Snail Mail & Yesterday's Newspaper by Wendy Van den Helder

Around 35 million trees are cut down annually to produce mail that people don't even want!Why not put a stop to that by removing your name from mailing lists? It is as easy as a quick phone call, email, or drop a line.      

  • To be removed from national mailing lists  call 212.768.7277 or request in writing  to: Direct Marketing Association, Mail Preference Service P.O. Box 643 Carmel, NY 10512-0643.                     
  • And what about those unsolicited catalogs? Click here to http://www.catalogchoice.org and make sure to include all of your name variations when filling out the form.                                     
  • Yellow Pages? Those old dinosaurs?  http://www.yellowpagesoptout.com   

When you've done your darnedest to stop all of this junk mail, but some still manages to slip through, or those newspapers are stacking up, you can always recycle!  Or, if you want to try something really different here are some ideas:                                                                                  

  • Re-use return envelopes for casual, informal correspondence.                                                         
  • Recreate fresh paper http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Paper                                                       
  • Cut up and use for notes                                                                                                                     
  • Shred newspapers for chicken coop or kitty litter, for additional carbon in your compost pile, or  as a lining for your kitchen composter to absorb moisture and odor.                                            -   
  • Whole newspapers can be used to block weeds or kill grass as long as you mulch on top. They can also be used for packing material, or for window cleaning with a 1/2 vinegar 1/2 water solution, or why not wrap presents with the Funnies? 


Please share your ideas! Here's one I rather like! 

                       

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Small Scale, Off-grid Lifestyle

~This guest post comes from Kashi Albertsen who seems to be having a great time living close to the land on the big island of Hawaii.~

Learning to glean from the land and provide for our basic needs is empowering. It does not take a lot of money to learn these things, all it takes is a willingness to humble oneself to the harmonious flow of the natural world. By observing nature, we see that abundance is a way of life. When we live in grace with our environment and each other, a culture of generosity unfolds as the well-being of the community becomes an inherent, collective goal.

Some of the most valuable skills I have acquired along the path to self-sufficiency are: small home design and construction, solar and micro-hydro power, edible landscaping, bio-remediation and rainwater catchment. These skills foster independence, heal the earth and generate income. I am currently developing a small, tropical homestead on the Big Island of Hawaii. There is no better time than now to re-claim our power, while actively working to build communities that thrive on the health of the whole.

Dirt Rich Film Poster Hendel Style

Finding an artist to capture the essence of a film in the form of a poster is not an easy task. We got really really lucky with Pratt graduate, Rachael Hendel, who embraced the concept all the way down to the materials used to create it. Rachael's meet and greet inclination to create her own charcoal from organic matter she collected really made an impression. Although we cannot share the final poster until it is complete, we want to share these photos Rachel took to document her process. 

Sending Good Wishes To Benni

While we were filming in Borneo last April with Dr. Willie Smits, we had the privilege of meeting an extraordinary young man named Benni Over and his wonderful family! Benni who has Duchenne Muscular Dystropy, didn't let that stop him. With his caring family by his side Benni was able to fulfill a life's dream to meet and interact with orangutans. We certainly shared that dream with him too! It was a very special day when the baby orangutans were placed on his lap as he sat in his wheelchair. We were so touched to witness Benni's caring family help make this a reality for him.  Benni had already spent many years helping orangutans from his home in Germany. Benni's father gave us his video highlighting his call to action for orangutans that are under siege by the palm oil industry. Today we have learned that although Benni has been hospitalized with complications from the disease, he is going to be heading home soon. We would like to wish Benni and his family the very best! Thank you Benni for touching all of our lives.  

Dr. Tom Goreau Talks Restorative Solutions to Draw Down Carbon

Tom Goreau explains how soils are the only sinks where we can store carbon quickly enough to restore our planet's natural life systems and prevent catastrophic effects. Our focus needs to be on land because the ocean only becomes efficient as a carbon sink under one condition; when it becomes a dead zone which is not a desirable alternative. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JZUKrw5Vac&feature=youtu.be

RICH FINDS by Sidney

Have you ever looked closely at a plant and wondered what it would look like to zoom in and see the intricate details beneath the surface? Well I got to do that in my Biology class! Plants have incredibly complex structures that help them perform many important functions. The roots of the plant hold it in place and absorb nutrients and water from the soil. The stem or trunk of a plant contains a vascular system where water and minerals are transported to the roots, along with sugars from the leaves. The leaves absorb sunlight and convert CO2 and water into sugar and oxygen through a process called photosynthesis thus removing CO2 from the air and replacing it with oxygen. Incredibly plants feed themselves with the sugars they produce from photosynthesis!

 The first five pictures are of evergreen trees, and the next four pictures are of flowering plants viewed through a light microscope and photographed on my iPhone during Biology lab.

The first five pictures are of evergreen trees, and the next four pictures are of flowering plants viewed through a light microscope and photographed on my iPhone during Biology lab.

Millions of years ago the Earth was covered by gymnosperms, or what we now call evergreens. They reproduce with "naked" seeds usually found in cones or on leaves. Angiosperms which represent all the flowering and fruiting plants evolved later. Although Earth was once dominated by gymnosperms, angiosperms are the most abundant form of plant life today. Angiosperms are seasonal and have seeds protected inside of ovaries. In fact many of the fruits that we eat, like apples, are the ovaries of the tree they grew on! 

Time For Eastham Turnips!

We've been informed by Bob Wells from New England Biochar that the famous Eastham turnips have been harvested!! For Cape Codders this is an annual tradition. The sweet, white, tasty, heirloom turnips are celebrated with their own festival and are a favorite on Thanksgiving tables all around the Cape! The green tops are edible too. Apparently for us on the West Coast, we are really missing out! They only grow in the sandy soils on this special East Coast peninsula which I had the pleasure of visiting during our filming of Bob on his farm! The trip also included a bit of rock collecting down on the sandy shore after learning that Bob is also a rock hound! Bob is the chief local provider of these famous turnips and he attributes his successful yields to biochar and wood vinegar use!  He explains, "You have seen the soil that I started with and what I have now. This goes beyond the word "sustainable." We heal the soil, and then bring it to a place where it can get better every year while turning out crops like these!" Indeed Bob, you are the master! (please click through slideshow.)

Question for an Expert

I have been growing hairy vetch as a nitrogen fixer alongside some other potted plants, like fava beans for example, which have since been harvested. The hairy vetch continues to grow, I suppose as a green manure? If I am to use this same pot come spring, do I trim the hairy vetch or pull it out? I don't want to make a mistake by removing the valuable root system, but I am also not clear if there will be sufficient room in the soil for a new plant? This article addresses some of this. http://garden.org/learn/articles/view/122/

ANNOUNCEMENT

Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, working hard to restore ecosystems to reverse global warming, has an upcoming conference at Harvard University entitled Restoring Oceans, Restoring Climate: Facing Fire & Ice, Food & Water, Flood & Drought.  Friday, Nov 18 - Sunday, Nov 20. Thank you Adam Sacks for sharing. Please hover over to link. One comment. That puffer fish looks like the same one in Angel Azul!!! :) 

Filmmaker's Notes from Marcy

Biochar was first introduced to us by Dr. Thomas Goreau while we were filming him in Cambridge on Angel Azul. Our first up close and personal experience in learning about the subject in depth, however, was with Josiah Hunt who has taken us on a comprehensive journey of the subject over the period of almost two years. Here Josiah is preparing to measure the heat of a massive pile of biochar at Green Straw Farm.

RICH FINDS by Sidney

I never thought much about ladybugs until I was hiking in Redwood Regional Park and stumbled across thousands of them decorating fallen logs, sign posts and plants! There are many species of ladybugs but the type I encountered was the convergent lady beetle. I became fascinated and curious, wondering why they were all gathered together and what they were doing. It turns out they come every year for the late fall and winter to the same spot. Although ladybugs only live for about a year, they are able to find the same places where their previous generations spent their winters by sensing pheromones left behind. When it starts getting cold it becomes difficult for ladybugs to move around so they hibernate in moist spots, clumped together to stay warm and avoid drying out. Then when spring arrives it is easy for them to find a mate before migrating away.

All insects play an important role in their ecosystem, but some insects are particularly popular with humans. Ladybugs are one of them, as their diet of soft-bodied aphids is very useful in agriculture and in the garden. Since aphids tend to feed on crops like potatoes, cabbage, fruits and corn, the presence of ladybugs can minimize the damage done by these pests. A single ladybug can eat about 5,000 aphids before it dies!

If you’d like to see the ladybugs yourself and you live in the Bay Area they appear in Redwood Regional Park in the Oakland hills between October and February, and are most abundant on the Stream Trail near the Prince Trail and the Tres Sendes Trail.

And if you’re curious to learn a little more about the ladybugs in the Bay Area, here is a quick KQED video about it!

http://www.kqed.org/science/2016/02/09/the-once-in-a-lifetime-ladybug-love-in/

Filmmaker's Notes from Marcy

"The Law Of Return," words straight from the mouth of Wes Jackson, founder of The Land Institute that is developing perennial grain species that build soil through their deep roots. And that is just for starters! "Talk about a forest or a prairie as a real economy. All the bills get paid, there's no soil erosion beyond natural replacement levels, no introduction of chemicals that are human made. Why is it that economy works, and what are the rules of that economy? Well, there is a so called law of return. Whatever falls off of a tree and goes to the forest floor is picked up again as nutrients. So if you are growing corn in Iowa, where is the law of return? There is no law of return that is meaningful in the corn fields of Iowa. If people are in denial about the importance of law of return then what do you do about that?" - Wes Jackson

 Wes Jackson filmed at The Land Institute   

Wes Jackson filmed at The Land Institute

 

Filmmaker's Notes by Marcy

Regenerative Farming was introduced to our crew at Finca Luna Nueva in Costa Rica where the constant rebuilding of soil is the foundation of this farm's success. Here they take "organic farming" to the next level by honoring and investing in natural processes like the Soil Food Web. A lush and beautiful example of how nature takes care of itself when humans live mindfully and learn to simply step out of the way. Regenerative farming is one of the key strategies our film explores to reverse the effects of runaway global warming. Please click through a small sampling of screenshots taken from the film. 

RICH FINDS by Sidney

Hello, I'm Sidney. Welcome to Rich Finds where I explore ideas and information about our environment and how to live more sustainably! This short video illustrates a simple way to mix just three ingredients together to make a phosphate free laundry detergent that doesn't contaminate the groundwater with toxins like so many commercial soaps on the market. It saves money too! 

WELCOME TO OUR NEW BLOG!

 DIRT RICH is pleased to launch our brand new blog! Our film explores strategies to pull carbon from the air and return it to the ground to revitalize the soil and restore atmospheric carbon to safe levels. These strategies are key to reversing the effects of run-away global warming. Please check back with us regularly as we will be featuring posts about the film, as well as posts from our RICH FIND'S resident blogger Sidney Overway! 

 A baby orangutan we filmed on location in Borneo with Dr. Willie Smits

A baby orangutan we filmed on location in Borneo with Dr. Willie Smits