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Archive for June, 2010

Constructing the Ecomposter was not a lot like death, despite the warnings.

It came in a box.

The box came from China.

There were lots of pieces in the box, and they went together one by one. First there was one half…

Then there were two.

Two World Cup games after it started, the Death Star… er… Ecomposter, was ready to fill.

What’s going in? From left to right, wood ashes (a “brown”), directions (not going in, but useful), a weekend’s worth of vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and eggshells (the “greens”), and fallen leaves (another “brown”).

The idea here is to mix greens and browns in a 1:1 ratio to start, then to keep a happy moisture level thereafter. Load, then spin, daily. And, keep adding until full. Then let finish.

I will admit that it does not look delicious or nutritious right now. It looks like a mold pile waiting to happen, and it’s likely to get gross before it’s finished. But, provided this whole natural process works as advertised, once it’s done, my plants are going to love this stuff!

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by Liz Bloomhardt
Published June, 24, 2010

It’s been hot. Really hot. And humid.

No surprise there, really. This is the South, after all, albeit June.

Here in Durham, the mercury has been getting a workout, topping out at or above 90 degrees for most of the past two weeks.

Along with this increase in heat has come an increase in the AQI, or Air Quality Index. The AQI number ranges from 0-500 with a color code from green to maroon in six colors. The number and corresponding color is a daily measure that tells you how polluted your air is and what consequential health effects might be of concern.

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Funding for the “green devil recording project” was approved today!

What is the project? The goal is to collect green stories, antecdotes, experiences and interviews from Dukies across the University, be they students, alumni, faculty or staff.

Do you have a story to contribute to the project or know someone who does? Email me at dukegreendevil@gmail.com.

The “green devil recording project” has been made possible with funding from the Green Grant Fund. Have an idea to make Duke “greener”? Check out the website, and put in a proposal today! Grants have been awarded to fund various projects including research, conferences and new programming.

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The first post in the new green@home category comes straight from woot.com.

Today’s podcast on the site advertises a death star-esqe composter, and well, we got a little excited about that, and couldn’t help but put in an order!

Here’s the full story: for nearly two years, I’ve been on the verge of starting some sort of composting pile. In fact, just yesterday, I was perusing this site for information on composting and vermicomposting (worms). It’s chalk full of great information from the NC Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance.

I even had a bin picked out for the vermicompost bin (which I may still start). I just needed to get worms, but where? And that’s when the project was just about to get pushed aside, just like last year when I only got as far as collecting pamphlets. The lesson here is that there are many, many ways to get started, so just do it. In our case, it took a death star.

Ok, to be perfectly honest the Eco Composter is not a death star, but it sure looks like one. Of course, once we get the box, we may change our minds. An Amazon.com reviewer had this to say: “This composter should come with a warning: ‘Be prepared to abandon your life for the foreseeable future before committing to assembly.'”

“The Death Star wasn’t built overnight!” responds my boyfriend.

We are engineers. This is only a challenge to our skills.

Check back for more, I’ll have a report once we get the thing into action!

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Summer Reading

By Liz Bloomhardt

Published June 10, 2010

Students never stop reading; I think it’s in the job description.

During the school year, as most of us know all too well, reading is likely to be assigned and topical. While not uninteresting, as a graduate student in engineering, that means my reading tends toward the academic—papers and texts full of math and nuanced details that can take hours, if not years to fully understand. So, I don’t usually mind when course work and the semester buzz wanes during the summer months, leaving a little more time to sift through the stack of books collecting on my nightstand.

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I’ve created a new category, it’s Green@Home. While not directly contributing to Duke’s carbon footprint, what I do at home has an impact on the world too, and all this thinking about sustainability in the work place tends to bleed over into thinking about life at home as well.

During every interview I have conducted, one of the questions I always ask is: “What do you do to be more sustainable or green in your own life?”

In this new category, we’ll parse through what others are doing, and I’ll do some of them myself.

Here’s to being green, at home!

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