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Green Living

Bill Gingras has been trying to drive without fossil fuel

For 38 years, local inventor Bill Gingras will never get lost. The compass he has painted on the driveway points him in the direction of the outside world, while the large spherical globe on his front lawn denotes home base.     Throughout his life, this man of invention has created his own direction. At 82, the owner of the first — or maybe second — all-electric Nissan Leaf in Chesapeake Country is still pointing the way to the future.

One person’s trash is another’s visionary art at At Annmarie Garden

In Annmarie Garden of visionary art, odd ideas pop up like weeds, which visionary botanists tell us are misunderstood flowers. The newest sprout is artLAB, where heroes young and old turn trash into art in a new twist on recycling.     The very creation of artLAB was an act of repurposing. The old café could be better used, Curator of Public Programs Jaimie Jeffrey decided, as an interactive teaching lab.

Odds are good, yours is, tooOdds are good, yours is, too

If the kids left the door ajar with the air-conditioning running, you’d close it. If the windows were open and it grew too chilly, you’d shut them. If a tree crashed through your roof, you’d get it fixed.     So you’d probably be surprised to learn that your home has a gaping hole — or its equivalent, made up of hundreds or even thousands of tiny points of ingress and egress, where air flows in or out.

Electronic devices contain hazardous ­materials that need proper recycling

In 2009, 438 million electronic products were sold, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s the last year data are available, but with new products, sales are stronger than ever.     So what to do with our old electronics?

One family proves that an environmentally progressive home doesn't have to look like a science project

Martha and Bill Sykora’s 1951 house looks like a conventional, home. Nothing sci-fi about it. Behind the façade, it’s anything but conventional. It will be Anne Arundel County’s first LEED Platinum-certified home.     The Sykora home proves that an environmentally progressive building doesn’t have to look like a science project.

Simple steps to lower your utility bills and ease the pressure on Mother Earth.

Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat     Keeping your home warm in the winter, or cool in the summer, requires a lot of energy. Control these costs with an energy-saving programmable thermostat. This thermostat is programmed by time and temp so that your heating or central air-conditioning is on when you want it to be and at the temperature you choose.

The Kniskerns’ yard is a sustainable smorgasbord

The fifth of an acre where James and Mary Kniskern live in Arnold was about what you’d expect for a suburban dwelling: grass, azaleas, daffodils in the spring, pachysandras year-round. As you’d expect, it required the drone of a mower and sweat non-equity to keep it in shape.     “I didn’t like to mow,” says James.     But what was the alternative?

At Spider Hall, education and old-fashioned fun help keep the family farm in business

Squeals rise from deep inside the eight-acre corn maze. Families hitch a ride atop bales of hay. Kids scour the pumpkin patch in search of the perfect gourd. Shoppers mull over crisp apples and Maryland meat, cheese and ice cream in the farm market.     Susan and Catherine Cox — mother and daughter proprietors of Calvert County’s Spider Hall Farm — lure people to their fields with fun — hoping they leave with good memories and newfound respect for farming.

We’ll all have to do our part in managing our Total Maximum Daily Load if we’re going to piece together a healthier Bay

It won’t happen without you.     The actions of federal, state and local governments are just the beginning of revitalizing the Bay. We are also counting on the partnership of millions of people who live in this region to join in protecting the waters that support their health, their environment and their economy.     So said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson this summer, speaking in her new role as this year’s president of the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council.

Southern High School artists will paint you a wall to proclaim it

When it comes to wearing your heart on your sleeve, Muddy Creek Animal Hospital, in the rural crossroads known as West River, has reached a new high. The artists of Southern High School have splashed a celebration of the Southern Anne Arundel environment — from Bay to wetlands to farm fields — onto the vet clinic’s 25-foot-high exterior wall.