1. What’s Going On

    Posted on June 5, 2012 by Allie

    Los Angeles bans plastic bags. The Good Human

    Water jugs turned self-irrigating planters. Rob’s World

    Sea grass stores more carbon than trees. Inhabitat

    Tar sands vs. reduced consumption. Scientific American

    Did will-i-am seriously take a helicopter to a climate change meeting? Grist

  2. Save a Paper, Save a Tree, Save a Dollar

    Posted on May 8, 2012 by Ashley S

    Asking a writer/law student how to use less paper is like asking a great white shark how to adhere to a strict vegetarian diet, but I’ll do my best. There are a few basic uses of paper and a few different techniques to reduce those uses (don’t worry I won’t be asking you to switch to single-ply toilet paper or anything).

    Writing Paper

    I love writing paper. There’s nothing like the convenience of grabbing a notebook or a piece of loose leaf paper and scribbling down my latest brilliant (or not-so-brilliant) thought.

    Unfortunately, I’m thinking my way to a pulverized tree. According to the website Conservatree, each tree can yield just over 8,000 sheets of paper. That’s 16 reams of paper or 80-100 sheet notebooks. Maybe that sounds like a lot of paper to you, but to me, that sounds like a productive week. Luckily for me, and the trees, many of the places I write for, both academically and professionally, will allow me to fileshare and submit my work digitally.

    Even if you’re not much of a typist or if you need to use sketches and figures in your writing, a good tablet computer with a stylus will let you write freehand on the touch screen itself, saving paper and giving you the benefit of spell check (woohoo!) while you are working. For those occasions where you absolutely must use paper, paying a few extra cents and getting the stuff that’s recycled can help with your eco-guilt.

    Billing Statements

    Okay, chances are you don’t get 8,000 billing statements in a given year, but if you put together yours with your neighbors, coworkers and friends, we’re probably getting into tree-saving territory. Now that just about every company offers paperless billing, you have the option to save those trees, as long as you’re responsible enough to keep an eye on your bank account without those bills to remind you when money is being deducted.

    There are other benefits to paperless billing, too. Sometimes companies will offer you an incentive like a gift card or sweepstakes entry for going paperless. You also get to save postage and checks, and save yourself the problems you would incur if a statement were to be lost in the mail. Also, as the Little Green Blog points out, you’ll have a much slimmer file cabinet.

    Other Paper Products

    Okay, as I said, I don’t expect you to go without toilet paper; heck I’m not even going to ask you to go to cloth diapers (although you would save a lot of landfill space).

    Let’s take a look at paper towels, though. Do you really need to use a paper towel for every spill? Wouldn’t a nice reusable washcloth be just as good, or better? Again, you’ll save a few bucks, too, as all those rolls of paper towels start to add up in cost. If you must use paper towels, there are recycled options available.

    Saving trees doesn’t have to be painful, and it can really make you feel good about yourself and what you’re doing for the environment. Using options besides paper, or using recycled paper, can make a big impact on your environmental footprint.

    Best of all, cutting down on paper use can sometimes help you to save the most important paper of all–the green kind with pictures of presidents on it.

  3. Eco-Friendly Summer Fun

    Posted on April 10, 2012 by Ashley S

    Summer is the season for cookouts, trips to the beach and naps in the sun. Unfortunately, it also tends to be a prime season for polluting the very resources that allow people to enjoy their favorite warm weather activities This summer, keep participating in the activities you enjoy, but do it in a way that won’t hurt Mother Nature. The following tips should help get you started on a fantastic green summer.

    Summer Gardening

    Here’s a tip that will help you save money, eat healthy and be a friend to the environment: Grow fruits and veggies in your garden. Eating produce grown in a backyard garden is far better for the environment that consuming fruits and vegetables that have been treated with pesticides, excessively watered and transported across the country in a gas-guzzling truck. Gardening doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Stick with plants that grow well in your region’s climate and you’ll have no trouble growing a bumper crop of delicious fruits and vegetables.

    Stick with Reusable Utensils

    Once you’ve harvested the produce from your garden, it’s time to celebrate with a delicious and healthy meal. Keep the celebration green by using plates, cups and utensils that can be washed up and reused at a later time. While paper plates save a bit of immediate washing, the long-term impact on the environment can be harsh. Making a point of eating with reusable utensils and dishware doesn’t mean that you always have to take out the fancy china-a more casual set of plastic dishware should work just fine.

    Drink From a Water Bottle

    This eco friendly hint goes right along with the one listed above. Buying bottled water in the store is not only overpriced, it is terrible for the environment. Do your part by investing in a good water bottle. If you’re worried about the taste of well or city water, simply add a filter to your sink. The end result will be fresh water that keeps both you and the environment healthy.

    Use a Canopy Tent

    Next time you have your friends and family members over for grilling, keep your guests shaded the eco-friendly way: with a canopy tent. Unlike other shading options, a good canopy tent will shield you and your guests from the sun without using up precious energy. These tents are easy to put up and take down, adding an extra level of convenience to any get-together.

    Ride Your Bike

    The weather is nice enough now that you really don’t need to take the car everywhere. Not only is riding your bike far better for the environment, it’s also good for your health. Even a short bike ride is capable of burning hundreds of calories. Biking can also be an excellent social activity. Instead of driving all over with your friends, pull out your bikes and ride to the nearest park.

    Staying green this summer doesn’t have to be difficult, inconvenient or expensive. With a few basic changes to your routine, you can enjoy your favorite summer activities while doing your part for the environment.

    The summer is about to heat up, but with a little bit of effort and good decision-making it can be safe and fun for you and the Earth!

  4. What’s Going On

    Posted on March 30, 2012 by Allie

    Hella Wella says juice fasts aren’t worth it.

    Umbra answers the question: Are coffee cups recyclable?

    greenUPGRADER has instructions for a cute, simple air freshener.

    Crafting a Green World has adorable reuse ideas for your garden.

    INHABITAT says Venice is sinking a lot faster than previously thought.

  5. What’s Going On

    Posted on March 16, 2012 by Allie


    INHABITAT says the roads in Bellingham, WA are paved with toilets.

    Mr. Green answers the question, “Can you compost shredded paper?”

    GreenUPGRADER makes a clever charging station from a lotion bottle.

    Galley Cat says Bauman’s is looking for a rare bookseller.

    Grist reports on a new species of frog found in Staten Island.

    ZooBorns has adorable photos of a critically endangered kitten born to a domestic cat.

    Scientific American talks about a laser that can erase print from paper making it ready for reuse.

  6. Inspire Others to Eat Green & Eat Local

    Posted on March 13, 2012 by Ashley S

    As a law student, I’m constantly on the go. Running back and forth between classes, the library and trying to squeeze in some time at the gym burns energy faster than you might think. Most days I pick up food on the go at local restaurants and fortunately, here in Chicago, we have some great ones that offer healthy, energizing options.

    Visiting all these different spots has shown me that there’s a lot of competition in the city and running a restaurant can prove challenging. But if you were to advertise your restaurant as “green and healthy” this might attract those who support local eateries and green businesses.

    Getting Started

    Restaurant experience is helpful. But if you don’t have experience working in or running a restaurant, buying into a franchise is an excellent idea. Once you’re a franchise owner, you will receive training and plenty of resources to help you get started. The corporate office will develop marketing campaigns for you, as well as assign a management team to help you in the beginning.

    You can also buy an existing restaurant and benefit from this establishment’s good reputation and client-base. Be sure to ask questions before making an offer. Why is the owner selling? What’s included in the sale price? Others factors to consider include the restaurant’s location, as well as the restaurant’s past and current financial records.

    Starting an independent restaurant from the ground gives you creative freedom, in which you’re able to develop a completely original idea and concept. Understand, however, new start-ups require restaurant experience, a lot of time, and generally a type A personality.

    Organic Food

    Advocating green eating can be somewhat challenging if you buy into a franchise or purchase an existing restaurant. These restaurants have an established menu and switching up the food selection might turn off loyal clients. Independent restaurants give you the freedom to create your own menu. But even if you can’t completely change the menu on a franchise or newly acquired restaurant, you can make little changes and incorporate additional items to show your support for healthy eating.

    Start by researching and comparing organic suppliers. Perhaps you can begin buying your meats, dairy products, vegetables and fruits from these companies. Cost is an issue and you’ll need to find a supplier with reasonable prices. This keeps your food costs low, so you don’t have to raise your prices.

    Restaurant Supplies

    Green restaurant ventures don’t stop with food preparation. Reducing the amount of energy that your restaurant consumes also contributes to your green efforts. Restaurants require ice machines, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, fryers, ovens and other supplies. Replacing at least one restaurant supply or piece of equipment with an energy-efficient alternative can save your establishment hundreds each year. The yearly savings can double or triple by incorporating all energy-efficient supplies in your commercial kitchen.

    Smaller Steps

    Other green tips to help save energy include regularly changing your air filters, opting for energy-efficient lighting, switching to programmable thermostats, regularly checking pipes and seals for leaks and conserving hot water. Going green is a group effort and it’s imperative that you educate your staff on various energy conserving methods.

  7. What’s Going On

    Posted on February 24, 2012 by Allie

    INHABITAT highlights the Google Sea View program.

    Tiny Choices repurposes jars.

    Blogfish talks toilet to tap water recycling.

    The Daily Green shares the conservation legacy of Rutherford B. Hayes.

    greenUPGRADER showcases amazing junk mail art.

    The Green Life has a roundup of zombie species.

    The Good Human talks about the lifespan of rechargeable batteries.


  8. Do we really understand what it means to be green?

    Posted on February 9, 2012 by The Modern Gal

    A few days ago, I noticed a discussion on another website about a real estate survey published by Yahoo! back in December. That survey asked 1,500 current and aspiring homeowners to choose the features that their dream home would include. Lo and behold, “green or energy efficient” was the top vote-getting quality after being chosen by 58 percent of the poll’s respondents. My knee-jerk reaction was, “Great! Our fellow Americans are finally getting it! Taking a green-minded approach with our homes IS important.”

    But then I read a bit farther into the poll’s results and noticed the disconnect.

    Tied for second  was “building a custom home,” chosen by 38 percent of poll respondents. Clocking in at last place with a measly 5 percent was “tiny house,” a feature chosen by fewer people than “stately, traditional mansion” or even “castle or castle-style.”

    Read more…

  9. What’s Going On

    Posted on February 3, 2012 by Allie

    Grist helps a reader figure out why her CFL bulbs don’t last very long.

    INHABITAT has instructions for building a stool out of recycled cardboard, and the most adorable clothespin cake topper.

    GreenUPGRADER shows us how to make a heart garland out of old books.  Or, you know, you could use magazine, because I bet the author of said book was probably hoping it would last forever, telling the story to the ages and . . . sigh.

    The Good Human can help you save 70% at the Reusables Warehouse Sale!

    Rob’s World has a way to reuse spent gift cards.

    Crafting a Green World is upcycling maps!


  10. What’s Going On

    Posted on January 6, 2012 by Allie

    Something about the cold, dark winter days puts me in the mood to make things.  I’ve been knitting a scarf for myself out of handspun yarn made from wool, linen, and recycled antique lace that I ordered from SnowberryLime last year.  It’s amazing how a little time to knit and a good cup of tea can make being chased in by the cold feel like a luxury instead of a punishment (at least for a little while).

    I’ve noticed in my search for links this week, lots of people seem to be feeling creative too.

    Dianne is making honey butter.

    Crafting a Green World has clever ideas for old t-shirts.

    Books Lists Life made the most adorable castle out of an old card table.

    Design Sponge has plans for a wall-hanging organizer made from recycled cardboard.

    Crunchy Chicken makes mozzarella.

    Are you feeling crafty?  How do you drive the winter blues away?

Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It


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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