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29 posts from October 2012

October 19, 2012

Save 10% on PUBLIC Bikes

Sierra Club bike from PUBLICWhat's not to like about bicycles? They're emission-free, stylish, and great exercise! And now, Sierra Club has partnered with PUBLIC Bikes to offer members a discounted ride.

PUBLIC is a purveyor of European-style street bicycles in several styles. The new Sierra Club bikes will be offered in PUBLIC's C7 (step-through) and V7 (diamond) frames, in two sizes, and with rear rack included. Colored in Sierra green, these bikes will have the Sierra Club logo in white on the rear fender, and the Sierra Club slogan (Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet) along the side. Click here for more specifics on the Sierra Club Bike.

The Sierra Club bicycles will be offered at 10% off the usual price, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated back to the Sierra Club.

This is a limited-time offer, with bike orders placed before November 18th delivered in May, and orders placed between November 18th and December 25th delivered in June. The bicycles can be shipped "ready to ride" anywhere in the continental U.S.

To learn about other discounts, check out the Sierra Club member benefits page.

--Rachael Monosson / Image courtesy of PUBLIC Bikes.

What's the Best Way to Recycle Old Cameras?

Mr. Green is Bob SchildgenHey Mr. Green,

Digital photography has condemned a lot of beautiful film-based equipment to an uncertain fate. It is distressing to think that my two sophisticated SLRs and their associated lenses and paraphernalia could end up in a landfill. Is there any good alternative for this stuff?

—Gary, in Seattle

How sad indeed to see such gorgeous old photo equipment land in a dump with rotten garbage smearing their multiple lenses and oozing into their delicate inner chambers. It's a tragedy for all of us who loved to watch photographers wield their cameras, and later to enjoy the results of their alchemical magic in the haunting light of those mysterious darkrooms.

But take heart. There are a number of possibilities for recycling old film cameras. There are retro photographers who venerate the old equipment, just as there remain arty printers who still set type by hand and music lovers infatuated with old-fashion vinyl records. And there are also recyclers. Here are some suggestions to help find a respectable home for your cameras in their old age:

Continue reading "What's the Best Way to Recycle Old Cameras? " »

October 18, 2012

Perfect Seasonings

Benevolent chefs: Banish bland and power up your food with eco-spices. We at Sierra magazine got five experts to name their favorite piquant powders.

Chef and chemist PETER MOLLETT owns Smokin' Texas Gourmet, a company that makes sauces, condiments, and rubs. His test kitchen features a 100-flavor spice rack. Mustard powder

"The certified-organic yellow-mustard powder from EDEN FOODS has a mild, sweet flavor that can liven up any dish. It doesn't have the traditional brown-mustard bite, making it an exemplary addition to marinades, vinaigrettes, sauces, and pickling recipes. To control the thickness of sauces, mustard powder works better than mustard seed, and Eden's version has a flavor that's complex enough to evolve almost any cuisine. It comes packaged in dark-amber glass to protect it from the light." $5 for 1.7 ounces

Chef RICK GRESH, of David Burke's Primehouse in Chicago, is trying to redefine the term "steak house" by using seasonal, local, and organic ingredients. His modern cuisine focuses on meats that have been dry-aged in his restaurant's salt-tiled aging room. Pink Himalayan salt

"Pink Himalayan salt (available at mountainroseherbs.com) is natural, renewable, and ethically sourced—and the best salt for you because it's composed of the same 84 trace minerals found in the human body. It comes in many forms, from ground to slabs, which you can cook and serve on. The taste is clean and oceany. I use pink Himalayan salt crystals instead of white salt on every table and also use bricks of it for service—it's the 'plate' for several of my tartare and sashimi dishes and is part of the tableside preparation routine, acting as a hot rock." About $5 for 4.5 ounces

Continue reading "Perfect Seasonings" »

Jean-ius Kitchen Crafts: Pot Holder

how to make a potholderWe've all got that one pair of deteriorated jeans that we can't bear to toss. Sure, you could donate them or give yourself a clothing makeover, but since denim is such a strong fabric, why not put those pants to work?  This week, we'll show you how to make four jean-ius kitchen accessories from one old outfit.

Craft #4: Denim Pot holder

Instead of improvising with towels to pull a hot pot or tea kettle off the stove, use this repurposed denim pot holder. 

Supplies:

  • scissors
  • fabric glue
  • a pair of old jeans
  • 1-2 hand towels (depending on thickness)
  • a needle and thread

Directions:

Continue reading "Jean-ius Kitchen Crafts: Pot Holder" »

October 17, 2012

Jean-ius Kitchen Crafts: Coasters

Denim Coaster DIY instructionsWe've all got that one pair of deteriorated jeans that we can't bear to toss. Sure, you could donate them or give yourself a clothing makeover, but since denim is such a strong fabric, why not put those pants to work?  This week, we'll show you how to make four jean-ius kitchen accessories from one old outfit. 

Craft #3: Denim Coaster

Nobody likes water stains on the coffee table. Save that surface and repurpose those old jeans at the same time with this easy-to-make coaster. 

Supplies:

  • scissors
  • fabric glue
  • a pair of old jeans
  • a needle and thread

Directions:

Continue reading "Jean-ius Kitchen Crafts: Coasters" »

October 16, 2012

Jean-ius Kitchen Crafts: Pocket Magnet


Denim pocket magnet DIYWe've all got that one pair of deteriorated jeans that we can't bear to toss. Sure, you could donate them or give yourself a clothing makeover, but since denim is such a strong fabric, why not put those pants to work?  This week, we'll show you how to make four jean-ius kitchen accessories from one old outfit.   

Craft #2: Pocket Fridge Magnet 

Ever find yourself struggling to find a pen in a cluttered catch-all drawer? Slap this handy magnetic pocket on your refrigerator door and slip a few pens inside. Problem solved. 

 

Supplies:

  • scissors
  • fabric glue
  • a pair of old jeans
  • a couple of magnets
  • a gift box or cardboard

Directions: 

Continue reading "Jean-ius Kitchen Crafts: Pocket Magnet" »

October 15, 2012

Jean-ius Kitchen Crafts: Cup Koozie


DIY coffee koozieWe've all got that one pair of deteriorated jeans that we can't bear to toss. Sure, you could donate them or give yourself a clothing makeover, but since denim is such a strong fabric, why not put those pants to work?  This week, we'll show you how to make four jean-ius kitchen accessories from one old outfit.  

Craft #1: Reusable Cup Koozie

You don't want to burn your hand on a scalding hot cup of coffee, but you also don't want to keep using and tossing away those cardboard sleeves. Solution: Make this DIY coffee koozie. 

Supplies:

Continue reading "Jean-ius Kitchen Crafts: Cup Koozie" »

October 12, 2012

Ask Mr Green: Burning Question

Mr. Green is Bob SchildgenHey Mr. Green,

We were considering converting from an oil-run furnace to one powered by natural gas. But now we're unsure, after reading Sierra's article about the pollution caused by the fracking process that companies use to extract natural gas. Do you have suggestions for a greener — yet affordable — replacement for our furnace?

--Susan in Guildhall, Vermont

In Vermont and other tree-abundant places, a wood-burning heater may actually be the best affordable choice for reducing the harms caused by extracting and burning fossil fuels. But wood has these virtues only if it's sustainably harvested and used in Energy Star appliances: Typical wood-burning stoves can emit enough dangerous particles to affect air quality, which is why some places ban the burn.

As for picking your poison — natural gas or oil — gas was once considered safer, because burning it emits about 30% less carbon dioxide per unit of heat than burning oil does. Also, the natural-gas industry hasn't smeared the seas with legendary spills like BP's Deepwater Horizon.

But with the fracking boom, natural gas has lost its eco-favorite status. Fracking ruins landscapes and poisons water and people. 

Whatever you end up choosing for your heater, try to cut waste: Proper insulation, caulking, and duct sealing can work wonders. Turn the thermostat down to 55 or 60 degrees when you're away or sleeping, and don't ever set it higher than 68. Taking efficiency measures can cut your heating bill by more than 30%.

Got a question? Ask Mr. Green!

illustration: Little Friends of Printmaking

October 10, 2012

Fashion 2013: Environmental Tech on the Runway


2013 Chanel Fashion Show ScreenshotParis Fashion Week wrapped up last week and the biggest names in fashion pulled out all the stops, but the Chanel runway in particular caught our eye. The designer behind the 2013 Chanel line presented at Paris Fashion Week, Karl Lagerfeld, is an icon in the fashion world. On top of that, he has been known to be the visionary behind some pretty elaborate runways — including a runway modeled to look like the inside of an airline and a runway featuring glaciers and snow. This season's runway is no exception.

To showcase their Spring Summer 2013 collection in Paris, Lagerfeld used an  environmental technology theme complete with wind turbines and a solar panel-lined runway. While giving a nod to environmental technology is all well and good, the runway served no actual environmental functions. The fashion itself seemed loosely inspired by the theme, with breezy, billowing tops and dresses with solar panel-esque patterns. With such an elaborate setup, our question is: why not go all out and make this a fully-functional, environmental theme? Or at least incorporate repurposed fabrics into the designs.

Take a look at the video of the full show below and let us know your thoughts. Is it fashion forward or just frivolous? 

Continue reading "Fashion 2013: Environmental Tech on the Runway" »

October 09, 2012

Organic Pet-Food Recipes: Peanut Butter Treats

DIY Organic Pet Recipes peanut butter cookiesThis week, treat your furry friends to homemade organic recipes that are better for their health and made from planet-friendly ingredients. To make these recipes even greener, use your leftovers when appropriate and opt for bulk beans, local veggies, free-range chicken, and grass-fed beef

 

Recipe #2: Peanut Butter Treats

Dogs love peanut butter. Add fish oil to this time-tested canine treat and Fido will have a healthier, shiner coat to boot.

Ingredients:

Continue reading "Organic Pet-Food Recipes: Peanut Butter Treats" »


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