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Archive for July 2011

Excess Baggage

I love to travel, and I must admit over the years I’ve learned to make due with just two (OK, maybe three) pair of shoes on a trip – depending. But, it turns out that all along without knowing it I was doing the planet a favor.

It goes to figure that the more a vehicle weighs, the more fuel it will take to power it. Alaska Airlines found that by removing just five magazines per plane they could save $10,000 in fuel costs a year!

Excess baggage doesn’t mean your significant other.

Same goes for when traveling by car. The U.S. Department of Energy wants us to know that by avoiding items unnecessary for our trips, we could reduce our MPG by up to 2% for each 100 pounds. That’s an equivalent gas savings of .04¢ -.07¢ per gallon!

At any rate, that savings on an up-coming trip could add up to a nice dinner. If nothing else, maybe we’ll get an extra bag of pretzels on our next flight.

Swimmin’ In The Rain

Watching Petticoat Junction as a kid, I became intrigued by rain barrels. Even though the characters swam in the Shady Rest water tank in Hooterville, it always looked like a huge rain barrel to me. I guess in a sense it was. A huge rain barrel, that is. Just not sure I’d be inclined to drink that particular water, though.

The rain barrel is really not a new idea, it goes back thousands of years and can be traced back to ancient history as a basic tool for survival. Even though these days we’ve got it a lot easier to get our water, many are using it again to catch and store rainwater. I found out through tvakids.com that you can get 700 gallons of water off an average roof during a one inch rainfall. That’s about 17 baths or 58 showers!

I’m not saying you should take a bath in one, but since rain water is free of harsh chemicals, fluoride, minerals and heavy metals (unlike our tap water) your skin and hair would thank you for it. But for the most part, that chemical free water keeps the flowers, lawns and gardens healthy. Especially during those outdoor water-ban days.

Heavy metal ain’t for flowers.

Now, rain water is free – that’s an easy one, but for those of you whose sewer bill is based on water usage, this could mean even more savings.

But this is a biggie. According to Joshua at Maxi Container, Inc, because the lack of planning “back in the day” for proper runoff, Detroit is the number one polluter of the Great Lakes. The sewage treatment plants can’t handle the large amount of rain water and the “partially treated sewage” (and we all know what that means) ends up overflowing into the lakes. Nice.

So, maybe if we take small steps and and catch the rain to tend our gardens with, or to help keep a bit of water out of the drainage systems– Mother Nature will take care of us, too.