Friday, November 21, 2014

Pros and Cons of Going Tiny

A few days ago, my husband and I watched a documentary titled Tiny. The story follows a young couple in Colorado and their journey to build a Tiny Home. I found the idea of downsizing to a space that was less than 1,000 square feet and interesting and challenging idea. 
Some of the pros to living in a tiny home are of course the cost. On average it takes around $32,000 to build a Tiny Home, the average home was sold at $188,900 according to an article in Huffington Post published in March 2014. Having to move into a smaller space also helps eliminate clutter. You have to really decide what you can’t live without and get rid of the rest. Living in a smaller space with less surface area than your typical apartment or house also helps with spending. That pretty 72 inch flat screen may look really nice, but where are you going to put it? If your home is on wheels, many of them are, you can take your home anywhere. You can travel and see the world with ease. Also, having a smaller space means less cleaning and more time spent doing thing you love. From a sustainable living standpoint living in a Tiny Home shrinks your environmental footprint tremendously. 

The cons that I have found after doing some research are the space is very tiny, hence the name, living with a spouse in a tiny home gives you no personal space. Also, if you are a pet person, tiny homes really aren’t the best place to live with a pet because of the tight quarters its hard enough to fit another person. Storage because of the small space is very minimal. Even though the way the storage is set up in some homes it’s pretty cool there is very little you really have to pare down your belonging. Not only is there no personal space in the main part of the house but the bathroom situation… not exactly ideal. 

There are some great pros to living in a tiny home and a few hang ups. It’s a lifestyle I think is very respectable. I’d love to know of ways to live the lifestyle of tiny home dwellers in my traditional home.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Teaching Family About Sustainability

Sustainability and appreciation for the environment is something our family values.  But after my second child was born, I began to really think about how I can teach my family the importance of the environment, so that they can grow up with the knowledge and apply it to their lives.  In a world of technology, how can we make sure our kids grow up environmentally conscious?  I think this education starts in the home.  

Jenna Francisco of The Looptail,  created by G Adventures, posted a great piece discussing this very same topic. "10 Tips for Sustainable Travel with Kids," discusses children and their future impact on the environment.  Here were my favorite tips that Jenna offered:

  • "Encourage your kids to practice conservation at home and on the road" - helping kids understand the choices that we make every day have some type of impact on the environment.
  • "Teach your kids basic rules to respect wildlife"
  • "Making smart food choices while traveling" - making those good choices can be applied to our everyday life, in addition to when we are traveling.
  • "Talk to your kids about the environmental impact of transportation, and then choose the cleanest ways to get around" - talk to kids about how modes of transportation (cars, buses, trains, planes, boats) can be harmful to the environment.  Practice what you preach; use alternative modes of transportation when possible.  If you can walk/bike to the market or park, make it a habit with your family. 
    What tips do you have to share?

    Tuesday, September 30, 2014

    Sustainable Heroes - September

    Alanis Morissette

    Alanis Morissette is known for her work as a musician and singer, but also for her environmental advocacy and advocacy for healthy mind and body.  During a summer tour with Barenaked Ladies, together they worked to benefit the non-profit organization Reverb.  The organization creates custom programs to "green the tour itself" and educating concertgoers on how they can help the environment. While touring, she uses bio-diesel buses to get from city to city.

    In 2003, Morissette was given the Environmental Media Association Missions in Music Award.

    She face a long battle with eating disorders over the course of her life, but has beat the disease and has become a spokesperson and advocate on the dangers of eating disorders in order to educate others.  After becoming a vegan in 2009, Morissette ran a marathon to raise awareness on eating disorders and to support the National Eating Disorders Association.

    Alanis Morissette narrated a film on global warming, called The Great Warming.

    Learn more about Alanis Morissette at

    Monday, September 15, 2014

    What does "human food" taste like to animals?

    Laura Moss, a contributor at Mother Nature Network published a fun article about food and if "human food" taste the same to animals as they do to us.  According to the article, the ability to taste certain flavors varies with each type of animal.

    The number of taste buds differs by species. Humans have about 10,000:

    • Birds generally have very few taste buds. For example, chickens have only about 30.
    • Dog's have around 1,700, while cats average just under 500.
    • Herbivores (cows and pigs) have humans beat. Cows have around 25,000 while pigs have 14,000.
    • Catfish have more than 100,000 taste buds that line their body and are concentrated around their mouths.
    Read more the full article on MNN.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    Sustainable Heroes - August

    Ed Begley Jr.

    This month I'd like to recognize Ed Begley Jr. as a sustainable hero.  Known by most as a Hollywood actor, Begley began his journey as an environmentalist  in the 1970's, when he became a vegetarian, started recycling and even bought an electric car.  An electric car in the 1970's?  It's true: the electric car was a Taylor-Dunn.

    Begley is involved with several environmental affiliations including:

    • Environmental Media Association
    • Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
    • The American Oceans Campaign
    • League of Conservation Voters
    • Environmental Research Foundation
    • Walden Woods Project
    • Thoreau Institute
    • Earth Communications Office
    • Solar Living Institute 
    • Tree People
    • Friends of the Earth
    • Sequoia ForestKeeper
    • Green Wish Inc
    • Orang Utan Republik

    Most recently Begley and his wife, Rachelle Carson, star in their own reality series called "Living with Ed." The show follows Begley and his wife as they attempt to live a green lifestyle, trying to out-eco neighbor Bill Nye.  The series is shown on the Planet Green channel.

    In 2014, Begley co-hosted the 24th annual Environmental Media Association Awards with Stana Katic.

    Thursday, July 31, 2014

    Sustainable Heroes - July

    We recognize Kate Fletcher this month as part of our series that recognizes notable individuals making an impact in the sustainability industry.

    photo via

    Learn more about Kate and her latest projects by following her on Twitter: @katetfletcher