Wolves Change Rivers

December 30th, 2014 Posted in animals, water | 10 Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!

You always hear that every living thing affects its ecosystem, so it’s hard to predict what the absence of a species might mean for a given environment.

Here’s a good video illustrating this concept perfectly, by showing how wolves change rivers. Well worth the 4 minutes to watch.


If you have any stories of how the presence of a species (or lack thereof) caused an interesting effect on its eco-system, por favor share it with me.

Help Clean up a River Near You

October 3rd, 2014 Posted in cleaning, water | No Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!

River cleanup raft

Photo from americanrivers.org


How many of you live near a trashy river or stream, and have noticed piles o’ junk in it, or other such debris on its banks? It’s enough to make an eco-heart weep.

Now imagine if that stream was clean and pristine; no litter, lil’ fishies swimming around in it, birds a-livin’ next to it, no Indians crying, raccoons READ MORE »

How to make a homemade hydroelectric power plant!

August 3rd, 2014 Posted in construction, eco hero, electric, green living, off the grid, water | 2 Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


Ho-ly mo-ly. Manfred Mornhinweg, de la República de Chile, is now an official eco-hero, joining the proud ranks of such luminaries as Amory Lovins (and almost Michael Jackson).

Not only did Manfred freaking build his own homemade mini-hydroeletric power plant, but he documented the entire process with pictures and step-by-step instructions!

With the help of some of his friends and neighbors, and a whole lot of gumption, he dug a side-channel off a creek to divert some water for his lil’ hydroelectric plant.

Digging hydroelectric channel

He ordered the hydroelectric turbine from the glorious People’s Republic o’ China:
Hydroelectric turbine

And eventually was able to READ MORE »

Keep Deer Away from your Garden with a Scarecrow Sprinkler

June 29th, 2014 Posted in animals, gardening, plants, water | 14 Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


Scarecrow deer sprinkler

My friends, I have gathered you here to discuss something very important in the gardening world. No matter how truly green you keep your garden, whether it’s with homemade compost lasagna, or by planting a community garden in your city, there’s one thing that can absolutely destroy it. Something very “deer” to my heart.

If you haven’t guessed, I’m talkin’ ’bout deer! Now, I’ve tried all kinds of things to keep them from demolishing my precious lil’ organic garden — sprinkling hair around the garden, making semi-invisible fences out of fishing line, sacrifices to the Moon God Jokar, even coyote pee.

But you know what? (raises knee up onto stool, props elbow on, looks earnestly into your eyes) None of that worked. I was about ready to throw in the towel to the dastardly deer.

I thought my choices were either build a 15-foot high fence around the garden, or just sit out there with an axe waiting for a deer to try its luck. This year, though, I found a different way (blinks back tears) — a better way.

READ MORE »

Organic Leaf Powder fo’ yo’ Water

April 19th, 2014 Posted in food, health, plants, water | 6 Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


Ever get a hankering for a nice cool drink, but the plain old water from your homemade rain barrel just won’t cut it? Would you like a kick of antioxidants as well as a slew of precious vitamins n’ minerals?

Then might I humbly suggest trying some Organic India Moringa Leaf Powder. “Leaf powder”, I hear you axing, “What the blazes is that?”

It’s exactly what it sounds like, ground up Moringa leaves. Now, good ol’ WebMD says that the Moringa leaf is full of antioxidants and helpful vitamins and minerals. So I decided to give it a shot.

Tasty swamp water

The Moringa leaf powder container says to mix 1/2 teaspoon with water, so like a good little sheep I followed directions and did just that. It turns the drink an appetizing color reminiscent of swamp water, or a mini world in a jar.

The taste is not bad; I could see it growing on me. It tastes sort of like yerba mate, the lovable herbal tea de Uruguay and regions thereabouts.

I was impressed to see the “USDA Organic” label on the container, but a bit saddened to see that their claim to “restore your imbalances” had not been evaluated by the FDA. My imbalances felt quite restored after chugging a glass of this stuff.

If you’re looking for an organic, healthy way to spice up your water, I’d say to give this Moringa leaf powder a shot. It only takes 1/2 a teaspoon per glass, so one container will last a loooong time,

A final word to the wise: it was a bit concerning to find some Internet web-pages putting Organic India down for poor quality standards. Basically, just because something is “certified organic” doesn’t mean that it’s 100% pure and free from contaminants. This goes for all organic food and dranks, so watch your back out there.

Kishu Charcoal Cleans Your Water

November 23rd, 2013 Posted in reusing, water | 3 Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


If you’re like most hu-mon beings, you enjoy hydrating yourself with H20, AKA “the big wet”, “liquid ice”, “loosey goosey”, or “water”.

How should the eco-friendly individual obtain said water, though? Bottled water is expensive, causes a huge amount of waste from packaging and transportation (although you can do some cool stuff with the old water bottles), and, according to this Duke University webpage, might not be as safe as tap water.

I’m down with drinking str8 from tha tap, but lots o’ people prefer to filter it. If you’re one of these people, and you’re looking for a greener way to filter water than by using a plastic filter, might I be so bold as to suggest Kishu charcoal?

The founder, Judith Bershof, started this company in 2011 when she was looking for a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic water filters. From its minimal packaging (which cuts down on waste), and the fact that you can compost the filter when you’re done, I’d say they’ve done a good job keeping this product green.

Minimal packaging, minimal waste

Kishu charcoal claims to be made from sustainably harvested tree branches, and can be used for 4 months. You just have to boil it every month to keep its pores open.

Another great eco-friendly thing is that after 4 months have passed, you can reuse your old charcoal filter by using it in your fridge to absord odors, or by crushing it up and mixing it into your garden soil to improve water absorption. Pretty dang cool.

I chucked a piece of Kishu charcoal into a pitcher o’ water, and left it overnight. I’d been worried that the charcoal would cloud up the water, but it’s very smooth and not flaky, so the water stayed clear as glass.

Charcoal floating in water

A day later, my woman and I deigned to taste this water. Verily, it was crisp and cool as the waterfalls of Norway, with a very pleasing taste. A single tear running down my cheek, I hefted an approving thumbs up to Kishu charcoal, the green way to filter your water.

Durham’s WaterSense Toilet Rebate Program

October 28th, 2012 Posted in save money, water | No Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


Do you put off flushing your old-timey toilet, dreading the inevitable waste of water as gallons and gallons of good clean water are used by your old, inefficient terlet? But buying a new, high efficiency toilet just seems out of your budget?

Amigo, I think I have the solution. If you live in Durham, North Carolina, keep on reading. If not, contact your local municipality or city and see if they have a similar program.

The City o’ Durham is running a Toilet Rebate Program, wherein they’ll give you a $100 credit for every old, inefficienct toilet that you replace with a WaterSense-approved, high-efficiency toilet.

The new toilet must use 1.28 gallons per flush at most, and has to be on this here EPA high efficiency toilet list.

I ended up buying 3 Project Source high efficiency toilets from good ol’ Lowes, and although they weren’t listed on the EPA list, I spoke with someone from Durham Department of Water Management, and he told me that they’d add that toilet brand to the approved list soon.

So now I have 3 low-flow toilets that’ll save money and cut water use for years to come. Also, I actually made money buying these toilets!

Cost 3 brand new, Project Source toilets $88 x 3 $264
Minus water bill credit 3 x $100 $300
Total cost to me $264-$300 -$36!

Cha-ching! I suggest you take part in the Durham toilet rebate program before it’s too late!

Save water, save money, that’s the power of EcoJoes.