Eco Tips

 

The season for all things pumpkin has arrived, and many of us in America will make (or at least eat ) a pumpkin pie this autumn. But what to do with all the leftover pumpkin after Halloween and Thanksgiving have passed? Did you know that pumpkin can be used to make all-natural beauty products your skin will love just as much as your stomach? For about the same price as a commercial bottle of body scrub (around $10), you can make an effective, deliciously scented natural scrub that has no harmful parabens or preservatives in about 45 minutes. In addition to making a great personal beauty product, jarred pumpkin body scrub decorated with a ribbon and personalized tag also makes a great homemade holiday present.

 

INGREDIENTS:  1 small pumpkin • 1 cup brown sugar • ¼ cup organic coconut oil (other oils can be used, but coconut oil is thicker than others at room temperature) • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spices (I combined cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger)

 

DIRECTIONS: Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds (but save them to roast!). • Roast pumpkin for 30 minutes or until tender. Canned pumpkin puree can also be used, but I prefer fresh. • Scoop the pumpkin puree into a bowl and add the sugar, oil and spices. • Mix well and jar. You now have a great exfoliant that smells just like pumpkin pie!   –Holly Young

 

Homemade Fertilizer

 

Home gardening is becoming increasingly popular as we learn more and more about the dangers of genetically modified foods. But did you know that many commercial fertilizers are made from ammonia, which is extracted from natural gas, or that the extraction process releases carbon dioxide? Even worse, nitrates in these fertilizers can harm humans and marine mammals by seeping into groundwater, and ultimately deplete the soil’s nutrients.

 

Fortunately, most of us have the basic ingredients needed to make homemade fertilizer sitting around the house, including dried coffee grounds and unused vegetable matter, which can be used to create compost. But one of the best tricks for all-natural homemade fertilizer is to use ground up egg shells, which consist primarily of calcium carbonate (or, in fertilizer terms, lime). In addition to the calcium carbonate, egg shells also contain small amounts of nitrogen, phosphoric acid and other nutrients.

 

To use them, simply save your egg shells by storing them in a pot in a dry place such as the oven. Once they have dried out, blend the shells into a powder, which can then be sprinkled on your lawn, garden or potted plants. If your plants are frequented by snails, jagged shell pieces can be scattered in a border around your plants to ward off hungry snails. Soon, you won’t just be making your garden grow, you’ll be making it greener as well!  –Holly Young

If you liked Homemade Fertilizer, then you may also like:

GO GREEN TIP #91: Attract Birds To Your Garden

GO GREEN TIP #86: Mushroom Growing Guide

GO GREEN TIP #71: How To Create Eco Gardens

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How to Conserve Energy & Beat The Summer Heat

So, is it hot enough for ya? I’m not sure what the summer temperatures have been like in your neck of the woods, but in Atlanta the “dog days” have been so bad, they’d send Florence + the Machine running back to England. As of August 8, our hometown had reached temps of over 90º F during 6 days in May, 24 in June, 27 in July, and 6 in August. On 12 of those days, temps hit 95º or above! Using the AC is a must, but there are many eco-friendly ways to cut down on energy consumption while keeping your cool. Here are few of our favorites:
• BECOME A FAN FAN- Ceiling fans can create a killer breeze, or simply circulate the air from your AC more efficiently. Make sure you buy Energy Starfans, which use 50% less energy than comparable models.
CLOSE YOUR WINDOWS- In addition to thwarting peeping toms, closing your windows, shades and blinds keeps the sun from turning your room into something Dante might have dreamed up. When night falls, you can open the ones oriented toward prevailing winds to catch the cool cross-breeze.
• INSTALL ATTIC INSULATION-  Insulation keeps the air in your crib from escaping through the ceiling, so it can benefit your energy costs year-round. Make sure you seal the ducts around the vents and registers, where we can lose up to 20% of our cooled air. You can also get a tax credit worth 10% of the cost of materials, up to $500.
• PLANT A TREE- Shield yourself from the brutal heat of the sun by planting deciduous trees on the east and west sides of your home. The broad leaves will provide shade in summer, while allowing warmth to shine through in the winter.
TURN IT OFF- Incandescent light bulbs create as much heat as they do light, and home electronics stay hot even when they’re on standby. Shut ‘em off to save energy and cool things down a notch, and consider replacing old bulbs with Energy Star bulbs, which produce 75% less heat.  –Bret Love

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Apartment Gardening

Container Garden by Shakespeare via Creative Commons

 Apartment Gardening For Wildlife

Love to garden, but don’t feel like you have enough space? Here are some simple steps for apartment gardening that can help turn even small-scale deck or patio garden into a wildlife haven beneficial to local birds, butterflies and other creatures.

 

• PROVIDE FOOD-  A bird feeder is a great way to attract birds and provide them with food. If you live in an apartment complex with limited deck space, there are bird feeders specially designed for hanging off balconies. There are also special hooks you can use to mount conventional feeders to your deck. Hanging feeders filled with nectar are also a great way to attract hummingbirds.

 

• PROVIDE WATER-  Another integral part of your backyard haven is providing the wildlife with water. Birdbaths and watering containers are a great way to replenish our feathered friends and keep them cool in the summer heat. For homes with limited spaces, you can mount birdbaths to your balcony or deck with special hooks. You also may consider hanging a waterer from a mounted light fixture, ledge or overhang.

 

• PROVIDE SHELTER-  Container gardening is a great way to provide your wildlife visitors with shade and protection. Potted trees and shrubs will provide them with shade and cover. Fragrant flowers and herbs will also help attract butterflies and beneficial bugs. In addition to any potted flowers you have, consider choosing some native plants, which are great for local wildlife and will grow well in your environment. Ensure all pots have a hole in the bottom to encourage good drainage.   –Holly Young

If you like Apartment Gardening for Wildlife, then you may also like:

GO GREEN TIP #74 Water for Birds

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GO GREEN TIP #18: How To Dispose Of Paint & Other Household Items

How to go green in your neighborhood

How To Go Green In Your Neighborhood

Other than reading or meditating, few things are more fun without a group of friends or family… especially when that group is working towards a greater good together. That’s the idea the folks at Organic Soul promote, encouraging communities to get together to go green. And we don’t mean just organizing an organic tea party with your pals, either. We’re talking about how to go green in your neighborhood and get everyone together to change their way of thinking (and living). Here are a few ideas for getting you out of the house and into your local ecosystem, whether you’ve got a green thumb or just good intentions.

 

• Buy Local/Organic- Not only does this support the local community’s economy, but also when done on a large enough scale, it sends a pretty big message to the big-name producers (at your grocer’s) who aren’t practicing organic growing.

 

• Grow A Garden-  Don’t have enough time to prune your tomato plants on your own? Those intentions might make a bigger difference if the garden belonged to the neighborhood and everyone did their part. And just think of the potluck dinner all those fresh veggies would produce!

 

• Raise Awareness- You throw block parties every weekend. Party with a purpose next time by sharing information on local green efforts, or ways your community can play a more active role in the neighborhood’s eco vitality. Celebrate nation eco-based holidays and set goals for your community to meet once their thinking goes green!

 

• Create A Community Cleanup Day- Whether you live on the beach, near the park or along a main road, you know one stray paper cup is just the beginning of a trash pile-up. And even though picking up that one cup to do your part is a good start, imagine what you the whole neighborhood could? “Adopt” a section of your community and dedicate days to get everyone together for cleaning/upkeep.  –Jenni Williams

If you like How To Go Green In Your Neighborhood, then you may also like:

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Co-Founded by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel is an ecotourism, nature / wildlife conservation & cultural preservation magazine. More about us.

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Destinations We’ve Covered:

• AFRICA
Egypt- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Morocco- A Journey into the Atlas Mountains
South Africa- Londolozi Game Reserve Safari
South Africa- Kruger National Park
South Africa- South Africa- Zulu Memories
Tanzania- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

 
• ANTARCTICA
How To Get To Antarctica w/out Doing the Drake
The Haunting Beauty of Icebergs
Penguins of Antarctica
Taking the Polar Plunge
Top 5 Eco Attractions in Antarctica
Whales of Antarctica
 
• ASIA
India- Ranthambhore National Park
Laos- The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi
Malaysia- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Malaysia- Orangutan Conservation at Sepilok
Nepal- Hiking The Annapurna Circuit
Taiwan- Top 5 Eco Activities in Taipei
Thailand- Top 5 National Parks
 
• AUSTRALIA/OCEANIA
Australia- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Australia-Kangaroo Island
New Zealand- Kapiti Island
New Zealand- Tongariro National Park
New Zealand- Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions
Tahiti- First Impressions
Tahiti- Photo Gallery
Tahiti- Moorea 4x4 Safari Tour
Tahiti- Moorea, Tiki Village Theater
Tahiti- Pearl Diving in Bora Bora
Tahiti- Ruahatu Marine Sanctuary, Bora Bora
Tahiti- Swimming With Sharks in Bora Bora
Tonga- Eua Island Eco Activities

 

• NORTH AMERICA
CANADA
Churchill- Into the Wild of Manitoba
Churchill- Polar Bear Fight
Churchill- Polar Bear Photo Gallery
Churchill- Tundra Wildlife

UNITED STATES
America’s Best Volcanoes
AK- Denali National Park
CA- Hiking The John Muir Trail
FL- Sanibel Island Eco Activities
FL- Crystal River, Swimming with Manatees
GA- Barnsley Gardens
GA- Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta
GA- Best Christmas Light Displays
GA- Top 20 Atlanta Christmas Events
GA- Jekyll Island Eco Activities
GA- Weekend in North GA Mountains
GA- Top 5 Eco Attractions in North GA
HI- Hawaii’s Big Island
HI- Hawaiian Mythology
HI - Top 5 Kauai Nature Attractions
LA- Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday
MT- Hiking Glacier National Park
NC- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
NC- Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene
NC- Greensboro Travel Guide
NC- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
NC- Outer Banks Wild Horses
NM- Top 5 Eco Attractions
NY- Going Green in NYC
WV- Outdoor Adventures
Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone- Lamar Valley
Yellowstone- Grand Canyon & Hayden Valley
Yellowstone- Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone- Lower Geyser Basin

MEXICO
Cancun- Cancun Underwater Museum
Cancun- Mayan Museum of Archaeology
Cancun- Swimming with Whale Sharks
Riviera Maya- Monkeys, Pyramids & Pottery
Riviera Maya- Rio Secreto
Riviera Maya- Tulum & Coba
 
• CARIBBEAN