Tag: doing it for ourselves

There is Fungus Amongus and Dust in the Wind: Doing it for Ourselves 1.6

On a rainy late fall day (not too unlike today) towards the end of the semester when I was a sophomore in college, my household of roommates and I decided to blow off working on term papers and studying for finals and instead ate a cookie sheet full of freshly picked magic mushrooms. After bouncing off the walls for a couple of hours and then running around a wet, muddy cemetery in Portland, playing slip and slide through the gravestones, while subconsciously recreating scenes from Easy Rider and Woodstock, we all came to a brilliant epiphany. EVERYTHING GROWS MOLD!

I was reminded by this epiphany when I read the headline story of my local paper yesterday,

Mold a growing problem One wouldn’t intuitively think that mold could be a problem in the desert, but the desert states of Arizona and Nevada tied for the rank of 5th in the nation for mold related insurance claims. This is in part due to cheap housing construction materials combined with the predominant use of air conditioners and evaporative coolers to counter extreme heat.

Breathing mold spores in general can cause respiratory problems such as allergies and asthma. Breathing mycotoxins generated by certain mold spores can cause severe illness and even death. It also turns out that breathing at home, taking in regular accumulations of dust and their bunnies can be a real problem too, especially for children. Did you know that household dust is toxic? Yes, the dust in the wind (cue song by Kansas that annoys the living shit out of me) can be incredibly nasty.  This brief article from my same local paper, Household dust laden with toxins, includes this lovely snippet:

From home dust, the average U.S. child ingests the same amount of cancer-causing benzo(a)pyrene as he would get by smoking three cigarettes a day, says a 1998 Scientific American article by researchers Wayne Ott of Stanford University and John Roberts, a Seattle environmental engineer.

In this edition of Doing It For Ourselves, I’ll provide some basic information about molds and household dusts, and what we can do ourselves to control their presence in our homes and workplaces.

Doing it for Ourselves, 1.5: Homebrew

Given the political climate lately, with talk of Bush never leaving office and declaring WWIII, I’ve been thinking about shifting the gears of this series towards basic disaster planning and survival techniques. These days, my Bushista survival kit includes beer and wine. Many years ago I made beer and wine at home. The beer was pretty good, but that blueberry elderberry batch, 20 gallons of the stuff….. shivers. It still gives me shivers, because it was so hideously bad!

Down below I’ll provide the basic required equipment, materials and instructions for homebrewing beer, plus lots and lots of links from more expert sources than myself. Clink Clink!! I’ll write one about winemaking in coming weeks.

Doing it for Ourselves 1.4: Global AlGorhythm [UPDATED!]




I just returned from the AZ Democratic Progressive Caucus meeting, one hour of which consisted of a presentation by Scotty Johnson who works for the Arizona chapter of  Defenders of Wildlife. Mr. Johnson recently trained with Al Gore in Tennessee and now gives presentations around the region to spread the message. The presentation he gave today was called, The Climate Crisis: Awakening to Our Greatness. See the bottom of the essay for my summary of his presentation.




The planet has a fever. If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says you need to intervene here, you don’t say, ‘Well, I read a science fiction novel that told me it’s not a problem.’ If the crib’s on fire, you don’t speculate that the baby is flame retardant. You take action.  ~ Al Gore




Good morning dharmapseudical dharma bums and misc dhrarmestids. I decided to put together a quicky for the series this morning in honor of Al Gore’s and the IPCC’s achievement of co-winning the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday. Below you’ll find some relevant links with lots of action information contained within.

Doing it for Ourselves 1.3: Passive solar

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in

Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in

Oh, let it shine, c’mon

Now everybody just sing along

Let the sun shine in

Open up your heart and let it shine on in

When you are lonely, let it shine on

Got to open up your heart and let it shine on in

And when you feel like you’ve been mistreated

And your friends turn away

Just open your heart, and shine it on in

~The 5th Dimension

(Words by James Rado and Gerome Ragni: Music by Galt MacDermot)

What is Passive solar? How does it differ from active solar technology? What are the benefits of passive solar technologies? Read on to find out.

By the way, this weekend marks the National Solar Tour by the American Solar Energy Society. You can check to see if there are any tour events in your area here

Doing it for Ourselves, 1.2: Water Conservation

When the well is dry, we know the worth of water. 
~Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1746


There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed. 
~Mohandas K. Gandhi


We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. 
~Native American Proverb


Opie, you haven’t finished your milk.  We can’t put it back in the cow, you know. 
~Aunt Bee Taylor, The Andy Griffith Show


Water is the best of all things.  ~Pindar (C. 522-C. 438 B.C.), Olympian Odes


Water has no taste, no color, no odor; it cannot be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself. It fills us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses.  ~Antoine De Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand, and Stars, 1939

Doing it for Ourselves 1.1

Last week I posted the first of this fledgling series here. This series is about the broad theme of self reliance and sustainable living. Each week’s post will have a different topic or focus, though I hope people will use the comments to talk about whatever their related interests and specialties might be or ask questions that others can answer. Today’s installment will focus on preservation, or how to make the things you have at home last.

Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson from Self Reliance

But lo! men have become the tools of their tools. ~Henry David Thoreau from Walden

Doing it for Ourselves

This is the first in what I hope will be a continuous series here in Dharmaland. This series will be about the broad theme of self reliance. Each week’s post will have a different topic or focus, though I hope people will use the comments to talk about whatever their self-reliant interests and specialties might be or ask questions that others can answer. I also hope people who have a special topic they’d like to cover in more depth will pipe up and run the show now and then. Today’s installment will focus on how to find out about hazardous materials found in our own homes.