May / June 2016
green footprint

About Green Circkles:

Harvard professor Edward O. Wilson, author of "Biophilia: The Human Bond with Other Species." argues that people are genetically predisposed to be close to animals, plants and nature. Only in the last century have people isolated themselves from this bond by living in large numbers in concrete prisons.
Allen M. Schoen, a veterinarian and author of "Kindred Spirits" goes further to say that there is such a thing as co-species healing and that "The classic definition of healing is to make whole. If we acknowledge that we are part of nature, being whole means taking advantage of all the opportunities nature provides us to calm our soul and spirit."
Green Circkles is our way of reminding people that we have all sprung from nature and are all connected. Our roots are in the universe, the environment, and nature, and without staying in touch with our roots, we become dissociated, unhealthy and miserable. We cannot be whole human beings.
Nature is an integral part of us. In conjunction, wildlife and animals teach us a great deal about the correct way to exist in harmony and survive. We have become so detached from our natural roots and the essence of life - our very souls - that which we need to feel complete, at ease, comfortable, nourished and whole. Not to mention, it is way passed time for us to start taking care of our environment for health reasons as well. This is a task each and every individual must participate in, not just environmental groups..


Businesses for the Greater Good Association:

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california bighorn sheep are endangered

The Backyard Biologist:

California Bighorn Sheep are Endangered.

Hunting, loss of food from livestock grazing and disease from domestic livestock have devastated bighorn sheep populations. While livestock is not as much of a threat as in the past, loss of habitat from development is an increasing threat. Normally, predators like mountain lions, wolves, bobcats, coyotes and golden eagles do not pose a threat to bighorn sheep. However, in areas where sheep populations are low, the death of a sheep from a natural predator can be a risk to the larger population.

Nearly one-third of California’s populations of desert bighorn sheep have died out in the past century. These losses have occurred primarily at lower elevations, where increases in temperature and decreases in precipitation have reduced the amount of vegetation available for foraging and the freshwater springs they depend on for water. More populations of desert bighorn sheep may be at risk as the southwestern climate continues to become hotter and dryer.

Reasons For Hope

The population of peninsular bighorns hit a low of about 280 animals in 1996. Since then, thanks in large part to their inclusion on the federal endangered species list, their numbers have increased to about 600—offering hope that this nimble mountain dweller won’t fall off the precipice.


homesteading icon

Homesteading Suppliers:

These are the best online suppliers we have found as far as having a good inventory and customer service. Everything from canning supplies, pasteurizers, grain mills, juicers, gardening products, pet beds and more. Perhaps a little on the expensive side, but they have good stuff. Appliances, garden items, stoves, kitchen, laundry, personal products, tools etc. Looking for Tilapia fingerlings or fry to start your own fish farm? We haven't ordered from these guys yet, but they assure us they are the best and they guarantee your fingerlings will arrive alive.

New England Cheesemaking Supply: These guys have been in the business for something like 30 years. They ship quickly and have everything you could need to make your own cheese at home.

Leeners Cheesemaking Supply: Perhaps a little less expensive for some things such as rennet. They also offer some canning supplies, mushroom kits, baking supplies such as sourdough starter, beer and winemaking supplies.

Green Travel Spots: The Organic Consumers Organization has a list of eco-friendly inns and resorts by state.

green tips Green Tips:

Little Tidbits on how to make your home and lifestyle more green. See our Green Circkles Back Issues below for more tips.

Free Seed Starting Containers.

This month's Green Tip could also be a gardening tip. A gardener never has enough small containers to start plants in, so instead of throwing away cardboard or plastic milk containers, yogurt containers and other small containers, use save them up to start plants in the spring.

Poke a few holes in the bottom of each container for drainage, and when they finally wear out and cannot be used for planting anymore, then recycle them. This saves you lots of money purchasing small trays or seed starting pots.

Green Circkles Back Issues:

For issues that go further back than 2015, see our Back Issues Index or use the Google Search at the top left of the page and search by topic.

January 2015: Make a bee hut to keep your bees warm in the coldest weather. Steve's dome home in Thailand, cliff swallows, going back to bar soap as a Green Tip and more.

February 2015: Finally, viable hydrogen cars hit the market, 2015 year of the smart kitchen, green tip substitute for paper towels, the Bonobo and more.

March 2015: From swimming pool to garden ecosystem. The garden pool. O'Hare airport's vertical hydroponic garden, Environmentalism is now "in." and more.

April 2015: Green Dreams: 3 Story Vertical Greenhouse Breaks Ground in Jackson, WY. Argentina: The Country Monsanto Left for Dead.The Black Rhino now Endangered. GREEN TIPS: Bring Your Own Utensils.

May 2015: One Man Has Patent to Single-handedly Save Our Planet. GREEN TIPS: Choosing the Right Lawn Mower. Cities Using Toxic Waste to De-ice Roads. What are they Thinking? U.S. Fish and Wildlife Adds Northern Long-eared Bat to Endangered Species Act.

June 2015: Fracking Proven to be Causing Earthquakes. GREEN TIPS: Avoid Teflon Pans. “Study Links Water Contamination to Fracking Operations in Texas and Pennsylvania.”

July 2015: Flushing Medications Down the Toilet Poisons Our Water. (The proper way to dispose of meds.) Green Dreams: 16 Yr Old Creates Bike Phone Charger That Runs on Wind. The Backyard Biologist: The Tiger Quoll.

August 2015: The "Denying Americans the Right to Know Act" Has Passed. The Backyard Biologist: The Saiga. Fairphone Releases Fairphone 2 - Predecessor to Their Ethically produced phone you can fix yourself.

September 2015: Seventy Percent of the World's Coral Reefs are Already Gone. The Golden-Crowned Sifaka.Micro Chips Made From Wood.

October 2015: Green Circkles is switched back to a bimonthly published page.

Nov/Dec 15: Green Dreams: Florida Farm Gives Homeless a Chance. Popular Brands Going More Sustainable. Pay it Forward: Sustainable Products with a Cause: is a member of:


 solar tent during the day solar tent at night

Greener Camping.


With the hint of warmer weather, many people are already planning their summer vacations and camping trips., however, not everybody is crazy about completely "roughing it" outdoors. Or....if they are, they sure wouldn't balk at a better way to do it.

solar backpackEnergy on the Go.

You would be surprised the number of solar paneled, battery-efficient and greener gadgets that are hitting the market now for camping. I mean, why not utilize the sun's energy for your camping gear or on-road travels when you are in the great outdoors anyway? Makes sense to me. We are fortunate that technology has finally seen the light regarding manufacturing products that protect our environment rather than destroy it. The latest environmentalist attitude in consumers has driven this market to finally develop greener consumer-use products to replace the damaging ones of the past.

Biolite camp stovePortable solar panels are a great source of pollution-free electricity while camping. Depending on the capacity of the panel, you can run a number of electrical devices from these including lights, battery chargers, radios and so on. These work best in conjunction with a large lead-acid battery such as a car battery.

From solar-powered tents to solar refrigeration and even a solar-powered baseball cap, if you thought it would be nifty, chances are, somebody has already invented it.

How about a cool way to keep food using solar energy? There are solar powered units not just for camping, such as solar-powered coolers, but also solar powered gadgets now for RVs.

Some greener camping gear makes it so convenient to camp greener because they incorporate their energy devices right into the gear itself. Like a solar light built right into a baseball cap. Or solar panels built right into a backpack. Create energy while you hike; now that's a concept and a half.

Cleaner Water Filtration:

At the very least, how about more efficient water filtration while backpacking in the high country? Now that is something not many people would refuse. Oko has designed a water bottle that filters 99.997% of common waterborne contaminants. Their high-tech BPA-free bottle uses NASA space station filtration technology and is so effective, it can turn Coka Cola into drinkable water. The electro-absorbtive filter passes water through over 400 2-micron-wide pores that contract to capture harmful agents. Built-in silver ions then kill bacteria on contact. Tests show that the bottle is able to remove 99.94% of e-coli, 99.997% of cryptosporidium, and 99.9999% of giardia lamblia. Oko Bottles are available in a variety of sizes and colors, and each bottle can effectively filter 100 gallons of water.

Earl solar GPSportable solar fridgeOutdoor Cooking plus Electricity:

After hiking all day long, you are hungry, and cooking outdoors can be a real challenge in some remote areas. BioLite makes a compact camp stove that only needs a handful of kindling to fuel it. But the best part is the stove’s thermoelectric element, which effectively converts waste heat from your cooking fire into electricity that can be used to charge any gadget with a USB cable. BioLite’s energy-generating camp stove is perfect if your cell phone needs an extra bit of juice for an important call, or if your camera batteries are running low.

Never Get Lost Again:

Also for you rigorous outdoorsy types, how about a solar powered GPS. Hiking through treacherous, unfamiliar terrain can quickly take a turn for the worse if you’re not prepared. Enter Earl, the world’s first solar-powered backcountry survival tablet. This durable, lightweight tablet computer can replace a whole load of gear by storing maps and guidebooks and serving as a GPS tracker and radio. A set of photovoltaic panels yields 20 hours of operation for every five hours in the sun, and the device’s GPS chipset plots coordinates on over 300,000 trails

solar fifth wheel

RV Solar:

RV Solar Panels to power your entire rig? You bet. The amount of energy you can generate for your home away from home is only limited by the size you want to use and your budget. There are companies specializing in solar gadgets and gear for the road nomads as well. Places like RV Solar LLC and many others have a whole host of different makes, model and prices for the outdoor enthusiasts that are not that fond of the outdoor part and prefer all the creature comforts of a mobile home on wheels; including electricity, water filtration and maybe even their t.v, computer and electric shower.

We're tellin' ya. It's the latest fad to camp greener, and the product manufacturers are very willing to oblige this latest consumer trend. Search the web for solar camping gear these days and you will pull up five times as many websites selling it than you would have just 5 years ago.



rechargeable Energizer battery

Building a Better Battery.


Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have made a breakthrough that could greatly reduce battery usage and life. Using gold and some other materials, the team built a nanowire battery that maintains its performance after hundreds of thousands of charging cycles. Compared to existing lithium-ion batteries, this could shift the future of energy storage forever – and the whole thing was discovered by accident.

Rechargeable lithium ion batteries decrease in performance after being charged and recharged hundreds of times. This is why a brand new cell phone battery will last all day, but after a year, you have to keep charging it more and more often. The nanowire-based battery material developed at UCI endured a three-month testing period and emerged with flying colors. Compared to the 5,000 to 7,000 charges a lithium ion battery can withstand before dying out, the nanowire-based battery was charged 200,000 times in three months and didn’t show any loss in power capacity.

Engineers have long wanted to incorporate nanowire technology into battery systems, but the fragile nature of the wire made it impossible. The UCI team created special, protected electrode nanowires using a thin core of gold, surrounded by layers of manganese dioxide and a Plexiglas-like electrolyte gel. Senior author and UCI chemistry chair Reginald Penner said the innovation is “crazy,” compared to the performance of existing lithium ion batteries.

Study leader and UCI doctoral candidate Mya Le Thai conducted the testing, and remarked about the flexible strength of the combination of materials.

“The coated electrode holds its shape much better, making it a more reliable option,” Thai said. “This research proves that a nanowire-based battery electrode can have a long lifetime and that we can make these kinds of batteries a reality.”

Researchers were looking for a way to increase capacity, and stumbled across the answer accidently. “Mya was playing around, and she coated this whole thing with a very thin gel layer and started to cycle it,” said Penner. “She discovered that just by using this gel, she could cycle it hundreds of thousands of times without losing any capacity.”

Energizer launches world’s first recycled rechargeable batteries.

NEW RECHARGEABLE; Everyone knows that Energizer batteries ‘keep going and going’ – and now the company makes batteries that do less harm to the environment. The company just debuted the world’s first rechargeable AA and AAA cells made from recycled post-consumer batteries. The new line—dubbed Energizer Recharge—is just as well-suited to powering small electronic devices as the company’s other battery offerings, but with less waste and environmental impact.

oak leaf batteryLEAF BATTERIES:

The quest for a way to create a rechargeable battery from sodium rather than lithium took a somewhat unexpected turn last month when scientists from the University of Maryland and the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology from Beijing discovered that a baked oak leaf pumped full of sodium made a successful negative terminal for a proof-of-concept battery.

As anyone who ever made a battery from a lemon (or a potato) would remember, making a battery out of organic matter is certainly possible and could play its part in developing a workable sodium-based battery.

Scientists have harnessed the storage power of leaves to create literal leaf batteries as eco-friendly alternatives to the lithium powerhouses of today.
Researchers at the University of Maryland were curious about finding the perfect, inexpensive vehicle to serve as their batteries’ negative terminal, or anode, and it turns out they only needed to look as far as the surrounding campus grounds.

“Leaves are so abundant. All we had to do was pick one up off the ground here on campus,” said Beijing National Center for Nanoscience and Technology faculty member and study author Hongbian Li.

The natural shape of a leaf already matches a battery’s needs,” described Fei Shen, another author of the study.

This includes a low surface area and intricately packed internal structures that can fit the sodium electrolytes used. The scientists heated up an oak leaf to 1,000 degrees Celsius to destroy the existing carbon structures and then introduced the electrolytes to the leaf’s natural pores for absorption. The crew will continue to experiment with other leaves of varying shapes and sizes to find the best structure for energy storage, yet other natural materials would also work, such as peat moss, banana peels, and melon skin. Perhaps one day we will all be charging our smartphones with cheap, environmentally-friendly leaf batteries.

Sony is developing smartphone batteries that will last 40 percent longer.

Cell phone technology has made miraculous advancements in communications. Today's cell phone can do almost anything a computer can; the only drawback being that all those fancy bells and whistles suck up a lot of battery power. Almost every cell phone user would say the one thing they wish their cell phone could do is go longer between charges.

Sony heard you, and has developed a new cell phone battery that will last 40 percent longer than your average battery today. The only problem is it won't be available for about another 5 years. By then, cell phones may not even be using the same battery technology they are today and many other companies may beat Sony to the punch. Keep an eye out in the future for longer lasting cell batteries as well.

Finally, battery technology is catching up to electronics technology.


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Green Circkles

"I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?"
~ Robert Redford
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