With more and more people bringing environmental considerations into their purchasing decisions, more and more companies hide negatives, exaggerate and lie about the environmental benefit of their products. A UL division, TerraChoice, determined that c. 95% of all U.S. products claiming environmental benefits made misleading environmental claims.1 The word, "sustainability", has even become suspect. The core of greenwashing revolves around deception: pretending that a company mission is protecting the environment while in reality it's just causing more pollution, exaggerating a small benefit into a big one, making claims without proof, or blatantly lying.
Introducing Agrivoltaic Irrigation
Integrating renewable energy and agriculture represents a major step toward creating a more sustainable future. Agrivoltaic irrigation represents one innovative solution that has tremendous potential in this regard. A cutting-edge approach that combines solar panels with agricultural fields, the solar panels can help collect the water and shade the plants; the plants cool the solar panels and make them more efficient.. This blog post explores the concept of agrivoltaic irrigation and discusses how it can revolutionize modern farming practices.
Fungi - one of our planet's first life forms - by creating soil from minerals in rocks, made it possible for plants and animals to evolve. These same fungal networks act as carbon sinks and make carbon farming great for both farmers and the environment. They trade nutrients that they pull from the soil and give them to plants and trees in exchange for the carbon the trees and plants pull from the atmosphere. According to Berta Bago1 of the American Society of Plant Biologists, mycorrhizal fungal networks determine the flow of up to 5 billion tons of carbon worldwide each year. Trees and plants need these networks for nutrients and water. The fungi need the trees and plants to supply the carbon they require. These networks also help plants fight off pests, reduce or prevent the need for chemical fertilizers and insecticides, improve plant health, and increase harvests.
Conventional farming techniques using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and unconstrained water use have created systems that produce unprecedented amounts of low-cost crops. (According to the USDA, 30% of these crops go uneaten.1) This food, however, has the unintended consequence of undermining our health. According to the CDC, increasing from only 4% in 1965, 60% of American adults now have a chronic disease and 40% have two or more. This results in annual healthcare costs of $4.1 Trillion. Agribusiness and food industry marketing of these crops promote one of the leading causes of chronic disease, poor nutrition.2 So while these farming methods may benefit the largest industrial farmers on a short term basis, they create incredibly high costs for the rest of us. These healthcare costs don't even factor in the 35% of global carbon dioxide emissions caused by agriculture and deforestation, the other greenhouse gas emissions, the erosion (Oklahoma farmers lose 4 pounds of soil to erosion for every 1 pound of wheat they produce), floods, desertification, and water pollution.3
What is Living Soil?
Trees often have as much or more growing under the ground as we can see on top. Going along with that, for a tree to be healthy, the soil needs to support it. The more healthy and living that soil becomes, the more the trees, bushes, vines, vegetables and herbs we grow thrive. Good living soil becomes like a giant restaurant for plants.
Biochar for Houseplants
While the recognition and appreciation of biochar's many benefits to both the soil and the environment have dramatically increased during the last few years, its history of use goes back thousands of years. Pre-Columbian Amazonians made it, Yasusada Miyazaki described it in a Japanese textbook written in 16971, and it helped create the famous Terra Preta soil in Brazil which grows mango and papaya 3x faster than grown in normal soil.6
Kill Your Lawn
A European innovation during the 16th Century, lawns became popular and sustainable in that rainy, moist climate. Unfortunately however, they also became popular in warmer and drier places like North America. The early lawn mowers, sheep, kept the lawns cropped short and fertilized while saving the shepherd’s time. Modern lawn mowers produce 11 times more pollution per hour than a modern car, use1.2 billion gallons of gasoline per year, and emit 41 billion pounds of CO2 per year in the USA alone. A mower used for one hour has a carbon footprint equal to a 100 mile journey by car, a leaf blower's footprint for 30 minutes equals a 700 mile trip.1 Even just the filling of lawn mowers with gas has horrible consequences: spilling an estimated 17 million gallons of gas each year. (The Exxon Valdez oil spill was less than 11 million gallons.)1
Food Security and Climate Change
Not since the dinosaur era 65 million years ago has the world experienced this degree of extinctions - 1000 times faster than normal and we've already lost about 90% of large predator fish, 75% of marine fisheries, half of all corals, wetlands, and tropical forests. Each year, desertification claims an area the size of Nebraska while the US loses 100,000 acres of wetlands and 6,000 acres of open space threatening a third of all the plant and animal species.1
Drier Soil = Hotter Air
Since the Industrial Revolution, the world's climate has increased about 2 degrees and countries all over the world now frequently report record-breaking high temperatures and more frequent heat waves that last longer. In the UK, Dr. Eunice Lo attributed 2000 deaths per year to these higher temperatures. According to the World Health Organization, between 1998 and 2017, 166,000 people around the world died because of heat waves, 6.2 million were devastated by wildfires, and 1.5 billion by droughts. More studies estimate 12,000 heat-related deaths in the USA each year with that going to as high as 110,000 by the end of the century with hospitalization costs per person of over $11,000. Crop failures, large scale evacuations, heat strokes, melting roads, buckling rail lines, and huge economic losses add to this list of disasters.
As the days of summer begin to wind down and the last chances to travel shrink before another school year starts, you may start to wonder how to best keep your houseplants alive while you're on the road. You can ask a neighbor or friend to do this while you're gone but you may not feel confident in their watering skills. You may not know them well enough to give them a key to your home. Blumat houseplant watering products give you personal control.
Nature as Best Friend
Technology brings greater convenience, comfort, capacity, and access to both necessities and frivolous luxuries. Technology also tends to isolate and alienate us from the natural world. In our narrow pursuits of fame, fortune, pleasure, and power; we too easily miss the sun glancing off a colorful flower, the new spring shoots sprouting in the back yard or along the sidewalk, the shimmering leaves glowing in a light rain. Seduced by the constant lure of our cell phones, apps, social media messages, and journalistic sensationalism; we too easily miss the wonders of nature surrounding us.
The Counterculture Had it Right
Our business' founding inspirations sparked during the cultural maelstrom of the 1960's. We questioned the status quo, the Vietnam war, racial injustice, and gender inequality. We rejected materialistic consumerism, began experiencing nature more directly, looked for ways of creating more just and equitable societies.
The agricultural lobby became the most powerful lobby in the U.S. and - much like the old tobacco and the current coal lobbies - it hides and distorts many of the statistics. This vast system of factory farming now produces at least 1/3 of all human caused greenhouse gases. It contaminates our air and water, damages our soil, destroys wildlife habitats, and escalates climate change. Partly because of very little regulation, we can blame our agricultural system for generating as much emissions as 143 million cars annually.
The Regenerative Society - We Won’t Back Down
I always felt like an outsider. Or at best, part of a tiny group of like minded folks trying to dispel those persistent illusions that hem us all in; the barriers, visible and invisible, erected by history, family, society (and, complicitly, ourselves) that curtail Life’s fullest unfolding.
Reports show that up to 75% of new Bonsai trees die during their first month in a new home. Because they usually have very little planting mix, they easily dry out too much without frequent watering. Too much water, however, can also create big problems. Our new Blumat Bonsai kits solve both these problems while saving you huge amounts of both time and anxiety.
Air Conditioning Heat Load
The labor, water, and energy savings from using Blumat systems quickly becomes obvious. As the research in this article shows, however, benefits extend far beyond the obvious. For every gallon of water a Blumat system saves, the air conditioning heat load reduces by over 8000 BTU’s which can result in huge cost savings.
Sustainable Development Goals
Too often, we see big projects like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and feel glad that some big organizations work on these goals... but we don't see much we can do ourselves. Our individual actions, however, may represent the best first step toward achieving these objectives. The immense challenges we face were caused by the accumulation of individual, group, business, and political choices. Only a concerted effort by all of us has hope of success. On this page, we analyze our own resources and capacities for helping in these efforts.