Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Change The World Wednesday - No Circling

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:

Last week we took action to help bees. Art Ist and I have recently become the proud owners of land ... over two acres of beautiful, Blue Ridge Mountain property (more on that in the future). So this week, we planted wild flowers and researched native fruit trees. I have already put "dibs" on a perfect site for a vegetable garden. We also cleaned up a recovered bee house ... one of the treasures left behind by the previous owners. Our property includes a pond and two mountain streams, but just to be sure that the bees have a comfortable place to drink, we added a bird bath ... might as well help out all our flying friends. In the back areas, we found logs which, judging by their condition, have been laying there for many years. Since bees love using old wood for nests, we'll leave the logs undisturbed. It was fun to view our actions, this week, in terms of protecting bees. Hopefully, this summer, we'll have many pollinators taking up residence.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

Alicia stopped by and left a comment regarding our Kidney Health challenge. She said, "This is an easy challenge for us since we started pretty much eating Vegan about two years ago now. It really is so easy to find better ways of getting protein other than eating meat and cheese! Your body will definitely thank you!" For this week's challenge she shared this: "Great post! We already have eliminated toxins from our home and always have a veggie and herb garden. We have a small pile of old tree limbs and grass clippings we keep on a small area of our property. We don't have a water source for the bees but I am looking into finding something that we can use year round for them. Our neighbor around the road has quite a few bees which I think is awesome."

Deborah accepted the bee challenge and shared this, "I have been concerned and baffled by the disappearance of bee hives so I am delighted that you are calling attention to this issue. I look forward to researching this problem, learning more about the causes and ways to help save the bees as part of this week's CTWW Challenge."

Remember our challenge to go vegan for a day? Well, Argentum Vulgaris (a "true blue" carnivore) gave us little hope that he'd meet the task. And no, he didn't go vegan for a day ... he took it on for TWO DAYS! WhooHoo! Not only that, he found (and shared) a recipe for making vegan cheese. Wowee! He made quite a few environmental changes last week, including trying a new air freshener. Read Change the World Wednesday – 23rd Apr to find out about his improvements and how he helps bees. Totally awesome, AV!

Melanie dropped by. Here are her comments: "We are lucky to have a home nearby that keeps bees. We plant lots of veggies, plus have native plants in our yard, and have areas where bees can make nests. Additionally, we do not use pesticides anywhere in our garden, lawn or home. I'm pleased to see an increase of bees in our area in the last few years. I think I will have my husband help make a bee house soon. since he works with locally sourced, untreated, naturally aged wood in his wand and crochet hook making, we have all the supplies on hand!" Nice, Melanie ... I hope you'll share pictures of the new bee houses!

Lois wrote Change the World Wednesday; Bees. Towards the end of the post (which contains a lot of great information), she talks about companies who disregard the plight of bees in favor of their own profits. She also offers a possible way in which we can turn that around.

EcoGrrl joined us this week. Here are her thoughts on bees: "Great challenge this month! It's pouring down rain this week but I can address most of these as having been done already this spring:
* Plant at least one native, flowering plant in your yard - here in Portland I ransacked the annual Native Plant Sale in February where I planted ferns, wild ginger, and salmonberry (the latter which should blossom).
* Plant a vegetable garden - already done in March/April, with tomato starts in progress for planting next month :)
* Let pests live (natural pest controllers, like Lady Bugs, need them for food) - I would have to disagree with this as a generalization. Ladybugs aren't in great enough quantity (even if I buy them by the bag) to eat all the aphids, so I use neem oil to take out the aphids organically that love to eat my roses :)
* Keep your lawn and garden pesticide-free - always :)
* Eliminate chemicals in your home - always :)
* Provide a year-round, clean source of water for bees (rainwater collection, a small garden water feature, bird bath, etc.) - I'm not too worried about this with the Oregon rain :)
* Leave some dead trees or plants in your yard ... bees will nest in them. Or, place a bee house in your garden. - I actually put dead matter in my compost bin, as rats are attracted to piles as well here in the city. Fortunately, the bumblebees have a nest somewhere near our garage as they always like to rumble out in the summer when I'm go in :)
* Buy organic food - always!
* Take up beekeeping - not in the plans for us but support local beekeepers who sell via "

Alaiyo left a comment via Triberr: "Bees are so important, and we depend on them. Thanks for writing about these necessary insects."

CelloMom joined us this week. She shared this, " Important challenge with many side benefits! What's good for the bees is also good for us: for instance, I am personally not RoundUp Ready - are you? Keeping pesticides out of our lives is the smart thing to do. A lot of my neighbours are putting out bamboo cuttings in their yard spring cleaning. If I collect some, cut it to length, and tie the lengths in a bundle, that's a 15-minute bee house. Maybe those gigantic bumble bees will like that better than burrowing into my car port. Hmmm.... "

This edition of Sunflowers & Edibles gave CTWW a nice mention. Be sure to scroll down the paper because there are a couple of other bee-related posts mentioned including one entitled "What If The Bees Stop Buzzing By June". Good stuff!

Clare accepted the challenge and offered this, "So glad you're highlighting the plight of bees! Almost everything in my garden is native / indigenous, I grow veggies, I use only neem as a pesticide and use almost no chemicals indoors. I do have some dead banana trees (not a tree strictly speaking but anyway).
I have definitely noticed an increase in the number of bees in my garden since I moved in here. What I'm not doing is buying organic food all the time as it's available only in very limited quantities where I live, but of course my own home-growns are organic. I'm not planning on keeping bees, but I do buy from local beekeepers. As always, your blog makes me try ever harder, so my new task will be to provide rainwater for bees (I collect it anyway).
I've got a couple of articles on bees: Why Bees Are So Important To You - and also Disappearing Bees - Solutions - Thanks for another great challenge!"

Katie wrote How I Save the Bees [#CTWW] where she offers some great ideas for protecting bees. I especially like the "bucket a day" idea! Under "Native, Flowering Plants", she asks a question about how to determine whether or not a plant is hybrid. Does anyone have an answer for her?

The Shopping Charity mentioned CTWW and included a link to one of your posts. Was it yours?

Finally, I'd like to point you to a fascinating article entitled Buzzing for Solutions: 13 Organizations and Initiatives Helping to Save Bees.

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @GiveTreeGifts
- I'm happy to report that the only thing on your list I'm not already practicing is beekeeping :)
- Insecticide free plants hit nursery shelves to protect bees
- How to protect bees in my yard and garden
- Save the bees: 'Raging Granny' urges Grand Rapids to ban pesticide
- Why bees need our help and we need the help of bees
- 11 plants to make your garden bee-friendly
- Nationwide gardening challenge to plant bee-friendly flowers
- Bee-friendly garden can help struggling species

From @green_vibes
- Our food depends on bees! Sign this petition on the @greenpeaceusa Facebook page!

From @ByLittleNea
- Growing a lot of my own food during the summer. I need bees for that.

From @VioletsBuds
- I think our yard needs a bee house. Oh @GipsonWands , I have a project for you!

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@a_kiasi @allnaturalkatie @aussiemoose
@barbhoyer @barrydarrdixon @biggreenpen
@bylittlenea @cleannergyphoto @collegegogreen
@counselorholley @debsmikdav1 @dehelen
@eco_novice @ecoexpert1 @ecothrifty
@erbaviva @factorydpromos @familybetty
@frederickbrooke @freshcleanersaz @geekgirlusa
@givetreegifts @green_vibes @groovygreenlivi
@guayaba @herbgir1972 @hismerecry
@jamiastarheart @johannamhaack @kaitlingarder
@kanelstrand @kaskadia @kiser_krafts
@krmbalclothing @laalicia @lady_bren
@ladyjcmuses @madeinusablog @magnushrm
@marikokoloco @marjoriemcatee @mdg276
@michaelinla3 @mitlamoda @momfindsout
@mommiesnetwork @nolafusion @ourboudoir
@pamela_o_plays @pberk @pepesplants
@proamusa @rckweddings @realityarts
@renatogianuca @rulesofgreen @sbs_brands
@sensuouspromos @sfcouncil @shannongrissom
@soulfullab @sowandso @spafloating
@superbsolutions @susanheaney @tammycurry
@thesoftlanding @theworld4realz @treesgroup
@twicecreations @veggiebeet @violetsbuds
@whopaysthepiper @witteeme @zenfarmz

My Final Thoughts:

While visiting a park in North Carolina, I noticed that the care-takers had a hummingbird feeder hanging outside of their trailer. As I got closer, I saw that, on the next tree, there was a wasp trap. Evidently the wasps didn't understand that a hummingbird feeder was only for the cute, little birds. So, the care-takers took action to keep them away from the feeder. The wasp trap was full of dead wasps and bees. I felt so sad. Society tends to protect cute and pretty creatures. The less-than-sweet critters, or those that can bite or sting, are typically considered pests ... and there are all kinds of products on the market designed to kill them. It's time that we stop seeing bees and other pollinators as pests and, rather than destroy them, offer them protection. It's not about the inconvenient buzzing around a picnic table or even a sting when we get too close to a hive ... it's about our food supply and life on earth.

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Change The World Wednesday - Park and Walk
"Circling" wastes a lot of gas
Have you ever found yourself circling the parking lot, looking for the closest parking space?

Unfortunately, that practice wastes a lot of fuel.

Here's your challenge ...

This week, park in the first available parking space and then walk the rest of the way. The goal is to use very little fuel once we enter the parking area. It's a small thing with a big impact. And ... it's great exercise!

OR ...

If you don't drive, or want more of a challenge, please focus on other ways to reduce petroleum use. Here are some suggestions:
  • Buy local products (they don't travel as far to get to your market).
  • Go "Scent Free" or use essential oils (95% of the chemicals in most perfumes and scents are derived from petrochemicals).
  • STOP using plastic bags!
  • Air dry your clothing (saves energy which means reduced oil consumption).
  • Choose natural, Eco-friendly cosmetics (most lipstick and glosses are made with petroleum products).
  • Switch to soy-based printing inks (most inks on the shelf contain petroleum products).
  • Say "NO" to nylon and polyester (both petroleum based).
  • Avoid aspirin which contains ... yep ... petroleum.
  • Avoid hair color and opt for a natural dye like henna ... or just go natural!
  • Grow and/or buy organic foods (fertilisers and pesticides contain petroleum).

Oil seems to touch so many areas of our life. Are you ready to reduce your consumption? I know that you are!

Until next time ...


Sneak Peek: Do you love natural, Eco-friendly body care products? Join me next week and you might win some.