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Monday, June 27, 2011

Festivals & Parades..

We need to set aside more time for celebrating.

We are an industrious and busy people; going to school, working, making plans for our future lives. We tend to get caught up in the race, creating conditions that alienate us from each other socially, economically...experiential- y.  We need to stop, breathe and look around.  See all we have done negatively, learn and fix it. See all that we have done positively, enjoy, learn and do more of it.


One of the things I love most about being a human being is our ability to rally  for a good cause.  Celebrating our strengths, accomplishments, and goals as a group gives fuel to a collective passionate fire to create more positive conditions for happiness. Ignoring that collective bond has its own effect and is no fun.

Last weekend I went to the Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival, an annual festival in Croton on Hudson started by Pete Seeger over 40 years ago.  Its mission to provide "environmental research, education and advocacy efforts to help preserve and protect the Hudson River and its tributaries, as well as communities in the river valley" is presented in a 2 day weekend filled with music, great food, and people dedicated to making the world a healthier, greener place.  I've been volunteering with them since 2004, doing what little I can to help out, from setting up stages before the event, to patrolling the area as a"peacekeeper", to handing out cold water bottles, which was so needed last weekend.


Activists, performers, nonprofits, businesses and spectators from across the country and around the world come together to share a moment based on an ideal, if we work together we can build a better world that will last for generations to come. With the idea to leave as little negative impact and trace on the earth the festival comes to reach and teach and then goes until next year, leaving a positive impact on the minds of those who participated.


This past weekend in NYC was the Gay Pride Festival, a wonderful event my family and I have attended for years to celebrate and support our gay friends, family and neighbors.  "The March began in 1970 as an annual civil rights demonstration beginning the year after the Stonewall Riots.  Over the years its purpose has broadened to include recognition of the fight against AIDS and to remember those we have lost to the illness, violence and neglect.  It has also evolved to include being a celebration of our lives and our community" (http://nycpride.org/march.php).


Dancing in the streets with messages of equality, love & positive action, thousands of people young and old, of all races and nationalities, gathered to celebrate what should be common human sense,  the ideal of the freedom for everyone to be who they are, however they are.

The audacity for one human to try to make another feel small...

If a rainbow tried to suppress or kick out some of its colors, it could never be the awesome creation it was meant to be.



Monday, June 13, 2011

My Worms are Such Pigs!

So I have a worm-bin in my kitchen and would never have thought that worms were such voracious eaters!

A few years ago I decided to change a few things in my life in order to live a greener lifestyle.  I called it "The Beazer Challenge", and I attempted to tackle issues related to energy efficiency, toxic chemical in the home, eating healthier, and consumer habits. These were things I thought were easy to manage on a small scale but that would add up to benefits for myself and community on whole. I will post more on these topics soon.

But back to the worms...I decided to learn about indoor composting as a result of my attempt to eat healthy. Buying and eating more fruits and veggies was great, wasting them due to over stocking my fridge was not. I was wasting food and money in my green mission. At the time I had turtles who helped me consume my produce, but after they left it was just me with tons of greens. then I heard about worm composting which is a way to recycle food back into soil, through worms.

Though I'm a nature girl, I'm still squeamish with bugs and wiggly things so I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do. I looked for information and found a course with The New York Botanical Gardens. They offered a training called the Master Composter Certificate, and so because I love that place, wanted to learn about it and teach others, I signed up. So from April 2010 to December 2010, my life was about learning compost systems, touring community gardens in the Bronx to see, work and learn on their outdoor systems, and learn how to make and manage my own indoor wormbin.

The two systems are similar in that they both take carbon based materials and instead of tossing them into the regular garbage, they are able to turn that "waste" into soil that can be put back into your garden to help new things grow. This was what got me as I like to experiment with my household plants, and I was at the beginning stages of my window farm so it seemed like a great match!

Here are some basics for indoor composting/vermicomposting:

1- Get some worms! Now you can't go out into your backyard or down to the park to get some. The ones used in bins are of a special kind called red wriggler worms,  they process half their weight in food scraps every day! "That means that 2 pounds of worms will process 7 pounds per week!" they can be bought/ordered, ask for "Eisenia fetida" or "Lumbricus rubellus", or gotten from organizations like NYBG who hold regular demonstrations of how to manage a bin.  Other types of worms will not survive in the conditions created in the bin.

2-The whole idea is that in the right conditions. Choose a container for the amount of worms, the amount of finished compost you want and the space you have available to use. As you can see in the pictures, I started with a small tupperware container then moved up to a larger storage bin, cause they are pigs I tell you!

Container must have a lid in which you will poke air holes in. It is recommended to use shredded newspaper as the bedding. Do not use paper with colored ink or glossy advertisement paper!  The bedding should be moist but not wet. you can also use some potting soil, coconut coir or leaves, but I find the newspaper is easier to manage and it helps to recycle that too. the food you add will create moisture also, so make sure it's not too wet in there.

3-Put in your worms, give them some food scraps and cover with more paper bedding.  This is your basic start. You are good to go. You can put in anything that was once living or came from a living thing, but it is recommended not to put in meats, or other materials that come from living bodies (poop), unless you know what you are doing.  To manage and maintain your bin, check on it every week to make sure it's not too wet or too dry. Depending on the amount of worms you start with, you feed them accordingly. I got a handful from an info session and gave them about 2 cups at first. I now can put in about 6 cups and they will finish in a week and a half!

So as a certified Master Composter, I can help you start or manage your bin!


A regular Tupperware container with air holes poked through.

"Homemade" nutrient rich soil in a few weeks!

See more photos of my worm bin here!

For more information check back here, contact me or go directly to the source at the New York Botanical Gardens Compost program page.  Happy Composting!



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Friday, June 10, 2011

Why Vote For My Project?

To those who know me, you understand that I've always had goals of wanting to help make the world a better place. Those lofty, idealistic thoughts from my youth led to the honing of my skills, academically, professionally and socially to better bring those ideals into reality. To those who don't know me that well, I've worked and volunteered with many environmental, educational and community based organizations most of my adult life. But in every job I've had, I felt as if I were in service to the community. This project idea has been brewing in my head for many years and winning this grant would be an opportunity for me to directly give something to my community. 
Remember to vote daily! Vote by texting 106910 to Pepsi (73774) to vote from your mobile phone, by using the mobile site, m.refresheverything.com, and by power voting with special codes from select Pepsi products that enables up to 100 votes a day on Pepsi Refresh page: http://www.refresheverything.com/beazer-building-blocks
The Beaz :)
 
 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Stay cool!

The heat of Summer is upon us... Time to go to the beach with a big umbrella, floppy hat and ice filled cooler, or to a tree- filled, shady park with a blanket or to a cool indoor venue for something fun. Otherwise, I'm indoors until evening time. It's too darn hot!

Sometimes it's even warmer inside than it is out! So here are a few simple things to do:

1-Keep lights off during the day.  Your eyes are perfectly fine to maneuver indoors during the day without them.  The electricity used generates tons of heat adding to what's coming in from outside.

2-Stay hydrated!! Always have a water bottle with you outdoors. Especially kids and elderly! This is so important, dehydration happens quickly in this weather so be prepared. Water or light juices are best. Have an iced coffee instead of hot when you need your fix.

3-Open the windows but draw the shades. Keep out the hot rays, let in the breeze, especially at night when the air is cooler.

4-Fans are better then air conditioners.  Aside from the huge costs due to amounts of energy used and the toxins released into the environment and the hassle of luggin' them into a window to dangle precariously, air conditioners wouldn't be so bad. But fans are just easier, safer and cheaper all around. And the hum of a fan is better then the hum of hundreds of machines right?

5-Keep the stove off during the day! Fresh foods and simple recipes are key to staying cool.  This is the perfect time to start eating light and healthy anyway, why crank up a furnace to make dinner?

These simple things can help save you some money and save the planet!


I'm following all of these rules right now and I'm as cool as a cucumber salad :)

Stay tuned for more energy saving tips!

Always, the Busy Beaz!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Innovation in Serving the Community

Hello friends! So I told you that I will be posting some topics from my Masters program in Public Administration. My final class of the program is called Seminar with the topic on innovation which asked students to come up with an idea for a nonprofit that they know or work with. I choose to write about a project that some colleagues and I have been discussing for the past few years in how to bring needed services to our communities in the Bronx.

Just a bit of background on me and why I’m doing this…growing up in the Bronx in the 70′s and 80′s was so different from what is now. Sure it had it rough spots, like what is still broadcast as stereotypical images that I won’t repeat, but it was still the time where neighbors all knew each other and looked out for each other, my friends' parents would look out for me and all of the kids in the neighborhood and treat us as communal responsibility (with the ability to scold and report back to our respective parents :) , people left their doors open knowing that neighbors or the kids would be coming in and out, I’m not saying we have to take it that far today, but something intrinsically “neighborly” is missing nowadays. I want that back, kids of these generations should have that. We see the results in the kids of the last few years who didn’t have that…..

Last week we submitted the proposal idea in class and I got my grade back which was a 9.7 out of 10. The paper is on my other blog, so please take a look at it and tell me what you think.  This is also related to the Pepsi grant that I am up for, so I need your continued support and votes to help me make this a reality.
I would love to hear your ideas and have a discussion about what you think is needed from administrators in providing services to the public.
Always the Busy Beaz!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Help me to help my community!



VOTE DAILY through June for my community project idea and enter your favorite Bronx school for a chance to win free workshops and site upgrades! Leave a comment on the Pepsi Refresh page with the name of your school choice and get the students and staff involved to increase our chances to win $50k!

Vote on the Pepsi Refresh website (http://pep.si/k8F37e), by texting 106910 to Pepsi (73774) to vote from your mobile phone, by using the mobile site, m.refresheverything.com, and by power voting with special codes from select Pepsi products that enables up to 100 votes a day!
Help me to help my community! Read the Pepsi grant Press Release