Tag Archive for green ideas

Celebrate Earth Day with an eco-friendly Lunch!

On Sunday April 22nd, millions of people worldwide will celebrate Earth Day, an event that aims to increase environmental awareness and inspire future generations to encourage the growth of a global green economy.
At BarterQuest we care about the environment and we encourage people to live a more sustainable lifestyle. In order to make a long-term impact on the environment, we have incorporated eco-friendly categories in our website. Our site allows users to redistribute unused items instead of disposing them.

Because we strive to make the planet greener, we decided to actively participate in this event. Therefore we chose to not only switch off the lights and the A/C today, but also to eat organic. But it doesn’t end there; on top of that we were having a vegan lunch! You might ask yourself why eating vegan is so much better for the environment. Well, here are some facts: the amount of land used to grow crops to feed livestock is 10 times we need to grow crops for human consumption. Also, if you consider the feeding, housing, transporting, and slaughtering of animals, and then the packing and transporting of the flesh and products themselves, you’re looking at a tremendous expense and degradation of natural resources.
So we prepared three lovely tasty meals that are not only good for us but also for our planet. Our choices included thai curry, tofu salad with sun dried tomatoes, and protein quesadilla with garden vegetables.

Picture 002
Are you tempted by this yummy food? Don’t worry here’s the Thai Curry recipe. This healthy and organic meal will fully satisfy your taste buds.

Heat some oil (i.e. olive or canola oil) in a large skillet over high heat.
Add some tofu cubes (you should marinate the tofu with some curry paste, garlic and lemon grass overnight) and fry until golden.
Remove to paper towels and set aside.
Now add some more oil (if necessary) in the same skillet over medium heat.
Add some chopped onion and minced garlic. Then throw in some veggies you like (i.e. eggplant, carrots, zucchini, broccoli) and fry while occasionally stirring.
Now add curry paste and fry for another minute while stirring.
Then pour in some coconut milk. Add lemon grass and let simmer for about half an hour on very low heat. Remove lemon grass, add salt and pepper and cilantro, throw in the tofu cubes and mix everything. Serve over rice. Enjoy!

Make sure to participate in Earth Day Events Sunday April 22nd 2012. But remember, Earth Day is every day. You can make a difference.

Karin and Tiffany

Bartering and its Basics

Posted on April 3rd, 2010
Originally posted by Cherryl Hanson Simps0n

Our current economic system has socialized us to exchange a form of money – whether cash or credit – to receive goods and services. Unfortunately, whenever we run short of this precious monetary commodity, we’re unable to obtain the things that we need or want.

In these times when finding extra cash is definitely challenging, we have to become creative if we want to maintain our standard of living. There really is no shortage of the items that we need in the marketplace; the problem lies with our inadequate supply of money to pay for them. What if there was another way to get products and services without having to spend money?

In olden times before a system of monetary exchange evolved, people were able to acquire the things they needed to survive, by exchanging an item they already had with other people’s goods. So a chicken farmer could supply eggs in return for milk from a farmer who raised cows. Bartering occurs when two parties swap goods or services without any monetary payment being received.

Is it possible to go back to the basics of the bartering process in these modern times? Definitely! While we will never fully replace the need for money, bartering in different forms can help us to spend less and still achieve our desired lifestyle.

Here are some ways we can implement bartering to our benefit:

Trading Your Skills

Many of us have talents and skills that are in demand; but most of us have never figured out how to market our abilities to profit from them. Bartering can help us to trade our talents and receive the benefit of someone else’s skills in return. The idea is to exchange services or products that would normally have similar monetary value; and it works best when it costs only a little time and effort.

There are countless ways that you can use this principle. If you’re a math teacher, you could offer to tutor your gardener’s child in exchange for landscaping services. If you’re a tailor, you could sew clothes for your barber in exchange for haircuts for your family. If you have a marketable skill, write down all the services you would like to have, and simply ask around until you find someone who is willing to barter for what you have to offer. What do you have to lose?

Everyday Bartering

Even if you don’t have a particular talent or skill that can be traded, you can use your imagination to find things to barter. Remember that everyone has requirements that may be difficult to meet due to money shortages. To be successful at bartering, you have to be perceptive of people’s needs and be willing to do tasks that can make their lives more comfortable or convenient.

Here are a few ideas where ‘one hand can scratch another’s back’:

  • You need gas for your car, your friend needs transportation – Your friend can buy enough petrol for the week in exchange for your driving services;
  • You need a break from your kids, your friend needs to use the internet – Your friend can supply babysitting services on the weekend in return for access to your computer on weekdays;
  • You are tired of cooking on Sundays, so are all your friends – You can arrange dinner parties where the preparation and location of the meal is rotated among friends every week.

For everyday bartering to be successful, each person must have a very clear concept of what is required by the other party, and must be dependable and timely in carrying out the agreed tasks.

Savannah Tractor Powered by Turkey Oil

Posted on November 28th, 2009
Original post by: Savannah Now

Now that your turkey is a picked-over carcass, here’s a win-win idea for getting rid of the oil that fried that bird: Wilmington Island farmer Bill Lynes wants used vegetable oil to power his tractor. The county wants to keep all that fat out of local sewers, where it congeals and creates expensive clogs. So they’ve teamed up to collect cooking oil at the Wilmington Island Recycling Center.

He currently collects oil from several local restaurants and a South Carolina nursing home, filters and centirfuges that oil to remove water and particulates, then pumps it into his diesel engine tractor. As an off-road vehicle, it’s a hassle-free use of a free fuel. Vehicles driven on public roads are required to pay road tax on their fuel, a process that’s difficult to comply with where free vegetable oil is concerned, Lynes said.

Lynes approached Chatham County officials several months ago with his idea of collecting used vegetable oil from residents. When they agreed to give it a try, he spent about $800 outfitting the Wilmington Island Recycling Center on Concord Road with a small storage tank just for the job.

Chatham County Environmental Program Coordinator David Nash loves the cooking oil collection not only because it’s a great local recycling effort, but also because the grease that could otherwise end up in local sewage systems is expensive to clean out.

“If you’re on septic, it will clog it,” he said. “If you’re on county sewage, it’ll clog up drains, and you’ll have a backup. It’s imperative not to put grease down the drain. It’s a slow killer.” “It’s like how you have a heart attack – plaque builds up slowly. Once it’s in there, you have a heck of a time getting it out.”

Lynes, who traded-in his Porsche race car when he bought his tractor, has been cultivating his three-quarter acre “town farm” for about a year on family land that once was part of a larger vegetable farm and before that a cotton plantation. He still works in Lynes Realty and Development Company, but he’s clearly a devoted gardener, too.

He barters his vegetables with local markets such as Davis Produce. Friends and neighbors get his chickens’ eggs. “I’m sort of in a learning process now,” he said. “I want to know what works, like bartering with people and giving stuff to friends.” And maybe, if it catches on, collecting used cooking oil.

Consider Bartering During the Holidays


Posted on November 24th, 2009
Original post by: Nashua Telegraph

Bartering for goods and services has a long standing history in New England. We’ve all grown up reading stories about how the colonists helped each other out by trading products or services. Hey, I’ve got a dozen eggs – I’ll trade the eggs for help with tilling my garden.

These days, bartering is still alive and well. In my case, one way I save money by bartering is that I review books for a Web site. I don’t get paid for the reviews, but I get to keep the books, which then become gifts for friends and family. To me, that’s a pretty good tradeoff. Books are wonderful gifts and ones you can personally recommend are even better.

In another case, I have a friend who has offered to help us pick up the leaves in our yard in exchange for my setting her up an account and getting her going on Craigslist. Living near woods with lots of tall oaks, this is a welcome trade I happily accepted.

This season, think about how you might be able to barter for what you need. Can you provide a meal to someone in exchange for helping you figure out a software program? Can you watch a friend’s child for a few hours in return for help cleaning out a garage? Can your son shovel a driveway in return for some math tutoring?

With so much to be done in all of our lives and with continued limited funds, the time has come to be creative and think about how we can share what we have to help each other along.

The Year of Living Without Money

This week we fund a very interesting article about a men who decided to live his life without money.

Originally posted by Mark Boyle

The Guardian, Monday 9 November 2009

Is it possible to live without spending any cash whatsoever? After becoming disillusioned with consumer society, one man decided to give it a try.
The morning I finally decided to give up using cash, the whole world changed. It was the same day news broke about the banks’ misbehaviour in the sub-prime mortgage market, so when I began telling people of my plans, they assumed it was in preparation for some sort of apocalyptic financial meltdown. However, having long viewed credit as a debit against future generations, I was infinitely more worried about what George Monbiot called the “nature crunch”. Nature, unfortunately, doesn’t do bailouts.

I suppose the seeds of my decision to give up money – not just cash but any form of monetary credit – were sown seven years ago, in my final semester of a business and economics degree in Ireland, when I stumbled upon a DVD about Gandhi. He said we should “be the change we want to see in the world”. Trouble was, I hadn’t the faintest idea what change I wanted to be back then. I spent the next five years managing organic food companies, but by 2007, I realised that even “ethical business” would never be quite enough. The organic food industry, while a massive stepping stone to more ecological living, was rife with some of the same environmental flaws as the conventional system it was trying to usurp – excess plastic packaging, massive food miles, big businesses buying up little ones.

My eureka moment came during an afternoon’s philosophising with a mate. We were chatting about global issues such as sweatshops, environmental destruction, factory farms, animal testing labs, wars over resources, when I realised I was looking at the world the wrong way – like a western doctor looks at a patient, focusing on symptoms more than root causes. Instead, I decided to attempt what I awkwardly term “social homeopathy”.
I believe the key reason for so many problems in the world today is the fact we no longer have to see directly the repercussions of our actions. The degrees of separation between the consumer and the consumed have increased so much that people are completely unaware of the levels of destruction and suffering involved in the production of the food and other “stuff” we buy. The tool that has enabled this disconnection is money.

If we grew our own food, we wouldn’t waste a third of it as we do today. If we made our own tables and chairs, we wouldn’t throw them out the moment we changed the interior decor. If we had to clean our own drinking water, we wouldn’t waste it so freely.
As long as money exists, these symptoms will surely persist. So I decided, last November, to give it up, for one year initially, and reconnect directly with the things I use and consume.

The first step in the process was to find a form of sustainable shelter. For this I turned to the amazing project Freecycle, through which I located a caravan that someone else didn’t want any more. I also needed somewhere to put this new home, so I decided to volunteer three days a week at an organic farm near Bristol in return for a place to park my caravan. Had I equated this in terms of my previous salary, it would be like paying penthouse apartment rent for what was effectively a little tin box. But that was the type of thinking I was now trying to get away from.

Having no means of paying bills, the next challenge was to set this home up to be off-grid. For heating I installed a wood-burner I’d converted from an old gas bottle, using a flue pipe I had salvaged from the skip. I fuelled it using wood from trees we coppiced on the farm, meaning fuel miles became fuel metres.
Food was my only other real necessity: I think of there being four legs to the food-for-free “table”. Growing your own, which is obviously what I’ve been doing here on the organic farm (my staples are potatoes, beans, kale, carrots, salads, root vegetables, squash, onions and swede); wild food foraging, which is nutritionally exceptional and beautifully gentle on the environment (I forage for berries, nettles, mushrooms, nuts and greater plantain for a hayfever remedy); and also securing waste food and other goods from local restaurants and shops. This is an incredible resource to draw on, and although its existence is, of course, dependent on industrialised society, I feel like I have an obligation to consume it before using up any more energy producing food.

The final leg of my food table is bartering – using my skills or any excess food I’ve produced to secure anything not met by the other three methods. This means I meet people from all walks of life doing what I do, and while many claim that they couldn’t – or wouldn’t want to – do the same, most seem to understand where I am coming from and resolve to reduce their own consumption wherever they can. When I first said I was going to do this, my parents probably wondered what they should have done differently during my formative years, but now they are right behind it, and may even contemplate joining me one day.

But what I soon realised is that, in a moneyless world, everything takes much more time. Handwashing my clothes in a sink of cold water, using laundry liquid made by boiling up some nuts on my rocket stove, can take two hours, instead of 10 minutes using a washing machine. Finding stuff in skips – such as the steamer I cook with – takes far longer than popping out to the shops for one, and sorting out the compost toilet is a lot more hassle than flushing it “away”.

Cycling the 36-mile round-trip to Bristol also takes a lot more time and energy than driving or catching the bus or train, but it’s also an economical alternative to my old gym subscription, and I find cycling much more enjoyable than using motorised vehicles.

The point is, I’d much rather have my time consumed making my own bread outdoors than kill it watching some reality TV show in a so-called “living” room. Where money once provided me with my primary sense of security, I now find it in friends and the local community. Some of my closest mates are people I only met because I had to build real relationships with others based on trust and kindness, not money.

Great Green Ideas & Videos

a passive house:
what?: captures the heat produced naturally during the day
e.g.: 1/10 of energy than a regular house
where?: Sweden, Austria, Germany
why?: environmentally friendly & economical, saves energy and therefore money

a passive house

-> every house can be a passive house

Brooklyn greenest spot: Habana Outpost
what?: restaurant (solar powered eatery)
where?: Brooklyn
why?: green and yummy
solar powered eating place, recycled paper, rainwater to flush the toilet, local food, leftover as compost, and a old mailing truck as the kitchen

solar eatery

to watch this viedo search for: “Brooklyn eatery goes green” on cnn (unfortunately I wasn’t able to create a link, sorry)