Abby’s Blog: Box Tops for Education

The Narragansett Elementary school, we’re I attend first grade and Max is in pre-school, collects Box Tops for Education. You’ve seen them, they look like little coupons in pink and orange and can be found on everything from cereal and granola bar boxes to kleenex and toilet paper. If you aren’t cutting them out then you probably recycle them with the rest of your cardboard but do you know they are worth ten cents for every one you send to your local school? That money get used for things like supplies for art, books and music. Our school has an annual competition, and the classroom who raises the most money with box tops gets a prize at the end of the year.

It may not seem like much but it adds up fast and it helps schools raise money for things they need thousands of dollars every year with the program. So before you recycle, clip that ten cents and give it to your local school kid. You could be funding their next art class!

posted by Abby, Age 6 1/2

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Some no-no’s of taking it to go

The other night while sorting through the mounds of bills and junk-mail one glassine window in an envelope sparked a discussion about how such things including to-go containers can now be recycled and composted thanks to companies developing materials from plant fibers, sugar cane waste, and corn.

It dawned on me that since I eat, breathe, and live as green as I possibly can maybe it’s not as common knowledge as I thought that there have been great advances in the worlds to-go options.

I am always amazed when eating out when my leftovers are brought to me in some kind of awful Styrofoam container…in fact many U.S. cities like Seattle and Oakland have begun to ban the use of Styrofoam in restaurants and grocery stores. It’s like come on people it’s time to get with it and use an environmentally friendly package, it not only becomes a permanent part of our universe, but according to the EPA it’s a hazard to your health! It makes me think twice about bringing my own container with me the next time I visit that restaurant, or asking them to just wrap my leftovers in foil—if it won’t make a huge mess on the ride or walk home.

I’ll admit that it does slip my mind quite often to ask what kind of containers they package to-go items in, but it’s something I’m trying to get better at and be more conscious of. It’s being more away of little things like this that can help you reduce your footprint and tread a little lighter.

Posted by Amanda | follow me on Twitter

How to Realign Your Lifestyle Using Eco-Principles

With our global emphasis on green and sustainable living, many people are actively doing their part to engage in “green acts”. Whether it’s recycling, toting reusable grocery bags, there are a number of ways to engage yourself in balanced living

Seeing Differently

Step 1 to realigning your lifestyle using eco-principles is to begin seeing differently. See your entire existence as emerged within eco-living, rather than you as an individual acting out green acts.

 Stuart Haygarth would have taken this advice literally, inventing a sustainable eye glass chandelier that uses 620 pairs of discarded lenses to form a globe-like chandelier. For the designer, perhaps his living art is not only an example of using creativity to craft lifestyle choices, but also symbolic of what visionary work we can accomplish if we begin to see a little differently.

 Turning a Domestic Green Leaf

Turning over a green leaf begins with ourselves, in how we think and then in how we carry out those thoughts. Once we have internal balance, our focus can shift smoothly to an external balance. And while you may not be able to go save the rain forest, you can begin by changing how you view your home.

 View your home as an eco-habitat in itself, and once you perceive your home this way, you’ll treat it with more green care. The simplest way to begin thinking this way is to look at what toxic elements could be in your home – perhaps in your vacuum cleaner, carpet, paint, whether you have energy-efficient appliances, or even checking to see if the plastics you use to cook and eat with are made with toxic chemicals. It’s really very simple and just takes a small effort in reprogramming how you think. Once you shift how you think, your new thought patterns become healthy lifestyle habits.

 The Mind Body Equation

 Equally as important as your home is another vessel that you inhabit daily – your mind and body. These two are just as relevant in your eco thinking as your actions. When it comes to eco thinking, your habits aren’t just about what products you use or what daily habits you have that save that extra little bit of energy or water. It’s about how you think.

 Eco thinking is about harmony with one’s environment. And one of the most important things that should be in a harmonious state is our central selves. If we cannot achieve this, then in essence our eco habits are just frustrated (but not natural) extensions of ourselves. Achieving an eco balance internally through meditation, exercise, and intellectual stimulation is the simple solution to turning a truly balanced green leaf.

Shireen Qudosi

CNET’s Best of CES 2010 Green Award

Control4 was one of three nominees in the Green category for this year’s CNET Best of CES 2010 Awards.  At CES, Control4 showed its Energy Management System (EMS) 100, which received the nomination.

The EMS 100 is comprised of the EC-100,  a touch-screen home controller that allows you to monitor your home’s energy and the WT-100, a wireless Zigbee-enabled thermostat. This allows people to track their energy usage and find ways to reduce it; you can also set up the device to automatically do it for you. The system not only allows you to monitor your home’s energy but you have the ability to control lights, locks, and more. Other applications can be added to the system through Control4’s newly launched app store called 4Store.

To get the whole story you can click here: Read More

The winner in the Green category this year was Tenrehte Technologies for their Picowatt Wi-Fi smart plugs.

According to the article on CNET, Tenrehte Technologies has a grassroots vision for the smart grid. Instead of relying on a utility-installed smart meter to help consumers ratchet down their electricity bills, the Rochester, N.Y.-based start-up is building Wi-Fi-enabled smart plugs. A few strategically placed smart plugs, called a Picowatt, will provide many of the benefits promised to consumers by the smart grid, including a real-time read-out of electricity usage and the ability to control appliances from a central point.

The Freeloader Pro, which was the other Green nomination, is a handheld charger made up of two small solar panels and integrated lithium ion battery.

Like the dozens of solar chargers on the market, the Freeloader Pro can charge up cell phones, GPS devices, and other small gadgets. What makes it versatile is the accompanying CamCaddy, an adjustable device for charging different sized block batteries for digital cameras, camcorders, or digital SLRs.

Posted by: Megan / Follow me on Twitter

Little way’s to Green your BIG day

Throwing a wedding is an expensive and time consuming process.  There are so many options and ways to make your day special.  Making your wedding day as green as possible is always a plus.  Even if you choose to only do a few things here and there.  There are some great magazines and web sites that can provide you with different options and ways to make your special day as green as possible, I really enjoy planet green and the ideas they have to offer.  Although for some of us it may be difficult to have an ALL green wedding here are some great ways I think might help you and the planet!

Sourcing locally is probably the most obvious choice for having a green wedding.  By using a local brewery instead of having kegs sent from across the country you can help cut down on CO2 emissions.  Almost anything you want or need, can be found locally, it’s probably the number one way to go green at your wedding. 

Encouraging your caterer to use local and organic foods is also a helpful way to green your wedding.  Renting a tuxedo is also a great idea since buying one might not be appropriate if you will never wear it again.  This goes for wedding and bridesmaid dresses, if you know a place that rent’s dresses, it might be worth checking out!

Choosing your venue location based on where you and your guests live is also a great idea.  This cuts down on driving to your wedding.  Also think about encouraging your guests to carpool or set up a way for your guests to get from hotel to venue easier and safer.  You can look into buses and trolleys it will save on CO2 and be safer for your guest’s allowing them to have an extra glass of Champaign while celebrating your nuptials  

When thinking about invites for your big day, think about using recycled paper or tree free invitations.  Save the dates are a huge waste of paper and not really necessary for local weddings.  If planning a destination wedding they are almost a must do!  If save the dates are important to you think outside the box, maybe an evite?  

Posted by: Kate Kiselka, follow me on Twitter

Want to learn how you can green up RI’s transportation?

An alliance of environmental groups, businesses, unions, senior groups and others have joined together to promote a 21st century transportation system that enhances our economy and provides all Rhode Islanders with healthy transportation choices.

Next Thursday, Jan. 28 at 5:30 at the Apeiron Institute’s office at 17 Gordon Avenue in Providence, you can find out what a few key members of this alliance have to say about creating a sustainable transit system here in Rhode Island.

The forum, sponsored by the Apeiron Institute, will feature panelists Catherine Lutz, anthropologist and the Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Family Professor of Anthropology and International Studies at Brown University; John Flaherty, Co-Chair of the RI Coalition for Transportation Choices and Director of Research and Communications for Grow Smart RI; and Mark Therrien, Assistant General Manager for Transit Development, Planning and Grants for the RI Public Transit Authority.

It’s free to Apeiron members and students; $10 for nonmembers. The doors open and snacks will be served at 5:30 p.m. and the panel discussion will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Click here for more information and to register for the event.

Posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter

The modlet: A modern outlet

A CEA i-Stage Finalist, ThinkEco has created the “modlet” which apparently stand for modern outlet. The modlet system brings efficiency to your electricity use, so you can easily save money and the environment. It is affordable and plugs in right over your existing outlets for hassle-free self-installation. The company’s  modlet Web application enables an interactive
conservation experience where you can control your outlets remotely with software on a USB.  The modlets are expect to be in distribution in 2011 and the company projects that each unit will pay for itself in six months.

How is this different from Control4‘s appliance module…aside from the clever little name?

posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter