Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Local Green Living Classes in July (at Greater Goods, U St.)

Limit 10 per Class • Registration Required • More Info and Registration >>

Solar Panels: How, Why, and How Much? – Wednesday, July 8, 8pm to 9pm - FREE
Everything you ever wanted to know about installing solar panels in your home.

Outdoor Container Gardening – Wednesday, July 15th, 8pm to 9pm - FREE
Container gardening can turn unused real estate on your deck, balcony, rooftop, or windows into spots of robust vitality. Whether you want to grow your own food or simply add some color to your space, learn how to create a container garden to fit your needs! Hosted by

Late Season Planting – Thursday, July 16th, 8pm to 9pm - FREE
Are you a late bloomer? No worries, July is not too late to plant a vegetable garden or replant in spaces where you were growing spring and early summer vegetables. Join Sidra Forman as she goes over options and shares what she is doing for the second half of the growing season. We will also have free cookies and vegetable seed.

Composting Made Easy – Saturday, July 18th, 10am to 11am - FREE
Who knew composting in the city could be so easy? Learn how to compost with no smell, no fuss, and no muss! Hosted by

Organic Pest Control – Wednesday, July 22nd, 8pm to 9pm - FREE
Why use scary chemicals when there are so many terrific, safe organic pest control solutions?
You'll learn to identify basic garden pests, and learn to make your own natural pesticide, insecticide, insect repellent, organic pesticide and fungicide recipes. Repel everything from insects to rabbits, kill mold, fungus or mildew, and exterminate pests; all with natural or organic pesticides. Also learn to attract beneficial insects and wildlife to your garden.

10 Ways to Green Your Home – Thursday, July 23rd, 8pm to 9pm - FREE
Join Daniel, the owner of Greater Goods, for 10 easy ways to make your home more eco-friendly.

Lotions and Potions – Wednesday, July 29, 8pm to 9pm - $12
Back by popular demand! Kristina Libby, owner of the DC-based luxury bath and body company For the Love of..., will teach a class on how to make organic skin care products in your home. Bring a friend and make it a girls night! Class costs $12, half of which is a material fee and half of which goes to Susan G Komen Foundation. Prepay for the class here. >>

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why I bike.

  • two words: tighter ass.

  • I get to wear really tight pants and no one thinks its outrageous

  • zero carbon emissions (and better than nuclear)

  • biking to work gets the head going much faster than coffee

  • feels like flying . . . whheeeeeeeeeee!

  • I can scare tourist drivers by riding too close - watch out, you Lexus from Ohio! (please don't try this at home)

  • no more pesky fatty areas above my knees

  • absolutely, positively, the fastest way to get around DC

  • "hill therapy" to deal with anger issues and uncooperative boyfriends

  • no need to look for parking, have change for the bus, wait for a taxicab, or deal with the sweaty guy in the metro train (ick.)

  • safety first - harder to get mugged at 20 miles an hour.

  • I no longer fear you, extra bite of cheese cake!! Bwahahahahaha!

  • Critical Mass. Every 1st Friday. Dupont Circle. 6 PM.

Ride a bike today! : )

[PS - this is a re-post, but I wanted to share it with you again.]

Monday, July 20, 2009

$$$ From DC for Eco-friendly Landscaping

The DC Department of Environment (DDOE) has been working hard - with the limited budget it has - to develop programs that help DC residents help the DDOE deal with some of the environmental problems faced by the metro area. If we all changed some of our habits and made some changes to the way we live, it would make the DDOE's job much easier. A new program gives grants to DC residents to implement landscaping practices that reduce stormwater run off. The program is called RiverSmart Homes.

As you can imagine, an urban area, with its hard, non-absorbent surfaces (eco-lingo: "impervious surfaces") does not absorb much rain water. Where does this rain water go? Well, it goes into the DC sewer system and then out into our local rivers and streams. According to the DDOE website: "As stormwater moves from our yards to our streams it picks up pollutants such as oil and grease from our roadways and driveways, nutrients from fertilizers on our lawns, and bacteria from pet waste and other animal excrement. Once in the stream, the fast-moving surges of water associated with storms cause erosion and destroys habitat for fish and other wildlife."

In addition to this, the District also has a very outdated sewer system - a system called "combined sewer overflow" - where the same pipes carry rainwater off our streets AND carry the sewage (from our toilets, etc.). When there is too much rainwater coming in from the streets, everything gets combined and then, often, the "overflow" is emptied into local waterways (so, um, plastic tampon applicators, mixed with human excrement, mixed with plastic bottles. YUM.)

Picture from Wikipedia.

Also, in DC, certain neighborhoods are prone to flooding with this lovely mixture of human sewage and street junk. Gosh, this is not to mention how plastic bags & bottles and other solid debris from street litter clogs up the whole system. My oh my!

Which takes me back to the the program I mentioned before. RiverSmart Homes will give you money to make changes in your landscaping to capture rainwater and keep it from wreaking havoc in our outdated sewer system.

Let me say that again: THEY WILL GIVE YOU MONEY . . . for such things as:
So check out the site and sign up for an appt.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Eco-friendly wedding dresses for those of us who don't follow jam bands . . .

Even though I am a committed environmentalist, when I think about being married, I just don't really see myself in one of those shapeless hemp dresses that girls who follow jam bands would swoon over (sorry, but the eco-friendly** wedding dress industry has a far way to go - although it is getting better and better - look here - I really like the blue one half way down the page). [UPDATE: after further examination of the list of "eco-friendly" gowns linked in the previous sentence, I wanted to add a quick caveat: the list provides minimal explanation about what makes many of the gowns "eco". For example, there are many reasons why silk is NOT eco-friendly. So, please be cautious in assuming that a dress shown in the list is actually "green".]

That said, the whole wedding industry is ridiculous - and the jam-band girls get it. Repeat after me, "RIDICULOUS". So much money for so many things that are used ONCE and then thrown away or just stored. Like the invitations and the decorations and the flowers and the bridesmaids dresses and the shoes and, most of all, the wedding gown. Thousands of dollars - more than most people around the world make in one or several months - spent on one dress, worn for a few hours, then stored in the closet . . until when? [Be real, your daughter most likely will not want to wear your dress from two decades ago. Don't be dumb.]

But, those dresses . . . in the wedding magazines . . . well they are scrumptious. Expertly tailored columns of silk, satin, lace . . . dreamy . . .

So, what is a girl who might want a designer dress - but does not want to be an eco-idiot - to do?

I'm glad you asked. She goes to and searches for her fave designer: Vera Wang, Priscilla of Boston, Monique Lhuillier . . . and buys a once-worn, lovely confection of a dress (there are almost 3000 to choose from on the site), saves a bunch of money (which lets her book the organic caterer) and goes right back and resells it again. Now, that is eco-smart!


(**NOTE: Buying something used reduces the demand for new things to be made - and therefore saves valuable resources from being consumed. Buying something new - even if it is made from eco-friendly materials, still uses more resources than buying something used. The more owners something has throughout its life, the more efficiently we have used the resources that went into making it. )

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Too Pretty to Buy Just One!! - Broadstreet Jewelry

GRRRR - I have spent the last 40 minutes clicking back and forth through pictures of about 30 jewelry pieces - all totally lovely and super eco-friendly. I CAN NOT DECIDE!!!

I usually don't like to write about products or designers that I don't have personal experience with . . . you should see how many requests I get every day to feature new "green" stuff! It is hard to say "no" to a little company with a good mission that's trying to make it in this world of cheap, disposable crap. So, if I really like a product, and have never gotten anything from the company before, I will usually order something . . . Just to give me a sense if the items are made well, etc. - and, you know, to keep the green fashion industry going and all.

Anyway, this takes us back to my horrible indecision about Sara Bradstreet's swoon-worthy jewelry. Most of her creations are necklaces. I'm sure you've noticed the emergence of big, chunky jewelry on the fashion radar over the past few seasons . . . You know, those $5000 necklaces, that look like they were made from your great aunt Mildred's collection of costume and semi-precious jewelry? Yeah, well, they weren't. They just look like it. They were probably made in China, by underpaid young women and then shipped to the US (all those carbon emissions! ugh.) Such immense fakery.

WELL!! If you are in the market for an eco-friendly chunky necklace, look no further. Sara constructs her pieces from all vintage components, using wire. "Salvaged vintage findings deconstructed and assembled into one of a kind" necklaces, bracelets, earrings. She expertly layers completely different design elements in an organically harmonious way. A picture of a German Shepard and a big white bow? Sure! A rhinestoned vidalia onion, pearls and a sunflower? Made for each other!

This is what Sara says about her designs: "I am inspired by jewelry that has the potential to play into a larger piece, a collage of reminders from different decades. The brashness of an 80s gold chain might be softened with an overlay of enameled flowers from the 1950s; crystal brooches from a grandmother’s trinket box are emboldened by the addition of gold geometrics and a deliberately chunky clasp. These ecclectic combinations both pay homage to the past and transcend its aesthetic boundaries. They provoke conversation, showcase unique style, tell their own stories. They complement a woman’s many facets and her individual kind of beauty."

In any case, I am in LOVE with most of her pieces and must now continue deciding on which one to get. But I had to share her designs with you since I am positive you will LOVE them, too! Below are my top-contenders (find them for yourself in the Broadstreet Etsy shop):

(It's the Kremlin, yo! This one may win out for the whole "proud of my heritage" reason.)

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Capital Fringe Festival Goes Green!

I just noticed that The Cap Fringe Fest has posted "How to Be a Green Artist" and "How to be a Green Audience" guidelines on their website. [Grrr - why isn't something as important as that not linked from the very first page? Anyway . . .]

It is very exciting for me to see organizations, events, etc., that consider themselves "progressive" to finally be waking up to the fact that sustainability is the MOST progressive thing you can be doing right now.
So, check out how to be a green audience ("Take the metro!" "Don't Litter!" "Take a young person to the theater!") and then go see some shows (support local artists!). One in particular that I would like to recommend:
"Caberate Coo-Coo" by Happenstance Theater.

Classy acts! Captivating Characters! Hosted by Guitar Prodigy Scooter Undercroft, Featuring Izzy and Diz Aster Singing Cheery Songs of the Great Depression, Nicolo the Juggling Accordionist, the Amazing Illusionist Catastrafi, Hotsy-Totsy Dancing Cigarette Girls, the Melodious Pit band, and surprise(d) guests! (60 minutes)


Thursday, July 2, 2009

"Attachment": An Environmentalist’s Ode to a Disposable Cup

Oh disposable cup in all your paper (or plastic) glory!
So accessible on almost every street corner, in every market and café
Oh, you, and your promises of a commitment-less encounter
You just care about me, and my convenience, you say.
Your smooth edges whisper, “Its really okay. Everyone does it.”
“My destiny is preordained by powers bigger than the both of us.”
“It’s just the way it is.”

So many embrace your shame-free enticements.
I see them every day, holding on to you tightly – but only for a short time.
They say good-bye and walk away.
It appears so easy for them, my small one.

But not for me.

In our brief moments together, I get attached.
It seems so crass – to use you and then just throw you in a bin.
I look at you and wonder where you came from . . .
which country’s trees birthed you, how far the oil in your small plastic hat traveled.
As I cradle you in my hand, I start to worry
What will happen to you when our time is done?
Will you end up in a far away landfill, never to decompose again?
. . . just a forgotten piece of our human race’s debris?
Or will you end up floating in a river or ocean, confusing the birds as they hunt for food?

I’m sorry, little vessel – all this is just too much to consider.
I don’t mean to hurt you,
but the truth is that I just can’t get involved with you at all.
Your guilt-free façade will never compare to the stability I feel
With my loyal



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