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38 posts from February 2012

February 29, 2012

Easy Veggie Recipes: Mushroom Delight

Roasted mushroomsWhether you're a pro with a stove or a klutz in the kitchen, it is easy bein' green. This week's video series with chef Annie Somerville will showcase simple, healthy vegetarian recipes. Do try this at home.

Tip #3: Roast Some 'Shrooms

Flavorful and rich in B vitamins, mushrooms make a satisfying main dish or a hearty side. Today's recipe for roasted wild mushrooms can be served over polenta or grilled bread. You'll need: mushrooms, thyme, sage, oregano, garlic, spring onions, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

Watch our video for detailed instructions:

 Image by iStockphoto/nicolebranan

February 28, 2012

Techno-Fix: Why Technology Won't Save Us or the Environment

Techno-fix cover photoIn the last one hundred years — a mere blip on the geologic time scale — the world has seen amazing scientific and technological advances. From the electric cars on our highways, to the genetically-altered foods on our plates, every aspect of our life is touched by technology.
What's more, scientists and inventors promise to find solutions to the many environmental problems that we now face. . . . Or will they?

In their new book, Techno-Fix, Michael and Joyce Huesemann warn that our confidence in technology and belief that it will save us is "suicidal" and that many of our inventions are causing more harm than good. A bit like David taking a shot at Goliath, the two are taking on the current system.

Huesemann says he doesn't hate technology, he just wants it to be used for something good. "We need to shift science and technology in a new direction because our best scientists are busy building better weapons and increasing corporate profits, while only a very small fraction are devoted to solving environmental problems or making us environmentally sustainable. Our federal government spends $70 to 80 billion each year for national defense research, compared to about $2 billion for environmental research."

He says that instead of addressing the root causes of our problems, we use "techno-fixes," which only address the symptoms, like the plan by oil companies to start pumping COinto the ground.  What's more, techno-fixes always have unintended consequences, which means we need to come up with a new techno-fix to solve the problems created from our last techno-fix.

Continue reading "Techno-Fix: Why Technology Won't Save Us or the Environment" »

Easy Veggie Recipes: Artichoke Hearts

ArtichokesWhether you're a pro with a stove or a klutz in the kitchen, it is easy bein' green. This week's video series with chef Annie Somerville will showcase simple, healthy vegetarian recipes. Do try this at home. 

Tip #2: Demystify the Artichoke

Wondering where to begin with this mysterious vegetable? Start by choosing a 'choke with an even green color — avoid brown discoloration or loose, cracked leaves — then rub or squeeze the vegetable and listen for a squeak. Once you've chosen your squeaky produce, cut to the heart of the artichoke, pair with lemon juice, water, olive oil, and herbs (bay leaves, sage, thyme, and marjoram). Garnish the cooked mixture with olives and shaved pecorino.

Watch the video below for step-by-step instructions:

 image by iStockphoto/YinYang

February 27, 2012

Recycled Mardi Gras Beads Make World's Largest Mosaic

Walking to new orleansOver a million Mardi Gras beads have been diverted from Louisiana landfills as a result of one man's artistic environmentalism.

"Landfills are being filled with up to 25 million pounds [of beads] every year. Multiply that by all of the Gulf Coast and you have an environmental tragedy at our front door," said Stephan Wanger, an artist who reuses the beads in his mosaics.

Wanger, a German native, moved to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. While working with a small construction firm to help rebuild the city, he noticed all the discarded wood doors from gutted houses and the Mardi Gras beads hanging in trees and draped over wrought-iron fences.

"I thought, 'I should be doing something with them,'" he explained.

Wanger has since created dozens of mosaics that not only promote reusing and recycling but also shed light on the character and culture of the city and state he has come to appreciate.

"I started creating images of how I saw New Orleans and Louisiana."

Some mosaics have been acquired by private collections while others have been auctioned off to raise money for charities for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. Wanger has also been busy volunteering at elementary and middle schools in New Orleans to create mosaics, which educate the children about recycling.

"It's a lot of fun," he said. "We're learning and going in the right direction."

Sanctuary of Alegria
Wanger recently finished his largest mosaic yet, a piece so big that it made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. Sanctuary of Alegria -- Home of Happiness is 8 feet tall by 30 feet wide and features the New Orleans skyline. It will be on display in his gallery until March 9.

--Lauren Pope / images courtesy of Stephan Wanger

Easy Veggie Recipes: Baby Broccoli

Broccoli close-upWhether you're pro with a stove or a klutz in the kitchen, it is easy bein' green. This week's video series with chef Annie Somerville will showcase simple, healthy vegetarian recipes. Do try this at home. 

Tip #1: Go for Broccoli

Today's dish stars the sweet and tender broccoli decicco. This vitamin-rich "fast food" can go from stove to table in minutes. Broccoli, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, pepper flakes, water, and pine nuts are the only the ingredients you'll need to make this easy green fare. So update your standard seasonal menu by introducing this un-boring cold-weather crop.

Watch the video below to see how it's done:

Tip #2: Artichoke Hearts

Tip #3: Mushroom Delight

Tip #4: The Ultimate Spring Stir-Fry

image by iStockphoto/ermingut

February 24, 2012

Tron Bike to Be Auctioned at Fancy Movie Star Party

XenonBefore the Oscars on Sunday, there will be the pre-Oscars red carpet walk; and before the pre-Oscars red carpet walk, there will be innumerable pre-Oscars fancy movie star parties that you aren't invited to. One such party is Global Green's Annual Pre-Oscar Party, happening tonight at LA's fanciest movie star nightclub, the Avalon. If you were invited (which you weren't), you would see "such celebrities as Penelope Cruz, Adrian Grenier, and Orlando Bloom."

But if you're like us and want to know what's so green about the Global Green Pre-Oscar Party, you might be amazed to know that there will be an auction for a 100% electric-powered motorcycle that looks exactly like the Light Cycle from the TRON movies. (Then you'll be disappointed that you weren't invited to the auction, either.) It's called the Xenon, and it's manufactured by evolve, a company that specializes in electric motorcycles. It has an absurd starting price tag of $55,000, but then again, at least you won't be paying over $4 a gallon to fill its tank. 

Below is a video of some environmentally conscious guy with tens of thousands of dollars to blow riding this thing.

--Justin Cohn 

Continue reading "Tron Bike to Be Auctioned at Fancy Movie Star Party" »

February 23, 2012

Second Growth

LumberDavid Kienholz was once an old-growth logger. He worked with his lumberjack dad until his mid-20s, when he lost the heart for clear-cutting the forests of Washington state. He cringed at all of it, especially the waste: "We were only supposed to send 'the best' to town," Kienholz says. The leftovers — mountains of logs — were chopped into firewood.

Now, as the sourcing manager for Seattle custom sawmill Green Tree Mill, Kienholz uses only wood that's been salvaged or grown and harvested under strict Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) guidelines. For Kienholz, his work is atonement, but it's also good business. Green Tree's customers clamor for its sustainable flooring, cabinetry, siding, and other furnishings, despite paying a premium of up to 20%. Clients include Nordstrom, which ordered salvaged-wood display tables, and Starbucks, which wants FSC-certified countertops for its U.S. outlets.

Similar operations — such as Urban Timberworks in Portland, Oregon, and Elmwood Reclaimed Timber in Smithville, Missouri — are also thriving. "I don't think we'd be doing as well as we are if we weren't using sustainable wood," Kienholz says. "We're proving the model works." 

--Maria Dolan

Repurposed Balcony Planters: Shoe Gardens

Shoe gardenForget the bright lights of a stage — big-city dreams are made of cilantro, basil, red lettuce, and tomatoes. This week, we'll show you a few creative, repurposed planters that will green the concrete jungle and put fresh food on your plate. With these space-saving gardens from Alex Mitchell's book The Edible Balcony, your dreams of becoming a big-shot gardener could come true.

Tip #3: Shoe Away Clutter

Got a pile of worn-out shoes you'd like to kick to the curb? Get rid of the messy heap by repurposing them into a fashionably green garden. As for the empty shoe organizer, just hang it on your balcony's wall or railing and grow an array of garden favorites in the pockets. Both gardens will clear space without cramping your style.

--photo by iStockphoto/mtr

A Walk to Remember

Walk Raleigh signsFor Raleigh, North Carolina, citizens wondering, "Do I have enough time to walk there?," urban-planning student Matt Tomasulo has the answer. On a rainy night in January, Tomasulo and two fellow schemers positioned 27 signs in three strategic locations across central Raleigh. In bold, authoritative letters, each sign indicates the number of minutes it would take for a pedestrian to reach a particular, popular destination.

And for the directionally challenged, the otherwise spartan signs are equipped with a high-tech surprise. By scanning the signs with a smartphone, pedestrians can receive a specially tailored Google Map that will keep them on the right path.

Walk Raleigh sign installationTomasulo and his colleagues at City Fabric have dubbed their effort Walk Raleigh, and have submitted the project to the Spontaneous Interventions competition, a contest sponsored by the Institute for Urban Design. In terms of impressing judges, the group is off to a good start: far from being displeased by Tomasulo’s guerrilla antics, the city of Raleigh has expressed interest in permanently incorporating Walk Raleigh’s signs into the city’s landscape.

“A lot of these interventions are about creating a vision for how things could actually operate or function,” Tomasulo said. He was told that getting a permit for the project would take seven to nine months. On Tomasulo’s timeline, the project took a little over a week. More than a month later, the signs are still standing.

--Jenny Slattery / images by Matt Tomasulo

UPDATE: On Wednesday, City Planning Director Mitchell Silver ordered the signs removed. He wrote on Twitter that "I plan to bring this before the Council and hope signs can be back up in a month."

UPDATE: Mitchell Silver met with Matt Tomasulo to discuss a three-month pilot program, in which Tomasulo would donate his signs to the city. Silver then presented this proposal to Raleigh’s city council and a vote is expected on March 6. Tomasulo has collected more than 1,000 signatures in support of the signs.

UPDATE: On March 6, Matt Tomasulo tweeted that Walk Raleigh "just passed unanimously as a pilot project."

Read more: Our follow-up interview with Mitchell Silver.

February 22, 2012

Zombie Species Roundup

Shearwater zombieUpon hearing the exciting news that the Bryan's shearwater, a seabird that was announced as a new species in 2011, may not be extinct, one might be compelled to root for the little guy and its repopulation efforts (it is extremely cute). However, this got us thinking: Maybe the rediscovered seabird is not alive, but undead. Skeptical? Check out Harvard ethnobiologist Wade Davis's research on zombies in Haiti, or, if you're seeking video evidence, find a copy of just about anything ever made by George Romero.

If human zombies aren't scary enough, here are five other recently rediscovered species that may be looking for some fresh blood:


Continue reading "Zombie Species Roundup" »

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