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Posted by greenlivingaz

Solar panels at Milestones Charter School in Phoenix

By Lorena Suarez

The Milestones Charter School in Phoenix was founded 14 years ago by five women with almost no money, but a lot of enthusiasm. They beat the odds then, and today the school is blazing new trails by going completely solar — a project nobody believed could get done. Well, almost nobody.

About three years ago, the Living Earth Ecological Institute initiated a solar program to enable and assist non-profit organizations (mostly schools and churches) to acquire and install solar PV (photovoltaic) systems. At the time, almost nobody would touch solar projects with non-profit organizations because they were deemed “unprofitable” by most solar investors and solar installers. However, as sustainability systems coordinator for the Living Earth, I was sure these projects could get done if we found an investor willing to take a risk and help a non-profit.

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“Industrialized agriculture is a dead end. It’s both extractive in nature – it removes nutrients from the soil without putting anything back – and dependent on pesticides and fertilizers made from natural gas and earthed minerals of limited supply.” ~ Douglas Gayeton, Local

We live in a world of non-disclosure, especially when it comes to farming, food, and the stewardship of our land. For the most part, no one has to tell you that the farm that grew your produce uses pesticides, or that your cereal contains genetically modified corn, or that your beef was raised in a factory farm and pumped with growth hormones and antibiotics. No one really has to tell you about the impact conventional agriculture has on the environment, either.

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Solar Panels

Commercial Poolby Michael Neary

We often hear politicians and others talk about making Arizona the solar capital of the world and, with what seems like a thousand sunny days each year, why shouldn’t we? With all the sunshine and clear days we have here in Arizona, it would appear unnecessary to heat your household water with any type of fossil fuel. From a financial and environmental standpoint, it would be even more inefficient to heat your water with electricity, which is perhaps the most expensive and environmentally harmful way to heat water.

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“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” ~ Deepak Chopra

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Colorful Chicken Coop

by Steve Carr

Saturday, November 8

Adult tickets
$20 in advance and $30 the day of the event

Youth tickets
$10 for children 11-15 years old
Children under 10 accompanied by an adult ticket holder are free.

Complete information is available at

Say the words “home tour” and your first thought probably isn’t of chickens pecking their way around a backyard coop.

But chicken coops are homes, too, and Valley residents practicing sustainable living in the Southwest desert put as much time, care and creative thinking into building and maintaining them as some people do with their own homes.

That’s what makes Valley Permaculture Alliance’s (VPA) sixth annual Tour de Coops on Saturday, Nov. 8, the Valley’s most unique home tour. The event is VPA’s signature fundraiser and features up to 25 of the most unique and funky chicken coops in Arizona. On this self-guided tour, visitors are exposed to a range of coop designs, chicken-keeping secrets, responsible ownership practices, sustainable living concepts and creativity in the Valley.

Each coop selected for the tour has been vetted by a selection committee to ensure appropriate zoning and permitting, responsible ownership, safety for both animals and the touring public, design elements and healthy chickens. Coop owners will be on hand to share their methods and experience, as well as to answer questions.

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hemp infographic


“Education is the only way to overcome ignorance, and ignorance is the only thing holding the hemp revolution back.”
~Rowan Robinson from The Hemp Manifesto

Before marijuana was banned in 1937, hemp – its non-psychoactive relative – was widely considered one of the most profitable, versatile and functional crops on the planet. The Great Pyramids of Giza were constructed using hemp. Columbus journeyed to the New World on a boat waving hemp sails. The very document on which our country was founded, the Declaration of Independence, was drafted on hemp paper!

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A&E Recycled Granite

Tucson residents may not yet be familiar with A&E Recycled Granite LLC, as it has only been open for just nine months. However, this creative and eco-conscious company is going to be in attendance at some of the Old Pueblo’s most popular sustainable home shows and events, ensuring everyone will soon know who they are and what they do.

Looking for a sneak peek? Ok, we’ll divulge. Julie Olauson, owner and marketing and sales guru for this multigenerational family owned business, says, “We divert remnant slab material and turn it into outdoor fire pits, facades or barbecue islands, split stones, fireplaces or backsplashes.” The company does not use any resin or chemicals and they can proudly say that since they only use 100 percent scrap from the countertop fabrication industry, their products are the only 100 percent recycled stone tiles and pavers on the market. The company also features the Revive Elements collection that uses smaller pieces of scrap materials to create ice stones, refurbished cabinet pulls and marble cutting boards.

If you’re in the market for recycled granite, A&E will be one of about 15 green companies featured at the Green Living Booth at the SAHBA Fall Home and Garden Show at TCC starting today, October 17, through Sunday, October 19. A&E’s Revive Elements Collection will be on display at Solana Outdoor Living’s booth over the weekend. A&E will also have a presence at the Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival on October 26, which will be held at the YMCA on Bonita Ave.

A&E Recycled Granite
1660 S. Research Loop, Ste. 110
Tucson, AZ 85710
(520) 885-8970