The Ecological Footprint challenge

Last month I wrote about Ecological Footprints what they are and also some resources where you can figure out your footprint.
So I took the Ecological Footprint tests and here are my scores.

Global Footprint Network Results

gfn 1.gif

My score is 89.94 which translates into 5.72 planet earths to sustain my lifestyle!!!!? In this quiz my carbon footprint was the highest.

Global Footprint Network Numerical version

gfn 2.gif

My Footprint results

footprint network.gif

My score in this quiz is 18.2global acres for the Earth’s productive area or 21.4 tons of carbon dioxide.? I take 4.1 planet earth to sustain my lifestyle.

Earth Day

This quiz is currently unavailable.Hmm interesting numbers.? I am somewhat disappointed as I do strive to live green or so I thought.
So what does it mean to live a “green life” and how do I go about to reduce these numbers?? I am now on a quest to discover this and I will share my findings with you as I go.

Application of Nematodes

You have decided to apply nematodes to your lawn to take care of the grubs. There are many types of nematodes so make sure you purchase the right type for your lawn. Your garden center should be able to help you out. If you live in the Ottawa area the best time for application of nematodes is at the end of April and August.

These nematodes arrive on a damp sponge or mixed with clay. They are extremely sensitive to temperature and periods of drought. If you don’t have time for an application then store it in the refrigerator for up to a week The nematodes should not be frozen.
Warm the sponge or clay mix to room temperature then soak in at least one gallon of water for 30 minutes. This water has to be at room temperature, non-chlorinated and not-distilled.

Apply using a watering can or sprayer. It’s best to apply during cool, cloudy weather. It it’s really hot then apply during the early morning or late evening when the temperatures are cooler and the sun is not so bright.

The lawn or what’s left of it should be moist and recently watered. The temperature should be approximately between 12 to 30 degrees Centigrade or 55 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit. For maximum success keep your lawn moist for 3 days after application.
The results are immediate and the grubs begin to die 24 hours after being ingested.

Still confused on how to do this, here is a how to video.

Application of Milky Spore

Summer is going to be over in a few weeks and this means that the beetles have laid their eggs and now the grubs will be back.

Last week we had discussed a number of options of getting rid of the grubs.? So start with Milky spore as this is a long term solution.

It’s best to apply them before the application of nematodes as the grubs need to ingest the milky spore in order to create more spore and propagate the spores. Also it’s best while the grubs are still feeding.? So either at the beginning of spring or at the end of summer.
Apply 1 teaspoon (approximately one sprinkle) of Milky Spore powder on top of grass in spots every 4 feet in rows 4 feet apart. Water lightly after application to soak Milky Spore into the soil. Watering for 15-20 minutes with a sprayer should be sufficient. You can wait 36 to 48 hours before watering in Milky Spore, but do not mow or rake your yard until Milky Spore has been soaked into the soil.

Don’t worry if there is a white residue left; it is the chalk carrier for Milky Spore. Areas between the spots will be inoculated naturally.

If you are really keen make your own dispenser, take at

Apply 1 teaspoon (approximately one sprinkle) of Milky Spore powder on top of grass in spots every 4 feet in rows 4 feet apart. Treat your lawn any season of the year as long as the ground is not frozen. Water lightly after application to soak Milky Spore into the soil. Watering for 15-20 minutes with a sprayer should be sufficient. You can wait 36 to 48 hours before watering in Milky Spore, but do not mow or rake your yard until Milky Spore has been soaked into the soil.

Don’t worry if there is a white residue left; it is the chalk carrier for Milky Spore. Areas between the spots will be inoculated naturally.

If you are really keen, make your own dispenser by attaching (duct tape works great) one pound coffee can with 15 nail holes to 4 foot stick six inches from bottom. If not just buy one.

Here is a how to video.? Happy grub busting.

Getting rid of them Grubs

I wrote about the life-cycle of the grub and the result of an invasion. The next step is to get rid of the grubs.

The first thing that comes to mind are chemicals however this is not the best solution. Other animals/birds that prey on the grubs are now exposed to these chemicals thus harming them. These chemicals will eventually enter the water table hence entering the water supply which will affect water plants/fish.
Secondly application of chemicals only take care of the problem for the current season as new larvae will be present in the fall and your lawn could be “dirt” by spring again needing more applications of chemicals.

Planting new grass is not an option as the grubs will eat the roots again. The best option are the “go green” solutions.
The simplest is to get a pet to eat the grubs i.e. a skunk for example. You will get free aeration at the same time : ) Seriously though what are the options?

  • hand pick the beetles
  • it’s the best time to turn the patch of dirt into a flower bed or rock garden
  • beneficial nematodes
  • milky spore

Flower beds or rock gardens are very easy to maintain especially if they are mulched well. More on that later this summer.

Beneficial nematodes are naturally occurring organisms that are not harmful to humans, pets, wildlife, birds, soil, earthworms, water sources or the atmosphere. Nematodes migrate through the soil finding insect larvae by detecting either a slight increase in temperature or release of methane gas. The nematodes enter the larvae and release a symbiotic bacteria within days. This kills the host.

Milky spore are beneficial bacteria, more specifically “Bacillus popilliae”. It infects the Japanese Beetles with Milky Spore disease. The disease paralyzes and kills the host grub. When the dead grub breaks down, it releases billions of new spores into the soil. This in turn will infect and kill other grubs. An infected grub will die within one to three weeks of being infected by Milky Spores.

It requires only one application but it could take 2 to 4 years to have any significant effect. This one application could last up to 15 years due to the release of new spores into the soil. Milky spore are not affected by freezing or other adverse conditions.? They are generally not affected by most fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides or other lawn care products.
There you have it two green solutions to getting rid of them grubs.

Ecological Footprints

We in the developed world have always prided ourselves in our technology to accomplish tasks faster, easier and with minimal manual labour. Manual labour was for the developing world. The recent focus on green house gases has now made us re-evaluate our use of technology in our daily life. Words like environmental/ecological footprint have been added to our vocabulary.

An ecological footprint is a number that represents the human demand on the earth’s ecosystem and natural resources. At current rates of resource consumption, we need at least 2 more planet earths to sustain our North American lifestyles.
The Royal Saskatchewan Museum has an Ecological Footprint calculator. This does have a bias towards city living and the calculator is based on the choices we make around food, goods, services, shelter and mobility.

It goes through a series of multiple choice questions and gives you a number at the end which is your footprint. The average Canadian footpring is 6.9 hectares the size of two football fields. By clicking around on the icons you can see how the numbers change, thus how you can lower your number.

Here are some more calculators

So what is your ecological footprint?

Sparky powered by the wind

The Electric Vehicle Expo was at the Museum of Science and technology this past weekend. The pouring rain did not deter the participants from showing off their vehicles.

ecar1.jpg

Sparky the Electric Vehicle was the first e-vehicle that I saw. It’s owned by Allan Poulsen and is a 1996 Ford Ranger that was converted into an electric vehicle. The gas engine was replaced by an electric motor.

ecar2.jpg

There are 22 golf cart batteries in its bed that allow a range of 50 kilometers between charges, given a speed of 60 kilometers an hour. The batteries take about 6 hours to re-charge.

This is ideal for someone who does not have a long distance to travel each day. On average it costs about $20k to convert a vehicle to an e-vehicle.

Powered by the wind is an interesting statement….

“I buy Green Tags to put electricity from Wind power generation into the Ontario electricity grid, to offset the electricity I take from the same grid to use for charging Sparky. Thus, Sparky is Powered by the Wind. Buying Green Tags is a lot easier on the wallet than putting up my own Solar Panels or small windmill”

In a vehicle that has a gas engine the loss of heat from the engine is used to heat the car in the winter.

ecar3.jpg

In Sparky’s case there is no gas engine so a ceramic heater is used instead. To see more pictures check out Allan’s power point slides.