Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dog Poop

Bet the title got your attention.

Many thanks to Jan Herzog for forwarding this article on dog poop to me. Having three dogs that seem to do nothing but eat, poop and sleep, this was fascinating. Maybe an idea for the soon-to-be dog park? And perhaps someone might look into this for the Humane Society. They've got to be doing something with all that waste.

What got me in the article is the amount of water pollution derived from doggie waste.

Anyway, it just goes to show that there are infinite possibilities for things we usually throw away.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cleaning the Bathroom

No one likes cleaning the bathroom. I don't like cleaning, period. But at some point, it has to be done. I came across an article today on cleaning the bathroom in 15 minutes. I thought I would share because of the emphasis on less toxic cleaning supplies and products. Bleach and ammonia are not good for us doing the cleaning nor for the environment.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Congratulations to the Matador Ranch

Well, the Matador Ranch isn't as local as some others, but it is still in the Rolling Plains area of Texas, so it's local enough. The Matador Ranch received a land stewardship award from the Texas Section Society for Range Management and the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. There was an article in Friday's Times Record News with more information. Congratulations and thanks for making sustainability a priority in your ranch operations.

Food Inc to be Shown at Vernon College Tonight

Vernon College will host a free showing of the documentary, "Food, Inc." Monday, Oct 18 at 6:30 PM in Room 201 (of the Maplewood Campus). This is free and open to the public. Come learn more about the way food is produced in the US.

I saw this posted at Vernon College last week, but forgot all about it, so thanks to Paul and Nila Dowlearn for their Facebook reminder Friday.

Support the Humane Society

The Humane Society of Wichita Falls is once again hosting Paws in the Falls to raise money for their important work.

Saturday, October 23

6:30 PM

Neon Spur, 200 North Burnett

Preferred Seating Tickets: $40/person (dinner, dancing, live auction)

BBQ dinner by RIBS, Inc.

Tyler Rushing Band

$5 general admission

Dancing only

9:30 PM to closing

For tickets, call 940-696-0520. If you can't go, consider a donation anyway.

We're Talking Water Today

Today is Blog Action Day for water. Since water is an issue I am already deeply involved in, I am happy to participate with thousands of other bloggers around the world to inform people on issues relating to this vital resource.

Is water a commodity or is it a fundamental right of every person, since without clean, accessible water, life is miserable and very short indeed? The League of Women Voters of Texas has a position on water and this year we are studying the impact of water as a commodity. Since the study is still in progress, I won't say anything more about it. However, the fact that the issue has to be studied at all should be a concern to all of us. The League of Women Voters of Wichita Falls also has a position on water that is specific to our area and has periodic programs on the subject. Watch for announcements if you want to attend--the meetings are always open to the public.

Since we treat food as a commodity, it should be no surprise that we treat water the same way. In other words, water is a product that is exchanged for money, unless you happen to have control over the resource and are the person selling it. The scarcity and cleanliness of water is a huge concern throughout the world. It has caused wars and will likely spur more conflict in the years to come as water resources are polluted and the limited resources subject to greater demand as population rises and our standard of living rises.

But as in many large, complex issues, most of us can have the biggest impact locally.

Here in Texas, where the population is rising very fast indeed and water resources are scarce, water is a subject every citizen needs to be informed about. The City of Wichita Falls has done a lot to ensure water sufficient clean water for the next 40+ years. They have been farsighted in their approach to building infrastructure (although there has been a lot of fussing from citizens about the water rates needed to pay the bonds for this infrastructure.) However, we can do more in terms of encouraging water conservation. There has been some debate about conservation as there is currently "plenty" of water and less water use means the rates for water have to be raised to pay for maintaining the supply capability. The City does have a water conservation tip sheet on line. The Red River Authority has a tip sheet available as well, although I couldn't find the information on line.

Sometimes you do the right thing because it is the right thing. And we should be developing habits and processes in preparation for the future, when we are certain our water supplies won't be sufficient. So what can each of us do about ensuring adequate supplies of clean water for the future?
  • Be frugal in your water use at home. Fix leaks and as you replace fixtures and appliances, consider low water use items.
  • Have less lawn and replace it with native, drought tolerant plants. For the grass areas, consider grasses that need less water and fewer chemicals. Water less often. Water at night or early morning.
  • Consider rainwater harvesting for your landscape/gardening needs.
  • Eat lower on the food chain more often. The higher up the foodchain you go, the more water there is involved in the production of the food. Need suggestions? The local Sierra Club chapter just finished a meat-less cookbook that will be on sale soon.
  • Reduce your use of chemicals that pollute our water.
  • Pay attention to water issues in your community. The Region B Water Planning Board is responsible for water planning in our area. Watch for notices of upcoming meetings and public hearings. Participate in the process.

Water should be a concern to all of us and little changes can make a difference.

Feast or Famine

Some days it seems nothing interesting is happening in the world of sustainability around Wichita Falls and other days there is a deluge of news to share. Today is a deluge day, so I thought I would just post some upcoming events in a bullet form and then provide more information later in the week on a couple of them. Today is Blog Action Day on Water, and I will be posting on that topic later this morning. But for your calendars:

  • PAWS in the Falls, supporting the Humane Society is October 23. I'll post more on this--probably this weekend.
  • Science Saturdays at River Bend are great! The program on October 16 is Migration, so be sure to get your kids there. You can find more information on the River Bend Blog in the blog roll.
  • EO Wilson is coming to Wichita Falls November 2, 7 PM at the Akin Auditorium. Free and open to the public. I am planning to go. More to follow.

There was also an article on a local ranch winning some environmental awards in the TRN this AM. They deserve their own space, so again that will be a separate post over the next couple of days.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Don't Forget the EcoFair Saturday

River Bend Nature Center is once again hosting the EcoFair Saturday. This is a great event so head out there, take the kids and have a good time. I will be out of town, so won't get to see it this year, but it will be worth the time and small gate fee. Information on activities and the schedule of events can be found here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Business Coming

I ran into Dave Ruhe this week. I haven't seen him for some time as he has been going to school. He says he is starting in a new business by December selling energy-saving products. For example, one of the products retrofits your water heater to use less electricity. There were others as well. He promised to send me more details I can share when we get closer to launch. I'll be sure to pass on the information when I get it.