Friday, December 23, 2011

Best grill marinade ever



This is my favorite marinade.  It's great on grilled venison, grilled eggplant, or grilled - well - anything.
I know Christmas isn't exactly grilling season but... enjoy!

from Simply in Season cookbook

1c oil
3/4c soy sauce
1/2c wine vinegar
1/3c lemon juice
1/4c worcestershire sauce
2T mustard
2t parsley
2t each salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Baby it's cold outside!


This Lifehacker article has winter preparation tips on everything from insulating windows, repurposing old sweaters as mittens, and fighting Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Enjoy!
http://lifehacker.com/5864667/prepare-yourself-for-the-winter-cold-this-weekend

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Crafty Christmas gifts


Looking for unique gifts made by talented artisans?  Check out the local crafts scene...

Holiday Heap was today in Charles Village, sponsored by the Charm City Craft Mafia
http://www.charmcitycraftmafia.com/holidayheap2011.html

In case you missed it, some of the same vendors will be at the Creative Alliance on Sunday Dec 4th for Merry Mart http://www.creativealliance.org/events/eventItem2784.html


And there's Etsy all year round http://www.etsy.com/

Many of these craftspeople upcycle used materials like clothing, vintage maps, and found objects to fashion their art.  Some of my favorites from the Holiday Heap...

Almanac Industries www.almanacindustries.com  Bookbinding and letterpress studio

Biggs and Featherbelle www.biggsandfeather.com Health conscious body care.  Also available at Whole Foods.

Greenstarstudio, or *might www.mightmight.etsy.com Handmade wonder for all ages

Holland Cox www.hollandcox.com Handmade classic handbags and accessories

Open Eyes Press www.openeyespress.com Eco-friendly handmade goods

Pidge Pidge www.pidgepidge.etsy.com Handwoven scarves and pet portraits

The Littlest Bean www.thelittlestbean.com Mixed media usables

Wooly baby www.wooly-baby.com Handmade and eco-friendly soft slippers



Monday, November 21, 2011

Great green gifts

Gearing up for Christmas shopping? Here's a collection of green gift ideas for everybody on your list...


(image: recycled circuit board ornaments from GeekSugar.com)

Visit sites like Ecoist, FairTradeSports, OrganicBabyGiftsBoutique, OliveGreenDog, and WearYourMusic to find unique gifts that are organic, recycled, fair trade, charitable, or all of the above. Follow this link to the Consumer Reports Greener Choices page for these sites and a few more.

Don't forget the rechargeable batteries to power your gadgets. View CR recommendations for long-lasting, greener batteries.

http://www.wired.com/ Their holiday buying guide has some groovy gifts like the MudWatt electrochemistry kit and a sculptural CFL bulb called the Plumen 001.

http://www.uncommongoods.com/ - Unique gifts and creative design found here, many handmade and/or recycled, with items like record bookends, tree ring coasters, and bamboo dry erase boards.

http://www.resourcerevival.com/ - Green gifts, awards, and promotional items made from recycled bicycle parts.

http://www.signals.com/ Gifts that inform, enlighten & entertain, including recycled wine bottle drinking glasses, bamboo keyboard and mouse, and newspaper bead bracelets. Building buffs will enjoy the origami architecture book and Frank Lloyd Wright Lego sets, while electrician types will get a charge out of the "Resistance is not futile…" T-shirt.

http://www.etsy.com/ The worldwide online marketplace for handmade gifts.

http://blog.makezine.com/ Or bypass the shopping altogether and make your own stuff, like DIY iPhone gloves.

Happy holidays!

P.S. Today's Grist newsletter had a good article about eschewing "stuff" - complete with links to Annie Leonard's Story of Stuff and George Carlin's NSFW rant about it.  Food for thought...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Paying it forward with recycling in Baltimore County



Baltimore County has authorized $25 million to upgrade the recycling facilities in Cockeysville.

Apparently, since the county switched to single-stream recycling in February 2010, recycling has been shipped elsewhere for processing because county facilities could only handle dual-stream.  This new funding will pay for transitioning the Cockeysville facility to single-stream, and build a new garbage transfer station as well.

According to sources at the solid waste management bureau, this transition will ultimately save the county money:

Trash disposal cost = $56 to $58 per ton
Recycling revenue = $100 to $105 per ton, depending on materials

Read the full article here:
http://www.baltimoresun.com/explore/baltimorecounty/news/ph-tt-recycling-center-1109-20111107,0,6895904.story

Friday, November 11, 2011

Simple driving habits that can save you money



Save money and carbon emissions with these driving tips from Mary Hunt, author of Debt-Proof Living.


Stop idling and save $365/year

For every two minutes your car idles, you burn as much fuel as driving 1 mile, according to Rob Schlichting, spokesperson for the California Energy Commission. With gas prices at about $4/gallon nationwide, 10 minutes of idling costs you $1 a day. If you’ll be waiting longer than 30 seconds, turn off the engine.

Follow the 4/40 rule and save $96/year

What’s more cost-effective: air conditioning or open windows? Rule of thumb to conserve two gallons of gas a month: if you’re driving under 40 mph, open all four windows and turn off the a/c. Over 40 mph, close the windows and run the a/c.

Slow down and save $345/year

Every 5 mph you drive over 60 is like paying an extra $0.29 per gallon. Stick to the speed limit and you’ll shave off 12% at the pump.

Don’t drive aggressively and save $916/year

Accelerating forcefully, making abrupt lane changes, and braking sharply all reduce gas mileage, says Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com, a leading auto information website. Take it easy behind the wheel and you’ll boost mpg by 30%. That’s about $1.20 less per gallon – a big savings on the $3100 the average family annually spends for gas, according to the Consumer Federation of America.

Friday, October 28, 2011

New vehicle label starting with model year 2013

An improved fuel economy label will be used on all new passenger cars and trucks in the USA in a few years.  Read this article to learn more about how this label will let shoppers compare conventional gasoline-powered vehicles with "next generation" car types such as plug-in, hybrid, or electric:  http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/names/hq_2011-5-25_fueleconomylabel  
Watch a short video about the label here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMtdlZFucp4

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shedding light on the subject of bulbs

What's the latest in light bulb news?  Are CFLs safe?  Do LEDs live up to the hype?  Read the 2011 Consumer Reports guide to light bulbs and find out...




Here's a brief summary:

CFLs use about 75% less energy and last seven to ten times longer than regular incandescent bulbs. Consumer Reports tested 60-watt CFLs and LEDs for this report.


CFLs save money faster (one year) than LEDs (four to ten years). They also contain less mercury (<1mg), although CR notes that they should be recycled at stores like Home Depot, Ikea, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, or other participating programs... but you were already recycling your light bulbs, right?

LEDs meet most of their claims (brightness, low energy use, no mercury, dimming capability, long lifespan) but can be suboptimal in light distribution, not all are as bright as promised, and they are still more expensive than CFLs.



What you should look for when shopping for light bulbs:

Lumens measure brightness better than wattage does. This article suggests a lumens equivalent for several common bulb types.

Brightness and color are not created equal.

Read the Lighting Facts label to check brightness, energy use, estimated energy cost, expected lifespan.

Check for rebates and coupons at www.dsireusa.org/incentives or http://www.energystar.gov/  or your local utility company.


Want more?

Read the full article and check bulb ratings here:
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/resources/streaming/PDFs/Consumer+Reports+Lightbulb+Review+Facebook.pdf


Visit the Consumer Reports page on Facebook to get access to free reports like this without becoming a subscriber.  
CR Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ConsumerReports
CR main website:  http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/index.htm

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

ACEEE state energy efficiency scorecards released

ACEEE Press release:  MASSACHUSETTS OVERTAKES CALIFORNIA AS #1 ENERGY EFFICIENCY STATE, MICHIGAN AND ILLINOIS AMONG THE MOST IMPROVED



WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 20, 2011): A sour U.S. economy, tight state budgets, and a failure by Congress to adopt a comprehensive energy strategy have not slowed the growing momentum among U.S. states toward increased energy efficiency, according to the fifth edition of the annual ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) during a National Press Club news conference.


Available online at http://aceee.org/research-report/e115 , the ACEEE Scorecard shows that the top 10 states are: Massachusetts (taking the #1 position for the first time); California (slipping from the top spot it held for the first four editions of the ACEEE Scorecard); New York State; Oregon; Vermont; Washington State; Rhode Island; Minnesota, Connecticut; and Maryland (making its first appearance in the top 10 and also one of the six most improved states in the 2011 ACEEE Scorecard).

The 10 states most in need of improvement (from dead last to #42) are: North Dakota; Wyoming; Mississippi; Kansas; Oklahoma; South Carolina; West Virginia; Missouri; Alabama (also one of the top six most improved states); and South Dakota.

The six most improved states include Michigan, Illinois, Nebraska, Alabama, Maryland, and Tennessee.

"Energy efficiency is America's abundant, untapped energy resource and the states continue to press forward to reap its economic and environmental benefits," said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel. "The message here is that energy efficiency is a pragmatic, bipartisan solution that political leaders from both sides of the aisle can support. As they have over the past decades, states continue to provide the leadership needed to forge an energy-efficient economy, which reduces energy costs, spurs job growth, and benefits the environment."

"Thanks to our investments in innovation and infrastructure, Massachusetts is now leading the nation in energy efficiency," said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. "Through our Green Communities Act, we set aggressive goals and laid the foundation for greater investment in energy efficiency -- and now we are proud to be a model for the nation and world."

"I am thrilled that Maryland is being recognized as one of the top ten states and one of the most improved states for energy efficiency," said Malcolm Woolf, director of the Maryland Energy Administration. "As a result of Governor O'Malley's vision in establishing one of the nation's most aggressive energy efficiency goals, Marylanders have already saved over 700,000 MWh of electricity and over $91 million dollars since 2009, and our peak demand program has helped us avoid major blackouts during our record-setting summer heat wave."

"Illinois is a purposeful leader in the area of sustainability, investing more than $600 million in energy efficiency projects over the last four years alone," Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Warren Ribley said. "By supporting aggressive policies including the state's energy efficiency portfolio standard and advanced building industry training and education, we are creating jobs, building more sustainable communities and securing our place in the new energy economy."

"We are excited that Michigan's positive action on energy efficiency is being recognized nationally," said Valerie Brader, the chief energy policy officer for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The ACEEE report observed that Michigan's improvement is particularly due to the implementation of energy efficiency programs advanced in state legislation P.A. 295.

The fifth edition of the ACEEE State Energy Efficiency Scorecard presents a comprehensive ranking of the states based on an array of metrics that capture best practices and recognize leadership in energy efficiency policy and program implementation. The Scorecard benchmarks progress and provides a roadmap for states to advance energy efficiency in the residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors. A new, diverse set of states has followed a group of leading states by adopting significant energy efficiency policies, which will lead to innovative and effective programs. Tremendous potential remains for energy efficiency savings in all of the states should motivate decision-makers to advance energy efficiency.

"Clearly, 2011 has not been kind to our economy, but energy efficiency remains a growth sector that attracts investment and creates jobs," said Michael Sciortino, ACEEE senior policy analyst and the report's lead author. "With even higher energy savings possible, we expect leading states to continue pushing the envelope next year and inspire those at the bottom of the rankings to embrace energy efficiency as a core strategy to gain a competitive advantage by generating cost-savings, promoting technological innovation, and stimulating growth."

OTHER KEY FINDINGS

Facing uncertain economic times, states are continuing to use energy efficiency as a key strategy to generate cost-savings, promote technological innovation, and stimulate growth. The ACEEE Scorecard documents the following trends:

• Total budgets for electricity efficiency programs increased to $4.5 billion in 2010, up from $3.4 billion in 2009. Combined with natural gas program budgets of about $1 billion, total energy efficiency budgets in 2010 equal about $5.5 billion. Given the increasing regulatory commitments to energy efficiency, this growth will likely continue over the next decade.

• Twenty-nine (29) states have either adopted or have made significant progress toward the adoption of the latest energy-saving building codes for homes and commercial properties - up from twenty in 2010 and ten in 2009.

• Twenty-four (24) states have adopted an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS), which sets long-term energy savings targets and drives utility-sector investments in energy efficiency programs. States that adopted EERS policies in 2007 and 2008 are now realizing significant energy savings and moving ahead in the Scorecard rankings.

• States continue to improve policies to reduce financial, technical, and regulatory barriers to adoption and deployment of combined heat and power (CHP) systems, which generate electricity and thermal energy in an integrated system. Tremendous potential remains for CHP, particularly in states with heavy industrial and manufacturing bases.

• A group of leading states remains ahead of the curve in adopting policies to reduce vehicle miles traveled and promote the purchase and manufacture of efficient vehicles. A major gap exists, however, as over half the states have minimal or no policies to encourage efficiency in the transportation sector.

Methodology

This ACEEE Scorecard provides a comprehensive assessment of policy and programs that improve energy efficiency in our homes, businesses, industry, and transportation sectors. The Scorecard examines six state energy efficiency policy areas and presents these results in six chapters: (1) utility and public benefits programs and policies; (2) transportation policies; (3) building energy codes; (4) combined heat and power; (5) state government initiatives; and (6) appliance efficiency standards. States can earn up to 50 possible points in these six policy areas combined, with the maximum possible points in each area weighted by the magnitude of its potential energy savings impact.


ABOUT ACEEE

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit http://www.aceee.org/

MEDIA CONTACT: Patrick Mitchell at (703) 276-3266 or pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com 

EDITOR'S NOTE: A streaming audio replay of the news event will be available at http://www.hastingsgroupmedia.com/aceee/102011ScorecardReport.mp3 , an electronic copy of the ACEEE 2011 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard report and a high-resolution image of the ACEEE "logo" will be made available upon request on October 20, 2011.

Garlic goodness

Tis the season for planting garlic!  My CSA has been sending giant cloves from a mysterious hardneck variety that I'd love to plant in my garden... if I hadn't already eaten them all.



What you need to know about growing garlic in Maryland:
http://growit.umd.edu/VegetableProfiles/Garlic.cfm
or anywhere:
http://www.motherearthnews.com/grow-it/how-to-plant-garlic.aspx

How to plant it in containers:
http://www.re-nest.com/re-nest/how-to-plant-garlic-in-containers-158494

One good recipe to put it in:
Fresh tomato soup, from Simply In Season

8 medium tomatoes, peeled/seeded/chopped
4+ cloves garlic, minced

Combine in saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until tomatoes are soft.

3 cups water or vegetable juice
2 chicken or veg bouillon cubes
1 tsp sugar
2 sprigs fresh basil, chopped

Add, bring to boil, simmer 5 minutes and serve.

(photo credit http://www.cooksgarden.com/vegetables/garlic/garlic-extra-select-prod000217.html?catId=2022&trail=)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fire In The Wind: book signing tonight at Inner Harbor

Local author and Delegate Dana Stein to discuss his book Fire In The Wind tonight at Barnes & Noble Inner Harbor tonight 6-8pm, sponsored by Maryland's US Green Building Council chapter.






Dana Stein, a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, will appear at the Barnes & Noble Power Plant on Thursday, October 13 from 6 pm to 8 pm, for readings and discussion of his novel Fire In The Wind.


The book signing is being sponsored by the Maryland Chapter of the United States Green Building Council as part of its Local Author Series. The book store is located at 601 E. Pratt Street in Baltimore City.

Set in the year 2036, this short novel describes the efforts of the United States to deal with the negative effects of climate change, including coastal flooding, the loss of farmland and the uprooting of families. The central characters of the fictional piece involve a displaced farmer, a member of the National Security Council and a college professor.

More information on the book is available at http://www.fireinthewind.com/

Stein is the Executive Director and founder of Civic Works and sits on the Environmental Matters Committee of the House of Delegates.

The Maryland Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council is comprised of local businesses, organizations and individuals that offer educational programs and organize lobbying efforts to advance the development and operation of sustainable and environmentally-conscious office and industrial buildings, retail centers and related structures.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Countdown to the 2011 Solar Decathlon




Are you ready for the Solar Decathlon in Washington DC next month?  The EERE sure is:  they've been profiling a different entry in their e-newsletter each week as they count down to the event.  For instance...

Students from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville use an iPad to monitor their house's energy systems.

Florida International University's perFORM[D]ance House focuses on sustainability.

University of Maryland's WaterShed entry aims to bring attention to the Chesapeake Bay, which is the largest estuary in the USA.

The next Solar Decathlon will be held Sept. 23–Oct. 2, 2011, at the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. Go check it out!

For more information, visit SolarDecathlon.gov


Join the clean energy conversation on Facebook at DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Energy Savers, and Solar Decathlon pages.

Read about the last Solar Decathlon in 2009 here.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sites for reuse, trade in, or donation


Tis the season for yard sales!  But if you haven't the time or inclination, here are some sites where you can trade in or donate your stuff to a good cause.

Gazelle.com for gadget recycling
Sell your old but working electronic gadgets!  Enter the brand, model, and condition and the site makes you an offer (usually around $100 per trade-in).  If you accept, Gazelle mails you a box to send it in and a free shipping label.  Once the site confirms the gadget works, you can accept the money via check, gift card, or PayPal, or donate it to one of about 50 charities.  Don't worry:  Before the item is resold, Gazelle wipes out your personal information.

Thredup.com for kid stuff
Swap clothes or toys your child has outgrown.  Browse through listings of thousands of boxes containing an average of 15 items - brief descriptions include size (for clothes) and color.  Once you've picked a box, describe the items you'll be trading, and for $5 plus shipping, you'll receive your chosen box and an empty one to send in your items.  The site relies on user ratings to monitor the quality of goods, and 98% of the boxes are rated 3 or 4 stars.


New local thrift store for all you fashionistas out there:  www.uptowncheapskate.com  in Timonium.
But don't forget old favorites like http://www.voguerevisited.com/ on Roland Ave near Hampden,
and http://www.platosclosetbaltimore.com/ on Taylor Ave near Loch Raven.


Where to donate clothes and household items (schedule free pickup online if you live in a neighborhood along one of their routes, like Rodgers Forge...)
PurpleHeartPickup.org  for Purple Heart Veterans
ClothingDonations.org  for Vietnam Veterans

Also don't forget the Baltimore County recycling site, with its links to electronics recycling and local reuse organizations.  Did you know that you can take electronics and building materials to one of the three county landfills for recycling or donation?

And when all else fails, there's always Craigslist.

P.S. Click the Recycling tag in the sidebar to see my other posts on this topic!  I'm always discovering new sites and shops to RRR.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Maryland adopts International Green Building Code



In 2009, the International Code Council launched the development of a new International Green Construction Code (IgCC) initiative, subtitled “Safe and Sustainable: By the Book,” committed to developing a model code focused on new and existing commercial buildings addressing green building design and performance.




Maryland will be the first state to adopt this new green building code in 2012.

The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) acts in conjunction with other existing codes, such as the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

Features of the new code include:

-a Zero Energy Performance Index (zEPI), which requires buildings to use no more than 51% of the energy allowed in the 2000 IECC.

-a 20% water savings beyond US federal standards for residential water closets.

-the addition of appliance information, radon mitigation, and commissioning documentation to ensure the health and safety of building occupants

-land use regulations that address flood risk, greenfields preservation, use of turf grass, and minimum landfill diversion requirements

The IgCC is sponsored by the AIA, ASHRAE, USGBC, and IES. It includes the ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1 (the successor to ASHRAE 90.1-2007) as a jurisdictional requirement option.

The public comment period ends 12 August 2011, and final action will take place on 6 Nov 2011. The IgCC will be fully integrated into the existing International Code Council (ICC) code family in early 2012. It will take effect in Maryland on 1 March 2012; adoption will be voluntary.

Visit http://www.iccsafe.org/cs/IGCC/Pages/default.aspx to download IgCC public version 2.0

Friday, July 8, 2011

Don't repeal the bulb act!

Next week, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on the "BULB Act" (H.R. 91), which would repeal the energy efficiency standards for light bulbs that Congress enacted in 2007, standards that are already helping American households save money every month on their energy bills. Let your Representative know that you oppose the repeal of this energy- and money-saving legislation.


Tell your Representative to oppose the BULB Act or other bills that repeal light bulb energy efficiency standards!

More Options, Better Bulbs, Less Energy Used

Proponents of the BULB Act claim the standards they want to repeal amount to a light bulb "ban" that limits consumers' choices. That couldn't be further from the truth.



The Facts:

• Incandescent bulbs aren't getting banned... in fact, they are getting better. Manufacturers are already making a variety of new energy-saving bulbs for homes, including more efficient incandescent bulbs.

• The new incandescent bulbs look, light, and turn on exactly like the bulbs we have been using for decades, but are 28 to 33 percent more energy efficient and are available in stores now.

• Consumers aren't required to "retire" bulbs or to purchase only CFL or LED light bulbs ---- consumers can use existing bulbs until they burn out and when a bulb burns out consumers can choose between efficient incandescent lamps or even more efficient CFL or LED light bulb options.

• The lighting industry supports this standard, along with efficiency, consumer, and environmental advocates.

Energy-efficient lighting saves consumers money, creates jobs, and benefits the environment. At a time when families are struggling with high energy costs, efficient lighting will save the average American family $50-100 every year on the electric bill (about $12 billion nationwide), and save enough energy annually to power all the homes in Pennsylvania and Tennessee.



Phasing-in energy-efficient light bulbs means more choices and more ways to save on energy. We urge you to write your Representative and let him/her know you strongly oppose repeal of the light bulb efficiency standards.

Tell your Representative to oppose the BULB Act and similar bills!

Thank you for your support!

Sincerely,
ACEEE
http://www.aceee.org/

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Is your city sustainable?


“The battle to prevent catastrophic climate change will be won or lost in our cities…” (C40 Cities Initiative)


Several studies about “climate-ready” or “resilient” cities have been in the news this week. These rankings are based on factors such as:

• political commitment
• LEED-certified buildings per capita
• university leadership
• transit access/use per capita
• clean tech investment
• energy and GHG emissions


Read on for links to these articles, and the top ten city rankings by geographic area.


U.S. city rankings by CO2 Impact: http://www.triplepundit.com/2011/06/top-10-climate-ready-cities/
10. Chicago
9. San Jose
8. Philadelphia
7. New York
6. San Diego
5. Denver
4. Washington, DC
3. Portland Oregon
2. Seattle
1. San Francisco


U.S. & Canada rankings posted by the NRDC: http://www.grist.org/cities/2011-07-05-closer-look-at-siemens-green-cities-rankings

1. San Francisco
2. Vancouver
3. New York City
4. Seattle
5. Denver


Global rankings by CO2 impact: http://www.triplepundit.com/2011/06/top-10-globally-resilient-cities/
10. Tokyo, Japan
9. London, UK
8. New York, USA
7. San Francisco, USA
6. Paris, France
5. Vancouver, Canada
4. Stockholm, Sweden
3. Barcelona, Spain
2. Curitiba, Brazil
1. Copenhagen, Denmark

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Learn about sustainable agriculture from Heifer International

More on sustainable food & farming from Heifer.org:

You can join a group interactive program on sustainable farming and development at one of their farms in the USA, or join an international study tour.

The farm closest to Baltimore is in Sharpsburg, MD:

Heifer global village at Shepherd's Spring
www.heifer.org/shepherd

Another farm with a food course:
Overlook Farm in Rutland, Mass www.heifer.org/overlook  
Harvest Time:  Immerse yourself in this course on food systems, sustainable agriculture and self-reliance techniques.
October 9-12 (co-ed) or 13-16 (women only)


And here are some books on the topic of preserving produce...

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving http://www.amazon.com/Ball-Complete-Book-Home-Preserving/dp/0778801314/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1309873375&sr=8-1

Canning for a New Generation... http://www.amazon.com/Canning-New-Generation-Flavors-Modern/dp/1584798645/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1309873395&sr=1-1

The Complete Book of Pickling http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Book-Pickling-Relishes-Chutneys/dp/0778802167/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309873419&sr=1-1

Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It... http://www.amazon.com/Jam-Pickle-Cure-Cooking-Projects/dp/1580089585/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309873440&sr=1-1

Wild Fermentation... http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Fermentation-Flavor-Nutrition-Live-Culture/dp/1931498237/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309873458&sr=1-1

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Invasivore: if you can't beat 'em, eat 'em



Recently featured in Heifer International magazine (see Heifer.org):

Invasivore:  a website dedicated to eradicating invasive species by eating them.

Of course, the reality is more complicated than “if you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em!” and this blog will explore the many dimensions of this issue in ways we hope will surprise you- and your taste buds. Our organizing principle is the knowledge –courage even- to harvest, prepare and consume invasive species. It is this awareness we think will lead to decreasing the impacts of invasive species by preventing new introductions, reducing spread, and encouraging informed management policies.


Check out the website for recipes, maps, and links to more information about invasive species around the world.


http://invasivore.org/

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Baltimore Farmers Market roundup


Tis the season for farmers markets!  And this year it seems there are more than ever, on any day of the week.

See listings by county here:

http://www.mda.state.md.us/md_products/farmers_market_dir.php#baltcity

Here are the markets closest to Towson, arranged by weekday:

Saturday
32nd Street/Waverly
Green Spring Station
Go Life / Cylburn
Baltimore Museum of Industry
Fells point

Sunday
Baltimore City (under the JFX)

Tuesday
Lauraville
Village of Cross Keys
Kenilworth

Wednesday
Mt. Washington Whole Foods Market
Govanstowne
Baltimore County at MD State Fairgrounds
Druid Hill
State Center Community

Thursday
Towson
Greater Baltimore Medical Center
Johns Hopkins Hospital
Highlandtown

Friday
Charles Street Friday Market
Farmers' Market at the Avenue at White Marsh


Get out and support your local farmers!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lost cats, livable streets, and community




http://www.grist.org/urbanism/2011-06-23-great-places-how-livable-streets-make-us-happier-humans

This Grist article about livable streets and sustainable communities reminds me of the time I lost my cat.  After pounding the pavement for a day or two, I sent a distressed email to a handful of my closest neighbors.  One replied immediately, and it turns out my cat had gotten locked in her garage.  Phew!

A friend from a different neighborhood was amazed that I not only knew my neighbors, but had their email addresses too.  Apparently Rodgers Forge is the exception rather than the rule in Baltimore neighborhoods:  families living in close proximity have more chances to chat over the front porch or backyard fence, help unload groceries, pet-sit, play with each others' kids, and generally be more involved in each others' lives.

For all that I complain about people rushing between house and car with scarcely a moment to greet neighbors or walk around the block, I think my neighborhood is better than many in this regard.  In this day and age where we're more virtually-connected than ever, there's still something to be said for being able to walk out the door and talk to another human being face to face.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

JH-U-Turn community yard sale this Saturday



JH-U-TURN Community Yard Sale


Pick up second-hand items for a reduced price!

June 11; 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

O’Connor Rec Center, Gym; Homewood Field

Come check out second-hand items from students at a reduced price! Items include clothing, furniture, books, electronics, and household items. In keeping with Hopkins’ mission of demonstrating smart, sensible, and creative actions promoting sustainability and community strengthening, JH-U-Turn is designed to help reduce waste and support a great cause.

Visit http://web.jhu.edu/liaison/UTurn.html for more information.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Going paperless? read this...




Here's an excellent article from CNN Money with tips and cautions on how to switch to e-bills without losing any important information.


---
Article By Karin Price Mueller, Money Magazine
May 5, 2011

(Money Magazine) -- You may have noticed that the appeals to go paperless from banks, credit card issuers, and brokerages have reached fever pitch lately.


While the marketing often plays up the environmental benefits, the push to accept online statements is really all about saving a buck -- the company's buck, that is. Banks in particular are trying to make up for revenue lost due to recent credit and debit legislation, says Lauren Saunders of the National Consumer Law Center.


Despite the hard sell, only 24% of bank customers have gone digital, and more than a third say they'll never switch, Forrester Research found.


Among the latter? Maybe you should rethink: "Besides the feel-good story about saving trees, there are many advantages to going paperless," says Riverdale, N.J., financial planner Michael Gibney.


Statements are available sooner, transactions are searchable, and the risk of your ID being stolen through the mail is lowered. But if you're going to do it, do it right.


Create an e-filing cabinet

The top reason people give for not choosing e-statements: fear they'll need paper copies. But that's the wrong anxiety. A statement printed at home has the same legal value as one you get in the mail, Gibney says.


Of greater concern: Many institutions keep only one year of records online. To save yourself from last-minute scrambles for documents, download key statements.


Create folders on your hard drive for proof of deductible expenses (save for seven years); proof of major purchases (for insurance and warranties); bills (delete once paid); and purchase slips and end-of-year statements on investment accounts (for tax reasons).


Set up a review system

One legitimate risk of going paperless is that it's easier to ignore the statements and miss wrongful charges, term changes, or due dates, notes Saunders.


Stay vigilant by signing up for e-mail alerts notifying you when a bill or statement is available. (Just be sure to add the institutions to your "safe senders" list, so that they don't get tagged as spam.)


Keep the messages marked "unread" until you act on them.


Protect your data

In the Forrester study, consumers also expressed concerns about what would happen if their computers crashed. Indeed, you'd have to chase all the documents you'd downloaded.


Avert this annoyance by backing up the folders onto a CD or external hard drive.


Finally, while going digital protects you from dumpster-diving ID thieves, saving documents on your hard drive can open you up to other privacy risks, says Ondrej Krehel of Identity Theft 911.


So keep your computer's antivirus software up-to-date, and, if you use a laptop, make sure it's password-protected and that the files are saved with encryption.


(Image credit:  http://www.chrisjordan.com/ from "Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait (2006 - 2009)", this image depicts 30,000 reams of office paper, or 15 million sheets, equal to the amount of office paper used in the US every five minutes.

Another rain barrel & compost bin sale



Lots of local organizations are offering discounts on rain barrels and compost bins this season!

This week's Towson Times paper included a flyer for a sale Saturday May 14th from 8am to 2pm at the Towson United Methodist Church, which is located right off the beltway at the Dulaney Valley Road exit (501 Hampton Lane, Towson).

Systern Rain barrels for $59.99 and Earth Machine composters for $49.99

Other groups hosting sales you may want to check out...
Blue Water Baltimore native plant sales on May 21, June 5 & 11 http://bluewaterbaltimore.org/
Oregon Ridge Nature Center:  native plant sale this Saturday http://www.oregonridge.org/

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sustainable summer internships

Looking for a green way to spend your summer and help the planet at the same time?  Read on for some good ideas!

Internship information posted below from the sustainable_hopkins enewsletter by Johns Hopkins University Office of Sustainability.  Subscribe here:  https://lists.johnshopkins.edu/sympa/info/sustainable_hopkins

Summer 2011 Sustainability-Related Job and Internship Opportunities


Summer Job Opportunities with the JHU Office of Sustainability

Part-time Data Analyst and Assessment, Design and Research, and Community Ambassador jobs available to “Green Baltimore City nonprofits”

Location: Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus

Description: Student employees will be trained to identify opportunities for energy conservation and other environmental sustainability improvements within area community non-profit organizations. After training, student employees will work together in teams to assess building energy use and organizational operations, formulating recommendations for making each participating non-profit more sustainable. Employment will be for 9 weeks from June 5-August 6, with a $10/hour compensation ($2,250 for the summer).

Qualifications: Must have excellent attention to detail, writing skills, and ability to work productively as a part of a team. Helpful but not necessary to understand principles of sustainability and environmental stewardship, energy technologies, and conservation practices.

To apply: Send an electronic letter of interest indicating which position(s) you are interested in and a resume to jcalabrese@jhu.edu no later than Friday, May 13. You will also need to apply through the

Student Employment Services website. Instructions will be sent in response to the e-mail submission of your application.

For more information, visit http://www.sustainability.jhu.edu/about/internships.html



Local Internship Opportunities

General Internships:

Baltimore Green Works

Part time intern for a program assistant position
Location: Baltimore

Description: Intern will work with the board and staff and be exposed to various aspects of a non-profit organization including: volunteer management, fundraising, marketing, communications, program development, administrative duties, and logistical planning. Projects of focus will include Ecofest (which was rescheduled), the Sustainable Speaker Series, and other organizational developmental projects.

Qualifications: Word and Excel necessary; Adobe Creative Suit appreciated. Internet research and multitasking capabilities, excellent writing skills, attention to detail, ability to manage large groups of volunteers during events. Ability to be timely and commit to a schedule as well as work some evening and weekends according to BGW’s event schedule.

To apply: If you are interested, please send your resume to christina@baltimoregreenworks.com with a short description (3-7 sentences) of your interest in working with Baltimore Green Works.



Island Press

Part time Internships

Location: Washington, DC

Island Press is a source of environmental information and solutions, publishing up to 40 new books on topics including conservation biology, marine science, land conservation, green building, sustainable agriculture, climate change, and ecological restoration. For more information, visit: http://islandpress.org/assets/2011SpringInternships.pdf. Although it lists Spring internship positions, this also applies to summer positions. For Idealist.org listings for Island Press, click here. Postings include editorial, production, programs, events, marketing, development, and executive internships. Interns will receive a $60/week stipend, flexible scheduling (10-20 hours/week required), and an employee discount of 50% on all Island Press titles.



Policy and Communications

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Three to four month unpaid internship on environmental and public policy issues
Location: Washington, DC

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is the nation’s leading advocate for trails and a national champion for active transportation, having a significant voice in federal legislation related to creating bikeable and walkakble communities.

Description: Collect data on transportation spending from State Departments of Transportation; work on a new Open Governance project related to transportation funding, prepare new analyses in preparation for the annual spending report; research and write up material for the new series of best practices briefs; and respond to requests from professionals, policy makers, agencies, the media, and the public. Hours are weekdays 9 to 5, but can be flexible to accommodate class schedule(s)/other commitments.

Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in Planning, Economics, Public Policy, Social Sciences, or a related field. Applicants should be task-oriented, highly organized, and possess a strong interest in the topic of health, environment, sustainable transportation, pedestrians, bicycles, or trails. Some graduate coursework desirable.

To Apply: Submit a resume and cover letter noting how you learned of this position announcement via Elton@railstotrails.org.

For more information, click here.



Alliance for Biking & Walking

Part time paid communications intern position
Location: Washington, DC; 1612 K St. NW, Ste 801

The Alliance for Biking & Walking, a national nonprofit, is seeking a communications intern to assist to create, strengthen, and unite state and local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations.

Description: Regular editing and writing for web and print communications (including the Alliance’s blod and monthly e-news), administering and editing an online resources and photo library, outreach and research for Alliance publications, assistance with promotion and execution of national photo contest, outreach to sponsor and partner groups, and other general communications tasks. The position would need a 15-hour-per-week minimum commitment for three months and will include a stipend of $1,500.

Qualifications: Excellent writing skills; strong attention to detail; familiarity with web 2.0 strategies; blogging and social media; aptitude with digital design tools like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator; track record of working well on team projects; cheerful, friendly, upbeat outlook. Familiarity with biking and walking issues and commitment sustainable transportation is helpful.

To apply: Send a cover letter, resume, examples of related work, and references to Carolyn@PeoplePoweredMovement.org with “Summer 2011 Communications Intern Application” in the subject line. Applications due by May 6. Start of work will be late May or early June.

For more information, click here.



Environmental Research

Earth Policy Institute Internship

Full time research intern position

Earth Policy Institute (EPI) is an independent environmental research organization that strives to provide interdisciplinary analysis and information to policymakers and the public through its print and on-line publications. Additional information on the institute’s activities and publications is available at http://www.earth-policy.org/.

Description: Responsibilities may include identifying and tracking environmental trends; following scientific literature; collecting, analyzing, and organizing data and information; reviewing and fact-checking manuscripts; contributing to institutional outreach efforts.

Qualifications: Background and interest in environmental issues; computer proficiency (MS Office, especially MS Excel); strong research skills (computer and library); acute attention to detail; ability to analyze issues across a variety of disciplines; innovative thinking; strong writing ability; willingness to learn new concepts and skills; and capacity to work independently with minimal supervision and also as a productive member of a small team.

To apply: The application consists of a cover letter, resume, contact information for three references, and a short writing sample (not exceeding 4 pages). College transcripts will be requested from final candidates and may be submitted with the initial application. Send via e-mail to jobs@earth-policy.org and use “Research Intern” as the e-mail subject line.

For more information, click here. For the Idealist.org listing, click here.



Food and Farms

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF)

WWOOF is a loose network of national organizations that link volunteers with organic farmers and help people share more sustainable ways of living. In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, living accommodations, and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. WWOOF organizations publish lists of organic farms, smallholdings, and gardeners that welcome volunteer help at certain times. Volunteer helpers choose the hosts that most interest them and make direct contact to arrange stay, usually living as part of the family. For more information on the semantics of the program and a listing of participating farms, visit http://www.wwoof.org/.



Red Wiggler Community Farm

Part time Farm Intern position
Location: Clarksville, MD

Red Wiggler Community Farm creates meaningful jobs so that adults with development disabilities can succeed at work, growing and selling high quality, organic, farm grown vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

Description: Assist in everyday farm needs including planting, harvesting, composting, weeding, pest management, tending to chicken, CSA and Farmer’s Market staffing, while keeping a positive attitude and maintaining an inclusive environment.

Time Frame: Ideally June to October, 5 days a week, 20 hours/week, but the Farm is willing to work with an applicant’s schedule and timing needs if contacted for discussion

Qualifications: Interested in working with adults with development disabilities, able to keep a positive attitude and work both in a team and independently, dependable, comfortable working with volunteer groups including youth, ability to perform demanding physical labor, ready to work outdoors in all weather

Training: Red Wiggler staff and growers will provide training through hands-on-participation, readings, and partaking in Chesapeake Regional Association for Farmer Training (CRAFT) programs. No prior farm experience or knowledge is necessary, only a desire to learn

To apply: Submit a letter of interest and your resume to Kara at volunteer@redwiggler.org. Include examples of experiences that demonstrate your ability to work with diverse populations and why you believe Red Wiggler is a community you would like to become part of. Applications will be considered and offers will be made on a rolling basis. The last day to apply is May 16. For more information, click here.



Our Daily Bread

Unpaid internship, 3 hours/week
Location: Baltimore

Description: Manage intake of fresh produce delivered by Hamilton Crop Circle every Sunday, manage volunteer team in intake, cleaning, and refrigeration of all produce received.

Qualifications: minimum of 21 years old, confidence in the kitchen, basic understanding of fresh produce (names and uses of many fruits and vegetables), ability to follow instructions and give direction, strong communication skills, positive attitude.

To apply: Contact Rebecca Horner or Doris Franz-Poling for an application and interview at 442-986-9031. Include with the application a two to five paragraph essay answering: “What is your experience with farm fresh local produce and why is serving fresh fruits and vegetables to Baltimore’s underserviced important?”

For more information, click here.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Paint it black, no, green!

In a bout of spring cleaning this year, I decided it was time to paint a few more rooms in my house.  Did you know that Sherwin Williams has two lines of Environmentally-Preferred low-VOC paint?  They come in just about any color you could want, and I can attest that they stink much less than regular paints.

Read about these paints (Duration and Harmony) here:
http://www.sherwin-williams.com/do_it_yourself/green/paint/

If you hire a painting contractor, tell him/her to look for Pro Green low-VOC interior latex paint.
http://www.sherwin-williams.com/pro/products/progreen_200_low_voc_interior_latex/

And if you're going for LEED credit, here are the standards you'll want to look for in paint, adhesives, and sealants under the Indoor Environmental Quality credit area:
Green Seal Standards 3, 11, 36
SCAQMD #1113, 1168


Here's a post I wrote last year about another low-VOC paint from Home Depot...
http://almgreen.blogspot.com/2010/12/eco-home-improvement-low-voc-paint.html

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day deals

Go green this week and reap the benefits!

http://green.yahoo.com/blog/greenpicks/295/earth-day-deals-2011.html

To celebrate Earth Day, many businesses are offering consumers free stuff, good deals, and chances to win valuable prizes. Here is just a sampling of what's available. Check the websites and Facebook pages of your favorite companies to find additional promotions.


At participating Starbucks, you can bring in a reusable mug on April 22 to get free brewed coffee or tea.

Origins is offering a trade-in program on Earth Day. Receive a free full-size face cleanser when you bring one of your empty skin-care bottles (from any brand) to an Origins retail store or department-store counter for recycling. Choose from A Perfect World Antioxidant Cleanser With White Tea or Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash.

At the Disney Store, you can trade in five disposable plastic bags for recycling and receive a free reusable shopping bag on April 22.

Lowe's is giving away one million trees on April 23.

Kmart is offering discounts on everything from air conditioners to TVs on April 22.

Drugstore.com is giving up to 60% off on green and natural products through April 22.

All 394 U.S. national parks have free admission now through Sunday, April 24.

Travelocity has green hotels on sale for up to 40% off. You can also enter to win two round-trip Virgin America tickets and a couple of nights at an eco-friendly hotel.

The Yoga Journal offers a free digital download of the May issue.

The Sierra Club's Earth Day contest gives a chance to win a trip for two to Vieques Island in the Caribbean -- you just add a green pledge to the map.

On Target's website, you can enter the Refresh Your Nest sweepstakes through the end of the month. The grand prize is a home makeover that's valued at up to $50,000. You can also win a trip to Napa Valley, a Nikon camera, products from Burt's Bees or Tom's of Maine, and more.

Search for more Earth Day discounts, freebies, and deals at your favorite stores...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What makes a computer Energy Star material?


Ever wonder why some computer equipment qualifies for Energy Star rating and others don't?  Me too.  Here are some facts from the Energy Star website.

Product criteria must show that the equipment can:
  • Use energy efficient power supply.
  • Operate efficiently in multiple modes of operation (Off, Sleep, and Idle).
  • Include and enable power management features of the system and provide user education about these features.
 
You Should Know...


 
General: By leaving the machine on around the clock, you run up your electric bill, you suck in dust and you make yourself more vulnerable to power surges.

   
An ENERGY STAR label is not a guarantee that your machine is saving energy. Always check to ensure that the ENERGY STAR features are enabled.

   
Computers: A well-designed ENERGY STAR qualified computer will not lose its network connection, which could lead to a loss of data, while in the low-power or sleep mode. Additionally, ENERGY STAR qualified computers with networking capabilities have the ability to enable and disable Wake On LAN for Sleep mode, allowing greater use of low power modes without a loss of IT system maintenance capabilities.

 

 Monitors: Switching on and off the monitor five times or more a day increases the frequency of faults in power transistors in the control and deflection parts only after the machine has been used 20 to 30 years.

  
Screen Savers: Despite common belief, a screen saver does not save energy. In fact, more often than not, a screen saver will not only draw power for the monitor but will also keep the CPU from shutting down.

  
Games: Many popular computer games, when running in the background while multitasking, will not allow the computer to go to sleep-even if the game is paused.

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

May is Bike month

Bike month is coming!  http://www.bikebaltimore.org/bike-month-is-coming/

Baltimore bike planner Nate Evans and his minions are hard at work planning cycling events for the entire month of May:  Kinetic Sculpture Race, Bike To Work Day, Bike Jam... check out his blog here and join the contest to see who can attend the most events!

http://www.bikebaltimore.org/

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Baltimore City Landscape Manual

Announcement from the Baltimore City office of Sustainability:

Please join us for a brief presentation and discussion of the Draft Baltimore City Landscape Manual

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 6:00 PM
Department of Planning
417 East Fayette Street, 8th floor


As part of the citywide zoning update, a Draft Landscape Manual is being developed. The Landscape Manual creates landscaping and screening standards for new development and redevelopment within the city, to promote attractive development, protect property values, and provide environmental benefits.



The Draft Landscape Manual can be downloaded from the Baltimore City Planning Department website: http://baltimorecity.gov/Government/AgenciesDepartments/Planning.aspx



For questions, email amy.gilder-busatti@baltimorecity.gov  or call 410-396-PLAN.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pi Day 3.14

Ah, Pi day.  Back in high school we celebrated by hitting teachers in the face with cream pies when they couldn't answer our math questions (and ok, we may have been in cahoots with the local college math professor to get some Really Hard math questions to stack the deck)...

Here's how you can have your pie and be energy efficient too, with a PSA from the Johns Hopkins Sustainability office:

Happy Pi Day! And to celebrate, we’ve got you covered with tips to use less energy when you’re baking that pie of yours.


o Ceramic and glass dishes let you turn down the oven by 25 degrees without extended cooking times because they conduct and hold heat better than metal.

o To keep a dish warm before serving time: put it in the microwave and close the door. The insulation will keep the food warm (but make sure the dish isn’t metal!).

o If you have a convection feature on your oven, take the time to learn how to use it. You can save one-third of the cooking energy.

o If you have an oven light and a clean oven glass door, turn the light on quickly to check your pie’s status instead of opening the door and wasting energy.


Photo credit (and a really yummy-looking Grasshopper Pie recipe):
http://dyingforchocolate.blogspot.com/2011/02/grasshopper-pie-chocolate-mint-pie-day.html

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Earth Hour 2011

Tis the season for Earth Hour!  Come to the dark side with us on March 26th...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sustainable transportation planning guidebook

The School of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology has recently completed the development of a Guidebook on Transportation Planning for Sustainability for the Federal Highway Administration, the result of a 2-year project.

The objectives of this project were as follows:
-Review US and int'l best practices in transportation planning for sustainability
-Identify appropriate data sources and data collection needs
-Provide guidance to transportation agencies through catalog of practices and case studies
-Share information on sustainability practices with state DOTs and other transportation agencies

It is available for free download at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/climate/resources.htm#sustain

Thanks to Adjo Amekudzi, Ph.D for sharing this resource!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Environmental film fest in DC this month


This month, Washington DC holds its 19th Annual Festival, March 15-27


60 Venues, 150 Films, 26,000+ Filmgoers

As the Environmental Film Festival launches its annual celebration of the natural world on screens across Washington, D.C., we explore one of the most controversial and timely topics of our day: the critical relationship between energy and the environment. Please join us in March as we present 150 diverse and engaging films from 40 countries.

Check the listings at their website here (most films are free!):
http://www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org/

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Book: Cities for People

I just read an impressive review of the book Cities for People in this month's Civil Engineering magazine (which you can read online here)...

The book's author, Jan Gehl, is an architect and professor of urban design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, and is credited with helping to make Copenhagen the model of pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly urbanism that it is today.  The review notes that more than 1/3 of Copenhagen's commuters travel by bicycle.

Sustainability-minded urban planners will want to read this book!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Baltimore County Master Gardeners classes

Mondays in March, come learn from the Master Gardeners about edible gardens, food preservation, native trees, and other landscaping tips!  Classes are $15 each of $50 for the series. 

Registration info at this link:
http://bcmastergardeners.weebly.com/spring-lecture-series.html

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Celebrate National Engineers Week


"Scientists discover the world that exists; engineers create the world that never was."  -Theodore Von Karman, Aerospace Engineer

This week we celebrate engineers, engineering, and engineers-in-training during National Engineers Week
http://www.eweek.org/Home.aspx



Here are some engineering links for kids (of all ages)...

Discover Engineering! by the National Engineers Week Foundation
http://www.discoverengineering.org/

The Future City competition was held in Washington DC this week :
http://www.futurecity.org/

Here's an interview with Bentley Systems CEO Greg Bentley about the Future City competition:
http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/mornings/holly_live/holly-morris-national-engineers-week-future-city-competition-022211

The American Society of Civil Engineers (http://www.asce.org/ ) also gets into the act...
Engineering education for kids/parents/teachers http://www.asce.org/Audience/Kids-Parents-Teachers/
Visit ASCEville http://content.asce.org/asceville/index.html


And in higher education...

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) dedicates more than $1 million annually to recognize leaders in engineering for their lifetime dedication to their field and their commitment to advancing the human condition and to bring better understanding of the importance of engineering and engineering education to society.


The following prizes were awarded at this week's event in DC:
The 2011 Charles Stark Draper Prize is awarded to Frances H. Arnold and Willem P. C. Stemmer "for directed evolution, a method used worldwide for engineering novel enzymes and biocatalytic processes for pharmaceutical and chemical products".

The 2011 Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize is awarded to Leroy E. Hood "for automating DNA sequencing that revolutionized biomedicine and forensic science."


The 2011 Bernard M. Gordon Prize Recipient is awarded to Edward F. Crawley "for leadership, creativity, and energy in defining and guiding the CDIO (Conceive-Design-Implement-Operate) Initiative, which has been widely adopted internationally for engineering education."


Read more about these research projects here:  http://www.nae.edu/Activities/Projects20676/Awards.aspx





To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.  -anon.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Time to shine: new location for 2011 Solar Decathlon in September


Energy, Interior Departments Announce New Location for Solar Decathlon 2011
http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/news/progress_alerts.cfm/pa_id=489


February 23, 2011

The Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior today announced that the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 will be held at the National Mall's West Potomac Park, on the banks of the Potomac River along the path between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Specifically, the event will be held on the peninsula just south of the new Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial—scheduled to open in August of this year—between the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and the Potomac River. The Decathlon will begin in late September as originally scheduled.


The event is being moved from its previous location on the Mall between the Washington Monument and the Capitol to balance the many uses and demands on the Mall.


"We look forward to holding another world-class Solar Decathlon in a world-class location—the National Mall's West Potomac Park," said Secretary Chu. "Keeping the competition on the National Mall property allows the students to proceed with their existing home designs, specifically tailored for Washington's latitude, temperature, and humidity conditions. The West Potomac site is in close proximity to a number of attractions and will provide an ideal stage to highlight clean energy solutions for thousands of public visitors."



"Solar energy is a key component of President Obama's vision for a new energy future and the solar decathlon is part of that future," said Secretary Salazar. "The National Mall is America's front yard and we have a responsibility to do what is best for the long term health of the Mall. I am pleased that we have been able to find a strong alternate location for the Solar Decathlon and I am looking forward to a successful event."


The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a competition that challenges collegiate students from across the globe to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are affordable, highly energy-efficient, attractive, and easy to live in. During the competition, 20 homes from 16 domestic and four international collegiate teams will undergo extensive testing and expert judging in ten different contest categories. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. This will be DOE's fifth Solar Decathlon; previous events were held in 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2009.


The Solar Decathlon provides participating students with unique training to enter our nation's clean-energy workforce. It is also a popular public event, open to visitors who come to see the designs and learn about money-saving clean-energy solutions for their own homes. The public will be encouraged to meet the students and visit their highly efficient, innovative solar homes during the event. Specific public viewing hours for this year's competition will be published at a later date.


See a preliminary layout of the National Mall's West Potomac Park site here:  http://www.solardecathlon.gov/pdfs/2011_map.pdf


The Solar Decathlon supports the Obama Administration's goal of creating an economy based on clean-energy technologies while saving families and businesses money and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.


For more information, please visit SolarDecathlon.gov

Monday, February 21, 2011

Almost vegetarian


Stop me if you've heard this one before:  I made a New Years resolution to eat healthier.  But unlike previous draconian efforts (like the tofu incident of '07), this time I'm adding healthy foods instead of totally omitting the "bad" ones, and it's going pretty well.  I'd compare this to the French Women Don't Get Fat approach:  eat what you want in reasonable portions, drink plenty of water (plus some wine), and walk a lot.

My pregnant friend's midwife put her on the Eat to Live diet, which is a bit too vegan for my lifestyle, but it did inspire me to incorporate more legumes and greens into my diet.  I've waxed poetic about the joys of kale and other CSA veg discoveries here before, and I'll do it again:  below is my latest favorite legume-based pot luck dish.  It's veg-friendly and easy to make.  Enjoy!

Apple lentil salad, from Simply In Season cookbook.

1 cup lentils:  soak 15min in hot water

2 potatoes
1 onion
Dice and boil these until soft, then drain and cool to add at end.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
Heat oil in large saucepan.  Add salt and curry power and heat until bubbly.  Drain lentils and add to saucepan, fry briefly.

2 cups water
Add and cook until absorbed, about 20min.  Drain any excess water and cool.

2 tart apples, cored and diced
1/4 cup lemon juice or cider vinegar
Combine to prevent browning.  Mix with cooled lentils and potato/onion mix.

Add chopped parsley to garnish.  Serve warm or at room temperature.