Wednesday, April 25, 2007

In Organic Vino Veritas

Interesting article in today's NYT about "green" wine. Not just better for the Earth, but a better, tastier wine too. Have you ever tried one? If so, please write about it!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

In honor of Earth Day

In honor of Earth day, we would like to share what we are doing to help preserve resources. We (Luca and Dushka) are posting the same blog entry so feel free to comment on either one.

We still have so much to do. We'd love to hear from you - what you're doing, or what you think we should be doing that you don't see below.

If we're not putting something to good use, we make sure someone does. We mail our shoes to Soles4Souls, give our clothes to those in need, and Luca sends our CDs to Lala. If we've already read a book we pass it on.

We recycle paper, plastic, batteries and glass.

For the past several months, we only use cloth napkins, not paper.

Every time we get a catalog, Dushka emails the company and asks them to stop. This requires constant maintenance.

We are members of GreenDimes, who help get you off mailing lists. (We just did this two days ago.)

Cleaning and cleaning products
We use biodegradable, Earth friendly detergent for our clothes and for our dishes. We use half the amount of product indicated in the package.

We don't use any harsh cleaning products (we use Mrs. Meyer's or Caldrea.)

We almost never go to the dry cleaner (unless it's a suit and there is no choice.) About two years ago, Dushka saw the pile of wire hangers and plastic bags and vowed to wash and iron Luca’s shirts herself. She also washes at home anything that doesn’t say “Dry Clean Only”. When we do go to the dry cleaners, we return the wire hangers.

At our house
We have a programmable thermostat that keeps our house at 65° F degrees in the evenings and in the mornings and 62° F for the rest of the day and during the night. If we're chilly, we wear a sweater.

We don't own air conditioning - it's not necessary where we live.

Toilet paper and tissue is made from 100% recycled material.

We've replaced some of our light bulbs, but not all. Working on it (some shapes are difficult to find.).

We change our furnace filter every three months. (This is another new one - who knew a house had furnace filters?)

Our TV is nine years old and we've decided not to buy a new one until this one completely breaks down. It's actually working great. (Plus, it was the first big ticket item we got together.) Recently, our Tivo wasn't working. Our first impulse was to buy a new one. Luca instead bought a new hard disk and fixed it. (Added bonus: pride and gloating rights.)

We unplug anything that’s not in use. Did you know that if the toaster or the cell phone recharger is plugged in, even if it’s off, it’s still using 40% of the energy it needs when it’s on? We just learned that this Friday so now we go around unplugging things (except Tivo, of course.)

The energy that we do use, we’re offsetting through Renewable Choice.

This is a big concern, particularly after seeing the news about a possible drought. We need to do more to conserve it, so if you have any tips, do send them along.

We only turn on the sprinkler system when it hasn't rained for more than a week. (More often if it's really hot, which seldom happens.) Most of the plants in our yard are drought resistant.

We only use water-saving shower heads. You can’t really tell the difference.

We try to make our showers shorter. Greenpeace suggests choosing a short song and singing it. When the song’s over, so should the shower. At our house, there is definite room for improvement (both on the length of the shower and the singing.)

We also want to put a bucket in our shower to collect the water that comes down before it gets hot - we could use it to flush the toilet or water our plants.

We have a Britta filter so we never buy bottled water (this is one of the most recent things we've done and the water taste great.)

We only run the dishwasher or washing machine when it's full.

Not buying what we're not using
We think twice before buying something. Do we really, really want/need this?

We're thinking that this December we won't send Holiday Cards. It's so much paper, ink, distribution costs.

We've recently canceled a few magazine subscriptions we can see online, and reduced our Netflix from three movies to one. It was getting to be too much of an effort to keep up anyway.

We turn down shopping bags. We use our own canvas bags, which we keep in the trunk of our car. Luca is near fanatic about this.


We're not vegetarian, but eat very little red meat (less than once a month.) This is more of an effort for Luca, who's more of a carnivore

We buy organic and local whenever possible. (We’ve been eating a lot of strawberries lately.)

Travel and commute
We drive to work together 99% of the time. However, since we have to use a car to go to work, we decided to buy carbon offsets with TerraPass.

We plant trees when we travel by plane, for business or leisure.

OK. That covers it. Your turn - tell us what you do.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Go Oprah!

Today The Oprah Show was about "Going Green." Oprah asked viewers to make just one of the changes suggested in her program. I think this is such a great thing. Having Oprah on our side, helping all of us spread the word about how we can change the world with simple, baby steps is really fantastic. I started this blog a couple of months ago because I wanted to learn about Global Warming and, through the process, write about my learnings. I wanted to find good ways to have an impact on reducing my/our carbon footprint. I was not the only one. I see people everywhere on the Net that have discussions about it, web sites full of informations and tips, Time magazine and Vanity Fair dedicating issues and their covers to the problem, and a cover and even better, to the solutions that we, as citizens of the Earth, can apply. Now Oprah. With the media behind this, I feel a sense of hope.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

100 million more trees... and counting

Go to the site to remove yourself from junkmail lists. Or subscribe to GreenDimes.

If everyone reduced junk mail, 100 million trees would be spared a year. For even more tips go to this great little site (Ideal Bite) and register for their weekly tip.

Also, if you have magazine subscriptions you're not using (or could be sharing) think of the paper and distributions costs you could not be incurring on.

You can also go to
www.thegreenoffice.comfor recycled office products that have a similar price and selection than big office supply chains.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Biodegradable washing powders

Switch to washing powders that are biodegradable and plant based (such as Ecover.) They clean without the bleach and phosphates that threaten river and marine life. Plus, they don't leave a chemical residue on your dishes.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

No more read meat

Skip red meat: it can take seven or more pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef, and livestock consumes 70% of America's grain. If you only give it up once a week, you would save 840 gallons of fresh water it takes to produce just one serving.

And you will end up living longer... not a bad deal.