Thursday, January 31, 2008

All the big polluters, holding hands

Errr not yet. "But the US is still resisting a global agreement on specific emissions reductions from all developed nations."

And that about sums up the Bush administration's stance at the Major Economies Meeting being held in Hawaii right now. But the good news is the US did recently pass the Energy Bill that mandates big increases in efficiency from cars and from appliances.


Gooseberries often times woke me up early on childhood mornings. Well, not the gooseberries themselves- more so my mother's demand that I pick them. First of all- let me just say...what a ridiculous name for a fruit. Nothing sounds less appetizing. There must not have been a brilliant marketing strategy behind that. It can go on the books right next to prunes, and all their advertising struggles. Anyhow, I remember one Saturday morning, my brother and I had an hour to pick all the remaining gooseberries off the bushes by the driveway. Meanwhile my mother was off "yardsale-ing" trying to find who knows what, for a good price. Now this picking was a daunting task not only because gooseberries are tiny and come in bunches of multiple beastly balls, but also because- there was no reward. They were not good to eat- like say strawberries (no wonder they are prohibited from being grown in certain places). At least you can make jam or yummy pies with strawberries. What's your favorite gooseberry recipe?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Comfy and crafty t-shirt

I absolutely adore this t-shirt designed by an Inhabitat reader for their yearly t-shirt contest. This is the "root / lungs design" submitted by Jonathan Sabutis, which inspired readers with its symbolic design portraying trees as the lungs of the earth, and a catchy tagline "I am the root of the solution." The shirts are now being offered for sale here, for $35 (pretty hefty price if you ask me). I think the shirt not only makes a great statement, but it's pretty! No mention as to where the money for the shirts goes- I hope the original artist receives a percentage. I suppose the shop hand-printing in Brooklyn demands some of the high fee.

Monday, January 28, 2008


It is prime time for Quiksilver to introduce their new environmentally sensitive threads, with this years boarding n skiing season in full swing.

Quiksilver, is unveiling their eco-friendly outerwear line next week at SIA 08 as well as the inaugural Quiksilver Natural Selection (An All-Mountain Freestyle Invitational held on all natural terrain. The snowboarding event will take place from January 30 to February 5, 2008 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming). Champion rider Travis Rice designed a signature jacket and pant which are 55% hemp and 45% recycled PET (type of plastic), which will be part of Quiksilver's new line. (Tipped by loop.)

Quiksilver speaks: "As a company of boardriders, we've always challenged the power and grace of mother nature in a way that is perfectly in tune with the environment, said Dave Rosenberger, VP Sales Quiksilver Wintersports. This new outerwear line reflects this ideal, because it meets the essential performance requirements of riders, while introducing a new, earth-friendly approach to winter apparel."

I'll be the first in line. As a boarding fanatic and a dedicated Quiksilver junkie my closet will soon be expanding. When is the surf line coming?

Monday morning

With an overcast sky and a late start this morning- it's shaping up to be a doldrum day. I've been trying to get a good picture of the blue heron that frequents my neighborhood lake but have not had any luck yet. He lets people, screaming children and barking dogs get surprisingly close, but his visits are unpredictable. It seems that he is able to sense which days I bring my camera along on my walks, and which I don't- electing only to appear on days I don't. The lake is still bristling with activity in his absence, as two separate flocks of geese/ducks have settled in- flying in each morning, and leaving noisily every night. As if to say, that's right, you heard us, we'll be back tomorrow- seat saved. I snapped a picture of them hanging out by the waters' edge this morning. They usually wait until I am about 15 feet away and then start flapping their wings to propel them further into the water, to safety, away from my dog.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

When brilliancy strikes

be creative! If you're bored this weekend, or anytime through February 25th (perhaps on Valentine's Day if you don't have a sig nig other)- put on your thinking cap and enter this fun contest, hosted by Origins.

A brief description of the contest: "If you think you’re the green of the crop—tell us about it, get creative and let us know "What Makes You Eco-Fabulous." Show off your natural talent for environmental consciousness by sharing the everyday steps you take to lighten your carbon count in a photo, video
or blog and you could win a luxurious trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming!" Check out the current entries here.

My thoughts: Not sure what's so cool about Jackson Hole- can anyone provide any insight as to why someone would want to win a trip there (other than that a paid trip anywhere is cool)? One of the other prizes includes
6 Grenada chocolate bars and that sounds pretty tasty- so I'm in. A 1000 word blog is pretty short- I have read a few entries (it mostly just gives you room to type a list of perfect things about your personality). An interesting feature is that for each entry, a viral map is created- and you can see who has viewed the entry from different sites like on Facebook or Myspace. Overall it's great that the brand is helping to create a community of do-good-ers though. And it gives everyone an easy way to share their own story and pass along useful tips to others.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Who is hungry?

Packing your lunch for work or for school (as opposed to buying it) ends up saving you money. When you buy things in bulk, and do the labor yourself it always works that way. I have a handy green tip or two, learned from years of observing my grandmother pack mine. I would suggest using a steady lunch bag, perhaps of cloth- so that you are not wasting things by throwing away a different bag everyday. It doesn't have to be Barbie or Ninja Turtles themed- don't get embarrassed yet, I have seen plenty of floral patterns or plain colored ones with plenty of sophistication embedded. Or if you like to throw your bags away, pack your lunch in a brown bag that can be recycled. Another idea is to use the bags that cereal comes in, to wrap your sandwich. Each box of Fruity Pebbles (etc) includes a bag holding the cereal in it. Once you have finished the cereal, you can rinse that bag and cut it- making it the perfect saran-wrap-ish material to contain your sandwich with.

Slow stroll

It is always nice to be able to bring down the pace from the fast and furious week, and take a relaxed, un-stressful exploration walk. I could let my dog stop to sniff every crevice and chase the squirrels without worrying that it was taking up too much time. It was fun to hear the old snow crush under our feet. We listened to the woodpecker tapping and saw seven deer. This afternoon we'll probably stake out on the front porch, watching the foot traffic go by and reading a good book. (Well she can't read- yet. Just me.)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Coming up in March

"Created to take a stand against the greatest threat our planet has ever faced, Earth Hour uses the simple action of turning off the lights for one hour to deliver a powerful message about the need for action on global warming."

If you would like to participate in Earth Hour, on the 29th of March at 8pm turn off the lights in your house. Last year the event only took place in Sydney but the originators are hoping people around the world will participate together this year. Last time I checked in 12,301 people had committed to doing it. Check out the fun site here.

I saw a sign yesterday that said

"Free Air Guitars"

I thought that was funny. And suitable for the green lifestyle.

Olive the Owl

I did a report on snow owls in the 2nd grade, tri-fold poster included, but I have never seen a real live owl before I met Olive. Nothing you can see on Animal Planet mildly compares to this.

One of my neighbors was the first to spot Olive and luckily he shared the secret with my grandma and I. But she is a secret and shall remain one- so that no one scares her away from us.

Anyhow, we had to see her for ourselves; so we headed down to the woods. First weaving our way through the tall grasses and then crossing into the dense wooded area, we began looking out for the owl. I spotted "her" (we actually don't even know if it's a girl) in her tall tree post after much scrutiny. Even though I knew where she was supposed to be it was difficult to see her, as she blended in so unbelievably well with her home. Using binoculars I could see all of her features. She was not frightened by us, or by my dog. She just sat there, maybe 30 feet in the air, majestically- staring right back at us. My grandma described the experience as "really cool" and I would have to second that. She gave Olive her name. Every time we go by we look for her. One of the neighbors managed to snap this great shot of her.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Can it

NEW YORK - In a bid to curb the environmental impact of nearly 1 billion plastic bags used by New York City consumers annually, the city's council passed a bill on Wednesday requiring large stores to set up recycling programs. Read the complete story here.

This is a huge step in the right direction for one of the most packed in, grit-n-grimy cities in the country, following none too soon in the footsteps of concerned and earth-conscious San Fran. I guess on the concrete packed streets, amidst all the hustle and bustle it's easier to forget about being "green" (probably not able to even recall what grass looks like) all though it should be an everyday fixture in our minds if we want to be able to breath while chatting on our important iPhones, drinking our Starbucks, and taxiing to our all important meetings.

Rock Art

While hiking in the woods by my house, we often stumble upon rare finds. One day as we strolled across the bridge and down the peak of the hill I spotted a strange formation of rocks. Apparently someone, or multiple someones had taken the time to pile nearby rocks into a sort of art piece. Since that day I have encountered numerous rock arts- always a fun surprise to see as your eyes scour the landscape. They immediately stick out, because of their height or oddity- but they incorporate the nature so well that they don't destroy the setting at all. This is a picture of one of the earliest rock arts on a large rock by the waterfalls where we cross the stream. It's also cool because it's a bit mysterious- as I have never witnessed anyone putting these together. I like to think it about who it could be: a champion weight lifting beaver? or a bored grandpa? Maybe some day I will make my own. Will keep you posted on future finds...or masterpieces I create myself.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

They can make good music

and save the world. It's all in a days' work.

Check out the latest issues, join the green squad or be inspired to revive our oceans here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Brown is the new green

My mom lives for zuchinni. Not just any zuchinni, but her zuchinni. You might even say she dotes on her zuchinni like it was a child.

For many years she has gone out of her way to obtain only the best fertilizer for her precious zuchinni. She takes weekend trips, clad out in her worst jeans, boots and gloves, to the local horse farm. She shovels up as much manure as possible into four large white buckets, and hauls it all home to spread throughout her 10x15 garden plot.

Her devotion doesn't just stop at horse manure. If you've ever eaten a banana in my house, thrown the peel away in the trash, and heard from my outraged mother- you know where I am going with this. A banana peel's correct home is in the compost bin, not the trash can. When the compost bin fills, the contents get dumped in to a huge pile at the bottom of the hill in our backyard- our very own compost heap.

At any given point this pile might contain fruit cores, seeds and peels, melon rinds, outer leaves of lettuce and cabbage, carrot tops, broccoli stems, corn cobs, egg shells, and leaves. And yes, sometimes rotten zuchinni. Other people include rarer items like dead deer but my mom's never gone that far. The contents are decomposed by earthworms, bacteria and time, leaving heaping piles of the best soil at the bottom of the pile. My mother uses this rich brown soil to grow her zuchinni- no artificial or chemical fertilizers.

Maybe my mom's heaping buckets of horse manure frightens you, but if you would like to be “greener” or love zuchinni, a giant brown compost pile is a totally do-able must. Not only will your vegetables be robust, but the process will get you outdoors and shrink the volume of your trash. Get Started.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The smaller the better

I found an interesting tid bit on Seth's blog, "We just measured a Poland Spring bottle (the new design) and discovered it weighs precisely half of an empty Gatorade bottle."

I actually hadn't even considered factoring something like the amount of material used on the wrappers and containers for products I'm buying into my purchase decision at all. But after learning something like that, I've realized that in order to reduce my environmental footprint I had better scrutinize my purchases with a more wary eye.

I think we will see a greater trend towards "smaller" in our culture. Mini coopers are the first things that come to mind for some reason. We're trying to use less gas, weigh less pounds, have less stress, develop less trash- we should use a bottle that weighs less. Demand it- from Gatorade, from everyone.

Things change

Saturn "Rethink American" vid

Beyond Madison Avenue
states, "with Saturn’s 5 new models, commitment to affordable hybrids, and a 100,000 mile (5 year powertrain) warranty, it may be worth giving this brand another look." And I would have to agree- especially if American cars are your jam. There is such a noticeable difference between this commercial and the kind that Chevy and Jeep are still airing. Saturn is so much more earth conscience, sophisticated, pushing for a change in the right direction, etc. Jeep is still using big trucks depicted off-roading, squashing all the wildlife in it's path. And we all know the gas guzzling that follows cars that are heavy "like a rock."

Monday, January 7, 2008

A new bag- a new way of life?

This year on Christmas morning all of my presents were waiting for me in the living room in a huge (we're talking 3 foot by 3 foot) white canvas bag, with bright green straps. The kind from LL Bean that every soccer mom and librarian across the country proudly carry (well before Vera Bradley existed- or maybe that's for the hipper crowd). Near the top of the bag, in the spot where initials would typically be monogrammed, was "LIVE GREEN."

And I figured, if even Santa had jumped on the live green train, maybe I should really dedicate myself as well. Who could possibly object to making the world a better place for themselves, their kids, and Rudolph?

While the presents within my canvas bag were wrapped with beautiful paper- it did get recycled. The real kicker is that my stuffed bag was sitting under a tree; a six foot gorgeous pine that had been chopped down to celebrate the occasion. I love the smell of pine, and it screams of merry Christmas' spent around the fire laughing and sharing with the ones I love- so I'm not complaining. I just thought it was mildly amusing.