Living Sustainably

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Archive for April, 2009

Solar Distilling – Clean water from bad

Greg Lesher sent us his ebook on how to make tire based solar distillers, which work great with seawater or grey water. We recommend it. Here it is in his words:

I have figured out a way to use sea water or worse in the garden. One
could recycle 100% of the grey water from the home as distilled water
using no power or fossil fuels. And make the system using free used
tires and a few other cheep items available anywhere.

I have been messing around with solar stills for years but they are
not cheep to build and to grow a garden, out of the question because of
the cost alone.

Tires are a global problem, now I want 100’s for my use, and they are
more than happy to give them away! I put together an ebook at

Or I can try and explain the process, but a pic is worth a thousand
words as in this case.



Swine Flu Tears Through School

FRESH MEADOWS, NY — Saint Francis Preparatory School will be closed today and tomorrow as eight students are confirmed and more than 100 more are suspected of being infected with the potentially lethal swine flu, according to Newsday.

Last week, the nurses office at Saint Francis was overwhelmed with students complaining of fever, nausea, sore throats and achy bones, the story stated.

According to the story, many of those infected had recently visited Mexico for spring break or have had close contact with someone who recently returned.

Cleaning crews spent the weekend cleaning the entire school and scrubbing many high-touch surfaces, the story noted.

Several schools in Texas, California and Ohio also closed after students were found or suspected to have the swine flu that is responsible for more than 100 deaths in Mexico, the story added.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano declared a national public health emergency on Sunday to help federal and local agencies prepare for the possibility of more swine flu cases.

Click here to read the complete article.

For related information, and self protection solutions, click here.


Energy Fair Success

DIY BerkeyWe had a great time at the North Country Energy Fair. We had about 20 people attend our “DIY Solar class”, 10 at our “Make your own biodiesel” class, and about 50 attend the off-grid water pumping and filtration class we presented with a panel of 4 others, including Jim Juczak of Woodhenge and Rob Roy of Earthwood. Rich Douglas covered wind pumping, Jim covered deep well hand pumps, I covered filtration, John covered solar pumps and Luke Martin covered well buckets. Rob’s presentation covered pedal powered piston pumps. We gave about 30 rides on our E-Zip electric bike, and everyone had a lot of fun with it. Our DIY Berkey Water Purifier was a big hit, as was the Nature’s Head composting toilet, and the MRSA and Swine flu resistant cleaning products. Tom Leue presented his Yellow Heat Veggie Furnace. You can find more info on these products at, and construction details on the DIY Berkey at


North Country Sustainable Energy Fair

We are teaching two classes this weekend, one on making and using biodiesel for home heating and transportation, and the other on designing and installing your own off grid power system.

The 14th annual Community Energy Services North Country Sustainable Energy Fair, upstate New York’s largest community energy education event, will be April 25-26, 2009 at the SUNY Canton Miller Campus Center in Canton, NY. Over 60 workshops and 50 exhibitors free for your donation of $5 per day or $8 for the weekend. Thousands of people attend our Fair each year from all over the region and southern Canada. We’re proud to offer people the information and inspiration they need to create more sustainable lives in this time of growing concern for the future of our planet.


Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs?

There’s a lot of questions going around about superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics, and how we can protect ourselves from infections like MRSA and others.There is a new site that has the scoop and environment and human friendly solutions. Check it out!


New Deal, Old Deal, or Raw Deal?

New DealIn 1934, the Chicago Tribune printed this cartoon. I feel it should give us something to consider. The “New Deal” didn’t fix the economy then (WWII did), and why should we expect it to now?


Solar Charged Transportation

Steve's E-bikeThe weather finally co-operated today. Sunny, windy, dry, and in the mid 40’s. I got out the E-bike, charged the battery up with the solar panels, and went for a nice spring ride. I put it into assist mode, so when I pedal, it adds to my efforts. The other mode is full electric mode. You can also pedal without power. More info on this bike can be found at


Green Battery Charging

Polaroid USB ChargerWe run our laptop on our solar charged off grid battery system, so when I ran across this USB NiMH battery charger, it was a must buy. Takes two AA/AAA NiMH or NiCd batteries and charges them off one of your USB ports on your computer. Perfect for digital cameras, mp3 players or whatever else you use these batteries for. Two AA 2100ma NiMH batteries are included.