Archive for Uncategorized

Green Roofs Growing Everywhere by Julie Gengo

I found this photo on a website called EkoVenture which is primarily a travel site for those seeking to explore interesting adventures. When this one popped into my life a few weeks ago, I was mesmerized. I loved the way the land has wrapped itself around this little red house almost as if it were there to keep it warm during the winter ahead or the two had a relationship deeply rooted in love. This is Iceland after all, a magical place where anything is possible. But that is exactly the point. Vegetative roofs have covered tops of homes and buildings in this far away place for centuries as a means of insulation for both sun and snow and to bring a warm feeling to its neighbors.

Vegetative roofs are popping up everywhere as they are considered a sustainable approach to building practices. The other benefits include:

Low insulation costs
Stormwater management, runoff and erosion
Energy reduction
Reduced heat Island effect
Improved air and water quality
Decreased pollution
Improved aesthetic environment
Increased durability with most roofs lasting 20 plus years
Wildlife habitat preservation

So go ahead and look up at rooftops of big city skyscrapers or small shops. Hopefully the next time you pass one by you’ll smile at a bird or two and sigh.

Advertisements

Comments (2) »

Carlee Gerardi – Reasons to be Envious

Carlee Gerardi – Reasons to be Envious
By Julie Gengo

“Organic dips. Check. Seed packs. Check. Potted floral arrangements. Check. hemp table cloths. Check.” This is what you might hear during set up for a Green With Envy (GWE) crafted event. GWE is a fresh and innovative event design and production company with an organic twist whose mission is to leave a lasting impression on the guests and not the planet. The results so far have been nothing but bright green. To understand why GWE is well on its way to great success you may want to meet one of the wonderful spirits behind all this greenness – Carlee Gerardi. Gerardi, a native San Diegan and genuinely happy entrepreneur, co-founded GWE with business partner Laura Rankin in early 2009. They both had backgrounds planning events for family, friends and the companies they worked for. When they decided to branch out on their own they knew that entering into the event business as another creative company wasn’t enough. They wanted to do something that had lasting value. While hiking Cowles Mountain in San Diego the spark hit them: “Let’s do it GREEN,” Carlee recalls. The two were both concerned about the environment and wanted to do their part while helping others understand that their choices have an environmental impact. I chatted with Carlee a bit to find out more about her passion for life, work and all things green.

What inspires you to be in this business?
I am inspired by the opportunity to be creative and express myself. This industry is all about the details. I love putting together interesting, surprising details to engage and delight the guests. I am also inspired by how new “green” is in the event planning business. This gives me the opportunity to start trends and make people think about ideas they’ve never considered when planning an event.

In addition to GWE, what is your vision for a greener, cleaner world?
My vision for a cleaner world starts with changing the mindset of its citizens. I believe that society has created this false idea of what people need to live and it has made people wasteful, lazy, excessive, and ignorant. I imagine a day where public figures set the example of eliminating waste, only buying and using what they need and living sustainably which will in turn leads the general public down the same path.

What are you personally doing to make a difference?
At home and at work, I am taking all the precautions to live as sustainable as possible. I drive a Prius, carpool whenever possible, work from home, recycle, and I try to encourage and educate everyone I know to do the same. It’s my personal belief that you can’t take on every issue, so you have to choose which battles to fight. I am not hard on myself if every aspect of my life isn’t “green,” My philosophy is to celebrate the positive things I’m doing for the environment.

How have your clients inspired you?
What inspires me most is their eagerness and desire to learn about throwing a green event. People are opening up to green in a way I’ve never seen before. We approach our clients in a consultative way, not forcing anything on them, but simply counseling them on ways they can save money, eliminate waste and promote sustainable practices.

Can you share with us some specific project details and how you make it work to achieve the final result?
When planning any event, there are hundred of different elements that can be made more sustainable. We’ve created a checklist of simple and affordable Eco-solutions that will lower the impact of any event. We always try and align ourselves with Eco-minded vendors, recycle and strive to eliminate waste when ever possible. We encourage our clients to: use less paper and/or recycled paper for all their invite/paper needs; consider organic and locally produced foods, beverages, flowers, etc; choose a venue that is outdoors, LEED Certified, or supports sustainable practices; encourage guests to carpool or take public transportation; purchase carbon offsets; choose décor elements that are minimal and/or Eco-friendly; give Eco-friendly favors, like seed packets; educate guest on simple steps they can take in their lives to be more green; and so many more.

How does this approach make you and your guests feel?
It feels amazing to be responsible for putting together an event like this. Guests are so impressed, and our clients feel really good about the decisions they make to lower the impact of their event. It’s also really exciting to work with other vendors who share this same enthusiasm.

What does the future hold for GWE?
Our mission at Green with Envy Events is to become the premier green event planning company. We would eventually like to have offices in major cities around the United States. But more short term, we want to make an impact in our communities. We want to educate people about the impact their event has on the environment, and show them ways they can help reverse the wasteful trend in the event industry. Whether they hire us or not, we want to set the example so that people everywhere, when planning any event in their lives, will consider the environment first.

What are some things that allow you to be you?
My absolute favorite hobby is sailing. I feel so free when I’m out on the water. It’s one of the oldest sports, and the best thing about it is you use nature and wind to power the boat. I also love hiking, and try to do it two to three times a week. It gives me a chance to reconnect with nature and clear my head. I also love photography, snowboarding, traveling and music.

Leave a comment »

Fog Bewilders

Joseph Massey lives in the beautifully foggy Humboldt County (California) and it is this exquisite place that has inspired this collection of wonderful poems entitled Areas of Fog (Shearsman Books, 2009). Here is one that I am particularly fond of.

Arcata Marsh
by Joseph Massey

Mudscape—tide’s out—
out as far as fog gives sight.

Peripherry-flecked,
organe-white
lichen latched to limbs

I thought were your
fingers—

your face turned
back by wind.

Leave a comment »

Ayurvedic Tips in Time for Seasonal Changes

My wonderful friend Jutta Hecht has offered these wonderful Ayurvedic inspired tips just in time for the Netti potchange of season. Ayurveda, which translates into “life science” is an ancient form of traditional Indian medicine which focuses on prevention as medicine. However foreign this may sound, some of these practices are being adopted into our western world more frequently. For instance, the number 2 suggestion is something that I do daily. I use a netti pot or nasal pot which looks like a genie lantern. Simply fill it with warm water and a pinch of sea salt and let it run through each nostril. It’s simple and effective in preventing viruses from proliferating.

ayurveda
“At any change of season, when the weather quality and temperatures are fluctuating, the body is more prone to imbalanced fire. It is very important to strengthen the digestive fire (Agni) and doing some detoxification to remove accumulated toxins (Ama) to stay healthy.

From September – October we experience an Accumulation and Aggravation of Vata. We are at the end of a dry summer (Vata aggravating) and beginning of Fall, when the Air element is predominant. (Vata aggravating).

You might experience more dryness in your skin, sleep problems, nervousness, changing appetite, being more emotional, cracking bones, arthritis and catching colds more easily.
dayspa_ayurveda
Tips for the Change of Season

1.
After awakening drink a cup of warm water.
2.
After brushing your teeth, apply Nasya (Oiliation of your nose). This helps to prevent colds, allergies and sinus infections.
3.
Prepare Coriander/Fennel/Cumin tea and drink it warm throughout the day. These herbs cleanse the channels, kidney and liver and increase alertness and wakefulness.
4.
Don’t skip meals, and focus on warm and nourishing foods.
5.
Strenghten your digestive fire by taking Hingvastak (An Ayurvedic Preparation) before meals.
6.
Boost your immune system with Amalaki (An Ayurvedic Herb, very high in natural Vitamin C) and Ashwagandha (Strengthens the nervous system and stamina).ayurveda_1
7.
Apply Vata Oil or Sesame Oil, especially on your neck, shoulders, arms and chest before going to bed.
8.
Take Triphala before you go to bed. This famous Ayurvedic remedy very gently detoxifies the body and rejuvenates the digestive system.
9.
When you feel a cold coming on, immediately take Colloidal Silver or Sitopaladi.
10.
Have regular Oil Abhyangas (Individualized Hot Oil Treatments) to keep Vata pacified.
11.
Be happy and grateful for all your blessings!”

Comments (3) »

Blue-Green Algae – What’s Lurking in Your Swamp Might Save the World

The headlines are wreaking of investments in algae – yes that yukky stuff that can actually be very toxic to sea life. Wouldn’t you know, the Swamp Thing is poised to have big value. 49302168

According to an article by ScienceDaily “Algae are tiny biological factories that use photosynthesis to transform carbon dioxide and sunlight into energy so efficiently that they can double their weight several times a day.

As part of the photosynthesis process algae produce oil and can generate 15 times more oil per acre than other plants used for biofuels, such as corn and switchgrass. Algae can grow in salt water, freshwater or even contaminated water, at sea or in ponds, and on land not suitable for food production.”49302194

This oil can be used for gas, diesel, and jet fuels. Algae biofuel is also compatible with existing engines, existing storage, distribution, and delivery infrastructure. However the most important aspect is that algae-based biofuels have a low carbon footprint as they do not require the use of forests or large areas of land for production.

Some other wonderful aspects of algae-based biofuels:
– Algae biofuel is carbon neutral; only emits C02 that it absorbs.
– Algae reproduces very quickly, maximizing biofuel yields.
– Algae biofuel can scale to even possibly replace oil.

The world’s first algae fuel-powered vehicle, dubbed the Algaeus. The plug-in hybrid car, which is a Prius tricked out with a nickel metal hydride battery and a plug, runs on green crude from Sapphire Energy — no modifications to the gasoline engine necessary.

The world’s first algae fuel-powered vehicle, dubbed the Algaeus. The plug-in hybrid car, which is a Prius tricked out with a nickel metal hydride battery and a plug, runs on green crude from Sapphire Energy — no modifications to the gasoline engine necessary.


– Algae biofuel is commercially viable on an industrial scale.
– Algae biofuel can become price competitive with oil.
– There are no soil requirements for algae biofuel.
– Algae can be produced locally for food and fuel.
– Algae biofuel does not damage food prices.
– The algae biofuel industry is growing quickly with a bright future.
– Algae yields much more biofuel per acre than other fuels.
– Algae photo-bioreactors require very little land.
– Algal fuels do not impact fresh water resources.
– Algae biofuel can grow in salt water, freshwater or contaminated water.
– Human waste and sewage can be used to grow algae biofuel.
– Algae can be used to filter C02 from coal plants and create biofuel.
– Algae biofuel is more practical than solar power.
– Algae does not compete with food resources like other biofuels.

Pulled from the headlines – look whose investing in algae biofuels:
“One of the nation’s wealthiest American Indian communities is a major investor in a start-up with the twin goals of making fuel from algae and reducing emissions.”

“Exxon to Invest Millions to Make Fuel From Algae”

“Dow Chemical’s long-term interest in the ethanol produced by the algae is as a replacement for natural gas to make plastic.”

Comments (5) »

Organic Pesticides for Home and School that Double as Aromatherapy

Organic Pesticides for Home and School that Double as Aromatherapy

If you haven’t heard by now or are not aware of the fact that pesticides are toxic, you are either living under a rock or in outer space. Although hibernating at times is essential wherever that place may be, when you do surface you probably aren’t spending too much time thinking about pesticides as you travel throughout your day. After all, we do live in a country (United States) that is suppose to protect us from any harmful effects that we might experience due to pesticide exposure. 2009-07-12-kids-playing-in-overgrown-grass-17Well, unfortunately the EPA is doing a lousy job at setting and enforcing regulation that serves our society’s best interest. What is most disturbing is that there are no mandates only recommendations, that protect school children, a segment of our population that is most vulnerable to environmental toxins.

Based on research information provided by the non-profits: Beyond Pesticides and Healthy Child Healthy World, EcoSMART – a leader in organic pest control products concluded that “Pesticide exposure can adversely affect a child’s neurological, respiratory, immune, and endocrine systems, and have been shown to cause or exacerbate asthma symptoms. Studies show that children living in households where pesticides are used suffer elevated rates of asthma, leukemia, brain cancer, and soft tissue sarcoma. Because most of the symptoms of pesticide exposure, from respiratory distress to difficulty in concentration, are common in school children and may also have other causes, pesticide-related illnesses often go unrecognized and unreported.”images

This link will direct you to a chart breaking down each chemical found in pesticides and what part of the body it affects the most: health-enviro-print

Beyond Pesicides also reported that: “A 2005 study published in the Journal of American Medical Association finds that students and school employees are being poisoned by pesticide use at schools and from drift off of neighboring farmlands; the study authors noted the lack of protection for school children and employees under federal law, pointing out that state laws provide some protection but are varied, thus leaving large gaps.” Another disturbing point is that The Poison Control Center has documented 2,300 school pesticide exposures from 1993-96. That was over ten years ago.

The good thing is is that you do have choices and you can make a difference. safe_home_bundleEcoSmart maker of a line of organic pest control products both for home and commercial use is an excellent option when choosing an alternative. These products are not only safe to use but also smell incredibly delightful so much so that they block out any foul odor lingering about. They wreak of winter-mint and other natural scents that have pleasing effects. Can you recall any bug spray that you could actually hang out in a room with immediately after using?

EcoSMARTSafeIngredients
The most important thing is that they work incredibly well. My ants are gone and have stayed away for weeks. My flies have flown away and haven’t come back and my family including my pets aren’t pissed off at me. My potted outdoor plants are also thanking me as the fungus has gone and they are thriving.

The other thing that I am doing is addressing this issue with my school board in hopes that they will make the switch to only using organic pesticides. My advice is to take action. Go to your school district and express your voice or if you don’t have kids, buy products for your home and garden that are natural and organic. Chances are there are children living near by.

Stay Healthy, Live Green
Julie Gengo

Comments (5) »

Top 10 Organic Food Buying Tips

I snatched this from OrganicJar, a fabulous website on organic food.

A report hit the news about a month ago stating that based on a research study conducted by the British Food Standards Agency entitled Comparison of composition (nutrients and other substances) of organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs: a systematic review of the available literature (pdf)., organic food was found to be no more nutritious than conventionally grown food. One thing you might want to consider when making your decision is that the study failed to take into account the insurmountable amount of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides that are used to grow food. There were other flaws (see the article – In Defense of Organic Food). While the nutrients may be the same, with organic food you do not damage your cells by ingesting these highly toxic chemicals. Conventional farming also “gives animals antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth. according to the Mayo Clinic.” I’ve written about this in previous blogs but please do your own research.

Again here are some benefits to consider when deciding on whether or not to eat organic food.
Organic Farmers:
– Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.
– Use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.
– Rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.
– Give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors.
– Use preventive measures — such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing — to help minimize disease.

Top 10 Organic Food Buying Tips

Whether you’re already a fan of organic foods or you just want to shop wisely and handle your food safely, consider these tips:
1.
Buy fruits and vegetables in season to ensure the highest quality.
Also, try to buy your produce the day it’s delivered to market to ensure that you’re buying the freshest food possible. Ask your grocer what day new produce arrives.
2.
Read food labels carefully.
Just because a product says it’s organic or contains organic ingredients doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a healthier alternative. Some organic products may still be high in sugar, salt, fat or calories.
3.
Don’t confuse natural foods with organic foods.
Only those products with the “USDA Organic” label have met USDA standards.
4.
Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly with running water to reduce the amount of dirt and bacteria.
If appropriate, use a small scrub brush — for example, before eating apples, potatoes, cucumbers or other produce in which you eat the outer skin.
5.
If you’re concerned about pesticides, peel your fruits and vegetables and trim outer leaves of leafy vegetables in addition to washing them thoroughly.
Keep in mind that peeling your fruits and vegetables may also reduce the amount of nutrients and fiber. Some pesticide residue also collects in fat, so remove fat from meat and the skin from poultry and fish.
6.
Buy organic food at farmer’s markets when you can.
Not only is this a great way to buy organic food that’s in season but you get to talk to the farmers directly about how the food is grown. Plus you support the farmers who have invested in organic growing processes.
7.
Buy in bulk.
Whether you’re shopping at a natural foods store, supermarket or co-op, buying in bulk is a great way to stretch your food dollar. For beans, grains, lentils and nuts, head straight for the bulk containers. Just make sure you have a cool, dry place in your kitchen to store your dry goods for a few months. Not every item you can buy in bulk is worth the bother. Do the math.
8.
Be flexible.
To nab the best deals on organic foods you need to be a focused, yet flexible, shopper. Always shop with a list but never be afraid to snap up a good bargain when you see one. Write “three vegetables” on your shopping list and then look around at store specials. Do the same for proteins and grains. Never ever buy an item that you don’t need just because it’s on sale or you have a coupon.
9.
Shop online.
Can’t find a local source for the organic food you want? Don’t give up. Hop online. You may be able to order the organic foods that you want online.The GreenPeople directory from the Organic Consumer Association is a good place to begin your online search for affordable organic foods. A roundup of additional organic directories is also available on the site. And be sure to check out this list of cyber-markets offering organic products from Organic Kitchen. Shop wisely.
10.
Grow your own.
If you’re really serious about garden-fresh organic produce, why not plant your own? Seeds are available from companies such as Seeds of Change. And Organic Kitchen has a big roundup of organic gardening tips. Start small. Carrots, radishes and beets are easy to grow.

Leave a comment »