Tuesday, July 28, 2009
What do you all think about a soda tax? or sugar tax? Will vending machines start taking pennies?
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
All kidding aside, there are actually folks out there that want to deter the little guys as opposed to attract them with corn cobs and love, and the suggestions in the article are far more humane than that awful Rodenator Pro we learned about a few months back, so I suppose I should post a few.
Christopher Soloman for MSN writes:
An ounce of prevention
The best way to keep squirrels away is to thwart them in the first place. There are several effective ways to do this:
- Cut back: “Squirrels can climb wood siding or brick siding pretty effectively, but the most common thing they’ll climb is tree limbs,” McNeely says. So a good rule of thumb is to cut branches until they’re six feet away from a home’s roof lines – too far for most (nondaredevil) squirrels to leap.
- Collar that tree: Stop squirrels from climbing trees or even power poles by wrapping them with a 2-foot-wide collar of metal, six feet off the ground, says the University of California: “Attach metal using encircling wires held together with springs to allow for tree growth.”
- Trip up tightrope-walking rodents: Wildlife expert Jackson says you can stop squirrels from running along electrical wires by installing 2-foot sections of lightweight, 2- to 3-inch diameter plastic pipe. Slit the pipe lengthwise, spread it open and place it over the wire. Since this outer pipe fits only loosely, it spins on the wire, and squirrels can’t cross it.
- Fix that feeder: If the home’s birdfeeder is the attraction, put an end to that by buying one of several varieties of squirrel-proof feeders. Or, give the squirrels something else to target: Nail up a corncob farther away, Jackson suggests.
- Block ’em out: You need to seal out the varmints so they won’t waltz back inside. How? “Areas of concern should be covered with metal flashing, or quarter-inch mesh or even half-inch mesh,” McNeely says. Extend the patch several inches beyond the hole in all directions to stop the squirrel from gnawing around it.
Caution: “One should always make sure that the squirrels are not present before sealing a hole,” he says. Translation: Don’t accidentally block them inside! Here’s how to make sure you don’t: Ball up a newspaper. Put it in the hole the squirrels have been using. Now wait, probably two days. If the newspaper remains intact, McNeely says, you can be more certain the squirrels are outside. Now seal up the hole.
People badly want to believe in a magic bullet – or make that a stinky bullet – some product that drives away squirrels because it smells bad, tastes bad or imparts fear.
- Hot sauce: There are products on the market that use capsaicin, the “hot” ingredient in pepper, to discourage squirrels from gnawing, for example. But the experts are skeptical about the effectiveness. “That may have some effect,” Jackson says of a pepper-based spray.
- Sticky stuff: Products that contain polybutenes, or sticky materials that can be applied to buildings, railings, downspouts and other areas to prevent squirrels from climbing, may also be effective because animals don’t like to walk on them. But it’s not exactly desirable to have strips all around your house like a sticky moat.
- Mothballs: The University of California says that napthalene (mothballs) used at a rate of five pounds per 2,000 cubic feet of air space may temporarily discourage squirrels from entering attics and other enclosed spaces. However, the smell of mothballs also can irritate humans, and some experts don’t advise this.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
The idea is to create a universal rating system that scores products based on how environmentally and socially sustainable they are over the course of their lives. Consider it the green equivalent to nutrition labels.
Rather than a retailer or a product supplier’s focusing on only a few sustainability goals — lower emissions or water conservation or waste reduction — the index would help them take a broader view of sustainability by scrutinizing and rating all sorts of environmental and social implications.
Did this T-shirt come from a cotton crop that was sprayed with pesticide? Was excessive packaging used to ship these diapers?
Wal-Mart’s goal is to have other retailers eventually adopt the indexing system, which will be created over the next five years.
I suppose I owe Wal-Mart a "tip o' the hat," huh? Is there such a thing as "sustainable consumption" with a retailer of this magnitude?
Click here for Wal-Mart's press release or here for the web cast from their Sustainability Milestone Meeting.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
This is great news, folks. Sure, it means one less trash pick up day a week but c'mon and get into the spirit of recycling already and get motivated with this fun game!
Monday, July 13, 2009
Luckily, there are others out there like me. You'll notice a new addition to my list of suggested books, Green Dog, Good Dog: Reducing Your Best Friend's Carbon Paw Print, by Dominique De Vito. My mom discovered this gem the other day and while I am proud to report that I already opt for biodegradable bags, I learned that a Canine Cleanup day is long overdue in my neighborhood and intend to dedicate an entire post to www.flushpuppies.com in the near future. I'd also like to suggest a recent post by Slate's Green Lantern contributor, Nina Shen Rastogi, addressing the environmental impact of our aquatic friends. As you would guess, the greenest fish are freshwater, low-maintenance, and fairly small.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
- Don't invite them. Minimize bug breeding grounds. Clear away any dead plants and pull weeds on a regular basis and avoid leaving any standing water in your watering can.
- Research and rotate your crops. Some plants are more likely to attract pests and a varied mix lowers the risk of a pest uprising.
- Mix in some herbs and flowers. Coriander, dill, caraway chervil, fennel, and parsley naturally ward off pests. Sunflowers and sweet asylum attract pest-eating bugs and marigolds emit a strong stench that deters pests.
- Wetness encourages fungus and insects. Water early in the day so that plants are dry throughout most of the day.
- If slugs and snails are your problem pests, try spreading some coffee grounds around the infested areas.
- When all else fails, there is always homemade bug spray. Mix one tablespoon of liquid dish washing soap and one cup of vegetable oil. Add one or two teaspoons of that mixture to per cup of water in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the infected plants early in the morning or after the hottest part of the day has passed because vegetable oil can burn plants in hot weather.
- And if your pests are of a different breed and have four legs and some sort of fur, try cleaning out your hairbrush near your veggies. It sounds gross, but a little human hair along the way keeps the deer at bay.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Browse through it. Save money. Kill some time at the office. Reduce your footprint on this great planet. Everybody wins.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The camel is celebrated as a symbol of the country’s nomadic tradition. And because “it doesn’t have much fat, it’s light and has a delicate taste,” said one patron of Local Hashi Meals—“Hashi” being the Saudi word for “baby camel,” as he happily scarfed down his burger.
Granted, there is a chance that using camels... gulp... is local and sustainable... gulp... but come on... baby ones?!
Monday, July 6, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
The researchers built artificial ponds, stocked them with salamanders and other species, notably the California newt and the Pacific chorus frog (both of which are found in the Salinas Valley) and monitored what happened. Their findings appear in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Hybrid larvae had a greater effect on the newts and frogs than native salamander larvae did, nearly wiping them out. Hybrids even affected the survival of native salamanders in the ponds. “The implication is they’re ecologically quite different than the native species,” Ms. Ryan said.That could spell trouble for other “third-party” species in the valley, like the California red-legged frog and the Santa Cruz long-toed salamander.