Green Living

Make Dull Walls Green With Ivy: Vertical Gardens Transform Walls from Ordinary to Outstanding

 

By now, most are aware of the positive effects plants have on our environment. We know they filter our air and can improve our moods, but aside from purchasing a few houseplants to liven up an area, how else can plants be incorporated within our environment?

Vertical Gardens – What Are They?

There is a new “green” trend that has taken root in the home-improvement sector: Vertical Gardening, also known as living walls or green walls. This innovative form of gardening allows homeowners to grow a wide variety of plants vertically on their wall. Vertical gardens can vary from simple – using only one or two varieties of plant material – to complex , which incorporates numerous plants to create a makeshift tropical habitat.

How Do Vertical Gardens Work?

Vertical gardens aim to emulate the natural growing conditions of a specific family of plants – Epiphytes. Living walls rely on a simple water pump to circulate water from the ground up. Gravity takes care of the rest. Some vertical gardeners have also taken their garden a step further by adding fish, such as Betas, to small ponds they create at the base of their gardens. Although having a pool of water to continuously sustain your garden is not necessary, it does add an extra sense of tranquility to the surrounding area.

Vertical Gardens Require several basic features:

  • Plant material – Depending on the garden’s location, certain plants are more recommended that others.
  • Planting matrix – As plants are added to the garden, they will need something to root (attach) to. This can be sphagnum moss, soil, tree bark, or a plastic lattice.
  • Irrigation – Because the garden is grown vertically, water does not stay within root’s reach for very long. To sustain plant life, some form of irrigation system must be incorporated.
  • Waterproof Barrier – With an irrigation system, comes moisture. To protect the surface on which the garden is grown, some form of barrier protection between it and the surface is needed. This will not only protect the supporting surface, but prevent the garden from detaching due to water damage.
  • Structural support – Vertical gardens are very heavy due to the number of water-retaining plants, the water barrier, and water itself. To maintain a safe growing environment for the garden, the surface on which it is attached should be reinforced with weight-bearing material, such as thick wood or steel.
  • Lighting – Plants that are used for vertical gardens are often native to tropical regions. This means they are used to two things: lots of humidity and lots of sunlight. To emulate optimal growing conditions, vertical gardens should be located near a light source. This can be natural (sunlight) or artificial (flourescent) lighting.

Plants Grown in a Vertical Garden

Plants found in the Epiphytic category of plants include several different families and genus. These plants are most commonly used in vertical gardens, but others, such as ivy and bromeliads can also be used. Members of the Epiphytic category include:

 

  • Philodendron
  • Begonia
  • Rhododendron
  • Ficus
  • Oncidium
  • Rhipsalis

Aside from improving our daily living conditions, vertical gardens may serve as a way for those who live in small spaces to entertain their gardening hobby without taking up a large area. Vertical gardens can serve as a conversation piece while allowing its owner an outlet to express themselves. Plus, the tranquility a vertical garden provides, along with the soothing sounds of trickling water, adds value to the room in which it is grown.

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Green Living

Saving Money With Green Living Ideas: Eco-Friendly Tips to Save Money and Live a Green Lifestyle.

 

 

Most people have heard about recycling paper and plastic, changing to energy-saving lightbulbs, taking short showers to save water, and carpooling to reduce carbon footprint, but what about food, clothing and beauty products? These things are very essential too in our daily life. Next are three eco- friendly tips that most people can do to, not only save money, but over time to have an impact on environmental concerns such as waste pollution.

Eco Friendly Backyard

Transform your backyard into a mini vegetable and herb garden. If you are a novice in gardening, start with easy-growing greens lie spinach, chard, and lettuces. Follow the instructions on the seed packet and after a few weeks you can enjoy a fresh salad from your own backyard. Don’t have much space? No problem. Many herbs and green vegetables can be planted in terracotta pots.

Potted herbs can give a green decoration to your front door entrance or a kitchen window, where herbs can be at hand when cooking. It is important to grow vegetables and herbs that you mostly use in a daily basis. By growing the food that you like, you will save money on shopping for those items. To make it more fun, make an eco friendly backyard garden club with friends, and exchange vegetables.

Reuse to Save

There are many simple ways to reuse clothe, especially jeans and t-shirts. Think of the jeans you always say you are going to use again, but you never do. Give a better use to them by making a reusable shopping bag. Simply cut the jeans, as if making a skirt. Sew the bottom and take the fabric of one of the jean legs to make the strap. You can do this bag with other pants that are made with well resistant fabric.

Take old t-shirts and make pillow covers. You can choose t -shirts with theme prints and use them for a special occasion or event. Get creative making pillow covers with printed funny message t-shirts.

 

Green Beauty

Save money by creating basic beauty products. Why not use non-toxic ingredients that you already have in your pantry? Mix some sugar with lemon and honey to make a fragrant body scrub. To make a face scrub, simply add sugar to your usual face cleanser.

Want to make an eco-friendly skin smoother without all the bad chemicals? Try a blend of organic jojoba oil and almond oil and a mix of your favorite essential oils.

Using natural oils, instead of commercial lotions, lets your skin absorb the benefits of these oils without synthetics, mineral oil, waxes and other chemicals. The mixture of this oil can be applied to your whole body. It can even soften your strands by applying it to your hair before taking a shower.

Saving money and living a green life is increasingly easier to achieve. Reuse the things that you already have, give them a second life. Transform your backyard into an eco friendly space. Beautify yourself with Mother Nature gifts and enjoy a weekend spa in the comfort of your house. Be creative and start saving with a greener lifestyle.

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Eco-Friendly | Green Living | Home | Home Appliances

Latest Eco-Friendly Home And Appliances Ideas

It is not only a matter of trend to move into an eco-friendly house, and it is not a secret that such home can save money for the owners. Unconventional energies are now available for more and more people, and you don’t have to spend a fortune today to live in such comfort.

Most common unconventional energies today are able to save up to 50-80% costs, but it is not only about that. A well designed house where angles are calculated to consider heating and air is a major improvement for health as well.

Best materials to use

Materials used to build such a home don’t pollute the environment significantly in any stage of building: design, mounting, or transport. Such materials are not toxic and they have to leave as less debris on the site as possible. A house with a wooden structure ensures a reduced heating cost. Other efficient building materials are straws, mud bricks or even vegetal insulators.

What appliances to get for your green home?

While researching for home appliances for your green home, check for the energy rating and green certification. Appliances like microwave ovens, refrigerator, dishwashers with low energy usage rating, save you money in terms of running costs and also reduce your carbon footprint. Even if they cost a little more it is worth spending on them since the ROI is definitely worth it.

Are there any dangers?

Eco-friendly houses building is relatively new, therefore the demand for such houses is bigger than the offer. If an eco-friendly house is not built right, it might bring more problems than benefits. A wooden framed house which is not well finished is vulnerable to mold, humidity and insects. Moreover, the insulation of such house has to be made of a material that lets the wood breathe and reduce thermal transmission at the same time. It is why you need to make sure the house is built by experienced builders with eco-friendly projects and structures.

The concept of green-house appeared from the need and will of people to protect the environment and to replace traditional concrete buildings with something new. Even if the materials from which these houses can be built are still limited, they are resistant on the long term and they sometimes look like architectural wonders.

Usually, green houses are built to be well exposed to the sun during the winter and shadowed during the summer. The concept of ‘natural’ building means a construction that uses natural elements for maximum effects. A green building is made with care about minimizing the impact on the environment. Besides the actual building projects, other aspects such as efficient illumination and flexibility of the interior space are considered.

What about the costs?

The costs of maintaining such a house are only diminished if the building is also passive, meaning it does not generate pollution. Considering the percentage of energy that you obtain from natural resources, it is possible to save 30-40% on costs yearly. Surprisingly, this is not the main reason for which people choose to move in such houses.

People looking to make this change are usually more interested about their health. The decision to have a baby is one of the most common reasons for which families want to move in a house where it is easy to benefit of natural light and fresh air. Moving in such a house is a decision on the long term; therefore make sure you are choosing the builder with care. As we are talking about relatively new building concepts, most of traditional building companies are not able to build such houses just yet.

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Green Living

Hip-Hop Goes Green

 

The idea of Young Jeezy and Al Gore walking into a bar—together—may now not be so entirely far-fetched. Perhaps after an initial hasty gander, sure, hip-hop and environmentalism seem like an unlikely pair. But the two social movements actually share more commonalities than they do differences.

Both movements can trace their lineage back to fiery subculture groups that emerged around the same time. Not long before Grandmaster Flash rapped about having a “bum education” and the endless cycle of poverty and violence on “The Message” in 1982, sustainability had become a part of the American consciousness as a notch on the hippie agenda in the 1960s.

Since the days of Public Enemy and the birth of Greenpeace, hip-hop and environmentalism have both benefited from commercial exposure, but grassroots activism remains at their essence. The day when hip-hop artists would work to forward green initiatives was inevitable, and today prominent figures in hip-hop are extolling the values of going green.

 

Not So Eco-Friendly Music Industry Practices

Each year, the music industry leaves a sizable carbon footprint on the planet. From the flashing lights used to power arenas, to the environmentally taxing process of manufacturing and distributing CDs across the country, the industry could use a major makeover.

Rapper Drake Goes Green

While artists and groups like Sheryl Crow and Linkin Park have taken up greening the music industry as a cause, rapper and Toronto native Drake has become a pioneer amongst hip-hop artists working towards reversing dirty energy practices.

In 2010, Drake joined forces with Green the Block (a campaign developed by Green for All and the Hip Hop Caucus) to embark upon the Campus Consciousness Tour. As part of the tour, Drake traveled on a bio-diesel fuel bus to venues with carbon-offsetting practices. The tour also featured a Green Jobs Rally to promote green economy jobs in minority communities.

The Roots Brings Composting to Schools

The Roots are founding members of Green Music Group, a coalition of music artists, industry professionals and fans that aim to bring environmental change to the music industry. The eclectic hip-hop group launched Feed Your Roots in 2007, a campaign to get composting programs into schools. Like Drake, The Roots also travels on a tour bus that runs on bio-diesel.

Russell Simmons, Hip-Hop’s Green Entrepreneur

It would only make sense that one of hip-hop’s most influential figures would be at the vanguard of eco-consciousness within the hip-hop community. Russell Simmons is not only a mogul and an entrepreneur but also a vocal proponent of green issues. In 2009, Simmons was the spokesperson of a contest to find America’s Greenest Campus and was also featured in a commercial that aired on BET about going green. Simmons also follows an environmentally-friendly diet as a vegan.

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Green Living

Green Living Gift Choices for Pets: Natural Pet Care and Natural Pet Foods

 

Environmental gifts are healthy for your pet. You can recycle products as a green lifestyle gift for your pet. Making green choices in pet gifts will help the quality of the environment. There are different types of environmental pet gifts from which to choose.

You can choose gifts for comfort, safety and nutrition for your pet. Your pet’s skin absorbs whatever is put on it. You can choose natural formulas for pet care such as natural shampoos, flea and tick repellents, skin products, dental products, odor control products, hair care products and litter. Look for natural fabrics and fillers in furniture and beds.

You can buy sturdy pet furniture, steps and gates for your pets comfort. You can make or buy natural pet kibble, goodies, treats and even a pet celebration recipe. Check out your local health food stores for their stock in natural pet foods, treats, supplements and pet care supplies.

Recycling is earth friendly because it reduces pollution and the waste of energy and resources. You can recycle pet products and supplies for your pet’s gift. You can find recyclable pet supplies at second hand stores, flea markets, farmer’s markets, garage sales and through the classified ads. You can recycle grooming supplies, furniture, dishes, collars, clothing and accessories in your area.

Buy sensible pet gift items that will truly enhance your pet’s life. Avoid one time use items or items that will be infrequently used. Look for gifts without unnecessary packaging. Buy supplies in bulk if appropriate. Buy quality items that will last and will not become junk in a short time. Choose items that can be reused.

Choose hemp clothing, collars, accessories and supplies because hemp is a renewable and useful plant source. Do not buy real leather accessories. You can invest in a pet psychic, a pet consultant, dog training classes, and even have your dog join you in yoga classes. You can even also make your dog a promise to take regular long walks as a wonderful gift to be enjoyed by both you and your pet.

You can have a natural celebration for your pet with ethical gift choices as an important part of the event. Do not forget that you will be doing your pet and the environment a great favor when you recycle items for your pet’s gifts. It is possible for your pet to enjoy a variety of environmentally aware gifts for any celebration. Your pet’s level of health and happiness can be raised with the right environmental gift.

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Green Living

How to Be a Member of the New Greener Generation: A Good Place to Start is Active Participation in Earth Day

 

Since Earth Day was founded in 1970, awareness about various environmental issues has become more and more widespread across the globe. Today, children and young adults are increasingly well informed about eco-related concerns and are more willing than ever to help make a difference. This 40th anniversary of Earth Day is a great time to get involved and join the up-and-coming greener generation to help conserve the planet.

 

Attend a Green Rally

Earth Day, April 22nd, offers an opportunity to be involved in activities beyond the norm as hundreds of millions across the globe participate in Earth-related events. Local rallies should be easy to find, particularly in urban areas: look for flyers around town; check the “Events” section of CraigsList; or contact the city events board to see what’s been planned for this Earth Day. Rallies present the opportunity to connect with others who are passionate about saving the planet, and help to raise awareness about current environmental issues.

Be Proactive and Get Educated

Those who want to be part of the greener generation will be best able to make an impact if they are educated about the facts of certain concerns. Choose an interesting topic and research it to find out applicable information. With controversial topics like global warming, look for studies that present unbiased information about scientifically proven facts. Use credible sources for these sorts of topics – not Wikipedia, volatile comment boards on the Internet, or authors with a political agenda; but websites or books written from a purely scientific angle. The ability to quote well-founded factual information when speaking to others about environmental concerns should be helpful to everyone involved.

Work Hard and Make a Difference

To truly become a part of (rather than an observer of) the greener generation, it is imperative to get off the sidelines and work toward making a difference. Sometimes that takes really hard work but it is for a very worthwhile cause – our planet.

Find a good environmental cause and, after researching it more thoroughly, find out what to do to contribute in a positive way. Link with others through social networking outlets, plan or attend local events, and chip in personally to take action and help make a change.

 

Since 1970, Earth Day has provided an amazing opportunity to connect with other environmentally minded people and get involved with saving the planet. Don’t waste the chance in 2020 to join the greener generation and make a meaningful impact.

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Green Living

Eau De Genève

There are three carafe models, all of which have printed on them the words Eau de Genève meaning – Geneva (tap) water.

The classic model, illustrated here, incorporates the words into a minimalist, elegant graphic design that also uses the rest of the logotype: purement et simplement. The other two models leave the ‘’purely and simply’’ out, and feature water-themed images by two popular local cartoonists instead.

The shape of the carafe was specially created for SIG by a local design firm, Stojan & Voumard. Each carafe costs 20 Swiss francs (just over US $ 17).

Eau De Genève Carafes: Recyclable, Practical, Successful

The glass from which Eau de Genève carafes are made is, of course, recyclable as is the cardboard box the carafe is sold in.

 

The dimensions of the vessel have been thought through so the 1.1 liter bottle (just over 37 US fluid ounces) fits on the rack of a refrigerator door.

In view of the success of the carafe, which can be purchased at outlets in Geneva listed on SIG’s website, in April 2020 the water utility company brought out another 10,000 of them.

By the end of April 2020, SIG had sold nearly 12,000 carafes for a total of 58,500 Swiss francs (about US $ 50,550) profit – that included the entire first edition of 10,000 carafes launched in March 2019, and some from the 2020 series.

All of the 5 francs profit on each carafe sold is donated to a Swiss not-for-profit, H2O Energies. With it, the organization is building a water filtration and purification unit in rural Kenya.

Some Other Cities’ Tap Water Carafes

SIG is not the only water utility to feature the carafe idea – there is for example Eau de Paris and London On Tap.

‘’Paris was the first to do this, in 2006’’ says the initiator and manager of the Geneva project, SIG external communication manager Thierry Truchet. ‘’It too has specially-created designs, but they don’t contribute proceeds to a humanitarian cause. London came after us, and has both a special design and a contribution.’’ Part proceeds of the London carafes go to the international NGO WaterAid.

‘’I stay in touch with the people working these projects in both Paris and London; we’re not in competition. It’s valuable to share experiences, ’’ adds Truchet.

Geneva’s Drinking Water

The subject of health benefits (or not) derived from drinking tap water offers just as lively a topic for debate in Geneva as it does anywhere else in Switzerland and elsewhere, but this article is not the place to address the issue. Those with questions in Geneva can study SIG’s abundant technical information about its water, and should doubts persist are free to buy small home water purification units which are in any case easily affordable and available on the Swiss market.

According to SIG, just what makes Geneva’s tap water worth buying a carafe to serve it in?

Truchet highlights the following points: ‘’For one thing, it’s really well balanced as far as mineral salts go, and has a low level of nitrate. For another: we say ‘it tastes good’ and what that means is, it doesn’t have a taste – that’s what makes it good.’’

A third point, Truchet says, is that drinking tap water is more environmentally friendly. ‘’It’s 100 to 1000 times eco-friendlier than bottled waters depending on whether or not they are packaged in plastic and how far away [abroad] they’re being shipped from, not to mention the environmental impact of trucking them to national sales outlets.’’

‘’And finally, of course,’’ Truchet adds, ‘’the cost is just a fraction of what you pay for bottled water.’’…

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Green Living

Make Your Celebrations Green Year-Round: Mom-Daughter Book Shows How to Have Greener Holidays

 

After hauling in one sugar-laden goodie after another, the girls came to a house where the featured treat was a small jar of bubble-blowing soap … and the reaction was pure joy.

“Suddenly it occurred to me that Halloween didn’t have to be about candy,” Colwell-Lipson recalls. “I began to wonder, couldn’t Halloween be healthier and still fun? And while we’re at it, couldn’t Halloween be more earth-friendly too?”

The answer to both questions was, “Sure, why not?”

That revelation led first to a Green Halloween movement, and has now blossomed into an all-out mission to make year-round holiday celebrations more eco-friendly. So Colwell-Lipson and her Mom, Lynn Colwell, have come out with a new book, Celebrate Green!: Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations & Traditions for the Whole Family (The Green Year).

“Our goal in writing this book was to open minds to potentials and possibilities,” writes Lynn Colwell. “We are not the green police. We want everyone to enjoy every single celebration, but not to walk through them mindlessly as if the choices we make, as easy as they are, are unimportant.”

All it takes is a quick look through Celebrate Green! to realize that the concept of environmentally aware holidays isn’t difficult, dull or dreary. Colwell and Colwell-Lipson present their ideas in a light and entertaining way, making the book fun to read and easy to digest. But there’s ample substance as well, with plenty of statistics and facts to back things up. And, best of all, lots and lots of tips and instructions for greening the holidays.

Among the book’s many highlights are:

  • Lots of suggestions for healthful or non-candy Halloween treats, eco-themed costume ideas and natural face paints
  • Tips for a healthy and sustainable Rosh Hashana
  • Suggestions for a green Diwali
  • An extensive look at how to prepare an ethical and small-footprint Thanksgiving meal
  • Eco-friendly Christmas decorating tips
  • A comprehensive and clever guide to natural egg-decorating at Easter time
  • Creative and green gift ideas for Father’s Day
  • Tips for Earth-friendly summer grilling
  • And lots of unique and appealing recipes for dishes like Beet Hummus, Cranberry Ginger Cider, Eco-Egg Salad and Vegetable Enchiladas Guatemalan Style

In fact, from birthdays and baby showers to weddings and graduations, Colwell-Lipson and Colwell cover practically every celebration imaginable, presenting a wealth of ways in which everyone can lighten their footprint on the Earth while still having plenty of fun with family and friends. That makes Celebrate Green! a book that’s not only a pleasure to read, but a valuable guide that is sure to referred to time and again throughout each year.

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