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29 posts from October 2012

October 31, 2012

Downsize Your Domain: 3 Sneaky Storage Spaces

Secret storage spaces
Could you live in a 500-square-foot house? If the answer is yes, kudos! For the rest of us, it can be a struggle to consume less energy, buy less stuff, and keep the house clean and green. Fear not. This week, we'll show you how to simplify your life and maximize your space.

3 Sneaky Storage Spaces

1. Bookshelf + Chair

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October 30, 2012

Cold Comfort: A Gear Guide for Camping in the Snow

Crisp air, fresh animal tracks, bug-free evenings, and water all around — in the form of snow. A winter campout is a gorgeous way to experience nature. Here's a selection of gear to keep you safe and (relatively) warm. 

hiking,  boot, Salewa, MS Snow Trainer Insulated GTX, Insulated boot, snow gear, winter  camping

The MS Snow Trainer Insulated GTX by SALEWA is the perfect boot for winter trekking's harshness: It's warm and exceptionally light, and its outsoles are made of a unique grippy rubber that stays pliable in the cold. A built-in gaiter prevents snow from spilling over the top and soaking your toes. And while you won't want to wear them to a wedding, you'll be styling through the slush. $279,

patagonia, jacket, Nano Puff, hybrid jacket,  snow gear, winter camping

In the coldest heart of winter, anyone who skis, snowshoes, or hikes will still work up a sweat. Which is why the Nano Puff hybrid jacket from PATAGONIA is designed to stay warm even when wet. It's made of recycled polyester and has thin Polartec R2 fleece panels to vent your 'pits and back. The seam pattern won't bunch under straps or harnesses, either. $249,

therm-a-rest, sleeping pad, xtherm, snow  gear, winter camping

Ever since THERM-A-REST debuted its NeoAir line of sleeping pads, it has become the brand of choice — nothing else on the market will keep you as warm or as comfortable. The incredibly light (15 ounces) XTherm mattress incorporates more than 100 inner cells and a reflective material, features that direct cold away from your body and into the ground. $190,

Continue reading "Cold Comfort: A Gear Guide for Camping in the Snow" »

Downsize Your Domain: 3 Simple Habits

Own Less

Could you live in a 500-square-foot house? If the answer is yes, kudos! For the rest of us, it can be a struggle to consume less energy, buy less stuff, and keep the house clean and green. Fear not. This week, we'll show you how to simplify your life and maximize your space.

3 Simple Habits for a Smaller Footprint

 1. Own less.

Continue reading "Downsize Your Domain: 3 Simple Habits" »

October 29, 2012

Downsize Your Domain: 3 Space Savers

Tiny houseCould you live in a 500-square-foot house? If the answer is yes, kudos! For the rest of us, it can be a struggle to consume less energy, buy less stuff, and keep the house clean and green. Fear not. This week, we'll show you how to simplify your life and maximize your space.

3 Types of Transformative Beds

Make the most of a small space with furniture that can serve multiple functions. These transformative beds save both money and materials. After all, you don't need to buy two separate pieces of furniture to get two separate pieces of furniture.

1. A bunk bed that turns into a couch.

Continue reading "Downsize Your Domain: 3 Space Savers" »

October 26, 2012

How to Make the Most of Your Autumn

Organic pumpkins for autumnThe leaves outside may be red and gold, but autumn is a great time to be green. To inspire you to make the most of the season, we've collected tips, recipes, and a nature slideshow on the Sierra Club's Green Your Autumn page.

Here are a five of our favorite fall activities to add to your list:

1.) Visit a farm. Take your family to the nearest organic farm to stock up on pumpkins and apples for Halloween. (We especially like to preserve biological diversity by supporting rare-fruit orchards whenever possible.)

2.) Enjoy seasonal recipes. It's time to eat pumpkins, squashes, sweet potatoes, carrots, leeks, cranberries, apples, and pears. Start with roasted pumpkin seeds and work your way to butternut squash enchiladas and homemade cranberry sauce.

3.) Make decorations. Autumn holidays offer a chance to entertain guests and show off your eco-friendly DIY style. Opt for crafts that utilize items you already have on hand or that serve a dual purpose, such as edible table displays.

Continue reading "How to Make the Most of Your Autumn" »

October 25, 2012

Maggie Q, Shark Hugger

Maggie QIn the high-action TV show Nikita, Maggie Q plays the title character, a coolheaded rogue assassin being hunted by secret agents. She's also been a bomb-detonating operative with Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible III and a gun-wielding killer opposite Bruce Willis in Live Free or Die Hard. In real life, though, she wouldn't harm a fly — or any other living thing. She's an ambassador for WildAid, a nonprofit whose slogan is "When the buying stops, the killing can too." A conservation activist for the past 14 of her 33 years, Q cares especially about sharks.

Q: Why sharks?

A: They're a huge part of the ocean ecosystem. If we don't protect our oceans, if we don't allow fish to repopulate, we're in bigger trouble than people realize. It's the biggest ecosystem on the planet, and it's not living and breathing like it should.

Q: Did growing up in Hawaii influence your love of the sea and its animals?

A: Definitely. I got an upfront experience with the natural world, and that was one of the things that led me toward conservation. Then I grew up and went, "Wow, people aren’t getting this."

Q: You tweeted a photo of you swimming with an endangered whale shark. Why did you do that? What did it feel like?

A: I thought there would be fear, but their energy was amazing, and they so honorably allowed me to enter their space. These things are enormous, like dinosaurs. And I was in their home. But they gently maneuvered around me and allowed me up in their face. I had an enormous sense of gratitude. I kept apologizing and thanking them, saying, "I'm so sorry, but this is all for you."

Q: What would you like to see happen in regard to sharks?

A: Now that I'm working in Toronto, I'd love to see shark fin get banned in Canada. If Canada does it, maybe the U.S. will. I’m hoping to do advocacy work for it here.

Q: You’re a vegetarian. Why?

A: Because it’s all related when you’re talking about pollution, global warming, soil contamination. If I care about the oceans, I’m not going to eat beef. That waste is going in our oceans, our soil. It’s all connected. Once you truly get it, you can’t ignore it. I can’t want to advocate for sharks and tigers but then eat chicken sandwiches and have a steak.

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October 24, 2012

4 Ways to Spice Up Pumpkin Seeds

Baked pumpkin seedsWhen carving a jack-o-lantern, sometimes all you want to do is scoop all the goop out and start sculpting your masterpiece. Stop right there. You're wasting the best part! Baked pumpkin seeds make a delicious snack. Bored with plain ol' pumpkin seeds? Then we've got a challenge for you. 

Try one of the four savory or sweet variations listed below to spice up this classic fall treat.

Four Unexpected Pumpkin Seed Flavors


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October 23, 2012

Recipe: Nontoxic Halloween Face Paint

Nontoxic makeup recipeWhat's scarier than a cat costume without painted whiskers or a vampire without fake blood? A study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that many children's face paints contain toxins or heavy metals, even when labeled as "safe" or "nontoxic." So before you buy petroleum-derived, heavily packaged, possibly toxic Halloween makeup from the store, think DIY.

The recipe below is 100% edible and non-toxic. In fact, it's made out of food!

Recipe: Natural Halloween Makeup


  • flour
  • water
  • vegetable oil
  • natural colors (see below for color ingredients)

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October 22, 2012

Save $1,000 on Solar Panels

The Solar Homes ProgramDoes your rooftop look a little bare? With the Sierra Club's Solar Homes Program, it's easy to install solar panels and join the rooftop revolution.

Over 150 Californians participated in last year's Solar Homes pilot program. The result? It was the carbon equivalent of turning 150 1.5 average vehicle households into homes that were car-free.

Here's how the program works. For every home that goes solar, Sungevity will pay the Sierra Club $750. In addition, Sierra Club members will receive a deal on their solar service plus a $750 cash gift card. Sungevity offers various options to meet every household's financial goals.

If you go solar by October 31, you'll get a $1,000 cash gift card and Sungevity will give $1,000 to the Sierra Club.

Continue reading "Save $1,000 on Solar Panels" »

3 Unbelievably Awesome Uses for Pumpkins

Pumpkin vaseAs a kid, carving a pumpkin was one of the cornerstone traditions during Halloween. A silly face or a scary ghost became inspiration for your pumpkin masterpiece. But after years of carving, you might want to do something a little different. A pumpkin vase is a quick, easy, and fun way to decorate mindfully around the house for fall festivities. Two variations on this basic design can take your Halloween party to the next level. So don't just sit there, grab a few pumpkins and get crafty!

Festive Pumpkin Vase


  • Flowers
  • Serrated knife and spoon
  • Medium-sized "tall" pumpkin
  • A mason jar or coffee can
  • Leaves, twigs, or fabric (optional)


Continue reading "3 Unbelievably Awesome Uses for Pumpkins" »

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