Archive for May, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Source: Alternahealthgrrrl

The little known story of Bamboo

I have heard lots of great things about Bamboo and its role in sustainability but as they say there are two sides to every story. Here is the little known story of bamboo……

Bamboo is a trendy star of the eco-friendly construction movement, with a wide variety of flooring, furniture and other items being manufactured with the strong, fast-growing grass. However, bamboo production should be left to commercial growers. Bamboo’s hardiness and rapid growth make it a problematic plant for most yards. Here are the top five reasons not to plant bamboo in your garden.

1. Bamboo can spread into neighboring yards.

Many homeowners plant bamboo to create a fast-growing privacy screen around their home. Bamboo can spread as quickly as it grows (with some species growing as much as 3 feet per day), and it doesn’t respect fences or property lines.

Bamboo grows particularly vigorously when adjacent to irrigated lawns and gardens or in low-lying areas that collect water. Instead of just blocking the view of nosy neighbors, you could be turning your property line into a war zone by planting bamboo.

Some bamboo species may even be categorized as noxious weeds, meaning a neighbor could legally force you to remove your bamboo. You could also be liable for the cost of any damage to the neighbors’ property caused by your bamboo, and for the cost of removal from their property.

2. Bamboo can be an invasive threat to biodiversity.

Bamboo that spreads and escapes your yard can also cause ecological problems. Many spreading bamboo species are categorized as invasive toxic plants that crowd out native plants and threaten biodiversity.

3. Getting rid of bamboo can take years.

Bamboo is a long-term relationship that should not be entered lightly. It may take years and vigorous effort to remove unwanted bamboo. The first step in removing bamboo is to remove all the root mass and rhizomes. This is easier said than done, and many homeowners with bamboo-loving neighbors complain they can’t get rid of the spreading grass. No matter how much they dig, the shoots keep coming back.

 4. Getting rid of bamboo may require herbicides.

It should also be noted that chemical herbicides are often necessary for controlling bamboo. This can be a problem for those trying to maintain organic gardens and avoid herbicide use. Again, this could take years. One application will not solve your bamboo problem. 

5. The right bamboo can be hard to find.

Bamboo’s defenders will argue that not all of the more than 1,000 bamboo species are equally invasive. They recommend clumping bamboo species rather than spreading types. The problem is that even clumping species spread, albeit not as vigorously. It also can be hard to differentiate between the types, and some are mislabeled.

Bamboo may seem like an attractive garden option, but it poses serious problems. Stick to a lucky bamboo in a small indoor pot, or avoid growing bamboo altogether. Moreover, do your homework before buying bamboo flooring and other products. It may not be as eco-friendly or durable as you think.

Source: Mother Nature Network

Photo: Fused Iron

Happy Memorial Day

The Office of Sustainability would like to wish all of our readers a happy and safe

Memorial Day weekend!


Wordless Wednesday


Source: Alternative Consumer

Memorial Day Tips

 Memorial Day is around the corner and with this holiday comes lots of backyard BBQ’s! Here are some tips on how to make your festivities as eco-friendly as possible.  

  • Instead of getting supplies from a chain grocery store, support your local farmer’s market.  Walk or bike there to make it an even greener shopping trip.  Or if you have a garden, use your own organic ingredients.
  • Keep pesky mosquitoes away by using an organic bug spray/repellant.  You can also set out a cup of sugar water away from the crowd for the mosquitoes to flock to instead of your guests.
  • Serve your food with reusable or biodegradable plates, cups and utensils.
  • Use cloth napkins that can be washed and reused.
  • Set up recycling bins next to the trash can so guests will know to recycle.  Clearly label the bins by paper, plastic and aluminum. 
  • If you are using a charcoal grill, use lump charcoal made from natural and sustainable wood.  Avoid using lighter fluid if possible. 
  • Use biodegradable plastic trash bags to clean up unrecyclable items. 
  • Send your guests home with plenty of leftovers to avoid food waste. (Remind them to bring reusable containers with them)
  • Clean the grill using soap and water (and elbow grease) instead of using harsh chemicals. 
  • Compost any leftover food scraps in a special compost pile in your back yard. Don’t compost? Save the scraps for a neighbor who does.

Source: Energy Ace 

Wordless Wednesday

imacquarium, recycled fish tank


And the winner is…..

Here are the answers from Friday’s  giveaway.

1. Its lunchtime and you’re late for a meeting so you’re reduced to eating fast food. Do you:

a.  Order at the drive-through


b.  Park and head inside to place your order

Idling for 10 seconds or longer burns more gas than restarting the engine!

2.  So to make up for your fast food lunch, its time for a healthy dinner, salmon. At the fish counter , you choose:

a. Atlantic

b.  Wild caught,Oregon or California

c.  Neither you skip the fish counter and buy canned

Canned salmon comes mainly from wild Alaskan waters ;many salmon from other US states are considered endangered or threatened. And “Atlantic” usually means “farmed”, a process that has been associated with chemical usage and unsustainable fishing practices.

 These questions stumped everyone (including me) except Lucia Paolucci! I wonder how she knew canned salmon was better for the environment? I’ve always though that wild caught fish from the West Coast was more sustainable.

 Thanks to all who participated!