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14 posts from January 2013

January 30, 2013

4 Unexpected Products Made from Poop

ProductsMost people are familiar with the practice of recycling animal excrement into manure. But some not-so-squeamish souls have gone a step further, devising sustainable solutions to prevent the putrid piles from going to waste.

1. Civet coffee (kopi luwak): Can you imagine paying hundreds of dollars for coffee made from poop? Civet coffee is a rarefied brew made from the droppings of a nocturnal, catlike animal called the Asian palm civet. The lithe, long-tailed creature eats a diet of coffee berries, digesting the fruit’s fleshy pulp and passing the tough pit through its gastrointestinal tract whole (although enzymes break down the bean’s proteins). After the civet defecates the undigested coffee beans, they are then harvested, husked, washed, and roasted.

Opinions of the civet coffee’s flavor vary, described by some as “earthy” and “smooth” and others as “unremarkable” and “thin.” Many would agree, though, that the coffee isn’t bitter — which makes sense, since the civet’s digestive enzymes degrade the proteins that help give coffee its bitterness.

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January 29, 2013

Crowd-Sourced App Rates Walkability of Streets

Walkonomics_Android_App_3_Screens_360The free Web- and Android-friendly Walkonomics app ostensibly scores streets in eight categories — including how pretty, how steep, how dangerous, and even whether a sidewalk exists — based on open data from governments and ratings by app users.

Essentially, though, Walkonomics’s mobile, crowd-sourced cartography recognizes walking as a means and an end.

The streets between our Point As and Bs make up small stories written as we go, where wearing high heels or holding hands with a toddler, not just distance, can inform the journey. Tourists might look for the easily navigable streets; for joggers, streets with crosswalks; for everyone, streets with restaurants, parks, or stores.

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January 28, 2013

Ask Mr. Green: How Much Water Can I Save?

Mr. Green is Bob SchildgenHey Mr. Green,

How much water could be saved in a year in a household  of four, if we assume everyone has hair that is 20 inches long and they shorten it to 10 inches and that they each shampoo 3 times a week?  

—Duane, in Lincoln, Nebraska

We don’t have a reliable correlation between hair length and shower length, because of the many variables involved, e.g., different hair textures and densities, shampoos, personal habits, environmental attitudes, etc.

But what we do know is that showering requires a substantial torrent that accounts for 17 percent of all residential water use, or 1.2 trillion gallons per year in the United States, according the EPA. In light of last year’s drought and predictions of water shortages in no fewer than 36 states this year, briefer showers and better equipment are clearly a good idea.

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January 25, 2013

Eco-Smoothies: Berry Green Recipe

Berry smoothie recipe

Today's recipe caps off our week of budget friendly smoothie recipes. The ingredients for these healthy, green drinks shouldn't cost more than $15.

Recipe #4: Berry Green Smoothie

Give your body a break with this Berry Green Smoothie. At about 177 calories this high fiber, low calorie, and antioxidant rich smoothie, makes sure the body barely does any work to break down these essential nutrients.


  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1 cup of blackberries
  • ½ cup pineapples
  • ½ cup orange juice


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January 24, 2013

Eco-Smoothies: Not-So-Mellow-Yellow Recipe

Apples and Pineapples

This week on the Green Life, we're highlighting refreshing smoothie recipes and daily action tips to help you feel fit and energized.

Recipe #3: Not-So-Mellow-Yellow Smoothie

 Looking for something to satiate that sweet tooth? This refreshing smoothie is sure to do the trick. It also has some key ingredients, like apples and bananas that will give you an all-natural energy boost.


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January 23, 2013

Eco-Smoothies: Berry Bliss Recipe


This week, we're pairing healthy eco-smoothie recipes with easy exercises to help you kick off a healthier, greener 2013.

Recipe #2: Berry Bliss Smoothie

Just can’t wrap your mind around spinach in your smoothie? Well there are some great alternatives that will still provide you with plenty of fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants. The measurements of raspberries and blackberries in this Go Green Smoothie offer you 60 percent of your daily value of fiber and up to 88 percent of you daily value of manganese. Opt for local and organic ingredients whenever possible.


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January 22, 2013

4 Eco-Smoothies to Boost Your Metabolism

green smoothie recipe

Still carrying around a few extra pounds from those sinful holiday food splurges? Don't worry, we'll help you get back on track. This week, pair our four eco-smoothie recipes with our daily Healthy Action Tips to kick those post-holiday pounds to the curb and jump-start a healthier, greener 2013. Best of all, you only need eight ingredients, all of which you can find at your local grocery store for under $15!

Recipe #1: Go Green or Go Home Smoothie

With powerhouse vegetable spinach as the leading ingredient, it is hard to go wrong with this flavorful smoothie. Packed with iron, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin A & C and potassium, this low-fat, vegan drink will give you the energy boost you need to start your day while kicking your metabolism into high gear. Pair it with our Healthy Action Tip of the Day below to burn a few extra calories while barely breaking a sweat.


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January 20, 2013

10 Ways to Give Back on MLK Day

MLK Monument

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was more than a monumental figure for social change, he was also a man dedicated to service. In memory of his life and legacy, it is important that we all ask ourselves what he believed to be life's most urgent question,"What are you doing for others?" With this in mind, we encourage you to take the time to give back to your community and make MLK day a day on, not a day off. Below are a list of ten activities taking place in major cities around the country.

Volunteer at Golden Gate National Parks (San Francisco and Marin County,CA)

Looking for a way to serve your community while enjoying beautiful scenery? Commemorate MLK Day by volunteering with Golden Gate National Parks. There are volunteer opportunities at the following locations: Alcatraz, Fort Baker, Marin County, Mori Point, Muir Beach, Ocean Beach, Presidio of San Francisco, San Francisco, San Mateo County. Whether you are restoring garden on Alcatraz or assisting with grounds maintenance at Fort Baker, these activities are sure to enhance the community. All ages are welcome.

Volunteer with Truly Living Well (Atlanta, GA)

Help create a more sustainable community by joining Truly Living Well in their day of service event. Volunteers will be installing bed gardens for low-income housing divisions, families, community centers, and schools while encouraging people to grow their own food and eat healthy. This event will begin at 9:00 am at the Wheat Street Garden at 75 Hilliard St NE, Atlanta, GA.

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January 15, 2013

Ask Mr. Green: Where Should Old Clothes Go?

Mr. Green is Bob SchildgenHey Mr. Green,

I've read that the average American dumps about 70 pounds of textiles (clothing, old carpets, etc.) into landfills each year. How do I recycle the stained and hole-ridden jeans that thrift stores won't take?

--Jesse in California

Americans dispose of more than 12 million tons of textiles annually, less than 25 percent of which is recycled or reused, dooming most secondhand clothing and carpets to a soggy afterlife crammed deep in a landfill.

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January 14, 2013

How Muir Are You?

John Muir standing by a treeA self-described "poetico-trampo-geologist-botanist and ornithologist-naturalist etc. etc. !!!!" John Muir was such a well-rounded guy, nearly everyone has something in common with him. The real question is, just how similar to the father of our National Parks are you? Go through the checklist below to find out how you match up. We guarantee you've got at least a couple things in common with our beloved Sierra Club founder

The Muir Checklist


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