A Poop Problem: Compostable Bags the Solution?

If you own a dog you know their poop can be a real problem. On one hand if left where it lies, dog excrement can pose a public health concern as well as an environmental hazard. On the other, if picked up by a plastic bag, it will be encased for centuries in the landfill. Well Ithaca, NY has been testing a solution. The Allan H. Treman Marine State Park started using corn-based compostable bags, encouraging park goers to use them to pick up their dogs waste and deposit them in special bins. The used bags were then picked up by a composing company and mixed with some yard and wood waste. The result was over 12 tons of dog waste picked up over 18 months composted down to just two truckloads of compost. Even better, this compost is pathogen-free. A Colorado company based out of Aurora, is already working with the idea of turning dog poop into compost on a commercial level. Called EnviroWagg, they collect canine waste from parks, shelters, etc. and sell the finished compost product as Doggone Good Compost which is sold locally. The whole process is relatively inexpensive and is something any home composter can do at home! For more information: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/04/who-knew-upcycling-the-dog-poo/#more-138196 Written by Savannah Miller, Business Development Intern, Spring...

Feeding the World: Allowing Future Potential to Overcome Past Problems

In November of 2011 the world’s population reached 7 billion people and it is predicted to reach 9 billion people by 2050. Here at Nourish the Planet our goal is to “teach the world to feed itself.” However, with such massive population growth this goal can seem quite daunting. With increased population comes increased pressures on our limited resources such as clean water and useable land. To do this sustainably we must clearly use and develop better agricultural systems that maximize yields while being cleaner and more environmentally friendly. Some suggest we may have to double our food production by 2050 to accommodate this growing population. When looking at the state of our world we can often become discouraged about this prospect. However, we can be heartened by the example of Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug. In the 1940s Borlaug took up the very unattractive task of turning around Mexico’s wheat production. At this point in time Mexican farmers were plagued with poor harvests and diseased crops. What is remarkable about Borlaug though is that he saw the past struggles to the opportunity to improve and succeed. Succeed they did and in the process gave the future a model for conservationists and the agriculture industry alike. “The past does not necessarily determine the future.” The business bottom line and the bottom line for the world’s food needs can be achieved sustainably. Now that is reason to have a bright outlook for the future. Please see the link below to Mark Tercek’s (President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy) original article for his thoughts on Norman Borlaug and the...

The Entrepreneur, the Ecopreneur

Entrepreneur-a person who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk of a business or enterprise. Ecopreneur- an entrepreneur that builds the three pillars of sustainability (people, planet, and profit) directly into their business aspirations. So what does it take to be an entrepreneur/ecopreneur?  Successful entrepreneurs have the ability to match passion and possibilities.  Without passion, a good idea remains just that; an idea, a sketch on a note pad, a dinner conversation.  But with passion, these ideas can become a reality.  They can become inspirational and result in a concept that transcends across generations and cultures.  Passionate ideas can achieve remarkable results. I don’t think the entrepreneurs of the past are all that different from than those of today.  But as I look around the world in general, especially at Nourish the Planet, I see so many people going above and beyond the traditional business model to unite profitable ideas with sustainability.  Well thought out ideas can and will generate revenue, but for many of these ecopreneurs it is much more than that.  It is the desire to leave the world a little better off than when they got here. Don’t get me wrong, those that excel as entrepreneurs also have the same desire to be recognized for their work.  Entrepreneurs want to stand out and leave their mark.  They want to make a difference and leave an enduring legacy that extends beyond their years on the job and in life. Entrepreneurship entails believing in yourself and integrating what you do with what you believe.  Ramsey (2011) offers a list of ten things every inspiring entrepreneur should have tattooed to...

The Green Wall: Part Building Technique, Part Art Installation, All Green Innovation

The Green Building in Louisville, KY is a shining example in green building practices. A renovated 110 year old building; it was the first commercial building in Louisville to be LEED Platinum Certified, and it incorporated many innovative building techniques to do so. One of the more intriguing features is garden designer Tracy Williams’ “green wall.” This wall incorporates a hydroponic medium made up of recycled plastic with the characteristics of a spun fiber and living plants inserted into the medium to create a living wall installation. The wall is very practical in its applications. Tracy Williams talks about its potential advantages in an urban environment, specifically in creating a cooling effect in the heat of the city and increasing the air quality by using the plants as living air filters. There is also the obvious practical use of using the space as an urban garden. With this technique you would be able to grow a large amount of food using very little space, something that is in short supply in an urban environment. The piece is also very artistic and visual appealing at the same time as being practical. Tracy Williams talks about the wall as a “painting of plants.” For Tracy the hydroponic material is simply a canvas for the brushstroke of each plant that is placed upon it. Even more exciting is that this piece of artwork will be always growing and evolving as the plants grow and integrate themselves into the material. If you are looking for natural beauty matched with modern style and innovation look no farther than The Green Building! Written by Savannah...

Aquaponics TedXTalk

Check out this TedXTalk about Aquaponics by Charlie Price from Aquaponics UK. They also talk about the benefits of using Black Soldier Flies for composting too! Also, check out Nourish the Planet’s partner The Center for Sustainable Aquaponics. You can like the Center for Sustainable Aquaponics on facebook too at the Center for Sustainable Aquaponic’s Facebook...