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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

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Swomee – finding eco-minded businesses


swomee logo

Have you ever wanted to make sure that you only consumed products from eco-friendly businesses or ever wondered how sustainable your local businesses are? (Of course.) Now these tasks have been made quite easy with swomee.com.

This new website is a place where people can add local businesses to the database and make rankings based on their current environmental practices. Swomee is a forum for people to find and give feedback about which businesses mitigate their environmental impacts. You can promote businesses as well as discover new ones that are eco-friendly. This will help you feel better about the businesses you choose to use and buy from. (more…)

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Eco News Roundup


earth horizon

  • The Gallup organization recently released the new results on what Americans think about the environment. Overall, Americans are mixed on whether or not the environment is getting better, 50% think it is getting worse and 42% think it is getting better. According to the article, these percentages and the changes over the years can be attributed to governmental performance. It is also good news that the results also showed that 50% of people favor protecting the environment over the 40% that favor economic growth. Read about the other results and trends over the years @ huggingtonpost.com.
  • I’m sure by now many of you have heard of the shark cull policy in Australia. Well, the Greens are not standing for it and are taking up the issue with parliament. There is huge opposition to the policy, and “a national petition against Western Australia’s shark cull with 88,160 signatures on it has been presented to the Senate by the Greens.” Read more here watoday.com
  • We all know the dangers of global warming, but this article discusses a new report that warns: “global warming will disrupt food supplies, slow world economic growth and may already be causing irreversible damage to nature.” This report will urge governments to act, and more than 100 governments met this week from March 25-29th to edit and approve the report. To read more about what the report entails here.
  • Recently President Obama’s has endeavored to combat climate change with aggressive policies – one tool,  he has launched a new web-based app. As part of an effort to increase the public awareness of global warming as a tangible and immediate problem, the White House on Wednesday inaugurated a website, climate.data.gov, aimed at turning scientific data about projected droughts, wildfires and the rise in sea levels into eye-catching digital presentations that can be mapped using simple software apps.
  • House Republicans recently submitted new legislation that would “actually weaken the Endangered Species Act’s effectiveness and redirect scarce agency resources from species-recovery work to pointless reporting requirements.” Litigation costs are not a concern under the Endangered Species Act and these new bills are not going to help the Act in any way.

related: more eco news from The Alternative Consumer

 

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Daniel Silverstein – ecoconscious, zero-waste fashion


daniel silverstein zero waste dress

Daniel Silverstein is a designer focusing on eliminating waste in the creation of sustainable high fashion. A zero waste concept is still fairly new in the realm of mainstream fashion, and Silverstein is paving the way for what will be, hopefully, a greener future for the industry. Dresses – like Silverstein’s Heron Dress pictured zero waste blouseabove -  are made using zero waste design technology – utilizing the full yardage of the fabric cut in order to produce this design.

Premiering at last month’s New York Fashion Week, Silverstein’s entire collection was made from organic and recycled fabrics that produced zero, or less than one percent waste. He makes sure that no fabric goes to waste in an industry that routinely discards tons of useable fabric on a daily basis. Moreover, his collections are all made in the U.S.

In a recent interview with Ecouterre, he makes it clear that this is the route the fashion industry should take. His eye for design and uncompromising commitment to zero-waste and beyond is creating a new standard in high fashion that in a perfect world, all brands should strive for. Who knows, as Silverstein said in the article, maybe one day everything will be manufactured zero waste.

related: more features on sustainable fashion from The Alternative Consumer

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Feng Shui Tips for Rainy Days


spring daffodils

We are all ready to say goodbye to this long, long cold winter! Spring brings bursts of colors! Tulips of ruby red, daffodils in screaming yellow and the vibrant greens of young grass will begin the celebration of this season-bring it on!

Although we dream of sun kissed days and warm gentle breezes we are entering the season of rain. April brings grey clouds, drizzles and downpours and often makes travel uncomfortable but rain is a blessing that should be embraced. Fresh water is one of our most precious resources. In many parts of the world our water supply is drying up so fast that experts wonder how to bring fresh water to the parched mouths of humanity today and in the future.

The Wood element is the energy of spring and represents rebirth, renewal and fresh beginnings. What a perfect time to think of rain as the gift of emotional healing and the nourishment needed to create a new chapter in your life. Take your personal message from this integral part of the cycles of Mother Earth. Think about how the natural world responds to rainy weather as the animals get cozy in their nests and early blossoms close in tranquility.

Spend a day or two at home. Open your window and listen to the rhythmic patter of raindrops as you feel your connection to nature. A rain storm changes the energy so this is a great time to start your spring cleaning! Wash, wipe, dust and get rid of that clutter in your home and in your office. This makes good sense and great Feng Shui! Remember to recycle and donate whenever possible. Now you are on your way to bringing new and wonderful experiences and opportunities into your life.

In Feng Shui the Wood (spring) energy is associated with the color green. I call it a pillow for the eyes as it is the most restful color for us to look at. Like a walk through a forest, it fosters feelings of balance, harmony and hope.

Feng Shui Tips for Rainy Days

  • Bring nature indoors with a houseplant. Indoor trees and plants are not only pleasurable to look at but they bring us additional health benefits. Plants purify the air through tiny pores in their leaves that act as air filters.
  • Turn up the music! The vibrations clear out the old energy and make room for new energy. Play music that makes you happy, and smile. Studies have shown that smiling improves your health, your stress level and your attractiveness!
  • Have a cup of Herbal Tea. Try Spicy Orange, Chamomile or Peppermint to enhance those quiet moments!
  • Listen to a guided meditation CD. This is a great way to alleviate stress and lower blood pressure. Studies show that meditation can even renew damaged DNA!
  • In your personal journal make a list of all of the things in your life that you are grateful for-so uplifting!

Debra Duneier is a Feng Shui Master Practitioner, Certified Eco-Designer, accredited LEED® Green Associate, award winning Author of EcoChi: Designing the Human Experience and Reality TV Feng Shui expert on Veria Network’s “Natural Reboot.” www.ecochi.com

related: more articles from Feng Shui expert Debra Duneier on The Alternative Consumer

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Eco-News Roundup


plant grows in the desert

  • I start this week’s eco-news roundup with an article about a study conducted by the University of Leeds showing that global warming of only 2 degrees Celsius will lead to reduced crop yields from the 2030s onward. This study shows us that “crop yields will be negatively affected by climate change much earlier than expected.” “The impact will be greatest in the second half of the century, when decreases of over 25% will become increasingly common.” Learn more about the study and read the article here: physorg.com
  • Next we have an article about the negative effects of global warming on fisheries. Global warming “affects chlorophyll production which is vital for phytoplankton,” which is a main food source for shrimp and sardine. Ocean acidification is also a consequence of global warming which leads to “less shelled organisms and less food for fish” and disruption of the oceans’ food chains. Read more about the fisheries and climate change here: guardianlv.com
  • A third article discusses a study that says “climate change is accelerating Greenland’s ice loss.” Most of us know that global warming has led to the accelerated melting of ice, but this new study has proven that “ice loss in a region of Greenland’s massive ice sheet that scientists had previously believed was stable has actually tripled in the last decade.” Read more about this surprising and unfortunate news here: time.com
  • And to wrap-up on a positive note, the United Arab Emirates is hosting (more…)
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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Businesses Doing Their Bit for the Environment


As consumers we are often trying to find ways to improve the way we go about practices in our homes – not only for the good of the environment, but also for our wallets. However it isn’t just us who are doing this, as businesses both big and small are also getting in on the action. We thought it would be interesting to highlight a few examples of this so you can see how society as a whole is coming together to tackle the issues that make green living a necessity.

Tata Steel
One of the world’s top ten steel producers, Tata Steel, has an entire section on their website about sustainability. As a company with approximately 80,000 employees across five continents, they have a good amount of knowledge especially due to their industry. They have helped to explain the concept of sustainability, identified driving factors behind why sustainability needs to exist, and they have outlined a number of key themes that other businesses can use in order to follow processes better. Most of these are to do with construction and production, which actually contribute to a large percentage of energy consumption on a national basis – therefore it is good to know that it is being taken seriously.

renault hq

Renault, JLR, Nissan and Toyota
The Guardian recently published an article on Europe’s automotive industry which makes for some interesting reading. Some of the big names in the industry are coming up with ways to drive sustainability through remanufacturing and materials innovation – this makes plenty of sense when you consider the sector’s heavy reliance on raw materials. Renault’s Choisy-le-Roi factory has been doing this in some respect since 1949, but they have most recently started doing this with turbo compressors. According to the company, one remanufactured part uses 80 percent less energy, 88 percent less water, 92 percent fewer chemicals, and generates 70 percent less waste production compared to a new part.

cars in traffic

Colibri (Innovative Mobility Automobile)
Also in the automotive sector is a new car that you might not have heard of before. In Jena, Germany, the Colibri made a debut prior to it going into commercial production this year. This is one to note as it is said to have zero CO2 emissions and low energy consumption, making it the greenest car on the market. This is something that consumers can truly appreciate as it will be something they can use themselves if it is of interest. Named after the world’s smallest bird, it is clear that the car won’t be suitable for a full family of people, but it could be ideal for one-person city trips whether for commuting or delivering items.

Of course, there are many other businesses out there who have taken measures to ‘go green’ – these are just a selection of them. We’d love to hear from other companies and the techniques they use to be more sustainable and eco-friendly, regardless of how little or large the gesture is.

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