Homeowners will still have to submit their plans to their association, but they will be allowed to move toward more drought-tolerant landscaping under a new Texas law awaiting Gov. Rick Perry’s signature.
Like everyone else, I’ve been examining my use of oil and petrochemicals in the wake of the BP hemorrhage in the gulf.
We all know that getting a higher mileage car, a hybrid or even an electric vehicle, would slash our personal oil dependency.
But if you’re like me, not ready to trade in the functioning vehicle in the driveway, you’ll need to look elsewhere to squeeze some oil out of your consumption. Fortunately, and unfortunately, American consumer goods are infused with petrochemicals and oil byproducts. Plastics, pesticides and a vast array of products are made with oil. Not to mention that many of the foods we buy have high oil costs when they’re transported from thousands of miles away. So pick your starting point, reduce and recycle plastics; buy local food; go organic.
After reading today’s news about yet another study linking pesticides to yet another health issue, in this case ADHD, I thought maybe this time, we’ll pay attention to this dark undercurrent in modern life. Perhaps now, with 3-7 percent of kids affected by ADHD, and the disorder possibly triggered by pesticide exposure, we’ll finally see that it really is something in the water — and the food — that’s causing this crisis.
The smell of autumn permeates the air. The cool, crisp weather signals fall’s annual crimson-colored foliage. For many an avid lawn keeper, the harvest season often means returning to the never-ending chore of raking and bagging leaves, then setting them at curbside for the weekly garbage haul-off. But stop right there.
Leaves are packed full of nutrients! Under normal growing conditions — with varied values, based on the source and condition of each tree — leaves are jam-packed with nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, chloride, boron, iron, sodium, copper, and zinc. To simply rake and bag them up, only to be hauled off to the garbage landfill is a total waste of nature’s vast supply of rich nutrients, perfect for replenishing the soil.
So how do you go green in the fall? Start the process by not throwing away your leaves. There are alternatives. Mowing leaves, then mulching, and composting are the most effective way to reuse and recycle leaf mixtures. In addition, leaves can be used for overall soil improvement, directly working them into garden and flowerbed soils by tilling them in.
While some Americans insist on pampering thirsty lawns and water-greedy flora – and engage in other water-siphoning practices – innovative means of conservation are cropping up all over the United States, out of necessity or sheer eco-sense. Some can be easily applied by individuals; others require input, or even a policy change, from water-service providers.
“In Marin County (CA), where I live, they take a fairly clever approach that’s driving behavior change. They tell you on your water bill how your water usage compares to last year’s,” says Jason Morrison, a water expert at the eco-driven Pacific Institute in Oakland, CA. “It’s information that’s very easy to read. You can also compare your usage to the county average and to the town average. That kind of information motivates people. Those kinds of policies allow people to become actively involved in utilities issues.”
Something else that’s helped California, as it fights to stay afloat during a drought, is the tightening of specs on new construction, for instance, requiring low-flow plumbing for all new homes. (Old-fashioned toilets use 6 gallons per flush, while the smart and modern ones only take 1.6 gallons or less.)
Water utitilies around the country are finding similar opportunities in conservation.