30 November 2008

surviving australia

When I saw the posters outside of the Australia Museum for the exhibit "Surviving Australia," I thought maybe it was an exhibit about how humans survived all of the deadly creatures on this isolated continent, once known in Europe as "terra australis incognita" (unknown southern land). This was only part of the story.

Upon entering the exhibit I realized it was more about how the creatures survived the deadly invading humans. Extinct, endangered, and threatened animals were featured in varying media. Threatened and endangered animals had taxidermied representatives. The extinct were mainly shown in illustrations, with the eerie exception of the Tasmanian tiger, of which there was archival film footage.

Thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, was exterminated by man by the early 20th century. It had the appearance of a canine, but like many Australian animals, it was marsupial. [Read more here.]

There were life-sized recreations of megafauna, long extinct when Westerners arrived. Giant wombat-like marsupials and enormous kangaroos (up to 10 feet tall) once roamed the continent.

Thylacoleo, an extinct marsupial lion.

The fate of several animals was doomed upon the arrival of the white man. According to the exhibit, "in the last 200 years, over 50 vertebrate species and an unknown number of invertebrates and plants have disappeared from Australia -- presumed extinct." With habit destruction, introduction of foreign plant and animal species, and sometimes intentional extermination, the pig-footed bandicoot, several types of emu, kangaroo, and wallaby, and the Tasmanian tiger met their untimely end. Today, countless birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals are endangered or threatened because of humans. And Australia is sparsely populated compared with other continents (barring Antarctica), with about 21 million people covering the whole country.

The endangered regent honeyeater.

The endangered Tasmanian devil (I have a photo of a live one in my broken memory card).

When land is cleared did you know that everything living is killed? Between 1972 and 2006 it has been estimated nearly 4 billion birds, mammals and reptiles have died as a result of land clearing in Australia.

One-third of Australia's woodlands... has been destroyed.

An estimated 50 percent of wetlands have been destroyed.

Over three-quarters of Australia's rainforests have been destroyed.

Alright, let's get down to the fun stuff -- the animals that are deadly to humans! I timed my trip to the museum perfectly, because the next day we were off to the tropical north, where all of these toxic creatures live. Saltwater crocs, chironex and irukandji box jelly fish, death adders -- they're all in Queensland's coastal regions. And let's not forget the great white shark!

Huge, predatory Saltwater Crocodiles are one of Australia's most famous dangers. They're the world's biggest living crocodiles and can swim underwater at 30 kilometres per hour [18.6 mph] without causing a ripple. They can leap out of water fast enough to outrun a horse (over a short distance) and far enough to catch low-flying birds.

It was kind of an exciting prospect to be able to possibly witness one of these creepy beings. I avoided going in the water for fear of deadly jelly stings. (I went for a horseback ride and even Rocky, my trusty steed, wouldn't take a dip -- maybe he knows something I don't!) Every branch brushing against my legs was a Sydney funnel-web spider waiting to intoxicate me.

An interactive display describes the chironex box jellyfish

Alas, the scariest thing I came across was a little baby reef shark on the Great Barrier Reef -- and he was so scared of me that he darted away as soon as a I spotted him. But my boyfriend got to see a young saltwater crocodile on Bedarra Island -- I wonder where mama croc was?!

26 November 2008

happy thanksgiving!

Make it an eco turkey day with tips from:

25 November 2008

back from oz with little remorse

I had an amazing time down under. The people are friendly, the food incredible, and -- it's spring now -- so the weather is terrific.

In Sydney, I walked all over. As eco-conscious as the city is (after all, they were the pioneers of Earth Hour), their public transport system is not the greatest -- certainly nothing like NYC's. Sydney's economy isn't the greatest right now either (whose is, really?), so they've cut funding from their public transport developments. I got an earful from a local about it -- he's none too pleased that he moved to a neighborhood that was meant to be receiving new public transport options, but after he relocated, the city reneged on the deal.

Budget cuts aside, there is a decent bus and train system and a centrally located ferry system that makes it easy to get to various points on the Parramatta River and other parts of Sydney Harbor.

But there's nothing like walking a city to get to know it. We stayed in Woolloomooloo, with a great view of the skyline. It was a perfect central location away from the really touristy parts, right by the Royal Botanic Gardens, and a short walk to The Rocks (where Sydney's Western history begins), Darlinghurst, and Kings Cross (a cleaned up red-light-like district).

There are farmers' markets all over the city (organic and plastic-bag-free), as well as weekend shopping markets where you can get locally made goods (we went to a great one in Paddington). I tried my hardest to buy only Australian-made goods during the entire trip. I was doing really well until the day before we left Sydney for Dunk Island, Queensland.

I was feeling run down, had the sniffles and a sore throat. I'd also been walking around a lot, trying to collect souvenirs for friends and family. I'd walked all the way to Woollahra and then all the way down to The Rocks (about 9km or about 5.6 miles). I wanted to soak in the sights one more time before heading out of the city. I was feeling really tired and vulnerable. I spotted an interesting gift for someone (who shall remain nameless, as will the item!) and the sign said it was Australian. Why then did I ask the merchant if it was made in Australia? I guess I had to be sure. As I place the item on the counter, she says, "It's designed in Australia, and made in China. But it's really good quality!" I was weak. I caved. It was the only thing I bought not actually made in Australia. Even the muesli bars I bought at Woolworth's boasted 100% Australian owned and made.

I thought about returning it, but I was already out of the shop... and hurting for a nap. Maybe I'm a bit neurotic, but I beat myself up a bit for the purchase.

Though by the time I arrived at the tropical confines of Dunk Island, I think I got over it.

simple actions you can take right now

[Image: Joel Sartore, National Geographic]

Help build a clean energy future that curbs global warming
By signing a petition from Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)

Stop Palin's wolf killing frenzy
By making a small donation (as little as $5) to Defender's of Wildlife

Save the wolves of the Rockies from slaughter
By signing a petition from Center for Biological Diversity

Save lots of paper, water, and polluting ink by taking your name off the phonebook delivery list
By registering at Yellow Pages Goes Green

Tell the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act
By signing a petition from UCS (or from Environmental Defense Fund)

Stop the Bush Administration final assault on the environment
By making a donation to Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

Tell Obama it's time to repower America
By signing a letter from Environment America

21 November 2008

in seclusion

Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple of days. I have so much to share I'm bursting at the seams!
I'm up at Dunk Island in Queensland until Sunday and there's only one computer for the whole island. There's also no cell phone service. So I'm forced to have a good time. Poor me.

Will be reporting back in a few days with tales of all my adventures.


18 November 2008

rain (and trash) down the drain

Writing from Sydney, Australia
(9:43am Sydney, 5:43pm NYC)

It's raining here in Sydney, which means that the oceans may be unfit for swimming for the next day or so. Like in other coastal cities (NY, LA), heavy rains wash all the trash from the streets into rain gutters and out to sea. Another reason to give a hoot and not pollute.

more animals!

Writing from Sydney, Australia
(9:12pm Sydney, 5:12am NYC)

It's been quite an animal extravaganza for me in Australia. Flying foxes, various exotic birds, baby farm animals, and just yesterday, I got to pet a koala and feed a kangaroo.

As part of an Eco Adventure tour (Dal Myles Tours), I got to visit Featherdale Wildlife Park where they boast one the most diverse private collections of Australian native wildlife. Since I was on a larger tour, I only got to spend an hour at the park. I think I could have spent the entire day.

Here are a few of the animals I saw on my visit. Unfortunately, my memory card or reader is on the fritz so I couldn't download the rest of the photos, including pics of the Blue Mountains. Hopefully I can get that sorted out when I get home.

Hey fat wombat!

Soft and cuddly... and potentially dangerous

A roo eats out of my hand...

...and holds hands with this woman

Yes, there are penguins in Australia. Africa, too.

Some of the animals on the other memory card: albino wallaby, crocodile, various birds (including a white peacock), and a tasmanian devil. I've got to get those pictures!

17 November 2008

peacekeeper causemetics discount

Katie from PeaceKeeper just sent me this note about a promotion they're having. Just thought I'd spread the love!

I just wanted to let you and your readers know that right now we’re doing some awesome promotions for the holiday season:
We’re currently offering a 50% discount on our UNIFEM Lip Gloss if you sign your name to UNIFEM’s Petition to End Violence Against Women. Just visit: http://www.iamapeacekeeper.com/justsayno.htm to find out more.

Additionally, 5% of the retail price or $.80 per unit goes to the UNIFEM Trust Fund To Eliminate Violence Against Women (this is
not a promotional thing though, this is something that we have always and will always do with our UNIFEM gloss).

We’re also offering 20% off any of our Custom, Diplomat and Visionary Care Packages!

Purchasing a holiday gift from PeaceKeeper means you’re giving a gift of more than just make up - you’re helping to empower and improve the lives of women around the world!!

Thanks again!
The PeaceKeeper Team

16 November 2008

baby farm animals!

Writing from Sydney, Australia
(11:06pm Sydney, 7:06am NYC)

Yesterday we went to Paddington Market, a nice outdoor shopping market where local artists and designers peddle their wares. Before we left I checked out their website... it mentioned that every second Saturday baby farm animals are brought in for children to pet. Too good to pass up!

Since I'm a big kid at heart, I paid the $5 to enter the mini petting zoo. I got to feed the calf and lambs and pet the goats. Bunnies, a spotted piglet, guinea pigs, ducklings, doves, and chicks were also there to ooh and aah over. All of the animals were from Bowral Farmyard Friends, a service run by Malcolm Dowling that introduces young city kids to farm animals.

Freaking adorable!

MORE pictures to come!!!

14 November 2008

protection from the hole in the ozone layer

Writing from Sydney, Australia
(7:38pm Sydney, 3:38pm NYC)

I like to pack lightly when I travel, meaning what I can't carry on stays at home (in most cases). So that means I've got to comply with TSA regulations and carry a clear quart-sized bag with all of my liquid toiletries each under 3 ounces in volume. I went to Whole Foods with the intention of picking up Badger SPF 30, but it only came in a 4 ounce (unlike the one sold here). But then I spotted California Baby SPF 30 (fragrance free). I had read that it was a safe choice according to Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Skin Deep cosmetic safety database.

The ultimate test for a sunscreen's effectiveness has to be under Australia's beaming hot sun. After all, the hole in the ozone layer flirts with the Australian continent.

So here's what I think about Cali Baby.

A little bit goes a long way. If you use too much, you'll be white as a ghost. But if you rub it in good, there's only a subtle whiteness. Zinc oxide is a physical sunblock as opposed to the chemical blocks which have in some instances been shown to be carcinogenic and carry other health risks. (kinda defeats the purpose, no?).

Bottom line: The stuff works. Yesterday I put it on my face and arms and walked around all day. Today I spent a couple of hours at the beach and it's pretty safe to say my skin was unscathed by the powerful Aussie sun. I definitely didn't burn and I'm not sure I got much color really. It is a bit greasy, so I wouldn't recommend it for everyday use, but it's great for a day at the beach or poolside.

Read more about EWG's recommendations for safe sunscreens.

13 November 2008

fresh, free, filtered water

Writing from Sydney, Australia
(12:42am Sydney, 8:42am NYC)

Yesterday, we took the ferry to Manly Beach, a laid-back little community that's part of Sydney's Northern Beaches. We unintentionally sat on the sunny side of the ferry and got a little overheated. Thankfully, this little public service was available: free filtered water. Sure, it's just a hyped-up water fountain, but it's got the right message. And as always I had my Sigg on hand to fill up (BTW, that's not my manly hand in the photo!)

it's a bird, it's a plane... it's fruit bats!

Writing from Sydney, Australia
(12:08am Sydney, 8:08am NYC)

At dusk on the day we arrived in Sydney, I saw what I thought were birds flying around the city, filling the skyline (see little specks in picture above). "I think those are bats," one of my travel companions said. "No way!" I didn't believe there could be so many. She said that she saw them in a tree at the nearby Royal Botanic Gardens. We had heard that there were big bats in the gardens, but I didn't believe it. The prospect of seeing them during the day was too exciting for me.

Yesterday, we finally went to check out the tree that was the daytime refuge for these fruit bats. When my boyfriend asked the women at the gate which tree (or two) the bats were in, they laughed. Tree or two? Try hundreds. "They're destroying our garden!" The women pointed us in the right direction and gave us a flyer with more information. Here's what it read:

Grey-headed Flying-fox
Fact Sheet

Named because of its fox-like face, the Grey-headed Flying-fox (Pterus poliocephalus) is one of the largest species of bat in the world, weighing up to 1 kilogram [2.2 lbs] with a wingspan of up to 1.5 metres [nearly 5 feet]. Flying-fox are very intelligent, they have large eyese and oval ears capable of acute hearing.

Grey-headed Flying-fox are distributed along the eastern coast of Australia from Rockhampton in the north to western Victoria in the south.

At night the Flying-fox feed on the fruits of rainforest trees, especially figs, and the nectar and pollen of eucalypts and melaleucas. The Grey-headed Flying-fox is particularly important because it is one of the few species that pollinates the flowers and spreads the seeds of these rainforest species. They use their excellent night vision and acute sense of smell to navigate and seek out food sources over a wide area. They have a nightly feeding range of up to 40 km [close to 25 mi] from the camp (roost) site. [Continued below...]

That's not fruit... it's bats!

So cute and fuzzy


Grey-headed Flying-fox give birth to a single, well-developed, furred young in October/November. The baby suckles milk from a nipple in either of the mother's wingpits for 6 months. From birth, a baby Flying-fox holds onto its mother when she flies out of the colony to feed at night. At about 5 weeks it is left with the other bab Flying-fox in the camp trees until she returns. By 4 months the young have learned to fly and join the adults on nocturnal feeding flights. [Continued below...]

Mama and baby

From time to time the bats set up camp in the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney. As you can see by looking around the Palm Grove, they are damaging the trees they roost in. If the bats continue to camp here they will cause permanent damage to these trees which are part of our living heritage. For this reason, the Royal Botanic Gardens has been given a licence by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to use non-harmful methods to discourage the bats from roosting here. [Continued below...]

I love them, but they're devastating the trees

Major threats to the survival of Flying-fox are destruction of their habitats and roost sites, and clearing and fragmentation of their feeding sites. Loss of these areas has a direct impact on Flying-fox populations. The colony size in the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney varies between 1000 and 8000 individuals depending on the time of year and food availability both in the immediate area and along the eastern coast of Australia.

Read more about Flying-foxes (fruit bats).

Getting ready for the big dusk flight

It's almost time!

12 November 2008

what's on in sydney

Writing from Sydney, Australia
(11pm Sydney, 7am NYC)

Some great earth-friendly events are happening here in Sydney right now. I hope to make it to a few.

National Recycling Week
Mon 10 Nov - Sun 16 Nov
Various times and locations

Several events take place all over the city, including waste and recycling facility tours, swap parties, and lightbulb giveaways. The initiative encourages community involvement and brings awareness to the issue of waste as it impacts the environment.

Bicycle Film Festival

Thu 13 - Sat 15 Nov 10am-10pm
Various locations

The Bicycle Film Festival celebrates the bicycle. We are into all styles of bikes and biking. If you can name it - Tall Bike Jousting, Track Bikes, BMX, Alleycats, Critical Mass, Bike Polo, Cycling to Recumbents - we've probably either ridden or screened it. What better way to celebrate these lifestyles than through art, film, music and performance? We bring together all aspects of bicycling together to advocate its ability to transport us in many ways. Ultimately the Fest is about having a good time.

[Sustainable Living Calendar]

The Water Project -- Part of Riverbeats 08
Fri 14 Nov 10am-2pm
at Riverside Theatre, Parramatta

It's the great environmental debate - a free youth-orientated symposium hosted by our favourite scientists, Adam Spencer and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. They'll be exploring issues on Sydney's water resources and sustainable future.

[TimeOut Sydney]

The Rocks Farmers' Market
Every Fri 10am-3pm and Sat 9am-3pm
Jack Mundey Place (cnr Argyle & George Sts)

At The Rocks Farmers’ Market you’ll only find authentic growers and producers who display their food miles so you’ll know just how local their produce is. The Rocks Farmers’ Market is also plastic bag free.

Intro to Permaculture

Sat 15 - Sun 16 Nov 9:00am - 5:00pm

Camden St, Newtown

by Milkwood Permaculture
Over this weekend you will learn how to apply pro-active, sustainable design techniques to your immediate environment - whether you live in an inner city apartment, a quarter-acre block, or a rural property. Covering organic food production, system design (and re-design) for comfort and lower energy consumption, and ideas on how to approach a sustainable and positive community existence within your neighbourhood.

Come and learn practical strategies to better care and provide for yourself, your family and the planet. A jam-packed weekend of information, techniques, a site visit to Angel St Permaculture Garden and great piles of organic food, all within a comfortable walk from an inner-city train station.

This course will be taught by Nick Ritar, an award-winning educator of community technologies and strategies for communication, and co-founder of Milkwood Permaculture, providing practical, ecological, do-able solutions for sustainable living and development. All previous editions of this course have sold out quick smart - so come along, and start your process of skilling-up for adaptation in a changing world.

[Sustainable Living Calendar]

Sadly, I won't be around for this one...

Earth Festival
Sat 29 Nov, 12pm-10pm
Centennial Park, Moore Park

Celebrate the planet through creative arts and entertainment. Music, outdoor movies, art, and dance are just a few of the media for the environmental message. The event coordinators strive to be seriously eco-friendly through practices like using only biodegradable plastics for all food and beverage, vermicomposting biodegradable waste, supplying free drinking water, and using biodiesel in event generators.

11 November 2008

i made it! sydney, australia

We arrived here in Sydney yesterday at 9am (that's 5pm ET, the day prior). A few hours after our arrival, and after a much-needed shower, my travel companions and I took a walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens. After a 23 hour trip, it was safe to say we were jet lagged. So it would be easy to understand why we would be confused by the joggers running past us and towards us at 1pm on a Monday afternoon. I'd never seen so many people running about, especially in the middle of a workday. It quickly became clear, Sydney is a seriously health conscious city.

We were headed in the direction of the Sydney Opera House, then on to the ferries at Circle Quay, and ultimately, the Taronga Zoo. We'd heard there was a baby hippo there, born only 3 days ago. A very exciting prospect. Plus, I'd read there were wombats and koalas, and other native Australian species.

After marveling at the Opera House structure, we made our way to the ferry. It's a nice 12 minute ride to the other side of the harbor where the zoo is located. Once we disembarked, my boyfriend asked a woman at the entrance about the baby pygmy hippo. He received some disappointing news. Baby hippo, "Monifa," was not ready for her debut.

Little Monifa

Despite the sad news and our flight-induced delirium, we immediately got on the Sky Safari. From that conveyance we saw Asian elephants, a binturong (Asian bearcat), and an orangutan!

Binturong (Asian bearcat)

The zoo had a lot of construction going on and quite a few of the attractions were not up and running. We did not see the platypus. We only saw the backside of a wombat. We managed to observe an echidna -- a curiously cute little creature. Many of the other animals eluded us. By the time we reached the orangutan habitat, he was hiding on a high perch under a potato sack. All we could see of him were his dangling dreads of hair and a bit of his protruding face.


As we were heading out, we got to see giraffes, a tapir, and a closer look of the Asian elephants. Exhausted, we headed back to the ferry, dreaming of a nap before dinnertime.



Asian elephants

By the time I went to bed at 10:30pm (6:30am ET), I hadn't had a decent sleep in about 48 hours. Needless to say, I slept like a baby... hippo.

10 November 2008

climate refugees

Writing from Sydney, Australia.

This post is part of Bloggers Unite for Refugees, BlogCatalog's blog action event, November 10.
(Though for me, in Australia, it's already November 11.)

What comes to mind when you hear the word "refugee"? Political exiles? People escaping war, genocide? What about ecological exiles?

Ideology is not the only thing that tears people away from their land, their family, their culture. Climate change, and the calamities it brings, is already forcing people to migrate en masse.

sea change
This isn't something that only affects those in developing nations. Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating storms in US history, rendered thousands homeless in our own nation. Both man and nature contributed to this catastrophe. Poor planning and plain ignorance -- mixed with warmed gulf temperatures -- fueled what might have been a weaker storm. Currently, thousands of people are still displaced from their homes. They are scattered across the country, some never to return home.

You can help
Contact representatives to bring Katrina refugees home.

water alters life for many
Intensified storms due to warming sea surface temps are just one reason for human relocation. Other changes in our relationship with water will create a massive population of climate refugees.

According to a 2007 article from Scientific American (citing the Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change),

These shifts may include rising sea levels, stronger tropical cyclones, the loss of soil moisture under higher temperatures, more intense precipitation and flooding, more frequent droughts, the melting of glaciers and the changing seasonality of snowmelt. Combined with the human-induced depletion of groundwater sources by pumping, and the extensive pollution of rivers and lakes, mass migrations may be unavoidable.
[Scientific American]

We see these changes happening already. Those who are fortunate can adapt. Droughts in the West are compelling cities to implement toilet to tap water treatment or consider desalination in order to supply people with water. In Australia, plans are under way to build a controversial desalination plant. But in other parts of the world, where there is a lack of infrastructure and resources, millions will be forced to move.

In Africa, all signs suggest that currently subhumid and arid areas will dry further, deepening the food crisis for many of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people. The severe decline in precipitation in the African Sahel during the past 30 years seems to be related to both anthropogenic warming and aerosol pollutants. The violence in Darfur and Somalia is fundamentally related to food and water insecurity. Cote d'Ivoire's civil war stems, at least in part, from ethnic clashes after masses of people fled the northern dry lands of Burkina Faso for the coast. Worse chaos could easily arise.
[Scientific American]

More articles about environmental refugees

The Wikipedia definition of environmental refugee.

07 November 2008

obama cites pollan

I know I'm not alone in hoping that the future presidential administration will lead the country toward a new green economy, something like what Van Jones describes in The Green Collar Economy. Well, here's a glimmer of hope -- an interview with president-elect Barack Obama reveals he's well aware of the many layered agricultural, economic, energy, and healthcare issues we're facing. A poignant excerpt:

I was just reading an article in the New York Times by Michael Pollan about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. And in the mean time, it's creating monocultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs because they're contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in healthcare costs. That's just one sector of the economy. You think about the same thing is true on transportation. The same thing is true on how we construct our buildings. The same is true across the board.

Read the rest
(Image: Annie Leibovitz)

[Swampland (Time) via Permaculture & Regenerative Design News via Yellow Pages]

mock the vote, don't mock the vote, baby

If you haven't been to TripAdvisor lately, you might not know they're running a poll to tell them where to donate $1 million. There are 5 non-profits in the running, including Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy.

The deadline is quickly approaching -- this Sunday, November 9th -- so get on over there and vote!

In this video, actress Rosario Dawson tells not to go to TripAdvisor to vote... and then has a change of heart.

06 November 2008

speaking of the land down under

In the last post, I told you about a way to win a trip to New Zealand. This Saturday I won't be heading to that magnificent land, but I'll be going very close... to Australia!

And while I'm psyched about seeing cuddly koalas and kangaroos, sitting on pristine beaches, and eating shrimp on the barbie, that's not the first thing I thought of when considering this trip. It's the enormous carbon footprint my flight will create. The round trip flight from NYC to Sydney is nearly 20,000 miles of travel, equivalent to about 4 tons of CO2 emissions. Yikes!

I'll definitely be buying some carbon offsets for this one. But I don't think that's enough. So I'm going to leave it up to you. What else can I do to make up for the carbon spewing flight?

Look for the survey, coming soon!

Okay, I've added the poll at the top of the page. You can add other suggestions in the comments section.

During my stay in Oz, what should I do to make up for the flight's carbon spew?
  • Eat no meat for the entire trip
  • Buy only Australian made goods
  • Volunteer for a local environmental group
  • Other (add your own idea to comments)

wear wool and win

Does the idea of wool underwear make you itch? It shouldn't if it's deliciously soft merino wool from New Zealand. The only thing high performance, machine-washable, and eco-friendly merino wool clothing from Icebreaker will have you itching to do is hop the next plane to New Zealand to meet the sheep who wear this wool full time.

And a contest from Icebreaker is giving you the chance to do just that. Here's how it works:

1. Get yourself an Icebreaker garment. Find its unique Baacode (that's not a typo!). This tag will trace all of the steps of manufacture (see step 3).

2. Type in your Baacode number in the box provided on the site.

(If you can't find a Baacode on your garment, you can use their demo Baacode: 213C3F390.)

3. Watch as your Icebreaker will be traced back through the supply chain -- from animal welfare to the way the fabric was sewn together -- to its birthplace in the Southern Alps of New Zealand.

An entry form will pop up once your Baacode has been traced. Then just submit your details and you'll be in the draw to win a trip to a merino ranch in New Zealand!

Icebreaker is the real deal
Learn more about their commitment to sustainability.

You can get Icebreaker at these retailers.

thank you for prop 2!

In case you haven't heard, over all of the hoopla surrounding the presidential election results, proposition 2 passed in California. I just wanted to thank everyone who contributed to the movement to help get it passed. The farm animals will have a more comfortable existence thanks to you!

Baahk-baah-caaw! (that's thank you! in chickenish)

Read more about it here.

05 November 2008

a little reminder

A friendly little reminder from Whole Foods:
what we throw away doesn't just go away.

04 November 2008

people are screaming outside in brooklyn


nothing like it

This morning when I went to (well, attempted to) vote, I wish I had my camera. The line went out of the school building where the polls are, down the block, around the corner and almost all the way down a full avenue block. I've never seen anything like it... the last presidential election I was able to go right into the building, right away.

I like to vote early in the day to get it out of my system, but I had to come in to work. If I had waited, it would have taken almost an hour and a half just to get to the door of the building.

What I wonder is this: why isn't election day a national holiday? It's such an important event. Many people have off for Columbus Day, honoring someone who didn't even really discover America -- he thought he was in India for goodness' sake. But on the one day where people get to exercise one of their greatest rights, a right that was literally fought for by this country's founders, by the suffragists, by people of color, many people cannot wait on a long line because they have to get to their jobs.

It's just not right!

03 November 2008

text out the vote with sierra club and credo mobile

No time to make a phone call to remind friends and family members to vote tomorrow?

Pop on over to txt out the vote to send out a quick note to your loved ones.