Showing posts with label environmental efforts of celebrities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label environmental efforts of celebrities. Show all posts

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Publishers Going Green


I recently read an article that indicated of the 4 billion books published every year, only 5 - 10% of them make use of recycled materials. As a Greenie and a writer, it really got me thinking.


Most of you know that I wrote my first novel last fall. This book is about two days away from being able to be published (IMO mind you, no professional Editor has laid eyes on it just yet) but I’m wondering how and where I should market my piece of fiction.

Two years ago, one of our favorite musicians here at GLR, Jason Mraz, put out a photography book titled “A Thousand Things”. When it came out I thought it was super innovative for its use of sustainable materials in the paper (Forest Stewardship Council [FSC] certified wood free, chlorine free) and ink (soy based). Even the cover is wood free and, upon Jason’s request, all waste during the printing process was recycled.

Not bad! But how about for those of us who aren’t already a celebrity? When we put out our first book can we be as demanding of how it is printed or do we have to suffer as a tree is chopped down and deal with it because we don’t have any influence in the process?

Well that question is mostly rhetorical when it comes to me because if there is anything you all know about me by now it’s that I never rest quietly on what someone else says I should do! ‘Question, challenge then understand’ should be my motto in life.

So then the first question of course is: where do I begin?

Many publishers are thinking of new approaches to the questions of sustainability. For example, they may use standard tree pulp for their paper but it comes from sources deemed FSC certified*.

There is also a growing trend to offset their paper footprint in ways around the office. Chronicle Books has an Environmental Policy link right on their homepage where they talk about the Green initiatives in their office construction three years ago, as well as their support of various social and humanitarian charities through their staff’s volunteerism.

Another new movement cropping up among many publishers is the elimination of paper from their media. There are so many ways to publish electronically these days -- blogs, websites, pdf documents, even twitter! -- it is almost not necessary to cut down a tree just to put an author’s perspective out into the world.

Other publishers will plant a tree for each book printed, such as Eco-Libris. Because many of the publishers that partner with Eco-Libris print on demand (only print copies when an order is placed), it reduces the advance of materials in order to satisfy orders.

For me it will be easy enough to cross reference the publishers I find listed online with my Writer’s Market 2010 guide to publishers that I have in paperback form in my office already.

Since there is an environmental angle in my manuscript, it might not be a bad idea to start with those folks. After all, we will be on the same page when it comes to the printing process. No pun intended.

*read more about certification and sustainable forestry on the FSC.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

CSI: NY Season 5 Episode 17 -- “Green Piece”

Hey friends! As most of you know we at GLR love the CSI series as they frequently sneak in eco related information here and there. Although the original series, that takes place in Las Vegas, does a good job of sharing the planetary love, the NY detectives tend to really give it emphasis.

I have talked about the episode where G Oil was featured but another eco conscious episode recently hit my radar. During season five they filmed an episode called “Green Piece” and I just happened to catch it on a rerun not too long ago.

The premise of the story is that a pipe bomb explodes, blowing up a house, and leads the detectives toward locating an environmental terrorist group behind the bombing. The intended target is found to own a successful e-cycling business but in the end it is discovered he may not be as responsible with his e-waste as originally thought.

The episode is filled with great terms and important environmental issues and when they arrest the man behind the group, Gary Sinise’s character, Detective Mac Taylor, uses the one liner “Nothing personal, just doing my duty…as one of God’s creatures.”

Thanks CSI: NY for keeping your finger on the pulse of what is important and sharing the stories with us in a most dramatic and exciting fashion!

Here’s a clip from the show but I warn those who watch but haven’t made it to this season yet, it is a spoiler and has absolutely nothing to do with the environment. I just think these two characters are the cutest couple on television! Enjoy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Best Green Gifts for 2010 -- A Guide and Giveaways!!

Good morning Friends, the GLR Best Green Gifts for 2010 guide is finally here and we’re even giving some of them away to a few lucky readers like you. These gift ideas are appropriate for anyone on any occasion and include some physical gifts, as well as other awesomeness, so sit back and dive into the Best Green Gifts for 2010, presented in no particular order.

*** GIVEAWAY RULES are located at the end of the post so please read through***

BEST GREEN GIFTS FOR 2010

Hugg A Planet -- It’s the globe for the new generation, but not only can a kid (or adult!) hug the planet Earth, there is also a moon, Mars, stars and even a flatter map of the U.S. to choose from. The shell is 100% cotton and provides a guide to over 600 places (on Earth) on a squeezable pillow. What better way to show a love for the planet than giving it a big hug every night?

Nahui Ollin Handbags -- Ever think about what happens to all of those gum or soda bottle wrappers after their first use? Well Nahui Ollin sure did and uses them to create stunning cases and handbags with a truly unique, woven look. Talk about doubling your fun!

World Vision Gift Catalog -- With over 100 options inside, this is the Green gift that keeps on giving! But don’t think it’s all about things manufactured, some of the very cool gifts include: an alpaca, a deep water well for a school, a bicycle so a girl can attend school, ten fruit trees, plus a slew of others. These gifts are not only eco-friendly they are socially conscious and well worth the investment.

Make it Right -- In August of 2005 Hurricane Katrina changed the lives of thousands of people along the Gulf Coast, primarily in the heart of New Orleans, Louisiana. Two years later activist Brad Pitt toured the hardest hit area, the Lower 9th Ward. He started this campaign with the Pink Project (sculptural tarps that indicated locations of the homes slated to be rebuilt) and 50 of the 150 LEED Platinum certified homes were to be completed by the end of December 2009. There are amazing items available to purchase (such as the first book published documenting the project: Architecture In Times of Need or tote bags created from the original pink tarps) or a donation can be made to further the cause and assist in completion of the project by December 2010.

Filter for Good Campaign -- Brita together with Nalgene are aiming to completely eliminate the use of one time use plastic bottles through this campaign. Delicious, filtered tap water consumed from a BPA free, reusable bottle? I can’t think of a better way to stay hydrated! Not to mention they also support the Surfrider Foundation, way cool.

The Greening Book -- I can’t stress enough: Green gifts for kids. Learning now will ingrain positive habits for the future! A spiral bound journal style book with a rigid cover allows the user to add their name as co-author to the front, as well as their thoughts, ideas and actions toward caring for the planet, not to mention there is a giving thanks page and a way to involve every member of the household plus so much more.

Dapple -- Any parent with a new baby is concerned with keeping their items as clean as possible and Dapple promotes the use of naturally derived ingredients in their cleaners that break down food and odor for truly clean, mouth ready toys and bottles.

BooksOnBoard -- All the rage, and a strong proponent of saving trees, is the eBook. The cool thing about BooksOnBoard as opposed to a handheld device is that the book is downloadable right to the computer and it works for PC, Mac, iPhone and other smartphone style devices (it will also work with Kindle according to the website). No trees are harmed and no additional equipment has to be manufactured to give the gift of words.

Save the Redwoods League -- Many of us will spend $50 on gifts for our loved ones but few of us could say that money purchased a tree named in their honor, until now. With a $50 donation a seedling will be planted and a commemorative certificate showing the reforestation efforts in California State Parks is granted to the recipient. But truthfully this gift is really like giving to every living thing that needs oxygen to survive!

Animoto -- A greeting card for the technophile in all of our lives. Photos and videos are uploaded by the creator to provide a most unique greeting card to the recipient. An annual membership will cost about $30 but to create a simple, super cute Valentine’s Day greeting video for a friend or loved one is totally free.

Soda Stream -- Turn water into a carbonated beverage with just the push of a button then add condensed flavoring options to create healthier versions of your favorite sodas right at home. Place cold water in a special carbonating bottle (in BPA free plastic or glass) then inject with CO2 from the attached canister. The canister is sent back to Soda Stream to be inspected, cleaned and reused so there is virtually no waste, which helps save up to 310 aluminum cans per canister and the machine uses no electricity to operate.

Nature Bag -- Created by home based workers from JungleVine in Laos, this simple bag is perfect for a day at the Farmer’s Market, to tote toys or anything else that needs carrying. A sturdy strap, that is long enough to cross over the body for ease of transporting items, and inherent stretch from the vine make this a durable, yet flexible and breathable, woven fabric.

Zipcar Annual Membership -- The other day I discussed the new trend toward Hybrid vehicles, suggesting alternate forms of transport, and Zipcar is way at the top of the list of cool, Green options. For just $75 you will give someone without wheels the flexibility of mobility whenever they like (membership & annual fee included, hourly/daily rates not included). Use it for an hour or a week, order online or over the phone. The ‘use only when needed’ approach takes countless tons of emission out of the air. With gas, insurance and 180 miles included this is sure to get you moving.

DuckSkinz -- There are few things to me as enjoyable as spending time outside in the sunshine. I love to walk the beach, swim, play sports, hike, anything in the bright fresh air. The problem lies in my very fair skin and how easily it can burn without proper sunscreen protection. The makers of DuckSkinz are revolutionizing outdoor activities by providing a lotionless SPF protection of 100 by simply wearing their moisture resistant, lightweight, flexible shirts/jackets. Not enough to be touted as environmental you say? All their shirts are made from a blend of proprietary recycled material and bamboo. Surf’s up!

Sylvania Light Products -- Leading the charge in cool and creative lighting concepts, Sylvania provides consumers with 3 snazzy, fun lighting solutions: DOT it Solar (solar powered outdoor LEDs), PalPODzzz (portable night light) and LED Color Changing Coasters. The outdoor lights are perfect for lining a patio or walkway, PalPODzzz come in an adorable ladybug shape and the LED coasters will be sure to make a funky splash at any gathering, all without using electricity or incandescent bulbs.

Garden Bon Bons -- What does soil eat? Why bon bons of course! I’m not talking about the human variety ice cream filled versions, no, these are a little different. Made from seeds, compost and clay, these lovely little selections are made up into truffle shapes and placed in a fancy pants box that could almost fool the savviest of chocolate eaters! They could not be simpler: plant in the garden or indoor pot, water give a little sunlight and enjoy as they grow. Comes in Italian Herb or Herbal Tea varieties and at about $15 for eight bon bons, this is a gift anyone can enjoy.

Annemarie Börland Natural Beauty -- Created from natural extracts that will readily biodegrade where possible, the company provides skin care products (for men & women), hair and body care and a full line of cosmetics, not to mention an entire sun block line as well. When it washes down the drain and into waterways we can feel confident knowing these products will not harm the planet.

VeeV -- Few things are as popular as giving the gift of liquor, so when shopping for something that will be sure to impress, consider a bottle of VeeV Açaí Berry Spirit. The liqueur is created from distilled Idaho grain and infused with the exotic Brazilian Açaí berry (also prickly pear cactus & acerola cherries) and at a price of just $35 per bottle it is far less than many other high end liqueurs. The company is dedicated to socially responsible harvesting, donating proceeds from their sales to that very cause, not to mention Açaí is touted as one of the world’s top superfoods. Oh yeah, VeeV is also the world’s first spirits company to be certified 100% carbon neutral.

GIVEAWAY RULES

The companies below will be conducting a random giveaway of their mentioned item so to qualify, please leave a comment answering the following question.

***Who in your life will benefit the most from receiving a Green gift in 2010 and why?***

Only one entry per person.

Be sure to include a way to get in touch with you if you win, all winners must acknowledge their win within three days or another winner will be chosen.

The contest will run through this Sunday, February 14, 2010 at 5:00 PM EST. At that time I will use a random generator to pick the winners but please note the items sent will be done so at random via Social Lite. These companies will be shipping direct to all of you so I will need to acquire mailing addresses for that purpose.

Good luck!!!

Giveaways include:
Soda Stream
Filter for Good
DuckSkinz
Nahui Ollin handbags
Garden Bon Bons
Sylvania Light products (3 products)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Football Gets Greener Every Year

There are likely few people who would use the words “football” and “environment” in the same sentence, least of all to compliment each other, but new efforts by players and teams all over the National Football League (NFL) are popping up to show that even these extremely tough, physical folks have a soft spot that is all Green.

In 2008 Super Bowl XLII (42) was played in Glendale, Arizona. A Super Bowl, with its many flights, tons of food consumed, general waste and thousands of vehicles driven to and from the location, tends to be an enormous drain on the environment but Arizona stepped it up and initiated some amazing efforts in 2008. 65,000 pounds of prepared food was donated to food banks, soup kitchens and shelters and upwards of 9,000 trees were planted (NFL's reforestation plan) to offset the 350 tons of CO2 emissions generated during Super Bowl week.

The same efforts to offset emissions through planting of thousands of trees in the local area (Tampa Bay) also took place prior to Super Bowl XLIII. This effort marked the fifth year the NFL was doing a little something to give back.

The efforts do not stop with Super Bowls however.

Recently I was introduced to the story of Ovie Mughelli, a Fullback for the Atlanta Falcons and arguably the Greenest player in the NFL today. He has such a strong passion for protecting the youth of society that he started the Ovie Mughelli Foundation, an organization which, in addition to numerous confidence building efforts, encourages eco-awareness. The Foundation made an appearance at the Emmy’s “Alive! Expo Green Pavilion” this year; its first. The overall motto, “Our future is Green.”, is designed to encourage feelings of strengthened community through the environmental efforts of society’s youth.

As a New Englander it is so exciting to learn that the stadium where the Patriots play, Gillette in Foxboro, Massachusetts, has just deemed wind power an important option. Through Constellation NewEnergy all electricity used during home games this season will be matched through Renewable Energy Credits for wind power. Since the stadium was constructed in 2000 it has been a shining example of how large commercial construction can incorporate eco-friendly efforts into the design with great efficiency and no noticeable impact on the overall cost.

Through the leadership examples of players like Ovie Mughelli, and teams like the Patriots, it is only a matter of time before the entire NFL goes Green. I look forward to hearing more about the thousands of new trees planted in Miami as well. Thanks for being responsible NFL!

Atlanta Falcons schedule
New England Patriots schedule
Super Bowl XLIV

Photo courtesy Jayel Aheram

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Grownup Noise - Re-Fried and Back on the Road

The Grownup Noise is a Boston band which happens to care so much about the planet that last year before their summer musical expedition they converted an old van to run on veggie oil and used it exclusively to tour all the way to California and back. The tour in the van was a rousing success so they are packing up for a repeat this summer, starting this Friday (dates at the end of the interview).

I recently touched base with Adam (or as some might call him, ‘Mr. Press’) and he was anxious to share where The Grownup Noise is now, with relation to the band, the van and their music, since we spoke last summer.

For those who have not read the full story, I highly recommend checking out all of the following links before diving into this interview:

Touring with a Side of Fries: Part I - The Band Gets a Van
Kicking Off the Veggie Van Tour in Boston
Touring with a Side of Fries: Part II - Hitting the Road

I think the first most important question everyone is dying to know the answer to is - have you named the van yet?

Yes we have, although she kinda came named. It’s an old 1988 E-350 and it was converted into a luxury conversion van. The company that converted it kinda named it as it says on the side of the van “Lorain Motor Coach”. I’m not sure if that’s the name of the company or not, but that’s her name, Lorain.

Have you taken her around town since last summer's tour?

Yes, as much as I can. She’s only really good for trips over forty-five minutes though as it takes ten minutes just to heat up, so we use the van for all the regional dates -- Northampton, Portland, ME, Albany, etc.

I’m actually typing this in the van as we drive back from the Cape, and are running on veggie oil.

What is the most common reaction or question you are still getting from fans and bystanders?

I think that a lot of people have at least heard of the concept by now, as alternative fuels got so much press last summer as the prices inched towards five dollars a gallon. It seemed like everywhere you went you couldn’t escape an article on alternative fuels.
It’s kinda sad in some ways that alternative fuels get such lower press when gas is affordable.

Most people either don’t quite understand what I am talking about when I explain it, or they understand mechanics and don’t believe me. My new roommate is a diesel mechanic and he didn’t believe me when I first explained what kind of van I had. Now he is a total believer and can’t understand why this isn’t talked about amongst mechanics more. He is also the sole reason that our van currently works and we owe him everything!

How has the band evolved since last summer? Talk to us about your members and what has gone on there.

Well, the band is doing well and musically I feel like we have evolved a good deal, and in a really good and natural way. Paul’s song writing continues to change and amaze me. Before he would write new songs and we would spend forever arranging them only to get really bored with them or feel like they didn’t represent or sound like what we heard in our heads. I think that everyone in the band has heard what we could sound like for a while now and we are finally realizing this. I feel like we are much happier with our songs now, and they will have a much longer shelf life and be something that we will want to play for a while.

As far as band members go, we have changed some drummers. Absolutely no bad stories or anything, and everyone has become a member of the extended band family, it’s just that life gets in the way sometimes, and playing in an original band is one of the largest time commitments and serious relationships you can engage in.

The drummer we did our last summer tour with, Attis, got an offer from his first band, Eli “Paperboy” Reid to go and tour Europe with him during November, and Attis would have been a fool not to jump at that. Then Eli just blew up, got signed to Virgin Records, and Attis is busier than ever. We go to his shows with him though and catch up as much as we can. Then we started playing with Aine, but she had to go back to Japan for the summer, and hopefully we’ll start playing with her again in the fall.

For the tour we’re playing with our original drummer Kyle, who now lives in LA, but wanted to take a break from the city and hit the road with us for a month. At this rate we’ll hopefully have drummers in ever city and we’ll just have a huge extended drummer family!

For those who did not hear about your infamous route 93 breakdown, are you willing to talk about it? Did it change your mind about driving a 20+-year-old van?

More than willing! We had one of our belts break, which then took out another. Because of that we lost all power and our breaks…yikes! So, I’m probably always way too paranoid about weird van sounds and such but she actually does really well most of the time. Although she is old she only has 13,000 miles on her and the older couple that I bought it from really babied it. I have been assured by my roomie mechanic that most diesels last forever.

Like I mentioned, my roommate is a lifesaver and fixed the belts for us, as well as replacing most of the parts on the van in anticipation of the tour.

As sketchy as all of our touring vehicles have been we have never missed a show on tour, and the show we missed because of the belt was our first in ever in our four years.



Are you going back to any cities you toured through last summer and if so do you expect to find their grease is still free for the taking?

We always try to book our tours so that we hit most of the same cities, so we can continue to build upon previous tours. Last year I was able to keep a detailed log of every restaurant that we went to that was friendly and gave us grease, so I’m really hoping that pays off this year.

I think that things are actually going to be 100% easier this time, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Because fuel prices dropped so much there isn’t the same intensity that existed last summer, when grease was so valuable. There was money to be paid turning it into bio-diesel and there were a ton of start up companies that were paying restaurants for it, so that make our case tough.

I feel like a lot of those companies have gone out of business though as the price has dropped and the profit isn’t the same. For example, as I mentioned I am writing this as driving back from the Cape. We just stopped and got some Thai food and I noticed two full containers of grease on the restaurant’s back porch. I inquired and the cook was very excited to give them to me, he said that somebody came every week to collect his grease last summer, but that stopped suddenly when the price of gas dropped and he hasn’t been able to find anyone since. He even has a grease barrel that the guy dropped off and now the company has disappeared.

This is good for bands but not good for the immediate future of the green economy. That’s a much longer discussion though...

Talk to us about your Boston band grease collective -- Grease for the Arts. How did that get started? Who else is actively involved? Is it still going strong?

It’s definitely not an official organization quite yet. Again, a lot of that is because of the economy and at the time we were preparing ourselves to have to fight for grease in Boston and to fend off both the rendering companies and the environmental startups, which are never as environmental as, they seem (again, another long conversation).

But I digress… Here’s a quick explanation of why we were putting our collective together and why we thought it was very urgent at the time of last fall.

I could write a book on the politics of grease collection, but here is a quick history of grease collection in the US. This is a fascinating world to me, and have educated myself the best I can, but if this sounds boring please skip ahead to our shameless tour kick off show plug, ha!

Basically used veggie oil is big business and it’s actually traded on the commodities markets under “yellow grease”. For many years rendering companies collected it, and sold it to other companies, many of whom would boil it down and turn it into dog and cat food, or other random things.

There were the occasional environmental folks and bands that would collect veggie oil too, but we were small guys to the rendering companies and they mostly left us alone. Because every restaurant needed to have their grease disposed of, and since it was worth money but not that much, rendering companies actually charged them a monthly fee for pick up and then made money off selling the grease too. This is still the case in some places (mostly the mid-west).

Then as the price of gas rose, veggie oil became very valuable as you can make bio-diesel from used veggie oil (although we run on straight waste oil, as our van is converted to do such). Environmental start-ups popped up all over the place offering to pay restaurants to take their grease, as they would then covert it into bio-diesel that they could sell for 4 dollars a gallon. A battle ensued between [those who] render and environmental companies for a bit; both were even hiring private detectives in some parts of the country to prosecute anyone that would take their grease.

Now, it’s good on a lot of levels that Environmental Grease collection companies started popping up, but they often were nowhere near Boston and would drive to the city in large vetches that were not converted. So, they were using fossil fuels to pick up bio fuels from far away…[doesn’t it make] more sense to just keep them in the community?

This was when we realized that the local users and bands were being squeezed out, as we couldn’t offer to pay for it. So, we wanted to start a collective and sell it to a few local businesses as something that they could be a part of that would give back to the community. Some of the other people involved even talked [to] the folks who got the tax credit for the movie industry in MA, as we were thinking that would be a good thing to offer restaurants that donated us their grease.

What has been the most successful strategy though has been just educating local businesses that are involved with both the local music scene, and the communities that [they] are located in, that they are making a choice with how they want to dispose of their waste oil. We have been fortunate to find several that are more interested in supporting locals than a few bucks from sketchy companies. And, as I mentioned, things have gotten easier as the price of gas has dropped.

Right now the collective is just a bunch of musicians and bands that tour on grease, and we just share some resources and help each other out if we need some. I’m lucky to have found a large organization that uses a lot of grease that is totally excited about what we are doing. In the future, and especially if the price goes back up, we talked about having it be more of a membership organization. That would involve us collecting the grease and [then] others who use grease, but who didn’t want to have the hassle of collecting it, could just join. The focus will always be to keep it in the community and to cut back on fossil fuel use.

Where can we find more information on the band, your tour dates, or listen to some of your music?

Well, you can always find us on our website where we have tour dates and you can sign up for the mailing list.
The Grownup Noise

Of course we are also on MySpace.

And Facebook.

And Twitter.


So where and when does this summer's tour kick off?

I’m glad you asked….

We’re playing a tour kick off show at The Middle East Upstairs on Friday, July 24th

The show starts at 9pm and we’re on at around 10:30. We are playing with some other awesome bands including local favorites, Brendan Boogie and the Best Intentions, the amazing Winterpills (from Northampton), and Varsity Drag. It is Varsity Drag’s CD release and they include original members of the Lemonheads. Very exciting!

From there we leave for the first tour date, Columbus Ohio on Mon. the 27th. We then start working our way over to the west coast. We’re playing 20+ dates and hitting almost every major (and non-major) city, so check out tour dates and if you have friends that really like things that smell like slightly burnt French Fries and Pad Thai, send them our way! We’re very nice and love to give tours of the van too. All of our current tour dates and a ton of info are up on both our website and MySpace.

Tour Dates as of this interview include:

July 24th Boston -- The Middle East Upstairs
July 27th Columbus, OH -- Rumba Café
July 28th Athens, OH -- Casa Cantina
July 29th Chicago -- Darkroom
August 3rd Minneapolis -- Acadia Café
August 5th Billings, MT -- Off the Leaf
August 6th Spokane, WA -- Caterina Winery
August 7th Portland, OR -- Red Room
August 8th Seattle, WA -- Comet Tavern (4pm early show)
August 8th Tacoma, WA -- Doyle’s Public House (late show)
August 10th Santa Cruz, CA -- The Crow’s Nest
August 11th San Fran, CA -- Hotel Utah
August 12th Sacramento, CA -- Marlyin’s on K
August 16th San Diego -- Brick by Brick
August 18th Los Angeles -- Spaceland
August 19th Tucson, AZ -- Club Congress
August 20th Santa Fe, NM -- The Cowgirl
August 21st Albuquerque, NM -- Atomic Cantina
August 24th Denver, CO -- The Hi-Dive
August 26th Nashville, TN -- Springwater Supperclub
August 28th Asheville, NC -- Bobo Gallery
August 29th Washington, DC -- Red and Black Bar
August 30th NYC -- Rockwood Music Hall

The Grownup Noise is Paul Hansen (lead vocal, guitar), Katie Franich (cello), Kyle Crane (drums) and Adam Sankowski (bass).

[Jenn’s side note: I have seen these guys play and they are awesome! Last summer when I interviewed Adam (as found in the links above -- read them) I went to their show simply to get one of those van tours and chat all things grease. By the end of the night I was a fan of their van and their music! Get out and see them, seriously, you will not be disappointed.]

Friday, July 17, 2009

Eco-Fashion Friday Feature - What Makes Eco Fashion Trendy?

This week I while researching for an amazing designer or two to feature, I came across an article regarding just why eco is taking such a strong foothold among those who work with textiles right now. It was made clear eco fashion is not just for tee shirts and jeans wearing folks but those who desire haute couture as well. Is it possible to have fashion made from ecologically responsible fabrics and materials parade down the runway as worn by supermodels? You bet, according to top designer Richie Rich.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

Top Designers Embrace Eco-Friendly Fabrics
One of the highlights of FutureFashion was a stunning pink-and-yellow skirt made from corn fiber by uber-cool Heatherette designer Richie Rich.

“It’s definitely something we’re going to continue toying with,” Rich told reporters. “People often perceive the fashion world as superficial, so it’s great to work with materials that are actually good for the environment. I had my doubts, but when we actually saw the fabric swatches we were blown away. They were gorgeous, and it wasn't hard to design with them.”


Bucking the trend that high fashion has to mean phony is a good reason to go with environmentally responsible choices but the end user who purchases this design will not only be making a fashion statement, they will be making a planetary one too and that is the smartest choice of all. I applaud these designers, like Rich, who have vision enough to begin working with more responsible choices and in more responsible ways.

Being Green means showing love for the planet. And fashion? Well being fashionable is always in fashion. It has been said before but still holds true - Green is the new black.

To read the rest of the fantastic article which showcases a few more amazing designers, please go directly to the About.com link.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It’s, It’s An Email Blitz!

In the past forty eight hours I have received a bunch of emails and many of them are related to causes that are dear to my heart -- The Environment and The President. In fact two emails in particular not only show support for one or the other but managed to combine both the environment and President Barack Obama into one message. Now that is something I can sure get behind!

Let’s start by talking about 1Sky. This is an organization dedicated to creating alliances with politicians to effect real change in the realm of fighting global warming on a larger scale. Yesterday they sent all of us supporters a message to let us know that when President Obama signed the recovery plan into effect it included $87 billion in green investments. From what they have indicated this is the largest expenditure the government has ever made in the area of clean energy. Hooray!

Of course 1Sky was not simply letting us know about this wonderful turn of events, they have asked us to please send a thank you note to Congress and President Obama showing our willingness to continue to support the efforts they are standing behind with this package. The great news is they made it easy to express our gratitude! Simply go to http://www.1sky.org/green-recovery-thankyou and enter your zip code. A pre-written message of thanks (and thumbnails of our local Senators) will pop up. Enter the required information (name, email, zip) and hit submit. Then please pass this link on to as many people as possible. Showing our support for their support ensures the gratitude loop for positive change keeps revolving!

Speaking of change…

Is it time to change that old, worn out T-shirt yet? Well perhaps I could interest you in one of these:


Jason Mraz and Rock the Vote have partnered up to bring us this 100% Organic cotton t-shirt in two fun colors. As if that wasn’t enough the inks are water based and all solvents are environmentally safe. Considering all of these factors, the shirts are not expensive like many tend to be -- small to XL, men’s or women’s, silver or blue will not cost you more than $25.00 (plus shipping -- please note that I found the shipping cost to be a bit pricey but I feel the cause is worth it!). They will ship within the next couple weeks and 50% of the purchase price proceeds will go directly to Rock the Vote efforts.

That gives a whole new meaning to ‘Rock On’ as these folks spend countless hours educating and encouraging voter registration. Plus how cool will it be to walk down the street with the caricature version of President Obama emblazoned on the front of a shirt?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tom Lehrer Talks Environment

Over forty years ago singer and songwriter Tom Lehrer wrote and performed the song Pollution, an issue frequently given attention in the 1960’s. My Mom used to play this album often when I was a kid; his music is fantastic, he is a great piano player and his lyrics sure are delivered with a healthy dose of humor. Although his music is somewhat tongue in cheek, the message sure is serious. Thanks Mom for sharing this video with all of us today!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Celebrate Green Celebrities!

No I do not mean Kermit the Frog (although I did just read about the fact that ten of his relatives were recently discovered) I am talking about Greenies! Celebrities who care about the planet make me very happy even if I am not familiar with their body of work because they are using their well known voice to spread the word about a strong sense of community caring.

This morning I read that Miley Cyrus received a Porsche Cayenne as a Sweet Sixteen present from her mom. The car formerly belonged to her Mom and even though Miley enjoyed the benefit of recycling, the environmental impact was not thrilling her so she traded it in for a shiny Toyota Prius. In addition to her eco-mobile the singing and acting starlet also has a song called “Wake Up America” which will be released as a single soon and basically tells everyone to get the clue that we only have one planet so we should probably take care of it. Right on Miley!

A couple days ago Ginger posted some information that peaked my interest in Leonardo Dicaprio. Turns out he is quite the environmental activist with a website dedicated to sharing information on global warming and what we can do to help reduce its effects, links to films he has created with regard to global warming and water (he narrates as well) and links to multiple resources for organizations or foundations which he supports. Who knew Leo was so hot (and by hot I mean concerned with our planet)?!

I have discussed others before such as Edward Norton or Jason Mraz but these are just the celebrities who I am personally drawn to. Since I am not considered a fan of Miley Cyrus or Leonardo Dicaprio but applaud them wholeheartedly for their environmental efforts I decided to do a little digging to see who else might support such endeavors that I may not be aware of. What I discovered is that to care about our planet does not mean being the stereotypical “Tree hugging Hippie” of the past; eco-conscious celebrities are vast and varied. Some of those I discovered who care are: Bonnie Raitt, Dave Matthews, KT Tunstall, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Ozzy Osbourne, Hilary Clinton, Jay-Z, Sting, Walter Cronkite, Morgan Freeman. And this is just the very tiny tip of the iceberg!

Here is a great collection of names and what each are personally involved in environmentally:
http://www.allamericanspeakers.com/Green_Celebrities_&_Green_Speakers.php

Bottom line is we all have a voice, we can all discuss the issues that are dear to us and take our own action to make necessary changes in order to save our planet it is just that people of a certain status of fame are better equip to reach a larger audience and for this I am granting every single one of these concerned celebs Four Green Leaves!



Thanks celebrities for spreading the word on a global scale so we can all take action on a local one. You rock!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Environment Gets Funny

Back in November, NBC promoted Green Week, the second annual, week long effort on every show the network airs (from daytime soaps to late night comedy) to promote the concept “Green Your Routine” by including bits and pieces of environmental jargon, product placement, conversation or practice. Would this concept fly? Would the nation believe that two people could walk down the hall of wherever they work (even if it is a secret Government agency or police precinct) discussing things like global warming or recycling?

Considering the average person may actually discuss these issues off the cuff in their day to day lives, there were plenty of ways to fit it into scripts without sounding preachy. There are characters that have always had an eco edge, prompting all of us to subconsciously absorb smart practices. For example, the character of “Munch” on Law & Order: SVU was talking about the benefits of recycling years ago. This is all well and good for the shows that can casually drop in a line or pan out from a wind farm as the characters run to save the world or something, but when it comes to the live shows there is an inherent challenge to make eco-speak flow as if it was a completely normal part of daily speech; it is one thing to show a five second frame of Chuck recycling a water bottle but it is quite another to get eco in stand up comedy.

Comedians sometimes use the reverse psychology method to bring awareness. They mention all the things they “do” which the public can infer as a joke, laugh at, but subsequently become more aware of in the process. Laughter can be an amazing tool for learning. Done completely tongue in cheek, Conan O’Brien from Late Night told all of us how to be more environmentally aware in our daily routines, even though he simply can not follow suit.



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One Voice, Singing in the Darkness

Those of you who are Barry Manilow fans will recognize the title of this blog as a line from one of his songs however I use it as it completely embodies just what we as environmentally aware individuals are doing to come together collectively -- sing loudly on our own so all our voices end up joining together as one in the end. There are many musicians who, through their recognizable names and faces, are fighting for humanitarian or environmental efforts so we all have a chance to survive on this planet. These are two of my favorites who not only spread their message but also live it everyday. Who are your favorite eco-musicians?

One of my all-time favorite musicians is Jason Mraz. The reasons for this are not strictly linked to his beautiful music or lyrics but to his strong planetary and humanitarian efforts as well; he genuinely seems to care greatly about the state of our planet. Not only do I support his art from a musical standpoint but I am an avid reader of his blog as well. Over the past year that he has been writing, he has shared information on his: diet change to raw foodist, carrying of a Sigg to replace plastic water bottles, support of local artists, tour in bio-diesel busses, concern that he is not very eco-friendly due to his flight paths, support of humanitarian causes and many others. One of his most recent efforts is teaming up with Bruce Parry and Brett Dennen to record a song (Long Road to Forgiveness) for Survival International. Truly inspirational.



A local act, The Grownup Noise caught my attention when a close friend told me of them and their plan to convert their 1980’s, diesel van into one that runs on vegetable oil, in an effort to save the environment as well as some cash on their summer tour. Cool! I met up with their bassist, Adam, at their kick off show in Boston and through shared information, links and photos, compiled a fantastic three part story of the entire process from installation right up through wrapping up the tour. To follow the journey please visit these three links -- Part I: The Band Gets a Van, Boston Based Band The Grownup Noise Kick Off the Veggie Van Tour and The Grownup Noise Part II: Touring, With a Side of Fries.

The inspiration for this post comes from the song by Barry Manilow, referenced above, so for those who are unfamiliar with it, here are the lyrics. It is a story about one individual starting the movement of joining together for a common purpose. We do not have to be celebrities to have a huge impact, all it takes is one effort in one town by one person and eventually all of those "ones" will add up to tons!

One Voice
Just One Voice,
Singing in the darkness,
All it takes is One Voice,
Singing so they hear what's on your mind,
And when you look around you'll find
There's more than

One Voice,
Singing in the darkness,
Joining with your
One Voice,
Each and every note another octave,
Hands are joined and fears unlocked,
If only

One Voice
Would start it on its own,
We need just
One Voice facing the unknown,
And then that
One Voice would never be alone,
It takes that
One Voice.

It takes that
One Voice.
Just

One Voice
Singing in the darkness,
All it takes is
One Voice,
Shout it out and let it ring.

Just One Voice,
It takes that
One Voice,
And everyone will sing!