Sustainable living has become the latest trend – for a very good reason! Without a significant portion of the world’s population adopting at least some sort of eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle, problems like climate change and toxic pollution will continue to grow in magnitude. Glass pool fencing has also become popular due to its relative sustainability and non-toxic composition.
However according to the experts at clearazglassfencing.com.au, glass pool fences need cleaning very regularly if they are to maintain their sparkly, trendy look. Cleaning glass is simple, but it can be hard to find the right eco-friendly methods to clean your pool fencing, especially if you’ve never really been taught different methods of environmentally friendly cleaning.
To help you clean your pool fences without releasing toxic chemicals and pollutants into the environment we’ve put together the following list of 5 tips:
As long as your glass pool fence isn’t too dirty, you should be able to clean them with a simple mixture of dish washing soap and warm water. Use a clean sponge and a simple shower squeegee to remove dust and grime without using and toxic chemicals.
If you’re glass is very dirty or hasn’t been washed for some time, then you should consider using a pressure cleaner to break up the bulk of the toughest dirt. Most glass pool fence panels are treated with some sort of nano protection, which means that they won’t be hurt by pressure cleaning. Blast your fence with the pressure cleaner and then move on to
Businesses throughout Australia are opting for eco-friendly fire protection options as opposed to more traditional methods that can cause significant environmental damage. Being environmentally friendly is a huge positive for pretty much any business in the modern world, as consumers are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint and overall impact on the planet.
There are many reasons why you should use eco-friendly fire safety gear and also have a plan for the safe disposal of fire extinguishers when developing a fire safety plan for your business. Our top five reasons include:
As noted above, people throughout the world are becoming more aware of their environmental impact. Being able to show that your business is doing what it can to be environmentally friendly can help you stand out as the obvious choice for many consumers. This will help you increase your income, profits, and will make your business more successful in general.
In general, eco-friendly fire safety gear has a lot fewer negative health effects when compared to traditional toxic chemicals. Using is will help reduce the risk of either you or your employees being exposed to chemicals, reducing the potential for negative impacts on your health.
More and more people are finally beginning to realise why it’s so essential to swap to natural hair care products. According to Dianne Caine, aside from featuring organic and natural ingredients that are beneficial for your skin, hair, and body, they also don’t feature any harmful chemicals. Your everyday supermarket shampoo and conditioner still does.
Here’s what you may find lurking in your current hair care products. If that’s not enough to convince you of the benefit of a natural hair care regime, then nothing will.
Phthalates, in the scientific world, are known as endocrine disruptors. They mimic and interrupt hormone production, dramatically impacting men’s reproductive development. Yet, they continue to feature in a range of products. You can find them in your shampoo and conditioner to start with, but then you will notice them in laundry powder, deodorant, and almost anything with fragrance. While they can help to make things smell pretty, they are doing nothing to help your body.
While studies into parabens are not conclusive, there is some evidence to suggest that the use of parabens may increase the risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. What’s more, in a British study in 2004, parabens were identified in breast tumours.
However, with research in various stages to prove parabens aren’t entirely safe, they still feature in body lotion, make up, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, and even toothpaste. If you needed another reason to try natural hair care products, this might be it.
In the modern world people are more aware than ever about climate change, environmental destruction and the impacts simple everyday actions are having on the Earth. If you think of yourself as an environmentally friendly person who is conscious of the effects that their actions are having on the planet, then you should consider adopting eco-friendly cleaning practices. If you own a commercial building that you don’t clean yourself, you can still use eco-friendly cleaning – simply choose the right commercial cleaner!
Our top 5 tips for eco-friendly office cleaning include:
If you own a large commercial or residential building, you probably don’t clean it yourself. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t adopt environmentally friendly cleaning practices. Simply search for a cleaning contractor who is happy to clean the way you want them to. There are plenty of options out there, so make sure that you do your research and speak to a number of companies before you make your choice.
If you own or manage a building, then you can keep it clean in a way that is good for the planet by providing recycling bins in communal areas. Many buildings don’t do this, instead opting for general rubbish bins, which result in a lot of recyclable material being sent to landfill.
The first things that come to mind when you think about environmentally friendly living are recycling and gardening. Would you believe it if you were told that plumbing can also be sustainable?
Sure, it’s not the first thing that pops into your mind when you think ‘world greening,’ but think of water and the cost of that as a utility. Your home plumbing, utilised for sustainable living, can have some enormous benefits. If you look at the broader picture, energy conservation and waste reduction are all part of sustainable plumbing practices. The end game is that the equipment already in your home, and adapted differently, can be used to reduce waste. The choice of pipes, low-toxic fixtures and equipment that are made locally (if possible) and ethically, all add to the growth of sustainability. You can also consider how plumbing has an overall impact on the environment.
Using Sustainable Plumbing on DIY
It’s not always the job of plumbing professionals to be environmentally conscious. There are some neat ‘green’ plumbing tricks you can use on your own DIY projects. Cleaning around the house doesn’t have to be a chemical party. Use vinegar, bi-carb and lemon for different cleaning jobs. Environmentally much safer and a heck of a lot cheaper too.
Environmental plumbing means being water-wise too. Rain water that usually runs down the drain can be diverted to your garden. Watering the garden in the cooler part of the day is another basic water-clever idea. Your dishwasher and washing machines should have the highest energy rating and lowest water usage. Every little bit helps.
You can go crazy with enviro-plumbing if you really wanted to as there are lots of small but effective changes you can do around the house. Start with leaky taps, then insulating your water pipes and follow up with mulching your garden to keep the soil damp for longer.
Most businesses understand that when they send freight, the more sustainable the packaging, the less it will cost them both for the transport company costs and the costs of purchasing the packaging. Many types of packaging have a reason for their use and existence. Companies try to keep their goods in top shape and packaging can help with this.
However, most people are aware that it is often a marketing ploy alone that dictates the type of packaging.
If you want a look that is going to be somewhat different to most other homes, then bamboo screen fencing is a smart choice. It’s sustainable and cheap and a great choice for your garden. It’s natural looks are so distinctive that it is even used inside the home. Check out websites that supply and install bamboo fencing and you can talk to them about a wide range of bamboo colours. It makes a great alternative to using traditional timber.
The fencing and screening comes in a number of lengths and diameters and this makes it versatile enough to suit just about any home project. That includes outdoor garden spaces in which bamboo will certainly enhance the boundaries. It can be used for any landscaping project.
Words like resilient and with a long life, bamboo is known also to withstand all types of weather and pests. There are particular bugs or insects that have a party with normal timber, but they have no effect on bamboo. If you erect bamboo fencing, it’s going to be there for a long, long time. As well as it’s durability, it’s very strong and difficult to break with weights or pressure.
Clothing for the wedding is always going to be a high ticket item, but there are ways to reduce the expense and this in turn, will help to reduce the carbon footprint of your wedding. There are many other ways to do this too, from photo booth hire to save on the use of chemicals in printing out photos – and in a good choice of food that is organic. But how can you make the wedding clothes eco friendly? Here are several ways.
With billions of kilos in computer waste being generated every year it is a good idea to ensure your computer usage at least, is eco friendly. If you use your computer a lot you might be into web design or digital marketing, but even if you just use it at home and not for a business, the computer has a high rate of energy consumption. Using it in eco friendly ways is not just good for the earth’s resources, but good for your budget as well.
Here are some tips on how to save power with your computer.
These days with the constant use of air conditioning and heating, we may want to make sure we use the air con in a way that is eco friendly. This not only helps to save our precious resources; it also saves on running costs and will preserve the life of your air conditioning unit. Most people consider keeping the filters clean to be sufficient, but there is much more you can do to help the planet that requires little effort.
These days, with just a little bit of effort, everything we do can be eco friendly to some extent, whether it is at home, or at a home or work office. You may have set up business as a digital marketing agency such as Slinky Digital and work on your computer all day long. If everyone does something to reduce their carbon footprint, the result will be incredible and our precious resources will last a lot longer.
If you have a computer, you will most likely also have a printer. Not all printers are efficient, but laser printers can be said to be better than inkjet printers because the ink will not smudge if it gets wet. So when you print out a sheet, you won’t have to reprint it due to any smudges, thus saving ink. And you can usually print more with one toner cartridge than one container of ink.
Another way to ensure your printer is eco friendly is to purchase one that spits out those pages quickly. All printers use power while they are printing; if a printer takes 30 or even 10 seconds to print one page of type, it will take a lot longer and so use more power than one that can print a page in 1 or 2 seconds. So it’s important to look at the specifications of a printer before you purchase it.
So look at the pages per minute the printer will do, but also look at what other features it has that you may need. Having a printer that can hold 250 pages is a lot more convenient than one which can only hold 10 pages.
Most people need to at least spot clean their carpets in between professional carpet cleaning. While you can choose professional carpet cleaners, like brilliancecleaning.com.au who only use environmentally friendly, safe cleaning products, it is still possible to accidentally use toxic products to clean the carpet yourself, if you don’t take care when purchasing products.
Sometimes this happens because you are in a hurry and don’t even think about the product being toxic. Other times it is because the list of ingredients on the tin or packet is in such small print you just can’t read it without your reading glasses – which are at home next to that book you were reading. Or it could be that you don’t know which ingredients are toxic – many have long names and it is easy to forget them, even if you try to get it right.
There are four main times when toxic products can affect you.
The latter two times you may not even be aware of it happening, but if you can smell it, you can breathe it in. And even a small amount of dried carpet cleaner on your skin can cause a rash, eczema or itch of some kind.
Stone is an amazing natural product that can be used in so many ways. Some stone is produced locally and others are sourced internationally from places such as Bali where they are used extensively on easy villas. Homes and larger buildings have been made from stone for centuries and are still standing, making stone such as limestone blocks one of the most environmentally friendly products there is. It can be used for paving or stone cladding that will last almost forever.
While stone does not always withstand disasters such as earthquakes, especially if it topples from a height, neither do most other building materials. However, in places that are not prone to such disasters it has proven to weather other climatic conditions exceptionally well.
Stone is environmentally friendly not only because it lasts such a long time, but for other reasons as well. Here are some of them.
If garden pots had a pecking order, designer garden pots would be at the top and the humble black plastic ones would be at the bottom. As far as being eco-friendly is concerned, designer pots have it covered, while at the bottom of the list, not much can be said for black plastic except that it is re-usable to a certain extent. That is, it can be repainted and decorated to look much more attractive and to help it last longer.
However, when it comes to designer pots, plastic is not involved as such pots are made from more durable materials such as glazed terracotta which is baked clay, fibreglass and other materials. Some are made from concrete, which is really too heavy, especially if the pot is to go on a balcony or has to be moved around much.
Some designer pots are made from stone, an environmentally good choice, since there seems to be a never-ending supply of stone available. Harvesting stone does not harm the environment because nothing can grow where stone is. Even if it is underground, the roots of many larger plants such as trees will not be able to penetrate it.
Most of the materials that such pots are made from are highly durable; they have to be to survived the natural effects of soil, fertiliser and water that is in them for most of their life. They don’t need to be maintained in any way except for an occasional wipe over with a damp cloth on the outside to keep them clean and shiny. So you could say that such pots are sustainable and certainly friendly to the environment.
Many homes have carpet for at least some part of the floor covering. It is soft, comfortable, quiet to walk on and saves toddler’s many bruises. However, it is not quite as easy to clean as a hard floor surface. Professional carpet cleaning should be done by experts like Brilliance Carpet Cleaning Perth every year, but it is important to ensure they use products that are non-toxic.
Meanwhile, you will probably need to have some carpet cleaners in the cupboard so you can deal with spots and spills as soon as they happen. The only trouble is that many cleaning products for carpet contain toxic ingredients that stay in the carpet long after they have dried and release fumes that can cause a whole host of problems. Skin irritation, asthma, bronchitis, dizziness, headaches, nausea and many more symptoms can be caused by the toxins in your carpet.
Studies have shown that a carpet can hold up to eight times its weight in dust, dirt and allergens. You may think that throwing the old carpet out and laying new carpets will solve the problem. However, many new carpets are made from products that are actually very harmful to our health. These products release fumes into the air and we breathe them in. Have you ever noticed that new carpet smell? It is very likely toxic.
If you are designing a new home or renovating the bathroom, you may want to consider installing frameless glass shower screens. This modern bathroom trend is one that is sure to last as people find out all the benefits. One is that you can see right to the end of the bathroom so the perceived distance is greater, meaning your bathroom looks a lot larger.
The beauty of using frame-less glass for the walls and door is that glass is one of the most environmentally friendly building materials there is. Of course, it doesn’t break down in landfill ever, but it can be totally reused and there is an increasing number of recycling plants springing up to do that very thing. The heat needed to remelt glass is not nearly as high as it is to make it in the first place. And the strength of glass is not compromised by the recycling process. Whatever is made from it will be just as strong and last just as long as the first item.
At least some councils are now providing sorting bins for glass waste to make the recycling process easier and more sustainable. Glass comes from sand and while there seems to be no shortage of that, recycling glass is the best way to keep it out of landfill, where it can last for hundreds of years.
No matter whether your pool is saltwater or chlorine you will need help with cleaning it. Robotic pool cleaners that do the job without any help from you are the best way to decrease your workload. All an automatic pool cleaner needs is to be put into the pool and switched on. Some may need to be connected to the pool pump and filter also, but this is much quicker and easier than scrubbing the pool out by hand.
When choosing the type of pool to have, you may be wondering if salt water pools are environmentally friendly. In fact, even though the ocean is full of salt water, a pool full of salt water is not really eco friendly. For a start, all that salt can really rust and erode any metal in or near the pool, even if it is galvanised. You need to change all those components to brass, especially in places where salt water comes into contact with them on a regular basis.
Salt water is also bad for plants, so if you have a garden in or near the pool it is not likely to thrive. It is not only the salt in the water, but any fine mist that is swept off the top of the pool by strong wind would contain salt. Salt water may also have an adverse effect on the pool pump and the pool cleaners.
Many people think that a salt pool is a safer alternative to chlorine, but in fact there is also chlorine in a salt water pool, so it is doubly bad for the environment. Chlorine is a dangerous chemical that is a carcinogen and has been linked to asthma, rashes, skin irritation, headaches and other problems in cases where people spend a lot of time swimming in it.
Depending on which figures you choose to use, unemployment in America is approaching 20%, a figure that is quite remarkable. Fully 1/5 of the people in America who could be working are not currently working. I think urban farming could be this generation’s way to handle unemployment, sort of like a 2011 version of the CCC.
When you are willing to trade your labor for less space and less machinery you can create an amazing income from a small land base. SPIN farming is a method developed by a farming couple in Canada when they realized that they could make more money by growing intensively on less land if they grew the right crops at the right times.
They have a farm income calculator on their site that suggests that a farmer with 1/2 an acre can generate $24,000 in gross sales on the low end up to $72,000 on the high end. I think this is doable as well, but it does require a bit more marketing and growing of high value crops. We use a CSA model for our urban farm and I don’t think that will get us to those dollar figures because a CSA model is similar to a bulk food model vs. a model where you would grow exclusively high value crops like exotic green, radishes or beets for restaurants.
A wedding is a wonderful time that should be enjoyed by all. If you are into sustainability you’ll want to add some ideas for keeping your wedding eco-friendly. It’s not as hard as you may think. One thing common to all weddings is the photographer. Many commercial photographers don’t use digital cameras, so you might want to think about having a photo booth at the reception instead. Why?
A photo booth is digital, so there are no poisonous chemicals being used to develop the film and no paper wasted printing out photos that you might feel are not just what you want. Rather, you can download your photos straight from the internet and examine them carefully before choosing which ones to print out.
In fact, you can also choose not to print any, but to have them all placed onto a CD or DVD or other media – even a coffee mug – so you can enjoy them whenever you like or send them to friends and family who couldn’t be at the wedding, for gifts. Besides, printed photos are at risk of loss or degradation over the years, while a DVD will last for a long time with the images on it always looking just as fresh and new as the day they were taken.
Paper Mate sent me a few of their new pens and mechanical pencils to try out in honor of Earth Day. Now while I don’t think that compostable pens are the solution to the world’s problems – I guess I have to give credit to companies for trying to reduce waste and come up with solutions to our overflowing landfills.
The pens work just as well as the normal Paper Mate varieties, I’m a blue ink kind of guy. They’re also very comfortable, but that comes at the expense of a non-compostable grip. The ink hasn’t run out yet, but when it does, I’ll throw it in the bottom of my composter and see what happens. It’s supposed to take a year to break down, but with the generous heat from my food waste-leaves-grass combo, maybe it’ll take less time.
Just don’t forget to break the pen down before composting. There are many non-compostable parts that still need to be removed.
Environmentally-conscious PC owners beware! There’s a fairly recent spyware virus out there that takes advantage of the green movement to promote an entirely different agenda.
Called “Eco Antivirus”, the app poses as green security software — offering to help conserve the energy your computer consumes while searching for malicious bugs. Unfortunately, the app is a malicious program itself that “bombards the screen with a series of fake security warnings, deceiving scans and aggressive marketing designed to persuade the user to visit the Eco AntiVirus website to purchase the malicious software.”
While those infected have reported it being something of a nightmare to remove the spyware, there are now legit apps to handle this wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Lesson here? Don’t download suspicious software without first doing a bit of googling to pull back the curtain on any BS green claims. Even software can greenwash.
How’s this for a unique and eco-friendly way to get from the funeral home to your final resting place? Wade Lind, owner of Sunset Hills Cemetery in Eugene, Oregon came up with the “bike hearst” as an option for those really looking to limit their impact once they’ve passed on. Let’s hope there aren’t many hills along the way.
If you’ve ever lived in or visited Ithaca, NY your probably familiar with the phrase “Ithaca is gorges”. It’s a funny little saying that gives a good indication of the region’s topography — hills, hills, and steeper hills. In fact, the inclines we have around here would make even Lance Armstrong break a sweat. So, it was with great expectation that I took advantage of an opportunity to review the IZIP Trekking Enlightened hybrid-electric bicycle from Currie Technologies. Could it be possible to bike to work and not immediately have to take another shower?
I’m still figuring that out — and will have a full review shortly — but so far, I have to say that I’m very impressed with the technology being utilized in this bike. First off, this isn’t one of those bikes that you hit a switch and kick back while the electric motors putts you along. The IZIP instead is an electric-assist — giving you some extra torque to help you up some tough inclines. To that end, you still have to pedal. The beauty of this system is that you can choose to have it on or off — or at different levels of assist. About to hit a hill and want some support? Simply press the “+” button on the left handlebar and watch the LCD indicator light a few bars higher. Want to back off? Hit the “-” button. It’s as simple as that — and believe me, you still get a workout.
More often than not, it’s great to have some solid connections in the green world. Shea Gunther— one of the top green bloggers on the web and twitter — casually threw a question my way earlier this week: Would I like to try a pair of New Balance’s first ever green shoe for their “Eco-prefer Collection”. Would I?!
Less than 12 hours after I accepted, a shiny pair of New Balance 070s arrived on my doorstep. I tore open the box, admired the bold colors, and have pretty much been wearing them since. But first, let’s talk about what it is exactly that makes these shoes “green”.
Obviously, New Balance set out to completely re-think they way they design shoes in as environmentally-friendly a manner as possible. To that end, the 070 fits together like a kind of puzzle to reduce waste. The outsole features a rice husk fill that decreases the amount of rubber used in the production of the shoe. The insert, as well as all synthetics, are made from recycled materials. The upper materials use a combination of recycled polyester and natural materials. The upper is also designed so that everything has a symmetrical opposite. This was done to minimize waste as much as possible when cutting the material for the shoes.
I just came across this “Solar Tree” design from Gurdeep Sandhu and thought it to be a creative take on energy generation. As he explains,
With a little space in your backyard, installing this solar tree will not be a problem. During the day just wing-out the panels and let them absorb the glory of the sun; and in the evening fold them back. If you need to move house, just uproot it and take it along with you. Else if technology changes, you can even upgrade the panels for maximum benefit. Silent, efficient, cost effective are some of the virtues that sound music to my ears. What’s more you can either directly hook it up to appliance during the day or store the energy for later use. The sturdy metallic silver aluminum frame looks neat and tidy when packed up.
After discovering this recycled seatbelt hammock from TING, I’m convinced that there’s no limit to the clever reuse of discarded materials.
These gorgeous handwoven hammocks are made from reclaimed seatbelt webbing. They are water resistant, comfy, and most-definitely a conversation starter. Colors available include bright shades like hot pink, orange, camel, turquoise, chocolate or black. The company also makes a line of recycled pillow covers that look just as pretty. But recycled art comes with a price: $585 for each hammock. Ouch.
While baskets are the eternal favorites for lugging things around with your bike — there may be times when you’d like those groceries or books to be a bit more contained. That, or you just need some additional space. Either way, these travel bags from Detours are a fantastic option — and with a very green characteristic: they’re made from recycled juice packs.
Each bag is made up of about 100 juice packs — with the company quick to add that no two bags are alike. Each features a bathtub rubber bottom, wide mouth, removable rain cover, reflective tail-light tabs on both ends, and will hold about 15lbs of your stuff. The only caveat is to beware placing sharp objects inside your Toocan — as the pouches can rip and tear up the seam. Otherwise, the company says the bag will last many years and then when done, you can just recycle it!
I never really thought of binoculars are being a contributor to environmental degradation, but after reading what Nikon has done to remove certain nasties from the production of their new “Ecobins” binocs, it’s evident that even uncommon goods are in need of some reform.
The Ecobins feature some nice green touches — like lead and arsenic-free Eco-Glass™ lenses and prisms, non-chloride rubber, and biodegradable materials for the case and strap (made without the use of harmful inks or dyes). The packaging is also eco-friendly, being produced from eighty-five percent post-consumer waste and printed on recyclable FiberStone® paper. The usual bells and whistles associated with binoculars are also included. From Gizmag:
Ecobins are waterproof and fogproof, use aspherical eyepiece lenses designed to deliver distortion-free viewing, internal blackening to minimize light loss inside binocular tubes and multi-coated lenses for improved brightness, contrast and true color.
Well played, Nikon. Well played.
Philips has announced that their new Master LED Bulb will be ready for mass consumption this coming July. For all the energy-savings that CFL bulbs have given us, they’ve also had some PR issues — especially when it comes to light color and mercury. LED takes everything that CFL offers, turns up the efficiency (over 30x more long-lasting than a incandescent bulb), and contains no mercury.
There are still some issues to work out with LED — one being that this Philips is expected to cost $50-$70. But price and aesthetics will be resolved over time. I just find it amazing that with this technology in place, my kid won’t know what it’s like to change a light bulb for many, many, years.
UPDATE: One last day to enter! Send me your pics today for a chance to win! (see contest rules below)
Time for a great giveaway at Groovy Green. Home Depot is showcasing its energy saving products, and now is your chance to upgrade your old thermostat. This Ritetemp 7-day programmable thermostat mounts flush to your wall, is mercury free, and can save you up to $150 per year on your heating and cooling costs.
Here’s the contest rules:
Back in Summer 2007, I gushed over wireless hardware provider Meraki and their announcement of a solar-powered repeater. There are several scenarios — from college campuses to farms — where expanding wireless coverage is limited based on access to electrical outlets. Unfortunately, Meraki’s product wasn’t quite ready for prime time and I was left wondering if it would ever see the light of day.
Well, never underestimate a company partially backed by Google. Their new solar-powered repeaters are now for sale and look more robust and ready for Mother Nature than ever before. From the site,
“Each unit is completely self-contained and ready to mount on roofs, poles, or anywhere else the sun shines. The Solar is completely energy independent and runs on its own state-of-the-art solar-charged battery.”
Continental Airlines will test a Boeing 737-800 fueled partially by biofuel on Janurary 7th. This test flight will be powered with a mix of traditional jet fuel and a biofuel made from algae and jatropha plants. This will be the first biofuel-powered demonstration flight of a U.S. commercial airliner.
Not sure what jatropha is? Check out Michael’s post on jatropha here.
There’s something to be said for the creative pursuit of modular home furniture. Nobody likes being “boxed” in when it comes to accessorizing — and surfing the web or burning fuel to find something that fits just right is more often than not a giant pain in the ass.
That’s why it was refreshing to come across Way Basic’s zBoards this morning. Not only are they made from 99% recycled materials (and recyclable) but they also require no tools to put together — just stick and build. From the website,
EcoSmart insect repellent has offered a free sample of their insect repellent to a randomly drawn Groovy Green reader. (Until I got this e-mail I didn’t even know that there was stuff like this)
If you are interested in being entered just leave a comment on this post and I’ll randomly select a winner.
One caveat: If you are the winner I may ask you to write a quick review for the site so we can have some first hand experience with the product. But I may not, so don’t let that keep you from entering!
UPDATE: Ecorazzi is now giving away a Neuton in celebration of their two year anniversary. One person will be chosen at random.]
Before I start this review, you should know that I have a love/hate relationship with lawns. Living in the Northeast, they’re a necessary evil when one has not yet shifted an entire backyard to something built on permaculture. On the other hand, a recently cut lawn does look beautiful and sharp — something drilled into my head from summers of mowing other lawns to make cash in High School.
When my lawn turns colors from a lack of rain, I do not get out the sprinkler. I consider it a vacation from the weekly chore of mowing. If weeds or other variants of grass make their presence known, I consider them compliments to the scenery. It amuses/depresses me to no end the amount of resources Americans spend on the upkeep of lawns across the US — especially in places where grass has no business growing in the first place.
Much praise has been heaped upon designer Ross Lovegrove since his solar trees first debuted in Vienna in October 2007. Essentially a solar-powered streetlamp — but also a work of art — the structure creates, as the designer puts it, “complex natural forms in a city that can benefit all of society.” They also save energy — and have managed to survive Vienna’s dark spells, with light still being generated even after four days without direct sun. From the article,
“When we were setting up the tree outside it was quite wonderful,” Lovegrove said. “Even when we had one stem, it was incredible, it seemed so insignificant but actually it really stood out and it proves this point that modern technology and design can really lift people’s spirits, it becomes an eye catcher because it’s sort of out of context. The Solar Tree is just a streetlamp but actually some of the small things which can have a big impact on our life are all open for reinterpretation.”
With the first-generation lamps firmly planted on some of Europe’s most famous streets, Lovegrove is now planning on the next-generation design. It will be called the “Adaptive Solar Tree” and, just like the real thing, will feature robotics that seek out sunlight or respond to changes in weather.
We’re all about choice when it comes to death here on GroovyGreen. Sure, you don’t have much say in how you’ll go, but you can definitely make sure your exit is packaged just right. Take for instance these eco-friendly custom cardboard coffins from Creative Coffins. Each one is made from 60% recycled paper plus wood pulp sourced from sustainable forests, contains only natural starch-based glues (no screws, bolts, tape, or other fittings), handles made from natural woven cotton, and is completely non-toxic. Better yet, you can have them custom designed — or choose from any number of beautiful designs already on the site.
My favorites are the “Gone To Seed” theme or the “Box of Candy” design — mainly because it would be really funny to see some kid’s face if they thought it was a giant box of candy. Ok, probably not.
Greenzer has an article up comparing the use of water bottles to water filters and reusable drinking bottles.
Greenzer by the way, is a one stop shopping location for earth friendly goods. They have the most comprehensive listing of earth friendly things I’ve seen.
If you are looking for earth friendly gear check out Eco-Gear.
How about a recycled wind storage device? See Storvino.
Vegan Fashion online is an interesting place to check for your Vegan clothing needs.
Probably the coolest story in the “local food” movement that I’ve heard yet. A bakery in Massachusetts has started to distribute wheat berries (seeds) to customers to plant 100 sq. ft. plots of wheat in their yards. They plan a hand-scythed harvest in the summer. I think that this is a great idea, and it will be interesting to see how productive the 10 x 10 plots of “front yard” wheat are.
There is an NPR podcast here. And this local news story from The Recorder gives more detail:
Jonathan Stevens and Cheryl Maffei of Hungry Ghost Bakery became interested in what some are calling their ‘little red hen’ idea of giving people wheat seeds to grow locally after a New Mexico baker at a conference eight or nine years ago introduced them to bread made from locally grown grain.
Instead of baking with organic flour grown in North Dakota that gets trucked to North Carolina for milling, Stevens said, it makes much more sense to look at growing wheat and other grains nearby and milling it locally — especially since Massachusetts is believed to have been the site of North America’s first oat harvest — on the Elizabeth Islands — in 1602.
Earth Day is quickly becoming not only an event to celebrate the planet — but also to look forward to a number of cool green technologies that love to launch on this iconic day. Already today, I’ve seen two great new developments: One, is Sungevity— a great online tool for Californians that displays a satellite map of your home, calculates solar installation costs, and mockups of what your roof might look like with the panels. Should you decide to purchase, the company takes care of all the details — including all the zoning permits and install crews. You just need to sign the dotted line. Awesome.
Next — and this is one we’re most excited about — is Flock Eco, a brand new take on the Flock Browser that comes fully loaded with green content AND gives 10% back to environmental causes every time you browse. Now, even reading your favorite sites can help generate money for worthy organizations! From the release,