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Friday, April 18, 2014

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eco-fashion friday finds: Earth Day spin


antler scarf

(above) Are you a fan of Hannibal or True Detective? Then you may also be a fan of this Antler print scarf – with a more positive spin than the tv shows. Handmade of soft, sheer, organic cotton material and printed with awater-based paint, it comes in a variety of lovely colors … the perfect wrap for spring-summer wear. ($19) from Istanbul, Turkey-based, ShebboDesign on etsy.

river pebble and cork bracelet

(above) Don’t be green with envy … FizzCandy Jewelry is gifting this bracelet to A-List celebrities as part of its Earth Day promotion. (I know, not fair)

The bracelet features a fossilized river pebble from Lake Michigan, paired with Bali silver beads and Portuguese cork for a crunchy unisex look. Now if they’d just gift this to ordinary folks … $55

sustainable cork tote

(above) Looking for a special tote? With classic lines, versatile enough for travel, everyday or office … loving this luxurious Essential B Tote from eco-fabulous, Pelcor. Eco-fashioned from naturally sustainable, easily renewable cork; ($215).

nudie jeans

The true essential … jeans! Snag yourself a pair of super blue indigo over dyed with black denim jeans made from the best organic cotton – Nudie’s Tube Kelly hits low on the waist and is fitted around the hip and right down to the knee; narrow leg opening. Nice details ($179) @ nau.com.

ecoskin spring dress

(above) New from Ecoskin, the eco chic Hilo Dress transitions from day to night with ease. Super flattering style. Made in Los Angeles; fabric is 93% Tencel, 7% Spandex for stretchability. Available in your choice of three solids or one lively pattern ($140) @ nimli.com.

As we round the corner on Earth Day, (Tuesday, April 22) continue to love what you’re blessed to have and remember to pass-along those gently worn pre-loved items. Join us every Friday for more personal faves of eco-fashion friday finds.

related: more eco fashion on the Alternative Consumer.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

eco art: four seasons tree paintings on reclaimed board


seasons paintings on reclaimed wood

Looking for something unique to put on the walls of your loft or apartment? The colorful panels of artist Rafi Perez’s  “Seasons of Change” tree paintings will certainly get the job done. The mixed-medium paintings are a colorful, abstract depiction of the four seasons and are created on reclaimed wood – creating a juxtaposition of new and old, abstract and organic.

seasons paintings on reclaimed wood

Perez creates each piece on commission and has designs in a variety of sizes. Sets of four range in price from $80 to $395 depending on size. Individual panels are also available. Perez maintains his studio in Pensacola, Florida and you can purchase his art online @ the Rafi Was Here Studio shop.

It’s always great to see designers keeping things sustainable by using repurposed and reclaimed materials.

related: more eco art featured on The Alternative Consumer

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

5 spring finds that will keep you looking good


It is spring (hooray!) and I am officially getting inspired by everything that is easy, breezy, and cool! The ushering of spring is so refreshing, with the sun on my face and the chance to finally knick the tights and roll out the shorts and skirts! For this post, I gathered some beautiful things from art to beauty that are getting me in the mood for warmer days and spontaneous beach excursions. Enjoy!

mango butterVineyard Peach Body Butter ($20) – Mango is usually the fruit of choice for the body butters but I am all about the peach. The scent is flippin’ amazing. It can’t be any more perfect for spring! Cruelty-free.

lvs cruelty-free nail polishLVS Nail Polish ($16) – This is such a beautiful, cool sky blue and it’s cruelty free!

davines sea salt spray

Davines Sea Salt Spray ($27) – This is for that effortless, wavy beach babe hair without expending the effort to actually go to the beach. Heck, I’ll probably use this year-round! Carbon neutral/zero impact product.

josie maran argon lip glossArgan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil ($18) – These colors are gorgeous and are an all in one product. Dab a little on your eyelids, cheeks, and lips for a fresh, dewy look that is so on point for spring! 97% natural and petroleum free, no parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. From Josie Maran.

handmade bangleHandmade Beaded Bangles (Set of 3 for $58) – These simple bangles will definitely up your stacking game for spring and offer the perfect pops of color! These are also sold individually for $24. Made from guitar strings and handmade beads.

The trend here is definitely color! Whenever spring rolls around I’m attracted to pastels for my tips and bright and bold colors for my lips! I hope you’re all having a great start to your spring!

related: more eco-friendly health and beauty products featured on The Alternative Consumer

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Owning a Hybrid SUV: A Costs-Benefits Analysis


Mercedes-Benz SUV

As time goes on, it becomes more and more clear that hybrid automobiles represent the future. The benefits continue to outweigh the costs thanks to efficient designs. People often forget that Earth-friendly products don’t only exist just to help the environment, but also to create more efficient living. Energy requires resources and, therefore, uses money. Eventually, we’ll all be driving hybrid cars. Someday, we might even see total independence from fossil fuels. Check out some of the costs and benefits of owning a hybrid SUV.

Learning How to Drive Efficiently
Hybrid cars don’t just run efficiently, they teach you how to maintain efficiency in the process. Most hybrids offer a display that shows your present mileage next to an indicator of your current mpg. Many also tell you how much energy you regain when using the brakes.

All cars perform more efficiently from gentle acceleration and braking. When you can see exactly how each of your movements and decisions affect the mileage, you learn how to drive as efficiently as possible. For many people, trying to drive for the best mileage can become a fun and encouraging challenge on the road.

Perform Better Than Estimates
Because EPA estimates focus primarily on highway driving, you can actually beat those in your hybrid car. That’s right; hybrids actually drive better in the city than on the highway. Every time you stop in hybrid cars, they generate more electricity that can drive the car at lower speeds, or help the car accelerate quickly. According to CarsDirect.com, even a luxury hybrid SUV can get up to 50 mpg if used correctly in the city.

Gas Prices Still Affect You
Though saving on gas still stands as the main appeal to consumers, gas prices can still affect you financially. We all know that hybrid cars cost more because of their efficiency. Unfortunately, as gas prices rise, so do the prices of hybrids. Although, you could look at this as an upside. If you decide to sell you car in the future, and gas prices have risen, then you can sell your car for closer to the price you bought it.

Multi-Engine Power
Hybrid cars use two engines: an electric engine and a small gasoline engine. This can come in handy as electric engines are all you need in many cases. They produce their energy from zero revolutions per minute, which means you can accelerate from a complete stop to a speed two gears ahead with ease. The gas engine only needs to come into play for higher powered uses, like going at high speeds or moving quickly up a hill. The combination creates efficient riding, even when you don’t drive your best.

Batteries Work Great
People constantly worry about hybrid batteries, often citing them as a reason that hybrids don’t really save you as much money in the long run as the claim. Other people warn about batteries failing, and how expensive they can be to replace. Despite popular belief, you don’t have to pay for a top-notch battery from the company who sold you your car. Just like any other car part, you can buy one relatively cheaply at a salvage yard.

Hybrid batteries usually have excellent warranties, lasting long enough to make you feel like you got far more out of it than you paid for. Some people drive their car for over 200,000 miles before needing a new battery.

Lower Highway Driving MPG
This article mentioned earlier how hybrids can beat EPA estimates of a car’s miles per gallon by utilizing its efficiency in the city. Unfortunately, highway driving gives us a different story. Hybrids work the opposite of fully gas-powered cars in that they become least efficient on the highway. Don’t expect to feel incredibly fuel-efficient out there; you’ll still have a good average mpg, but certain compact cars and diesels can reach the same level of efficiency on the highway if driven correctly.

Less Maintenance
Among the best features of hybrid efficiency, you’ll notice that the gas engine doesn’t run at all when the car has stopped or is moving slowly. If driving in the city, you’ll constantly stop and keep the car at low speeds. Because of this, you end up putting a lot less wear and tear on your engine. This allows you to take your car in to get oil changes far less often and keeps the engine lasting longer.

Hybrids regenerate electricity with regenerative brakes instead of applying standard brakes, except in cases where you must stop suddenly. Most people drive around all day without slamming on the brakes, meaning the conventional brakes rarely get used. Thanks to that handy feature, you won’t have to bring your brakes in for service as often as you would with a non-hybrid.

The Car Stays Warm
As any mechanic knows, when you start-up a cold engine it’s harder to crank and can wear the engine down much more than starting one that you’ve already warmed up. Hybrids combat this by using a coolant they store in a temperature-saving container. So, once you’ve warmed up engine fluid, it stays warm for days. As long as you don’t let your car sit unused for days on end, you shouldn’t have any problems with wearing down your engine from cold starts.

It Takes Time To Earn Your Money Back
One last issue, though maybe not so important, comes with the time it takes to earn your savings back. The average hybrid SUV costs about three to four thousand dollars more than an equivalent non-hybrid version. If you drive 20,000 miles a year, spending just a little more time in the city than on the highway, you’ll save around $1000 on gas annually. That means it would take 3 to 4 years for you to earn your money back.

Now, gas mileage isn’t the only benefit of owning a hybrid, but it still acts as the main appeal. Even though you will earn your money back in gas savings, some people get discouraged by how long it takes for this to happen.

All in all, you won’t regret purchasing a hybrid car, as long as you can afford it. Future trends will only continue to support gas-efficient vehicles.

Author Bio:
Benjamin Ferguson is a freelance writer in Portland, OR. He loves creative writing, especially humor, and would love to help you write your story, comic, video, or any other creative venture that needs ideas, writing and/or polishing. If you’d like to contact him about any of these things, send him and e-mail at revbenferguson@gmail.com or send him a message on his linked in profile.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Tune in to BiteSizeTV on Earth Day


Earth Day
Earth Day is just a few days away, and it’s always a day that features a multitude of interesting events going on to improve the environment, increase awareness and celebrate our milestones. This year, BiteSizeTV, an online entertainment network, is going to celebrate with 12 hours of green news coverage hosted live from Hollywood by environmentalist/actor Ed Begley Jr. (Arrested Development anyone??).

This all-day coverage of environmental news will feature interviews with celebrity panel discussions featuring trailblazing environmental leaders, scientists, authors, movers and shakers – who are all passionate about the Earth and environment. The special program will touch on a range of issues, from climate change and the health of our oceans – to sustainable fashion, so you’re bound to learn more about the issues you care about and receive new knowledge on all the different ways in which sustainability permeates our daily lives.

This event marries the influence and ubiquity of technology with the environmental movement to expand the movement and reach a greater global audience. This unique broadcast aims to celebrate all the achievements and efforts so far and shine a light on the continuous challenges and campaigns. You can tune in to the program on BiteSizeTV.com or any of the other networks such as REELZ Channel, Amazon Prime, and even in select 7-Eleven stores across the country. BiteSizeTV is making this program as accessible as possible for everyone to have a chance to be involved this Earth Day and connect viewers from all over the world.

Make sure to tune in to BiteSizeTV on Tuesday, April 22nd … here’s to an enlightening Earth Day.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Eco-News Roundup – keeping it green


 

ladies looking at the seaTo start off this eco-news roundup is an article about the bleak outlook for birds and reptiles in the Southwest as a response to global climate change. A new study conducted by the U.S. Geological survey  provides data for the loss of potential habitat that may possibly lead to future extinctions. “Left unchecked, global warming will push many species to the brink of extinction and many more right over the edge.” Read more about the study and its implications @ biologicaldiversity.org

As I mentioned last week, the IPCC released their climate change report, and the warning for sustainability and plead for action against global climate change remain. The UN report states that, “Clean energy will have to dominate world energy supplies by 2050 in order to avoid catastrophic climate change.” The article also states that, “over half a trillion dollars a year are spent subsidizing fossil fuels – six times more than spent supporting renewable energy.” If we want to take action against global climate change these governmental trends have to change and rapidly. Read more @ theguardian.com

With more than half of the world’s population living in cities, which is estimated to increase to two-thirds by 2050, our global population is in danger of the effects of global climate change. Cities will play a vital role in the battle against global climate change, with “urban centers are responsible for three quarters of global energy consumption and for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions.” To read more about our cities and their impacts visit bbc.com

To continue with this trend of focusing on global climate change, a new report indicates that “warming-driven climate change is already drying the U.S.” This means that agricultural areas will become dry and feeding our global population will become ever more challenging and difficult. To read more about this study and others visit thinkprogress.org

Finally, to end on a positive note, a “massive $1.7 billion environmental cleanup of the Passaic River has been proposed by the EPA.” This cleanup has been suggested by “federal officials who called for a bank-to-bank dredging of the Passaic River that would remove more than 4 million cubic yards of toxic sediment from the river bottom.” Over 100 companies are potentially responsible under the Superfund law and will be held liable for the cleanup costs; however this remains to be settled in court. Read more about the proposed cleanup here.

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