5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Successful Vegetable Garden To Grow Your Own Food – an Interview with Martita Mestey (for Authority Magazine)

As we all know, inflation has really increased the price of food. Many people have turned to home gardening to grow their own food. Many have tried this and have been really successful. But others struggle to produce food in their own garden. What do you need to know to create a successful vegetable garden to grow your own food? In this interview series, called “5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Successful Vegetable Garden To Grow Your Own Food” we are talking to experts in vegetable gardening who can share stories and insights from their experiences.

As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Debra Atlas.

Asn environmental journalist, author, newspaper columnist, writer-for-hire, professional speaker and blogger, Debra Atlas focuses on critical environmental, conservation, agricultural and sustainability issues. She has been an avid home organic gardener for over 40 years, always working to improve her skill level and to expand biodiversity in her gardens. Debra’s mission is to inform, educate and inspire.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I became a freelance environmental journalist / writer in 2008. I also started my blog envirothink around that same time. Some of my blog posts caught the attention of a representative of the Costa Rican eco-tourism industry. She reached out to me to ask if I wanted to come to Costa Rica and 1) attend and blog at the 1st annual People Planet Peace conference and 2) to be a guest (for free!) at three eco-tourist hotels and blog about them. It was an incredibly exciting opportunity and so much fun! Like all the best opportunities throughout my career, this one fell into my lap without my seeking it. I love those!!

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

The three most important character traits instrumental to my success have been:

a. Tenacity

b. An unwillingness to accept “no”

c. Being a very good listener

Click here for the rest of the interview Don’t miss some great stuff!

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An Innovative Solution to Plastic Bag Recycling

Across the globe, we use 5 trillion plastic bags per year. According to the EPA, the U.S. uses 730,000 tons of plastic bags, sacks and wraps annually – and less than one percent of these get recycled. Few US recycling centers or curbside recyclers accept them because bags gum up and contaminate their sorting machines. An environmental scourge, few plastic bags make it to landfills. Most get blown by the wind or end up in our oceans, smothering and killing marine life, birds and other wildlife.

Boston-based entrepreneur David New believes he has the solution.

News’s sleek-looking, innovative Obaggo is the world’s first and only in-home plastic bag and packaging film recycling appliance. It compresses up to 25 plastic bags and/or packaging film at a time, creating disks that are the perfect shape and size for recycling.

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New certification lets consumers know products are fully Non-Genetically Engineered

PrintThe controversy of GMO versus non-GMO continues. The state of Vermont appears to be a pivotal factor in getting food manufacturers to finally begin labeling their products despite the huge pushback and enormous amounts of money thrown against the mandatory labeling fight.

Another sign that consumers will finally get the information as to what’s in their food that they consistently report they want has appeared. Continue reading

New affordable ways to help Republic of Change reforest the planet

I Give Trees planting.2I recently wrote a story on how Republic of Change was empowering people to help with reforestation efforts. Their crowdfunding campaign aims to plant 100,000 trees and to have as many people as possible engage in its efforts. Their initiative will help remove 100,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere. Trees are the best option we have to do this, by the way.

Now the company has come up with new perks to help the campaign get from 50,000 to its 100,000 goal as quickly as possible.

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States with the most Producer Responsibility laws

Extended Producer Responsibliity graphic

If you’re not familiar with the phrase Extended Producer Responsibility, it’s time to learn.

EPR is the larger picture of what’s necessary and what’s possible going well beyond recycling. It requires manufacturers to be accountable for the products they produce – its complete life cycle from beginning to its final and responsible disposal. It’s a way to dramatically reduce what goes into our landfills and increase the amount of waste that gets recycled and/or reused.

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New crowdfunding platform for “green’ projects

Earthcrowdfunder logo

Most people have heard of or even participated in some sort of crowdfunding campaign. Names like Indegogo and Kickstarter seem to be the most familiar platforms for a vast array of funding opportunities.

Now there’s a new star on the horizon, one that’s geared towards green projects. Earthcrowdfunder is the first crowdfunding platform designed specifically for environmental and sustainable projects.

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Buyers beware – organics from China may be hazardous to our health

Walmart misrepresents products as Organic - againThe demand for organic foods continues to grow. But should we blithely accept something that’s USDA certified as safe?

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Most and least eco-friendly states

WalletHub most-and-least-eco-friendly-states-badgeBillions of taxpayer dollars are being devoted to environmental protection efforts and energy costs., which eat up a significant portion of the average household’s take-home. Today, the personal finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2015’s Most & Least Eco-Friendly States. The report showcases the areas doing right by Mother Earth and calls out those seemingly intent on spoiling things for future generations.

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The most endangered river in America

Lake Powell's Reflection Canyon, with bathtub rings showing high water marks of the past, photo courtesy of National Geographic

Lake Powell’s Reflection Canyon, with bathtub rings showing high water marks of the past, photo courtesy of National Geographic

The Colorado River, which meanders 1,450 miles of mountains, canyons, plains and low deserts, is the source of water for seven states: Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, and California. But, as this National Geographic video shows, it’s the most endangered river in the United States.

Those who unthinkingly count on this once majestic river for farming, drinking water, water for landscaping and for hydro-electric power can no longer take its bounty for granted. Our over-demands are sucking it dry at a horrifying rate. The time for talking about the problem is past. It’s time for swift, decisive action to help keep this river flowing. This important environmental treasure is a precious resource that we can’t afford to lose.

A real case for upcycling instead of landfilling

As more companies look for ways to upcycle their unwanted materials, more waste is diverted from our landfills

As more companies look for ways to upcycle their unwanted materials, they divert waste from our landfills

I was perusing old emails and came across one that not only was interesting but inspiring.

I’ve written a number of articles about the growing trend of upcycling. It’s much more than simply recycling something. It’s taking what once was considered trash and turning it into something useful, giving it a second life

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