Fauna Extreme Tees – for Inspiration and Style

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If you’ve worn bamboo fabric, you know that it is incredibly soft and comfy. The tees from Fauna Extreme are no exception. I was in love with the organic fabric the minute I touched it. Unfortunately, my medium height and not-quite-as-svelte-as-I-wish-I-were frame didn’t do much for the long, slender shape of the tee. Broyles had warned me that the tees run small, and she was right.

So I asked my friend, Jenny Schilling, to try it on. The shirt fit her perfectly, though a bit on the longish side. Jenny, too, was thrilled by the fabric, as you’ll see in her comments below. The light pink tee I received as a complimentary review product — and passed on to Jenny — is a bit on the pale side for Jenny’s light complexion, so the color isn’t quite what she would have picked. But the Fauna Extreme website shows several rich color choices, too. (I’ll be sure she sees them!)

The story of Fauna Extreme starts with a mom and a marathon. Ecopreneur Sarah Broyles decided to run her first marathon after having baby #1. “One morning, while she was out pounding the pavement, she daydreamed about shirts emblazoned with fast animals like the cheetah and pronghorn,” she writes on the Fauna Extreme website. So, she worked with an artist, who created several beautiful and powerful animal images for a series of tees.

She also did her homework. Broyles, who started out her college career as a wildlife biology major — but graduated with a degree in English — was determined to find the most sustainable fabric, dyes, and inks she possibly could. What she ended up with was 70% bamboo, 20% organically grown cotton, and 10% spandex. The reasons for her choices are many, as she explains on her blog post, “How to Be Eco Fashionista.” …

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An April Breeze and a Soothing Candle

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I had already mistaken this abnormally hot April day for summer. After lighting a Linnea’s Lights candle, I could swear it is mid-July.

The Linden candle smells crisp and fresh, complementing the breeze coming from my open window on this beautiful night. It adds a light, unobtrusive scent to my bedroom. Plus, it’s handmade of natural soy wax with two lead-free, cotton wicks, and packaged in recycled materials.

Soy candles are clean burning, meaning they don’t produce black soot like traditional paraffin candles — something both my landlord and I can agree on. Paraffin is made from petroleum; burning a paraffin (wax) candle releases eleven known toxins into the air that contribute to global warming. An added cost-saving benefit is that soy burns longer than paraffin wax. My Linnea’s Light’s candle boasts “60 hours of illumination.”

The soy wax used in Linnea’s Lights candles is completely natural and free of any genetically modified materials, herbicides, or pesticides. It’s also biodegradable. The lower melting point of soy is what allows it to burn longer than conventional candles. Conventional candles also leave a pool of wax at the bottom of the container, whereas soy candles burn completely. Plus, soybeans are grown in the United States, supporting our local farmers….

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Notes from Canada: A Plan for the Planet

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“I’ve got an idea – let’s play hide and seek!” Mary Travers spoke, as I recall, on the 33-rpm vinyl record by Peter, Paul and Mary called Peter, Paul and Mommy, an anthology of some of my favourite children’s songs. Songs I love.

Well, I have an idea: let’s save humanity so that many more generations of children will sing children’s songs. Not an original idea but let’s stay with it.

Dependable science delivers a picture of planet Earth as we pass through the consecutive impacts of changing climate, consequence that may start with ecology but quickly moves through the food chain and the economy into the health and wealth of humanity, and the security of civilisation.

This somewhat succinctly embodies the essential message that Gwynne Dyer delivers globally, to all people in government and the smart folk who do “military intelligence”….

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Bob Halstead, Contributing Writer

April 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Bob Halstead, Canada

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Bob Halstead, born in 1947 in Northern Ontario, is a competent linguist and logician, and a retired teacher of mathematics. He has devoted his life to making decision as to what he should believe and what he can dependably know.

He accepts that all public statement is political in nature, meaning that all public statement of a religious, scientific or philosophical nature is first political, allowing that personal vision becomes political when expressed in words….

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Light the Way for Clean Water – But Hurry!

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One of every seven people in developing countries around the world does not have access to clean water.* It’s a shocking statistic for those of us who take daily showers and use flush toilets with no thought at all. Women and girls, in particular, may walk miles to carry water back to their families. Try moving up on the economic scale when so much of your time is consumed with providing the basic necessities to your family. Not likely.

But organizations around the world are doing ambitious projects to change that. Global Greengrants Fund oversees many of these projects, with serious funding support from Aveda — a company best known for creating organic hair and beauty care products that are sourced from around the world. For the past three years in April, Aveda has been raising funds for Global Greengrants water-related projects by selling their Light the Way candles.

In addition to Global Greengrants, Aveda is supporting 21 regional partners through their Earth Month activities. According to the Aveda website, the projects this year include: “training 3,500 people in sustainable and organic agriculture methods [which keeps pesticides and herbicides out of waterways]; helping 20 communities implement local water resource management plans; enabling 100 communities to take action against toxic industrial pollution and hundreds of other projects that have helped protect water rights and water access around the world.” …

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9 Months – 11 Buckets of Dirt

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There are many things in life that require patience: the growth of an embryo into a full-term baby, the long slog through a school year, the development of seedlings into luscious tomatoes … and the turning of garbage into rich, healthy soil.

In July of 2009, Joe built a compost bin in our backyard. It was a relatively simple structure that cost less than $100 (it could have been nearly free, if I hadn’t Freecycled the “extra” cinder blocks we thought we wouldn’t need again). We started dumping our food and garden waste — along with contributions from close neighbors — and didn’t give it too much thought.

When the pile grew to the top of the bin, we kept throwing in food. Mysteriously, all summer and into the fall, the pile never grew higher than the lid. We never stopped adding food and leaves and such — even paper towels and toilet paper rolls. We were careful, though, not to add newsprint or any paper with ink on it. Ours is an organic garden.

It wasn’t until winter set in solidly that we had to add more cinder blocks. That’s when the mass froze, and the pile stopped sinking down. (Thank you, Freecycle, for providing more blocks for the extra height.)

Spring finally rolled around, and, as our thoughts turned to gardening, Joe decided to dig out the pile.

Wow! …

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My 5: Dwayne Parks, Musician and Choreographer

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Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked choreographer Dwayne Parks two questions we like to ask all our interviewees. Following are his responses.

BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?

* Education is the vital factor, and beginning at the youngest age possible.

* Eliminate all products and companies that are not environmentally friendly….

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Notes from Canada – Good Luck, Earthlings

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Appearing in Toronto, award-winning author and columnist Gwynne Dyer delivered a dire report on Earth Day’s Eve. Along with Dyer, environmental lawyer and Canada’s Green Party leader, Elizabeth May, shared an urgent message. May warned that we have about a month to convince the Canadian media to convince the irresponsible Canadian government to put climate change on the agenda of the G20 meeting in Toronto in June 2010, or our great grandkids will not live in a civilised world.

The G20 allows the host nation to set the agenda. In June, the G20 meets in Toronto. Canada’s Prime Minister, arguably representing as much as 35% of Canada, will not put climate change on the G20 agenda for 2010. Canada has one month to make the change that will permit the G20 to act this year as a globally responsible organisation. Good luck, Earthlings….

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Fairfield Green Food Guide – A Resource for Local Foods

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Fairfield Green Food Guide started out as a service to Fairfield County residents. But people all over the state are now watching the blog’s founder, Analiese Paik, on New Channel 8′s Good Morning Connecticut. Paik, who is dedicated to offering her services for free just to spread the word about local foods, is becoming a household name and a helpful resource for locavores across the state.

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) spoke with Paik about the passion that drives her and what she hopes to accomplish with her website. Paik’s 18-hour days take her all over the county, partnering with nonprofit organizations and sharing the news about healthy, organic, and local foods.

But, what if you’re not from Connecticut, let alone Fairfield County? If you’re a fan of sustainable agriculture, Paik offers resources and ideas that you will surely find intriguing….

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Wembe Soaps – The “Wild Spirit of the Rainforest”

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Get “the wild spirit of the rainforest,” says Wembé about their handmade soaps. Each soap is crafted using plants native to Paraguay. The company sells 15 varieties of the Wembé soaps, ranging in price from $7.00 for the Coconut Exfoliating Blend to $10.85 for the Black Clay Exfoliating Blend.

I tested the Yerba Mate exfoliating blend, Green Blue River exfoliating blend, and White Rose cleansing blend. They all smelled beautiful and instantly softened my hands. Plus, they’re natural and made from organic ingredients. None of the soaps contain silicone, petroleum products, parabens, sulfates, or synthetic fragrances and dyes.

The soaps’ outer packagings were so pretty, I didn’t want to open them at first. When I did, I found one of the most unique products I’ve ever seen. The interesting swirls of color make the soaps look like they came directly from the rainforest. Since they’re natural and handmade, they all vary in shape and size, though the standard weight is 3.75 ounces.

The Yerba Mate soap is vegan and rich in antioxidants. It contains essential oils, exotic weeds, and crushed yerba mate leaves. Plus, its ability to exfoliate the leftover winter dryness from my hands will make it an Iowa essential for the upcoming December and January months. The cost of the Yerba Mate bar is $9.45 for 3.75 ounces….

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Old Clothes Cluttering Your Closet? Swap-O-Rama-Rama!

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I’ll bet you have clothes in your closet that you haven’t worn for years. And how about shoes? How many of those are cluttering your shoe rack or heaped on the floor?

The vast majority of people reading this post have clothes that you’ve forgotten about. What good are they doing cluttering up limited closet and drawer space? Isn’t it time to tell them to move along?

After all, someone, somewhere, would love to have a gently used pair of jeans in the size that no longer fits you. Or maybe they’d enjoy those black pumps you only wore a couple of times before deciding they’re not really your style. And that cool outfit you bought that turned out to look better in the magazine than it does on you? Yeah, somebody else would like that one, too.

Swap-O-Rama-Rama (SORR) is an event designed to solve the problem of too many clothes and too little space. At a Swap-O-Rama-Rama, you donate your lovingly worn or long-forgotten clothing at the event, then take home something that’s just right for you today….

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My 5: Duane Hallowell, President & CEO, Hallowell International

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Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked Duane Hallowell, President/CEO and co-founder of Hallowell International, the makers of Acadia, two questions we ask all our interviewees:

BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?

HALLOWELL: I focus on northern climates, so my responses are climate specific.

Mandate Weatherization. It’s a huge problem, and we need better programs in place to help guide people to making the right decisions — even going so far as to make laws to mandate how people are doing it. That is absolutely number one….

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Beyond the River Banks – IRR Annual Conference April 30 – May 2

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If you love Iowa’s rivers, you won’t want to miss the 5th annual conference hosted by Iowa Rivers Revival at the end of this month. The conference will be held from April 30 through May 2 in Cedar Falls and Waterloo. This year’s theme is “Beyond the River Banks: Celebrating Iowa’s Cedar Valley.”

As Iowans — and those who followed the severe Midwest flooding of 2008 — know, the Cedar Valley experienced historic water levels, reaching beyond the 500-year floodplain in Cedar Rapids and other places along the Cedar River watershed. The conference “emphasizes a watershed approach that recognizes that rivers and streams need space to expand and recede, coexisting in harmony with the communities and habitats they shape,” according to IRR’s executive director, Rosalyn Lehman.

“The floods of 2008 and threats of future flooding have many Iowans talking about a new vision for Iowa’s waterways to ensure the safety of river communities and to preserve and enhance Iowa’s natural heritage,” Lehman says….

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Edmonton, Alberta – The Festival City Goes Green!

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With more than 30 festivals going on throughout the year, Edmonton, Alberta, takes its nickname — Festival City — seriously. But what’s even better than a city that knows how to celebrate? A city that celebrates while respecting the environment.

Under a new initiative called EcoVision Edmonton, the city is working diligently to become environmentally sustainable. Spreading the word with the message Go Green! It’s Our Nature, the city is encouraging residents to be greener and more eco friendly every day. There are a host of environmental initiatives going on, including a push to reduce each resident’s carbon footprint through ZeroFootprint Edmonton.

In keeping with the theme of environmentalism spreading throughout the city, Edmonton is gearing up for four eco-friendly festivals that will appeal to young, old, and in-between. Consider making Edmonton your vacation destination this summer.
The Green Festival: July 18

The first of the four eco-friendly events is The Green Festival, to be held July 18 at the beautiful Devonian Botanic Garden. At The Green Festival, you’ll learn simple and practical ways to be more environmentally friendly and to reduce your carbon footprint. You’ll also take home a wide range of tips on green energy, eco-friendly housecleaning, recycling, making and using compost, environmentally friendly gardening, and more….

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Pop Opera ECOLOGIC Competes for Funds in Pepsi Project

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When I was a kindergartner in an inner city neighborhood of the Chicago Public Schools, my class was bussed downtown to see Rapunzel at one of the grand old theatres. From my nearly front-row seat, the magic of the theatre left a lasting impression on this kid from an economically challenged family.

That kind of magical experience is one Jay Nagle and Dwayne Parks would like to give to thousands of other kids in the Chicago Public Schools. Their goal is to produce free performances of Ecologic, their original musical with an environmental message, in Chicago’s Millennium Park. But their vision needs funding.

Parks and Nagle have entered the Pepsi Refresh Project contest to compete for a grant that would bring their project to life. Jay Nagle is a playwright, dance teacher, and director. His partner, Dwayne Parks, is a musician and composer. Together, they own Totally New Theatre and TKATS — Talented Kids, Adults, and TeenS — a nonprofit theatre arts organization that produces original musical performances. Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) spoke with the team to find out more about their musical and why they think their project merits your votes in Pepsi’s Planet category this month….

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Full-Circle Learning – Global Partnerships Unlock Potential

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After the 1992 civil unrest in South Central Los Angeles, a small grassroots group began an after-school program to show the children living in the area that diverse members of their community cared about them. Teresa Henkle Langness, who later founded Full-Circle Learning, was among them.

“Over time,” Langness says, “we began to see that what these children needed was to be a part of a community, to be a part of the solution, instead of feeling like victims of society’s ills.”

Langness adds, “When we began to incorporate character themes linked to local and global service within each lesson plan, the students’ scores suddenly began to leap. They became much better students, much better people. They began to teach their parents conflict resolution. Outside organizations in the community began to benefit from their work. Families wanted to replicate the model and began asking us for help in doing so.”

Today, Full-Circle Learning provides a full preschool-through-high school curriculum in 13 nations. Langness told Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL), “The mission of Full-Circle Learning is to help young people embrace their role as humanitarians and change agents. We do this through educational programs that integrate and expand students’ character strength, academic excellence, creative capacities, and conflict resolution skills.” …

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My 5: Anthony McCann, Creatition and Founder, Crafting Gentleness

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Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked Anthony McCann, who describes himself as the “creatition and founder” of Crafting Gentleness, two questions we ask the people we interview. McCann is also an accomplished musician and singer, as well as a lecturer at the University of Ulster. His responses, written using his native British spelling and punctuation, follow….

BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?

McCANN:

1. Stop trying to save the planet. This sounds a little counter-intuitive, but there are a few things behind my answer. The first is the idea that it’s not our job to save the planet — the planet doesn’t need us. It was here before us and will be around long after we go (and I’m guessing we eventually will). Second, trying to save anybody or anything often ends up with well-intentioned blindness, where I become so convinced that I’m on the Side of The Angels that I don’t think to question myself. That, then, all too easily comes with shoulds, musts, and have tos, directed at other people….

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Green Campus Project Wants Your Vote

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Have you ever had a dream about a great project that would benefit humanity? Maybe it was little more than an idea. Or maybe you actually got to the stage where you had it all planned out and ready to go, but the funding just wasn’t there.

That’s where Marty Leenhouts finds himself today. He has an idea about a Green Campus Project that will benefit college and university students, reduce emissions and traffic congestion, and make the world a little greener. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the funds to make his vision a reality.

But PepsiCo does. And Pepsi has invited people with vision to submit their own project ideas to the Pepsi Refresh Project, to compete for some pretty hefty cash prizes each month. Here’s the story of one of those projects, in the Planet category. As visionary Marty Leenhouts says, “The fulfillment of the Green Campus project will only happen with the winning of the contest.”

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked Leenhouts to tell us about his vision and what he hopes to accomplish with the Green Campus Project….

LEENHOUTS: I’m an educator by heart and by trade for many years, and so my interest has been with students for a long time. My involvement with electric transportation began with an interest in doing something good for the environment. I started it when gas was over $3 a gallon — about a year and a half ago.

People needed a different way to get around that was economical, clean, quiet, easy to ride. Nothing deluxe. Just to get from point A to point B. That got me involved in electric transportation….

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Lindsay Render, Contributing Writer

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Lindsay Render is a recent graduate from the University of Iowa with a degree in Anthropology.

She has a desire for knowledge and adventure. She is currently volunteering at the U of I Museum of Natural History….

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Try A Beautiful Life for Pretty Nails and Hair

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Do you wear nail polish? If you do, you’re certainly familiar with the toxic smells of both the polishes and the removers needed to take your polish off. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a non-toxic alternative? Turns out there is! …

Advertised as “long wearing” and “chip resistant,” A Beautiful Life lacquers come in a variety of shades and run $12 for a 12.6 ml bottle. I received two bold sample colors, “80’s Pink” and “Blues.” While these particular colors were not my personal favorites, a few others shown on the website caught my eye: “Venom,” “Silverado,” and “Envy.”

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