Incorporating the best of “global” with the best of “local”…
Evolving from face-to-face, to race-to-race and place-to-place.
The epitome of social health and happiness, the assumed “best” method of communication is face-to-face, and the science supports it. But in our world of climate change and war, when humans as an entire planet are facing the same related challenges, are we evolving socially with technology that allows collaboration between people who would never have met otherwise? Everything Ripples does is connected to people, some of whom we can’t see or touch. The “faceless” masses are involved in spreading sustainability far and wide. True collaboration on green and social justice issues requires working at a global scale, without forgetting local actions and impacts. Creating a geographically dispersed network strengthens the likelihood that we’ll be successful locally. We become stronger as a local community by reaching out to those nationally and internationally who have good ideas. View full article »
Thanks to Quinn Montana and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fayetteville – Religious Education Program, I got to learn about vermiculture (or vermicompost) and all about the red wriggler worms that make this process possible. Check out this week’s issue of Making Ripples in The Free Weekly for details about how you can start your own vermiculture bin at home!
You can also learn a lot from YouTube videos. Many people have posted videos linking aquaponics, organic gardening, composting and vermiculture. Some of the vermiculture videos made me a bit dizzy, so I chose this one to share with you since the camera is stable and the instructions are similar to what I learned in the workshop:
This rainbow-colored, flexibly-designed umbrella is completely recyclable.
Ryan & I go through umbrellas quite often. After all, we don’t own a personal vehicle and it tends to rain sometimes. In fact, it may even STORM with high winds that are talented at breaking umbrellas which cannot be recycled. That’s frustrating, and lately we’ve taken to just getting wet and using a towel. But sometimes rain is cold, and unpleasant. So are there options that can help reduce the 1 billion umbrellas that are broken, lost, improperly disposed of, and go into a landfill each year? Is there an umbrella that doesn’t contribute to the huge amount of umbrella metal disposed of each year (enough to build the Eiffel Tower 25 times annually)? Is there an umbrella that doesn’t use the polyester canopy that takes 100 years to biodegrade and could cover a city the size of New York in umbrella canopies sent to the landfill each year?? Yes! One option that’s in production is the Ginkgo Umbrella, that has reduced the number of umbrella parts from the traditional 120 to just 20. All of its parts are made from one material that is 100% recyclable: polypropylene, the same material that will be used in the salvaged bags that will form the walls of Ripples’ earthbag home. To be honest, I don’t find polypropylene to be completely sustainable. But it’s much, much better than what we’re currently doing to our planet. Watch this video to learn more about Ginkgo Umbrellas and the environmental effects of traditional umbrellas:
Resources on building or buying your own aquaponics system!
Ryan & I are planning on setting up greywater filtration beds on our Ripples homestead. Eventually we’d like to try aquaponics, too, on a small DIY scale. That’s why this week’s Making Ripples column in The Free Weekly covers the basics on greywater and aquaponics, two distinct but related concepts. Special thanks go out to the Stanley family for giving us a guided tour of their sustainably built home and greywater beds! They’re featured in this week’s People Making Ripples, so be sure to check it out and see what one family can do right here in Northwest Arkansas. Here are some general links, recently published books, and a great educational video by Purdue University to help you get started with your own aquaponics system and to learn more about the history of aquaculture and hydroponics:
Support me as an advocate in SuperBetter as I get healthier!
“Every day you get SuperBetter, you’re having a positive impact on six people you know personally. They each pass on your strength to six people they know, and then they each pass it on to six more people they know. That’s 256 people in total! Take pride in the strength you’re putting out into your social network, and the good you’re doing others. For a boost of social resilience, imagine as many of those 256 people as you can. Your friends, your family, and random strangers — all of whom are likely to do and feel better, all because YOU started a SuperBetter ripple effect.” -from SuperBetter Level 3 View full article »
“Cooking Camp” continues with this week’s Free Weekly column!
Check out this week’s Making Ripples column in the Free Weekly to learn just how ancient curry spices like turmeric really are. Also included is People Making Ripples featuring Brad Volz of Writing to Freedom, a blog of immense inspiration and coolness. You can see a photo of his garden in the print edition, or online at The Free Weekly’s home page. Clueless in the Kitchen is part of the Cooking Camp series of posts on Ripples, detailing my journey to teach myself how to cook with real food and not just eat sustainable or organic food from packages. Coming up next: cooking radish greens from Herbal Simplicity’s Karyn Zaremba. Scary stuff when I don’t know how to steam them!
If you missed past posts about Cooking Camp, check them out by clicking the links below:
Things did not go perfectly when I made this breakfast scramble yesterday morning. Yet, because I had made it about half a dozen times before, I was able to persevere through the challenging moments. Just after I started cooking, the potatoes became glued to the skillet and a sticky film formed over the surface, needing to be scraped off with a spatula to allow the potatoes to move around and cook on all sides. I had added a small amount of safflower oil, and think maybe the oil is what’s causing this sticky substance to form. Next time, I’m going to try this dish with no oil at all and dry fry the potatoes. View full article »
Ryan tries his hand (without cutting it off) at chopping a kabocha squash for the first time after watching a how-to video online.
It’s “Cooking Camp Day Two”, and I do have progress to report! It’s still tough to get going on breaking bad habits and developing new ones, but the motivation is slowly building. I’m getting excited to peer into books on cooking, learn about the history of spices, and attempt to chop a kabocha squash. (shown in picture) Yes, I cut it! Ryan got the hardest parts cut in half, and I learned how to saw my way through the other parts. It was quite an empowering experience, but I’m not making a nightly habit out of cutting kabocha, that’s for sure. If you feel up to the challenge, seethe recipe for this unique and nourishing soup. We would’ve used a lot less apple, and fresh rosemary, if we’d have tried it before.
To-Do List for My Cooking Camp:
Feel empowered in the kitchen
Be OK with making mistakes, wasting food, or ruining dishes beyond edibility
Recognize my sensory sensitivities in the kitchen and find coping strategies (such as earplugs)
Learn how to create delicious, healthy and attractive bento box lunches
Experience chopping at least a dozen different kinds of vegetables or fruits
Make quinoa and rice without burning either
Create better organization, such as online forms for filling in bento lunches
Develop positive feelings about cooking as an art, exercise, and family time (not work)
Think of more diverse meal options
Success! We’re both able to cut the squash after much effort.
Get better at cooking on a stove (stop using the microwave so much!)
Cook “from market to meal” (the process of shopping at the Farmer’s Market and then immediately cooking lunch fresh)
Gain a “whole day, whole foods” mentality (use fresh whole foods all day long)
Learn how to grow kitchen herbs in a windowsill
Explore more on http://www.fixfreezefeast.com/
List all the successes I’ve had cooking in the past! Celebrate each new success.
See how your neighbors & friends are making ripples in their community, and share what you’re doing!
Ripples’ sustainability column in The Free Weekly, “Making Ripples”, has just added a new feature today: “People Making Ripples”. We’ll be interviewing and featuring local residents doing something large or small to make their lives more sustainable. This will accompany the usual Making Ripples column as a photo series, replacing some of the stock photos that would have otherwise been used in that space. People Making Ripples isn’t a series of blog posts, but will appear exclusively in The Free Weekly, so go get yourself a copy and meet people making ripples in our community today!
My apologies that the column’s references to people being featured in People Making Ripples is off by a week in each case; it was intended to begin last week, but space limitations made it impossible to fit into last week’s issue, I was told. So instead we’re beginning this week with Alena DeGrado, and next week we’ll be featuring the work of Brad Volz. If you know of someone doing something sustainable, or would like to share what you’re doing, submit your photos and a brief description to: MakeSomeRipples@Gmail.com
In honor of Earth Day, I decided to go on a type of retreat: a self-imposed cooking camp in which I learn, in any way possible, about cooking and planning healthy meals. No more canned vegetables, convenience microwave meals and burritos, and packaged food products which are really closer to products than foods. This is day one, and to be honest it’s a bit of a tough psychological leap for me. View full article »