want to be able to move my home if I find a great job elsewhere with minimal cost, and when I go on month long vacations I can without worry about my home.

Eco pods are 120 square feet of living area not counting the built in deck.  The floor is recycled car tires and actually looks really nice, plus gives some so you aren’t always standing on a hard surface, plus it cleans well.  Check out the video below and their website here

 

Eco Friendly Paints

In our homes today there are some seriously bad new chemicals.  I have a friend of the family  that worked for a insurance company and his whole job was air quality.  After talking to him some he said something that kind of scared me.  top-paintsHe said even with the top of the life filtration systems in our homes today, the air quality is around 6 times more toxic than any of the worst air quality cities.  That’s kinda scary!

Now there are some things that you simply cannot reduce their toxicity because the value of having those chemicals is so great.  For example if you have a solar array, you will need to have several batteries to capture that power.  The batteries have all sorts of nasty chemicals but the value of have your computer running, a fridge and lights out weighs it.  Paint is the number one suspect when it comes to ruining the indoor air quality.  Thus, replacing it can make a huge impact on the problem.

That said, there are allot of things that we can do address this problem.  One of which is using Low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) which is the bad stuff.  Then there are other paints that are non-toxic which are basically you vegan version of paint, there are only natural ingredients in them.  So here is a round up of the best Low VOC and Non-Toxic paints  here