Thursday, 17 February 2011 15:24

Just How Big is the Human Footprint on Earth?

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It's a question that many have asked, but few have attempted to answer.  The Global Footprint Network has created research methodology and technology to help answer this question and bring solutions to the Earth's communities. In 2003, Global Footprint Network was established to enable a sustainable future where all people have the opportunity to live satisfying lives within the means of one planet. Global Footprint Network’s efforts are fueled by a future vision in which human demand on nature is monitored as closely as the stock market. They make this vision a reality by providing the scientific data necessary to drive large-scale social change. Together with hundreds of individuals, 200 cities, 23 nations, leading business, scientists, NGO’s, academics and their 90-plus global partners — spanning six continents — the Global Footprint Network is advancing the impact of the Footprint in the world, applying it to practical projects and sparking a global dialogue about a one-planet future and how we can facilitate change.

An essential step in creating a one-planet future is measuring human impact on the Earth so we can make more informed choices. That is why the Global Footprint Network aims to accelerate the use of the Ecological Footprint — a tool that measures how much nature we have, how much we use, and who uses what. The Ecological Footprint is a data-driven metric that measures how close we are to the goal of sustainable living. Footprint accounts work like bank statements, documenting whether we are living within our ecological budget or consuming nature’s resources faster than the planet can renew them.

At Global Footprint Network, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) research organization, programs are designed to influence decision makers at all levels of society and to create a critical mass of powerful institutions using the Footprint to put an end to ecological overshoot and get our economies back into balance. Global Footprint Network's intent is that these initiatives will bring about new solutions and get people talking about the reality of ecological limits.  They expect the results will redirect billions of dollars of investment toward making sustainable human development a reality.
Last Sunday’s New York Times Travel section featured Brooklyn, NY as its 36-hour weekend destination.  Along with the culture, parks, shopping and dining, plan your trip for the last weekend in April and you’ll have another great reason to visit. EscapeMaker.com, a guide to local getaways around New York City since 2000, will host the first of its kind "Green Getaways, Local Food & Travel Expo" at Skylight One Hanson in downtown Brooklyn, NY on April 30, 2011.  Presented by Amtrak© and Zipcar©, the Expo will feature over 50 getaway destinations from wineries and local farms to resorts and bed & breakfasts, all within a day’s drive or train ride of New York City. Expo attendees will see how destinations and lodgings from Maine to Maryland are “going green” and find out what’s new in local and sustainable travel. In addition, there will be eco-friendly travel gear for sale, Expo-only escape specials and getaway deals and packages offered by Metro-North and Long Island Railroad. “We’ve highlighted destinations accessible by mass transit for over 10 years, but now with the public’s keen interest in organic and local ingredients and reducing their energy consumption, in conjunction with the lodging industry’s new focus on greening their properties and operations, the timing was finally right to bring the movement all under one roof,” explained Margo Jones, EscapeMaker.com’s new V.P. of Sales & Marketing. “It’s really gratifying that our efforts are supported by Amtrak©, a leader in energy efficient travel, and Zipcar©, an innovator in reducing environmental impact with their urban car-sharing concept.” “We’re so excited to be debuting the Green Getaways, Local Food & Travel Expo in Brooklyn at Skylight One Hanson,” says Caylin Sanders, founder and president of Escapemaker.com,  as well as a Brooklyn resident for 15 years.  Originally built in 1927 , the gilded-dome building has been completely refurbished into high-end luxury condominiums with sweeping views of Brooklyn and the Manhattan skyline.  The ground floor, opened in 2010 for special events and the Brooklyn Flea market on weekends, is a 15,000 square foot venue and a perfectly preserved Art Deco masterpiece. The venue sits adjacent to the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Atlantic Terminal Mall - a shopping center and transportation hub where 9 subway lines, buses and the Long Island Railroad converge. In order to offset the carbon footprint of the event, EscapeMaker.com is working with Green Mountain Energy and Carbonfund.org. “Our recycling efforts will be coordinated by GrowNYC’s Office of Recycling Outreach and Education,” says Sanders, “and Strategic Sustainability Consulting is helping us evaluate the biodegradability of materials we use for the Expo—from show bags, to signage, to balloons.” Mass transit to the Expo is encouraged and there will be bike parking available. Admission for EscapeMaker.com’s Green Getaways, Local Food & Travel Expo is $10 online and $12 at the door. Kids 10 and under are free.  Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.escapemaker.com/travelexpo. So hop on Amtrak or hire a Zipcar, and spend a lovely green spring weekend in Brooklyn.
Tuesday, 15 February 2011 16:00

How Cool is Your Roof?

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When it comes to roofing, sure it's hip to be "weatherproof " and "sans leaks," but if you want your roof to be really cool then you need to consider the hue. PPG Industries launched an online tool that helps architects and building owners select the best cool roof coating color based on reflectance. A highly reflective paint job means more of the sun's rays are bouncing off the house, keeping it cooler and requiring less air conditioning. By cranking down the A/C, you're reducing the amount of energy your house is consuming while also shrinking your utility bill. Pretty neat. Many of the colors in the Cool Colors Database have even been many registered with ENERGY STAR or the Cool Roof Rating Council, which is an EPA-recognized certification body for the ENERGY STAR program. “We understand how difficult it is for architects and specifiers to sort through manufacturers’ catalogs and industry listings to find the right colors and products for their projects,” said Scott Moffatt, PGG’s director of marketing for coil and extrusion coatings. “This tool enables them to expand the search process and accelerate it at the same time.” Tres cool.
In a world where time is fleeting, it's refreshing to find a timepiece that's a work of art, yet developed with a modern aesthetic and an environmental focus. Xetum is a new collection of California-designed, Swiss-made automatic timepieces for the discerning individual. Xetum timepieces blend modern design with Swiss precision and craftsmanship. Each timepiece is painstakingly crafted in Switzerland’s Jura Valley using world renowned, time-tested methods and styled with clean, modern aesthetics. Xetum was founded by longtime wristwatch and design aficionado Jeff Kuo. Jeff founded Xetum after a decade-long search to find a timepiece that had the appropriate blend of modern design, Swiss mechanical components and pricing. The Xetum timepiece collection represents the culmination of this journey. Jeff’s work has been displayed along with works from modern artists such as Jeff Koons and Shepard Fairey. Of course, it’s not just about the timepiece – it’s about the experience you have with it. That’s why Xetum has been built around a personal customer experience. Xetum offers a level of personal attention that is often forgotten in a mass market world. When you speak with someone at Xetum, you’ll be speaking with someone who loves watches and who really cares that you have a great experience. Xetum has designed its products, packaging and operations from the ground up with environmental responsibility in mind. From renewable cork on the naturally tanned straps, to watch boxes made from rubberwood that is saved from being burned, Xetum has made environmental responsibility a priority. Further, Xetum partners with Carbonfund.org to offset its remaining carbon footprint through the support of reforestation projects. For a look at exceptional, sleek and unique timepieces, please visit www.xetum.com.
Friday, 11 February 2011 13:31

In the Market for Commercial Carpet?

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Why not be both design AND environmentally conscious with Tandus Flooring.  Tandus Flooring enhances spaces for learning, working, healing and living. Tandus Flooring partners with Carbonfund.org to offset the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions of its products. Through a very measured approach, Tandus has ensured that its CarbonFree® product offerings are carried out responsibly through a third-party certified process that produces meaningful results in decreasing the overall level of its GHG emissions. [caption id="attachment_7959" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Modular"][/caption] Tandus Flooring offers its customers the option to purchase products that are CarbonFree Certified through Carbonfund.org. For a nominal cost, customers can purchase Tandus Flooring’s modular or Powerbond carpet along with a GHG emission offset through a registered and credible program. The fastest growing flooring category in commercial interiors, modular carpet now accounts for nearly a third of all commercial carpet. With inventive patterns and rich solids in a kaleidoscope of colors, these modern modular styles offer designers the freedom to meet any interior design brief. [caption id="attachment_7960" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Powerbond"][/caption] Looking for something different? Powerbond is not carpet. Powerbond is Tandus Flooring’s hybrid resilient sheet flooring of VCTT (Variable Cushion Tufted Textile).  The DNA of Powerbond is its resilient closed cell cushion that provides decades of unfaltering performance, as well as thermal, acoustical and environmental attributes. Powerbond was introduced into the commercial market in 1967 and installations still exist without need of replacement.  Powerbond has evolved to become a design medium for all market segments due to its ability to be inlayed in various coordinating patterns and colors.
Thursday, 10 February 2011 15:26

What 10 Minutes on Care2.com Can Do

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Where can you send an e-card, sign a petition, find a healthy recipe for dinner and get the most recent cause-related news? Care2 has it all. With more than 50 employees, 15 million members, 600 nonprofit partners and hundreds of responsible advertisers, Care2 is promoting their causes by recruiting new donors, volunteers and grassroots advocates from civically active members who want to make a difference. Care2 is dedicated to making it easy for everyone to live a healthy, green lifestyle and impact the causes they care about most. So how does it work? Well, here was my 10-minute Care2 experience today. First I sent my husband a “Just Cuz” e-card, where I was able to pick from many cute messages that were sure to make him smile. Then, I signed the petition “Demand Clean Energy Jobs Now” from one my favorite causes Repower America. Since I had no plans for dinner, I clicked over to the Green Living section and grabbed a black bean tostada recipe for tonight. I feel like I just accomplished so much in only 10 minutes! Before I left the site I checked our one of the ways that Care2 is supporting Carbonfund.org, which is through their “Free Click to Donate" program. Members' “free clicks” generate donations from Care2 sponsors. 100% of the donations raised in the global warming section go directly to Carbonfund.org, which we then use to support renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects globally. These projects are reducing carbon dioxide emissions and the threat of climate change.

“Our goal is to make it easy for everyone to get involved and make a difference. Care2 members love to be able to help offset their carbon footprint through our partnership with Carbonfund.org,” says Care2 CEO Randy Paynter.

For information, please visit us at Care2.com.
It’s been a brutal winter for most of the U.S., and for many countries around the world. Perhaps it’s time for a respite – time to dream of warm, sunny weather and complete relaxation. What better way than to ease back into a comfy string hammock. Here’s the perfect antidote, and an incredible story from one of our newest partners. In the spring of 2010, Joe Demin set out to Thailand, the “land of smiles”, to visit friends. Four flights and two boat rides later in the 9500-mile trans-global journey, Joe found himself on the island of Ko Lanta, in search of a map that would lead to the island’s most beautiful areas. The map was available at the hammock shop in the Old Town section of Ko Lanta. In the process of locating the map, Joe stumbled upon the beautiful, brightly colored string hammocks made by the Mlabri people of Thailand. His first experience in the hammocks sealed his interest. “It wrapped around like a velvet glove, like a hug from mom when you were little and had a long tiring day.” And the story of the Mlabri people intensified Joe’s resolve.  A nomadic hunter-gatherer tribe with no concept of land ownership or relationship with the outside world, the Mlabri were known as the “The People of the Yellow Leaves” after their simple huts covered with interwoven banana leaves that dry and change to a bright yellow color. Their way of life was devastated as the lands around them were claimed and deforested. By 2009, their numbers had dwindled to just 300 and they were listed on the Endangered Languages list. Without the benefit of land or education, they were in dire straits. Impoverished and forced to work in slave-like conditions or faux “tourist shows” that charged visitors for a chance to view their “primitive ways”, the future appeared bleak for the Mlabri.  Then, they were discovered by a missionary and a Swiss textile engineer who taught them basic business savvy and helped them adapt their natural weaving skills into specially designed hammock weaves. The beauty and comfort of the Mlabri Hammocks caught the eye of various visitors over the years, establishing a consumer following and several sales outposts  in Asia.  To read more about the Mlabri Tribe and their inspiring story of survival and recovery, please see the article on ShoestringVentures. When Joe heard the story of the people who created the hammocks, he knew that he wanted to go further than simply bringing a Mlabri hammock back to Boston. The story of the Mlabri people inspired his conviction to create the Yellow Leaf Hammock brand and create positive social change through sales of products that positively contributed to a sustainable lifestyle for the Mlabri Tribe. Seeing an amazing, high-quality product, created in a sustainable setting, justified his belief that a profitable company could succeed by benefiting the greater good. Yellow Leaf aims to use social entrepreneurship to help endangered ethnic groups secure a footing into the future -- all from the comfort of a hammock.  The Yellow Leaf Hammocks are functional works of art.  Their brightly colored fibers and intricate woven patterns contribute to the beauty, strength and comfort of Yellow Leaf Hammocks.  The master weavers who handcraft each hammock take great pride in their work and have engineered these to be the most comfortable hammocks on the market!  Every hammock is produced in a healthy and family oriented environment and weavers are compensated fairly, earning double the average Thai wage.  Joe has committed to offset the emissions created by shipping the hammocks from Thailand to his Boston warehouse, then on to his customers, by donating to Carbonfund.org and supporting our reforestation projects. “Do Good, Relax” and the Thai phrase “Sabai, Sabai” (translated roughly as No Worries!) are the key phrases that guide Yellow Leaf.  And Joe anointed himself the “Chief Relaxation Officer”, to be sure that the message gets across!  “Experience a vacation right outside your door” and treat yourself to the comfort, relaxation and escape of a Yellow Leaf Hammock.
Monday, 07 February 2011 15:49

Three Steps to a CarbonFree Valentine's Day

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As the annual celebration of love draws near, we’ve got the scoop on exceptional Valentine’s Day gifts, discounts and special offers that squeeze in a little extra love for the environment, too, as CarbonFree® Certified partners.

Step One: Flowers

The Goods: Flower Petal Why We Love Them: Flower Petal's mission is to make sure each flower arrangement, plant and gift is delivered on time, every time, and exactly the way it is requested. View their entire Valentine's Day collection and make that perfect selection. Their flowers are professionally arranged and delivered by a local florist. Bonus: Same day delivery is available until 2pm in the recipient's time zone. The Goods: Bloom Nation Why We Love Them: Bloom Nation shares the love by contributing 10% of any order to support the charity of the customer’s choosing.  And Bloom Nation has made a commitment to offset the carbon emissions for every flower delivery through Carbonfund.org. Bonus: Same day delivery on all their bouquets. The Goods: Organic Bouquet Why We Love Them: Organic Bouquet partners with artisans and growers who adhere to rigorous U.S. and international standards of sustainability. They obtain products from companies who provide safe and just working conditions and a livable wage. With every purchase from Organic Bouquet, you are improving the life of a grower or artisan and protecting the environment for generations to come. Bonus: Organic Bouquet is pleased to offer delivery on Monday February 14th for Valentine's Day.

Step Two: Treats

The Goods: Organic Baskets Why We Love Them: Organic Baskets is a family owned and operated business dedicated to selling only natural and organic gift baskets from the best orchards and farms in the world. Bonus: Receive 10% off Valentine’s Day orders through their online coupon. The Goods: Drexelius Chocolates Why We Love Them: Drexelius Chocolates is your online source for uncommonly good chocolate.  The folks at Drexelius Chocolates love wonderful chocolate, care about the world we live in and support causes that promote healthy, sustainable living. Bonus: Drexelius Chocolates offers free shipping on orders over $25 and make donations raised through sales of chocolate to selected charitable causes. The Goods: Mondizen Why We Love Them: For the ultimate in romantic gifts, why not prepare original French macaroons for your loved one?  Mondizen is a purveyor of unique French goods for delivery all over the world. Bonus: For Valentine’s Day, Mondizen is offering its scrumptious strawberry-filled macaroons, directly from France but with English baking instructions. The Goods: Grounds for Change Why We Love Them: Grounds for Change is a certified organic coffee roaster specializing in 100% Fair Trade Coffee.  They are the first coffee roaster in the US to complete the rigorous third-party certification process necessary to obtain the CarbonFree® Certified Product label. Bonus: Newly on sale, select their special Valentine’s Day gift box for the perfect coffee-lover’s treat.

Step Three: Cards

The Goods: Paper Culture Why We Love Them:  Paper Culture offers eco-friendly stationery on FSC-certified 100% post consumer recycled paper, including all envelopes and packaging. Paper Culture strives to minimize their overall impact on the environment and they plant a tree in a US national forest with every order. Bonus:  Save 20% sitewide in celebration of Valentine's Day. Enter code SENDLOVE at checkout. The Goods: Cardstore.com Why We Love Them: Cardstore.com works hard to ensure their products are not only stylish, but also eco-conscious. From using recycled paper and eco-friendly digital printing, to maintaining FSC-certified printing facilities and partnering with Carbonfund.org to offset their carbon footprint, they are doing their part to protect the environment. Bonus: Cardstore.com offers carbon-free shipping and a special 15% off Valentine's Day cards.