Sunday, April 26, 2009

Edited Vintage Online: Urban Renewal

Urban Outfitters is one of my son's favorite stores and if I were about 20 years younger it would be mine as well. The store offers a smattering of organic items. As we were cruising the online site yesterday, we discovered a new Ebay store affiliated with the retailer, Urban Renewal. Urban Renewal offers well-edited vintage finds that may be purchased through the Ebay bidding process. I have discovered that there are actually a number of online boutiques that specialize in vintage finds. A nice alternative for those who love fashion, but want to approach purchases in a more eco-friendly manner.

He's No Ordinary Musician: John Legend

I am so pleased to see more African American men taking a role in environmental related initiatives or at least being recognized for their involvement. John Legend becomes the latest celebrity to embrace and promote a greener lifestyle. He joins Mario Van Peebles, Dennis Haysbert (The Unit, 24)), Ludacris and According to Billboard online, he is planning an eco-friendly tour complete with carbon offsets, use of green venues and products, promotion of ride-sharing to concerts and availability of eco-friendly merchandise. (Business owners are you ready?) I know many might have some reservations about a celebrity's ability to truly be green, with all of the traveling, conspicuous consumption and entourages, but what is the man to do? Stop traveling? But living and working in a conscious manner is not a contest to see who is the greenest of them all. I think that each person needs to make their best effort and influence others to take action on improving the environment, and in this regard, John Legend is no ordinary entertainer.

Enjoy Your Neighborhood's Bounty

Visually join me along one of my walking/running routes through these photos taken from my phone(that explains the grainy quality). I don't live in a posh neighborhood or one that features lush gardens (except mine....okay, its a lush garden in training), but the next time you are out for a walk, slow down and take time to enjoy the aesthetic elements of your community. If there is a dearth of green vegetation in your area, observe the minimal greenery that does exist with a greater sense or appreciation or admire the architecture or kids playing, or scout out and visualize area for a potential community garden or a guerrilla garden.

Natural Solutions For Ant Invasions

I am really trying to not use my can of Raid for Ants, because these black crazies are starting to give me the blues! I just want to run out and get a couple of cans of Fogger to blow up every ant in this house! But as is standard with green and conscious living, patience and a little inconvenience is a virtue, so I did some research on the subject of natural solutions for ant invasions and came up with the following info:
  • Find the points of entry and the ant trails (keep notes on where you commonly see ants)
  • Apply barriers to those points (vinegar and water, petroleum jelly, boric acid, crushed mint/lavender leaves, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cinnamin, cloves)
  • Clean up all traces of the trail with dishwashing liquid and hot water
  • Use vinegar and water in your spring cleaning
  • Seal tightly or refrigerate all sweet items (honey, syrup, cereal, candy, marshmallows)
  • Find the colony and deal with the queen using this solution

Okay, so I am going to try these ideas, but if they don't work......I won't break out the Raid just yet, I will try those little ant bait traps, but if that doesn't work.......

I would appreciate any tips from anyone that would prevent me from resorting to the old school (70's/80's/90's) approach to death by toxins.

Slideshow: Gadgets Good for the Globe

Slideshow: Gadgets Good for the Globe

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Grabbing African Americans by the Green Collar

Grabbing African Americans by the Green Collar Great profiles of young African Americans engaging their communities on green issues from pathways out of poverty to greening their businesses.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Building a Green Economy Is No Overnight Feat

Building a Green Economy Is No Overnight Feat

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EPA's Jackson Urges Blacks Not to Miss the Green Boat

EPA’s Jackson Urges Blacks Not to Miss the Green Boat. Black and Into Green has always encouraged African Americans to leverage opportunities in the booming green economy, but now it is official as the head of the EPA has taken a stand on this. We are being encouraged to seek out business opportunities and grants that are being made available as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or stimulus package. Don't be daunted if the types of projects initially receiving stimulus dollars are not in your area of expertise, these businesses will need services that you can provide. Remember there is a ripple effect that will provide financial opportunities for the vendors of the recipients of these federal dollars and often there are requirements to ensure that a diverse vendor base or supply chain exists. Ms. Jackson is going to make a greater effort in the upcoming years to increase the share of the economic pie for women owned and so called "minority" business, as outlined in this speech to women business owners in March.
The Office of Small Business Programs, which at this time is probably still re-organizing itself around the goals of the new administration based upon my review of its website, does have several events planned over the course of the year around the country. You can also follow the EPA on Twitter.
Now that the EPA is alive and kicking again, I would speculate that they will be doing some hiring. Click here for information about green careers with the EPA.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day 2009

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Earth Day. I was too busy working like crazy to do anything special for this day, other than to go vegan for the day. I wanted to see the new movie "Earth", but had to work late and completely crashed after making dinner for three hours! That my friends is what it is like to be black and into green. Gotta balance the realities of everyday life with idealism. I did get a few Happy Earth Day messages and an actual e-card, from people familiar with my leanings. That was cool.

Can't wait for Earth Day to fall on a Friday. Three day weekend!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mushroom Pasta Tonight: Finger Licking Good

Found this delicious teen approved mushroom based recipe on the Whole Living website. It contains chicken sausage, but you could easily replace the sausage with soy crumbles, tofu or just double the shrooms. I topped it with parmesan cheese and fresh parsely. I have been using more cooked mushrooms in my meals since discovering their cancer killing and immune boosting powers.

Submit Your Own Nature Inspired Poetry

My laptop battery is dying, so I just have time to give you this link to Ecotone if you are an aspiring African American poet who writes about nature. Check it out.

Good night!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Poetry Month: Black Poets Love For Nature

In honor of Poetry Month, I am seeking out nature inspired or eco-inspired poems by African American writers. One of my favorites, Nikki Giovanni - poet, professor, gardener, woman - has several nature oriented poems in her book, Quilting the Black Eye Pea:Poems and Not Quite Poems. Some of the poems you will appreciate - A Robin's Nest in Snow, Cal Johnson Park in Knoxville, Tennessee, Swinging on a Rainbow and The Meadow Throws a Birthday Party and Possum Crossing. This is a good book to read on a lazy weekend day, with a big hot bowl of black eye peas topped of with some crumbled cornbread and chased with some sweet tea! For those of you with children in your lives, a must read is Ego Tripping: And Other Poems for Young People. My son used to love this book as a little guy. Ms. Giovanni's poetry is real, funky, thought provoking and warm. I just discovered that she was a passionate gardener, which explains the tone of many of her poems and essays.

Whole Deals On Good Grub

For some reason, I am addicted to Whole Foods, so I need to monitor my food budget carefully, shopping from a list, buying largest packaged items, food from the bulk bins, eating lots of bean based recipes, buying the 365 brands and planning my menu all keep me on track. I also buy shares from a CSA during the growing season, which saves a ton on produce. Fortunately, the store has also done a great job of educating clients on deals, budget friendly meals and offering coupons. Check out this section of their website for information on money saving meal plans.

Are You The Next Organic Idol??

Are you all about organic food and organic living? Do you want to just tell the world about your love for all things organic? Your day has FINALLY arrived!! The Organic Institute is sponsoring an "Organic Idols" contest in their search for spokesperson. The winner will go to Chicago to attend the Organic Trade Show in June, will be featured on Whole Food's Market website and will be part of the institute's marketing campaign. Wow! What a great opportunity to promote yourself, meet some great people and contribute to the good foods movement. Where do you signup? Click here.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Green Cars

My Volvo has way over 100,000 miles on it and may go anyday my son. I am committed to purchasing a hybrid as my next ride, so I try to keep abreast of the latest green car news. If you are in the market today or next year, check out the Yahoo! Green Cars Center. You will find information about various manufacturers, technology, calculators and communities to network with.

Is a hybrid on your wish list but not in your budget? Try this "secret" that I learned from Delores Pressley of Born Successful. Find a photo of the vehicle (bike, car, scooter) of your dreams, and be sure to get one in the color that you desire with all of the bells and whistles, post it in a place that you see everyday. Be sure to visualize yourself tooling about town on your ride. Before you know it, you will own it! I have heard sooo many stories like this, that I am now a believer. Now, where are my scissors?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Paul Lawrence Dunbar: The Sparrow

Found one! This one is very appropriate for spring - the moral take time to smell the roses.

The Sparrow. Written by Dayton, Ohio native and poetic genius, Paul Lawrence Dunbar (1872-1906)

(Image compliments of pbrian49 at Flicker)

Environmental Poetry: What's Your Favorite?

In honor of Poetry Month, I am curious to know what is your favorite poem about the environment or nature? I am going to have to ponder on this one, though Ms. Maya's "And Still I Rise" and "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" come immediately to mind. They aren't directly environmental but more metaphorical. I would like to explore some of the nature inspired poetry written by my other favorite poets, Dunbar, Giovanni and Hughes. I am certain that Phyllis Wheatley also penned some beautiful selections.

Please share your favorites, including your own literary works of art.

Thank you!

"......I rise, I rise, I rise!"

New Eco-Friendly Hotel Opening Soon in Atlanta

Kimpton Hotels is opening a new eco-friendly, inclusive, pet-friendly hotel in Midtown Atlanta on April 29th. It is centrally located to many key attractions, on a bus line and affordably priced for a four star hotel, starting at $108 per night and for $1 more per day, you enjoy a continental breakfast! Check out this hotel chain's extensive green creds. Kimpton joins the ranks of a few other dark green venues in Atlanta, including, Emory Conference Center, W Atlanta - Perimeter and Stonehurst Place (a very expensive bed and breakfast).

Searching for an eco-friendly hotel that meets your travel needs is a lot of work, even with all of the conscious travel resources available (It ain't always easy being green). Don't have the time to search for or the funds to stay in an environmentally friendly lodging? Click here to learn how to green up your vacation or travel plans.

Teen Tested Vegan Snack: Black Eye Pea Fritters

Last week I made these yummy black eye pea fritters using a recipe from Bryant Terry's new cookbook, Vegan Soul Kitchen while listening to the movie "ATL" (TI!) in the background for a little southern inspiration (Bryant encourages you to listen to music while cooking). I was pretty sure that Michael, my bean resistant, chicken loving son would avoid these like the plague, but there was hope lurking in the recesses of my mind that he would like them. Mike walked into the house and wanted to know what "that good smell" was. A good start... I told him that they were fritters, "you know like hush puppies" - deliberately avoiding the words "black eye pea". Upon presenting these to him with the red sauce you see on the side, (an American version of a spicy Senegalese sauce) he wolfed them down and said "Mom, these are good, thanks." Golden. It was then that I confessed that they were actually "black eye pea fritters". You know how we do it - disclose after the feedback. To my surprise, he actually heated up the fritters the next day, bypassing the cheese stuffed ravioli leftovers. Amazing. Apparently, I purchased the bag of magic beans. Try these fritters for your family - they are magically delicious!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Eco-Friendly Easter Basket for Teen

This was my first Easter that I did'nt fill plastic eggs and hide them around the yard. Two reasons, one my baby is too old and too cool for that kind of "fun" and two, plastic eggs may contain BPA or PVC. So this Easter, I purchased organic and fair chocolates, with the exception of mandatory Cadbury Cream Filled chocolate eggs. I added fruits and veggies along with a locally made caramel dipped apple coated w/chocolate cookies and cream. Topped it all off with a nice check for his bank account....and it was all good. How do I know? I was the recipient of a big fat kiss and hug. God is good.

Vintage Fashion and Shoe Guides

Okay, so you read the "Think Green for Spring" article in emPower News Magazine and are ready to do a little vintage shopping. "Where do I start?" you ask. Ahh, alas an answer for you. To get a feel for what styles that interest you and to reminisce a bit, check out the two vintage fashion guides pictured that I found at Anthropologie (I really should get a commission) last week. You can also ask your librarian to order for you.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Shop Green This Spring

Thinking of heading out to the mall for a little (and I mean little in this economy!) spring fashion shopping? Stop!! You must first read my latest article in emPower News Magazine for tips on being eco-fabulous (hint - you may not even make it to the mall). There are some great reads stuff in this week's issue of emPower by the way. I recommend you read everything.

Happy Resurrection Day and Passover!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Helping Out at the Hitchcock Center for Women

Daang. This is some deep stuff here. Am I ready for this? I'm accustomed to working with kids and teens from a volunteer perspective. This spring, I am going to assist my friends Mike and Veronica on a urban gardening project at the Hitchcock Center for Women, a treatment facility for women in rehab. I will assist them in all aspects of the venture, from planning, planting, harvesting and marketing. I became familiar with the center at our Green Jobs Now day last fall. Two or three years ago, there existed a thriving garden planted by the women at the center that raised self esteem as well as money. For some reason, the garden was abandoned over the last two years, but Mike and Veronica have been charged with bringing it back to life. It will be a blessing to do my part in helping women to blossom into beautiful flowers. You know what they say "Educate a woman and you educate a nation". I will keep you posted on the progress of the project.

Love Your Neighbor - Lower Your Carbon Footprint

Here is another story highlighting the plight of our brothers and sisters in Africa as a result of climate change. In this situation a middle class farmer is struggling to keep his coffee farm as longer and wetter rainy seasons affect his crop. As a result many farmers in Uganda are retiring from that occupation. Not sure of your carbon shoe size? Use some of the calculator tools featured on this site and then go to Amandla! to purchase items to help you shrink your footprint, grow your savings and help out our neighbors across the Atlantic.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Save Your Boobs, Save Your Life

Attention black women! Breast cancer is not a white women's disease, as many people believe. In fact, black women tend to get a more aggressive form of the disease at younger ages and have higher mortality rates. You don't have to have a history of cancer in your family. You can get it if you don't wear deodorant or even if you don't wear underwire bras. If you work out like crazy. Early detection saves lives. Believe me I know. Please get an annual mammogram if you are 35 or older, there are many programs funded by various hospitals and breast cancer organizations that arrange for free testing. Just do it!

Michelle's Greening of the Whitehouse Make Right Wingers See Red

This article highlights right wingers concern's over Michelle Obama's influence on environmental policy. What has raised their hackles? The organic gardening and the non-toxic swingset. Woooo! Real scary stuff. Get a life people. But you know what they say. "Behind every great man...."

Street Garden Don'ts

After digging up a reasonable amount of my yard, about three years ago I started a curbside garden in the sunniest part of my property and for about two seconds thought about planting some edibles there. As appealing and utilitarian as the idea of sharing your goods with the community seems, this humorous post, compliments of You Grow Girl, clearly explains my reluctance at placing edible plants within reach of the general public.
I did wind up planting some tomatoes there out of sheer experimentation. They did quite well, but I haven't planted any other edibles there since.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Refuse Recycling Stove Saves Lives and Environment in Kenya

I am seeing many more stories recently about the benefits of converting waste to fuel, including in my own state of Ohio, where the big electricity generating, coal burning utility is building a huge biowaste facility to replace some of its coal powered energy with alternative energy (whew! talk about a run on sentence!). On a much smaller level, but perhaps 100 times more impactful, a new invention in Kenya will convert waste to energy, thereby saving lives, time, injury, money and the environment. Check it out!

Affordable Green Job Coaching

Need a more tailored approach to your green job search? Consider investing in a coaching session with Bright Green Talent, a green career search firm. $57 for a 30 minute session and $97 for an hour long session. If you have ever investigated career coaching services, you will know those prices are a bargain. Not sure about their success ratios, but at those prices, you just may land yourself a new great green career!

Green At Work: Slowly But Surely

Today was a great green day at work. First, we agreed to get away from copying stacks of reports (per person) for meetings and to start using a laptop projector! Woo hoo! Bankers really do have a souls. That act alone will add about one hundred years to our rainforests. By the way, did you know that Xerox offers print/fax/scan solutions that can save an organization thousands of dollars by reducing energy and paper waste? Second, I met with a group to plan our next sales meeting presentation which will address the benefits of energy conservation and sustainability from a client-centric perspective. My manager thought it was a great idea. Today, the bank.....tomorrow...the world!

Hey Fellas! It's NBA Green Week!

Okay ladies, having a hard time getting your men to reduce, reuse and recycle? Going green not manly enough? Well this week you have an unprecedented opportunity to green up your guy. How? Make sure he watches NBA basketball. Thanks to the efforts of the environmentally conscious guard, Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, the NBA kicked off Green Week yesterday. The team hopes to set an example of eco-friendly living and working for its fans. Players from all teams will sport organic gear, use balls made with recycled materials and participate in tree planting and recycling events. The NBA even has a green oriented website. Click here to watch Steve Nash promote the benefits of having a green team. Be sure to share with your guy!

Say It Isn't So Atlanta...One of Americas Most Wasteful Cities?

The bad news is that Atlanta was recently recognized as being one of the most wasteful American cities, the good news is that it has the highest percentage of citizens with plans to improve their eco-friendliness. Subscribing to Black and Into Green by email or RSS feed is a great way to start ATL! I will participate in a TalkBlack panel discussion in May, can't wait to meet you!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Roaring Statuary

No great garden is complete without a few stone pieces tucked between the plantings. In a few weeks, Mr. Leo the Lion, will be surrounded by lush, green foliage, currently safely hidden beneath the soil waiting for warmer temps.

Lenten Rose

This is an awesome plant (Lenten Rose or Hellebore) for many reasons, blooms late winter and early spring in Zone 5, deer and mammal resistant and has great foliage throughout the remaining garden season. Some varieties seed like crazy, so you can get some freebies, as they are expensive at the garden centers.

Crocus Crops Up in Cleveland Garden-Finally!

The lavender and golden flowers are early spring blooming crocuses. If you look closely at the green foliage, you will see a hyacinth bud ready to launch into spring, flouting its beauty and strong fragrance. This is called succession planting and works well for small spaces. I plant the hyacinth bulb between the cluster of crocus bulbs, so that when the first set of flowers fades, the second grouping is ready to takeover. Both bulbs are great because small mammals and deer avoid them.