12 Steps to a Greener 2012

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The Worldwatch Institute—an independent research organization based in  Washington, D.C., that works on energy, resource, and environmental  issues—recently published these 12 tips we can all try in order to ring in a  greener 2012.

1. Recycle

What you can do:

Put a separate container next to your trash can or printer, making it easier  to recycle your bottles, cans, and paper.

2. Turn Off the Lights

What you can do:

Earth Hour happens only once a year, but you can make an impact every day by  turning off lights during bright daylight, or whenever you will be away for an  extended period of time.

3. Make the Switch to Fluorescent

What you can do:

A bill in Congress to eliminate incandescent in the United States failed in  2011, but you can still make the switch at home. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)  use only 20-30 percent of the energy required by incandescents to create the  same amount of light, and LEDs use only 10 percent, helping reduce both electric  bills and carbon emissions.

4. Turn On the Tap

What you can do:

Fill up your glasses and reusable water bottles with water from the sink. The  United States has more than 160,000 public water systems, and by eliminating  bottled water you can help to keep nearly 1 million tons of bottles out of the  landfill, as well as save money on water costs.

5. Turn Down the Heat

What you can do:

Turn down your thermostat when you leave for work, or use a programmable  thermostat to control your heating settings.

6. Support Food Recovery Programs

What you can do:

Encourage your local restaurants and grocery stores to partner with food  rescue organizations, like City Harvest in New York City or Second Harvest  Heartland in Minnesota. Go through your cabinets and shelves and donate any  non-perishable canned and dried foods that you won’t be using to your nearest  food bank or shelter.

7. Buy Local

What you can do:

Instead of relying exclusively on large supermarkets, consider farmers  markets and local farms for your produce, eggs, dairy, and meat. Food from these  sources is usually fresher and more flavorful, and your money will be going  directly to these food producers.

8. Get Out and Ride

What you can do:

If available, use your city’s bike share program to run short errands or  commute to work. Memberships are generally inexpensive (only $75 for the year in  Washington, D.C.), and by eliminating transportation costs, as well as a gym  membership, you can save quite a bit of money! Even if without bike share  programs, many cities and towns are incorporating bike lanes and trails, making  it easier and safer to use your bike for transportation and recreation.

9. Share a Car

What you can do:

Join a car share program! As of July 2011, there were 26 such programs in the  U.S., with more than 560,000 people sharing over 10,000 vehicles. Even if you  don’t want to get rid of your own car, using a shared car when traveling in a  city can greatly reduce the challenges of finding parking (car share programs  have their own designated spots), as well as your environmental impact as you  run errands or commute to work.

10. Plant a Garden

What you can do:

Plant some lettuce in a window box. Lettuce seeds are cheap and easy to find,  and when planted in full sun, one window box can provide enough to make several  salads worth throughout a season.

11. Compost

What you can do:

If you are unsure about the right ways to compost, websites such as  HowToCompost.org and organizations such as the U.S. Composting Council, provide  easy steps to reuse your organic waste.

12. Reduce Your Meat Consumption

What you can do:

You don’t have to become a vegetarian or vegan, but by simply cutting down on  the amount of meat you consume can go a long way. Consider substituting one meal  day with a vegetarian option.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/steps-to-a-greener-life.html#ixzz1iUlqLoXx

Izzy Newswanger

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Izzy Newswanger from Kris Zajac on Vimeo.

Water Feature Lifestyle

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Enhanced landscaping improves property value, and water features make your property stand out from the rest. A Pondless Waterfall in the front yard provides curb appeal, while a backyard Ecosystem Pond increases a home’s value much like a deck, patio, or gazebo. The sound of a water feature will drown out noise from traffic or neighbors. In addition, water features provide an interesting backdrop for entertaining while adding aesthetic appeal to your landscape. Waterfront property is a prized commodity and you can easily incorporate water into your outdoor living space without having to move near a lake or ocean.

Water gardens transform an outdoor living space into a beautiful paradise where you can relax, unwind, and enjoy quality time with family and friends. Water features become the focal point of any garden with their melodious tunes and natural ability to attract a variety of birds and butterflies. Whether you tuck a decorative fountain near the entrance of your home or create a backyard habitat with an ecosystem pond and waterfall, you’ll find each day enhanced when you waterscape your landscape. Whether you have an expansive lawn or a small balcony, you’ll find a water feature to suit your lifestyle and budget.

Pondless Waterfalls

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The waterfall is undoubtedly the most beautiful and favored feature in a water garden. If space is lacking in your yard or you have safety concerns with a pond, go Pondless! The name basically explains it all. It’s a waterfall and stream, without the pond. The Pondless Waterfall has made many water-lovers who were previously unable to indulge in the sweet sounds of falling water, very happy. It’s a great alternative for those who are trying to get their feet wet, or looking to fit a little bit of paradise into their own backyard.

 

Pondless Waterfalls are simply a re-circulating waterfall and/or stream without the presence of a pond.  You can enjoy the sight and sound of running water without the maintenance of a pond.

The waterfall is undoubtedly the most beautiful and favored feature in a water garden. If space is lacking in your yard or you have safety concerns with a pond, go Pondless! The name basically explains it all. It’s a waterfall and stream, without the pond. So why would you want a waterfall without a pond? The truth is that a Pondless Waterfall isn’t for everyone, but it can be a great alternative for someone who isn’t quite sure if a pond is right for their family.

Safety
Because there is no pool of water, a Pondless Waterfall is a great option if you are concerned about safety issues associated with a traditional pond.

Cost
Pondless - 2

Cost can be a big factor when considering the type of pond you want to build. In most cases, the price of a Pondless waterfall will be less than a pond, because there is less labor involved, as well as less rock and materials. Operating costs are also less. Because you’re not dealing with an established ecosystem, it’s not necessary to run the pump 24/7.

Space
The small size of the Pondless Waterfall means you can build and enjoy a beautiful waterfall anywhere in you yard.
Maintenance – Taking care of your Pondless Waterfall is easy. Filling the reservoir every few weeks to compensate for water loss because of evaporation is all that’s required.

Flexibility
Perhaps the best part of the Pondless Waterfall is the possibility for the future. If you change your mind later, wishing you’d build a pond, that’s ok! If you leave enough room around the base of the waterfall, it’s easy to add a pond onto a Pondless Waterfall.

Complete System
Pondless Waterfall - MicroPondless WaterfallIt might be difficult to imagine a waterfall and stream without a pond. Where does the water go? A Pondless Waterfall works much like a regular pond. The hole, deeper than a normal pond, is dug then lined with rock and gravel, and filled with water. The water is then circulated from beneath the rocks and gravel by a pump that sits on the bottom, inside a Snorkel™ Vault and Centipede™ Module. A pipe runs from there up to a BioFalls Filter and into an overflowing waterfall, where it falls back into the reservoir. Since the water level never pools above the level of the rock and gravel fill, it give the appearance of a waterfall without a pond, when in fact, the “pond” is there but not visible.

The Pondless Waterfall has made many water-lovers who were previously unable to indulge in the sweet sounds of falling water, very happy. It’s a great alternative for those who are trying to get their feet wet, or looking to fit a little bit of paradise into their own backyard. In other words, when all else fails … go Pondless!

Water Garden Lifestyle

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Water gardens transform an outdoor living space into a beautiful paradise where you can relax, unwind, and enjoy quality time with family and friends. Water features become the focal point of any garden with their melodious tunes and natural ability to attract a variety of birds and butterflies. Whether you tuck a decorative fountain near the entrance of your home or create a backyard habitat with an ecosystem pond and waterfall, you’ll find each day enhanced when you waterscape your landscape. Whether you have an expansive lawn or a small balcony, you’ll find a water feature to suit your lifestyle and budget.

Add beauty, sound and tranquility to your landscaping or garden with the addition of a water feature. There is nothing like the dimension of water to make your outdoor living space enjoyable and relaxing. Give yourself a whole new reason to sit and enjoy your amazing creation every day!

Your Staycation

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Enjoy the many benefits of a water feature in your own outdoor living space. Listen to the waterfalls, watch the fish, relax and be swept away by its ambiance. No need to travel when you can stay home and enjoy the same benefits in your own backyard oasis.

Pond Air

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Pond aerators oxygenate your pond, helping all biological processes and creating a more stable environment, resulting in healthier fish and plants. Aeration is also very important during winter months in colder climates, as aeration helps to keep a small hole open in the surface of the pond to aid in degassing.

Pond & Landscape Lighting

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Your outdoor living space becomes alive at night with the existence of a water feature. Whether you have a pond, a pondless waterfall or a fountainscape, the lights add a whole new dimension to enjoying your backyard oasis. There is no reason that you can’t enjoy your yard at night as well as during the daytime and water features add an entertainment value as well as ambiance to any outdoor space.

Aquascape offers 3 types of LED lights for your water garden and landscape, each is energy efficient, compact, and wears an architectural bronze finish.

1-Watt 12 Volt LED Bullet Spotlight
Aquascape’s Bullet Spotlight’s compact size and powerful output makes it an extremely versatile fixture. The Bullet Spotlight is ideal for highlighting focal points and can be used in and out of the water.
•Includes two different mounting platforms, adjustable stand, and stake.
•Compact design also allows the fixture to be tucked between the rock walls allowing the light to virtually disappear in the water feature. The Bullet Spotlight is also great for AquaBasin decorative fountains.
•Comes standard with a single high output warm white LED bulb.
•Replaceable diodes are available in white, red, blue, green, and yellow.

3-Watt 12 Volt LED Bullet Spotlight
Aquascape’s newest Bullet Spotlight has the same stylish look as our 1-watt LED Bullet Spotlight unit only with three times the light. The new Bullet Spotlight is ideal for larger plants, trees, or waterfalls. Can be used fully submersed or outside of the water.
•Equally bright output as standard 20-watt halogen bulbs, but at only 3 watts!
•Includes two different mounting platforms, adjustable stand, and stake.
•Comes standard with three high output warm white LED bulbs.
•Replaceable diode is available in white.
•15’ cord with quick connect plug is included.

1-Watt 12 Volt LED Waterfall Light
LED Waterfall Lights are ideal for use in waterfalls or up-lighting pond plants. This compact light can be placed anywhere an accent light is needed. Although fully submersible, the light can be used in and out of water. You will be amazed at how versatile this light can be!
•Can be tucked beneath the cascades of a waterfall or at the base of any AquaBasin decorative fountain.
•Removable mounting base can be wedged beneath large rocks or covered by gravel, ensuring the fixture maintains proper position beneath cascades.
•Comes standard with a single warm, high output white LED bulb.
•Replaceable diodes are available in white, red, blue, green, and yellow.
•15’ cord with quick connect plug is included.

Ecosystem Pond Fish

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One of the most amazing experiences with your ecosystem pond is the fish. Nothing is more enjoyable than being a spectator to this 24-hour show! Fish are amazing, colorful and playful and provide hours of education and entertainment for you, your friend and your children. No part of your water feature gets more “ooos” and “aahhhs” than your fish pals.

 

Koi … the jewels of the water garden! Have you thought about making them a part of your watery paradise. Everyone who has koi preaches of the joy they have while feeding them, watching them swim through caves and waterfalls, and even naming them. You’ll find koi of all different shapes and sizes named accordingly. There’s “Goldie” – everyone’s favorite yellow fish; and “Spot” – the fish with a precarious spot on the front of its forehead; the names can go on, and on, and on!

Low-Maintenance Pets koi-group-1
One of the other things that is so wonderful about welcoming a fishy friend into your pond is that they are pretty low maintenance. You won’t see a koi scratching at the door to go for a walk, or choosing your prized sofa for a litter box. Nope. Fish live, breath, and eat in the exact same place … your pond. They truly are one of the most low-maintenance pets you can have.

When it comes to feeding them, you may notice that there are several different recommendations out there. If your fish are part of a balanced ecosystem, as is the case with the Aquascape system, your best bet is to feed them as much as they will eat in five minutes, being careful not to leave too much food floating at the surface.

Fish can also over-winter in your pond, so you can rest assured that they won’t be in a tub in the middle of the living room as the months get colder. After all, they won’t even pay rent!

More Than Just Koi white-koi
Are there other fish, besides koi, that make great pond-living pets? There most certainly are! That same goldfish that stares at you from the glass at the fish store is a perfect fit for your pond. Goldfish are incredibly resilient and can be a great starter fish for a new pond owner. Best of all, they come in all, shapes, sizes, and colors and if you have a container water garden or preformed pond, they’re a great fit!

Another fish that is sure to find its way into your heart resembles the koi, but is much smaller. It’s called a shubunkin and it’s a kind of single-tailed, long-bodied goldfish that differs from the koi in the fact that it doesn’t have “barbells,” which are whiskers of sorts that are used to root through gravel.

It Doesn’t End There butterfly-koi
If you do your homework, you’ll find that there are plenty of fish (many native to your area) that would be perfectly content in your home. From minnows to mosquito fish, to carp and game fish – your options are endless. Fish are a major part of your pond’s ecosystem and they are important to your pond’s overall health, but they also make great pets. And best of all, regardless of what’s happened in your life, they’ll always be there to greet you at the end of a long day. Ain’t that grand!?

Backyard Ponds

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Backyard ponds create a gathering spot for family and friends. Young children, teenagers, parents, and grandparents enjoy relaxing by the pond’s edge, and water features act like a magnet pulling the family together. Enjoy family meals outside near the pond and spend the evening unwinding with your loved ones. Educate young children on the wonders of nature with an ecosystem pond. All ages love watching the fish glide underneath lily pads, and enjoy the surprise afforded by a frog poking its head above the surface of the water.