Health & Activity

On the Trail with the Lost Bus

Winsor Trail Work Crew

This Saturday I met up with the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society, the Trails Alliance of Santa Fe and the Lost Bus Boys for a maintenance work day on the Winsor Trail. The Winsor Trail is a well-loved and heavily-used trail in the National Forest just above Santa Fe, NM.

Oh Poop!

Mule Poop

It takes a little planning and a few barnyard animals, but finding free fertilizer can be easy and cheap. A friend of mine who lives outside of town has mules ... and their byproducts. Mules are great animals, if you have the room for them, and they produce a considerable amount of fertilizer. Local stables can be a good source of livestock manure if you can haul it away and compost the stuff.

Baby Steps to Zero Carbon

Baby Steps

There is a big gap between my carbon footprint today and the carbon neutral future I want. Not only is that gap large, our family CO2 emissions just increased with our new child! How can I call myself a climate hawk when my carbon footprint just grew? I'm a pragmatist and temporary setbacks are often a part of making forward progress.

The Downside of Takeout

Trash Can, full of disposable packaging

Ours is usually a 'half-full trash bin' sort of family. Some of our neighbors roll out an overflowing trash bin each week while our bin usually holds one small bag. Our full recycling bins and compost account for some reduction in our trash output. I try to avoid excess packaging and waste, but we definitely aren't a zero-waste family. Our trash bag filled quickly this week when we ordered takeout food that was packaged in unrecyclable styrofoam clamshells.

Darn!

Darning wool socks

The more I learn about conservation and frugality, the more I re-discover what my grandparents knew. In this case it's darning. I vastly prefer the warmth and comfort of wool socks, glove liners and sweaters to cotton and most synthetics. Those same wool garments (especially socks) consistently wear out in the same places. Instead of throwing out mostly-good wool socks I've started darning (mending) them and extending their useful life.

Eco Resolutions and Results

Times Square New Year's Eve Ball

Like many folks, I made a New Year's Resolution last January. "That's my plan for 2010, make one dozen changes to burn less fossil fuel and eat more locally." According to Psychology Today, "setting specific goals, sharing our resolutions with others, and focusing on the benefits of achieving the resolution" are simple strategies towards sticking to resolutions. I hoped my goal was ambitious yet achievable and I shared it with EcoDaddyo readers. Now let's see how well I kept my resolutions.

2010 Resolution Results

Everything Old is New Again

New Canyon Road Hydropower Turbine installation

Asking one simple question can lead, eventually, to big changes. In 2007 Dale Lyons, a Water Resources Coordinator for the City of Santa Fe Water Department, looked at the decommissioned Canyon Road Hydropower Plant and asked if a hydro-power plant was still feasible in Santa Fe. Dale made a few basic calculations that were promising enough to warrant a full engineering study. That study started a process which has culminated in a brand new hydro-power plant inspired by the original power plant in the Santa Fe Canyon Road Hydro Park.

Who Can Put a Price on a Forest?

Tree captures carbon and kite

Actually, the Forest Service did just that (and not in the logging sense either). The USFS recently completed a nationwide study of urban trees and the economic and environmental benefits they provide. The Forest Service study calculated urban tree canopy cover, annual carbon sequestration, air pollution removal and their value for each state and many cities in the United States.

Winds of Change in the Four Corners?

North Wind blowing

The Four Corners region where Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico meet can be pretty windy. On a particularly breezy day between the Grand Canyon and Four Corners Monument I saw roadside vendors having a 'Wind Sale'. Unfortunately, no one was buying. The question of the day: 'Is the wind blowing away from dirty coal and toward renewable energy?' Or are we caught in a dust storm with no idea of which way is up?

Putting Water in its Place

Mulched Basin for Rain and Grey Water Drain

Water in the Southwest may be worth more than gold. Even growing the hardiest of native plants requires considering how they will be watered. In our backyard I've used rain barrels for two years to water the vegetable garden. But until now my front yard was dependent on direct rainfall and the garden hose. I've finally added a branched drain system that directs rainfall from the gutters to mulch-filled basins that water our trees and perennials. Hopefully, I can water the front landscape without moving a hose again!

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