Archive for the ‘tiptheplanet’ Category

Facing Up to the Biggest Challenge To Environmental Awareness

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

If you ask the “experts” what is the biggest challenge facing the environmental protection movement as a whole these days is and you will get a thousand different answers. But there really is one challenge far greater than all the others combined – public awareness.

The sad fact is that too many people simply don’t care. Many rationalize this disinterest in the world around them as OK because they are too busy, or that their lone actions cannot make a difference (the same rationale they use for not exercising their right to vote either) They don’t seem to realize that they are a part of the environment themselves and that everything that goes on in the world around them does have (or will have) a direct impact on their own lives in the end.

But just like voting, every individual action does have an impact, even if it is seemingly very small. And that is what Tip the Planet is all about. The people who contribute there are not, on the whole, “qualified” eco experts. They are just normal people who have picked up some tidbit or another of knowledge, some simple way to live a more environmentally conscious life and take a few minutes every once in a while to share it. They are people like you.

However small you may think your tip is please share it. And then take a few minutes to read what others have shared. Improve it if you like and join in the conversation (there are lots of helpful tutorials to show you how). Then tell a few friends about it and encourage them to do the same. Every action really does count – even if it is “just” sharing that old herbal cold relief remedy that your Granny used to swear by or that neat little trick you found for clear skin using ingredients from your refrigerator.

Saving our bacon – pig keeping and using Tip the Planet

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

From our Blog – A Walk on the Wild Site

We’re constantly rooting around looking for information on building and farming methods in our search to do things efficiently and not re-invent the wheel. When we set up this blog, I made it a tiptheplanet.com blog. I wanted to show how the site is slowly becoming more and more useful and tie the practical muck-between-the-toes lifestyle out here, with something lasting. Tip the Planet seemed like a good way to do this. Not only can we write about our journey, for friends, family and interested folks. We can also record our learnings, research, failures in a central place so that people can benefit from our experiences.

Here’s a case in point. We wanted to find out about keeping and rearing pigs in the tropics for bacon and fertilization reasons.

Instead of spending hours and hours researching, which is difficult with a slow internet connection, I requested an article on pigs and an additional about keeping pigs in the tropics on this page. Basically it’s a feature where you can ask for a page to be made by the Tip the Planet community and those with knowledge or time will contribute to the article. Then, a day or two later, I checked back onto the site to find that someone had built both pages and highlighted the tips.

These pages are here – keeping pigs and here – keeping pigs in the tropics.

Suddenly we had a wealth of information to use, all in one place. Not only that, but when we experiment ourselves, we can add new tips and thoughts to this, to improve the resource for anyone who wants to keep pigs in future to use. Plus others might comment on the work we’ve done and suggest improvements and changes – especially those with experience.

…and just a few days ago, we went and collected Kesho (which means tomorrow in Swahili – as a result of our inevitable inability to kill him), a little character who is currently spending his hours breaking out of our poorly constructed pig pen, but will one day will be the father of many a young piglet that we’ll try not to get so attached to so that we have a ready supply of bacon. Photos and Kesho diaries to come.

One Easy Way to Cut Ten Gallons a Day off Your Home’s Water Consumption

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Want to cut down on the amount of water you use in your home? There is actually one simple trick that can not only reduce the amount of water you waste on a daily basis by seven to ten gallons but shave a few cents every day off your water bill (and those cents add up to big dollars of the course of the year.)

The old folk wisdom that says place a brick in your toilet’s water tank is partially correct: It is an effortless way to save water, but a brick probably isn’t the best thing to put in your toilet tank. Instead simply place a full plastic water bottle with a little sand in the bottom in the tank. It does the job very well and does not add the kind of weight that could crack your fixture over time.

This will not usually decrease the flushing capacity of your toilets if you are worried about that. The average modern toilet needs about eight gallons to function properly each time someone flushes. A bottle in the tank will displace enough water to save half a gallon to a gallon each use.

While you are in the bathroom though why not look around for other ways to save even more water? There are a growing number of bathroom fixtures on the market that are designed to minimize the amount of water you consume in the bathroom that are nowhere near as expensive as you might imagine.

From toilets that flush differently according to the “nature of your business” to faucets that turn off as soon as you take your hands out from underneath them, these eco-friendly fixtures will pay for themselves in savings on you water bill over time. The fact that they are also very good looking on the whole is added bonus.

Looking for more great green tips? Then visit Tip the Planet, the fastest growing, and most useful, green wiki on the web.

Inspiring Re Use in Your Community

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Reduce,reuse, recycle – a mantra we have been hearing for years now. The recycling bit? We are all getting better at that and the reduce part is catching on as well. The reuse? Still needs some work. Here are some great ways you(yes, humble little you) can inspire reuse in your community and really make a difference to feel good about.

Freecycle not RecycleFreecycle is an amazing website that lets users (both individuals and businesses) post items they no longer need. Items are dispersed free of charge on a first come first served basis so as soon as you spot someone’s trash that in fact you would consider a treasure get your request in right way.

Post on Craigslist –  Freecycle can be a little hit-or-miss, since your emails might not get answered right away. For a faster response (and a way to maybe make a buck or two) post your unwanted goods on Craigslist. No you won’t get rich (Craigslist enthusiasts are the ultimate bargain hunters) but you’ll brighten someone else’s day and keep those old cell phones/CDs/dog eared paperbacks out of the local landfill.

Start a Book and Magazine exchange – Personally I  love readingmagazines of all kinds but really how many times can I read about Lindsay Lohan’s adventures (as salacious as they are) And do you really need that stack of Newsweeks that have been sitting next to the toilet for months? Once you have read your magazine pass it on to a neighbor to enjoy as well. The same holds true for those summer beach books.

Many communities have now set up formal book and magazine exchanges at places like the post office or local grocery store. It’s a great way to reuse and to get more people doing a bit of old fashioned reading in the computer age.

Frequent your Local Thrift store – When you have that bi annual clean out of the closets, garage, attic or whatever don’t throw the good stuff away (clothes, toys, the computer monitor you upgraded from last month) If they are in good, useable shape take them down to your local thrift store instead. The charities they usually serve get money when they sell the items, and someone else in the area gets a great bargain.

And fashionistas, don’t be thrift store snobs. I am a frequent (and well-practiced) thrift store shopper and the clothing I have scored on some of those trips is the kind I couldn’t afford in a month of Sundays. All it takes is a keen eye and the patience to go through the racks.

Have more ideas to share to help encourage reuse in the community? Share them at Tip the Planet– the green wiki that is growing and educating people in the art of environmental responsibility every day, thanks to people like you.

The Path to Greener Beauty

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Going green does not have to be painful or expensive. In fact in many instances switching to a healthier and/or more eco-friendly solution or habit may in fact up saving you some of the other green stuff we all worry about – money.

Take for instance your beauty regime. There are many ways to make it greener, healthier and cheaper. Here are some of the best of them:

Skin Cleansing – Spending half a week’s wages on the latest chemical laced creams and potions in an attempt to keep the wrinkles at bay, or gain a clearer complexion, seems rather silly when you realize that Mother Nature has already created  some pretty great skin care products herself. You can replace that expensive designer cleanser with simple ingredients found in your own fridge.

For example, did you know that a cotton ball soaked in plain old milk (hot or cold) cleanses as well as anything you can buy in the store and is gentler on sensitive skin as well? Or that rose water is perhaps the best toner you can buy and at a fraction of the cost? For more alternative and environmentally friendly skincare solutions check out Tip the Planet’s Skin Care section.

Hair Care –  Good old Mother Nature has also done a pretty good job on the hair care front as well. Why spend money on that spray bleach that you put in your hair to lighten it in the sun? Plain lemon juice gets the job done just as well; simply comb it through your hair before you go out sunbathing. It costs a lot less and won’t damage your hair like the bleach will. That expensive hot oil treatment? Olive oil is even better and since the chances are that it is already sitting in your kitchen cupboard it saves you a trip to the store as well. Learn more about green, (well maybe not literally) healthy hair by visiting our Tips for Healthy Hair section.

Cosmetics – No one is telling you have to throw away your collections of eye shadows, blushes and lipsticks but there are some alternatives to many of these products that are better for you, your skin and the environment. A number of cosmetic companies are making an effort to take the harmful stuff out of their products (did you know that some nail polishes contain formaldehyde?)  so reading the ingredients before you buy is essential (to read  more visit our  Health and Beauty Hub)

By the way, don’t forget that the purpose of Tip the Planet is to create a green wiki full of shared knowledge and wisdom, so if you have tips of your own to add please take a few minutes to do so, it’s not hard.

Alternative Health Treatments that are Weird ..but Work

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

All over the western world people have simply come to rely too much on the idea of a pill for every pain. An example? Hospitalizations for accidental poisonings caused by prescription medications now account for more deaths in the USA than road accidents. Fortunately more people are becoming a little more open minded about seeking alternative ways to cure at least some of what ails them.

Interested in learning more? How about trying one of these somewhat strange, but nevertheless effective alternative remedies:

  • For headaches – Drinking two glasses of chilled Gatorade can provide faster relief from a headache than a couple of aspirin and without the nasty side effects. If the headache is part of the misery of a hangover the rehydrating properties of the famous sports drink will help overcome that as well.
  • For minor burns – Dab a bit of Colgate on minor burns, it will provide almost instant relief from the pain. The old fashioned stuff though, not the new varieties with bright coloring or “breath strips” added into it.
  • For a UTI – Forget antibiotics that can cause as much misery as a UTI itself does. Buy yourself a box of Alka Seltzer instead. When you first notice the symptoms of UTI, take two in a glass of cold water, then rinse and repeat every few hours as necessary. Drinking cranberry juice helps as well and many people find they get relief far faster using these “alternative” treatments than they do waiting for a course of antibiotics to kick in.
  • Stuffy Nose – Before you head of to drug store and get one those high priced inhalers filled with a variety of mystery chemicals (or you zonk yourself out with that infamous green liquid cold medicine try chewing on a few Altoids Peppermints instead. Their curiously strong taste should clear those sniffles right up.

Want to know how to banish blemishes overnight, get rid of toenail fungus or a great alternative use for Quaker Oats then head over to Tip the Planet , the most comprehensive – and interesting – green wiki on the Internet.

Tipping the Planet

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
I’ve often said that the environmental movement needs convenient actions, not inconvenient truths. Said differently, many of us have a sincere ‘will’ to change our planet, but are not not sure of the most effective ‘way’ to do so. When you couple this with the environmental preachers out there, who are quick to chastise us – it’s not surprising that there is a sense of apathy. The more ardent campaigners find it hard to understand why the majority of us are not more environmentally contentious – yet for most of us, environmental conscientiousness competes against a plethora of other forces within our daily lives.
In addition, there is often disagreement about how one should act. If we try to be green, yet we’re still criticized, it can lead to people giving up trying, rather than trying harder. If we hear rumours that hybrid vehicles are actually less efficient, because of the dangerous chemicals in their batteries, or the increased energy consumed to build them – whether this is true or not – it can lead to a sense of hopelessness. If we’re told that we shouldn’t fly, yet we have family or work abroad, it often merely serves to make people give up trying, rather than flying.
Rather than making us feel guilty about what we’re not doing, it’s important to make going green easy, even easier. We need to uncover and promote actions and activities that are convenient. We need to find out which airlines are the greenest, and try to fly with them, or put pressure on those that aren’t to change. We need to make flying green, rather than telling people they can’t. We need to determine which cars are the best to drive, the cheapest to run AND the best environment. Only when it works for consumers, will we see real change.
Ignorance often stands in the way of people’s desire to do ‘the right thing’, or prevents people from realising how simple it is to make small beneficial changes to one’s life.

With this in mind, I want to draw your attention to Tip the Planet. Started a few years back, I wanted to create a user-generated central place where people could put tips and more information about environmental issues and actions. Since then, I’ve hardly touched the site and yet more and more people have started to edit the site. For example, someone who wanted to share their knowledge, went wild on the ‘air-dry washing‘ page, and suddenly we’re number one in google. Although the pages don’t look pretty, every time I go back to an edited page, I discover that someone else has added a link to a new site, or a piece of information. In time, and through the power of wiki technology, the information will get better and better. If one person shares a tip they’ve uncovered which proves convenient and a thousand people implement it, suddenly we’ll start to see change occur on a bigger and bigger scale.

So, if you’re looking for solutions rather than problems, or want to share your experiences, take a look and help spread those conveniences, rather than lament the inconveniences.

Going Green for the Summer

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010
Summer is here and most of us will be spending plenty of time outdoors, so it only makes sense that people ‘should’ be thinking greener than ever. Here are some great ways that you can enjoy the lazy, hazy days of summer while still doing your part to keep Mother Nature happy:
Clever Cooling – As soon as the temperature begins to heat up its tempting to blast the AC day and night. It does not have to be that way though. No one is suggesting that you have to give up your air conditioner completely but by following some of Tip the Planet’s clever cooling tips, you can save money and stay chill all season long. For instance, did you know that by installing light-colored awning s some studies report that you can reduce heat gain in your home by up to 77 percent?!
Buy Local – Planning a couple of cookouts this summer? Help the environment and your local economy by seeking out local foods to throw on the grill whenever possible. Tip the Planet has some wonderful tips for getting the best bang for your buck when buying local produce.
Be Nice at the Beach – We all enjoy a great day at the beach. And that is the way it should be, but pollution caused by careless humans makes a trip to some beaches a not so pleasant experience. It is every individual’s responsibility to keep the beaches clean and safe for everyone to enjoy for years to come. This means doing a little more than just remembering to take your empty cans, bottles and dirty diapers home with you (although all of those things are a great place to start).
Before you head out for your next day of sand, sea and fun make sure you read Tip the Planet’s beach environment tips to learn more about what you can do to help preserve the summer fun for us all.
Relax Responsibly – Need new patio chairs? Deck furniture looking a little the worse for wear? Before you head out for the local home store or the nearest Wal-Mart check out Tip the Planet’s guide to choosing environmentally friendly furniture that can help you relax responsibly without having to sacrifice style or comfort.
Tip the Planet is the fastest growing green wiki on the Net. Have a great green summer tip to share? Add it to Tip the Planet and help educate us all.

Going Green on the Go – Tips for Eco Friendly Cell Phone Use

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010
A cell phone – it seems like everyone has one these days, including your nine year old niece and your ninety year old Granny. To suggest to most people that they give up their mobile is akin to suggesting that they cut off their right arm. So no one is going to do that but there are a number of ways you can make your mobile chatting habits a little greener.
For instance most people probably have no ides just how much power that tiny little Sidekick in their pocket is eating up every minute that it is switched on. One way you can go green on the go is to change the way you charge your phone. By using a solar charger you will actually save yourself quite a bit of money as well as getting the satisfaction of knowing you are reducing your personal carbon footprint.
Even greener are the new generation of eco-friendly cell phones that are beginning to pop up, many of them produced by the big name companies you may already have a cell phone contract with. From the aesthetically astonishing Samsung Blue Earth to the highly unusual Natural Year Phone check out all the great green options available in the eco-friendly cell phones page at Tip the Planet.
There is another growing problem that comes along with all this mobile mania. The majority of cell phone owners upgrade the model of their phone at least every couple of years and many people do so far more often than that. That means that landfills everywhere are cluttered with orphan and outdated cell phones that their owners tossed in trash the second their new phone was charged and ready to go.
Recycling your old cell phone is not hard. There are plenty of private companies and charitable organizations that will be happy to take that old phone off your hands and out of a landfill. Read all about them in the recycling your mobile section at Tip the Planet.
Tip the Planet is fast becoming the most comprehensive green wiki on the web. If you have a great green tip you’d like to share, please do. The better we are all educated in all things environmental the better off we will be.

Preventing Oil Spills

Monday, May 31st, 2010
What can be Done to Prevent Future Oil Spills?

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has once more brought the issue of the dangers of offshore oil drilling, both to humans and to the environment in general, back into sharp focus. The effort to even stem the flow of oil from the sunken rig involved a number of different measures from the slightly strange – trying to mop up oil with tonnes of hair donated by barbers from all around the world- to massive and somewhat untested measures like the “top kill “procedure set into motion by BP on Wednesday May 26th, 2010.
Whatever the end result of the efforts, there will still be massive damage done to the ecosystems in the areas affected by the spill. Perhaps the hardest hit will be the delicate coastal areas around Louisiana which were only just beginning to bounce back from the damage Mother Nature inflicted upon them during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
However given that this far from the first devastating oil spill to wreak havoc on the world’s waters what else should be done to prevent these incidents from ever occurring at all?
Many environmentalists suggest that offshore drilling should be slowed and that companies like BP and Exxon should shift more of their focus to developing alternative energy sources. They encourage people to cut their own consumption of fossil fuels by driving less or trading in their older vehicles for more energy efficient models and taking advantage of the alternative energy supplies being offered by many local electricity companies.
As they have after previous oil spill accidents the US Government will of course launch inquiries into what went wrong in the Gulf of Mexico and it is also probable that once the finger pointing between the companies involved in the latest incident has died down they will no doubt make a great many promises about making greater efforts to be environmentally conscious (as they have in the past) However it may just be up to the man in street to help prevent another oil spill from occurring by consuming less fossil fuels in their everyday lives, reducing the need for offshore drilling at all.
To learn more about the devastation caused by an oil spill and how you can help visit Tip the Planet , a leading green wiki