September 16, 2011

The Dream


Lon Levin in his treehouseWho hasn’t fantasized about living in a treehouse? Whether you are a child who wants to rule his backyard from a crows nest in the trees or an adult who seeks solace away from their everyday life of working, treehouses offer “the stuff dreams are made of”. Most treehouses can be built by a handy man or a dad who is handy with tools. But some treehouses are unique, imaginative and special. Some structures are built on trees or hung from trees and some unusual tree houses are grown from trees or even built right into a tree.

Some people see living in trees as an extravagance, some want to save the environment and others out of tradition or necessity. Tree house designs that range from functional to whimsical, sustainable to eccentric and affordable to amazingly expensive.

Innovative builders keep imagination alive in their treehouses. Combining architecture and landscaping they create treehouses which mix beautifully into their wooded surroundings, and preserve the health and integrity of the trees that support them.

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September 15, 2011

Marijuana Can Save Trees


The answer to worldwide deforestation is growing fields of Cannabis sativa to supply the world’s pulp for paper. Industrial strength hemp – marijuanaMarijuana – all illegal in the United States.

A Hemp Industries Association fact sheet reports that “hemp produces more pulp per acre than timber on a sustainable basis, and can be used for every quality of paper. Hemp paper manufacturing can reduce waste-water contamination (needs very little agricultural pesticides).”

“Hemp’s low lignin content reduces the need for acids used in pulping, and it’s creamy color lends itself to environmentally friendly bleaching instead of harsh chlorine compounds. Less bleaching results in less dioxin and fewer chemical by-products.”

“Hemp fiberboard produced by Washington State University was found to be twice as strong as wood-based fiberboard.”

“Hemp fiber paper resists decomposition, and does not yellow with age when an acid-free process is used. Hemp paper more than 1,500 years old has been found. It can also be recycled more times.”

The Chinese used hemp for paper as far back as 8,000 BC. Ancient documents have been retrieved that were totally hemp based. Hemp fiber has proven to withstand the destructive nature of time.

Herodotus writes that Thracians used both the wild and cultivated fiber for cloth. He marveled at the garments made from hemp and compared it to linen. He also wrote about the purification rites associated with “vapor-baths” and breathing smoldering smoke from moist hemp seed. Hemp’s by-product is tetrahydracannabinol (THC) and is a psychoactive chemical generally absorbed through the respiratory system or digestive tract with a significant effect on perception and cognitive abilities.

Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were advocates of Cannabis fiber and recommended their fellow countrymen to use the plant for lamp oil and fabric for uniforms and clothing. Jefferson found its cloth a rival to cotton, at much less cost and he used it to clothe his farm hands. George Washington was said to be more familiar with the plant as a drug.
It does seem that hemp is making a comeback almost everywhere except the United States. Canada has made experimental hemp cultivation a policy. China is a leading country in the production of hemp and hemp products. South Africa is growing hemp, New Zealand is growing hemp, Switzerland is growing hemp, and on and on. Projects in Kentucky and California were politically strangled, and hemp cultivation in the U.S. is a long time in coming, if ever.

In summary, the hemp movement feels that hemp fiber is more durable than wood and can be recycled more frequently than tree fiber. Hemp produces a highly nutritious seed crop that can be of comparable value to the fiber crop. Agriculturally grown hemp would fit well with natural forests and tree plantations.

…or would it?

To read the full story go to http://forestry.about.com/cs/treeplanting/a/pot_hemp_pulp_4.htm

September 14, 2011

Costa Rica Rainforest Treehouses


Costa Rica treehouse

Treehouse wonder in Costa Rica

“I’m fed up and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” If this is your current state of mind then consider this… Finca Bellavista: A Sustainable Rainforest Community.. Located on the base of an almost 6,000 foot primary rainforest mountain on the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica – not far from the Pan American Highway, Finca Bellavista was created with the sole purpose of preserving 300 acres of local rainforest by offering a unique opportunity for ecologically minded property owners to live sustainably in and steward a managed rainforest environment. Forty years ago this would have been a no-brainer for me, but now there are other considerations that have to do with convenience stores, healthcare, 24 hour fitness…should I go

But for those of you who are more adventurous this is an alternative lifestyle that bears looking into.

With a principle focus of creating a balance between maintaining a fragile habitat for wildlife and using natural resources wisely, Finca Bellavista aims to implement sustainable energy practices such as hydroelectric and solar power, while operating a full-fledged recycling center and a common garden area for the community. This might make it an eco-utopia for some, but for others it’s a possible solution for dovetailing conservation with development.

As per Finca Bellavista‘s guidelines on their website, treehouses in the community must be low-impact, stilt-built or arboreal dwellings that utilize a rainwater catch system to provide water for each unit. Waste that is generated is to be treated with “a cutting-edge technology found in biodigestors”. A “hydroelectric turbine system” will power the entire community. The power grid will run via a system of transformers and underground power cables installed along the horseshoe-shaped main access road that runs throughout the community, producing peak power of 62 kilowatts at the generator leads. The power system at Finca Bellavista will produce clean, sustainable, and extremely reliable power for the community, all the while virtually eliminating any monthly electricity bills for residents.

Fancy a bit of socializing or Tarzan action? Residents can opt for either the community’s system of ground trails or its ‘Sky Trail’ network of zip lines and platforms that deliver them to and from their homes in the rainforest canopy. Missing the outside world? A main parking lot exists at the community’s base area, where high-speed Internet and WIFI are available.

The proprietors state that “these requirements will not only preserve the integrity of the rainforest canopy and its inhabitants, but will also provide an unusual and adventurous lifestyle for human dwellers as well. Imagine waking to the sounds of a tropical bird symphony or catching a zip-line to meet up with friends for a meal or an evening cocktail…” This might be a bit too much of an ewok housing scenario for some, or a real estate development plan that should simply exist as a rainforest preserve, but for now it is on the table as a possibility for how “going native” might be the wave of the future or the cure for what ails us.

Read more: ECO EWOK TREEHOUSES: Finca Bellavista Rainforest Village Finca Bellavista – Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

August 15, 2011

Your Reality Is Not Mine


Go on be cynical, scoff at anything that smacks of religious fervor or reaching altered consciousness any other way than getting stoned on some kind of legal or illegal drug. It doesn’t matter it works for those who want it to work and it doesn’t cost you a cent. I’ve done both and the power of your own consciousness is far more awesome than anything artificial you can take. My life has changed by tapping into that strength, visualizing what you want and who you want to be. Then when the opportunity presents itself (and it always does) you are prepared to act even when you don’t realize you are. The trick is managing that. Once the thought and desire has materialized it needs to be managed properly or it will fade faster than stone wash blue jeans. So read on if you dare or click onto another topic. The choice in life is always yours.

eAdapted from Power, Freedom, and Grace by Deepak Chopra (Amber Allen, 2006)

In cosmic consciousness we are still in this world–-waking dreaming, and sleeping— and yet we are connected to our source in waking, dreaming and sleeping. Like a light at the door that shines inside the room and outside the room, we are in both places. When this happens, synchronicity, chance encounters and hidden clues increase. We start to understand the power of intention. We start to watch our internal dialogue, and we say, I know that how I speak to myself actually causes things to change in my physiology, in my world.

In cosmic consciousness, we find that relationship is the most important thing in life; everything in life is a confluence of relationships. We begin to see that everything is a balance between feminine and masculine energies, the yin and yang, and anytime there is more of one than theother, we are out of balance. Right now, we
need to reawaken the feminine because the dominance of the masculine has led to belligerence, arrogance, and aggression, the very problems we see in the world right now.

In cosmic consciousness, we are aware that we are not the physical body, nor are we the mind and all the roles we play. We are the silent witness, and a sense of freedom and liberation comes out of this awareness. We are involved in our roles, and yet we are free at the same time. We recognize that after death our spirit will continue to play other roles,and we feel more ease. As we abide in cosmic consciousness and allow it to blossom, the universe plays itself through us, and the whole dance of life becomes effortless.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the -gifts-of-cosmic-consciousness.html#ixzz1MBEvlDnG

July 24, 2011

Medical Marijuana Protestors at Huntington Beach Pier


Out in force yesterday at Huntington Beach were the “weed warriors” protesting the proposed changes to medical marijuana laws. I don’t smoke weed but I am an advocate of legalizing pot and making medical marijuana available for those who want and need it. There are more issues that should demand the government’s attention than marijuana usage. I find more problems with alcohol abuse and prescription drugs.
The conclusion is let those who want to use cannabis for medicinal reasons do it and let the growers and suppliers grow, cultivate and harvest. Regulate them and make sure they are operating in a formal business structure. Perhaps the decriminalization of pot will help the economy and cut down the cost of pursuing, investigating and prosecuting those who deal in the Marijuana trade.

Go to HempRadio to get more info.

July 16, 2011

Lithia Camp: horse riding with artistic expression


impressionist art of horse

Imagine sitting in your treehouse peering out over a local ranch. The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing and children are expressing themselves in a very positive way below you. The smell of fresh cut grass and hay wafts thru your open window and the sounds of happy kids surrounds you…this is Lithia Camp

By JOHN CEBALLOS | South Shore News & Tribune
Published: July 15, 2011
» 0 Comments | Post a Comment
LITHIA —
A little horse riding in the morning followed by some drawing and painting in the afternoon.

That’s the idea behind the week-long Art on the Farm summer camps at Chaps Acres.

Jonnie Chapman — co-owner and operator of Chaps Acres along with Nick, her husband of 26 years — has conducted summer horse riding camps for 15 years. She got the idea to officially combine her love of horses with her affinity for art three years ago.

“Even before we started Art on the Farm it would get so hot during the day that I’d have the kids come in and sculpt or draw in the afternoon,” said Chapman, who has a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Chaps Acres has been a part of Lithia for more than 25 years. Twenty-two of those years were spent at the farm’s previous location on Dorman Road. The Chapmans have spent the last four years at their current, 15-acre location, where Jonnie offers riding lessons and boarding for horses throughout the year.

“My father-in-law owns the surrounding 35 acres, so at the end of every camp the kids get to go riding across the 50 acres,” Chapman said. “By that time, they’re pretty comfortable with their horses.”

Last year, Chapman decided to team up with Dustin Goolsby for the art portion of the camps. The two met through the Valrico Church of Christ. Goolsby has been a professional artist for 10 years and is in his fourth year of teaching art at the Florida College Academy in Temple Terrace.

“When they’re little, most students get glitter or feathers in their art classes,” Goolsby said. “By the time they get to middle school, they don’t have basic art skills and they get easily discouraged.”

Goolsby said having his students express their artistic sides can be beneficial to other aspects of their lives.

“My approach is to teach confidence and stick-to-it-ness through art,” he said. “Even if they don’t go on to become artists, these are skills they can use.”

Each of the camps has a theme, and this year’s include World Travelers, Cowboys and Indians and Simply Medieval.

Chapman said kids age 7 to 17 are welcome, but she prefers to keep each camp to about four or five students.

“I’ve seen people who take on 10 or 12 students, but then you see a bunch of kids just standing in line and waiting on their horses,” she said. “I like to devote as much of my attention to each camper as I can.”

Though her summer camps will soon wrap up, Chapman plans on continuing to express her artistic side.

“My kids are either out of the house or about to leave or get married,” Chapman said. “This is as good a time as any to get back into it.”

jceballos@tampatrib.com

July 3, 2011

Plastic Ocean


On the eve of our country’s birthday celebration it seems fitting to make my 100th post about the revolting mess of plastic floating in our oceans now called the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. I am a avid surfer and lover of the beaches around the world especially southern california beaches where I grew up. Over the years I have noticed many times floating plastic in the waters as I paddled around. Specially plastic that holds beer cans together. Look I don’t mind if you want to drink beer at the beach but throw your trash away! Plastic in the water is ingested by sea life and it kills them and as a source of food for we humans it becomes uneatable. Ok so here’s an article I’ve picked up to repost. People it’s up to us to stop all this. The next time you see some jerk tossing plastic garage on the beach or in the water “school the fool” let them know this is unacceptable!

Fish in the North Pacific ingest plastic at a rate of roughly 12,000- to 24,000 tons per year, according to researchers from the Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition (SEAPLEX).

That’s news that should give all of us a bellyache.

Peter Davison and Rebecca Asch, two graduate students from SEAPLEX, traveled more than more than 1,000 miles west of California to the eastern sector of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre on the Scripps research vessel New Horizon, says Science Daily. They collected numerous samples of fish specimens, water samples and marine debris at both surface level and thousands of feet below the surface.

Of the 141 fishes spanning 27 species dissected in the study, Davison and Asch found that 9.2 percent of the stomach contents of mid-water fishes contained plastic debris, primarily broken-down bits smaller than a human fingernail. The researchers say the majority of the stomach plastic pieces were so small their origin could not be determined.

“About nine percent of examined fishes contained plastic in their stomach. That is an underestimate of the true ingestion rate because a fish may regurgitate or pass a plastic item, or even die from eating it. We didn’t measure those rates, so our nine percent figure is too low by an unknown amount,” said Davison.

You can see photos of the SEAPLEX expedition via Flickr. To get an idea of what the plastic bits found in the fishes’ stomachs look like, here’s a photo of the hundreds of shards of plastic found in the stomach of a sea turtle off the coast of Argentina.

The study was published in Marine Ecology Progress Series.

The SEAPLEX team mostly studied lanternfish, who have luminescent tissue; they play a key role in the food chain as they connect plankton with higher levels. As Asch notes, “We have estimated the incidence at which plastic is entering the food chain and I think there are potential impacts, but what those impacts are will take more research.”

The SEAPLEX researchers were specifically focusing on plastic ingestion and studying such effects as the “toxicological impacts on fish and composition of the plastic” were not part of the study, but would certainly be areas of study to pursue, especially as far the effects of plastic pollution on both fish and the ocean. Who knows what the fish we sit down to eat have themselves ingested?

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/over-12000-tons-plastic-ingested-by-fis.html#ixzz1R3mOAWQp

June 26, 2011

Save the Dolphins of Belize


It is our continuous struggle to fight greedy corps looking to make money while ravaging the earth and the indigenous populations be they human or animal. This struggle seems to be endless so be vigilant and support these causes in whatever way you can.

In the peaceful waters just off the coast of Belize, oil companies are preparing to drill in the Barrier Reef.
Secret government deals have given these companies the right to send booming sound waves from oil-seeking air guns reverberating through the reef, hurting sensitive dolphins – and even leading them to beach themselves and die.
But with your help, we can protect these dolphins and the reef they call home. Oceana is working with the people of Belize to put a national referendum in place that would stop offshore drilling in Belize for good. Will you join the fight and donate $40? We have just $13,000 to go to meet our $30,000 goal! Belize’s citizens should decide the future of the reef – not oil companies in secret back-room deals.
That’s why, with your help, we’re working with the people of Belize to run a nationwide campaign that includes educational ads on the dangers of drilling, developing scientific reports that underscore the importance of the reef, and house-to-house canvassing so every citizen knows what’s at stake.
But we need to match the oil companies’ money, influence and connections. Your support today will help ensure we have the resources to win, and that the people of Belize can act to protect their dolphins and barrier reef from deadly offshore drilling.

June 3, 2011

The Penquin’s Leap of Faith


Embodied in this little penguin’s leap of faith is the essence of courage and belief in yourself. This quote about striving to be the best you can be fits this small act which was in fact a huge challenge to the little bird who dared make it happen.

“Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible.”

June 2, 2011

Creativity: Where Does It Come From?


Einstein's quote about passion.

I found this article and I highly endorse it. I could not (obviously) put it better myself. But I’ll add that to be creative and venture forth you have to be bold and self-assured. Those who are can inspire the rest and lift their spirits. Challenge yourself to be more, not a lot but a little and step by step you can attain great heights!

All creativity is based on quantum leaps and uncertainty. At particular moments in time, truly novel ideas emanate from the collective bed of information. These ideas did not originate in the fortunate individual, but in the collective consciousness.This is why significant scientific discoveries are often made by two or more different people at the same time. The ideas are already circulating in the collective unconscious, and prepared minds are ready to translate that information.

This is the nature of genius, to be able to grasp the knowable even when no one else recognizes that it is present. At any given moment, the innovation or creative idea doesn’t exist, and in the next moment, it is part of our conscious world.

In between, where was it? It came from the virtual domain, at the level of the universal spirit, where everything is potential. Sometimes this potential creates something novel, but in this realm all possibilities already exist.

So, if our bodies are recycled earth, our emotions are recycled energy, and our thoughts are recycled information, what is it that makes you an individual? How about your personality?

Well, the personality doesn’t originate with us, either. Personality gets created through selective identification with situations and through relationships. What we call personality is built on a foundation of relationships and situations.

According to many of the great spiritual traditions, one of the great truths is that “I am the other.” Without the other, we would not exist. Your soul is the reflection of all souls.

Adapted from The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press).

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/creating-soul.html#ixzz1O9T84Sz5