September 29, 2006

Weekend Reading: Chew on This - Fast Food Nation for the Grade School Set

chew-on-this.jpgWhile parents are campaigning against junk food, Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser offers kids a digestible (though hardly palatable) look at the fast food industry in his new book Chew on This: Everything You Don't Want to Know about Fast Food.

Written with co-author Charles Wilson, the book adapts the lessons of Fast Food Nation for a kid-friendly look at the history of the fast food industry. The book looks at the nutritional content of a fast food meal, follows the 37-day life of a pre-McNugget chicken, and reveals how the fast food industry has studied child behavior and tailored its advertising and packaging (hello, Happy Meal toys) to attract a child audience. It also includes great information about the links between obesity, french fries and that Super Size Coke.

Buy it for your kids; read it as a family.

Availble at Chew on This.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 28, 2006

Parents Against Junk Food

We've read the news. 17% of children are overweight. Childhood obesity is growing at alarming rates. The Center for Disease Control predicts that one third of all children born in 2000 will contract diabetes. The question is, what can we do about it?

Received email from Christopher Kimball, the editor of Cook's Illustrated magazine, which included an answer: join Parents Against Junk Food. The nonprofit distributes a free monthly newsletter with recipe makeovers for such favorites as Mac and Cheese, quick (and healthier) weeknight meals like Skillet Lasagne, and recipes like "Wacky Cake" which you can cook with your kids.

Join Parents Against Junk Food.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 27, 2006

The Complete Organic Pregnancy

Got an email this morning from Deirdre Dolan, author of The Complete Organic Pregnancy, which came out yesterday. She and her co-author Lexi Zissu, both journalists, were inspired to write the book when they both got pregnant. They'll be talking about it tomorrow on The Today Show. Set your Tivos. Deirdre and Lexi are also doing a blog on Yahoo about the topic.

Deirdre said she'd put a copy of the book in the mail to us. We'll keep you posted and let you know what we think.

Available on Amazon.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 27, 2006

Oops I Pooped (People Version)

Fido's got his biodegradable pooper scooper bags. Now what about for his human counterpart (i.e. you). Well, look no further than this week's Ask Umbra column on Grist, which tackles the topic of recycled toilet paper.

You'll be happy and perhaps surprised to learn that there are no technological barriers to creating soft toilet paper from recycled fibers -- just barriers to making it as soft as the virgin-tree-on-a-roll brands. Read more.

Interested in trading in your Charmin for recycled t.p.? We recommend Seventh Generation two-ply, soft enough for our butts, and reasonably priced at less than $1/roll.

Buy Seventh Generation recycled toilet paper.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 27, 2006

Oops, I Pooped Biodegradeable Waste Bags

You've got a dog. And you care about leaving the world a better place. So when he poops, you scoop. But what happens then?

Enter Oops I Pooped, makers of biodegradable waste bags to make sure Fido's droppings don't end up taking up space in your local landfill. The bags disintegrate, leaving behind no harmful residues.

$8 for a bag of 88 at 2KH.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 26, 2006

"Green Bean": Japanese Message Beans

And if Herman Miller's Leaf Lamp is out of your price range, how about a Bean? Each message bean, made in Japan, comes inscribed with a message - Love, Thank You, Good Luck, Happy Birthday. You give someone a jar containing the bean. The recipient pulls off the foil top and bottom (to let the water drain), and adds about 1/2 cup of water to the soil. In about a week or so, the bean will poke thru the soil revealing the special message.

Via Daily Candy.

Japanese Message Beans available at SpoonSisters.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Leaf Personal Light by Herman Miller

Just because we're green doesn't mean we aren't Wired. The September issue of the techie magazine offers a sneak preview of the products that will appear at the Wired NextFest in NYC September 29-October 1. Wired calls NextFest an annual "World's Fair...(of) products, prototypes, and ideas from today's most innovative companies and researchers." And in a sign that green has gone mainstream, this year's NextFest features "Sustainable Living" as one of its design categories.

Among the products featured is this fab Leaf LED light from Herman Miller. Unlike a traditional LED, according to Wired, the LEAF's diodes flash intermittently and use 40 percent less electricity. The touch-sensitive lamp features an upper arm that functions as a "thermal sink", keeping the lamp cool to the touch. According to the Herman Miller website:

Leaf was developed according to Herman Miller's demanding Design for the Environment (DfE) protocol, emphasizing sustainable processes, materials, and recyclability. Leaf's environmental impact is perhaps most profound through its use. On average, Leaf's LEDs consume approximately eight to nine watts of power, carry a lifespan up to 100,000 hours, and cut energy use by 40 percent compared to compact fluorescent bulbs.

Leaf is manufactured with 37 percent recycled materials, and is 95 percent recyclable when you upgrade. And it looks like some kind of crazy high tech snake.

Available for pre-order at Lumens Light and Living.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 25, 2006

BlogPire Podcast - Fall Product News and Guest Russell Neufeld from ShavingStuff.com 09.25.06

Blogpire 144Special guest Russell Neufeld visits from ShavingStuff.com and tells us about the latest shaving products. And of course, we have the latest news and views from around the 'pire including details on the new TiVo Series 3 and where to get great deals on the latest GPS devices. We also answer your questions from the past couple of weeks so keep sending them in to podcast at blogpire dot com.

[iTunes]Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
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[LISTEN] Listen to the show in your browser.

With Hosts: Russell Miner and Jay Brewer and guest Russell Neufeld

Program Details:

00:00:58 Introductions and Welcome to Russell Neufeld from ShavingStuff.com
00:02:10 Excalibur Wine on Cheap Fun Wines
00:02:45 TVSnob.com
00:03:00 HD Tivo series 3
00:05:30 WeakKnees.com Upgrades for the Tivo Series 3
00:09:09 CBS shows in advance on all Tivos
00:11:00 ShavingStuff.com with Russell Neufeld
00:13:00 Zirh Preshave Products
00:15:22 Zirh Scrub
00:17:05 Zirh Clean
00:18:50 LiquorSnob.com
00:19:17 Drink Liquor make more Money
00:22:48 The BeerClip
00:26:14 ShavingStuff.com with Russell Neufeld
00:26:35 Shaving with Zirh Profucts
00:28:53 Zirh Prepare
00:30:57 Zirh Shave Gel
00:34:17 Zirh Defend
00:34:50 SingleServeCoffee.com
00:36:19 All about Keurig Including the B70
00:41:26 ShavingStuff.com with Russell Neufeld
00:41:31 Menscience
00:43:03 Daily Face Wash with Brush
00:44:48 Menscience Shaving Cream
00:47:11 Menscience Post Shave Repair
00:48:52 Menscience Advanced Face Lotion
00:49:50 ReallyNatural.com
00:49:56 Spinach and You
00:52:28 Bamboo Dinner Plates
00:54:06 Edible Handmade Bracelets
00:55:12 Questions
00:55:21 Good Prices on GPSs
00:57:28 Non Shaving Products on Shavingstuff.com
00:57:50 BY142 scar remover
01:02:20 Closing

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Now that's Green Building: Fab Tree Hab at MIT

From today's Boston Globe:

Faced with global warming, a projected energy crunch, and suburban sprawl, a team of MIT researchers has envisioned a radical antidote: truly "green" homes, nurtured from seedling to tree house.

The "fab tree hab" is a fanciful orb of a home that is literally alive, with a frame of growing tree trunks grafted together, insulation made of clay and straw, and vines instead of vinyl siding. The heating, cooling, and plumbing would all mimic natural processes.

"The structure is a statement against cutting down timber," said Mitchell Joachim , the architect who designed the house, "composed of 100 percent living nutrients."

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Timberland "Pacific Grove" Mary Janes at Half Price

maryjane.jpgSpeaking of Timberland, the company's Pacific Grove Mary Janes, a shoe we can highly recommend, is currently on sale at Amazon for $34.90, more than half off the original price.

Sort of a sneaker, sort of a shoe. Just the right blend of feminine and fabulous, especially in the acid yellow-green color they've got featured. Kick ass, sustainably, in these sweethearts. Get 'em while they're hot.

Buy Timberland Mary Janes.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Timberland: Shoes with a Nutrition Label

Here's something you don't see every day. The folks at Timberland are now including a "nutrition label" on every box of shoes they sell. The label highlights the shoes' environmental impact, including energy used to produce them and what percent of that energy was renewable; community impact ,which highlights the number of hours Timberland employees serve in their communities, the fact that all Timberland factories are assessed against a code of conduct that ensures workplace safety and fair labor practices, and notes that no child labor was used to produce your shoes; and where they were made, which lets you know, well, where your shoes were made.

Timberland has long been a leader on the corporate social responsibility front - measuring and reporting on the company's efforts to strenghten communities, protect the environment and improve global human rights. Sure, they recognize it as a way to sell more shoes - appealing to the outdoorsy, tree-hugging, hiker/environmentalist types the company has long embraced as one of its key constituents. But they also see it as a way to attract and retain talented employees, and distinguish themselves among their peers in the shoes and clothing manufacturing business.

"What kind of footprint will you leave?" asks the advertising copy for the new nutritional labeling. Kick up your heels for a company that's trying to come up with an answer.

Thanks, Russ, for sending this in.

Read more at Timberland.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 22, 2006

Richard Branson Pledges $3 Billion to Fight Global Warming

Did anyone see Virgin's Sir Richard Branson on Good Morning America this morning? We didn't, but heard about the story and thought it was pretty darned amazing.

The British business tycoon yesterday pledged to invest approximately $3 billion over the next 10 years to support alternative energy and fight global warming. Branson said he would invest all profits generated by Virgin Group's transportation sectors (including airlines and trains) in research and business efforts to develop and promote renewable, sustainable energy sources in an effort to reduce the world's reliance on fossil fuels.

Branson made the announcement at the Clinton Global Initiative conference on Thursday. In a move that gives the term "power lunch" a run for its money, he explained that Al Gore had persuaded him to make the commitment during a two-hour breakfast meeting. More coffee, anyone?

Read the announcement.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Weekend Reading: The Company We Keep

We had a great conversation yesterday afternoon with John Abrams, co-founder and president of South Mountain Company, an employee-owned design/build firm on Martha's Vineyard. John is also author of The Company We Keep: Reinventing Small Business for People, Community and Place, which has been on our bedside table - and talk of the office for most of the summer. In it, John describes South Mountain's transition to employee ownership, and the things the company has learned along the way. He's a builder, and a thoughtful one, so the ideas translate into the eight "cornerstones" on which South Mountain has been built:

- cultivating workplace democracy
- challenging the gospel of growth
- balancing multiple bottom lines
- commiting to the business of place
- celebrating the spirit of craft
- advancing "people conservation"
- practicing community entrepreneurism
- thinking like cathedral builders

Our conversation with John touched on each of these, as well the challenges of building "ownership" in nonprofit organizations. We also talked about the state of green building, and ways to remove obstacles to making building more energy-efficient and sustainable. After John left, we kept talking for hours about ways to take the lessons he's learned at South Mountain, and bring them into our own lives and work.

As someone who does not have any affinity for business books, I can't say enough about how this book reads like a story, like sitting around the woodstove in one of John's well-insulated houses and listening to him talk about what he's learning as he goes. It's approachable and inspiring for any of us who like to think about how to make our workplace - and the world around us - a better place.

At The Company We Keep

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 21, 2006

Renovate Your Lawn

Not sure how I ended up on the Dirt Works mailing list, but this week's newsletter features tips on how to renovate your lawn. It includes advice on how to rototill (yes, that is a verb), the best machines for raking and smoothing, and, even this tasty nugget on how to choose your compost:

If it's steaming when it comes out of the truck, you don't want it in your new lawn. It could contain weed seeds that haven't been killed off by the heat of decomposition and, it's probably acidic too. Bottom line, get mature compost. Check out the pile before you buy.

Fascinating. Thanks, Dirt Works. Now if only I had a lawn to use it on.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 20, 2006

Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water

Looking for a simple way to save energy? Wash your clothes in cold water. 90% of the energy used in washing laundry is used to heat the water. According to the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance, which (get this) has created an entire website devoted to encouraging people to Switch to Cold,

If all households in Canada that currently use either hot or warm water to wash their clothes switch to cold water, approximately 1.5 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent would be prevented from entering the earth’s atmosphere.

The site says the average household can save $52 (Canadian?) by making the switch. Want a more accurate gauge of your own energy savings? Go to this site, which allows you to enter in your washer type, water heating source (gas or electric) and the number of loads of laundry you do each week. According to the site, a regular washer with gas-heated hot water doing three loads of laundry a week would save $29, not to mention 26.4 Therms and 310 lbs of CO2. Not bad for a change you probably won't even notice.

You can buy special detergents formulated for washing with cold water. But at Really Natural, we made the switch about a year ago and haven't noticed a difference.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 19, 2006

Bamboo Dinner Plates

Looking for disposable plates that won't hurt the planet? GreenFeet has the answer with their Bamboo Veneerware disposable dinner plates. Made from organically grown bamboo, the plates decompose in 4-6 months when thrown in a compost pile. Plus, they look so much better than standard paper plates.

At GreenFeet

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 18, 2006

Which Spinach is Safe?

Bagged spinach has become a staple of many Americans' diets - it's healthy, it's convenient, and heck, if it's good enough for Popeye, it's good enough for you, right? But with news of a recall on bagged spinach due to recent outbreaks of E. coli in more than 19 states, Really Natural reader Kelly from Cambridge, MA wrote in to ask whether any spinach is safe to eat.

"I buy organic spinach to feed (my 17-month-old daughter).... I've been debating about whether or not to throw it away."

The FDA has spoken: Throw it away, Kelly. Throw it away.

In a news release issued Sunday, the message couldn't have been any clearer:

"FDA advises consumers to not eat fresh spinach or fresh spinach-containing products until further notice. If individuals believe they may have experienced symptoms of illness after consuming fresh spinach or fresh spinach-containing products, FDA recommends that they seek medical advice."

The contaminated spinach has been traced to Natural Selection Foods, a grower of organic and non-organic spinach found in numerous supermarket brands, including Dole, Natural Selection Foods, Pride of San Juan, Earthbound Farm, Bellissima, Rave Spinach, Emeril, Sysco, O Organic, Fresh Point, River Ranch, Superior, Nature’s Basket, Pro-Mark, Compliments, Trader Joe’s, Ready Pac, Jansal Valley, Cheney Brothers, Coastline, D’Arrigo Brothers, Green Harvest, Mann, Mills Family Farm, Premium Fresh, Snoboy, The Farmer’s Market, Tanimura & Antle, President’s Choice, Cross Valley, Riverside Farms.

Reports indicate that the E. coli may be linked to the irrigation system used by the San Juan Bautista farm. Several reports have indicated that only bagged spinach is at risk, and there seems to be some question about whether spinach from other sources could be at risk. One local farmer's market has declared on their website that their spinach is grown in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and therefore not at risk.

That may be the case. You probably won't get sick eating fresh, unpackaged spinach if you know exactly where it came from and how it was grown. But until the FDA amends its recommendations, we'd say play it safe. Whole Foods Market issued a statement saying they've removed all fresh loose or packaged spinach from their stores "until we learn that there is no longer a health concern."

We'd recommend that Really Natural readers do the same.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

San Francisco Readers: Sept 21 is Park(ing) Day!

Calling all San Francisco readers of Really Natural: Park(ing) Day Wants You!

REBAR Group, the landscape design activist group that brought you the parking intervention - turning public parking spaces into temporary parks - has teamed up with the Trust for Public Land to bring you Park(ing) Day. This Thursday, September 21st, REBAR volunteers will transform parking spaces across San Francisco into parks to call attention to the need for additional public parks and green spaces. To volunteer for this event or set up your own installation as part of Park(ing) Day, check out the official Park(ing) Day site.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 15, 2006

Mmmm...Un-petroleum

So as a girl who grew up on Bonne Bell Lip Smackers, and as a grown woman who is positively addicted to lip balm, it gave me great pleasure to discover Un-petroleum.

As the name suggests, Un-petroleum replaces the petroleum-based products traditionally found in lip balm with plant oils, natural waxes, essential vitamins and therapeutic herbs. Better yet, it comes in a cherry flavor that smells just like Bonne Bell's Dr. Pepper.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 14, 2006

Save Those Pepitas

Hey folks,

Save those pepitas, aka sunflower seeds. Turns out they make some pretty cool jewelry. Eve's Addiction uses sunflower seeds, acai seeds and Fimo dough to construct these amazing handmade bracelets. Each bracelet is unique. And if you get stuck out in the desert, I'm guessing that with a little bit of salt, it might make a pretty good snack.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 13, 2006

Green Power Gold Juice Extractor

We're currently looking for a way to get our organic fruits and vegetables into a juice format. Juicers are expensive and so far we've only been able to find ones we like in the $500 range. The Green Star machines look to be very heavy duty and we think we may have to bite the bullet or wait for the holidays to get one.

Green Star machines are reputably one of the world's best juice extractors and most efficient food processors. Using Exclusive Heavy Duty Twin Gear technology with a low 110 rpm, juice extracted by the Green Power Gold Juice Extractor maintains more of the fragile vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can be damaged or destroyed by more violent juicing processes. The low speed of the turning gears means juice is not heated during the juicing process, minimizing oxidation and maximizing enzyme activity - creating "live" juice. With their ease of use and simple clean up, Green Star Juice Extractors and Food Processors are award-winning machines of unsurpassed quality. Complete with a breadstick making kit and a pasta making kit, this is the most versatile machine available. It juices almost all fruits and vegetables, from carrots, to celery, to apples, to leafy greens, all without stopping to change any parts. It can also process whole foods, making such favorites as pie crusts from almonds and dates, pates from nuts and vegetables, sauces from a vast array of combinations, baby foods, frozen fruit desserts and more.

At Green Power Gold Juice Extractor

Blogpire Productions Permalink social bookmarking

Really Green Playdough

LaLaNatural sells eco-friendly organic playdough. Available in Green (of course), as well as Lemony Yellow, Cinnamon Brown, Peachy Peach, Vanilly White, Berry Pink, and Purply Grape. Yum. Via GreatGreenBaby.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 12, 2006

Boston Campaign to Encourage Healthy Eating

Is your city getting fatter? If you live in the US, chances are the answer is yes. And if you want people to change their eating habits, you need to get them where they're eating - namely, in restaurants. Says Boston's Mayor Thomas Menino,

We live in a time when many people are eating outside of their homes more often and healthy options are needed when dining out. If we’re serious about addressing the problem of obesity we need to include restaurants as partners in our efforts to create a healthier Boston.

To that end, the Mayor's office recently kicked off Boston BestBites, a campaign to encourage restaurants to add or highlight healthy, lighter menu options. Participating restaurants work with a nutritionist from Brigham and Woman’s Hospital to identify healthier menu items; if recipes don't meet nutritional guidelines, the nutritionist will alternative ingredients or preparation methods to create a healthier dish.

According to the Mayor's office, 12 restaurants, including Really Natural favorite Haley House Bakery Cafe have signed on to the effort; the City is sending information about the campaign to another 600 restaurants throughout the city.

According to the National Restaurant Association, Americans spend 48% of their food dollars outside the home. By providing restaurant diners with information on what they're eating, Boston BestBites hopes to encourage them to make healthier choices, and to encourage restaurants to offer more of those choices. So next time you're dining out, everything you know about eating healthy doesn't have to go out the window.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Bike Chairs and Other Green Ideas

These are some of the coolest chairs we've seen in a while. Andy Gregg of Bike Furniture Design gives old bikes new life as chairs, tables, stools and loveseats. Via A Green Idea, a great site for, well, green ideas.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 11, 2006

Organic Veggies By Mail

We've spent the summer digging in to local organic veggies through our CSA share with a local nonprofit farm. (CSA stands for community supported agriculture - you buy a "share" of the farmer's crop at the beginning of the growing season, and it pays "dividends" in the form of fresh veggies all summer.)

But what if you're stuck someplace where you don't have access to fresh, organic local produce? Well, the folks at Diamond Organics have a solution. Place an order for one of their organic sampler boxes, and founders Jasch & Kathleen Hamilton will ship you whatever's freshest right now, well, right now. The price on Amazon - $69 for 9lbs of fresh produce in their Original Organics or Organic Fruit samplers - includes free overnight shipping from their farm on Highway 1 in Moss Landing, CA to almost anywhere in the U.S.

Rebecca Johnson tried the service via Amazon, and had this to say:

The lettuce and greens reminded me of my days living on a farm where we made fresh salads from greens selected on that very day. There is nothing like it, well, not until I found this company. The lettuce seems to last longer and the baby spinach is delicious. A week later and the lettuce still looks fresh. That never happens when I buy produce at the store.

At Really Natural, we believe the best tasting and eco-friendliest produce comes from local organic farms. But if you want to eat organic and can't find a local source, then "Go Web, young man (or woman). Go Web."

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 8, 2006

Smells Like Teen Spirit - Send Help!

Can anyone recommend an effective natural deodorant? I'd like to switch from my current anti-perspirant, which contains aluminum, to something aluminum-free. But I don't want to smell like a monkey. Or sweaty gym socks.

According to Amazon, best-selling natural deodorants include Thai Crystal's Rock Salt deodorant stone, and selections from Tom's of Maine, Nature's Gate, and Avalon Organics. Does anyone have experience with any of these products? Are there other natural deodorants you'd recommend? Send 'em in, and I'll post comments and reviews.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

September 7, 2006

Yo, MTV: Green My Crib

Looking to make your dorm room a little greener? Even if your school hasn't embraced the sustainability movement, there are steps you can take to reduce your own impact on the environment. MTV tells students how to "Feng Shui the Eco-Way".

You can also make a difference by using eco-friendly products. When Berkeley College launched its experimental "green room" last year, they stocked it with environmentally sensitive personal-care products such as Tom's of Maine soap, Seventh Generation facial tissue and Avalon Organic Botanicals shampoo.

Mahatma Gandhi said, "We must become the change we wish to see in the world." Lead by example.

And speaking of the environment, memo to your roommate: that 3-day-old pizza under his bed has got to go.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

NYTimes on Biophilic Home Design

The Home and Garden section of today's NYTimes has a cover story on "biophilic" design. Writes Virginia Sole-Smith,

Biophilic design — the term is derived from biophilia, coined in 1984 by a Harvard biologist, Edward O. Wilson, to describe what he considered the innate human attraction to nature — incorporates real or simulated natural elements in an effort to promote well-being. It is a quirky, lesser-known cousin of green design, and is concerned more with “speaking to our emotions, our ancient genetic predilections, probably fundamental, for interaction with a natural world.”

Greenhouses on rooftops, "living walls" of plants that improve indoor air quality, design that brings nature indoors. Unlike green design, which focuses on sustainable building practices which conserve energy and protect natural resources, biophilic design is more concerned with appearances and natures relaxing effect.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Tufts University Announces "Green" Dorm

How green is your dorm room? For 126 students at Tufts University, the answer is "pretty darn green."

University officials announced this week that the new "green" dorm - which features solar roof panels, dual flush toilets, bamboo floors and energy-efficient windows - will use 30 percent less water and energy than conventional buildings. CBS4, the local news station took folks on a tour of the building, which looks way cooler than my college dorm.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Envirocycle Backyard Composter Now Available

We're excited to say the Envirocycle compost is now available at Amazon.com. We covered this gem not too long ago and feel from reduced odor and other factors makes this the perfect urban composter.

The Envirocycle composter and compost tea maker produces quality compost quicker and easier than conventional composters by its rolling and mixing action which keeps the ingredients well mixed and aerated. The Envirocycle makes compost tea, a rich organic liquid plant food so much appreciated by the gardeners. This liquid can be collected in the unique composteamaker base.

At Envirocycle Backyard Composter

Blogpire Productions Permalink social bookmarking

September 6, 2006

Brad Pitt Announces Winner of Affordable Green Building Competition

PittCelebrities have all the fun. While we were plotting to sell all our earthly possessions to college students via Craigslist (weekend profits are at $405 and counting!), Brad Pitt was saving the world

NinthwardLast Thursday, Pitt joined Global Green (www.globalgreen.org) to announce the winners of their affordable green building contest. The winning design, by NYC's Andrew Kotchen and Matthew Berman, will be implemented in the Katrina-ravaged Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans.

The housing will be affordable, energy-efficient, less polluting, and healthier for residents. As (www.ecorazzi.com) reported on Friday:

Interviewed on Today, Pitt tells Ann Curry: “You can cut your energy bill down 65 percent just by the way you position your house, the way you structure it for air flow and insulation and shielding from the sun, and again, the material that you use.”

Hats off to Brad Pitt for recognizing the importance of green affordable housing for low-income communities, and for using his celebrity to draw attention to the issue.

And thanks, Ecorazzi, for being the eco-friendly equivalent of InStyle magazine.

-- Jess Brooks

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September 5, 2006

One Woman's Trash is a College Student's Treasure

RecycleIt's been a long weekend. At Really Natural's offices in Cambridge, MA, we've been watching all the students move back, and seeing green. As in dollar bills.

NPR ran a story a couple of weeks back on the money college students spend going back to school. Buying new computers, furnishing dorm rooms. It got us thinking. Is there a way to make that spending any greener and better for the planet? And just as important -- how do we get our share of all that dough?

Well, the answer is simple: Craiglist (www.craiglist.org). With our digital camera, a keyboard, and a high speed internet connection, we held a modern day yard sale, posting all the stuff that's been sitting in storage and cleaning our spare room. Sofabed inherited from the husband's parents? Gone, with $60 in our pocket. Office chair leftover from our dot com days? Gone, for $25. Old desk, a lamp, a butterfly chair? Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-CHING. At the end of the weekend, our spare room is cleaner, we're $370 richer, and our old stuff is finding new life in dorm rooms around the city. Now that's what I call making money and making a difference. Class dismissed.

-- Jess Brooks

Blogpire Productions Permalink social bookmarking

Eco-Pioneers: Practical Visionaries Solving Today's Environmental Problems

What we like about this book is the format of 25 case studies and numerous examples and followup to a theory proposed and studied - not just proposed. Though a bit out of date, the book is still one of our favorites and does a good job outlining the different efforts underway in the green movement.

Lerner, research director of Commonweal, a health and environmental research institute, continues exploring the themes he introduced in The Earth Summit (Common Knowledge, 1991) and Beyond the Earth Summit (Common Knowledge, 1992). He presents 25 case studies on sustainable development in the United States, showcasing the efforts of "eco-pioneers" in diverse settings from inner cities to rural communities to grow food, build houses, treat wastes, and generate power in sustainable ways. The result is a nice compilation of practical examples of sustainable development that makes us believe that we can solve our environmental problems.

At Eco-Pioneers: Practical Visionaries Solving Today's Environmental Problems

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September 2, 2006

simplehuman Cabinet Mount Trash System

Recycle those grocery bags and even reuse them for your trash bags! The new simplehuman cabinet mounted trash bag system has an eco-friendly design for storing and reusing grocery bags.

A built-in bag holder at the bottom of the frame stores and dispenses up to 50 plastic grocery bags. To use, just slip a bag onto the specially designed frame. Frame easily mounts to the inside of a cabinet door with four screws. Steel body.

At Cabinet Mount Trash System

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September 1, 2006

Throw a Senseo Single Serve Coffee Party with Your Friends

senseomachine_promotion.jpgWe've gotten a pretty cool opportunity on how to receive a Senseo single serve coffee maker for FREE for readers of KitchenContraptions.com.

Single Serve Coffee (another site from Blogpire Productions) and the folks that make the Senseo coffee pod system are offering you the opportunity to qualify to receive the Senseo machine, share it with friends, and then provide some feedback on the machine. All you need to do to see if you qualify for the FREE Senseo coffee machine, 18 coffee pods, and get FREE shipping is fill out a short questionnaire.

It's for a limited time only and quantities are limited, so click here to fill out the questionnaire and see if you qualify.

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