15 of the Year’s Most Unwasted Minutes

My holiday gift to you is this interview with Serene Jones.  Comfy up with your favorite cup of coffee, click on this link, and prepare for 15 minutes of profound thought.  http://www.charlierose.com/watch/60665355

My love to you all,  Happy Holidays!

English – I love you
Afrikaans – Ek het jou lief
Albanian – Te dua
Arabic – Ana behibak (to male)
Arabic – Ana behibek (to female)
Armenian – Yes kez sirumen
Bambara – M’bi fe
Bengali – Ami tomake bhalobashi
Belarusian – Ya tabe kahayu
Bisaya – Nahigugma ako kanimo
Bulgarian – Obicham te
Cambodian – Soro lahn nhee ah
Cantonese Chinese – Ngo oiy ney a
Catalan – T’estimo
Cherokee – Tsi ge yu i
Cheyenne – Ne mohotatse
Chichewa – Ndimakukonda
Corsican – Ti tengu caru (to male)
Creol – Mi aime jou
Croatian – Volim te
Czech – Miluji te
Danish – Jeg Elsker Dig
Dutch – Ik hou van jou
Elvish – Amin mela lle
Esperanto – Mi amas vin
Estonian – Ma armastan sind
Ethiopian – Afgreki’
Faroese – Eg elski teg
Farsi – Doset daram
Filipino – Mahal kita
Finnish – Mina rakastan sinua
French – Je t’aime, Je t’adore
Frisian – Ik hâld fan dy
Gaelic – Ta gra agam ort
Georgian – Mikvarhar
German – Ich liebe dich
Greek – S’agapo
Gujarati – Hoo thunay prem karoo choo
Hiligaynon – Palangga ko ikaw
Hawaiian – Aloha Au Ia`oe
Hebrew (Thanks Lilach)
Hebrew to male: “ani ohev otcha” (said by male) “Ohevet ot’cha” (said by female)
Hebrew to female: “ani ohev otach” (said by male) “ohevet Otach” (said by female)
Hiligaynon – Guina higugma ko ikaw
Hindi – Hum Tumhe Pyar Karte hae
Hmong – Kuv hlub koj
Hopi – Nu’ umi unangwa’ta
Hungarian – Szeretlek
Icelandic – Eg elska tig
Ilonggo – Palangga ko ikaw
Indonesian – Saya cinta padamu
Inuit – Negligevapse
Irish – Taim i’ ngra leat
Italian – Ti amo
Japanese – Aishiteru
Kannada – Naanu ninna preetisuttene
Kapampangan – Kaluguran daka
Kiswahili – Nakupenda
Konkani – Tu magel moga cho
Korean – Sarang Heyo
Latin – Te amo
Latvian – Es tevi miilu
Lebanese – Bahibak
Lithuanian – Tave myliu
Luxembourgeois – Ech hun dech g..er
Macedonian – Te Sakam
Malay – Saya cintakan mu / Aku cinta padamu
Malayalam – Njan Ninne Premikunnu
Maltese – Inhobbok
Mandarin Chinese – Wo ai ni
Marathi – Me tula prem karto
Mohawk – Kanbhik
Moroccan – Ana moajaba bik
Nahuatl – Ni mits neki
Navaho – Ayor anosh’ni
Norwegian – Jeg Elsker Deg
Pandacan – Syota na kita!!
Pangasinan – Inaru Taka
Papiamento – Mi ta stimabo
Persian – Doo-set daaram
Pig Latin – Iay ovlay ouyay
Polish – Kocham Ciebie
Portuguese – Eu te amo
Romanian – Te iubesc
Russian – Ya tebya liubliu
Scot Gaelic – Tha gra..dh agam ort
Serbian – Volim te
Setswana – Ke a go rata
Sindhi – Maa tokhe pyar kendo ahyan
Sioux – Techihhila
Slovak – Lu`bim ta
Slovenian – Ljubim te
Spanish – Te quiero / Te amo
Swahili – Ninapenda wewe
Swedish – Jag alskar dig
Swiss-German – Ich lieb Di
Surinam – Mi lobi joe
Tagalog – Mahal kita
Taiwanese – Wa ga ei li
Tahitian – Ua Here Vau Ia Oe
Tamil – Nan unnai kathalikaraen
Telugu – Nenu ninnu premistunnanu
Thai – Chan rak khun (to male)
Thai – Phom rak khun (to female)
Turkish – Seni Seviyorum
Ukrainian – Ya tebe kahayu
Urdu – mai aap say pyaar karta hoo
Vietnamese – Anh ye^u em (to female)
Vietnamese – Em ye^u anh (to male)
Welsh – ’Rwy’n dy garu di
Yiddish – Ikh hob dikh
Yoruba – mo fe ran e

Until next week,images

Garbage Girl


No Waste Gifts for Mother Earth


Our most prized possession, earth, needs our help in more critical and time sensitive ways than ever before.   This Holiday Season, give her the gift of life by donating time, giving money, teaching others, and becoming a conscientious consumer who wants to do what is right for our planet.

Our Waste Matters has over 150 followers its first year!   Thank you for your support and interest in this very important issue.  I will continue to work hard bringing waste awareness information and choices to your life.  With your friends and families we can make an even larger difference this coming year in reducing the amount of waste we produce.

How You Can Help:

Have a safe, healthy and happy holiday season filled with joy from family and friends.  And I thank you again!

Until next week,images

Garbage Girl

Beyond Holiday Waste



This time of year can overwhelm the meaning it holds for you.

Christmas is a date set by fourth century Roman bishops to remember the birth of Christ and Christianise the pagan populations.  It extends to King’s Day.  Fires are lit all around the world to celebrate the winter solstice,  Yule is a historic Germanic festival,  Nordic trolls, gnomes and elves require food, presents and kindness in trade for good behavior,  Boxing Day recognizes the workers, Kwanza honors African heritage with feasts and gift giving,  Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of their Holy Temple .

Traditions like Santa and Christmas gifts became part of many modern celebrations.  In early times, presents were a symbolic exchange referencing Nicholas, the gift-giving Saint and honoring the Three Wise Men who selflessly provided for Mary.  The 1820s shop owner saw cash value in the festive traditions.

Santa wore a green coatChristmas myths such as Santa are a more modern tradition. Illustrated by Victorian Father Christmas loaded with gifts. until Coca Cola made it Coke red!  America alone uses 38,000 miles of ribbon, enough to tie a bow around the entire planet, 2.65 billion Christmas cards or the equivalent of a football field 10 stories high, and enough wrapping paper to cover 45,000 football fields. Black Friday became a race for retail.  Trees strapped atop cars race down the highways destined for lights and decor.  http://www.use-less-stuff.com/ULSDAY/42ways.html

This is the season to bring family, friends, traditions, and memories to your festivities and make sustainable choices that keep the joy in all of our Holiday Seasons.

Holiday decorations are a great way to honor your old traditions and make new ones.  Nothing beats the unwrapping of the ornament and the retelling of its story every year.   What an amazing idea to put them on a tree filled with lights!   So, put your LED dual strung Christmas lights on timers and save electricity.   Thrift stores, flea markets and local charities take and sell decorations.  Make your own from photos, memorabilia, nature and found objects.

Live trees from a local grower who matures and harvests trees responsibly can be replanted.  Imagine!  Our planet full of forests because we all purchased and replanted a live tree every year!  Wow!  There are numerous second hand reusable trees out there looking for good homes.  Your sanitation department can guide you on recycling your tree at the end of your holiday.  Trees can be formed out of just about any material. http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2009/12/03/18-clever-christmas-trees-created-with-recycled-materials/

Getting Holiday Cards is a treat.  They can be made with high recycled content, they can be one-sided so they save 50% of the paper, they can make gift tags next year, they can become tree ornaments, they can be art and they can be paperless.  Photo cards are great to get and they document the years gone by.

We all love the feeling of joy when someone genuinely considers who we are and presents us with a gift to show it.  Gifts can be consumable, they can be services, they can be eventful, they can be charitable, they can be personalized, they can be shared, they can be refillable, they can be memberships, they can teach, they can be recordings of your stories, they can fund the future, they can actually exist without needing power, and they can make wonderful traditions. Consider the life of your gift as well as its recipient.

I take a special pleasure in a beautiful and creatively presented gift.  Even the sight of it under the tree makes me happy with childlike anticipation. That doesn’t mean it has to join the other big holiday waste culprits.  Reuse shopping bags, wrapping paper, newspaper, magazines, ribbons, bows, sprigs of live evergreen,  a favorite T-shirt or textile, metal tins, baskets, jars or anything that expresses your genuine feelings.   It can be responsibly made, include high recycled content and be recycled afterward if its not glossy, foiled, glued or plasticized.  It can even be unwrapped and hidden.

The Holiday Meal is my favorite part.  The planning, the smells, the tastes, the gathering around the table, the traditional stories and the new additions are all part of creating our memories.  I come from a big family so lots of food means lots of joy.  To avoid the 40% increase in wasted food this time of year, follow recipes, plan the meal, shop locally, share the cooking, send your guests home with leftovers to extend the joy another day, donate excess food to emergency or homeless shelters, (in New York, we often drive by a less fortunate person who could use a good meal), use real dishes and cloth napkins.

Holiday shopping is an adventure in itself.  The decorations, the music, the hustle and bustle, the seasonal markets and bizarres.  Take your reusable shopping bags!  Consider gifts like candles, soap, or seeds that don’t create any waste at all.  Recycle all of those catalogues or call their 800 numbers to get removed from their lists.

Celebrate the greatest gift for all of us…Earth!

How You Can Help:

Until next week,

Garbage Girlimages-4


Waste Eaters


The most rewarding thing I did this summer was help my friends, Stuart and Jeanette, build a very large compost bin.  The bin was designed to look like the chicken coop, consume the year’s garden and kitchen waste and turn it into nutrient rich soil for the spring gardens.  We love cooking, eating, gardening and enjoying the results of a day’s work with good friends.  All the while, our busy composting friends are doing the same thing.

In small-scale outdoor composting systems, soil invertebrates contribute to the decomposition process.  Together with bacteria, fungi, and other microbes, these organisms make up a complex food web with primary, secondary, and tertiary level consumers.  The energy source is organic material and the result is organic matter.

Of all the components of soil, organic matter is probably the most important and most misunderstood.  Organic matter serves as a reservoir of nutrients and water in the soil, aids in reducing compaction and surface crusting, and increases water infiltration into the soil.

Organic material and organic matter are different.  Organic material is anything that was alive in or on the soil.  For it to become organic matter, it must decompose into humus.  Humus is organic material that has been converted by microorganisms to a resistant state of decomposition.  Organic material is unstable in the soil, changing form and mass readily as it decomposes.  As much as 90 percent of it disappears quickly because of decomposition.

Stable organic matter has been broken down until it is resistant to further decomposition.  We are grateful to the invertebrates who make this happen.

Invertebrates of the Compost Pile 

Tertiary Consumers
(organisms that eat secondary consumers)
centipedes, predatory mites, rove beetles, ants,carabid beetles
Secondary Consumers
(organisms that eat primary consumers)
springtails, some types of mites, feather-winged beetles
nematodes, protozoa, rotifera, soil flatworms
Primary Consumers
(organisms that eat organic material)
bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, nematodes, some types of mites, snails, slugs, earthworms, millipedes, sowbugs, whiteworms
Organic Material
leaves, grass clippings, other plant debris, food scraps, fecal matter and animal bodies including those of soil invertebrates

It all has to do with nitrogen conversion. The above consumers increase the surface area of organic material so that microbes can convert atmospheric nitrogen to a form of nitrogen that all living organisms can use.

In addition, these invertebrates are in constant motion, tunneling through the material which aerates the heap and allows water to enter.  As each decomposer dies or excretes, more food is added to the web for other decomposers.  Let’s meet these hardworking creatures.

images-1Nematodes: These tiny, cylindrical, often transparent microscopic worms are the most abundant physical decomposers (a handful of decaying compost contains several million).  Under a magnifying lens they resemble fine human hair.  Some species scavenge on decaying vegetation, some feed on bacteria, fungi, protozoa and other nematodes, and some suck the juices of plant roots and root vegetables.

Unknown-1Mites: Mites are the second most common invertebrate found in compost.  They have eight leg-like jointed appendages.  Some can be seen with the naked eye and others are microscopic.  Some hitch rides on the back of other faster moving invertebrates such as sowbugs, millipedes and beetles.  Some scavenge on organic debris, while others eat fungi, and yet others feed on nematodes, eggs, insect larvae and other mites and springtails.  They can be free-living or parasitic.

Unknown-4Springtails: Springtails are extremely numerous in compost.  They are very small wingless insects  distinguished by their ability to jump when disturbed.  They run in and around the particles in the compost and have a small spring-like structure under the belly that catapults them into the air when the spring catch is triggered.  They chew on decomposing plants, pollen, grains, and fungi.  They also eat nematodes and droppings of other arthropods and then meticulously clean themselves after feeding.

images-2Earthworms:  Earthworms do the most decomposition work.  They constantly tunnel and feed on dead plants and decaying insects.  Their tunneling aerates the compost and enables water, nutrients and oxygen to filter down.   As soil or organic matter is passed through an earthworm’s digestive system, it is broken up, neutralized by secretions of calcium carbonate from calciferous glands near the gizzard and finely ground prior to digestion.   Digestive intestinal juices rich in hormones, enzymes, and other fermenting substances continue the breakdown process and pass out of the worm’s body in the form of casts.  These casts are the finest quality of all humus.

Unknown-3Slugs and snails:  Slugs and snails generally feed on living plant material but fresh garbage and plant debris in compost is also desirable.

images-3Centipedes: Centipedes are fast moving predators found mostly in the top few inches of the compost heap.  They have formidable claws behind their head which possess poison glands that paralyze small red worms, insect larvae, newly hatched earthworms, insects and spiders.

Millipedes:  Slower and more cylindrical than centipedes, they have two pairs of appendages on each body segment.  They feed mainly on decaying plant tissue but also eat insect carcasses and excrement.

Unknown-5 Sow Bugs:  Sow Bugs are fat bodied crustaceans with delicate plate-like gills along the lower surface of their abdomens that must be kept moist.  They move slowly around the organic materials digesting as they go.

Unknown-6Beetles:   Rove beetles, ground beetles and feather-winged beetles are most common.  images-4 Elongated Rove beetles and rounder Ground beetles prey on other insects, snails, slugs and small animals.

Unknown-9Feather-winged beetles feed on fungal spores.



harvester-ant-illustration_1500x1200Ants:  Ants feed on aphids, fungi, seeds, sweets, scraps, other insects and sometimes other ants.  Compost provides some of these foods as well as shelter for nests and hills.  By bringing fungi and other organisms into their nests, ants benefit the compost heap by moving minerals like phosphorus and potassium around.

house-fly-illustration_2550x2037Flies:  During the early stages of the composting process, flies provide ideal airborne transportation for bacteria on their way to the pile.  Flies spend their larval phase in compost as maggots, which do not survive thermophilic temperatures. Adults feed upon organic vegetation.

UnknownSpiders:  Spiders feed on insects and other small invertebrates.


Kaldari_pseudoscorpion_01Pseudoscorpions:  Pseudoscorpions are predators which seize victims with their visible front claws, then inject poison from glands located at the tips of the claws.  Prey include minute nematode worms, mites, larvae, and small earthworms.

imagesEarwigs:  Earwigs are large predators, easily seen with the naked eye. They move about quickly. Some are predators. Others feed chiefly on decayed plants.

Cornell Composting and the Environmental Protection Agency http://compost.css.cornell.edu/invertebrates.html   http://www2.epa.gov/students  have extensive sites and tools for educating and engaging you in waste awareness.

How You Can Help:

  • Build a compost bin!  Get infinite joy using it!
  • Ew!  Who knew hummus was dead bugs and excrement!  Look for these creatures and thankfully cheer them on so we can have more great soil.
  • Inner cities have composting resources at green markets, farmers markets, and green spaces like neighborhood gardens.
  • Learn about composting inside with earthworms.
  • Engage in your community and reduce the amount of organic material that gets into the municipal solid waste stream.
  • Learn what these amazing composting invertebrates can and cannot use to enrich your soil and continue the cycle forever.  How cool is that?!

Until next week,Compost-dirt

Garbage Girl