SALTEX 2014 artcile picThe schedule has been announced for the Institute of Groundsmanship’s (IOG) Ask the Expert advice centre at this year’s SALTEX (Sports Amenity & Landscape Trade Exhibition) where visitors will gain FREE sports turf management advice from the ‘best of British’ grounds  professionals.

These one-to-one sessions will offer visitors exclusive face-to-face access to industry-leading advice about all sports surfaces including football, rugby, cricket, tennis, golf and bowls.

An extensive team of industry experts will be available every day of SALTEX (2-4 September, Windsor Racecourse)  in the IOG Hub at the heart of the showground, including national manager Jason Booth and the nine regional pitch advisors from the Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme, the new £1.3 million programme funded by national governing bodies of sports, Sport England and the IOG.

In addition, the Ask the Expert programme will include a host of industry-leading groundscare practitioners.

Tuesday 2 September am

Keith Kent, head groundsman, Twickenham Stadium [] Dougie Robertson, head groundsman, West Ham United FC [] David Roberts, grounds manager, Charterhouse School [] Bury St Edmunds RUFC’s Andy Spetch, 2010 Volunteer Groundsman of the Year [] Neil Stubley, head groundsman, All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (Wimbledon) [] Chris Wood, ECB pitches consultant.

Tuesday 2 September pm

St James’ Boy School’s Stephen Fidler, IOG Toro School, College or University Sports Club Groundsman of the Year 2013 [] Lightcliffe Cricket Club’s Rod Heyhoe, 2012 Volunteer Sports Groundsman of the Year [] Nottingham University’s Susan Lawrence, 2012 Sherriff Amenity Most Promising Sportsturf Student of the Year.

Wednesday 3 September am

Darren Baldwin, grounds manager, Tottenham Hotspur FC [] Rob Bradshaw, head groundsman, One Leisure and winner of the 2013 IOG Kubota/Redexim Charterhouse Best Maintained Artificial Surface Award [] Neil Harvey, 2012 Professional Tennis Groundsman of the Year [] Kingston University’s Mike Hitt, 2012 School, College, University Sports Club Groundsman of the Year [] Iestyn John, Young IOG Board member [] Graham Kimpton,  head groundsman, The Queen’s Club [] Lee Marshallsay, interim grounds manager, Harrow School [] Ashbrooke Sport Club’s Martin Stephenson, IOG Most Promising Sportsturf Student of the Year 2103.

Wednesday 3 September pm

Steve Ascott, head groundsman, St Albans School [] Peter Craig, grounds manager, The Hurlingham Club [] Ryan Golding, head groundsman, Leeds Rugby [] Adrian Kay, head groundsman, York Racecourse [] John Ledwidge, head groundsman, Leicester City FC [] Ian Smith, sports turf & amenity consultant, St Albans School.

Thursday 4 September am

Jason Booth, national manager, Grounds & Natural Turf Improvement Programme and regional pitch advisors Andy Clarke, Rob Donnelly, Kevin Duffill, Ian Mather-Brewster, Ian Norman, Ian Powell, Tom Rowley, Len Smith and Daniel White. 

In addition, Young IOG Board directors Will Graves and Iestyn John will be on hand to advise younger visitors about career prospects and industry opportunities.

Visit www.iogsaltex.com for full details.

[] SALTEX (www.iogsaltex.com), the Sports Amenities Landscaping Trade Exhibition organised by the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) and managed by Brintex Events, will be held on 2-4 September 2014 at Windsor Racecourse, Berks. Founded in 1938, the exhibition is attended by open space professionals and volunteers who design, construct, manage and maintain the UK's outdoor facilities - from sports grounds of every type to motorway service stations, and from stately homes to local council parks and schools. They visit SALTEX to meet suppliers of the machinery, tools, vehicles, turf, soils, seeds, aggregates, artificial or natural surfaces, playgrounds, landscaping equipment, street furniture, arboriculture, horticulture, safety, security, training and education services designed to help them do their jobs as effectively as possible.

Don’t believe anything you read at Natural News

conspiracy boy in tinfoil hatLast week, Mike Adams, who calls himself the Health Ranger and runs the site Natural News, posted a truly insane article which seems to advocate violence against scientists and journalists who support genetic engineering.

I wasn’t going to write about this at first: It’s just so far out there, so beyond the fringe, that I assumed it wasn’t worth anyone’s attention. But Natural News articles pop up on my Facebook feed so frequently that I figured it might be a valuable public service to publish a post about the site for future reference.

My friends who share stories from Natural News aren’t nuts. They just don’t realize how crazy the site is. They’ll see something that aligns with a pet peeve and assume that it must have some basis in reality. (The thinking goes something like this: Aha! I knew antidepressants were bad. I should let my friends know …)

Natural News has 1.2 million followers on Facebook, and it publishes on themes that appeal to people who (like me) worry about effects of technological disruption of natural systems in our bodies and in the environment. But the site is simply not credible. It’s filled with claims that vaccines are evil, that HIV does not cause AIDS, and that Microsoft is practicing eugenics — see this Big Think post, or this Slate article, for a pseudoscience rundown.

The health-science stories have a surface-level gloss of technical language, which make them seem plausible unless you read them carefully. But if you look at some of the articles on politics it becomes a little more transparent: This is nothing but a conspiracy-theory site.

Read more: http://grist.org/food/heres-why-natural-news-is-neither/

Allow me to add a few words of my own to this subject. Conspiracy theorists have quite frequently recently been proven right, but that is not what I was actually going to stress too much.

The “Health Ranger” (good grief) also talks about microchip implants coming to the USA in the same way as they are already mandatory in the EU. This is, obviously, total baloney, as are a lot of health stories of his.

The site works on the same fear mongering principle as do so many so-called prepper sites aiming for you to buy the stuff that they and their sponsors want to market to you.

© 2014

The Earth is a Sentient Living Organism

the-earthhhContrary to the common belief that the Earth is simply a dense planet whose only function is a resource for its inhabitants, our planet is in fact a breathing, living organism. When we think of the Earth holistically, as one living entity of its own, instead of the sum of its parts, it takes on a new meaning. Our planet functions as a single organism that maintains conditions necessary for its survival.

James Lovelock published in a book in 1979 providing many useful lessons about the interaction of physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes on Earth.

Throughout history, the concept of Mother Earth has been a part of human culture in one form or another. Everybody has heard of Mother Earth, but have you ever stopped to think who (or what) Mother Earth is?


Lovelock defined Gaia as “…a complex entity involving the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and soil; the totality constituting a feedback or cybernetic system which seeks an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet.”

Through Gaia, the Earth sustains a kind of homeostasis, the maintenance of relatively constant conditions.

The truly startling component of the Gaia hypothesis is the idea that the Earth is a single living entity. This idea is certainly not new. James Hutton (1726-1797), the father of geology, once described the Earth as a kind of superorganism. And right before Lovelock, Lewis Thomas, a medical doctor and skilled writer, penned these words in his famous collection of essays, The Lives of a Cell:

“Viewed from the distance of the moon, the astonishing thing about the earth, catching the breath, is that it is alive. The photographs show the dry, pounded surface of the moon in the foreground, dry as an old bone. Aloft, floating free beneath the moist, gleaming, membrane of bright blue sky, is the rising earth, the only exuberant thing in this part of the cosmos. If you could look long enough, you would see the swirling of the great drifts of white cloud, covering and uncovering the half-hidden masses of land. If you had been looking for a very long, geologic time, you could have seen the continents themselves in motion, drifting apart on their crustal plates, held afloat by the fire beneath. It has the organized, self-contained look of a live creature, full of information, marvelously skilled in handling the sun.”

John Nelson illustrated the Breathing Earth,” (below) which are two animated GIFs he designed to visualize what a year’s worth of Earth’s seasonal transformations look like from outer space. Nelson–a data visualizer, stitched together from NASA’s website 12 cloud-free satellite photographs taken each month over the course of a year. Once the images were put together in a sequence, the mesmerizing animations showed what Nelson describes as “the annual pulse of vegetation and land ice.”

Read more: http://earthweareone.com/the-earth-is-a-sentient-living-organism-2/

Scientists Reviewed 343 Studies to see if Organic Food is Better for you. Here’s what they Found Out

article-0-14176BFF000005DC-468_634x404This settles the debate over organic foods once and for all!

Are organic foods really healthier than non-organic foods? Researchers from Newcastle University in England have reviewed and conducted meta-analysis on 343 peer-reviewed scientific studies in an effort to find out if organic foods contained greater nutritional value than conventional foods. The results will probably shock some, but will confirm what many people already knew; organic foods are indeed much healthier for human consumption than ‘conventional’ foods. Image credit: AP

The study looked at existing research that had been conducted on the differences between organic and conventional foods, finding that there were some significant variations in the nutritional value between the two.

“We carried out meta-analyses based on 343 peer-reviewed publications that indicate statistically significant and meaningful differences in composition between organic and non-organic crops/crop-based foods”

The most important difference that researchers found was that organic foods contain a much higher amount of antioxidants than conventional crops. Antioxidants prevent oxidation in the body which combats certain diseases and cancers.  An Environmental Working Group press release noted that:

“consumers who switch to organic fruits, vegetables, and cereals would get 20 to 40 percent more antioxidants. That’s the equivalent of about two extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day, with no increase in caloric intake.”

Shoppers often argue that organic foods are too pricey to purchase for an everyday diet. Well, if they contain more nutrition per serving, then the body would require less servings per meal. Logic indicates that by comparing price based on nutritional value rather than amount, shoppers can spend about the same if not less with organics.

Now the downside of eating organic foods is they contain less pesticides. Oh wait…thats right, pesticides are extremely harmful to the body! Researchers found that conventionally grown foods are three to four times more likely to contain pesticide residues. The study indicated that:

“While crops harvested from organically managed fields sometimes contain pesticide residues, the levels are usually 10-fold to 100-fold lower in organic food”

Researchers also found lower levels of the harmful heavy metal cadmium and lower levels of nitrogen, both of which are dangerous to human health. Cadmium, which is also present in cigarette smoke, can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and other bodily functions and organs. Researchers were unable to explain why there were lower levels of these toxic compounds in organic food, but it’s been speculated that the use of glyphosate (Roundup) based pesticides may induce heavy metal uptake in ‘conventional’ crops as it does in other organisms.

Read more: http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/scientists-reviewed-343-studies-to-see-if-organic-food-is-better-for-you-heres-what-they-found-out/

No walls, no classrooms: London's first forest nursery school lets kids learn in the woods

PHOTO: In this photo taken Tuesday, July 8, 2014, Hector, aged two, plays with a hammock at the "Into the Woods" outdoor children's nursery in Queen's Wood, in the Highgate area of north London. Forest schools are increasing in popularity in the United Kingdom, with many schools offering short courses for children to spend time outdoors, building dens, climbing trees and exploring. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)LONDON — In the heart of north London lies the ancient Queens Wood, a green forest hidden away in a metropolis of more than 8 million residents. The sounds of the city seem to fade away as a group of children plays in a mud kitchen, pretending to prepare food and saw wood.

These aren't toddlers on a play date — it's an unusual outdoor nursery school, the first of its kind in London, following a trend in Scandinavia, Germany and Scotland. It allows local children to learn, and let their imagination run free, completely surrounded by nature.

"I knew it would be a really great environment for him and great for him to have focused time outdoors with teachers who are trained in forest school ideology." said Zoe Slotover, as she dropped off her 2-year-old son Hector.

The "Into the Woods" nursery was opened in April by primary school teacher Emma Shaw for children from two-and-a-half to five years in age. She said the natural environment works wonders.

"Children learn through movement and from doing things," she said. "So everything is practical and hands on outside, so the learning comes a lot more naturally as we don't have to set up opportunities for them to problem solve and risk take because they are all here and they can set their own challenges, which boosts their self-esteem."

Each morning a group of children gather at the Queens Wood camp, which the nursery team prepares each morning before the children arrive. A circle of logs provides a place to gather for snacks, stories and songs. The mud kitchen provides an opportunity to make a proper mess and have a sensory experience, a rope swing provides some excitement and a challenge, and several tents are set up for naps and washing up.

Read more: http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/aaf47e49716e421087d3d60ddba29355/EU--Britain-Outdoor-School

How to Make Firebricks and Wood Stove Logs for Free!

Today we’re proud to present another DIY project from a fellow Doing the Stuff Networker. Jamie Burke repurposes all kinds of useful stuff from trash and junk. His latest project shared on our DTSN Facebook Group not only saves money, but would be very useful both now (free is always good) and after a SHTF event.

If you’d like to see more of how he and our other members are Doing the Stuff, join us on our journey to self-reliance and preparedness!

Here’s Jamie’s down and dirty tutorial…


Firebricks and Wood Stove Logs Tutorial

This process only requires: Two buckets, a drill (or stabbing weapon), piece of wood (or bottom of another bucket), kinda a custom drill bit, water. + your TRASH!

Out of all of the physical spam you receive in the mail, leaves you rake, dead foliage, paper towel rolls, paper plates, napkins, beer boxes, egg cartons, etc., etc., etc., (any biomass material you can think of) – why not turn it into useable logs for your furnace, campfire, or cooking? Just don’t use the plastic coated things.

I’ve seen ‘devices’ you can buy that makes ‘newspaper logs’, but they never seem efficient, require you to pre-shred, take way too much time and the logs are not very solid. This is a much better method and doesn’t really cost anything.

Step 1

Get two 5 gal buckets. $3 each at walmart. Drill a lot of holes in it, about 2 inches down from the lips and around 3/16 size-ish. I used a soldering iron. You can use a screw driver and stab holes all in there. Go around all the bucket and on the bottom. [Todd's note: Buckets can be had for free at bakery's and construction sites]

Read more: http://survivalsherpa.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/how-to-make-firebricks-and-wood-stove-logs-for-free/

7 ways to turn last night’s leftovers into tomorrow’s lunch

A cold slice of pizza might be inviting to some the next day, but there are better ways to use up leftovers, particularly when there’s a family to feed. Here are seven ideas to take last night’s leftovers and make delicious meals the next day.

1. Roast chicken

Roasting a whole chicken is a wonderfully economical way to get a few meals from one. Leftover chicken is great added to salads and soups for next day’s lunch or use as the basis for a delicious Mediterranean chicken wrap that the kids will love. Toss the chicken in a garlic and olive oil mixture, add any leftover grilled vegetables, wrap in a wholewheat tortilla and finish with a topping of houmous.

Roast chicken is also great for bulking out stir fries, curries and pies – throw in the kids’ favourite veg and you have a delicious dinner for the family.


2. Spaghetti and meatballs

Leftover spaghetti and meatballs can of course be eaten for lunch (in fact, some people say it’s more delicious the next day), but if you want to try something different, take leftover meatballs and make delicious (and messy) sloppy Joes. Simply serve hot meatballs mixed with leftover tomato sauce in white finger buns, sprinkle with parsley and enjoy. Be sure to keep extra napkins on hand for this one as it’s bound to get messy.


3. Mashed potato

Sometimes it can be tricky to get the portioning of mashed potatoes right. If you’re stuck with a few extra spoonfuls the day after the night before, there’s lots of things you can do with it. Bubble and squeak is a classic crowd pleaser and a great way to use up any other leftover veg you have too. Make it breakfast-worthy by serving with a poached egg.

Don’t forget too that mash is the perfect topping for a plethora of pies – whether that’s shepherd’s pie, cottage pie or fish pie. Loosen with a little milk if it needs it.


4. Cheese

Odds and ends of cheese need never end up in the bin. Combine in a pan with milk and flour to make a cheese sauce that can be used in lots of dishes likelasagne, macaroni cheese and baked potatoes. Alternatively, stick it in the freezer for future meals.


5. Bananas on the turn

Bananas that are turning black don’t make the most appetising snack, but whatever you do, don’t chuck them away! Moist, over-ripe bananas are perfect fodder for banana bread and it’s super simple to make. Serve up to the kids for a quick brekkie, or pack a few slices for emergency snacks on a day out. Alternatively, freeze your bananas-on-the-turn and use them to make delicious summer fruit smoothies.


6. Sausages

Cooked up a few too many sausages? Use them up the next day as part of a picnic or snack on a day out, or chop in half for use in super quick sandwiches for the kids. Alternatively, cooked sausages are great chopped and thrown in with tinned tomatoes and herbs for a quick and delicious pasta sauce – add chilli flakes for more adventurous tastebuds. For a quick stir fry style dish, chop up the sausages and fry with onions, peppers, green beans and any other suitable veg you have in the fridge.


7. Bread

Bread can always be frozen and stocking up on a few loaves is a great way to save a little time over the summer holidays. But if you’ve got a few slices or half a baguette going spare and the kids are already up to their ears in sarnies, bread-on-the-turn is perfect for making homemade croutons for a lunchtime salad.

Making croutons is super simple: just tear the bread into bite-size pieces and toss in a bowl with some olive oil. Spread out on a lightly oiled baking tray and bake for about five minutes or until crisp and golden.

Or, you could whip up a special breakfast of French toast for the family instead. Try our delicious recipe for Fruity French toast.


Source: Sainsbury’s http://inspiration.sainsburys-live-well-for-less.co.uk/

Vertical Gardening Tips

Grow more, save space, and harvest with ease by using these basic techniques for vertical gardening.

118-084-01-im1A few years back I was leading an old friend through my garden, all the while bemoaning my lack of growing space, when he suddenly interrupted me and asked, "Why do people build skyscrapers?" What this had to do with my overcrowded garden, I hadn't a clue. "So they can cram a lot of people into a place without using up much ground room?" I ventured.

"Exactly. Sort of like your garden, wouldn't you say? You've got acres of unused space—in the air."

My friend was right. The extra room I needed was literally right in front of my eyes. I started "growing up" and soon found that vertical gardening has many benefits. It increases yields: Most climbing vegetable varieties bear heavier and longer than bush types. By providing better aeration, it can reduce disease. In one study, North Carolina State University researchers found that trellised cucumbers (which also had the bottom foot of foliage pruned) produced much healthier plants, and twice as many fruits, as untrellised vines. Vertical growing also creates cooler microclimates for understory crops. And it adds visual appeal to the overall garden.

One more thing: Most bush varieties were bred from climbing ones, and many growers think the original climbing cultivars have better, old-fashioned flavor. As a seed-saver friend of mine once put it, "Why stoop to pick inferior-tasting peas?"

Of course, short varieties do offer some conveniences. Since those bush beans, dwarf tomatoes and other determinate varieties cease growing at a set height, they're often able to stand on their own. And they bear all at once rather than over an extended period. But to my mind, the benefits of trellising crops are well worth the efforts.

Best Trellis Supports

For plants to grow up a trellis or other support, you first have to build it. Most have two parts—the main structural framing and some form of internal netting.

Some common supports are wood posts, metal stakes and thick-walled rigid PVC pipe. Rot-resistant black locust, cedar and redwood all make long-lasting wooden posts, but almost any sapling tree trunks (three to five inches in diameter) will give several years of service—more if brought inside for the winter. Treated posts are also available commercially. For each post, dig a two-foot-deep hole (a posthole digger is the best tool for this job), set the support in place, and tamp the dirt around it with a stout pole or rod. Horizontal slats nailed to the underground portion of these posts will add extra stability in sandy soil.

Don't forget bamboo. This grass is unbelievably strong, yet its hollow chambers give it great rot resistance and light weight. If you have a place where it can spread (and it will), consider planting your own patch of this versatile, free building material.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/vertical-gardening-zmaz89jazsto.aspx#axzz38JcKiYUh

Natural-terrain schoolyards reduce children’s stress, says CU-Boulder study

green schoolyardsPlaying in schoolyards that feature natural habitats and trees and not just asphalt and recreation equipment reduces children’s stress and inattention, according to a University of Colorado Boulder study.

Working on class assignments or gardening in such settings also provide stress-reducing benefits for youth, according to a paper published in the journal Health & Place. The study is one of the first of its kind to focus on the relationship between student access to green settings and stress.

“Many schools already offer stress management programs, but they’re about teaching individuals how to deal with stress instead of creating stress-reducing environments,” said Louise Chawla, CU-Boulder professor of environmental design and lead author of the study. “Schools are where children spend a major part of their life hours, so it’s an important place to look at for integrating daily contact with the natural world because of the many benefits it brings.”

Natural-terrain schoolyards -- with dirt, scrub oak and water features, for example -- foster supportive relationships and feelings of competence, the researchers found.

Combination schoolyards that have at least some natural-habitat landscaping, even if they include built structures as well, can have positive impacts on children, said Chawla, who also is the director of CU-Boulder’s Children, Youth and Environments Center.

Co-authors of the paper included three former doctoral students: Kelly Keena and Illène Pevec, both who were at the University of Colorado Denver; and Emily Stanley, who was at Antioch University New England in Keene, N.H.

For the study, a variety of settings were observed including elementary-school students’ recess in wooded and built areas; fourth- through sixth-grade students’ use of a natural habitat for science and writing lessons; and high school students’ gardening for volunteerism, required school service or coursework.

The sites were located at a private elementary school in Baltimore that serves children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities; a public elementary school in suburban Denver with students from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds; and four public and private entities for teenagers -- a college preparatory school, a public high school, an alternative school and an afterschool program -- throughout Colorado.

Together the researchers logged more than 1,200 hours of observation. They interviewed students, teachers, parents and alumni and coded keywords from the interviews for their findings, among other methods.

Over three school years at the Baltimore elementary school recess site, 96 percent of students in the first through fourth grades chose to play in the woods when they had the option of heading either there, to a playground or to an athletic field. In the woods, the younger children freely engaged in exploratory and sensory-based activities. The older children cooperatively organized activities like building forts and trading found objects.

Teachers at the Baltimore elementary school reported that the students returned from recess with longer attention spans. Some parents said the experience was empowering and critical to their child’s well-being and social and emotional balance.

Students at the Denver elementary school, who completed assignments in a natural habitat, found the process to be an escape from stress in the classroom and at home, according to the study. Twenty-five percent of the students spontaneously described the green area as “peaceful” or “calm.”

There also were anecdotal observations at the Denver school. In one case for example, a group of menacing schoolmates were unable to provoke a student in the green space whose temper normally was quick to escalate, according to the author.

“In more than 700 hours of observations at the Denver school’s green outdoor space, zero uncivil behaviors were observed,” said Chawla. “But there were many incidences of arguments and rudeness indoors, as there are at many schools.”

Among the teenage participants throughout Colorado who gardened, 46 percent referred to calm, peace and relaxation in addition to other positive descriptors when reflecting on their experiences. They also gave four main reasons for their favorable reactions: being outdoors in fresh air; feeling connected to a natural living system; successfully caring for living things; and having time for quiet self-reflection.

For schools that are interested in providing natural habitats for students but only have built outdoor spaces, Chawla suggests tearing out some areas of asphalt or creating joint-use agreements with city parks and open space.

“Schools are really prime sites for an ecological model of health and for building access to nature into part of the school routine as a health measure,” said Chawla.

Source: CU-Boulder media relations

9 reasons to try canning this summer

From reducing waste and saving money to preserving seasonal produce, there are many reasons why traditional canning is making a comeback.

homemade_dill_pickles.jpg.662x0_q100_crop-scaleCanning, whether it’s making fruit jam or pickling vegetables, gives me a lot of satisfaction. The more I do, the easier and more efficient it gets. Recently, my grandmother lamented that canning is a dying art, but I disagreed and told her that I think more people are starting to see the value in processing seasonal produce to enjoy all year round. Here are some of the reasons why I think a growing number of people are incorporating canning into their summer routines.

1. Canning is almost zero-waste

You can reuse the same glass jars and screw lids year after year. The only new item needed is snap-lids, since you must have a fresh, new seal in order to keep the food properly preserved.

2. Canning is a way to preserve the freshest local produce

Fruits and vegetables are always best when eaten in their proper season, and canning enables you to keep that wonderful taste of early summer strawberries and late summer peaches to enjoy in the middle of winter. Nothing at the supermarket can compare.

3. Canning at home allows you to keep additives out of your food

When you can at home, you know exactly what’s going into those jars. Most recipes require minimal ingredients – just fruit, sugar, and lemon for jams, and vinegar, salt, and spices for pickles. You won’t need to worry about extra sodium or unrecognizable ingredients or BPA in store-bought cans.

4. Canning teaches kids about where their food comes from

Many kids think that food just comes from the supermarket. Explain to them how the seasons work, and how certain foods grow and ripen naturally at particular times of the year. Take them to pick fruit, which is a fun family activity.

Read more: http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/9-reasons-try-canning-summer.html

Stop the Violence Within

Never speak badly about yourself.

It’s a simple statement, one many of us would agree with in concept. But do you follow it’s advice? Probably not. Because our inner critic speaks to us in a voice so familiar we rarely notice it’s presence.

Recently, I had a friend say out loud with absolute conviction: “God, I’m such a (expletive) idiot.” She said this more than once, and I was taken back to my childhood where this type of mental patterning was more commonly accepted. I used to say this out loud to myself all the time. Now, I just say it internally.

If we want to be free and happy, we cannot afford the luxury of negative thinking. It’s been years since I’ve allowed myself such overt and out loud negative mental patterning, but hearing my friend say it reminded me of just how insidious verbal self abuse can be. It’s the proverbial pink elephant in the room, but it’s an internal room that only we can see, so detecting the problem can be a challenge unto itself.

Many of us desire to create excellent, adventurous lives. But without our even knowing it, we could be sabotaging our plans. This got my direct attention recently when I had one of those “cranky” days (that’s code for bitchy and depressed.) I was out of sorts and nothing seemed to be going right.

I wondered: When I am in this foul humor, what is really playing out? In this cranky state, I find my old negative mental pattern comes charging through, but now it’s more subtle than my childhood. I find I give myself a hard time. I find that I become a really judgmental guy, and that this judgment is particularly harsh. In fact, as I sit with it and try to understand it more, it all boils down to this: I am simply being mentally violent, and violence is never, ever good.

Given that I am much more comfortable in my role as a lover of peace, these moments of being in a foul humor really shake me up. I am reminded of Gandhi who lived with two great goals: living truthfully (Satya Graha), and living in non violence (Ahimsa).

Read more: http://spiritualityhealth.com/blog/will-donnelly/stop-violence-within

Study Finds Elementary Students Like New Healthier Lunches

Students Complained When Regulations Implemented, But Ultimately Found Them Agreeable

When the federal government implemented new school-meal regulations in 2012, a majority of elementary-school students complained about the healthier lunches, but by the end of the school year most found the food agreeable, according to survey results released Monday.

The peer-reviewed study comes amid concerns that the regulations led schools to throw away more uneaten food and prompted some students to drop out of meal programs.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago surveyed administrators at more than 500 primary schools about student reaction to the new meals in the 2012-2013 school year. They found that 70% agreed or strongly agreed that students, by the end of the school year, generally liked the new lunches, which feature more whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and lower fat levels.

"We feel like these data support the new meals and show that although change can be slow, there have not been as many student complaints as thought to be," said Lindsey Turner, the lead author of the study, which will be published in the journal Childhood Obesity. The research was supported by a national group called Bridging the Gap that studies policies that improve health and was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which backs public-health initiatives.

In another study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine this past spring, researchers found that students were eating more fruits and vegetables under the new guidelines.

The school-meal standards have been contentious. Some Republicans criticized their calorie limits—the first time the government had imposed such a mandate on school meals—and in 2012 introduced legislation in the House to repeal the requirements. The standards also spurred student-led lunch boycotts in some districts.

Participation in the school-meal program has declined in recent years, fueling questions about the regulations' impact.

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/articles/study-finds-elementary-students-like-new-healthier-lunches-1405962033

Breaking the Grip of the Fossil Fuel Economy: If It Can Happen in Appalachia, It Can Happen Anywhere

Coal production is gradually leaving Appalachia—having already extracted much of the region's natural wealth. Local people are figuring out how to build a new economy based on shared vision and community knowledge. If transition can happen here, it can change the debate everywhere.

Benham, Kentucky photo courtesy of Appalachian Transition FellowsBenham, Ky., in the heart of Harlan County, is a quiet place with a proud sign that has been amended over time to read, "Benham, the little town that International Harvester, coal miners and their families built."

International Harvester, a farm-equipment conglomerate created by industrial speculator J.P. Morgan, bought up Benham’s land and mineral rights soon after the turn of the century in order to supply Wisconsin steelworks with Appalachia's high-quality coal.

All at once, a trappers' and hunters' hamlet became a churning coal-camp town. International Harvester designed the streets, built the houses, attracted the workers, and ran the coal north by rail. Miners were paid good wages when there was work (especially later, when workers were unionized), but most of the workers' cash went straight back to International Harvester—which owned the two-story department store, the cinema, the hospital, the power company, and every significant business in town.

"The people who agreed to spend their days digging coal from the underside of mountains produced enough power to industrialize the nation: They're owed something back."

Half a century later, new machines took miners' jobs and new technology enabled customers to burn cheaper coal. IH started laying off miners and selling its properties, taking its profits with it—as it had the coal.

Between 1960 and 2012, Harlan County shrank from more than 51,000 residents to fewer than 30,000. Benham's population (now under 500) set about building a new economy.

Read more: http://www.yesmagazine.org/commonomics/appalachia-s-post-coal-economy

Waking Up Gently to Save the World

It’s exciting to see sleep getting some well-deserved publicity lately for the important role it plays in overall life balance, physical, emotional and spiritual. From Fortune 500 CEOs to neuroscientists, major media outlets to bloggers, sources of all kinds are urging us to prioritize sleep as a pathway to success and wellness.

In his absolutely game-changing new book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown speaks about cultivating the “wisdom to sleep”. Yes, the wisdom. I appreciate that concept, especially in the face of so much foolish pressure I’ve seen in activist circles to sacrifice sleep in order to push on and ‘get the job done’. (Incidentally, the wisdom to sleep, along with space to think, time to look and listen, permission to play and discipline to apply highly selective criteria in making choices, are McKeown’s pillars for becoming an essentialist.  He says:  “By applying a more selective criteria for what is essential, the pursuit of less allows us to regain control of our own choices so we can channel our time, energy and effort into making the highest possible contribution toward the goals and activities that matter.”

I’ve realized lately that it’s not just about getting enough sleep, but also about how we move out of sleep and into our day. So I hope you’ll join me in building hype and momentum for an essential and burgeoning movement in favor of waking up gently . I know that by waking up gently we can cultivate more joy, more peace, reduce anxiety, and have more energy to make that essential contribution towards what really matters.

Imagine waking to the sound of birds or laughter slowly increasing in volume. Yes, there’s an app for that. Or waking up after a dream cycle has completed, rather than being jarred awake while in the middle of one. Yep, there’s an app for that too. Or how about waking to the sound of someone softly and playfully singing your name? I experienced this gift from the wake up team at a Youth for Environmental Sanity (YES!) retreat a number of years back. Rather than walking amongst our cabins banging on pots and pans, they serenaded us with a soothing tune, calling us awake lovingly and by name. Activists at the retreat mentioned the wake up as a highlight of the event, and many said they awoke crying tears of joy!

Read more: http://spiritualityhealth.com/blog/celia-alario/waking-gently-save-world

6 Bad Postures That Are Ruining Your Health & How To Correct Them

posturesStraighten up that back soldier! No seriously, if you are like the majority of the population, chances are you are suffering from symptoms correlated with bad posture. Catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror, it’s easy to see that I have forward neck/head posture. This is normally caused by a variation of weak neck muscles, seated job positions, incorrect sleeping positions, and prolonged computer or TV use. But other than the un-esthetic aspect of bad posture, there’s really not much to worry about right? Wrong.

Over time, poor posture takes a serious toll on your spine, shoulders, hips, and knees. In fact, it can cause a cascade of structural flaws that lead to back and joint pain, reduced flexibility, and compromised muscles, all of which limit your ability to burn fat or build strength. Worst of all, bad posture can cause nerve constriction. As the spine changes in shape, the resulting movements or subluxations can put pressure on the surrounding spinal nerves. Because the nerves that connect to the spine come from all over the body, these pinched nerves can not only cause neck and back pain but may also cause pain in other unrelated areas of the body. The following article will explore 6 common bad posture positions that many of us are making and will provide solutions to help correct these postures.

Read more: http://www.thinkinghumanity.com/2014/07/6-bad-postures-that-are-ruining-your-health-how-to-correct-them.html

9 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Dreaming

o-DREAMING-facebookThere’s a lot we still don’t understand when it comes to sleep. We know certain changes occur in the brain, and we have a few guesses as to why, but even the experts only have theories about many aspects of sleep in general and dreaming in particular.

Sleep has long been thought of as a way to process, sort and store the day’s events, and more and more research is supporting that notion. Imagine the brain as a second gut, says Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist specializing in integrative sleep and dream medicine at the University of Arizona. “At night, the brain metaphorically swallows, digests and sifts through information, and, just like the gut, eliminates,” he says. “What the brain keeps becomes a part of who we are.” Dreaming, he says, is like the brain’s digestive system.

But there’s plenty about dreaming we only think we know. Below, a few of the little-known facts and bogus myths about dreams.

We dream all night long.

You’ve probably heard that dreams only occur during rapid eye movement or REM sleep. But we’re actually constantly dreaming, says Naiman. We’re more tuned in to dreams during REM sleep, he says, but just because you don’t “see” the dream, doesn’t mean it’s not there. As the night progresses, periods of REM sleep lengthen, so the majority of our dreams occur within the latter third of the night, he says.

Insects and fish don’t have REM sleep.

Although some dreams happen outside of REM sleep, identifying rapid eye movement in other species is about as close as we can get to predicting whether those creatures dream, according to University of California researchers. But all mammals and reptiles and some birds do experience REM sleep, and therefore likely dream, according to Popular Science.

You’re less likely to remember a dream if your alarm jolts you awake.

The trauma of an alarm dragging you into the waking world can cause you to forget where you were floating just moments before. The best way to remember your dreams, says Naiman, is to allow yourself to wake up slowly, over a matter of minutes, lolling about in your grogginess. Just don’t try too hard to hold onto those fleeting images. “If you chase a dream, it’s going to run away,” he says.

People who remember their dreams show different brain activity.

A 2014 study found more spontaneous activity in a part of the brain called the temporo-parietal junction among people who regularly recall their dreams, compared with people who rarely do. The differences weren’t just during sleep, but also while study participants were awake. Previous research found that people who remember more dreams also react more to sounds during sleep (and while awake) than people who don’t remember many dreams.

Read more: http://earthweareone.com/9-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-dreaming/

Stadt der Commonisten

Neue urbane Räume des Do it yourself

9783837623673_216x1000Es ist nicht mehr zu übersehen: Eine neue Generation von Do-it-yourself-Aktivisten nutzt die postfordistische Stadt als Labor für soziale, politische, ökologische und ästhetische Experimente. Ob im Gemeinschaftsgarten oder im FabLab, ob in Offenen Werkstätten oder bei Tausch-Events – überall hinterfragen die Protagonistinnen und Protagonisten das Verhältnis von Konsum und Produktion, problematisieren den Warencharakter der Dinge und des in ihnen eingeschlossenen Wissens.
Dieser anspruchsvolle Bildband kombiniert visuelle Streifzüge durch die neuen urbanen Räume des Selbermachens mit anregenden Zeitdiagnosen. Die Beiträge veranschaulichen: Die jungen Urbanen setzen nicht auf Opposition, sondern folgen dem Bedürfnis nach »echter Demokratie«, indem sie (Atmo-)Sphären des Teilens und Tauschens schaffen. Sie praktizieren kollaborativen Konsum und bespielen den öffentlichen Raum nach Commonisten-Art.

Dies Buch kann auch als PDF unter Creative Commons Lizens frei heruntergeladen werden.

Download befindet sich auf der linken Seite unter den Bild.

Mehr hier: http://www.transcript-verlag.de/978-3-8376-2367-3/stadt-der-commonisten

Report: Chemical in foam cups might cause cancer

The National Research Council reaffirmed that styrene --The National Research Council Monday reaffirmed that styrene -- the key chemical component of foam cups and other food service items -- might cause cancer in people.

A panel of 10 experts in medicine, chemistry and toxicology used a rather stilted definition, "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen," to uphold the same finding from three years ago by the National Toxicology Program in its 12th Report on Carcinogens.

"I think it's important to keep in mind that this is a hazard assessment," said Dr. Jane Henney, who chaired the research council's committee of experts.

"Our report says this chemical could be a problem, but a full risk-assessment on dose, exposure, quantification and further characterization of the risk would need to be done before one would think about regulation in this area," added Henney, who headed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration during the Clinton administration.

Henney said her panel's conclusion -- "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen" -- means there is scientific evidence suggesting that styrene causes cancer, but that there might be "alternative explanations, such as chance, bias, or confounding factors," according to the report.

Another definition, "known to be a carcinogen," sets a much higher bar. It states overwhelming scientific evidence and leaves no element of doubt. Neither the council nor the toxicology program used that definition.

The National Toxicology Program is part of the National Institutes of Health. The National Research Council is a major policy body and division of the National Academies, which includes the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering.

Styrene is a widely used compound in resins and plastics, but is best known to the public as the polymer polystyrene, which is widely used in plastic foam products.

Read more: http://www.newsday.com/news/health/report-chemical-in-foam-cups-might-cancer-cause-1.8911237?firstfree=yes

Gloucester’s Euroflor urban meadow flower displays widely praised

Gloucester  displays of Euroflor Flanders poppies with Alliance and Hope flower mixes. www.rigbytaylor.com1GLOUCESTER City Council, working in partnership with Amey, has had great success with the planting of Euroflor urban flower meadows and World War One poppy mixes.

Now they are planning a dramatic scheme for the four-year period of centenary war commemorations, following wide praise from the public and neighbouring councils.

In the Abbey Ward area of the city, where this year’s Euroflor poppy mixes are in full bloom, Paul Sutlow, senior grounds maintenance supervisor for Amey, and his team - working in partnership with Gloucester City Council and Gloucester City Homes - have designed a fabulous garden for the public to enjoy.

The design is in keeping with the WWI theme and will be completed in three phases. During phase one, initially designed by Anthony Pyle, a grounds maintenance supervisor, there will be a number of pathways built to epitomise the trenches.

Long grass sections will signify ‘No Man’s Land’ along with a flowing brook which will symbolise the opposing trench and passage of time.

Phase two will represent the ‘Dig for Victory’ concept where native fruiting trees will be planted to form a community orchard. The plan for phase three is to plant rows of mixed native broadleaf trees alongside the fruit trees to create a woodland haven for the enjoyment of the public.

Paul Sutlow has been in Gloucester since 1976 and believes that Euroflor mixes from Rigby Taylor are saving money and have an increased impact for the public.

“We’ve had unprecedented numbers of comments about our various urban meadow plantings,” he says. “And other local authorities have taken an interest in the impact they have had.

“Urban flower mixes are low maintenance and have multiple wildlife benefits.”

Gloucester City Council and Amey initially started with sowing roundabouts in 2011. This evolved into a programme of meadows located beside the City’s primary roads, on verges and at junctions, providing maximum impact.

Andria Backhaus, Rigby Taylor local authority area sales manager, says: “We are delighted at the success Paul and his team have had. Euroflor poppy mixes have met with great success since their launch for the World War One centenary.”

DETAILS: For a Euroflor catalogue call Freefone 0800 424919.


Source: Oakfield Media


SALTEX 2014 artcile picNew topics have been added to this year’s SALTEX (Sports Amenities Landscaping Trade Exhibition) education programme on 2-4 September at Windsor Racecourse which guarantee to offer sound advice and examples of best practice to everyone involved in open space management. Industry experts will be staging panel discussions, workshops, seminars and presentations covering the challenges of turf management and maintenance, and there will be focused sessions on UK parks, pest control, arboriculture and outdoor fitness equipment.

Included in the new, comprehensive SALTEX education schedule will be an open workshop on ‘The state and future of UK parks - exploring the public benefit of parks, new ways of using the spaces and alternatives to the traditional local authority parks service model’.

Presented by The Parks Alliance and chaired by Andrew Gill, president-elect, Institute of Horticulture, the debate’s panellists will include Heritage Lottery Fund parks consultant Peter Neal, author of the report ‘State of the UK’s Public Parks’.

Also in the Grandstand at Windsor Racecourse, a ‘Question Time’ style open debate will be held on ‘The control of pests, weeds and diseases in the amenity sector’. Chaired by John Moverley, chair of the Amenity Forum, the panellists will include Will Kay, Leo de Montaignac, Paul Singleton of BASIS Registration and Nick von Westenholz of the Crop Protection Association.

A series of ‘Tree planning and establishment’ seminars will be presented by Rhoderic Taylor, consultant and Fellow of the Arboricultural Association and Julie Sadler, Arboricultural Association member, Level 3 Arboriculture Examiner and a Local Government Arboricultural Officer, planning department.

Also, the daily seminar on ‘Outdoor Fitness Equipment Safety Standards’ will highlight the developing safety standard relating to permanently installed outdoor fitness equipment. EN 16630, due to be published and adopted by the UK early 2015, will be of critical interest to everyone involved in the likely purchase of such equipment, especially local authorities, parish councils and community operations.

This session will be presented by Rob Davies, committee member of TC/136/WG26 – the European Safety Standards Committee responsible for formulating EN 16630.

Consultant Peter Corbett will talk about spraying efficacy and efficiency in a presentation sponsored by Rigby Taylor – highlighting, for example, what is needed to ensure safer and more effective use of chemicals.

In addition, trade charity Perennial will each day be presenting a seminar entitled ‘Good for you, good for business and good for employees’ with guest speakers Nigel Payne, operations director, Sodexo Horticultural Services, Richard Gardiner, director Norris & Gardiner and BALI’s chief operations officer Wayne Grills.

Perennial has an excellent track record of responding quickly and efficiently to the needs of those working in or retired in the land-based sector. The session will present how Perennial can help you to provide additional pastoral care to colleagues, helping to boost productivity and morale, and reduce absenteeism.

These activities complement the extensive series of turf-focused panel debates on a live stage and FREE Ask the Expert advice sessions with key grounds professionals taking place daily in the IOG Hub at the centre of the showground.

Visit www.iogsaltex.com for full details.

SALTEX (www.iogsaltex.com), the Sports Amenities Landscaping Trade Exhibition organised by the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) and managed by Brintex Events, will be held on 2-4 September 2014 at Windsor Racecourse, Berks. Founded in 1938, the exhibition is attended by open space professionals and volunteers who design, construct, manage and maintain the UK's outdoor facilities – from sports grounds of every type to motorway service stations, and from stately homes to local council parks and schools. They visit SALTEX to meet suppliers of the machinery, tools, vehicles, turf, soils, seeds, aggregates, artificial or natural surfaces, playgrounds, landscaping equipment, street furniture, arboriculture, horticulture, safety, security, training and education services designed to help them do their jobs as effectively as possible.

Source: Wildish Communications Ltd

Strom für kubanische Bergdörfer

Phaesun installiert autarke Solarsystemen im Rahmen des Karen e.V. Hilfsprojektes

685667Das Memminger Solarunternehmen Phaesun hat zusammen mit dem gemeinnützigen Verein Karen e.V. die Stromversorgung in zwei kubanischen Bergdörfern mittels Solartechnik sichergestellt. Die Installation von über 50 Einzelsystemen konnte im Juli 2014 fertig gestellt werden.

Im Westen Kubas herrschte 2008 ein schlimmer Orkan, der unter anderem große Zerstörungen in den Dörfern El Toro und El Brujito in den Bergen der Provinz Artemisa im Westen Kubas anrichtete. 80% der Wohnhäuser, zwei Grundschulen und Ärztehäuser wurden zerstört. Die Bewohner, die geblieben sind, haben einen Großteil der Gebäude wieder aufgebaut, jedoch sind die Ortschaften vom Stromnetz abgeschnitten und Bestrebungen der Regierung eine Stromversorgung aufzubauen bestehen nicht. Mitglieder von KarEn e.V. waren im Oktober 2012 in beiden Dörfern, um sich mit den konkreten Bedingungen vertraut zu machen. Gemeinsam mit der Firma Phaesun wurde ein Elektrifizierungsplan für jedes Gebäude erarbeitet.

In einer ersten Phase im Februar 2014 wurden die Ärztehäuser, Grundschulen und einige Wohnhäuser in El Toro mit Solarsystemen ausgestattet, die nun für Beleuchtung und Kühlung sorgen. Jürgen Grosser, Techniker bei Phaesun, beaufsichtigte die Installationen und trainierte die lokalen Techniker, sodass diese weitere Installationen für zwei Waschstützpunkte, eine Tienda und einen Dorfclub selbständig durchführen konnten.

Gerda Daenecke, Projektkoordinatorin bei KAREN e.V. berichtet: "Es war eine echte Gemeinschaftsarbeit von vier lokalen Ingenieuren, drei Mitgliedern von KarEn, dem Techniker der Lieferfirma Phaesun, unserer Dolmetscherin Irsula und vor allem der Mehrheit der Bewohner der Dörfer. Das hat uns Mut gemacht, die zweite Phase zur Elektrifizierung von El Brujito noch in diesem Jahr durchzuführen."

Somit wurden im Juni die ersten Solarsysteme im Bergdorf El Brujito installiert. Trotz der erschwerten Bedingungen aufgrund des frühen Beginns der Regenzeit konnten bereits die ersten 13 von 39 geplanten Systemen unter Anleitung des Phaesun-Technikers Großer bis Ende Juni fertig gestellt werden. Mit den autarken Solaranlagen wird das Gemeindezentrum (Gemeinschafts- und Fernsehraum, Dorfladen) sowie Privathaushalte versorgt. Die restlichen Systeme wurden nun in Eigenverantwortung vom lokalen Team fertig gestellt. Jürgen Großer zeigt sich zufrieden: "Es gibt immer unvorhersehbare Ereignisse wie frühe Regenfälle oder Probleme bei der Einfuhr! Doch mit der Flexibilität und Erfahrung des gesamten Teams konnten wir diese Probleme überwinden. Nun freuen sich die Dorfbewohner über den Strom, der den Alltag erleichtert!"

Über Karen e.V.

KarEn ist eine Nichtregierungsorganisation (NGO) mit Sitz in Berlin, ein eingetragener gemeinnütziger Verein, der im Mai 1992 mit dem Ziel gegründet wurde, in den Ländern der Karibik, in erster Linie in Kuba, aber auch in Nikaragua und inzwischen auch in Südamerika, z.B. Venezuela und Bolivien, zur Energiewende - also zur Ablösung der fossilen Brennstoffe ohne den gefährlichen Irrweg der Kernenergie - beizutragen.

Electricity for Cuban mountain villages

Phaesun installs independent solar systems in the framework of the Karen e.V. aid project

685667The solar enterprise Phaesun which is situated in Memmingen has safeguarded the solar technological power supply of two Cuban mountain villages together with the non-profit making association Karen e.V. The installation of more than 50 individual systems could be completed in July 2014.

In 2008, the west of Cuba was haunted by a terrible hurricane which caused considerable damages among others in the villages of El Toro and El Brujito located in the mountains of the district of Artemisa in the west of Cuba. 80% of the residential buildings, two elementary schools and medical centres were destroyed. The inhabitants who stayed there have rebuilt a majority of the buildings, however these localities are cut off from the power grid and the government has no ambitions to build up a power supply system. Members of Karen e.V. visited the two villages in October 2012 to acquaint themselves with the concrete conditions. Together with Phaesun, they worked out an electrification plan including all buildings.

In a first phase in February 2014, the medical centres, elementary schools and some residential buildings in El Toro were equipped with solar systems which now provide illumination and cooling. Jürgen Grosser, a Phaesun technician, supervised the installations and trained the local technicians, so they were able to carry out further installations for two laundry camps, a store and a village club independently.

Gerda Daenecke, the Karen e.V. project coordinator reports: "This was a genuine team effort made by four local engineers, three members of Karen, the delivery firm Phaesun, our translator Irsula and mainly the majority of the village inhabitants. This encouraged us to carry out the second phase of the electrification of El Brujito still this year."

So the first solar systems were installed in June in the mountain village of El Brujito. Despite the aggravated conditions due to the early start of the rainy season, the first 13 of 39 planned systems could be completed already by the end of June, supervised by Phaesun technician Jürgen Grosser. The independent solar systems supply the village hall (recreation and TV room, village store) and private households. The remaining systems were now completed with the self responsibility of the local team. Jürgen Grosser was satisfied. "There are always unforeseeable events such as early rainfalls or problems with the import! Due to the entire team's experience and flexibility, however, we could get over these problems. Now, the village inhabitants are happy with the power supply which makes daily life easier!"

About Karen e.V.

Karen e.V. is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) situated in Berlin. It is a non-profit making association which was founded in May 1992 with the goal to contribute to the energy turnaround in the Caribbean countries, mainly Cuba, but also in Nicaragua and meanwhile in South America, e.g. Venezuela and Bolivia thus replacing fossil energy sources without following the dangerous wrong track of nuclear energy.

This Grocery Store Gave "Ugly" Fruit and Veggies Their Own Aisle. Watch What Happens.

It goes without saying that people waste way too much food, and food waste comes in many different forms.

Whether we’re throwing out fully-cooked meals from restaurants daily or tossing our produce out when it gets slightly brown, it seems like we’re always inventing new ways to waste food.

A shocking 1/3 of all food produced, or 1.3 billion tons, gets lost or wasted according to one major world study, and many of the world’s “ugliest” vegetables never even make it to store shelves.

Instead, they find themselves tossed into the garbage, never to see the light of day.

One French Supermarket chain, Intermarché, has taken it upon themselves to do their part to solve this problem, however, and so far it’s been a smashing success.

Read more and watch the video: http://eatlocalgrown.com/article/13306-this-grocery-store-gave-ugly-fruit-and-veggies-their-own-aisle-watch-what-happens.html?c=nsm

6 Strategies for Urban Vegetable Gardening

Living in the city, in an apartment, or in a small space? You may not have a yard to work with, but you can still grow lots of tasty vegetables.

urban gardening containersCity living has its ecobenefits: easy travel by foot and public transit, smaller homes that use less energy, and less living space in which to accumulate needless junk. But growing your own vegetables in an urban environment can be tricky when you don’t have a backyard. "Small-space gardening isn't simple," says Charlie Nardozzi, senior horticulturist for the National Gardening Association, "but it's not as difficult as some people might think." Nardozzi says that the introduction of miniature and dwarf vegetable varieties (you can find plants in most gardening-supply stores or order seeds from reputable companies) to your urban gardening program allows even the beginning gardener to grow tasty crops without the need for tons of space and soil.

Ready to start a plot of your own? Whether you’re an urban gardener with little or no outdoor space, or simply coping with limited lot size, read up on the following six small-space gardening methods to find the one that best suits you.

Container Gardening: Thanks to the wide variety of containers now available, you can grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs with relative ease in very little space (and without the extra work of planting in straight rows or weeding big beds!). Just choose clay, plastic, or terra-cotta containers of an appropriate size to hold your plants and their root systems, add dirt and compost, and get growing. Because most vegetables need plenty of sunshine and water, one major advantage of containers is that you can manage your plants’ environment by simply moving them into and out of the sun, and by bringing them indoors during periods of extremely hot or cold temperatures. And because containers come in a variety of sizes, you can keep them just about anywhere—on balconies, window ledges, rooftops, or decks. Be sure you check the weight restrictions for balconies or rooftop spaces, though, as an abundance of containers filled with wet soil and large vegetables can be surprisingly heavy.

Raised Beds: Think that small patch of poor soil on the side of your house isn’t fit for growing weeds, let alone a vegetable garden? A raised bed might be your savior. With raised beds, you start your garden above the level of the ground, on top of poor soil or even cement. By adding your own medium in which to grow your plants (you’ll need six to eight inches of dirt and compost if growing on top of poor soil, more when starting a garden atop concrete), you control the soil quality and conditions as well as improve drainage and compaction. Raised beds can be contained on all sides by wood or stones; you can save money by using scrap and found materials, or buy a kit at a gardening store. You may even be able to get away with just piling the soil into a mound and not worrying about containing it.

Read more: http://www.rodalenews.com/urban-gardening

10 Budget-Friendly Ways to Keep Your House Cool This Summer

Slash your energy bill with these simple cooling tips.

summer cooling tipsSummer is finally here, which means beach days, barbecues, and of course, hotter temperatures. Although it can be hard to resist cranking up the air conditioner during those 90-degree plus days, here's why you might want to think twice before you do.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR program, the average homeowner spends $875 on cooling and heating costs alone.

Simple Changes
No Cost: Take advantage of your curtains! Shades and curtains will help prevent the sun from overheating your house.

No Cost:  Save money by using both a ceiling fan and air-conditioning (AC) unit. Try raising your thermostat by two degrees in combination with running a ceiling fan. This small change can lower costs by 14 percent. Turn off the fan when you leave the room.

No Cost: Raise your thermostat a few degrees (4 to 7 degrees higher) during work hours when no one will be in the house to save about $180 a year.

Low Cost: Use energy-efficient light bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs. ENERGY STAR lighting produces 70 to 90 percent less heat than incandescent bulbs.

Read more: http://www.rodalenews.com/summer-cooling-tips

13 Foods That Fight Sunburn

Soothe—or prevent—scorching sunburn with common kitchen ingredients.

The starchy compounds within potatoes may help to take the sting out of sunburns.No one sets out to get sunburned, but the pleasant distractions of summer—the long, sunny days, the beckoning beach, losing track of time in the garden—all make it easy to forget that extra coat of sunscreen, or the need to take a break in the shade. Of course, it’s best to avoid sunburn in the first place, given its ability to cause skin cancer and premature aging. Luckily, common foods in your kitchen possess sun-protection compounds to aid your current sun-protection routine. Others may not help prevent sunburn but offer surprising relief if you do accidentally catch too many rays.

Check out these natural food remedies to deal with—or prevent—summer sunburns:

1. Potatoes

Sunburn-fighting effect: Overindulging inpotatoes may be a no-no if you’re trying to lose weight, but keep a few on hand in case a sunburn strikes. The potato’s starchy compounds will help take the sting out of sunburn.

Utilize it! Cut a raw potato into slices and rub a piece on your most painful sunburned spots. For a more intensive treatment, grate a cold raw potato and apply it as a poultice.

Read more: http://www.organicgardening.com/living/13-foods-that-fight-sunburn

fair-handeln! Anstiftungen für zukunftsfähiges Handeln – Book Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Anstiftungen für zukunftsfähiges Handeln
Edited and published by Jaana Prüss
192 pages, with many illustrations, color and b/w
Softcover with flaps,
Price: 19,90 €,
ISBN 978-3-00-045409-7

fair-handeln_Buch_frontThe best translation for the title would be "acting fair" as "fair trading" would not fit even though some might translate it in that way. So, in other words “acting fair! Incitements for sustainable interactions” would be the best full English translation for it.

Talking of translations; presently the book is only available in German. However, an English translation of it is being planned, so I understand.

The book tries to give practical answers to may questions such as how is it possible to live well in today's affluent society without having to open every time the wallet in order to buy new and open the trash can regularly to throw old tings away?

What ideas and practical ways exist already with which one can participate in the far-reaching transformation process in which our western consumer societies are finding themselves in our present time?

How and where can one put something that one no longer needs at the disposal of others; how and where can one extend the use of resources? Or also: What are true values? When do I experience myself and my actions as meaningful?

Such questions and others this handbook and “participation manual” entitled “Fairhandeln! Anstiftungen für zukunftsfähiges Handeln” is trying to follow up and answer. It also presents to the reader innovative activities of the civil society – exemplary projects in which a new understanding of wealth is being lives whereby quality of live is not dependent on the amount of goods one has and owns.

Ordinary people who are doing the uncommon are given a voice in this book: lending instead of owning, do it yourself instead of buying, upcycling instead of throwing away.

Together they plant up empty spaces in the cities, keep bees, establish open workshops, Repair Cafes, practice barter or Share Economy, concern themselves with healthy regional diet or cooperative agriculture. They look for answers to the conflict of resources, for practical alternatives to our current throwaway society and demand involvement and participation, free access to knowledge, to water, energy and culture as fundamental rights, as commons.

The book is broken down into three parts:

Part 1 is a reading book with essays and portraits of the different authors, actors and experts, both male and female, which give an insight into and information about urban gardening, share economy, barter circles, upcycling, commons post growth economy, etc.

The second part is an action and participation manual with concrete methods beyond consumption and throwaway society. Practical instructions, construction guides, recipes, and much more.

And part three is an information book with many contacts, addresses, portraits of the actors in the field, and is designed as a collection, an index and information pool to the questions as to where can I find what, where can I lend this, repair that, participate and learn myself how to do things...

Everyone has individual talents, gifts, creativity and skills that need to be activated and put to use. This book would like to inspire the read and give him or her courage to become active themselves, to do things for themselves and to try out things in the various fields of society.

The book is written in a very easy and slightly quirky style which makes it great fun to read. The fact that the subjects are presented in short articles of often two or three pages maximum also makes for this and enables the book to be truly used as a manual being able to dip in and out as needed.

The editor Jaana Prüss works as a cultural activist, artist, curator and project manager in the realms of culture, art and sustainability. In 2004 she founded Morgengrün Kommunikation. Since 2013 she is the chair person of the und.Institut für Kunst, Kultur und Zukunftsfähigkeit e.V. in Berlin.

fair-handeln! came about as the result of a cooperation of the und.Institut with Morgengrün Kommunikation and many protagonists of change. The production was made possible through crowdfunding and was also supported additionally by the Heinrich Böll-Stiftung, Stiftungsgemeinschaft anstiftung & ertomis, GLS Bank, Naturstrom, and others.

I have very much enjoyed this book and regard it as one that is very much needed in today's world to get people active in society to bring about the changes that are needed for a better and healthier life for all. A new fairer society and world is possible and it is up to all of us to make it, together.

© 2014

Fair-handeln! Anstiftungen für zukunftsfähiges Handeln – Rezension

Rezension bei Michael Smith (Veshengro)

fair-handeln! Anstiftungen für zukunftsfähiges Handeln
Jaana Prüss (Hrsg.)
192 Seiten, mit zahlreichen Abbildungen, farbig und s/w,
Preis: 19,90 €,
ISBN 978-3-00-045409-7

fair-handeln_Buch_frontWie ist es möglich, in der »Zuvielgesellschaft« gut zu leben, ohne permanent den Geldbeutel oder den Mülleimer öffnen zu müssen? Welche Ideen und Praktiken gibt es, um den tiefgreifenden Transformationsprozess, worin sich die westlichen Konsumgesellschaften derzeit befinden, in den konkreten Dingen des Alltags auf sinnstiftende Weise mitzugestalten? Wo und wie kann man etwas, das man nicht mehr braucht, zur Verfügung stellen, Wertstoffe weiternutzen? Oder auch: Was sind wirkliche Werte? Wann erlebe ich mich und mein Handeln als sinnvoll?

Solchen Fragen geht das »Hand- und Mitmachbuch« fairhandeln! Anstiftungen für zukunftsfähiges Handeln nach. Es stellt innovative Aktivitäten der Zivilgesellschaft vor – beispielhafte Projekte, in denen ein neues Verständnis von Wohlstand gelebt wird, wobei Lebensqualität sich nicht in Warenvielfalt erschöpft.

In diesem Buch kommen gewöhnliche Menschen zu Wort, die Ungewöhnliches tun: leihen statt besitzen, selbermachen statt kaufen, aufwerten statt wegwerfen. Gemeinsam bepflanzen sie freie Flächen in der Stadt, imkern, gründen Offene Werkstätten, Repair Cafés, praktizieren Tauschhandel oder Share Economy, kümmern sich um gesunde regionale Ernährung oder solidarische Landwirtschaft. Sie suchen nach Antworten auf die RessourcenKonflikte, nach praktikablen Alternativen zur Verschwendungs- und Wegwerfgesellschaft und wollen Beteiligung, freien Zugang zu Wissen, zu Wasser, Energie und zu Kultur als allgemeine Grundrechte, als Commons.

Neben einer Sammlung wegweisender Initiativen vermittelt fair-handeln! mit Handlungsanleitungen und Rezepten nützliches Wissen zum Handeln (auch ohne Konsum). In Essays kommen verschiedene Autor*innen zu Wort. Ein Index ist Adressen, Kontakten und Kurzporträts von Akteur*innen gewidmet. Auf ansteckende Weise regt dieses Buch dazu an, jenseits von bloß theoretisch Begriffenem aktiv das (all)tägliche Leben mit Herz, Hand und Verstand zu transformieren.

Das Buch gliedert sich in drei Teile:

1. Lesebuch: mit Essays und Portraits verschiedener Autor*innen, Akteur*innen und Expert*innen, die Einblick und Auskunft geben über Urban Gardening, Share-ökonomie, Tauschringe, Upcycling, Commons Postwachstumsökonomie etc.

2. Handlungs- und Mitmachbuch: mit anschaulichen Praktiken jenseits von Konsum und Wegwerfgesellschaft. Praktische Anleitungen, Bauanleitungen, Rezepte, Mitmachaktionen, Künstlerische Herangehensweisen, Stadtsparziergänge unter bestimmten Wahrnehmungsimpulsen, Experimente für eigene Handlungsmöglichkeiten, Anregungen etc. Hierfür stehen Seiten für persönliche Notizen und zum Weiterdenken zur Verfügung.

3. Infobuch: mit vielen Kontakten, Adressen, Portraits von Akteur*innen gewidmet als sammlung, Index und Informationspool: Wo finde ich was, kann ich was leihen, reparieren, mich beteiligen und selbst LERNEN wie es geht…

Jeder besitzt individuelle Talente, Gaben, Kreativität und Fähigkeiten, die es zu aktivieren, beleben und entfachen gilt. Dieses Buch möchte anregen und Mut machen selbst aktiv zu werden, Dinge in die HAND zu nehemn und in vielen gesellschaftlichen Feldern Angewandtes selbst zu erproben, mit- und nachzumachen und weiterzu denken und weiter zu entwickeln.

Selbstversuche und Experimente, Handlungsanleitungen, Essen von der Wiese, bookcrossing, Terra Preta für den Balkon, Heilkunde rund ums sogenannte Unkraut, Leben ohen GEld- Erfahrungsbericht, Baumscheiben richtig bepflanzen ohne Schaden für das Ökosystem, Was machen mit dem ZUVIEL unserer ZUVIEL-Gesellschaft, positive Beispiele sozialen Wirtschaftens, öffentliches Ernten gewusst wo und wie, Einmachrezepte, Resteverwertung in der Küche, alte Sorten kultivieren, die auf keinem Markt erhältlich sind, Artenvielfat ganz einfach erhalten, Nahrung für unsere lebendige Umwelt, das lebendige in uns lebendiger machen, Schenkkultur und vieles mehr.

Zur Herausgeberin

Jaana Prüss arbeitet als Kulturaktivistin, Künstlerin, Kuratorin und Projekt-managerin in den Bereichen Kultur, Kunst und Zukunftsfähigkeit. 2004 gründete sie Morgengrün Kommunikation. Seit 2013 ist sie Vorstandsmitglied des und.Institut für Kunst, Kultur und Zukunftsfähigkeit e.V. in Berlin.

Gestaltung und Illustration: Lena Ziyal und Tobias Morawski (in Kooperation mit anschlaege.de) Fotografien: Karsten Thielker, Tobias Morawski, Jaana Prüss u.a. Texte: Julia Engelmann, Thomas Dönnebrink, Maike Majewski, Christa Müller, Jaana Prüss, Sebastian Stragies, Robert Strauch, Nikolai Wolfert mit Johannes Dietrich, u.a.

fair-handeln! Ist aus einer Kooperation des und.Instituts mit Morgengrün Kommunikation und vielen Akteur*innen des Wandels entstanden. Die Produktion wurde mittels crowdfunding ermöglicht und zusätzlich gefördert durch die Heinrich Böll-Stiftung, Stiftungsgemeinschaft anstiftung & ertomis, GLS Bank, Naturstrom u.a.m.

Das und.Institut für Kunst, Kultur und Zukunftsfähigkeit e.V. initiiert und konzipiert interdisziplinäre Kooperationen mit Partnern aus Kunst, Bildung und Kultur, der Wissenschaft, der Wirtschaft und der Zivilgesellschaft.

Das Buch ist in einem sehr schönen Stil geschrieben und läßt sich deshalb sehr gut lesen. Der Fakt das die Themen in kurzen Artikeln von meist nicht mehr als zwei bis drei Seiten präsentiert werden ermöglicht es auch dieses Buch wahrlich als ein Handbuch zu benutzen indem der Leser order Leserin einzelne Themen angreifen kann ohne durch das ganze Buch blättern zu müssen.

Mir hat dies Buch sehr gefallen und ich sehe es als eines das sehr benötigt wird in der heutigen Welt um die Menschen zu aktivieren in der Gesellschaft um den Wandel hervorzubringen der benötigt wird für ein besseres und gesünderes Leben für uns alle. Eine neue fairere Gesellschaft und Welt ist möglich und es ist unsere Aufgabe diese zu erschaffen, zusammen.

© 2014