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30 posts from January 2008

January 23, 2008

Daily Tip: Jan 23, 2008

Do you bring a 6 ounce container of yogurt to work in the mornings for breakfast? To reduce your impact, instead try buying the larger 32 ounce yogurt containers and scooping your daily portion of yogurt into a reusable container. That reusable container could even be the old 6 ounce yogurt containers that you used to buy. You'll be reminded everyday of the waste you are preventing!

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January 22, 2008

Good Eats

Looking for ways to save money--and energy? Try making your next meal in a pressure cooker. In this recipe, fire-roasted crushed tomatoes add extra zing.

Shiitake Lentil Soup
2 1/2 cups dried shiitake mushrooms
1 1/2 large sweet onions, shredded or diced
5 carrots (4 shredded, 1 sliced)
3 celery stalks, sliced
28 oz. can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
2 heaping tablespoons garlic powder
1/4 cup uncooked wild rice
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice, basmati or long grain
3/4 cup dried lentils
3/4 cup red wine
7 cups chicken or vegetable broth

The day before you make the soup, cover the mushrooms in two and a half cups of water and soak them overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, slice the mushrooms and trim off the stems (reserving any remaining liquid). Saute the onions, carrots, and celery in a few tablespoons of canola oil in the pressure cooker with the lid off. Once the onions have turned clear and the vegetables are getting soft, add the rest of the ingredients, including the mushrooms and remaining soaking water. Seal the lid and turn the heat on high. When the pot starts whistling loudly, lower the heat until it produces a low, steady hissing. Cook for an hour, then turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner. Let the soup sit for at least 15 minutes, or until the pressure button drops. Stir and serve. For a thinner soup, add a little water. Makes about three quarts. --Wendy Lyons Sunshine

Singlecircle_burgundy_whitearrow_2 Still cookin? Try the author's recipe for Coq-a-Barley Soup.

Daily Tip: Jan 22, 2008

We're all in a hurry. But a little patience when ordering items online could cut your shipping carbon footprint by half, or more. Rather than have each item shipped separately as soon as it becomes available, ask that your order be grouped into as few shipments as possible. It might take a few days longer, but why have two or three big brown trucks stop at your curb when a single one can do the job?

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January 18, 2008

Movie Friday!

Winter weather getting you down? Escape to the movies with one of our "Film Fridays" selections. Each week we'll feature a movie with environmentally or socially responsible themes that’s currently in theatres or available on DVD.

Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a review of 100 words or less and we may feature it on the e-mail list!

Blue Vinyl
a film by Daniel B Gold and Judith Helfand

When filmmaker Judith Helfand's parents decide to replace the rotting wood siding on their suburban home with cheaper, more durable blue vinyl, Helfand embarks on a quest to find out whether it's possible "to make products that never hurt anyone at any point in their life cycle." Toting a slab of siding, Helfand travels to Lake Charles, Louisiana, the vinyl capital of the United States. What she uncovers there, and in another manufacturing center, Venice, Italy, is enough to convince even her stubborn parents to take the vinyl down.

Rent the movie with some friends and get a rousing discussion going with Sierra's film-club questions.

January 17, 2008

Daily Tip: Jan 17, 2008

Just say no" and "BYO" are two ways to reduce waste while shopping. For more tips, check out the Boston Globe article "9 Ways to use one less plastic bag".

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January 16, 2008

Pop Corner

Call it Survivor: The Landfill. The British TV series Dumped, which aired last fall, challenged 11 volunteers to spend three weeks living on a heap of garbage. The participants, including a 20-year-old student who "hates to be stuck in an environment without any nightclubs" and a 47-year-old personal trainer who lives on a boat and eats only organic food, were recruited under the working title "EcoChallenge," executive producer Helen Veale told the Guardian newspaper. "They all thought they were going to end up somewhere exotic like the Amazon rainforest."

January 15, 2008


Diane MacEachern, age 55
Founder & CEO, Big Green Purse

Dianem_4After struggling for years to help pass environmental bills on Capitol Hill, former communications consultant Diane MacEachern wondered if it would be easier to change how people spend the bills in their wallets. So the mother of two created a Web campaign--with a companion book coming out in late February--to get women to shift $1,000 of their annual spending to ecofriendly products.

Q: Why focus on women?

A: Women are doing most of the household shopping, and they are more sympathetic to environmental issues than men. Women understand that when the planet is in trouble, they're in trouble.

Q: How do you suggest that consumers prioritize their spending?

A: Start by shifting $10 of your weekly grocery budget. For example, cut out bottled water--you're just paying for plastic and transportation--and spend the money you're saving on organic food.

Q: Some people say we can't buy our way to a better planet. Are there limits to what changing consumption patterns can achieve?

A: In a way, I feel that argument is intended to dissuade women from being in control of their own homes, spending, and lives. Money talks, and manufacturers are listening every time you put a product on the checkout conveyor belt.

Fast Fact

Women make 85 percent of retail purchases in the United States.

Daily Tip: Jan 15, 2008

If you’re in need of lumber, consider buying from ecofriendly wood providers. The Forest Stewardship Council has approved 59 million acres of timber forest in 47 countries for their environmentally responsible practices. Friends of the Earth also has buying tips on its Good Wood Guide site

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January 14, 2008

Advice for workers, actors, and shoppers

Hey Mr Green In the January/February 2008 issue of Sierra, Mr. Green opines on the best way for a touring actor to leave no trace, clears up concerns about cotton, and advises on workplace recycling.

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.

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