Archive for the ‘energy’ Category

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!

the turning point: a return to community

February 22, 2010

An industrialized world such as the one we live in has its advantages. Cool computer technology that allows us to communicate instantly with people around the globe; high-speed transport that has the ability to take us to a foreign land within hours, not days; medical advances that give sick or injured people better chances of surviving or thriving. But it seems in our fast progression to this industrialized society, some important aspects of life were left behind.

We’ve lost the skills that allow us to be self-reliant and at the same time we’ve lost our ability to depend on our neighbors. We’ve lost our sense of community.

Yet there’s a growing movement to re-establsh what we’ve lost while regaining a newfound abundance in the world around us. Entire towns are being transformed and villages established that meet the permaculture principles of “care for people, care for the earth, and share the abundance.” One such village, considered an “eco-village” since the 1980s, is Findhorn, Scotland.

The Turning Point: A Return to Community features Findhorn, its community, and the community’s dwindling dependence on fossil fuels. I was lucky to be part of one of its first North American screenings.

The Turning Point shows us that it’s possible to have a rich, fulfilling life during energy descent without sacrificing comfort and security. If a community is comprised of people with diverse skills and strengths, and has a strong ecological infrastructure, it can be a resilient and successful one. Some of the features the village of Findhorn boasts include:

Home made from recycled whisky barrels, Findhorn

The home above was made from recycled whisky barrels.

Like the Transition Town movement started in Ireland and the UK, Findhorn ecovillage demonstrates what life can be like in a post-peak-oil world. It isn’t a return to a rag-and-bone agrarian existence. It isn’t all doom and gloom. As long as we start the changes now, we can thrive in a world with little reliance on fossil fuels. The Turning Point film is a peek into a future we can all look forward to.

A living machine, like the one in Findhorn, at Oberlin College

If you’d like to see The Turning Point: A Return to Community, visit the film’s website.

For more information on Ecovillages and Transition Towns:

For more about Findhorn:

Images source: Wikipedia

the story of blair mountain

January 15, 2010

Reminiscent of a particular Hollywood film you may have seen recently…


The battle to protect the historic battlefield on Blair Mountain has been waging for the past two decades. In March of 2009, dedicated local activists were rewarded when Blair Mountain was named as a Historic Place.

However, last week we learned that, after heavy lobbying by the coal industry and their allies, Chief of the National Register for the National Park Service Carol Schull took the unprecedented step of actually delisting Blair Mountain, paving the way for coal companies to pursue permits for mountaintop removal mining on the mountain.

Blair Mountain is a sacred place, and we believe that we can provide for a better future for Appalachia by honoring our past. But Blair, and other Appalachian mountains, will be destroyed if we do not spread the word about the injustice that is happening today in Appalachia with mountaintop removal mining.

Read more about Blair Mountain:

i do 30, do you?

December 14, 2009

Some like it hot, but I like it cold. The water temp setting on my washing machine, that is. That baby is locked in at the cold position for every load of wash. If everyone in Europe alone kept their laundry setting at 30°C (86°F – though I think mine is colder than that), it would mean the equivalent of taking 3 million cars off the road, according to Wah? For real? Seems so. So heed the advice of New Edition and ‘Cool It Now’ – turn your washer setting to cold.

And watch this fun vid featuring a tiny washing machine in the streets of Copenhagen from I do 30. May as well join their facebook page while you’re at it, too.

Oh, Bobby B, what happened?

now see this! crude, sweet crude

August 28, 2009

We all know by now that petroleum is poison and that it’s time to move on to cleaner & more ethical forms of fuel, right? Well, I guess not everyone is getting the message, including of course the oil companies themselves. Two films expose the dirty, unjust, and plain despicable practices of big oil. Check out the trailers and reviews below:


Coming to IFC Center Soon (9/9/09)
Check if it’s playing near you

The Official Site

Read a review of Crude [AlterNet]

Sweet Crude

The Official Site

Read a review of Sweet Crude [Variety]

the digital diet: an experiment

July 31, 2009

When I go on vacation, I don’t check emails, I don’t go online, I barely even answer the phone. On these tech-free holidays I am able to focus, enjoy myself, relax. So I’m going to try a little experiment next week. From Monday to Friday I will not be posting anything. I will not check email. I will not go on Facebook or Twitter.

I love the computer and the internet and the way it connects people in new and interesting ways. But I want to see what it’s like to go through my regular day at home, and while working, completely disconnected from the digital realm.

I will read more. Write by hand more. Interact with people more. Breathe more.

If I need information I will ask someone for it instead of Googling it (what a concept!).

What will my days look like? Stay tuned, for the week after next (week of the 10th) I will report back about the experience… or will I? 🙂

Love you all and see you on the 10th…

pimp my dump

July 26, 2009

What happens when a landfill retires? Find out how the city turns buried trash into public treasure — or a park that trumps Central Park in size — in this video from Thirteen’s series, The City Concealed.

The City Concealed: Freshkills Park Project from on Vimeo.

grow your knowledge in an east village garden

July 23, 2009

Come learn about the latest in sustainable design in a quaint little garden in the East Village. Brought to you by the New York Restoration Project.

Series on Sustainable Design in East Village Garden!
Toyota Children’s Learning Garden
603 E 11th St between avenues B & C

Join us in the Toyota Children’s Learning Garden for a 4 part discussion series highlighting techniques to green our limited urban space. Whether you’re working in a garden, apartment, business, or home, come and learn from New York City’s leaders in sustainable design.

The discussions and workshops will take place every other Thursday, July 30th-September 24th, in the garden from 7:00-8:00pm. We will also highlight the area’s environmentally conscious restaurants and businesses at the presentations. Following the discussions we invite everyone to join us for hors d’oeuvre and giveaways in the garden generously donated by Sustainable NYC, Angelica’s Kitchen, Quintessence, Hummus Place, Spino, and more.

July 30, 2009: Sarah Siegel, of Michael Van Valkenburg Associates: designer of the Toyota Children’s Learning Garden. She will give a short garden tour and speak about urban garden design, specifically the shad tolerant planting palette and sustainable technologies in this garden.

August 13, 2009: Chris Collins, Executive Director Solar1, will discuss benefits of renewable energy, the work of Solar1, and how to feasibly incorporate such technologies in your everyday life.

August 27, 2009: GreenItYourself Green Roof Workshop: Lori Gibbs and Atom Cianfarani, believe that living a healthy and environmentally responsible lifestyle should be accessible to everyone! They will teach about green roofing and prove tips and techniques for gardening in small spaces.

September 10, 2009: Marni Horowitz, CEO and founder Alive Structures, will speak about green wall installation and other techniques to make sue of our abundantly available vertical space. She will also discuss ecological gardening practices which mimic natural ecosystems that increase abundance, beauty, and biodiversity.

Space is limited, to RSVP and for more information about New York Restoration Project please contact Rachael Brody, 212-333-2552 or

100 coal plants defeated

July 9, 2009

It’s quite a battle — fighting to end the use of coal as our main source of energy in this country. But Sierra Club just marked the milestone of 100 coal plants defeated or abandoned. Congrats to Sierra Club and the USA for reaching this goal. Of course, there’s still more work to be done.

Want to help shift the country from coal? Switch to renewable energy!

In New York
Elsewhere in the States

celebrate the sun with solar one

July 8, 2009

This weekend, Friday 7/10 through Sunday 7/12, Solar One Presents City Sol — Independent Music, Art & Sustainability Festival.

Daily events:
Friday — 6:00PM – Dance Party
Saturday — 12:00PM – Live Music Day
Sunday — 11:00AM – Workshops and the Wide Open Eco-Pet Fashion Show!

Full details:
Since 2004, Solar One has held an annual festival celebrating sustainability and encouraging NYers to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle through fun and informative performances and exhibitions.

The schedule so far for Citysol 2009:

Friday July 10 at 6pm DANCE PARTY
“Mr. Lower East Side” Moonshine Shorey, Poet Extraordinaire
The Alien Comic- Legendary downtown performance artist confronts climate change
Party for a Solar-Powered NY- Join the I Heart PV campaign to increase solar energy generation in NYC! Find out what you can do: talk to a solar installer, write a letter to your legislators in exchange for a free drink, design a solar racecar and enter it in our competition and dance till you drop!
Solar-powered DJs from HomeBase Collective

Saturday July 11 at 12pm LIVE MUSIC DAY
Love Like Deloreans
Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers
The So So Glos
Hi Red Center
DJ Green Lantern
Dead Prez

Sunday July 12 at 11am
The Rachel Show
BioBus Mobile Laboratory
Make Your Own Generator with the Magdagascar Institute
PLUS Workshops, panels and exhibits from a variety of local sustainability organizations- check for details, coming soon!

AND… Beer!
Bring your own cup, Get a discount on beer! Reuse the cup you get, Get a discount on beer! Write a letter for The I HEART PV CAMPAIGN, Get a beer on the house!

Event sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery

Here’s how you get there: