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Thursday, November 27, 2014

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Gobble Gobble


thanks centerpiece

I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy good food and good company. We all have a lot to be grateful for, so relax and celebrate the bounty. Remember to:

  • Eat and drink in moderation.
  • Exercise appropriately – even a 15-minute walk around the block will help your cardio. And hey, if you see some misplaced trash along the way, pick it up and dispose of it properly.
  • Keep it green – reduce consumption of natural resources; reuse whatever you can instead of tossing into the landfills; recycle packaging and bottles.

Bon appetit!

photo credit: via allwomenstalk.com

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Options for a Turkey-Free Thanksgiving Meal


What is the history of Thanksgiving and when did we all start celebrating? A short version of the story is as follows, in 1621 the pilgrims and Indians came together to share in the bounty of the earth. Following this the first recorded Thanksgiving observance wasn’t until 1671 and happened in Charlestown on June 29th.  Then in 1789 president George Washington declared the first Thanksgiving observance under the new national government. But it wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln announced the official fixed date to be the last Thursday of November. Just like that, the turkey holiday was born.

From the start, Thanksgiving has been a holiday surrounding the sharing of food and the giving of thanks. The iconic Thanksgiving food in today’s pop culture is perhaps the turkey.  Trying to keep environmental impact low however means excluding the holidays mascot from the table. Turkeys use up a lot of resources to raise, receive large amounts of antibiotics and have toxins in them. We all know that to lower our carbon foot print we want to consume foods that are at the base of the food chain, namely plant products. But unless you are already a committed vegetarian resisting that sumptuous bird in the middle of the table or envisioning Thanksgiving without it might be tricky. However, now-a-days there are many alternative turkey options to help you make that jump.

tofurky

The poster child of these options is Tofurky. Tofurky has been providing a turkey like alternative for non-meat eaters since 1995. But there are many other options on the market as well if Tofurky doesn’t do it for you. Some other brands Include Field Roast Grain Meat Company, Quorn’s and Gardein.

gardein roast

Many options can be found online or in stores like Whole Foods Market which sells the Gardein holiday roast 3.99 for a 6 oz serving (above).

veggie whole turkey

If a log shaped turkey substitute is not for you and you want to try something more closely resembling a turkey they’ve got that too. Vegetarian Plus makes a turkey shaped turkey substitute that you can even stuff with your own stuffing (above). It’s a bit pricey, Vegetarian Essentials is selling it at 69.99, but despite this they are sold out for the season.

apple turkey

But who says that you have to have a meat like turkey substitute for your table? You can have the iconic turkey on your table alongside your farmers market vegetables as a fun creative platter. This example above uses fresh farmers’ market organic apples sliced and fanned out in alternating colors to create a turkey around a center of dip. Here they have used caramel as a dip but you can easily switch that our for peanut, hazelnut or almond butter.

fruit turkey

Your alternative turkey options are almost limitless. Another fun idea I found features fresh halved strawberries and tangerine wedges (above). If vegetables are more your speed try a set up with carrots, celery and bell peppers. Don’t be afraid to break tradition and try something new.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Drive for Free with the Drive Green for Life Program!


Drive Green

Owning the vehicle of your choice and driving it freely through the web of roads crisscrossing your home city is as much an American tradition as the Presidential pardoning of one lucky turkey each year about this time. Being able to finally buy that personal car of your dreams is engrained into American culture, symbolizing freedom, economic status – and a means to sustain life for those that rely on their cars for business.

Drive Green

As we are all aware, each of these conventional-fuel-burning vehicles emits extremely harmful gasses  and with over 250 million registered vehicles in the United States, their combined emissions contribute heavily to climate change. The threat of a changing climate is real, but could anyone really point to their neighbors and say, “I think they should retire that S.U.V. to stop polluting…”?

Drive Green infographic

Well, one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the United States recently partnered with SunPower, a leading supplier of home solar PV systems, and The Sierra Club, the largest grassroots environmental NGO in the country, to offer consumers the opportunity to more gain access to alternative energy for their home. Ford Motor Company is offering new and existing Ford electric car owners a $750.00 rebate on their purchase or lease of a SunPower home solar system through the Drive Green for Life program.

The amount of energy you could harvest from your customized solar array largely depends on the dimensions of your home, but it is estimated that on average, “each year it could produce about 3,000 kilowatts, enough power for a Ford Focus to run 12,000 miles.” Coincidentally, the average American drives around 13,500 miles per year, so in theory, a SunPower PV system coupled with a Ford electric vehicle could allow you to drive coin free, clean energy for up to 90% of the year!

electric car and solar panels

Not only could you directly benefit with a discounted solar power generation system for your home, but Ford and SunPower will donate an additional $500.00 to The Sierra Club to support their green energy and pro-electric vehicle campaigns. These three companies are looking to encourage and facilitate our transition away from a reliance on fossil fuels in the best way possible: giving away free money to help create clean energy. Vehicles eligible for the program include the Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi Plug-In Hybrid, Fusion Energi Plug-In Hybrid, C-MAX Hybrid, and Fusion Hybrid.

The supplemental energy supplied by a residential solar installation will help offset any emissions created in generating the electricity to charge and power electric cars. It’s great to see Ford, SunPower, and The Sierra Club tackle the “catch-22” of the electric car industry (fossil fuel powered power plants). If you purchase -or have purchased – a Ford electric car, you can take advantage of this program and not only bring clean energy into your home, but out onto the roadways with you as well!

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Monday, November 24, 2014

a tasty new gluten-free snack


quinoa cluster Sometimes I just crave crunchiness. My mouth needs to chomp on something tasty but my mind won’t accept something as bad for you as say, Cheetohs. As I made my way around Fresh Market the other day, this item said buy me. I’m so glad I did.

These little squares are totally yummy … a little salty and nutty with a swirl of chocolate. Here’s what’s in ‘em: organic quinoa, almonds, organic tapioca syrup, organic brown rice syrup, organic cane sugar, organic dark chocolate, organic brown rice crisps, baking soda, salt, almond oil.

nutritional labelThey’re vegan and non-GMO. Quinoa never tasted so good! If you use a little self control and get 4 portions from the package, that’s 130 calories with 3 grams of protein of snackiness. very satisfying. crunch on.

There are 4 other varieties ($4.99/each) – you can check it all out @ iheartkeewah.com

related: more healthy food related on alternativeconsumer.com

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Martifer PV Projects: Integrated Solutions for Fulfilling Solar Power Needs


martifer portugal solar field

Martifer Solar is more than merely a company that focuses on solar energy.  This Portugal based company employs teams of engineers and people who fabricate and design required engineering solutions for various types of solar energy related projects. As per Greentech Media Research’s statistics, Martifer Solar ranks third amongst similar companies in Europe. IHS lists the company in 5th position within Europe and 16th in the world.

martifer solar install rooftop

EPC Services from Martifer Solar
One of the drawbacks that have prevented PV solar technologies from taking off has been the cost versus returns in comparison to the fossil fuels. Martifer can offer PV solutions on 360° turnkey basis, which would include all engineering, purchases and procurement, project management, construction and commissioning related to the PV solar system installation and operations.

Photovoltaic Projects or PV projects from Martifer include EPC or engineering, procurement, and construction services. This means the company can offer customized solutions based on the needs of the people so that each such project becomes viable and offers optimal energy cost savings. It is because of its high standards of reliability today it boasts of having implemented more than 500 projects. The company is also maintaining and operating solar power generators with a capacity of 560 MW across the world.

integrated solar window panels

Variety of PV Projects offered by Martifer Solar
Martifer Solar offers all types of solar power generation solutions under one roof. Therefore, its portfolio of PV projects includes:

  • Ground mounted solar power generating systems
  • Rooftop solar power generating systems
  • Building integrated Photovoltaic projects (BIPV). Martifer’s Torre De Cristal in Madrid still qualifies as the tallest BIPV project, even though the project was completed in 2008.
  • Off-Grid solar power generating systems for people and businesses in remote locations
  • Small solar power generating systems for residential accommodations

Effectively, Martifer undertakes projects suiting the needs of small as well big customers.  This adaptability is one of the reasons for Martifer Solar’s larger market share.

One of the reasons many well-known companies opt for Martifer Solar is because it does more than supply the instrumentation and materials. Its personnel ensure that the project is commissioned and functioning to the satisfaction of the client.

Global Presence
Though Martifer is originally from Portugal, it has spread its activities across the globe. There are collaborations and joint ventures with various companies in different nations. For example, Martifer Solar entered into a joint venture with Hirschfeld Industries in the US. Likewise, it became Maisis’ partner, for technology.

The company has implemented PV projects for well-known businesses such as Hertz. Westfield Group is another famous business that has availed the services of Martifer Solar. In Latin America, the company recently installed a 30 MW project for Gauss Energia.

Martifer Solar has recently received a new contract from Italy. It is a 90 MW project. The company is implementing a project for well known private Equity Fund Company, i.e., Eland, and Dutch Infrastructure Fund.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

eco fashion friday finds – the fab four


Today’s little collection of eco-fashion faves …

track handbag

(above) The Track Handbag features exterior pattern made from recycled plastic and interior a nice soft cotton; from socially conscious fiveaccessories.com ($58)

eco sweater

(above) A blend of innovative eco threads, the lightweight Cardamon Cardigan short, choice of 3 cool colors from hornytoad.com ($99)

recycled material

(above) Made in Italy, the Raglan sweater is ecofashioned from 100 percent recycled fabric; @ rightasrain.com €46.00
eco yoga wear

(above) Made in the USA and created from recycled plastic bottles, Teeki Yoga Wear’s Wild and Free Sun Shorts ($45) @ palmbeachathleticwear.com

There you have it – remember to love what you already have and be sure to pass along your pre-loved items so they don’t wind up in the landfill.

related: more eco fashion finds from The Alternative Consumer

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The BEHA Eco Aircraft Seeks Crowdfunding


beha overheadA British company, Faradair Aerospace Limited, has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a new eco aircraft the company has christened, BEHA, or Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft. The company has created a concept for a lightweight aircraft with extremely efficient and economical power. The intention is to create “the most environmentally friendly aircraft in the world”. The project is about to enter a year of R&D to fine tune the design for maximum efficiency, with the company hoping to have the first prototype aircraft built within two years.

de havilland dragon

Much of the inspiration for the plane came from an early passenger aircraft called the De Havilland Dragon Rapide. This 1930′s airliner had graceful lines and innovative power recovery systems, many of which will be incorporated into the design of the BEHA.

beha front

Another source of inspiration for the project is an unmanned aircraft created in 1990 by the father of the company’s Managing Director. The new design combines a bio-diesel engine with two electric motors, and is envisioned as an innovative six seat Hybrid Aircraft. The BEHA group is currently building a list of partners to help deliver the key technologies to make the prototype aircraft a reality. (more…)

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Investors Turning to the Top Environmentally Friendly Companies


invest

In today’s world, green means more than just cash. Shoppers want to know that the products they buy do little to damage the environment, and investors want to work with the top environmentally friendly companies. These companies give investors the chance to make back money on their initial investments and feel proud that they chose the right companies. As interest in environmentally friendly products and companies grows, investors will continue seeing their shares in some companies rise.

Allergan
Allergan ranks as one of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world, but it also ranks as one of the most green friendly ones as well. Headquartered in the United States, the company has thousands of researchers looking into new medicines and improving existing medications. The company has a solid and positive reputation around the world. Allergan is a good investment because the company wastes less electricity and water and produces less waste and pollution that many other companies.

Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard, better known as HP, is one of the top environmentally friendly companies in the United States. Though the company made headlines in the past when a number of its battery packs became a potential fire hazard, the company bounced back and managed to keep its customer base loyal. It was one of the first companies in the world that released a recycling program back in the 1980s. This program let the company recycle many of its older and outdated components and turn those components into new and functional parts for its customers.

Johnson & Johnson
Best known for its line of personal care, health and beauty products, Johnson & Johnson also remains dedicated to protecting and preserving the world for future generations. It launched a nursing program that provides nursing students with scholarships, grants and other programs that help them better afford their educational needs. The company also started a program in 2011 that will train and educate citizens about what they can do to protect the environment. Johnson & Johnson also plans to go over its product line and find ways to reduce the waste produced during the manufacturing and use of those products.

Patagonia
Patagonia records an impressive number of sales every year that total more than $500 million. Known for producing luxury clothing and equipment designed for various sports, the company now ranks as one of the top retail chains in the world. Over the last three decades the company donated millions of dollars to environmental charities and organizations, and it continues to donate a small portion of its profits every year to those groups. Investment expert Rick Schaden also rates Patagonia high for its dedication to sustainability. The company works with a group of farmers in South America to ensure that the wool it purchases and uses comes from sheep treated ethically.

Investing in specific companies can come with some special perks. Coffee shops will often award shareholders with free drinks, restaurants hand out free food and clothing or jewelry stores may give shareholders discounts on future purchases. Those who invest in environmentally friendly companies get an additional perk in the form of good will. They know that when they select the right companies to invest in that they can help preserve the world for future generations to come.

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