Category: Education


Check out Day by Day the Farm Girl Way!

This blog is one of the best I’ve found that discusses the life of a woman living on 10 acres and photographing wildlife.  I strive to learn more about native habitat creation, and get better with my camera (and my hand-drawn illustrations).  Recently, Day by Day the Farm Girl Way made an informative blog post about following animal trails and learning which species are visiting the area, what they’re eating, and more secrets of the forest.  Hop on down the trail and check it out!

Get the scoop about composting toilets!

This week’s issue of The Free Weekly includes a Making Ripples column dedicated to helping you pick out your very own composting toilet.  My mention of “several readers” (names left out) wanting to purchase a composting toilet was cut out of the column, maybe for space considerations, but it’s worth stating that so many people have asked me about composting toilets during the past month that I felt the topic was relevant, as families are trying to decide which model to build or install. Ryan and I are leaning towards a Sun-Mar self-contained unit, but I’m still undecided because the reviews point to problems with the design.  There are so many options, and it’s not like picking out curtains!

What I’m most excited about is conserving drinkable water with a dry toilet. For more information about water, such as the fact that women spend 200 million hours a day collecting water, check out Water.org or visit this infographic illustrating the Global Water Crisis.  Also, here is a great, concise Prezi presentation by Travis Hitchcock about Freshwater:

Are you ever asked, “Why do you go to so much trouble trying to be more sustainable?”

If so, keep reading for some objective responses that don’t involve tree hugging.

Frequent reasons for people not wanting to do more include not having enough time, money, or desire – after all, life is short, and money is scarce.  But life could be much shorter and money much scarcer without at least some effort to live sustainably.  Although death can come knocking at surprising times, such as after a freak accident involving rabid skunks, there are things we can control in life and things we can’t control.  Ignoring information about what we CAN control leaves us at the mercy of both.

One of the biggest reasons I’m choosing to live sustainably is because my first two decades of life were so unsustainable, I felt that the quality of my life made living less worthwhile.  I coped with my poor health by embracing creative escapes from reality through reading, art, and music.  Switching to a more sustainable life, however, is not a light switch turning on good health.  Many of you know I’ve been struggling with gluten intolerance that damaged my gut and kept my weight too low.  The lab technician says that this began about 12 years ago, when I was 15 and still living unsustainably, not to mention taking loads of pharmaceuticals.  Now that I’ve been diagnosed with stage 3 endometriosis, the doctor said such an advanced stage must have begun close to when puberty began.  Thus, my lifestyle cannot be held up as a reason for disease or health (yet).  I think of it as planting an orchard today to enjoy the fruits 20 years from now.  It may take awhile…but it’s something I can choose to do, unlike avoiding a meteor collision.

What will you do to live more sustainably and try to avoid cancer in 2013?

Here’s an interesting article from Care2.com about the difference between believing we can heal ourselves, and shaming ourselves or others for being sick.  I had to share this because I had no idea some people focused on Western medicine could misunderstand when alternative medicine is suggested, as though the sick person had brought the disease on themselves or could cure themselves if they really wanted to.

 

America's Cancer Clusters
Image source: www.best-nursing-schools.net

This is for women who need to know how to fix basic problems that could happen at home.

It recently occurred to me, while browsing the library stacks for the usual mindless entertainment I enjoy, that I have absolutely no knowledge about simple home repairs.  This PBS home video jumped out at me as a solution to wanting to build a sustainable house with a lack of skills in plumbing, electrical wiring, etc.  Dare to Repair was a great introductory video in how to fix minor problems in your standard house or apartment, and much of what I learned can be applied to our off-grid earthbag house someday. View full article »

I love these cork oak trees!

The latest issue of The Free Weekly is out today, so grab a copy and check out what we’ve learned about sustainable flooring options.  We decided on cork for our earthbag home, but as always, research and exposure to new information could change our minds over time.

In Portugal, cork oak trees are harvested every nine years, helping to protect the man-made forests with profits from the sale of corks and cork flooring, employing about 60,000 workers, and sustaining habitat for native species.  How cool a floor is that, which can do all those things?  Here’s a video about harvesting cork from trees without harming them!

“…the environmental issues, the social issues, and the economic issues are in good balance, and it all starts with harvesting the cork itself.” – Carlos de Jesus, Director of Marketing, APCOR

Why not decorate a home with inner peace?

Here are the Dalai Lama quote cards I’ll be using as tiles for Ripples’ homestead, pictured here laid out upon a beautiful Tibetan rug from Himalayan Mountain Shop!

His Holiness the Dalai Lama sure has his share of peaceful, inspirational quotes.  This is no doubt putting the cart before the horse, but today I began organizing my thoughts for a crafty project for Ripples’ eventual earthbag homestead.  These beautiful cards each contain a quote from the Dalai Lama, with different Tibetan Buddhist symbols on the back.  Maybe someday I can learn what each one means!  Fun challenge.  I was considering using these tiles for the bathroom tile, but not the floor.  Probably the wall, or a border, or perhaps glued to the surface of something we refurbish so that I can see them daily and be reminded to stay compassionate and centered throughout my life.

“Change only takes place through action.  Not through prayer or meditation, but through action.” – H. H. the Dalai Lama

 

31 Ways to Use Mason Jars & 6 Holiday Gift Wrap Ideas!

Today I have to give a shout-out to some creative resources helping us live lightly on the earth: Ozark Natural Foods and Keeper of the Home.  Often in our American society, the knowledge about how to live a healthy life is lost from generation to generation, while at the same time new advances in technology are giving us more options than our ancestors ever had.  I’m in the middle of this lovely sandwich between grandma’s lost gardening know-how and the computer’s vast stores of complex, often hidden information.  The spice to my sandwich is shared knowledge that’s free for anyone who wants to learn. View full article »

The light bulb came on above my head while watching this film.

Solar Mamas was presented to a small Fayetteville Public Library audience at 2:00 this afternoon. It showed how the Barefoot College in India is training women to become solar engineers.  I watched it like I have viewed many documentaries, but in this unusual case I realized just how much Ripples has changed the way I engage with new information. I didn’t want to donate money to the impoverished people on the screen; rather, I wanted to pay them to teach me their skills. View full article »

Saturday, October 6th, I ate my very first chestnut.

It was a transformative experience which food often brings about, changing the world from ordinary, familiar and full of obligation into a place of adventure and celebration of the mundane moments dearest to our hearts.  Eating a little piece of chocolate while doing the laundry, for instance, might not be a holiday event but it’s sure to make those fluffy, fragrant towels more enjoyable.  So when it’s a dreary Saturday morning in the 50′s and quite chilly for an October farmer’s market in the Ozarks, the scent of roasting nuts overpowered me.  As I was striding quickly towards the alpaca farmer to buy a warm woven headband to protect my ears from the wind, I noticed a vendor that I’d overlooked on all my previous trips to the market.  He was the type of old which I find very appealing, the sort of elder full of wisdom to learn from.  And the lesson he had for me was in a little chestnutView full article »

Here are some Ripples blog statistics:

  • 78 Followers
  • 330 Comments
  • 120 Facebook Likes
  • 10,203 Views on Posts
  • 89 Countries with Readers (since February 2012)

View full article »