A new company called Earth Swag is introducing a line of reusable snack bags and sandwich wraps. There are few alternatives to small, plastic bags... until now. Earth Swag is releasing two new options: bags and wraps. The snack bags are a way to pack snacks to take for lunch, in the car or out for a hike. The sandwich wrap will keep a sandwich snug until lunch and then open into a placemat. Earth Swag reusable snack bags and sandwich wraps are made of a patented cotton that is both food-safe and bacteria-inhibiting. The fabric is also stain resistant, water-resistant and machine washable. The bags and wraps have no plastic coating or liner, and the fabric contains no phthalates, lead, PVC or polyurethane. Additionally, the fabric is printed with images of the Earth incorporated into various whimsical designs. Each baggy purchased has the potential to keep hundreds of plastic baggies out of our oceans, streams, and landfills each year. Earth Swag has also partnered with Carbonfund.org to offset their carbon footprint, and the business is committed to green practices. The product line includes: 1.    A set of 2 snack baggies ($15.99) 2.    A sandwich wrap that opens up to a place mat ($11.99) Both products are available in 2 prints: Bugs or Flowers. Earth Swag reusable snack bags and sandwich wraps provide people who are tired of plastic bags a safe and environmentally friendly way to pack their lunch or take snacks on the go.
Carbonfund.org announced today its latest initiative to make it easy and affordable for individuals to reduce their climate impact through the creation of a grassroots partnership with GreenCo, a San-Diego-County-based gas station and mini mart that has created what is believed to be the first ever “pay at the pump” carbon reduction program in the U.S. For an additional five cents per gallon, GreenCo customers now have the opportunity to neutralize the emissions created from the use of fossil fuels.  That 5 cents per gallon add-on, which is voluntary for the customer, is then forwarded to Carbonfund.org to support third-party validated carbon reduction projects, such as reforestation in Idaho, wind farms in Texas or truck stop electrification in California. “GreenCo’s gasoline prices are competitively low in order to incentivize our customers to choose to add on the 5 cents per gallon right at the point of sale, the pump,” GreenCo CEO Robert Warner said.  “Then Carbonfund.org can take the proceeds and do what they do best – combat the CO2 emissions that result from fossil fuels and support projects that provide the biggest environmental bang for the buck.” The green-and-white gas stations that dot Southern California send a direct message to customers who are concerned about the environmental cost of operating a car. “Feel Better About Fueling” is the GreenCo slogan, and they deliver on that message by empowering drivers to take a grassroots approach to lowering carbon emissions. “We are excited to develop this concept with GreenCo that allows consumers to take at-the-pump action,” said Eric Carlson, Carbonfund.org president. “Climate change affects every one of us, and we all must be part of the solution. Programs like GreenCo’s are helping individuals reduce emissions today while we transition to a low-carbon future.” The average American is responsible for 50,000 pounds of CO2 annually as a result of activities like powering their homes and driving their cars. “If someone buying gas with a credit card is automatically asked by the pump’s computer if they want to add on a car wash, why not ask the same customer if they’d like to neutralize their car’s carbon footprint by purchasing a carbon offset?” Warner asks. GreenCo hopes to continue to have an impact on climate change by expanding their environmentally unique approach to the local gas and minimart industry throughout the U.S.
It’s getting to be that time of year again – Hollywood film and television awards shows!  With the Academy Awards only a month away, and nominations released just this week, it’s time to consider the greening of the entertainment industry. One innovative “She-EO” is leading the way to greening film and television production sets.  Tonya Kay’s companies serve sets for Disney, Fox, Universal and Dreamworks, to name a few. Solid Hollywood’s craft service rental trucks bring “the kitchen you’ve always wanted,” stocked with groceries and supplies from Happy Mandible, to major motion picture or network television sets. The Solid Hollywood trucks come equipped with the following tools to green the set:
  • water carts for refilling reusable water bottles at set
  • filtered water spout for refilling reusable water bottles at truck
  • clearly labeled recycling bins
  • composting bins for food scraps and compostable cutlery
  • biodiesel-ready electricity generator
  • biodiesel-ready truck engine
  • LED light bulbs considerably reducing energy consumption
And Happy Mandible specializes in:
  • vegetable oil fueled delivery vans
  • compostable flatware and paper product suppliers
  • organic, raw vegan, gluten-free and health food shopping experts
  • transport for plastic bag and cardboard recycling
  • arrangement for soup kitchen pick up of excess food donations
As carbon neutral companies, Solid Hollywood and Happy Mandible donate to reforestation projects through Carbonfund.org.  The companies also generously support California's Performing Animal Welfare Society, the Los Angeles TreePeople.com and Thailand’s ElephantNatureFoundation.org. “I was born green.  Environmental activism, volunteer work and health advocacy has been the focus of my personal life for decades.  Luckily for me, the film and TV industry are catching up,” says Tonya Kay. “I found Carbonfund.org several years ago when I was looking for a reforestation and alternative fuel project charity for Happy Mandible to donate to.  It was easy to choose to donate to these projects through Carbonfund.org for Solid Hollywood as well.  I like that with Carbonfund.org, I am not only donating to projects I feel strongly about, but also earning a “carbon neutral” badge of honor, which is simply a way to communicate with my business contacts.  As studios now go green, they know that we are already there to support them." Disney has implemented environmental initiatives as part of its corporate responsibility program, and Fox’s 24 was the first television series to go carbon neutral in one season.  Tonya Kay was lucky to have both of her companies on set at these studios for all the sudden green action. [caption id="attachment_7649" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="photo courtesy of www.ecohearth.com, Tonya Kay blog post, photo by Neeta Lind "][/caption] Clients are delighted that Solid Hollywood’s equipment already includes most of their new environmental requests, including water stations (to eliminate plastic water bottles on set by providing a station for refilling personal bottles) and recycling bins.  But it wasn’t until studios provided the funding and transport logistics for compost bins that all the companies that comprise the craft service department were able to realize the dream of successfully separating compostables from recycling and landfill refuge. These sustainability-focused changes mark a momentous moment in movie making, and Carbonfund.org is glad to have our partner Tonya Kay on location!
Last year’s beg bug scare led many of us to examine that overlooked daily companion, our mattress.  But Michael Penny was way ahead of most of us -- he made it his life’s work to create a healthy, comfortable, organic and non-toxic mattress as an alternative to conventional ones. What would lead a yoga-practicing, organic-food-eating marathon runner to start a mattress company?  He couldn’t sleep. Michael had insomnia, ironically at its worst while he was working for a futon company. In part, what he’d learned about materials and practices in the mattress industry was keeping him awake. So he resolved to create a new kind of mattress company that offered a new level of quality and service. In 2003, The Savvy Sleeper opened in Charlottesville, Virginia, drawing customers from as far away as Baltimore and North Carolina. Finding an organic mattress to sell was a tall order. Even the biggest companies in the “natural mattress” niche were using only some organic materials, or making mattresses that weren't very comfortable. So Michael and his team decided to make their own. Toxic chemicals are used widely in the mattress industry today, and their long-term effects are worrisome. All Savvy Rest Organic Mattresses are made of natural Dunlop or Talalay latex rubber, with durable casings of certified organic wool and certified organic cotton. Customers can choose very firm, very soft, or anything in between for their Savvy Rest Mattress, with differing firmness on each side. And a natural latex mattress performs consistently for decades—Savvy Rest Organic Mattresses offers a 20-year warranty on their mattresses. Savvy Rest offers its customers three ways to shop: in person at an authorized dealer, online or over the phone. Their website walks customers through the basics of mattress shopping, and delves into the benefits of chemical-free mattresses and how to fit a mattress to provide customized comfort that’s best for you. The Savvy Rest commitment to its customers is based on four tenets:  purity, comfort, integrity and value. From a few trend-setting retailers just a few years ago, they now have a large network of over 60 independently-owned dealers across the states who have responded to Savvy Rest’s reputation for quality, integrity and service. And shop this weekend to enjoy reduced prices before a February 1st increase!
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 14:54

Soul Flower – Cool Threads for Kind Heads

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A Saint Paul, Minnesota, landmark bohemian clothing shop is now a soulful online boutique. Soul Flower was founded in 1999 by Peggy Rossi and Mike Shoafstall as a way to promote a bohemian, eco-friendly and peaceful lifestyle. The little shop on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul was a gathering place for college students and locals looking for cool goods with “hippie” flair. Add some vending at local events and festivals, and Soul Flower quickly grew as a popular local shop. There have been a few changes since those days. They no longer have a retail store, but do have a mail order catalog, a digital catalog, and an online shop. Although no longer a physical store, Mike and Peggy have tried to create an inviting and simple online shopping experience where you can feel the soulful vibe. One thing that hasn’t changed is their dedication to bringing their customers unique clothing styles and goods that help them to express who they are in a positive, fun and affordable way. Soul Flower is a “lifestyle” store with an emphasis on products that are made from organic cotton or hemp. They offer everything from funky clothing for women and men to cool duds for the little ones.  Soul Flower is committed to its community and to environmental organizations that “help make this world a better place.”  They believe in being green and print their catalog just twice a year (using soy inks and recycled paper) to reduce their carbon impact.  The clothing and goods sold by Soul Flower are primarily from Fair Trade companies, made in cooperatives or are from small independents in the USA. Soul Flower strives to do their very best to give back and keep the positive vibes going by donating to a number of organizations, such as the Arbor Day Foundation, Camp Courageous, the Iowa Food Bank, after-school arts programs, Conservation Corps, Vega Productions and Carbonfund.org. “Carbonfund has given us the opportunity to eliminate our carbon footprint, and by doing so, it brings us closer to our goal of running a successful business with a minimum impact on the environment,” Mike said. Mike and Peggy are passionate and committed to continue creating the same friendly, community-related atmosphere online that they had at the shop. It can be a tough act - personalizing the internet - but they believe the littlest things make a big difference. As Mikes puts it, “Our company has always been defined by the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated and everything else will be fine. So, when you're happy, we're happy."
Wednesday, 26 January 2011 12:40

Sneak Peek at New EVs from Detroit Auto Show

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Electric Vehicles (EVs) stole the show at this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit. As if showing up without a battery-powered prototype was just bad manners, automakers dutifully curated their collections to show off the latest engineering in emission-free vehicles. Volkswagon Golf Blue E-Motion Hits the market: 2014 Stats: Goes from 0-62 mph in 11.8 seconds Tops out at 84 mph Driving range is 93 miles Tesla Roadster Hits the market: Already out Stats: Goes from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds Drives 245 miles per charge Plugs into nearly any outlet anywhere in the world [caption id="attachment_7590" align="alignnone" width="524" caption="Image courtesy of Honda.com"][/caption] Honda Fit EV Hits the market: Scheduled for 2012 Stats: Five passenger, four door hatchback 100 mile driving range Tops out at 90 mph [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="564" caption="Image courtesy of Ford.com"][/caption] Ford Focus Electric Hits the market: Late 2011 Stats: 112 mile driving range Tops out at 100 mph Electric Vehicle app allows you to monitor your car's battery life from your smartphone Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell Hits the market: Unknown Stats: Gullwing doors (hinged at the top) 60 kWh lithium battery and four electric motors 130 miles driving range Goes from 0-60 mph in four seconds Porsche 918 RSR Concept Car Hits the market: Don't hold your breath Stats: 563 horse power at 10,300 rpm Two 75-kW electric motors powering the front wheels only Boosts maximum power to 767 horse power Captures energy from breaking and re-releases it with the push of a button
All images courtesy of naias.com

Monday, 24 January 2011 16:43

Environmental Standouts at Sundance Film Festival

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Over the years the Sundance Film Festival has introduced a number of groundbreaking environmental documentaries that surprised the world with the depth and scope of their popularity. Films like The Cove, An Inconvenient Truth and Who Killed the Electric Car all debuted at the annual Salt Lake City festival and leveraged their critical acclaim to catapult their message into the public eye, garnering support and notoriety along the way. This year's film festival is at about the half-way point and includes two environmentally focused films that are already sold out and booked solid. The Last Mountain http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0563_RTvx6s
It’s easy to forget that each time we turn on a light, we are contributing to the ecological damage caused by the coal that generates electricity in this country. The Last Mountain gives us plenty of reasons to remember. Contaminated air, soil, and water; coal dust, cancer clusters, and toxic sludge are all by-products of this widespread energy source. Focusing on the devastating effects of mountaintop coal removal in West Virginia’s Coal River Valley, filmmaker Bill Haney illustrates the way residents and activists are standing up to the industry and major employer that is so deeply embedded in the region. With strong support from Bobby Kennedy Jr. and grassroots organizations, awareness is rising in the battle over Appalachian mountaintop mining. Forces are aligning to prevent coal removal on Coal River Mountain and preserve the region’s precious natural resources. Superb storytelling and exquisite photography combine to remind us that this environmental calamity impacts us all.
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDBb1F2tiNs
Marshall Curry’s documentary tells a timely story of political action and environmental beliefs at loggerheads. His reconstruction of the recent history and unraveling of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) is a fascinating exploration of a modern revolutionary movement and its efficacy. Fusing fervent concerns about ecological imbalance and capitalism run amok, ELF members and sleeper cells employed economic sabotage by destroying facilities involved in deforestation to remove the profit potential from companies wreaking environmental destruction. Focusing on Oregon-based activist Daniel McGowan, Curry relates the tale of a mild-mannered, middle-class citizen driven to extremes and brought to trial on charges of terrorism for his participation in ELF-related arson plots. Detailing activists’ past disillusionment with public protest—and the police brutality and inertia that often followed—the film poses difficult questions about the possibility of effecting change from either within or without the system and examines the changed stakes for revolutionaries today in a world fixated on branding all dissenters as terrorists.

Not just smart, but environmentally conscious as well. The Rich Family has provided turn-key construction management, mechanical construction and energy savings solutions to small and large businesses in the greater northeast for almost 100 years. The original business was founded in 1918 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where it was involved in the development of the city's thriving boardwalk scene.

Today RICH Energy Solutions (RES) focuses on energy consumption and renewable energy sources to address the sharp reality that the cost of fuel is a serious financial consideration to most businesses and facilities. In 1995 RES performed its first energy solutions retrofit for a large warehouse and furniture complex. RES secured financing for the project and used the energy savings to cover the interest and principle of the loan and provide a positive monthly cash flow for the customer. After hundreds of these projects, RES now has the ability to quickly analyze any facility and immediately determine the suitability and savings of their programs for the customer.  And the experienced staff at RES can help you navigate the various incentives and rebates available through state and federal programs to help realize additional savings. Rich Energy Systems has expanded its support of energy efficiency projects by committing to making donations to Carbonfund.org based on the volume of emission reductions they achieve on each customer's project. Now more than ever, it makes good business sense to adopt energy-efficient practices, install energy-efficient equipment, and support and install renewable energy systems. Not only will the energy improvements contribute to the economy and environment, but customers also realize bottom-line savings for their business. If you recognize the potential for huge energy savings in your building and you’re ready for bold steps to reduce your energy costs as soon as possible, talk to the Rich family today about their innovative solutions at (609) 407-2800.