Monday, September 22, 2014

N.C. Coastal Resources Commission Science Panel to meet Sept. 24 in New Bern


RALEIGH – The N.C. Coastal Resources Commission’s Science Panel will meet Sept. 24 in New Bernto continue work on an update of the panel’s 2010 sea-level rise study report.
The panel will meet from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Craven County Cooperative Extension, 300 Industrial Drive, New Bern. The meeting is open to the public, and members of the public are welcome to speak during a comment period scheduled for 2:45 p.m.
The panel provides scientific advice to the state Coastal Resources Commission. It was created by the commission in 1997, and is composed of coastal engineers and geologists.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

State seeking public input on local laws that could interfere with state environmental, agricultural rules


RALEIGH– The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources are seeking input from the public about any local ordinances that might interfere with the state agencies’ own regulations.
The Regulatory Reform Act of 2014, passed by the General Assembly in August, requires both departments to report on “any local ordinances that impinge on or interfere with any area subject to regulation by the Department(s)” by Nov. 1. The legislation also directed the two departments to seek public input regarding such ordinances.
The departments are accepting comments through Oct. 15.
For the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the public may submit comments to Keith Larick, NCDA&CS, 1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1001 or may post comments online at
For the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, people may submit comments toLayla Cummings, 1601 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1601, or by email to

Saturday, September 20, 2014

N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund provides grants to 17 local governments


RALEIGH – State officials today announced the award of nearly $4.1 million in grants from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund to 17 local governments for parks and recreation projects.
The matching grants, awarded by the Parks and Recreation Authority, will help fund land acquisition, development and renovation of public park and recreation areas. The authority considered 64 grant applications requesting more than $17 million. A maximum of $500,000 can be awarded to a single project.
"Through the local grant program of the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, state and local governments have been partners in providing open space, outdoor recreation opportunities and stimulus to local economies," said Mike Murphy, director of the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. "The result has been environmental stewardship, healthier citizens and improvements in the quality of life in North Carolina."
The Parks and Recreation Trust Fund is administered through the state Division of Parks and Recreation and was established in 1994 by the N.C. General Assembly. The revenue is distributed to three programs: 65 percent to the state parks system for repairs, capital improvements and land acquisition; 30 percent for matching grants to local parks and recreation programs for development and land acquisition; and 5 percent to the coastal beach access program.
Since 1995, the Parks and Recreation Authority has received 1,489 grant applications with requests totaling about $324 million. The board has awarded 785 grants for $177 million.
The local governments receiving grants in the most recent cycle are: Mint Hill, which received $335,000 for the Brief Road land acquisition; Red Springs, which received $48,000 for land acquisition; Linden, which received $212,400 for Linden Park; Landis, which received $402,269 for the Lake Corriher Wilderness Area Park; Fairview, which received $317,550 for Fairview Park; Valdese, which received $215,600 for Downtown Park; Star, which received $47,500 for the Forks of Little River Passive Park; Plymouth, which received $353,800 for Wilson Street Park; Richlands, which received $65,734 for
Venters Park Redevelopment; Sims, which received $75,000 for the Sims Community Park; Belville, which received $160,897 for the Brunswick Riverwalk at Belville; Warsaw, which received $300,000 for the Memorial Park Redevelopment; Elizabethtown, which received $215,000 for Leinwand Park; Raleigh, which received $250,000 for the Horse Shoe Farm Nature Preserve Park; Wilsons Mills, which received $250,000 for Wilsons Mills Community Park; Smithfield, which received $350,000 for Inclusion Park; Graham County, which received $500,000 for Graham County Park.

Friday, September 19, 2014

NC Environmental Education

NorthCarolinaEE @NorthCarolinaEE                      
Sometimes we need to get back to basics: Have you looked at their EE events calendar lately?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sandwich Me In – Zero Waste Dining


Emerald Horizon

According to Green Waste, each American individually produces 4.5 pounds of waste every single day. That’s an average of 1642.5 pounds of trash created by one person every year!
Can you imagine trash-free living? Zero waste lifestyles focus on living without creating trash in the process. A zero-waste lifestyle seems quite unattainable, but as you can tell, it might be something to aspire to, especially when the Earth is already struggling with all of the waste we’re creating.

Zero Waste Dining

I’ve seen zero waste lifestyles demonstrated on blogs like Clean Bin Project and Zero Waste Home. Both blogs are pretty informative regarding zero waste living in demonstration. But, I’ve also happened to come across zero waste practices in a really inspiring environment: a restaurant!

Zero Waste Restaurant

Sandwich Me In hasn’t emptied their trash in nearly two years – because they don’t have any. Since the company opened it’s doors in 2012, their entire waste production is literally the equivalent of what most restaurants produce in a single hour.
“I practice the five R’s,” owner Justin Vraney said. The five R’s are in reference to the “environmentalist’s credo” to reduce, reuse, recycle, and two more he’s thrown in: reject and refuse. (He rejects and refuses junk mail and excessive packaging.)
How does Sandwich Me In achieve zero waste?
  • The company runs on sustainable energy
  • Food is sourced from local farms
  • Food uses minimal packaging
  • Nearly everything is repurposed or reused – from food scraps to oil
“The crispy smoked skins on the chicken go onto the Cobb salad and the chicken bones make the broth for the chicken soup,” he told Truth Atlas. Leftover veggies used on Tuesday go into burgers made on Wednesday. Sandwich Me In also gifts food scraps to farmers as chicken feed for the chickens, who in turn produce eggs for the restaurant.
Vraney cites his children as the inspiration for zero waste living, and admits he adopts zero waste living at home, although it’s a little more difficult to do so. “I have kids, and their future – they’re not going to be able to live the way I lived,” he told HuffPost. “I want my kids live the same life that I had. I don’t want to risk it, I’m not a gambler. I want to take care of the things I love the most.”

But Does Zero Waste Taste Good?

I was curious to learn whether or not Sandwich Me In compromised taste for sustainability. I had surely hoped not, as a restaurant’s main goal is to sell food. I was pleased to learn that Sandwich Me In has some of the highest restaurant reviews in Chicago.
On TripAdvisor, user UrbanDozer gave the restaurant 5 stars, saying Vraney and his wife “are very friendly and put a lot of pride and effort into the food they serve,” and that “prices are reasonable, especially for the quality of the food served.”
Yelpers have left 107 reviews, an overwhelming number of them being 4 and 5 star reviews. Referring to the experience as “low-key and easy,” Yelp reviews state that food is fresh, simple, very flavorful; and that the service is wonderful.
From what I can tell, Sandwich Me In makes it a point to keep quality, deliciousness and experience a profound priority just as much as they do maintaining a sustainable operations system. Learn more about Sandwich Me In at

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Natural DIY Air Fresheners


It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, my house invariably gets that been-closed-up-too-long smell in the air. Sure there’s the scent of clean laundry and, heaven help me, the overwhelming aroma of my daughter’s collection of body sprays; but I can just tell when the windows haven’t been opened up in a while.
Now, I don’t know where you’re reading this from, but here in Texas, there’s about two weeks in the spring and two weeks in the fall that are perfect for open windows. Other than that, you’re out of luck. Many of us turn to air fresheners when guests come over. and isn’t it nice to have a little something tucked into the corner of the guest bathroom just in case? But, most commercial air fresheners have chemicals in them that we probably shouldn’t be inhaling. So here are a few ideas for combating those not-so-pleasant household smells.

Homemade Gel Air Fresheners
This is such a cute idea. Grab a small jelly or baby food jar, some plain gelatin, essential oil, and water to make a gel air freshener in no time. Simply combine two envelopes of unflavored gelatin with a half a cup of hot water in a bowl. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Then add eight to 10 drops of your favorite essential oil and a few drops of the food coloring hue of your choice. Finish by stirring in a half a cup of ice water and then pour into the jar (or a few jars if you’re making a whole batch). Leave the jar out on the counter to cool, and voila!

Vegan Container Air Fresheners
If you like the idea of having an air freshener that sits out on your countertop, but you’re opposed to the use of gelatin, try this baking soda alternative. Combine a half a cup of baking soda with eight to 10 drops of essential oil in an eight ounce Mason jar. Either punch holes in the Mason jar lid or line the top of the jar with decorative paper and screw the Mason ring on over it. Poke tiny holes in the paper with a needle and you have a vegan equivalent to the gel fresheners mentioned above.

Get Cooking
For a quick but potent fix, boil sliced fruit and herbs on the stove for a couple of hours before guests arrive for a visit. Some of my favorite scent combinations are lemon and rosemary, grapefruit and lavender, and orange and vanilla. You can change the scents up with the season, too. I can only imagine how amazing orange and clove would smell around Christmas.

Home Electronics Disposal

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