See below for inspiring news on climate science, impacts, and solutions!

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

The methane emissions from food waste breaking down in landfills is one of the top priorities for reducing greenhouse gasses, according to the research from Project Drawdown. When we lived in a mild climate, we had a backyard compost pile, and in the city we had municipal green waste pickup. Here in a rural area in a cold climate, though, with lots of wild animals roaming our land, a compost pile for kitchen scraps is less practical, and we don't have a curbside service. (Heck, we don't even have a curb.)

For vegetable scraps, our solution is vermi-composting. We bought a quality fabric bin online, and worms from a local supplier. We provide the worms with shredded cardboard and paper bedding, and vegetable scraps, which we cut into chunks, and freeze until the worms are hungry (to prevent any mold from growing on them). After experimenting for a few months, we've figured out how much bedding the worms require and how much food they can consume and turn into the worm castings that are such good fertilizer for our garden beds. We keep our bin in the garage, because our house is super-airtight and any slight smells do become problematic. Since the garage is cool, we've installed an electric heater that keeps the worms warm enough to be active in the winter.

Meat scraps don't go in the worm bin, but we do make sure that we generate as little waste as possible. We turn beef and chicken bones into rich homemade bone broth, which becomes the base for hearty stews. We give fish skins and any extra organ meat scraps to the cat, who appreciates them very much!

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Updated: Nov 17, 2021

A clothesline is a classic way to dry clothing. Ours is right by the house, strung between trees, and in our climate clothes hung outside dry within an hour or two. But it is not always convenient to hang clothes outdoors -- when it is windy, smoky, raining, or snowing.

Since we live in a dry climate and have a high-efficiency washer that spins the clothes to nearly dry, my favorite trick is to install a closet rod in the laundry room and hang the damp clothes spaced apart on it on hangers. Or you can hang the hangers on doorknobs, closet door tracks, cabinet knobs, or curtain rods, if you don't have a rod in the laundry room. This method saves at least one step because family members just move the hangers straight to closets when the clothes are dry. No starting the dryer, folding, ironing, or transferring from the folded pile to the hangers later!

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Updated: Nov 17, 2021

When we moved to Colorado, I took a teaching job. Then my employer decided to start the school year in person during the pandemic, and before vaccines were available. With an immunocompromised partner, that was clearly not going to be a safe choice for my family. So I quit.

I had been intending for years to switch back to technical work when my last child went to college and I no longer needed summers off with my children. The pandemic was just the trigger for me to actually act on that intention. I spent my 6 months of unemployment taking online classes in the design of solar PV systems from an outstanding organization I had taken workshops from in the past: Solar Energy International in Paonia, Colorado.

With a degree in Electrical Engineering and the classwork for a NABCEP certification in PV design on my resume, I landed an entry-level position as a PV designer. I was making even less than I had been as a HS teacher at a private school. But it was a start! I was thrilled to be putting my work effort towards the solution of the biggest problem of our generation: climate change.

After 8 months, I have 50 installed systems to my name, adding up to over 350 kW of generation, with many more in the pipeline. The task of converting our electric grid to 100% renewable, carbon-free generation over the next 2 decades is huge! But the demand is strong, since solar power is now cheaper than buying power from the grid. If you have skills in sales, project management, construction, drafting, or engineering, I encourage you to consider joining the renewable energy industry!

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