Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Heather Mills Joins Vegan Lifestyle

Heather Mills is taking her advocacy of animals to the next level and declaring herself a vegan. While Heather is no stranger to the limelight after a very public divorce from Sir Paul McCartney as well as recent appearances on Dancing With the Stars, she is prepared to use her celebrity status to highlight factory farming and its impact on the environment. In a recent quote she states:

“I’m a vegan now - a healthy diet which saves animals, something very important to me as I detest cruelty. Following a plant-based diet not only benefits your health massively but also makes a huge difference to the planet, to animals and to feeding the world. My hope is to continue to put the message out there.”–

Joining the ranks of other vegan celebs including Alicia Silverstone, Pamela Anderson and Natalie Portman. No doubt the recent The New York Times op ed article advocating a controversial spin on the vegan lifestyle provide these vegan proponents a platform to support something they are all clearly passionate about. And if nothing else, Heather joins an important community advocating the connection of our personal health as related to the environment.

Thanks to Linton for the tip.
Crosspost via ecorazzi

Vegan Diet Helps Climate (according to UK government)

According to a UK newspaper article, some leaked emails revealed that the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is considering recommending eating less meat as one of the "key environmental behaviour changes" needed to save the planet.

The article continues to explain that the agency acknowledges that consumption of animal protein has been highlighted as impacting the planet.

"Future Environment Agency communications are unlikely to ever suggest adopting a fully vegan lifestyle, but certainly encouraging people to examine their consumption of animal protein could be a key message."

According to the vegan group Viva:

"Adopting a vegan diet reduces one person's impact on the environment even more than giving up their car or forgoing several plane trips a year!

This is big news when a government agency is even considering an act of this nature. Proof, that the awareness exists!!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Wal-Mart Selling Sustainable Seafood

Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, and Bon Appetit food service company all shared the stage for the sake of sustainable seafood at a pre-conferance seminar held at Monterey Aquarium's Cooking for Solutions confab.

Peter Redmond, Wal-Mart's vice president in charge of seafood also announced the company is shifting towards buying more wild, domestic shrimp despite the fact it is more expensive. This is all in an effort to begin shifting the 50 million pounds of shrimp that the super chain normally purchases from Thailand.

Walmart is clearly trying to jump on the sustainable seafood bandwagon after seeing the success of Whole Foods and others who have managed to really capture the sustainable consumer experience.

According to the SF Chronicle article, Redmond states:

"I can tell you it's good for business," Redmond remarked.

"Part of the sustainability issue is it's also a business plan for us."

It's also good news for worldwide efforts to save the oceans from complete depletion of major edible species by mid-century, as predicted by an international study published last November in Science magazine. Stanford University marine biology professor Stephen Palumbi was one of the researchers on that study; he appeared on a separate panel.

While Whole Foods and Bon Appetit are using this issue as a platform to raise awareness and create change, Wal-Mart is claiming that their "role isn't to tell people what they can and can't buy."

Whether altruistic or simple PR, it is a step in the right direction and a positive sign to see all levels of awareness being raised to the various consumer segments that exist.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

CFLs - What's The Deal?

According to Energy Star, if every American home replaced just one light bulb with a compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL) we would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of nearly 800,000 cars.
CFLs provide the following benefits:

  • Use at least 2/3 less energy than standard incandescent bulbs to provide the same amount of light, and last up to 10 times longer.
  • Save $30 or more in energy costs over each bulb’s lifetime
  • Generate 70 percent less heat, so they’re safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling.
  • In addition to other quality requirements, must turn on instantly, produce no sound, and fall within a warm color range or be otherwise labeled as providing cooler color tones.
  • Are available in different sizes and shapes to fit in almost any fixture, for indoors and outdoors.

Obviously CFLs are good for the environment, but are they conevenient? We found this source that helps break down our most basic questions to better inform our transition to the world of CFLs.

What is a CFL?

CFL stands for Compact Fluorescent Lamp. A compact fluorescent lamp is a small version of the fluorescent lamps that have been used to provide energy-efficient light for offices, factories, stores and schools for over 60 years.

Why are CFLs called lamps instead of bulbs?

In lamp-industry jargon, a lamp is a device that generates light when connected to electric power. The term bulb is used to describe the glassware before it is made into a functional lamp. In addition, the device that most users would call a lamp, is called a fixture or luminaire in the lighting industry. For example, what most people refer to as a table lamp is technically called a portable fixture. Aren't you glad you asked?

Why do CFLs look so strange?

Most fluorescent lamps are constructed in long, thin tubes in order to generate light while using the least amount of electricity. In order to fit CFLs into a lighting fixture designed for incandescent lamps, the long, thin tube must be coiled into a spiral or folded back on itself multiple times. This accounts for the unusual shape of most CFLs.

Is it possible to make a CFL that looks like a normal incandescent lamp?

Yes. One way is to enclose the spiral or folded tube in a glass or plastic outer housing. A better way is to make an electrodeless CFL using what is called induction coupling. Electrodeless CFLs can be constructed in bulbs that have the same shape as conventional incandescent lamps. Only one model of electrodeless CFL is currently sold in the U.S. This lamp is constructed as a reflector lamp. There are currently no electrodeless CFLs that look like conventional incandescent lamps, also known as A-Line lamps.

Do CFLs work on dimmers?

Most screw-base CFLs do not work with dimmers designed for use with incandescent lamps. These CFLs will have a label on the lamp and/or the packaging stating "not for use with dimmers. However, certain special screw-base CFLs are designed to work with standard incandescent lamp dimmers. These CFLs will be labeled "dimmable" or similar language on the lamp and/or the packaging. However, due to small differences between different brands of dimmers, not all dimmable CFLs work with all types of incandescent dimmers. Some dimmable CFLs, however, will work with all major brands of incandescent lamp dimmers.

I have read that CFLs contain mercury. Is that correct?

Yes, all CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury, typically about 5 mg, which is 1/6000th of an ounce (mass). If all the mercury were concentrated in one droplet, that droplet would have a diameter of only 1.1 mm, which is 0.042 inches.

Doesn't disposal of mercury-based products harm the environment?

Yes, mercury is classified as a hazardous material by the US Environmental Protection Agency and CFLs should be recycled instead of being thrown out with the normal trash. However, in many cases use of CFLs will offset mercury that would otherwise be introduced into the environment from other sources.

For further detailed information, check out and on proper disposal of CFLs.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Ellen Get Green Groove On with Seacrest, Lohan and Electra?

Ellen can now claim herself as a lean mean “green” dancing machine! Despite suffering from a back injury and hosting from a hospital bed, nothing could keep Ellen from spreading green fever with her celeb friends. From celebrity green tips to recommendations to help the environment, Ellen and her entourage of guests including Lindsay Lohan, Nathan Lane, Marcia Cross, Carmen Electra and Ryan Seacrest showered an audience of green newbies last week. While the celebrity tips where somewhat meager in content (ie. Ryan Seacrest recommending not to ask for napkins and plastic utensils when ordering takeout), her quick tips provide good tangible nuggets.

From her website:

To be green means to conserve natural resources and consume consciously to reduce our impact on this big blue planet we call home. Think about how you eat, what you wear, how you drive. This isn’t about everyone doing everything. No one is perfect. But we all play a role in the problem and can take part in the solution. If everyone does something, it would have a tremendous impact on our world and the legacy we leave for future generations.

Check out Ellen’s tips for being green and go get your green groove on!

Thanks to Linton & Cash for Critters for the tip.

Crosspost with ecorazzi

Road to Austin: Green and Charitable

“Where the music matters” is a popular Austin slogan. From struggling one man shows to elite headliners, Austin is the place where they all come together. In the recent Road to Austin Concert, headliners such as Bonnie Raitt and Delbert McClinton, performed with Austin acts as Ian McLagan and Bob Schneider. While the show was free (thanks to Freescale Seminconductor Inc.), it featured a covered pavillion that housed many local Austin community outreach, charitable, and green organizations including Keep Austin Beautiful and The Sierra Club. In addition, The event adpoted some green initiatives including all electric generators using biofuels and of course the appropriate recycling efforts that are now expected of these types of events.

Recently voted the top green city in America by MSN City Guides, Austin is embracing its musical and environmental awareness and serving as a green leader in a class of its own.

Crosspost with ecorazzi

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bike To Work Day!

For those who are not aware, the Month of May is official "Bike To Work Month" and thus a campaign to reduce carbon emissions produced by vehicles.

According to the Bureau of Transportation

Motor vehicle emissions represent 31 percent of total carbon dioxide, 81 percent of carbon monoxide, and 49 percent of nitrogen oxides released in the U.S. (The Green Commuter, a publication of the Clean Air Council). Short car trips (over distances that could easily be bicycled) are much more polluting than longer trips on a per-mile basis because 60 percent of the pollution resulting from auto emissions is released during the first few minutes of operation of a vehicle.

There is no denying that biking is good for the environment and your health. According to The League of American Bicyclists:

Recreational bike riding is a safe, low-impact, aerobic activity for Americans of all ages. A 150-pound cyclist burns 410 calories while pedaling 12 miles in an hour-almost the equivalent calories of a McDonald's Quarter Pounder®. A 200-pound cyclist burns 546 calories while going 12 miles per hour-almost the equivalent of a Big Mac®.

Check out more information about the environmental, economic and helth benefits of riding and local events going on in your city.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Fox News Realizes It's Green Fate

Last week Robert Murdoch, CEO of Fox NewsCorp announced that the company will reduce its carbon footprint 10 percent by 2012 via energy-efficiency efforts and use of renewable energy. Well, the initiative has been communicated to employees of NewsCorp and even announced on Fox News. Check out the video from the people at ("we watch fox so you don't have to") and see how the reporter litterally stumbles on his words as he realizes his green fate:-)

Regardless, it is a bold initiative. Murdoch states the following:

"News Corp.'s hundreds of millions of viewers and readers represent the most fertile ground for change: "Our audience's carbon footprint is 10,000 times bigger than ours ... Imagine if we succeed in inspiring our audiences to reduce their own impacts on climate change by just 1 percent. That would be like turning the state of California off for almost two months."

Check out the full Grist article here.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Andrew Weil Prescribes Biodiesel for the Planet

Alternative health guru Dr. Andrew Weil M.D. is spreading his message of integrative health to the environment. Using vegetable oil from a Tucson restraunt, Weil brews his own biodiesel fuel in his garage. Appropriately referred to as the "Bio-Depot," Weil runs several vehicles and is so impressed by the efficiency, he wants to spread the biodiesel world in a co-op format to Tucson residents.

Founder of one of the leading integrative medicine progams at the University of Arizona, Weil reported the following to the Arizona Daily Star:

"We have to be very immediately concerned about finding solutions for the toxic effects the combustion engine has on human health," he said. For starters, he notes that biodiesel fuel cuts asthma-causing particulates and carbon monoxide in vehicle exhaust by nearly 50 percent, releases far fewer cancer-causing compounds into the air, and cuts down on ozone and smog now choking us and our planet."

This is an important step briding the worlds of integrative health and sustainable living. Andrew Weil has the clout and leadership to help to educate and create real change when it comes to preserving our health and protecting the environment. Very exciting! Check out the rest of the article here.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Adrian Grenier hosts "Fund Rager" for recently celebrated its second celebrity fundraiser at a sweet little soiree hosted at Entourage star Adrian Grenier’s house. Kevin Connolly (also from Entourage) and Willie Garson from Sex and the City were present.

The event was inspired by Grenier’s book club that recently finished the book called “The End of Poverty.” Motivated to make a difference, the group decided to throw the “Fund Rager” and raise money for Kiva. Kiva is a microfinancing organization that assists small businesses in developing countries stride toward economic independence. 100% of the donations go directly to the loans. Once the loans are paid off, users can re-loan to other businesses in need. It is literally the gift that keeps on giving.

Celebrities like Grenier are leading an important trend of social and eco-consciousness in Hollywood and setting an important example for all to follow. Find out how you can help Kiva spread the word!

Crosspost with ecorazzi.

San Francisco KaBoom Goes Carbon Neutral

San Francisco’s annual KFOG KaBoom fireworks extravaganza is yet another event that has jumped on the carbon neutral bandwagon. While one would not expect fireworks to be considered environmentally friendly, this year’s event took unique measures to ensure itself green. From compostable forks and spoons to food vendors providing used cooking oil for Marin resident Elon Rosenfeld’s Straight Vegetable Oil Mercedes, this event proved that going green is always in a state of innovation. An estimated 40,000 people flocked to the San Francisco waterfront with many people embracing the special event hours of BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Blues protogee Kenny Wayne Shepherd and latin hi-hop band Ozomatli joined the poster child of carbon neutral - Guster, who are now known by their biodiesel tour bus and performances that are powered by wind power.

Reporting on carbon neutral events is nothing new here at Ecorazzi. So when what would normally be new news turns into old news, it is actually a postitive sign that carbon neutral and going green is offically mainstream, and that is cause for a fireworks celebration of its own!

Crosspost via ecorazzi

Friday, May 11, 2007

Whole Foods Launches Weekly Cooking Show

In the world of organic and sustainable food, Whole Foods is a celebrity in its own right. While CEO John Mackey has experienced his fair share of controversy lately via blog battles with Michael Pollan, there is no doubt that local and organic food is on the map because Whole Foods helped place it there. And with the recently launched Secret Ingredient, a weekly cooking show, we predict Scott Simons to be a future celebrity in the world of green grub!

According to the press release:

“We hope to deliver inspiration,” said Scott Simons, Whole Foods Market food aficionado and host of Secret Ingredient. “Because we focus on only one ingredient per episode, viewers really get to know the featured item and take away practical cooking tips and recipes. Top that off with easy yet tasty meal solutions and Secret Ingredient is a home cook’s treasure.”

Check out the launch episode featuring Catfish Tacos (farm raised and sustainable) of course). Yumm!!!

Crosspost with ecorazzi

Bottled Water - What's The Deal?

The most common question we get asked about is bottled water. Here's the skinny, plastic is bad, and no amount of convenience can justify that. Americans add over 30 million plastic water bottles to our nation's landfills everyday.

In addition, plastic can be harmful to our health. According to our friends at Idealbite:

Polycarbonate plastic (made by Nalgene and other companies) leaches bisphenol-A, a chemical linked to increased risk of birth defects, miscarriage and prostate cancer. Scratches in the plastic, harsh detergents and boiling liquids exacerbate the leaching.

What's The Alternative?

At the end of the day, buy yourself a reusable bottle. Our top picks - Kleen Kanteen stainless steel bottles and Sigg for an eco-personal touch!

Paint Hazards - What's The Deal?

Paints can be loaded with toxic chemicals that release low level toxic emissions in the air for years after application. The source of these toxins is a variety of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) which until recently, were critical to the performance of the paint. The distinctive smell of paint is actually a host of compounds that can cause nausea, dizziness, and severe headaches. According to the EPA, indoor air is three times more polluted than outdoor air and accounts for 11,400 deaths annually.

What is the alternative?

Low-VOC and zero-VOC paints and finishes are now more readily available due to new environmental regulations and consumer demand. Most paint manufacturers now produce one or more non-VOC variety of paint. These new paints are durable, cost effective and less harmful to human and environmental health.

Check out The Greenguide for further information and specific recommendations on low-VOC and zero-VOC paints and finishes.

Yoga vs. Pilates - What's The Deal?

Yoga and Pilates are two of the most popular mind-body modalities around. Everyone from professional athletes to Hollywood a-listers does one or both. People are often curious as to which is better. The truth is, one is not necessarily better than the other. It is dependent on individual physical needs, goals, and personalities.

Below are some key distinctions from a philosophy and physical perspective:


  • Pilates takes a mind-body approach to exercise with a focus on mental concentration, breathing, and movement whereas Yoga's view involves mind, body and spirit.
  • Joseph Pilates created the practice over 80 years ago based on personal experiences in yoga, martial arts, boxing, chinese acrobats, body building and his personal experiences in health and healing.
  • Yoga's principles come from Hindu ideals and its approach is decidedly Eastern in nature.


  • Pilates mainly works on the core muscles in your trunk (called the powerhouse), and building strength there above all. Pilates focuses on those muscles that lie closest to the bone (stabilizer muscles) which is why people claim to get that long lean look.
  • Yoga, for the most part, involves static poses, which are held while exploring your breathing, physical feelings and emotions.
  • Pilates emphasizes toning over flexibility (but, again, it enhances both).
  • Yoga emphasizes flexibility over building strength (although it enhances both).

Bottom Line
If you want an exercise that improves flexibility while toning your muscles - especially those abs - then Pilates is probably your better choice. Many people claim to love pilates because the movements kind of trick you into stretching because you are focused on other things like your core muscles and not necessarily the stretch.

If you are already getting your strength training somewhere else and want to concentrate a bit more on flexibility and a little less on toning, then yoga may be a better fit.

Regardless, both will reduce stress and enhance your body's health in a way that is unique from any other form of exercise. The best part is that they enhance each other if you can incorporate both! Check out more detailed info here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Water Conservation Tips

Small Conservation tips add up. Just think how much water is being wasted because people forget or don't think abou the precious water runnding down the drain.

Check out these tips from the North Bay Natural Pages to ensure you are doing everything you can to save water:

  • Wash your dishes in a sink or basin of water, instead of washing them under a running tyab in an unplugged sink.
  • Use your dirty dishwater and any other "brown water" you accumulate to water your plants (use natural dishwashing detergent and other cleaning products).
  • Turn off the tap while youbrush your teeth, shave, or soap your hands.
  • Flush your toilet only after several uses.
  • Install a low-flush toilet to reduce the water needed to fill it.
  • Turn off the shower while you shampoo your hair and soap up, and keep your showers short.
  • Sweep your sidewalk or deck instead of spraying it down with a hose.
  • Avoid leaving a water faucet or hose running; use a shut-off nozzel on the end of all hoses.
  • If you wash your car and animal companions, do it on the grass so the water isn't wasted.
  • Consider alternative landscaping to lawns that need watering; plant drought-resistant native plants.
  • Use mulch around your plants to help retain moisture.
  • Use rain barrels to collect rainwater for watering your plants.
  • Educate your children on how important it is to save water and show them how they can help.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

NY Times: Twinkies vs. Carrots

Green Health advocate Michael Pollan once again raises heightened awareness of the political, socio-economic, and health issues raised by the American agricultural system. In his recent piece in the New York Times yesterday You Are What You Grow, he continues his message of educating the effects of highly processed food via tangible examples:

"Compared with a bunch of carrots, a package of Twinkies, to take one iconic processed foodlike substance as an example, is a highly complicated, high-tech piece of manufacture, involving no fewer than 39 ingredients, many themselves elaborately manufactured, as well as the packaging and a hefty marketing budget. So how can the supermarket possibly sell a pair of these synthetic cream-filled pseudocakes for less than a bunch of roots?"

God Save The Bears - Plea to the Queen

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is having one bear of a time on her visit to the U.S. A PETA member in a bear costume and holding a “God Save the Bears” sign is following her around to various cities and events including most recently the Kentucky Derby. The campaign is intended to urge the Queen to switch to faux fur for the Buckingham Palace Guard’s hats.

According to a PETA press release:

It can take one bear’s entire hide to make just one guard’s headpiece. The skins come from Canadian black bears who are often shot several times before they die. Some escape the hunters and bleed to death. When mother bears are killed, orphaned cubs are left behind to starve.

“We love pomp and circumstance as much as anyone, but not when the ceremony causes baby bears to be orphaned when their mothers are shot for hats,” says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “No tradition on Earth can justify cruelty.”

PETA Europe supporters including Sir Roger Moore, Twiggy, and Hayley Mills are supporting the ban on bear fur in The Queen’s Guards headwear. Will the queen comprise formality for the sake of saving animals or is this just another radical campaign on PETA’s part? We can’t be sure, but choose to air on the side of awareness, however that translates for the Queen. For more information, check out

Crosspost via Ecorazzi

Ban on Monsanto genetically modified alfalfa upheld

A U.S. judge on Thursday let stand a precedent-setting ban on the planting of a genetically modified alfalfa crop variety developed by Monsanto Co. Citing the potential for genetic contamination, this could be a turning point for the USDA to committ the necessary research to truly srutinize the future of biotech crops. Check out the full reuter's article here.

Apple Goes Green

It was only a matter of time, but The Green Apple is here, well metaphorically of course. A passionate campaign consisting of Greenpeace and Apple users have made their voices heard as Steve Jobs announced a change in policy today. While not every demand was met, Apple has declared a phase out of the worst chemicals in its product range, Brominated Fire Retardants (BFRs) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) by 2008. That beats Dell and other computer manufactures' pledge to phase them out by 2009. For now, the policy only stands in the United States, but a good first step nonetheless.