DIY Compost Is All The Rage For Earth Day

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 10.30.28 AM

Remember in The Lion King, when Mufasa teaches Simba about the circle of life? (You know: The lions eat the antelope, eventually the lions die, the lions’ bodies decompose and turn into soil, the soil feeds the grass, and the antelopes eat the grass before being eaten by another lion?) Well, it’s not just a cartoon movie plot: The circle of life is a real thing — and it takes place via a process called composting. (Who knew Disney movies could teach us something so useful?)

Humans have been composting for thousands of years to improve the health of our soil, food, and planet. Now you (and your garden or lawn) can also reap the benefits of composting, thanks to this handy dandy guide to the circle of life.

WHAT IS COMPOST AND WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CARE?

Composting is basically nature’s own waste management process, in which nutrients are recycled back into an ecosystem. When organic materials (such as leaves, logs, fruits, and dead animals — basically, anything that was once living) are combined and left to sit for a while, they decompose into rich, fertile soil (aka “compost”). When we want to create compost with our own kitchen waste and lawn scraps, we can mimic natural composting on an accelerated time frame (more on how to do that below).

That’s cool and all, but why should we compost? First of all, it’s one of the most powerful tools we have for combatting food waste by keeping it out of landfills and waterways. Composting also enriches soil with nutrients, helps boost plant immunity, and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers in gardens and lawns, which can save money and spare the environment. As if that’s not enough, using compost can also encourage the presence of beneficial bacteria and fungi (which break down organic matter into soil) in the compost — when the compost is used in gardens and yards, these friendly decomposers (along with insects) make the soil healthier and may even improve the nutritional value of the food that grows in it.

Anyone can build a compost pile, whether it’s in the back yard or under the kitchen sink (yes, even in tiny apartments). And even if you don’t have a garden (or a yard), that compost can still be put to good use: Simply check with your local recycling coordinator to see if your community has a composting program that offers curbside pick-up. If not, call around to local farms (or a neighbor with an actual yard) and ask if they’d like your donated compost — chances are, they’ll say yes!

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COMPOSTING AT HOME

What Goes Into Compost

All compost requires four primary ingredients: air, moisture, carbon (which we’ll refer to as “browns”), and nitrogen (which we’ll refer to as “greens”). Browns consist of plant-based materials such as dead leaves, branches, twigs, newspaper, and unbleached brown napkins. Greens consist of materials such as grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, and coffee grounds. In general, you’ll want to add slightly more browns than greens. (If you run out of browns, ask neighbors to donate their extra leaves, twigs, or newspapers. If you live in a city, it’s easy to find browns — just raid the free newspaper dispensers!) For a full list of what to include in a compost (and what not to), check out this resource.

In order for decomposers (bacteria, fungi, and insects) to do their thing, compost also needs air and moisture (more on this later). Decomposition is an energy-intensive process, and aerobic bacteria produce heat as a side effect. Expect the compost toget very warm — even hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the center of a pile!

ESTABLISHING YOUR OWN COMPOST

Outdoors

There are two ways to compost outside: In a pile (just like it sounds) or in a composting bin (basically a contained pile). If you’re only planning to compost leaves, grass clippings, and other non-food materials, then a pile should be just fine. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends opting for a bin if you’re planning to compost food waste, too (in order to prevent rodents).

To compost in a pile:

  1. Start by selecting a dry, shady spot near a water source (such as a spigot). Ideally, the area will be about three feet wide by three feet tall (though it’s possible to have larger or smaller piles). Try to keep the compost away from garden beds (in case it attracts pests, who might want to eat the foods in your garden!).
  2. If desired, give the pile some structure with chicken wire, snow fencing, or by nailing scrap wood together to make a box.
  3. Next, start adding browns and greens, in equal parts, as they’re collected (be sure to chop up larger sticks and shred big pieces of newspaper before adding them).
  4. If the first materials you add are dry, moisten them as you go by lightly spraying the compost with water until it’s damp (but not soaked).
  5. Once things have started decomposing (you’ll be able to tell because they’ll start to change shape and color), mix in grass clippings, more greens, and fruit and vegetable scraps (try to bury the food scraps under other decomposing material).
  6. Every time you add materials to the pile (or at least once a week), “fluff” the pile by turning it with a pitchfork. This will promote aeration, which is essential to the decomposition process.
  7. Optionally, you can lay a tarp across the top of the compost to keep in moisture.

To compost in a bin:

The process for using a bin is virtually identical to composting in a pile, only it takes place in (you guessed it) a bin. Bins can be purchased from retail or mail-order businesses. They come in a variety of styles, so make sure to do your research to see which best suits your space and needs. Store-bought bins can be pretty expensive; luckily, it’s pretty easy to make your own bin or tumbler (a bin that can be easily turned with a handle).

Pro tip: If your compost pile or bin is outside, it’s useful to set up a little bin inside (on the kitchen counter or under the sink will work well). Add compostable kitchen scraps to this bin until it’s full, and then dump the contents in the bigger compost pile to save on trips outside.

Indoors

If you have the space in your house or apartment, it’s easy to build an indoor compost. If managed correctly, the bin shouldn’t attract pests or emit bad smells.

To make your own indoor bin:

  1. Start by choosing two rubber or plastic garbage cans. The larger one should fit in the area of your home where you’d like to compost, and the smaller one should fit inside the larger one.
  2. Drill several (4-6) holes — each about half an inch in diameter — in the bottom and sides of the smaller can.
  3. Put a brick in the bottom of the larger can, and add a layer of wood chips, sawdust, or soil around the brick (it should reach the top of the brick but doesn’t need to go above it).
  4. Put the smaller can inside of the larger can, on top of the brick.
  5. Add browns and greens to the smaller can, following the same procedure described for outdoor composts, above (to help reduce odors, add more browns than greens, and bury food scraps in the existing compost). Make sure to fluff the compost on a weekly basis and check to make sure the materials remain moist (if things look pretty dry, sprinkle some water into the can).
  6. When you’re not adding scraps to the smaller can, keep a lid on top of the larger can (the smaller can does not need a lid).

Another option for indoor composting is vermicomposting, which uses a special kind of earthworm to produce compost in a small space (this method is particularly well-suited for classrooms, apartments, and tiny yards). Vermicomposting is typically done in a covered container with a layer of dirt, newspapers, or leaves. Feed fruit and vegetable scraps to the hungry little worms (known as “red wigglers,” these little guys eat their weight in organic matter every day), and watch the miracle of compost happen! For more on vermicomposting, check out this resource.

USING YOUR COMPOST

Compost is ready to use in gardens and lawns when the material is dark and rich in color and you can’t identify remnants of food or yard waste (If the compost looks mostly ready but there are still a few chunks of material, use a screen to sift out the chunks and add them back to the pile before using the garden-ready compost). Be patient: This can be a lengthy process, especially for outdoor composts, which are affected by a variety of factors (including weather, pests, compost composition, etc). Outdoor compost can take anywhere from two months to two years to be garden-ready, while indoor bins can produce viable compost in just two to five weeks. Once the compost is ready, apply it to lawns and gardens to give soil a hearty dose of nutrients. This will ensure that the soil stays healthy and is able to grow healthy crops for years to come.

For anyone new to composting, there’s bound to be a period of trial and error — don’t get discouraged! For help with troubleshooting issues (such as bad smells, slow decomposition, lack of heat in the pile, etc.), check out these guides from the Environmental Protection Agency and Composting 101. Happy composting!

Source: Greatist

Breaking News: Scientists Discover How to Generate Solar Power in the Dark

Stored-solar-energy
IMAGE: FLICKR, JESSE! S?

The next big thing in solar energy could be microscopic.

Scientists at MIT and Harvard University have devised a way to store solar energy in molecules that can then be tapped to heat homes, water or used for cooking.

The best part: The molecules can store the heat forever and be endlessly re-used while emitting absolutely no greenhouse gases. Scientists remain a way’s off in building this perpetual heat machine but they have succeeded in the laboratory at demonstrating the viability of the phenomenon called photoswitching.

“Some molecules, known as photoswitches, can assume either of two different shapes, as if they had a hinge in the middle,” MIT researchers said in statement about the paper published in the journal Nature Chemistry. “Exposing them to sunlight causes them to absorb energy and jump from one configuration to the other, which is then stable for long periods of time.”

To liberate that energy all you have to do is expose the molecules to a small amount of light, heat or electricity and when they switch back to the other shape they emit heat. “In effect, they behave as rechargeable thermal batteries: taking in energy from the sun, storing it indefinitely, and then releasing it on demand,” the scientists said.

The researchers used a photoswitching substance called an azobenzene, attaching the molecules to substrates of carbon nanotubes. The challenge: Packing the molecules closely enough together to achieve a sufficient energy density to generate usable heat.

It appeared that the researchers had failed when they were only able to pack fewer than half the number of molecules needed as indicated by an earlier computer simulation of the experiment.

But instead of hitting a projected 30% increase in energy density, they saw a 200% increase. It turned out that the key was not so much packing azobenzene molecules tightly on individual carbon nanotubes as packing the nanotubes close together. That’s because the azobenzene molecules formed “teeth” on the carbon nanotubes, which interlocked with teeth on adjacent nanotubes. The result was the mass needed for a usable amount of energy storage.

That means different combinations of photoswitching molecules and substrates might achieve the same or greater energy storage, according to the researchers.

So how would molecular solar storage work if the technology can be commercialized? Timothy Kucharski, the paper’s lead author and a postdoc at MIT and Harvard, told The Atlantic that most likely the storage would take a liquid form, which would be easy to transport.

“It would also enable charging by flowing the material from a storage tank through a window or clear tube exposed to the sun and then to another storage tank, where the material would remain until it’s needed,” Kucharski said in an email. “That way one could stockpile the charged material for use when the sun’s not shining.”

The paper’s authors envision the technology could be used in countries where most people rely on burning wood or dung for cooking, which creates dangerous levels of indoor air pollution, leads to deforestation and contributes to climate change.

“For solar cooking, one would leave the device out in the sun during the day,” says Kucharski. “One design we have for such an application is purely gravity driven — the material flows from one tank to another. The flow rate is restricted so that it’s exposed to the sun long enough that it gets fully charged. Then, when it’s time to cook dinner, after the sun is down, the flow direction is reversed, again driven by gravity, and the opposite side of the setup is used as the cooking surface.”

“As the material flows back to the first tank, it passes by an immobilized catalyst which triggers the energy-releasing process, heating the cooking surface up,” he adds.

Other versions of such device could be used to heat buildings.
Kucharski said the MIT and Harvard team is now investigating other photoswitching molecules and substrates, “with the aim of designing a system that absorbs more of the sun’s energy and also can be more practically scaled up.”

Source: The Atlantic 

High-Five! U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are Dropping.

Greenhouse

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell nearly 10 percent from 2005 to 2012, more than halfway toward the United States’ 2020 target pledged at United Nations climate talks, according to the latest national emissions inventory.

The report showed that emissions dropped 3.4 percent from 2012 to 2011, mostly due to a decrease in energy consumption and fuel switching from coal to natural gas.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday published the United States’ 19th annual emissions tally to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The United States uses 2005 pollution levels as its benchmark to measure emissions cuts, and has a target to lower emissions by 17 percent from that starting point by 2020.

Since 1990, the first year the United States kept the inventory, carbon dioxide emissions – largely energy-related emissions and the most prevalent greenhouse gas – rose just 5.4 percent.

Meanwhile hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), super greenhouse gases used primarily as refrigerants, saw a dramatic rise of over 309 percent.

The Obama administration has taken steps to reduce these emissions through bilateral and multilateral agreements with major polluters, including China, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, and India.

The EPA prepares the annual report in collaboration with other federal agencies and is subject to public comments.

A United Nations report released Sunday said that governments must act faster to keep global warming in check and that a radical shift from fossil fuels to low-carbon energy such as wind, solar or nuclear power would shave only about 0.06 of a percentage point a year off world economic growth.

The report, endorsed by governments, is meant as the main scientific guide for nations working on a U.N. deal to be agreed in late 2015 to rein in greenhouse gas emissions that have hit repeated highs this century, led by China’s industrial growth.

The Obama administration’s climate action plan, now being implemented, is expected to steer the United States to meet its 17 percent target by 2020. (Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; editing by Matthew Lewis)

Source: Huffington Post

Urban Composting: How To Turn Food Scraps Into Fresh Produce

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 10.58.25 AM

For most people, the word “compost” probably conjures up images of farmland, giant stinky piles of banana peels, and someone in a pair of overalls wielding a pitchfork. But recycling food scraps into nutrient-rich soil is surprisingly adaptable to city life — even somewhere as urban as the Big Apple.

To prove it, two design students created Hello Compost, a new non-profit that offers low-income populations throughout New York City the opportunity to exchange their leftover food scraps for fresh produce. The program is slated to launch a trial-size group of 60 households in September.

Hello Compost is an exciting development for NYC’s communities, and it also sheds some light on the growth of urban composting throughout the country in recent years. More than ever, people in a variety of living situations are thinking about food waste and how to change our food system from the bottom (of the trash can) up.

WHAT’S THE DEAL?

Luke Keller and Aly Blenkin, students at Parsons The New School for Design, dreamed up the Hello Compost concept as part of an academic thesis earlier this year. Right off the bat, they got in touch with Project EATS, a well-established NYC non-profit dedicated to enriching working-class areas via community-owned urban farms, farmers’ markets, and arts and cultural events. In March, the New York City Housing Authority granted Project EATS permission to temporarily store food waste at their farm site in Harlem. After a few meetings with Project EATS’ founder Linda Goode Bryant, Keller and Blenkin realized they were striving after the same goals: One, to create an urban composting system, and two, to invent some kind of community-based, non-monetary currency that would promote local farms and healthy eating.

Sounds great on paper, but compost is dirty, stinky, and kind of unsanitary in a tight apartment, right? Wrong: Hello Compost gives each participating household a freezable, odor-blocking bag (they come in small and large sizes to accommodate different lifestyles) that keeps your scraps in one place and odor-free. Each participant also gets a detailed set of instructions so they know what can and can’t be composted.

Full bags are brought to Project EATS, where the contents are weighed and exchanged for credits that can be used to purchase fresh produce from Project EATS’ farms and markets (The Hello Compost team is still figuring out the exact conversions of compost-to-credits and credits-to-dollars.).

The result is a win-win: Community members receive social support and healthy produce and local farms receive valuable compost with which to enrich their crops. Even beyond these benefits, Keller’s number-one priority is the environment. He wants to get food waste out of rapidly-filling landfills and help NYC communities participate in environmentally-friendly eating practices.

WHY IT MATTERS

Every week, many of us are probably guilty of looking in the fridge, opening up a container, giving the contents the “sniff test,” and deciding to toss the leftovers. It seems like no big deal, but every year our country produces over 35 million tons of food waste. According to 2011 statistics, 96 percent of those funky leftovers and scraps end up in a landfill or incinerator. And while most of us are throwing out food willy-nilly, a whopping 14.5 percent of American households are food insecure, meaning they don’t know where their next meal will come from. There’s clearly a disconnect between our food supply and the food we waste, but how can we recalibrate our food system?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the best way to reduce food waste is to prevent it from happening in the first place: Buy less, store correctly, and use leftovers wisely. The next best thing is to use food waste — and one of the easiest ways to do so is through composting, which creates nutrient-rich soil that can be used to grow more food. The natural compounds derived from compost can also remove chemicals from runoff water and help restore wetlands and other habitats, among many other uses.

When it comes to food waste, New York City acts like a microcosm for the entire country. The concrete jungle produces up to 36,000 tons of trash each day, and more than 20 percent of that is food waste. Last year alone, the city government spent $336 million hauling and burying 1.2 million pounds of food waste in landfills throughout the Northeast United States. But NYC deserves some credit for working to reorganize its food systems: The NYC Department of Sanitation launched the city’s first composting program in 1993, and it’s been growing in leaps and bounds ever since. Today, the program has drop-off sites in four of New York’s five boroughs.

The Hello Compost program seems like a good way to test how composting programs can help stem food waste and provide food security to low-income families in New York. By providing working-class households with access to local crops and a way to dispose of food waste responsibly, Hello Compost and Project EATS are tackling two of the most difficult and persistent problems (excess waste and insufficient access to healthy food, a.k.a. “food deserts”) that plague the American food system. With any luck, these programs will serve as models that can be implemented throughout the country.

IS IT LEGIT?

It remains to be seen. Keller intends to use Hello Compost’s first 60-household cohort (which launches in September) as a trial run for the program. As of right now, Keller, Blenkin, and their friends at Project EATS don’t know exactly how communities will react to composting and the waste-for-credits currency system. But there’s hope in previous experiments: Keller mentioned already-established programs like CompostNow in North Carolina and the Food for Waste Programme in South Africa as inspiration.

The biggest challenge will be how to tie together the program’s many moving parts. For Hello Compost to succeed, it must create incentives for people to compost, promote the benefits of purchasing fresh produce, and connect those two activities to building a strong, healthy community. These aren’t easy tasks in the first place, and they’re compounded by challenges (such as size and expensive living costs) unique to New York City. On the bright side, Hello Compost and Project EATS are thinking ahead, which is a rarity in today’s culture of immediate gratification. All signs show that responsible waste management and local, fresh food are essential to maintaining healthy bodies and, equally importantly, a healthy planet.

Source: Greatist

That’s Outrageous! Over 24,000 Chemicals Found In Bottled Water

Which Ones of these Chemicals, Are Harming You?

German researchers have discovered endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), that could adversely affect development and reproduction, to be contained in 18 different bottled water products. Of the 24,520 suspect chemicals found to be present in bottled water, the one that showed consistent results and illustrated anti-androgenic and anti-estrogenic activity is di(2-ethylhexyl) fumarate (DEHF). Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with the hormone system, they can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, cardiovascular disorders, metabolic disorders and as mentioned earlier,  other developmental disorders.

This study comes from Martin Wagner and Jorg Oehlmann of the Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, and Michael Schlusener and Thomas Ternes of the German Federal Institute of Hydrology. They determined that bottled water could contain serious amounts of EDCs that should be a cause from concern.

Researchers used spectrometric simulation to narrow down their findings to DEHF as the only possible EDC giving rise to harmful activity. DEHF is also known as an anti-estrogenic compound, which means that another unidentified EDC must be present in the samples that showed anti-androgenic activity.

The authors employed a sensitive in vitro bioassay to characterize the total estrogenic burden leaching from plastics, including potential mixture effects and unidentified EDCs. Using a similar approach, a series of studies reported a widespread estrogenic contamination of commercially available bottled water.  Here, we combine biological and chemical analysis to identify putative steroid receptor antagonists in bottled water. Most of the products were potently antiestrogenic and antiandrogenic in the bioassays. Nontarget high-resolution mass spectrometry pointed towards maleate and fumarate isomers as promising candidates and subsequently enabled the identification of di(2-ethylhexyl) fumarate. Because its concentration is too low to explain the observed activity, other compounds must contribute. However, further maleate/fumarate isomers are not only biologically active but structurally highly similar to phthalates. Hence, we speculate these compounds might represent a novel, so far overlooked group of EDCs. An increasing number of in vitro studies reports the presence of EDCs in bottled water. With previous studies focusing on estrogenicity, the present work provides evidence for an additional contamination with steroid receptor antagonists. We detected antiestrogens and antiandrogens in the majority of analyzed bottled water products. Moreover, the antagonist activity was very potent. An equivalent of 3.75 ml bottled water inhibited estrogen and androgen receptor by up to 60 and 90 percent. Bottled water from six different countries has been found to contain estrogenic, antiestrogenic, as well as androgenic, progestagenic, and glucocorticoid-like chemicals. This demonstrates that a popular beverage is contaminated with diverse-acting EDCs.

What Can You Do?

The answer is simple, don’t drink bottled water!

Apart from that, you can purchase water filters that take out the chlorine and fluoride from your water if you choose, they aren’t that hard to find and if you do your research you can find some fairly inexpensive ones. If you’re interested, shoot us an email and we can help you out in your search. 24,000 chemicals is a lot of chemicals to be putting into your body. I’m not saying all of them are harmful, but who would want to take that chance? It’s not uncommon for us to taste some of these chemicals within the water that come from the plastic, especially if you leave the bottle in the sun for a short period of time.

Here is a very informative video that shares a lot more of what needs to be known about bottled water:

Source: CS Globe

Become A Green Driver, It’s Easy!

Vehicles are one of the most polluting entities that aids us,  even the Greenest ones pollute. From production to use, our cars degrade the world. They require mass amounts of material and energy to manufacture, and they expel carbon dioxide and fluid when they run. The drilling for oil disrupts the eco-system and the refineries pollute the air. And, even though the “Greener” vehicles are the lesser of the two evils, they still require water and energy to run. Nevertheless, our vehicles have become an almost necessity in our commute – they allow us to travel farther and quicker, and to be more efficient in our schedules and organized in our chores, and all it’s costing us is the environment. However, there are tiny practices that we can implement in our daily travels to help us lessen our footprint, below are ten.

10 Easy Ways to Be a Greener Driver:

  1. Drive safely: Avoid frequent stops and starts, speeding and acceleration – driving recklessly emits more CO2s than safe driving does.
  2. Cruise baby: Get better gas mileage by setting your cruise control on the highways.
  3. Clean your car: Remove unnecessary items from your car as the extra weight means more fuel use.
  4. Plan before you drive: Plan out your day and determine the quickest routes to get your chores done. Planning is a excellent way to save money and gas.
  5. Eco accessories: There are more sustainable options to almost all of the accessories you keep in your car. Seek out greener car matswheel coverssolar car battery chargers and natural car fresheners.
  6. Less air conditioning: Avoid using your air conditioner if possible, instead, use sun reflectors when your car is parked and roll down the windows to feel the breeze, or use solar powered car fans.
  7. Maintain your car: Use more eco friendly car oil and be certain that your engine is properly tuned and that your air filter is upgraded.
  8. Upgrade your gas sucker: Upgrade your older car to a newer one that gets better gas mileage. The greener cars are more sustainable and economical.
  9. Sell or donate your old car: There is value in old cars as many parts can be salvaged – tires can be recycled and metal components can be reused. The accessories can also be salvaged.
  10. Drive less: The best way to be a green driver is to drive less. Walk the shorter distances, car pool with your workmates or take public transportation if you can.

Source: Hug a Tree with Me

Yellowstone Takes On Another Sustainability Project

The National Park Service is tackling another Yellowstone sustainability project and seeking public input on changes to the existing energy conservation and renewable energy production systems at historic Lamar Buffalo Ranch.

Sustainable energy infrastructure improvements at the ranch are being proposed to conserve energy and water, reduce waste, replace and expand the existing photovoltaic (solar energy) system including storage batteries and related control equipment, and to install a new micro hydro turbine. Energy monitoring equipment would also be installed to monitor energy use and provide information for education purposes. The project will also provide for the ability to explore additional renewable energy technologies in the future.

The Lamar Buffalo Ranch is located approximately 10 miles from the nearest electric service and the existing solar energy system was installed in 1996.  Many of the components are at the end of their useful life and buildings are not energy efficient.  This project would increase the renewable energy available for use at the ranch and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the current fossil fuel-powered generator currently in operation. The project would also create a model for off-grid environmental stewardship and education in Yellowstone National Park.

Though frequently overlooked, the Lamar Buffalo Ranch is one of the oldest and most historic areas in Yellowstone National Park. The Lamar Buffalo Ranch Historic District consists of five structures including a barn, two residences, a bunkhouse, and corral constructed between 1915 and the 1930s. It began life as a stagecoach stop between Cooke City and Gardiner, and converted in 1907 to house the remaining Yellowstone bison herd — all 28 of them — and remained in that use until 1955. The building were constructed in 1915 and the 1930s (the bunkhouse was built at Soda Butte and moved in 1938. The facility is currently used by the Yellowstone Association for programs.

An EA will be prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).  Comments may be submitted on the NPS’ Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) Web site at parkplanning.nps.gov/LamarEA.  They may also be hand-delivered during normal business hours to the Mailroom in the park’s Administration Building in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, or mailed to: Compliance Office Attn: Lamar Buffalo Ranch Sustainable Energy EA, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY, 82190.  Comments will not be accepted by fax, e-mail, or in any other way than those specified above.  All comments must be received by midnight MDT, May 9, 2014.

Source: Yellowstone Insider

Hacks For a More Sustainable And Fun City!

Sometimes all it takes is imagination, some stealth, and a little elbow grease to turn the mundane into something playful. Rotten Apple, an anonymous art project based in New York City, turns ordinary and forgotten city objects into usable, sustainable mini-hacks. Here’s how they describe where they land:

rotten_apple_PRACTICE_720

Rotten Apple

So, how does that look on the ground? They added a seat on a hinge to a bicycle rack for a pop-down chair:

rottenapple_bikeSEAT4_720

Rotten Apple

They turned a forgotten newspaper kiosk into a cold weather clothing bank:

cold_2

Rotten Apple

And they left instructions on how to make a functional composting bin out of wood pallets left lying on the street:

pallet_2_720

Rotten Apple

Although we don’t know who is behind Rotten Apple (the NYPD might not look too kindly upon mini chalkboards in subway stations or chessboards on fire hydrants), they do draw inspiration from eco-designer Victor Papanek, whose quote is included on their website:

Design, if it is to be ecologically responsible and socially responsive, must be revolutionary and radical in the truest sense. It must dedicate itself to … maximum diversity with minimum inventory … or doing the most with the least.

Head over to the Rotten Apple site for more inspiration, including traffic cone planters and urban hammocks.

Source: Grist