21 December 2010

Celebrating the Holidays without hurting Mother Earth

This holiday season has been the hardest time of the year for me to make environmentally conscious decisions on how to celebrate the traditional way without taking a toll on Mother Earth.

Beside the fact that many people are using their cars to attend Christmas parties, family gatherings, winter vacation, the most harmful action towards our planet during this season: Christmas shopping. And some statistics about Christmas packaging... Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year's holiday period than any other time of year.

But I digress a bit here... and focus on the green holiday symbol: the Christmas tree.

Christmas tree decorating is one of my most favorite things to do during the holidays, but this year, it was an challenge. After feeling guilty about discarding my artificial Christmas tree I bought a year ago from Target (there was not enough room in the moving truck), I did not have a Christmas tree last year.
But with a new home, I didn't want to go another year without a tree.
Should I buy another plastic one that I can use for (hopefully more than) 10+ years or should I buy a cut-down tree that would be recycled after the garbage truck picks it up off my curb? An wonderful eco-friend suggested neither. "Why not buy a real live tree in a pot and then plant in your backyard? Home Depot carries those kind of trees nowadays" she said.

So I went to Home Depot. I saw the $45 dollar artificial pre-lit trees, the $25 dollar fresh cut trees, or the $19.99 baby Leyland cypress tree that "sort-of -looked-like-a-Charlie-Brown-Christmas-tree-in-a-pot" tree.
After 30 minutes of debating, I decided to get the Christmas tree that would tread less on the environment during the holidays... so, it was the Charlie Brown tree. As I drove home, I looked at it in the rear view mirror and found myself already starting to feel intimate with this 3-feet tall plant in my backseat. It was not going to end up in some dusty attic or be shredded, recycled, and replanted, instead...it would find a home in my new garden. Another bonus: I can always decorate it anytime of the year.

Speaking of decorations... last weekend, I was invited to an ornament-making party. It was lovely to see everyone come together to share hand-made ornaments that they created. Many made theirs from the ornament making kits sold in Hobby Lobby or Michaels, or bought from a crafts fair... I decided not to purchase anything from the art store. Instead, I went to my art box and created a star-wreath out of old discarded business/credit/gift/debit cards. Decorated the middle with old hearing-aid batteries and hung it using the elastic strings that most clothes tags come in.
To my luck, I won the best Ornament prize that night for my recycled ornament. Hopefully more and more people will realize that recycled stuff does look awesome on your trees.

So, I've shared with you all my "eco-adventures". Have you done any? If so, please do share!

For those who are just learning to be eco... I decided to add some simple n' green holiday tips:

1. Only buy what you need. 2. Seek out handmade gift options and opt for “like new” items. 3. Carry reusable shopping bags (and use them). 4. Bundle your trips into fewer outings. 5. Resist the urge to “shop around”, instead...shop online. 6. Buy local.

13 December 2010

Basic Craks Recipe~

Many of you asked what is the basic raw-vegan craks (I call them craks instead of crackers... Just like when I make nut/seed/coco -short for coconut - mylk, I call it mylk instead of milk... I'm sure you catch my drift! *grins*) recipe. Once you have this recipe squared away, you can let your creative juices flow away and storm up ideas to throw in different, snazzy flavors to jazz it up!

BASIC CRAKERS (I make mine very thin like chips/crisps. When the mood hits, I thicken it up! Sometimes so thick that I could use as a dehydrated bread!)
2 1/2    c        Filtered Water
1 1/2    c        Golden Flaxseed, grounded
1         c        Nuts/Seeds of your choice, soaked 2-4 hours - depending on what kind of nuts, except almonds which I don't include in my recipes for my own personal reasons - (drain & rinse with fresh water after soaking)
1/2      c        Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1         tbps    Himalayan Sea Salt
1/2      tbps    Cumin
Combine nuts/seeds, water, olive oil, salt & cumin in high-power blender. Mix throroughly and transfer to bowl. Stir in flaxseed slowly. Scoop about 1 cup of mixture onto Teflex (non-stick sheet for dehydrator) on each of 3 to 4 dehydrator trays and spread out to all corners evenly. Score cracker mixture using a spatula. Dehydrate at 115 degree for 6-8 hours (overnight) then flip the sheet over, peel off the sheet from the crackers and continue to dehydrate until desired crispness is obtained. Store in the refrigerator and consume within 2 weeks. 

To JAZZ it up, to SPAZZ it up, and to shake up your soul...
Add blended toms (short for tomatoes), red bell peppers, summer squash, diakon, greens, and/or MORE! Add basil, parsley, cilantro, dill, paprika, oregano... Oh!! My favorite... CAYENNE!!! Oh me, oh my! The spice! The FIRE! The passion! Can you feel it?! ooohhhhhhhhhhhh!

08 December 2010

What's Wrong With Our Food System? And What We Can Do-

11-year-old Birke Baehr presents his take on a major source of our food -- far-away and less-than-picturesque industrial farms. Keeping farms out of sight promotes a rosy, unreal picture of big-box agriculture, he argues, as he outlines the case to green and localize food production.

Make sure you click on subtitles below and watch away!

06 December 2010

*Knocking my Pretty Skull*~

Seriously... What is wrong with me?! I could never keep my word about posting on a daily basis! I can tell you this... that this does ring so very true.. that I do lead a very fulfilling, fun-filled life! I can't seem to get my tiny, pretty arse to sit in front of this screen and click-clack the keys away!

I recently posted this status on my FB and I love it! (It was posted yesterday)

Alynn Davis loves how words can crawl into our mouths and be blurted out! Sometimes words are not enough. Sometimes actions are not enough. Are you enough with yourself? In other words... Are you contented and at ease with yourself? Alynn knows she is!~

Hmm... Off the point here... I did say that I would... actually... I said that MAYBE I will post up a recipe and with a kind heart, I have decided to post one today. It is for those who already or aim to purchase an Excalibur Dehydrator -

Quinoa-Sesame Crackers
I don't consume quinoa myself, even if it is raw and sprouted, but I made this and it has been raved upon! You GOTTA give this a whirl and try!

Servings:  makes about 3-4 dozen
Feel free to experiment with the flavours. Also, this makes a lot of crackers; If you're not sure you'll like them, it's easy to halve or quarter the recipe.


- 1 cup quinoa seeds, sprouted* (that's one measured cup before sprouting. After sprouting you might end up with 2 or even 3 cups worth)
- 1 cup water
- 3-4 generous Tbs tahini (i.e. about as much as you can get onto your tablespoon!)
- 1 cup ground flax seeds
- 1 cup of sesame seeds - Yep!! LOTS OF IT!
- any flavouring you like: Coconut Amino's, Bragg's, fresh herbs, garlic/hing

*Quinoa is one of the easier seeds to sprout - it doesn't take too long & I've never yet had a batch spoil on me. Rinse the quinoa seeds well, then leave to soak 2 hours in plenty of water. Rinse well again, then place in a sprouting jar or tray, and sprout for 12 hours - rinse them well again about half way through this time. (Quinoa is coated in bitter saponins, & you need to make sure these are thoroughly washed off.) As long as they're completely dry, the sprouts should keep for up to two weeks in your fridge.

Place the quinoa sprouts, water and tahini, plus any liquid flavourings like amino's, in a powerful food processor or blender, and process until the quinoa is mostly broken down. If you're adding anything like fresh herbs, you might want to add these in next, & pulse briefly to break them down a little. If you're not using Amino's or Bragg's, you might also want to add a little salt to the mix.

Tip this mix into a bowl, & stir in the ground flax seeds, and any flavourings you haven't added yet. Then add lots of sesame seeds - I often almost double the volume with the amount of seeds I add. Amino  flavoured ones taste great with black sesame seeds added!

Once they're dried though, they taste great, so don't let it put you off. :)  Place a heaping spoonful of the mixture onto a teflex sheet on your dehydrator tray, & spread it out using the back of the spoon into a round 1/2 cm thick. (You could try making them thinner, but the mix is so sticky, I can never be bothered to fight it to get it thinner than this.) This is easier if you use two spoons - one to scoop, the other to scrape the mix off the first spoon.

Dehydrate your crackers at 115 degrees until the top is dry, then flip them over onto the trays & remove the teflex. Continue dehydrating until they're completely dried out, & store in an airtight container.


Property of Alynn Davis~
Please ask for permission to share (it may be in the book!)~

01 December 2010

Giving Up My Car Was Best Decision Ever

By Chris Hrubesh, CNN

  • Chris Hrubesh says trading his car for a bike was one of the best decisions he's ever made
  • Hrubesh gets around Atlanta by cycling and taking public transport
  • He estimates he saves between $300 and $500 per month by not owning a car
Read the full CNN article here

27 October 2010

J.J. Bechhold

Cleveland, Ohio and Washington, DC/Alexandria, VA

Occupation University Student/ Capoeira Instructor

Eco-skills I wouldn't call them skills, but I try to reduce my carbon footprint by bicycling, rollerblading, running, or taking the metro to places.
Carpooling, recycling, reducing, reusing, repurposing (I try to convert the stuff I buy into stuff I would actually use instead of disposing of them).
Creating cardboard compartments/shelves/organizers.
I buy stuff from local stores and farmers markets. I'm growing some herbs and next summer I'm going to try to grow some vegetables.
I believe strongly in tea and their healing properties.
I try to not purchase commercial products, I try to buy organic or local products whenever possible.

Eco-interests EVERYTHING.
Off-the-Grid Living, Self-Sustainable/Self-Sufficient, Herbalism/herbology, Healing arts/Bodyways (Reiki, Yoga, Meditation, Tai Chi, Shiatsu, whatever), Farming and Dining/Shopping Locally, Being politically involved to support Fair Trade and our economy. Holistic health, outdoors activities, you name it, I'll most likely be interested in it.
I am mainly interested in the physical healing arts, one of the reasons I play capoeira is because I feel that it heals me in a way other martial arts cannot.

Contact makacapoeira at gmail dot com
Facebook J.J. Corajoso Bechhold

blog http://deafcapoeira.wordpress.com/
website http://cdodc.weebly.com/
(Monthly/yearly updates/blogs)

10 October 2010

Sandria Graham: vlog about reversing diabetes without the use of drugs

Sandria Graham, a Deaf dietitian, submitted a video, sharing information about reversing diabetes without the use of drugs.

05 October 2010

Nimli - Raw Bags Bamboo Handbag

This is something I would love to have my hands on!!!!!!

Nimli - Raw Bags Bamboo Handbag

Be sure to check it out, kiddos!~

02 September 2010

2nd Annual ASL Fall Yoga retreat in the Catskills

Oct 8-10, 2010

Come enjoy delicious home cooked food, the brilliant fall colors, hiking, hot tub and weekend of Yoga in ASL!

Deepen your understanding of yoga or start your journey towards the benefits yoga can offer.

Take a glorious break from your life, quiet your mind, and let go!

"I feel so much calm and filled with serenity from the retreat"

Video and pictures from last year: www.jenkagan.net, www.heathenhillyoga.net

Register early to reserve your place. Limited to 12 students.

SCHEDULE (timing subject to change but 6 hours worth of class: Topics may include yoga asana, philosophy and pranayama)
Friday-arrive 7 pm
- 10-12 class, Lunch-Free time, 4-6 class, Dinner.
- 10-12, Lunch, 2 pm end of workshop.


Please Fill out form completely and return with payment to
Jennifer Kagan
255 Eastern Parkway F12
Brooklyn, NY 11238



Email address

Check your choice (see the heathenhillyoga.net for pictures and descriptions.)
Rates are per person and are all inclusive (except for travel).

**12 places for lodging and 6 for Camping. Reserve your place early!

Check in time on Friday is after 6 pm (no dinner served on Friday)
www.heathenhillyoga.net----to see pics of accommodations.

_______Yoga House $355
N/A Honeymoon $355 (double)
_______Le Trailer $430- two single rooms It has one bath and a full kitchen.
_______Campground Basic $275
_______Campground Luxe $350
________Just coming for the day $215

*$150 non refundable deposit balance due Sept 25th.
*If you pay in full cancellation policy is as follows
100% 30 days Notice 50% 15 days notice
Arrangements can be made for Cash payment

Any Medical conditions or injuries?

Any special dietary requests? Meals are mainly vegetarian

All bed linens and bath towels are provided. DO bring your own beach towels.

This is going to fun!!! I look forward to seeing all of you at Heathen Hill


29 July 2010

Lawn Envy

I have lawn envy. I look at my neighbor's lawn across from my home and I see a beautiful sunny green lawn.

My own yard has many mature trees and its hard to grow anything here other than moss. I have fantasies of going over to my neighbor and asking if I can at least plant a couple of peach trees or blueberry bushes.

This neighbor is the kind that still brings home food in plastic bags. I doubt the very idea of growing her own food has entered her mind. What to do...what to do...

28 July 2010

Furoshiki: the Japanese art of cloth gift wrapping

Here's a link to a cool instructional pdf by Japan's Ministry of the Environment on how to wrap gifts with cloth you can use again and again. Use this next time you give someone a wine bottle, book, or gift box!! Ditch the paper gift wrapper.


23 July 2010

A Review of Gorilla Food

Going to Vancouver on a business trip, I searched online for vegetarian friendly fare, and discovered a PETA recommendation - one of the top ten vegetarian restaurants in North America was in Vancouver! Off I went to Gorilla Food, a raw, organic, vegan cafe in British Columbia, Canada. This vlog depicts the food I ordered and the state of bliss I was in at that time :) I also discuss briefly the philosophy behind raw food eating. This cafe gets two gorilla thumbs up!

What I ate/drank:
almonds, cacao, bananas, hempseeds, date, coconut oil
Ahimsa Alfredo
Linguini “New”dles spun from zucchini then smothered in a rich white cashew cream.
Served a la carte or with your choice of dressings and a side Medicinal Mesclun Salad.
GO Veggie Burger
A stack of two veggie burger patties thickly topped with guacamole, fresh tomato slices, cucumber slices, shredded seasonal veggies and a ginger-tomato ketchup.
Served in a lettuce leaf bun.

Of course, the main reason why I went there - dessert!
Dark Raw Chocolate Fudge
Something that keeps gorillas coming to work even on days off!
Chocolate Truffles
Smooth creamy orbs of differing decadent delicious superfood pleasures!
Butterfly Bliss
Infused chocolate flowers topped with a fresh walnut and raw caramel.
Maca Choco-Roons
Cacao, coconut, maca root and dates - these are definitely the new jazz haystacks!
Chocolate Protein Orbs
Highly hemped and algae powered!
Sweet orbs made of cacao, seeds, nuts and body benefiting bounties!

And some cookies - chocolate almond pecan, orange walnut spice, etc.

Yes, I'm a big eater :) Hush! :)

05 July 2010

Join the Kombucha Tea Party!

Darla gives the basics on the "elixir" known as Kombucha Tea. Brewing your own is fun and doable!

01 July 2010


From my heart to yours~

28 June 2010

Natural Calcium Supplements --- from Eggs!

Before you toss your egg shells into the compost bin, remember there's another use for them!

Darla shares how to make your own natural calcium supplement using egg shells.

25 June 2010

Reusable bags found to be dirty

"A reminder to shoppers who use reusable grocery bags: Don't forget to wash them after you've emptied them... "

Why? Read more here

Maybe you don't need to wash your reusable bags after every time you use them but it is encouraged to wash them once in a while for health safety. If you carry raw meats in a reusable bag it is probably a good idea to wash that bag every time to prevent the spread of bacteria.

24 June 2010

Facts on Food Labeling~

Some parts below pasted from Bonnie Bucqueroux's Sustainable blog

GMO, as you probably know, refers to Genetically Modified Organisms, known in Europe as Frankenfoods because of fears that mad scientists may be unwittingly or uncaringly unleashing true monsters upon us.

Concerning food labeling, the issue is whether you can tell how the fruits and veggies for sale at the local grocery store were raised by deciphering the codes, and the answer is a resounding maybe. Here is the key as certified by the International Federation for Food Standards (note that the wording is mine, not theirs):

Four-digit code - A conventionally grown crop. Conventional could mean that the foodstuff has been repeatedly doused with one poison or another -- or not. But at least its genes should not have been artificially altered (though one wonders how many food execs are doing hard time in stir for violating the rules).

Five-digit code starting with the number 9 - Organically grown in compliance with the USDA standards.

Five-digit code starting with the number 8 - GMO foods. (Why didn't they just use 666?)

• Restricted FOR use on products grown in North America, East only (meaning these are codes that were originally assigned as East and were used on specific products grown East of the Mississippi in the United States and East of the Ontario/Manitoba border in Canada. These codes only apply in North America and should continue to be used for those specific products):
4318 – Melon, Cantaloupe/Muskmelon, Small
4319 – Melon, Cantaloupe/Muskmelon, Large

• Restricted FROM use on products grown in North America (meaning these are codes that were originally assigned for a specific region outside of North America and, although are now considered Global, are, for various reasons, impossible to incorporate in the North American market. The recommendation is to only use these codes for items grown and/ or sold outside of North America):
3425 – Tangerines/Mandarins, Ellendale, Small
3426 – Tangerines/Mandarins, Ellendale, Medium
3427 – Tangerines/Mandarins, Ellendale, Large

But before you think you can rely on the fact that foods without the dreaded "8" are not Frankenfoods, you should know that the labeling system in the United States is voluntary. And that means growers who want you to know they are doing good things - basically, the organic folks - are probably quick to slap a "9" on that rutabaga you are scrutinizing.

But I suspect only a truly dumb Frankenfood producer would be likely to warn you off with an "8" on that great-looking tomato. (The logic seems impeccable: "What they don't know might hurt them someday, but telling them would hurt our sales today.")

20 June 2010

Eco-Friendly Gas Stations?

What's the best way to protest BP's actions? The oil spill? By refusing to gas up at BP? Lieber with The New York Times say:

Advocacy organizations like Public Citizen urge consumers to stay away from BP stations. About 550,000 Facebook users have clicked the “Like” button on the Boycott BP page. And angry people have picketed at BP stations.

This doesn’t send a particularly powerful message to BP, though. After all, BP owns only a handful of the 11,000 stations that bear its brand and is trying to sell the few still on its books. So those who wish to inflict the maximum amount of pain on the company are instead putting much of the hurt on the family businesses that actually own the stations.

Umbra Fisk, the eco-queen of the universe, shares her thoughts:

There's no perfect choice, here's how I like to think about buying gasoline ... Every time we go to the pump, a pelican dies. It's a great motivator for using less gas. If we all drove a little less it could have a tremendous impact. If we all take the bus, bike, walk, telecommute or find some other carless way for just one day a week we could have a big impact with a small sacrifice. Even The New York Times concluded that "perhaps the best way for people to express outrage and inflict pain on oil companies is to use less fuel, thereby lowering overall demand."

For the full, informative article from Umbra regarding our gasoline choices, click here.

Greenpeace, instead of calling for a boycott, says in order for us to punish BP, we need to get 'Beyond Petroleum', in fact, 'Beyond Pollution' by boycotting ALL gas stations by using our vehicles less and less.

Beth Terry, author of Fake Plastic Fish argues that it's not just gas stations we need to boycott.
"Boycotting BP and simply going across town to buy our gas from the other guy does nothing to cut the demand for this terribly polluting substance in the first place."

1) Drive less or just stop driving,
2) Don't buy personal care products (most of them contain petroleum-based ingredients and come in plastic, which is made by petroleum),
3) Eat less meat and eat locally (petroleum is used to ship food over long distances),
4) Eat fresh foods! Don't eat processed foods (they contain petrochemical ingredients),
5) Stop buying new plastics altogether (Craig's list, Freecycle or get them from garage sales if you must).

By doing these things, that how BP (and other similar companies) are forced to seek out other alternatives to meet customer demand to thrive as a company. By getting gas, buying new plastics, eating meat, eating fast food, buying shampoo, make-up, and so on, we are helping fund BP and other companies indirectly.

18 June 2010

Hair Soaks Up Oil Spill

The video above clearly demonstrates how different oil spills negatively impact our environment and how bundles of hair can clean up the oil spills.

Watch this video and discuss!

11 June 2010

No Impact Man Movie

In this movie, Colin Beaver decides he wants to make the least impact on earth, aptly titled "No Impact Man". This movie is a documentary of his one-year journey. He first started by refusing to buy anything with plastic, then buying only local/organic foods, walking, biking and taking the stairs (even if it means meeting on the 42nd floor), and eventually turning off the power to his apartment, along with his baby daughter and couture-wearing, reality show addict and coffee-loving wife!

Is it really possible to make no net impact on the environment while living in a high-rise condo in New York City? In other words, no trash, no elevators, no subway, no air-conditioning, no refrigerator, no television . . .? Go rent the movie and see for yourself!

Be forewarned - while the movie is subtitled, the special features section, apparently consisting of educational instructional videos how to do this and that... isn't. That's the only disappointment I had with the movie.

Here's Colin's blog if you'd like to read more about him and his experiences... and his book, No Impact Man.

06 June 2010

A successful Eco-Deaf Clothes Swap!

Many of the deaf women who showed up at this event discussed about how they benefited from the clothes exchange: They socialized, they met new people, they shared delicious food recipes and craft ideas, and their children made friends with and played with other children (and some even tried on clothes, see the little toddler trying on in front of mirror).

Not only did they get rid of unwanted clothes in their closet (Benefit #1), they went to a community event such as a clothing swap (Benefit #2), they find new items to bring back home without paying a penny (Benefit #3), and the pile of clothes that nobody takes--- are donated to charity (Benefit #4).

I decided to do a research about the difference between just going straight to the Thrift shop to drop/donate clothes and going to a clothes swap, here is what I found:

Only about one-fifth of the clothing donated to charities is directly used or sold in their thrift shops. “There are nowhere near enough people in America to absorb the mountains of castoffs, even if they were given away.”

That's why we all feel better that we've traded in almost half of the clothes we brought- so we can feel better about that 1/5th of the clothes that actually get re-used through thrift shops.

Another blog explains why the "consumerism of clothes buying" is hazardous to the environment:

1. Each time you rush to the shops to by a seasons worth of new clothes, that at the end of the season you will throw away because you are bored of them, you are creating damage to the environment.

2. Not only are you creating unnecessary waste which is likely to contribute to the growing problem of landfill but you are also increasing the environmental impact associated with clothing manufacture.

3. Synthetic textiles in landfill do not break down and so remain in the ecosystem.

4. Dyes and chemical finishes can also wash out with rain water into the water systems.

5. Even natural textiles cause environmental problems. When they break down they create methane which is a powerful green house gas.

6. There are a variety of other issues associated with the manufacture of new clothes including pesticide pollution and carbon footprints.

By swapping clothes you can help to reduce all of these. So EcoDeaf encourages you to do something like this in your home area!

Happy swapping (and hopefully, blogging about it!)

05 June 2010

Going Green: Deaf Kids Share Ideas on How to Reduce Our Carbon Footprint

Going Green! was the theme of an annual contest hosted by Gallaudet's Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center. Over 645 entries were submitted from all over the USA and Canada from deaf and hard of hearing children and this online magazine shows their essay, art and photos of their ASL video submissions.

Hosting a Green contest means they need to walk their talk. And they did! They used soy ink and paper from sustainably managed forests that conserve biodiversity... they plant over 650 million new trees per year to keep forests thriving.... You go, Gallaudet!

Some snapshots of the winners below. Go see the full magazine yourself at this link. Enjoy- these Green deaf kids are our future!

04 June 2010

Seattle Green Festival: THIS Weekend! June 5-6

Green-Festival-Square-SE2010THIS WEEKEND: Seattle Green Festival at the Washington State Convention Center,
June 5 - 6


Hundreds of exhibitors on
green living, purchasing, and investing, plus local/organic food court,
kids' activities, hands-on workshops, and more...

We have ASL interpreters scheduled for all mainstage speakers (including Amy
, David Korten, Adora Svitak, Bill Ayers, and more), plus
additional terps on-site for first-come/first-served interpretation at
the smaller stages, at the booths, etc.

Text Andrew at 202-321-1707
if you have any questions, and check in at the ASL table at the front of
the hall to schedule an interpreter for anything other than the
main-stage speakers.

Learn more at www.greenfestivals.org

28 May 2010

Be Prepared to be RAWKED!~

Opening 2nd week of June 2010!!

Rawk Star Cafe
32522 US Hwy 19N
Palm Harbor, FL 34684

Eat Like a “Rawk” Star

Come in a check out our Raw-to-Go selection of conveniently pre-packaged Organic RAW-VEGAN Food Items …for ANY time of the day! We also have Hand-Crafted Raw Chocolates, Desserts and Snacks…ALL freshly made in house!! We make GOING GREEN easy …from the inside out!!
I'm PROUD of them and honored to be part of this shining moment! We will RAWK you!!~
Let's RAWK on!~

23 May 2010

Clothes Swap - A Smart Way to be Green and Glam!

Old clothes shouldn't die. They should find new life with a proud new owner. How? By swapping clothes!

Clothes swap is a new eco-community trend that explores creative reuse through the recycling of used clothing.

Several of my friends and I are planning a Clothing Swap event next weekend in Austin, TX. We are hoping it will be successful. Planning to be in the area? Bring your unwanted clothes to Gateway Community Center on June 5th.

Not in the Lone Star state? Don't fret, there are many ways to become involved in this new trend:

One blog suggests how you can start doing this...

1. Declutter. Clean out your closet and find items to swap
2. Find. Find your buddies who are doing the same... and see if they all are interested in looking for events to swap clothes. Or create your own if you feel like you have enough buddies/people to attend. You can find through...
* View upcoming swaps in community bulletin boards
* Look up clothing swap in your area on this website
* Word of mouth (or hand)
* On Facebook or Twitter
3. Attend. Bring unwanted but fab items in great condition
4. Get pampered. Relax, mingle, and be creative which clothes would look good with those red shoes you just bought.
5. SWAP. Take home your favorites for FREE
6. Feel great. Relish new-to-you items and help a local charity
7. Share. Tell your story on EcoDeaf!

And, a video of what it looks like... (sorry, I tried to find captioned ones- but you can get basic idea from viewing this video).

Happy Swapping!

21 May 2010

Fantasy Challenge! Show a Fantasy World at DeafNation World Expo

Fantasy Night Deaf Nation World Expo

During the DeafNation World Expo in Las Vegas (July 18-23, 2010) this summer there will be an ASL entertainment contest for "Fantasy Night."

Elise "Lisi" Whitworth invites EcoDeaf readers to submit a video showing a fantasy of a thoroughly sustainable and healthy world/lifestyle. Are you up for the challenge of creating a piece that attracts attention to this fantasy? Information about this contest is at Fantasy Night Contest. Click on the link to learn how you can 1) gain 15 minutes of fame, 2) win $500, and 3) increase awareness about issues important to you and our world.

She insists, "Even if the eco fantasy video doesn't win, this would gain a lot of good exposure to issues and spread awareness as we get our audience to vote for Fantasy Night winners. I really hope someone submits something!"

Deadline for submission is Monday 5/31/10

When you submit your piece, let EcoDeaf know!!

17 May 2010

Toilet paper roll: A new use!

Do you enjoy photography? Experimenting with new ways of taking pictures?

An EcoDeaf reader shares another use for an used toilet paper roll.

The toilet paper roll can be transformed into a photography tool by creating a pinhole in it and fastening it onto the lens of the camera. It can be taped onto the camera or held with your hand.

This will create a pinhole effect, focusing the viewer's attention to a specific element in the picture. It also can be used for vignetting by adjusting the image's brightness around the edges of the image

Experiment away!

14 May 2010

Peak Oil - Visually Explained

Decyhpersmc shared the video of excellent summary on oil dependency on YouTube. This video explains how the production of oil and plastic materials are connected.

decyphersmc — April 26, 2008

"A quick 3 minute video visually explaining Peak Oil, what oil is used for, and what the future may hold with regards to Peak Oil. This is the culmination of my year-long thesis project looking at how Graphic Design can help communicate a complex topic such as Peak Oil."

Peak Oil - How Will You Ride the Slide?

I like this cartoon shared by Oilyboyd on YouTube. It is a very visual message. Are we ready to give up our oil dependency?

Oilyboyd — November 17, 2007

"We've already burned through almost half the world's supply of oil. How will we ride out the slide down the other side of Hubbert's Curve?"

13 May 2010

What Can We Do to Reduce Our Oil Dependency?

Tony Brucato explains in sign language about how the oil spill in Gulf of Mexico negatively impacts our ecosystem and suggests the four ways that we can do to reduce our oil dependency.

After watching the video, please share your ideas and suggestions of different ways in reducing our oil dependency for cleaner planet and better future.


09 May 2010

Composting is so Easy, Deaf 1st Graders Show you How!

Jarrod and Estelina, Deaf six-year-old 1st graders at the California school for the Deaf talk about composting in American Sig Language.
Many thanks, @yatesburns for permission to post on EcoDeaf!

08 May 2010

Cutting your Hair? Reuse it for the Gulf Oil Spill!

Watch this fascinating 3-minute educational video about how our hair collects oil quickly and can help lessen the impact of oil spills like the recent one in the Gulf of Mexico. Makes sense... you shampoo because hair collects oil! That means it can collect petroleum oil spills too.

Make sure when you have your hair cut, to combine your hair with others at the salon and have them mail hair to Matter Of Trust non-profit organization.

01 May 2010

Going Green with MyPyramid

Sandy Graham shares a fact sheet made by the United States Department of Agriculture's MyPyramid website.

MyPyramid logo

The contents of that fact sheet are below. For direct access to the fact sheet go to www.mypyramid.gov/downloads/TenTips/GoingGreenTipsheet.pdf or http://goinggreenwithmypyramid.blogspot.com/2010/04/going-green-with-mypyramid.html

Did it ever occur to you that your daily food choices can impact the environment? Food has a lot to do with the environment—probably much more than you’d think. From farm to table, there are many points where green decisions can be made.

1. Buy directly from a farmer

Check out your local farmer’s market or join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Look for local sources of fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, cheese, or eggs. They may have traveled fewer miles and contain less packaging, thereby saving energy.

2. Buy in bulk

Shop in stores that sell foods in bulk bins to reduce solid waste and resource use. Food co-ops often offer many grains, flours, beans, nuts, dried fruit, soup mixes, and ready-to-eat cereals in bulk. Buying in bulk may be cheaper, too.

3. Reduce food package waste

Buy larger sizes. Omit single serve containers and juice boxes from your grocery list. Buy milk and yogurt in the largest container you will use. Recycle: take your own shopping bags to the store!

4. Look for the USDA Organic seal

When shopping, look for the USDA Organic seal. It assures you that the agricultural products marketed as organic meet strict standards. Organic crops are raised without using most conventional pesticides or petroleum-based fertilizer. Animals raised on an organic farm must be fed organic feed and given access to the outdoors. They are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.

5. Eat seasonally

Plan your meals around the vegetables and fruits that are in season in your growing area. Seasonal fruits and vegetables can be less expensive, too

6. Vary your choices in meat and beans

Sometimes use nuts or beans, such as kidney, pinto, or garbanzo beans, to vary the protein in your entrée. Less energy is used to produce them, compared to the energy used to produce meat or poultry.

7. Start a vegetable garden

When you grow your own food, you control the use of pesticides and omit the need for transportation or packaging. If you have a small space, try herbs on your windowsill or other vegetables in pots.

8. Think natural

Buy foods in their natural state or minimally processed, such as rolled oats instead of instant oatmeal, or fresh chicken instead of chicken nuggets. This reduces the fossil fuels needed for processing. It can lower your calories, too.

9. Drink tap water

Eliminate individual water bottles from your grocery list. Buy a reusable water bottle and fill it with tap water. Water from your tap is free. The processing, packaging, transportation, and storage of bottled water uses more fossil fuel and bottle disposal adds to household waste.

10. Cook at home

Cook at home more often rather than getting take-out

26 April 2010

What is the Most Eco way to be Buried?

I've always thought my grandparents were very eco for their time. When they passed away, they donated their bodies to teaching hospitals. The hospital picked up the bodies, had student doctors practice on them for a period of time, then cremated the bodies and sent us ashes along with an autopsy report. I thought this was the coolest way to say good-bye...!

but then, thanks to Dan Brubaker on Facebook, I came across his link - there is a much more eco-way to die! Giving your body back earth... without the use of fire (cremation) or wood (caskets) or tombstones (cement), etc. How?

I must warn you - the concept and pictures may be very graphic to some people. If you are sensitive to death and dead bodies, please, please do not click on these links.

I wonder if this can legally be done in the USA? Do you have other eco-options for burial? Share away.

TED - Earth Day Talks

It’s Earth Day, so what better time to spotlight some of the smartest, most compelling thinking in sustainability from the past few years, and what better place for these ideas to manifest themselves than the TED stage? Today, we’re posting our five favorite sustainability-related TED talks of the past five years — from eye-opening revelations to ideological landmarks.

Michael Pollan Gives a Plant's-Eye View
Janine Benyus: Biomimicry in Action

Sylvia Earle's TED Prize Wish to Protect Our Oceans

Chris Jordan Pictures Some Shocking Stats

23 April 2010

Gallaudet Goes Carbon-Neutral for Earth Day

by Rhea Yablon Kennedy

Facilities administrators display a "C-Neutral Certificate" from energy supplier Hess declaring that Gallaudet went 100 percent carbon neutral on April 22 in honor of Earth Day. Pictured (from left) are William Banks, facilities project engineer; Meloyde Batten-Mickens, executive director of Facilities; and Stephen Kalmus, chief engineer in Utilities Services. Photo by Rhea Yablon Kennedy

Director of Sustainability for Green Gallaudet Rachel Benedict and student Michael Pachuilo work together to make an emission-free smoothie during a bake sale. The March 1 to 3 sale was one of the ways the student organization has connected with the community to urge greener practices and spread an eco-conscious message. Photo by José Garcia.

As part of an ongoing effort to make University operations more eco-friendly, the campus went carbon-neutral on April 22 in honor of Earth Day.

"The effect is as if we shut the boilers down for the day," said Stephen Kalmus, chief engineer in Utilities Services. Kalmus arranged to rely on natural gas for as much of the day's energy needs as possible, and he purchased carbon offsets for the remainder of the energy.

In recent years, the Facilities staff, led by Dr. Meloyde Batten-Mickens, executive director of the Facilities Department, worked in multiple ways to make Gallaudet more sustainable every day. Mickens credits her team, as well as the students, the Environmental Stewardship Committee, and the environmental intern positions in Administration and Finance, for making this happen. "It's like a handshake," said Mickens. "It's a community effort."

It was members of the growing three-year-old organization, Green Gallaudet, who first reached out a hand to bring about a day of energy savings in 2009. On March 28, Kendall Green went dark in honor of the organization WWF's Earth Hour. The effort called on both Facilities and individuals to turn off lights on that Saturday evening.

Making Kendall Green

This is all part of a raft of initiatives that have increased Gallaudet's annual carbon savings from about 35,000 to more than 38,600 tons from 2008 to 2009, and continue to lighten the University's impact on the environment.

Gallaudet has had some initiatives in place for years. The recycling program has collected discarded paper and bottles for processing, while the shuttle service reduces Gallaudet's carbon footprint by making Metro and commuter trains a viable option for student and employee commutes.

Recently, Facilities has converted to using virtually all organic products for grounds maintenance. It further reduced chemical usage with the new incarnation of Hotchkiss Field. The field, used for football, soccer, and other activities, is made with recycled rubber and synthetic materials. Because there is no soil or grass to maintain, the field also greatly reduces water usage. The Sorenson Language and Communication Center, which opened in 2007, attained LEED certification, as will all subsequent new buildings on campus.

In 2007, Gallaudet transitioned to single-stream recycling, commingling trash and recyclables and then sending them to an off-campus facility to be separated. Paper towels used in the bathrooms are 100 percent recycled material, while hand soap and cleaning products are Green Seal certified. Even the ice melting crystals used to clear walkways after the winter's major snows were eco-friendly.

In 2008, the Facilities Department began yearly evaluations through the Go-Green Project, using the company Sightlines to monitor and benchmark Gallaudet's carbon footprint. The project looks at all aspects of the University's environmental practices, from electricity usage on campus to the distance that each employee travels to get to work. Sightlines provides both a snapshot of Kendall Green's impact and trending in its results. For utilities usage, Gallaudet also performed an Industrial Grade Energy Performance Review with Johnson Controls, Inc.

Mickens and Kalmus expect the savings to continue to climb. The very next report should show improvement, thanks to an increased amount of energy bought with Renewable Energy Certificates (from seven to 10 percent over the past year). In addition, Facilities, Green Gallaudet, and Bon Appetit Management Company, which oversees food service, plan to establish a composting system that keeps food scraps out of the waste bins.

Rachel Benedict, sustainability director for the student organization Green Gallaudet, says her organization has worked closely with Facilities to push Gallaudet toward a greener future. Other groups seek to go green, too, including the Student Body Government, which has pledged to use only biodegradable food service items for its campus events.

The flavor of sustainability

Facilities administrators display a "C-Neutral Certificate" from energy supplier Hess declaring that Gallaudet went 100 percent carbon neutral on April 22 in honor of Earth Day. Pictured (from left) are William Banks, facilities project engineer; Meloyde Batten-Mickens, executive director of Facilities; and Stephen Kalmus, chief engineer in Utilities Services. Photo by Rhea Yablon Kennedy

Green Gallaudet also found a willing partner in Davina Kwong, general manager for Bon Appetit. Disposing of leftovers is just one of the ways that Gallaudet's cafeterias are doing their part. Kwong emphasizes not only waste reduction, but also the other side of the production process. "Yes it's true that recycling and compostables are important, but it's even more important to think about where our food comes from," she explains.

Kwong and Chef Manager Jay Keller focus on buying regional and seasonal produce and sustainably-produced meat, dairy, and fish. In the Hanson Plaza cafeteria, students eat with reusable plates and flatware; in the Jordan Student Academic Center's grab-and-go Marketplace, Keller purchases low-carbon packaging. Hot and cold beverage cups and napkins contain a minimum of 10 percent and 35 percent post consumer fiber (PCF), respectively, while the cup sleeves are 100 percent PCF. All cutlery is presented individually as opposed to in sets, reducing waste, and instead of individual condiment packets, diners take a dollop of ketchup or a cup of mustard from dispensers. As the composting program moves into place, Keller is set to phase in as much compostible packaging as possible. "Some believe that being 'green' is the cool new thing," said Kwong. "For us, it's at the root of what we do on a day-to-day basis."

Benedict and her Green Gallaudet team are reaching out to show what individuals can do to improve sustainability. Green Gallaudet has combined outreach with fundraising efforts by selling low-impact snacks, including fruit smoothies blended by a bicycle. The group also created a video explaining ways to reduce waste in the cafeteria.

Next steps toward a greener future

Director of Sustainability for Green Gallaudet Rachel Benedict and student Michael Pachuilo work together to make an emission-free smoothie during a bake sale. The March 1 to 3 sale was one of the ways the student organization has connected with the community to urge greener practices and spread an eco-conscious message. Photo by José Garcia.

Among Green Gallaudet's long-term goals are for the University to sign on to the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment. Kendall Green does not yet have the systems set up to satisfy all of the stipulations in the agreement, but Mickens says they have already made progress and hopes to see a presidential signature soon.

The Environmental Stewardship Committee, comprised of student, faculty, and staff representatives, will play a role in working toward that goal. Mickens appreciates the students' urging to make things happen. "I love it that the students were ahead of us," said Mickens. "That's one of the things that helped us come together and pushed us toward more sustainability priorities."

--Rhea Yablon Kennedy