Posts tagged internet

Hope You’re Thirsty!

Water, water everywhere! As you already know, water, the fresh, drinkable kind, is an increasingly scarce resource these days. Which is why you take short showers, water gardens at non-peak sun hours, and put off washing your car every week (at least it’s a great excuse!). But did you know that every 8 oz. cup of joe you slurp down in the morning uses 140 liters of water? Or that every cup of tea uses 35 liters? Better hope you’re thirsty!

Cuppa Joe

You see, the real water use of a product includes not only the eight ounces of H2O that you put into the coffee maker, but also the water used in the growth and processing of the plant that becomes your morning wake-up potion. Even if you make a habit of conserving water directly, your buying habits can make a HUGE difference in the amount of actual water your lifestyle consumes. To find out more about your REAL water consumption, visit www.waterfootprint.org and use their handy water calculator to determine whether that weekly BigMac is using more than it’s fair share of your budget (trust me, it is: 1 lb of beef requires a staggering 8,000 liters of water to produce!).

While you’re there, check out the data on the nations of the world and how they score on their water footprints. Compare the nations’ abilities to limit their consumption to domestic supplies. You’ll probably be surprised.

So next time you’re at the market, consider buying more foods that have a minimal water footprint, rather than water-heavy meats and processed foods. And if you need a jolt in the morning, try tea instead of coffee, or even better, an alternative combination like fresh fruit and a morning walk. After all, with so many of the world’s population literally running out of potable water to drink, it’s one of the most effective ways you can help to share the wealth.

As a parting shot, take a look at this booklet, produced by the World Wildlife Fund, concerning agriculture and the environmental devastation caused by “thirsty crops”.

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Take a Tour of Solarious

This week, you will be seeing a lot of action at the Solarious website, as I update and expand the back pages with new information for you.  Why don’t you stop through and take a tour?

First, check out the food additives page, “In My Food”, where you can find out more about the ingredients that make up you daily diet and how they may affect your health.  If you have any expertise or suggestions about ingrdients, please share them, and I’ll follow up by posting more on the topic.

Next, visit the “Success Stories” page to see how others in your position have overcome challenges and maintained inspiration and vision to complete alternative energy projects.  Again, please feel free to share any inspiring stories or learning lessons you know of so that others may learn too.

And finally, see the brand-spankin’ new section, “Box it Up”, for an ever-incomplete listing of companies that incorporate recycled packaging and goods into their product lines.  I say incomplete, because more companies recognize the need for such sustainable practices every day.  Here’s to wishing for that day when ALL companies use recycled goods in their products, reducing our virgin material needs close to zero.  Until then, support these companies’ decisions to ensure that they view sustainability as a wise business decision.

In regularly scheduled news, everything here is going great.  After a solid week of grey days and spitting rainy weather, the sun is out and blazing.  It’s time to get cooking!  Over the “down time” of cloudy weather, I walked around the city distributing a new magazine for whom I write.  Plenty of time to check out the neighborhood and look for a block to adopt.  And… I’ve found one!  It took a bit of looking, because in my neighborhood the “Clean Team” (ie. people who’ve gotten community service hours to complete) come around once a week and supposedly clean the streets, so I didn’t want to overlap their areas.  And because there is just so much mess to choose from!  I’ve chosen a two-block area near my house to start with, and will expand once I figure out how much maintenance that will entail.  When I go next week to begin picking up, I’ll post before and after photos.  I also found a community garden near where I travel regularly with available plots.  With any luck, I’ll be able to scrape up a little cash and get a plot there to feed my growing demand for veggies to steam in the sun!  If you’re in the LA area and have a neglected backyard that you want planted for a share of the organic produce, holler! We can help each other out… and isn’t that what life is all about?

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ILoveMiceElf.com – Treat your senses

Part of falling away from the grid involves rethinking your purchasing power. Instead of supporting Walmart, which imports a staggering 30% of all goods that enter through US ports, aim to create local relationships and to buy products that eliminate or minimize the “distance to table” effect which governs not only food but all your purchases. With the amazing power of the internet, “local” can be anywhere in the world: support an individual or team of craftsmen rather than mega corporations.

ILoveMiceElf.com

Ever since I ran into the founder of ILoveMiceElf.com, heard her speak about her organic hands-on approach to crafting bath products, and then ordered some of her creamy soaps, I’ve been in soap heaven. Most bath products are so heavily perfumed and are filled with glycerins and alcohols and ingredients I can’t pronounce. The natural products at this website, however, are hand-crafted using only natural materials that are so good you could almost eat them. Which you shouldn’t do: I have to tell you this because you may actually be tempted by some of their flavors. The cinnamon oatmeal soap is the best I’ve ever tried, anywhere. Very creamy, great scent, and exfoliating oatmeal throughout.

According to Ms. Green, the master craftswoman, she sought to create products using only natural ingredients that won’t cause allergic reactions and would appeal to even the most hard-core natural products users. And this devotion shows in each batch. Try it to believe.

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Earthshare.org – saving earth one tip at a time

Sometimes you don’t have time to sit down and read an essay about what you can do to help the world.  But that doesn’t mean that you don’t want to make a change – somewhere between that lunch meeting and your niece’s birthday party.  For those days, check out Earthshare.org.  This site offers daily environmental how-to tips focusing on ways you can simply reduce your burden in various areas of life.  It’s not heavy reading, more like an RSS headline feed, but it’s a good way to jog your memory on the importance of practical application when “going green”.  You’ll find the tips indexed by topic or date, for easy browsing.

Here’s their mission statement, in their own words:

Earth Share supports a nationwide network of America’s leading non-profit environmental and conservation organizations, and works to promote environmental awareness and charitable giving through workplace giving campaigns. Founded by its member charities in 1988, Earth Share is an opportunity for environmentally-conscious employees and workplaces to support hundreds of environmental groups through a charitable giving drive.

It especially focuses on the workplace, and has partnered with many large corporations and other organizations to provide a blueprint for greening the office place, their EarthShare workplace campaign.  You will also find links to EarthShare.org affiliate sites, one for most states in the US, which offer stories, opportunities, and tips tailored for your neck of the woods.  And be sure to check out the links section for interesting reading should you ever find yourself with that elusive free moment.

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Who’s Hiding in Your Kitchen?

Scryve.com

Scryve.com

“Scryve is a collaborative web resource and browser tool combination that provides a resource for environmentally and socially aware Internet browsing. Look up company ratings using the search box below, or Download our browser tool to see the rating of any company whose website you are on in the top right corner of your browser. If you like the rating, keep browsing, if you don’t like it, click on it and we’ll show you why the company is rated that way and give you alternative companies to use.”

I figured I’d just let them speak for themselves, this time. The browser interface is very nice, though the recommendations seem to be based on a keyword algorithm that sometimes return humorous results. As is it obviously designed to be a user-driven site, right now, in its youngest stages, there are a lot of basic ratings and company information. Probably with a little more time and user traffic to get the recommendations streamlined, this site will become a valuable resource. For now, it functions best as a lesson in who owns what in the world. You might be surprised just how few people that could really be.

Going green and/or running from the grid are drastic changes to make in one’s standard lifestyle. But not because they require you to sell your soul or start making pemmican professionally from a National Forest treetop. It also has a lot to do with looking at the greater picture of things, which is a skill that translates across to successes in all walks of life. When I realized how easy it is to make a few simple changes and effectively shut out the power (both literally and figuratively!) of the people that I didn’t want telling me how to live each day, well, I was hooked. Success coaches stress the importance of success as a mindset. We would all do well to start out giving ourselves small goals that we actually achieve rather than big ones left half done. Try picking one alternative company to your mega mart today. Then, once you’ve adjusted your routine, pick another. Then you build with a solid foundation for future change.

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The Green Guide from National Geographic

http://www.thegreenguide.com/

National Geographic has a long history of both excellent journalism and unabashed support of nature and her many splendors. So when I heard about The Green Guide, I was pretty excited. And a visit to their website only enforced this emotion. You can find the Green Guide by check-stands at Whole Foods Markets around the country, but for a greener alternative to all that paper, just stop by their site. The inaugural issue is packed with good tips on how to green your life and become more aware of your planetary footprint. For example, you’ll find a glowing review of Freecycle, the site I profiled earlier in the week. And a nice story about the life (and death) of plastic bags headed for WalMart. And they have a Green Tips newsletter which will deliver good news to you weekly. Check it out!

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Clipmarks.com

And now for something completely different…

Clipmarks.com

You may see from time to time (like in the post below) a box stating “Clipped from Clipmarks” in a post. Well, it isn’t exactly an earth-saving technology, but Clipmarks can save you a lot of time if you are storing information from the internet. And that, in turn, could result in less time on the computer, and therefore less energy used. Certainly less of your own brain energy! Clipmarks allows you to “clip” certain sections of a webpage and then do one of many things with it. If the item you’ve clipped is less than 1000 characters (you will quickly find out how small this really is!), then you can save it to a public clipcast, which is basically your own TV show of the things you like across the web. You can also post directly to a blog, as I do here. If you have something longer you want to save, go ahead! The interface will still allow you to save longer clips privately (so you can still access them), or (my favorite feature) email the clip to yourself, the full text and a link back to the original source, not just a link to visit somewhere else and retrieve the info. Basically it’s copy and paste super-charged. And then, to top things off, you can post your clips to the del.icio.us’s and reddits of the world with a single click. I’d only be slightly exaggerating if I said it’s changed the whole way I do business on the web. Best of all, if you use firefox, you can get the clipmarks extension, which will place a nice little button in your browser bar to automate the process even further.

Remember, there are a million ways (at least!) to rethink your activities and make them more earth friendly. Especially once you decide to make the leap toward off-grid living, this site could be a big help in getting your facts straight and organized so you can actually find them again. ‘Cause we all forget things sometimes. =p

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