1. How Carbon Offsets Work

    Posted on September 30, 2009 by Courtney

    Palm trees

    If you are an environmentally-minded traveler, you’re probably already aware of how harmful airplane travel is to the environment. But now you can assuage that guilt if you’re flying into or out of San Francisco International Airport by buying a carbon offset. SFO is the first airport to introduce these Climate Passport kiosks, and the process is simple — just input the number of miles your trip will cover, how long it will take, and the number of passengers you want to offset. Then just swipe a credit card and you get a receipt promising that your money will go to ensure an equal emission will not occur somewhere else.

    Sounds simple enough. But what exactly are you paying for? What is a carbon offset?

    Read more…

  2. What’s Going On

    Posted on September 29, 2009 by Allie


    Scientific American says wild meat raises lead exposure.

    The Gluten-Free Homemaker has a homemade fruit and veggie wash recipe.

    Skepticblog discusses all the “hubbub” around overpopulation theories.

    Blogfish wants to know if you have a retractable sexual appendage on your forehead.

    Haute*Nature showcases recycled cashmere baby clothes.

    Condo Blues is preserving herbs for winter.

    The Good Human reviews an iPhone app that helps you recycle.

    Tiny Choices talks CFLs and LEDs.

    Inhabitat has beautiful photos of solar powered “trees.”

  3. Review: O’Bon Recycled Stationery (and Giveaway!)

    Posted on September 28, 2009 by NPW


    Over here at The Greenists we have a policy about our reviews, namely that we will stick by that golden rule our parents taught us: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Luckily, I have tons of nice things to say about the O’Bon recycled stationery that they sent me to test out! The first one being that even though they sent me a ton of cool freebies, buying their stuff is also much, much cheaper than most green or recycled stationery out there. In fact, I would venture to say that their products are just about the same price as the other, less cool stationery products you can buy at Target. I would know, because I bought a ton of it for my classroom at school after they sent me the samples.

    Second, and more important, is that their products are of excellent quality. Their pencils truly stay sharp and last twice as long as normal pencils. I don’t know if this is because of the graphite they use or the fact that the pencil is made out of recycled newspaper, but either way, I am in love with them. Their folders, three-ring binders, and notebooks all have beautiful designs and are sturdy enough that I use them to carry around all my class lists and grading.

    And can I mention again that they are gorgeous? Seriously, the binder with the peacock feather design has gotten me more compliments than any outfit I can throw together in the morning.

    Lastly, of course, all of their products are eco-friendly. Their paper is made from Bagasse, which is an extract of sugarcane pulp, a product that is usually thrown away. Their pencils are made of newspaper wrapped around graphite in an attempt to reduce the amount of deforestation caused by regular wooden pencils. In turn, reducing the amount of deforestation helps protect wildlife and also keeps production costs much lower.

    Now for the exciting part: I just so happen to have bought more than I need for my classroom this year. I could always keep it and use it in the future, of course, but I would rather share the wealth. So one lucky reader will get a chance to win some beautiful products- all you have to do is click over to the O’Bon site and comment about a product that you especially like. You can also Tweet about their products for an extra chance at winning, just come back here and comment that you did it.

    Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

  4. Acadia to Zion: Visiting all 391 National Park Sites in America

    Posted on September 25, 2009 by Ari


    It was a (stereotypical) dark and stormy night. As I lay in my tent in the Cedar Pass Campground of Badlands National Park, the sound of thunder in the distance and the surge of the wind rushing through the screen windows assaulted my senses. I wondered if our six foot plus tall tent would stay up as the storm grew nearer. It didn’t. But thanks to some ingenuity and some extra rope and stakes, I was able to get the tent back up, and get it to stay up. My four year old kids were wary. My wife, mildly annoyed. And I was wet and unsettled.  And it’s at times like this I sometimes ask myself “why do I do this again”?

    The ‘this’ is my lifetime goal to visit all of the unique sites administered by the National Park Service. Not just the National Parks (I’ve been to 44 of 48 of those). I’m talking about the whole package. The National Monuments, the National Historic Sites, the National Battlefields, the National Memorials, the National Wild and Scenic rivers – and the other 22 designations for these areas administered by the US Department of the Interior – 391 sites in all. They include places that you have heard of. Yellowstone. Yosemite. Everglades.  And they include places that you may have heard of. Acadia. Rainier. Shenandoah. And they include places that you’ve probably never heard of. Minuteman Missile, Pipestone, Bandelier. Read more…

  5. Make-Your-Own-Products Party

    Posted on September 24, 2009 by Stefanie


    My friend Jamie is one of the most ambitious people I know. Combine that unending drive and energy with her passion for environmentalism and organics, and it seems there’s very little the woman won’t do in the name of saving the planet or guarding her health.

    Jamie’s efforts are admirable but often experimental, which means they sometimes meet with confused looks and mixed results. Those of us who remember when she wanted to replace the full-sized fridge in her condo with a tiny dorm-sized one weren’t particularly surprised when she broke her toilet by placing a jug in the tank to save water (Note: That tip is a valid one, I think, but only if your toilet isn’t already the low-flow variety) or when she decided to make her own yogurt at home. But we were perhaps understandably skeptical when she started talking about mixing up her own natural, organic shampoo and cleaning products. I mean, yes, yes, we should all be a bit more conscious about the mystery chemicals we use, but can’t we just buy natural products? Is it really worth the time, effort (and, in some cases, the expense) to make them ourselves? Jamie was determined to find out, and since I’ve got a green cleaning beat to follow, I was more than happy to help her. Read more…

  6. Global Climate Change Treaty Could Protect Tropical Forests

    Posted on September 23, 2009 by Courtney


    World leaders are gathering at the United Nations this week to discuss climate change, and amid all the rhetoric and promises about decreasing emissions within a certain number of years, something revolutionary and, more importantly, binding is being negotiated. It’s the global climate change treaty, and it’s expected to be finished around December.

    Read more…

  7. Giving the gift of green cleaning

    Posted on September 22, 2009 by The Modern Gal


    A good friend of mine got engaged recently and will be getting married this weekend. She had a few of the typical wedding showers that most brides-to-be have, and with those showers of course comes gift giving. My friend was like most brides and created a few gift registries which consisted of the usual: dishes, sheets, towels, etc. Many of the more affordable items were already purchased when I went looking for a shower gift, so I was left to freestyle.

    In doing a bit of Googling, I found a two-year-old article on GreenCleanBook.com that suggested giving a green cleaning basket as a gift. That may not be your idea of a good wedding gift, but it’s a great idea for wedding showers, housewarming gifts and gifts for college students.

    It’s easy too: take a basket — perhaps you can find one in your own home that you’re not using and reuse it, or check out these fair-trade baskets at Ten Thousand Villages. Then fill to the brim with green-cleaning products like kitchen cleaners, laundry detergent, reusable cleaning cloths, dryer balls, etc. You can dress the basket up with some shredded bits of magazine in place of tissue paper or scrap bits of cloth instead of ribbon. And newspaper makes great wrapping paper (you could even use the wedding announcement page if the gift is for a bride).

    Who knows, maybe you’ll inspire the newlyweds to be a bit greener in planning their big day. What other tips do you have for green gift-giving?

  8. Make Your Own Dog Bed

    Posted on September 21, 2009 by Allie


    Previously, I posted about how I use old blankets as dog beds, instead of going out and buying fancy new ones.  I upgraded recently, by making simple covers, and it’s made a big difference. Read more…

  9. coats and more coats

    Posted on September 18, 2009 by Rachel


    One of the most difficult things about trying to be an eco-friendly consumer is that, too often, it comes with a high price tag. Originally, I thought that given the change in the seasons, reviewing some fall and winter coats (for the gals) might be a great option for my September post. Having never bought an eco-friendly coat, I dove into my online research with gusto, certain I would find a long list of great resources to share with you.

    Instead, I ended up with a long list of coats way out of my price-range: $581 for a made in the U.S.A. vegan coat? $ 310 for a organic cotton trench ? $276 for an organic cotton fleece trench made with low impact dyes? Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for investing in clothing that is well-made and sustainable, but I’m also for trying not to break the bank.

    You may have noticed a trend in my blogging style: practicality. I like to challenge myself to think of ways that I can live a green lifestyle without having to spend a lot of cash, if any. So, here are my ideas for finding a green coat without breaking the bank. Read more…

  10. Building a better bovine

    Posted on September 17, 2009 by A Free Man

    2008-10_Quellendorf_4The role of livestock production in global climate change is one of those topics that gets mocked mercilessly by climate change skeptics and TV comedians. Go ahead, insert your favorite cow fart joke here. I’ll wait…

    But it isn’t really a laughing matter. According to a 2006 report by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock production is a major source of many of our most pressing environmental problems. The report estimates that, all things considered, livestock are responsible for 18% of current greenhouse gas emissions. With the increase of demand for beef in the developing world – meat consumption is estimated to double in the next twenty years – it is a problem that is going to get worse without some major global changes.

    There are a number of ways to deal with the impact of livestock on the environment – changes in agricultural practices, commercial and political pressure from consumers, lifestyle changes – but the agricultural industry and consumer opinion are likely to change course pretty slowly, kind of like turning a cruise ship. While we wait for big Agra to develop a conscience and consumers to eat less beef, scientists have taken the initiative and begun to work on ways to clean up cattle production. A recent article in Nature Reports Climate Change describes the approach that a number of scientists are taking – building a greener cow. Read more…

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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