BOOK – Pandora’s Lunchbox

Posted by A. Caleb Hartley on March 25th, 2013 filed in food and drink, Uncategorized
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I was recently on a business trip, in flight to Southern California on USAirways, and I came across an article in their inflight magazine.

It was in their February 2013 issue, in their “Must Read” section: Food for Thought, and it was an excerpt from Melanie Warner’s new book “Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal.”

I’m an avid reader, and this one caught my eye and my attention as soon as I started to read it. As an environmentalist, I believe that natural solutions are better, where they are available, and that that is especially true when it comes to what we put in (and on) our bodies.

Ms. Warner’s introduction to her book talks about how she started out her experiment in our food’s expiration dates kind of on a whim, but that that self-proclaimed “amusing, weird, and gross” experiments with all sorts of different foods became somewhat of an obsession into determining and defining what “processed” food really is, and how deeply rooted (and potentially risky) this processed food has become in and to our modern-day food supply.

Find this book at your local library or buy it at Amazon or, better yet, your locally-owned, neighborhood bookstore, and find out why she claims that, “If we really are what we eat, then we are a different dietary species from what we were at the turn of the 20th century.”

What do you think about processed foods? Are they at the root of our “obesity epidemic” or is something else to blame? Are they a big threat to our health and longevity, or is our increasing life-expectancy proof that processed food is just that – food? Process your thoughtd in the comment section!

Protect Your Home and the Planet: Green Security Tips for Homeowners

Posted by A. Caleb Hartley on March 18th, 2013 filed in landscape, technology
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Most homeowners invest in an alarm system to help protect their loved ones and most valuable possessions.

But what about protecting our planet?

The big picture can oftentimes get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The good news is that it’s easy to take an eco-friendly approach to home security by simply using energy-saving home security products. Here’s what you can do:

Go Wireless

Wireless alarm systems are beginning to replace hard-wired systems as the home security industry standard. While traditional systems are wired into your home’s power grid, wireless technology allows your system to be set up without running wires under carpets and behind baseboards. This not only makes the alarm system more flexible, but also more eco-friendly since they don’t consume as much electricity.

You can rest assured if you’re concerned about whether a wireless security system offers high-quality protection for your home. Wireless alarm systems are every bit as effective as their hard-wired counterparts, and, in many cases, are even more reliable. For example, a hard-wired system can be disabled during a power loss, or in the event that an intruder cuts the wires leading to your home. On the other hand, a wireless system is not vulnerable to these scenarios. Most wireless alarms today also have a battery backup that will keep the system functional for up to two days without power.

ADT, one of the nation’s top home security companies, currently offers cutting-edge monitored wireless security systems for an affordable price. It also offers home automation solutions, which allow you to reduce your carbon footprint through smart home technology. Check out if you’re interested in learning more.

Use LED products

LED (light-emitting diode) is a technology that consumes energy more efficiently. LED devices – although marginally more expensive than traditional fluorescent lighting – are about five times more energy efficient.

You’ll find that there are a host of home security products that utilize LED technology. If you enlist the services of a home security company, ask them about the carbon footprint of their products. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can find plenty of devices that utilize LED technology. This includes motion-activated floodlights, surveillance cameras, motion sensors and more.

Truly Natural Passive Security

And don’t forget the simplest, greenest solution of all: planting “unfriendly” plants under windows and near other places criminals might hide. Unfriendly plants include pretty much any thorned bush that can grow against the outside wall of your house (if you leave space, it defeats the purpose). Improve your landscaping, plant something that will “breathe,” and protect your family all at the same time!

Talk about being able to be green while not being “granola!”

Do you have any home security tips that are greener than the status quo? Let us know in the comments!

I personally use a wireless home security system in my house, and I love it! It is infinitely flexible, and you can also use it to keep tabs on your pesky teenagers (if the thronbush outside her window isn’t deterrent enough, the window-open sensor on her window might keep your teenage daughter from sneaking out at 3am). Just another way that you can go green without reducing your lifestyle!

environmentastic! Listed as a Top Green Blog!

Posted by A. Caleb Hartley on February 19th, 2013 filed in Uncategorized
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A new infographic lists environmentastic! in the top 100 green blogs to follow in 2013!

Check it out (we’re number 30):

Top 100 Green blogs to follow

Just say YES! to a food revolution!

Posted by BizzyBoots on August 21st, 2010 filed in allies, climate change, food and drink, Simple Ways
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Are any of you as hooked on YES! magazine as I am? I sometimes feel funny reading things that just reinforce my beliefs and behaviors, but I looooooove it’s emphasis on possibility and opportunity— it’s hard in these times to keep a positive vibe on discussions affecting the environment and our shared global future. Especially when we’re witnessing natural disasters like the flooding in Pakistan, facing bizarre weather scenarios, and on the verge of new famine in developing nations around the world as food security and sovereignty are vulnerable every day. Woof, friends. Throw in some uncomfortable jokes about the apocalypse in 2012 and ka-blewey, we could use some light up in here!

This month features Anna Lappé writing about identifying the pillars of good food in the age of greenwashing.  Have you been to your grocery store lately and seen the faux-wood signage? The green labels proclaiming things are “natural?” These are marketing ploys to help sell specific products as premium, without necessarily engaging in responsible practices. Sometimes at the grocery I think to myself “do people fall for this?” then realize I am just as gullible, too, with the pretty brown wrappers in my basket and realize I have to get back to work on making sure my choices are the best choices.

Lappé asserts there are three “pillars” to the food revolution that we can easily think about in order to evaluate our choices.

1- ECOLOGY – Focusing on the relationship of living things, natural systems, and resource allocation, an ecological-focus reminds us that each choice we make has a consequence to the natural world. Food choices that are truly sustainable allow nature to work as it is designed, instead of squeezing every last ounce of life out of seed, soil, and water resources.

2- COMMUNITY – Food production is essentially a community endeavor when you really think about it. Communities rely on the common land to produce enough sustenance to keep the population alive. As our food system has been corporatized, we have increased the distance between seed and stomach, increasing the number of factors influencing our food security, and increasing the likelihood that something may go wrong. Oh yeah, like the OVER HALF A BILLION EGGS RECALLED THIS WEEK. Woof again, y’all.

3- FAIRNESS – this one is about making sure everyone at all levels of the food system, producers, workers, etc. get treated fairly and that all folks have access to healthy food. Currently there are urban food deserts where folks don’t have access to fresh food outside of convenience stores. And while progress is being made, like the example of NYC’s fresh food carts last summer, many still lack adequate access.

What would you add to these three?

It’s easy to get started using these criteria when evaluating food purchases. Occasionally you may need to do a little research and you won’t get it right every time (I still don’t, either), but it’s important to keep moving toward making the right choices for yourself, your health, our communities, and our earth. Knowing you’re making good choices tastes really good. Promise.

Sunshine and compost, friends!

Create a Brighter Planet!

Posted by BizzyBoots on May 3rd, 2010 filed in business, carbon footprint, Uncategorized

Happy Twenty Dime! (it’s what I’m calling 2010, it’s so much more upbeat!)

I hope your New Year’s and Earth Day resolutions are well on their way to being successful! One new thing I’m trying this year, in addition to my food paradigm shift toward healthier eating, is finding new and creative ways to lesson my footprint and track it. While I am pretty happy most of the time knowing I’m doing better than average, I still like to run a check and balance on myself. Is it masochism? Probably not, just more incentive to show folks that it’s possible. Maybe a little masochism. Just for good measure.

Anyhoo, I am intrigued by carbon footprint calculators, but have joked about how there needed to be a Weight Watchers for carbon consumption, so that you had more tracking in real time.

One place I found is the website Named the Smallbusiness of the Year by, Brighter Planet gives you a place to track your behaviors that cut your carbon emissions (drip dry your dishes! eat local food! ride share!) while at the same time tracking how often you do them (once, thrice/week, all week) in order to get precise calculations. While I’m new at it, I hope after a while I can start noticing habits I can improve based on their trove of tips an ideas, some that I hope to try and share here.

I initially went to the site to vote for a friend of mine’s solar panel project (full disclosure) which is competing for funding this month. After I registered (you have to in order to vote) I started looking around and thought it was a site worthy of mention. Check out their full list of projects to vote for here, and you get three votes to spread around any way you choose! I was impressed they have (non-voting) projects in the works building methane digesters and wind turbines– two solutions that can be part of an overall smart energy strategy.

I’ve already started seeing what I can add to my carbon footprint log to reduce what I’ve contributed in 2010 (twentydime)! :)