Archive for October, 2008

happy halloween!

October 31, 2008

Related post
an eco-friendly halloween

how to live sustainably in nyc: part 2

October 30, 2008

Part 2 of 3 in a series, how to live sustainably in nyc.

A class I recently attended at Borough of Manhattan Community College helps New Yorkers find simple ways to live more sustainably. Led by Les Judd of Green Boroughs, the class consisted of an initial classroom session, two walking tours, and finally a panel discussion with green business leaders.

My favorite part of the class was the panel discussion. Four green business owners and four leaders of sustainability in the non-profit sector spoke about their work creating or maintaining their organizations and the challenges they face. Here’s a little taste of what the panelists had to say.

Panel 1: Green biz

David Kistner
CEO
Green Apple Cleaners

Green Apple is no ordinary dry cleaner. And they’re not one of those so-called “organic” cleaners either. To clean clients’ clothes they use liquid CO2 that was recaptured from processes like beer brewing. In a Consumer Reports study, CO2 dry cleaning was found to be the most effective dry cleaning method, beating out conventional, toxic perchloroethylene (PERC)-using dry cleaners.

They also skip the disposable plastic bag to cover your freshly cleaned clothes in favor of reusable garment bags.

Green Apple’s pick-up and delivery service, which is powered by biodiesel, is so far only available in Manhattan and North Jersey. David hopes to open a Brooklyn location early next year (I hope so!).

According to David, Green Apple is more than a dry cleaning operation. They do interior work for clients such as ABC Carpet & Home, they sell cleaning products, and they also have a not-for-profit educational program for school-aged children. David also consulted on the Greenopia guide.

Mark Caserta
Owner
3R Living

Mark was an environmental lobbyist and his wife, Samantha was a buyer for Fishs Eddy. So it was only natural for them to open a store like 3R Living. It’s a great resource for eco-friendly gifts and housewares, with two locations: Park Slope, Brooklyn, and Maplewood, NJ. Though the towns aren’t so near to one another, Mark said it was a fairly easy decision to open the second Maplewood store, since so many Park Slope transplants now live there.

You can also shop through their online store.


Catherine Barton
Corporate Director of Business Development
Green Depot

Green Depot is an amazing source for green building supplies. Some of the notable projects they’ve supplied include the new Brooklyn Center for Urban Environment building, the platinum LEED certified Bank of America Tower, and Entourage star Adrian Grenier’s Brooklyn townhouse.

They also work with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to create affordable, sustainable homes for New Yorkers.

According to Catherine, one of the biggest challenges with green building is the installation learning curve (I know this from experience!*). To solve this problem, Catherine works directly with builders to educate workers on how to use their materials.

*When we were having coconut palm composite (DuraPalm) flooring installed in our kitchen last year, it didn’t go so smoothly. The carpenter laid down the entire floor using traditional wood floor nailing methods. Almost every board ended up cracked or split. He had to rip up the entire floor and we had to checked every single board for damages to see which pieces were salvageable. Not fun!


Mark Ehrhardt
Co-founder
Movers, Not Shakers

Back when Mark was a stock broker, the moving business was the furthest thing from his mind. When the dot com bubble burst, a friend suggested that helping people with moves was an easy way to make a buck. So Mark started small, using rented trucks to relocate people. Now he runs the sustainable moving company, Movers not Shakers.

His trucks run on biodiesel and instead of wasteful cardboard boxes, Mark’s company uses reusable plastic ones he calls GothamBoxes.

At the end of the business year, Mark gave part of the company’s proceeds to the Prospect Park Alliance to support a New York City green space, and in a way, offset carbon. He plans on contributing to environmental organizations as a regular business practice.

Look for part 3 of how to live sustainably where I highlight the non-profit green business panelists.

Read part 1.

byob @ kaight

October 30, 2008

A discount — what better incentive for bringing your own bag? (Well, aside from knowing you’re not creating waste.) If you BYO bag to eco-fashion store Kaight, you’ll get 10% off any purchase in the store. Love it!

Dear Friends,

In these times, even the smallest things can make a big difference. For instance, being wasteful simply isn’t good: not for our wallets and certainly not for our environment. So, going forward, refuse a bag with your next purchase at Kaight, and we’ll give you 10% off, no matter how tiny or large the purchase.

We’ve got some incredible scarves, mittens, coats, shoes — the list could do on forever — in stock. So grab one of the gazillion totes you’ve got lying around and receive 10% off your next, and then your next, and your next (see where we’re going with this?) purchase.

See you soon!

Sincerely,

kate mcgregor
kaight inc.

Kaight
83 Orchard Street
New York, New York 10002
212-680-5630
http://www.kaightnyc.com

how to live sustainably in nyc: part 1

October 29, 2008

A class I recently attended at Borough of Manhattan Community College helps New Yorkers find simple ways to live more sustainably. Led by Les Judd of Green Boroughs, the class consisted of an initial classroom session, two walking tours, and finally a panel discussion with green business leaders.

The basics
In class 1 we talked about the basic steps to living sustainably, including shopping at the farmer’s market and community supported agriculture (CSA), plus reducing meat in our diets as ways to reduce our carbon footprint.

I learned a little something about recycling in this city — just because the plastic has a #1 on the bottom doesn’t necessarily mean it is recyclable. City recycling only processes plastic bottles with a #1; this excludes iced coffee cups, salad takeout containers, and the like.

We also discussed switching to alternative energy resources such as wind power through ConEdison Solutions.

The walking tours
Les took us to some great businesses in downtown Manhattan. We went to both the East and West Village locations of Birdbath Bakery and shops such as Sustainable NYC, Moo Shoes, and Organic Avenue. We also walked through community gardens like Toyota Children’s Garden, one of the green spaces saved by New York Restoration Project which was founded by Bette Midler.

Look for parts 2 and 3 of how to live sustainably where I highlight the green business panelists, including the CEO and founder of Green Apple Cleaners and the Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx.

thoreau, climatologist

October 29, 2008


[Photo: Image design by C. Davis and C. Willis.
Photographs depicting those groups in decline
courtesy of K. Cerrudo, A. Miller-Rushing,
J. Novak, T. Barnes, and C. Rushworth.]

Unbeknownst to him, Henry David Thoreau was a climatologist. His recordings of plant flowering patterns from 1851 to 1858 are helping modern climate scientists determine plant abundance and decline in New England. They can then, in turn, link those patterns to climate change.

One of the things they’ve discovered is that flowers are blooming seven days earlier now than in Thoreau’s time. And they could only find 7 of the 21 species of orchids Thoreau recorded. An excerpt:


Henry David Thoreau endorsed civil disobedience, opposed slavery and lived for two years in a hut in the woods here, an experience he described in “Walden.” Now he turns out to have another line in his résumé: climate researcher. He did not realize it, of course.

Thoreau died in 1862, when the industrial revolution was just beginning to pump climate-changing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In 1851, when he started recording when and where plants flowered in Concord, he was making notes for a book on the seasons.

Now, though, researchers at Boston University and Harvard are using those notes to discern patterns of plant abundance and decline in Concord — and by extension, New England — and to link those patterns to changing climate.



Read the rest.

[New York Times]

eco skivvies

October 28, 2008

What do you hold closest to your nearest and dearest parts? How about pesticides or polluting synthetic materials? Next time you’re in the market for unmentionables, make the switch to pure organic cotton, bamboo, recycled polyester, or eco-friendly silk instead.

For the Guys

Boxers or briefs from Patagonia
($25 – $32)
(organic cotton or recycled polyester)

Hemp boxers at BuyGreen.com ($24)

Boxer briefs by Red Dog Sportswear ($50 for 3)
(organic cotton)

For the Gals

Bras and undies from Patagonia
($20 – $50)
(recycled polyester)

Perfectly Imperfect undies at The Greenloop (sale $15)
(organic cotton and lace)

Louella Bloom boyshorts ($22)
(soy & organic cotton, made in USA)

AngelRox wing brief ($30)
(organic cotton, made in USA)

Bra and pantie set by On the Inside ($58)
(organic cotton, sourced and made in USA)

Bra & pantie set by On the Inside ($70)
(organic cotton, sourced and made in USA)

new york times covers proposition 2:

October 26, 2008

support for humane farm animal treatment


[Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States.
Image: Michael Kelley for The New York Times]

In the Barnyard Strategist, Maggie Jones for the New York Times details all sides of the story on Proposition 2 — the measure that will provide farm animals with an incremental improvement in their living conditions.

Proposition 2, co-sponsored by the Humane Society and Farm Sanctuary, the biggest farm-animal-rights group in the United States, focuses on what are considered the worst animal-confinement systems in factory farms. The ballot initiative, which voters will decide on Nov. 4, requires that by 2015 farm animals be able to stand up, lie down, turn around and fully extend their limbs. In effect that translates into a ban on the two-foot-wide crates that tightly confine pregnant pigs and calves raised for veal — a space so small that they can’t turn around. And it would eliminate so-called battery cages where four or more hens share a space about the size of a file drawer.


Read the rest.

The election is almost 1 week away!

But you still have time to help.

All I’m asking is that you help me reach my goal of having 20 friends donate $20 each to help 20 million animals. So far, 4 friends have showed their support.

Please click on the graphic below to donate to my $20/20 Campaign.

podcast interview at greenblogosphere.com

October 24, 2008

This afternoon, I spoke with Tom Tucker, the managing editor at GreenBlogosphere — an online community for green bloggers and anyone who’s interested in participating in the green movement. We talked a little bit about how I got started and where I hope to take supereco, as well as some specific topics that I’ve blogged about.

Click on the widget below to listen to the conversation:

tomorrow at brooklyn indie market

October 24, 2008

I won’t be able to make it, but maybe you can go and support some local artisans tomorrow from 11am to 7pm at the Brooklyn Indie Market (Smith & Union, Carroll Gardens).

The theme tomorrow is Steampunk, which according to wiki editors at Wikipedia is a “subgenre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s.” Think Victorian England mixed with sci-fi fantasy (Jules Verne, HG Wells).

Two designers of note:

  • Sylvia Holden whose deconstructed fashion is made from recycled materials
  • Wren of Purevile whose often macabre one-of-a-kind jewelry is fashioned from antiques and such (like bones and doll parts)

Looks like I’ll be missing out!

[via Brooklyn Based]

most fuel efficient vehicles for 2009

October 24, 2008

Ready to make an upgrade to a fuel-efficient vehicle? Jalopnik‘s got a list of the most efficient cars out there, broken out by best city and highway mileage, and by category. No surprise, Prius still tops the list for both city and highway MPG.

Make Model: City or Highway

By City

1.) Toyota Prius: 48
2.) Honda Civic Hybrid: 40
3.) Nissan Altima Hybrid: 35
4.) Ford Escape/Mariner Hybrid 2WD: 34
5.) Smart Fortwo: 33
Toyota Camry Hybrid: 33
7.) Volkswagen Jetta/SportWagen Diesel: 30
8.) Toyota Yaris: 29
9.) Mini Cooper: 28
Honda FIt: 28

By Highway

1.) Toyota Prius: 45
Honda Civic Hybrid: 45
3.) Volkswagen Jetta/SportWagen Diesel: 41
Smart Fortwo: 41
5.) Chevy Cobalt/Pontiac G5 XFE: 37
Mini Cooper: 37
7.) Toyota Yaris: 36
Honda Civic/Civic CNG: 36
9.) Chevy Cobalt/Pontiac G5: 35
Toyota Corolla/Honda Fit: 35
Ford Focus: 35

The Most Fuel Efficient Cars By Category

Two-Seater Cars
Smart ForTwo: 33/41

Minicompact Cars
Mini Cooper: 28/37

Compact Cars
Honda Civic Hybrid: 40/45

Midsize Cars
Toyota Prius Hybrid: 48/45

Small Station Wagons
Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Diesel: 30/41

Midsize Station Wagons
Kia Rondo: 20/27

Small Pickup Trucks
Ford Ranger 2WD: 21/26

Standard Pickup Trucks
Chevrolet C15 Silverado/GMC Sierra Hybrid: 21/22

Cargo Vans
Chevrolet/GMC G1500: 15/20

Minivans
Mazda Mazda5: 22/28
(pictured, right)

Sport Utility Vehicles
Ford Escape/Mercury Mariner/Mazda Tribute Hybrid 2WD: 34/31

[FuelEconomy.gov via Jalopnik]