Strawberries , Farming, two glimpses Ecofacts V.10 n.17

SB County's top crop in 2013 was strawberries, their commercial value being nearly three times that of the next one - wine grapes. Delicious sweetness and intoxicating pleasure, these crops give us a snapshot of our region and its small farms, including the people who pick the fruits. Strawberries and wine grapes are economically robust despite the current drought. (Strawberries require much water … [Read more...]

Juicy flesh, Butter on our toast Ecofacts V.10 n.16

No one wants their meat bony and dry, at least the animals themselves and those who eat them don't. The point being, in the words of a favorite eco writer -  "It takes a lot of water to grow and feed a large mammal, and yet more water to cut it up into small pieces and clean up the mess." Besides beef and pork, the raising and processing of our poultry and of our dairy cattle for our milk, butter … [Read more...]

Almonds and economies Ecofacts V. 10 n.15

livingreen blog

I sat this morning happily eating a dish of local almonds and strawberries with some (not local) cereal, coconut and soy milk, and was grateful to have been able to speak to Nate, of Fat Uncle Farms where my almonds came from. Since almonds are a huge product of California AG and use lots of water in a drought stricken state, they've been a controversial item in the news lately. Nate's family … [Read more...]

More or Less Water Ecofacts V.10 n.14


California - great place to live, except for the not anywhere near enough water part!  After yet another not rainy season, very low reservoirs and not enough snow to feed our rivers. A third of our water comes from Sierra Nevada snowpack which is now 5% of normal levels, the Lake Tahoe Basin is at 3%. Governor Brown just announced that historic drought restrictions will be enacted, mostly for … [Read more...]

The Other End of Consumption Ecofacts V.10 n.13


We spend so much of our time thinking about, and doing our personal acts of consumption - eating and drinking, and with the water we use, washing. Then there's the outgo. We are relieved to wash, to pee and poo, but generally choose not to think much about that part, who wants to? But think for one minute and you realize how essential a well designed and maintained infrastructure is for sewage, … [Read more...]

Banana fibers Ecofacts V.10 n.12


I recently met someone who is helping to build another kind of bio-economy, a rural, local economy that employs people and banana fibers to solve an age old problem. Menstruating girls and women in developing countries who cannot afford access to hygenic methods of dealing with their periods must often miss school or work for days every single month. The alternatives are rags, leaves and/or mud … [Read more...]

Toxic Chemicals in Paints and Coatings – Which Ones to Avoid

Just about every surface you can think of gets coated – Floors, walls, counter & table surfaces, fabrics & furniture, cars, covers, packaging, toys, phones, electronics, the list goes on and on. What we need to pay attention to, however, is what they are coated with, because these coatings of paint, varnishes and sealants are what we are in daily contact with, and we absorb them and what … [Read more...]

Bioeconomy & plants Ecofacts V.10 n11

Green Energy in the Age of the Internet

Modern humans rely on about 150 plants for their diet & the bioeconomy, out of tens of thousands of edible ones (FAO estimates more than a quarter million) Of those, corn rice and wheat make up two thirds of the world's calories, and are grown on two thirds of all arable land.   And here is a shocker from the FAO: "Today 75% of the world's food is generated from only 12 plants and 5 animal … [Read more...]

Guest Blog Post from Jay Watts of AFM Safecoat, our expert on all things AFM!

Jay Watts, AFM Safecoat

I would like to welcome guest blogger, Jay Watts, from AFM Safecoat.  Jay has agreed to help us better understand the three part carpet care system from AFM. "We are repeatedly asked for recommendations on how to effectively seal new carpeting. Over the years, our customers have effectively controlled new carpet emissions in a three step approach using AFM Safecoat  Carpet Seal and LockOut. The … [Read more...]

MENA Energy and Water – Ecofacts V.10 n.9

Water and Energy Saving Month

The Middle East  - MENA (Middle East North Africa) is a unique region in the world's energy and water nexus. It is loaded with fossil fuel, holding nearly 60% of the world's oil reserves, and nearly 45% of its natural gas reserves. Fuel rich and water poor, it is home to 6.3% of the world's population and has access to only 1.4% of the globe's fresh water supply. 14 of the world's 20 most water … [Read more...]