Blog Action Day 2009, Part 1!

It’s here!  In case my post from a few weeks ago didn’t entice you enough, today is October 15th and it’s Blog Action Day!  Yea, yea!  *Leaps for joy*!!  Ahem….since I’m the only one leaping, I’ll give you a little bit of background.  Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. This year’s topic (and our first foray into social blog-i-vism – is that a word?) is CLIMATE CHANGE!

Yup, it’s everybody’s favorite topic!  Actually, I’m sure it’s not.  Nobody really wants to think about the oceans swelling to Noah’s Arc proportions, people going hungrier on account of over-utilized soils and lack of rain, and/or having to give up our cars to decrease CO2 emissions, etc, etc.  Yea, nobody really likes to talk about it.  It’s not pretty, it’s not fun and, seriously, it’s a LOT of work!  It can also be a fairly divisive topic, but all I will say is, I do *this* because I can’t end world hunger, I can’t change the climate, I can’t do a lot of things.  But I can write and I can change the way I do things personally in the hopes that whatever progeny comes my way will also impart these good habits to further generations.  That’s my hope, at least.

So why is a blog about “home stuff” writing about Climate Change?  Mostly because everything starts at home and I’m going to tell you about some of the ways we try to live more “green-ly”.  Now that J-man and L-blogger live in Portland, Oregon, a lot of the “green-ness” has kind of been hand dealt to us, which is really awesome.  First of all, Recycling is required and our recycling bin is twice the size of our trash bin – now isn’t that interesting?:

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(L to R) Recycling, Glass, Trash

We are fortunate to live in a city that has a rapid transit line that goes out to the suburbs and exurbs, including a commuter rail, bus system, and a streetcar downtown, thus decreasing CO2 emissions from cars:

Photo Courtesy of TriMet

Photo Courtesy of TriMet

We also have this curious thing in Portland called an “Urban Growth Boundary”.  According to Wikipedia, a UGB is, “a regional boundary, set in an attempt to control urban sprawl by mandating that the area inside the boundary be used for higher density urban development and the area outside be used for lower density development.”  In Portland alone, “The growth boundary, along with efforts to create economic development zones, has led to the development of a large portion of downtown, a large number of mid- and high-rise developments, an overall increase in housing and business density, and an increase in average house prices.”  For us, personally, this does restrict certain “spawl-y” niceties such as a large expansive yard and larger, cheaper homes.  However, we feel pretty good about not using *too* much land and we also have full access to all of our metropolitan area’s transportation systems, even from the ‘burbs!  This is all on account of our region’s UGB.

Portland, Oregon is certainly considered one of the “Greenest” cities in America and for a total eco-lover such as myself, that’s a very good thing.  But I was racking my brain trying to figure out what *more* I could do to help out.  Everybody talks nowadays about decreasing their Carbon Footprint, etc.  Since I don’t drive as much as I used to (the economy has helped the environment more than any legislation will ever do) and we now own a home that needs some serious TLC, I thought about one serious problem we have with our house that seriously needs some help and how to do it “green-ly”:

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Our crappy, brown, mudded-over, weeded-out shameful backyard.  Le sigh.  Four years of neglect from the prior homeowners and cheap seed by the builders really took its toll on our backyard.  After months of raking out the clover and everything else from the backyard, we have very little left in the way of actual “grass”.  And what *is* leftover is pretty nutrition-dead construction dirt (rocky, dry, and non-porous).  This is not particularly promising when you have a dog that needs a loo, prospects to plant a vegetable garden next spring, and a lot of bare spots that need to be seeded.  So began a personal endeavor to follow in my Grandmother’s footsteps and finally take the plunge into composting to help bring our yard back from the brink.

To be honest, composting is one of those things that absolutely terrifies me as this link proves.  But what I found out was that there are *so* many ways to compost and not all of them are difficult!  In fact, for DIY lovers such as ourselves, we found an easy way to make a “Worm Bin” that seemed so do-able, we simply had to try it!  The basic difference with a Worm Bin and a traditional Composting pile is explained at this link, which you should definitely read up on if you are interested in Compositing at all.  I should just say right away that I am no expert on this topic, but I have to thank my dear friend over at Green Keen for giving me some really insightful and helpful tips on Composting.  And while you’re at it, go visit her site and read her really beautiful article today on Blog Action Day.  It exemplifies a great deal of how I feel as well and I completely concur with her sentiments.

So I want to show you my Worm Bin, but I admit that it is not completely finished right now.  However, as an enticement to return tomorrow and follow up on how I made this little compost-able DIY wonder, here’s a little mystery shot from our garage:

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Hrmmm….stay turned tomorrow as we show you how to Create a Compost Bin and take our (or your) Green living one step further!

Hooray for blog-i-vism!

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3 thoughts on “Blog Action Day 2009, Part 1!

  1. aww, why thank you!
    after i move here and start become more familiar with how the black composting bin works we should compare notes! (for some reason worms freak me out, although a black unit that looks like darth vadar’s head doesn’t hmmm…)

  2. Haha! I’m going to try my hand at a DIY composter and if I fail miserably, it’s nice to know I have a backup with the Metro’s Compost Bin. Keep your fingers crossed for me 😉

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