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32 posts from September 2012

September 25, 2012

Green Kickstarters We Love

One Block of Litter-Muncie, INKickstarter has helped so many businesses and individuals reach out to potential investors. Whether they be musicians looking to put out a CD, documentarians trying to make a movie, or businesses introducing a new product, Kickstarter provides a platform for support. What's caught our eye are the green-friendly projects that could prosper with the help of this website. If it weren't for Kickstarter, I wouldn't have known about Sprout, a pencil containing seeds that can be planted when the pencil gets too small. Now Sprout has enough backers to create this innovative idea, and I may be one of the first recipients! Here are some other great green ideas you might want to get in on:

The Farmery: Food would be grown on-site at this urban farm and market proposed by Ben Greene of Raleigh, NC. Not only would they sell products grown right there in a facility made of old shipping containers; they would sell produce from local farmers. The Farmery's goal is to be able to offer locally grown products on a constant basis, and to let shoppers in on the sights, sounds, and even scents of the growing experience as they shop.

Continue reading "Green Kickstarters We Love" »

September 24, 2012

Eco-Vocabulary Quiz: Agriculture

Book About AgricultureWhen it comes to ecological issues, do you know your windmills from your oil spills? How about your PCB's from your POP's? Take our eco-vocabulary quiz and find out if you're an environmental maven!

Test Your Eco-Vocabulary: Agriculture 

1) CAFO

2) Manure Lagoon

3) Permaculture

4) No-Till Farming

5) Heirloom Plant

Definitions:

Continue reading "Eco-Vocabulary Quiz: Agriculture" »

September 21, 2012

Sap and the City: How to Help Urban Trees

Urban TreeIt's not easy being green. At least not if you're a street tree in an urban landscape.

In the wild, trees can live a long time. Many hardwoods can survive a century or more, and some conifers can live into their thousands. And yet, a study by Lara Roman of the University of Pennsylvania found that the average lifespan of a tree planted on the streets of Philadelphia was between 20 and 30 years. Cities are stressful to trees, and everything from road salt to foot traffic to car exhaust can prune the trees' lifespans. It doesn't help that most city arborists respond to complaints rather than giving trees check-ups that can catch problems before they turn fatal.

Yet trees are a huge boon to our city streets. They not only sequester CO2 by the ton, but also filter other forms of air pollution, such as particulates, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide. The soil they sit in helps absorb runoff after rains, reducing water pollution and the load on our storm drains. They shade homes in summer and block wind in winter, reducing energy spent on heating and cooling. They cool streets with their shade, reducing the "urban heat island" and slowing the formation of ground-level ozone (an air pollutant). They make streets more pleasant to walk on, encouraging pedestrian traffic. Trees can even reduce crime! Not to mention trees just plain look nice, which increases property values.

Continue reading "Sap and the City: How to Help Urban Trees" »

September 20, 2012

Spoil No More: Asparagus

Freshen Up your Asparagus Trick 4Nothing puts a dent in your day like discovering moldy, wrinkled fruits and veggies in your kitchen. This week, we'll share some natural tricks to keep your produce fresher, longer! 

Case #4: Atrophied Asparagus

Packed with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, asparagus is always a great vegetable to add to your diet. Yet while it is renowned for the health benefits it provides, it is simultaneously notorious for its shelf life. Asparagus stored in the refrigerator lasts for only about two days after it is has been bought from the market. If you are an avid asparagus eater, you know that the stalks shrink in size, crispness, and taste if you don't cook them within 48 hours. Their shriveled and wrinkled appearance isn't an indication that the thermostat in your fridge is too low, but a result of asparagus's respiration rate (or the rate in which fruits and vegetable spoil), which is high. Of course, the best way to enjoy this delicious veg is to cook it the day it's bought. But that isn't always going to be the case, especially when your in-laws come unexpectedly into town and are dying to try the neighborhood BBQ place featured on Man v. Food!

So. . . kick into plan B. Another great way to ensure that your asparagus doesn't become your next produce casualty is to do the following:

Continue reading "Spoil No More: Asparagus " »

September 19, 2012

Spoil No More: Apples

Freshen Up your Apples Trick 3Nothing puts a dent in your day like discovering moldy, wrinkled fruits and veggies in your kitchen. This week, we'll share some natural tricks to keep your produce fresher, longer! 

Case #3: Ailing Apples

Avoiding ailing apples (try saying that ten times fast!) can be somewhat tricky. While uneaten apples are generally resilient to molding or bruising for about a week or even two, the moment you slice them open, they remain white for only a few minutes before they begin to turn yellow and brown. Which is a bit of a bummer, especially when you've decorated your fruit-and-cheese party platter to perfection and you suddenly can't tell the difference between the Fuji and the sharp cheddar. This doesn't mean your apples are no longer fresh — really, they are! But the immediate browning can make it appear that those slices have been sitting out for a while. The reason for this? Apples, similar to potatoes, have a special enzyme in them that reacts when exposed to oxygen. The reaction forms a type of rust on the surface of the apple that we see as the browning effect, and it actually does cause the apple to spoil at a slow rate. 

But there is hope! In order to keep your apples looking fresh, simply do the following:

Continue reading "Spoil No More: Apples " »

September 18, 2012

Recipe: Kale Krispies

Kale chipsWe love kale. This versatile veggie is a good source of potassium, calcium, and vitamins A and C. Making a kitchen sink salad or sauteing it with some garlic are some standard ways to enjoy kale. Sometimes though, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and that big bunch of kale is starting to look a little wilted. So is it time to throw it out? No way! Instead, make a healthy snack for when you're on-the-go. Kale chips are easy to bake and super tasty, but don't just take our word for it — try it yourself!

Ingredients:

  • a bunch (or two!) of kale
  • 1-2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil (depending on batch size)
  • sea salt
  • cookie sheet(s)
  • parchment paper
  • a mixing bowl

Directions:

Continue reading "Recipe: Kale Krispies" »

Spoil No More: Avocados

Avocado browningNothing puts a dent in your day like discovering moldy, wrinkled fruits and veggies in your kitchen. This week, we'll share some natural tricks to keep your produce fresher, longer! 

Case #2: Browning Avocados

Avocados make for great party guacamole, but nobody wants to dip their chips in a bowl full of browned mush. Avocados turn brown when they contact oxygen. So, simple solution: don't let air near your avocados. Many try to do this with plastic wrap or sealed containers. But let's face it — that never works very well. (Plus, we don't like plastic!) Instead, put the cut avocado in a bowl on top of some onion slices. It'll slow down the browning process with magical onion powers — just kidding, onions aren't magic. But they do have sulfur, which may explain how they preserve the avocados. 

--image by istock/ValentynVolkov

READ MORE:

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September 17, 2012

Nina Boesch's MetroCard Collages

Collage art from recycled transit cardsFilm, fashion, novels, poems and songs have all sung the praises of the Big Apple. These collages — spotted by our friends at EcoSalon are ballads in the same vein.

Being the singularly iconic city that New York is, she has received love letters in the form of art of every kind. Now German-born and New York-based interaction designer and artist Nina Boesch is adding to the fanfare with a quintessential New York raw material: MetroCards. Boesch has been creating collages for over 10 years, collecting thousands of discarded MetroCards from NYC subway stations and fashioning the four-color collages out of their fragments, initially just for friends and family, and recently for a broader audience with exhibits in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Laguna Beach, California.

Continue reading "Nina Boesch's MetroCard Collages" »

Spoil No More: Berries

How to keep raspberries freshNothing puts a dent in your day like discovering moldy, wrinkled fruits and veggies in your kitchen. This week, we'll share four natural tricks to keep your produce fresher, longer! 

Case #1: Moldy Berries 

The tragic tale of berries gone bad too soon (but they were so young!) doesn't have to plague your kitchen any longer. All you have to do (as demonstrated in the video below) is take your berries, soak them in a bowl of vinegar and water, dry in a salad spinner, and put in a partially sealed, towel-lined bowl and voila! — they will be mold-free for up to seven days! Hopefully by that time you'll have already used them in a delicious berry smoothie

Case #2: Browning Avocados

Case #3: Ailing Apples

Case #4: Atrophied Asparagus

Bonus Recipe: Kale Krispies

--image by iStockphoto/small_frog

Continue reading "Spoil No More: Berries " »

September 13, 2012

Extreme Sports Gone Weird

Obscure sports
Sure, we've all heard of adrenaline junkies jumping out of planes or rafting through dangerous rapids. But what about skydiving in a kayak? If bungee jumping off of bridges isn't crazy enough, check out these extreme sports that have seriously gone off the deep end. 

 

Artistic Cycling 

Continue reading "Extreme Sports Gone Weird" »


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