Sustainability

Posted on May 15, 2013
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There’s so much talk today about the becoming sustainable. If you aren’t in the “green groove” or an Eco-Warrior (like me!)  that term can mean a whole bunch of stuff, mostly confusing.

In Eco-speak, “sustainable” means that the process being used can be repeated without using too many (if any) resources. And that it is a self-perpetuating process. Keep that carbon footprint as small as possible while building it and use as few resources as you can utilizing the system. Keep everything possible out of the waste stream. We can’t continue to use up our natural resources without replenishing them somehow.

Are you confused? I would be!Aquaponics

Here’s a great example. We currently have a small Aquaponics system in our main lobby. It is a simple concept. There’s a fish tank with some hearty little tropical fish. On the lid of the tank, is a basic filter system and twelve cut-out areas for small potted plants. Think two inch pots of herbs like basil and even small red peppers. A filter system takes the nutrient-rich water from the tank and filters it to the roots of the plants. So we feed the fish, the fish “feed” the water, the filtered water feeds the plant roots and we harvest the plants and start the process all over again.

Now think bigger. Instead of a fish tank. There are 200 gallon tanks. Same idea but make it all BIGGER. Bigger filter system, bigger fish (think catfish or tilapia) and bigger produce (think lettuce, broccoli, swiss chard). We feed the catfish, the catfish “feed” the water, the filtered water feeds the plant roots and we harvest the plants (and this time, the FISH too) and the process begins again.

Our friends at EcoLife have this process down to a science and they are hoping to get these systems to countries that need food. And those who don’t necessarily have abundant rainfall and nutrient-rich soil. Like Africa or parts of Mexico. Anywhere there might be a depressed economy and hunger. Their idea is to introduce these systems and create a sustainable food environment. And in the process, improve the quality of food from a meat based diet to add fresh vegetables and fish. A cardiologist’s dream! And a reality if you go to the EcoLife website and see they are actually doing this!

If you’ve heard this before from me, please forgive my repetition. Being an Eco-Warrior has its moments and this one allows me to get ENTHUSIASTIC about what can be done when an idea takes root.

I urge you to become a Warrior yourself in your own world. Start small in your own garden like making your own compost or setting up a greywater irrigations system. It’s not too difficult to become an Eco-Warrior.

Email me with your own sustainability projects  And visit our Open House and Plant Sale in July to see how we are coming along with our own AquaPonics project. The catfish will be jumpin’.