Archive for December, 2008

happy new year!

December 31, 2008

I hope you all have a safe, happy, and healthy new year!

very last minute tax-deductible giving

December 30, 2008

Tomorrow’s the last day of 2008 and also the last day to make tax-deductible donations to your favorite cause for this tax year. Here are a few of my favorites that I’ve given to over the years, hopefully you will adopt them, too.

Energy and economy

Green for All
If you haven’t heard of the Green Jobs Movement, here’s your chance to invest in the next biggest industry which will both boost the economy and preserve the planet

Rocky Mountain Institute
Creating clean energy and supporting sustainable development are at the core of RMI’s mission — based on the founding principle of “Natural Capitalism,” a new and rapidly spreading business model that harnesses environmental performance as an engine of competitive advantage

Putting an end to mountaintop removal coal mining and supporting the Appalachian people and environment from the destructive effects of this industry are the goals of this org

Community and the environment

Green Map
Participants of green mapmaking help make communities more aware of the green and sustainable resources available to them. I personally have a thing for maps in general, so I love the idea of smashing the ecological and cartographical worlds together

Brooklyn Greenway Initiative
The Brooklyn Greenway will be a 14-mile recreation and transportation path connecting the coastal communities of Brooklyn — from Greenpoint to Sunset Park. It will provide bikers with a safe and enjoyable path on which to pedal

Brooklyn Center for Urban Environment
The city has a unique natural environment that might not be readily recognizable. BCUE introduces the community to this environment through education, tours, and events

Natural resources and animal protection

Conservation International
Defending natural resources and precious habitat so that all creatures can thrive is part of CI’s mission

Farm Sanctuary
A friend to farm animals, Farm Sanctuary is a public advocate and educator, and serves as a shelter for abused or rescued farm animals

World Wildlife Fund
An advocate of wildlife, WWF conserves habitat and preserves species from endangerment and extinction

The Nature Conservancy
Through the Nature Conservancy you can adopt an acre in the US, plant a tree in Brazil, or give a gift membership to someone you know cares about this great planet on which we live

Union of Concerned Scientists
They provide real science and solutions for the environmental issues we face today — genetically modified crops, climate change, pollution — they cover it all

Human rights

Amnesty International
They’re committed to the rights, dignity, and well-being of all humans on this earth, and right now they’re matching donations (eg, you give $50 and the donation becomes $100)

CARE fights global poverty by empowering women who thereby help their families and communities

dirty, filthy coal

December 26, 2008

Hopefully you didn’t get any in your stocking this year, because now more than ever, coal is a symbol of greed, filth, and general naughtiness.

A few days before Christmas, a blanket of coal ash sludge fell on a Tennessee town when a coal dam broke, burying residents and releasing toxins into the Emory River. It’s been estimated that the amount of ash that flooded the area would be enough to cover D.C.’s National Mall in a toxic blanket 4 to 6 feet deep. Or as Tom Yulsman (Co-director, Center for Environmental Journalism, University of Colorado, Boulder) put it:

The spill covers 400 acres — enough to blanket the Mall from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, with enough left over to spill out onto 100 acres of D.C.’s side streets. It’s also important to note that this material is not just mud. In addition to toxic heavy metals, the ash left over from burning coal (which is what is in the sludge) may also contain radioactive substances.

[CE Journal via iLoveMountains]Blogger: supereco – Edit Post “dirty, filthy coal”

UPDATE: The damage is greater than once estimated. From the New York Times:

Officials at the authority initially said that about 1.7 million cubic yards of wet coal ash had spilled when the earthen retaining wall of an ash pond at the Kingston Fossil Plant, about 40 miles west of Knoxville, gave way on Monday. But on Thursday they released the results of an aerial survey that showed the actual amount was 5.4 million cubic yards, or enough to flood more than 3,000 acres one foot deep.

The amount now said to have been spilled is larger than the amount the authority initially said was in the pond, 2.6 million cubic yards.

See what happened

News coverage

Watch CBS Videos Online

Raw footage

[DeSmogBlog via YouTube]

Learn more
Read about the toxic coal ash avalanche
Read about Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining (and here)

Do something!
Tell Obama to end mountaintop removal in his first 100 days

Related organizations
Mountain Justice
Appalachian Voices

happy holidays!

December 24, 2008

Happy Hanukkah!
Merry Christmas!
Happy Kwanzaa!
Happy Festivus!

double your gift to help animals with farm sanctuary

December 23, 2008

Now until the end of the year, when you give to animal advocacy group Farm Sanctuary your money will be matched (up to $30K). They’ve worked really hard and have had some amazing victories this year, including the passing of Proposition 2 in California.

Check out a slide show of this year’s success stories:

The momentum we’ve built together in 2008 can’t be stopped now:

  • We pushed for and won the largest ballot measure ever with the passing of Proposition 2 in California! Co-sponsored by Farm Sanctuary, this measure banned the cruelest forms
  • of confinement, affecting 20 million farm animals
  • The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision against the New Jersey Dept. of Agriculture’s assertion that routine husbandry practices, like castration without anesthesia, are “humane” simply because they are common
  • Farm Sanctuary took in more than 476 animals, many through emergency rescues, cruelty cases and natural disaster relief efforts – including 69 pigs saved from the rising floodwaters of the Mississippi River and safely transported to our New York Shelter. We provided care for more than 1,200 rescued animals at our shelters
  • We monitored and worked on legislation in 26 states this year, culminating in new laws passed that will give farm animals greater protection – including downed animal protection in California and anti-confinement law in Colorado!
  • We increased the number of eateries and markets that have pledged to say NO! to foie gras and the inhumane force-feeding of ducks and geese to over 1,000

And, 2009 promises to be an even bigger year. Farm Sanctuary has an ambitious agenda: to push more states to outlaw inhumane treatment of farm animals, to pursue legal action to stop cruelty in its tracks, and to have our farm animal rescue team ready when disaster strikes.

Donate to Farm Sanctuary

kicking a cold in time for the holidays

December 23, 2008

This past weekend I was waylaid by some kind of illness. Sore throat, achy body, post-nasal drip. Gross. It hit me Friday night. I was reluctant to do it, but I popped a couple of NyQuil and tucked myself in for some restless slumber. In the morning my bf made a run for some Tylenol, herbal teas, and the makings of a grilled cheese sandwich.

He brought back two magical teas that I hadn’t tried before. I requested Traditional Medicinal’s Throat Coat, but he picked up Yogi Tea’s Throat Comfort and it worked like a charm. The slightly cherry flavored herbal concoction gets its power from wild cherry bark, slippery elm bark, and mullein, plus lots of delicious herbs and spices. The other soothing tea was Yogi’s Breathe Deep. It smells more like a Christmas tree and tastes like I’d imagine one to taste, in a good way. I think it’s the eucalyptus. This tea also had mullein in it. I had to know more about this medicinal herb, so I did a little search.

Turns out that mullein is a very useful plant. According to Wildman Steve Brill:

Mullein tea provides vitamins B-2, B-5, B-12, and D, choline, hesperidin, PABA, sulfur, magnesium, mucilage, saponins, and other active substances.

People use the tea as a beverage, but it’s best known as one of the safest, most effective herbal cough remedies. Mullein is an expectorant, and a tonic for the lungs, mucus membranes, and glands. An infusion is good for colds, emphysema, asthma, hay fever, and whooping cough. Strain the infusion through a cloth, or the hairs may get stuck in your throat and make you cough even more. Laboratory tests have shown that it’s anti-inflammatory, with antibiotic activity, and that it inhibits the tuberculosis bacillus. The Indians smoked dried mullein and coltsfoot cigarettes for asthma and bronchitis, and indications are that it’s effective: I’ve observed it working for bronchitis.

The tea is also an astringent and demulcent. It’s good for diarrhea, and it’s been used in compresses for hemorrhoids since it was recommended by Dioscorides centuries ago. It’s also supposed to help other herbs get absorbed through the skin. Pliny of ancient Rome, Gerard in sixteenth century England, the Delaware Indians, and country folk in the South used the heated leaves in poultices for arthritis.

A tincture of the flowers is used for migraine headaches. An oil extract of the flowers, which contains a bactericide, is used for ear infections, although you should consult with a competent practitioner first, to avoid the possibility of permanent hearing loss if the herb doesn’t work.

[Image: Magnus Manske via Wikipedia]

Mullein came over to this continent with settling Europeans. It’s considered an invasive alien by the Plant Conservation Alliance’s Alien Plant Working Group (National Parks Service). They suggest eradicating it through various means, but I wonder why they can’t harvest it and sell it to herbalists?

Here are a few other tools in my cold-fighting arsenal:

Naturade Herbal Expectorant (with Guaifenesin)

Emergen-C (Super Orange flavor)

Himalayan Institute Original Neti Pot (Ceramic)

Ricola (Honey Lemon with Echinacea)


December 21, 2008

THE WINNER IS… Andee! Congratulations!

Tell me why climate change matters and you’ll be entered to win 2 tickets to the new Polar Ice Rink at the American Museum of Natural History!

Why does climate change matter to you?
Are you worried about the future of arctic wildlife, like polar bears? Afraid of major floods, storms, and other climate-related catastrophes? Freaked out by early spring blooms and oddly warm winter days? Add a comment to this post (see details below) and you’ll be entered to win a spin around the rink for you and a friend.

A visit to the Polar Ice Rink is a festive holiday treat, even if you aren’t the lucky winner…

The Polar Rink

Come enjoy the American Museum of Natural History’s new state-of-the-art skating rink made from a recyclable synthetic surface, now open through March 1, 2009. Located on the Arthur Ross Terrace on the Museum’s north side, The Polar Rink offers magnificent views of the glowing Rose Center for Earth and Space and is surrounded by Theodore Roosevelt Park. Skaters will glide around a 17-foot-tall polar bear festooned with pine boughs and twinkling lights.

Non-skaters will enjoy the splendor of The Polar Rink from surrounding benches on the Terrace under trees adorned with lights, or from the glassed-in North Galleria adjacent to the rink, where hot cocoa and snacks are served.

The ol’ rules and regs
1. Entry deadline: Friday, December 19, 2008. Midnight.
2. Entrants will be chosen at random this Saturday, December 20, 2008.
3. The winner will be announced right here on this post on Saturday, December 20, 2008.
4. One entry per person.
5. To enter: Post your response to the question, “Why does climate change matter to you?” to this post and email your name, email, and response to this email.
6. Prize collection details to follow.

growing and greening ny

December 19, 2008

Learn all about PlaNYC2030, the city’s plan to improve the environmental conditions of NYC while adapting to its growing population at this new exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York. Details below.

Growing and Greening New York
December 11 through April 12
Museum of the City of New York
1220 5th Ave (@103rd St)

Today 8 million New Yorkers daily get up, go out, and live their lives. By the year 2030, there will be a million more people living in New York City. And the city will have undergone a great transformation, becoming cleaner, greener, more responsible, and more robust–if the projections of PlaNYC2030 are correct, and if we take action on them now...

…Growing and Greening New York and PlaNYC will pose vital questions: How must New Yorkers change to make a sustainable future possible? How will the daily lives of all New Yorkers, and those who visit New York, be affected by sustainability initiatives at home, in the workplace, and in many of our public and recreational spaces? What might a more sustainable city actually look like?

Special event tomorrow:
Saturday, December 20, 2:00 PM
Gallery Tour of Growing and Greening New York
FREE (with suggested $9 admission price)
Get tickets

more last minute gift ideas

December 19, 2008

Still have a few people on your list and not sure what to get them? You’ll find unique, locally made pottery at Earthworks on the Upper East Side. There are terrific potters there who make quality, very reasonably priced pottery.

1705 First Ave (btwn 88th and 89th Sts)

Sale hours:
Now ’til Wed. Dec 24
Weekdays, 3 to 7 pm
Weekends, 1 to 5 pm

Related posts

    another great holiday gift idea

    December 17, 2008

    And this one is absolutely free. Give the gift of carbon neutrality! In fact, it’s so easy I’m giving it to you right now.

    Click below to claim your gift of from Brighter Planet’s One Day of Carbon Neutrality:

    Don’t forget to pass it on to your family and friends!