Tag Archives: drought

DIY Rain Barrels and Profit Motives

rain-barrel.jpgIf there is one big problem with capitalism it has to be the profit motive. I’ve heard it over and over again: “Well, sure, it’s not “criminal” to charge an exorbitant profit (unless you are a regulated industry).” If it’s not criminal, we’ve certainly learned it is not sustainable. Profit motives are the reason people in starving countries like Argentina in 2002 couldn’t buy the food they produced in their own country. Instead, it was shipped out to other countries where they make a higher profit. Profit motive is why real estate became a speculator’s sport that ended up costing millions of people their homes in the end. Profit motive is the reason gas will never go down and always up, no matter what anyone says about supply and demand. Profit motive is why the pharmaceutical industry will never fund a study on any natural healing products that will undercut their profits in their own drugs, even if they find out they are effective. Profit motive is why people don’t have time to help other people in need, because there’s nothing in it for them. And profit motive is why in a drought a rain barrel would be priced at $150, as if this was not something you could make on your own for cheap. In short, profit motive is just another name for good, old-fashioned, greed when it becomes unsustainable.

Global Warming and Green Products

In one of those astounding synchronicities, I had to pay my water bill and ended up at the Raleigh website. There, to my surprise, I found they were selling rain barrels for only $80 to $90 approximately. Yesterday, I had been wondering how NC State could be doing a civic duty selling rain barrels for $150, and now I think I know they’re not. It’s one of those, “oh look we’re in a drought and people need water. Let’s sell over-priced rain barrels!” deals. And, imagine this! The Raleigh site even showed you how to make your own rain barrel out of an old trash can. There were also links for kits listed with the pre-made rain barrels too. So, now I have a good idea of what a rain barrel costs to do-it-yourself: approximately $16, if you already have an old trash can (like I do). Otherwise, it will cost you more like $45, which is close to the $30 I estimated yesterday.

Go Green Frugally

There are a lot of experts suggesting that green products and those that deal with environmental or global warming concerns, such as drought, will end up being a large industry as the years move ahead. You can expect people getting into these markets to have profit as their primary motive more than social conscience. If you want to uphold the standards and ethics of green industries, don’t patronize these people. Green isn’t just about taking care of the ecology and environment, it’s also about a sustainable way of life. Sustainability is not about price gouging. So, keep a sharp eye out and remember to pass along free information so others can also help to build a sustainable culture in their back yards for less.

*Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons by gilintx

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Salad Greens and Spring Time

salad-greens.jpgToday I walked to the local store and picked up some salad greens. It’s only about a block away and I usually drive, but the car is in the shop for the head gasket repair and I had to return some dollar movies. Then, I checked out the salad section and just as I grimaced at the $3.99 organic greens, I noticed a few that were a “manager’s special” at 99 cents. Score! Perfectly good greens but the container was a bit smushed. Since I planned on eating them that day, they went into my basket.

Is My Lifestyle Costlier Than It Needs To Be?

I’m beginning to wonder about how I live and how much I pay for things. I’ve always been frugal but lately this hasn’t really helped much to be sustainable because of the problem with cars, houses, and the like. I sometimes envy people who don’t own things like I do because they have fewer maintenance problems. Then, I can’t see myself going back to riding the bus or eating noodles either. My quality of life is important to me, but I noticed something interesting. The walk to the store was beautiful and I went with my daughter. We had a nice time chatting and she told me all about her time at school. It was like the walk made her more chatty and we had a good time going there and coming back on foot. And, I got in some exercise. So, why do I really use the car for shopping? I have three groceries stores all within walking distance of my house. It’s these small habits that we don’t notice that can really impact our lifestyle and our cost of living. Forget the lattes (which I don’t do anyways), I think I’ll walk more when I go food shopping.

When you think about it, 99 cents for organic greens isn’t that great a deal. These are basically weeds that anyone can grow. So, why don’t I have a greens garden? I eat enough of that to make it worth my while to learn to grow them. I’ve grown herbs before, in great quantities, but always stopped short of a vegetable garden. Now, I’m wondering if this isn’t the year I change that. Although, I have to admit, if I’m selling my house it’s not a good time to start a veggie garden.

Daffodils

I have daffodils coming up all over my lawn, despite the drought. It’s interesting that these bulbs don’t seem to have suffered as much distress as other things in my garden. I even took some into my friend at the hospital and they were basically free. I’m sure if I had bought them they would have been incredibly expensive. I have a large flower garden, but haven’t kept it up because the drought measures mean we can’t water our plants. It really makes you think how there is really so very little we need to be happy: water, good soil, sunshine, and a roof over our heads. Instead, we deal with cars and all kinds of modern debt traps.

Of course, if we want to water our plants during the drought, we can always buy a rain barrel from North Carolina State University for $150. When I saw that advertisement, I nearly choked. $150? For a rain barrel? But, apparently that’s about the average for a rain barrel and I’m not exactly sure why it’s so expensive. I would think you could make one yourself for about $30.

So, this year I am thinking of ways to re-do my garden to include some greens and change it around to save water too. Wouldn’t it be nice to step outside my door and pick my greens instead of getting them at the supermarket? Just a little bit more of getting off the grid that gets more and more expensive each day. It’s like learning to be country folk in the city.

*Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons license by jem