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34 posts from November 2007

November 19, 2007

The Sound of Salvage

A hush fell over the crowd. The conductor raised his arms and the orchestra began to play...not flutes and violins, but serving trays, garbage cans, pieces of pipe, and other materials gathered from the San Francisco dump. The composer of the eclectic, but engaging score, Nathaniel Stookey, had created the instruments (pictured) and written the three-movement piece during his stint at the Norcal Artist In Residence Program, which has given more than 50 artists over 17 years free reign over the city's Junkestra_3 discards as source material for amazing sculpture, clothing, and other artworks.

Stookey's "Junkestra" played to a large and enthusiastic audience Friday night at the storied Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, preceded by short films made by other resident artists and co-hosted by program coordinator Deborah Munk in a runway-worthy gown made from the plastic bags that newspapers get delivered in. (Seriously, it was gorgeous.) The wine served at intermission was from a local vineyard that participates in a Norcal program to turn food scraps from San Francisco restaurants into compost for growing grapes. Missed out? There's no more free wine, but photos and video of an earlier Junkestra performance are available online, along with audio tracks from a rehearsal.

November 17, 2007

Top Turkey-Day Tips

Enrich your Thanksgiving festivities--and give the planet something to be thankful about too--with these ecofriendly ideas:

  • Opt for an organic turkey from a family farm.
  • Buy fewer processed foods and more local and organic ones.
  • Incorporate seasonal vegetarian dishes like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and root vegetables.
  • Take the 100-Mile Thanksgiving challenge and join other "families and individuals [who] have committed to generating one dish, or even their whole holiday meal, from sources within 100 miles of their homes."
  • If your table settings are in need of replacement, look for organic cloth linens and napkins.
  • Uncork a bottle or two of organic wine.
  • After the feast, do full loads of dishes instead of hand-washing and skip the drying cycle.

For next year, consider reducing your travel impact by carpooling or taking the train to your destination and holding your family get-together in a place that's central to the most guests. If you must fly to see the family, look for a direct flight, which minimizes both emissions--since a huge percentage of fuel is used on takeoff--and holiday hassle.

November 16, 2007

Daily Tip: November 16, 2007

Need to relax? Consider a green day spa, which are opening up in most areas of the United States. In Washington, D.C., there’s Nusta Spa, which uses all organic spa products and was awarded a Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for its green facility. To find a sustainable spa near you, check out the Green Spa Network—an online organization of environmentally-conscious spas in California, Utah, Vermont, New York, and Georgia, with more establishments on the way.

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November 15, 2007

Elemental advice on fire and water

Hey Mr Green In the November/December 2007 issue of Sierra, Mr. Green figures out the most ecofriendly way to feed a fireplace and debunks beliefs about bottled water.

Curious, concerned, or just generally confused about environmental issues of all stripes? Send your thoughts and questions directly to Mr. Green, or weigh in in the comments section.

Daily Tip: November 15, 2007

It's true that the world's leaders and corporations could be doing more to curb global warming. But that doesn't mean we should all sit around watching movies and eating popcorn, thinking that our efforts to make a difference won't have an impact. Keep making those changes to reduce your carbon emissions.

Like the "green stars" told us at the Environmental Media Association awards ceremony, "Everybody has behaviors that they can take another look at," and every little bit helps, whether it's recycling, driving a hybrid, using non-toxic household products...Watch this video from the awards night, and then do something: Sign our petition asking Congress to pass a clean energy bill.

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November 14, 2007

Meals to be Thankful For

Need some inspiration for your Thanksgiving feast? Ideal Bite readers are sharing their scrumptious-sounding menus for locally sourced holiday meals. Roast turkey with homegrown-sage stuffing; horseradish mashed potatoes; butternut squash, apple, and onion gratin; wild mushroom pie; olive bread; cranberry-pear crisp... mmmm.... seriously, don't click over there on an empty stomach!

Daily Tip: November 14, 2007

There's probably someone in your life who influenced you to care about the planet. If you're doing your best to live lightly on the planet, then you, in turn, are probably an inspiration to those around you--adults and children alike. Be sure to talk up what you're doing to protect wild places, conserve energy, and keep our air and water clean.

At the recent Environmental Media Association awards ceremony, the Sierra Club asked the stars to talk about who inspired them to be green. We heard it all, from their parents and children to Cub Scouts and Nobel Prize winners. Listen to their stories in this short video, and then for bonus points, take action and inspire your mayor to push Congress for a clean energy bill.

Our apologies -- yesterday's Green Tip had a bad link in it. Click here to call your member of Congress and ask for a clean energy bill.

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November 13, 2007

The Look...For Less

After inspiring eco-fashionistas everywhere, Goodwill itself is jumping on the cheap-to-chic bandwagonGoodwill_blogger in an effort to upscale its image, reports the Washington Post. The DC branch of this international nonprofit hosted a virtual runway show and has its own hipster fashion blogger (at left) advising readers on the most stylish ways to wear their thrift-store finds.

What's the coolest piece of clothing you've ever picked up in a second-hand store? My favorite is a belted corduroy coat that I wore until the lining wore away... and will wear again once I find someone to fix it!

Daily Tip: November 13, 2007

Update: The link to contact your members of Congress has been fixed.

It might seem like a no-brainer to most of you, but if you aren't already, bring a reusable tote bag when you go shopping. Making disposable plastic bags requires energy equal to 4 million barrels of oil a year, while paper bags use up 14 million trees annually.

Speaking of bags, we asked Hollywood stars which they hated more: plastic bags or paparazzi. You'd think they would pick the photographers who hound them every minute of their lives, but plastic bags are the focus of these stars who say things like, They're the scourge of our society," and "I would love to see no more plastic bags anywhere ever again." Watch the video, and then, after hearing the stars voice their opinions, make your own voice heard to your members of Congress.

Follow these easy steps to call their offices, and then let us know what they said.

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November 12, 2007

Cutting Out Corn

CornfedThink you could go an entire month without eating any processed corn products? The co-stars of the amusing, engrossing new documentary King Corn (that's them clowning around at right) have taken up that surprisingly tricky challenge. Due to the prevalence of its byproducts in processed food and its use as feed for animals, no corn means no soda made from high-fructose corn syrup, no fruits or vegetables coated with a corn-derived wax, and no eggs or milk from corn-fed chickens or cows. Check out the duo's running commentary on their blog and sign up to join them if you're up for the challenge.

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