Abby’s Blog: Kids Helping the Earth 21 – Pumpkin Seeds

Gerb’s pumpkin seeds are my new favorite snack. I was afraid to try them when I was shopping with my mom, but then I did and they were great. They’re also really good for me and all natural. Mom said you can find learn more at or buy them at Whole Foods.

Abby 5 years and 8 months

Good for the planet, Good for you, Good for the tastebuds

strawberry_shakeI stopped into the newly opened Emporium Nutrition yesterday on the URI Campus to visit my fellow Thai boxer Bev. She makes these super healthy shakes that taste like a Fribble from Friendly’s. Chocolate peanut butter banana…yummmm…

Ashley focus. This isn’t a food blog, this is a Green blog.

Of course this post isn’t about shakes, this post is about the cups that the shakes come in. Being the eco-concious entrepreneur that she is, Bev decided she would make her shakes as guilt free as possible, inside and out. She uses Fabri-Kals Greenware cups which are made in the U.S., entirely from plant material, and 100% compostable. Fabri-Kal doesnt stop at green cups. They make all kinds of Greenware food and drink containers, and I will happily try any food or drink that comes in them. Somebody please explain to me WHY these arent used EVERYWHERE!?

Props to Bev for her eco-friendly and body-healthy business endeavor! And her hard-core round kicks.

Published by: Ashley (intern)

Green Building Perspectives: National Lumber Company

national-lumber-logo1Green Life Smart Life is sourcing lumber, as well as exterior and interior building materials, from one of the most environmentally-conscious companies in the field, National Lumber Co. of Mansfield, Mass. You can read about National Lumber’s green initiatives here.

We spoke with Mike McDole, National Lumber’s vice president of sales, to learn what he thinks of our project, as well as green’s overall impact on his company’s business.

What do you think of the Green Life Smart Life Project to date? What interested National Lumber about the project?

We are very excited to be a part of it. The project has been moving along at a good pace, especially considering it is being built along the Rhode Island coast during winter.

Kudos to Bob Leonard and Mark Lubic of Merchant Construction for doing such a fine job. Credit also has to go to the homeowners, Kim and Joe. They did a tremendous amount of research and pre-planning prior to putting a shovel in the ground, which paid off once construction started. They had multiple pre-construction meetings with Tom Wickham, our Contractor Outside Salesperson covering South County (R.I.), to choose the various green building products they wanted to use in their project. As a result, the building materials were on the job site when needed, which helped keep the job flowing smoothly.

What really attracted us to this unique project, besides the fact that it is in my neighborhood, is that National Lumber is a huge supporter of green building and environmentally-friendly building practices throughout New England. We are a third-generation family-run business, and we care very much about smart building practices in all of the neighborhoods we service. In addition, Kim and Joe’s passion about building an environmentally-friendly home, and their knowledge of green products, also contributed to our extreme interest in this special project.

Where does National Lumber see green building going in the next five years?

It is estimated that green building products and services currently represent about $40 billion, a figure that is estimated to grow to $140 billion in 2013, with $90 billion of that in products alone. Several factors are contributing to this enormous growth. One, the public wants to be more environmentally-friendly. Two, an unprecedented level of government incentives are available. Three, there have been improvements in sustainable materials.

According to the EPA, buildings account for 39.4 percent of the total U.S. energy consumption, with residential structures accounting for 54.6 percent of that total. Also, building construction and demolition account for approximately 136 million tons per year, which is approximately 60 percent of all non-industrial waste generated in the U.S. Americans want to reduce their energy usage and their waste to protect the environment for not only themselves, but for many generations to come.

How is your company evolving to address green building?

National Lumber has been involved in green building practices for approximately five years now. We were the first lumber company in New England to be able to supply FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified Lumber along with the Chain-of-Custody Certificate, which assures that the lumber comes from a responsibly managed forest. Even now, in February 2009, we are one of only four lumberyards in New England with FSC Certification and Chain-of-Custody Certificate; there are currently no lumberyards in Rhode Island with these credentials.

In addition to the lumber, National Lumber partners up with building materials manufacturers who also are interested in green building.  Such manufacturers are Andersen Windows, Marvin Windows, Boise Engineered Wood Products, Huber (Advantech & Zip System), SBC White Cedar Shingles, Owens-Corning Roof Shingles, kitchen cabinet manufacturers and more.   

What challenges does National Lumber face in the evolution of green building?

The biggest challenge, I think, is “green-washing,” which is what corporations do to make themselves and their products look more environmentally-friendly than they really are. Real standards are needed that must be met before a company can call its products “green,” and right now, no real standards have been accepted by the construction industry.  However, a few strong organizations such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), US Green Building Council, and NAHB’s (National Association of Home Builders) Green Building Program are making a difference.

The second-biggest challenge is the fact that it is slightly more expensive to build green. However, I believe that the more green building there is, the cost spread will be reduced over time.

Do you think green building will ever dominate your business?

I don’t think green building will ever “dominate” our business, but I do believe it will continue to become a larger and larger percentage of our overall sales. I certainly could envision green building becoming 25 to 33 percent of our total lumber sales within the next five to seven years, which would certainly be significant.

Anything else you would like to add about the green building market or the Green Life Smart Life project?

We truly appreciate that Kim and Joe picked National Lumber Company to be their supplier of lumber, along with their exterior and interior building materials, on this unique and exciting project. We are very proud to be a part of it.

Green Mullet and all!


Just a heads up for all you Captain Planet fans!

He’s back! Green mullet and all! On February 25th Mother Nature Network will begin the posting of over 20 original episodes of Captain Planet and the Planeteers on their website throughout the year, becuase according to MNN “we need him more than ever!” I couldnt agree more. But thats not all!

MNN is also showing never before seen bonus footage, AND they even have a quiz to test how many saturday mornings you plopped down in front of the tv with your Captain Crunch (you cant have one without the other) and watched the cartoon. I got an 8 out of 10, don’t be jealous.

Published by: Ashley (intern)

g Green Design Center

At the beginning of the month I wrote a post about Green Depot, and I thought I would fill you in on another place to check out when greening your pad. g’ Green Design Center is a green building supply showroom and design center. I love to spread the word about these places because I think that they are going to be what makes a significant impact on green living by making green shopping consumer friendly and easy. Sometimes people (myself included) want the work done for them, and making green shopping easier will make the whole movement pick up momentum in my opinion. They have a great website to poke around in and are intent on making green building and design easier for us average Joe’s. Yay! It’s easy to navigate and each product has a description telling you how it works, what it is, and why it’s green. Skimming through their long list of products I was most impressed by all of the building materials available, including kitchen countertops, cabinets, flooring (wood, carpet, and miscellaneous other options), insulation, roofing, deck supplies and windows. When it comes to alternative and renewable energy ‘g’ keeps it local by recruiting contractors and installers from the neighborhood. Yay again! We love local! Building materials aren’t the only thing you’ll find at ‘g’, they also sell wall coverings, HVAC, lighting, home decor and goodies for yourself! All of it eco-friendly. As of right now ‘g’ has one location in Massachusetts, but they are working on expanding (hopefully soon to Lil’ Rhody!). We will definitely keep you posted!

Published by: Ashley (intern)

Green as a Second Language

It’s hard not to think of “green” as a second language when there are words you’ve never encountered before and have no idea what they mean. I’m not talking words like sustainability or organic. I’m talking the developed language of green, words that are hybrids of the English language and green verbiage.

These are some of my favorites:

Webecoist – A website for sustainable living and green design and oddities such as weird animals; they also produce weburbanist which is a site for architecture and urban street art…and utterly cool.

Locavore – a person (or animal I suppose) who only eats local food sources.

Ecomompreneur – I first came across this term on Twitter by a woman who was a self defined eco conscious individual, mother and entrepreneur. I though it was genius, though tough to say. Her page isn’t active on Twittter anymore though.

Ecopreneurist– Best describes the eco conscious entrepreneur with heavy emphasis on the business side of being a good human being.

Ecomodder – this is an individual who modifies their car to increase their miles per gallon. There is such a person(s) and they are a force.

Ecorazzi — You guessed it all all the news about green Hollywood you could ever hunger for. You can find it here.

Greenopia – (this term is registered BTW) Utopia is definitely green.

Greenwashing — saying something is green that simply isn’t. You are not green just because you recycle and a company isn’t green because their product is recyclable.

Got any favorite green words?

posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster

Abby’s Blog: Kids Helping the Earth 20 – The Plight of the Tree Frog

Tree frogs are very cool, but they are in danger. They live trees; they have bright green skin and sticky fingers; and they eat bugs. Tree frogs are good for the earth and I want people to stop cutting down their habitats.

Read about Red Eye Tree Frogs at National Geographic, here.

posted by Abby age 5 and 8 months