Farmers, Ranchers, the Railroad and Water: How the (Rio Grande) Valley was Built

Editor’s Note:  

If you’ve been following this blog for some time, you may remember reading about a cross-country move a few months back. Moving from Northern California to South Texas was a major change in cultures as well as states. It’s necessitated learning about the environmental issues (of which there are many), the climate (dramatically different), how to garden here (different climate means different viruses, etc.), and even language challenges (mine).

It’s also meant diving back into Texas history. Being Texas-born, I learned a great deal of Texas history growing up. Amazingly, in Texas, we learned ONLY Texas history until high school, where we were introduced to world history – a big eye opener!

But here is a glimpse of the history of the area where I grew up and now live again. The research was fascinating. Hope you enjoy my latest story which appeared in the November/December 2016 issue of AgMag Magazine.

Irrigation in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas

Irrigation in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas

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Preliminary results of our oceans shows alarming amount of plastic debris

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There’s a race taking place and it doesn’t result in ribbons or plaques. It’s the “Race for Water Odyssey”. Sponsored by the Race for Water Foundation, this 300 day voyage, which will travel over 40,000 nautical miles, will create the first global assessment of plastic pollution in the ocean by visiting island beaches situated in the 5 “gyres” (trash vortexes)..

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Soaking Up Soil Conservation: Saving Water In The Face Of Drought

photo courtesy of normanack

photo courtesy of normanack

Water availability with the continuing drought has become a global issue.

Research shows that one of the easiest ways to nurture land, help the environment and have the land retain water is soil conservation through composting – turning food waste and yard scraps into usable garden soil that’s then applied to various landscapes.

To learn more about compost’s remarkable ability to save tens of thousands of gallons of water and help alleviate the drought, click here.

New York residents try to “buy back” their pro-fracking senator

NY residents buy back their senator 1If the politicians won’t stand up to the oil industry about fracking, consumers will. Case in point: Residents of New York state’s “Southern Tier” delivered a $202,000 giant fake eight by three foot check to Senator Libous’ (R-NY) Binghamton district office today to “buy their senator back” from pro-fracking business interests and from big oil and gas lobbyists. That’s the same amount of money Sen. Libous took in campaign contributions from fracking oil and gas interests in the last two years, according to the good government group Common Cause.

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The Paint Cover helps keep paint fresh

The Paint Brush CoverStopping in the middle of a project means dealing with messy, drippy paint brushes. Take a break and you could come back to a dried up brush. The alternative has been rinsing multiple times, wasting paint and wasted water, to say nothing of having to regularly replace paint brushes gone bad.

New York City firefighter Sal DePaola knows this problem well. After years of being bothered by having to constantly buy new paint brushes for his painting business, DePaola came up with a solution – a brush cover with an air-tight seal.

The idea languished for years because DePaola thought someone else would eventually do it. But since no one did, in 2011 he had an engineer draw a mock-up of what became the Paint Brush Cover.

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Enjoy chlorine-free summer fun with ECOsmarte

The ECOsmarte filtration system, courtesy of ECOsmarte

The ECOsmarte filtration system, courtesy of ECOsmarte

As we shift from spring into summer, dreams of summer pool parties dance merrily through our heads. Preparing your pool for summer fun means loading it with harsh toxic chemicals. With so many of us wanting to lead healthy lifestyles, going that direction makes no sense.

There’s a more efficient, healthier alternative.

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Unilever partners with Carrotmob to generate better sustainability with consumers

The saying “consumers vote with their dollars” is truer than ever these days. Manufacturers pay a great deal of attention to how and where consumers spend their hard-earned money and fine tune their products and marketing campaigns to meet their needs.

Unilever – a global consumer goods manufacturer – is deeply aware of this and recently partnered with non-profit Carrotmob to create sustainability campaigns that will attract green-minded consumers.

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