Green Living Articles

There are over 850 different authors’ voices in the articles posted here discussing sustainability issues from food to transportation to family to business. Most of the authors are Minnesotans who wanted to share the information they feel is important for you to know to keep Minnesota healthy and sustainable. Many of the articles were written for Do It Green! Magazine, while others are from outside publications or web sites.

Material created for or by Do It Green! Minneosta is not copyrighted and is meant to be widely distributed and used for educational purposes. Articles can be printed and distributed, or inserted into educational newsletters or other educational materials in its original form. If you use our content, please email us at and add the following credit line to your material: Reprinted from Do It Green! Minnesota

Nice Ride Minnesota is Here

Jake Quarstad Nice Ride Minnesota Nice Ride Minnesota launched the largest public bike sharing system in America on June 10, with 65 stations spread across the city, housing 700 bikes. Sign up for a 24-hour to year-long subscription with your credit card online or at a station. 1-year and 30-day subscribers receive a Nice Ride key that makes using the system even easier to use. One-year subscribers also receive a coupon booklet within their User Manual worth roughly $500. If you like deals like free dinner at Common Roots Café, free lunch at Lucia’s, free brunch at Butter Bakery or…

Reduce Clutter and Help the Environment!

Jessica Houlihan Do it Green! Minnesota Do you ever open your closet to find a few items you wear and a few dozen that you don’t? Or do you, in the process of cleaning out the garage, find chemicals or lawn care products you just don’t use anymore? Regardless of how much of a savvy shopper you may be, almost everyone accumulates garbage throughout their life. In fact, Minnesota citizens each generate about 2,000 pounds of trash each year. Thankfully, in Minnesota, there are many ways you can recycle or sell your trash and promote products getting a new life….

Dont Be Chicken about Chickens

Dan Lynch Reprinted from Camden Community News August 2009 With the census just around the corner, an inventory of just who lives where is in order—and animals come into the picture. Many of us have childhood memories of experiences with farm animals, including chickens. Most of our fowl memories are of chickens at the state fair or on a farm in the country. But now some of the Camden Neighborhood’s residents are raising chickens in their yards as pets. Other urban folks have crossed the ‘pet boundary’ by keeping ferrets, rabbits or pigeons as pets. But chickens are a relatively…

What You Should Know About Energy Efficient Lighting

John Gilkeson Prevention and Assistance Division, MN Pollution Control Agency More and more, people are asking if they should purchase and use energy-efficient lighting in their homes. The answer is definitely “YES,” because doing so will save money, reduce electrical consumption, contribute to energy conservation and reduce the environmental impacts and pollution associated with all aspects of electricity production. Conservation is the least expensive and cleanest “supply” of new energy. While there are many benefits to using energy-efficient lighting, it is important to note that most of these bulbs-including all fluorescent, mercury vapor, metal halide, and most high pressure sodium…

The Problem with Suburbs

Kurt Seaberg In 1954 — the year of my birth — my parents moved our family from Chicago to a freshly built home in a newly developing suburb on the city’s outskirts. As with most American suburbs, our neighborhood was created with little regard to the local topography. What had once been an upland, prairie-oak savanna with a few scattered farms and wetlands had overnight become a patchwork of streets and blocks of nearly identical houses. The farms were bulldozed, the wetlands drained – even native plants and trees were dug up and replaced with exotic trees, shrubs and grasses….

Practicing the Three Rs

Colleen Hetzel Do It Green! Magazine Most of us have heard of at least one of the three environmental R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Minnesota has one of the highest recycling rates in the United States. The recycling rate was over 47% in 1999. However, reducing and reusing waste is harder to quantify. Waste reduction or “source reduction” is defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “any change in the design, manufacturing, purchase, or use of a material or product (including packaging) to reduce its volume or toxicity before it becomes municipal solid waste.” Simple examples of…

Book Picks for Green Communities II

Amanda Luker Arise! Bookstore and Resource Center Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp, HarperCollins, 2007. With characteristic poetry and pluck, Barbara Kingsolver and her family sweep readers along on their journey away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves or learn to live without it. ¡Cochabamba! Water War in Bolivia, Oscar Olivera, South End Press, 2004. The triumphant struggle of grassroots activists in Cochabamba, Bolivia, sounded a significant opening salvo in the water wars….

Public Participation Principles

The Jefferson Center 1. Know… Know your goals. Know who should be involved in the process and how they can best proactively and constructively affect an outcome. Know the technical aspects of how to use public participation strategies or tools. 2. Public participation is two-way communication. 3. The public can best effectively participate if they are well informed about alternatives and their consequences. 4. Public participation initiatives will not always produce a consensus decision. 5. Even if people are not entirely satisfied with the outcome, they will consider it fairly derived, if they have had an honest opportunity to influence:…

Backyard Composting

Robert Mugaas University of Minnesota Extension Educator, Environmental Horticulture Composting is the microbial process whereby organic yard wastes are converted into to a highly desirable, organic, soil-like material. Gardeners have used compost for centuries to increase soil organic matter, improve soil physical properties, and supply some of the essential nutrients for plant growth. Compost also makes an excellent mulch for use in shrub borders, and flower and vegetable gardens. From a home and community standpoint, you can’t help but notice the lighter load you haul out to the trash every week – just think of the implications for our landfills….

Saving Seed From Your Garden

Marty Bergland Wright County Master Gardener, Author of “Grow, Harvest, Eat: Essential Herbs from Garden to Table” Seed saving is an environmentally sustainable, economical, and educational activity for all age groups, gardeners, and food lovers. With a few basics, you can save seeds from your own garden or community garden and enjoy the magic of seeds to plant the next year. To begin, you need to: select the right type of seed use the appropriate drying method adequately store the dried seed. Seed Selection: For success, choose open-pollinated or heirloom, not hybrid, varieties. Open pollinators (OP) have obtained stable characteristics…

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