April 30, 2008

Hybrid Diesel Dump Trucks and Big-Rigs

Hybrid-Granite-AB-Dump.jpg One downfall of the new, cleaner diesel engines required to meet EPA clean air standards is that they use more fuel. With the skyrocketing cost of fuel, this is a big problem. The solution: hybrid big rigs. Mack Trucks and the US Air Force developed this hybrid dump truck. Imagine a hybrid sanitation truck...Once there is a enough power stored in the batteries and the diesel motor shuts off, the garbage truck can move quietly from house to house emptying trash cans. If you have ever been woken up in the early hours by a noisy sanitation truck, you know what a blessing a quieter hybrid could be. Other hybrid big-rig trucks are under development and testing. Paul L. Vikner, president and CEO of Mack, explained:
Hybrid systems can have a major impact on reducing the more than 38 billion gallons of diesel fuel the U.S. trucking industry consumes every year. Mack's research indicates that hybrid electric systems in heavy-duty trucks could save as much as 35 percent of the fuel consumed by conventionally powered vehicles.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 29, 2008

Yipee! Affordable Think City Electric Car is Coming to America

TH!NK-i-city-i_large.jpg The Think City electric vehicle (EV) is coming to America in 2009. Priced under $25,000, this EV seats two adults and two children, has a top speed of 65 MPH, and will travel 124 miles before needing a recharge. Best of all, it is made from 95% recyclable materials!

More buzz about Think City:
Gas 2.0: Affordable Electric Cars Coming to US in 2009
LA Times: Electric car for the masses to be made in Southern California
Daily Grist: Think Again All-electric car coming to the U.S. next year

Related EV news:
Eco Geek: 100 MPG Prius Coming in July (Just 10K Extra)

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 28, 2008

Use Your Spending Power to Save the Earth

big green purse.jpg Big Green Purse, written by Diane MacEarchern, is a great resource for women wishing to shop greener. By changing our spending habits, Diane believes we can create a "cleaner, greener world", and I agree.
It's simple, but potentially revolutionary. When we buy green products, we encourage manufacturers to reduce pollution, save energy and water, use less packaging, and protect natural areas like rain forests.  With this book, women everywhere can learn how to shop smart and change the world.
The book begins by recapping environmental problems and discusses principles for green shopping and avoiding greenwashing. The majority of the book then discusses specific ways you can shift your spending on common commodities to positively impact the environment.
  • Go Green-simple suggestions of immediate, green lifestyle changes
  • Make the shift-eco-friendly product recommendations
  • Ecocheap-ways to save money and shop green
  • Shop talk-suggestions for encouraging local merchants to carry more green goods
  • Green at work-how to make your work place more eco-friendly
  • Thumbs up-a rating for products, services, and practices that really live up to their green claims
  • Thumbs down-greenwashing
  • In my house-a green reality check for your home
The power of the purse or wallet cannot be denied, as companies respond to what people spend money on. This is already evident by the increase of organically grown products available in today's market. Consumer spending power is a powerful force in a capitalist society.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 25, 2008

Eco Food Friday: Bragg Healthy Organic Vinaigrette

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I'm pretty finicky when it comes to salad dressing, and I have tried almost every kind available at the health food store. Recently I discovered Bragg Healthy Organic Vinaigrette. This is the best salad dressing made from cold-pressed olive oil.

Ingredients: Bragg Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Bragg Liquid Aminos, raw honey, garlic, onion and red bell pepper flakes.

The Braggs have been bringing health food to America since 1912, and the family claims to have originated health food stores. Although I don't really buy this claim, as all stores were once upon a time health food stores before preservatives and petrochemicals entered agriculture, I do love Bragg products!

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 24, 2008

Should Your Home Go Solar?

solar-house-front-1.jpg When I first purchased solar panels 15 years ago, there was very little help for homeowners beyond other homeowners who had already gone solar. Solar panels were mostly the realm of do-it-yourselfers. I remember taking a protractor with a weighted string to our building site and trying to figure out our solar window from charts. Basically, solar success was by trial and error, but those days are over now. If you live in California, two new websites are offering services for homeowners wanting to explore their solar options.
 
Renewzle
Renewzle offers homeowners a simple way to:
  • Learn the basics
  • Explore your options
  • Shop for a system
Simply enter your zip code, select your region and utility company, then submit your average monthly utility bill. Renewzle will give you a "Solar Overview" that includes your recommended system, monthly cost, solar potential (including savings), average monthly emissions, etc. You can make adjustments based on your energy needs and then request quotes from multiple retailers/installers.
 
Sungevity
Sungevity asks users to first enter their home address. Next, a virtual earth map pops up of your neighborhood, and you find your rooftop. Sungevity calculates your roof's dimensions, including the pitch and azimuth, and then selects appropriately sized solar arrays. You are then given an image of your house with panels installed, as well as a computation of your investment return. If you decide to purchase, the panels are shipped directly to you, and an installation crew is dispatched.


Since I live in a very remote region of Northern California without a real physical address, I could not get Sungevity's map to find my house. The virtual map is very cool, but it was much easier to simply enter my zip code on Renewzle. I did try Sungevity on a friend's house in Arcata, only to find out they are only serving the San Francisco Bay Area currently after I selected her roof. It appears Renewzle gives you access to many different suppliers and installers for quotes, whereas Sungevity provides only one option for purchasing.  If I was a homeowner in California interested in solar energy, I would probably explore both sites to determine my options.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 23, 2008

Toby + Rei: Eco-Friendly Clothes and Accessories for You and Your Baby

blnaket-mood-shot.jpgToby and Rei is a company out of Massachusetts featuring eco-friendly clothes and accessories for you and your baby. Toby and Rei's Baby Blanket is made of super soft bamboo fleece (70%) and organic cotton (30%). This thick blanket is aesthetically pleasing with Toby and Rei's signature mother bird and baby bird satin stitch embroidery on the center patch. This blanket is sure to become a comfort object of any young child. Designers Alanna Mallon and Kate Browning explain their inspiration:
as fashion designers, we are aware of the impact that standard growing and harvesting practices have on our natural environment, and want to provide an alternative to concerned consumers. as young mothers, we want to leave a positive legacy for our own children and the planet that they will inhabit.
To learn more, visit Toby and Rei's blog!
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 22, 2008

Celebrating Human Ingenuity for Earth Day: The Air Powered Motorcycle

airpoweredbike.jpg Happy Earth Day! Of course, every day is Earth Day, and here at Really Natural, we want to celebrate individual human ingenuity at solving the climate crisis on this special day. We've told you about the 16-year-old that converted his truck to an EV and the revolutionary car that runs on compressed air, now Jem Stansfield, a University of Bristol graduate with a degree in aeronautics, created a bike that runs on air. By strapping two high-pressure tanks onto the side of his Puch moped, Jem created this moped in his garage that has a top speed of 18 mph and travels seven miles before the compressed air runs out.
 Via: EcoGeek
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 21, 2008

Earth Day Savings on Amazon: Black & Decker Cordless Lawn Mower

41izCtJrcpL._SL500_AA280_.jpg In honor of Earth Day, Amazon is having a sale on green goods. For example, this Black & Decker Cordless Mulching Lawn Mower is being offered at a reduced price. Did you know that gas-powered lawn equipment is a major source of greenhouse gases? Operating your gas mower for one hour will produce the same pollution as driving a car 1300 miles! Depending on your source of electric power, the Black & Decker Cordless Mulching Lawn Mower may be an ideal item for lessening your carbon footprint. This is the only cordless mower to receive an Energy Star rating.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 18, 2008

Eco Food Friday: Nature's Path Toaster Pastries (aka organic Pop Tarts)

61LJcGth-AL._SS500_.jpg One of the things I love about the expansion of organic foods is the availability of mainstream products in organic, healthier alternatives. Of course, I am not talking about pseudo natural foods, like organic Batter Blaster pancakes in a can, but Nature's Path Organic Toaster Pastries fit the bill of organic and reminiscent of my childhood. These organic Pop Tartesque treats are a favorite of my three-year-old son, and I have to admit to liking them too. My favorite flavor is the frosted cherry pomegranate.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 17, 2008

Environmental Optimism: We Can Solve It!


Al Gore first brought us An Inconvenient Truth, now he and the Alliance for Climate Protection bring us environmental optimism with We Can Solve It. Personally, I need to feel like there is hope to alter climate change, and the We campaign does this by "igniting public action to help solve the climate crisis." Only together, can we solve this global problem.  Oh, Mr. Gore, I wish you were president.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 16, 2008

All Natural Shaving Oil

all natural shaving oil All natural shaving oil made by Pacific Shaving Company is the perfect product for the green man or woman that shaves. Shaving creams lather due to aeration, and this creates less lubrication against your skin causing irritation. In contrast, shaving oils are smooth and eliminate nicks and razor burn. You only need to use 6-8 drops, and one small bottle lasts for 100 shaves. Made from all natural essential oils,this shaving oil will not clog pores and comes in a recyclable bottle.

Via: Green Mom Finds

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 15, 2008

Literally Make Your Apartment Green

wall-plant-holder.png Ever wanted to have plants growing on your walls? Lifehacker suggests DIYers can create a plant wall from the above diagram, as the retail indoor wall plant hanger sells for $250. House plants are known for improving indoor air quality. I'd much rather grow plants to clean air than rely on an energy using air purifier.  Besides, the plant wall is very cool for your green home decor.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 14, 2008

Radiant City: A Look at the Late Suburan Age


Radiant City is a new documentary about the cookie cutter life that has emerged from suburban sprawl in North America. Farm land is being converted into massive enclaves of identical homes, where people live closely to their neighbors but in complete isolation as a community. The layout of suburbia requires dependence upon cars, as families shuttle children around and drive to big box stores. Suburbs create monocultures that will not be supported as the energy crisis manifests.

I grew up in a suburb, as my parents purchased a new home when I was a toddler. The difference between my suburb and the one featured in Radiant City is that we could walk to our school, church, grocery store, bank, post office, etc. We did know our neighbors and block parties occurred every summer. Now, this sense of community has been lost in my suburb, as the children have grown up and left the neighborhood and schools have closed. This is the fate typical of "communities" in the Late Suburban Age. It is not a sustainable model for communal life.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 11, 2008

Eco Food Friday: American Flatbread Pizza With Integrity!

AFB_Group3.jpg
I first discovered American Flatbread when I was tired of soggy, bland frozen organic pizzas and needed a quick meal for the kids. Baked on primitive wood-fired earthen ovens from organic ingredients, this flatbread not taste like your typical American pizza.

Here from the union of fire, rock, and the finest all natural ingredients, comes a carefully crafted handmade food that is truly nutritious, light, crisp, flavorful, and wonderfully convenient. Food remembers the acts of the hands and heart. This is a pizza that is both good and good for you. This is pizza with integrity.

Baked in Vermont and California in order to be sustainable about production, American Flatbread is an experiment in post-modern bread baking. For other great recipes that cherish the ancient art of bread making, consult the The Tassajara Bread Book.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 10, 2008

Chris Jordan, Mass Consumption Artist, Speaks


I love Chris Jordan's work.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 9, 2008

Michael Recycle to the Rescue

513pqaSvrpL._SL500_AA240_.jpg Sure, "Michael, recycle!" could be a command, but in the children's book Michael Recycle, he is a super-green hero. Written by Ellie Bethel and illustrated by Alexander Colombo, this book takes readers on a rhyming adventure to save a town where garbage piled up and people were "lazy". Despite his zany colander cap, Michael tells the people they must recycle, and they listen to his advice.
They recycled their paper,
Their plastic and cans,
And even old junk
 Like used pots and pans!
They also began The "Be Greener Campaign."
 They grew their own kumquats
And saved up the rain.
The book ends with several simple "Michael Recycle's Go Green Tips" for children to implement. Michael Recycle does not address the complexities of climate change, like The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming; however, children will enjoy the rhyming text and illustrations.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 8, 2008

Really Natural is Now Carbon Offsetting Site Visitors!


multicolorpro.pngIt has been the practice of Really Natural to carbon offset the server for this site, as well as all Blopire sites. Now, we are also offsetting the carbon created by our site visitors. Using the service CO2Stats, we are measuring total visitor electricity use and offsetting emissions. So far this month for Really Natural, our server footprint is 4.3204 lbs CO2 (31.1088 kWh), and our client footprint is 0.4378 lbs CO2 (4.0473 kWh).

CO2Stats was started by Tim Sullivan and Alex Wissner-Gross, PhD students at Yale and Harvard respectfully. Sullivan explains:

Most internet users are unaware of its environmental impact. To solve this problem, we created CO2Stats, the first-ever tool that allows bloggers and webmasters all over the world to monitor the carbon footprints of individual web sites internationally. Our ultimate vision is to make the entire internet carbon-neutral. Our ultimate vision is to make the entire internet carbon-neutral.

We too share that vision!
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 7, 2008

Timbeland Tote Bag Made From Earthkeepers Billboards

Timberland bag group 300 ppi.jpg Last fall, Timberland launched the Earthkeepers line of boots, made mostly with organic and recycled materials. To promote these rugged, durable eco-friendly boots, Timberland erected billboards in Boston and Providence. At the end of the campaign, the billboards were repurposed into tote bags, perfect for shopping or the beach. Just like the Earthkeepers boots, these bags are durable, yet lightweight. Each bag is unique and available for about $25 in Timberland retail stores.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 4, 2008

Eco Food Friday: Organic Capers

41GEC8E34XL._SL500_AA280_.jpg I discovered the flavor of capers late in life, and I enjoy organic capers on bagels with cream cheese. My neighbor puts them on deviled eggs.
Capers are the flower buds of a bush that grows wild throughout the Mediterranean, but the very best capers come from the tiny volcanic islands off the coast of Sicily, where the distinct cultivars nocellae and nocellara grow. The islanders insist that salt-curing is the only way to preserve the intense floral flavors and firm texture of the delicate buds, which may then be totally destroyed by the vinegar or brine-packing favored by other countries. After salt-curing, these organic capers are packed in organic extra virgin olive oil.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 3, 2008

Solar Thermal Power Could Supply 90 Percent of US Electrical Needs

home1.jpg Ausra Inc., a developer of utility-scale solar thermal power technology, has published a peer-reviewed study stating that over 90 percent of the U.S. electric grid energy needs, including the auto fleet, could be met by solar thermal power. David Mills, chief scientific officer and founder at Ausra, stated:
The U.S. could nearly eliminate our dependence on coal, oil and gas for electricity and transportation, drastically slashing global warming pollution without increasing costs for energy," . "This new study shows that our daily and annual energy needs closely match the energy production potential from solar thermal power plants with heat energy storage, and our models show solar thermal power will cost less than continuing to import oil.
Solar thermal power stations use mirrors to capture the sun's energy to boil water and drive steam turbines.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 2, 2008

LeFP Green Body Care - All Natural Anti-Monster Spray for Kids

antimonsterspray.jpg

We had the pleasure of encountering a line of all natural products at the recent Down 2 Earth Boston show that truly blew us away. LeFP Green Body Care features not only all natural cosmetics and products for women - but also some unique products for the kids in your life. For our 18 month and 4 year old - we got to try out the Anti-Monster spray. Sure it doesn't sound all that natural, but it is.

The idea is to get your kids to spray these anti-viral products and repel monsters and scary ghosts at the same time helping to reinforce your child's immune system with wonderful essential oils. So far it seems to be working around our house, and we love all the different scents it comes in too. Mist this in the room, the bed, sheet, pillows and pajamas for an instant anti-viral and anti-bacterial effect. You can check out all the ingredients for the Anti-Monster Spray and also read more about the LeFP philosophy here.

We can't wait to try some of their other products soon as well.

At Welcome to LeFP Green Body Care and Anti-Monster Spray

Blogpire Productions Permalink social bookmarking

Solar Clock and Smoke Alarm All-in-One!

 quantys_solarclock.jpg
The less appliances and gadgets I have the better, so combining a wall clock with a smoke alarm sounds like a great idea to me. The Quantys Solar Clock requires solar charging once a year and doubles as a smoke alarm. This atomic clock is silent and perhaps the modern equivalent of a sundial using the sun to power its batteries.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

April 1, 2008

I Get High With a Little Help From My Water


I thought this National Lampoon video parody on drugs in our drinking water would be perfect for April Fool's Day. Too bad the reality of it is truer than we would like to imagine.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking
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