Archive for the ‘eco-goods’ Category

Earth Day 2014

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Earth Day is just around the corner. Next Tuesday (April 22), millions of people in 190 countries will celebrate Mother Earth by participating in eco-friendly events. From book recycling to biking, beach clean-ups to nature walks, animal conservation to learning more eco-friendly habits, people all over the world will act together to make the world a little greener.

The global theme this year is Green CitiesScreen shot 2014-04-16 at 10.14.50 AM

“With smart investments in sustainable technology, forward-thinking public policy, and an educated and active public, we can transform our cities and forge a sustainable future,” says EarthDay.org, the Earth Day Network’s (EDN) website. “Nothing is more powerful than the collective action of a billion people.”

The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. While it started with only a few million people, it soon grew to be the largest civic observance in the world, according to EDN. It even led to the creation of the United Stated Environmental Protection Agency!

So how can you get involved? You can either search for an event in your country or state, or you can plan your own event. EDN has a host of resources, including online toolkits that can help you get started. If you want more personalized help planning a discussion in your community, you can send an email to greencities [at] earthday [dot] org.

In addition to physical activities that reconnect you to Mother Earth, you can get on the web to make a difference. EarthDay.org has a selection of online activism topics to help get you started. These range from banning new coal power plants to bringing bike shares to your city.

Here are 10 of our favorite Earth Day celebrations happening this year:

Austin, Texas, April 26, 12 pm—6 pm at the Historic Browning Hanger at Mueller

Cincinnati, Ohio, April 19, 12 pm—5 pm at Sawyer Point

Indianapolis, Indiana, April 26, 11 am—4 pm at White River State Park

Nashville, Tennessee, April 19, 11 am—6 pm at Centennial Park

New York, New York, April 22, 11 am—7 pm at Union Square

Reno, Nevada, April 27, 10 am—5 pm at Idlewild Park

Sacramento, California, April 19, 11 am—4 pm at Southside Park

Saint Louis, Missouri, April 27, 11 am—6 pm at the Muny grounds of Forest Park

San Francisco, California, April 19, 10 am—6 pm at the U.N. Plaza/Civic Center

South Tahoe, California, April 26, 10 am—4 pm at the Bijou Community Park

 

This guest post was written by Keen Communications intern Robyn Campbell.

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Follow the Frog to Stop Deforestation

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

“You don’t have to go to the ends of the Earth to save the rainforest. Just Follow the Frog!” –Rainforest Alliance.

This past week, the Rainforest Alliance’s “Follow the Frog” campaign promo video went viral on YouTube. Although it was originally published on their YouTube channel in September 2012, it really gained ground this past week with over 3.5 million views.

So, why is this video getting this much traction? Four reasons: it’s brilliant, it’s hilarious, it spreads a positive message, and it calls us to action to stop rainforest destruction. Don’t believe me? TED shared the video on their website, and Nice & Serious, an “ethically driven creative agency”, examined the persuasive qualities of the video.

To backtrack a little bit, the Rainforest Alliance is a nonprofit conservation organization. They work to conserve biodiversity by protecting wildlife, curbing climate change, alleviating poverty, and transforming land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behavior.

“Products bearing the seal originate on—or contain ingredients sourced from—Rainforest Alliance Certified farms or forests,” according to their website. “These farms and forests are managed according to rigorous environmental, social and economic criteria designed to conserve wildlife; safeguard soils and waterways; protect workers, their families and local communities; and increase livelihoods in order to achieve true, long-term sustainability.”

Thus, products bearing the green frog seal are Rainforest Alliance Certified. Such products include coffee, tea, chocolate, fruit, flowers, paper, and even furniture. To find out what products are available near you, check out their product and brand locator.

 

So, how can you “Follow the Frog”?

  1. Watch the video (and share it!)
  2. Take the pledge
  3. Buy products with the frog seal
  4. Participate in Follow the Frog Week (September 15—21, 2014)
  5. Spread the word!

 

This is a guest post by Keen Communications intern Robyn Campbell.

Green Your Home This Spring

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Green: A Great Color for the Home

It’s hard to believe, but spring is just around the corner. For many of us this means it’s time to begin knocking tasks off of spring cleaning to-do lists and gearing up for those home improvement projects you began realizing were long overdue while cooped up inside all winter. Whether you’re looking to remodel your bathroom, upgrade your kitchen tile, or turn your backyard into an oasis, The Cincinnati Home and Garden Show, held at the Duke Energy Convention Center, is the place to be. The show is open to the public today, March 5th through Sunday, March 9th.

This year will also feature a Go Green Cincinnati Show, presenting dozens of retailers offering sustainable products and services, helping residents of the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky lead greener lives. While not everyone can afford to install solar panels on their roofs or invest in new, energy efficient appliances, there are plenty of ways to go green for little to no cost. Here are 10 easy tricks to add a little green to your life and your home.

Create your own low-cost compost bin  
Composting is a great way to make use of things that would normally end up in a landfill. You can throw all kinds of things into your compost bin which will, in turn, create natural and nutrient rich soil for flower beds, gardens, or even the grass in your yard.

Wash laundry in cold, rather than hot, water
Although using cold water can take a little longer to properly clean clothes, it will clean them just as well as hot water. According to Energy Star, almost 90% of the energy used by washing machines goes towards heating water.
Bonus Green Points: Line-dry clothes. Again, you’ll be saving money and energy, but the UV rays of the sun can help kill germs and bacteria too!

Shop at local Farmers Markets
One of the best and easiest ways to go green (in addition to helping your local economy) is to shop at local Farmers Markets. Your food is almost certainly guaranteed to be fresher, more nutritious, and more flavorful than items bought at a grocery store.

Unplug unused and rarely used appliances
Although it may not seem like it, many appliances that aren’t in use but are still plugged in continue sucking up energy. All kinds of appliances from toasters to televisions use “standby” power when they aren’t in use. If unplugging all those unused appliances seems like too much of an inconvenience, another option is to invest in a Smart Power Strip, which monitors electricity use and stops sending power to appliances that have been idle for a certain amount of time.

D.I.Y. cleaning supplies
Not only do most name brand cleaning supplies contain toxic chemicals, but they are expensive. With a handful of inexpensive and basic ingredients you can make a whole host of cleaners for the entire house.

Invest in energy efficient light bulbs.
Energy Efficient bulbs may have more of an upfront cost, but you’ll be saving in the long run and helping the environment. Even changing a few bulbs throughout your house can save you hundreds of dollars annually.

Donate old newspapers to animal shelters, old plastic bags to participating grocery stores, or buy/make your own reusable bags.
Animal shelters are a great place to drop off plastic bags and old newspapers. Lots of grocery stores take bag plastic bags to reuse or recycle; talk to your local grocery store to see if they accept donations. Or better yet, you can buy or make your own reusable bags and avoid the plastic ones altogether! Most patterns are simple enough for beginners to use and only take a few minutes to make!

Lighten the load
How many of us avoid the cluttered, black hole that is our car’s trunk? If you’re like me, the trunk of your car has slowly accumulated knick-knacks over time. Cleaning out your trunk (or the entire car, for some of us) will lighten the overall weight of your car, helping improve fuel efficiency. Improved fuel efficiency decreases the amount of gas you’ll need, so lighten the load in your car and you can lighten your weekly gas bill, too.

Caulk windows
This is a project that sounds much more daunting than it actually is, and will greatly improve the energy efficiency in your home. Something as simple as re-caulking your windows will only take a couple of hours and will help keep the warm air in during the winter and the cool air in during the summer. It’s a quick an easy project that will prove beneficial for any season.

Repurpose!
A little creativity will go a long way with this one. With a little craftiness and a good google search the options are limitless. Sites like Pinterest, Apartment Therapy, and DIY Network are all great places for inspiration. From old t-shirts to baby food jars, just because it’s served its original purpose doesn’t mean those objects can’t be repurposed for another use. Repurpose! Reuse! Recycle! It’s fun, easy, and all these small acts can make a huge difference for the environment!

The contributor for this article was Katie Butts, an intern for Keen Communications.

Green Gifts for the Holidays

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

It’s that time of year again. With Thanksgiving officially over, the search for The Perfect Christmas Gift has begun. Big name retailers are restocking their shelves for the Christmas rush with items everyone wants. But what about giving something uncommon this year? It’s time to think outside the box and get the special people in your life something unique. At Uncommon Goods, there are tons of unique products that aren’t only cool but are eco-consciously made!

The majority of products at Uncommon Goods are recycled or environmentally friendly. Thinking outside the box is something done well with the products at Uncommon Goods. Fire extinguishers are turned into color vases, recycled wine bottles turned into unique platters, and even kits on how to grow your own marinara sauce, and more.

The gift ideas are brilliant for any occasion and perfect for that special someone this holiday season. If you don’t believe it, check out the site for yourself.

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PhoneBloks: A Phone Worth Keeping

Friday, November 8th, 2013

The average American uses a cellphone for about 18 months before upgrading to a newer or better phone. The phones being thrown away at the end of this time period are usually perfectly usable, and cause a dramatic increase in electronic waste. In fact, 130 million cell phones are retired into landfills per year, in America alone. To reduce waste, several organizations like Umnicore, Coolaphone and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have made recycling cell phones easy. However, there are other options besides recycling becoming available.

PhoneBloks, a project in the making, is a remarkable idea to reduce waste while saving us money. The idea, with help from Motorola, gives the user the ability to customize their cellphone at will. When a phone is being replaced or upgraded, the main difference between the old phone and the new one is a couple small pieces. With PhoneBloks, the user can insert different blocks into the back of the phone giving people the option to customize their phone with the features they personally want. If new technology is available, instead of throwing out the phone for a new one, a person can upgrade what they have by ordering updated blocks. Simply take out the old block and insert the new one. Reducing electronic waste never sounded easier.

The best example for customization is the camera. Everyone uses a phone’s camera for different purposes. Some people have no desire for a camera on their phone at all. With PhoneBloks, if you don’t want your camera at all or want lower quality pictures to make room for other features like more gigabytes of storage, a smaller camera block can be inserted into the back of the phone, creating space for a bigger storage block. Likewise, if you wanted higher quality pictures, you may insert a bigger camera block for better quality pictures. This process is similar to, if not the same as, upgrading your phone now. The difference, PhoneBlok phones have a longer life and are customizable at will, saving you money and reducing landfill waste.

Check out their website for videos and more information on PhoneBloks.

Creative Recycling: Make Your Garden Stand Out

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

For the past several years, recycling has been an issue brought to our attention time and time again. From paper to plastic and even phones and batteries, there is something to be recycled. Unfortunately, many things that can be recycled aren’t and end up in landfills. That’s where creativity comes in.rainboots

After a while, our shoes begin to break and become unwearable. Fortunately, there are other uses for our shoes. For example, take a shoe or boot that has some garden potential; take some soil and fill up the shoe. Next, take a seed and plant a flower or succulent in the soil, water it and let it grow!

Whether outside or an indoor ornament, the design is one to be admired. Any type of shoe can be used, from rain boots to heels. Be creative. The possibilities are endless! Don’t fill a landfill. Do something different to make your home stand out.heels

Are Solar Panels Really Worth the Cost?

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

If you’re like me, the thought of saving lots of money by cutting your energy is incredible. What’s better than saving money? However, like all good things, there seems to be a drawback, such as the claims that solar energy uses more energy to generate than produce. So, are solar panels worth it? Let’s find out.

When having solar panels installed at your home, greenhouse, or wherever you dream of putting your green energy, it’s important to consider the cost of energy being put into creating solar panels. First, consider the amount of raw materials used at the factory. Most likely, some type of fossil fuel, like coal, was used in the production process. Not only will we pay for the production cost, but for transportation and installation as well. The installation price varies depending on how many panels are wanted and their desired location. Taking everything into consideration, it’s no wonder solar panels can be expensive.

The average cost of installing a solar panel is around $7.00 per Watt.

After installation, what about the return on your investment? Will you get money back from your new, so-called energy saver? The short answer, yes. Although the installation of solar panels can be a hit to your bank account, in the long run, it’s worth every penny. As solar energy has advanced, the installation and upkeep cost of solar panels has decreased. Not only that, but the quality of solar panels has improved as well. You won’t get your money back over night, but in about 2-4 years, you will have your money back and more. The lifespan of a solar panel is projected to be between 20 and 25 years, which has to be worth it! Just be sure to have regular maintenance done on the panels to ensure they continue to work properly.

If you’re still not sold on the idea, don’t be afraid to do some of your own research on the subject. Knowledge is power, especially when used to save money and energy.

 

 

This article was written by our Fall 2013 intern, Michael Thies. 

Ways to Celebrate National Wildflower Week INDOORS

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

This year, National Wildflower Week is from May 6 to May 12.

For those of us who suffer from seasonal allergies, the blooming of wildflowers is something to guard against rather than to celebrate. However, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center offers us some tips on how to enjoy Wildflower Week indoors, protected from those pesky allergens.

Van Gogh, 1888

 

Visit Local Art Museum

dare you to find an art museum anywhere in the world that doesn’t somewhere house artwork dedicated to the beauty flowers bring to our many landscapes. Stroll over to your local art museum and find these gems! And don’t just look at them. Read the placards that describe the artwork. Learn about the artist. Educate yourself on why these flowers are some of nature’s finest artwork!

 

Pick Up a Book

Just like artists devoting their craft to wildflowers, numerous authors have, as well. The most obvious example would be the slew of wildflower guides available on the book market today. Pick up a book, and learn something new! Here are a few worth checking out!

 

Have a Wildflower-themed Snack

There are a number of ways to construct an indoor snack that reminds you of the beauty there is outside. How about a mixed greens salad? Or for the grown-ups, mix yourself a mimosa or other flower-themed cocktail. You can even bake flower-themed cookies or cupcakes.

 

Advocate for Endangered Flowers

Yes, flowers show up on endangered species lists, too! Learn which flowers indigenous to your area have become endangered, and write local officials expressing your concern for conserving these botanical beauties!

 

Start a Recycling Plan

These days, it’s no secret that at the center of any conservation plan is a sustained devotion to minimizing waste. Even a simple recycling bin for your home or office will show your appreciation for the wildflowers blooming in our gardens and parks.

 

Click here to see wildflower guides available from Menasha Ridge Press and Wilderness Press!

Celebrating Earth’s Beauty

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Today is about celebrating what Mother Nature has given us! It is also about celebrating the people and organizations that work to protect the beautiful lands and waters we have. If you have forgotten some of the picturesque landscapes our planet has, the Mother Nature Network has gathered some stunning photos to remind you.

Photo via MNN: poorpoor/Flickr

Photo via MNN: poorpoor/Flickr

I could go on and list ways for you to be green for Earth Day, but this year, I’m just going to urge you to get outside and remember that everything beautiful that you see must be maintained and protected. And documented! Make memories out there and really appreciate nature. The only way to guarantee our planet’s survival is to pass on the importance of appreciation of our surroundings to younger generations.

Grow Your Yoga in the Month of May

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

GrowYourYoga Slider

For any yogis out there, Moksha Yoga is running the Grow Your Yoga campaign during the month of May. You can sign up with a $10 minimum donation, with all the money made this year being donated to the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. Each week the program presents a new challenge for both on and off your mat.

If you’re looking for a jump start on the program, the first week’s off-mat challenge is to Be Healthy. It is suggested that you eat a vegan or vegetarian diet, but if you can’t do that, at least purchase your meats conscientiously from a local, organic butcher. I say this is a great practice to carry on far after the challenge is up!

To keep up with the rest of the program’s challenges, and to learn more about the prizes you can win by completing each challenge, please visit GrowYourYoga.ca and sign up!

If you want a very funny explanation of the program in video form, starring Woody Harrelson (played by Edward Norton), check it out on YouTube!
ednorton