Posts Tagged ‘Sustainable living’

Green Entrepreneurs

I have recently met some impressive green entrepreneurs who are making a real difference by the earth and our health as they squeak out a living.  In this 2-part blog, I will share with you some of the eco-businesses these creative people are running.

FarmFare Market – A registered dietitian, Nicole Cormier is a green go-getter who has her hands in everything related to organic, food and local.  She runs her nutritional counseling office out of a cute little store in Sandwich, MA where you can buy seasonal fresh vegetables, farm fresh eggs, fresh cold-pressed juices, bulk items like nuts, berries, and beans, specialty food items such as locally made cheeses and organic vanilla, and environmentally friendly products.  She also started a farmer’s market in Mashpee, MA, offers a yearlong CSA, does organic catering, runs wellness workshops for businesses, schools or groups, and hosts a radio show with “nutritionally sustainable topics.”  Whew!

Edible Landscapes of Cape Cod –A talented musician and gardener, Dave Scandurra’s goal is to make the local food movement even more local by bringing it to you.  How?  He creates (installs and maintains) low-maintenance perennial edible landscapes on Cape Cod that will feed you and your friends or family for years to come. He specializes in herbs, perennial vegetables, fruits, nuts, beneficial flowers, trees and edible water gardens. Using raised beds, cold frames or interesting swirl designs, Dave’s gardens are fabulous.  He also consults and is a whiz at plant identification, finding obscure but beneficial plants like St. John’s wort among your “weeds”.

The Optimist Company – A young mother of two, Devin Donaldson’s strong interest in green living led her to make and sell pure cleaning and laundry products.  Her powerful, but gentle and of course non-toxic products are made from simple (and pronounceable) ingredients like baking soda, coconut oil soap, Epsom salts and other household ingredients.    I use her “Loads of Laughs” natural laundry suds and softener and love it.  The attractive packaging is basic and naturally recyclable, reusable, compostable, and biodegradable.  Along with the finished products, The Optimist Company provides DIY (do it yourself) kits.  You can order her products online.

Each of these young entrepreneurs has a similar mission and a passion for protecting the earth and our health. Each exhibits drive and ambition in a socially responsible way.  The green movement is here to stay!

Next blog I’ll highlight a few more conscientious green entrepreneurs.

Congratulations to the winner of the advanced power strip from MassSave, Nancy Yardley of Houston, Texas!

 

Turn Off Your Lights!

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EARTH_HOUR_3FingerClub_6560 (Photo credit: \!/_PeacePlusOne)

Saturday, March 23 marks the 7th annual Earth Hour when people from around the world turn their lights out for one hour from 8:30pm – 9:30pm.   Earth Hour started with one city and has grown to over 7000, with one country to seven continents, and with two million people to hundreds of millions of people.

Earth Hour was created to:

·     “To unite people and show our desire to protect the planet.

·     To encourage and empower people to take action beyond the hour itself

·     Create an interconnected global community and build on the momentum and action for a sustainable future.”

Earth Hour “has grown to become the largest mass participation event in history.”

This Saturday, why don’t you turn off your lights and encourage your family, friends, coworkers and neighbors to as well. It’s a small step with a big impact.  Visit www.earthhour.org for information, challenges, suggestions, kids’ activities and more on helping to build a sustainable future.

Lights out!

Information compiled from earthhour.org

 

 

Green Holiday Shopping

I love the way life moves in the right direction – it’s getting so much easier to find eco-friendly, responsibly sourced, sustainably made products that don’t impact the earth. Below is a list of green websites to help you with your holiday shopping (and beyond).

WorldofGood.com

WorldofGood.com is an eBay company for online shoppers and sellers, who have pledged to buy, sell and think green.  It features eco-friendly, sustainably made and resource-saving products available on eBay.com. According to the website description, WorldofGood.com is positive for people, environment, animals and causes.

Ethicalocean.com

Ethical Ocean, based in Toronto, is an online marketplace for ethical products and services from around the world.  Their tagline says it all – “own what’s good”

EcoMall.com

EcoMall is an online directory of companies and products as well as a green living magazine. Easy to navigate, it lists hundreds of green products and services.

“ A place to help save the earth” …

GreenPages.org

National Green Pages is a “directory of products and services for people and the planet”.  It works like a phone book and lists major eco-responsible companies like Patagonia and Seventh Generation.  It also features local stores.

LinksOrganic.com

LinksOrganic.com is a comprehensive international guide to finding organic or environmentally friendly businesses. Some have online stores while others are physical storefronts in your local community.

Where-clothes.com

I have to put a plug in for my daughter’s company, Where…. Earth Friendly Fashion.  She restructures vintage and recycled clothing into today’s styles.  Each piece is hand sewn, one of a kind and most incorporate beautiful antique lace!  Check it out!

There are many more websites featuring eco-responsible products and services, but this should get you started.  Remember to request minimal and plastic-free  packaging when ordering online!

 

GREEN SKIING

Skier carving a turn off piste

Image via Wikipedia

It hasn’t been the greatest year for skiing. Nevertheless, I’ve been reading a lot about green skiing. Coincidentally, my husband told me about one of his employees who not only got to park in the front row, but ski free at Mt. Cranmoor simply because he drove a biodiesel car!  (An aside – our company Boston Tree Preservation uses all biodiesel trucks and sales vehicles.)

With the manufacture of artificial powder, which uses lots of fresh water, the electricity for lifts, all the gear, and long car drives to the slopes, skiing typically isn’t very green.  Ski resorts are making an effort however, to become greener and reduce their carbon emissions. Some are converting to wind power and using recycled snow.   Some offer ride shares, carpool and shuttle services, or incentives like prime parking and discounted or free lift tickets for using greener transportation.  Below are some green skiing tips from the Sierra Club you can do to lessen your environmental impact.

  • For your equipment, try eco-skis – Lokomotiv Skis plants a tree for every pair they produce.  They have discontinued the use of hardwood and use fast-growing bamboo wood cores instead. Colorado-based Liberty as well as other companies also build cores from bamboo.  German ski maker Grown uses wood sources from sustainably managed forests.
  • For the occasional skier, consider borrowing a pair from a friend or buying used.
  • For your gear, it’s best to use environmentally conscious companies like Patagonia and Mountain Equipment Co-Op.  They use lower impact materials such as organic cotton and recycled plastics for the warm layers in their jackets. Patagonia’s Common Threads Recycling Program transforms worn-out garments into new ones. Both companies are members of 1% for the Planet.  Their gear may cost a little more, but it lasts.
  • Carpool, take advantage of ride shares or use greener transportation if possible.
  • As with all day-to-day activities, bring your own bpa-free reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic ones.

Being outside in nature is an important part of green living.  With a little awareness, your outdoor experience will be even greener!

Information compiled from sierraclub.org

SURPRISING GREEN THINGS

English: icon for smartphone (smart phone) rel...

 Without even trying, you’ll surprise yourself with the green things you are already doing.   For instance, do you have a smart phone?  Instead of buying a camera, a phone, a GPS, a tablet computer, a music player, and even a pedometer, your Smartphone is all of those things.  With a Smartphone you only have to buy one device, eliminating the manufacturing waste and e-waste disposal for several different devices.  With all the apps you can now download, your phone can do just about anything you want it to!  And, if you charge your phone with a solar charger, which are getting better all the time, you will really be going green with your phone!

If you have switched your light bulbs to energy-efficient CFLs, you are probably seeing considerable savings on your electric bill.  If you have added extra insulation to your home, you have probably noticed a drop in your heating bill.  This is a form of “green investing” – the return is immediate and probably greater than investing in a utility company.  Of course I’m also all for investing in companies that are doing the right thing for the earth and people, or socially responsible investing, but start your green investing at home first.   (Check out slowmoney.org for investment opportunities within 50 miles where you live that aim to fix the economy from the ground up starting with food entrepreneurs.)

Do you realize the houseplants you decorate your house with not only give off oxygen and filter carbon dioxide, but some plants also actually absorb indoor toxins?  Houseplants are nature’s air purifier. Click here for a list of the plants that best absorb toxins.

Every time you take the stairs instead of an elevator or an escalator, every time you air dry your clothes or turn off the lights when you leave a room, you conserve energy.  When you turn the water off brushing your teeth or run the dishwasher only when full, you save water.

These simple acts all make a difference.  Keep going – add new “green” things daily to your life.

Some information compiled from Green Living, editors of The Environmental Magazine and  green.life@sierraclub.org.

 

GREEN BEDDING FOR AN UNUSUAL HOLIDAY GIFT

English: Picture of Pure wool blankets

Image via Wikipedia

Need an unusual and green holiday gift idea?  Consider giving organic or natural fiber sheets and blankets.  We spend one third of our life sleeping, so go for the healthier option.  Permanent press, easy care, no iron, and cotton/polyester blends have usually been treated with formaldehyde, which has been linked to cancer, asthma and other ailments. Some sheets are labeled formaldehyde-free, but most do not indicate whether or not they contain formaldehyde.  Conventional cotton is often bleached and treated with dyes, and is one of the most heavily sprayed products, accounting for up to 25% of insecticides used worldwide.

Organic cotton, linen, hemp or bamboo bedding are all natural alternatives free of toxic chemicals, minimizing environmental pollution in the growing and manufacturing process. They usually use low impact dyes as well.  Bamboo sheets actually wick away moisture and are naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. They are perfect for people with skin allergies.  A great eco-choice, bamboo is naturally pest free, fast growing and sustainable. When purchasing bamboo sheets (or clothes), look for 100% Viscose from Bamboo.   Some bamboo textiles are actually rayon, which is made using toxic chemicals.

A beautiful natural wool, organic cotton, flannel or for a real splurge, cashmere blanket or throw also makes a lovely holiday gift that can be passed down for generations.  A warm bed with natural fiber bedding allows you to turn down the thermostat, increasing the eco-benefits since you’ll save money and energy!  A cooler bedroom is better for sleeping anyway.

Natural fiber and organic cotton bedding will wrinkle and costs a little more, but they are more breathable, comfortable and last longer. You can find natural and organic bedding online at Gaiam.com and GreenEarth Bamboo, as well as other online stores.  Bed, Bath and Beyond, Pottery Barn, Target and other major department stores also have a selection.

Introduce your family and friends to a healthier, cozier night’s sleep with natural fiber sheets and blankets.  While you are at it, get some for yourself – you won’t believe the difference!

Click here for more information about “Greening your Bedroom”.

Information compiled from green.life@sierraclub.org, treehugger.com and Green Living by the editors of The Environmental Magazine.