Category: Blogs


It’s Fun to Change the World.

Ripples' New Logo

Ripples’ New Logo

So often I’m studying science, technology, or some other such subject like organic gardening and earthbag building, that I forget about creativity.  Ripples isn’t just living without a car and making vegan dinners, it’s also about admiring the rainbows reflected in a prism catching the afternoon light from our window, and playing with the swirls of white “fire” after pouring coconut cream into a cup of black tea.  And, yes, it’s about dreaming of rainbow lollipop trees, with rippling branches and spreading roots.  This logo was sketched on paper with copic markers and ink, but later converted into a digital representation of what we’re trying to express.  Organic. Social Justice.  Deep roots.  Ripples of change.  And before you think, “Wait, nature doesn’t make rainbow trees!”  Think again: I had the enormous pleasure of seeing in person a park full of “Rainbow Eucalyptus” trees when I visited Costa Rica.

I need to remember that our homestead without an artistic spirit is really just a building.  It’s our creativity and personalities which make it come to life with a new message for sustainability-seekers: this is fun.  This is creative.  This is going to make people happy.

We’re continuing with our redesign of Ripples, to include more hand-drawn art in the margins, header, and background of the site.  Expect more changes in the months to come, and please give us feedback on how these changes affect you and touch your experience of Ripples.  We want it to be fun to read about conservation.  We’d like you to laugh when you read about capturing rainwater.  So let us know how we’re doing in the comments below our posts or on our Facebook Page.

What do you think of the new logo?

So far, about 50 people have seen it without commenting or clicking “like”, so I’m beginning to wonder if they’re just busy this week or if I’ve created some socially-taboo tree or something…

Just like Peter Pan, we can fly with happy thoughts in our daily life!

Introducing the NEW Happy Thoughts box!

NEW on Ripples – located at the bottom right-hand side of every page on Ripples’ blog, you will find a new feature called our “Happy Thoughts” box.  Right now, you can see this box is filled with one happy thought from Ryan, and one from me, Amanda.  Every day around 6:30 in the evening, before cooking dinner together, we sit underneath a rainbow umbrella and tell each other what thoughts we’ve had that day which make us feel the happiest about our future dream of living off-grid.  Maybe it was a good day, or a challenging day, or sometimes even a day of despair and great physical or emotional pain, but no matter what happens, we always take turns sharing one happy thought. View full article »

Making Ripples in the World

I find it really hard to write about Ripples as an entity, with measurable effects on the world.  Of course, things are measurable: number of NGO’s helped, number of blog posts receiving readers, number of comments, number of columns written about sustainability…but are they visual?  Not nearly enough.  This video, shared with me by my friend Teresa, illustrates the way I see Ripples.  I guess technically Ripples is just Ryan & I, and you could argue Ripples includes projects with our partner organizations, and the growing list of volunteers wanting to build with earthbags.  But when I picture what Ripples actually does, well it looks more like this video.

So I invite you to watch this video and enjoy these scenes, then watch it again and replace them with scenes from the past year at Ripples.  Notice in the video that the love flows both ways :) Same with Ripples.  Here are our real life “scenes” painted with words so you can see them better as you watch the video (I’ve tried to keep identities anonymous just like the video).  Ripples’ scenes are about gardening, websites, compost toilets, sharing information, and little acts of kindness.  Someday I would love to actually put together a video with photos and live scenes from Ripples!  For now just try to imagine it:

  1. A toilet built with locally harvested bamboo in Kathmandu, Nepal, inspires a girl in the United States to use local bamboo to build a solar shower with a 5-gallon bag.
  2. Better publicity makes sponsorships grow for a trail maintenance organization, encouraging more people to enjoy and protect our parks after the re-development of their website allows the web developer to learn more about web development for helping non-profits in the future.
  3. 235 youth in Cameroon are trained in fundraising after a local leader learns about capacity building via the internet, sparking more support for free access to the internet.
  4. Writing about raising baby chicks inspires people in other locations to consider urban farming.
  5. A child with food allergies is able to enjoy eating a totally safe cookie, so his mother helps pay for a solar platform for Ripples’ blog.
  6. An Armenian organization supporting people with disabilities creates a Facebook page after receiving training in the importance of online communication.
  7. A woman with experience in gardening helps a youth learn to grow herbs, and the resulting cilantro and basil are given as gifts to neighbors.
  8. One girl receives training in non-profit management and contacts an international organization to provide curriculum materials for an online class taken by students in 34 countries who then pass the materials to their organizations, improving them with their own ideas.
  9. After learning in workshops about native species and their needs, native habitat is created and publicized on Ripples’ blog, helping a city become the first in its state to receive certification due to the whole community working together.
  10. A trip to a sustainably built retreat center inspires us to use cob for sculpting shelves in the walls at Ripples’ future homestead, and our post on sustainable building inspires a family to get in touch with us to learn more about how they can do it, too.
  11. [insert your Ripples moment here]

 

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 latest Ripples’ column in The Free Weekly is about my favorite subject…wildlife! View full article »

Ripples is 1 Year Old!

Oops! We’ve been so caught up with researching ways to heal Amanda’s health problems and adjusting to the maze which is our new solar-powered blog website, that we forgot to celebrate Ripples’ birthday!  Can you believe we’ve been doing this for one whole year? View full article »

Check out these additional earthbag building resources!

The latest issue of The Free Weekly is out today, and Ripples’ column talks about our earthbag home design and why we’re building an earthbag home.  Read the latest issue here, and enjoy these extra resources on building with earthbags -

Recommended Reading & Viewing:

Basic Earthbag Building: A Step-by-Step Guide, Owen Geiger, DVD.

Earthbag Building Guide, (engineer approved) Owen Geiger, 2011.

Earthbag Building: The Tools, Tricks & Techniques, Kaki Hunter & Donald Kiffmeyer, 2004.

Natural Building Blog on Earthbag and Other Natural Building Methods

Explore the many topics Ripples writes about.

We get  questions from some followers about what Ripples means, what subjects we cover, whether we would donate to a particular organization based on mission match, and whether we would print materials on a certain topic.  This post is in response to those questions, but, it’s also just a fun way to explore some of the things we’ve covered in the past and what we intend to cover in the future! Visit our About page for more details about us. View full article »

Where do the new Ripples pictures come from?

Every picture you see featured on Ripples’ new website was taken by one of us (with the exception of this background wallpaper).  View full article »

Check out the latest issue of The Free Weekly!

The cover story on Seeds that Feed is fantastic, and there are many Ripples’ readers and supporters featured in the article and in the cover photo! Way to go Care Croppers! You can also read Ripples’ latest column on recycling old junk and creating intentional rooms here. View full article »