Blackfish has made a lot of waves lately, from environmental groups applauding the spotlight on captivity and dolphin capturing practices, to entertainers dropping out of Sea World events and companies pulling sponsorships. It may be for good reason.
Blackfish is a documentary movie which tells the story of Tilikum, a troubled killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. It begs the question, how was this highly intelligent, emotionally scarred orca, allowed to perform and interact with trainers and performers, even after several deaths were attributed to him?
Diving back into the history of Tilikum’s capture and the brutal practices of acquiring these magnificent creatures, one can see where the trouble began. Years of emotional trauma and abuse culminated into several deaths at different ocean theme parks. Were there cover ups from the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry, or did management and the authorities look the other way? › Continue reading
It is that time of year again! Holiday shopping and gift giving in a rush, but The Chic Ecologist is here to help! Whether searching for that perfect eco experience, trying to lower your impact on the environment this year, or finding unique green gifts for that special someone, I have the list for you!
Holiday Shopping Guide
Looking to give a great gift this holiday season, but want to keep your impact on the environment low? Try incorporating the 3-R’s, reduce-reuse-recycle into your green holiday shopping plans. Reduce quantity and focus on quality. Reuse shopping bags and check out your local thrift store for a gift. Recycle your old gifts and purchase with the end in mind.
A unique gift for a unique individual may be more your speed. Try a greener spin on some traditional holiday favorites such as: beeswax candles, fair-trade or local organic chocolate, gifts made from recycled glass, or an eco walking experience from Inn To End. Take it that extra step and consider the source as well as the end product.
Charitable Giving Resources
There are many options when it comes to charities, and not all are created equal. Do your homework before donating (using these tips), to find out where (and how much of your money) is going to the cause you support. Charities can allocate up to 95% of your funds to ‘operations’ with less than 5% going to the actual cause, so it is important to ask. My favorites include: The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and UNICEF.
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DaDa is a men’s underwear brand based in Scotland using sustainable materials to develop comfortable underwear. Fabrics such as organic cotton, bamboo rayon, seaweed, coconut shells and even coffee grinds have been developed and combined with stylish patterns and fits.
Their first collection has focused on developing three distinct styles, which can be found as a part of their Kickstarter Quarterly Underwear Club (until Dec 22nd) or for sale on their website at DaDa.com › Continue reading
We all want to know that the cleaners we use are getting the job done, but far too often, we settle for the path of least resistance – or so we think.
Sure, it may be faster to simply grab a well-known brand’s bottle of cleaner and toss it in your shopping cart rather than going to the trouble of making your own green cleaners, but does ‘faster’ equate to ‘better?’ Not really, no; at least not when you break down the factors contributing to the entire picture.
For one thing, green cleaners are superior in far more categories than manufactured chemical cleaning solutions as they relate to the cleaning process. Take a gander at how green cleaners are:
- Cheaper: Your typical bottle of cleaner could easily run in the $4 range but DIY green cleaners can be had for less than a quarter.
- Versatile: When you realize that commercial cleaners are task-specific and you have to buy a different cleaner for different purposes (for example, you need different cleaners for glass, countertops, floors, bathrooms, tile, etc.) the bottles and the bucks add up really quickly, but with green cleaners, you have just a few basic ingredients for all different types of surfaces and tasks.
- Simple to make: And you have most, if not all, of those ingredients in your home already! The most common active ingredients in green cleaners are distilled white vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol and ammonia. For example, I make my own cleaner to wash down walls before I repaint them. The recipe is so simple: 1 cup ammonia, ½ cup white vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda all in a gallon of water. This cleaner really cuts through wall grime, and a single rinse is all that’s needed.
So when you take the big picture into account, it’s easy to see the benefits of going with green cleaners – and the best part is just how easy it is to get started. Here’s a simple green cleaning project to try out and see for yourself.
We all are trying to eat healthier these days, avoiding chemicals, hormones, and processed foods as much as possible, but what happens when the so called ‘health foods’ can also pose problems? While organic is really the way to go for most food options, there are a few you should probably just stay away from altogether.
Margarine and vegetable oils
Full of trans-fats and susceptible to heat, these products have been known to contribute to heart disease, infertility, hormonal imbalance, and cancer. This is due to free radicals and oxidized cholesterol produced from over heating the oil either during the production of margarine, or during the cooking of foods.
Good alternatives – If organic butter isn’t your thing, find a cold-pressed oil alternative such as olive oil or if cooking with it, coconut oil is the best. Canola, Corn, Soy and Palm oils are not good alternatives as they are quite environmentally damaging and degrade with heat.
Here at The Chic Ecologist, I like to highlight all types of businesses, products, arts and artists, but it’s rare to find an environmental poet! Here are three selections from Robert Lopez, an electrical engineer major focusing on sustainable energy at Cornell University. His full bio can be found at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!
Might we view nature
not just in the depth of a mountain,
not just in the rich canyon colors,
not just in the solitude of the scape,
but in the roots beneath out toes,
but in the decay of our bones,
but in all that lives and does not.
Might we view nature.
This glowing bulb burns,
igniting in a wasteful wash.
Flip – off
A living Tungsten
Flip – On
hot vapor, hot stupor.
Flip › Continue reading
There is nothing like fresh cut flowers to brighten up a room, and who doesn’t like getting flowers? Now there is a speedy and green flower delivery service in San Francisco bringing joy to those in the 7×7.
BloomThat is doing things a bit differently, and greening up an otherwise dirty industry. By sourcing local and in season flowers, they avoid the transportation costs and pollution from a typical Fed-Ex Flower. It also helps to support the local community and farmers, all while you get the fresh and longer lasting flowers. Delivered by bike messengers, you get lightning speed delivery with no additional fossil fuels burned.
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This has recently hit my radar, being a sushi lover and all, because of the very surprising ‘leakage accidents’ which are associated with a certain fish. Escolar (Lepidocybium flavobrunneum), or as it is commonly (and mistakenly) referred to as butterfish, super white tuna, or sometimes walu/waloo, can have a nasty side effect if too much is consumed. Besides that, I was also interested in the sustainability of this fish, since it is quite delicious and common in US sushi restaurants.
Escolar has been popping up on menus all over the country, but you find them primarily in sushi restaurants because of their reasonable price, low mercury content, and delicious texture and flavor. This type of fish cannot metabolize the gempylotoxin wax esters common to its diet of squid, crustaceans and other fish, leaving them to accumulate in the muscle tissue. These wax esters are left in the flesh of the escolar causing gastrointestinal problems when consumed in large amounts (more than a single serving size of 6 ounces for most people), or to put it bluntly, unexpected and uncontrollable oily orange rectal discharge. Because of this unexpected side effect, many › Continue reading
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