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Thursday, May 31, 2012


upcycled: vintage suitcase coffee table

vintage suitcase coffee table

A classic seafoam-colored Samsonite suitcase is reborn as a funky coffee table — wunderbar! The wardrobe suitcase features a few dings, a lovely ‘vintage’ smell and unfinished legs.

$325 @ the MrsRekamepip Etsy shop.

related: more eco home decor items featured on The Alternative Consumer

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

eco news roundup

earth horizon

related: more eco news from The Alternative Consumer

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

seaweed: from pest to panacea

cyanobacteria on coral reef

Recently, a former oceanic pest has proven it may possess the potential to make a positive impact on our health. Corals off the coast of Hawaii have been adversely affected by the cumbersome cyanobacteria identified by most as seaweed. One specific species of seaweed discovered by Hyukjae Choi near the National Park Pu‘uhonua o H’onaunau off the coast of Hawaii is proving to be more than just a nuisance. This particular type of seaweed has a habit of smothering the local corals, making it difficult for the reefs to develop and flourish.

In an attempt to learn more about the seaweed in order to solve this problem, Choi brought a sample into a lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and upon further examination, discovered that the seaweed has natural anti-inflammatory chemicals within its photosynthetic tissues.

This is instrumental to the future of medicine. The seaweed compounds have the potential to be used for future pain medication as well as to fight bacteria. The species, Leptolyngbya crossbyana, contains honaucins, bacteria-controlling chemicals. The honaucins work by preventing the bacteria’s capability of infiltrating new surfaces.

Because of the seaweed’s new-found medicinal purpose, perhaps it should not be eradicated or treated solely as a pest. Choi, who studies the anti-bacterial properties of Leptolyngbya crossbyana explains, “I think this finding is a nice illustration of how we need to look more deeply in our environment because even nuisance pests, as it turns out, are not just pests.” It would be best, rather, to control the seaweed’s growth near coral reefs while simultaneously researching further medicinal purposes for the chemicals within this particular cyanobacterium.

Photo credit: Jennifer Smith

For more information on the newly discovered seaweed and its properties visit: the UC San Diego website

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swedish hasbeens – it’s hip to be retro

swedish hasbeens shoe

eco spring shoe

Crushing on mimmi … (above) inspired by the 1940’s and 50’s with a positively fresh take …. natural wood + naturally dyed natural grain leather = sweet spring style. pull it all together in 8 colors @ use the store locator to find a retailer near you.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sustainable Grilling: charcoal vs propane

grill in field

Grilling and pool parties are the hallmarks of summertime. Warm sunny early evenings provide the perfect background to gather family and friends for dinner. Unfortunately, it is hard to pick the most sustainable way to heat up the grill. There are many proponents for natural gas, while some argue that in the long run, charcoal has less of a negative impact on the environment.

green hearts grillingGreen Hearts is an international company that produces carbon-neutral charcoal for barbecues. Carbon neutral products are those that through their production and use create no increase in the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This charcoal is unique because there are no fossil fuels utilized or toxic substances added.

To offset the carbon that is released through burning these coals, Green Hearts plants eucalyptus trees throughout Brazil. Green Hearts has committed itself to not only helping to save the environment, but also eliminating child labor in Brazil. Fair labor is used in all the production of both the coal and the eucalyptus farms.

carbon neutral charcoal briquette

The coal briquettes themselves are made with high-density wood, a totally renewable resource, to create a hotter, longer burn (3 times longer than traditional charcoal). Available at stores like Whole Foods, carbon-neutral coals deliver a woody flavor to food and are a great way to grill without a negative impact on the environment. more @ (unfortunately they’ve gone kaput)

11 lb bag, approximately $5.50

want more? green grilling + green dad gifts on The Alternative Consumer

grilling photo via

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