1. Green Business Tips

    Posted on December 20, 2011 by Ashley S

    The going green movement has swept the nation over the course of the past several years. People are cutting back on waste in their homes, buying more fuel-efficient cars and recycling with a newfound sense of urgency and responsibility.

    And, while these changes are great for individuals and homes, what can businesses do to contribute to this increasingly eco-friendly lifestyle?

    The answer surprisingly comes in small changes, which can be used by companies of all sizes!  Read more…

  2. Green Holiday Traditions

    Posted on December 8, 2011 by Jody

     image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hitolonen/3140421889/
    In what I consider to be a long, sad turn of events, Christmas and the holiday season has arguably become the most excessive time of the year.   Christmas certainly isn’t about modern day consumerism or consumption, but these distractions have often left many beautiful Christmas traditions dismissed or forgotten.  So as more people look to “go green” and shop locally or buy more responsibly, here is a small list of “green” traditions that may be worth reviving, or in the very least, it’s time to make them slightly more popular again:

    Read more…

  3. Staying Green While Moving

    Posted on November 22, 2011 by Courtney

    Please welcome today’s guest poster, Ashley.

    Moving is typically synonymous with filling several dumpsters worth of things you don’t want to take with you and sending it all to a landfill — but it doesn’t have to be.

    Instead of renting a dumpster in anticipation for your move, consider ways to stay environmentally friendly during the process. There are plenty of things you can do to cut down on waste and stay green while moving.  Read more…

  4. Grease ‘Cycling, Go Grease ‘Cycling!

    Posted on November 15, 2011 by The Modern Gal

    Recycling cooking oil is something I think maybe I heard about a while back and tucked back into the recesses of my brain, filing it under ‘interesting concepts that I’ll never have the opportunity to employ,’ and then forgetting about it. It seemed like a great concept for restaurants that use a lot of oil and produce a lot of grease, but I had no reason to believe I’d have the opportunity to recycle the small amounts of cooking oil that I use.

    Just the other day I was shopping for a Thanksgiving turkey at our local Earth Fare restaurant, when I noticed the above bin outside. It’s a cooking oil recycling station, provided by our local utility company. Anyone can recycle their used cooking oil by bringing it in a closed, non-glass container and dropping it in the bin at one of the six area cooking oil recycling stations. The oil is recycled into cleaner burning biodiesel (in this case by an organization called Clean Energy Biofuels).

    Read more…

  5. Barefooting and Environmentalism

    Posted on October 13, 2011 by Jody

    After a brief track and field career in High School, I developed a perception of myself that included the idea that I was a runner.

    After the distractions of college and a career, though, I came to a startling realization:  I could no longer run.

    It wasn’t that age or injury had caught up to me, it was just that I was no longer finding the time to run.  And without finding the time, what used to be a simple two mile run became impossible- in fact, a simple half mile run was equally as impossible.

    So after my husband took up running and finished his first marathon with me on the sidelines, I decided it was finally time to make that perception of myself a reality.  I started running again.

    I had my own grand plans of running a marathon myself one day, but I knew I needed to start smaller and decided to aim for a 10K instead (6.2 miles).    During my track and field days, 2 miles was the longest distance I had ever trained for.  So after months of many, many small runs, I was finally able to build myself back up to a 2 mile distance.  I was incredibly proud of this accomplishment and was looking forward to continued success with a 10k race.

    But almost as soon as I surpassed two miles, I started to hit trouble.  My knees hurt.  In fact, they burned.  My knees would swell after every single run and I would take ibuprofen to counteract the swelling.  I saw my doctor.  I bought new shoes.  I started seeing a chiropractor.  Nothing helped.   Then my stomach started bothering me from the amount of ibuprofen I was taking.

    I suffered through my first 10K race, crossed the finish line, and told myself I wasn’t a runner and promised myself I would never run again.

    After the initial despair faded, I found myself still hoping for a cure and my chiropractor suggested orthotics- the idea being that the arches in my feet had collapsed and were causing my knee pain.  He was right in that wearing othotics while running made the knee pain go away.  Only problem was I was in even more pain every second of the day I wasn’t wearing the orthotics.

    I hated being so reliant on a ridiculous little device and rejected the idea that this particular issue was beyond the healing ability of the human body.

    So I turned to the internet and found barefooting.

    The theory behind barefooting is that there are small, intrinsic muscles in your feet that help stabilize your foundation (and strengthen your arches) that are not exercised when encased in a shoe.  Barefoot proponents also theorize that fewer injuries occur while barefooting, partially due to the stronger muscle foundation in your foot which helps with balance, but also because barefooters land lighter and keep better form due to sensory feedback from the foot- all of which helps prevent stress injuries.

    So what does this have to do with environmentalism?

    Well, if you haven’t read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, I highly suggest it.  Not only does running barefoot support a faith in the human body and its incredible capabilities, but it also suggests running shoes are the result of corporate marketers who first created a problem by telling people to run incorrectly, but then solved the problem with their cleverly placed product.  And after the initial success, running shoe manufacturers created ‘labs’ that then provided the medical information for the budding profession of podiatry and, of course, the conclusions suggested the need for shoes.

    Unnecessary consumption not enough of a reason?

    Well, there’s also the connection to the ground, the sense of the seasons, and a meditative awareness that also comes from being fully aware of your foot in contact with the ground.  And I’m not the only one who thinks so.

    But in case you haven’t noticed, the picture at the top of this post isn’t truly barefoot- but a popular “minimalist” shoe instead.  And, more specifically, those are my feet- doing a small hike of the Grand Canyon weeks before I completed my first marathon.

    And although one day I would like to take the leap towards true barefooting and eliminate running shoes from my life entirely, for now the “minimalist” shoes are a step in the right direction for me and possibly the environment as well.  Not only do these shoes use less material than standard running shoes, they also need to be replaced far less often (mine lasted 2 years while training for a marathon while my husband went though 3 pairs of standard running shoes).  And when they do finally need to be replaced, it isn’t due to an unseen issue like “the cushioning has worn out despite the fact that the shoe looks brand new” like you see in most thick soled running shoes.  Nope, these shoes only need to be replaced once you see your foot poking through to the pavement… and even then replacement is merely a suggestion.

    Happy Running!

  6. Homemade Sensory Dough

    Posted on September 27, 2011 by Melissa

    My 3-year-old son, Colin, and I have a new afternoon hobby that I’m very excited to share! We have been hard at work in the kitchen, cooking up creative batches of Sensory Dough, our special version of homemade play dough. Making homemade play dough is super cheap, eco-chic, and incredibly easy. Once you get started, you’ll never go back to store bought name brands again! I call it Sensory Dough because the batches we have been making have exciting scents and textures. Read more…

  7. Gaining DIY Confidence

    Posted on September 22, 2011 by Howling Hill

    Please welcome today’s guest poster, Wolf.

    $250 for a brake job. $350 for a pre-built chicken coop. Over a $1000 for a small porch. One day I stopped and thought to myself: Do these projects really need a professional or can I build/replace them myself? It turns out with a little help from books, the internet and good friends, I CAN do these things.

    Read more…

  8. Every Burger Deserves an Open Mind (and Mouth)

    Posted on September 8, 2011 by Mickey

    image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/muyyum/4378743612/

    Back when I wouldn’t have considered it dinner unless it once exhibited free will and eyelids, I always wondered just how silly and delusional vegetarians must be to be choking down things like Tofurky and veggie dogs. I figured only a self-deluding idiot would eat a meat proxy and ignore the fact that by eating fake meat they are implicitly confirming their desire for the real thing. And why deny your body what it clearly wants?

    Tofurky: For When You Want Turkey But You’re Too  Full of Hippie Self-Righteousness For the Real Thing!

    It’s only now that I’ve gone mostly meatless (but willing to indulge my gustatory desires when the occasion calls for it) that I realize that vegetarianism isn’t about pretending to like all the faux-flesh products dreamed up by soy alchemists. It’s just about not eating meat. Read more…

  9. What to Do With Old T-Shirts?

    Posted on August 18, 2011 by Jody

    I know I’m not the only one who has held on to, or in other ways accumulated, tons of unwanted t-shirts that now dwell in massive numbers at the back of a closet.

    Whether from 5k races, blood donations, intramural sports, or that old high school club, I’m constantly amazed at how extra t-shirts creep into our lives.  I always keep them with the thought that they would make good utility shirts; you know, a junk shirt that could be worn while gardening, or painting, or changing the oil in your car- unfortunately, I have WAY more t-shirts slotted for these activities than activities that would warrant wearing them.

    And my collection keeps growing.

    It helps to make the conscious decision to refuse t-shirts at every opportunity but that only solves the supply problem- so what do you do with the t-shirts you already have? Read more…

  10. How To Clean Your Car Headlights the Natural Way

    Posted on August 10, 2011 by Courtney

    The last time I visited my parents, I pulled into the driveway and my dad immediately said, “What’s wrong with your headlights?” I got out to take a look, and sure enough, they were filthy. But it wasn’t just dirt that was causing the plastic casing around the headlights to turn cloudy; it was all kinds of road grime and other gunk that was making my lights not shine as brightly as they should. (Apparently it’s pretty common. Chalk that up to car maintenance issues I’d never considered before!) A simple car wash wasn’t going to fix the problem, so I started looking for possible solutions.

    A quick date with Google told me there are lots of chemical solutions available for cleaning headlights, but they’re expensive, toxic, and would involve a trip to the store. Fortunately, I found a way to make my headlights look like new again, using only things I already had at home. Here’s how I did it!  Read more…

Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

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According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.


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