Tags: EcoMemphis, environment Memphis, Memphis Connect, Memphis Enviroment
As mentioned on the Memphis Connect site, we added a new flower bed this year. I (hopefully) amused you with how the role of bees in our lives have changes over the last few years. They are no longer a small, noxious annoyances.
Environmentally, it occurs to us that the same large flower bed has made a small contribution to our planet - that there just aren’t very many blooming flowers during these summer months on with insect life may flourish.
Crepe Myrtles will bloom much of the summer, and Hostas are rounding out their season. Some of us have gardens, but the blooms on most of those items should be producing a crop by now. During my daily journeys through Memphis, that’s about all see blooming these days. So perhaps that why we’re are noticing such a change in our yard as it surrounds our newest addition.
We’ve noticed 5 different kinds of bees in the flowerbed; huge, stole-donning, bumbles; pale, sleek fellows; and honey bees, for a start. And really, it’s fun enough seeing so much of a collection of different animals together in such a small space – all going about their business, co-dependent, co-existing.
The awesome bonus came when we noticed other new-comers to our yard. We’ve seen increase in the number and variety of dragonflies and butterflies who have come to visit; huge black butterflies (large enough to be a small bat), small sleek lustrous dragonflies. It’s been like a trip to a wonderland – lots of ‘oooh’s’ and ‘aaah’s’ this summer.
Our new flowerbed isn’t much in the grand scheme of thing. But realistically, there’s not much I can do to have a grand effect. I’m happy knowing that I’ve added to my environmental equity; I’m happy knowing that we created a beautiful place these creatures can find what they need to thrive; and I’m happy knowing we’ll do more next year.
Tags: eco-friendly Memphis, Environmental Memphis, Memphis Ecology, Memphis Environmen, Memphis Farmers Market
One of my favorite things to do, and indeed one of the most important activities that saves my soul from drowning in chaos, is a trip to a farmers market. Truly, there are melodies in the air you just can’t hear anywhere else.
The vendors are (usually) very pleasant people who know what it is to have dirt under their nails, and in their hair. When wiping your brow means getting a forehead of mud, and they know the sting of sweat in their eyes. They also know the magic of the Earth, and how unexplainable it is that life springs from these things that don’t seem to have life within them. Some have weatherworn faces, and some are sun burnt even in April. I like them before I know them.
The products they bring are their own – theirs are the hands that picked the fruit, washed
and packed them, to bring them to you. The vegetables couldn’t be any fresher unless you grew them yourself.
Most Farmers Markets in our area have other products to purchase as well. On a recent trip to the Farmers Market at the Agricenter, I met an elderly woman who had hundreds of jams, jellies, preserves, butters and soups to offer. She made everything herself, and brought her daughters to help her sell. A very gentle, beautiful woman, she livened my week.
I also met an artist who has honed her craft to become a ‘miniature’ artist. She reclaims the ivory from piano keys to make lovely necklaces, earrings, pendants and the like. The artist, a senior herself, also offers fused-glass jewelry her own mother makes.
Unfortunately, I made it too late to buy any veggies, and had to settle on pear preserves, muscadine jelly and a wondrous hanging basket. K-)
Where is your favorite Farmers Market? Think I’ve been to them all, which are listed here. If you know of more, please let us know.
Tags: E-recycling Memphis, E-waste Memphis, environment Memphis, Environmental Memphis, memphis, Memphis Apple, Memphis Enviroment, Memphis environment, Steve Terry
I really enjoyed the Apple, Inc./University of Memphis’ E-Recycling event yesterday. It was very well organized as cars were rolling in/out very quickly. Items were being sorted on the spot, palleted, wrapped and put on semi’s headed to their final destinations – all within moments.The people working the event were friendly, helpful, quick and knowledgeable.
Surprisingly tho, this was a low-key event without any signage promoting the sponsorship by Apple, Inc; and facilitated by SIMS Recycling and the University of Memphis. Among the organizers where Steve Terry, IT Director at the U of M, “We’re not here to promote ourselves. This is just something we can do to help. It’s part of the Green Campus Initiative signed by the university’s President, Shirly Raines.”
For those who weren’t able make it, the sight of all the computers, stereos, and printers were very moving. There were pallets on top of pallets of monitors on their journey to be recycled, and seemingly tons of other electronic goods. Knowing of all the landfills we have within our own city limits, we should all be glad to see these items have a more responsible ending. Check out the Flickr photos.
“We have a facility in the Chicago area doing a great job of the monitors. We have an entire process to make sure we get every scrap of recyclable materials out,” the SIMS representative onsite says, “We’ll recycle all kinds of things – plastics, gold, silver – all without taking advantage of third-world countries.”
Most of the items donated by Memphians, will end up going to the LaVerne facility just outside of Nashville for recycling, the rest will head toward Chicago.
Tags: E-recycle Memphis, E-recycling Memphis, E-waste Memphis, Environmental Memphis, green memphis, Steve Terry
We’re very excited to find that The University of Memphis continues their E-Recycling event this year – in just a few days, Saturday and Sunday May 16th and 17th at the parking lot on Southern Ave.
Sponsored by Apple, Inc., the event is highly significant in this burgeoning time of digital tv’s spawning the discard of analog tv’s. “There are approximately four pounds of lead in a 36 inch television. Unfortunately, many of our municipalities have challenges in properly disposing of this kind of e-waste,” says Steve Terry, IT Director at the University of Memphis. “Often, a discarded tv will be crushed, then sent to a landfill where lead and other chemicals can to seep into the soil.”
Since Memphis has several landfills within the city limits, toxic chemicals like mercury, bromine, chlorine and lead that are inside nearly all electronic devices can be shockingly close to our homes.
“Apple does a great job. Part of the benefit of their sponsorship is the sheer organization,” says Terry. “People can just drive up, pop the trunk and their old electronics, or e-waste will be taken out for them. The whole process of driving through and having your e-waste removed from your vehicle shouldn’t take more than five minutes.”
Often when e-waste is recycled, it is often sent to an impoverished community in a country like China or India where individuals are paid to reclaim these materials – using methods that destroy their own health and contribute to the detriment of our one and only environment.
Through the University of Memphis E-Recycling event, the e-waste that will be collected will ultimately be processed into three core components; glass, metal and plastic and then be recycled into new electronic equipment. The company on hand will be SIMS Recycling Solutions a global company who specializes in these processes with processing facilities in LaVernge, TN.
So what can you bring? Just about any electronic device like cell phones, cameras, tv’s, stereos, hard drives and of course computers. Here’s a complete list. Please, no refrigerators!
School is nearly out, and summer is almost here. So I’ve rounded up a few websites to entertain and educate kids about our world. Hope you enjoy. If you have more, please send them to me and I’ll add.
CaptainPlanetFoundation.org – a website with a mission to support hands-on environmental projects for kids in grades K-12.
PBS Kids Go Green Challenge – From the heroes at PBS with an ‘Arthur’ theme.
Climate Change for Kids – Explains the greenhouse effect, why climate change matters and more.
Smithsonian Smorgasbord – Not just about the environment, but many activities to thrill the kids.
The Smithsonian Zoo website - another spectacular site by The Smithsonian
Scholastics Act Green – Usually not too keen on Scholastics, but this looks just fine.
Environmental Kids – by the EPA.
NASA’s K-2 - NASA’s Newsbreaks (K – 2nd Grades) uses animated characters to introduce science, technology, engineering, math, and NASA concepts.
Let’s Go Outside! – It’s time to reconnect with our environment.
Living in a Green World - If you want to make a difference, the best way to start is to follow these three principles: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
TVA Kids – Learn all about the Tennessee Valley Authority, or TVA and how you can help protect the environment with this interactive site.
Eekoworld – Learn about the environment.
BrainPop Has animated movies created to explain the world around us in an engaging way.
EcoKids – For 14 & up.
More sites for kids:
Ahhh, these days are so beautiful. Where there was dirt a few weeks ago, life bursts. Gentle, scented, breezes create dances among tree braches. Magic and inspirational growth beckons us to marvel as blooms burst forth. Dining al fresco has become the all too short-lived norm. And we tend to wax romantic…
As we’re working in our gardens, it’s time for us to make an easy decision to help our planet, and ourselves. I’m thinking about mulch. Red, black, or brown, it’s made of trees and treated chemically. But you’ve gotta have it, right?
Right. But maybe not.
Mulch usually has to be replaced twice a year – spring and fall. Then after a few years, it all has to be shoveled off completely and a new layer started. In the meantime, anything that falls on it will probably get stuck, degrading the look.
I started by adding a professional-level weed liner and covering that with stone, replacing the mulch altogether. Not gravel, certainly not pea gravel, but small stones or pebbles. The major benefit is that the pebbles will never have to be replaced. They also don’t float away with the rain, and don’t fly away with the wind.
I also like the neutral color of the stone. Red mulch competes visually with plants. Brown and black mulches blend visually too much with green leaves – blurring the line between ground and garden. However, the stone tends to frame the plants – defining where one ends and the next begins, in effect highlighting them. When it’s time to remove leaves this fall, this is easily achieved with the blower.
The only negative I have found when researching is that sometimes the stone can conduct heat and transfer that to garden plants, but I haven’t experience that yet.
Be sure to use the professional-grade weed liner because cheaper products do allow strong weeds to penetrate. However, with the professional grade, I haven’t seen an intruder yet.
It’s a bit more work in the beginning – this stone usually comes in 50lb bags. (However, with the aid of a garden wagon, this can be overcome as well.) It’s also a little more expensive. However, knowing that you’ve saved numerous trees by your actions today, and this decision will save untold trees in the future – not to mention the labor and money you’ll be saving – will be most rewarding.
Tags: Eco Memphis, EcoMemphis, Neti Pot Demonstration, Neti Pot observations
Our path to consume less and cause less harm to our environment met head-on with spring in Memphis. Like many, many Memphians, we were suffering from sinus infections. If you’ve lived here more than 20 minutes, you know what I mean – swollen eyes, multi-colored mucus, and the ability to describe in detail the flow of your mucus between all six of your sinus cavities. The prospects of taking over the counter medicine were less than attractive, and those of seeking prescription medicine were a bit ugly.
There’s a lot of information online about the Neti Pot and nasal irrigation, and I’ve posted some video here – one purely instructional, the other a bit more entertaining. In-the-trenches observations follow.
The dry, boring demonstration:
Here’s what you should know:
What is it? Basically, you send non-isotonic sodium in your nasal cavity. As the water fills up one cavity, it pours out the other side. This eliminates mucus and irritants from your system, leading to both temporary and longer-lasting relief.
It’s not as bad as you might think. If you use WARM water – like the heat of the water while you’re taking a shower – and if you use the right ingredients, it’s really a soothing sensation.
At first some of the water may find its way down your throat – not most, not a lot, but some. With just a bit of practice, you’ll soon be over that hurdle.
Which kind to buy? I’ve used a few different types, and I can’t say that it really matters. I’ve settled on the plastic kind that doesn’t require me to twist my neck and torso so much, but there are some very pretty ceramic ones as well.
Where to buy? Geez, Wild Oats of course. Rite Aid, Walgreens, even WalMart has these puppies.
Why isn’t this more popular? Well, it is! Oprah even had Dr. Oz on her show in 2008 to discuss and demonstrate the Neti Pot. It’s gotten play in major newspapers, radio/online media and on television. Even so, it’s not one of those things people tend to spend much time talking about – nor do people chat about teeth-brushing techniques or the proper application of antiperspirant.
Advise from the trenches? Start with a hypotonic solution, cleaning both nostrils with one pot-full. Once the need arises, and you’re more comfortable, you may want to increase to 1 pot per side. You may also want to increase to a hypertonic solution. It’s up to you. I’ve started using the NeilMed product which combines pharmacy grade sodium chloride with sodium bicarbonate. For me, that means more lasting effects.
The entertaining, not to be taken seriously version:
Tags: EcoMemphis, Farmers Markets Memphis, Farmers Markets Shelby Co
It’s spring again, and the local farmers markets are gearing back up. I’ve been to most of the farmers markets in Shelby County, from the Memphis Farmers Market downtown to the Depot Square farmers market in Arlington. If you haven’t treated yourself to this beauty, you really should.
On the Saturday mornings when your able to roll out of bed when the dew is still on the ground, and the sun isn’t fully in the sky, try to make your way to your closest farmers market – coffee in hand, of course. Glistening dew; the aroma of fresh vegetables; the sweet melody of our airborne friends; locally made jellies and jams, pottery, and honey; the friendly, smiling faces of these local farmers are truly a source of beauty and calm – a retreat from the weeks’ hectic pace – a sensory elation.
One of the reasons I enjoy going is the reminder of the stark difference between the shiny, bloated, pristine items at the big box grocery store, and the more natural items at the farmers market. Of course, our local farmers tend not to grow food items that have been genetically modified; they tend not to paint the produce with a waxy sheen before sale, and have no problem selling produce that isn’t in exceedingly ideal condition. The experience highlights the difference between the ‘Barbie’ produce available the big box grocery stores and the honest, natural produce available at the farmers markets and confirms my decision to buy local, buy fresh and buy real.
Now, the dilemma
However, I do have an issue – and I’d like to get your opinion. Some, and indeed most, the farmers at some point during the year tend to buy some of their produce from local suppliers – local suppliers (ie. Easy Way) who are buying the produce from national suppliers – produce that was shipped across the country. You’ll be able to notice this when the produce is in a packing crate.
I understand at least part of their logic. They are trying to keep us out of the big box groceries, and rightfully so. They need to offer a breadth of products or the shoppers won’t come – most people will just do what’s easiest and make the big box our one stop. In many ways, they are subject to the whims of their customers whether commensurate with a natural lifestyle or not.
Conversely, it’s not the aesthetic of a farmers market to offer/buy products that are not local.
So, I’m asking, where do you stand? Do you support the farmer by buying produce that he/she purchased from a supplier? Do you refrain from buying products at farmers markets that aren’t local? Does it matter to you?
Let us know what you think.
Tags: environmental action Memphis, red is the new green
As the frog said…
If you haven’t been under a rock recently, you know that ‘going green’ has become almost ubiquitous in everything from grocery shopping, to the ecological responsibility of the world’s leading corporations. Our lives are inundated with new ways to be environmentally conscious on, quite literally, a daily basis. But is it really that easy to make a positive impact on your environment?
The fact is, the decision to do your part is not based on passing fads or guilt trips. Certainly, no one makes green choices because they are easy or convenient. Being Green is a sincere, personal, and committed resolution to make specific lifestyle choices that will have a lasting impact on you, your home, your neighborhood, and the world.
The color green conjures images of peaceful rain forests and lush, rolling fields. It soothes. Green doesn’t imply the sacrifices, the work or the resolve involved with being Green. Applying the color green to being Green, is a little like naming a pit-bull Twinkle Toes.
Red, however, implies a much deeper and braver commitment. The decision to truly ‘go green’ is not a soothing decision, but a passionate one. It is the decision to ride your bicycle instead of idling in traffic in your air conditioned car. It is the decision bring bags to the grocery store. Red is a call to action that does not lull you to complacency, but inspires you to act.
We salute the people who have added environmental responsibility to their lives, and ask the rest of us, what can we do to ‘go Red?’
Like the shirt? We do too. Let us know if you’d like to order one!
Tags: EcoMemphis, environmental wine Memphis, Tetra Pak
We’ve only seen this occasionally, and at first look, it can’t be good. It looks like the ‘box’ wine you can get by the gallon. Then, there was an article in Fast Company (June 2008).
These newer Tetra Pak wines don’t have the spout and inner bag of their older cousins. For those of you who haven’t bought soymilk lately, a Tetra Pak is a type of packaging comprised of aluminum-coated paperboard.
Through the last few years, winemakers have been turning to Tetra Paks increasingly, and for good reason. Every step of the process – shipping empty bottles to be filled, shipping filled bottles to their distribution points, recycling empty containers, etc – are benefited by the use of Tetra Pack packaging. As it turns out, 40% of the shipping weight of a bottle of wine is from the glass bottle. When Tetra Pak is used, that number plummets to 4%. Not to mention manufacturing of the paperboard containers take less energy to manufacture while also adding less greenhouse gas emissions – much less than glass.
Recently, the Boisset Family Estates, the third-largest French winery was added to the Tetra Pak line up – a sign of changing times that can’t be ignored. So we called Whiskers, Wine and Spirits, who was familiar with the packaging and offered a positive review of the packaging and the wine itself – the wine by Bendage was a favorite. All sources we reviewed confirmed the taste of the wine in the Tetra Pak is no different from those wines in glass bottles.
What Can You Do?
The next time you visit your local convenience store, try out a bottle or two. If your favorite store doesn’t offer a selection, just suggest they order a few bottles – we’ve found storeowners very likely to order a product when requested. Also, the next time you plan to attend a wine-tasting event, call a few days ahead and ask that such wines be represented. Or ask your shop to provide at least one such product in your ‘wine of the month’ selection.
Have comments or suggestions! Let us know!