ASU Green Labs



Arizona State University Green Labs/Green Offices project –


No such thing as ‘away’

Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there…

William Bryant Logan, author of Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, recalls a conversation he had with Clark Gregory, a compost guru in central Florida, as he explains how he travels the country spreading the word about the value of composting:

     “We’ll just chip away a little at a time, and eventually nothing at will be going into the landfill anymore.”

     Aren’t there things that just have to be thrown away, I ask.

     “There’s no such place as ‘away’ “ he replies.

     “So all of those wastes from the farm, the home, the lumberyard, and the fishing boats shouldn’t be going to the landfill?”

     “It’s not waste,” says Gregory. “It’s not waste until it’s wasted.”

There is no such thing as ‘away’; no such thing as non-anthropogenic waste. Nature does not waste, it cycles and recycles.

It’s not that humans can’t be sustainable, it’s just that we won’t. We are like children, sitting in the corner with our arms crossed, a sour look on our faces, because our mothers tried to make us clean up the mess we made when we spilled the chocolate milk all over the table after a temper tantrum because we couldn’t have a second scoop of ice cream with our chocolate cake.

There’s a very practical origin to the saying “Mother knows best”. Maybe mother didn’t want us to have a second scoop of ice cream because she loves us and doesn’t want us to get a tummy ache. Maybe, just maybe, Mother Nature didn’t want us to discover oil, because she knew she couldn’t clean it up properly if one day we accidentally dumped it in the ocean. Maybe that’s why she put it down so deep in the first place.

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there…

Would you do to your baby, what you do to your ocean?


Happy National Bird Day!

January 5th 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of National Bird Day! Organized by Born Free USA it promotes the idea that “non-domesticated animals that belong in the wild, where they can fly free and express their natural behaviors”. Also, birds should not be sold in pet stores; instead we should appreciate those that fly free outside our windows, and discourage captive bird trade. Click here to see how you can get involved!

To celebrate National Bird Day, here are some fun facts about birds:

The Anna’s Hummingbird is considered the fastest animal on Earth. Its courtship dive is faster than a fighter jet a full throttle. It’s swoop experiences forces 10 times the pull of gravity!

Based on similarities in skeletal structure, a good number of scientists have theorized that many modern bird species evolved from the dinosaurs.


Migratory birds (ex. geese) fly in a V-shaped formation to optimize aerodynamics and conserve energy – those in the front ‘break up’ the air along their wing tips, which both decreases air resistance for those behind and creates a sort of vortex behind the group, pushing the whole formation forward.

Some birds cannot fly. For example, the ostrich, penguin, emu, cassowary, rhea, and kiwi.

Kiwi bird (New Zealand)

The ostrich is the world’s largest (living bird). Adult males can be up to 8 feet tall and weigh between 140 to 230 pounds! Since it is also flightless, it depends on running to escape predators. Beware, they also pack a powerful kick!