Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lawns, the ultimate waste...

Driving down the street you will see lot after lot sporting a gorgeous green lawn - in the middle of summer.  Maybe you'll even get to see the majestic sprinkler system rise from the ground and start over watering a lawn at mid-day in 100 degree heat.  This is not unusual in the United States and plenty of other countries, but how has this become the norm?  The land that is now used as residential suburbs used to be forests and farms and played a practical role in the environment.  However, these green patches of lawn are just a facade to belonging to nature.  They provide nothing truly beneficial to the homeowner besides curb appeal.  Sometimes not even that, if you look at Arizona - their creative rock and cactus designs are much more appealing than a strip of fake green grass.

I am not just here to complain about the problems that we face, but instead to provide creative solutions.  How about instead of having a front and a back lawn, you limit yourself to just one?  If its necessary in your neighborhood to have a useless green patch in the front; why not design something amazing in the back?  From flowers to vegetables to trees, anything would be a welcome addition.

 Flowers are beneficial because it gives birds and bees and other insects food to eat.  If you live in an area with butterflies or honeybees this could even be helping grow their population and thus saving the world from losing their main pollinators.  

Vegetables are much more practical than flowers as you can do much more than just look at them.  You can create garden fresh meals for many seasons on end if you take the time to cultivate a small garden.  The beauty is that you can plant whatever you'd like, and if you really want to stay small - go for a herb garden that you can keep in a small planter outside before you decide to rip out your lawn entirely.

Lastly, trees are a final solution as it gives a natural habitat to other animals and it can shade your house from the sun instead of just letting the air conditioner do all the work.  Depending on your area you could have bird-nests, places for deer and foxes to hide, rabbit holes, and masses of squirrels and raccoons all living in a habitat your trees provide.  If you're worried about critters getting into your trash either secure it, or focus on one or two of the previous ideas I have suggested.

There are of course other ways to benefit the environment rather than just creating a garden, but its a small step that will actually add value to your back yard.  Practicality doesn't mean it can't be beautiful, and I'm convinced it would be a welcome addition over boring grass.

What do you think about the trend of putting in lawns at every house down the block?

Friday, June 3, 2016

Meat or Veggies - That is the Question!

This article was kindly written by a guest blogger Michelle Lindqvist.  I'd like to say thank you for such an eye opening article - especially for someone like me who eats both meat and veggies.


First of all, I am not going to tell you to go vegetarian or vegan right now. It’s actually quite a big commitment and change in the beginning. With this little blogpost I’ve had the honor to write I would like to create awareness. One does not need to eat meat, fish, poultry etc. every single day.
I have been trying and wanting to write this post for so long, because honestly, this is a subject that I have grown to be extremely passionate about. And I’m guessing all of you know what happens when you become really passionate about something? You wanna shout it from the roof tops, and you wanna get all your opinions, thoughts and information out there in one go. The problem is, this post will have no references, nor will it have anything I can back up. This is just me, and my thoughts on why you should try to eat and use less animal products.

In March 2014 I became a vegetarian, and honestly; I have never looked back. I had previously been told by my doctor that I had to cut out red meat as I had just had kidney failure on both my kidneys and it would help me recover quicker. So instead of cutting out just the red meat I decided to become a vegetarian. For me, having lived in the US, by myself, for almost 3 months at this point and eating mostly vegetarian, the transition wasn’t as hard as I previously imagined. These days I don’t like to label myself, as labeling means restricting yourself. I try to stick to a mostly vegan diet, but I do enjoy cheese and things that contain eggs. Many people are scared that by cutting out animal products they will not get all the nutrients you need, but this is wrong. I get enough protein, and calcium and anything else you can think of!

There is also the ethical side of things; many people will cut out animal products from an ethical stand point. The way animals are produced and grown only to be killed off to be eaten or worn is wrong. There is nothing you can say about that. The argument that we are born meat eaters I believe to be incorrect. We are shaped to believe we should eat meat and drink cow milk. Back in the day we had to go out and hunt our on food, because there was no Safeway or Walmart. Now we should be smarter! There are many people out there who are lactose intolerant, and that is because we are not supposed to drink the milk of cows.  Red meat is hard to digest for our bodies, which is why I “joined the dark side” (aka. The world of vegetarians and vegans). Then of course there is a whole other aspect I haven’t even written about yet. Clothes. Fur. Leather. We do not need to wear the skin of animals! That fur coat, will not necessarily keep you warm, the fur should be on the inside! Today the quality of fake leather and fur can actually be quite good. Therefore, if you really want to wear something that looks like a poor animal had to die for it, go ahead: but please buy faux products (fakes).

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, but come on, we all know that can feel like an eternity! Therefore, I would like to challenge you:

One week. 7 days. Try it.

For one week I want you to try and eat as vegetarian as possible. Not vegan, but vegetarian. That means no meat, no fish, no pork, no poultry and no seafood. Don’t worry though; there are still plenty of things out there you can eat!

If this is too much, please try to have at least one meat free day. That, most of you should be able to do. But the longer you go without meat, the better you will (usually!) feel. My energy levels went through the roof when I first became a vegetarian.

We all have different reasons for cutting out animal products, but in the end your reasons for doing so don't matter to me - it's all up to you. We are all helping to not only pro long our own lives, and of course the animals’ life but we are also helping the planet.