Friday, February 27, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Attention artists, designers, seamstresses, tailors, thrifters, fashionistas, GQ men and treehuggers, check out this post from Yahoo! Green on new clothing made from vintage and retro fashions.
OMGoodness! Did I just hear the President say he is going to pursue "a cure for cancer in our time"? This brother thinks big. I wonder if he understands the connection between environmental toxins and cancers. God bless him!
Listening to the President's speech. He is not playing when it comes to renewable energy and climate change. It infiltrates almost every major initiative that he promotes. $15B a year commitment. Show me the money! Seriously. Show me the money.
Recently, I wrote a post titled The Reluctant Thrifter which examined my fear of thrift stores. Fortunately the Thrifty Chicks blog, acted as an online intervention of sorts and provided me with tools to overcome this fear. I have decided that my first venture (in many years) will be to a thrift store run by a charity that has benefited me and my family greatly in the last two years - The Gathering Place - a place for those touched by cancer. The good news is that their store was rated a 4.6 out of 5 by Thrifty Shopper, so I'm off to a good start already and I haven't even left home! My goal is to check it out this weekend armed with my Thrifty Chicks tips. I will be sure to post some photos and my observations (sounds like a science experiment). Hopefully it will be all good.
After reading about H&M's organic clothing line, had to see for myself. Found several basics that can be dressed up or down, such as this crisp $28 white shirt/tunic that can be belted and worn with some skinny jeans and comfy knit shirts in multiple colors ($12). The clothes were mixed in with standard fashions, so be sure to ask for assistance. Also, the organic lines were only available in select colors. This particular store didn't carry men's fashions, so I feature those on my next mall trip.
Hello friends! Last week was an incredibly green week from a community involvement and networking perspective. In these trying economic times you must network, network, network!
I attended a local food forum hosted by Bon Appetit and Entrepreneurs for Sustainability and attended by over 400 participants (I was the only suit in the audience). I met many interesting and diverse folks - a couple of African American urban farmers, an Amish farmer, a budding organic baker/entrepreneur, an amazing producer of cheese made from grass-fed cows (once you go grass-fed, you never go back), a government agency that trains developmentally disabled people to work on farms, a green energy consultant and a green insurance agent to name a few. Whew! Amazing what you can accomplish in two hours. We all made a commitment to eat at least 10% of our food from local sources and to work with schools and our cities to promote urban gardening and access to good food for our children. My favorite quote from the evening "Imagine young people walking home from school and picking fresh sweet tomatoes and juicy berries from a front yard, peaches off of a tree on the tree lawn (as opposed to cellophane wrapped sugar and corn syrup laden garbage food from the corner store)." Visuals are powerful motivators. Check out my tweets for a play by play of the evening.
Munched on the yummy organic locally sourced goodies from the baker I met on Thursday. Met with a municipality that was really into recycling and met another public entity that was seriously thinking about buying a windmill to supply their energy needs.
Attended an event for high schoolers and their parents/teachers which promoted entrepreneurship through application of science. Lecture 1) Polymer research and applications to address the world's energy and fresh drinking water problems (top 2 threats to humanity in next 50 years). Also discussion of using fossil fuel alternatives like coconuts, switch grass and soy to create polymers (rubber, styrofoam, plastics, etc) Lecture 2) Alternative energy research and NASA, facilitated by NASA Glenn Director, Dr. Woodrow Whitlow (a very gracious, accomplished and distinguished black man). The aerospace arm of our government has dozens of alternative energy research projects in place around the nation, including some options I never heard of - wave currents, biomass from algae, underwater power and hydrogen fuel cells. My overall impression of this lecture-NASA knows something we don't and is serious about finding energy alternatives for a reason. My tweets.
Partied at the Emerge event held by the Green City Blue Lake Institute (GCBL), an organization seeking to promote a more sustainable future for Greater Cleveland. I was going to wear my new H&M white organic cotton shirt, but opted for zebra print instead - that choice caught the attention of a photographer with the local paper (I will post image next week). This green event was attended by a diverse group of over 200 professionals - environmentalists, scientists, professors, attorneys, gardeners, publishers, artists and green bankers (me). I was pressing the flesh and networking like crazy! I was especially pleased to find a greater number of African Americans in attendance this year. One of the 2009 goals of GCBL is to "achieve greater social and economic diversity of people in the sustainability movement". Hey GCBL! We need to talk.
Well that is a recap of my very green week. I encourage you to get out at green events in your community (check out the event calendar on this blog) and represent. They are looking for you.
Harboring a PC and various peripherals in your closets, attic or basement? Thinking about tossing them out or giving them away during your annual (or biennial) spring cleaning ritual? Read this article from Black Enterprise Magazine's BEing Green blog before doing anything for suggestions on how to protect your information and the planet.
Psssst. (Your very own Black and Into Green blogger is quoted...how cool is that!) Thank you for the love Margarette!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
If you are in the Chicago area in the next two weeks, carve out some time to visit the Museum of Science and Industry's exhibit "Black Creativity 2009: Green Revolution". It highlights the contributions and careers of today's African American movers and shakers in the environmental industry. The featured fields vary from organic farmer to oceanographer. If you can't make it to the exhibit, click here, for an overview of the featured Black and Green professionals. Never know when you might want to make a career change.....
"The touch, the feel, of cotton. The fabric of our lives." Remember that commercial from the 90's? It made me truly believe that cotton was the purest of fabrics. I could just imagine myself flitting through a meadow with a light and airy cotton sundress. I felt so conscious when I was wearing my crispy cotton tops. That dreamy tele-prompted vision has like so many others, been exposed as fraudulent. It turns out that cotton is one of the most genetically modified, thirstiest, pesticide laden, fertilizer intensive crops on the market. There are also some concerns about child labor in the growing of this crop. The cotton industry disputes these facts of course, so to be fair, I have included a link to the official industry site. Anyway, more clothing retailers are re-thinking their cotton purchases and including more organic cotton options in their lines. The cheap chic clothing retailer H&M, is becoming a leader in this effort. This year their organic cotton selections for men and women are greater than ever and they have vowed to increase the use of organic cotton by 50% over 2008. Check out their sustainability policy regarding this fabric. This is great news as these items are finally starting to become more affordable. If H&M is out of your league, you can now find organic jeans at Wal-Mart and Kmart stores. So it is true, the dollar is mightier than the sword. Soooo people, keep putting your money where your values are. It's working!
Are you into raw foods or just curious? Why not explore your interests by trying this delicious sounding raw dessert-Sticky Date Lovers with Upside Down Sugar Cane Whipped Cream-presented by the G Living blog. Some the yummy sounding ingredients? Dates, nuts, sugar cane, coconut butter and whipped cream....it has got to be good! This would be a great dessert to serve for Earth Hour or on Earth Day.
If you are thinking about investing in some bling this year (lucky you), consider jewelry designed by this year's Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation winner, Monique Pean. Ms. Pean is an Ivy League educated former investment banker turned ethical and sustainable jewelry designer, with Haitian roots. Want to know more? Click here. Congratulations Monique!
Did you know that the sneakers or tennis shoes (as we say in Ohio) that you wear are some of the most toxic items to create? You will never want to buy another athletic shoe again after reading this article in Runners World. Guandong Province in China, where most of our sneaks are manufactured, is so polluted, that you need to a cover up with a mask to save yourself. Creating a pair of these is a 25 step process that involves a host of chemicals, dyes, plastics, fabric and rubber. There are several shoe manufacturers that are taking steps to address this issue. Adidas is introducing a new 7 step shoe that is healthier for factory workers and the environment. It also carries a nice selection of gear and shoes made from recycled materials. Click here to check out some of the items that are on sale. I personally like Adidas, because the running shoes fit me well and are very comfortable. But wait, it gets better, Adidas is launching a jazzy new line of sportswear and shoes that are exclusively eco-friendly. Checkout this article in Treehugger for photos and more info. If you live in New York, the line was unveiled on Tuesday at the new Adidas store at 108 Wooster Street.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
As a rice-aholic, (along with popcorn-aholic and choco-holic), when I saw this at Whole Foods Market, it went immediately into my basket. I have been experimenting with natural sugar replacements and found this brown rice syrup to be a good substitute for dark corn syrup. I made a mean pecan pie using this stuff - "your best ever" claimed my teenager! It's taste reminds me a lot of Karo syrup, which means it is awesome on some fluffy hot biscuits or fresh baked corn bread. If you are real hardcore, you can try it over some buckwheat pancakes (I'll stick to maple syrup thank you) or in a sweet potato pie. Anyway, the label gives you instructions on how to use it as a substitute and you can find recipes on www.Lundberg.com.
Monday, February 16, 2009
On Saturday at 8:30pm, March 28th, 2009, 377 cities and millions of citizens around the world will turn off the lights for one hour, in a show of collective global support for action on climate change. Click here to learn more. My son and I participated last year and had a good old fashioned time.
Race and Jobs Phone Forum - Tuesday, February 17th — Green For All 1pm Pacific time, get an update on green jobs and initiatives outlined in the economic stimulus package.
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Thrifting or shopping at thrift stores is a great way to live an eco-conscious and budget conscious lifestyle. Personally, I have in the past found some great deals on furnishings for my home at various thrift stores. But for some reason, I have avoided these stores in recent years, perhaps I am somewhat of a retail snob -Hello, my favorite store is Anthropologie! For one thing the musty smell of some of these places makes me ill, but the biggest reason is that I am just not familiar with the layout of the stores and the tricks to shopping that make it worth my precious time. Well, after checking out some of the photos of the cool finds in these stores by the lovely ladies of The Thrifty Chicks blog, I became motivated to give thrifting one more chance. Where do I start and what do I do when I get there, I asked myself? Well, God bless The Thrifty Chicks, they actually have several posts that answer those questions! Included in the referenced post is advice on getting your mind right for thrifting. They must have been reading my mind. Be sure to sign the petition to create a National Thrift Store month while you are on the site.
Need to find a thrift store in your area, preferably highly rated? Check out, The ThriftShopper, to search a national directory and get other tips.
Both sites can be found in the Black and Into Green Eco-links section.
A couple of weeks ago, I needed to find a garage door repairman fast. I Googled "garage door repairman" and was led to a ServiceMagic website. Within a day, a repairman fixed my garage door, relatively cheaply. I just found out that ServiceMagic now offers a service to help you find "Green Home Improvement" contractors that have been pre-screened through a ten point process. The screening includes searches for criminal records, bankruptcy, sex offender records, insurance and licenses. Who has time to do all of these searches yourself? Anyway, some of the green home improvement contractor services are home energy audits, solar energy, energy efficient remodeling, and roofing.
Good luck with your project!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Valentine's Day Gifts: Green Love for Everyone : TreeHugger Traditional vs. Eco-Friendly Gift ideas, from chocolates to dinner.
Organic Chocolate Organic : Buy Green: Dark Chocolate : Planet Green Chocolate!! My favorite is still Endangered Species brand, but one womans chocolate is another woman's CHOCOLATE!! So you might want to taste some of the brands featured in this article.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Upon the completion and drying of my pedicure, I walked the entire mall without buying one thing, (this includes a tempting eye-popping display of red stationary, doodads and hearts) until I found this cool reusable canvas bag by Origins! As if it possessed magical powers to induce me to purchase eco-conscious beauty products, I soon found myself enticed to buy a body scrub from the Aveda store. Hey at least I got a ten cents off for bringing my own bag!
P.S. Did you know you can bring your plastic bottle tops to Aveda salons and stores and they will recycle? Cool.
GoodGuide has developed an application for cell phone users to help you make wise purchasing decisions on the go. The company has a database of over 65,000 products. If you have an iphone, you can download the app, if you have any other phone you text 41411, type in "gguide" along with the name or type of the product or UPC code. I have attached the link with the description of how to use the service. Text messaging costs will apply.
No excuses now to do the right thing.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
All of this talk about saving money and my own efforts to trim my grocery spending (which is going well) led me to this organic savings bonanza. This site has coupons for organic foods and shopping tips for saving money on these products.
Eat, be well and save dough.
Hello readers! With all of the news about this company laying off 10,000 folks and that company eliminating 15,000 jobs, each and every month, people are starting to get serious about saving money and not buying so much stuff! Oil prices are down because people are not driving as much and are barely shopping. While this is great for the environment, it is playing havoc on our economy (which is why we need to completely revamp via the creation of a green economy-tell your senator to support the green jobs provision of the stimulus). Many bloggers this year are chronicling their journey to spending less money. A couple, including The Frugalista and Afrobella have declared February as "no buy month" (at least for non-essentials). I am impressed with The Frugalista aka Natalie McNeal's start so far, because she featured a vegetarian stir fry meal in one of her first "buy nothing" posts and has decided to fill that shopping time with workout time. Woo Hoo! It is my hope that as people monitor their spending, that they become more conscious about what they do spend, what is the impact on their mind and bodies, their communities and the lives of people that produce those items? The weak economy revealed the inherent weaknesses and flaws in our "gotta have it all now" lifestyles. Hopefully as people take these spending sabbaticals, they will realize that life goes on without having it all and they will find what they are looking for-themselves.
I just saw the cutest eco-oriented rap video, created by a 10 year old cutie named Lil Peppi. I was perusing my girl Ana's eco-parenting site, Quiskaeya, and was treated to this positive eco-friendly rap song (did I say eco enough?) Check it out for yourself. You won't be able to get "Icebergs melting" out of your head all day. Hey if that's what it takes to keep the message front and center, so be it.