Archive for the ‘drinking’ Category

learning events @ AMNH

October 16, 2008

Some great opportunities to learn more about the world that’s changing around us are coming up at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), in conjunction with the new Climate Change exhibit.

Future events @ AMNH

The museum plans to host several programs related to the exhibit including:

  • International Polar Weekend celebration (February 7-8, 2009)
  • World Water Day celebration (March 21, 2009)
  • A series of interactive exhibits introducing kids ages 9-12 to the science of climate change and possible solutions to global warming
  • A series of panel discussions bringing together world experts to discuss and debate the implications of climate change for our future (starting in January)
  • Additional programs focusing on the effects of global warming on the wine and coffee industries

Upcoming programs for adults

These selected programs examine both personal and industrial responsibilities regarding sustainability.

FutureFashion: Connecting an Industry to Sustainable Practices
Thursday, October 23, 6:30pm
$15 ($13.50 Members)

Industry experts, Julie Gilhart, Fashion Director of Barneys; Scott Hahn, President of Loomstate; and others, participate in a discussion with Leslie Hoffman, executive director, Earth Pledge, and Greg Loosvelt, Earth Pledge’s carbon footprint assessment expert, about ways the fashion industry is working to reduce its environmental footprint. Learn about Earth Pledge’s FutureFashion initiative, which encourages sustainability by working within the fashion industry to promote renewable, reusable, and nonpolluting materials and processes. On exhibit will be one-of-a-kind creations made as part of this collaboration by a few top designers, including Stella McCartney, Calvin Klein, and Rodarte.

Global Kitchen: Wine and Climate Change
Tuesday, October 28, 6:30 pm

What consequences will global warming have on the wine industry? In this discussion and wine tasting, climatologist Gregory V. Jones, Southern Oregon University; author and blogger Tyler Colman, and Wine Politics; and Evan Spingarn, wine importer and distributor, will address such topics as redrawing the wine map, wines and their cultural identities, and calculating wine’s carbon footprint.

Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
Friday-Saturday, November 14-16
$10 ($9 Members)

This sidebar to the international documentary film festival will include two sessions on climate change and global culture. Post-screening discussions with filmmakers and specialists will follow these films. Selected works will circulate in the Traveling Film Series domestically and internationally.

Peace with Seals
Saturday, November 15
Directed by Miloslav Novak. Peace with Seals (Mir s Tuleni) tells the story of biologist Emanuele Coppola’s hunt for the Mediterranean monk seal. Conversations with marine biologists and philosophers, as well as the beachgoers on the Mediterranean shores, who have supplanted the seals, lead him to believe that the only monk seals left are those preserved in Coppola’s extensive collection of archival footage. (U.S. Premiere)

Recipes for Disaster
Sunday, November 16
Directed by John Webster. Recipes for Disaster features the filmmaker and his family in a quest to reduce their carbon footprints by going one year without using oil-based byproducts. Their goal of “green living” seems manageable at first, but surviving without everyday essentials, like goods packaged in plastic, becomes increasingly challenging. (U.S. Premiere)

March Point
Sunday, November 16
Filmmaker and producer in person
Directed by Annie Silverstein. Intent on finding solutions to the pollution caused by two oil refineries in their native land, three teenage members of the Swinomish Tribe arm themselves with cameras and travel across the country to meet the politicians who can help. Following the screening will be a discussion with the filmmaker and producer. (NY premiere)
Co-presenter: National Museum of the American Indian

Upcoming programs for kids and families

Adventures In Science: Climate Change Sundays
11 am–12:30 pm
(for 4th and 5th graders)
1:30–3 pm
(for 6th and 7th graders)
$30 each; $75 for all three

In conjunction with our new exhibition, these hands-on workshops introduce young audiences to the science of climate change and potential solutions. Participate in all three sessions and earn a certificate.

What Is the Difference Between Climate and Weather?
Sunday, October 19

When people ask about the weather, we know what they mean: is it sunny, rainy, or hot? But what does climate mean, and how is it different from weather? In this workshop, we’ll use fun activities to compare their differences and similarities and learn why climate is so important.

What Is Climate Change?
Sunday, October 26

Is Earth really getting hotter? Will a polar bear one day be your neighbor? Using the new exhibition Climate Change: The Threat to Life and A New Energy Future, we will examine the elements of climate change, its impact on Earth, and what that means for animals like polar bears, penguins—and us!

What Can We Do about Climate Change?
Sunday, November 2

We know that Earth’s climate is changing—but what can you do about it? Is recycling enough? What exactly are greenhouse gases? Discover just how much energy you use in your daily life, and learn ways you can reduce your personal impact on the planet and help others to do the same.

To register for these programs, call 212-769-5200 or visit

sip, sip, aaah

September 25, 2008

There’s something so comforting about a warm, spicy cup of tea on an overcast day. Right now I’m sipping one of my favorites, Red Chai Masala from Organic India. It’s caffeine-free and has rooibos (aka, African red bush) tea, which I’ve read has more antioxidants than green tea.

Organic India has a whole line of Tulsi teas — green, peppermint, honey chamomile, lemon ginger, and more — that all contain Tulsi or holy basil. Tulsi is considered “The Queen of Herbs” in India for its healing properties, like immune system support and stress relief.

Organic India is dedicated to organic and sustainable farming practices and promoting healthy, conscious living. Learn more about their philosphies here.

You can get Tulsi tea here.

The position of human beings will improve to the extent that they behave with humility towards others.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

(Oh, I just sipped the last drop. Gonna brew some more!)

cozy up to a cup

September 4, 2008

I love alliteration. I also really like multi-functioning things. The coffee cup cozy cuff fits both categories. It saves paper, it keeps your paws from getting scorched, and you can wear it. So simple, yet so brilliant.

I’ve seen knit or crocheted versions, quilty fabric versions, even pricey $70 wooden ones. You can make one with your own little hands if you’re so inclined.

Try it!
Here are some patterns in various media:

Buy it!
If you’re not crafty, or just don’t have time to make one for yourself, here are some you can purchase with money:

The Cozy Corset Cuff
(available in many patterns and colors)

Frowny Joe Cozy by Monkey Travel Club
(this one’s for you, Amy! It’s also available in a happier mood)

Cable Knit Cozy by Pink Petal Designs
(also available in other colors)

Bacon Buddy Cuff by Ity Bity Bags
(sizzle, sizzle!)

…And a whole lot more on Etsy.

[Sources: Swap-bot, Etsy,, MK Carroll, PoppyTalk, Pink Milk and Fairycakes]

water, water, everywhere…

August 22, 2008

Maybe not for long. Warning: This may be a downer of a post, but there are things you can do (keep reading).

I’ve been wanting to write about water for a while now. Water conservation is something I think about a lot. As the climate changes there will be fewer and fewer sources of fresh water. Out West, they’re turning to desalination and toilet-to-tap to keep up with water supply demands. We continually pollute our water with agricultural chemicals and waste, pharmaceuticals, and domestic waste. Only in “civilized” nations do we hose down our sidewalks and water our lawns with potable water. I see it everyday. It greatly disturbs me. And now there’s a movie to scare the be-jesus out of you. It’s called “Flow.” Check out the trailer below.

What you can do

Check out water conservation tips here.

Get some water conservation tools, like The Toilet Tank Bank and Shower Coach Timer.

If you’ve got a lawn, get yourself a rain barrel.

an open letter to jamba juice

August 17, 2008

Dear Jamba Jamba,

I am deeply concerned. Why must you continue to use styrofoam (aka, polystyrene) cups? You crank out smoothie after smoothie without even thinking about the vessel in which your so-called healthy drink is dispensed.

Why do I care? For one, the styrene component in polystyrene can leach out of the container. Styrene is a known neurotoxin, a potential carcinogen, and estrogen disrupter. According to studies cited by Grinning Planet, “long-term exposure to small quantities of styrene is also suspected of causing:

  • low platelet counts or hemoglobin values
  • chromosomal and lymphatic abnormalities
  • neurotoxic effects due to accumulation of styrene in the tissues of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, resulting in fatigue, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, and other acute or chronic health problems associated with the nervous system”

Styrofoam also takes about 1,000 years to break down, and who knows if it ever actually degrades.

I wonder what you do in cities like San Francisco that have banned styrofoam to-go containers. Why can’t you use whatever kind of cups you use there in every city? Like paper cups or Fabri-Kal’s Greenware biodegradable cups.

I thought I was the only one taking issue with your choice of cup until I did a quick Google search. Turns out there’s even a Facebook cause to try to get you to change your wicked ways.

Please consider this plea. I feel I must boycott your tasty smoothies until this issue is resolved.



simple ways to reduce paper waste: part 2

July 22, 2008

Part 2 of 2
Read part 1 here

6. Drink from a reusable coffee cup
Save paper, save the water used to make the paper, and spare the dump another piece of rubbish. Pick your vessel!

“We are happy to serve you” ceramic mug

Sumo Emotions Cup [Uncommon Goods]

Oxo Good Grips Liquiseal Travel Mug

Photo Travel Mug - Silver 14oz

Customizable Photo Travel Mug – Silver 14oz [Kodak Gallery]

7. Use recycled paper products
Choose napkins, paper towels, toilet paper, and tissues made from paper, not from trees. Go with these brands that are both high quality and environmentally friendly:

AVOID: Bounty, Scott, Viva, Kleenex, Puffs, Charmin, Cottonelle (they’re all made from trees!)

Better yet, opt for cloth napkins at meals, dish towels to clean up spills, and handkerchiefs to wipe your nose. Keep rags handy to wipe up really nasty spills.

8. Make your own greeting cards and wrapping paper

  • Turn old cards into new cards here
  • Repurpose old magazines before you toss them in the recycling bin. I like to cut out images from magazines and glue them to a piece of card stock or on an old or ugly card I have lying around
  • Use a colorful page of the newspaper to wrap gifts
  • Wrap gifts in a nice piece of fabric like a scarf, furoshiki style
  • Reuse tissue paper from clothing shops or gifts you’ve received
  • Take care when you open gifts and reuse the paper later on

If you don’t have time to make your own, buy recycled. Here are some options:

Not sure if the card you want is recycled? Flip it over and take a look!

9. Use both sides

  • Making copies? Set the copy machine to print double sided. This can be done whether the original is 2-sided or not.
  • Finished with that printout? Flip it over and use it for note taking or doodling

10. Narrow the margins

The default setting for Microsoft Word margins is 1.25″. You can make them narrower by selecting “Page Setup” (usually found in the “File” menu) and changing them to .75″. Just think of all the paper you’ll save when you’re printing your novel or latest screenplay.

Join the Change the Margins campaign.

the joy of almonds

July 22, 2008

They’re very low in cholesterol, a good source of protein and fiber, and tasty to boot. Slivered, sliced, toasted, salted, delicious and good for you. But do you know about the other wonderful ways to enjoy almonds?

almond milk
A good substitute for cow’s milk or soy milk, almond milk is sweet, creamy, and lower in calories than its counterparts. It’s a good source of vitamin E and a handful of beneficial minerals. It also has a smooth texture, as compared to soy or rice milk.
You can buy it pre-made (chocolate, vanilla, or plain), or make your own (I just love the use of “nut bag” in this recipe).

almond butter
More nutritious than peanut butter with less fat, too. I like it unsweetened, it’s just naturally yummy. Again, you can buy it already made, make your own, or get one from one of those fancy grind-it-yourself nut butter machines (there’s one at our Fairway in Red Hook, Bklyn).

tea for me

July 15, 2008

It’s been almost 3 years since I “quit” coffee (I might have about 3 cups of decaf in a year when the mood strikes). For some reason, it makes me feel ill, like I’ve taken too many spins on the tilt-a-whirl.

Now that I’m a serious tea drinker, I consume at least 3 cups of the stuff a day. Anything from green to white, ginger to chamomile, rooibos to English breakfast, and the occasional chai latte. And it has to at least be organic, and fair trade if I can find it.

Dragonwell Organic Green Tea
At the office or on the go, I take along a bag of Yogi Tea or Traditional Medicinals and steep it in a ceramic or travel mug. At home, I prefer brewing up a pot of loose leaf in my Bodum pot. (I’m not a fan of the plastic strainer, even though polypropylene has a high melting point, so I’m looking to get a metal replacement.)

Here are some loose leaf teas along with their potential health benefits (according to Teavana):

Drink coffee?
Be sure it’s organic, fair trade, and/or shade grown. Here are some coffee brands that fit the bill:

dairy-air: milk production sources exposed

July 14, 2008

You’re in the dairy aisle, trying to figure out which milk to buy. You spot the organic label and think, I can trust this — it’s organic, it’s better for me and the environment. And the cows are happily grazing in green pastures. Wrong again! That USDA Organic label is not always so forthcoming, especially in the world of dairy production.

Now you might be thinking, why is she bursting my milky bubble? I thought I had this organic, hormone- and antibiotic-free milk thing figured out. Yeah, me too. Until I started digging a little deeper into the manure pile of dairy greenwashing.

The biggest brands you might recognize in the supermarket milk game are Horizon Organic and Organic Valley. I had heard a couple of years ago that Horizon didn’t have the lily white reputation they claimed to have, that they weren’t any better than conventional because they sourced their milk from factory farms. So they’ve been off my list for a while.

But I thought I could trust Organic Valley, with their barefoot CEO reeking of humble beginnings and honest behavior. Boy did I fall for that one! Recent reports say Organic Valley decided to source from a 10,000 head cattle operation in Texas where “some” of their cows are exposed to pasture. Doesn’t sound like a small-scale, sustainable family farm to me. Honestly, the news broke my butter-loving heart. And that CEO-sans-shoes, George Siemon, says,

“Sometimes you have to make compromises; that’s just the nature of business,” … “I made the decision to buy the product, and I’m willing to take the heat.” (source: The Capital Times)

Sorry, George, but that’s not a compromise I would have made. I semi-admire Siemon’s willingness to “take the heat,” but what irks me is his lack of responsibility to his customers who actually care what they’re feeding themselves and their families. (More at Grist)

Large-scale dairy production is neither healthy nor sustainable.
Like many things that seem reasonably priced on the sticker, factory farming poses hidden costs to society. Here are just a few (source: Union of Concerned Scientists):

  • Water pollution from manure runoff
  • Oxygen-depleted coastal regions (from runoff)
  • Air pollution from manure
  • Methane release from manure lagoons
  • Negative health impact on surrounding communities (plus the smell, egad!)
  • Antibiotic-resistant pathogens (like MRSA)
  • Grain subsidies
  • Pollution prevention subsidies

So which dairies can you trust?
One way to ensure your hard-earned buck is going toward better milk products is to visit your local farmer’s market. There you can meet face-to-face with the farmers and ask them all about their practices. Many farms even encourage visits so you can see first hand where the stuff is coming from.

Find a farmer’s market near you

No farmer’s market in your area? Here are some small-scale dairy brands (and the products they offer) you may have seen in your supermarket:

And then there’s…
Stonyfield, though recently under scrutiny due to dairy farm wages (and now majority owned by Groupe Danone), maintains their support for small-scale farms.

BAAaaa don’t forget goat’s milk!
I love goats and anything made with their milk. Goat’s milk is said to have greater health benefits than cow’s milk, like promoting better mineral absorption (e.g., calcium, magnesium). It’s also more easily digested than moo milk. (Other health advantages here.)

Wanna try? Look for these goat-ee-licious brands:

More about large- vs small-scale farming:
If you’ve got the time, here’s a comprehensive report from the Union of Concerned Scientists about the economic and environmental costs of CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations).

A great resource that’s keeping organic farmers honest is the Cornucopia Institute, an independent watchdog organization that advocates small farming practices.

Everyone must be on the same dairy wavelength today, ’cause as I was writing this post, this came through from Manhattan User’s Guide:

So let’s see if we’ve got this straight: the Monsanto company produces a synthetic growth hormone called Posilac, used by some dairy farmers, which juices cows to produce more milk. Lots of people don’t want this in their milk, for compelling reasons. Dairy farmers that do not use the recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) almost invariably state that on their milk carton labels. You, the consumer, get useful info. But since the FDA would not allow Monsanto to ban rBGH labelling nationally, the dirtbags have been going state-by-state to pass legislation that would ban the labelling. They’re now trying to do it in New York; they need to be stopped.

afternoon eco-news

July 1, 2008

Sunny solutions for Golden State hands-free law

Milk drinkers cry over new eco jugs

Nau again soon? (I sure hope so!)

Incentives for New Yorkers making green home improvements

Grants for New Hampshire Dairies who go organic

Increase in organic spud production in Idaho warrants study

Eco scooting in the city