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
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
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 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
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.
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.
-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
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.
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."
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.
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
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
-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
-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!
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.
-Brand owned by Burt's Bees -Not yet rated on the EWG Skindeep Database
-No parabens, petrochemicals, or pthalates -Has artificial fragrance
-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.
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!
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.)
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!
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."