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Friday, April 27, 2012

4 Ways to Upcycle Old Maps

1) I have an iphone which means I no longer have any need for paper maps (as long as I am somewhere near an outlet and an iphone charger...)
2) I have lots of paper maps
3) This means it is DIY time! Check out these amazing ideas from Pinterest (which can be found on my "Upcycle" board)








Thursday, April 26, 2012

Three Different Eco-Friendly Flooring Options

Today's post comes from Ambient Bamboo. Thanks for the guest post and all of your great work in the green building industry! 


"People today are understandably concerned about the impact of various building materials on the health of Mother Earth. If you’re planning to install a new floor, here are three options to help you do that in a sustainable fashion.

Cork Flooring
This unique flooring choice is considered “green” for one important reason: No plants are ever harmed in its production. Cork is bark from the cork oak tree. The bark grows back after harvest, and the tree itself remains healthy.
Among the many items made from cork, flooring is perhaps the most beautiful. Its gentle variations in color and shading allow cork to blend easily with any decor, and its soft, sound-muffling resilience is as easy on the ears as it is on the feet. Although its acoustic benefits and under-foot softness are made possible by millions of tiny air pockets, cork resists permanent denting, and it is never spongy.
Cork possesses a unique ability to repel such allergens as bugs and mites. It is also resistant to rotting. Cork can, however, be cut by sharp objects, and while it possesses some moisture-resistant properties, it will require waterproofing when installed in a kitchen or bathroom.

example of cork flooring - image courtesy of texturesflooring.com

Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo is probably the closest a sustainable material can get to ordinary hardwood. The increasing popularity of bamboo for the manufacture of such items as cutting boards, place mats and bedding serves as a testament to its beauty, versatility and durability. Its strength is its pliability: Bamboo plants will normally bend in winds that cause trees to break.
Because bamboo is actually a grass, it grows very quickly and can be harvested as often as every five years. Considering the beauty of the flooring it produces, the benefits of bamboo become increasingly obvious. Many people are unaware of the differences in color, pattern and finish that bamboo flooring can provide. These variations allow a bamboo floor to look as good in a casual, country setting as it does in a fancy drawing room.

example of bamboo flooring, courtesy of interiordesign-newyork.com

Rammed Earth Flooring
This may sound like something new and different, but earthen floors have been around since prehistoric times. What’s changed today is the way in which they’re constructed.
A rammed earth floor consists of a mixture of clay, fiber and sand that has been spread in successive thin layers over a base of tamped gravel. It is normally sealed and protected with a finishing coat of linseed oil, but in high-traffic areas, it can be treated additionally with a coat of perilla oil and finished off with a waxen sealer.
Although it seems implausible, earthen floors can be laid in a variety of colors and textures, and they can even accept in-floor tubing for radiant heat. Of course, it should go without saying that earth is the least expensive flooring option available today.

example of rammed earth flooring, courtesy of planetgreen.com

While they may seem a bit out of the ordinary, any one of these three flooring options can offer a viable, eco-friendly and equally beautiful alternative to an ordinary hardwood floor."

Author Bio: Jared Sanders is a flooring expert at Ambient Bamboo, a leader in the alternative flooring industry. Ambient Bamboo carries a variety of styles and colors, offering you an inexpensive green flooring option.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Using Chain Link Fences to "Capture Resonance"

I discovered this art installation on Pinterest and fell in love! It is a wonderful display created by Soo Sunny Park out of old chain link fences! It is called 'Capturing Resonance' and is on display at the deCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA through July.







Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: Tarte ReCreate Foundation with Wrinkle Rewind


Pros                                                                              Cons                         
-Effective, easily blended                                               -Rated a 5 (Moderate Hazard) on EWG 
-Broad spectrum SPF coverage                                     -Price ($37)
-No parabens, mineral oil, or phthalates                         -non-signer to the Compact for Safe Cosmetics  
-No fragrance
-Recyclable packaging


Conclusion: I'm kind of sad that this product didn't get a good score on the EWG Skin Deep database because I really like the way it looks and feels on my skin, and I generally trust Tarte as a green company. And though this foundation is a bit expensive, a little goes a long way, and the coverage lasts all day, so the bottle will probably last me months! However, when I do run out, I'll probably look for a product that scored better with EWG and that doesn't contain potentially harmful chemicals like Aluminum Starch Octenyl Succinate, Alumina, or Gold.              

Monday, April 23, 2012

Fab Habitat Rugs

These gorgeous rugs are made from recycled plastic and are fairly traded! Fab Habitat is a great eco-decor discovery - plus, their products are very affordable.



images courtesy of FabHabitat.com

Friday, April 20, 2012

Earth Weekend Events!

Sunday is Earth Day, so between now and then there are some fabulous events taking place in the Boston area!

Today: Earth Day on the Greenway, 11am-1pm


Eco Beauty Bar Night at OMBE, 4pm-8pm



Tomorrow:
13th Annual Charles River Cleanup, 9am-12pm
Earth Day Workshop: 10 Steps to Greater, Greener Living at gGreen Design Center, 11am-12pm 

Sunday:
Party for the Planet at Franklin Park Zoo, 10am-3pm
Earth Day Picnic for the Planet at the Frog Pond, 11am-5pm
Race Against Extinction 5k in Brighton, 11am start time
Green Film Fest for Earth Day at Suffolk Law School, 11:30am-6pm

For more information on any of these events see: http://www.bostongreendrinks.com/#!green-around-town
or shoot me an e-mail: BostonGreenBlog@gmail.com

Happy Earth Week!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fashion & Sustainability Party on Twitter TODAY!

Practically Green and Eileen Fisher are hosting a Fashion & Sustainability Twitter Party today from 12:30 to 1:30. To join, all you have to do is follow @PracticallyGrn and @EILEENFISHER on twitter and use the hashtag #EFCSRChat in all of your tweets. I am excited about this event and will be participating on the handle @BosGreenBlog. See you out there greenies!


"Did you know there’s a story behind each stage of a clothing lifecycle? A lifecycle considers four key stages: raw materials, manufacturing process, use (garment care), and end of life. We’ve invited Practically Green to share some of their insight on the topic of garment lifecycle."


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Celebrate Earth Day with Picnic For the Planet at the Frog Pond


Get outside with your friends and family to enjoy all that nature brings to our lives.

BOSTON, MA – From the Antarctic to the South Pacific, to right here in Boston, people will celebrate Earth Day with The Nature Conservancy’s second annual Picnic for the Planet. The annual event celebrates the role that nature plays in daily life, by reminding people to stop and take a few minutes to enjoy being outside and sharing a meal with their families and friends.

“From the fish in our rivers and seas, to the forests that keep our air and our drinking water clean, to the vegetables we buy at the local farmers’ market; nature touches our lives every day,” said Alison Bowden, of the Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts.

WHEN: Sunday, April 22, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: Boston Common Frog Pond

For more information, visit www.nature.org/bostonpicnic

DETAILS: We’ll be celebrating, rain or shine, cohosting the family-friendly event with The Skating Club of Boston, at the Boston Common Frog Pond:

  • Take the Planet Out to Lunch: The Nature Conservancy will attempt to break a Guinness World Record for the largest global picnic from noon to 3 p.m., to the soundtrack of live music courtesy of Radio 92.9. Learn more about nature in Massachusetts, sample great local and natural foods, participate in a nature treasure hunt with your family and enter to win free tickets to Earthfest in May and other door prizes.
  • Down:2:Earth:  The Skating Club of Boston which manages the Boston Common Frog Pond, is teaming up with Down:2:Earth to sponsor a D:2:E Green Spot, with local vendors offering information about living green in the city and activities for families from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Picnickers can visit Earth-friendly vendors, including Massachusetts Farmers Markets, Honest Tea, Cow and Crumb, Whole Foods Markets, Flavrz Organic Drink Mix, Hubway, Emmett’s Edibles, and Progressive Asset Management among others. Family-friendly activities including arts and crafts workshops using recycled materials will also be part of the day’s entertainment.


The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. www.nature.org/mass

The Boston Common Frog Pond is managed through a public-private partnership between The Skating Club of Boston and the Boston Parks Department.  The partnership’s mission is to manage the Frog Pond for the benefit of Bostonians and visitors alike, and to provide recreational activities year-round at a customer-friendly destination in the heart of America’s oldest public park. www.bostonfrogpond.com


Press release courtesy of The Nature Conservancy. 


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review: Paula's Choice Earth Sourced Natural Moisturizer


Pros                                                                     Cons                             
-Effective!                                                             -Not yet rated on the EWG Skindeep Database
-Fragrance-free, dye-free                                      -Prince ($20 for 2 fl. oz)
-Vegan                                                                 -"Natural Ingredients" is a vague claim
-Recyclable packaging
-98% "natural ingredients"


Conclusion: This product is amazingly effective. Seriously, my skin has never felt smoother! I use it on my face and don't need to worry about breaking out or feeling dry and itchy - it is PERFECT for combination skin. I would definitely buy this product again, except that it is a bit expensive, and its claims are not verified by a third party (i.e. EWG, USDA, Quality Assurance International, etc.). But the ingredient list looks legit, and if I find it at Whole Foods or Sephora, I might just do it!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easy Vegetarian Hors D'oeuvres

Pinterest is full of all sorts of recipe ideas, but lately I've been drawn to simple vegetarian appetizers! I must try these:


pears with goat cheese, craisins, and pistachios 

berry and goat cheese bruschetta 

English muffin pizzas with spinach and mozzarella 

watermelon cubes with feta and mint

All are easy for "lazy chefs" and can be made with organic ingredients! Yum!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Best Places for Free Nature Lectures in Boston

image courtesy of Deliciousbaby.com

The Museum of Science -  This spring the MOS is hosting a "lets talk about food" free lecture series. The next event is Lets Talk About Sustainable Seafood on 4/29/12. There are also other lectures coming up, like The Hunt for Asteroids and Inspiring Minds: Meet Women in Science

image courtesy of tripadvisor.com

The Peabody Museum at Harvard University - This wonderful museum is constantly holding events that are either free or relatively cheap. Sustainable policy enthusiasts will love the Trash Talk Lecture Series, and families will love the drop-in all ages events. 

image courtesy of foursquare.com

Mass Audubon Society - With locations throughout the state, Mass Audubon is a great way to fulfill your desire to learn in the suburbs. Many of the society's lectures are both free and take place outdoors. Take bird walks, go biking, or learn about wildlife in far off lands. 


Monday, April 9, 2012

Review: Gud Pearanormal Activity Natural Hand Cream



Pros                                                                            Cons                                
-Brand owned by Burt's Bees                                      -Not yet rated on the EWG Skindeep Database
-No parabens, petrochemicals, or pthalates                  -Has artificial fragrance
-Smells great
-Not tested on animals
-Good price ($8)
-Effective, thick, pleasant
-Widely available (Target)


Conclusion: The main reason this probably hasn't been rated by the EWG is because its a brand new product, so I'll let that slide. The only other negative is that it includes artificial fragrances, but this con is mostly outweighed by the fact that many of the other ingredients are natural and even organic. Plus the line of GUD products by Burt's Bees are about half the price of regular Burt's Bees products. I love that natural products like this one are now available to a wider market! I would definitely buy this product.

Friday, April 6, 2012

7 Ways to Green Your Easter Celebration

1. Make Easter baskets out of recycled/repurposed materials.

image courtesy of pinterest

2. Give goodies that reduce waste or have a green twist - think waterbottles, organic lip balm, tote bag, etc.

3. Choose organic and fair trade chocolates.

4. Avoid disposable plastic partyware (such as the faux grass in the basket pictured above).

5. Make your meal vegetarian-friendly. Include dishes made from organic vegetables and if you are serving meat, choose sustainably sourced meats (i.e. grass-fed, local, antibiotic-free).

6. Instead of purchasing flowers, decorate with found items and soy candles.

image courtesy of pinterest

7. Do something outside. My church hosts a "sunrise service" every Easter, during which the congregation climbs a local hill and watches the sunrise. It is a great way to incorporate a little exercise and respect for nature into the celebration!


This Weekend's Green Events: Boston University Eco Fest - Screening "Call of Life" at 7pm on Sunday.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

RRR: Old Jeans into Soda Coozies!

Out of all the amazing DIY projects I've found on Pinterest, this is definitely one of my favorite:


Using an old pair of jeans to make a coozy with pockets - genius! There are plenty of ways to reuse jeans: make jorts, skirts, aprons, handbags, or just donate them - but this coozy is the most creative idea I've seen yet!

Today's Green Events: EnergyBar Spring Meetup (financial district), Clean Tech Open Launch Party (Kendall sq.)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Oh la la! Pret a Manger Brings Green Eats to Beantown

Many of you have probably stopped in a Pret a Manger in NYC or London, but did you know that it is a "green" restaurant/cafe? According to a recent Boston.com article, Pret a Manger uses natural and ethically sourced ingredients, and unsold items are donated to local charities at the end of the day! And .....Pret a Manger is opening a new location in Boston! (Located has yet to be announced). Keep your eyes peeled!

Image courtesy of Boston.com

Monday, April 2, 2012

Romney's Shift on Energy Goals

I usually try to avoid political stories on my blog because a heatlhy green lifestyle isn't just for one party or political leaning - it is for everyone. However, it is important for voters to be aware of their candidate's stance on environmental policies. For those of you following the republican primaries, this story may be of interest to you: On Energy Policy, Romney's Emphasis has Shifted.

As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney made great progress by introducing the Massachusetts Climate Protection Plan. But now, as a presidential candidate, he's been caught saying things like this:

"Let's aggressively develop our oil, our gas, our coal [and] our nuclear power," Romney says. "Look, [the] Marcellus Shale is a huge godsend for the nation. Let's develop it, aggressively."

Just some food for thought.

images and quotes are courtesy of NPR.org