A blog about all things that are wonderful about and to the Earth.
Because being eco-friendly is easier than making the zombie virus.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Inspired by the sun!

Alternative energy is a must. Anyone that disagrees is in complete denial.

One of my favorites is solar. That bright beautiful star in the sky gives us so much energy, and for all of these years we've been wasting our time and money on fossil fuels. 

Recently I was at a conference meeting and there was a presentation from the MREA (Midwest Renewable Energy Association) about solar energy. I won't go through the science part of it because that's not something that we all need to know in depth. We really need to know that it does work, it's effective, it's durable and long lasting, and it's an unlimited resource.

You know what this fellow from MREA said, or rather had on his powerpoint? A bulletin board that said this:
"When there is a huge solar spill, it's called a nice day.

That get's ya thinkin' doesn't it.
There wouldn't be any disruption to aquatic habitats that would be mucked up from oil spills.
There would be no need for a Keystone XL pipeline to run through the United States (and risk of leaks in said pipeline).
There would be reasonable priced reusable energy (because hopefully our star doesn't burn out).

A lot of issues is that it's a huge up-front cost. You have to get the panels and get them installed and those get pricey. So they have the option to lease your solar panels to reduce the up-front cost. I like this idea personally and the only complaint that I see is that it is a long-term contract and could maybe be a pain for when you are selling your home. 

Essentially just look at the fine print. Read every detail. And I mean read it, don't skim it!

Then there's this other thing that as a whole society we have an issue with. It's that question of "What is going to be the next best thing?" Of course there will always be improvements, that's what happens with technology, but if we continue to just wait for the next big technology we are missing out on the energy that can be captured and consuming the fossil fuels that are damaging to the environment.

So as a final inspiration, I leave you with this.

"All of the coal, oil and gas known to humans has the same energy as the sun shines on us in 20 days."
So what did you do in the last 20 days? The sun has been giving us energy, are you ready to do your research and capture it?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ending the Plastic Bag Parade!

So here's the story that has lead me to such a rage.

A couple of days ago I was supervising lunch for a school group that came to my job. What astounded me was the amount of plastic bags that were being thrown away because that's what they used as their lunch boxes. I am not even going to get into the whole wasted food side of that because that's a whole other can of worms (literally and figuratively)

Besides the plastic bags, those -pardon the language- fucking Lunchables. I fucking hate those. Even when I was a kid I knew how much waste that shit produced. But once again, a different story for a different day.

So here are the ways to end the parade.
1) Stash a bag with you at every possible moment so that you have no excuse. You can get these cute strawberry bags that fit into most purses or stash a few of the canvas bags in the trunk of your car. There really is no excuse of saying "I don't have a canvas bag" 'cause they pass that shit out like it's Halloween candy. PEOPLE WANT YOU TO HAVE REUSABLE BAGS.

2) Plan when you are going to the store. This could be the hardware store, this could be the mall, but I emphasize this point with the grocery store. It breaks my environmental heart when I see a person with a cart FILLED with plastic bags and there's about two stupid things in there. ARE YOU SHITTING ME? This is sometimes out of the control of the person because the one bagging all of the products did that. Once again, ARE YOU SHITTING ME. Lame excuse. If it's a whirlwind moment, rely on that little strawberry bag discussed in #1.

3) Really try your best to stick to a plan. Boy o' boy did it take months for me to drill it into my hubby's brain to keep the bags with him in his car so he would use them. Of course it's more convenient to just take a plastic bag from the store, but if you make it convenient for you to use the reusable bags then that's just one better.

So there you have it.
Three super simple steps to doing your part.

What ticks me off is that a lot of the times there are some people that view it as "not cool" or "such a lame thing to do". For example, there was this bag that I saw floating on the internet that said something along the lines of "My wife made me carry this bag" or some crap like that. WHY IS THIS SUCH A BAD THING? I know that many people have their own causes and other people can disagree with the cause, but this is the ENVIRONMENT. THIS IS ABOUT THE PLACE THAT YOU LIVE AND THE RESOURCES THAT YOU USE. Take care of it!!

Now this last part is what I tell a lot of people. The hardest part of ending the parade is not getting yourself to do it and finding a system that works for you, but trying to encourage others to join the end of the plastic bag parade. 

If you get one person to join you and have them do the same, eventually it will make an impact. Even if it's slow. Like really slow. Because sometimes people are stubborn and don't want to change.

As an optimist I still believe in the good of people and that things can change. I just only hope that the majority doesn't prove me wrong.
**Oh, and sometimes places give you little discounts if you don't take the plastic bags. Bonus!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Cold weather is a brewin'!

Oh Wisconsin, how you tease us so.

One day you are the perfect fall weather, the next you're below freezing!
At least I am able to get some pretty shots from you still.

As a Naturalist I tough out all sorts of predicaments, but this one is a first.
This is a photo of my coworker and I preparing to canoe (I'm the one in the maroon life jacket)! Let's just say it was an interesting experience.
Let's start with temperature. It was a high of 27 degrees.
Next was the wind speed. It was 17mph to 22mph.
Precipitation, you ask? There was snow falling about 90% of the time.

And let me tell you this: IT. WAS. AWESOME.

The lake was choppy, the snow was sitting on frozen water, we saw at LEAST 350 Sandhill Cranes migrating above us when we traveled to the bog. Fortunately no one tipped their canoe (we canoed with students from my former high school) and we made it back in one piece. Though there was some complaining, none from the staff anyway, it was an adventure we would never forget. I wish that I could've taken more photos, but I didn't feel like risking my phone to the possibility of the bottom of the lake.

If you are wondering where we canoe, we start out at Eagle Spring Lake and end up at Lulu lake (just south on the map) and back to our dock. It's not an easy picnic that's for sure. And this is especially true when you're going against the wind!

If you want to see more of my canoeing adventures, here and here you go! And when winter is all done and spring eventually gets here, there will be plenty more trips to go on!