Friday, February 28, 2014

The Story of Stuff

If you haven't watched this influential classic, take 10 minutes out of your day to get caught up!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

March Meeting of BASG will Tackle Food Systems

source image courtesy of Marion Luttenberger

WHEN: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM 

WHERE: The Venture Cafe - Cambridge Innovation Center, One Broadway, 5th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02142

WHAT: Our food system is extraordinarily complex with a myriad of stakeholders motivated by varying concerns of climate change, personal health, local economic development, social justice, financial returns, and other factors. What does the local landscape of food look like for us in New England and what does the future hold in terms of innovative partnerships and disruptive supply chain solutions?
Come hear from leaders, who will share a broad perspective of the food system, touching on diverse levers of change and influence including production capacity, regional collaboration, municipal regulation, industry advocacy, institutional procurement strategy, and investment in entrepreneurial food ventures.

Our program this evening will be introduced and moderated by Holly Fowler, drawing on her experience of developing and implementing international, sustainable food procurement standards for more than 6500 institutional clients and her most recent consulting work with diverse regional food system stakeholders. Panelists include:
  • Holly Fowler, Co-founder & Managing Director, Northbound Ventures, LLC
  • Alex Linkow, Program Director, Fair Food Fund
  • Edith Murnane, Director of the Office of Food Initiatives, City of Boston 
  • Tim Griffin, Associate Professor and Director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program, Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy, Tufts University

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cocobeet brings organic juices to Government Center

Yep, I am super into the green smoothie craze. Smoothies packed with kale, spinach, carrots, and beets are a great way to get a full day's nutrition in one sitting. And now there are a bunch of juice shops around Boston that can make smoothies to order and also offer ready-made beverages. One such business is newly-opened Cocobeet in City Hall Plaza. Cocobeet serves "organic, locally sourced, pure food meals and juices of the highest nutritional power." Cocobeet’s juices are raw and fresh. No pesticides or GMOs - and all of their juices are vegan! The only downside to Cocobeet is its prices - juices are $8 - $10, but I have to admit, they are totally worth the occasional splurge!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Eco Way to Use a Keurig


Keurigs are great. They give you great coffee/tea/hot chocolate in a matter of seconds. The problem, of course, is that the little disposable K-cups create a lot of waste compared to a traditional filter-less coffee machine. But if you already own a Keurig or your office has one, here are some tips for using it a greener way.

  • Use a reusable K-cup.
  • Use only organic, fair trade products to fill your reusable K-cups.
  • Keep using the same mug - no need to put it in the dishwasher after everyyyyy use.
  • Unplug the Keurig when no one is using it. 
  • Encourage your friends in co-workers to do the same. 

Have any other ideas about greening your Keurig use? Please share! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

3 Fun Recycled Crayon Crafts

If you have kids, you probably have lots of broken Crayons. Instead of throwing away all those bits of colored wax, why not recycle them into a work of art or another useful creation? Here are three fun crafts you can do to recycle your broken Crayons:

1. Rainbow Crayon Hearts – An easy way to make your broken Crayons useful again is to melt them into new, fun shapes. Using a silicon mold, heart shaped for example, place the broken Crayon bits. Make sure all the paper is removed. The end product also looks better if the colors blend well, like blue and yellow for example. Melt in a 250 degree oven for fifteen to twenty minutes. Let cool before removing. The resulting heart crayons make for a fun Valentine’s Day gift! Try different mold shapes for different seasons or holidays. You can even make crayon cars, worms, butterflies, or other kid-friendly ideas.

2. Crayon Monograms – A great gift for Teacher’s Appreciation Day, you can make a large initial monogram by simply gluing broken Crayon parts creatively. Invest in a nice frame and you have a great gift for your child’s teacher. Or make one with your child’s initials for a fun addition to their room’s wall art. 
3. Crayon Drip Décor – Last but not least, melting crayons make for all kinds of fun décor. The most basic use is done by gluing a new box of crayons to the top of a large paper or poster and then melting them and allowing the drips to make a rainbow. While attractive, it does not work as well with broken crayons. However you can use broken crayons to make a similar effect on three dimensional objects like pumpkins. Using a white pumpkin and melting crayons, paper free, with a hair dryer you can have an awesome rainbow effect for your decorating needs. Don’t limit yourself just to pumpkins; this fun craft can have all sorts of uses throughout the seasons. 

These three fun crafts really make you take a second look at what you throw away. Even broken items can find new uses. Help your kids to understand what it means to reduce, reuse and recycle!

Author: Nancy Parker is a regular contributor to and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, Parenting, Child Care, Babysitting, nanny background check tips etc. You can reach her at

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Net Impact Career Summit is Tomorrow!


WHEN: Friday, February 21, 2014 from 7:30 AM to 1:15 PM

WHERE: BU School of Management, 595 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

WHAT: The 2014 Net Impact Boston Career Summit is the second annual Summit that brings together local professionals, job-seekers and graduate students interested in a career with positive social or environmental impact.

The Career Summit is a collaboration among Boston area Net Impact Chapters and will feature:

  • The opportunity to network and build connections with other like-minded Net Impact Members in the Boston area
  • Panel discussions on topics you care about
  • An incredible workshop on your "More than Money" career
  • Exhibitors from the for-profit, nonprofit, and government sectors 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Spotlight: Junkluggers Expand Service to Boston

Displaying Luggers-v4.jpg

The Junkluggers is a NYC-based junk removal company that is rapidly expanding across the northeast. Founder & CEO Josh Cohen is planning to bring his green trucks, and eco-friendly green business model, to the land of the Green Monster!

The Junkluggers is planning to open 2 to 3 locations in Boston by the end of 2015, and 10-15 in the state of Massachusetts. The company currently has 5 locations throughout Connecticut, New York City, Long Island, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Each location typically adds 5-10 jobs and the company partners with local charities and donation centers to make sure that the “junk” they remove can potentially find a home with someone who really needs it.

The Junkluggers will remove almost any unwanted item and find it a new home. They avoid sending items to landfills and believe that recycling is a form of passive philanthropy.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How to Make the Healthiest Food Choices

In the last decade, countless buzzwords have emerged to describe the food. With numerous labels and signs promoting “organically grown”, “locally sourced”, “grass fed”, “artisan”, “fresh”, “all natural”, and others, it’s hard to keep track of what they all mean. While many of us strive to make the best decisions we can when it comes to what we put in our cart and on our dinner plates, what exactly does this entail? Let’s discuss some of those words and find out what they really mean.

Natural is used to describe many types of food - from meat to vegetables to packaged potato chips. For many people, the term "natural" conjures images of wide, open fields, a single farmer working fifteen hours a day, and everything done by hand, and of course with no chemicals. Packaging certainly plays a large role in this, with green being widely used, and smiling cows, chickens and other farm animals showing just how happy the organic life is. But is it, really? Technically, the term natural simply means derived from natural matter. Therefore, if you trace anything far enough back, it is certainly natural. Instead, look for organic products that have the USDA organic label.

While it is good to choose organic where possible, organic isn’t the be all and end all of ethical eating. For example, if you are concerned about the companies behind your food, organic isn’t necessarily the way to go. Many large corporations now have an organic line, so it is important not to be fooled into thinking that you are supporting a small family when you buy organic.

Additionally, you are not necessarily supporting local farmers. Organic food can, and does, come from anywhere in the world. Depending on where you shop, it can often travel thousands of miles to get to your supermarket. Many people are aware that “food miles” matter when it comes to making ethical and environmentally friendly decisions. Choosing food that is grown overseas and imported doesn’t make much sense, and is often less fresh, but can still most certainly be organic.

Although organic produce is a step in the right direction, and it is important to be aware of the benefits that eating organic can deliver, it is equally important to realize that there are other factors to consider when making ethical choices regarding the food that you and your family eat.

Author: Kurt Jacobson is a surfing enthusiast with a background in real estate. Having moved 10 times in the past 7 years, he thrives on helping others learn from his experiences. When he's not out shredding waves he writes about rental homes for

Friday, February 14, 2014

iRecycle App Makes Recycling Easier Than Ever

Earth 911's iRecycle App is awesome. It uses your location to tell you how to best recycle different types of materials. This is a total game changer, because recycling systems are different from municipality to municipality. The app. allows you to quickly and easily learn the closest, proper way to responsibly dispose of almost any item! No more confusion about what items go in what bins!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Babson Energy and Environment Conference to be March 27

WHEN: March 27, 2014, 9:30 am - 6:30 pm

WHERE: Sorenson Theater, 19 Babson College Dr., Wellesley, MA 02482

WHAT: This year's conference - Fifteen Shades of Green - is about how energy efficiency and sustainability has evolved into an integral part of every industry helping grow the top line and breaking the long held myth that sustainability is a cost center. Register here for a day of fabulous speakers and green networking! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Spotlight: Second Time Around


STA made thrifting cool years before the Macklemore song did! In fact, the STA chain of consignment shops has been around for 35+ years. They now boast 40 locations across 12 states, including 11 in Massachusetts. We know that purchasing clothing second hand is a greener way to shop, and STA makes it easy for fashionistas by carefully curating their stock. STA is perfect for people that are new to thrifting, or are wary of anything pre-owned. Early spring is the begining of gala season, so do the earth, and your wallet a favor by considering purchasing a dress from STA! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

DIY Map Wrapping Paper

map wrapping ideas via Be Still, Life

Lets face it, in the days of iphones and computers, maps are basically an obsolete technology. Put that old map drawer to good use by using it to spice up your next gift-giving opportunity!

Monday, February 10, 2014

5 Steps to Greater Tranquility at Home

Your home is supposed to be a place to feel restful and to recoup after a hard day’s work. Turning your home into a tranquil retreat is a great approach to take if you’re looking to spruce things up with a little bit of redecorating and hard work.  So how do you go about turning your home into a restful retreat?  Here are 5 steps to achieving a truly tranquil home.

1 – Natural Materials
Cold, harsh materials such as metal and glass should be avoided if you’re looking to create an environment that’s welcoming, comforting and soothing.  If your home is full of modern furniture, replace it with rustic feeling wooden pieces like the ones available from Trade Furniture Company.  Take up your carpet and reveal the wood floorboards beneath. With a little bit of care (plus sanding and staining) you could turn them into one of the best – and most tranquil – features of your home.

2 – Sleepy Sounds
Twitter notifications might be practical, but they’re not conducive to a relaxing home.  Try playing soothing music, and open the windows to allow the sounds of nature to come into your home.  You could even designate certain hours of the day where you switch off all your technology to prevent any distractions.  

3 – Natural Light
There are a number of studies showing that exposure to natural light promotes a healthy, balanced lifestyle and is also physically good for you.  Not only that, but it releases melatonin which is known to increase productivity.  Therefore, draw the curtains and let the light in because it’s only going to be beneficial.  After all, a relaxing environment is a happy one, so improving your mood will carry you a long way in your quest for a more tranquil home.

4 – Minimal Design
Clutter is the enemy of a clear mind and a stress-free home.  The more things you have out, the more there is to clean, tidy and put away, and this all amounts to a significant amount of stress and hard work.  Therefore, if you’re looking to operate a tranquil home, the answer is to go minimal.  White walls, as little furniture as you could manage, plenty of open space and simple fixtures.  

5 – Bringing Nature to You
As previously stated, nature is great for relaxation, so if you’re looking to really go the whole hog, you should try to increase the amount of nature in your home.  Do this by extending your outdoor space in – by, for example – placing green potted plants in strategic locations and by having more natural materials in your home. 

Author: Trade Furniture Company

Friday, February 7, 2014

Chasing Ice is a Must-Watch

Another snow storm is headed our way on Sunday. Make the most of your time stuck at home with a cup of tea and this fabulous documentary! Chasing Ice is the remarkable and inspiring story about a photographer's journey to capture the proof of climate change on film. The movie comes highly recommended, and its easy to see why - the imagery is gorgeous, the message is urgent, and the story is dramatic. Chasing Ice is available for streaming on Netflix.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Art Inspired by the Arctic

WHEN: January 30, 2014 – May 18, 2014

WHERE: Tisch Family Gallery, 40 Talbot Avenue, Medford, MA 02155

WHAT: This exhibition of paintings, photographs and a video installation introduces Boston audiences to artists who either have not been seen before in the area or have created new work for this occasion. Seeing Glacial Time examines how eight contemporary artists employ the "real time" of photography to visualize the largely imperceptible, gradual changes in "glacial time" from the bellwether Arctic region. Most of these artists have gone to extreme lengths—and distances—to capture and create their imagery. More information here.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Right Now! rocked the house and encouraged action

For those who were unable to make it to the Right Now! event by We Are Music, here is a brief breakdown:

  • The exhibit hall featured some great local business, such as Greentown Labs, City Soil, Social Boston Sports, and more (there were free samples galore, Pop Chips, anyone?).
  • The impressive speakers included:
    • Dan Schrag, Professor of Geology at Harvard University. Dan also serves on President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
    • Jack Healy, Head of the Human Rights Action Center. Jack was also a key organizational figure in the "Human Rights Concerts" series, when he served as Executive Director of Amnesty International USA between 1981-1993.
    • Michael Mann, Director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. Michael is a well-renowned climate activist and co-founder of Real Climate.
    • Cameron Wake, Director of Carbon Solutions New England, Cameron helps lead the New Hampshire Energy and Climate Collaborative, established to track and facilitate the implementation of New Hampshire's 2009 Climate Action Plan. (And, he has the best first name ever!!! 
  • The event included an open oyster bar courtesy of Island Creek Oysters! A delicious treat, oysters are also one of the most sustainable seafood choices.
  • There was also a special message from Bill McKibbon! Though it was kind of hard to hear, the video was inspiring and set a tone of urgency and action.
  • Oh yeah, the live entertainment was excellent! DJ Ryan Brown, Bearstronaut, DJ Juan Maclean, and   Escort  got everyone dancing!

I had a great time. In fact, I was one of the last ones to leave! (proof below). I can't wait to see more events by We Are Music!

Monday, February 3, 2014

5 Ways to Contribute to a Shared Outdoor Space

More and more housing companies are turning away from homes with their own gardens to more vertical houses with shared, co-operative yard spaces.  If you live in a home with spare green space, you might be wondering how best to contribute to it.  Most co-ops ask their users to bring an item as a token of membership, so here are 5 great ways to contribute. 

  • BBQ

There’s nothing better than a warm summer’s day outdoors with a barbecue.  Therefore, contributing the BBQ itself could be a very valuable contribution.  Even better, you could build your own using brick and mortar, as this is a great excuse to be outside and to rope in your neighbors to get to know them a little better.  

  • Garden Furniture

If you’re looking to provide your shared space with a truly practical gift, there’s nothing better you could do than purchase outdoor furniture from a specialist like Garden Furniture  This could be the beginning of a new social space for you and your neighbors, so providing a great place to relax would be a good start.

  • Fun and Games

On the other hand, sometimes a serious, practical gift isn’t necessarily the right approach.  Instead, you could provide the entertainment for the co-op space.  A sustainably-made swing set for the kids or a set of goals for a weekly street soccer match might be a better path to tread, particularly if you’re looking to bring your community closer together.  

  • Fruit and Veggie Garden

A fun yet useful approach might be to plant some fruit trees or a vegetable patch.  That way, you and your neighbours could prosper from the annual crop, and meanwhile, you could tend to the garden as a group, providing everybody with plenty of exercise and time outdoors.

  • Tools of the Trade

Unfortunately, every garden requires maintaining.  Therefore, you could become everyone’s favorite garden co-operative member by bringing your own (efficient) lawnmower and maintenance tools.  After a few weeks, you could ask the others to join in with the work and you could maybe even create a rotation to ensure that everybody’s doing their fair share.

Good luck and happy gardening! 
Author: Pete, Garden Furniture Centre