Monday, February 16, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Valentine’s Day might just be the most polarizing holiday out there: either you think it’s a can’t-miss opportunity to show your love for your spouse, friends, and family, or you think it’s a lame excuse to sell more greeting cards. Of course, if you and your partner don’t agree, that’s when the problems pop up. You might be perfectly happy with nothing more than an extra kiss in the morning—but if she (or he) wants an extravagant dinner, memorable jewelry, and a sentimental card, then you’d better get shopping. Luckily, stores and websites are full of eco-friendly alternatives to traditional chocolates, flowers, gems, and wines, so you can satisfy your partner’s Valentine’s Day requirements without investing in a bunch of environmentally harsh consumer products. Read on for our favorite ways to say “I love you”—to your significant other and the environment.
Traditional Gift: A dozen roses
Eco-alternative: A dozen organic roses
Traditional Gift: A box of candy
Eco-alternative: Fair trade chocolate bars
Boxes of chocolate look nice on the outside, but inside they’re a different story: a hit-or-miss collection of treats that get eaten within minutes of breaking off that red ribbon (like coconut-filled dark chocolate or mocha truffles) paired with the ones that get left for days (like strawberry mousse and chocolate-covered cherries). Cut out the risk with a collection of Fair Trade chocolate bars in his or her favorite flavor from companies like Green & Black or Global Exchange. Handy in the kitchen? Make your own dark chocolate truffles (using organic ingredients) with this recipe from Chef Nathan Lyon.
Traditional Gift: A romantic movie
Eco-alternative: A film of the Earth’s most exotic locales (at 50% off!)
Forget Casablanca or When Harry Met Sally: This Valentine’s Day, you’ll want to snuggle in with your sweetheart and a copy of Spirit Films' Earth from the Air. The sweeping views of water, land, and wildlife from renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand will have you falling in love—with your sweetheart and the Earth—all over again, while eagerly planning your next romantic vacation. (See some example shots in our Arthus-Bertrand slideshow.) Budget a little tight this year? Check out our TH Deals column and get the DVD for 50 percent off, with 10% of the purchase price going to one of TH's fave non-profits Architecture for Humanity.
Traditional Gift: Jewelry
Eco-alternative: Recycled or Fair Trade gems
Jewelry is a go-to gift for Valentine’s Day, but just grabbing something on your way home from work says “I completely forgot” instead of, "You're the love of my life." Put a little thought into it by tracking down handmade pieces formed from recycled metal and paired with natural stones and gems, like the conflict-free pieces from Kirsten Muenster, recycled stainless-steel from Tarma Designs, reused magazine earrings from BtheNV Designs, or classic diamonds from Green Karat. Dress your guy in cufflinks made with LED lights or fashioned from obselete subway tokens.
Traditional Gift: A weekend getaway
Eco-alternative: A stay at an eco-friendly hotel
Instead of jetting away for the weekend to the cheapest hotel in the best destination, try to find green accommodations in your vacation spot. Green Hotels offers descriptions and contact information for hotels across the country, all of which have taken eco-friendly steps like using VOC-free paint or furnishings or doing away with travel-size shampoos. Amelia Island Plantation in Florida, for example, uses green cleaners, encourages guests to re-use their towels, and installed Energy Star thermostats. (And, of course, buy carbon offsets to neutralize your travel output.) Planet Green's City Guides can also steer you in the right direction. Of course, if the economy makes it impossible to travel this year, raise the romance level with a staycation in your own city: take a leisurely stroll through your local park, spend the afternoon at a museum, and then snuggle in at home with chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne. It's all the fun of a hotel stay without the environmental or financial cost.
Traditional Gift: A fancy restaurant dinner
Eco-alternative: A meal at home from local ingredients
Skip the crowded restaurants, overpriced prix fixe meals, and the uninspired chocolate mousse desserts this year and instead treat your sweetie to a homemade meal based around organic, local ingredients. Check out Kelly’s lineup of romantic menus on Planet Green for inspiration, or give a collection of recipes meant to inspire romance—like The Seduction Cookbook by Diane Brown. Pick up your ingredients from a local farmer’s market for a locally-sourced, organic spread, pop open some organic or biodynamic wine to set the mood, and get things cooking.Article found on www.treehugger.com
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
- Unveiling your prettiness. These tools work as well as or better than conventional ones we've used in the past.
- Eloping to a less wasteful world. Buying high-quality beauty tools that last a lifetime means less waste in the end.
- Vowing to support eco-materials. Incorporating sustainable supplies such as recycled aluminum and packaging, these aesthetic assistants help you give good face while leaving less of a trace on the earth.
- Silence HP Graphite - superquiet hairdryer that uses about 2/3 the power of conventional versions, is made in USA, and includes a lifetime warranty ($139).
- Paris Presents EcoTools - five-makeup brush set with bamboo handles and nonanimal bristles that don't shed like some of their more expensive, noneco counterparts ($11).
- Boscia Rose Blotting Linens - leaf fiber removes sweat and oil from shiny faces (without messing your makeup) and blots lipstick, and 10% of your sale supports breast cancer research ($10).
- Tweezerman Go Green Tweezer - well-aligned, travel-size tweezers that come in recycled packaging; $1 of your purchase goes to planting trees ($10).
- 95 and Sunny Nail Files - these colored crystal glass nail files last forever, so you don't have to keep buying emery boards ($5-$10).
Friday, February 6, 2009
The BiteTime for some bottle therapy. It used to be practically a requirement for the eco-conscious urbanite to lug water in reusable hard-plastic bottles, but it turns out those bottles can leach toxins. Choose lined aluminum, stainless steel, or glass instead.
- Health-consciousness. Polycarbonate plastic used in bottles by Nalgene and other companies leaches bisphenol-A, which is linked to birth defects, miscarriage, and prostate cancer.
- Less waste. Plastic water bottles require 1.5 million barrels of oil each year to make.
- Hydration. Experts recommend we drink six to seven glasses of H2O per day, so keep a bottle handy.
- Hipster appeal. Metal and glass options now come in supercool colors and designs.
Personally SpeakingThe Biter team probably looks like a group of crazy evangelicals when we hang out away from the office, with all of our Biter bottles in tow.
- Biter Bottles - our very own light, lined aluminum bottle ($20).
- Kleen Kanteen Water Bottle - made from dishwasher-safe stainless steel and holds 27 oz ($18).
- SIGG Kids Series - get lil' Biters started down the healthier path ($18).
- VOSS - its water comes in cool-looking reusable glass bottles; buy one, and use the bottle for life ($3).