Monday, January 21, 2008

Top websites for the eco-conscious

There are some sites that prove to be immensely helpful to me on the road to self-sufficiency. For some, it's the information they provide. For others, it's the services. Here's a list I've put together of useful sites to help you immerse yourself in the green life.

1. is a social environmental news site that mimics Anyone can browse through pages of user submitted links to information on recycling, organic food, alternative energy, and so much more. Best of all, accounts are free, so you can add your own eco-news (and they even recommend news to you based on the news you post)!

As a side note, I've created a feed flare unit, so if you use FeedBurner to resyndicate your environmental blog, you can add the Hugg This! link to the end of each of your posts.

2. Green Dimes

Green Dimes is a great service that I found a little over a year ago. The website will remove your name and mailing address from all of the bulk mailing lists (you know, the ones that send you credit card and insurance offers, and all that jazz). I signed up and have been junk mail free. You can even choose which catalogs you wish to stop receiving. Not only that, but they also plant 10 trees in your name! Not only are you saving lots of trees from being chopped down to be turned into paper (and eventually your junk mail), but they're also planting trees to replace the ones that already have!

Submit your e-mail address in the box below, and they'll plant an additional 20 trees when you sign up, just because I referred you!

3. First Look

I've mentioned First Look once before, in my alternative energy post. First Look is a web service for assessing your wind and solar potentials at a given address or set of coordinates. Thinking about installing a wind turbine or solar panels on your property? Check out First Look first to see if you have what it takes.

4. YouTube

It must seem like a bit of a cop out to list YouTube on my list of sites for homesteaders, but it is really immensely useful. Most people just use YouTube as a source of entertainment, but search for How-to videos and you may be surprised about what you can find. I did find excellent instructions on processing flax after all.


You might be able to provide everything you absolutely need, but a little help from the outside can make life a little more comfortable at the very least. Freecycle is a service that connects people that have things with people that want things, all for free! People post things that would otherwise just get thrown away, and then people in the community (it's seperated by city or county) can come and get them. You can also post ads to find someone that has what you need. There's absolutely no selling or trading though. Everything you give or get is 100% free (check out if you're interested in buying, selling, or trading). I always see posts for bricks, wood, fencing, topsoil, and more... perfect for the do-it-yourselfer.


I recently found when searching for homesteading resources. The site offers a lot of great articles on a wide range of "off grid" issues (off grid meaning to live without having water and electricity provided for you by utility companies). They have a classified section that has offers for everything from biodiesel to green homes. There's also a forum on the site that I haven't poked around in yet, but I will soon.


WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. WWOOFing is the practice of volunteering at an organic farm in exchange for food, housing, and organic farming experience. As a student I was able to partake in a WWOOFing experience this past summer at my university's farm. I highly recommend it. It provides the most valuable experience you could ever gain, and you get all kinds of fresh produce to boot. I ate like a king this summer (the university didn't allow the sale of the produce, so the 5 of us that worked the farm with the occasional help from volunteers got the entire harvest to ourselves). gives a list of international WWOOFing organizations. Go to for a U.S.-specific site.

8. One Green World

This particular site might only be relevant to people in a climate like mine, but it might inspire you in your gardening endeavors. It's a website for a nursery here in Oregon that has a lot of exotic plants. I've never seen anyone growing figs, kiwis, tea, pistachios, or pomegranates in Oregon, but apparently it's possible. You might just come to find that you actually can grow those things that you thought you'd have to go if you were providing everything for yourself.

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