One this long holiday weekend of gas consumption let's pause to consider a few things to curb the guilt... besides riding a bike.
First up from the good folks over at Metaeffcient.
The Envision Solar Grove™ is a system of solar cell canopies designed for parking lots. While providing shade for your car they eliminate light pollution, curb hazardous run off and the urban heat-island effect, all while powering the mall you parked at. I would have one over my driveway if I didn't have one of these parked there.
Start composting for free!
For all you locals out there Montgomery County MD is giving away compost bins to all residents. Compost bins can cost a ton for some reason but these durable plastic bins work great and the price is right. I picked one up from the Bethesda office last month and I am digging it. Aside from a lack of sunlight in the backyard it is doing pretty well. Check your local government waste collection agency to see if they have a similar program.
Use a reel mower.
Late last fall a neighbor put an old push reel mower on the curb which promptly snatched up like a crazy pack rat. When I bought my first house I went out and bought a pretty nice $350 dollar mower. This mower now acts as a really expensive back up to my free push reel mower which cost nothing to run, produces no harmful exhaust and best of all gives me a good upper body work out if I want. Beyond the obvious benefits, a push reel mower is much better for your lawn than an electric or gas powered mower. The clean cut of the reel mower cuts the grass rather than smashing the ends off. Also when you don't bag, the grass clippings provide a natural fertilizer for the yard.
Challenge yourself to get all the ingredients for your holiday BBQ from local sources. I am going to a friend's house for a nice little grillout chillout on Sunday. I am going to get all the ingredients for the dish I am bringing from the Saturday farmer's market in Silver Spring, and the Sunday farmer's market in Takoma Park. From these I should be able to get most meat, vegetable, or dairy products I need. Shopping locally means the food hasn't had to travel around the world to get to you. This gives you fresher food and less environmental impact. Why should I by apple that had to travel here from New Zealand when I can get them fresh from a farm in Purcelville?
Let's here some other green ideas that are worth passing around.