Saturday, March 31, 2007

Low Carb vs. Low Carbon

We all hear the about the importance of how eating local is not only good for our health, but also good in supporting our local farmers and helping to reduce carbon emissions that harm the environment. Well it didn’t take long for this awareness to spawn a “new diet” craze. MSNBC/Newsweek reports the importance of the “low carbon diet”:

As if counting calories weren’t enough, now you can calculate the “carbon cost” of your food. Starting next month, Bon Appetit, a food-service company that operates corporate and university cafeterias, will test a “low-carbon diet,” designed to reduce the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause global warming. Instead of, say, a tilapia fillet (frozen using electricity from a coal-fired power plant and flown in from China on a carbon-dioxide-emitting jet), customers can choose a dish using locally produced ingredients. And forget bottled water. “We want folks to realize that their food choices can have an effect on climate change,” says Helene York, director of the Bon Appetit Foundation. Studies show that the production, processing, packaging and transportation of food may contribute up to one third of the greenhouse-gas emissions each year. Bon Appetit’s Maisie Greenawalt says, “This is about asking yourself, ‘Do I need a banana even if it’s flown in from Ecuador, or can I replace it with an apple grown nearby?”

Is it ironic that the low-carbon diet runs almost directly contradictory to the low carb diets that plagued our hearts and cholesteral levels of the 90s? Perhaps, or more just a sign of the times that our personal health and environmental health are linked for better or worse.

Crosspost with Green Thinkers.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Happy Feet Raises Awareness for Seafood Sustainability

Who knew that an acadamy award winning film could generate such awareness in the world of seafood sustainability, but that is exactly what millions of DVD copies of the of Academy Award-winning animated film Happy Feet did when it went on sale this Tuesday. In an effective partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, each copy carried the aquarium’s infamous 2007 Seafood Watch pocket guide that ranks seafood items based on their sustainability.

According to Sustainable Food News:

On Wednesday night, PBS stations nationally will air the aquarium’s “Sea Otter Research and Conservation” program, which is featured in a new PBS program, “Journey to Planet Earth: State of the World’s Ocean Animals,” narrated by Matt Damon.

The two-pronged marketing campaign this week by the Monterey Bay Aquarium is to raise people’s awareness about the serious threats facing ocean wildlife, the nonprofit said.

Through the aquarium’s partnership with Warner Home Video, its Seafood Watch pocket guide is also featured on the Happy Feet web site along with a public service announcement about problems related to overfishing. The PSA is also featured on the Happy Feet DVD.

Kudos to the Monteray Bay Aquarium for recognizing the opportunity showcased in the film Happy Feet to raise awareness in the world of sustainable seafood items. No doubt they are doing a “happy dance” of their own.

Crosspost with ecorazzi.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Starlets Plant Love with New Eco-Friendly Lipstick

Courtney Cox, Evangaline Lily, Lindsay Lohan, Maria Menounos, Mariska Hrigitay, and Sarah Chalke can now claim themselves green mavens when it comes to lipwear designs.

Each of the starlets collaborated with CARGO at Sephora to design unique lip hues that are eco-friendly. Planet Love (TM) is a collection of 12 lipsticks that are packaged from a biodegradable container made from corn. According to a Toronto press release:

This first -of-its kind innovation uses PLA (or polylactic acid) instead of traditional petroleum-based plast for the lipstic tube. PLA is a polymer made entirely out of corn; a resource that renews itself in only 100 days. In addition, PLA is the first and only polymer on the market that is greenhouse-gas-neutral and thus helps in the fight against global warming.

The best part of this socially conscious brand is that the packaging comes in a biodegradable box that is embedded with wildflower seeds that can actually be planted. $2 from every lipstick sold is donated to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

By literally planting new seeds to sow, these lipsticks are taking eco-beauty to a whole new level of growth!

This is a cross-post from Ecorazzi

Friday, March 16, 2007

Rock and Roll Goes Green

Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, and Dave Mathews are leaders when it comes to rocking out green by traveling on tour buses fueled by biodiesel.

Now with the help of a new company called Reverb based out of Portland Maine, rockers of all noteriety can "green" all aspects of their tours from recycling used and broken strings from the stage, eating organic food from biodegradable plates, to purchasing renewable energy credits to offset electricity consumed buy the tour. Reverb is working using its "greening coordinators" to green tours of artists like Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Barenaked Ladies.

In such a massive energy producing world of a rock and roll, do these measures really make a difference or are they just PR stunts to help alleviate the conscience of these noble muscians? Let's face it, music lovers are a passionate following, and if these musicians can help spread the green word through example, perhaps rock-n-roll really can change the world! Check out the New York Times article here for more information.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Maroon 5 shares the Kiva love!

Maroon 5 has jumped on the bandwagon in supporting this
amazing organization at a recent fundraiser in LA. is an
organization that allows you to make direct small loans to people all
around the world who need help. There is no "middle-man" so all the
money you loan goes directly to the people you choose. The event was
organized by screenwriter Gene Hong and hosted by former head of ABC,
Jamie Terses. Actors Ryan Reynolds and Jeremey Sisto also came to
share the Kiva love at the Casino Night fundraiser.

Following the inspiration and leadership of Muhammed Yunus who
recently won the Nobel Peace Prize for developing the concept of
micro-credit and founder of Grameen Bank, is providing
tangible personal steps to empower others in developing countries.

Check out the Maroon 5's myspace page for a link to

Monday, March 12, 2007

SXSW Festival Goes Green

Long hailed the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin is claiming itself green for this year's South by Southwest Music, Film, and Interactive Festival. That's right, this years infamous festival is a totally carbon neutral event. SXSW is working closely with Austin Energy to greening all aspects of the festival starting at their "home" offices to use more efficient heating and cooling systems, replacing light bulbs, and even analyzing the staff's commuting plans to make them more energy friendly. In addition they are committed to aggressive recycling efforts, biodiesel production trucks, buying wind credits from Green Energy Mountain Co, and even working with legislators to strengthen the state's energy policy. The promoters of this event are putting their money where the mouth is and have purchased $5000 from the Austin Parks Department to the purchase and maintenance of native trees.

SXSW is committed for the long haul continuing to seek opportunities to green up their act and encouraging individuals to seek ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

Recently voted the #1 city for Cleantech, this Best Little City in America and perhaps one of the top festivals around is setting a trend that being green is cool.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Live "Clean" Capital of the World

Long claimed the live music capital of the world, Austin can add some green to its reputation. SustainLane Government (home of the infamous Unsustainables) recently hailed Austin as the #1 city of cleantech ("clean technology"). Austin is setting the bar for other cities to follow when it comes to creating opportunities for regional sustainable growth boom in response to recent climate change news and energy price instability.

Cleantech is proving a hot investment category with a record $2.9 billion out of $25.5 billion in the United States being committed to cleantech. This trend is only expected to grow. So what is cleantech and why does it matter in our day to day lives?

How people define the category differs, but SustainLane considered the following criteria for its cleantech ranking:
  • Energy generation, management and storage, and energy efficiency, including solar, wind, geothermal, fuels cell and hydrogen
  • Transportation: advanced transportation technologies, biofuels
  • Materials and Green Building: includes advanced materials and engineering approaches, materials recovery
  • Water and air related technologies
As home to the Austin Clean Energy Incubator since 2001, Austin is in a prime position to be incubating some of the latest innovations in cleantech.

With seven companies involved in incubating everything from internet-controlled irrigation to wind and geothermal energy technologies, the group works closely with city-owned utility Austin Energy, according to Assistant Director Kurt Faulhaver.

“Austin Energy has been able to open up the grid as a test bed for CEI, which provides an unparalleled connection to opportunities for small-sized Cleantech start-ups,” said Faulhaver. Austin Energy’s Mark Kapner confirmed the utility has been working with numerous start-ups in alpha and beta field testing ranging from solar to biogas, to small-scale wind energy applications

The CEI is also supported by the Texas Energy Conservation Office and The National Renewable Energy Laboratories’ (NREL) National Alliance of Clean Energy Incubators. “Austin has a robust incubator model--it’s a Cleantech incubator within a (more general technology) incubator,” said Marty Murphy, director of NREL enterprise development programs. One CEI biodiesel start-up, Austin Biofuels, recently “graduated” after being sold to Safe Renewables Corp. in Houston in December.

Other cities making the list include San Jose, Berkeley, Pasadena, and Greater Boston. In a state where bigger means better, Austinites can be proud of the big innovation that clearly extends beyond the music, film, and technology industries. Through continued aggressive commitments to cleantech and energy, this "Best Little City in America" is proving itself a big leader in "green" city development.