Don’t watch this if you are easily grossed out- this is a video of a mosquito laying eggs and then the larvae hatching. OMG! Know what mosquito larvae look like so you can do something about it if you see this in or near your home.

The Oldest Known Fossil Mosquito was found entombed in amber, approximate age of 100-90 million years. Pesky mosquitos affect humans more than any other insect. There are 2500 species of mosquitos in the world. 150 species occur in the US. Each species has a particular way of laying their eggs but all require water – be it a stagnant pond, a vase of standing water, snow melted in a bird feeder, water pooling on a puddle. Males don’t bite and feed on flower nectar. Most of the females (who are the egg layers) need to feed on blood to be able to create and lay their eggs. They can lay up to 200 or 300 eggs at a time and they hatch within 48 hours- sometimes faster depending on the temperature. the larvae need to swim around for a few days to mature. I’m not going to write any more about this because it makes me itchy to think about. BUT, knowing how to prevent unwanted swarms of skeeters is important. eHow has some good suggestions, also here is an article about using household products to kill larvae, and one more from eHow using garlic juice and apple cider vinegar in places where there is standing water. Great, I have loads of leftover garlic from last year’s harvest.

Advertisements

Your Ecological Footprint

August 4, 2011

 

 

Do you know how large your ecological footprint is? Are you interested in lowering your footprint?

Look no further. The Center For Sustainable Ecology has put together a good quiz with wonderful information about all aspects of our lifestyles and possible changes we can make.

I took the quiz and found out that if everyone lived as my family does (which I thought was very frugally and consciously) we would still require more than one earth to sustain the lifestyle. It isn’t fair to the rest of the world to take such a large share of things.

The Ecological Footprint Quiz estimates the amount of land and ocean area required to sustain your consumption patterns and absorb your wastes on an annual basis. After answering 27 easy questions you’ll be able to compare your Ecological Footprint to others’ and learn how to reduce your impact on the Earth.

What toxic chemicals are lurking under the kitchen sink or at the back of the shelf in the basement or even in plain view on your bathroom countertop? This is a photo of what I found in my house.

Since it is Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day in I have been scouring the house and garage for corrosives, flammables and poisons in my home. I consider my family to be conscientious about NOT bringing hazardous materials into the house but I surprised myself with the items I collected in 10 minutes of searching.

Many items we use and discard with our trash are actually similar to EPA regulated hazardous wastes that are generated by industries that make the products we buy and use. Maybe we shouldn’t be throwing so much toxic waste away, since there is no such thing as away.

In the kitchen: oven cleaners, drain cleaner, floor-care, soaps and cleansers

In the bathroom: toilet cleaner, cosmetics, hair color, aerosol deodorant, nail polish remover

In the laundry: spot removers, chlorine bleach, spray starch, softeners, brighteners

General: pool chemicals, paint strippers, glue, furniture polish, air fresheners, metal cleaners, paint/stain/varnish, turpentine, paint thinner, wood preservatives, ammonia cleaners, moth balls and flakes

Cars: gasoline, antifreeze, brake/transmission fluid, solvents and degreaser

Lawn and Garden: insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers, weed killers, flea and tick powder

Why is household hazardous waste a problem? At home accidental burns, poisoning, or even death if not used, stored and disposed of properly. Septic systems and sewage plants are not designed to filter toxic materials. If you pour these things down the drain or in the sewer this can affect everyone’s water supply ultimately contaminating our rivers, lakes and Long Island Sound. Often solid waste is burned and if the waste has hazardous materials then the residue ends up in the air we breathe and the ash contaminates the ground water. Last but of course not least toxins in our water can affect fish and other wildlife.

I think I have reasons why I have some of the items I have, you might, too – for example, a few years back there was a huge hornets nest in the garbage shed, then it was useful again a few years later when there was another yellow jacket nest in the ground under the lilac tree outside the front door – so I thought we needed a spray to knock them out. But I still have half a canister. I also have paint thinner, pet odor attack and indoor house plant food, a few half empty spray paint cans left over from Josh’s graffiti days, charcoal starter fluid (don’t even have a charcoal grill…) and liquid ski wax (no one skis anymore).

What to do? Best solution? Don’t buy or use these things. Oh, no! No more nail polish and remover? Hmmm.

Well, anyway, we can begin to think about the products we bring into our homes. Can we do without something, or substitute a natural option? It is much easier to find non-toxic cleaners at your local grocery stores these days. Check out this list from ecomall.com and seventhgeneration.com and . Under my sink today I have products from Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers, Bon Ami, CitriSolv and plain old vinegar.  Or make your own and make some more. Buy only what we need, use what we buy. Pass on partially used products to neighbors or friends who can use them.

Maybe we shouldn’t be throwing so much toxic waste away, since there is no such thing as away. I mean, where does our hazardous waste get stored or disposed of –  is there any place safe?

What we can do is keep all our hazardous products in one place and dispose of properly by taking to a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day.

How to find one near you: Best to search on the internet under “Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day” and add your state and county. Here is a great informational site for the Twin Cities. There will be something near you, too.

Levi’s WaterLess Jeans are one of the five companies featured in Jill Baron’s article  in lifestyle.msn.com.
These  jeans are made with eco-friendly denim, using organic cotton and natural indigo dyes. The new line reduces water use by an average of 28% per pair (up to 96% for some of the 12 available styles) and represents the brand’s commitment to turning blue jeans green.

Baron writes of these  5 new mainstream fashion lines:  “progressive thinkers with a true flair for style have worked not only to use sustainable fibers, like organic cotton, into their creations – but also to work with major brands and retailers so those fashions are available to mainstream U.S. consumers.”
Happy Earth Day.

Tip from: Greta

I love this concept. Electrolux plans to retrieve plastic floating in the ocean and recycle into vacuum cleaners and more. We have to remember every moment that we cannot throw things away- there is no away.

Via: Flossie! thank you!

Oil and Water Don’t Mix

October 26, 2010

Thoughtful way to use art to draw our attention to the BP spill and do some good, too. Check out Anthony Burrill’s poster, limited edition of 200 posters, screen printed with oil from the Gulf of Mexico disaster. All the benefits go to CRCL, the Coalition to Restore Louisiana coastline.

Via: Josh Spear

Last night we tuned to HBO’s premier of Gasland, a Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary by Josh Fox. Within 30 minutes, we got it, got very upset and had to turn off the film. See trailer.

It feels like it’s all too much these days. Corporate disregard for our environment. Governmental oversight regulations. What? Big corporations who do the most polluting can continue to pollute while everyone looks the other way?

This is the last frontier. How can it get worse, folks? Human behavior has to change now so we don’t have to start colonizing other planets in the future. I mean, what animal fouls its own drinking water? We cannot be that stupid. Yet, amazingly, we are.

The underground stores of natural gas in the US are tremendous. Gas companies are tapping this ocean through hundreds of thousands of wells all over the US. from Texas and Colorado to Pennsylvania and New York State. The result of the fracking, or forcing millions of gallons of chemical laden water into cracks to release the gas does just that- it puts toxic chemicals right into our water supply and releases natural gas.

Gasland shows us up close the damage done, the sickness and devastation thousands of families and communities are experiencing across the country.

We cannot even know what the hundreds of chemicals are because companies do not have to report such information. The EPA would normally be the regulator of an issue like this but the gas lobbyists managed to have fracking exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The most succinct article about the film is in the Huff Post. But there are many people who are speaking out about the results of fracking on their drinking water, including Peter Gorman in The Fort Worth Weekly back in 2008, Jeff Brady for NPR and more. Face it, my driving a fuel efficient car and recycling my cat food cans is such a small piece of a very huge and out-of-control puzzle. Compared with the huge military and corporate reach? I feel like a flea trying to bite a bulldozer.

Rather than leaving us in the lurch, a most useful site is the Gasland site, where you can learn about fracking, and take action.

Environmental groups are lobbying congress. Other ways to support that effort are through EarthworksAction.org, and get educated by reading the OGAP’s (Oil and Gas Accounatibility Project article, and the OGAP’s list of model regulatory and operational practices.

And, if the government isn’t going to regulate, then the states must step up. My next call is to my local congress people. Who are we going to call, T? Ghostbusters?

.