In facing up to today’s often degrading environmental, economic, political, social and hyper-individualistic cultural conditions, we instinctively know that survival requires coming together to effect constructive change. Here are proven approaches to community building that work.
Thanks to Google Earth, solar installers usually know if a property has the right conditions; avoiding the fee for an onsite inspection. Houses with a southern orientation within 40 degrees of direct southern exposure are golden. Those with flat roofs work well because the panels can be tilted for maximum effect. Adjustable panels can also be adapted to the best angle per season. Panels can’t be in shade for a significant part of the day.
Donald Redman, President of US Energy Solutions, says there has never been a better time, financially, for consumers in South Carolina to turn to solar energy. The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit allows homeowners and businesses to receive a dollar-for-dollar credit on their tax liability equaling 30 percent of the installed cost from their federal taxes, and South Carolina’s Solar Energy Tax Credit lets residents claim a state tax credit of 25 percent of the entire installed cost of a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) system.
Seeing lost, injured or orphaned animals is heartbreaking, but unless a wild animal is in immediate danger from prey or traffic, it’s best to wait and observe. Mothers forage for food and return to the babies intermittently. If in doubt, call a wildlife rehabber for advice.
After World War II, cotton, wool and linen fell out of favor as wash and wear, stain-resistant, permanent-press polyester arrived. Annual production of the synthetic fiber, consuming petroleum, coal, air and water resources, today exceeds 22 billion tons. Americans alone discard 14 million tons of clothing each year—80 pounds per person—with 80 percent going to landfills, where polyester takes 20 to 200 years to biodegrade.
Many of the greener choices are now a tremendous bargain for consumers. The federal government currently offers a tax credit of up to $4,500 for electrified vehicles, and many states kick in with added subsidies. Highlights include maximums available for electric vehicles (EV) with big batteries: California, $1,500 in rebates, plus single-occupant use of the high-occupancy vehicle lanes; Colorado, $5,000; Connecticut, $3,000; Delaware, $2,200; Maryland, $3,000; Massachusetts, $2,500; Michigan, $2,500; Pennsylvania, $2,000; Rhode Island, $2,500; Texas, $2,500; and Utah, $750.
“My top herb garden choice for the hot, humid conditions in the South is Tuscan blue rosemary, because it is beautiful, easy to grow and is wonderful in all kinds of foods and products,” Kessler says. “It blooms in several seasons and provides bees with off-season food.”
For instance, replacing Kentucky bluegrass, Bermuda grass or another non-native species with natives can deliver drought resistance and lower irrigation needs; eliminate any need for fertilizers or toxic pesticides; reduce or eliminate labor-intensive and often polluting mowing and edging; enhance the beauty of a home; and attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife.
“The number of U.S. cemeteries allowing natural burials has increased by 30 in the last year,” says Elizabeth Fournier, owner of Cornerstone Funeral Services, in Boring, Oregon. “More than 150 cemeteries allow them now. We encourage replacing cut flowers with plants. A multipurpose wooden casket can serve as a bookshelf until needed, or a casket can be made of natural wicker, paper or grass.” Formaldehyde-free embalming fluids made of non-toxic and biodegradable essential oils allow for a synthetic chemical-free burial…Each (pet) urn comes with a seed for a tree or shrub and the proper soil to help it grow…Eternal reefs are made of ashes mixed with cement placed in the ocean in a military-style ceremony to help support marine life for at least 500 years…Music lovers can choose to have their ashes compressed into a vinyl record. A live recording of goodbyes, a last will and testament or compilation of favorite songs can be prerecorded. Ashes can also be compressed into colorful memorial gemstones ready to be set into jewelry to keep a loved one close.