Posts Tagged ‘sustainable’

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.

Screen shot 2013-12-04 at 11.32.25 AM Screen shot 2013-12-04 at 11.33.13 AM

8 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Fruits & Veggies

Friday, October 25th, 2013


Caught up in the busy hours of life, it can be easy to forget food purchased from a store or local farmer’s market. Looking at a tomato gone bad or another withered fruit, we have to consider the wasted potential of our fruits and veggies. To help extend the life of our food products, here are some tips on how to take care of them. And remember, always try to eat local and seasonal!

1)     Freeze Lemon and Lime Juice. Lemons and limes aren’t terribly expensive and occasionally, you can get a handful of them for little to nothing. Keep a couple lemons or limes that you plan on using soon in the fridge. Take the remaining lemons or limes and squeeze the juice into an ice cube tray. The juice will last for months and can be used in several of your cooking exploits!

2)     Protect Your Veggies. Fruits like bananas and apples emit an ethylene gas that causes vegetables to ripen faster. Keep the trouble fruits in a container of their own.

3)     Line the Bottom of the Crisper Drawer. Use paper towels to line your crisper drawer. Paper towels will absorb the extra moisture, preventing your veggies from going bad prematurely.


 4)     If You Don’t Line the Crisper, Don’t Use the Crisper. By some, the crisper is known as the vegetable graveyard. It’s easy to forget about the crisper and not lining it with paper towels will only make it worse. Instead, put your veggies in a plastic baggy, or not, and set them on a shelf in the fridge where you can see them.

 5)     The Fridge isn’t for Everything. Some fruits and vegetables do better at room temperature. Keep your avocados, tomatoes, onions, peppers and sweet potatoes outside the fridge, either on the counter or in another cabinet.

 6)     Freeze Your Herbs. Most recipes calling for herbs only want a dash of herb, leaving the rest of your freshly picked herbs to be forgotten and shrivel up. Herbs are a special ingredient that deserve better. Extend the life of herbs by chopping them up, putting the pieces in an ice cube tray, and then mix them with olive oil. Freeze the mixture, and then put the cubes into a zip lock baggy.  The herbs should last a few months and you won’t need to use as much olive oil in your recipes!

7)     Refresh your Carrots. If your carrots are looking brown and limp, peel the brown skin off and soak the carrots in ice water for a couple hours. The carrots will look good as new and perfect for eating!

 8)     Wash Only What You Eat. After purchasing a bag of fruit, like grapes and raspberries, it’s tempting to wash them all. Because, who wants to keep washing fruit every single time? Doing so may be convenient, but the added moisture on fruit we don’t intend to eat right away invites mold and will spoil faster.

Wasted Food Sparks Social Experiment

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Most of us were probably taught to finish all of our food so as not to let food go to waste. However, does this traditionally apply to grocery stores as well?

It’s been estimated that grocery stores in America throw out $50 billion worth of food annually, much of which is still edible and safe to eat upon being discarded. According to the National Resource Defense Council, supermarkets throw out about $2,300 worth of expired food daily. Now, just because something is expired doesn’t mean it isn’t edible. For some foods like meat and milk, the expiration date is one to be mindful of, but there are plenty of foods that are safe beyond their assigned date.

treasureBecause of the incredible amount of food being thrown out, Maximus Thaler, a man from Boston, has been dumpster diving behind supermarkets for years. While dumpster diving isn’t encouraged or legal in most places, Thaler has found thousands of dollars-worth of perfectly good food. Thaler has made plenty of dishes, including citrus salads, roasted purple potatoes, and pastas from the salvaged food. Thaler has opened an underground café where he uses salvaged food and customers may eat for free. Thaler wants to show society that it’s possible to feed hundreds of people without charging a dime. To find out more about Maximus Thaler’s project, please visit The Gleaners Kitchen.

What are some ways to save on food waste? How can you practice smarter consumption and decrease your waste output?

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

Wilderness Ethics: 9 Easy Steps to Keeping the Wilderness Wild

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

As we all gear up for National Trails Day next weekend, it’s always a good idea to pause and consider the ways we leave trails of our own while out hiking. Trail deterioration is one of the many issues for which National Trails Day is intended to raise awareness. Wilderness Press author and Yosemite National Park expert Jeffrey Schaffer provides some easy steps for having a highly enjoyable but still low-impact adventure into the wild:


Muir-Mist Connector Trail, Yosemite National Park


  • STAY ON THE TRAIL: Seems simple, but deviation from established trails is not only commonplace, but mighty tempting for the adventurous type.
  • STAY QUIET: Avoid traveling in large groups, and avoid making excessive noise.
  • WATCH FOR HORSES: Yield the right-of-way to equestrians: step off the trail, downhill.
  • SMART CAMP: Set up camp a minimum of 100 ft. from any water source, and on exposed dirt or rock surfaces (never on vegetation).
  • BURN. DON’T CUT: Use only downed wood for fires, and use only existing fire rings. And, of course, always fully extinguish a fire before leaving it.
  • BURY MINDFULLY: Bury waste 6 in. deep, and at least 100 ft. from a trail and 500 ft. from water sources.
  • PACK OUT TOILET PAPER: or burn it in areas where fires are permissible.
  • SMART COOK: Cook only enough food for single meal, to avoid disposing of leftovers.
  • SMART WASH: Wash and rinse dishes, clothing, and yourself at least 100 ft. from water source; never wash in lakes or streams.


Be sure to check out the vast selection of hiking/camping guides from Wilderness Press & Menasha Ridge Press before embarking on your next wild adventure!

3 C’s To Being Car-Free

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Especially now that most places around the country are beginning to warm up, now’s as good a time as any to recharge whatever motivations we might have for keeping the car keys in our purses and pockets, and finding another means of transportation.

Now, if you’re experience is like mine, you’ll agree that one of the most surprising things about living car-free (I’m at about 4 months NO CAR at the end of April), is having to explain to people why I won’t just use a car. Driving is just so much easier! skeptics will say. Your commute is so much longer than it would be with a car…

I’m usually at a loss (at least at first) when I’m asked this question because, to me, it’s so obvious how the benefits of living car-free outweigh the costs. And then I struggle to explain this without sounding preachy or militant about it.

Wilderness Press author Nathan Landau (Car-Free Los Angeles & So. California, Wilderness Press 2011) breaks the reasoning down into three simple words, the 3 C’s of Being Car-Free:


Car-Free is Cheaper

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but for many it is easy to miss all the ways driving drains your wallet and eats your time. Let’s look at the simple example of taking a small vacation. Either you’ve already purchased, are still making payments on, or have rented a car. There’s also parking to consider (it’s almost never free, whether around the neighborhood or at your hotel). Don’t forget about the insurance law requires of every driver. And all of this before you even fill up your tank! In a city like Los Angeles, Nathan estimates that the cost of driving/parking is 12X that of purchasing Metro passes for the same period of time.

 Car-Free is Calmer

If you ever struggle with “road rage” — be it a mild or severe case — you’ll understand this one. Imagine someone else doing the driving for you! If you live in a busy, metropolitan area, you might also know how often bicycle (and sometimes even pedestrian) traffic moves faster than cars on the street. Whether your sitting on the bus, riding your bike, or simply taking a stroll, it will always be easier for you to breathe deeply and soak in your surroundings than it would be if you were driving.

Car-Free is Cleaner

There is no longer a debate over whether driving an auto emits greenhouse gases and other pollutants. But the percentage of mass transit systems that still burn fuel (more and more are already switching to full-on electric power sources) are running on compressed natural gas instead of oil. Aside from emissions, individual automobiles create loads of debris on the sides and shoulders of America’s roadways, and more and more automobiles are abandoned/scrapped each year.


So next time you find yourself having to defend your decision to live car-free, just remember the 3 C’s.

Source: Car-Free Los Angeles & So. California by Nathan Landau, Wilderness Press 2011.

Recycling & composting in the modern age

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

I have been recycling for what seems like my whole life and stressing the importance of recycling to others along the way. It was only recently that I considered composting, and in my research to begin that process, I came across many very interesting and helpful articles and organizations. I want to be the best recycler and composter that I can be, and I want you to do the same!

The Mother Nature Network has offered some great advice on things you should definitely not compost or recycle. You’d be surprised at what should NOT go into your bins. Some things are common sense while others answer those long asked questions: I can just throw this in there and they’ll take care of it, right? Everything from motor oil and batteries to printed papers and pizza boxes is covered, with suggestions for what to do with those non-traditional recyclable materials. I know I’ll be printing this list off and taping it to the top of my recycling bin at home!

In addition, I have often found myself wondering how to properly dispose of cooking oil/grease from my kitchen. I knew that flushing it down the sink was most likely not the proper way (imagine how fatty foods clog our arteries–just imagine what repeated flushing down the drains does to the pipes in your home and through the city!), so I did a little digging. Am I able to just throw the grease in the trash in a sealed container? That didn’t seem right to me, but, it appears to be one solution. Another solution is to take your grease to a local restaurant (one that offers collection) for a larger-scale removal. However, the most sustainable solution to getting rid of your cooking oil/grease is to partner up with a local restaurant where you can take your grease and have them donate their grease to the Alternative Fuel Foundation. The AFF ‘recycles’ cooking oil and grease from restaurants and turns it into clean-burning bio-fuel! You can read more about the benefits of bio-fuel at their website. Very cool, and very green!

There are tons of organizations and companies that are recycling in creative ways, collecting hazardous materials, other recyclable materials such as light bulbs, batteries, motor oil, etc. throughout our communities. An example of just that is GLOBAL RECYCLE, a small company based out of New Orleans that is working to better the community with their local recycling program. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get in contact with someone knowledgeable on the subject: I plan to see if our local green grocer, Park + Vine, collects cooking grease. I’m sure that they can teach me all kinds of things about this, composting, and much more!


Earth Day Green Gear Giveaway

Friday, April 20th, 2012

In celebration of Earth Day and Arbor Day 2012, Wilderness Press is launching an awesome giveaway to our fans with the help of these generous, eco-friendly sponsors: Mountainsmith, Enviro Products, Solio, Kentucky Royalty, and kigo footwear. The contest runs from TODAY through FRIDAY, APRIL 27.
Check out all the information about the giveaway including details on the prizes and entry guidelines over at Hot On The Trail.

In addition to the giveaway, Wilderness Press and Menasha Ridge Press will be offering a 30% discount on all of their books and maps online through next Friday, April 27. Pick up those guidebooks for your summer adventures!

Best of luck, and remember to stay GREEN!

Serenbe, a sustainable community

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

If you’re not obsessed with HGTV like I am, well, let me give you a chance to reconsider. Aside from their fantastic programming on TV, they hold some pretty stellar giveaways such as the Dream Home Giveaway and the Green Home Giveaway, which is going on now through June 1, 2012 (you can enter twice daily).

This year, the green home is really above and beyond. Located less than 30 miles outside of Atlanta, Georgia, HGTV’s 2012 Green Home is located within Serenbe, a hamlet of sorts that sits on 1,000 acres of land. On that land is everything you need in a community from organic farms to a blacksmith to a school and retirement center. And the whole community has been structured upon green and sustainable living practices. HOW COOL IS THAT? I urge you to at least read more about Serenbe. Maybe even enter to win, because you never know what might happen.

A Guide to Sustainable Living

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Last weekend we participated in Covington, Kentucky’s 2nd Annual Farmer’s Fair!  I suggest checking out their website to see what they’re all about.  I can’t wait for next year’s event!  The keynote speaker this year was Ed Begley, Jr. who is a shining example of green living.  Begley has a show, Living Like Ed, on the Planet Green television network.  We were lucky enough to host a book signing in our booth for Mr. Begley where he signed his two best-selling books, Living Liked Ed and Ed Begley, Jr.’s Guide to Sustainable Living. It went great, and I promise to have better pictures posted soon!

All else is great on the Keen front.  The weather is a relieving 73 degrees and perfectly blue.  The fall ghosthunting books are in house.  The office is starting to really, REALLY recycle, finally!  My stern words have finally paid off.  We painted the soon-to-be bookstore (Roebling Point Books & Maps); the bookshelves are a vibrant yellow and the walls behind them are BLUE!  It’s fantastic.

AND it is finally perfect camping and hiking weather!

I want to start hearing from others what they are doing to better our environment.  You never know what you might learn if you only listen…

What is one green thing you have done in the past week?