Wednesday, December 17, 2008

1 MILLION New TREES!!! How cool.

I know I am a little behind on this news, it was originally released back in October. But this morning I drove by people planting truck loads of new trees along the high way and drainage canals by my house so I did a little digging and found out what it is all about.

This is an article from

A million new trees will thicken our canopy
By ALLAN TURNER Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
Oct. 6, 2008, 11:23PM

Conceding it never will have mountains nor the Mediterranean, Mayor Bill White on Monday boasted Houston is "a green city that is beautiful to look at from the air and from the ground."

White's comments came as he announced city participation in Million Trees + Houston, a multimillion-dollar public-private partnership to plant more than a million trees in the city in the next five years.

"Our big public goal," said White, "is to plant more trees than we ever have."

Starting with a $750,000 budget, the city plans to plant at least 150,000 trees, starting in September, White said.

Joining in the effort are the Texas Department of Transportation, which has agreed to plant 513,000 trees on highway rights of way; Harris County, planting 275,000-plus trees; Trees for Houston and Texas Forest Service, each planting 10,000-plus trees; and corporate sponsors, management districts and other civic groups, planting more than 150,000 trees.

Other cities do the same.

Launch of the project, modeled after similar efforts in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City, coincides with the loss of tens of thousands of trees during Hurricane Ike.

At city parks and golf courses alone, Parks and Recreation Director Joe Turner said, more than 3,500 trees were lost.

Mack Fowler of the Quality of Life Coalition in Houston said the effort would help "put Houston on the map as an extraordinary tree city." The city's goal, he said, is to plant the trees in five years — half the time earmarked for similar projects in the larger cities.

"You're going to see trees in a very near term," Fowler said.

White endorsed trees as boons to the environment because they absorb carbon dioxide, aid in flood prevention, provide shade and serve as buffers against violent winds.

White said he has solicited the participation of large businesses in the program, asking that they give their employees "the gift of trees" in the coming holidays.
"I'm not saying turkeys don't have their place," he said, "but trees are a gift that lasts 70 to 80 years."

This year and next, the city will match one-third of corporate donations of up to $1.5 million. Among the areas the city plans to target for tree plantings are Wayside Drive, Dairy Ashford and Cullen Boulevard. On Cullen, the city intends to plant 4,500 trees on 38 esplanades.

White said a variety of trees in a variety of sizes, from seedlings to trees in 15-gallon containers, will be planted.

"We're going to plant like crazy from mid-September through February," he said.

White lauded the efforts of the Texas Department of Transportation, which has planted more than 600,000 trees along Houston roadways since 1999.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pagoda Trees

A few years back (2006) I purchased a packet of 10 Pagoda tree seeds on ebay. I planted them and decided that It would be pretty cool to take photos of their growth. Five of the seeds made it and below is a collection of photographs documenting the growth and life from seed of those Pagoda trees. I started taking photos every day, and then every week, and currently I am taking photos every month. It is pretty amazing how a little tiny seed can transform into a tree in just a matter of time.

The Pagoda Tree (Chinese Scholar, Japanese pagodatree; syn. Sophora japonica), is native to eastern Asia (mainly China; despite the name, it is introduced in Japan), is a popular ornamental tree in Europe and North America, grown for its white flowers, borne in late summer after most other flowering trees have long finished flowering. It makes a broad, spreading tree to 10-20 m tall and as much broad.

The Pagoda Tree is widely used in bonsai gardening. The Guilty Chinese Scholartree was a historic Pagoda Tree in Beijing, on which the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Chongzhen, hanged himself.

Click below to see all of the Pagoda photos:


Sunday, December 14, 2008

How to grow your own, apple.


It is easier than most people think to plant and grow an apple tree. The biggest part is just patience. If you plant a small apple tree, it will take about three to four years for the tree to mature and start to bear fruit. Growing apple trees from seeds will take upwards of ten years before your trees will produce a edible crop.

Apple seeds need to be started indoors. This can be done in one of two ways: you can place some apple seeds into a paper towel. Fold the paper towel over into a small square. Keep the paper towel wet, and place it in your refrigerator. Keep checking the seeds and keeping them moist. In a week or so, your apple seeds will sprout. They are now ready to plant outside. Or, you can use a paper cup filled with potting soil to start your seeds. Dig a shallow hole in the middle of the potting soil and plant the apple seeds there. Set the container on a sunny windowsill and keep the soil moistened. In a week or so, the apple seeds will sprout. They will then be ready to plant outside.

Once the apple seeds have sprouted, you will be ready to plant them outside. Choose a location that receives a lot of sunlight. Use a shovel or a rototiller to loosen up a fairly good size patch of soil. Rake the rocks, sticks, and other debris from this patch. Dig two shallow holes. Divide your apple seeds and plant them between the two holes. Cover around them with dirt firmly. Keep them watered and keep the ground free of weeds. You can place a clean glass jar upside over each apple tree to help protect it from the elements and from animals. If you are planting several rows of trees, as in an orchard, the rows should be planted approximately thirty to thirty-five feet apart. This will give you plenty of room to spray, prune, and otherwise care for the apple trees after they have matured.

After your apple tree has grown up to a height of about two or three feet, it is now time to stake it up. Simply use a stake or a thin strip of sturdy wood that measures about four feet long. Pound the stake or wood strip into the ground about four inches from the apple tree. Leave about three and a half feet of the stake or wood strip exposed. Use a piece of an old rag, or, a leg of an old pair of pantyhose to loosely tie the tree to the stake or wood strip. The rag, or pantyhose, and the stake will help support the apple tree and help it to grow straight. Wind, heavy rains, et cetera, can bend the young tree over if it doesn't have anything to support it.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

20,000 New Trees For Detroit...

Joe Rossiter from the Detroit Free Press writes,

The future of Detroit looks much greener, ecologically speaking, thanks to a budding partnership between the city and the Greening of Detroit announced Wednesday in a park on the city's west side.

The Walter Meyers Nursery, an abandoned 125-acre parcel in Rouge Park that has been dormant for more than three years, is to be used to provide the city with an efficient means of reforesting the landscape. Plans call for the planting of more than 20,000 trees on nursery property in the first eight years. The trees would be grown from young seedlings for three to five years before they are replanted in public places like parks and school grounds.

"Today is a cause for celebration because it presents a great opportunity for a partnership to blossom," said Rebecca Salminen-Witt, president of Greening of Detroit.

The partnership was blocked in July by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union with the largest number of city workers. The union objected to the use of private workers, even if volunteers, to do nursery work once done by city employees.

But an arbitrator ruled against the union, which also is objecting to a plan to have Greening of Detroit plant trees in city-owned rights-of-way.

Greening of Detroit is a nonprofit organization established in 1989 to promote the reforestation of Detroit.

With the help of volunteers and community organizations, the group has been planting nearly 2,000 trees a year in the spring and fall.


Greening of Detroit is a 501 (c)(3) not for profit organization, established in 1989 to guide and inspire the reforestation of Detroit. Our latest strategic plan reflects commitment to a clear sense of direction that will guide the organization's development over the next five years.

A new vision was established, expanding The Greening's mission to guide and inspire others to create a 'greener' Detroit through planting and educational programs environmental leadership, advocacy, and by building community capacity.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Give me some O2

Air filtration is becoming a huge business today. With the EPA finding indoor air up to 90% more contaminated than the air outside, People are developing asthma and allergies at higher rates than ever before. Here is a very cool way to help the air in your home or office with no electricity needed at all.

Holga thumb

Yup. Good ole plants to save the day. Now don't get me wrong, if you can afford to have a powerful air filtration unit in your home or office then by all means go for it, but if your on a budget or just want to green the place up a bit, then pay a visit to your local green house or plant supplier and get some live plants in your place.

NASA has even researched the use of plants for a number of great uses. They have found that living plants are so efficient at absorbing contaminants in the air that some will be launched into space as part of the biological life support system aboard future orbiting space stations. NASA is also looking at using plants to grow food in space for the astronauts to eat. Which brings us to another awesome benefit.

Spicer Getting ripe

Not only can you have plants in your home for cleaning the air but depending on what your growing, you can spice up your meals as well.

Share your plants with us Here


Monday, December 8, 2008

And you thought LEDs were efficient...

GE leaves behind the old school light bulbs for LEDs and OLEDs (Organic Light Emitting Diodes).

GE Has been working on OLEDS for a while now and they hope to have them for sale by 2010. Below is an interesting article about this technology.

OLEDs are thin, organic materials sandwiched between two electrodes, which illuminate when an electrical charge is applied. They represent the next evolution in lighting products. Their widespread design capabilities will provide an entirely different way for people to light their homes or businesses. Moreover, OLEDs have the potential to deliver dramatically improved levels of efficiency and environmental performance, while achieving the same quality of illumination found in traditional products in the marketplace today with less electrical power.

“Researchers have long dreamed of making OLEDs using a newspaper-printing like roll-to-roll process,” said Anil Duggal, manager of GE’s Advanced Technology Program in Organic Electronics. “Now we’ve shown that it is possible. Commercial applications in lighting require low manufacturing costs, and this demonstration is a major milestone on our way to developing low cost OLED lighting devices.”

Duggal continued, “Beyond OLEDs, this technology also could have broader impact in the manufacturing of other organic electronic devices such as organic photovoltaics for solar energy conversion, sensors and roll-up displays.”

“For businesses, architects, lighting designers and anyone interested in pushing the envelope to achieve increasingly energy-efficient lighting — and vastly expanded lighting design capabilities — today marks the day that viable, commercialized OLED lighting solutions are coming into view,” said Michael Petras, GE Consumer & Industrial’s Vice President of Electrical Distribution and Lighting. “We have more work to do before we can give customers access to GE-quality OLED solutions, but it’s now easier to envision OLEDs becoming another high-efficiency GE offering, like LEDs, fluorescent or halogen.”

The demonstration of a low-cost, roll-to-roll process for OLED lighting represents the successful completion of a four-year, $13 million research collaboration among GE Global Research, Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENER) and the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The goal of the collaboration was to demonstrate a cost-effective system for the mass production of organic electronics products such as flexible electronic paper displays, portable TV screens the size of posters, solar powered cells and high-efficiency lighting devices.

ECD Senior Vice President Nancy Bacon said, “This program was a major step in developing high volume roll-to-roll manufacturing for OLEDs and other organic semiconductor devices. The success of this program is testimony to the effectiveness of NIST’s advanced technology program model, and our 20-year history of pioneering research in roll-to-roll technology. We currently are utilizing this technology to mass produce our flexible, durable and lightweight UNI-SOLAR brand solar laminates. ECD looks forward to continuing collaboration with GE to further develop this technology for future commercialization.”

GE researchers provided the organic electronics technology and were responsible for developing the roll-to-roll processes, while ECD provided its unique roll-to-roll equipment-building expertise to build the machine that manufactures the OLED devices. The machine is being utilized for further manufacturing research at GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, New York.

The development of this low cost roll-to-roll manufacturing process has the potential to eliminate the manufacturing hurdles that currently exist in preventing a more widespread adoption of high performance organic electronics technologies such as OLED lighting. The unique commercial equipment and technology needed to enable high performance-based organic electronics products does not currently exist. The few organic electronics products on the market today are made with more conventional batch processes and are relatively high cost. A roll-to-roll manufacturing infrastructure that enables high performance and low cost devices will allow a more widespread adoption of organic electronics products.

GE’s OLED Research Program

GE, as part of its ecomagination initiative, has made substantial investments in OLED research that has resulted in world records for OLED lighting device size and efficiency. In 2004, researchers were able to demonstrate an OLED device that was fully functional as a 24-inch by 24-inch panel, which produced 1,200 lumens of light with an efficiency on par with today’s incandescent bulb technology. This was the first demonstration that OLED technology potentially could be used for lighting applications. Since then, GE has more than doubled the level of OLED efficiency using device architectures that are scalable to a large area and can be produced cost-effectively.

The efforts to increase the efficiency and performance of OLED lighting have coincided with the development of a low-cost, roll-to-roll process for manufacturing these devices. The ultimate goal of GE’s research program is to introduce OLED lighting products to market by the year 2010.

About GE Global Research

GE Global Research is one of the world's most diversified industrial research labs, providing innovative technology for all of GE's businesses. Global Research has been the cornerstone of GE technology for more than 100 years, developing breakthrough innovations in areas such as medical imaging, energy generation technology, jet engines and lighting. GE Global Research is headquartered in Niskayuna, New York and has facilities in Bangalore, India, Shanghai, China and Munich, Germany. Visit GE Global Research at

About Energy Conversion Devices

Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq: ENER) manufactures and sells thin-film solar laminates that convert sunlight to energy using proprietary technology. Distributed globally under the UNI-SOLAR® brand, the company's products are ideally suited for cost-effective solar roofing solutions because they are lightweight, durable, flexible, can be integrated directly with building materials, and generate more energy in real-world conditions. ECD also pioneers other alternative technologies, including a new type of non-volatile digital memory that is significantly faster and less expensive, and is ideal for a variety of applications including cell phones, digital cameras and personal computers. For more information, visit



Friday, December 5, 2008

Act The F*&k Now!

I saw this and thought it was really well done.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Houston Greens its traffic lights

I thought this was super cool. Houston has approved changing every single traffic light in the 500 square mile city from the old school 135 watt bulbs to 10 watt LED lights. This is costing the city 16 million to do, but it will save the city 10,000 dollars a day in electricity. What a great investment, within 4 years not only will these wattage savers completely pay for themselves but they will be putting about 3.6 million dollars a year after that back into the cities budget. Now that's smart.

Holga Downtown Nights

In other cool news for Houston's Green efforts check out this article.

Houston is retrofitting municipal buildings to save not just the greenhouse gasses produced from wasted energy but to create a surplus of money saved in the process.

Good job Houston. Let's hope other cities follow suit. With all the economic issues we face today, it makes sense to do things that SAVE money.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Clean My City Flickr...

Cool new additions to our Flickr group.

The Air We Breathe



Sunday, June 8, 2008

recycling paper

It seems that more and more paper recycling program bins are popping up in my neighborhood. It makes me happy to see this because the funds raised are put toward local fundraisers while helping save the earth. Did you know...

...that recycling helps decrease waste disposal by decreasing the volume in landfills?
...that recycling a stack of newspapers just three (3) feet tall will save one tree?

...that one ton of recycled paper used to make newsprint saves: 390 gallons of oil, 4100 kw hours of electricity, 7000 gallons of water, 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space?

For information on how the Abitibi paper recycling process works, visit their site here.


Glass Recycling and more...

Since moving to Houston last year I have been keeping all my glass to recycle once I found where to take it all, Thanks to the Recycling link I was able to find a place right down the street from me. 35 pounds of glass in total, and I was surprised that it wasn't more. I do not really use to many things made of glass so it was mostly pasta sauce jars, planter peanut jars, a few bottles of Stubbs, the best BBQ sauce, some beer bottles and some random other glass containers. My favorite part of recycling glass is the sound it makes when you toss it into the bin and it crashes into all the other glass.

Update on Clean My City: There has been a sharp increase in traffic last month and it is continuing into this month. More than triple the unique visitor traffic, which is awesome. I have decided to open this blog up to the public as well. If you would like to have posting rights on this blog feel free to Contact me.

Don't forget to share your photos with us on Flickr too.

Island of Thousands Temple

"As the Island of the thousand temple, Bali become famous not just because the culture, but also the architectural. This is one of famous temple in Bali called Taman Ayun. Placed in Mengwi, near Denpasar - The capital of Bali Island.

Taman Ayun is a unique place with special cultural and historical significance for Hindus in Bali. It occupies a parcel of about 50,000 square meters, and has three main parts, each with a specific purpose. The most sacred ground is a shrine; the other two areas comprise meeting halls. A river, in places full of lotus and water lilies, runs nearby.

The island of Bali has long been characterized in the world as the last "paradise" on earth, a traditional society insulated from the modern world and its vicissitudes, whose inhabitants have exceptional artistic talents and consecrate a considerable amount of time and wealth to sumptuous ceremonies for their own pleasure and that of their gods. Therefore, the relation between the tangible and intangible aspects is a major aspect of the heritage and culture of Bali. The cultural heritage of the island goes way beyond physical structures and landscapes. More than anywhere else on the Indonesian peninsula an intricate connection exists between the built environment, the natural settings and the social and religious life.

Just come and see the beauty of Bali.
I can't guarantee that we can see more in few years later - many government policies not too good for cultural and nature and environmental life in Bali.
With Canon 400D + 10-22mm lens"

Image and description by Myudistira


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Really Cool Website....

I found this really cool website last night.

Not only does it let you enter in your zip code and show you a really cool google map with all of the recycling locations near you, it is LOADED with great info.

Check it out. You can even find recycling centers that handle the hard to recycle items.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Clean My City On Flickr...

I found some cool photos in the Clean My City Flickr Group the other day and it sparked my interest enough to email the flickr member and ask her if she would mind sharing with us what she does to help our environment.

Here is a photo and below is what she had to say.
a new spill


"I'm an environmental scientist, more specifically a hydro-geologist. I monitor groundwater and soil quality by taking samples, analyzing them, and write reports for the department of environmental conservation. My consultant company works only with gas stations, or sites that were previously gas stations. We're specifically looking for contaminants that are traceable to gasoline in the groundwater and soil.

These contaminants get into the ground via cracks in the gas tanks or pump piping and are deemed 'spills', and can be in the water and soil for years. We monitor most 'active spill' sites on a quarterly bases, as most of them show decreasing levels over time. Though if there's a problem at a site, with increasing levels, we are frequently there assessing clean-up and installing systems to help alleviate the contamination in the ground. for this, we work with environmental drillers to install monitoring wells on these sites and off-site in the direction of the groundwater flow to ensure that the contamination isn't moving any further.

That's about the gist of it.. Hopefully I've been able to provide a few interest points amongst the boring geeky details. I'd be glad to answer any questions you have if you need more info."

Cool stuff from cool people, Just sharing photos and ideas about what we do to impact our environment. Have a great weekend everyone.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Recycling Day...

Today was recycling day for me. Two large overflowing bags of plastics. And one huge bag of shredded paper and cardboard. In the time that it took to generate these three bags for recycling I only put two bags of garbage out.

Update on my office. The 8 yard container is in place. 12 mini blue recycling bins are all around the office, see last post, and everyone is participating. It was slow at first because a lot of my coworkers have never recycled before. It became natural once they realized that its no more work to put paper in one bin and garbage in the other. It actually worked so well that our office over filled the container outside and we had to call the recycling company to come make a special pick up. * Which is partly just a nice way to say that we had a few bumps with the removal company, but those are all worked out now. The best part about this recycling is that our office was able to go with a smaller sized garbage dumpster, which has cut our waste removal fees dramatically. Which of course makes management happy. This has been a win win situation for everyone. I encourage anyone reading this post to set up recycling at your place of work. On average 43 percent of household garbage is a paper product that can be recycled and as much as 93% of all office waste is paper! Most of this is recyclable. Imagine if every office building had a recycling program. We need to start thinking how to be more efficient with what we do. Cites all over the planet are starting to implement recycling programs for their administration departments. Lets get the corporate world involved. The easiest way to do this is to show them that it saves money to recycle. I am going to keep track and let every one know how much our offices saves in waste removal fees. Maybe this will help to motivate others to join in.

Clean My City is doing well, this month is only half way through and the site has already had more visitors than in April, which was a high traffic month.

Keep it clean.

as it desaturates
"new york city becomes grayer to me as the years go on" theskywatcher


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Recycling bins for work...

Today I went and picked up 12 of these from Office Depot. I took them to my office and put them in everyones offices and in all the meeting rooms. I paid for this out of my own pocket because I want everyone at work to take full advantage of the 8 Yard container that a local company is suppling us for free. I have wrote about this before, but the short of the story is, I found a local company that recycles paper to make insulation material for homes. They are willing to supply us with a container and pick it up every week. This is great because all the waste disposal companies in town want to charge us money to recycle and this local company has agreed to do all of this for free.

Recycle bin

Cool stuff. I will be updating my companies website soon to include a We Recycle link.
Feel free to share with us your recycling stories.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

happy earth day!

After work today, I finally put together the Earth Day goodie bags. These included a reusable polypropylene tote bag that easily folds into a small zipped rectangle (perfect for stashing in the car or purse for shopping trips), a SIGG water bottle (no more styrofoam cups and plastic containers), local preserves, and a CFC bulb. Oh, and we cannot forget the CMC button to help spread the word.

I didn't have enough scrap paper to create the scratch pads, so I "scrapped" that idea - at least for now. I also needed to forego the bamboo item. Maybe next year.

So, on this Earth Day, I thought I'd share with you a couple links: - Information on how to green your home, a green gift guide, and how to get involved.
Polar Bear IQ Test - Beyond being endangered, what else do you know about these creatures? Take the test and find out for yourself.

Have a wonderful Earth Day - make a difference and make a lasting change!



Well it is finally here, Earth Day 08. It is good to see all the attention given to the earth today and last few weeks leading up to today. My hope is that some of the people exposed to all of the advertising and promotions surrounding this Earth Day keep it in mind all year. It is so important that we share and learn respect for our planet. Because in all reality how we take care of our earth is nothing more than a reflection of how we take care of our selves.
What I am doing for Earth day is shredding paper. Lots of it. I keep all of my junk mail, receipts, food packaging paperboard, boxes, any and everything you could think of that is paper based. I shred the paper and break down the paper board and cardboards. Stuff it all into large yard garbage bags and drop them off to be recycled. Since starting to do this I have saved a tremendous amount of space in my actual trash bags and only put one or two trash bags out a month. This in addition to all plastics, glass, and aluminum that I also recycle. So keeping it simple this earth day.
Other good news. The company that I contacted to help my office with recycling paper has finally delivered a huge paper dumpster to our office, so now tons and tons of office paper and packaging cardboard will be recycled every year instead of going to the landfill. It will take a while for everyone in the office to get used to not putting paper in the garbage but this is a great start. Also the company ends up saving money as well because there is less garbage and that means less removal. So its a total win win situation.
One by one people will start to see the benefits of thinking green. It saves money, its saves space in the landfills, and its saves in many indirect ways that we normally just do not even think of, Take the story of stuff for example.



Earth Day 08: Cool stuff

Of course Clean my city

Googles Earth Day Earth day

Remember how beautiful our home is:

The key to me is to reach more people and hopefully someone will realize and make small changes to their daily, monthly, yearly routine. Its nice to be proactive one day a year but think of the impact that you can have if you are proactive 365 days a year, even doing something as simple as not putting your junk mail in the trash, or your plastic and glass bottles in the trash. Just simple little things. If we had more people doing little things it would create an avalanche of positive change. Remember how we treat our earth is just a reflection of how we treat ourselves.

Take care and enjoy your Earth Day.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

saab 9-x biohybrid and biopower eco clothing

Recently, Saab revealed its 9-X BioHybrid Concept and Pure BioPower Eco Clothing collection, an environmentally-conscious fashion line made from 100 percent organic cotton. Here's a video clip of the saab 9-x biofuel / eco-clothing show...


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Honesty From A Clothing Maker...

I found this today and it opened my mind to a whole new level of waste that goes on behind the scenes.

The Footprint Chronicles Patagonia's attempt to open our minds and be up front about their environmental footprint.

This site takes us on a journey across the globe showing how Patagonia makes five of their products. It is very interesting because they show how much energy is consumed, how much CO2 is produced, the distance that the items travel, and the weight of the waste produced just to manufacture an item. Most companies would never have the balls to do something like this, in my opinion and I commend Patagonia for putting this info out there.

I hope that this inspires manufacturers and consumers to think about where products are coming from and to be conscious of the impact they have on our ecosystem. Even more reason to do everything we can as individuals to help fight back the tide of pollution and waste.


Monthly Recap and Google blacks out...

Clean My City is now two months young and growing. In March we had just under 500 unique visitors stop by. More than half of them making multiple visits. That is really cool because the entire point of Clean My City is to spread the word about recycling, picking up, planting, and keep those ideas in our minds so that we will take more action.

Did anyone participate in Earth Hour 2008 last Saturday?

Earth Hour is an annual international event held on the last Saturday of March that asks households and businesses to turn off their lights and non-essential electrical appliances for one hour on the evening. The event is promoted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia and the Sydney Morning Herald.

The first Earth Hour was held on 31 March 2007 in Sydney, Australia between 7:30 pm and 8:30 pm. The 2007 Earth Hour is estimated to have cut Sydney's mains electricity consumption by between 2.1% and 10.2% for that hour, with as many as 2.2 million people taking part. Earth Hour 2008 was held internationally on 29 March 2008 at 8 pm local time until 9 pm, marking the first anniversary of the event with many partner cities and individuals around the world participating.This also had a big impact on New Brunswick Canada. This hour saved 23.9 billion tons of CO2 emmisions. Earth Hour may also help reduce light pollution, and in 2008, coincides with the beginning of National Dark Sky Week in the USA. The 2009 Earth Hour will be held on March 28, 2009.

I participated, I turned off everything in my house for an hour, even so far as unplugging everything from the wall itself. I sat in the dark and played my acoustic guitar for an hour. No, I am not a hippy, but it was a good experience to get away from the TV, Internet, Stereo for an hour and just relax. I think this is a great idea and hope that more people find out about it and take part. The simple little things can make such a huge impact. Google showed their support as well by Blacking out their search page. They admit that this saved zero electricity but anyone that was on Google last saturday was exposed to the Earth Hour information. Good stuff google.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Recycling Time...

Today I recycled two large trash bags bursting full of plastics and one large garbage bag of shredded paper and junk mail. I have been trying my best to cut down on the amount of garbage that I go through. And so far its been working. In the last month and a half I have recycled seven large garbage bags, full of plastics and papers, and only put three garbage bags in the trash. I think that a lot of people forget that all that paper board packaging material that is used on just about everything at the grocery store can be recycled. This alone cuts back a heap of trash. And remember, even if your neighborhood does not have a recycling program you can always find one of these containers Think out side of the box, go out of your way. Keep as much out of the landfills as you can. And remember blog about your recycling Here. The more people we have talking about this and sharing what they are doing to help, the more people will want to be apart of this. Clean My city.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

snow solution

Choosing a snowblower can sometimes be a daunting task, especially if you live in the midwest and are concerned about the environment. An excellent solution is an electric snowblower. I received one several years ago as a gift (along with a 90 foot power cord) and it has been a blessing. Electric snowblowers require minimal maintenance - I've actually had no maintenance for mine, no gas, less space, and most importantly, they reduce pollution.
Mother Earth News published an article with further details - you can read it here: Mother Earth News - Snowy Solutions.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Travelling Gnomes, A reality...

If you ever saw the movie Amélie then You are aware of the Traveling Gnome story.

The travelling gnome prank is a popular method of returning a garden gnome "to the wild". It involves stealing a gnome, taking it on a trip around the world (usually passing it from person to person), and photographing it at famous landmarks, with the photos being returned to the owner. Sometimes the gnome returns with a wife and children.

The tradition was first recorded in Australia in the 1980s. Although not definitive, the following blurb appeared in the Regular Shorts feature of the Sydney Morning Herald of September 24, 1986: 'AN EASTERN suburbs gnome-owner was distressed when she discovered her gnome had been stolen at the weekend. A note was found in its place: "Dear mum, couldn't stand the solitude any longer. Gone off to see the world. Don't be worried, I'll be back soon. Love Bilbo xxx."

Well the Gnome has showed up again and this time it is for the good of all of planet earth, The gnomes come bringing words of enviro news. They showed up in the Clean My City Flickr group.
Eco-Thriller: "HET KYOTO COMPLOT" by Ruben van Dijk
Wadis and district heating

And this is the message that they bring. GnomeDiaries

Some cool stuff. Spread the word.

I am too sexy for this hat!


Sunday, March 16, 2008

eco- friendly choices: napkins - paper or cloth?

Recently, I was told that one of my local home supply stores was closing. It's always sad to see a favorite shop shut down. There are a few things that I do still need around my home, so I decided to pay a visit and see if any necessities might be on sale.

I had been planning, over the last few months, to find some cloth napkins to help replace my use of paper napkins. While cloth napkins need to be laundered, they don't use up unrenewable resources such as trees and can be reused many times. Remember, trees need many years of growth before they can be harvested for use. Also, unless you purchase recycled paper napkins, typical napkins or paper towels contain bleach and chemicals. So, in an effort to fulfill my plan, I purchased 30 cloth napkins which were on sale. I now have enough cloth napkins to get through at least a week and if I ever have guests over, I should have plenty for everyone to use. The cloth napkins I purchased are an army green color - a little bit neutral, but with just a hint of color. In the future, if needed, I can add to my cloth napkin collection with a pattern or another color.

If you're handy with a sewing machine, you can also make some nifty cloth napkins by cutting square-foot pieces of cloth and sewing the seams. You can embellish your napkins or even make small 5"x5" cocktail napkins/coasters for parties. I know this is a small step, but I do believe that every little bit helps - and in this case, we are helping keep hundreds of napkins out of the landfill saving many beautiful trees.


Saturday, March 1, 2008

1st Month was a Success...

Clean My City has now been online for one month, and what a good start it was. Over 400 unique visitors stopped by the site. The majority of visitors spent over ten minutes on the site, which is great. The Community section is growing as well, slowly but still gaining members. Remember, the point is to spread as many good ideas about helping our cities and helping our planet get and stay clean. So if you have an idea share it with us.

Here are some photos from our Flickr group:

blue skies peak thru the smog
e k e
Bald Eagle

Thank you to everyone that is participating and to everyone who has stopped by and visited the site. Clean My city is a work in progress and if you have any ideas on how to get the word out to a larger audience feel free to drop me a line.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Checking in...

Things are picking up, no pun intended. So far this month Clean my city has had over 5000 page views, our community section and Flickr group keep growing and I have received very positive feedback. Thank you for checking us out, now the next step is to get people participating in the discussion.

Spread the word.

Get more people involved.

I would like to personally thank my good friends James and Ercy for their participation in the community blogs. The ideas that they are sharing in their blogs are awesome. Cheers.

Drop me a line if you have any ideas on how else we can help raise awareness.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

magazine matters - going digital

I'm sure we've all noticed the "new" resurgence of the green movement over the past couple of years. The first I recall this movement happening was during the mid- to late-80s. It's great that people are becoming more aware of our earth's issues and it's great to see recycling, fuel efficiency, and other earth-saving solutions being endorsed, however, I truly hope it's not just a fad this time around.

Technology has advanced so much more since the mid-80s and now we have the ability to take in our media fixes in digital format. If you're like me (and if you work in the media industry, you'll know what I mean), you may find it difficult to fully give up reading your favorite magazines. I do still subscribe to two of my favorite magazines, but am willing to compromise by recycling them after I read them. And when I do recycle, I take the magazines to an Abitibi Paper Retriever (recycling container) at my church or at a nearby school. Not only am I recycling, but I am helping raise funds for good local organizations that give back to the community...a cycle in itself!

While it's great that many magazines now have special "green" issues printed on recycled paper with soy ink, it would be best if we could reduce the production of printed matter and save some trees. Here are a few suggestions on how to get your magazine fixes while helping save the earth:

Zinio is an environmentally conscious company offering many domestic and international magazines in digital format.

• Some magazines are offering free online versions of their publications. Organic Style, a wonderful magazine, has just launched their inaugural digital issue. It was produced by the same folks who create greenlight magazine.

• Get a kindle. What's a "kindle?" It's a wireless reading device from Amazon. It's similar to a PDA, but doesn't involve any synching. You can purchase reading material and receive it in less than a minute. Books and newspapers are available and with the kindle, you have access to top blogs as well as Wikipedia.

So go ahead and get your media fix and give some of these earth-friendly solutions a try!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Free Trees!

The Arbor Foundation is offering 10 free 6"-12" trees to anyone who joins in the month of February.

Check it out

Look Holgup

Tree periscope

One very Large AZ tree

Everyone should do this. Cheers


Monday, February 11, 2008

Clean My City, strong and kicking...

It has been just over a week since going live and There have been some really cool images posted in the CMC flickr group.

Please recycle

We have also had over 4500 page views! and there are three memebers active in the Community blogs. Its growing. Feel free to join in and speak your mind.


Saturday, February 9, 2008

earth day preparation

It's only February, but it's not too early to begin preparing for Earth Day. This year, I plan to give friends, family, and co-workers with a few tools to help them get involved with saving our Earth:

• Tote bag that can be reused for shopping, errands, etc. This will help keep plastic bags from reaching landfills. The bags will contain:
Compact fluorescent light bulb with facts on how much we can save by using them.
• Handmade scratch paper books made from used office scrap paper (photos to come in a later post). These will give used paper another use before being recycled.
• A bamboo item. Bamboo is very strong and sustainable and keeps our trees alive.
• A locally produced item. As I mentioned in my previous post, buying locally produced items decreases our carbon footprints.
• Resources list printed on recycled paper. The list will include links to helpful websites (including CMC of course), environmentally responsible companies, and maybe some examples of how celebrities are helping keep our earth - this is mainly for my co-workers who are really into entertainment gossip.
• A CMC button if Dan will give me a few during my next visit to Houston!
So dear friends, that's my plan! How will you be celebrating Earth Day this year?


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Thinking outside of the bin....

From CMCommunity post: Some times we have to take the extra step to recycle. Not every neighborhood or community has recycling available and a lot of us are just too busy or too lazy to take the extra step to make sure we do not waste. When I moved to Houston I found out that the neighborhood that I live in does not offer recycling. But Luckily I live right next to Jersey Village, A small community that does have recycling. Every Wednesday the recycling truck comes through Jersey Village, and as long as you put your paper: Junk mail, magazines, office paper, shredded paper, cardboard, food packaging paper board, receipts, pretty much any kind of paper you could imagine - in a black garbage bag, and all of your plastics and aluminum in a white garbage bag, they will pick it up and recycle it for free. So I called the Jersey Village City Council and asked if I could take part in their recycling. They gave me permission to leave my white and black recycling garbage bags on the front yard of City Hall. Pretty awesome. What you do if you live in Jersey Village is on Wednesday you just put your white and black bags out to the curb like it was trash but instead of the garbage truck its a local company that comes by and picks up the recycling materials. They do this for free because by the ton recyclables are actually worth money. Companies like Waste Management do not want you to know this but yes it actually pays to recycle. I am now in contact with this company that picks up the recycling for Jersey Village and we are meeting up to set up large bins at my work, so that my office can recycle - FOR FREE. This company will actually pay you per ton if you have a lot of materials per month. How cool is that. On the contrast side of things Waste Management wants 95 dollars a month to set up their recycling containers and pick them up.

Today I had three garbage bags of plastic recyclables and one huge garbage bag filled with shredded paper, junk mail, and food packaging paper board.

Spread the word. There are companies that will pick up your recycling for FREE. Because it is worth money. All you have to do is organize enough people or enough materials and these companies will come and pick your recycling up for free and may even pay you. You just have to look around to find these guys.

I will be posting more about this company and sharing their contact info very soon. I am also working on getting my neighborhood on recycling too. Because its FREE and it is crazy to put all this stuff in the landfills when there are people willing to pay to re use it.



Monday, February 4, 2008

think local!

Lately I've been buying organic foods whenever possible. However, when it comes to produce and other products, it's important to also take into account the time and distance these items have traveled to reach their final destinations.

For the most part, U.S. produce is picked up to a week before reaching the supermarket. Let's also remember that it may travel thousands of miles before it reaches that supermarket, a consumer purchases it, and then is driven to the consumer's home. Think of the additional miles products travel when they originate from other countries! It really does impact our use of the earth's natural resources. Given this scenario, there are many reasons to buy local produce and goods:

• Local produce is much fresher and full of flavor. A tomato grown at home or purchased from a local farmer tastes so much better than the bland, mass-produced variety sold at most grocery stores.
• Pollution and gas usage are decreased by buying local products. Decrease your carbon footprint!
• Since it doesn't need to travel very far, local produce is typically preservative-free.
• Buying local supports your neighborhood farmers and helps support the local community.
These are just a few reasons to buy local. I can hardly wait for springtime when I can walk through the farmers' markets and purchase homegrown goodies!

By the way, the photo above was taken yesterday. I had a little snack of locally baked whole wheat bread with sour cherry preserves made by American Spoon (Petoskey, MI...I know this is a bit of a distance, but I still consider it to be local compared to most products which travel a much farther distance).


Saturday, February 2, 2008

CMCommunity - Posts are awesome...

Today, there were a couple blogs that got my attention.

This first one brought up a really good point, and if anyone out there has the answer please let us know.

*grouser* writes -

"What the heck do you do with drywall???

Recycling metals: scrap copper wire, pipes, and duct work is cake. I mean the market for metals right now is so high that they even pay you. Recycling wood isnt so bad either, 6 bucks a pick up truck load and the wood is used to fire a local power plant. I know, not exactly "green", but a heck of a lot better than the dump. One thing I am struggling with is recycling drywall. What the heck can you do with this stuff? Its gypsum, so it seems that its logical it could be crushed and reformed into other gypsum based products, but no one is even close to taking this on. It just goes back to my original point about recycling being difficult. So many barriers in place right now, that its just not being taken advantage of to the degree it should be."

Good question.

And on the other side of things here is a great recommendation to help stop all the Junk Mail.

*ercy* writes -

"keep the junk mail away

This week I cleaned my city! Well, I cleaned my front yard. As I arrived home earlier in the week, I noticed a few pages of newspaper on the ground and decided to step out of my car to pick them up. I later realized that not only was there newspaper everywhere, but there was litter scattered throughout everyone's yards. Most of what I saw was junk mail. If you live in the Detroit area, you know of the strong wind that hit the city early this week. I remember waking up thinking that the neighbors' garbage cans or lawn furniture could come crashing through my window at any moment. These winds caused the majority of the refuse to scatter about the neighborhood.

Anyway, as I picked up the garbage, I thought of ways to stop this from happening in the future. Why not stop junk mail from arriving in our mailboxes in the first place? Here are several sites that can lead you in the right direction:

GreenDimes - This company will help remove your contact information from mailing lists and lets you select catalogs you no longer wish to receive. They will also monitor your account on a monthly basis. The cost for the service is $20 and includes the planting of 10 trees on your behalf.

DMA Choice - DMA Choice is the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) consumer information website. Here you can find many ways to add or remove your name from mailing lists. Let's face direct marketers don't want to waste marketing budget on people who feel strongly about not wanting the junk mail.

Martha Stewart's Junk Mail Prevention Tips - Even my hero, Martha Stewart, has provided information on her website on how to keep junk mail away."

Good stuff.


keep the junk mail away

This week I cleaned my city! Well, I cleaned my front yard. As I arrived home earlier in the week, I noticed a few pages of newspaper on the ground and decided to step out of my car to pick them up. I later realized that not only was there newspaper everywhere, but there was litter scattered throughout everyone's yards. Most of what I saw was junk mail. If you live in the Detroit area, you know of the strong wind that hit the city early this week. I remember waking up thinking that the neighbors' garbage cans or lawn furniture could come crashing through my window at any moment. These winds caused the majority of the refuse to scatter about the neighborhood.

Anyway, as I picked up the garbage, I thought of ways to stop this from happening in the future. Why not stop junk mail from arriving in our mailboxes in the first place? Here are several sites that can lead you in the right direction:

GreenDimes - This company will help remove your contact information from mailing lists and lets you select catalogs you no longer wish to receive. They will also monitor your account on a monthly basis. The cost for the service is $20 and includes the planting of 10 trees on your behalf.

DMA Choice - DMA Choice is the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) consumer information website. Here you can find many ways to add or remove your name from mailing lists. Let's face direct marketers don't want to waste marketing budget on people who feel strongly about not wanting the junk mail.

Martha Stewart's Junk Mail Prevention Tips - Even my hero, Martha Stewart, has provided information on her website on how to keep junk mail away.


Friday, February 1, 2008

Thank you, Day one was a success.

I must say that the first day of was a great success. We had 823 page visits, 88 people joined the CMC flickr group and 3 new members in the CleanMyCity Community. That is awesome, and I hope that everyone spreads the word.

Thank you again and I look forward to seeing everyone active on flickr and on the community blogs.


Thursday, January 31, 2008

We Are LIVE! is now officially live for the world to see. I hope your inspired.

Share your thoughts, let me know what you think.

Thank you.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I am extremely happy to announce that on Friday February 1st 2008 will go live.

I have spent a lot of time building this site and all of its features, and am excited to finally share it with the world. I invite you to join in and help Clean up our cities.

You will be able to join our community section and create your own profile and have your own blog. We are going to use these blogs to log all of the positive activities that we do to help clean up our cities.

I will see you on friday.



Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cleaning up...

The buttons have arrived and they look GREAT. Thanks again to Jill for all of her help.

Update on the site:

Almost done with the navigation, once that is complete the site will go live.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Testing is going well, Almost ready...

This past week has been very productive. With the help of some volunteers, we have worked out a lot of the little bugs with the community section of the site.

Also this was a really good week because we were able to complete the CMC Logo and order some promotional material. Fun stuff.

Big thanks to Jill for her work on the new logo.

Here is a banner sample of the great work she did.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Beta Testers Welcome

Right now we are beta testing some functions of

If you are interesting in being a part of the testing please email me at Dan

Pretty much what you would be doing is very basic, just logging in and clicking on everything possible to see how it works and to provide feedback.

Thank you.