Eco Minute

Producer and Host
Dr. Enid Sisskin received her PhD from Columbia University in Pathobiology. She has worked as an environmental activist for more than 20 years. She is currently on the faculty of the School of Allied Health and Life Sciences at the University of West Florida. She is the creator of the Eco Minute and has produced & hosted the series since 2005. Her interests include continuing to garden despite yearly failures and she continues to work for environmental protection with her husband and children.

Click on the dates below to listen to each Eco Minute.

Drive the speed limit - you get better fuel efficiency.  This is the EcoMinute and I’m ES. Traveling at 55 mph will give you up to 21% better mileage than when you drive 65 mph or 70 mph. 

For every 5 mph you drive over 60, it’s like paying an additional  24 cents a gallon.  Also, drive steadily.  Slowing down or speeding up wastes fuel. Think ahead when approaching hills. If you accelerate, do it before you reach the hill, not while you're on it.  Avoid tailgating - the driver in front of you is unpredictable.

Addicted to Pinterest? Itching to start a new repurpose project?  Hi this is EcoMinute and I’m Connie Bryars with Pensacola Habitat for Humanity...If you’re the crafty type, then we’d like to invite you to host a Reuse and Repurpose class at the store. 

Ditch the bottled water. Plastic is made from petroleum, so we are depleting our non-renewable resources for a bottle that will be used just once. In a peer-reviewed journal article, The Pacific Institute calculated that the process of making the plastic bottles consumed in the U.S. uses approximately 17 million barrels of oil per year and with all costs considered required the equivalent of between 32 and 54 million barrels of oil—roughly one-third of a percent of total U.S. primary energy consumption. 

When you do your shopping bring along your own cloth or other type of reusable bag.  The average American family uses 900 plastic shopping bags a year.  That adds up to 100 billion bags consumed in the United States annually.  It takes 504 million gallons of oil to make all of these bags.  They end up being a waste of our nonrenewable oil resources, a source of litter, costing cities millions to clean up, and a hazard to wildlife and marine creatures that confuse them for food.  In addition, 99% of the bags are not recycled and will take as much as 1000 years to break down.  Of the EPA’s l

What do you carry with you?  Here are some suggestions.  It’s easy to cut down on disposables if you plan ahead.  In your car you should keep reusable bags so you don’t have to take plastic bags when you shop. 

After you unload them, hang them on the front door to remind you to bring them back to the car.  Also carry a traveling cup for coffee or a drink when you’re on the road and a stainless steel bottle for water – it’s better for you and the planet to avoid plastic bottles. 

To GreenScape your landscape, you need to practice natural lawn care.  Mow frequently when grass is actively growing so that you are only cutting no more than one-third of the height of the grass.

 "Grasscycling," or leaving the clippings on the lawn, doesn't cause thatch build up—and it does make lawns healthier. Soil organisms recycle the clippings into free fertilizer, and you save all the work of bagging.  If you need additional fertilizer, use organic.  Shrink your lawn and use native plants instead. 

To GreenScape your landscape, you need to practice holistic pest management.  Only about 5-15 percent of the bugs in your yard are pests. "Good bugs," like the ground beetle and the green lacewing, help control pests. 

On-going pest problems are a sign that your lawn or garden is not getting what it needs to stay healthy, so correct the underlying problem to reduce the chances of the pests reappearing.  Maintain healthy soil.  Select pest-resistant plants and put them in the sun/shade and soil conditions they like.

To GreenScape your landscape, you need to practice smart watering.

Watering too much or too little can cause plant problems.  Water deeply and infrequently.  Most plants do best if the soil is allowed to partially dry out between waterings.  Vegetables and annuals need water at the first sign of wilting, but perennials need water only if they stay droopy after it cools off in the evening.  Trees and shrubs usually don’t need watering once their roots are fully established, in 2 to 5 years, except in very dry years. 


To GreenScape your landscape, you need to plant right for your site.  You need to know your yard and select plants which will grow well in our area, and fit the amount of sun, type of soil, and water available in your yard.  Think about how big a tree or shrub will be when mature, especially when planting near your house, driveway, or power lines. 

To GreenScape your landscape, you need to build healthy soil.  There are about 4 billion microorganisms in one teaspoon of soil.  Soil creatures keep our landscapes healthy by creating a loose soil structure allowing air, water and plant root growth, by recycling nutrients and making them available to plants, storing water, and protecting plants from some pests and diseases.  Before you fertilize, have your soil tested, you might not need it.