Monday, December 28, 2009

Habari Gani?! Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility

In the spirit of "reusing", I am re-posting a piece I wrote last year, on today's Kwanzaa principle, Ujima, or collective work and responsibility. Enjoy it now.

Black Santa Collectible Display

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is to put my African American Santas on display. I even have a Black Santa teapot! It has been a few years since I purchased any Santas, so I guess it's about time to check out eBay!

More Green Holiday Entertaining Options

On the menu for my holiday open house were mostly vegetarian options (I did have turkey and cheese for those who must have meat at every meal). Pictured above is a wonderful black eye pea salad, which was served with whole wheat pita chips.

Fruit bowl does double duty as centerpiece and healthy snack alternative.

Vegan antipasti (almost raw dish) features lots of veggies (peppers, onions, artichokes, asparagus, mushrooms, herbs and olives), grilled tofu and vegan pepperoni. This was a very popular dish, even among the "what in the world is tofu?" set.

All excess food (wasn't much excess) was composted and with the exception of the sugar cane plates, no disposable items were used.

Go Green With Your Holiday Entertaining

These are some approaches I took to greening my holiday entertaining, though Christmas has passed, we still have Kwanzaa and New Year's Eve to make a great green impression while entertaining family and friends. My original plan was to use my collection of cranberry antique plates, but I found this package of sugar cane based plates (purchased at CVS) in my cabinet which supplemented my china. They were tossed into my compost bag and will sweeten my garden next year!

This cute serving tray was found at cool vintage store on the west side of Cleveland. I tried to throw a few good for you treats likes dates and nuts in with the typical holiday candies. I buy Mars chocolate products because they use ethically sourced cocoa. I forgot that rule when I purchased these Hershey's Kisses. Oh well.

My cousins are vegans, so I provided vegan treats (served in this cute little server found at a flea market) and featured vegan menu items as the primary dishes in an effort to make them not feel singled out.

This eclectic collection of napkins were an eco-friendly alternative to paper napkins. The tablecloth is fair trade.

These oatmeal cookies were made with organic butter and raw cane sugar. I used parchment paper to avoid contact with the teflon coating on the baking pan. They were a hit!

Democrats pose threat to President Obama’s cap-and-trade climate Bill - Times Online

Democrats pose threat to President Obama’s cap-and-trade climate Bill - Times Online First it was healthcare and a few key Democrats (listed in this article) are threatening to hold the cap and trade bill hostage. Sometimes, the donkey party can be soooo weak. I understand that these folks need to answer to their constituents, but my question is, which constituents are they answering to - main street or Wall Street? Feel free to use the "write your rep" link on this site to voice your concerns. Reuse is latest environmental trend Reuse is latest environmental trend Reuse vs. recycle. This is a good article to share with family and friends.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunnyvale Urban farm brings kids full circle with food they eat - 12/21/09 - San Francisco News -

Sunnyvale Urban farm brings kids full circle with food they eat - 12/21/09 - San Francisco News - With obesity and diabetes becoming serious problems among children of color, we need to take advantage of every angle to encourage kids to eat pesticide free fruit and veggies. This article and video highlights an urban farm program based on a middle school campus and its success in getting kids to love healthy eating.

Baltimore greenhouses spur hope for more farming | San Francisco Examiner

Baltimore greenhouses spur hope for more farming San Francisco Examiner High schoolers grow excited about urban farm produce on their campus.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Arianna Huffington: Attention Last-Minute Shoppers: HuffPost Has a Store With Gifts That Give Back to Those in Need

Arianna Huffington: Attention Last-Minute Shoppers: HuffPost Has a Store With Gifts That Give Back to Those in Need I don't mean to cause you to panic.......but, Christmas is only a week away! Ahh! I have purchased nothing. So sad. Truthfully, at the risk of sounding like Scrooge, I wish we could just re-do the entire culture and concept of how we choose to celebrate Christ's birth. It's sooo superficial and wasteful. I like the good old days you hear about, families, friends and neighbors (ok, maybe not) getting together to enjoy one anothers company, exchanging simple gifts like cookies and fruit, singing songs, going to church. Oh well, at least these gifts capture some of that spirit (we vs. me) of the holiday. So hopefully, you will join me in perusing through these great time friendly and people friendly gift ideas, compliments of Huffington Post and Causeworks.

Feeling the Heat: Climate Change Has Become a Reality for Germany - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Feeling the Heat: Climate Change Has Become a Reality for Germany - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International One always hears reports of developing or brown nations feeling the heat of warming global temperatures. Unfortunately, for some reason, this news appears to fall on deaf ears. African countries are hurting, what else is new? Why should I care? It's all about me, right? Kind of like the same attention that crime, drug supply, low academic achievement, unemployment and poverty receives in America; that is until these issues are faced by folks in suburban locations. Well, I think we may have found our climate change counterpart of the suburbs. It turns out that folks in the hinterlands of Europe are now feeling the heat of global warming. OMG! Someone call Nancy Grace! This article outlines how subtle changes in our environment can affect our way of living and should encourage you to observe your natural world, notice changes and connect the dots. Perhaps, with a few more Germany's reporting in on how climate change is threatening their economies, this issue will be taken more seriously by the general public and their political representatives. That is unless the lobbyists for the status quo, generate a corresponding increase in congressional subsidies.

Obama Lands, Climate Talks in Serious Disarray - ABC News

Obama Lands, Climate Talks in Serious Disarray - ABC News This hasn't been the best week for President Obama, let's hope things can turn around for him with some good news today in Copenhagen. Quick summary of where things are to date:

- African nations heated up over lack of progress in agreeing to reduce carbon emissions
- Goal of a new carbon emissions agreement between nations (Kyoto expires 2012) is vaporizing
- Quest by developing nations for payment to develop and grow economies sustainably, gaining traction
- U.S. proposes to put $100 billion towards this effort, developing nations feel this isn't enough
- A 2 degree rise in global temps will put the planet and specific geographic locations in serious jeopardy
- Proposals under discussion will reduce global temp increases to only 3 degrees, so we are still underwater
- China agrees to be more transparent in its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and explain increases
- Very likely that no legally binding agreements will be produced at this summit
- Looks like you are on your own folks

Click here to view this well organized, easy to read and comprehensive guide to climate change, published by the World Wildlife Fund.

I wonder if there are any Worst Case Scenario books for climate change?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Watch Al Gore Repower The Climate Change Debate

Watch this YouTube clip of Al Gore trying to fire everyone up again in Copenhagen. Personally, I think he is just warming up for President Obama's appearance later this week. No pressure, Mr. President.

Vintage eBay

Found these pre-screened vintage clothing eBay sites in the December issue of Lucky Magazine, though blogger, Jennifer Romolini did all of the work!

  • Bleubirdvintage
  • Liebermarlen Vintage
  • Linda's Stuff (80's fashion)
  • Gene's Vintage Eyeglasses

For those of you that live in Chicago, check out Haystack at 2934 N. Broadway, for organic lingerie with a 20's vibe (another Lucky Mag tip).

Logon to for a chance to win one of five $100 eBay shopping awards.

My Very Green Africentric Christmas Table

My holiday table features an eclectic mix of vintage and new, fair trade and TJ Maxx. The tablecloth was purchased from a Cleveland area fair trade retailer, Revive. It is hand sewn in Mumbai, India and colored using vegetable dyes. It is one of many products produced by a women's cooperative there. The napkin in the fruit basket was purchased at a flea market and the organic fruit provides a wonderful fragrance when you pass the area. The large leafy plates in the place setting are made in Portugal and were a TJ Maxx find and the lovely cranberry colored plates were purchased at an antiques mall. I love sipping eggnog and holiday tea out of the gold leafed Lennox mugs that I purchase many moons ago from Macy's. Pinecones and ornaments dating back to my mother's childhood, surround the fruit bowl. The teacups will be filled with candies, nuts and dried fruits. I love this metal nativity scene. It was made in Haiti and purchased from Trade Winds, another fair trade retailer.Animal print touches were a gift from my son's grandmother. I had a lot of fun putting this eco-friendly table setting together and didn't have to buy anything but the fruit!

Green Christmas Books and Gifts

I browsed through both of these greener Christmas books the other day. "A Greener Christmas" was a little too country and crafty for my tastes, but featured lots of ideas to streamline the holidays and save money. "I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas", by Anna Getty, is a better fit for those of you with eco-urban tastes. Anna was featured on a CNN "green your Christmas, segment this weekend.

The last two photos featured, a picture frame and a clutch/makeup bag are from Two's Company and are created from recycled computers. Eco-cool man.

UN climate negotiators look to US for fresh ideas - Yahoo! News

UN climate negotiators look to US for fresh ideas - Yahoo! News African leaders are turning up the heat this week at Copenhagen, as their countries are most threatened by the status quo. Everyone is turning to the US to develop a game plan that works. I'm prayerful, but not so sure if Copenhagen climate talks will anything substantial. We need to find a better way to communicate to the every day man or woman, what is at risk. So far, environmentalists have stalled in being able to get Americans to be serious about making the needed sacrifices to reduce global warming. Individualism has its limits.

A Poopy Holiday Gift Idea

These gift ideas are literally full of crap. Really. But in a good way. The company Uncommongoods, scoops up elephant poo from the zoo, cleans and filters the waste and creates crafty, paperlike products from what remains. So if you have a friend that is a Delta (OO-OOP!) with an extensive collection of elephant stuff, this funky gift idea will amaze and surprise her! I found these at the botanical garden gift shop, which featured an extensive array of eco-friendly and fair trade products.

Visions of Sugarplums and Gingerbread At The Botanical Garden

I kicked off the holiday season by taking a trip to visit the gingerbread house display at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Dozens of delightfully decorated gingerbread homes filled the air with the sweet and spicy fragrance of Christmas! Categories of the entries included, adult, professional, family and children. I had a wonderful time taking in the visions of sugarplums, candy canes, Kisses, wafers and cookies.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Nimli - Hip Eco-Fashion Site for Women and Men

Nimli - Cri De Coeur Scout Ankle Boot I like this hip eco-fashion site. Awesome boots!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cool Eco Shoes

Gaia Terra Plana Cool eco-shoes and boots. Sexy ones too!

Why Are School Campus Exteriors So Boring?

This is my beloved old high school, Collinwood (Go Railroaders!). The 90+ year old building sits on eight acres of real estate, smack dab in the middle of a busy, high traffic urban neighborhood. I used to love to sit on the silver painted barriers featured here, under the shading of the trees. But isn't this a huge waste of green spaces? Grass, and a few typical shrubs. As a gardner, I turn up my nose to such lack of inspiration. Humpfh! The trees on the property save the day. I chose this site as my sustainable re-do project in the design class I took recently. I'm going to post more photos of the site as it exists and then I will post my site plan for the sustainable do-over and then we will learn more about an exciting educational concept called Power of Place based education and what we can do to encourage our school districts to adopt this style of curriculum. I sit on a green schools action circle at Cleveland chapter of the U S Green Building Council and I am taking on the Power of Place based section and green financing section of our toolkit. Today Cleveland...tomorrow, the world! LOL!

More Typical Views of a High School Exterior

Once you make it past the front of the campus, it just gets worse and more depressing. Look at all of the concrete. Imagine the huge sewer bill. Rain goes straight into the system, and I'm sure the water bill is huge with all of the grass in the front. What is up with the grass and gravel "landscaping" on the side? And we wonder why kids don't want to go to school? Would you want to be here five days a week? Why can't we create physical spaces that create a sense of excitement, that are welcoming, stimulating, appealing? That make a statement? That create a sense of place for the kids?The physical surroundings of a school campus set the tone for everyone - students, teachers, administrators and neighbors. Many school districts have received funding to build new schools, as many older buildings are just too decrepit to renovate, so now is your chance to contact your school board, councilperson, mayor or principal to demand green and welcoming environments for our kids, for whom, too often, nature is a concept reserved for the movies. I just wrote the head of our school district with my thoughts. In Ohio, the building commission that is responsible for school construction and renovation funding and standards, has mandated that all future buildings be LEED certified. But trust me, my research reveals that LEED certified building exteriors can be just as cold, sterile and uninspiring as older or conventionally constructed school buildings. Don't all kids deserve to attend a school like the Sidwell School? So, this is the site I chose for my project. I will feature my site plan next week for your review (left the memory device at work). What are your thoughts?

Raw Oatmeal Is Raw!

On my raw days, I usually enjoy a bowl of raw oatmeal. I'm a big oatmeal lover, so I had to find a way to incorporate it into my raw food regimen. There are several raw oatmeal recipes out there. My favorite is from Ani Phyo's Raw Food Kitchen cookbook. You can find raw oat groats (think oats wrapped in a coat) at most health food stores. I can't give you the exact recipe, as I don't have the authors permission, but a basic recipe goes something like this:
1 cup oat groats soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
A handful of pitted dates or naners (bananas)
A dash of vanilla, salt and cinnamon, a large handful of your favorite nuts. Chop in a food processor until oat groats are broken up and you have a thick oatmeal texture. Top with agave (though not too much, because the dates or naners add a lot of sweetness), walnuts (tumor killers) banana slices and unsweetened almond milk. Enjoy in a big ole bowl! This recipe yields about 3 or 4 servings.
This will keep you full until lunch.

Water Filter Water Bottle (Perfect Eco- Stocking Stuffer!)

Another contribution from my very green writer friend Chandra. Ever have to resort to drinking unfiltered tap water with your current water bottle? This happens to me frequently at work or the gym. I just pray and drink it. The water from the work kitchen and the gym fountain is not bad tasting actually, compared to the water fountain water at work. Horrific! I digress. Clear2Go offers products from water bottles to water pitchers that will keep you in filtered water all day! It is even endorsed by champion cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, I'm definitely getting one. A great gift for yourself and your family! Click here to read more and get a discount on your purchase, or you can purchase through the Amazon link on this blog.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Budget Friendly Organic Fashions

I know that many of you are making out those Christmas and Kwanzaa lists with visions of green in your head. Thanks to my great journalist friend, Chandra, I discovered a green website called Gramicci that features an organic clothing outlet. The clothes featured are competitively priced organic fashion basics. Great way to introduce your loved ones to eco-consciousness and support a budding industry. Start here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009

Home - COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009 The official website.

COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009

COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009 The official website.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Food Fights The Flu

Hmm. Which would you prefer? A big bowl of sweet, juicy fruit and a handful of crunchy nuts? Or a shot of something that you know little about into your body? This article from the Wall Street Journal, tells you why the first choice may be a reasonable weapon in the war on influenza. There is even a calculator to help you determine how many fruit and veggies your body needs. Check it out.

A Stretch To Call Silky Smooth Bamboo Fabric Eco-Friendly

Bamboo fabrics aren't as eco-friendly as they are promoted to be. I guess it was too good to be true to think that something as tough and stalky as bamboo, could easily be converted to a silky smooth to the touch fabric. Apparently, a lot of polluting toxins are used to transform the thick grass into a lovely sundress. Manufacturers are either abandoning the fabric all together or seeking more environmentally friendly processes. Click here to learn more.

Thank you, Vegan Life, for enlightening us on this fabric!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tomberlies RAW Vegan Ice Cream

Tomberlies RAW Vegan Ice Cream If you don't feel like making your own, check out this site for competitively price raw vegan ice cream and ice cream cakes. Just in time for the holidays!

Agro-Imperialism: Africa's Resources Targeted

Let's see, at first it was spices, gold and bronze, then it was people, then came gold again and diamonds, followed by oil and now the latest grab for African resources is land to feed the hungry. Not the hungry people of Africa, but the very well fed and wealthy populations of the Middle East, most notably Saudi Arabia. We must realize that though some nations are very wealthy, they have minimal national sources of food and sometimes water, so when global food prices rise, there is a lot of nervousness. Many nations have invested in African land to provide for their agricultural needs. Hey, don't get me wrong, I think it would be great for investments to be made in African agriculture as long as these investments are good for the people and the planet. But history has shown that rarely do the people or the continent benefit from outside investments in its resources. How ironic is it that our ancestors were at one time shipped to other countries to work the fields and today things have progressed to the point that they can work the fields for minimal wages in their own country? I hope that African leaders and activists don't allow the continent to become the biggest plantation in world history. Click here to read more.

More Environmental Grants From The EPA

Are you looking to fund an enviromental education and awareness initiative? You have until December 15th, 2010 to apply for up to 100 grants from the EPA to finance your education project. Grants may be as large as $200,000, but will be more in the range of $25,000. Pass this on to a teacher or school administrator, if you are not directly seeking funding. One will find tips on applying for grants and a list of other EPA grant programs. Goodness knows, we could all benefit by learning more of the need for stewardship of this good earth.

EPA Showcases Communities Promoting Enviromental Justice

The EPA has decided to highlight and profile enviromental justice initiatives in 10 communities across the nation. If you are seeking to launch an environmental justice effort in your neighborhood, you may want to model yourselves after those in this report.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More schools cultivate learning in student gardens

More schools cultivate learning in student gardens Is there a school garden in your neighborhood? Volunteers are always needed, call your local board of education or attend a school board meeting to encourage and support school gardening.

Urban Sprouts Grows School Gardens and Much More

Urban Sprouts School Gardens: About Urban Sprouts Ecologocial education, self-sufficiency, economic empowerment, parental engagement, nutrition and the chance to get outdoors, all rolled up in one mission that is spreading like wildflowers across San Francisco. A project that started out as a thesis a few years ago, is impacting the lives of thousands of young people and their families. This is one of the concepts that I am incorporating in my sustainable do over project for a design class I'm taking. I selected the exterior of my old high school, at this time, it is only a project, but I would love to see it become a reality. Principles of permaculture and a sense of place will play a key role in the campus design. I am working on my site plan today as the project presentation is scheduled for next week. I will be sure to post photos.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Enviromental Justice Grants for Non-Profits

The EPA anticipates awarding 40 grants of $25,000 each to non-profit agencies offering solutions to addressing enviromental justice and education issues in 2010. Click here for details.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

African Nations Hot Over Climate Changes Talks

How familiar does this sound? You are not the primary contributor to certain economic or pollution related problems, but they hit you the hardest and your voice can be barely heard at the table. Well, ourAfrican brothers and sisters are feeling this way about climate change and have walked out of U.N. climate change meetings in Spain. Read more about their dramatic actions to bring attention to this life or death issue by clicking here.

Employee Engagement In The White House Kitchen

Sam Kass, a 29 year old University of Chicago alum with a degree in history, is the personal chef of the first family and a White House food initiative coordinator. Not only does he prepare fine meals for the Obama's, but he also advises policymakers on initiatives ranging from the local food movement, to farmers markets to healthy school lunches. This is truly a first for the White House in terms of fully engaging all of the skills of its employees as well as a great example of how we should not allow our job titles or educational background to limit our contribution to our careers or our community. Read more about him here and be sure to checkout the recipe at the end of the article. I shared a while back that as part of a sustainable design course project, I am redesigning (on paper only - for now) an urban high school exterior (my old high school) to create a sense of place as well as to make it more sustainable. One concept that I want to incorporate into the design is the establishment of an urban farm on the campus grounds as well as fruit trees for shading and food. The produce could be used in the school lunches and sold at farmer's markets. How exciting would that be?! Sound crazy? There is actually a high school in urban Philadelphia that is already doing this. Read about Martin Luther King High School to get a feel for the possibilities. Anyway, this is something, based on the article about Mr. Kass and the White House's food initiatives, that I believe could be implemented at schools across the nation. Now that's something we can all sink our teeth into.

The First Lady and The Food Network

Mark your calendars for January 3rd, when a special day of food and fun with the First Lady airs on The Food Network. The Iron Chef tv show will air a special episode in the White House garden and kitchen, which will feature Bobby Flay, Mario Batala and Emeril Lagasse. Bam!! Michelle Obama is not playing when it comes to getting the word out to our kids and families on the importance of good, healthy eating. She is such an inspiration. I know that many of you have your own community food initiatives, so read this article from the NY Times, it will make you laugh and encourage you to keep on keepin' on (I'm so old school)! Check out her colorful outfit in the photos.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Child Labor | The High Cost of Cotton

Child Labor The High Cost of Cotton "The look, the feel of cotton!" Remember that marketing campaign by the cotton industry, it made you feel that cotton was such a pure, simple and natural choice of fibers. Almost made you forget about the misery that our ancestors endured in the cotton fields. Well it appears according to this article, that many cotton growers continue to rely on cheap labor to feed our appetites for jeans, tees and dresses. If it was wrong for our ancestors, why is it okay for today's laborers, especially if they are children? There are retailers that are investing in purchases of organic cotton goods in their stores, but I don't know if organic translates into fair trade. So let the buyer beware.

The Best Green Fashion Online Shopping 2009

The Best Green Fashion Online Shopping 2009 One negative aspect of living a more eco-conscious lifestyle is the guilt. Once you have a better understanding of the amount of pollution, waste and poor working conditions it takes to make that cute little top, you just don't have as much fun shopping. So while most of my fashion purchases are not eco-friendly, I have been more discrete about what I do buy, limiting my selections to well edited, unique classics. I have included more vintage and thrift pieces into my wardrobe and have really worked what I already have in my closet. Dick's Sporting Goods offers a line of organic workout wear, so that is something that I support with my shopping dollars. My son enjoys shopping at Urban Outfitters and I have been able to buy him a few organic pieces from that retailer as well. The author of the article featured in this post has done the homework of finding some great green fashion sources for us. God bless you! She has screen shots and reviews of the websites, so you can eyeball the sites to see which fits your style. Kind of like walking in the mall and visually scanning each retailer until you see something that catches your eye.

So enjoy some guilt free shopping from the cozy comfort of your home and support the green economy!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sweeten up your diet with dates:

Sweeten up your diet with dates: When I was living with my grandma, I was only allowed to eat candy on Saturdays. When I was a teen, we discovered a health food store called Weber's that was right down the hill from where we lived. They carried nuts, chocolates (white, milk, dark), dried fruits, sesame candies - all kinds of goodies in a special glass case. It was at Weber's that I discovered the sticky deliciousness of dates. They were a regular part of my once a week fix, though I could eat them anytime. Well, I have come full circle, as Weber's has been a great resource for me as I go increasingly raw with my diet. The dates have gotten me over the hump in some of those tough raw moments when you need a snack or something sweet. In fact yesterday, lunch was not an option given my workload, so raw almonds and nuts gave me the energy needed to keep moving. I now even add them frequently to smoothies as a sweetener in place of honey or agave. In raw tomato sauces, they are used in the way brown sugar is used in cooked sauces. Be sure to click on the link in this article for more date recipes.


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Running Raw | Dressing on the Cheap for Cold Weather Workouts

Running Raw Dressing on the Cheap for Cold Weather Workouts The biggest obstacle for me to have greener workouts in the winter is cold weather. I can't get into the house fast enough when it's cold, so I definitely don't want to go back out in it. When I was younger, I ran in the snow frequently, but you just don't have the tolerance for cold weather as you get older. I have made it out in the winter to run out of desperation and found it to be quite nice once you get started. Maybe this video will encourage me to do more green workouts in the white conditions of winter.

Greener Workouts Are Easier Than You Think

Greener Workouts Are Easier Than You Think I'm a gym rat myself, but I did a great job this summer of really greening my workouts by keeping out of the gym and into the great outdoors. I try to set a good example at the gym by carrying a stainless steel water bottle, wearing t-shirts with green slogans and the same old tired pairs of tennis shoes. I even sport on occasion eco-friendly gym gear from Dick's Sporting Goods. There are a decent amoung of affluent folk that attend my gym and I just know they wonder about my shoes sometimes, especially the black folk. You know how we do sometimes. Check out the link in the article to Organic Athletes, a site for folks on a plant based diet and into working out.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Product Sustainability Index: Coming To A Company Near You

The Product Sustainability Index: It's Not just for Walmart Suppliers Walmart has already asked its suppliers to reduce packaging, now they are going for the green jugular, they want to know how sustainable they are too. Walmart being one of the biggest purchasers of goods in the world, will quickly move the green business football down the field with this move. I posted last year that this was coming, hopefully many of you prepared your businesses or your family's/friends about this great opportunity. It's not too late, the article features a checklist that you can use to get started down the road of becoming a greener, cleaner business. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions on this topic.

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Executive Order Firmly Commits Federal Agencies to Sustainability |

Executive Order Firmly Commits Federal Agencies to Sustainability When you see these kinds of headlines, you should be putting on your green business brim and thinking about how to get some of that government green in your wallet! Anytime you read about a government agency or a non-profit being awarded stimulus money, you should know that there is an opportunity for you to profit. The great news for our planet, our people and our pocketbooks is that there are unprecedented amounts of funding being allocated to environmental initiatives. This week in Black And Into Green, I will write about the process of becoming a government contractor, it's not easy, but necessary to leverage these unique and exciting opportunities. I attended a fantastic presentation last week sponsored by a law firm that specializes in government work and was able to obtain some great information that I can't wait to share with you! Just in time too, because the next round of federal budgeting is only a few months away.

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There's No Magic Bullet for Companies Going Green -- So Just Do It |

There's No Magic Bullet for Companies Going Green -- So Just Do It Persistance and vision pays off. Finally, after a year of cajoling and sharing green business news and information with key individuals in my company, we are taking steps in our regional offices to be a more sustainable company. My goal of greening it up has been constantly disrupted by turbulent economic forces, management personnel changes and a hefty workload, but I did what I could to keep the green information stream flowing after an initial meeting last year. What really blew wind into my sails was the fact that our headquarters office has undertaken several green initiatives in the facilities management area and some in purchasing, so it will be simpler for our region to leverage their efforts and successes. I have been asked to be part of our initial green team, so I am truly happy and grateful to the Lord for this opportunity to do something I love at work. God is good!

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Sky Vegetables: Taking Green Roofs to New Heights |

Sky Vegetables: Taking Green Roofs to New Heights I plan to incorporate a green building into my high school redesign project. Very doable, just need to factor in safety and liability issues. This company is growing vegetables, community and green jobs on rooftops around the country. He is a recent college graduate, so you can do what you put your mind to, regardless of age.

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Increasingly Raw: Good Food Photos

Top - A BLT inspired sandwich made with live sprouted Ezekial bread (not a raw food, but close), macadamia dill based mayonnaise, arugula and heirloom tomatoes

Middle - Rawvioli made with paper thin, olive oil marinated turnip slices and pine nut goat "cheese" (recipe from Living Raw Food - see Fall Reading section of Black and Into Green)

Bottom - Rawvioli served with a cooked veggie dish I found in the October Martha Stewart Living magazine. Actually the kale is raw, but topped with a hot honey-vinegar mixture, the squash is baked.

Raw Food Update: Yummy Nut Cheezy Stuff

I think it is about a month that I have been raw curious. I'm still enjoying the journey and have increased the number of raw meals that I enjoy on a daily basis. My son has even partaken of some of the raw goodies, which include smoothies, rawvioli, mayonnaise and nut butters. Even better - the pants are fitting a bit looser baby! I wasn't even trying to lose weight. Flat stomachs and raw food go together. It takes a while to get your kitchen raw food ready, if you have a blender and food processor and eat a lot of veggies, you are 70 percent of the way there. A couple of good health food stores or even grocery stores (I'm still boycotting Whole Paycheck) will supply many of the raw nuts, seasonings and grains that you will need. The other stuff can be added over time (juicer, spiral slicer, dehydrator, unique seasonings and oils). I add new items with each paycheck. Okay, I'm getting sleepy, will post more cool raw stuff tomorrow.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sustainable Design Class Update: The Green Campus

I am researching conventional designs for high school exteriors as part of my homework assignment in my sustainable design class. For my project, I have chosen to redesign (on paper only-for now) my old high school exterior space, not only in a more sustainable manner, but with the goal of creating "a sense of place". One of many fond memories I have of my "school daze" is sitting of outside on the metal railings, soaking up the fresh air under the shady trees. It would be great to expand the physical features of the space to create a welcoming, natural, comfortable environment for the students. There is soooo much potential! Currently, like many urban high schools, the exterior entryway is surrounding by a sparse, grassy area and a few trees, another side of the building is fully committed to parking (the tennis court was paved over) and the other two sides feature gravel "landscaping" surrounded by steel posts or fences that serve to protect the school from traffic, I guess. I chose this project for many reasons - the opportunity to work with landscapes, experiment with urban farming, engage teens and the opportunity to integrate the school into the success and activities of the community. Built in 1926, it sits on a corner of the neighborhood known as five points, where traffic flows from five different directions, so it has the potential to be a showcase green project for the entire community. In this week's class we will discuss community planning and sustainable urbanism. Next week - site and land use, permaculture and water managment. Perfect for my project. I will keep you posted on my progress, lessons learned and projects of my classmates (don't worry, were only three deep).

Anti Cheese/Cheese, The Best Cheese On Earth Is Actually Vegan

Anti Cheese/Cheese, The Best Cheese On Earth Is Actually Vegan Check out this exciting article from Gliving, a totally hip and cool raw recipe emporium! The cheeses referenced in the article have been crafted in the manner of some of the world's finest dairy cheeses, but without harming animals or the environment. May be worth purchasing and sharing over the holidays.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Raw Ravioli Recipe: Stuffed Turnip Ravioli with Seed and Nut Cheese

GreenChef Leslie Bega Stuffed Turnip Ravioli with Seed and Nut Cheese I am trying out this recipe over the weekend (attending two evening events tonight and tomorrow). Already have the turnips marinating in the oil. Want to see more green recipes? Check out .

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back To School: Sustainable Design

Tonight I completed my first of eight classes on sustainable design principles at The Cleveland Institute of Art, a four year college with graduates working in fields ranging from auto design to product design to fine arts. The class will introduce us to principles of sustainable design (meeting a design objective without harm to the environment and community) ranging from architecture to bioclimatic design. We will also discuss topics of permaculture and community planning. I have no idea of what permaculture or bioclimatic design mean exactly, but hey this is why I'm taking the course! This will be a very hands on class as we are expected to identify a project using a site in the area that could benefit from a sustainable design approach. My class mates are an italian aerospace engineer and another green banker. We will compare and contrast development of our projects using conventional measures against sustainable measures. The project must be presented using drawings and plans (uh oh) and have the goal of convincing a developer to invest in the more holistic option. Next week's assignment is to discuss three possible project ideas. Any thoughts on types of projects? I'm thinking about community gardening, but that has been done quite a bit in my city. Guess I will be really taking a hard look at my community and issues affecting our communities in general over the next week in search of ideas. I will use some of the ideas of the winners of the Re-Burbia (redesign the suburbs) contest for inspiration. The assigned book for the course is "Cradle to Cradle", by McDonough and Braungart. I will keep you posted!

Setting The Stage For A Greener Community

Last week, I attended the Ohio Planning Annual Conference, which had a theme around sustainability.Most in attendance were urban planners, engineers, architects and consultants. I was the only banker. Planners are professionals that develop long and short term plans for the use of land in a region. They factor the vision for the city, demographic trends, social, enviromental and economic goals into development a document called a comprehensive plan. I attended four workshops, 1) Visioning with Sustainability In Mind 2) City of Cleveland Vacant Land Reuse Plan 3) Historic Building Preservation is the New Green and 4) Engaging Citizens in the Comprehensive Planning Process. This is what I learned:

1) The principles of city planning and sustainability share many values

2) It is important to engage the community or stakeholders in setting the vision for the future

3) There are many approaches to implementing sustainability into your city's plan - the Marin County, CA comprehensive plan is the cadillac of these plans

4) Foreclosures and population declines allow cities an opportunity to re-green space, improve water resources and neighborhoods through land banking

5) Some cities offer residents an opportunity to acquire property for $1 after a period of demonstrated improvements on the land

6) Residents have opportunities to apply for grants to recreate and re-develop their neighborhoods on a micro level

7) Preserving an historic building can be a greener approach to new construction, lots of value stored in the building in the form of solid construction and energy already expended in its' construction

8) You have an opportunity to shape the future of your city, region and/or state through participation on community planning boards and open houses

9) Elected officials, zoning officials and private companies need to be educated on the benefits of sustainability, economic and social rewards

10) There are lots of loan programs, tax credits and grant programs available for small businesses in the area of sustainability and historic building preservation, but no simple way to access this information (I can assist you with this-email me at

11) Bio-waste is the new oil, companies and cities are looking for ways to sell their organic waste

So there you have it, as Gandhi stated "Be the change you want to see in the world". Start visualizing and brainstorming some great ways to productively use land and space in your community, call your council person or county executive and make it happen baby!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Black Raw Foodies

I was reading my new uncookbook and discovered there was a black owned raw food restaurant in Harlem (Raw Soul owned by Lillian Butler). This made me curious about other black owned uncookery's across the nation. Tonight I bring to you, courtesy of Pear Magazine, Black Raw Food History. It includes activists like Dick Gregory, Oprah consultants, fine grandma's, spa owners, bodybuilders and a host of other interesting folk. Be sure to read about Karyn Calabrese, proprietor of the Karyn's in Chicago. The article is dated 2007, so I'm sure there are many great new african american owned raw food establishments in play. I will keep searching and posting my findings.

This Week In The Fall Garden

This vibrant red dahlia greets passersby with it's pop of color.

This trumpet vine is a native plant and is sought after by hummingbirds. Try to plant as many natives as you can. They are hardy, drought resistant, low maintenance and the birds love 'em. The plan is to train this over an arbor that I will place in the front garden. I can't wait! I can just imagine hummingbird fiestas in my garden. Fiesta, fiesta!

Vintage Store Values on Collectibles

For those of you that are into black collectibles, vintage and thrift stores are great places to find good deals, those these were kind of pricey at $65, but I'm sure they are priced below value. I thought the expression on the one to the right was unusually genteel for this type of collectible.

Mod is back! These cocktail set would fit right in on the set of "Mad Men".
Shapely Vegan Purse - I really liked the shape of this old school purse. Very retro. Will pair nicely with my leopard print mules. $18 bucks.

Now This Is Living - Food

Mango Lassi - mango, dates, water, vanilla and flaxseed. Umm good.

I thought this Ezekiel Manna Bread was raw because it is made with sprouted live grains, but that was just too good to be true. Anyway, this very green sandwich was made with dill seasoned nut "mayo", arugula, zebra tomatoes and cukes. It was awesome! Tasted like a BLT, baby!

This coleslaw was made with a creamy mayonnaise made out of soaked macadamia nuts, water, olive oil, lemon juice, shallots, sea salt and dill. Throw it all in a blender, push the button and it's on! It can be used as a dressing, sandwich filling, veggie dip or topper. You can use cashews, brazil nuts or pine nuts or skip the nuts and go with an avocado mayo. The recipe can be found in Sarma's Living Raw Food cookbook, featured in the currently reading section of Black and Into Green.