November is a great time for composting – the sudden influx of pumpkins and leaves will make your backyard pile a happy place. If you’ve been wanting to start a compost pile, now is definitely the time.

It’s like you can actually take Fall and stuff it in your pile! Take those pumpkins, break them up, and fold them in. Rake your yard before you mow, and toss all that goodness in. Edge your yard and gardens, and toss the trimmings in. Clean the Summer out of your garden, and throw it on. If you’re going big, ask some neighbors for their pumpkins and leaves. Our pile was looking very happy after Halloween. Happy composting!

Learn more about composting:

This Saturday, October 24, is the International Day of Climate Action – a chance for communities around the world to unite behind a cause that affects us all. is facilitating over 3700 community actions in 163 countries. These actions will feature photographs of the number 350 taken in iconic locations.

Why 350? Scientists say that 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity – we are currently at 387. The intent is to use community photos collected from around the world to advocate for a reduction in CO2 emissions.

Jennifer Mathis, the founder of The Little Green Bag Project, is has created Lowcountry 350 – an opportunity for all of us to participate in this global event. On Saturday, October 24, head down to the Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park via alternative travel (walk, run, bike, skate, swim, row – just don’t drive!) for the Lowcountry 350 Climate Action Day Photo <- RSVP on the Facebook page. The event starts at 3 p.m., and the photo will be taken at 3:50 p.m. Hope to see you there!

On Monday, Brian Sheehan began work as Charleston’s first ever director of sustainability – the only new city position funded this year. Brian has tons of eco-experience, and most recently worked on sustainability initiatives for the city of Portland, Oregon (they are doing awesome things!)

SC Biz Magazine says,

The sustainability director will create long- and short-term goals and lead projects that promote environmental sustainability within city government and in the community. The new director also will lead some green initiatives the city has already pursued.

I really like the sound of that – a leader. The City of Charleston has organized a Green Committee, created some bike paths, and recently launched some public recycling options, but I feel that very little real progress has been made since Major Joe Riley signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in 2005 (almost five years ago!) Remember, movement and progress are not the same thing – I’m hoping that Brian’s leadership can help convert some of this local movement into real progress.

Brian, I cannot wait to meet and work with you. The Charleston community is ready and willing for you to lead the charge – just be sure we are running toward something BIG, and not something that’s simply “better.” Charleston is the perfect size to really make a difference, and I hope you brought some of that great Portland ingenuity with you! Good luck!

Like a lot of you, the ample supply of local water has become threaded into my family life. We play in the marsh behind our house, swim at the beach, fish in the creeks, and surf in the ocean. We love it all, and I bet you do too. That’s why we all need to protect it.

Charleston Waterkeeper has kicked off the Water the Future campaign.They’re asking lowcountry residents to share images of local waterways, give a little to support the cause, become a member, and spread the word about the Charleston Water keeper mission.

The 2009 Charleston Green Fair is upon us, and I hope you’re planning on heading down to Marion Square on Sunday to revel in our community’s greeness. Last year’s event was a huge success, and all signs point to even better results this year. Please come visit the Go Green Charleston booth in the nonprofit tent – we’d love to see you! Here are 9 reasons you can’t miss the Charleston Green Fair: >> Continue reading ‘9 Reasons You Can’t Miss the Charleston Green Fair This Sunday’

A big part of charting our family’s progress is keeping track of the “since we’ve used” items (3 years since we’ve used paper napkins, 2.5 years since we’ve used plastic bags, 2 years since we’ve used bottled water, etc). There seem to be many things that end of up in the landfill after once use, and most of these we really don’t need. Reducing our use of these things can greatly decrease the impact of our lives.

What are you working on eliminating? Oil-based gas, plastic bags, food from far off continents? Bottled water, dirty electricity, resource-intensive meat? Let us know in the new Go Green Poll.

Results from the last Go Green Poll, Summer is here – what sustainable action are you focused on?, can be viewed after the jump >>

>> Continue reading ‘Go Green Poll :: What Are You Reducing?’

Who loves organic t-shirts? This guy loves organic t-shirts!

My friend Chris dropped off an organic cotton t-shirt from Cool Green Fish, and our son Graham really digs it. It’s super soft, just his size, and he got to break it in while fishing with Grandpa. So if you’re into rockin’ it organically, and like to support local business at the same time, be sure to visit Cool Green Fish and look around.

Recycling Fail :: Paint Cans

Really? The other day I posted on the Green Charleston Twitter feed one of my favorite concepts: that when you throw something away, there really is no “away.” This person didn’t get the memo.

Paint cans, old rugs, a box of food – this stuff does not belong here. We need to encourage others to use our recycling drop sites with respect, or they won’t be around much longer. I know taking your used paint out to Bee’s Ferry is a haul, but until Charleston County Recycling can provide more drop sites, it’s all we have.

Spring is usually the busy season for green events, but this September looks to be giving it a run for the money. There are 5 events just this week, including a Green Drinks Gathering, Green Business Networking Event, and fundraiser for Lowcountry Earth Force. This sustainable tour de force culminates with the Green Drinks Neighborhood Block Party on Sunday.  Later in the month, the Charleston Green Fair will be happening along with all its satellite events, including the Green Business Expo and Green Flix.

Be sure to check out all the events on our updated calendar, and let us know if we’ve missed any!

Even though we haven’t used a ton of our black gold bounty, we continue to add more and more organic waste to the family compost pile. We’ve been at it for many moons now, and it’s so much a part of our routine that I can’t imagine throwing our excess food into the garbage.

One thing to keep in mind: If you have a compost pile near palmetto trees, watch out for their crawling roots. I went a little too long without turning our pile, and it looks like nearby palm roots have infiltrated the bottom 12 inches, robbing the pile of some of the oldest and best compost. I’m wondering if I should have put a barrier at the bottom of the pile to keep the roots out – any reader advice is welcome.

>> Continue reading ‘Compost Update :: Root of the Problem’

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