It’s memorial Day weekend already and that means the official start to the summer season. This weekend is an obvious favorite for outdoor activity, which of course make us all of our aquatic invasives knowledge, right?
If you are unsure about how to best manage aquatic invasives and stop your boat be the culprit of traveling invasives, be sure to brush up on the protocols.
Transport laws for boaters and anglers
- INSPECT your boat, trailer and equipment
- REMOVE any attached aquatic plants or animals (before launching, after loading and before transporting on a public highway).
- DRAIN all water from boats, motors and all equipment.
- NEVER MOVE live fish away from a waterbody.
- DISPOSE of unwanted bait in the trash.
- BUY minnows from a Wisconsin bait dealer. Use leftover minnows only under certain conditions.*
*You may take leftover minnows away from any state water and use them again on that same water. You may use leftover minnows on other waters only if no lake or river water, or other fish were added to their container (more information below).
If you are unsure what the plants and animals look like there is a great visual plant guide from the DNR.
You can do a lot to keep our lakes clean, safe, and a proper environment for our native species. After all, none of us wants a lake infested with these guys.
EnAct Program Manager,
It’s finally starting to look and feel like spring. Hopefully the trees can start budding in the next couple of days/weeks. To go with the theme of spring cleaning that we started with the last post, in this week’s blog, we’re going to focus on green cleaning supplies. You have to be able to do more than just remove junk from your house, and green cleaning suppies can clean your house while maintaining an air of sustainability.
Some people will say, “What’s wrong with the conventional cleaning supplies that I’m already using?” These days, the stores have aisles full of cleaning supplies and many of them are full of things that no one would want in their home. We listed some examples of the toxins that are regularly found in conventional supermarket cleaners.
- Chlorinated phenols found in toilet bowl cleaners, are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.
- Diethylene glycol found in window cleaners, depresses the nervous system.
- Phenols found in disinfectants, are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.
- Nonylphenol ethoxylate, a common surfactant (detergent) found in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners, is banned in Europe; it has been shown to biodegrade slowly into even more toxic compounds.
- Petroleum solvents in floor cleaners, damage mucous membranes.
- Perchloroethylene, a spot remover, causes liver and kidney damage.
- Butyl cellosolve, common in all-purpose, window and other types of cleaners, damages bone marrow, the nervous system, kidneys and the liver.
The list could fill a book. And it’s a book that would include thousands of other chemicals — some so dangerous that they’re found on lists of chemicals associated with Superfund toxic waste sites and in the toxins section of the U.S. Clean Air and Water Acts.
Reducing the amount of non-natural cleaner used in your home will reduce the amount of potentially hazardous chemicals while at the same time improving your local environment by preventing contamination to the outdoors.
So now you’re wondering, “well if I can’t use those cleaners, what do I use?” There are still natural products on the market that you can buy in stores. Consumers must be wary though because not everything marked with words like “natural” or “green” actually follows their namesake. To help buyers out, websites like GoodGuide.com were started.
The goal of Good Guide is to help consumers find safe, healthy, green, and ethical products based on scientific ratings; to get these ratings, the website uses chemists, toxicologists, nutritionists, sociologists, and lifecycle analysis experts. Each of these groups rate products and companies on the different aspects listed above
Likewise, there is also the Green Seal Label that people can look for while at the store. Green Seal creates sustainability standards for products and offers certification for companies or products that meet the standards. You can trust that products marked with the Green Seal label are helping to create a greener marketplace.
There will be some of you who want to take another step toward ‘green’ cleaning and try to make your own cleaning supplies. This is a fantastic idea because not only are these products simple to make, but they are also very effective and safe. If you think about it, they also cut down on the purchase miles by starting their shelf life in your home as opposed to in a factory. We listed 3 easy cleaners below, if you search online, you can find a ton more:
All-Purpose Spray Cleaner: Combine ½ teaspoon washing soda, a dab of liquid soap and 2 cups hot tap water in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.
Tea Tree Mold Killer: Nothing works for mold and mildew as well as this spray. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Note the smell of tea tree oil is strong, but it will dissipate in a few days. Combine 2 teaspoons tea tree oil and 2 cups water in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse.
Window Cleaner: Put ¼ – ½ teaspoon liquid detergent, 3 tablespoons vinegar, and 2 cups water. Shake it up and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe cuts the wax residue that many commercial brands leave behind.
If you’re having difficulty finding recipdes for cleaning supplies, try looking on Care2.com in the “Healthy Living” section.
I hope your Spring Cleaning goes phenomenal and your house feels a little fresher when it’s less cluttered and all scrubbed down
EnAct Intern Adam
There may still be ice on the lakes and the last bits of snow melting, but Spring is fast approaching. Spring means a lot of things to people: more time outside, the start of longer days, summer vacation is coming, and also taking time to clean out your house.
De-Clutter your wardrobe:
With winter ending, many of the clothes you purchased for the cold weather or had lying in your closet will not see use for another 9 months or so. This is the perfect excuse to go through your closet and get rid of things you didn’t wear this last season, or you know you won’t be wearing again.
Tip: Take all of the clothes hanging in your closet and turn the hangers around so they are hanging facing the opposite direction than usual. When you wear an item of clothing, turn the hanger around when you put it back. That way, at the start of your next cleaning, any clothes that are still hanging the wrong direction can be recycled or donated because you know they weren’t used.
4 Container Cleaning Method
One other tip to think about when cleaning is 4 container cleaning. You can use this to help declutter your house and make cleaning areas out much less stressful. The system works by setting up 4 distinct areas or containers for your things; each container has a distinct purpose:
2. Give Away/Sell
This can help you make tough decisions about clothes or items and move on. Ideally, you don’t want to keep everything, but don’t give away objects that you will need to repurchase later. Hopefully you can put this to use and lose any unnecessary chaos in your home.
Where to donate
Ofcourse, once you fill those boxes, you need to know where to go with them. We started a list that by all means isn’t fully complete, but if you are frantically searching for places to go, try any of these stores:
Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and St Vincent de Paul all offer both drop off locations as well as free donation pick-ups. To learn more about what you can donate or scheduling a pick-up with them, check out their websites.
Freecycle is another place that you can look to donate materials. This website is like craigslist, except everything is given away. All you have to do is make an account, post what you’re donating, and wait for requests to pick up.
Everything that isn’t good enough to be kept or given has to go somewhere. Madison Streets and Recycling has a fantastic resource for curbside deposits that can come in handy when cleaning out your house. If you are unsure what to do with different materials you find, check out Recyclopedia; it’s pretty much all inclusive and has an index in the back to help you out.
Clean sweep is a Madison City program that aims to help residents dispose of any hazardous materials they encounter in their home. The hope is that by providing people with a free site to drop off hazardous waste, those chemicals can be treated correctly and the environmental risks associated with them is drastically lowered. Clean Sweep will be opening their new, year round facility on May 1st, if you experience any hazardous materials (Oil-Based Paints and Paint-Related Products, Pesticides & Poisons, Household Products Containing Organic Solvents, Ignitables, and Aerosols, and Rechargeable Batteries) while cleaning, make sure you handle and get rid of them correctly.
This is a somewhat diverse compilation of resources for your Spring Cleaning, but I’m under the impression, if you are ready to undertake the challenge of cleaning out your house, you don’t necessarily need a checklist of rooms to clean, but would rather have a few interesting and helpful tips along with some great programs that benefit your community.
Hopefully your cleaner house puts a new Spring (pun intended) in your step.
EnAct Intern Adam
Living green isn’t all about light bulbs and trudging out to the compost pile. Even our drink choices at the bar can influence our eco footprint. St. Patty’s Day is coming up and everyone knows that more than a few beers will be consumed in honor of this holiday here in Madison. Before you go pick up some beverages for this green holiday, read this blog to see how you can be drinking “green” beer this St. Patrick’s day.
Perhaps it is the luck ‘o the Irish, but living in Wisconsin includes being blessed with a beer-friendly culture. Because of this, it’s extremely easy to find local breweries serving up premium quality beer. If you don’t believe me, just check out this map of breweries in Wisconsin: http://www.brewingnews.com/webpdfs/GLBN/GLBN_Wisconsin.pdf
Sure, there are the idealistic, nostalgic reasons for choosing local beer: you’re supporting a Wisconsin tradition and implying that Wisconsin makes better beer than any other state. But, buying local “green” beer also has economic and environmental benefits.
- First, buying from local breweries supports Wisconsin’s economy and the livelihoods of workers in smaller-scale, local companies that might not have the benefits of large, nation-wide companies. Local breweries impact Dane county’s economy further by offering tours that attract tourists. Tours are not only fun for visitors, but helps beer drinkers understand and connect with where their beverage comes from, an important task that the sustainable food movement is struggling with.
- Second, buying local beer reduces pollution associated with the transportation and delivery of beer. While a local beer such as Ale Asylum’s Hopalicious might be in the grocery store right next to that case of Bud Light, the distance they traveled and the pollution they created are vastly different.
- Third, local beers can be better for you. Smaller, local breweries have a closer relationship with all of the ingredients they use, which is already a step ahead of the big brewers. And some local, craft beers even use organic ingredients during the brewing process, resulting in a more natural beer with a smaller eco footprint. Just one example is New Glarus’ Spotted Cow. It uses unfiltered yeast, resulting in lots of Vitamin B and Potassium.
Drinking “green” beer is a more enjoyable experience too. You definitely won’t be sacrificing flavor when trying out local breweries. Craft beers made in local breweries are so varied that there is always something new to try, not to mention that many breweries distribute special beers during the wintry holiday months or during the summertime.
Consider going green this St. Patty’s day and try some of Madison’s local beer. If you’re not sure where you can find some tasty local beer, check out REAP food group’s website, http://www.reapfoodgroup.org/, to find a list of restaurants and bars serving local brews.
For some reason, March seems to be that month that breezes by because there is just so much activity. Maybe it’s because seasons begin to change and everyone starts going outside, or maybe it’s because this is one of the first months in a while where there isn’t a major holiday; either way, this year is no different. This March marks the beginning of a huge number of sustainable education opportunities in the area. We’ve listed some of the events that we find particularly exciting, but for a full list, you can check out our calendar on the EnAct calendar.
This March marks the decade anniversary of the Sustainability Summit. For 1o years, the Sustainability Summit has understood that “Green enterprises” will be a major component of future economic development. This year is no different, with the theme of the talks being, “Sustainability: An Economic and Ecological Imperative”. The goal of this summit is to bring a diverse group of people together to learn about opportunities in sustainable practices. The event draws professionals, entrepreneurs as well as students who will be crucial to implementing change in the future. The three day event begins on March 6th with speakers and presentations the first 2 days and closing with workshops and tours.
On the final day, our own Kayla Baake will be presenting a program that EnAct has been heavily involved in. The New Green Challenge is a program in Madison that is helping families of color transition to a more sustainable lifestyle. The presentation will be highlighting the successes and struggles of the pilot program’s first year as well as explaining how to build community through sustainable living programs. If anyone is in the area, we suggest you check out the summit because it should be an amazing opportunity to learn more about what other groups are doing in regards to sustainability!
And now, a seamless transition from a decade anniversary to the inaugural beginning of the Natural Parenting Expo. The event is meant to be a resource for parents to learn about natural, holistic, and enriching choices that are beneficial for their family. One of the greatest things about this all day event is that families with children are able to attend. There are activities for all different age groups that are meant to engage as well as educate both parents and children on sustainable choices. The event has everything from teaching parents how to pack a fun (and healthy) lunch, to interactive dance experiences and tween yoga.
Along with all the activities and booths, there are also a slew of presenters that will be discussing different parenting topics, including amazing alternatives like making your own home products and starting a garden with kids to the problems of herbicides in society. The hope of the organizers is that this event will be an awesome tool for parents to use to increase the health of their family. And if the organizers didn’t already seem super smart, they also planned the event to coincide with the…
The long running CSA Open House brings over 1000 community member to the Monona Terrace to talk with local farmers, attend free workshops, and learn more about CSA. If you’ve ever been interested in CSA, attending this event would be perfect for you; all the CSA growers come to Madison and talk about the program and what they do.
Like the Natural Parenting Expo, the Open House also has events for children to ensure that anyone that is interested in attending has the ability to.
If you’re down around Monona Terrace on March 10, what better way to spend an afternoon than learning about the healthy alternatives that Madison has to offer.
We are a little biased, because at each of these events you will be able to find an EnAct booth or presentation, but it’s all for great causes.
So hopefully we’ll see you this March!!
EnAct Intern Adam
In the spirit of the Lenten season, all of you green gurus out there can use this as an opportunity to take your environmental resolutions a step further and try going vegetarian on Fridays or taking part in Meatless Mondays. The meat industry has a large environmental impact and causes land degradation, climate change, air and water pollution, water shortages, and loss of biodiversity. Additionally, many animals in the industry are raised in unsustainable and inhumane ways, contributing further to meat’s large eco-footprint.
For many, the idea of giving up meat can be quite daunting, but I’m here to show you that going meatless doesn’t have to be so difficult.
Top Tips for Going Vegetarian
- Don’t focus on the meat. Instead of simply taking out the meat from your favorite recipes, be sure to replace the meat with unique vegetarian options such as beans, veggies, and new seasonings.
- Search online to find vegetarian friendly restaurants. Madison has so many! You can find many of them on Reap Food Group’s Buy Fresh, Buy Local website: http://www.reapfoodgroup.org/buy-fresh-buy-local-campaign/buy-fresh-buy-local-partners
- Bring out your adventurous side and try the many ethnic dishes that are meat-free.
- Going vegetarian doesn’t mean protein disappears from your diet! Get your protein in other ways by cooking with beans, lentils, whole grains, peas, tofu, edamame, tempeh, nuts, or quinoa.
- Buy food slowly. Before you run out and buy a bunch of new vegetarian products, try a few to find out what you really like. That way you won’t be overwhelmed and you can work on trying out various recipes with the same few ingredients.
- Don’t go it alone. Try to get a friend or loved one to join you in your vegetarian challenge. Working on a task like this with someone else will make it much easier and you might even have fun collaborating and sharing with another person.
- Need the taste of meat? Give meat substitutes a try. Gone are the days of tasteless, rubbery veggie burgers. Today’s meat substitutes are flavorful, healthy, and extremely versatile.
- Make use of the many taste-tested, delicious vegetarian recipes out there. Subscribe to a vegetarian magazine, buy a cookbook, or read a blog to get inspiration for your meatless meals. Here are a few to get you started:
Allrecipes.com’s California Grilled Veggie Sandwich http://allrecipes.com/recipe/california-grilled-veggie-sandwich/detail.aspx
Food Network’s Eggplant Parmesan http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/eggplant-parmesan-recipe/index.html
Food Network’s Vegetarian Chili http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/vegetarian-chili-recipe/index.html
I know going meatless can seem like a huge commitment, but it doesn’t have to be so daunting, especially if you take it slow and start with Vegetarian Friday’s or Meatless Mondays. You can always give a pescatarian diet a try. Pescatarians still eat fish, so you can substitute fish for where you usually meat. If you do, just be sure to purchase your fish responsibly. For a great guide outlining best seafood choices, check out Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch in both English and Spanish.
So, whether it’s for lent or for a challenge, give it an open mind. Let us know what you guys discover on your way.
This past weekend, Punxsutawney Phil (the King of the Groundhogs, Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, Weather Prophet without Peer) gave his 127th meteorological prediction. Phil, the ageless groundhog, spends his early mornings on February 2nd either getting scared by the sight of his own shadow or enjoying a winter morning outside of his burrow. Since the weather was so crazy leading up to Groundhog’s day, I thought I’d do some research and find out exactly how Punxsutawney Phil predicts the weather and get an idea of what the next couple months will look like.
Now if you’re like me, the rules and outcomes of Phil’s choices are a little fuzzy (pardon the pun). So for clarification, if a groundhog emerges and sees his shadow, he will supposedly get scared by the sight and instantly retreat back into his home; when this happens, it means winter is going to continue for 6 more weeks. On the other hand, if it’s cloudy and there is no shadow, the groundhog will stay out and this signifies an early spring.
This year, Phil stayed outside and let everyone know that an early spring is on its way. When that may start is up for debate as these last few days have been rather frigid and it isn’t getting too much warmer in the next week, but keep a look out for that nice spring weather.
Punxsutawney Phil has quite a following, and his meteorological forecasts are often held if fairly high regard (as high as you can hold a groundhog anyway). A little interesting fact though is that in his history, Punxsutawney Phil has been correct only 39% of the time when predicting the arrival of spring. For anyone wondering, that’s actually a worse percentage than if he were to choose by random chance. So while this year, Phil predicted an early spring, it might not be time to put away your skis and jackets just yet.
Here’s to hoping some nice weather is coming our way,
EnAct Intern Adam