Jared Wolf's articles

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The scoop: After spending a few summers commercial landscaping, I learned a thing or two about what to do and what to avoid if you care about the environment. Landscaping can be complementary to surrounding wildlife, or totally intrusive, depending on your strategy.

The key to sustainable landscaping: 1) Reduce open, unused space 2) Keep grass above 3 inches 3) The lusher the better 4) Use native plants, check for invasive ones 5) Maximize what you have, your yard can be largely self-sustaining.

Bottom line: You can work with your landscaper or do it yourself. Creating a sustainable landscaping strategy does not require additional work. In fact, if done right, it should require less maintenance. You just need a little research and attention to detail if you want it to look good too.

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Gardening can be as simple as putting a seed in the ground and watering it. But we tend to overcomplicate it. Many get discouraged when plants don’t grow properly. Looking for some quick garden wins? Here are 5 easy edible plants you can grow for all the gardening beginners out there.
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The scoop: A compost pile is an eco-friendly, efficient way to maximize your garden’s potential. And it’s super easy to set-up and maintain.

Step 1: Pick a location, choose how to store it. Choosing a spot for your compost depends on where you live. If you end up putting it in a bin, poke some holes and cut out the bottom.

Step 2: Collect, collect, and collect more waste. Make it a habit to add organic materials to your compost. See below for a full list of compostable (and non-compostable) items.

Step 3: Wait, use, and maintain. After a few months, you will be dripping in black gold! Once your compost is set up, keep adding more materials to maintain it.

Dig deeper ➝ 3 min

  1. Lifestyle
  2. People
  3. Thinking

Cue the Billy Joel music... I'm movin' out. The limits of urban confinement are undeniable. The Suez Canal crisis is the latest excuse to leave big cities and invest in flyover country.

I've spent the past year exposing unsustainable lifestyles in major US cities. Urban efficiency in energy and transportation is now overshadowed by the literal garbage required to live in unnatural environments. Fewer people are commuting to cities. Can't make that argument anymore.

Plus, sustainable energy, agriculture, and transportation are more affordable than ever.

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  1. Better Brands
  2. Business
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The scoop: Patagonia is a forward-thinking billion-dollar brand. But there is always work to be done. Let's see how they chalk up.

Is Patagonia sustainable?

  • Patagonia uses mostly recycled materials.
  • They have a lifetime return and repair program for all of their products.
  • Patagonia still uses animals in their supply chain, but they try to do it as responsibly as possible. I'd rather see no animal use.
  • They are slightly above average when it comes to labor conditions.
  • Patagonia looks to go carbon neutral by 2025.

Zoom out: Patagonia hits on the environmental side, but they have some work to do, especially regarding transparency & ethics surrounding suppliers and animal welfare.

Dig deeper → 3 min

  1. Better Brands
  2. Better Business
  3. Better Markets
  4. Business
  5. Profit
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The scoop: NFTs went mainstream. Now more people are starting to realize Ethereum has a sustainable energy problem. There is a solution.

Not all blockchains are the same: Bitcoin uses about 1% of the world’s electricity. Ethereum is the second largest coin and runs on a similar model as Bitcoin. Neither are energy efficient.

Still, blockchain technology as a whole operates under many different consensus algorithms. Bitcoin and Ethereum’s proof-of-work model is just one version.

Sustainable proposals: Convert mining facilities to use more renewable forms of energy. That’s a good place to start.

More effectively, big coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum can operate using a proof-of-stake model to be more sustainable. This would allow fewer nodes (computers) to validate transactions on the public ledger and increase the energy efficiency of their blockchains.

Finally, emerging coins should look to more efficient consensus algos like Ripple as a model for sustainable crypto. That would propel the industry forward.

Bottom line: Progress is happening. There are existing solutions. The blockchain industry just needs a little nudge to do better.

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Here's how to transform yourself into a minimalist:

  1. Track your purchases and categorize them. I break my purchases into "needs" (basic modern survival stuff), "boosts" (productive buys), and "luxuries" (extra things that make life more enjoyable).
  2. Think before you buy, think after. Why am I about to make this purchase? Now imagine making the purchase, how would you feel after one week, one month, one year?
  3. Take responsibility for a product's end-of-life. The trash can or recycling bin should be the last option. Can you share it, borrow it, sell it, repurpose it, thrift it, make it?

Bottom line: 'Less is more' stands the test of time; when you practice minimalism in an intentional way, everyone benefits. If you do shop, always keep ethics and savings in mind.

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  1. Better Brands
  2. Better Business
  3. Business
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The scoop: All plant milk is more sustainable than dairy milk. But that doesn't mean all plant milks are sustainable.

SR's favorites:

  • Pea milk: protein-rich, noninvasive crop, good taste.
  • Hemp/flax seed milk: nutritious and low emission-based.
  • Hazelnut milk: tastes great in a cup of coffee, pollinates naturally, grows on trees.

Bottom line: Every company has a different process, but we can draw conclusions about the sustainability of certain crops. As consumer interest in plant milk keeps growing, it's important to distinguish good labels from bad labels.

The best best thing you can do is make your own plant milk at home. Just take your favorite organic, fair-trade nut or seed and mix it with water in a blender. Details in the article!

Dig deeper → 6 min

  1. Better Brands
  2. Business
  3. Profit

Is Adidas a sustainable brand? In December, the global shoemaker announced plans to make 60% of its products using sustainable materials. They seem committed to a healthier planet.

Let's find out if Adidas is sustainable. Do they put their money where their mouth is?

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  1. Doing
  2. Lifestyle
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  4. Water
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The scoop: Microplastics can be found in every crevice of the Earth. As they become more prevalent, they are more likely to impact human health.

Top ways to avoid microplastics:

  • Filtered tap water > bottled water.
  • Shellfish = microplastic.
  • Eat more fresh food, less takeout.

Zoom out: As the global production of plastic goes up, there will be more plastic to deal with. Research on the impact of microplastics on human health is still developing. Better to be safe than sorry.

Dig deeper → 4 min

  1. Energy
  2. Energy and Environment
  3. Land
  4. Planet

The scoop: Below-freezing temperatures blasted the southern US this week, prompting rolling blackouts over the past few days.

Key takeaways:

  • Texas was not prepared to deal with the energy demand spikes.
  • Natural gas & coal were not sufficient, renewables failed in freezing temperatures.
  • America still needs a cocktail of energy supply to meet increasing consumer demand.

Zoom out: The Texas energy security issue is something every American should pay attention to. How can we carefully adopt a renewable-first economy without compromising reliability?

Dig deeper → 3 min

  1. Better Business
  2. Business
  3. Profit
  4. Science
  5. Thinking

The scoop: Bill Gates published a new book about climate change. Why are we praising a tech entrepreneur pretending to be a scientist and public health official?

Why it matters: I think people like Bill Gates make everyday people more suspicious of actual science. Gates should step aside and let real scientists do the talking. Because as it turns out, he isn't always right.

My proposal: Let's praise and highlight actual climatologists dedicated to the field. He's not even a professional writer.

We need to build communication platforms for researchers, doctors, and scientists to bridge the gap between complex subject matter and public skepticism. Businessmen like Bill Gates only widen the gap (imo).

Bottom line: Let's hear the talking points not from some obscure monolithic gospel, but science-backed, distinguished talking points from recognizable human faces.

Dig deeper → 3 min

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