Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
April 28th, 2008
Written by Sharon Troy, courtesy of GreenOptions.com
It’s springtime and love must be in the air! Check out some green wedding tips here on Feelgood Style as well as some sources for eco-friendly wedding bands on Crafting a Green World. My own green wedding took place last summer, and I return to writing about it now because my husband and I were honored with being featured in this month’s issue of VegNews Magazine.
The publication profiles several weddings every year. I highly recommend picking up a copy (because I also love their recipes and features.) If you can’t find it at your newsstand, here’s a scan of the article where I’m featured.
I’m not just posting this to brag. I also wanted to point you towards some green catering resources. Whether you’re planning a wedding, a fundraiser, or any other special event, we all know that large groups of people can create a lot of waste. So choosing caterers who specialize in local, organic food is one way to lower your event’s carbon footprint.
When shopping around, we were excited to find just that type of service with our caterers, Back to Earth located in Berkeley, CA. In addition to our buffet dinner, they made our fabulous cake pictured here (flowers, courtesy of Oak Hill Farm). While our menu was all vegan, they work with all kinds of menus. From their website:
“You can taste every element of our food - the organic free-range chicken roaming free in Marin, perfect strawberries from Fully Belly Farm, the fresh spring greens from Riverdog Farm in Mendocino, Wild Salmon caught just miles from the San Francisco Bay, juicy portobellos from Solano Mushroom, artisan organic cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery, and a rustic fresh baked organic bread from the Acme bakery, a local Berkeley treasure.”
Not only is their food spectacular, but a number of the vehicles they use for transportation run on biodiesel, and they can help you “green” a number of aspects of your event.
Some other catering companies I’ve found from across the U.S. with a commitment to the environment include:
Seedling Catering in Los Angeles focuses on vegan and macrobiotic menus.
Gail’s Vegetarian Catering in Washington, D.C. does a variety of events, but specializes in vegetarian weddings.
Eco-Goddess Edibles in Aspen, CO bills itself as “organic vegetarian cuisine” although their sample menus featured a number of fish dishes.
Phresh Organic Catering in Portland, OR caters to a more omnivorous crowd, and features a “commitment to sustainability” on its website.
Chowgirls in Minneapolis, MN has an adorable website, and puts a unique spin of things, with a section of “Retro Fare” on their diverse menu.
Pharm Catering in Chatanooga, TN was a bit light on the veggie options, but specializes on organic, local foods.
Lucid Food in New York, NY seems to have primarily done large upscale events, but also does corporate lunches.
There are dozens more in the Bay Area, and plenty more around the world. I’d love to hear your recommendations if you know of any. In the mean time, I’m going back to drooling over pictures of my vegan chocolate wedding cake… mmmm…
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April 16th, 2008
President Bush delivered an address today on climate change. The good news is that he seems to be in a bigger hurry than before to address the problem. The bad news is that he was short on specifics for how his goals should be achieved.
Here’s his big statement: “Today, I am announcing a new national goal: to stop the growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.”
Now the fact that we’ll be belching out more carbon than you can shake a stick at until then wasn’t apparently a concern for the President.
He also stated, “To reach our 2025 goal, we will need to more rapidly slow the growth of power sector greenhouse gas emissions so that they peak within 10 to 15 years and decline thereafter. By doing so, we will reduce emission levels in the power sector well below where they were projected to be when we first announced our climate strategy in 2002. There are a number of ways to achieve these reductions, but all responsible approaches depend on accelerating the development and deployment of new technologies.”
What are those approaches? What are the new technologies? Not much was offered on that front– but he did encourage us to not give up on nuclear power or coal: “The right way is to promote more emission-free nuclear power and encourage the investments necessary to produce electricity from coal without releasing carbon into the air.”
Read some reactions to the speech from our friends at Grist.org. “Same as it ever was,” pretty much sums it up.
What did you think?
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March 31st, 2008
As gas prices near $4 per gallon and artic ice shelves plunge into the ocean, there has never been a better time to save gas and help reduce your contribution to global warming. And hey, saving up to $100 per month doesn’t hurt either, eh?
There are many easy ways you can reduce your gas consumption, keep cash in your pocket, and be a better steward of the environment.
+ Use public transportation. Ride the bus, take the metro, ride your bike. Or, gasp!– walk.
+ Carpool. There is even a site that helps you find people to share with– eRideShare.com.
+ Telecommute. Could you work from home today? Got lots of emails and conference calls– consider doing them from home.
+ Combine errands and walk between stops. Can you go to the grocery store and the post office in one trip rather than two? Can you walk from the drug store to the tailor without re-parking?
+ Slow it down there, pardner. If you are driving, remember the faster you go the faster you burn fuel. And rapid acceleration is a big gas-burner too. Use cruise control when you can on the highway. Slow and steady wins the race.
+ Keep your tires well-inflated. Inflated tires help you get better gas mileage. It’s good to check your tires at least once per month.
+ Keep it light. Remove any un-needed weight from the car. Your fuel efficiency is highest when your vehicle is light and aerodynamic. Thus also remove any car racks you’re not using as they create drag.
+ Keep your car tuned up and change your air filter frequently.
+ Try to park in the shade. Gasoline evaporates out of your tank, and sitting in the hot sun speeds up that process. Parking in the shade also keeps it cooler inside, and you will need less A/C to cool off when you get back in.
+ If you’re in the market for car, please consider getting a low- or no-emissions vehicle. A hybrid can be a good option, or you can get a diesel and then use biodiesel fuel. To learn more about hybrids, click here. To learn more about biodiesel, click here.
+ Or what about a motorcycle or a scooter instead of a car? These two-wheel options are much cheaper than cars and they often get 70 mpg or better. You’ll save a ton of money over a car! Check out some cool motos and scooters here.
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March 29th, 2008
As they say, “Earth’s changing climate is already wreaking havoc in some very weird ways. So gird yourself for such strange effects as savage wildfires, 25-mile long icebergs, disappearing lakes, freak allergies, and the threat of long-gone diseases re-emerging.”
To learn more about the causes of global warming and what YOU can do to fight it by taking action in your life, please click here.
Popularity: 1% [?]
March 21st, 2008
Many of you have contacted us wanting to learn more about synthetic lawn options. As you know, encouraging people to save water in their homes is a big part of our mission here at Low Impact Living. Americans use an estimated 26 billion gallons of water per day, and roughly 30% of that (8 billion gallons/day) goes to water our lawns and gardens. That means the average home uses over 35,000 gallons per year to water their lawn, and for suburban homes it’s about 10,000 gallons more than that! So the idea of a lawn that requires no water is very appealing to us.
However, we must say we are conflicted about the use of fake grass because it is made from plastics. As you know, plastic comes from petroleum, which is a non-renewable, scarce resource. So the fake grass decision comes down to sorting between the two evils– using more plastic (fake grass) vs. using more water (real grass).
We come down on the side of saving water in this case. If you live in an area where fresh water is very scarce (e.g., the Southwest, the Southeast), and you have the money to get a synthetic lawn, go for it. Saving the water is more important than saving the plastic. (And as global warming increases, the regions of the US affected by drought will only grow!) If you live in these areas and do NOT have the money for a fake lawn, we encourage you to pull up your water-guzzling grass, compost it, and plant native grasses/plants. These are gorgeous and will save a ton of water. To learn more about the benefits of native landscaping, click here.
How Do I Get a Synthetic Lawn?
The “big daddy” in the fake grass business is SYNLawn. We have touched and walked on the SYNLawn grass and we must admit it’s pretty impressive. It feels good even on bare feet. You could imagine laying on it and playing with your dog (dog not included with purchase). SYNLawn materials start at $2.50 per sq. foot, and go as high as $6.90 per sq. foot. For a fully installed lawn it’s $6 to $11 per square foot. So you’re looking at $12,000-$22,000 for a normal 2,000 square foot back yard. It’s certainly not cheap, but remember– no water bills, no mowing, no fertilizer. They say the yard will last 10-15 years.
I asked one of SYNLawn’s regional leaders, Dwayne Ruth, why they can’t make the grass out of recycled plastics. He said at this time they cannot make the grass durable, recycled and reasonably priced– but that they are always looking at new materials and processes that will allow them to up the “green quotient” of their products. They also offer a cushy under-layment called “green foam” that you can put under the grass to make it extra safe for kids who like to fall down (and what kid doesn’t?). This foam is actually made from 98% recycled material.
Another company on the market, Green Grass Forever, is doing some beautiful synthetic lawn work. They are based in Los Angeles, but can do projects anywhere in the country. They have two types of grass– one called Nico Green (darker) and Jackie Two-Tone (lighter and definitely wins the award for best name!). They will come to your home, pull out your existing lawn, level the area, put down a composite stone mixture (critical for drainage!), and lay the faux turf. Then they spike it to hold it down and lay “crumb” or infill, which is made from recycled rubber. This infill settles into the grass, helping to hold it steady, but it also makes a nice flexible bottom that is great for kids knees and doggy rumps. Green Grass Forever charges $8.50/square foot all in– including materials and installation. So for a 2,000 square foot lawn it will run you $17,000. But Joe Cortese, the CEO, says that the costs of a natural grass lawn for water, fertilizer, re-sodding, and other maintenance will cost you more over a 10 year period. I’m not sure it’s a complete wash on the money–that would depend on where you live and how much you spend now on your grass. But surely you would save quite a bit of money after you installed the synthetic turf. And you’d have the peace of mind of knowing you were saving tens of thousands of gallons of water every year!
Other synthetic lawn companies you may wish to check out:
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