February 27, 2009

Green Your Taxes with Digital Tax Software Downloads and E-Filing

tax.jpg Can you imagine how much paper is used by Americans each to complete their income taxes? From the booklets printed by the IRS to making multiple copies of returns to send in and keep for personal files, I am sure there is a heavy carbon footprint associated with tax time. How can you green your taxes?

Unfortunately, Americans are not able to delineate their tax money for governmental environmental projects, but there are other ways you can green your taxes. If you self-prepare, you can download tax software and prevent the need for IRS booklets or cd-roms of tax software. After completing your taxes, e-file your return. You don't even need to print a copy of your return for your personal files if you make a back up file of it on your computer. No paper required!

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February 26, 2009

California Sea Lions' Epileptic Seizures Caused by DDT and Domoic Acid

california_sea_lion.jpg California sea lions living in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and National Park are experiencing epileptic seizures. Scientists believe the cause of the sea lions' seizures is the interaction between DDT and domoic acid, a neurotoxin produced by harmful algal blooms. According to the Environment News Service:
The researchers observed that sea lion exposure to domoic acid during fetal development can lead to brain seizures when the young are two to four years old. Exposure to residual environmental DDT appears to contribute to increased seizures, the study shows. A pesticide that was banned in the 1970s, DDT still persists at high but declining levels off the southern California coast. Driven by climate changes and coastal pollution, algal blooms have been increasing in the sea lions' habitat over the past decade, resulting in more cases of acute poisoning.
Scientists are also studying how harmful algae blooms and residual chemicals will affect humans.
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February 25, 2009

Terracycle Upcycles Record Albums and Circuit Boards into Picture Frames, Coasters and Clocks

circuit_board_picture_frame_4x6_custom.jpg I love Terracycle, as they are really trying to take hard to recycle items and upcycle them into new products. The most recent products to come out in March feature record albums and circuit boards.
TerraCycle, Inc., the ultimate eco-friendly brand, is introducing the first nationally distributed product line made from upcycled vinyl records and circuit boards. These products are unique and environmentally responsible because they are made from materials that have been rescued from the world's waste stream and would have ended up in already overflowing landfills.

Technology progresses at an astounding rate and a trail of trash is close in tow. Every time consumers upgrade their PC, TV, stereo, or other electronics, they add to the colossal stream of e-waste. In 2005, Americans generated 2.6 million tons of e-waste according to the EPA1. Of this amount, only 12.6% was recycled. Continuing the Trash Revolution, TerraCycle reuses circuit boards to create new products.

With the prevalence of digital media and portable music players, (and CD's before that) vinyl records have truly fallen by the wayside. While serious collectors hang on to their vintage discs, the average person is disposing of the records that have been collecting dust in the attic.

These unique, upcycled products will retail at an affordable price of $12.95.
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February 24, 2009

LED Bulb Fits Standard Incandescent Sockets and Lasts 50,000 Hours!

ledbulbchinavision.jpg It's amazing what technology has done for lighting. This LED bulb made by Chinavasion will last for 50,000 hours! That's 2,083 days if left on 24 hours a day!
The design and manufacture of these LED lights is beyond compare - from the all metal die cast cooling fins to the IC boards that drive the diodes, every part has been manufactured to exceed world performance standards. You simply cannot find a better built 7 watt screw in LED lamp than the G08!
Besides just looking cool, this LED uses only 7 watts of electricity. Via: Gizmodo
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February 23, 2009

Beauty By God: Natural and Eco-Friendly Beauty Recipes

beautybygod.jpg Beauty by God: Inside Out Secrets for Every Woman is a Christian book. I want to be up front about that with our readers, and I also want our readers to note we do not promote or endorse any religion. This site is about natural living, which includes accepting your natural beauty. The merit in Beauty by God: Inside Out Secrets for Every Woman for our readers, regardless of their religious beliefs, is the natural homemade recipes and eco-friendly beauty advice included in the book (Just say no to Botox!). For example, how about a Brown Sugar Foot Scrub?
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons ground oatmeal (ground in a coffee grounder or food processor)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon almond or olive oil
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until it resembles a paste. Use circular motion and massage gently into heels, arches, toes, and ankles. Rinse with warm water.
Oh, this sounds luxurious to my aching, tired feet that were crammed into ski boots all weekend!
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February 20, 2009

Eco Food Friday: All Natural Gourmet Cookies and Treats from Harvard Sweet Boutique

harvardsweet.jpg It's no secret...I have a sweet tooth! I enjoy all natural cookies and treats, but I don't always have the time to bake them. Harvard Sweet Boutique makes delicious sweet goodies that make wonderful gifts.
At Harvard Sweet Boutique, we believe that baking should be done the old-fashioned way - from scratch. Everything is made lovingly by hand, using only the freshest ingredients. When you order gourmet desserts from us, you can rest assured you're getting the best, most delicious baked sweet available. Our ingredients are the finest in the market and include rich European chocolate with the highest cocoa butter content, pure double-strength vanilla extracts, the finest flours, premium grade nuts, and fresh Grade A butter. Our products are all natural.
This online bakery sends out cookies and treats gifts that come in aesthetically pleasing packaging, just like my grandma used to send to me. In fact, the box is so cool, I plan to reuse it over and over again long after the cookies are gone.
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February 19, 2009

Butterfly Wings are Highly Efficient Solar Cells

yellowbutterfly.jpg Recently, scientists have discovered butterfly wings are high-efficient solar cells. According the Daily Galaxy:
Research suggests that certain scales on butterfly wings are nanobiologically-tuned to absorb heat from sunlight, enabling the insect to survive in colder or higher-altitudes than normal.
In order to make highly efficient solar cells from the butterfly wings, you have to burn them.
Specifically, the wings have to be soaked in chemicals and burned away in an oven at five hundred degrees Celsius. This leaves a titanium-dioxide "butterfly microstructure photo-anode."...The researchers claim that the resulting films have a higher absorption ability than any other type of Grätzel cell, and Grätzel cells are already the highest-efficiency and among the cheapest models of cell available.
This doesn't sound like a practical application for creating solar cells, but it certainly adds to my amazement of the butterfly kingdom.
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February 18, 2009

Ebay Asked to Stop Selling Guided Trophy Hunts

Dave Johson 10ft Spring Brown Bear 2008.jpg Canadian and U.S. wildlife advocates have asked Ebay to stop auctioning off guided trophy hunts for bears, wolves, cougars and other top predators. The Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Big Wildlife and the Alaska Wildlife Alliance are concerned about the survival of trophy hunt species. Chris Genovali, executive director of the British Columbia based Raincoast Conservation Foundation asked:
Have the lives of Canada's grizzly bears, wolves and other large carnivores become so cheapened by the purveyors of trophy hunting that selling an opportunity to kill one is now as commonplace as trying to unload a kitchen appliance or baseball cards on eBay?
Ebay's response:
We are always open to working with NGOs with expertise in these areas and have done so in the past to fine tune our policies regarding issues such as the sale of ivory and the sale of "canned hunts," or those that guarantee the killing of a specific animal.
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February 17, 2009

Wellness Bags Made from Recycled Designer Fabrics Provide Therapeutic Heat Naturally

divine therapy collection.jpg Handmade in Pasadena, CA, Wellness Bags provide heat therapy to relieve stress, pain, and muscle tension. Made from designer recycled fabrics and filled with rice, the Divine Therapy collection uses exclusively environmentally responsible fabrics.

To use a Wellness Bag, simply heat in a microwave for two minutes. The bag will stay warm for close to an hour and can be used anywhere on the body. Since I don't have a microwave, I wonder if there is an alternative method for heating the Wellness Bags. Of course, the rice bags can be used for cold therapy as well by placing it in the freezer!

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 16, 2009

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to Build Vermont's Largest Solar Array

I've long been a fan of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters beans, but now I am even more ecstatic to support this company.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is building the largest solar array in Vermont to power their facility in Waterbury.

Construction on the 100KW PV array will begin this spring:

The solar array is the result of an innovative partnership between the coffee company, the State of Vermont, Green Mountain Power, and groSolar, North America's premier provider of solar energy solutions. The electricity generated by the approximately 530 solar panels will produce a small percentage of the total electricity Green Mountain Coffee needs for its production facilities in Waterbury. Company officials say the greater benefit is in showing what is possible for the future.

"Renewable energy must be a part of our overall energy strategy," says Paul Comey, Vice President of Environmental Affairs for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. "We want to show our state and federal governments that solar energy works, and that we need a policy that provides a broad-reaching structure for renewable energy."

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February 13, 2009

Eco Food Friday: Organic Blue Corn Shells Make Great Vegetarian Tacos

bluecorntacoshells.jpg Vegetarian tacos made with Little Bear Organic Blue Taco Shells are my daughter's favorite dinner. We cook beans with onions and zucchini, then top them with cheese, salso, avocado, lettuce, and tomatoes in the blue corn shells.
Our blue corn is a naturally blue strain of corn that was indigenous to the Pueblo Indian tribes of the Southwest. the corn is freshly stoneground into a dough called Masa. The masa is formed into shells and cooked in expeller pressed high oleic oil, an especially high quality oil that retains its freshness longer than most other oils.

These organic taco shells have a nuttier flavor from the blue corn, and they are are fun to eat because they are unusual.
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February 12, 2009

New Satellites to Monitor Carbon Emissions From Outer Space

satellite.jpgLast month, the Japanese space agency JAXA launched Ibuki, a satellite dedicated to monitoring carbon dioxide and methane. NASA will launch Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) this month for a similar purpose. According to the Economist:
These new satellites will work as carbon accountants, by keeping a close eye on how the Earth breathes and returning regular audits--which are awaited with trepidation. Ibuki, which means "breath" in Japanese, orbits the Earth approximately every 100 minutes at an average altitude of 667km. It will gather data from 56,000 points around the globe with two detectors.
Currently, there are only 260 places on Earth where such data is collected to study global warming. I just wonder why it has taken so long for satellites to dedicated for this purpose, when James Hansen warned us over twenty years ago about climate change.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 11, 2009

Jump Start to Green: Save a Little. Save a Lot. Save the Planet.

kit2.jpg Jump Start to Green is a kit that makes saving the planet easy and effective. The kit contains products and tools that save energy, paper, and water. It includes a "Guide to Green" that helps people track their use of resources. The kit comes with: The Dry-Erase Tracker helps families see the small changes they make are having an impact.  The Guide to Green tells you how much you will save with each action and the impact it will have on the planet, thus allowing families to prioritize which actions to take. For example, if you take shorter showers (reducing shower time from eight minutes to five minutes), you will save $223 annually. If this simple action was taken by 1 out of 10 Americans, it would be the equivalent of taking 90,000 cars off the road each year!
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February 10, 2009

Climate Change Could End California Agriculture

CAagriculture.jpg Unless you are a devoted locavore and don't live in California, chances are a lot of the food you eat is grown in the Golden State. That all may change. Obama's Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced last week that the threat from climate change is serious, "We're looking at a scenario where there's no more agriculture in California." Global warming could cause 90% of the Sierra snowpack to disappear causing dire water shortages for the nation's largest agricultural producer.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 9, 2009

Sukispa 100% Pure Cosmeceutical Skin Prescriptions Organic Treatments

600facialliftultimate__97412.png Sukispa is a new line of five advanced, cosmeceutical grade skin prescriptions that are 100% natural from Suki Pure.
The new sukispa™ treatments - renewal bio-resurfacing facial peel, targeted bio-brightening face serum, bio-active purifying face serum, bio-C 10% formula face serum and facial lift ultimate firming cream are packed with organic actives like cranberry glycolic aha, pumpkin enzymes, goldenseal extract, apple enzymes, tetrapeptide-9 and resveratrol to exfoliate damaged skin cells, decongest pores, even skintone, improve firmness and dramatically improve the over all health of the skin. And of course, not one trace of synthetics, gmo's, fragrances, lake colors or chemical preservatives will ever be found in any of the suki® formulations.
My favorite Sukispa products are:
  • facial lift ultimate firming cream: uses high performing antioxidants like green tea and olive leaf to improve visible signs of aging, such as wrinkles, loss of firmness, and/or uneven tone and reoccurring dryness.
  • bio-C 10% formula face serum: oil-free serum supports collagen production & helps reduce future signs of aging using time-released vitamin c glucoside.
  • sensitive cleansing bar: fair trade shea butter and 100% organic ingredients makes this vegan body bar effectively clean, soften and awaken your skin and senses.
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February 6, 2009

Can an Onion Really Charge an iPod?

21-year-old UK resident Owen Louis has devised a way to charge his iPod using an onion! First, Louis makes two holes in the onion, then he soaks it in energy drink. Using a standard USB cable, he connects his iPod to the onion.

According to CleanTechnica, Louis' method is a hoax:

However, according to the Guardian (25 November), it appears that the basic science behind the idea is correct, but that this particular technique is a hoax. The article quotes Jon Edwards of the UK Royal Society of Chemistry (no less), who says "The science behind the idea isn't bad - you can generate an electric current from vegetables - but the video is a hoax." He explains that it can't work because you need two electrodes to provide a reaction and a reason for an electric current to flow.

Mythbusters: Collection 1 (4pc) agrees:

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February 5, 2009

Global Warming Creating Louder, Polluted Oceans

ocean-water.jpg Carbon dioxide, responsible for global warming, is also being absorbed by our seas creating noisier oceans. This greenhouse gas reacts with the ocean altering its PH, thus creating more acidic water. As sound travels in the ocean some of the sound wave's energy is absorbed as it interacts with salt and other molecules that determine how far it travels.  Keith Hester, a researcher with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, predicts sounds will travel 70 percent farther in 2050 as a result of increased carbon dioxide acidifying our oceans.  A louder ocean will negatively affect marine animals, like whales and dolphins, that rely on sonar to navigate, communicate, and find food.   85 percent of all carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere ends up in our oceans.
Via: Santa Cruz Sentinel
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February 4, 2009

The Green Year: 365 Small Things You Can do to Make a Big Difference

thegreenyear.jpg The Green Year: 365 Small Things You Can Do to Make a Big Difference uses the calendar year to organize simple activities anyone can do to help stop climate change. The bite size tips are assigned to each day of the year, so one is never at a loss as to what one can do that day for the earth. The book also features:
•The "why" behind each activity--what makes it good for the environment and the reader? •A quick "how-to" for any activity that requires it •Room for readers to write in their own creative Alternatives •Helpful illustrations
Ideas range from in May visiting a garden center to research drought-tolerant plants to in August switching to eco-friendly dental floss. With Valentine's Day approaching, The Green Year: 365 Small Things You Can Do to Make a Big Difference offers the following advice:
Surprise your Valentine with a candlelight dinner. Turning out the lights isn't just romantic, it saves energy. To make the evening more eco-friendly, opt for soy candles over candles made from paraffin. Soy candles are made from natural ingredients, last longer than paraffin candles, and reduce the amount of soot released into the air by 90 percent.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 3, 2009

Living Moss Bath Mat Literally Greens Your Bathroom

mossbathmat.jpgThis living moss bathroom mat looks luxurious to step on after a shower or bath. It reminds me of some of the beautiful places I have swam in the wilderness and the natural mossy carpeting that surrounded them. Inhabitat describes the living moss carpet:
This Moss Carpet by Nguyen La Chanh brings the outside indoors in an unconventionally natural way by placing it underfoot. The lush green lawn thrives in humid environments, which makes your bathroom a perfect place to grow.
The living bath mat is planted with three different varieties of moss: ball, island, and forest. The mat requires very little maintenance beyond regular bathroom use of showering and bathing.

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February 2, 2009

January 2009 Monthly Round-up

Alternative Energy







Green Homes



Monthly Round-Up


Product review








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