Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We ♥ Dave Matthews Band!

And if we don’t already, we should! This band is fully committed to doing what they can in an effort to be eco friendly. This morning I received my DMB newsletter in email and about half way down, here is, word for word, what I read:


Dave Matthews Band has teamed up with Brita to reduce bottled water waste on tour this summer. Going to a show? Refill with a compostable cup at a Brita Hydration Hub-for free! Head over to the Brita booth, take the FilterForGood pledge, and play a game for a chance to win an exclusive DMB reusable bottle!

Thank you to all our fans for doing your part to reduce waste on tour.

After just 14 shows,

• Fans refilling at the Brita Hydration Hubs have kept more than 14,000 plastic water bottles out of landfills
• More than 2,000 fans have taken the FilterForGood pledge

Check out Brita FilterForGood on Facebook for tour updates and a chance to win tickets all summer long!"


I have written about the Filter for Good campaign in the past as I was fortunate enough to have been sent a filtered pitcher and accompanying Nalgene bottle back in the early part of this year.

In our house we never use anything but a filter pitcher and not only did I make use of the Nalgene every day, I just went out and purchased a new one recently that is more convenient for leaving in the car.

So thanks DMB for not only being on the same planetary page as most of us, but for spreading the word about living an even Greener lifestyle!

For those going to a show this summer, be sure to stop by the Brita booth and take the pledge.  If you can't make it to a show click on the pledge link at the top of the post and then come on back over to let us know you took the pledge.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Earth Divas Fair Trade and Natural Fiber Bags

Good morning all! I’ve been a busy little bee lately with work and finishing up my book but now that things have settled down some I can get right back to doing reviews and I couldn’t think of a better place to start than Earth Divas!

I was contacted by these folks directly and sent a super fun, practical, functional and great looking tan bag, hand made by a talented artist in Nepal, from rapidly renewable hemp fiber.

With two very generous outside pockets in chocolate brown and three inside pockets (in addition to the main bag) I will certainly not run out of convenient spaces for my smaller items. With magnetized snaps or zippers the pockets will keep everything safely tucked away. And the bag is sturdy too.

The casual messenger style is great for me because I always have a couple checkbooks and my day planner with me so the roominess is great too.

The company is a wonderful model -- they provide free training and pay their artists direct under fair trade practices. With a 10% donation that goes right back to the artists Earth Divas claims to pay 10-25% higher than the standard labor rate, 30% above the local wage rate. At the end of the year all profits are paid direct to the artists and the owner of the company, Ed Edmundson, doesn’t even draw a salary!

The price is not outrageous for such a well made, socially responsible item either. The bag I was sent retails at $29.99 but their catalog is chock full of items that run under $20 too. The range in price does not diminish the quality or functionality however.

With so many positives -- natural/renewable fiber, social responsibility, training and encouragement of the artists, sustainability, functionality and durability -- and such a wonderful company model overall I am granting Earth Divas a Four and a Half Leaf Rating!

Now for the best part…for those of you who stuck around to read the whole review, Green Leaf Reviewer, in conjunction with Earth Divas, is doing a giveaway of one of these awesome hand made bags! That’s right and you could win it!

Here are the rules:

Get on over to the Earth Divas website.
Find your favorite bag.
Come back to GLR and leave a comment about which bag is your favorite.
Tell me why you think hemp is a smart choice for the planet.

I will be picking the winner on Tuesday July 6 at 6:00PM EST so get your votes in now and you might just find a super cute, well made, socially responsible bag on your front doorstep!

Thanks Earth Divas for helping to make this planet a better place ♥love♥

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ice and Dice Casino Night Fundraiser for Boston Bruins Foundation

Last night my aunt, her friend, and myself, all headed to Kowloon Chinese restaurant in Saugus, Massachusetts for the third annual Ice & Dice Casino Night. Tickets were only $30 and I knew the proceeds were going to a super worthy cause -- The Boston Bruins Foundation.

The Foundation is a not for profit that provides grant monies in the realms of athletic, academic, health and community outreach to various area children’s charities. For example, they have donated to The Children’s Room, a Youth All-City Choir, The Mayors Cup Roller Hockey program and Boston Partners in Education among many, many others.

Last night there were casino tables with all kinds of games but we stuck to a game with dice (it had an hourglass type cage with dice inside it that spun and you bet on numbers) and blackjack (my personal favorite). Bruins alumni, friends, family and many others were present to celebrate the evening for a great cause.

The night began with everyone receiving $1000 worth of chips and then at the end of the night the three people with the most chips won some pretty cool prizes, like a stick signed by the whole team. Then on the way out the ladies (and some of the men grabbed for their own ladies!) were rewarded by some nail polish (5 bottles!) donated by ProStrong.

Because gambling for cash is not legal in Massachusetts all the money was fun money but in order to raise even more, there were a few items in a live auction as well as a slew of silent auction items. Our friend even won one of the bids!

All proceeds from last night’s festivities went to further support the Foundation's Pan-Mass Challenge Bike Team's 2010 donation to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. I don’t know the final tally but at one point our emcee for the evening, Bob Sweeney, Bruins alum and the Foundation’s Director of Development, told us they were in the neighborhood of $50,000 in total. Outstanding!

It was a really fun night and although I’m not much into gambling, the “fun money” atmosphere kept the mood light. Thinking about where the proceeds would be donated made me so happy to have been a part of it all. Thanks Bruins for your continued support of the youth of our fine city of Boston and thanks for a fantastic evening!

Interested in donating, volunteering or just finding out more about the Foundation? Head on over to their Donations Page for more information.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lost Generation?

One of my teammates over at EcoEtsy, Martina of Nature’s Art Melbourne, shared the link to this video and since it was short I checked it out. I have now watched it three times and every time it makes me tear up. Awesome!

There is hope out there people but we all have to come together as one to reverse the ways that aren’t working in order to get to the good stuff.

No matter what generation you are part of we are all humans. Hold the things you love close, push out the icky stuff and live life with purpose! Hug each other, take time to say I love you, relax, eat, drink and be merry!

Enjoy this video (make sure you watch it to get the full effect).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Clean Energy Needs to Be a National Priority

The BP Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is turning into the worst man made disaster in the history of, well, history. People’s jobs are impacted, lives have been turned upside down and visions of success have dwindled away. But there is something we can do to at least mitigate the blow, to turn it back around.

We can all stand together as a nation and demand that changes are made.

We can all stand together as a nation and say ‘I want to reduce my dependence on fossil fuels.’

We can all stand together as a nation and call for clean-energy!

A few days ago I added my name in support of a clean-energy future by signing a petition that is backed by the group Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee. Since signing the petition I have received a few emails requesting that I forward the link on.

This morning, following right behind President Obama’s Oval Office Address last night*, the committee sent another request to share the link to sign in support of clean-energy and I decided to do a little more digging.

I responded to the Director of Organizing for America, Mitch Stewart and simply inquired -- what are you going to do with all of these names?  I haven't yet heard back but will certainly keep everyone apprised of what he has to say as soon as they get in touch.

With regard to our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and the impact the depletion of this finite resource will have on our nation (as well as nations around the globe), The President said last night:

We cannot consign our children to this future. The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean-energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America’s innovation and seize control of our own destiny.

Yeah baby!

So because I firmly, unequivocally, and without doubt believe in every single word of the paragraph above, I am including the link to the petition for Organizing for America. If they can get even 1,000 more signatures to propel this initiative in front of the President and help ensure new jobs are created while we make use of the rapidly renewable natural resources our planet has to offer as our primary energy sources, then I say more power to them!

Now I know this will meet with negative comments from many of the ‘hippie’ generation -- that they attempted to do this too and got nowhere, that gas was a commodity in the 1970’s -- and they are absolutely correct. And 30 some odd years after they started the fight it sounds like a pretty great idea to finally finish it.

Let’s be the generation that prevails, the one which elicits positive change.

Let’s take what our former generations started and finally bring it to fruition.

Clean-energy is not a pipe dream. It can happen, and on the heels of this Gulf Coast disaster there is no more apparent time than right now to support it. Fully.

If you believe in clean-energy and all it can provide for our country please sign the petition today by visiting:

Organizing for America

*If you missed the President’s address from last night you can read the full text here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Arlington, Massachusetts Named Green Community

The Governor has picked my hometown, Arlington, Massachusetts, as one of the thirty five towns in the state listed as Green communities. These towns are striving to make a difference in the environment and although I don’t live there anymore, it is still a proud moment to read about Arlington’s achievement. Way to go!

Following is part of the article from from May 26.

According to the Governor’s office, Arlington qualified as a Green Community by meeting five clean energy benchmarks, including the adoption of the stretch energy code which Town Meeting approved on April 28. The other four benchmarks met by the town are:

• Adopting local zoning bylaw or ordinance that allows "as-of-right-siting" of renewable energy projects;
• Adopting an expedited permitting process related to the as-of-right facilities;
• Establishing a municipal energy use baseline and a program designed to reduce use by 20 percent within five years;
• Purchasing only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use, whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable.

Arlington is in good company with towns such as Cambridge, Northampton, Athol, Mashpee, Lexington, Acton, Springfield, Worcester, Salem, Pittsfield and, oh yeah, my current town of Medford (hooray!) making the cut, there is a nice balance of small town and larger city and literally towns stretching throughout every corner of the state.

So, high five Arlington, as well as the 34 other Green towns, for making the positive initiatives that helped to provide a Big Belly solar trash compactor and potential grant funding for your towns. Go Green!

Note: The photo above was taken by me in April 2008 in Arlington center. I loved the way the bikes and recycle / trash bins looked together and thought it was a nice touch to make the bins so much more decorative than average.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ready to Trade on Swaptree

A NOTE FROM JENN: Good morning Greenies! It is Monday morning now and I just wanted to say that things with Swaptree were all taken care of yesterday. The confirmation email, though indicating it was sent at 6:00 AM, did finally arrive sometime after noon. I was able to confirm and start listing items for trade.

I wanted to simply test the service for the moment so I listed just one book in my ‘have it’. Sadly no one on the service had this item in their ‘want it’ list so I am unable to receive any trades just yet but I’m sure that will come soon! I also added a book to my own ‘want it’ list and will be excited when I can have it arrive at my door!

Customer service was quick to return my email as well, although they didn’t have to do much considering it worked itself out. Because the site is free (no special envelopes to buy and no money is exchanged) and the only expense is when shipping an item (can we say Media Mail?) this allows Swaptree to suggest all kinds of trades -- movies for CDs, books for video games, etc. -- not just a one for one which is nice.

So I am amending my Leaf Rating on this cool company and concept to a Four Leaf Rating!

Everyone has extra stuff lying around -- DVDs, books, video games and CDs -- the thing you used a million times, read and won’t read again or just plain didn’t enjoy. But what is a person to do with all this brand new merchandise? Trade it on Swaptree!

The company makes it super simple to exchange your merchandise, in fact it is only a three step process! First, register. This will only take a few seconds and the information is minimal (you can also connect with friends on Facebook). Next, add items you want and list items you have to trade. Finally, all that is left to do is swap!

Now, I am a little bummed that I can’t share the whole experience with you because I never received the confirmation email (it is required to click on to activate the account) despite repeated attempts, a change in emails and contacting the customer support folks.

This is not to say it doesn’t work for some however so don’t be alarmed! My friend Bridgete was the one who suggested I become a swapper as she was able to sign up and suggest the site to me. It is legitimate and there are some cool items to be had, I just can’t get to them yet.

Hopefully the good folks at Swaptree will get me a return email so I can give a proper rating based on the entire experience, including being able to swap! But for now, based solely on the concept of it as well as my sign up experience, I have to give Swaptree a Two and a Half Leaf Rating.

I hope to hear from you Swaptree, I am looking forward to bumping your leaves up as soon as I can get active with this very cool concept! ♥love♥

Monday, June 7, 2010

Recycling Is Not A Choice!

Yesterday I went to a baby shower at a very good friend’s home. We had a fantastic time laughing and joking around and I saw some old friends that I haven’t caught up with in way too many years to count. It was a great day full of food and festivity.

At the end of the day, as the counters started to clear, one of the girls made the announcement that our friend “wasn’t planning to deal with recycling for the shower.” My jaw hit the ground as I truly understand just how easy it is to toss water bottles, cups and flatware into the sink to be rinsed.

I grabbed my own water bottle and held onto it as I said “I’ll just take mine home to recycle then.”

Yes it likely sounded very geeky to my friends that I didn’t just go with what everyone else was doing and throw it away, but everything inside of me was sad to think I would be adding to the plastic problem by throwing that bottle into the very full trash bag. So I held onto it and a new conversation began with my friend hosting the shower.

“Well I do recycle, it’s just that it’s downstairs in the garage and I didn’t want to have to deal with it today.”

Understandable, she is 7-1/2 months pregnant and probably worn out. Instead of making my friend do all that work, I reached into the trash & pulled out as many recyclables as I could find to bring them downstairs. And you know what? Two more of the gals came down with handfuls of plastic right behind me.

It’s taking a stand and making tiny steps that really count and I was happy to be the one to lead the charge yesterday! We love the environment here!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

How Long Would it Take to Weed Plastic Out of Your Life?

One of my friends in the Team EcoEtsy group, tanjasova, shared this CNN video about one woman’s quest to completely rid her life of plastic items. This is Jeanne Haegele’s story. She bakes her own bread, cooks her own yogurt and even mixes up her own toothpaste to avoid buying anything with plastic.

You will be surprised by where plastic is located, Jeanne certainly was when she started out on her journey to reduce plastic consumption.

Jeanne has certainly inspired me to open my mind to the potential benefits of reducing plastic consumption / use. How long do you think it would take you to completely eliminate plastic from your own home?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

CVS Earth Essentials Glass and Surface Cleaner

Many of you might remember the series I did back in September of 2009 on CVS Earth Essentials**. I was overall fairly impressed with the products so when I was in the market to pick up some glass cleaner recently, I was pleasantly surprised to discover this new addition in the CVS Earth Essentials line. I purchased a bottle and got right to using it on my most stubborn windows -- the car.

With a natural percentage of 99.95%, no phosphorus or bleach, and the first ingredient being “coconut based cleaning agents”, I felt more secure in its overall planetary impact. The bottle is recyclable and the ingredients are biodegradable, not to mention it smells nice too.

Of course the biggest question is -- does it work?

Those who are avid readers know that I have battled the fight with cigarettes for a few years now (just quit again, hopefully for good this time!) and it is one of the worst offenders on glass inside my car. No matter what we use to clean them (especially the windshield) nothing seems to cut the staining (yuk!) and it is always left streaky unless I do three passes. As you can imagine, streaks on the windshield at night can be somewhat precarious but I don’t have to deal with that anymore!

The Earth Essentials cleaner not only cut through the film on the first pass but the window was left totally streak free! I was very impressed with the performance as well as the ability to use less of the product but still achieve the best possible results.

Because of the lessened impact, CVS’ environmental consciousness and the percentage of natural based ingredients in this cleaner I am granting it a Four Leaf Rating!

Thanks for your dedication to Greener alternatives CVS, it is this kind of change in thinking that fuels innovation for a Greener world! ♥love♥

**If you missed the original Earth Essentials series you can read about the different products I was graciously sent back then to test & review: Room Mist, Paper Products, and Sugarcane Dishware.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

ACA “Art for a Greener World” Tire Repair Mural

My hometown of Arlington, Massachusetts is where I take my drum lessons and housed in the same building (my old Junior High School mind you!) is the Arlington Center for the Arts. The ACA is a non-profit organization that has been serving artists in and around Arlington for over 22 years and one of their popular programs is the Vacation Arts Program (VAP).

Kids ages 4-14 are strongly encouraged to register for the Vacation Arts program (run several times per year during school vacation weeks/months) as they will complete some extremely exciting artwork, such as this piece below that I was able to snap a photo of the last time I was attending my drum lesson. The mural is entitled Tire Repair and was completed as a part of the “Art for a Greener World” themed February VAP. The premise of which was to consider the impact on the planet from driving our cars and ways we could reduce our dependence on those vehicles. Enjoy!