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Practical Environmentalist is a blog that tries to keep you updated with news and tips about the practical aspect of being green.

Kent and Lars post on the site. If you want to contact us or have a suggestion of something we should write about, leave a comment under any of the posts. We look forward to hearing from you!

Kent Reed Swanson

Kent Swanson has a Master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning. He has worked as an Open Space Planner for a medium-sized city, as a landscaper, and as a gardener in a small botanical garden. He also helped a small municipal government in Honduras with environmental issues while a volunteer in the Peace Corps. Before that, he worked on river restoration projects in the Rio Laja watershed of central Mexico. He now works as a bilingual educator and as a freelance writer specializing in the environment.

He says about his experiences,

“During my work I’ve found that many environmental changes tend to follow the trends of politics. So, sometimes it feels like it’s hard for citizens to make big impacts on the environment unless you become a full time advocate, an environmental lawyer, or a politician. However, while the failures and challenges of environmental work are often present, I have taken away some important lessons from my different experiences. I have learned the importance of environmental education, and of small scale community-based conservation projects to protect the environment. I feel that this is really where we as individuals can have the biggest impact on the environment, through small projects at home and within our communities.”

Lars is the owner of Clean Air Gardening, an online retailer specializing in environmentally responsible lawn and garden supplies including organic fertilizers, compost bins, reel and electric mowers, rainwater collecting equipment and more. He has a relatively useless bachelor of arts degree in German from Baylor University, a quite useful master’s degree in international journalism from Baylor, and an extremely practical MBA from Colorado State University. His interest in the environment (and his unwillingness to spend a lot of money) led him to buy his first manual reel lawnmower in 1997. It worked so well that he ended up launching a business based on sustainable lawn and gardening supplies that he has run ever since. Lars lives in Dallas, Texas.

“I get really frustrated reading all the doom and gloom news stories about the environment. I don’t think for a second that the environment is a lost cause, or that we’ll end up destroying the planet that we live on. I truly believe that the future is bright, and that technology and human ingenuity will prevail, bringing us a world that is even better tomorrow than it is today. I think that given the opportunity and the choice, individuals want to protect the environment instead of destroying it. When we take small steps as individuals, they add up, and they DO make a difference. Don’t think that what you do doesn’t matter. It’s the millions of individual choices we make every day that make the world go around. Even if you made a bad choice yesterday, you can make a better one today. Do something positive. You’ll feel good about it, and it will make a difference. Together, we are a whole army of environmentalists.”

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Jean Haas April 10, 2007 at 10:57 am

Inspired Watering: Good Practice for the Garden

Inspired Watering, Good Practice For the Garden, an illustrated book on the construction and installation of simple pumice wicks to realize significant water savings in municipal and household gardening and landscaping; including conventional planters, biodegradable planters, tree planting, vegetable and flower beds, and in utilizing rainwater harvest, is now available as a free downloadable PDF at http://www.gemma.ca

Pumice is a natural, abundant, volcanic stone with powerful wicking properties. The stone is employed as a water-wick in the conversion of conventional container and in-ground cultivation into reservoir enabled self-watering systems. Water savings realized as a result of this conversion are very high.

Jean Haas April 10, 2007 at 7:48 pm

Sorry – wrong spot to post this. To the administrator: Please move above post to Gardening.

Luis August 16, 2007 at 4:17 pm

Great blog, Ken!
If the economics don’t work, recycling efforts won’t either.
As our little contribution to make this economics of recycling more appealing, LivePaths blogs about people and companies that make money selling recycled or reused items, provide green services or help us reduce our dependency on non renewable resources.

David September 14, 2007 at 11:34 am

Kent and Lars,

Great site!

…and thank you very much for including GetwithGreen.com on your blogroll. We will do the same as soon as we add a blogroll to our site next month.

Best Regards,
Co-Founder, GetWithGreen.com

Steven Faucette November 20, 2007 at 8:12 am

Thought you might be interested in taking a look at my photography and products. I do a lot of country and mountain living photography, mainly from the upstate of South Carolina. My products include note cards which feature one of my photos on the front. The insides are blank for multi purpose use. On the back of each card is something about the photo plus a verse of Scripture to go along with the theme of the photo.
I think these note cards in particular would be of interest to environmentalists.
If you want to offer any of these products on your web site I could even work out something with you to donate a portion of the proceeds (up to 40% of the sales price).
Anyway, let me know if you’d be interested.

Kayleigh Fitch December 7, 2007 at 8:11 am

I’m with the public relations agency working with Wonder Tablitz (www.wondertablitz.com), a new brand of environmentally smart household cleaners. We thought you would be interested in the product after reviewing your site.

Wonder Tablitz represents the first time consumers can use patented effervescent tablets with a custom spray bottle to produce effective cleaning products that cost 50% less than traditional cleaners. At the same time, consumers help reduce plastic waste, corrugated box waste and carbon emissions by 2/3 or more.

If you would like to test the product, please let me know by emailing kayleigh@sweeneypr.com. Thank you.

Joe Maluso December 7, 2007 at 2:08 pm

“The beginning is near”.

We are nearly ready to officially launch “Brand of the Free”, 100% American made graphic apparel in regular and organic cotton. Created sweatshop free and printed with eco friendly inks, of course.

We would appreciate your comments. http://www.brandofthefree.net

Thank you,
Joe Maluso

Nick January 31, 2008 at 4:07 pm

Dear Kent, Lars and Practical Environmentalist Readers!

Please check it out: Soles United is a not-for-profit that recycles used shoes and distributes them worldwide to people in need! It’s a great way to do something useful with your old worn out shoes you would otherwise throw away. Look at what they’re doing at http://www.solesunited.com and please visit the site and help Soles United to reach their 2 million shoes target goal! Thanks.

Luca Novarino February 3, 2008 at 12:46 pm


I’m a reader of your blog. I write this E-mail to let you know about a new project we are developing.


Sistemas Forestales Ecológicos S.A. De C.V. is a Mexican joint stock company, legally established in 2005 in Zacatlán, Puebla, by a small group of people aware of the environmental and social situation, confident of being able to develop projects to help both conditions through reforestation.
The personal experiences of part of the team in projects regarding plantations (for a total of more than 15 million trees in Mexico) has favored the development of a self-sufficient company with a 100% ecologic objective and a strong social awareness.

The project is simple and ambitious at the same time: to combine an ecological and social product with a high performance for the purchaser.

The aim is to invest in high quality wood, a good with a high historical turnover, and with perspectives of an even better future. To invest in the planting of a tree, paying a minimal percentage of what would be the value of the grown plant, increases the advantage of this investment, and at the same time requalifies the territory and creates workplaces for local populations.

Hope you’ll find our project interesting.

Thank you for your attention.

Tracey Smith February 26, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Hi Guys,

I hope you’ll consider listing details of the eco-awareness campaign InterNational Downshifting Week, see http://www.DownshiftingWeek.com for details.

In essence, it will help you ‘slow down and green up’, live a more sustainable life and get a better work and life balance.

All the best,
Tracey Smith

will March 11, 2008 at 10:09 am


I been having many arguments among my friends due to this topic and I was
wondering if someone is able to clarify or able to support their claims to this

Many international environmental meetings, treaties, and negotiations have been
troubled or outright stalled by the conflict between the United States and other
countries. The US, until recently joined by Australia, says China, now the
world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, consumer of coal, creator of air
pollution, etc, and a late developing country that has the opportunity of
learning from the previous mistakes of others, ought to be a responsible
environmental citizen now. China, on the other hand, still joined by many
countries, argues that over half its people are still poor, there is little
money available for environmental mitigation, and that it is not fair to make
the Chinese people forego the benefits of prosperity in order to clean up the
world for the Americans, who really dirtied the world earlier and still use much
more energy, emit more greenhouse gases, and create more pollution per capita
than does China. Who’s right?

GDP per capita US still emits more than China…

Thanks for your thoughts


Michelle Jayme June 17, 2008 at 8:25 am


Please post to get the word out about Bag Revolution.

Bag Revolution offers a line of reusable tote bags, each with its own environmental message. The bags are made out of 100% non-woven polypropylene, which is a lightweight, durable and recyclable material. With a sturdy removable base, the bags carry loads of books, personal items and can even be taken to the mall for shopping! Each bag showcases an environmental message such as: “Same bag, different day,” “BIG bag theory”, “Fill the BAG, not the LAND” and “Earth Angel”.

Here is our website –


Thanks for taking a look!


Paige June 18, 2008 at 8:26 am

I thought you might be interested in GreenLine Paper (www.greenlinepaper.com), which has been dedicated to selling environmentally sound office products and more since the early ’90s. The company is rapidly expanding, and now offers an online Green Office Certification, Green Office News e-newsletter, and a wide selection of products from 100 percent recycled copier paper to compostable coffee cups and non-toxic cleaning products — even organic and fairly traded coffees, teas, sugar, and chocolate.
Please let me know if this is of interest to you and if you would like any more information.
Thank you so much for your consideration!
Paige Wolf

JoAnn Passarelli July 29, 2008 at 1:22 pm

I am looking for information on the impact of color printers on indoor environment especially in offices. any assistance is appreciated. Thank you.

SG Sampson August 11, 2008 at 11:39 pm

I am the Founder/CEO of Green Limousines Chicago, a human powered luxury transportation company. I intend to transform half of the current combustion powered transportation here into non-combustion powered by 2016. Toward that end, I am proposing a race, “The Great Green Race”, from NYC to LA. The vehicle with the fastest time and the lowest environmental footprint wins. I have a feeling you can help me gain support for this endeavor….

Genette August 12, 2008 at 8:00 pm

This is a company that is called Melaleuca Wellness it’s a home basesd business that is growing extremly well. It has been around since 1985 so about 23yrs now. This company really focuses on the non toxic organic products anywhere from cleaning, body, beauty, kids, foods, and vitamins. The prodcuts are awesome believe me I have tried them all and they are worth every penny (which is pretty cheap). The make-up is awesome and it last for a while and their products are awesome you just have to give it a try. If you have little ones and just would like to have an eco-friendly environment it will help out alot, let me tell you it helps out with people with extremly bad allergies, diabetes, etc. If you have any bit of interest please call me or email me. Please believe me when I tell you that this really does work, and I am the kind of person that rarely trys new things.

tel: 281-745-3090
email: gigiwellness@live.com

ps. did i mention you will make some extra cash on the side.. no joke!

Scott Hughes August 6, 2010 at 2:27 am

I just wanted to draw your attention to Powwownow, who are a global conference call provider. They are an alternative to travelling, as people can take part in a conference call with ease, through any phone, and they only pay for the cost of the call. Travelling for business should be a thing of the past with modern technology being that advanced. We should take advantage of the internet and save the environment. Teleconferencing is the way to go.

Ryan November 16, 2010 at 9:31 am


I wanted to reach out to you today on behalf of Water.org to raise awareness for their efforts to help fight the world’s leading health crisis – the lack of clean water and sanitation in developing countries. The need for these life essential resources is at the root of virtually every major problem in developing countries –health, infant mortality, maternal mortality, food security, women’s rights, education, economic development, etc… About 9,000 people die every day and over half are children. This is a crisis that affects over one billion people.
In order to help raise awareness, Water.org, co-founded by Matt Damon and Gary White, is selling limited-edition Camelbak water bottles this holiday season. These bottles are reusable, environmentally friendly, and 100% of the profits will go to support the one billion people suffering from the unsafe water crisis.

We would love if you could join in our efforts to raise awareness for this incredible cause. Would you be willing to share some eye-opening facts about the crisis and Water.org’s “Hope in a Bottle” initiative with your readers and followers? In return for your help Matt will send you one of these Water.org bottles and a personally signed note to express his gratitude.

Please let me know if this is something that you might be interested in participating in; I will be happy to send you additional information with potential story angles (Cholera is spreading in Haiti as you read this!) and links to the Water.org cause. Thank you for your time!


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