Category Archives: landscaping

end semester review: Sustainable Me

This post rounds out the completion of a semester’s project.  To bo honest, participating in a blog has gone completely against my nature: I am a very private person, so much so that I do not even commonly use facebook. I am uncomfortable with the notion that these electronic logs will exist long after we pass away, and that the words and thoughts expressed in them can take on a life of their own.

That being said, particpating in SustainableMe has served a purpose: there is much I have learned from my fellow bloggers about little and big changes one can make in life in an effort to make the world more sustainable.

For me, the has coincided with what we have been learning in tandem with our Merchandising class- my userstanding of the concept of sustianablity has gone from basic to analytical. Initially, the word “sustainability” applied only to the environment, but as we proceeded with our lessons, I cam to understand the economic and social aspects as well.

English: Sustainability chart

English: Sustainability chart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That said, I did not accomplish all I had planned to achieve.  I still have a number of “outstanding” agenda points to take care of, such as:

Dansk: Glødepærer med med forskellige fatninge...

Dansk: Glødepærer med med forskellige fatninger: E10, E14 og E27. De to sidstnævnte er købt i Danmark. E10 er en 40 watts glødepære fra Kina og den er svær at finde i Danmark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1.) Properly dispose of my “hazardous waste” recyclables- I have been hording batteries and light bulbs to take to the Richardson Hazardous Waste Recycling Center, the pile keeps growing, but I simply have not been able to make it out of my routine to take the stuff there. But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel- Finals are almost over! Ya Hoo!

 

 

 

Česky: Pitná voda - kohoutek Español: Agua potable

Česky: Pitná voda – kohoutek Español: Agua potable (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2.) Water Conservation– my guest bathroom faucet has a slight drip, which falls back into the sink. It has been driving me nuts, even more so as we have discusses all the water issues throught this learning, and has become a real point of contention between my spouse and myself (he does not see it as a problem, as the water drips back into the sink basin, and our water bills are low). Again- I will steahily have to attack this issue when the time allows- get a few repairmen in, to evaluate the costs of repair, and get some estimates.  As we learned with many “corporations”, sometimes the only way to sell sustainabity improvements is based on a “cost/benefit” analysis, which is what I am going to have to perform for my very frugal husband!

 

 

I feel particularly proud that this project has moved me into a course fo action: for example, joining my child’s elementary school Green Acres Garden board in an effort to launch their school garden and sustainable food program. This will evolve over time, and as the kids are very young, should have lasting impacts until they reach middle school.  It will also give me the chance to learn how to “operationalize” sustainability in the “public works” realm- dealing with multiple stakeholders: school boards, governance bodies, and small companies from which we will be soliciting support, and families.

Learning by Doing

Learning by Doing (Photo credit: BrianCSmith)

God bless you all and have a wonderful “sustainable” holiday season!

Greening my kids school: launching ACM Acre Learning Garden

Last Friday, my girls and I proudly joined the PTA’s newly formed Green Acre board at our elementary school.

As an extension of RISD (Richardson Independent School District)’s Environmental program, http://www.risd.org/group/aboutrisd/RISDGoesGreen.html, our local PTA at Arapaho Classical Magnet ( http://www.acmpta.org/) partnered with the Green School Initiative (http://greenschoolsinitiative.com/) in an effort to elaborate on their pillar of “Greening the School Yard” (see additional information at : http://www.greenschools.net/article.php?id=131

Help has also come from partnering with the EPA through their EPA Environmental Education (EE) Grant Program: (http://www.epa.gov/education/grants_faq.html)

Through the assistance of the Home Depot Foundation, as part of their communityYouth Garden Grant  (http://www.kidsgardening.org/), the school not only received money and resources (topsoil, mulch, fruit trees), the Home Depot team actually came out and helped us build the garden beds! Here are a few pictures of our fabulous time spent (kids, parents, teachers, and Home Depot volunteers) last Friday laying the groundwork for the garden! Everyone had a blast!

The initial challenges were to getting everything in order to meet the EPA grant requirements:

  • The garden had to be completely organic (no pesticides)
  • The garden has to be completely self sustaining (makes use of rainwater and roof runoff). This required us to invest in a rainwater conservation system, generously donated by Comerica bank.
  • We had to have a certain fund established ($5000 for startup, to $25000 to sustain) in order to break ground, which is separate from any of the other school funds or programs already in place.

Active fundraising and solicitation helped us to bridge the Home Depot Foundation (who donated fruit trees, wood, soil, and other materials as well as manually labor to build the project!), as well as establish some future relationships which will expand the garden’s life throughout the school year,

For example, Central Market (http://www.centralmarket.com/about.aspx) has signed up to donate herbs for an herb garden, and later come in once the crop is ready to do a cooking presentation for the children incorporating the herbs and stressing the need for healthy eating.

 

Future Goals

Future goals also include establishing a composting garden:

Earth 911 takes about composting in their article: Why compost in the first place? http://earth911.com/news/2012/05/02/how-to-choose-the-right-composting-system-for-you/

“If recycling hasn’t kept your household trash cans as empty as you expected, food waste is likely to blame. The EPA estimates that each American throws away an average of 1.3 pounds of food scraps daily. Composting allows you to recapture these resources and reuse them as fertilizer in your own garden or another garden in your community – keeping loads of useful materials out of the landfill.”

The school is also looking into a worm bin for composting the food products left over from kids’ school lunches:

“Let worms eat your organic waste! They will happily turn it into some of the best fertilizer on earth – worm compost, otherwise known as “worm castings” or “vermicompost.”

Only a few things are needed to make good worm compost: a bin, bedding, worms and worm food.”

More information on worm bins can be found at Eart911: http://earth911.com/news/2007/04/02/composting-with-worms/

Related articles