Creative Commons: Invisible Hour
It would be no big deal if this photo were taken in Buffalo or Montreal, but Seattle? There is climate chaos everywhere; In Canada, it is the first coast-to-coast white Christmas in thirty years, and parts of the Northeast are still without power from the storms. Now you are freezing in the dark. Collin advises how to Weather the Storm with These 6 Green Tips, but what could you have done to prepare?
Over the years, TreeHugger and Planet Green have suggested a few things.
When it comes to seasonal preparation, cheap energy has allowed many citizens of developed nations to abandon the lessons of the Tale of the Ant and the Grasshopper. Addicted to a constant flow of cheap heating fuel, electricity, and even food from overseas, a cold hungry awakening awaits those mindlessly living the Grasshopper Lifestyle.
Green Your Home For Winter
Heating, cooling and lighting our houses belches out a third of our carbon dioxide and sucks a lot of money out of our wallets in the process. There are so many guides and websites that tell you what to do fix this from insulating your walls to changing your windows. But if you are into frugal green living, what should you do first? What is the most effective thing to do? What gives the most bang for your buck?
Lay in some Supplies
Jeff Nield recently wrote an article on what every locavore in the north worries about at this time of year, which James MacKinnon called "the war vegetable season."- turnips, onions, potatoes, maybe cabbage. Tough foods for hard times. Well it ain't so, there is lots of good eating to be had. According to Vancouver nutritionist Paula Luther: "If we look at what's in abundance right now, we have lots of squash, carrots, things like that, which are actually beneficial at this time of year," she says. These winter foods are rich in beta-carotene, antioxidants, vitamin A — just the sort of nutrients our bodies need to fight off colds and maintain energy levels for the season.
Lovely photography by Leah Nash for The New York Times
Build a Root Cellar
"Root cellars have long been the province of Midwestern grandmothers, back-to-the-landers and committed survivalists. But given the nation's budding romance with locally produced food, they also appeal to the backyard gardener, who may have a fruit tree that drops a bigger bounty every year while the refrigerator remains the same size."
Get a Chest Freezer.
If you are going to lay in supplies that need freezing, get a chest freezer design which holds the cold even when the door is open. A well-stocked unit can keep the food frozen for a few days.
Consider a Pellet Stove.
They sure are ugly, but they are HOT! Pellet stoves can be a greener alternative to traditional wood stoves and fireplaces: "Pellet stoves pollute so little that they don't require certification from the EPA, they create no creosote (chimney fire fodder), and fall well within clean air standards. And the pellets? Most are made from compressed sawdust and other wood waste, though some stoves can also take wood, recycled paper waste, and biomass pellets."
Consider a Wood Stove with some Thermal Mass to it
Stoves are nice, but often polluting. Most European designs have to meet high standards, but units like the Tlikivi soapstone clad stoves not only burn clean but hold the heat for hours in the thermal mass of the stove. You can even now get rammed earth stoves that do the same thing.