Green Alternatives Feed

Kiss Your Lawn Goodbye: Switch to Native Plants

What do you plant when the grass is gone? You removed the grass. Or it died and you want to remove it. You want to go native -- everyone's doing it. And it's good for the birds and bees. But how? Here's a handy online tool to help you grow wildflowers and find drought-tolerant plants that birds and bees love!

Plant Finder

Before you say, hey, wait a minute, I'm in Pacifica or Half Moon Bay, not San Francisco. Check it out. We've got similar habitats here on the Coastside. This tool will help you pick plants, find places to buy those plants, and get help if you need even more information on how to make your yard drought-resistant and pollinator-friendly. Then watch the birds and bees enjoying your new yard!

Opinion: Free Recycled Water Costs Too Much

Pacifica's North Coast County Water District (NCCWD) will soon offer 100 gallons of recycled water, free for the taking – well, sort of free. Like most recycling programs, this program is a futile, feel-good gesture. If you have a couple of hours to spare, a half-ton truck, a tank, a pump, and a half-gallon of gas, you can get up to 36 cents' worth of water. In addition to the environmental damage that gas creates, this is a lousy use of your time. Instead, use the water on the golf course and playing fields, and turn the rest into drinking water. And while we’re banging on about the city and political correctness, where are the numbers for the beach parking meters and sewage treatment solar system?

Al Miller

Pedro Point

Raccoon-Proof Your Garbage Can


For 20 bucks, Joe Sarasua will raccoon-proof your garbage can. Recology gives out Joe’s phone number (650-359-3525) to customers who want to be able to lock their garbage cans. Supposedly, Epsom salts will keep the critters away, but even at dollar-store prices, the cost can add up, and it’s messy. Tying off your bungee cords doesn’t always work, plus it’s a hassle (and you could put an eye out when those suckers snap back on you). So Joe’s little 10-minute garbage can conversion is the way to go. If you’re handy and want to install the locks yourself, Joe will sell you the kit for only $15.

Pacifica Exclusive: Buy Nothing Group

Ear of corn
Aaron Zorndorf has created a local nonprofit, Buy Nothing Group, for Pacificans only. Check it out. It's a way to help the community eliminate waste. Especially during this season of mass consumption, consider joining and continue gifting all year. There is no obligation. Buy nothing. Give freely. Share creatively. Post anything you want to give away, lend, or share among neighbors. Ask for anything you want to receive for free or borrow. Keep it legal. Keep it civil. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, no soliciting for cash. Adult-only, hyper-local gift economy:

Buy Nothing Group

Dutch Bike Path Lit by LEDs & Van Gogh

In the Dutch town of Eindhoven, artist Daan Roosegaarde has paid homage to its most famous resident, Vincent Van Gogh, by creating a glowing bike path that relies on solar-powered LED lights and interprets his classic painting Starry Night.

Roosegaarde says he wants his work, illuminated by thousands of twinkling blue and green lights, to speak to everyone. "You have people who are interested in technology to make landscapes which are energy neutral," he tells NPR. "You have people interested in cultural history and experiencing it in a contemporary way. You have boys and girls who have a first date and want to take their date to a special place."

And, he adds, "You have an artist like me who wants to create something just incredibly poetic; and all that comes together. A good project generates new stories."

The path, which covers about a half-mile, opened last Wednesday as part of celebrations marking the 125th anniversary of the death of Van Gogh, who lived from 1853 to 1890. He lived in Eindhoven for a few years and used the town as a backdrop for his paintings.

As we reported last week, another Dutch town, Krommenie, installed solar panels on a bike commuter path outside Amsterdam. The power generated by the panels will be funneled into the national energy grid. (NPR)

World Toilet Day

Dear Readers, from time to time our new correspondent Science Grrl will bring science stories that apply to us all, which you may not have heard, from near and far. Enjoy!

WORLD TOILET DAY: Me, Myself, and the Loo—or Why Toities Matter 

Learn more from Mr. Toilet: