Monday, November 25, 2013

Exploring the Jungle: Where Has CGG Been?

After 10 weeks in Brazil and 17 weeks in Costa Rica, I am back rejuvenated and more determined to share for the green way of living. It was amazing how the Amazon,with its many dynamic interactions between the flora and fauna, seemed to be a representation of life. However, the gifts of the rain forest and all the other ecosystems offered to us by the world are being taken for granted as the government and large corporations exploit naturals resources. College Go Green is here to share ways for you to reduce your impact and inform you about what is happening around you. Click the link to view an article about a concept known as Resilient Agriculture. The future of agriculture is going to have to overcome some difficult challenges like how to produce more food on less land and also use less resources. Keep an eye out future legislation's to solve this and other pressing issues. 

I'd also like to introduce you guys to my new partner Brilliant Changes, Inc.These guys are a student led non profit organization on a mission to give students better opportunities via internships and professional development.

This post is just a warm up for when I get back into the swing of things and share some more how-to's with you guys. Until then, enjoy some of the plants and animals I've seen during my travels. Feel free to message me about some of these places I went if you are interested in going yourself!


Cyathea costaricensis is a type of Tree Fern found in Costa Rica.  The genus Cyathea are terrestrial ferns first documented by J.E. Smith in 1793.  Species in this genus may generally have cup-shaped sori.  They are widely distributed from temperate woodlands to tropical rain forest.


Bothriechis nigroviridis commonly known as the Black-speckled Palm Pit Viper was discovered in 1859.  It is can be found as high as 3,000m.  The typical habitats are high mountains or low mountain cloud forest.  The coloration is generally an emerald Green body with black parietal stripes.  Adults range in size from 60-80cm.


Panterpe insignis a species of hummingbird found in the mountain range of the Costa Rica.  It is a small species with an average mass of 5.6 grams.  The population is considered to be stable and there is no indication it maybe reaching vulnerable status.



Cavendishia bracteata is species related to the blueberry.  It can be found in the highlands from Mexico to South America.  The leaves are evergreen, thick, and approx. 6 inches long.  It is edible and high in antioxidants.


Do you have a project, story, or idea you’d like to share with us? Hit us up on social media or contact Phillip Stringer at info@collegegogreen.org

Twitter: @CollegeGoGreen
Facebook: College Go Green



Saturday, May 25, 2013

Go Green In Your Apartment: How to Composite Indoors


Green Technology, Go Green, Green Living
Composting Materials
If living an apartment you may feel limited in the ways you can live green and reduce your impact on the environment.  Solar panels and Green Roofs just aren't an option for you in your modest sized apartment.  College Go Green is here to tell you about Composting, the perfect Go Green Project for you.  

For those in homes or dorms feel free to compost also!  Though this article is for apartments you can apply the same ideas to your living space.  Good compost materials for dorm rooms are half eaten snacks and fruit.

What is Compost?

Compost is a naturally recycled organic waste that is converted into nutrient-rich fertilizer.   Although there are many methods of composting, they are all based on the same process: the decomposition of organic matter. Plants and food can  decompose quickly at similar speeds.  When mixed together and with the of introduction of oxygen over time microbes in the soil will breakdown the waste into an effective fertilizer.

Why Compost?

To be a more environmentally sustainable society we need to reduce, reuse, and recycle our waste.  Composting is a way to reduce the amount of organic materials accumulating in landfills.  It can also save you the cost of buying potting soil and fertilizer for your Go Green Projects!

The benefits of composting are surprisingly encouraging. The EPA reported Americans spends approximately $1 billion each year disposing of  more than 25% of the food we prepare only to be throw away.  In 2008,  31 out of the 32 million tons of food waste was put into landfills or incinerators.

Decomposition in a landfill is static without oxygen entering the process and leads to the production of the greenhouse gas methane. Therefore, composing is a method to reduce greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. It is also a ecological approach to improving soil health, erosion resistance, and off set the need for chemicals in agriculture. 

How To: Going Green With Composting

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Composting Bins Tucked Away
Before starting your composting project decide where you want to place your composting bin. For example, pantries and laundry rooms make good spots. 

Next figure out how much food waste you generate and get a bin that won't fill up too fast.  Check out a past article, Know Your Space: Green and Sustainable Design, for ideas about usable spaces.

*Learn what can be composted! Placing non-compostable material into your bin can have a negative effect on the decomposition process!

Step 1: Punch holes in the base and sides of your composting bin.

Step 2: Place a tarp or a tray under your compost box.

Step 3: Place a three-inch layer of soil into the box. Also add a handful or two of dry bedding such as, leaves, newspaper, (no colored inks, waxed paper or glossy mags) straw, dry grass clippings, cardboard, nutshells.

Step 4: Shred, pulverize, and cut your compostables as finely as possible to speed process.

Step 5: Add equal parts dry bedding to the compost heap.

Step 6: Stir the compost every week or two.

Step 7: Have another compost bin ready so once your original box begins fill transfer the fine soil-like compost into your second bin.

Some key pointers

-If odor or dripping occurs add more dry bedding.
-Be sure to add a handful of fresh soil every night to refresh microbe supply. 

That's it! Visit Sustainable America for a better look at these instructions!

Soon you'll have a compost for all kinds of projects. 

Here are some where you can use your compost suggestions: Potted plants, Neighborhood composting projects, Sale as fertilizer on Craigslist, Rooftop gardens


Do you have a project, story, or idea you’d like to share with us? Hit us up on social media or contact Phillip Stringer at info@collegegogreen.org

Twitter: @CollegeGoGreen

Facebook: College Go Green

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Have a Plastic Bottle? Build a Go Green Project You Can Be Proud Of

The first things you are going to have to learn when transitioning to a green lifestyle are the simple 3 R's


REDUCE, RECYCLE, REUSE


Statistics About Plastic Bottles Harmful Effects

According to the Earth Policy Institute: Food and Agriculture, in 1976 Americans drank nearly 1.6 gallons/person of bottled water throughout a year. Now, years 37 later this number has increased to 30 gallons/person.  Bottled water can cost anywhere from 240 to 10,000 times more than tap water.

Bottled water also requires millions of barrels of oil per year and added the added negative effects of large scale transportation releases thousands of tons of carbon dioxide.  Not to mention the profit it's giving to manipulative Oil Companies that hit you hard at the pump!


Recycling rates for bottled water is low with only about 13 percent being converted into other products like fleece clothing, carpeting, decking, playground equipment and new containers and bottles. 

According to the National Resources Defense Council over 2 million tons of water bottles ended up in U.S. landfills in 2005. That was 8 years ago and to date the number has continued to grow.

Plastic bottles can take hundreds of years to be broken down. When they are incinerated various toxic byproducts (e.g. gas chlorine gas and ash containing heavy metals) are released into the atmosphere.  This contributes to toxic rain and taints freshwater supplies.

What Can College Students Do?


To begin with, you can start by simply reducing the amount of plastic products and bottles you use.  The easiest way to do this is to buy a reusable water bottle. Investing in one bottle will save you nearly $5.00 each time you don't buy a case of water.

The next thing to do is recycle what you have.  Some states offer cash returns for recycled goods.  Take advantage of this extra source of easy money to help with college expenses.

Now For The Fun Part, REUSE

If for some reason you find that you have collected a couple of empty bottles consider turning them in creative containers for plants to decorate your room.  Design anything you want to add flare to you room or any living space.

Try a Soda Bottle Terrarium for starters!
Materials
Green Lifestyle, Sustainable Living, Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Going Green, Herb Growing, Indoor Plants, Air Purification, Air Quality, Green College
Indoor Plants- Terrarium 
  • One 2-liter bottle of soda (with cap)
  • Potting Soil
  • moss*
  • charcoal*
  • A handful of small stones or pebbles
  • A Marker
  • Scissors
  • Seeds or seedlings
(*optional)

Step 1: Draw a line around the bottle about six inches up and cut the bottle along the line.

Step 2: Place a cup full of pebbles about 1-2 inches deep in the bottom section of the bottle.

Step 3: Place the other materials in the bottle in the following order: 
charcoal > moss > soil

             If you are just using soil fill to 1 inch from the top.

Step 4: Plant 6 to 10 seeds and as they grow remove the weak ones. You can leave the 2 or 3 best ones.

Water your terrarium before placing the top on until the soil is moist but not saturated.

Green Lifestyle, Sustainable Living, Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Going Green, Herb Growing, Indoor Plants, Air Purification, Air Quality, Green College
Recycled Plastic Terrarium
Step 5: Place on the top and give yourself a pat on the back!


Taking Care of Your Soda Bottle Terrarium


When it comes to your terrarium pay attention to these two important factors:
  1. the amount of sunlight it gets 
  2. the amount of water that is inside.
As the plants sprout you must make sure it gets sunlight but be cautious the closed environment can get too hot inside.  Avoid all day exposure to direct sunlight. If placed in a window or under a growlight monitor it just to be sure it's not getting to hot.

For watering look at the soil in the terrarium. It only needs to be moist but not soaked or dry. Water should evaporate to form beads inside near the top edge. These condensation will drip down the sides and help maintain water saturation in the soil. If it get too wet take the top off and leave it open for a day or two.


Do you have a project, story, or idea you’d like to share with us? Hit us up on social media or contact Phillip Stringer at info@collegegogreen.org

Twitter: @CollegeGoGreen

Facebook: College Go Green


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lacking Motivation? Surprising Green Source of Encouragement

Have you had the idea of living more environmentally friendly for a while now but you just can not manage to get the motivation to start?  With the overwhelming amount of green information being tossed at people today many find it hard to know where to start.  Well College Go Green has a smart and simple stepping stone for you being your transition into living green lifestyle and getting that extra encouragement to study.


Statistics show that plants make you smarter

The Royal College of Agriculture in Circencester, England, found that students experience 70 percent greater focus when learning in rooms containing plants. In the same study, lectures given in classrooms with plants had higher attendance rates.  

As a college student sometimes you may find it hard to focus on studying certain material. To get rid of this problem you can create an inviting space to study by including plants.  You'll be surprised at how much this helps you to ace your next exams.
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Indoor Plants

Keep it simple,  grow herbs

Herb gardens are a simple and easy method to start living green.  These small gardens can be done for cheap and require little maintenance after starting.  Herb plants come in many varieties.  Most tend to be very green and lush, offering different textures to help ease you mind from the frustrations of college.  

How-to Grow Herbs

You Will Need:

  • Pots (clay or plastic) 8" to 18" - Combine herbs that have the same watering requirements into a single container
  • Good Potting Soil
  • Plant fertilizer - We recommend organic herb or vegetable fertilizer
Step 1:  Fill the pot with good potting soil and add fertilizer according to the directions on the package.  Add water in the pot until it starts to first seep through the bottom. Be sure the pot is on a saucer, you need to protect your desk.
Step 2: Dig holes large enough for your plant. Place the plant in the hole and gently press soil around the edges to fill. Water immediately after planting.
That's it!

3 Things To Remember

Plants need at least four hours of sunshine per day.
Water your herbs only when the soil gets dry to the touch because over-watering can be just as bad for herbs as under-watering.
For harvesting,  all you need to cut off is about 1/3 of the branches when the plant reaches at least 6-8" tall. Cutting close to a leaf intersection your plants and you will have quick regrowth.


Do you have a project, story, or idea you’d like to share with us? Hit us up on social media or contact Phillip Stringer at info@collegegogreen.org

Twitter: @CollegeGoGreen
Facebook: College Go Green

Thursday, May 16, 2013

College Go Green: Living A Green Life In College


Below you will find College Go Green's preview of our Kickstarter project.  Watch the video and and let us know what you think.  If everything goes as planned the funding will help College Go Green grow substantially and we can provide more content to help inspire ideas for going green and green living. 

video

The mission is to share great ideas with ecologically conscious college students looking to save money and save the planet.
Know Your Space: Green and Sustainable Design

The purpose of College Go Green is to empower college students by giving them examples of  how their living spaces can be used for smart and sustainable indoor plant growing projects. In college there are three main types of living spaces: the dorm room, the apartment, and the house. Depending on where one stays, space maybe limited or copious. Available space factors greatly into the size of prospective projects. 
Sustainability is key
 To make this idea possible College Go Green will share how-to information about turning living spaces into a productive area. If you live in a dorm, if you live in an apartment, or if you live in a house you'll find great projects you can start at reasonable prizes. If done correctly the long term effects of choosing to practice sustainability can lead to more money in your pocket and a feeling of accomplishment. Most importantly, you will be broadening your knowledge on how to live ecologically later in life.




Dorm Room Garden
Dorm Room Garden
What's The Plan and How Can You Help?
College Go Green is dedicated to educating college students about what they can to be more eco-conscious.  This will be done via informational sessions at various local colleges first.  Once the word has spread College Go Green will expand it's outreach to other colleges.  The more success we experience the farther we'll spread our reach.  That last point is why we need your help.  We have to print material to inform students about how easy it is to go green.  We also have to travel to throughout the southeast.




Apartment Plants Under Growlight
Apartment Plants Under Growlight





Vertical Garden on the side of house
Vertical Garden on the side of house
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR TIME AND CONSIDERATION!
Please be sure to read my bio to learn more about me and why I have a passion to teach others the importance of green living and sustainability.
Ask or Answer. Share and Save.

Risks and Challenges

The major challenge for this endeavor is the cost of travel and getting permission from schools to host events on their campuses. To overcome this last challenge we plan to pitch our cause with the added benefit of brochures and pamphlets.
For the cost of travelling our team is working to convert the material from our blog to an eBook. The eBook is scheduled to be released by the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year.


Do you have a project, story, or idea you’d like to share with us? Hit us up on social media or contact Phillip Stringer at info@collegegogreen.org

Twitter: @CollegeGoGreen
Facebook: College Go Green

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Know Your Space: Green and Sustainable Design

The purpose of this article is to give examples of spaces that can be used for smart and sustainable indoor plant growing projects.  In college there are three main types of living spaces: the dorm room, the apartment, and the house.  Depending on where one stays space maybe limited or copious.  Available space factors greatly into the size of prospective projects.  Before I go into the various examples, it must be stated that one should at minimum tell roommates of the plan to grow plants in any shared living space.  Also, make sure there are not any rules against having plants because fines are a waste of money.

The Dorm Room

Unfortunately, dorms have the least amount of space available.  However, dorms offer a few spaces that can be used to grow small scale projects.  The sunlight provided by Windows are the leading places for  sustainable projects.  If the window does not have a ledge or one that is large enough, try a nightstand or something similar that can be placed adjacently and will provide more surface area.

Shelves and Cabinets are other good places because they exemplify the practice of vertical agricultural, a technique being used in urban development.  Multiple plants can be grown on shelves/cabinets and to assure proper lighting cheap grow lights can be secured to them.  Be sure there is appropriate space for plants to grow to their maximum height.  Also, that the weight of the plant contains, soil, and water are not too heavy.

Last but not least are Closets.  If a closet is large enough a project utilizing grow lights can be very product and rewarding.  Be sure to properly arrange clothes so that electrical cords and soil do not come in contact with the fabrics.


Apartments

All the same examples of the dorm room can be applied to Apartments. However, an important concern for projects being conducted in apartments is the cost of electricity. Be sure to plan and incorporate this effect into budgets.  Also, research the various types of low cost lights and use sunlight as much as possible.

The best place in some apartments for space and harvesting sunlight is the Balcony or Porch.  Along with furniture, a good selection of plants make great decorations in these spaces.  Not to mention that free photosynthesis and water are the best ways to have a low impact on the environment.  When using balconies or porches take into consideration the amount of exposure to sunlight and seasonal changes in temperature.  Pick plants that are versatile and hardy.   Also, be sure that everything is properly secured in the event of storms.

A more difficult place to start and maintain plants is the Bathroom.  If fortunate enough to have a large bathroom one can have use indoor plants as a great focal point.  The steam from showers will help to keep the plants hydrated.  With a little innovation it is possible to grow various plant such as herbs and spices in a bathroom.

Next is the Walk-in Pantry or Laundry Room.  Like the closet, with proper arrangement and lighting these types of spaces can be very productive.  Many have over head shelves that tend to become cluttered with random items so, why not grow indoor plants instead?  To maintain functionality take the time to plan and implement space saving ideas.

Houses

Houses offer the greatest amount of space and opportunity for environmentally friendly projects.  Houses have all the benefits of Apartments and Dorms plus more.  From composting to aquaculture, houses can host multiple projects, all of which can be integrated for maximum productivity and minimum impact on the environment.  Later posts will go in depth on this type of ecological projects.

Basements are the perfect place to practice sustainable growing.  Without drastic changes in climate, harsh conditions, and the added benefit of controlled lighting, basements are generally the largest and most stable space for a college student to practice a green lifestyle.  Again, be sure to properly plan for electricity requirements and arrangements to maintain the space's functionality.

Rooms can also be dedicated to indoor plant growing.  Rooms have the same potential as basements and require the same forethought in planing.  Unlike basements however, rooms typical have more sunlight via windows.  Again, by using natural light the impact of a project is greatly reduced.

Also like Apartments, Balconies and Porches can be used as fore-mentioned.

The greatest and most rewarding of all spaces is the Yard or Acreage. Having a lot of space means more projects and produce.  Learning to utilize land can greatly reduce the cost of groceries. Also, there is a positive physical health aspect and mental satisfaction from cultivating land for sustenance.  Granted land takes more maintenance, but the end result can benefit the grower, local community and global community.

Whatever type of space you have, College Sustainable is here to help you live a green lifestyle while tackling the books.  If you have any ideas to help others live a smarter and more sustainable life please feel free to tell us because one can save others simply by sharing.


Do you have a project, story, or idea you’d like to share with us? Hit us up on social media or contact Phillip Stringer at info@collegegogreen.org

Twitter: @CollegeGoGreen

Facebook: College Go Green






Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Share and Save

Hello!

Glad to have you here at College Go Green.  Let me tell you about what this blog is dedicated to providing  as you take a break from the books.  The mission is to share great ideas amongst ecologically conscious college students that are looking to save money and save the planet.

Sustainability is key.  To make this idea possible this blog will share how-to information about turning your living space into a productive area.  If you live in a dorm or if you live in an apartment, you'll find great projects you can start at reasonable prizes.  If done correctly the long term effects of choosing to practice sustainability can lead to more money in your pocket and a feeling of accomplishment.  Most importantly, you will be broadening your knowledge on how to live ecologically later in life.

Again, I'm glad to have you here as we embark on this journey to save through sharing.
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Mountain Stream- Mother Earth