The yard: so close, yet so far {LATimes}

Many families see their backyard as essential, but they rarely use it, a UCLA study finds. There’s too much to do elsewhere.
…”They are a buffer of green” from the outside world, she says, but “backyards might as well be blocks away considering how often the families go in them.”

Of the families with working parents and school-age children monitored for the study, more than half of the children didn’t spend any playtime in their backyards and most parents only wandered briefly there to perform chores: take out the trash, feed dogs or wash off chairs. “Occasionally a kid would kick a soccer ball but it wasn’t for too long,” says Arnold. “We admire backyards from inside the house or in our mind’s eye, while we’re busy doing other things.”

….Arnold says socializing in the frontyard is “a lost art” in Los Angeles except in a few communities. One family, identified in the study as Cuban Americans, read, talked and relaxed together daily on their front porch but ignored their backyard.

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[Reminds me of a quote Jules likes to says “the path to change the world begins at your backdoor… and yard (front and back)]

New Zealand- First sustainable Nation? {TreeHugger}

“I believe New Zealand can aim to be the first nation to be truly sustainable across the four pillars of the economy, society, the environment, and nationhood.” These are not new notions for Helen. At the New Zealand Labour Party Annual Conference held late in October 2006 she used her keynote address to raise the same points, “We could aim to be carbon neutral. I believe that sustainability will be a core value in 21st century social democracy. I want New Zealand to be in the vanguard of making it happen – for our own sakes, and for the sake of our planet. I want sustainability to be central to New Zealand’s unique national identity.”
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[Anything “NZ” always catches our eye. That’s where the first homesteadfirst homestead began and where I was born — yes, I am an official “Kiwi” and have dual citizenship ( lucky for me I don’t have to go through NZ strict immigration regulations) One day my family & I hope to visit the land where I was born – it’s just so expensive!]

Sugar Rush {Guardian}

…[Sugar consumption] has been on the increase for some time. At the beginning of the 18th century, per capita consumption of sugar in England was still only about 4lbs – less than two of today’s packets of sugar; by the beginning of the 19th century consumption had soared to 18lbs per person per year. Sugar, produced by slaves and imported from the colonies, fuelled the industrial revolution. In the form of sweetened tea and jam, it fed the factory workers of the 19th century. By the 1890s, the price greatly reduced after the abolition of slavery by the removal of free-trade barriers, it had become a necessity in the labouring diet: consumption touched 90lbs per person per year.
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Development still gobbling up California farmland {Capital Press}

.California’s heartland is disappearing under housing subdivisions, shopping malls and pavement at an accelerated rate, according to new state data released at this week’s World Ag Expo.
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The real cost of bottled water {SFGate}

The Environmental Law Foundation has sued eight bottlers for using words such as “pure” to market water that contains bacteria, arsenic and chlorine. Bottled water is no bargain either: It costs 240 to 10,000 times more than tap water. For the price of one bottle of Evian, a San Franciscan can receive 1,000 gallons of tap water. Forty percent of bottled water should be labeled bottled tap water because that is exactly what it is. But even that doesn’t dampen the demand. ….Most of the price of a bottle of water goes for its bottling, packaging, shipping, marketing, retailing and profit. Transporting bottled water by boat, truck and train involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels. More than 5 trillion gallons of bottled water is shipped internationally each year. Here in San Francisco, we can buy water from Fiji (5,455 miles away) or Norway (5,194 miles away) and many other faraway places to satisfy our demand for the chic and exotic. These are truly the Hummers of our bottled-water generation. As further proof that the bottle is worth more than the water in it, starting in 2007, the state of California will give 5 cents for recycling a small water bottle and 10 cents for a large one. Just supplying Americans with plastic water bottles for one year consumes more than 47 million gallons of oil, enough to take 100,000 cars off the road and 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, according to the Container Recycling Institute. In contrast, San Francisco tap water is distributed through an existing zero-carbon infrastructure: plumbing and gravity. Our water generates clean energy on its way to our tap — powering our streetcars, fire stations, the airport and schools.
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:: Real Solutions ::metal water bottles– made once and reusable for years.

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  1. Bottled water junkie says:

    Some time back I suddenly “woke up” and realized what my bottled water need was costing… I bought a filter for the house and a big jug and I haven’t bought a bottle in months. It’s nice to see that article to confirm what I had already realized!

  2. Frugal-in Mexico says:

    I live in Mexico where I cannot use the water. I buy 19 liter bottles of bottled water. I have to use that for cooking,brushing teeth etc. A filter cannot take out parasites. Boiling can take care of some of that but boiling cannot take out fungus. What else can a person do? Frugal-in Mexico

  3. Amy says:

    The Sugar Rush article raises such an overlooked area of health. I just finished reading “Sugar Blues”, a 30-year-old book, and it opened my eyes to the harm of refined sugar, as well as overindulging other types of sweeteners. Not that I’ve tossed out the chocolate chips in my cabinet yet!
    The historical significance of sugar is fascinating, and would make a great screenplay!