Archive for the ‘green living’ Category

Aloe Vera Plant, originally uploaded by RasMarley.

For our first Valentine’s Day together I asked my husband for an Aloe Vera plant. At the time I had just finished reading a book about plants that purify the air and since we were living in Colorado succulents were plentiful. I knew he would be able to find me a gorgeous aloe plant locally without to much searching.

While most people think of giving cut flowers on Valentine’s Day potted plants can be just as beautiful and last much longer! You can find potted plants at most florists but you will have greater luck at a garden store. While there I suggest checking out plants that are as useful as they are beautiful.

No matter where you are, your air is polluted to some degree and in many cases the air quality inside buildings is worse than the air quality outside! So how about gifting your true love with something green to add color, texture and cleaner air to their home.

According to a NASA study these are the top 10 air purifying plants based on their ability to remove chemical vapors, resist insects, and how easy they are to maintain in your home.

1) The Areca Palm
2) The Lady Palm
3) The Bamboo Palm
4) The Rubber Plant
5) The Dracaena
6) English Ivy
7) The Dwarf Date Palm
8) The Ficus Alii
9) The Boston Fern
10) The Peace Lilly

Keep mind these do generally well in homes but each plant has specific care requirements that will impact it’s ability to thrive. For example in our Philly house we didn’t get any direct sunlight and our Aloe Vera plant slowly died no matter where I put it. Although we have better access to sunlight in our new house most places I have to put plants aren’t flooded with light so I’m better off with something like the Peace Lilly that does well in modest sunlight. And of course pets are always a concern. My cats think plants are essentially cat toys. I can’t have plants that are potentially toxic to them in the house because I know they will eat the leaves.

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Clayton Homes I-House, originally uploaded by GreenBuildingTalk.

One day my husband and I would like to buy some land a build our little “green dream” home. It’s going to take a couple years and the selling of our house in NC to accomplish but in the meantime I can plot and plan. I thought I would share what I’ve found in case anyone else is curious about the options out there.

Driving down the highway coming back from NC I caught a glimpse of a Clayton I-Home. I couldn’t see much detail as my husband was flooring it in a desperate attempt to get home before gridlock hit. Visually I love the look of the I-House. It’s got clean lines and a modern feel to it. And while it doesn’t have a tower (my dream home would have a tower that I could use as a quilting studio) it does have a rooftop deck. The one bedroom design comes in at just under 1000 sq feet but it feels a little too small. The clothes washer and dryer are beside the fridge and there is no room for a dining room table. So if we went for it we would go for the two bedroom unit that has a utility/laundry room. The flex unit (which also has it’s own bathroom) would be used as a quilting studio 🙂 and my husband would have a detached garage/woodworking shop.

Of course we wonder how green the I-home is. The roof is designed for rain catchment and solar panels but I’m not sure how green the building materials are, besides the bamboo flooring they advertise. Since it’s a prefabricated home they can maximize whatever materials they use and supposedly have minimized waste to a couple trash cans! The price is right for us, $100,000 complete with fixtures, appliances etc but ultimately I think I would want more control over the final design details like flooring, cabinets, appliances, fixtures etc. Hmmm perhaps this isn’t our green dream home but it certainly is cool!

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This blog is not my first foray into the blogging world, a couple years ago my husband and I started “Bad Human! Don’t Take Chemicals from Strangers” about our attempts to live a low impact, green life. Over time we ran out of steam to write about the topic and I found the focus of the blog to narrow for my tastes. I thought I would maintain both blogs but find that too much for my already busy schedule. I stopped updating Bad Human, although we do still contribute to the Simple, Green , Frugal Co-Op Blog. If you are looking for advice, inspiration, or simply like minded folks it’s a great site to visit and is updated daily.

We do still strive to live a green, low impact life but like most people we occasionally fall off the wagon. Life gets busy, takeout seems easier, the plastic grocery bag is handy, recycling gets to be pain etc etc. I’ve found that watching a documentary like “Food Inc” or rereading one of the Michael Pollan books gets me back on track. I’ve had “Food Inc” in my Netflix DVD queue for awhile but finally decided to watch it online yesterday while sewing.

“Food Inc” is an informative activist documentary about the big business of forcing Americans and American livestock to eat corn in a multitude of forms that nature never intended to support big business. The creators chart how and why big business has taken over modern food production and how they maintain absolute domination over small farms and farmers using billions of government-subsidized dollars. Taking us through our grocery store aisles and then back to the massive feedlots much of our meat is raised at, the documentary provides a harrowing view into a world we would probably prefer not to think about. And yet this is a world we support and endorse everyday when we go shopping at our local grocery store. The stance the movie takes is similar to many other books, articles, and documentaries on the subject but the focus in this case is on the human cost. Individuals who are diabetic and dying yet can only afford to eat the cheap calories clogging the grocery store aisles and the terrified farmers forced to bow down to corporate seed companies or be sued for refusing to buy into the system.

The movie is at times depressing and uplifting but it is always informative. I’m not saying we all need to become farmers and grow our own food or that the grocery store is an evil place. But I am saying that we need to be conscious of the decisions we make and the impact they have on ourselves, our land, and our children.

Are you trying to “go green”? What changes have you made so far?

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