Tuesday, April 15, 2008

LEED for homes

Logo for LEED for Homes.The new LEED for homes standards are fully up and running (since January 2008) and are now gaining momentum and popularity across the country. If you are interested in building a green home and want the certification with the highest level of visibility and most brand recognition, LEED is definitely the way to go.

Integral to the certification is obtaining a HERS rating and becoming Energy Star eligible... In most areas of the country there are considerable financial incentives to do this. Generally the cost of the HERS rating is completely covered, and often you can gain extra money to cover the entire certification process plus some - these would all be in addition to the financial incentives that are locally and nationally available for your gas water heaters, solar power or water, insulation, energy star appliance rebates, etc. For information on what is available locally, check in with you local government or contact your local LEED for homes provider or field agent.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Eco-Friendly Pet Food

Is anybody else out there wondering what the heck is wrong with the picture when it comes to the growing popularity of "healthy" pet food products on the market...?

The gourmet pet food industry is booming these days, especially since the recent scares with melamine and other food contaminants in cheaper popular pet food brands.

Wysong, Solid Gold, Nutra, Wellness, and other brands are capitalizing big time on consumer interest in "organic", "natural", and "healthy" products...

So what's the problem? ...Well, has anyone noticed the inclusion, and supposed required criteria for these products of "human-grade" food? Are pets human? ...NO! Do they need "human-grade" food? ...NO! Absolutely not! Is it better for them? ...Without a doubt NO! If anything, it is worse.

You see, the important distinction between a "quality" pet food and a "cheap" food is actually the nutritional value and the lack of harmful additional products, hormones, pesticides, etc. as well as the quality control over manufacture of the product.

The first, and simplest problem with a lot of these so called "better" foods that include "human-grade" meats and grains, is that it is not what the animal prefers or requires... Both dogs and cats prefer the highly nutritional "byproducts" such as entrails, brain, spinal cord, bones, etc... What they do not need in the byproducts is the teeth and hair, but the food that should be used for human consumption is completely wasted on our pets.

What is worse is that it is completely unsustainable to use these high grade products for our animals. We simply do not have enough arable farm land to support the production of meats and grains for pets AND humans. With starving people all around the world, and with the rapid loss of natural habitat for wasteful farming practices it is unconscionable that we continue to purchase these products for our pets.

We are in desperate need of a healthy, byproduct-line of food for cats and dogs. What we should be demanding from the industry is that entrails and other "byproducts" of organic and sustainably produced meats and grains be used for the food. And... that the food is high quality and nutritionally complete. But please, everybody, stop trying to buy whole-chicken, whole-duck, beef, and other human-grade foods for your pets. you are only doing the rest of the world, AND your pets a huge disservice.

Sorry to my readers for being so preachy with this post, but wow, I simply cannot stand to sit by and watch the self-righteous, over-consumptive, or strangely misinformed argue for the need for "human-grade" for animals anymore. Stop the insanity!

Please do post to this if you are aware of any "good" pet foods out there that use quality by-products for their line of pet food. We could all use this information.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

How to use a simple, cheap, passive solar design

Stop. If you don't have Southerly facing windows, this blog post is probably not for you!

Okay, that said... everyone has heard the term passive solar... right!? but just what the heck does it mean?

Simply put, passive solar is using design and building features that can gather heat from the sun during the day, and then release that heat slowly throughout the nighttime - helping to maintain a constant temperature, without expensive inputs from fossil fuel.

One of the easiest, most important, and most misunderstood aspects of passive solar is to take advantage of the South facing windows in your home to gather sun in the winter and block sun in the summer.

Unfortunately, most folks make the mistake to think that all you need is to have south facing windows, and, viola! you have passive solar. In fact, what you probably have is sky rocketing heating/cooling costs..!

What can you do about this? Luckily there is an easy solution to this dilemma. In the summer, we want to shade our homes from incoming heat, and in the winter we want to let it in. Right? What works to our advantage here, is that the sun is actually lower in the sky in the winter and as such can come in through a window that would be shaded by an overhang from the summer sun.

Great you say. But how much overhang do i need?

The answer to that lies almost entirely on where you are located, geographically speaking. And luckily for us, that can be calculated simply by punching in your town name and state into the bars for "feature name" and "state" here. (ed. note: write down the latitude and longtitude and elevation)

Take this newfound information here. When entering this information, you will want to know what the sun angle is at its highest... Summer solstice, and at its lowest... Winter solstice. To do this follow these simple steps:

1) Under "date" enter June 22
2) Under "time" enter 1200
3) Under "time basis" enter 24 hr.
4) Under "time zone", enter your time zone.
5) Under "time basis" choose “solar time”
6) Under "daylight savings" enter “no”
7) Under "zero azimuth" enter “South”.
8) Click on “Calculate”.

Great. You now have your summer high angle. Write this down.

9) Under "date" change to December 22 - recalculate.

Fantastic. You now have your winter low angle.

10) With these calculations in mind (and a few even more simpleSolar angles measurements on the outside of your home), you can now draw some simple lines and figure out exactly how much overhang you will need to block out that air conditioner killing summer sun, and soak up that warmth-giving winter light.

Now go forth and add on simple shades or build overhangs and see the cost of your monthly heating/cooling bills drop, and the value of your home increase. ...in fact, a little more work and you may actually be close to eligible for energy efficient financing packages for any future buyers of your home.

Heads-up to Michael Pulakamp for first putting together this simple two-step web-calculation.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Tallahassee Goes Green

On January 9th of this year (2008) Tallahassee, FL became the second city in Florida to obtain the prestigious "green city" designation with the Florida Green Building Coalition.

The city is being recognized for numerous green initiatives, including it's Go Green Tallahassee program, and it's use of and support for green building programs. In addition, Tallahassee has numerous citizen driven green businesses and initiatives, in areas as diverse as solar, real estate, baby supplies, and others.

For a long time, Tallahassee has remained a relatively obscure little capital city. Now it is starting to make it's mark with a rapidly growing green program. Tallahassee's Gov't currently has plans to become the leading green city in the United States. With it's extensive network if canopy roads, it's favorable climate, nationally award winning park system, and access to fantastic wildlife and outdoor activities, it seems the perfect location. Whether it will actually achieve it remains to be seen....


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Open Letter to Senator Barack Obama: environmental policy questions

Dear Senator Obama,

I am first and foremost a wife and mother of two boys under the age of two, but I am also working on a graduate degree in ecology and evolutionary biology. Like Senator Obama, I have spent a large portion of my life serving as an advocate for the less fortunate in our country, although the majority of this focus has been in the realm of environmental protection and human health issues.

I am impressed to see that the senator has focused on the severe problems with air quality that are affecting much of our country as a result of his understanding of his daughter's own issues with asthma. In addition, I feel that our country currently has a serious issue with lead poisoning and children, especially those who are the least fortunate among us, and I appreciate that Senator Obama has also chosen to focus on this issue.

However, I have been unable to find any information on other environmental policies that Senator Obama may hold, which makes me wonder if these issues are just overshadowed by the current darling of the green movement (climate change) or whether they have been ignored by Senator Obama altogether. I would like to know two things before I feel confident in awarding Senator Obama with my vote:

1) As a biologist who has conducted a significant portion of her research in the neotropics, I feel that any future US president needs to aid developing countries in basic forest protection policies that focus on economics, not just land preservation. I feel this aid must be twofold, focusing on the creation of effective international public policy as well as financial incentives for developing nations, perhaps through debt forgiveness.

A major problem in the tropics is with subsistence farming and hunting in and along the edges of preserves. Not only would the US benefit from addressing this issue in terms of climate change (preserving forests as major carbon sinks), but also economically (by creating stronger governments in the developing world we may greatly decrease illegal immigration to the US, reducing dependence on the drug trade, etc.) and biologically (many migrating animals that spend part of their life in the US spend the remainder of their life in tropical Central America).
This is the type of complex issue that would need to be addressed to preserve the world's tropical forests, and I am wondering what types of policies Senator Obama would initiate to end the exploitation of these world treasures.

2) I would like to see incentives for crops (both food- and fuel-based) to be grown without the use of pesticides and for animals to be raised without the use of antibiotics and growth hormones. This is, admittedly, a large and complex issue, but it is one I feel we can no longer ignore. We have so many pesticides in wide use within the US that have not been adequately tested to examine their effect on human health and wildlife. In addition, we have a severe problem with antibiotic resistance and the use of hormones that can have detrimental affects on the growth and development of young children. I feel that it is likely that our rates of childhood food allergies, cancers, and other health issues may be directly related to the way in which we grow food and raise animals. I feel that a future US president MUST address this issue in a way that focuses on the fields in which we grow our food as an ecosystem in which everything we add will go somewhere (such as community water supplies) and everything we remove must be replaced (such as protecting the quality of our soils by using sound agricultural practices to replace nutrients and prevent the removal of topsoil). We, as a nation, have not been good stewards of our most precious national resource: its land. I am wondering what programs Senator Obama would initiate to address these issues.

I greatly hope that this request will not go ignored, but that you will consider these questions and issues. I must admit that I have not had much hope that there would be a presidential candidate in my lifetime that would critically examine these issues, but Senator Obama seems that he might be a different type of candidate. Please feel free to contact me if I can clarify anything I've mentioned in any way. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.


A Concerned Mom


Friday, February 1, 2008

Ireland "Bags" the prize!

This time around, Ireland's practical lack of something that the rest of us have plenty of, may well be cause to celebrate...

Ireland is leading the world in the plastic bag-free shopping experience. With a simple 33 cent cost/per bag (the Plas Tax) imposed throughout the country in 2002, it is now hard to find a single bag littering the street, and most shoppers carry their own or go without.

What are we waiting for...? Our presidential candidates are clamoring for votes, ...anythings possible!? Why not push for a bag free US..?

Heads-up to IHT


Thursday, January 31, 2008

Slow, slowly takes root in America...

These days, it seems everything is super-fast paced. Faster food, faster internet speeds, faster track times, ...you name it, we now do it faster. But, perhaps, not necessarily better. Slow food has been quietly brewing as a global movement for some time now... and finally, after 3 decades, has crept out of the kitchen and into the rest of our lives.

While green, ecofriendly, and organic are taking hold and helping to change the way business interacts with the world. Far too often, these "ecofriendly" initiatives do nothing to change the pace of resource consumption (and thus, habitat destruction, global warming, etc.).

It seems that we are too easily duped by purchasing "green" that we forget that purchasing itself is often a problem. And even if it is green, is it made to last? Made with care? Made with quality? Made to be a great "used" product 10, 20, 30, 400 years from now..?

The slow movement is just that. An attempt to put a halt to our rapid, mass production, mass consumption, and mass mania. And its "slow" seep out from the kitchen promises to re-inject a level of quality to our lives that has sadly, long been missing.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Cradle to cradle: an end to resource death

In the natural world, "biological metabolism" recycles and reuses nutrients through the living and the non-living components of our planet.

In the industrial world, we currently operate under a system of use once, twice maybe, then dispose of products (technical nutrients) into a landfill - effectively locking up potentially valuable materials, and producing a significant waste problem.

Cradle to cradle (C2C) design radically rethinks our design and manufacturing worlds by imposing strict standards of reusability on ALL products produced, from our homes to our diapers. Products certified under the cradle to cradle design concept will be 100% recyclable or reusable!

Outlined in their book: Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, American Architect, William McDonough and German chemist, Michael Braungart, describe a simple, intuitive, and practical approach to design that is slowly gaining acceptance and promising to revolutionize the way we manufacture and think about objects of any sort. If fully incorporated, C2C promises to significantly reduce the human impact on the natural world.

This book is not just a brilliant idea in a standard package, it is an example of just what C2C means for our future. The book is printed on synthetic "paper" made from plastic resins and inorganic fillers. Designed with the look and feel of top quality paper it is also completely waterproof, can take quite a beating, and can be fully recycled in practically all localities in the US.

For more information on this concept and it's progress check out the website of C2C founder William McDonough, and for a really comprehensive chronology of the C2C movement check here.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Our nuclear future

As each primary unfolds, it is becoming clear that either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton will obtain the Democratic Presidential nomination, and, perhaps, become the next president of the United States. The Republican nomination remains much less clear, with no individual an obvious contender for the Presidential position.

Given the recent developments in Great Britain's attitude towards nuclear power, whoever becomes the 44th President of the United States, they will face significant pressure to work with the nuclear industry.

While a few environmentally-minded folks these days consider nuclear fuel to be a green choice, many, if not most, still recognize the inherent dangers, and the challenges of safe disposal and transport of spent fuel.

So far, unfortunately, little has been discussed regarding the candidate's positions on the future of nuclear energy production in the United States. The following information is provided from Grist:

Democratic positions:
So far, neither of the two leading candidates for the democratic nomination have stood up in opposition to nuclear energy: Barack Obama has come out in clear support of nuclear energy as part of a mixed energy strategy; while Hillary Clinton has retained a position of ambiguity. John Edwards, while no longer considered a serious contender, is fully opposed to nuclear power.
* Hillary Clinton Ambiguous
* John Edwards Opposes
Mike Gravel Opposes
* Dennis Kucinich Opposes
* Barack Obama Supports

Republican position:
All Republican candidates are supportive of nuclear power.
* Rudy Giuliani Supports
* Mike Huckabee Supports
Duncan Hunter Supports
John McCain Supports
Ron Paul Supports
Mitt Romney Supports
Fred Thompson Supports


What happens in Vegas, just maybe, should leave Vegas afterall!?

Perhaps not an immediate choice to lead the next agricultural revolution, Las Vegas (which means fertile plains), may in fact do just that. Vegas, one of the most visited tourist hotspots in the world, may be gearing up to become the site for a money-producing new attraction that is most definitely not a casino.

Reported on in Next Energy News, Developers are currently considering a $200 million dollar project to develop the worlds first full-scale vertical farm (VF). The VF is currently planned to open its doors by 2010 and should produce enough food to feed over 70,000 people/year.

Annual revenue from a combination of both tourism and food production could exceed $40 million/year and equal or exceed the profitability of most casinos.

For more information on the vertical farm movement, check out the vertical farm website, or Chris Jacob's vertical farm blog.

[editor's note: recent communications have shown that there is a serious lack of "factual" data to support this story: who is the developer, the architectural firm, etc? If anyone has any insight into the facts of the Vegas Vertical Farm (VVF), please let me know!]


Friday, January 11, 2008

Looking to buy or sell a green home? ...find an EcoBroker

Got kids, allergies, want to change your life, or simply reduce you bills, ...looking to buy a green home (or a home with greening potential), look no further. EcoBroker International not only certifies real estate professionals in all aspects of green homes, but provides listings of both agents and properties.

The first and only international provider of green certification for real estate professionals, EcoBroker® works under the mission "to broaden and improve the base of training and continuing education for real estate professionals, and in turn, the public." Coursework undertaken by RE professionals is eligible for continuing education credits.

Licensed EcoBrokers are now present in over 42 states, 4 Canadian provinces and in the Caribbean. If green is what you are looking for in a home, working with a licensed EcoBroker will most likely save you money, time and possible future headaches.

LEED AP credentials to be obtained from new organization

For those folks in the building industry, either LEED certified, or hoping to become LEED certified, LEED accreditation is now obtained through the new (and separately incorporated) organization: the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).

This effective separation of the AP credentials from the LEED rating system (administered by the USGBC) is required to enable accreditation under the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).


Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches to halt global warming

mmmm! ...let's munch & chew our way to a healthier, greener planet.

According to the Sierra Club and the PBJ Campaign, regular consumption of PB&J sandwiches is not just scrumptiously good, but it is great for the planet too!

If every person were to substitute just one burger a week with a PB&J, we would release the equivalent of 2.5 pounds less CO2 into the air, and drastically reduce our consumption of fresh water.

I'm not too sure about the impact-reduction factor here, but it sure would do our stomach lines a favor, and who doesn't love a good PB&J..!?


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Green lights the way for the Über rich

In something straight out of Yoda's living room... and at an interstellar cost too, the xDesign Environmental Health Clinic at New York University gives us the "green light".

Essentially a solar-powered, 6watt, LED chandelier, the greenlight incorporates a small tray for plants. According to
Bill Wolverton, the environmental scientist and ex-NASA researcher who pioneered this idea, the light works at wavelengths preferable for photosynthesis. As the incorporated plants grow, they absorb polluted air, thus reducing indoor pollution.

Originally designed for air-cleansing of space-stations, these living lights are now being produced for homes across America. However, given the $6,000/light price tag, we don't expect they will become too common of a sight any time soon.

Even though they score a 10 on the coooool factor, given the astronomical costs of these lights, they get a big green boo from greengo.

From Popular Mechanics and EcoGeek


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Top 10 green cities in US

According to Earthlab's calculations, the top 10 greenest cities in the United States are as seen here...

These calculations are based on over 1 million carbon footprints created by web visitors who entered data on such items as transportation, commute habits, energy consumption, recycling and more. To calculate your own footprint, visit earthlab.com.

Just don't throw it ...recellular it!

Cell phones are one of the most common accessories we carry these days. Unfortunately, most folks really do consider them just that. An accessory. And one that goes out of style, out of date and out of their lives all too frequently. Along with the waste produced in the manufacturing of these gadgets, cell phones themselves contribute huge quantities of mass to landfills each year.

The sad part of all of this is that they are 100% (yes, i said 100%) recyclable. Those that are still functional (and many, if not most are) are easily refurbished and resold (if not in the States, abroad to developing nations).

If you have not yet heard of them, then please look into recellular. An innovative company that has slowly and steadily worked to become the nations leading cell phone recycler. Consider how simple it would be to send in your phone when you go to upgrade.

...for those a little more ambitious, consider starting your own local cellphone donation and recycling group. Recellular will purchase (yes, purchase) your collected used phones from you, and all money could easily support a local environmental group, church group, medical cause, or whatever you want.

Biogass to fuel Europe ...why not here too?

Germany may have plans in the pipeline to become a major energy provider for much of Europe in the next few years...

According to the Institute for Energy (Institut für Energetik) in Leipzig, Germany's production capabilities for biogass are large enough to completely remove European dependence on Russian natural gas by the year 2020.

If they can do it, why can't we. All this talk about switch grass, our mountains of cow dung piling up, our waste treatment & solid waste, our good-ole American creativity... what's stopping us. Well, researchers out at UC Davis are working hard on the issue. check out this video to see details on how the process works.

From Biopact & Youtube


Monday, January 7, 2008

What's your impact..?

Ever wondered what your impact is based on consumption? Ever wondered how much trash you actually produce... or where your waste goes to?

Well at least one person has thought of these things ...and deemed the questions worthy of bringing to all our attention. Sustainable Dave is on a major mission to discover just what he adds to our landfills, recycling centers and biohazard sites in one year of living!

With wife and 2 kids to boot, Dave is filling his basement with every piece of garbage associated to an act of personal consumption.

To follow the course of this gruelling project, you can view photos, updates and interesting tidbits at his site: http://365daysoftrash.blogspot.com/

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Paseo Pantera... huh?

This is going to be the first post of many on this topic. As you can clearly see, Greengolingo is currently a pretty new blog, so there is plenty of time for expanding on topics and ideas. This particular post, however, is going to become a big topic over time because, well, i think that it is an extremely important conservation idea, and one that is largely unheard of right now.

A little background: The Central American isthmus (or landmass) links North and South America through a small corridor of land encompassing the countries of Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Southern Mexico. This sliver of land has acted as an extremely important biotic corridor (i.e. link between N. and S. America for plants and animals) for the last 3-4 million years.

Proyecto Paseo Pantera, otherwise known as the MesoAmerican Biotic Corridor, is a hugely ambitious project designed to maintain the integrity of this biotic corridor by preserving land in an unbroken chain from Mexico through to Colombia. It's named after the Panther (Felis concolor), or cougar, which freely roams throughout the Americas.

What's amazing about this ambitious project, is that all countries involved have already signed on to participate and support the development of this project. The idea being, that economic growth through ecotourism can support the land preservation (and preservation of indigenous groups and traditions). This project is also supported by the United Nations and The United States.

Although such support exists on paper, since it's inception in 1990, very little progress has been made in the construction and maintenance of the corridor. It's partly because of this that i write on the topic...

With such enormous potential to contribute to the preservation of tropical rainforests, and life on the planet, this project deserves much more attention. It is my hope that through this blog (over time), i can raise awareness, and encourage the development of a little more citizen-based, grassroots effort to push this project from paper into an amazing reality.

Please take the opportunity to educate yourself more on this matter. Ideally, readers of this blog will contact environmental groups such as the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Nature Conservancy, the Rainforest Action Network, and/or your local representatives in order to inquire about this project, encourage its development, and spread the word about Paseo Pantera.

When all sides win: treehuggers & developers unite through science

All too often those of us who relish in the natural world find ourselves at loggerheads with the forces of development. Attempts at reconciliation of these two strongly opposing interests have consistently fallen short of the mark.

In a growing body of research, scientists are now arguing that this is less due to irreconcilable differences in human society and the natural world, than it is to a lack of understanding of basic ecology. In other words: There is hope for our future. However, to make things work, we are going to need to start reconsidering how we design our cities, towns, roads, houses, etc.

This might not seem like news to those of us with a head screwed firmly onto our shoulders. The surprising thing is though, that until recently, there was absolutely no science to back this idea. Until recently, no rigorous study had been undertaken to examine
how we might redesign the human world.

In a growing area of research, defined recently as "reconciliation ecology" numerous scientists are beginning to put together the pieces of the puzzle linking biodiversity and ecosystem health to practices of human land use
in the human landscape.

This is not simply a case of the management and study of parks or wilderness areas, but management, planning and design of land use in urban areas and all land that is human occupied.

What is truly revolutionary here is that a large effort is now underway to examine case studies of human/wildlife coexistence in combination with rigorous scientific study of the underlying mechanisms of species diversity (biodiversity) in the human landscape.

The goal of this work, is to enable us to preserve the greatest amount of species diversity and ecosystem function as possible, while allowing for intelligent development
[editors note: not to be confused with the "wise-use" movement - which is a largely corporate backed propaganda campaign designed to open up land use to the most destructive and lucrative interests imaginable. Wise-use is not scientifically backed land-management].

According to Dr. Rosenzweig, a leading authority in this area, and world-renowned ecologist, "
reconciliation ecology is the science of inventing, establishing and maintaining new habitats to conserve species diversity in places where people live, work or play. Reconciliation Ecology seeks environmentally sound ways for us to continue to use the land for our own benefit."

For those of us who are big readers, and really interested in this topic, a great introductory book is Win-Win Ecology by Dr. Rosenzweig.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Carbon Neutral Lawncare

Each year millions of pounds of atmospheric pollutants are spewed into our air, saturating our crops, being soaked up into our lungs, and slowly (or not so slowly as the case may be these days) warming up our atmosphere.

Surprisingly, a large proportion (some estimates are around 15%) of this pollution may be directly linked to your green yard! What looks like a healthy, clean, outdoor recreational area, is in fact a guilty culprit in the theft of our children's futures.

The use of gas powered lawnmowers, leaf blowers, edgers, trimmers and weed-whackers, has increased dramatically in the last few years. These days, many folks are just too busy to maintain their own yard, and yet, still want that manicured green dream. To accommodate them, lawncare services have sprung up everywhere. These services are usually quite affordable, and yet highly profitable. Most folks do not even consider the environmental impact of this type of lawncare.

Luckily (for my kids and yours), a truly innovative company is picking up the eco-slack here, and stepping in where they are most needed. Clean Air LawnCare, founded in 2006 by Kelly Giard, is in the early stages of becoming a nationwide lawncare franchise. Using a combination of biodiesel, windpower, and carbon trading, this company works with the goal of remaining 100% carbon neutral.

Waste not, want not

For most of us, our homes end up packed each year with more and more items that we "will use one day". Items that seem to be useful, yet for what, well, we're not really sure. Exercise equipment that is just too much work to setup or use. Cookware, or dishes that fill cupboards and gather dust. Clothes that fit us prior to that x-mas 3 yrs ago at grandma's...

Some of this stuff could easily make you money and find a new great home if you simply took a quick photo of it and posted it onto EBAY or Craigslist. But most of it, well, what's the point? ...it's simply too old, too shabby, not valuable enough to take the time and ship. Too heavy, too awkward, or you simply don't like selling things online. Okay, so let's just throw this stuff out...

Alternatively, rather than throwing out that chipped pot, or that 3 legged chair, or your 8 year old's 6yr old clothes... why not Freecycle it!?

Freecycle, for those of us that have not already heard of it, is gathering momentum every day, with freecycling networks popping up every day the world over.

Freecycle is a grassroots, nonprofit, free service made up of folks from every walk of life that are interested in preventing or reducing the constant flow of goods to landfills. Freecycle allows you to post info on items that you have (and want to get rid of) to a local listserve, and choose, from the responses arriving, who you will give it to.

In addition, you can use it to make requests for items that you want, FOR FREE!, and look for items listed that might be useful to you. What could be simpler. And, for those of us with clutter issues, a tendency towards ratpacking, it's time to let go. Freecycle makes it so easy to get access to the bizarre items you might want to stuff closets with, that your excuse for stuffing them no longer exists. Use the items, then pass them on.


How to make money being green... part 1.

These days, being green has moved way out of the fringe and smack into the heart of our mainstream society. Green this, green that, seems like everyday some new article comes up about being green in a new and creative (and often, unfortunately, completely unpractical or unnecessary) way.

How do we sort through this forest of "green" to find the products, the groups, the ideas that are going to help us to save some money and make the difference we all want to..?

One great idea, that will both help others in your area to live in as ecofriendly a way as possible, and also help you to earn money being green, is to produce a green guide to your area.

To do this, simply get out. Walk around, hike around, cycle, talk to people. Live the lifestyle that you really want to in your area, but do it AND pay attention. Write down the details, interview folks... How much more fun could this be. All you have to do is all you want to do, and the information will simply pile up.

But what to do with that info... how to organize it? How do you present it?

Simple. Follow the lead of the few enterprising folks already doing this in one or two areas. Find out what works what doesn't work and modify it to fit your interests, and your town/city/bioregion.

To put it together, try a blog. Or even a book. A great example is the Insiders' Guide To The Big Green Apple: Your Guide to Eco-friendly Living in New York City" written by Ben Jervey.

However you do it, the most important part to making green by being green, is simply to enjoy yourself. This may never become a full time job, or pay ALL of your bills. But if green is how you want to live, then why not create a resource that helps others to do the same while doing just what you do all the time anyway.