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|Summer 08 Green Notes : Columbia River edition : Saturday, 21 July 2018 08:13 PDT : a service of The Public Press|
Upper Connecticut River Valley
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Part of being sane, is
being a little bit crazy.
– Janet Long
Summer 08 Green Notes
by Linda Pinkham
Ralph Waldo Emerson described a weed as "a plant whose virtues have not been discovered." Another source describes weeds as "plants without a press agent." Until recently, a high desert Oregon native tree species has been characterized as a "weed" because the trees use great amounts of water and has been noxious in its expansion of territory.
Western Junipers, Juniperus Occidentalis, have been likened to "thieves in the springtime" because of their detrimental effect on the water table. It has caused massive soil erosion in areas where the trees have been documented by the U.S. Forest Service over the past 70 years to be encroaching at an "unprecedented rate" over much of Oregon's high desert areas. For years, they have been systematically eradicated and placed into burn piles (not good for the environment) by landowners, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Forest Service.
On a recent trip to Chiloquin, Oregon, Green Living's editors discovered an unlikely cottage industry that has grown into a gigantic enterprise harvesting the Western Juniper. West Coast Juniper Distributing is now the largest distributor of Western Juniper products in the world and manufactures a number of extremely useful, attractive, sustainable, and eco-friendly building materials and furniture products from this tree species. The aromatic and rot resistant lumber is similar to incense cedar and redwood, but much harder and more durable, making it extremely suitable for flooring, decking, closet liners, cabinets, furniture, fence posts, and much more.
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The Chiloquin company, founded in 2007, is harvesting the logs from "trash piles," and removing them from lands just before eradication and recycling them (good for the environment). Look for a full-length feature article about the fascinating Juniper story in a future issue of Green Living -- you might even say that the Western Juniper now has a "press agent."
Meanwhile take a look at the potential for this new and sustainable forestry product in your next building project. You can see West Coast Juniper building products at several local outlets. Contact West Coast Juniper at 541.783.3375 or
www.westcoastjuniper.com for more information. -- LP
Bring Back the Salmon
Ocean troll caught wild Chinook salmon are special. Each fish is individually caught on a trolled lure, usually at a fairly great depth (200 to 500 ft. or more). From these deep, clear, cold waters, where the salmon have been feeding on some of the tastiest seafood in the world, the salmon are pulled to the surface one at a time where they are quickly cleaned and immersed in slush ice to lock in all the delicate flavors and freshness of their unique diet.
Since these wild salmon are caught one by one, they are a little more expensive than other ways of catching salmon, or raising salmon on farms; however the exceptional taste and delicate flavors unique to ocean caught troll salmon are well worth it. Wild salmon filets or steaks are also completely natural, without dyes or toxins. You are eating not only one of the world's tastiest fish, but also the most healthy fish, high in Omega 3s as well as flavor.
Though most stocks of salmon in the Pacific Ocean are healthy, the 2008 Troll Commercial Wild Chinook Salmon Season is closed due to the collapse of Sacramento Chinook Stocks. Fishermen Direct and the Green Living Journal encourages all people who love to eat wild Chinook salmon to get involved with your local watershed council.
Ten Actions You Can Take
Thank you for taking part in bringing back the salmon!
--Reprinted with permission from Fishermen Direct in Gold Beach: fishermendirect.com
Building with Earth Workshops
For those serious about working with dirt, we know of no masters greater than Kiko Denzer and Hannah Field of Corvallis, who will be staging a series of workshops across the country this summer.
If you can make mud pies, you can build with earth. Good material is often underfoot. Practical, beautiful, dirt cheap, and faster than you think, mud is also sculptural, colorful, and rich, whether you make ovens, benches, garden walls, or houses. And you can do it with your kids! "Mud ovens" were the original masonry ovens (brick is, after all, fired clay). The ovens they make bake beautiful bread (and anything else), and perform as well as the fancy $4,000 Italian ones. You can build a simple one in a day, learn about cob and natural building -- and make the best pizza and breads.
Workshops with instructors Kiko Denzer and Hannah Field cover everything you need to know to make an oven and bake anything in it, as well as Hannah's simple approach to naturally leavened, "artisan" breads. Kiko and Hannah have taught at Bob's Red Mill, Andrew Whitley's Village Bakery (UK), the King Arthur Flour Company, and at the Bread Baker's Guild of America's "Camp Bread" in San Francisco. Kiko is an artist/builder and author of Build Your Own Earth Oven (bread chapter by Hannah), & Dig Your Hands in the Dirt: A Manual for Making Art Out of Earth (Hand Print Press).
Hannah baked professionally for organic bakeries in the UK, and is also an organic gardener and massage therapist. They walk their talk: they don't have a conventional oven -- every other week, they bake 25 pounds of whole-grain sourdough in a mud oven. It's a staple food. Their philosophy for workshops is that we all participate, we all learn, and we all teach. Groups are generally interesting, diverse, and fun. They also believe that the cooking (and growing) of food is essential to true culture. They hope that, by working, cooking, learning, and eating together, we can maintain the living fabric of a peaceful community and culture.
Get information about their upcoming Oregon workshops by calling 541-438-4300, or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Large and small green businesses are finding that being green gives not only warm fuzzies, but also builds community and is proving to be a smart marketing practice.
Honeyman Nursery in Florence offers a program that gives to their community every month of the year. Owner Barbara Rowland explains how their "12 Months of Giving" works. "It's only available to local nonprofits and charities with all monies to stay in the Florence Community. They need to fill out an application as to why we should select them, and what they will be using the money for." On the second Wednesday of every month they donate 25% of their retail sales to that specific charity or nonprofit. All the charity has to do is promote that one day. Honeyman Nursery sets it up with the local radio station and newspaper to do free PSAs. The nursery also has a large e-mail list that is sent out to promote it as well.
Barbara notes, "We have averaged giving back to the community between $8,000 to $10,000 each year." Past recipients include Florence Soroptimists, Florence food share, Ada Grange, Florence Humane Society, Siuslaw Fire and Rescue, First Book, Florence Arts and Crafts, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Siuslaw Middle School Band.
"We have a waiting list for the 2009 year, so it has proved to be a great marketing tool for us," Barbara adds.
Carbon Lite Travel
For those of you who are opting for an overseas vacation this summer, Drawbridge To Europe Vacation Rentals has some suggestions for lowering your travel carbon emissions. Owner John Spillman says, "We should all be concerned with Global Warming and each do what we can to reduce the amount of CO2 released into our atmosphere." He recommends three steps you can use to lower your impact while traveling; using carbon offsets for travel to your destination, choosing carbon lite accommodations, and paying attention to how you move about once you have reached your destination.
Travel. It is difficult to get around the emissions that an airplane produces while shuttling you to your destination. Currently the best option is to purchase a carbon offset. There are numerous nonprofit organizations that use the money from your carbon offset donation to aid in the development of sustainable energy sources, such as wind power or solar-electric generation.
Other carbon offset programs plant trees to soak up the carbon produced during your flight. Carbon offsets are not that expensive either. A carbon offset calculated on Carbonfund.org for a roundtrip flight from San Francisco to Paris would be only $11.
Of course carbon offsets can also be used for any travel mode that produces carbon emissions be it by car, train, or ship.
Accommodations. A potentially less polluting lodging option to consider is a vacation apartment or home. When you stay in a vacation rental you are in control of the energy use -- just as you are in your own home. Hotels use a tremendous amount of energy for heat, air conditioning, daily linen changes, and all the other services they offer. Your vacation rental will not be consuming huge amounts of electricity 24/7, 365 days a year as the hotel does. You can conscientiously limit the amount of energy you use by turning off the heating or air conditioning while you are out visiting the sights. You can use the linens and towels just as you do at home.
Of course we all love to eat out to enjoy the cuisine of the region we are visiting but restaurants also use and waste large amounts of energy contributing to CO2 emissions due to climate control and keeping the kitchen on constantly during cooking. With a vacation rental you do not have to eat all of your meals in restaurants; with your own kitchen available, you can fix some of your meals, further lowering your energy use and carbon load. Buying local produce at farmers markets will even further reduce your carbon footprint. Locally grown fruits and vegetables produce much less greenhouse gases due to shorter transportation distances.
Renting a vacation rental in a foreign land is not as difficult as you might think. You can find excellent online reservation sites to book directly with the owners, such as at slowtrav.com or greatrentals.com. If you would like a little more help, there are numerous agencies that know the properties well and can assist you in finding the best rental for your needs.
Destination Transportation. While visiting your destination, of course the cleanest way to get around will be to walk, bike, take the bus, street tram, or use the metro trains in the cities. Choose locations that have access to public transport or stay in the city center within walking distance of the tourist sites. In larger European cities such as Paris or Berlin, you can take advantage of the street bike rental programs. Bikes are parked throughout the city ready to ride at self service stations for a very small fee.
If your accommodations are not located near public transportation and you must rent a car, you can minimize the carbon emissions by requesting a Diesel vehicle or even renting a hybrid vehicle.
Drawbridge To Europe can help you reserve vacation rentals in Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, or Austria. More information is available on their Web site.
-- Adapted with permission from Drawbridge to Europe's Web site: www.drawbridgetoeurope.com
Would you like to learn more about renewable energy? Then it's time to go to SolWest, Oregon's oldest renewable energy and sustainability fair. Held the last full weekend in July each year in John Day, Oregon, the fair this year is on July 25, 26, and 27 at the Grant County Fairgrounds.
On Saturday, July 26, the keynote speaker will be Greg Pahl, who will provide an overview of an exciting and rapidly growing new movement, Community Supported Energy. A time-tested and highly successful strategy in Europe, community or cooperative ownership of local renewable energy projects is finally gaining momentum in North America.
Pahl is the author of several books, including: The Citizen-Powered Energy Handbook: Community Solutions to a Global Crisis (2007, Chelsea Green), Biodiesel: Growing a New Energy Economy (2005, Chelsea Green), and Natural Home Heating: The Complete Guild to Renewable Energy Options (2003, Chelsea Green).
Fairgoers can attend 55 free workshops (with paid fair admission) that cover energy topics such as solar electricity, solar cooking, solar heating and hot water, passive solar construction, and home-scale hydro and wind energy. Fuel and transportation workshops include alcohol fuels, electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen, veggie oil, and how to make biodiesel. Public policy, education, and monetary issues are addressed with topics such as Oregon tax credits and financing, renewable energy education opportunities in Oregon, and alternative currencies.
More information is available at SolWest.org. See you at the fair!
Save the Date -- Green & Solar Home Tour
Earth Advantage Inc. and the Greater Applegate Community Development Association are sponsoring a tour of Green and Solar Homes. On October 4, 2008 from 10 am – 5 pm. Busses (with tour guides) are available at no charge. Otherwise carpooling is encouraged. Participants must meet at the Ruch Elementary School at 9:30 to receive maps and tour packets.
Meet builders, homeowners and professionals, and see homes that are built with sustainability as a priority. Presentations will be given at each of the 5 sites, including 2 new homes, 1 remodel and 2 wineries that have included solar and energy saving features. For more information, contact: Fred Gant at 541-324-2902 or by e-mail: email@example.com, or call Tom Carstens at 541-846-1025. Online registration is available at: www.earthadvantage.org/classesevents/applegate.asp
Two New Green Businesses Open Doors
The new solar-powered EcoMart opens in late June in downtown Klamath Falls at 249 E. Main. Product lines will include portable solar power products, milk paint, eco office and party supples, and environmentally friendly products for cleaning, health and beauty, kitchen and bath, and more.
NicaNelly has opened its doors in Talent at the corner of Talent Ave. and Wagner. They offer their own Nicaraguan grown Santa Catalina coffees roasted in Talent. They also carry fair trade imports from Nicaragua. A portion of the profits are returned to assistance organizations and individuals
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