Posts tagged ‘treehouser’

April 16, 2011

Poisoned Pot

two devotees of cannabis let their hair do the talking

True "Pot Heads"

The following should not surprise you. I’m not sure I believe this but I pass it along to those of you who want to check it out. Beware of the trojan horse poison pot.

written by Bob Frezno
We pot and hash smokers are part of a loose alliance of like-minded people with alot more in common than our affinity for the herb. We are fundamentally different from those that would never deign to try something that was prohibited by society. We are explorers, free thinkers and we are under attack.
There is a conspiracy to poison us and just us. Tens of thousands of pounds of toxins are added, on a daily basis, to pot and hash that we consume. Not since the American deployment of the toxin paraquat on pot fields have we seen such a wholesale poisoning of cannabis users and it’s being done entirely for profit.
Who could possibly be so malign as to poison a harmless pot smoker for personal gain? Look no further than your local Hells Angels chapter.
It’s well known that the bikers have their fair share of growhouses, run the big fields in the boonies and make the big buys of fresh afghani hashish. Basically they set the tone for the illegal trade and since the Angels muscled out the local gangs things have gone from bad to worse. Crap weed is laced with chemicals, the hash is full of camphor, and Oshawas legendary honey oil can now do double duty in your crankcase.
The people who ingest these adulterated products are being slowly killed and their quality of life is diminished both now and in the future. It’s time we heard an outcry against the heinous crime which is inflicted upon a vulnerable, marginalized societal demographic, namely the fun-loving quirky group of people known as pot smokers. Anyone who would kill us, even a little bit at a time, must be stopped.

April 16, 2011

The Gray Wolf To Lose Endangered Status

grey wolf in the snow huntingIs this the influence of Sarah Palin and the “Tea Party”?

The U.S. Senate stood strong against 18 budget riders that would have had severe consequences to our environment, but a serious one was still allowed to slip through. Thanks to the new budget deal, the gray wolf will be stripped of its endangered species status. Tell Congress to stop its attack against the Endangered Species Act and to protect the gray wolf.

The gray wolf or grey wolf (Canis lupus), often known simply as the wolf, is the largest extant wild member of the Canidae family. Though once abundant over much of Eurasia, North Africa and North America, the gray wolf inhabits a reduced portion of its former range due to widespread destruction of its territory, human encroachment, and the resulting human-wolf encounters that sparked broad extirpation. Even so, the gray wolf is regarded as being of least concern for extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, when the entire gray wolf population is considered as a whole. Today, wolves are protected in some areas, hunted for sport in others, or may be subject to population control or extermination as threats to livestock, people, and pets.
Gray wolves are social predators that live in nuclear families consisting of a mated pair which monopolises food and breeding rights, followed by their biological offspring and, occasionally, adopted subordinates. They primarily feed on ungulates, which they hunt by wearing them down in short chases. Gray wolves are typically apex predators throughout their range, with only humans and tigers posing significant threats to them.
DNA sequencing and genetic drift studies reaffirm that the gray wolf shares a common ancestry with the domestic dog. A number of other gray wolf subspecies have been identified, though the actual number of subspecies is still open to discussion.The gray wolf is an icon of the wilderness of the Northern Rockies, but they have been close to extinction before. Its estimated that the gray wolf population is only 10% what it once was world-wide.
By the 1930’s, most of the wolves in the U.S. had been killed, and it is only because of intense reintroduction efforts that population numbers are sustainable today.

April 12, 2011

I’m Jacked Up About Starbucks

Starbucks logo and sign

Starbucks Coffee sign

The Treehouser is a coffee drinker. It’s true and I’m proud of it. There is no doubt that Starbucks has great coffee and for that matter their lowfat blueberry crumb cake rocks. But the best thing about Starbucks now is their willingness to join in and contribute to recycling and saving environmental resources.

Starbucks has made some impressive commitments to reducing the environmental impact of their packaging, but without a clear tracking system its difficult to see the progress being made.

The company has promised to serve a quarter of its drinks in reusable cups in an effort to reduce paper and plastic waste, but doesn’t keep track of how many costumers actually use them and rarely promotes the ceramic cups and travel mugs for sale in the store.

The goals that Starbucks is working towards are great and we would love to be able to track their progress. The coffee chain is one of the most popular and well-known, giving them an opportunity to make a change in the industry by setting a eco-friendly example.

A Savory Delight

Now here’s another cool thing about Starbucks, they give you info about making coffee on their website. Read on;

The 4 Fundamentals

The recipe for a great cup of coffee. Proportion, Grind, Water and Freshness. Understand and follow the guidelines for each of them, and you’re on your way to brewing a great cup of coffee every time.

Use the right proportion of coffee to water. This is the most important step in making great coffee. For the most flavorful cup of coffee, Starbucks recommends using two tablespoons of ground coffee (10 grams) for each six fluid ounces (180 milliliters) of water. If coffee brewed this way is too strong for your taste, you can add a little hot water to your cup of brewed coffee.

The shorter the brewing process, the finer the grind. Different brewing methods have different grind requirements, so grind your coffee for the brewing method you use. The amount of time the coffee and water spend together affects the flavor elements that end up in your cup of coffee, and the design of your coffee maker dictates how long the coffee and water sit in direct contact during the brewing process. For instance, coffee ground for an espresso machine should be very fine, in part because the brew cycle is only 19 to 22 seconds long. But for a coffee press, the coffee should be coarse ground, because the water and coffee are in direct contact for about four minutes.

Use fresh, cold water heated to just off the boil. A cup of coffee is 98 percent water. Therefore, the water you use to make coffee should taste clean, fresh, and free of impurities. Water heated to just off a boil (195° to 205° F or 90° to 96° C) is perfect for extracting the coffee’s full range of flavors. Any cooler and the water can’t adequately do the job. Automatic coffee makers heat the water for you. Make sure the one you use gets the water hot enough.

Use freshly ground coffee. Think of coffee as fresh produce. The enemies of coffee are oxygen, light, heat, and moisture. To keep coffee fresh, store it in an opaque, airtight container at room temperature. Storing coffee in the refrigerator or freezer for daily use can damage the coffee as warm, moist air condenses to the beans whenever the container is opened. Whole bean coffee stays fresh longer because there is less surface area exposed to oxygen. For the best results, coffee should be ground just before brewing and used or stored immediately.

I’m not saying that Starbucks is the best coffee in the world but it is certainly up there as far as the corporate coffee companies go. Not so much for the coffee taste aroma or the experience of sitting in a Starbucks and working your laptop. But for it’s acknowledgment that they must do something to help our environment. So for that reason and I do like the coffee I am giving a thumbs up to the coffee giant.

Let Starbucks’ President and CEO Howard Schultz know that you appreciate the effort that the company is making and that they have an excellent opportunity to be an eco-friendly leader in the coffee shop industry.

April 10, 2011

Our Most Important Concern

The fabulous lake in Big Bear

How quickly we can forget what’s happening to our environment. This article I found covers it so well. My only comment is read the article and think about it a moment. If enough people pause a moment and take stock of what is happening outside of their own sphere of influence then change for the better may occur quicker than it is happening now.

written by Matthew McDermott, a Treehugger blogger

So much of environmentalism is about looking forward. Looking forward to the more socially and ecologically sustainable world we’re trying to create. Looking forward via climate modeling, projections of energy use, resource consumption, and population growth, to attempt to foretell the type of world we, our children and grandchildren will have to deal with, adapt to, and live in.

That’s important stuff, no doubt. But how much of that looking forward is constrained by our seeming inability to remember the past? Is our collective cultural memory (or sometimes lack thereof and oftentimes quickly diminishing) a critically important and neglected factor in environmental thinking?

If you’ve gleaned where I’m going with this, that I do think we ought to be doing some more self-reflection, both personally and collectively, about what we remember, what our parents remember and what our societies remember, you’re right.

What brings this to front of mind today is an interesting factoid that Andy Revkin highlights in his column over in the New York Times.

Revkin points out a study that talks about ‘disaster memory’ and relates it to the massive infrastructural expansion and concurrent energy use explosion that has occurred in so-called developed nations since World War 2 and continues at breakneck pace in China, India and elsewhere, in far too unquestioning mimicry today.

The point of relation is that it’s taken decades of building nuclear power plants in places at risk of both tsunami and earthquake for the very word tsunami to appear in planning guidelines. It wasn’t until 2006 that it appeared.

Could it be a lack of historically relevant disaster memory that caused the lapse in judgement?

Revkin writes,

One clue to the lack of concern might simply be the roughly 40-year period of relative seismic calm (in terms of a lack of great quakes in populous places) from the 1960s into the 2000s, as shown in the chart [below] from Bilham’s report. (And note the remote locations of nearly all the great earthquakes from the middle of the 20th century–Alaska, southern Chile, far eastern Russia).
In the original there are links galore supporting this theory, but the thing that strikes me is that this lack of disaster memory could just as easily and aptly apply to many other pressing environmental issues as well–inasmuch as what we consider normal levels of energy use, gadget use, clothing purchases, car usage, flying, et cetera etc etc in the really not so distant past were lower.

Just one example, air conditioning use. What once was considering a luxury is unquestioningly now called a necessity in more and more places–in the process ignoring entirely the fact that 1) air conditioning is a historically modern invention, 2) places used to be built with natural cooling in mind, 3) it simply isn’t a necessity for the vast majority of people, however cooler we might feel on a scorching day ducking into an air conditioned building. Our collective memory of how to exist without air conditioning has been erased in the span of just a couple of decades.

the incredible sabertooth tiger now extinct

Extinct Saber Tooth Tiger

Other examples: How often people used to eat meat (hint, it’s way lower than is done now, at least in the US and Europe), how many gadgets you need to be entertained, how to build communities not centered around de facto mandatory automobile ownership, how many fish used to swim in streams and the oceans, how many birds used to fly in the skies, how many bigger animals used to be in our forests.

I could go on and on. Be clear that what I’m not advocating is just a rosy-glassed version of the past, ignoring those things that are better today than a half century, century or more past. There have undoubtedly been changes that are positive for human development. But in continuing to support those positive changes in human development, maintaining them today and in the future, equitably expanding them where possible, let’s remember to turn around and remember how things used to be done where appropriate. Doing so can only help that effort.

This post was originally published by Treehugger.

April 7, 2011

Bees Take Over Porsche

Here’s something you may not know; The working memory of bees “robust and flexible.” If working memory is part of general intelligence, and honeybees have working memories as good as those of pigeons and monkeys, there’s no reason to assume pigeons and monkeys are a lot smarter than honeybees. Hence bees are not stupid. Given the choice of a new home to build a hive why wouldn’t bees seek out a nice comfortable place with luxury leather seats, stereo music and air conditioning?

Ok so get a load of this, a woman doing errands in her Porsche was very surprised to find thousands of bees massing together in the back of her vehicle. Initially she assumed it was just a few buzzing around outside the vehicle and when they dispersed, she continued on her way. However, after her child notified her that the bees had not gone away, but were actually forming in a tight bunch in the hatchback area, she knew she had a problem. Handling the bees in an aggressive and damaging way was not acceptable to the Pest Control Manager who answered her phone call, as he was aware of the large declines in bee populations recently.

He didn’t have a product that could cause the bees to vacate the car without harming them, so he called a beekeeper. A special vacuum was used to gently suck them up, and they were relocated without harm. Not all people are aware of the large dip in bee populations, called Colony Collapse Disorder. Luckily, the pest control manager did know and respected the bees enough to make the right choice in how to deal with them. Instead of having pest control personnel kill them, it may be much wiser to call a beekeeper if you ever have such a bee situation. Bees in spring often leave their old hives and set out to establish a new one.

Now isn’t it humane to treat these vital creatures in this way? I suggest we “look to the beekeepers”. Treat each other in this manner, respect others right to live and thrive. Hopefully they won’t be nesting on your front lawn!

Read more:

October 20, 2010

First Energy-Efficient Tree House Community

An ‘Eden of Sorts,’ Finca Bellavista Blends into Costa Rican Rainforest

The treehouse platform

Treehouse platform for zip lines

Energy-efficient communities are popping up around the world; from Masdar, the first carbon-neutral city, near Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., to an off-the-grid treehouse enclave in the Costa Rican Jungle. There, just off the Pan-American Highway, a rocky path leads from the windy road up a mountain, winding into the rainforest.
“You can literally see the line where the rainforest begins, and that’s when you get to the community of Finca Bellavista, an Eden of sorts,” Matt Hogan says, driving a beat-up truck. Hogan, a former motocross racer, is co-founder of Finca Bellavista, the solar-powered tree house community he built from scratch with wife Erica after moving from Colorado and joining an environmental movement toward taking communities off strained electrical grids. “It’s a win-win; we’re protecting the environment and creating ‘green’ jobs building the infrastructure,” Hogan says of what’s billed as the world’s first modern, planned, sustainable tree house community.

It consists of about two dozen sky-high structures, with more than 40 other properties sold and planned for development. All told, there are about 80 two-acre lots, which have been selling fast, the founders say. The first stage of “pre-infrastructure” lots is sold out, they say, and there are six more in Phase Two, starting at $55,000 for a lot.

Among the amenities are running water, electricity, refrigeration, complete bathrooms, including a shower and head, and even Wi-Fi. And the tree houses that the Hogans built themselves are completely powered by the sun. The community of the Finca includes professionals working out of their tree houses, young families with kids and retirees — about 100 residents in all now, some full-time. Most of them are American or Canadian, but Costa Ricans have been looking as well, the Hogans say. The Hogans took out home-equity loans against their Colorado home to buy land from local owners who had been trying to sell it for timber. They then sold the parcels to community residents, using the proceeds to make improvements.
The first full-time resident was a Zen-like website manager from Canada who goes by the name Kevin. His tree house is known to have the best Wi-Fi on the Finca.

The Hogans were living in Crested Butte, Colo., four years ago when they decided to fly to Costa Rica in search of a surf-shack hideaway. Erica was a writer and editor at a local newspaper. Matt co-owned a company that made roofing tiles from recycled tires.Finding Inspiration in ‘Star Wars’
After taking a tour of a lot of secondary-growth rainforest in the mountainous Southern Zone of Costa Rica, advertised for potential timber logging, Erica Hogan suggested using the jungle to build an Ewok village in the trees, similar to the one on the moon of Endor in the film “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.” The conversation could have ended there, but her husband liked the idea. “It’s funny, the Ewok village was only featured for a split second in ‘Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,’ but it left such a lasting impression there are few people who don’t know what the Ewok village is,” he says.

So Matt and Erica Hogan broke free from their commitments, followed through on their idealism and bought property in the tropical rainforests of Costa Rica.If they hadn’t, the forest may have been lost to loggers, something environmentalists say has happened to half the tropical forests in the world in the past century. The Hogans spent the next four years building their version of an energy-efficient community. And, today, the Finca is indeed what they had imagined, a community of off-the grid tree house dwellers, living with nature, with access to 300 acres of secondary-growth rainforest. It’s a place where everyone — including the resident star Kimbo, the half-blind bulldog — uses zip-lining as a primary means of transportation. They ride on cables, zipping between platforms that rise as high as 90 feet from the forest floor, soaring across the mountaintops and waterfalls.

“It’s a real source of transport,” Matt Hogan says, walking through the forest. “Even the building materials for the tree house are brought in via zip line.” There are already 23 lines up, with more in the works as the community grows toward a target population of 200 people.