Archive for June, 2010

new workshop: how to reduce petroleum use

June 26, 2010

Petroleum has made our lives incredibly convenient and comfortable, but at what cost? At no time has the evidence been more immediate to Americans that our hunger for oil has catastrophic consequences.

Join me and Julia Frodahl of Deer Stop Yoga in a discussion about how we can move beyond fossil fuels to discover a fulfilling and regenerative way of life. Ninety minutes of workshop time will be followed by 30 minutes of asana.

ECOLOGICAL LIVING WORKSHOP #2: How to Reduce Your Use of Petroleum
Thursday, July 15, 2010
7:00pm – 9:00pm
@ Deer Stop
455 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY


This workshop is $25 and requires registration. Please email to register. Also, please consider re-posting this event for your friends. (Visit our facebook page)


“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world” ~John Muir

hairy solutions to an oily problem

June 16, 2010

Post-cut sweep up

I decided a couple of weeks ago it was time to cut my hair. I usually just throw it up into a ponytail anyway, so what’s the point of keeping it long? I thought about just shaving it off, but I reconsidered. Then, as I was nearing a decision on making an appointment, a message was delivered to my inbox. It came from Manhattan User’s Guide: an amazing list of ways to help out with the gulf oil disaster. I had been wondering what I could do (aside from try to throw money at it, but that doesn’t directly clean up the sludge) and this great newsletter informed me about a group called Matter of Trust that uses hair to clean up oil spills. Sweet serendipity!

So I made an appointment and let my hairdresser know what I was up to. I asked if she could tell the managers of the salon about it. Well, she did. Turns out, they love the idea and are going to save all of the hair from the salon for the cause.

I can’t imagine anyone not jumping at the chance to help out in this way, especially with a readily available resource like hair. We’ve all got it. Even our pets (and yes, that hair/fur can be sent, too). So I’m going to go around to some other salons in the city telling them about this great solution that they can be a part of.

To see learn more and see how hair cleans up oil, check out this video:

I heard today that Hooters waitresses are going to donate their torn nylons to the cause as well. Hey, every bit counts!

urban permaculture opportunities

June 16, 2010

I am heartened at the increasing number of offerings and growing interest in permaculture design courses in the city. It tells me that more and more people are becoming mindful of our connection to the earth and the great impact we can have – positive or negative – on it. Some friends new to the method have been asking where they could study the triple-bottom-line principles of permaculture. I always respond, it’s not really a matter of where you study, but who you study with. Who we learn from and the context in which we learn should reflect how and where we practice permaculture. While I’d love to go to the country to study, the skills I learn may not apply to the urban setting in which I live and will practice. As the saying often used in permie circles goes, “it depends.”

If you or someone you know is interested in an urban permaculture design certification (PDC), check out these offerings in the city this summer, listed by teacher.

Andrew Faust

Andrew puts the state of the world into perspective by focusing on its evolutionary history and the leverage points that matter – reducing our personal and environmental exposure to toxins, cultivating more diverse & beneficial heirloom plants & heritage breed animals, and building strong communities. (NB: I have a bias, I did take Andrew’s PDC!)

Classes begin: August 14 (11 sessions, Saturdays & Sundays through October)

Cost: $1000 (due to the hard economic times, he’s extending the early bird discount to all attendees)

More info and registration

Ariane Burgess

According to the Open Center class description: Ariane “teaches Gaia Education’s Design for Sustainability courses in Findhorn, Scotland, and Thailand. Her research focuses on best practices for transitioning human settlements into resilient and regenerative ones. She is the founder of Regenerative Culture, which is dedicated to the education and design of regenerative communities.”

Classes begin: July 17 (12 sessions, Saturdays & Sundays through October)

Cost: $1225, unless you’re an Open Center member, in which case it’s $1180. (Payment plan is available.)

More info and registration

Claudia Joseph

If you want to get your hands dirty learning DIY skills in a historic setting from a woman who has been involved in agricultural and ecological education since the 90s, take this class.

Classes begin: July 17 (12 sessions, Saturdays & Sundays)

Cost: $1,150  5% discount before July 1
Scholarships & work-trade available on a limited basis by application process

More info and registration

committed to a non-toxic lifestyle

June 10, 2010

I urge you to watch this series of important videos by Dr. Sanjay Gupta about how toxins are pervasive, persistent, and impacting us all, everyday.

An initial reaction to this might be easy to become paralyzed and perhaps feel helpless. But I see this as an opportunity to highlight the importance of our choices, especially what we choose to surround ourselves and our loved ones with. We all have the power to make these choices:

  • Choose organic and sustainably grown food and fibers
  • Opt for non-toxic cleaning supplies, beauty products, and furnishings
  • Advocate for improved energy efficiency, for alternative non-polluting fuels, and against the burning of fossil fuels
  • Support local businesses who source their goods responsibly
  • Buy used goods and think before purchasing new ones (whether they are really ‘needed’)
  • Help others find non-toxic solutions for their home and self care

Collectively, our actions have the power to shape our world. As the oft-quoted Gandhi said,

Almost anything you do seems insignificant. It is very important that you do it.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

I’m taking this opportunity to reaffirm my commitment to act as responsibly as I can to protect myself and others from toxic pollutants by making these choices. Are you with me?

UPDATE! ecological living workshop series

June 1, 2010

We’re offering this workshop again, mark your calendars! This time, the class includes 30 minutes of asana (yoga). See you there!

I’ll be leading a series of workshops starting in June that focus on ecological living skills, with the first one focused on creating a healthy home environment. Full details below, and on Facebook!


Thursday, June 10, 2010
7pm to 9pm
455 Grand Street #3, Brooklyn NY 11211

There is a connection between our choices, our health, and the well-being of everyone on the planet. You are an integral part of this interrelationship. This hands-on workshop series is designed to help you develop skills for living as a more active participant in a regenerative and abundant culture, and a little less as a consumer dependent on what are often destructive and exploitative means. There is also empowerment in making your own things, which has far-reaching psychological benefits, and a depletion that comes with consuming, which also has far-reaching effects. We’ll talk about that a little bit as well.

The series will be led by me and hosted by the most gracious and generous Julia Frodahl, of Deer Stop. Please follow the link below to read more about Julia. Also please note, it is not necessary to attend every workshop in the series. You can pick and choose from the ones that interest you and that work with your schedule.



Home is a sacred place, a place to feel at ease and secure, and a place to regenerate. Unfortunately, the air in our homes as well as our workplaces can be up to 10 times worse than the air outside (and our city has poor air to begin with – yikes!). But fret not! There are several simple solutions you can implement to improve the health of your home, as well as those who inhabit it.

In this interactive workshop, you will:
1. deepen your skills of observation and interact with “stuff” in a new way
2. recognize patterns in your routine that might contribute to an unhealthy home
3. learn about plants that filter out toxins in your home
4. make your own customized cleaning products
5. walk away with skills you can apply right away

We will provide you with all you need to create, but feel free to bring your favorite essential oils to enhance your cleaning products.

Light snacks will be served.


This workshop is $25 and requires registration. Please email to register. (An RSVP here of “attending” does not register you. Please RSVP here AND email Julia.) Also, please consider re-posting this event for your friends.