Do It Yourself
I got engaged a little while ago, and people are constantly commenting on my very unique ring. My Fiancé picked out a gorgeous, unique ring from Brilliant Earth, and I love having the opportunity to gush to my friends that the metal is all recycled platinum, and that the diamonds are all ethically sourced. Yet I’ve been shocked with how many people give me an absolute blank stare when I say the words “ethically sourced”. You would think I was trying to describe a complex medical procedure. On the plus side, it allows me to educate those around me to what exactly it means to be “ethically sourced”.
Ethically sourced is exactly what it sounds like. It is a broad term that refers to an item or product was brought to you from a source that used ethical practices from start to finish. This may mean that it was paid for at a fair price, or that the source considers the environment and the country or location of origin. Also referred to as fair trade, or with diamonds they are referred to as conflict-free. Conflict free further means that the gem was not mined and sold to pay for an insurgent campaign or to finance a warlord in Africa. Ethically sourced items are free from human rights abuses, or child labor, and did not cause any harm to the environment.
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There are many fantastic and interesting inventions out there, with new ones happening every day. (Even paper chips!). One that really caught my eye is a remarkable idea for a health bar – a crayon. Luxirare (a combination of Rare and Luxury) is a weekly, elegant, webzine that focuses on portraying the beauty of fashion and food. The webzine concentrates on one item at a time and spends a lot of time towards executing the creation and presentation of that item. In this case, Luxirare has created crayon health bars, and captured the attention of many.
Luxirare created the crayons out of colorful foods, all listed on the back of the box, and many of the ingredients are very healthy and an appealing change from normal fruits and vegetables. The yellow crayon, for instance, includes processed corn, nuts, yellow Fruity Pebbles, dried bananas and bee pollen (which is super healthy). Luxirare separated many different types of foods in small containers and captured the creation process and end result in many striking photos. › Continue reading
It’s May 8th. Mothers Day is May 9th. Time to celebrate this excellent occasion with the perfect present for your favorite Mom. Did I mention it is May 8th? Don’t worry! Here are some last minute recipes for eco-friendly gifts or even simple add-ons if you’ve already gotten something for her!
A Clean-Green Basket. Ingredients easily picked up at your local grocery or hardware store. Do your own take on a fruit basket and create a practical gift that your mom will feel proud to use.
• 1 large basket
• A few leafy twigs
• Seventh Generation disinfecting wipes, multi-surface, and/or bathroom cleaner. Seventh Generation focuses on environmental sustainability and how they can provide products that reduces pollution and keeps natural toxins out of the air. They disclose all of the ingredients within their products to ensure the health of your home by producing safe and effective cleaning supplies. Check out their product coupons as well. › Continue reading
Now for a little environmental optimism. I’ve stumbled across Grist‘s clever side project, HopenSource a few times and would highly recommend swinging by next time you’ve got the chance. It’s a joint blog and twitter account (including its very own hashtag to allow everyone to join in the conversation) dedicated to the discussion of the good news in the environmental arena.
That’s right, you didn’t read that wrong. I said good news. In a field almost completely dedicated to approaching issues from an “Oh Lord, what have we done?” angle, I find the optimism to be refreshing. I’ve said it many times, one of the most basic obstacles to environmental progress is the ease with which everyday people get bogged down in the despair and general permeation of bad news, particularly in the media. This idea that because we’ve gone so far at this point, in terms of habitat destruction, climate change, toxic distribution, etc., there’s really nothing we can do on an individual level that would make a dent, and therefore no point in trying.
In fact, this perspective couldn’t be farther from the truth. › Continue reading
Is the day after this Earth Day called Green Friday as opposed to Black Friday? Either way, I learned a lot on Thursday while at the University of Washington’s Earth Day fair on the HUB lawn. With many booths, people, and brochures, the Earth Day event was definitely an educational success. The event included signing up for contests and giveaways, planting a small plant, trying to guess what a typical garbage bin has accumulated and many friendly people to share ideas with about how to live green. Here are some of the companies and groups I got the pleasure to learn more about on our sunny Earth Day!
This group is involved with many different projects around UW including the Climate Action Plan which is an institutional plan toward becoming neutral towards our climate. Some other projects they are involved in are the CFL Exchange Project to exchange all incandescent light bulbs on the Seattle campus with energy savings CFL bulbs, Earth Club at UW, and Project Earth at UW Tacoma. Their website also includes great information on what you can do to reduce your footprint on the Earth. At their booth on Earth Day they handed me a Greenlite light bulb which uses 75% less energy, saves $68 in energy costs, and 1 Greenlite = 12 standard bulbs!
1. Procrastinate: Save your laundry until the last minute. Don’t run the washing machine until you have a full load. And hey, it’s not the end of the world if you wear pants more than a couple times between washes. Think about it, you’re saving energy and water, and you’re saving time, so you can take more naps. Eco-friendly naps.
2. Don’t cook: Eat raw instead. A diet rich in raw fruit and veg is not only great for you, it is very eco-friendly. Raw diets have picked up quite a following over recent years. They are thought to help prevent health problems, strengthen the immune system, stabilize your BMI, clear your skin, and even increase your energy, which is important for us lazy folk. According to www.rawfoodlife.com, organic, raw food is as much as 200-300% more nutritionally dense than a traditional cooked diet. Of course you’re not going to want to eat raw meat. But that just gives you the chance to eat less anyway. For that matter, › Continue reading
I still remember what I initially thought when I first heard about PeopleTowels. I’m rather ashamed to admit it was something along the lines of “What, are they made of people?” Thankfully, no. They’re made for people, to empower people to cut back on the over consumption of paper towels. As co-founder Linda Lannon puts it, “It is the opposite of a paper towel, it is a PeopleTowel.”
Don’t pretend you haven’t walked into a public bathroom, either at a movie theater or at work, and cringed at the sight of the trash can literally overflowing with crumpled up paper towels. Even the air only blow driers use up a ton of energy and don’t get your hands properly dry anyway. Every once in a while you’ll see the waste-conscious, roller hand towels. But even then, I’ll always wonder whose germs I’m spreading over my freshly soaped and scrubbed hands.
The solution? PeopleTowels: the smart, personal, reusable hand towels. They’re conveniently small, roughly nine by nine inches. They’re well designed and brightly colored. They’re certified organic, fair trade cotton, made with 100% natural and nontoxic eco-friendly dyes. Absorbent, light weight and fast-drying, they come in a number of bright, fun, eco-chic designs. My personal favorite is the “this is not a tree” design, which really brings the point home. By using a PeopleTowel for one year, your actions alone are saving an entire quarter of a tree, conserving 250 gallons of water, and reducing landfill waste by 23 pounds. Those kinds of numbers add up pretty fast. › Continue reading
I’ve always admired gardeners for a hobby that produces food that’s not only delicious, but also eco-friendly and sustainable. I mean, what’s more local than your own backyard? The University of Washington and the City of Seattle did a study on greenhouse gas emissions from locally sourced food versus food sourced out of state or internationally. (Find it here) They found that the fuel used to transportation non-local fruits and vegetables produced almost six times as much CO2 as local alternatives. That’s a lot of CO2 we can cut out of our daily lives by simply eating locally sourced and homegrown food.
Growing up, I hated gardening. However now that I’ve matured a bit, as my mother would say, I’ve found a type of gardening that’s right up my alley. Container gardening. Container gardening is great because even those with apartments, can do it. And these days there are so many recycled, or compostable options for containers, that’s there’s really no excuse to not give it a try.
The best way to start is to pick something to plant that you’ll actually eat. There’s no point growing something that you won’t eat or store for later. For me, I chose zucchini and strawberries. I eat them raw, as well as making them into zucchini bread and strawberry jam. It’s fantastic to eat the fruits of my labors year round. It’s also important to pick something that does well in your climate and that you’ll actually be able to devote the time to upkeep. Also make sure you know when to plant, and what to expect from your plants. Try the Farmer’s Almanac for a list of last expected frost dates as a start. So do your research and if all else fails, hit your local garden store, there’s always someone there waiting to convert another person to gardening.
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