Friday, January 21, 2011

Central Park in The Snow and News of Pale Male

Snowflakes falling in Central Park by Inga Sarda-Sorensen
It was my intention to go out and explore Central Park on Tuesday and share my findings with you on Wednesday. Tuesday turned out to be a dreadfully rainy day and except for the long walk to work and back, I wanted nothing to do with the outdoors. The rest of my week being a busy mess, I have to postpone my walk to the weekend. I shall tell you all about it next week.

In the mean time, I thought I should share the new development with Pale Male, NYC resident Red-Tail Hawk (you can read more about him here and here).

The story goes that for the past 9 years, Pale Male and his mate Lola have ruled the skies of New York. In this picture taken on January 3rd 2010, you can see the happy couple perched together in a regular spot. Pale Male being the paler on on the right and Lola the beautiful red head on the left.
Pale Male has had 10 successful nests since he established himself in Central Park in 1991. However, since 2005, none of the eggs have hatched.

Lola disappeared in the beginning of the new year, a bad omen as mating happens very early on in the season. She has not been seen since December 18th. Although no body has been found, hawk expert John Blakeman strongly believes that Lola has met her maker. "It's pretty clear that Lola has met her demise, probably from a poisoned prey animal [such as a rat or pigeon] or by injury[.]This is not the season that experienced [female hawks] cavalierly absent themselves from their established territories." Blakeman is quoted in The New York Post.

Faithful hawk watchers still hope that Lola will return but if she does, it's not to an empty nest. Pale Male has already found a replacement, in a younger dark colored female. Whether Lola returns or not, we can all hope to see hatchlings in 2011. "A new partner may increase the chances of a successful clutch", Blakeman comments on a BBC Radio interview .

That's the NYC Hawk News, if you would be so kind as to follow me into a minute of silence for Lola.


Take Care!
Winn, Marie. "Pale Male's Dynasty". April 7th 2006. Pale Male Stats. [Online] Jan 20, 2011. <>
Kaplan, Don. "Lola Flies Coop; Pale Male's New Gal". Jan 18th, 2011. The New York Post. [Online] Jan 20th, 2011. <>

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Book of Heterocephalus

Heterocephalus glaber, The Naked Mole-Rat

Rodents, with their continuously growing front teeth, are the most successful and numerous order of mammal. The Naked Mole-Rat is just one of its many various forms. 
The Naked Mole-Rat is fur-less simply because it lives in burrows deep in the ground of Africa where the temperatures remain stable. These burrows are excavated using their strong incisors.  Their lifestyle makes their eyes practically useless, they interact with their surroundings using mainly touch (they are very sensitive to vibrations) and hearing. Their gestation period is only 70 to 80 days but can produce 10 to 27 pups. These herbivorous rodents measure about 3 inches (7cm) and weigh, on average,  1.75 ounces (50g).

It's not their burrowing or incredible fertility that makes them interesting, it's their social structure.

Naked Mole-Rats are eusocial, like bees, ants and termites. Being eusocial means living in a large colony with only one breeding female (the queen) and very few breeding males. Other members of the colony (whether they be male or female) are of the worker or warrior caste. They are the one of the two known mammal with this social structure (the other being the Damaraland Mole-Rat). 

With a life expectancy between 10 and 30, their life span is considerably longer than that of their other eusocial comrades and most other rodents. 

Even though this species is not widespread, it's population is doing well. Isn't that nice to hear?
Watch a video by Jeff the Zoo Guy (my dream job right there...sigh...)


Watch a clip from The Life of Mammals: The Chisellers narrated by David Attenborough (my hero) 
This 50 minute clip is all about rodents, the Naked Mole-Rat appears after 30mins.

The popularization of the Naked Mole-Rat

 Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed

 Where have you seen Naked Mole-Rats?

 Take care!
"Naked Mole-Rat." Small Mammals. Smithsonian National Zoological Park. [On line] 18 Jan. 2011  
Maree, S. & Faulkes, C. (2008). Heterocephalus glaber. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. [On line] on 18 Jan 2011.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Enjoyable Sights

Happy Martin Luther King Day!
I hope your week is looking up. Jets fans, I know for a fact, should be absolutely ecstatic to a fault all week until next Sunday.
To start the week off right, here are two things that brought me great joy last week.

The first being Central Park covered in a blanket of snow. Photographed from 59th street heading east. More about the snowy park to come this week.

The second is a children book about a Naked Mole Rat! I love seeing this obscure eusocial African animal popularized in such a way. I wish I had a kid I could justify this purchase for. Tune in to learn more about these critters later on this week as well.

On that note, have a great week!
Take care!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Better Birding in 2011

I wish I was a better birder, don't you? Here are 4 videos made by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology explaining 4 key things to notice when you are trying to identify a bird.

1- Size and shape
Compare it to something you know well like a crow or a ring-billed gull or a sparrow. When it comes to shape, trust your instincts. Does it look like a bird of prey or a duck? Birds, like cars, have shapes that suit their life style. Each bird family has recognizable characteristics. If my husband can tell the difference between a Ford and a Toyota, I can tell whether I'm looking at a song bird, a raptor or a woodpecker. 

If you have time for a better look, try and notice the shape of the head, beak and tail.

2- Color Pattern
Color is one of the most frustrating characteristics to look for since it varies depending on the season, sex, age, health and even sunlight. The key is to identify the patterns of color on different parts of the birds body.  I felt learning the Topography of a bird as described in most bird guides really helped.

Here's a link to the video (because it's being difficult)

3- Behavior
Behavior is a constant just like size and shape which makes it, in some cases, more useful than color patterns. Focus mainly on posture, foraging and flight style. Mating rituals are only present during certain times of the years and its differs between females and males.
I strongly recommend the video and also taking a walk with an experiences birder but here are some of my favorites and you can read more in your field guide.
 - Nuthatches walk down trees.
- Woodpeckers perch on large vertical branches or the trunk. Their flight reminds me of the Butterfly stroke - an undulating flight pattern punctuated by rapid wing beats and bounds.
- Vultures soar with wings in a V-shape and it looks like it has fingers 

4- Habitat
This clue is frequently overlooked but it can be very useful. Birds and most things live in habitats they are adapted to. The video divides habitat into four broad categories :forested or woodland (coniferous or deciduous), aquatic habitats, scrub shrub habitat, and open habitat (field and tundra). Identifying the habitat should be the first thing you do when you arrive at a birding site because it will give you a good idea of what birds you might see.
Warning! Bird migrate so depending on the time of year you might find birds in odd places.

 Here's a link the the video

With these notions in mind, head outside and start observing. You will gain more knowledge by experimenting than by trying to memorize everything in your bird guide. The best introduction you can have is to follow a seasonned birder along on a walk, not only are they overflowing with fascinating knowledge but they will also transmit their passion for birds. Beware, it's contagious.

If you're in the New York area, look up the Birdwatchers of Central Park called the Early Birders, they offer morning walks around the park. There is also the New York City Audubon Society
and the New York Companion Bird Club. If that doesn't work for you,  walking around Central Park with Binoculars, you will undoubtedly bump into another birdwatcher willing to point out great things. You can pick up a checklist of the birds you are most likely to encounter in Central Park, for free, at the Castle, the Dairy, and the Dana Center - just ask around.

Similar organizations exist all over the world, most of them have websites or you can find pamphlets at information kiosks.

Have a great weekend!
Take care!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Big Fin Squid

I believe I have told you about my love for Cephalopods - octopuses, squids, cuttlefish, and the Nautilus. Well, imagine my delight when Lauren from Animal a Day wrote up this great post about the Big Fin Squid, a species I had never heard about.

Follow the link to find out more a watch a video of this illusive animal.

Take care!

Catalytic Clothing - to help us breathe more beautifully

Ok, this is the second day I post a link to an article I have written for another venue, I'm sorry. I do have something planned just for you for tomorrow.
In the mean time, head over to Love Garden Design to catch a glimpse of the future; clothing that can purify the air.

Love Garden Design: Catalytic Clothing - to help us breathe more beaut...: "Would you believe me if I told you your clothes may one day play a part in a global effort for carbon sequestration? "

Take Care!

Source & Picture Credit:
Chua, Jasmin M. "Meet "Herself", the World's First Air-Purifying Dress". Ecouterre.Jan 7th, 2011 [Online]Jan 13th 2011.

Mama Knows Best - Yogurt For Your Health

Did I tell you? I am now a Contributing Writer for Suite 101. Isn't it exciting?I even got a great comment from the Section Editor about my first post. It's so nice to get feedback. My first article is about yogurt and health, please check it out by clicking on the following link.

Mama Knows Best - Yogurt For Your Health

Take care!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Growing is Forever

While browsing through Nature Bloggers directory I tumbled upon Reconciliation Ecology and this visually stunning video.

This is what we strive to protect. Enjoy.

Growing is Forever from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.

Take care!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite

"Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite, and if they do, then take your shoe and knock them ‘til they’re black and blue! "

This over a century old nursery rhyme has quite a debated origin; some people would like us to believe that it refers to the old rope-frame beds that you had to tighten before crawling into if you wished to have a good night sleep. However, etymologists claim that the expression “sleep tight” has only been around since 1866 and therefore its origin is too modern to be linked to this specific kind of bed. They believe it to mean something more on the lines of sleep soundly or sleep well as they have defined it in the Oxford dictionary.  The bedbug side of this story is a more sarcastic take on a frequently occurring phenomenon at that time. Bedbugs are very similar to fleas and ticks as they are tiny flat shaped blood suckers that generally don’t come alone; not a great thing to have in one’s bed. In a time when cleanliness wasn’t so thorough, they lived a great life feeding of the blood of the unsuspecting sleepers. Thankfully for most us this is not our main concern when we peel back the covers to climb into our Spring Fresh smelling sheets.

Sleep is a mysterious thing, generally associated with a happy feeling of warmth, snugness, and no more responsibilities. Although for most, sleep seems to come instantaneously, it’s actually a process that takes all day to build up to the culminating point of peaceful unconsciousness. The basic principal is quite simple; it all starts with our inner or circadian clock acting in accordance with the levels of adenosine in our body to send out a message of sleepiness to our brain. Adenosine is a by-product of cellular activity; it is created as our cells produce the energy we need to get through the day. When the quantity of adenosine reaches a certain point, you start feeling sleepy; if this coincides with your circadian clock, you know its time for bed. Generally speaking, once you have finally decided to listen to your screaming body and call it a night, you don’t fall asleep immediately. If this isn’t the case and the minute your head touches the pillow you are instantly transported into dreamland, you should either review your sleeping habits or thank your genetic lucky star or your parents. For the rest of us, the period before we fall asleep, is called “relaxed wakefulness”. This state generally lasts for less than ten minutes, if you’re up tossing and turning all night, you haven’t even gotten to this stage. At times like these, when sleep will not come, it is suggested to get up and do something, read a book, knit, watch television, drink some tisane, anything, then try again. By remaining in bed, you increase your stress level because you know you should be sleeping which stimulates the production of adrenaline which counteracts the effects of adenosine and stops you from getting your well deserved rest.

Sleep is defined in medical dictionaries as a “periodic state of rest during which consciousness of the world is interrupted” and is generally characterized by decreased movement, a relaxed posture, reduced sensitivity to touch and sound, reduced metabolic rate, and complex brain activity. There are five stages to a good nights sleep and generally you go through multiple cycles during one night. The first stage is drowsiness or relaxed wakefulness; if sitting, this is where the head bobbing action comes into play. Then, you enter light sleep where eye movements stop, heart rate, and body temperature decreases. The next two stages are periods of deep sleep; these are the most vital stages as they allow your body to recover from the days activities. Lack of deep sleep causes the strongest effects of sleep deprivation. If awakened during this stage, a person will feel disorientated and groggy for several minutes making getting out of bed a challenge but conversations hilarious. The last stage generally happens at about seventy to ninety minutes into your sleep cycle, this is your dream or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. It holds its name because of the intensive jerky eye movement that occurs during this time probably linked to dreams. In an average nights sleep, you should experience three to five REM episodes; they are shorter at the beginning of the night and gradually increase whilst deep sleep decreases. As morning approaches, your cycle is mostly stage 1, 2 and REM; this is why you shouldn’t go to bed too late, after a certain time, you don’t get as much revitalizing deep sleep. 

Sleep is important for multiple reasons: it helps you organize memories, ensures a good mood for the following day, neuron repair occurs allowing for optimal performance when awake, it boosts your immune system, and is vital for mental and physical development as growth hormones are released during sleep.

The amount of sleep needed depends on the person and many factors come into play: your genetics, the amount of exercise, daily activities, age, and sleep quality. It is not true that we all need eight hours of sleep a night; some need more and some need less. Generally speaking, if you wake up feeling fresh as a daisy, you’re getting enough sleep; if you’re having a hard time getting up in the morning, experiencing mood-swings, loss of appetite, and difficulties falling asleep, you are more than likely suffering from sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation is quite a serious condition, the effects can be felt both physically and mentally. Symptoms include chronic difficulty to wake up in the morning, falling asleep at random times during the day, and a general decrease in your performances and decisions. Long term sleep deprivation, of even just a few hours a night, can lead to sleep debt. Similarly to the credit card debt on your account, holding on to a sleep debt can have serious long-term effects on your immune system and your metabolism which may lead to obesity and hyperactivity. Make up for your debt by including one hour of extra sleep per night and scheduling in some days where you don’t set an alarm clock and you let your body sleep as long as it needs. 

Sleep is not a luxury, it is as important as exercise and healthy eating habits for our health. So put on your favorite pajamas and grab your faithful teddy, the world will keep on turning even when you are sleeping. Tomorrow is an other day in which you can express your full potential only if you get a good nights sleep. 

Good night, sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite.

Take Care!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pale Male - NYC's Red-Tailed Hawk

Pale Male soaring over 5th Ave via
I moved to New York City in August of 2010. As soon as I got here, I wanted to see Central Park and the Natural History Museum. Soon after, I learnt of the existence of Pale Male, the our resident Red-tailed Hawk, and fell in love.
In November, I wrote a review for probably one of the best books I have read in my life, Red-Tails in Love; A Wildlife Drama in Central Park by Marie Winn (find it here). A large part of the book is about Pale Male, his mates, his offspring and the incredible following this bird has. She also mentioned a documentary, no name, so release date, just that Pale Male was being filmed by an aspiring Wildlife Filmmaker. Well, I've found it.

It's called "The Legend of Pale Male", it was filmed by Frederic Lilien and it opened at the Angelika Film Center at the beginning of December. An article written by Leslie Stonebraker and published in Our Town on December 2nd, 2010. Somehow I managed to pick up this issue and not read it, which is why I'm posting about one month later.

Here's the scanned article if you wish to read it, I couldn't find the link to it online.

This is very exciting news. I can't wait to see the documentary. It's going to be so much fun to watch this incredible hunter navigate the skies of Manhattan. You can learn more about the documentary by visiting the website The Legend of Pale Male; A hawk, a city, a love story.

Be sure to watch the trailer, it's stunning. I can't wait to see it.

The Legend of Pale Male (Documentary) trailer HD
Uploaded by myfilm-gr. - Watch feature films and entire TV shows.

Unfortunately we've missed the showings in NYC but being that he lives here (I believe) maybe, just maybe, if I can get enough people together, we can have another showing.

Would you be interested? Email me at emiliedwolf{at}gmail{dot}com.

However, if you live in Chicago, it's playing at the The Gene Siskel Film Center on January 9th and 12th. Lucky you.

If your in Central Park, walk down to the Model Boat Pond and look up towards the 5th avenue buildings. You're sure to spot the nest above the ornate window on the Central Building.

Take care!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Plarn Purses - Using Plastic Bags as Yarn

Interview with a fascinating lady with a fabulous green craft. 

I met Pat at the One of a Kind Show last November. She was perusing the aisles carrying a bag with a story. Keep reading to find out about up-cycling, plastic bags, plastic soup, plarn, Pat's recipe for greener living and some pretty darn good looking Plarn Purses.

How did you get into up-cycling? 
Well, necessity is the mother of invention, My grandma who was a single mother who had to raise her children during the great depression taught me be thrifty and to use any resources I could.I watched (and helped) her cut up old clothing to make patchwork quilts.She said that wasting usable things is sinful. I can remember how she would take old greeting cards and cut them up to make gift tags for presents, She even let me use her pinking shears to make them look prettier.
 She also taught me  how to knit and crochet. She was real good at it, She made those colorful  fancy doilies. My mom still has some of them in her tables.
 For Christmas one year I got one of those looms to make pot holders, Grandma suggested I use loops from cutting up old shirt sleeves to weave into pot holders.
 So for years everyone got woven pot holders as gifts from me.
  My older cousin lived on a farm. She would unravel the string that is sewn across the feed  and flour bags, tie them together and crochet them into dish towels.I thought that was a great idea . henceforth, a monster was born. I kept an eye out for anything that could be used as thread to be either knitted or crocheted.
 Years later I  also found myself  a single mother. So I had to become creative and make do, I can remember cutting up old jeans, to make covers for my daughters diapers. No pampers here , She wore cloth diapers, rubber pants, with fancy embroidered  denim covers, She was called a baby hippie. I still have the denim skirt that I made for myself. I opened the leg seams up and put in a patchwork panel and had myself a "maxi" skirt.

Why Plastic Bags?
 Not to give away my age but I can remember the line in Dustin Hoffman's, The Graduate, where his uncle put his finger in the air and said "Plastics" I was wondering what's up with Plastic? Little did I know that it could become such a hazard to the planet.
The grocery stores started to use plastic bags. They held up so much better than the paper ones especially where I live and have to haul groceries in the snow. I live at 9,352 feet above seal level in the Rocky Mountains. We see a lot of snow! Plastic held up so much better. I always found other uses for the bags. We even used them  on our feet under our boots to keep our feet dry in the snow.There were always plenty of reuse for those bags.

The idea hit, loop them together to make a carryall bag that will hold up with heavy use. I toyed with lots of different styles ( and still am). The handle has to be sturdy with not too much stretching. 

How do people react to your work?
When people first see my purses they don't realize that they are made from recycled plastic bags. They don't look like plastic bags after they are cut, spun onto "plarn" then knitted or crocheted into sturdy carryalls and sometimes elegant purses. So far everyone who has seen them are delighted and have to hear all about the Pacific Garbage patch and the poor marine life.

Where do you get your materials?
After  I used up my personal stash of plastic bags, I put ads on Craigslist asking for people's colorful bags that the newspaper comes in. Sometimes I find a "bag of bags" on my car seat or front door. Needless to say I have an unlimited supply of free plastic bags.

How did you first hear about the "Plastic Soup", the floating waste of the Pacific Ocean?
One Earth day I was watching Oprah. She had people on talking about the "great Pacific Swirl"  I researched and found  out more about the "plastic soup"in the ocean. I was disgusted with what I was seeing and hearing, Oh!, those poor marine animals. They don't know what plastic is and think it is food, eat it  then have it bind up their guts so they die a painful death. Once they die they fall to the bottom of the sea another fish will come along, eat the dead animal, get their guts bound up with the same piece of plastic and also die. How many sea animals can be killed by the same piece of plastic?

Why should people be concerned?
I read research that was done by Greenpeace about this problem. They say that 20 billion tons of trash in dumped into the oceans each year.There is no safe place to dump plastic.  This problem is threatening the food chain because a large amount of the of the food we eat comes from the sea. Another frightening fact is that the oceans produce 70% oxygen on this planet... need I say more?

What steps have you taken to reduce your contribution to the "Plastic Soup"?
I always tried to keep my carbon footprint small as possible. Almost every thing I own was bought on the used market and very little of it is made of plastic.

What green steps do you suggest to people that are concerned about waste?
People need to become conscious of this problem and think twice before buying disposable products. As well as buying in bulk where you could provide your own container to avoid having to throw away packaging. There are many ways each person can be conscious of  their carbon footprint, their own health as well as the health of this beautiful planet.
You can read more about the Pacific Swirl by visiting Pat's website Be sure to stay tuned because new designs will be posted soon.

This concludes our Plastic Week on Purple Carrots and Fairy Smoke I hope you had a great week. Have a wonderful weekend, see you on Monday!

Take care!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Turning Plastic Back into Oil

I don't know about you, but I generally get pictures of wide-eyed puppies and dancing elves as FWD messages in my Inbox. My mother, however, seems to have very enlightened friends because once again, today's post is possible courtesy of Mum's Inbox.

The video I have re-posted today is about an exceptional japanese machine, a machine that turns plastic trash back into oil. The Man behind this invention is Akinori Ito, Ceo of Blest. His love of nature and the realization of the present state of the world motivated the invention of conversion technology. The video explains very little of the process but Blest assured Our World 2.0 that if the proper materials were fed into the machine no toxic residues would be produced and that the machine is equipped an off-gas filter to transformed methane, ethane, propane and butane into water and carbon.

Our World 2.0 quoted Ito saying: "To make a machine that anyone can use is my dream[.] The home is the oil field of the future.” With our garbage bags bulging with plastic packaging  and the threat of disappearing oil, our trash may well be the oil of the future.

For the time being the conversion machine is not available to the public but it has been implemented in farms, fisheries and small factories all over Japan and is slowly expanding to other countries.

Watch the video, read the article by Carol Smith and come back and let me know what you think.

Is this the miracle solution we have been waiting for?
Or another excuse for consumerism?
Or maybe it's a small step towards a more conscious future. 

Take care!

Smith, Carol. "Plastic to oil fantastic." Our World 2.0 27 Aug. 2010. Oil. 03 Jan. 2010 .

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Ubiquitous Plastic Bag

Plastic bags or more precisely the preferential use of reusable bags is all the buzz these days when talking about concrete actions the consumer can take to help the planet, and for good reason; according to the New York Times, the quantity of plastic bags used in the United Sates of America, alone, may be as many as 1 billion plastic bags every year. 
Consider this: 
1- the average usage is of 20 minutes,
2- they will remain in our landfills or floating around our cities for over 100 years, 
3- if they do not end-up in landfills, they litter our oceans where they are a frequent cause of death for endangered marine life.
With this in mind, it may be a very good idea to find a way to reduce our consumption and find something to do with these bags.

Reducing the number of bags we use per year is quite an easy problem to solve: bring your own bags or leave without a bag. Most of the time the items we buy don’t actually need to be put in a bag; like chocolate bars, packs of gum, or even a bottle of water. Don’t blame the cashiers, they have been brainwashed into a highly efficient monotonous routine of greeting, offering another product or service, rapidly putting items in a bag, and wishing the customer a nice day. They don’t even realize they’re doing it. That’s where you come in. Before getting to the cash, put down your cell phone, put on your nicest smile, rapidly respond to the greeting and add “I won’t be needing a bag, thank you!” This might not register the first time so patiently repeat and if necessary, remove the items from the bag. They may find you annoying and perhaps a little tree hugging weird but keep it up, being slightly marginal for the right causes is worth it. A wise woman once told me that showing the example is not just a good way of effectively influencing others, but the only way. The most common argument for continuing to rely on grocery bags is the promise of a second use: for when you walk the dog, to put in your garbage bins, etc.. We all know plastic bags have a way of coming to you even when you are trying your best to avoid them. 

Side note to Dog Owners: Picking up your precious darlings excrement is most probably your least favorite part of the dog owning experience and although just leaving it there for the elements to wash always may seem to be the "greener" option, it not (especially in a city environment). There is a great option called BioBag. Whole Dog Journal gave these bags a 4 out 4 paw rating because this product passed the ASTM 6400 testing for compostable bags. You can purchase online without shipping fees at
Let's be realistic here, occasions will arise when will have no other choice but to accept plastic bags.  Most recycling centers accept plastic bags if they are all gathered up and not left to drift around your blue bin, however, recent information points to differing policies depending on the recycling center. These plastic bags will be melted down and hopefully be used to form new bags or other plastic objects, but their fate is uncertain. Interestingly, most plastic grocery bags are already made from recycled material, that’s one thing they’ve got going for them.

                In Nigeria, they have come up with an interesting idea to put to good use the large quantity of plastic bags that find their way into their city in spite of the recent ban and newly implemented fines; they melt them down to form super resistant cobblestones. The method is quite simple. First you melt down polyethylene bags (those that do not liberate toxic products) in an oven, then you add sand (an abundant resource in this arid region). After 30 minutes, you pour the resulting mixture into a mold and in less than 45 minutes, you have ready-to-use cobblestones. This project was started by Paolo Giglio, a Nigerian artisan, whose aim was to reduce the quantity of bags littering his home town and give jobs to the local people, however, even though the ministry has approved his products, no contracts have been received and the plastic stones are just piling up (2004).

              Plastic bags are practical, easy to dispose of and available; their presence in the future is undeniable. Never the less, a little effort and innovation on our part will reduce their impact on the aesthetics of our cities and the survival of bag eating wildlife like whales and turtles.   

How do you avoid hoarding plastic bags home?

Coming up: Japanese ingenuity to the rescue.  

Take care! 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year Resolutions


I hope you are enjoying the holidays and taking the time to be with your family.
What did you do to celebrate the arrival of the new year? More importantly, what's your New Year's resolution?
Every year in addition to a personal resolution, I take a green resolution. In previous years, I have resolved to avoid styrofoam and disposable cups. My green resolution for 2011 is to reduce our house hold consumption of plastic. I realize it's a very broad resolution which might make it hard to standby so I've written out some ground rules.

1. Always carry a reusable bag and always carry extra to the supermarket.
2. Avoid over-packaged goods and favor reusable or recyclable packaging materials (glass, paper and metal).
3. Bring your own container to take-out counters (I'll keep you informed on how well this works in NYC).
4. Avoid plastic bottles by filtering your own water at home and carrying a reusable bottle (or your multipurpose mason jar).
5. Avoid plastic cutlery and dinnerware (bring your own to work).
6. Avoid cling wrap and ziploc bags by using foil, butcher paper and reusable glass containers.

Can you think of any other ways I can reduce my household use of plastic?

To solidify my resolution, I am dedicating the first week of January 2011 to plastic. You will find out about plastic reducing, recycling and reusing efforts from around the world.

Take care!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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