Tomorrow's the last day of 2008 and also the last day to make tax-deductible donations to your favorite cause for this tax year. Here are a few of my favorites that I've given to over the years, hopefully you will adopt them, too.
Energy and economy
Green for All
If you haven't heard of the Green Jobs Movement, here's your chance to invest in the next biggest industry which will both boost the economy and preserve the planet
Rocky Mountain Institute
Creating clean energy and supporting sustainable development are at the core of RMI's mission -- based on the founding principle of "Natural Capitalism," a new and rapidly spreading business model that harnesses environmental performance as an engine of competitive advantage
Putting an end to mountaintop removal coal mining and supporting the Appalachian people and environment from the destructive effects of this industry are the goals of this org
Community and the environment
Participants of green mapmaking help make communities more aware of the green and sustainable resources available to them. I personally have a thing for maps in general, so I love the idea of smashing the ecological and cartographical worlds together
Brooklyn Greenway Initiative
The Brooklyn Greenway will be a 14-mile recreation and transportation path connecting the coastal communities of Brooklyn -- from Greenpoint to Sunset Park. It will provide bikers with a safe and enjoyable path on which to pedal
Brooklyn Center for Urban Environment
The city has a unique natural environment that might not be readily recognizable. BCUE introduces the community to this environment through education, tours, and events
Natural resources and animal protection
Defending natural resources and precious habitat so that all creatures can thrive is part of CI's mission
A friend to farm animals, Farm Sanctuary is a public advocate and educator, and serves as a shelter for abused or rescued farm animals
World Wildlife Fund
An advocate of wildlife, WWF conserves habitat and preserves species from endangerment and extinction
The Nature Conservancy
Through the Nature Conservancy you can adopt an acre in the US, plant a tree in Brazil, or give a gift membership to someone you know cares about this great planet on which we live
Union of Concerned Scientists
They provide real science and solutions for the environmental issues we face today -- genetically modified crops, climate change, pollution -- they cover it all
They're committed to the rights, dignity, and well-being of all humans on this earth, and right now they're matching donations (eg, you give $50 and the donation becomes $100)
CARE fights global poverty by empowering women who thereby help their families and communities
30 December 2008
Tomorrow's the last day of 2008 and also the last day to make tax-deductible donations to your favorite cause for this tax year. Here are a few of my favorites that I've given to over the years, hopefully you will adopt them, too.
26 December 2008
Hopefully you didn't get any in your stocking this year, because now more than ever, coal is a symbol of greed, filth, and general naughtiness.
A few days before Christmas, a blanket of coal ash sludge fell on a Tennessee town when a coal dam broke, burying residents and releasing toxins into the Emory River. It's been estimated that the amount of ash that flooded the area would be enough to cover D.C.'s National Mall in a toxic blanket 4 to 6 feet deep. Or as Tom Yulsman (Co-director, Center for Environmental Journalism, University of Colorado, Boulder) put it:
The spill covers 400 acres — enough to blanket the Mall from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, with enough left over to spill out onto 100 acres of D.C.’s side streets. It’s also important to note that this material is not just mud. In addition to toxic heavy metals, the ash left over from burning coal (which is what is in the sludge) may also contain radioactive substances.[CE Journal via iLoveMountains]Blogger: supereco - Edit Post "dirty, filthy coal"
UPDATE: The damage is greater than once estimated. From the New York Times:
Officials at the authority initially said that about 1.7 million cubic yards of wet coal ash had spilled when the earthen retaining wall of an ash pond at the Kingston Fossil Plant, about 40 miles west of Knoxville, gave way on Monday. But on Thursday they released the results of an aerial survey that showed the actual amount was 5.4 million cubic yards, or enough to flood more than 3,000 acres one foot deep.
The amount now said to have been spilled is larger than the amount the authority initially said was in the pond, 2.6 million cubic yards.
See what happened
Watch CBS Videos Online
[DeSmogBlog via YouTube]
Read about the toxic coal ash avalanche
Read about Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining (and here)
Tell Obama to end mountaintop removal in his first 100 days
24 December 2008
23 December 2008
Now until the end of the year, when you give to animal advocacy group Farm Sanctuary your money will be matched (up to $30K). They've worked really hard and have had some amazing victories this year, including the passing of Proposition 2 in California.
Check out a slide show of this year's success stories:
The momentum we’ve built together in 2008 can’t be stopped now:
- We pushed for and won the largest ballot measure ever with the passing of Proposition 2 in California! Co-sponsored by Farm Sanctuary, this measure banned the cruelest forms
- of confinement, affecting 20 million farm animals
- The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision against the New Jersey Dept. of Agriculture’s assertion that routine husbandry practices, like castration without anesthesia, are “humane” simply because they are common
- Farm Sanctuary took in more than 476 animals, many through emergency rescues, cruelty cases and natural disaster relief efforts - including 69 pigs saved from the rising floodwaters of the Mississippi River and safely transported to our New York Shelter. We provided care for more than 1,200 rescued animals at our shelters
- We monitored and worked on legislation in 26 states this year, culminating in new laws passed that will give farm animals greater protection - including downed animal protection in California and anti-confinement law in Colorado!
- We increased the number of eateries and markets that have pledged to say NO! to foie gras and the inhumane force-feeding of ducks and geese to over 1,000
And, 2009 promises to be an even bigger year. Farm Sanctuary has an ambitious agenda: to push more states to outlaw inhumane treatment of farm animals, to pursue legal action to stop cruelty in its tracks, and to have our farm animal rescue team ready when disaster strikes.
Donate to Farm Sanctuary
This past weekend I was waylaid by some kind of illness. Sore throat, achy body, post-nasal drip. Gross. It hit me Friday night. I was reluctant to do it, but I popped a couple of NyQuil and tucked myself in for some restless slumber. In the morning my bf made a run for some Tylenol, herbal teas, and the makings of a grilled cheese sandwich.
He brought back two magical teas that I hadn't tried before. I requested Traditional Medicinal's Throat Coat, but he picked up Yogi Tea's Throat Comfort and it worked like a charm. The slightly cherry flavored herbal concoction gets its power from wild cherry bark, slippery elm bark, and mullein, plus lots of delicious herbs and spices. The other soothing tea was Yogi's Breathe Deep. It smells more like a Christmas tree and tastes like I'd imagine one to taste, in a good way. I think it's the eucalyptus. This tea also had mullein in it. I had to know more about this medicinal herb, so I did a little search.
Turns out that mullein is a very useful plant. According to Wildman Steve Brill:
Mullein tea provides vitamins B-2, B-5, B-12, and D, choline, hesperidin, PABA, sulfur, magnesium, mucilage, saponins, and other active substances.
People use the tea as a beverage, but it’s best known as one of the safest, most effective herbal cough remedies. Mullein is an expectorant, and a tonic for the lungs, mucus membranes, and glands. An infusion is good for colds, emphysema, asthma, hay fever, and whooping cough. Strain the infusion through a cloth, or the hairs may get stuck in your throat and make you cough even more. Laboratory tests have shown that it’s anti-inflammatory, with antibiotic activity, and that it inhibits the tuberculosis bacillus. The Indians smoked dried mullein and coltsfoot cigarettes for asthma and bronchitis, and indications are that it’s effective: I’ve observed it working for bronchitis.
The tea is also an astringent and demulcent. It’s good for diarrhea, and it’s been used in compresses for hemorrhoids since it was recommended by Dioscorides centuries ago. It’s also supposed to help other herbs get absorbed through the skin. Pliny of ancient Rome, Gerard in sixteenth century England, the Delaware Indians, and country folk in the South used the heated leaves in poultices for arthritis.
A tincture of the flowers is used for migraine headaches. An oil extract of the flowers, which contains a bactericide, is used for ear infections, although you should consult with a competent practitioner first, to avoid the possibility of permanent hearing loss if the herb doesn’t work.
[Image: Magnus Manske via Wikipedia]
Mullein came over to this continent with settling Europeans. It's considered an invasive alien by the Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group (National Parks Service). They suggest eradicating it through various means, but I wonder why they can't harvest it and sell it to herbalists?
Here are a few other tools in my cold-fighting arsenal:
Naturade Herbal Expectorant (with Guaifenesin)
Emergen-C (Super Orange flavor)
Himalayan Institute Original Neti Pot (Ceramic)
Ricola (Honey Lemon with Echinacea)
21 December 2008
THE WINNER IS... Andee! Congratulations!
Tell me why climate change matters and you'll be entered to win 2 tickets to the new Polar Ice Rink at the American Museum of Natural History!
Why does climate change matter to you?
Are you worried about the future of arctic wildlife, like polar bears? Afraid of major floods, storms, and other climate-related catastrophes? Freaked out by early spring blooms and oddly warm winter days? Add a comment to this post (see details below) and you'll be entered to win a spin around the rink for you and a friend.
A visit to the Polar Ice Rink is a festive holiday treat, even if you aren't the lucky winner...
The Polar Rink
Come enjoy the American Museum of Natural History's new state-of-the-art skating rink made from a recyclable synthetic surface, now open through March 1, 2009. Located on the Arthur Ross Terrace on the Museum's north side, The Polar Rink offers magnificent views of the glowing Rose Center for Earth and Space and is surrounded by Theodore Roosevelt Park. Skaters will glide around a 17-foot-tall polar bear festooned with pine boughs and twinkling lights.
Non-skaters will enjoy the splendor of The Polar Rink from surrounding benches on the Terrace under trees adorned with lights, or from the glassed-in North Galleria adjacent to the rink, where hot cocoa and snacks are served.
The ol' rules and regs
1. Entry deadline: Friday, December 19, 2008. Midnight.
2. Entrants will be chosen at random this Saturday, December 20, 2008.
3. The winner will be announced right here on this post on Saturday, December 20, 2008.
4. One entry per person.
5. To enter: Post your response to the question, "Why does climate change matter to you?" to this post and email your name, email, and response to this email.
6. Prize collection details to follow.
19 December 2008
Learn all about PlaNYC2030, the city's plan to improve the environmental conditions of NYC while adapting to its growing population at this new exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York. Details below.
Growing and Greening New York
December 11 through April 12
Museum of the City of New York
1220 5th Ave (@103rd St)
Today 8 million New Yorkers daily get up, go out, and live their lives. By the year 2030, there will be a million more people living in New York City. And the city will have undergone a great transformation, becoming cleaner, greener, more responsible, and more robust--if the projections of PlaNYC2030 are correct, and if we take action on them now...
...Growing and Greening New York and PlaNYC will pose vital questions: How must New Yorkers change to make a sustainable future possible? How will the daily lives of all New Yorkers, and those who visit New York, be affected by sustainability initiatives at home, in the workplace, and in many of our public and recreational spaces? What might a more sustainable city actually look like?
Special event tomorrow:
Saturday, December 20, 2:00 PM
Gallery Tour of Growing and Greening New York
FREE (with suggested $9 admission price)
Still have a few people on your list and not sure what to get them? You'll find unique, locally made pottery at Earthworks on the Upper East Side. There are terrific potters there who make quality, very reasonably priced pottery.
1705 First Ave (btwn 88th and 89th Sts)
Now 'til Wed. Dec 24
Weekdays, 3 to 7 pm
Weekends, 1 to 5 pm
17 December 2008
And this one is absolutely free. Give the gift of carbon neutrality! In fact, it's so easy I'm giving it to you right now.
Click below to claim your gift of from Brighter Planet's One Day of Carbon Neutrality:
Don't forget to pass it on to your family and friends!
This weekend at the Brooklyn Lyceum (227 4th Ave), get all of your last minute shopping done at their 1st (and hopefully not last) Artisans' Craft Market. Over 65 vendors will be peddling their goods. Plus, there'll be refreshments and tunes to keep you in the holiday spirit. Here are the deets:
DATES: SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20 AND 21, 2008
TIMES: 11:00 AM until 7:00 PM
LOCATION: BROOKLYN LYCEUM + CAFE
227 4th Avenue, between Union and President Streets, Park Slope
Click here for a street map, showing subway station too.
TRAIN: R train at Union St, in Park Slope. We are right atop the station.
15 minutes from Lower Manhattan! So easy. Click here for a subway map
SPECIAL SHOPPING PROMOTION: Shoppers, spend $100 or more at the market, and receive 2 comp tickets to one of a choice of future Lyceum events. Grab a coupon when you enter the market.
More info here!
16 December 2008
You can help stop Bush's last minute attempts to destroy habitat critical to the survival of endangered species.
Donate to the Center for Biological Diversity to help them meet their goal for a grant that will aid them in their efforts to protect animals from extinction.
This just in from Friends of the Earth...
President-elect Obama and Congress are working to pass a green-jobs economic stimulus package—but it is in danger of being hijacked by the road-building lobby, which wants billions of dollars for unnecessary new roads that would increase global warming pollution.
Transportation is responsible for 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 70 percent of our oil consumption. By investing in clean transportation solutions including public transportation and smart growth, the stimulus package can create green jobs and reduce our dependence on oil.
Sign the petition to block this new road scheme.
A similar letter from Green for All
15 December 2008
Q. What do cows, goats, and bees have in common?
A. None of them can be legally kept in NYC.
But you can help change that -- for the bees at least. How? By signing the petition to make beekeeping legal in NYC at the Just Food website. According to Just Food,
Honeybees are garden heroes! Honeybees help gardens grow more fruit and vegetables and produce sweet honey. They are nature’s best pollinators and contribute to productive harvests in community gardens, public parks and nature centers.So make beekeeping legit and sign today!
Today's the last day to save big time at nau (one of my favorite eco clothing designers). Get 30% off purchases with offer code 'GIVE' and get free shipping on all purchases over $150 -- it's an incentive to get you to ship via ground, a less carbon intensive method versus air. Plus, via their Partners for Change program, they're increasing their donation amount from 2% to 10% on all purchases made today.
Here are the details:
We'd hate to have you miss out, so we're just going to say it one more time:
Order before midnight tonight and you'll save 30% on all our Men's and Women's styles. Just enter promotion code "GIVE" at checkout, and you can save 30% on everything we make.
Take advantage of these savings and you won't just be doing a good thing for yourself: Remember, for the rest of the day, we're donating 10% of every sale - up from our usual 2% - to the Partner For Change of your choice so it's a great opportunity to get a great deal and do a lot of good in the process.
And with free ground shipping on all orders over $150, ordering by December 15th will get that gift there on time with the least impact on the environment. Air shipping isn't only more expensive; it generally uses six times more energy than sending it by ground.
Share the "GIVE" code with your friends! Act now, and you'll enable them to take advantage of significant savings and help generate much needed donations for change.
14 December 2008
Are you the crafty sort who likes to make gifts instead of buy them? Well here's your chance to put that personal touch into your holiday presents. It's Make Fun, the holiday gift making party. Check it out!
This holiday season, don't buy anything. Make everything. Give your loved ones something brilliant and beautiful that you made yourself, from the Make Fun studio.
Make Fun is a creative workshop for anyone who wants to sew, glue, experiment and build with fabric. We provide sewing machines, thread, fabric, scissors, glue and a variety of material to help you make any gift imaginable for anyone and everyone on your list. Please bring food, drink, any specific gifts or materials you wish to use or decorate, half-finished projects, and inspiration.
House of Yes
342 Maujer Street, at Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn
L train Grand Street station
7-11p; $10 covers supplies
[via Nonsense NYC and Brooklyn Based]
12 December 2008
Here are some more ideas for giving charitable donations in place of gifts that will end up being returned, exchanged, regifted, or -- worse -- thrown away this holiday season.
A gift of $25 or more entitles your recipient to full membership benefits, including a year long subscription to the Friends of the Earth news magazine, the right to vote in our annual election, invitations to special events, and the knowledge that they are part of the fight to build a healthy and just world.
Another gift membership opportunity, this time for the clean energy gurus who support "natural capitalism" at The Rocky Mountain Institute.
Let your friend or family member choose the micro-loan they'd like to give with Kiva e-gift certificates.
Give or request a donation through this site that's looking to bring back the true charitable spirit of Christmas.
eco holiday gift guide: for the philanthropist
10 December 2008
I think we're all still riding the high of the Obama election and holding our breath until he gets into office (and at least for the first 100 days after that). In the midst of this rollercoaster of emotions, it's easy to want to forget about ol' Bushy and his scary environmentally destructive policies. The bad news is he's still in power and still doing damage.
He's set to push through some 11th hour rulings that don't bode well for the planet. Some of the biggest dirty dealings involve mountaintop removal coal mining, handing out wilderness areas to the oil and gas companies for drilling, and eased emissions limits for coal and chemical plants. It's scary stuff.
Wanna know more? Check out this article by Ben Jervey (NRDC, SustaiNYC) in GOOD about the political "tradition" of last-minute deregulations. Here's a snippet:
On November 4th, while most of the American public’s attention focused elsewhere, the current administration was working on another gift to Big Oil. Bush’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced a plan to lease huge swaths of public land—over 6.4 million acres—to oil and gas drilling companies. Much of the area is in pristine Eastern Utah wilderness adjacent to or near national monuments and parks, like Arches and Canyonlands, as well as vibrant towns like Moab.
The auction on the tracts starts on December 19. “Once you get rid of wilderness, you can’t get it back,” notes Bobby McEnaney of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). It’s not just the lands that are at risk; many fear that drilling will damage air quality. The BLM has since, in response to massive criticism, removed some controversial areas from the plan, but the vast majority remains on the block.
“The BLM didn’t just try to slip the audacious Utah lease maneuver past the American people on an historic election day,” railed actor and activist Robert Redford. “It actually hid the ball from its sister agency, the National Park Service (NPS), and then rejected the Service’s request for more time to review the scheme.” Michael Snyder, a regional director at the NPS, which is normally given three months to respond to such leases, said, “This is the first time where we have not had sufficient opportunity to comment.” The NRDC’s McEnaney bluntly sized up the maneuver: “They’re destroying the whole process that is designed to protect these lands.”
Celebrating Hanukkah this year? Break out the menorah and be sure to light up responsibly with beeswax candles. As I've mentioned before, beeswax is healthier for you, better for the planet, and helps the imperiled bees. Paraffin wax is petroleum derived and polluting, and some conventional candles have lead in their wicks.
Here are a few options:
Big Dipper Wax Works Hanukkah Candles
45 hand-dipped tapers burn for 75 minutes each.
Natural Beeswax Hanukkah Candles
Go au natural with these lovely honeycomb beeswax candles.
Chanukah Hannukah Festive Beeswax Candles
Or get more festive and go for a rainbow of candle colors.
Get the kiddles together and have a menorah candle making party.
And hopefully what popped into your head was, Christmas tree, right? It's an age old debate -- okay, maybe only since fake trees entered the market -- which is better, a real or fake tree?
If you've already purchased a fake tree, or have had one for years and it still looks decent, stop reading.
But if you're contemplating whether to go to:
a) Tar-zhay or Treasure Island (do those exist anymore?) to pick up a plastic tree
b) a tree farm or nursery (or street corner like we do in NYC) to get a fresh cut or live tree
here are some of the pros and cons of both.
Pros: can be reused over and over again; seemingly cheaper than a real tree
Cons: (most) made from PVC, an evil cancer-causing plastic; (most) made in China, burning lots of CO2 to get here; may contain lead
Pros: renewable resource; absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and release oxygen during growth; can be mulched, composted, used for beach erosion prevention; farming of trees preserves green spaces
Cons: may be treated with pesticides, which end up in the waterways during farming and after disposal
If you've got a yard to plant it in, a live rooted tree is a great option. Or if you don't have a yard and are feeling ambitious, you can try to contact someone who will plant it for you (more info).
In our home, we choose the real tree every year. I despise PVC and just love the pine scent of a fresh cut tree. I also love finding all of those fallen needles in the crevices where the vacuum doesn't go -- it always reminds me of happy Christmases past.
[Sources: ChristmasTree.org, EarthTalk]
When the holidays are through, be sure to recycle your real tree
Live in NYC?
Check with the NYC Department of Sanitation to find out when they'll be picking up trees for recycling.
Don't live in NYC?
Go to Earth 911 for information on recycling in your area.
And what about the trimmings?
LED Holiday Lights save energy ($26.99 at Amazon)
Safari Wool Animal Ornaments (set of 4) are handspun, handknit,
fair trade, and adorable (on sale $35 at VivaTerra)
Connect and Reflect Ornament fair trade and handmade in India ($11.95 at OriginalGood)
09 December 2008
What's better than unique handmade goodies for your nearest and dearest this holiday season? Okay, maybe a trip to Bali would be nice -- but I think this is the next best thing: a gift from an NYC craft fair. [via Brooklyn Based]
Designer Holiday Trunk Show
Dec. 14 and 21, 11am-6pm
Gifted: A Holiday Market. You've only got two more Sundays to shop to your heart's content with the folks who brought you the Brooklyn Flea (Time Out New York has a part in this, too). Just across the street from the usual Brooklyn Flea, a warmer venue awaits in the Brooklyn Masonic Temple, 317 Clermont Avenue.
[Image, right: Elephant toys by Acorn]
Dec. 14, 10am-7:30pm
BUST Holiday Craftacular. Handmade jewelry, vintage duds, and delicious edibles are just some of the things you'll find at the craftiest of fairs in the land. At the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street in Manhattan.
Dec. 18-23, noon-6pm
New York Creates’ Fourth Annual Holiday Crafts Fair. Pick up fashionable wares like clothing, pottery, or beaded jewelry from more than 25 juried artisans at the Brooklyn Historical Society. 128 Pierrpont Street.
[Image: Toshie Otsuka's coffee cup]
This weekend at 121 Ludlow St check out the holiday gift and sample sale brought to you by Ekovaruhuset, aka Eko-Lab. Terrific fair-trade organic cotton goods as well as crochet lessons and refreshments... Check it out!
We at Eko-Lab your local sustainable design co-op would like to invite you to our first ever Holiday gift & sample sale. On Saturday and Sunday, December 13th & 14th, 2008, we will be selling their wearable creations for woman and baby as well as their one of a kind stuffed animals. Every item is fair-made and produced following strict, sustainability guidelines. The co-op designers will also be instructing curious crafty customers on the basics of crochet with laid back lessons throughout this two day holiday event. Yummy tea and refreshments will be served to all. Holiday tunes will be played mixed with the laughter and warmth from 6 eko-girls.
We look forward to seeing you!
08 December 2008
Husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, lover, lifemate, whatever you call that special someone, here are some gift ideas to show the love.
$200 at nau
AeroGarden PRO100 with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit
$149.95 at Amazon
Solio Classic Solar Charger
$99.95 at REI
Men's Sterling Silver Bracelet
$82 at GlobalExchange
Organic Cotton Boxers
$30 at Patagonia
Life in Cold Blood
$23.99 at Amazon
Totally Bamboo Sushi Gift Set
$19.99 at Amazon
Sigg Lifestyle Loop Top Water Bottle (1.0-Liters)
$18.95 at Amazon
The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Process Self-reliance Series) by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen
$11.53 at Amazon
Green Gold Bracelet and Earrings
$149 and $109 at VivaTerra
Silk Dream Nightgown - Ivory
$98 at VivaTerra
Yes! Tote Bag
$64 at VivaTerra
On sale $27.96 at Organic Style
Matahari Sterling Hoop Earrings
$42 at GlobalExchange
Eat local organic cotton tee
$35 at Patagonia
G=9.8 Thigh Highs
$24 at Amazon
SmartWool Stripeuccino Espresso Socks
$18.95 at REI
Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life by Sophie Uliano
$11.53 at Amazon