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Seattle

Buy Local Firewood

A fire can be delightful during cold weather, but knowing where the wood comes from matters. Tree-killing insects and diseases hide in firewood, so it is best to buy and keep wood local. Some trees look healthy even though they are already infested. If you’re going camping, buy wood nearby your campsite so you don’t [...]

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Which Tree for Me?

There are many options to consider when choosing a Christmas tree for your home, including a fresh cut tree, an artificial tree or a living tree. Fresh cut trees are grown on Christmas tree farms, an acre of which provides the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people and contributes other benefits to the environment such [...]

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Heating Season Help

Depending on the type of heating fuel you use at home, your energy bill could go up a little – or a lot – when compared to last year’s heating season. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Winter Fuels Outlook uses energy price projections and forecasted weather data from NOAA to predict winter heating bills [...]

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Safe Heating

Did you know that studies have shown that the air inside our homes can be more polluted that the air outside? Indoor air pollutants come from a variety of sources, including building materials and decorating products, as well as activities such as cooking, cleaning, heating, and cooling. Indoor air pollution can trigger health problems for [...]

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Lighten Up

The average household in the United States spends over 2000 dollars per year on energy (see regional data). While up to half of the energy used goes towards heating and cooling, other home features like water heaters, appliances and lighting contribute to energy bills. Swapping traditional light bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) is one [...]

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A Bumper Crop of Pumpkins?

Extreme heat and drought over the summer took their toll on many food crops – but there is an abundance of pumpkins in many places for the fall season. Why? Pumpkins are one of few crops that do well during drought conditions. Lack of rain in many places this year actually protected the pumpkins from [...]

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Work for Energy Savings

Did you know that commercial and industrial buildings account for up to half of energy use in the United States? Many of the simple energy-saving steps we use at home can be implemented at work, too. Viewer Tip: Every October, government organizations, businesses, associations and individuals observe Energy Awareness Month with activities and programs to [...]

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Lakeshore Habitat (Western Mountains)

Do you have questions about water quality in the lakes, ponds and reservoirs where you live?  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may be able to provide some answers with the National Lakes Assessment – a national survey conducted in 2007 on the condition of the nation’s lakes, ponds and reservoirs.  Waters across the nation were [...]

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Leave Hungry Pests Behind (European Grapevine Moth)

Are you unknowingly harboring tiny hitch-hikers? One of the ways pests, diseases and harmful weeds spread is by hitching a ride with humans, pets and vehicles. An invasive pest is one that is introduced to areas that are not part of its natural range, where it may not have any natural enemies to keep its [...]

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Leave Hungry Pests Behind (European Gypsy Moth)

Are you unknowingly harboring tiny hitch-hikers? One of the ways pests, diseases and harmful weeds spread is by hitching a ride with humans, pets and vehicles. An invasive pest is one that is introduced to areas that are not part of its natural range, where it may not have any natural enemies to keep its [...]

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National Environmental Education Week

This week (April 15-21, 2012) is National Environmental Education Week (EE Week – a sister program of Earth Gauge), the nation’s largest environmental education event held each year the week before Earth Day to inspire environmental learning and stewardship among students and the public. This year’s EE Week theme is Greening STEM: The Environment as [...]

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Picking Up

Every time it rains, thousands of pounds of pet waste left outside wash down storm drains and into local waters. Pet waste can harm water quality in lakes, rivers and streams, making the water unsafe for drinking. Bacteria and nutrients from pet waste can turn fertile waters green from weed and algae growth, making the [...]

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Spring into Compost

Did you know that yard trimmings and food make up 27 percent of the waste going to landfills in the United States? Putting yard and food waste in a compost pile instead of a trash can lowers the load in our landfills and creates rich organic material that can enhance plant growth and reduce the [...]

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Marvelous Migrants (West)

Birds are on the move!  Migratory birds are traveling from their wintering grounds in Mexico, Central and South America to the U.S. and Canada, where they feast on abundant insects and plant foods during spring and summer.  How do they know when to leave and where to go? Birds that migrate short distances – such [...]

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Salmon and Estuaries

New research shows that estuaries are vital for salmon survival. Pacific salmon species—Chinook, Coho, sockeye, pink and chum, in particular—use intertidal marsh areas in estuaries as transition zones to acclimatize from fresh to salt water and back again as they complete their life cycles. Among the findings: marsh habitats are consistently used by juvenile Chinook [...]

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Mulch Matters

Mulch is any covering placed around plants. Mulch conserves water because and prevents erosion by slowing runoff and permitting your landscape to better absorb and retain water from winter rains. Mulch also suppresses weed growth, shelters the soil from temperature extremes and improves appearance of your landscape. Viewer Tip: Apply a two- to three-inch layer [...]

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Geography and Weather

November 13-19 is the National Geographic Society’s Geography Awareness Week.  This year’s theme is “The Adventure in Your Community.”  Geography is all around us and varies from region to region in the United States.  Did you know that geography and weather are very closely linked? Explore some of the connections below. (Click on images or [...]

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Heating Season is Here

Did you know that the average family spends about 2,200 dollars per year on energy bills? Nearly half of that money goes towards heating and cooling a home or apartment. Viewer Tip: As the weather cools down, try these tips from Energy Star to stay warm while saving energy and money. Get a check-up: Poor [...]

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Pumpkin Harvest

About 80 percent of the United States’ pumpkin supply is available in October, but pumpkin makes an appearance year-round in pies, breads and other foods. Weather can have a big impact on the yearly pumpkin harvest. Wet and soggy: Too much rain can cause crops to rot. Mildews, which thrive in wet conditions, can damage [...]

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When the Tide is Out, the Table is Set

That’s what the old timers would say and it meant you could dig for the many types of clams that make Puget Sound world famous for its good shellfish. But make sure you check local health advisories before digging for clams or harvesting oysters and mussels to eat. Some beaches are closed to harvesting due [...]

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