15 Ways to Craft a Circle of Caring
In facing up to today’s often degrading environmental, economic, political, social and hyper-individualistic cultural conditions, we instinctively know that survival requires coming together to effect constructive change. Here are proven approaches to community building that work. (read more…)
Demand Surges as Prices Fall
Now is a good time to buy a solar system and get off the grid. Solar photovoltaic prices have fallen 67 percent in the last five years, reports Alexandra Hobson with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). (read more…)
Caring Rehab Gives Them a Second Chance
Seeing lost, injured or orphaned animals is heartbreaking, but unless a wild animal is in immediate danger from prey or traffic, it’s best to wait and observe. Mothers forage for food and return to the babies intermittently. If in doubt, call a wildlife rehabber for advice. (read more…)
It’s in Style and Easy Care
Eco-friendly fashion used to be an oxymoron, synonymous with frumpy clothing and ugly shoes. Now designers and manufacturers are finding ways to provide attractive and healthier alternatives to common fabrics, especially polyester. (read more…)
Fuel Economy Plus Sales Incentives Equal Big Savings
While some carmakers are filling showrooms with ever-larger gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles (SUV) thanks to lower gas prices, some car buyers want to do just the opposite and go greener with their wheels. Fortunately, more eco-friendly options exist than ever before—many of which come with surprising personal benefits in addition to a cleaner, greener planet. (read more…)
Favorite Varieties that Flourish in Summer
Some of the best plants to keep as summer companions are herbs that enrich life with their flavors, fragrances and beauty. It’s not too late to pot up a few herbs or plant them in the garden if we choose varieties that thrive in hot, summer weather. (read more…)
Innovations Boost Energy Efficiency
Smart, innovative, technological breakthroughs are making buildings more energy-efficient, healthier to live in and highly attuned to our connected world.
“Homeowners continue to be interested in green building options because they help foster a healthier, more comfortable and affordable home—and it’s good for the environment,” says Dan Chiras, Ph.D., of Gerald, Missouri, founding director of the Evergreen Institute and author of The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy. (read more…)
Turning Lawns into Native Landscapes
“Traditional turf lawns are an ecological nightmare,” says John Greenlee, author of The American Meadow Garden, who notes that most monoculture turf lawns never even get used.
His company, Greenlee and Associates, in Brisbane, California, designs residential and other meadows throughout the U.S. as an engaging alternative. Many other appealing options likewise use native plants appropriate to the local climate. (read more…)
Eco-Burial Options Grow
Natural burials allow those that lived their principles of an environmentally sound life to complete their days in a planet-friendly, personalized way.
“The number of U.S. cemeteries allowing natural burials has increased by 30 in the last year,” says Elizabeth Fournier, owner of Cornerstone Funeral Services, in Boring, Oregon. “More than 150 cemeteries allow them now. We encourage replacing cut flowers with plants. (read more…)
Relax into Nurturing Furnishings
We all relish a cozy nest, whether that means light-filled views, the embrace of form-fitting sofas and chairs or plush rugs that snuggle bare feet. A beautiful, comfortable home that reflects our personal style and embodies our values can be achieved by learning the origin of furnishings and investing in sustainably made pieces that will stand the test of time, say experts. (read more…)
Inner Health, Radiant Skin
Holistic skin care practices are simple, healthy and sustainably good for people and the planet because they follow nature’s example.
Medical Doctor Alan M. Dattner, a 35-year pioneer in the field of holistic dermatology, faithfully follows nature’s principles in supporting skin health. His book Radiant Skin from the Inside Out: The Holistic Dermatologist’s Guide to Healing Your Skin Naturally maps out how skin reflects the body’s healthy or unhealthy organs and systems. (read more…)
Fresh Thinking About Décor
Nature’s holiday decorations can transcend cliché pine wreaths or farmed trees to make highly personalized indoor décor that supersedes traditional greenery. Yet mistletoe, holly leaves and berries, eucalyptus, poinsettias, tree needles, acorns and a cut tree’s water reservoir can be harmful to both pets and children. Here are some better choices.
For smaller spaces or to make a statement, try grouping topiary trees of varying heights draped with solar twinkle lights and small ornaments or fresh flowers to create a focal point in a bay window. (read more…)
Natural Ways to Refresh and Renew
Pampering ourselves isn’t a luxury so much as a necessity to refresh and renew mind, body and spirit.
A Spa Specialty
Spas have been synonymous with pampering throughout the ages. “Every civilization around the world has had some kind of communal gathering place for people to practice ‘self-healing’,” says Jeremy McCarthy, group director of Spa & Wellness for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and author of The Psychology of Spas & Wellbeing.
From ancient Greek bathhouses to Japan’s beloved natural hot springs, spas have long served as sacred places of healing and restoration. Indeed, many treatments provided at today’s eco-spas draw inspiration from traditional uses of herbs, honey and olive oil to care for skin and hair. (read more…)
The Rise of Ecopreneurs
Whether it’s a sideline or full time, flourishing small businesses stimulate the economy. The U.S. Small Business Association found that between 2009 and 2013, companies with fewer than 500 employees accounted for 60 percent of net new jobs. Technology allows new commercial ventures to be launched from home, yielding huge savings in startup costs. Owners have found ways to fulfill needs by leveraging their past job experiences and personal interests. (read more…)
Since ancient times, gardens have been employed as a place of healing for body and spirit. Japanese healthcare providers prescribe shinrin-yoku, meaning, “walking in forests to promote health” or “forest bathing”. Its intent is to use sight, sound and smell to connect with nature through stress-reducing, meditative walks.
Based on a program created by the Morikami Japanese Gardens, in Delray Beach, Florida, Washington state’s (read more…)
Female Farmers Come of Age
More women are becoming farmers, bringing with them a passion for producing organic and sustainably raised fare and transforming America’s food system. The U.S. Census of Agriculture reports that their numbers rose by more than 20 percent between 2002 and 2012, to 288,264.
“Women have played an integral role in farming for centuries, but in the last 100 years they’ve started to self-organize and be recognized for their important work,” says University of California garden historian Rose Hayden-Smith, Ph.D., author of Sowing the Seeds of Victory: American Gardening Programs of World War I and editor of the UC Food Observer. “During that war, the Women’s Land Army of America, a female-led initiative, recruited nearly 20,000 mostly middle-class urban and suburban women to enter the agricultural sector as wage laborers at farms, dairies and canneries, often in rural areas, where farmers urgently needed help while the male labor force was off fighting.” (read more…)
Frugal Lodging Options from AirBnB to House Swapping
Travel is changing as vacationers increasingly value unique experiences over standard tourist fare. In addition to the option of couch surfing (Tinyurl.com/CouchsurfingAdventure), more people are making the most of house rentals, swapping and sitting, plus various home stays via AirBnB (AirBnB.com). All expand options for affordable journeys tailored to their needs.
AirBnB accommodations range from private studios to family-sized homey spaces, encompassing tiny houses, treehouses, geodesic domes, yurts, container cars, caves, lighthouses, working ranches, castles and luxury carriage houses. With 2 million listings for 34,000 cities in 190 countries, 600 million people have found their ideal getaway through the San Francisco-based company since it launched in 2008. Published feedback, including comment books at the rental sites, provides assurance for visitors. When hosts aren’t on the premises, they are available as needed by guests. (read more…)
How to Profitably Give Unwanted Stuff a New Life
Each American discards an average of 4.4 pounds of personal garbage a day according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Half of what we toss can be recycled. A yard sale can both clear out the clutter and keep reusable items in circulation.
In assembling merchandise from all around the house, make it a family affair, with everyone contributing things to consider together. Before putting any item in the “keep” pile, ask: How long have I lived with this? How often did I need it? How often will I use it now and in the future?
Check with neighbors and friends to see if they want to join in a multifamily sale likely to draw more potential buyers. (read more…)
How to Downsize “I Do” Footprints
An eco-friendly wedding will not only strip it of energy-sucking extras, it’s also far less expensive. Minimize the occasion’s carbon footprint by taking a cue from these standout green wedding customs and traditions from other countries.
Rather than buy wrapped gifts, guests pay for each kiss from the bride or groom, and also pay for part of the honeymoon.
The bride and groom travel in one car to the ceremony. (read more…)