Friday, September 19, 2008

Do You Bamboo?

While I was at the airport in Philadelphia this past week, I went into one of their many stores to browse around. One of the displays set up had some super cute t-shirts. After taking a closer look, turns out that the shirts were made of 70% bamboo and 30% cotton. I had never seen clothing made of bamboo before. I decided not to buy a t-shirt at the time, but I did buy a nifty bamboo pen (that I love!)

I decided to do some research about bamboo and in what ways it can be utilized. Turns out that using bamboo as a resource is huge right now. It is an extremely rapid growing plant, in some cases growing 3 to 4 feet per day. It also does not need a lot of water to grow (awesome for conservation!) Bamboo has also been reported to have anti-bacterial and deodorizing properties, which means that you might not have to wash the clothes so often. Another plus for water conservation!!

In my search for bamboo products, I came across an article on about a cell phone made up of bamboo and corn! Only the case is made of bamboo and corn, but who cares! That is so cool!! They say that when you are done using the phone, you just toss the cover into compost and soon a bamboo shoot will be coming out of the ground! Another really cool energy conservation aspect of the phone is that it uses a hand powered charger. Just crank it up and you’re good to go!

I am excited about these new bamboo products, especially the clothing. I can honestly that I will probably be buying a bamboo t-shirt in the near future.

photo by Frederic Poirot

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Park(ing) Day - September 19th

Have you heard of Park(ing) Day? Lots of public space is reserved for our cars. Our streets are literally lined with space reserved for cars. There are entire parking lots reserved. This Friday (tomorrow), from 9 am to 5 pm, it all changes.

September 19 is Park(ing) Day 2008 and for this one day, people in cities all over the nation will be turning parking spaces into public parks.

here is a video of last's years Park(ing) Day in NYC

Check out the official site!
Park(ing) Day

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

When Fashion and Marketing Collide

Vinyl billboards get a second chance at life with Vy & Elle (a play on the word "vinyl"). This company produces handbags, wallets, totes and slings, and many other products that are all made of old vinyl billboards! The straps of the handbags and totes are also recycled - made from old seat belts. This is a great idea for keeping vinyal billboards out of the landfills. They've helped you with your marketing, why not help out with your fashion too?

"Vinyl billboards are used nationwide as temporary banner advertisements and are usually discarded into landfills where they create toxic pollution. Instead, the strength of PVC vinyl makes it an ideal material for reuse. And because of the different images printed on the vinyl, it's even more interesting as a fabric. It offers colorful graphics that take urban art into everyday living. Each bag and accessory item has it's own unique "one of a kind" look without the high designer price. With random colors and designs, every bag made is different, offering a chance to carry a piece of art on a shoulder, in a pocketbook or in the home...So far, we have recycled more than 100 tons of billboard vinyl and this project is helping to reduce waste in our landfills and to encourage recycling programs within the billboard industry." Vy & Elle

You can find other eco friendly products at
uncommon goods
TING London
Pieces of You

Wasted Energy!!

It never ceases to amaze me the energy that is wasted! We have jumped on the "going green" band wagon so much that we will make anything "green" these days - even the things that are meant to kill us to begin with! We now have "green" explosives... This is an oxymoron if I have ever heard one... a "green" bomb?! Who is going to be left to appreciate a "green" bomb after it hits? Is anyone going to say "oh gosh, they bombed us. But thank goodness it's a 'green' bomb. That was nice of them!" What a waste of energy! A bomb's a bomb. We shouldn't waste energy trying to make ourselves feel better that we annihilated a population of people with a "green" bomb.

"Although air quality may not be first and foremost on your mind when there are bombs going off, you’ll be glad to know that scientists are striving for “greener explosives“. Failing to see the inherent irony in an “environmentally friendly” unit of destruction, scientists have gone and developed safer explosives by adding “unique green solvents” and improving the quality and purity of their materials. The resulting explosions may be more stable and precise, but can we really call them “green“?"

To read more on this topic, click on these links
Can Explosives go green?
Less bad bombs still blow

Saving Energy: At what cost?

There is nothing in life that is black and white - most times there is more grey matter. There is also a time and a place for everything. Is saving energy always a good thing? At what cost are we willing to conserve? What are we willing to sacrifice? Would you continue with energy conservation if it meant wiping out centuries of history? When they tell you to make sacrifices, I don't think this is what anyone had in mind. Just when you think you have it all figured out in your head (and you have that black and white answer), you come across something that makes you stop and think... : Hasankeyf is a millenia-old city, home to almost every powerful civilization in Mesopotamia’s archaeological record from the Western Roman Empire forward. It has been continuously inhabited until just the past two years. Now it sits in purgatory waiting for its own Great Flood.

The flood waters would come with the construction of the Ilisu dam, one component in a 12-phase energy initiative, the Southern Anatolia Project (Güneydoğu Anadolu Projesi, or GAP). The GAP involves damming the Tigris and the Euphrates (an idea originally conceived by ruler Atatürk in the 1930s) to produce “clean” energy, new jobs, irrigation and agroindustry, and with those things, regional economic growth. The first of GAP’s 22 dams was completed in 1987. Ilisu Dam, named for Ilisu town, was conceived in the ’50s and designed by 1982. A master plan for the dam unfolded in the last two decades. Its ETA changes as fickle or anxious investors come and go. In the meantime, the inhabitants in the predominantly Kurdish region that will be submerged upon the dam’s completion are treading water while they await news.

Achieving the energy and development goals of the GAP could help pull Turkey out from under its “developing nation” reputation and into the modern world—maybe even into the E.U. But the cost of progress in the case of Ilisu—drowning myriad priceless archaeological sites and ancient monuments, destroying an ecosystem, and disrupting the lives of tens of thousands of people—reflects the conflicts between development and preservation, energy and environmentalism, modernity and heritage.

A view of the El Rizk mosque, built by the Ayyubids in 1325, in Hasankeyf. Authorities estimate that flood waters from the Ilisu Dam will reach to 3/4 the height of its minaret.

If you want to read more about this, click on these links
Making Waves
Village of the Dammed
Bridging the GAP