Just a quick follow-up to a post I wrote at the end of January. I received word from Peter Schmalfeldt (president) today that Gigoit is now officially available in Canada and the UK (was only available in US previously)!
Not surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be all that much available in Canada at the moment, but I suspect that as word gets out and people sign up it will grow quite quickly.
I definitely can see myself preferring Gigoit over Freecycle – I made the mistake of signing up for Freecycle email notifications and ended up utterly annoyed with all the emails (although it was at least heartwarming to see so much ‘freecyling’ going on in my region). I also didn’t find the user interface all that much fun to work with.
That being said, I think both these services are fantastic and I really hope to see more people using them in coming months and years!
I realized on the weekend that I had completely forgotten about our one year anniversary on the 18th! Doh!!
It’s pretty ironic (yet strangely fitting) that our birthday week would be one of the slowest weeks on the blog this year! Things have continued to be very busy for Steve and myself and it’s become increasingly difficult to make time for EcoSherpa.
That being said, the show must go on, and I am still commited to getting at least something new up each week.
In hindsight, I am so glad we started this blog, even given the fact that we haven’t been able to devote enough time to it. All in all, it’s been a really eye-opening experience. For starters, it has really helped to raise my awareness-of, and commitment-to the green movement. There are certainly still plenty of areas I need to improve upon in my own life, but the important thing is that ball is rolling and quite a lot of progress has been made already.
Aside from learning a lot more about environmental matters, I’ve also had the good fortune of getting know some really cool people as well. Speaking of which, it’s been awhile since I’ve sent some ‘link love’ out to my green friends, and this post provides me with a prime opportunity to do so.
Here is a small handful of the individuals who have helped to make me feel much more welcome in the green blogoshpere:
Jeff McIntire-Strasburg – One of the first, and quite possibly the friendliest greenie I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Jeff of course is very well known (and well-liked) in green circles. His original claim to enviro-fame was Sustainablog, but he has certainly made his mark in numerous other ways in the green blogoshpere (and in the green community in general) over the years.
Speaking of Sustainablog – I’m very happy to report that it is back in action! Jeff took some time away in order to focus his energies on another major eco-endeavour, Green Options (more on that in a minute), but has decided to dust off the cobwebs and get things rolling once more.
Shea Gunther – Another friendly guy with a passion for all things green (oh, and good pirate jokes too). As most people know by now, Shea teamed up with David Anderson (bringing Jeff onboard shortly thereafter) to create Green Options. I was actually a member of the beta testing team and have been blown away with their progress on all fronts since their launch in February!
Chris Baskind – Someone who could definitely give Jeff a run for his money in a “friendliest green guy on the web” contest is Chris Baskind – the brains behind Lighter Footstep. I’ve been meaning to give Chris a ‘shout-out’ for quite some time now, and in fact have attempted to corner him for an interview on a couple of occasions. Unfortunately he is extremely busy, and if you check out his website you will see why! Lighter Footstep has only been around since January (or February), but evolved very quickly into an awesome green resource site. Chris certainly epitomizes the term “jack of all trades” with his web development, design, research/writing, and overall marketing prowess.
Chris recently launched his latest project, EcoTumble, a fun green “tumblelog” that already seems to gaining a serious following in green community. Be sure to check it out!
Franke James – Definitely one of my favourite greenies on the web (and not just because she is a fellow Canadian! haha), Franke has wowed me with her visual essays and her overall passion for green change. I was very proud when I learned about how she took a stand against the city of North York when they told her she could not install a ‘green driveway’. The fact that she won the battle relatively quickly should serve as a reminder to us all that one person can indeed make a difference, especially in this day and age!
Apart from making new friends, EcoSherpa has certainly given us a decent opportunity to practice our writing skills – something I’m definitely grateful for. I’ve always considered myself to be much better suited as an editor than a writer, but I feel like my writing ability has improved somewhat (I find it easier anyway) and hopefully with further practice it will continue to get better.
Between the two of us we’ve managed to publish close to 370 blog posts. I’m actually quite shocked by that figure since it works about to approximately 1 post per day – not too shabby, especially given how busy we’ve been! Hopefully we’ll see that number double (at least) by the time we reach our second anniversary!
I just wanted to pop by and provide a bit of a Terracycle Challenge update for this week. We’ve (surprisingly) had a decent amount of rain since I started a little over a week ago, so today is actually the first time I’ve even had to water the plants (and since I’m going with a roughly 1-week Terracycle addition schedule, it worked out quite well).
If things stay fairly dry, and as the plants become more demanding, I’m sure I’ll need to water much more frequently (but will still only apply Terracycle once a week).
I’m definitely starting to see some noticeable differences amongst the various treatments. The control started off strong but is no longer looking as robust as some of the others. I can’t say I’m surprised to see all the MG treatments doing well. Worm compost and Terracycle on their own are not doing particularly well. In fact the worm compost treatment is the smallest plant of the bunch! It may not have been quite as ‘ready’ as I had hoped. I will definitely be interested to see how that plant fares over the long haul.
Sorry I haven’t included more photos. I definitely want to devote a section of our flikr gallery to the challenge. Once I get a bunch of photos up I will let you know.
The Terracycle Challenge Jr edition seems to be going well. I’m definitely glad I opted for multiple reps for that one – allready seeing a decent amount of variability amongst the members of each treatment. In general, the bean plants seem to be doing fairly well across the board. Given the fact that it’s a legume (ie. creates it’s own source of nitrogen), I imagine the most noticeable differences will occur later once the demand for other nutrients (such as phosphorus) becomes greater.
Something just occurred to me – I totally forgot to set up a water control for that experiment! Man, I’m such a dunce! Oh well, what can ya do?
Anyway, hopefully I’ll have time for a more interesting update next week (plus photos), not to mention some other EcoSherpa posts. Sorry for the drought in that department!
I just caught an interesting comment on my Water-Smart Gardening article this morning. It was from Derek Lippert, owner of ‘Naturally Maintained‘, a local landscaping company dedicated to providing environmentally friendly landscape solutions in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge (Tri-city) area.
Here is what Derek had to say in his comment:
I started Naturally Maintained in 1999 with the primary focus of installing and promoting lawn alternative landscapes. At the time it was a fairly hard sell, with people saying ‘lawn what?’ Nowadays the lawn alternative is becoming nearly as popular as the lawn itself. With many options and styles to choose from it’s likely that a lawn alternative can be designed for nearly everyone’s taste. We’ve put in demonstration gardens for the Region of Waterloo and have eliminated lawns from 100’s of homes throughout the tri-cities. I’m at a point now where it’s hard to keep up with the demand.
I’m really excited to hear that these alternative landscaping ideas are really taking off! It sounds as though Derek doesn’t need the business, but I figured I might as well see if we can help him round up some more! (sorry, Derek! haha)
I totally love the look of the Naturally Maintained website – very simple and clean, but also full of life (great images and designs). Even if you don’t live in the Tricity area I highly recommend you check it out. The gallery section alone is definitely worth it! Certainly puts my landscaping efforts to shame! haha!
I see Derek offers installations of Eco-Lawn (I wrote a post about it recently) – cool! I’ll have to ask him about that (since I’ve been hoping to find someone who has experience with it).
If you happen to live in the K-W or Cambridge are and are looking for lawn-alternatives or other eco-friendly garden ideas, I highly recommend you check out Naturally Maintained (follow link at beginning of article).
One other thing I should mention. After hearing from Derek, I suddenly had a brainwave (happens once in awhile)! I think it would be really fun to dedicate a page to green businesses in Waterloo Region (perhaps even Southwestern Ontario in general).
I always love hearing about any that are close by, and I think it would be a great way to inform people in the region about green alternatives.
Anyway, I’ll think on that a little more and let you know what I decide to do!
Well I finally squeezed in some time for EcoSherpa this week, and my activites revolved around getting our Terracycle Challenge officially rolling.
Our sunflowers were all ready to go (enough for 1 per treatment), my worm compost was ready, and the stars and the moon were aligned just right – no stopping us now!
I felt kinda bad though – quite a few baby worms had hatched in the worm compost. I tried to move as many as I could over to one of my active indoor bins. The rest, along with plenty of springtails will simply have to make do with their new environment (in the plant pots).
One change to methodology I should mention – just so you know, I’m now back using fertlizer sticks NOT liquid fertilizer (sorry for the flip-flopping). They are still MiracleGro though. This will make things so much easier since I won’t have to mix anything. Each MG pot gets one stick.
Today every pot received 300 ml of either rainwater or Terracycle (depending on treatment). All treatments will now only receive water until it’s time for our next round of TC (will likely use it once per week as suggested on bottle).
I also kickstarted my second TC Challenge, which I’ll be referring to as “Terracycle Challenge Jr”. Kinda ironic that I would belittle it like that, since it’s actually much more of a scientific experiment than the main challenge. I have 3 reps for each of the 3 treatments I’m testing (MiracleGro, Terracycle, and Worm Compost).
I’m using green beans for this one since they grow very quickly and…well…I love eating green beans!
It’s not technically ‘Day 0′ for this challenge though – I decided to hold off on watering today since the peat pellets they were grown in were soaked this morning. I will start the actually watering them (and Terracycling them) tomorrow.
I’m aiming to provide updates for the challenges at least once or twice a week! Stay tuned!
We recently received a friendly e-mail from Daren McLean, Graphics Director for Quantum Shift TV, letting us know about the site and their latest video (which you can watch above).
Things have been really busy lately (as per usual), but I made sure to spend some time on the site this week to see what they are all about. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the site before, but I suspect it ended up on the list of “I’ll have to go back to that one” sites that invariably just end up forgotten.
Anyway, I’m definitey glad Daren got in touch – the site looks to be jam-packed with interesting videos and information! I highly recommend you check it out! (follow the link under the video)
Perhaps you’ll even want to upload your own videos while you’re there.
Here is a little more info from the site:
Quantum Shift TV is an innovative news and entertainment TV station with leading edge technology, citizen journalism, creative and entertaining packaging, and positive, stimulating and inspiring content.
We will highlight the stories of:
Human cooperation and survival
Solutions to combat global warming
The positive impact of aid workers around the world
Perspectives and contributions of philanthropists
Corporate social responsibility progress
Environmental improvements and breakthroughs
And all other stories about those making a positive difference on this planet
We aren’t sugar-coating the news here – on the contrary, we want to talk about the hard-hitting issues of the day too – we just want to offer inspiration and solutions instead of sensationalistic scare tactics and get the public involved in telling their own stories.
As I discussed in our summer newsletter, our “Terracycle Challenge” is underway. If you have absolutely no clue what I’m talking about, be sure to check out my original post: Terracycle Challenge.
As you can see in the picture above, we are making some progress – but as you can also see, we’ve run into a bit of a situation with one of our pots! I had hoped that by putting two seeds in each pot I’d greatly increase our chances of having at least one test plant for each treatment (of course, if I had started with a lot more seeds I definitely would have planted more than two in each pot).
Unfortunately some local bird hooligans had other ideas and decided to munch on both seedlings as they emerged from one of my pots. I had one other casualty, but luckily there is still another plant left in that pot.
In hindsight of course I wish I had purchased a lot more sunflower seeds (unfortunately I still was not sure what type of plants I was going to use for the challenge), but oh well! I could track down another package of the same type of seeds, but I’m not sure I’ll have time this week and the other plants are already well on there way.
I’ll either transplant one of my other seedlings (most likely) or get rid of one of my treatments (don’t want to do this).
I should also mention that I am going to setting up a similar experiment using different plants in the near future. While it can’t be considered at second repetition (since different plants are being used), it will still be interesting to see if we have similar results.
Back to our current challenge…
Once the second set of leaves (first set of ‘real’ leaves) emerges I will start ‘Phase 2′ of the experiment. Each pot will become a distinct treatment, and various fertilizers and amendments will be added accordingly. It just occurred to me that I’ll need to make sure we only have one plant per pot at that point so there isn’t any uneven allocation of resources (2 plants sharing resources obviously won’t grow as well as a single plant).
Anyway, you can expect to see another update before too long!