How to start and maintain an indoor vermicompost bin—and get closer to zero-waste in your home

Gardening tools
Gardening tools
Photo by Neslihan Gunaydin on Unsplash

Worm composting, also known as vermicomposting, is one of the most extraordinary ways to practice zero waste. A healthy worm bin can divert pounds of food scraps each week from landfills, and instead, turn that “waste” into a nutrient-rich soil amendment known as “black gold.”

Composting — both vermicomposting and outdoor hot composting — are critically important household solutions to food waste. According to the EPA, food scraps account for almost a quarter of the material that ends up in landfills. When they decompose anaerobically in landfills, foods release methane, a powerful greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.

In contrast…

Advanced tips and strategies from a serial job seeker

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That feeling of receiving a job offer — especially one you’ve worked hard for — is incomparable. Job searching is all about making it to that moment, and running an organized, strategic search will help you get there.

I know this because I’ve been on three job searches in the past two years. I’ve been through a company reorganization, a Covid-19 layoff, and most recently, I resigned from a workplace culture that was not a good fit for me.

Being unemployed throughout the pandemic offered an unintended upside: I had the time and financial support to explore new career paths…

Where environmental and financial benefits align

Photo by Oana Cristina on Unsplash

A wave of guilt washed over me as I piled boxes of pads and tampons into my grocery basket. Over the last year, I’ve been working on transitioning my lifestyle to produce less waste, particularly when it comes to plastic. To get there, I’ve had to find reusable alternatives to many disposable products.

For women, some of the most consistent culprits of plastic waste are menstrual hygiene products. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even think about these until I had already updated the rest of my shower and skincare routine (see my article below). …

Many sustainable choices are also financially-savvy

Photo by Oana Cristina on Unsplash

When it comes to plastic waste, my bathroom shelves rival the kitchen pantry. You name it, it comes sheathed in plastic: moisturizer, shampoo, razor, toothbrush, and feminine hygiene products. But our personal care doesn’t have to contribute to plastic pollution — and it shouldn’t.

As consumers, we hold tremendous collective power to shift demand and influence the types of products that companies produce. This year — in an attempt to do just that — I made a commitment to finish my existing personal care products and begin replacing them with plastic-free alternatives.

Plastic problems

The problem with plastic is simple: of the…

Science-based practices that benefit you & everyone around you

Photo by Morgan Sessions on Unsplash

Two years ago, I walked away from a toxic work environment. It was so emotionally taxing that it kickstarted my exploration of practices focused on reducing stress and boosting happiness.

I started with my physical health by developing a consistent exercise routine, improving my diet, and setting a regular sleep schedule.

My interest in Eastern traditions also led me to restart my yoga practice and join a meditation group. Meditation provided strategies for cultivating mindfulness. I learned that by focusing on my breath or sensations in my body, I could remain in the present moment. Mindfulness achieved through meditation is…

Climate & biodiversity take center stage

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Despite limited theatrical releases and cancelled film festivals, 2020 delivered several outstanding environmental films. Many focused on climate change — honing in on solutions that are literally below our feet and documenting efforts large and small to adapt to a changing world.

If there was a single theme of the year, 2020 was an ode to biodiversity — the variety and variability of life on our planet. Healthy, biodiverse ecosystems underpin many of the most impactful climate solutions. Moreover, biodiversity has recently gained recognition as an emerging indicator for both environmental and human health. …

We may not be ready to face it, but we must

Bornean Orangutan, a critically endangered species. Rohitjahnavi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In what is being called the “sixth extinction,” one million animal and plant species now face extinction within the next few decades. A recent report by the World Wildlife Fund demonstrates that species population sizes have declined by nearly 70% since 1970. Some animal and plant populations in Latin America and the Caribbean have experienced a 94% decline.

Habitat loss, global trade, and climate change are major causes of these declines. These, in turn, are being driven by human population growth and changing consumption habits. In fact, as our population grows and incomes rise, the demand for Western diets heavy…

Let’s do our part to share and preserve our trails

Photo by Holly Mandarich on Unsplash

The coronavirus lockdown has changed so much about how we live our lives. This is especially true when looking for recreational activities that are safe, enjoyable, and widely available. Most health officials have indicated that outdoor activities are some of the safest options given the effects of wind and sunlight on viral particles. As a result, many people have taken to exploring their local hiking trails or camping out in the wilderness for the first time.

For new and regular hikers alike, it’s essential to be aware of the unspoken rules of the trail. Between individual health concerns and soaring…

The cognitive biases holding us back

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In his Atlantic article, “America is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral,” Ed Yong presents a shrewd analysis of America’s many failures in addressing Covid-19. He traces these back to cognitive biases, such as false dichotomies and magical thinking, that have hamstrung our response since March. Many of these same faulty thinking patterns have been present in our national discourse on climate change for decades.

Scientists began measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide over 60 years ago. The data demonstrate rising concentrations of greenhouse gases correlated with industrialization. By 1988, NASA director James Hansen testified in a historic US Senate hearing that, with…

Sarah R.

Sustainability-minded writer, climate activist & outdoor enthusiast. @Sarah4Terra

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