So, what's next??

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

We have a handful of people on all the threads here, mostly the same people.

So my question is "How do we spread the word?" Surely out of the thousands of paid subscribers, and the hundreds of thousands of freebies, there must be more interest than we few have shown.

Any ideas??

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Yes, there must be more people who care, but I am afraid most people are only interested in making their life easier no matter what the cost, financial or otherwise.
Most people don,t to work harder and do with less.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I keep hearing 2 lines from an old song, maybe the early 70"s??

"Does anybody really know what time it is?
Does anybody really care?"

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Well, you can count on me, I care, and I am sure many people do too, but we are so used to having it easy,
and getting everything we want when we want it, it is very hard to change.

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

Perhaps, another name for the forum could arouse more interest ?
Its present name might not be all that clear and appealing for every body ?
I suggest a tittle that could be for example :'creative with waste', or another one that describes, concern for our environment and how to avoid waste.
I'm not the best person to find the right name; my native language is not English.

Rocky Mount, VA(Zone 7a)

Darius - I think that the way to attract more people to this forum (I may of course be wrong as I have been in the past), would be to simply start more threads here and to post to them often - And they will of course show up in "recent posts" on the home page. Also utilize the post# reference on other forums (where appropriate) to point folks here. JAI.

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

How about (Save the Earth and Save Yourself.) or ( Waste Not Want Not ) (Getting more for less ) ( Making Do )
Just some thoughts.

Rocky Mount, VA(Zone 7a)

I Like "Sustainable Alternatives - Save the Earth and Saving for Yourself ", after all, "walk gently upon the earth, for when you leave it, it is all you leave to your children and your children's children".

Gotta figure out who said that first.

Ida, MI

IMHO Dyson has the right idea. Sustainability doesn't have to be about more work or a reduction in quality of life. Actually in my personal opinion most truly sustainable ideas actually enhance quality of life. Take for example the tankless water heaters, an idea whos time has come and I never even thought of about posting about them here until I got my propane bill and started patting myself on the back for my energy saving improvements. The more we chat, banter ideas back and forth, keep our eyes open for new ideas to bring up the more interest will come. The forum is new and actually I think it is doing well considering this fact. Lots of folks here probably don't know it exists yet and I see lots of other forums here with less activity than this one. So persevere, if you talk enough, they will come. LOL

North Augusta, ON

I have been lurking here since the forum began, I had no idea what sustainable alternatives meant until I looked it up. Still not sure we mean things like solar panels(which the average person cannot afford anyway), ethanol fuel(which I use all the time) or does it mean something else entirely???

Rocky Mount, VA(Zone 7a)

Still if you are on a near topic - link the post to this forum and drive interest. Many DG'ers are not aware of this forum, I suspect that will change rapidly (hope so).

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Actually I think this forum has a lot of activity, maybe not form many people, but the ones posting are really into it.

Ida, MI

I agree again Dyson, there are several forums that relate closely to this one, such as organic gardening, the folks there are bound to be interested in a lot of topics here.

Ida, MI

Actually threegardeners, both solar panels and ethanol would be considered topics for sustainable alternatives. I happen to feel the same way you do about solar panels, not only are they expensive, but they rely on batteries that eventualy end up in landfill. IMHO the technology has long way to go before these become remotely sustainable.

Greensboro, AL

How about preparing a "sticky" with definitions. What are you talking about and not talking about. What are the criteria for things sustainable and things not. Is this the same as 'frugal living'. Is this the same as 'permaculture'. Also the sticky should have some references -- who are the founders of this idea? Does it have a philosophical or scientific basis?

Rocky Mount, VA(Zone 7a)

Yous'e guys need to check out the thread on "micro-hydro" - Don't have "running water", creek, river, etc. - do your neighbors? Would they be willing to share the water power if you made an equipment contribution?

If two people work towards the same goal - they make twice the progress or more on an expadential scale. If three neighbors work together?

Granted I have lived, where I did not know the person in the apartment above me, but there is not much chance of that happening again.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Good points, Everyone... Thanks.

Dave named this Forum but it is certainly subject to change, he says. We thought about "Green".. something, such as Green Building but that's a limited subject, doesn't apply to anything much but buildings whereas Sustainability implies it can go on and on... on its own mostly or at least cheaper than what's in current use whether in the garden, transportation or whatever.

Dyson, glad to see you posting. Good ideas about posting links on other forums.

Iowa City, IA(Zone 5a)

This became one of my favorite forums, once I found it, which happened when I searched "rainbarrel." I never would have found it otherwise, because I don't go to the HomeTalk tab.

There might be others like me. Could the forum be listed under both GardenTalk and HomeTalk tabs?

I think Sustainable Alternatives is a good name; if you want "green" in the title, how about "Green Living" or "Green Living and Gardening?"

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Biscuit, Thanks for joining us. Glad you found us!!

I don't have any particular want or need to have "Green" in the Forum name, and many of our threads are so different from that title anyway. "Sustainability" so far suits me better but if I come up with a better name I will be sure to ask everyone what they think.

Lincoln, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

biscuit, I never go to the Home Talk tab either, only occasionally to go to the Photos forum but I usually use a posting link from the home page to go there.

I knew about it because I have regularly visited Dave's Forum to see what is happening, and the Forum got off to a very quick start so would have been easily missed. I think it needs a link on the Garden Tab too, I wonder if we should put it to Dave. He seems to be very busy just now, but a post on the welcoming thread might be a start.

Greensboro, AL

I like the title: sustainable alternatives. A nice thing, Dave! Just need to give it some definition.

Also, I understand a forum can have a sponsor. Well, I have an idea about that.

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

do we subscribers see the sponsor? i've never noticed ads but then i'm probably not looking either.

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

I recently discovered this forum because Darius mentioned it somewhere else. It's a great idea, past due and much appreciated.

I've spent my whole life living somewhat green without even knowing it. It always just seemed the right thing to do. I think it started with the fact that my father grew up in Amish country in PA and was such a tightwad he should have been in the Guiness Records for it. Waste not, want not..

I built my current house in 1985 and incorporated as many of the latest energy saving factors as was economically feasible. Most have worked well and several did not. It's time for updates and I'm hoping to get the latest info right here.

I doubt I'll have much to contribute but I'm certainly reading.

Ida, MI

Twiggy, my ideas started with my dad too, I think he got his from his grandfather and we never had a lot of money when I was a kid so it was a matter of stretching what you had. Like you said, I grew up with the idea it was the right thing to do. My dad was into insulation etc. long before it became fashionable. For him it wasn't being "green", it was saving money in the long run. Thats how I still look at it a lot. My dad always taught me that the cheapest was not necessarily the cheapest in the long run. He would buy the best built car he could afford brand new, then he would drive it until the wheels just about literally fell off of it doing most repairs and maint. himself. Thats another thing I was taught, maintenance, maint, maint! Make it last! He also stressed take care of the important things first. Things like food, water, shelter. Build or buy the best quality you can afford and then make it last as long as you can. Sustainability fits right into that credo. Thogh I can't claim to be as much of a dollar stretcher as he was, being raised with that mindset has served me well over the years and it has given me the interest in applying the same ideals to the earth as whole.

And you may have more to contribute than you realize Hearing about failures is just as inportant as successes. As each of us implements what interests us and what we can afford it helps to learn from the mistakes of others so we don't repeat them. Its easy to get discouraged and quit trying when one makes a booboo so bring the failures out as well as successes!

West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

Hi everybody-
Just a couple thoughts about this topic - I come check out this new forum sometimes when I notice a new post on the 'latest posts' on the home page, and I think the mentions in other forums are a good idea too, but give yourselves some credit - for a newer forum, this one gets quite a bit of traffic, it seems to me anyway. That occurred to me when I looked at the DG Newsletter under the 'extras' tab. Yesterday it was #14 out of 227 forums by number of posts.

Another thing I noticed is the thread about on-demand water heaters - that thread alone got more posts than the entire plumbing forum has in months. Well, I'm not sure that's true, but it may be. There's a lot of overlap of 'Sustainable' living, and plain ordinary living; more all the time, I hope. Maybe the word "Alternatives" makes the forum seem more... I don't know... stereotypical 'hippie' or something? Just thinking out loud here... maybe some way to link some of the lesser used home forums to 'sustainable'....? I'm sure if some of us had our way they might be LOL ... just an idea. For all I know it's been discussed before.

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

I started lurking here after someone recently 'advertised' the new forum in Organic Gardening.

Josephine, Arlington, TX(Zone 8a)

Well, I posted it on the Organic Gardening forum, the Soil and Composting, the Frugal Living, and Homesteading. I hope it helps to get the word out, but I think this is a very active forum compared to others, so don't feel bad guys, we have lots of activity.

Ida, MI

I think Darius was concerned that in the beginning we were a small group, lots of posting but mainly by the same small group of people. But I see that beginning to change already thanks to you getting the word out to other related forums. Also I think we have to remember that not everyone who reads posts. One thing I wish DG had is a listing of the number of views each post has. That would be a better indicator of the amount of interest in each topic.

Rocky Mount, VA(Zone 7a)

Views: 127

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)



Ida, MI

oops, now I see it! Thanks guys. 133 is a lot of views Darius! Even when you consider a lot of them are multiples from the same people.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Actually it does seem we are getting the word out. Yippee and Thanks everyone!!

I just don't want this forum to languish as so many others have. Claypa, that's an interesting comparison on the tankless water heater thread and the plumbing forum activity. Although I do my own plumbing (even sweating copper) I don't know where I would have looked for tankless info, but probably not the plumbing forum. I wonder if Dave might make a stickie on some forums suggesting this forum as well??

There are SO many cross-overs of good ideas on many other forums that could also be here.

Comer, GA(Zone 7b)

I too started lurking around here after I saw a post on the organic gardening forum. You folks have some great ideas going here and thanks for the ideas you've given me.

Lower Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 6b)

Hi all,

This is my first time checking out this forum and will give my overall impressions. Keep in mind I have only sampled a few of the threads, though I read through this one entirely.

As for the title, I completely agree with claypa. It does have a hippie or flower child implication. Now some people might not mind that (they may have been one!), but the idea is to get the mainstream to embrace some of these concepts. Seeing a thread named 'Let's start a commune' certainly does nothing to dispel the hippie impression! I think the title should be changed. Maybe Responsible Living or something like that. I'm sure there are many possibilities. And yes, there is definitely a lot of overlap with other forums, but that should not be seen as a liability.

Also, you will never get many converts if the primary tool is to make them feel guilty or selfish. Of course, there are elements of that in play though. With all our scientific / technical ability, it's inconceivable to me that being responsible equals doing without.

It's very important that people not approach this subject with an agenda or militant approach. I have come across that many times, whether it's organic gardening, breast milk vs. bottle, planting only natives, use of any technology in food production, vaccinations, etc. Again, people do not want to be slammed over the head. It will have the exact opposite effect.

People who believe strongly in this subject need to keep an open mind as well. For example, there has been talk of dishwashers. Unless you are washing with cold water only, there is a very good chance you are using MORE energy than if you used a new, energy efficient dishwasher. Also, ethanol is not nearly what it's cracked up to be. It makes the vehicle LESS efficient and does not reduce the cost of the fuel. And the E85 sources are few and far between. This is all according to Consumer Reports. It's a political, not a (sound) energy decision. And it has significantly raised the cost of corn. Another - a recent business report showed that only 6% of U.S. households use cf bulbs! Surely more than 6% of people claim to be concerned for the environment, dependence on fossil fuels, etc.

As for myself, since I bought my house 11 years ago, I have used cf bulbs. I have had a tankless water heater for about seven years. I installed a pellet stove last year, though did not get much use out of it this winter because they saw how popular the stoves were and jacked up the price by 50%! I am responsible, not dumb. I am in the process of going solar. I will be installing a sizable 5.75 KW system. I am the first in my town. The thermostat never goes above 67 during the day, much to the chagrin of my forever cold wife. I have replaced just about every appliance I inherited with new efficient ones. Lastly, I use rain barrels and try to choose plants that are more drought tolerant. I also use polymer crystals.

On solar, it's getting more affordable all the time. In NY, the state pays for half of the modules, gives back $5000 in a tax credit (that's dollar for dollar off your taxes, unlike a deduction) and then offers a low cost loan to finance the rest. The Feds give $2000 in a credit. Bottom line, after the credits, I am paying about one third of the cost, using a 4% loan (one can choose 2, 3 or 4% depending on the loan duration chosen). Some states have even better deals. Also, contrary to what someone stated, batteries are NOT needed and not recommended, at least here. Instead, the utility is used as the battery. It's called net-metering. Anything my solar cells produce that exceeds my demand gets sold back to the utility at the SAME price I buy from them. If my demand is higher than my output, some or all (nighttime) is provided by the utility. Press your State legislators and governors to improve their solar incentives.

What works? There is no stronger incentive than financial, but, as in the case of cf's, people still need to overcome habit. More and more, people are valuing effect on the environment, but not in the absence of incentive number one. The sale of hybrids illustrates that. Tack on $3000 to the cost of a car and people are smart enough to know that even at $3 a gallon, $3000 buys a lot of gas.

I hope this forum catches on. I will check it and post when I can. Good luck!

West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

Well this is kind of off-topic but I just wanted to point out that my '77 Honda Civic got LOTS better mileage on gasohol (or whatever it was called at the time) over gasoline. I couldn't believe it, 40+ mpg compared to 28 or whatever it was. I miss that car.

Woodbridge, VA

Hey Spot8907,

Photovoltaic systems do not require batteries....the only time you might want batteries is if you want to run totally off the grid at night (so you can store excess energy you collected during the day). You don't have to have them to have a positive impact on the environment -- you will be reducing your power consumption by more than 50%, and considering that people sleep most of the dark hours away, your overall power consumption will be quite low.

Most modest size homes (not McMansions) can run totally off the grid during the day if one of their major roof sides (the long side of a rectangular home) face south (in the Northern hemisphere).

We have a neighbor that has a very outdated (by today's standards) photovoltaic system that was installed in the 70s, and it still works and keeps him off the grid during the day, due to his modest power usage. A more modern system is quite capable of providing most is not all of a modern homes needs....during the day.

Some years ago, President Clinton signed a bill creating the Million Solar Roof initiative. The government wanted 1 million homes with Solar roofs to help boost and showcase the technology. All states were given money to help provide a buy-down -- many states still have the funds available, all you have to do is look for it. The US Government is putting photovoltaic systems on most federal buildings nowadays to help offset the cost of keeping them cool in the summer.

I personally believe that it is the duty of everybody to figure out a way, within their means, to reduce our over reliance on fossil fuels and use what is pretty much freely available -- be it solar, wind, or geothermal energy. The counterargument I hear against this technology is that is takes more energy to make the devices than they provide -- hogwash. That neighbor of mine, his system has been running 30 years straight, providing him free power every day. You have to look at it in the long term, overall impact. Imagine if EVERY modern home in America had to be built with solar panels on the roof...what kind of reduction in our overall energy needs would that provide? Every year America needs more power, and every year, we have less and less -- nobody wants a power station in their backyard, and modern pollution control laws make it almost economically impossible.

Ooops, was on a soapbox there for a minute. Sorry all, but I have a thing for renewable energy! :)

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

victorgardener, well stated and thought out response. Thank you. I have several responses and PLEASE only take them as my thoughts and not personal attacks.

"Responsible Living" is an interesting title but to me it implies paying your taxes, keeping kids in school, avoiding drugs, maintaining monogamy and many more things I could name... but not reducing energy consumption, avoiding toxic chemicals or helping the planet survive foremost.

I do hope you had no specifics in mind when you said "militant" approach. I care deeply about many of the issues here AND I have no desire to cram them down someone's throat. I've not detected that stance in any other posts either. Dave did warn us that this Forum could foment harsh debate so I want to avoid that.

You said

Also, you will never get many converts if the primary tool is to make them feel guilty or selfish. Of course, there are elements of that in play though. With all our scientific / technical ability, it's inconceivable to me that being responsible equals doing without.
Is there something in our threads and posts that implies we intended to make someone feel guilty or selfish? Or doing without? If so, please let all of us know so we can correct that image.

I wish I were in a financial position to replace some of my appliances. I'd have a Sun Frost refrigerator, for one. I'd love to have a dishwasher if for nothing else than washing and sterilizing my canning jars. Alas, I am a retired woman on a very limited income and I suspect many others here are also similarly strapped financially. Yet, I care deeply about this lovely blue planet we inhabit so I look at ways of walking softly upon it.

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Victorgardener, I just wanted to thank you for your first post, above. I am very much in agreement, but could not have said it better myself.

Rocky Mount, VA(Zone 7a)

Lets not forget microhydro as in if it is moving it can produce power - Q: how much water is flowing in this nation at this moment? Next Q: how much of the potential power is being used?

Seems a big waste of "free" energy cause no one wants it - sorry small soapbox about a big problem.

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.