International Women’s Day Event to Celebrate Ugandan Hero

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In an early celebration of International Women’s Day, Blue Planet Green Living is partnering with A GEM of An Idea to host a live and interactive, online forum featuring the subject of this post, Agnes Nyamayarwo, founder of Mulago Positive Women’s Network.

We’re focusing on Agnes — both here and in the online forum — to celebrate her singular accomplishments as a woman of initiative, courage, and strength.

We invite you to join us February 26, 2011 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. EST to speak with Agnes Nyamayarwo live from Uganda via the Internet.

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Torie Halbert – Designing for Eco-Conscious Luxury

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Torie Halbert, a finalist on Home & Garden Television’s Design Star and owner of To the T. Interiors, has a favorite tip for redecorating in an eco-friendly way: repurposing. Reusing old furniture and materials is not only environmentally friendly, she says, “It’s also stylish.”

In 2009, the Houston native finished in the top four of HGTV’s Design Star reality show. Halbert has received multiple honors from PRISM, Parade of Homes, Houston’s Best Awards, and was named 2009’s Most Dynamic Woman in Houston. She works as a custom home designer and strives to be environmentally conscious with her designs.

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Ecotourists Save the World

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If you could help save wildlife and their habitats from destruction, would you do it? What if it involved traveling to a far-off location to live in relatively primitive conditions, work long hours, and complete difficult, sometimes dangerous, tasks? Oh, and you might have to pay to do it.

Is that your idea of a good time? Then Ecotourists Save the World is a book you’ll want to read.

In partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, writer Pamela Brodowsky has compiled an extensive resource of volunteer opportunities to protect wildlife around the world. You’ll find, as the subtitle says, “More Than 300 International Adventures to Conserve, Preserve, and Rehabilitate Wildlife and Habitats.”

In the introduction, Brodowsky writes,

“Did you know … one in three amphibians, nearly half of all turtles and tortoises, one in four mammals, one in five sharks and rays, and one in eight bird species are now considered at risk of extinction? Habitat destruction, exploitation, pollution, and climate change are taking their toll on our world’s species and the places that they inhabit.”

The cool thing is, you can do something about it….

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Small Footprints – At Home on the Sea

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In the first part of our discussion with Linda and Rick Clayton, Linda talked about being “able to go where the wind goes.” Despite the tight quarters on a sailboat, there are loads of personal advantages to this lifestyle, as she and Rick point out.

This is part two of our two-part conversation with the Claytons. Get ready to relax, put on your deck shoes, and take a virtual sail on Sojourner.

BPGL: Where is your favorite place to drop anchor and just stay awhile?

LINDA: I like the beaches in the Bahamas, but every time we get to a new anchorage, we say, “Wow! This is so beautiful!” And it has so many wonderful features that maybe the other ones don’t have. It’s hard to say there’s any one place; each place is a wonderful place because of its uniqueness….

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Small Footprints – Cruising with the Claytons

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When Rick and Linda Lacy Clayton decided four years ago to retire on a sailboat, they didn’t do it with the intention of becoming environmentalists. But what they’ve learned since is that their very survival — and their finances — depend on their ability to sustain themselves with minimal fuel, power, and water.

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) spoke with the Claytons to learn how the experience of living on their sailboat, Sojourner, has changed their daily habits and taught them to keep a small (wet) footprint. The Claytons hail from Dallas, Texas, where Rick retired as a policeman, then spent eight years as a truck driver, and Linda retired from a career in marketing….

BPGL: What a life you have! How did you decide to live on a sailboat?

RICK: We both had some experience sailing. The first vacation after we got married, we chartered a sailboat down in the British Virgin Islands for a week — the two of us on a 35-foot boat. Of course, I knew I was going to love it. On the way back, Linda said, “How soon can we sell everything, buy a boat, and take off?” …

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KSCA Would “Change the Paradigm” to Protect Kids’ Health

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When it was enacted in 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) automatically assumed that some 62,000 chemicals were safe, even though their effects on humans had never even been tested. Equally scary, as each new chemical is introduced, the burden of proof rests on the EPA to show that a chemical is hazardous in order to restrict its use — and that, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “rarely happens.”

If enacted, the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act (KSCA) would change the process of approving chemicals for the marketplace in several significant ways. According to CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, in a recent television broadcast, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) will soon reintroduce the bill proposing KSCA, which would change “the paradigm from innocent until proven guilty to guilty until proven innocent, in the sense that [a chemical] has to be tested before it can actually come to market.” …

To find out more about the health risks facing our children from toxic chemicals and why KSCA should be enacted, interested persons are invited to attend Dr. Landrigan’s talk, sponsored by the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Title: “Children’s Health and the Environment: Target for Prevention”

Speaker: Dr. Philip Landrigan

Date: March 19, 2010

Time: 3:30 – 4:30, Reception to follow

Location: Livestrong Board Room, 2201 E. 6th St., Austin, TX

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“Recycle Your Imagination” with Vocal Trash

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Texas-based Vocal Trash uses some pretty odd materials to make music. They describe themselves as an a capella production that uses instruments made out of trash.

Yes, trash.

If you attend a Vocal Trash concert, you’re likely to see instruments made from car parts, water bottles, pots and pans, buckets, and brooms. It’s not exactly what you might expect for musical instruments, but this is a trademark that the group is genuinely proud of. …

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Green Weddings Begin with “Responsible Gold”

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When Matt White and his girlfriend decided to marry, they looked for wedding rings that were made in an environmentally responsible way. “We were aware that there were issues associated with gold mining, and we started looking for wedding rings that we could feel good about, that were made with responsible gold. We couldn’t find any. So we got married without any rings at all — and started greenKarat,” White said in an interview with Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL).

We had contacted White after accidentally coming across his greenKarat website. We were intrigued by the beautiful designs, and by the fact that customers could actually send in old family jewelry to be re-crafted into new wedding bands. We also wanted to know what makes “responsible gold” different from other gold and why consumers need to know about it. What we learned gave us a whole new perspective on the romance (and responsibilities) of wedding rings….

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Purple Fig – Austin’s Green Cleaning Company with a Heart

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“Purple Fig is a natural cleaning service in the greater Austin area — all the clean with none of the chemicals,” said owner Amanda May. “We make and use only green cleaning products, which we ship nationwide. We provide free recipes for everything we sell, and we’ll teach anyone how to make what we sell. Our goal is to create healthy, clean homes.”

A green cleaning company that gives away its trade secrets? When we heard about ecopreneur Amanda May and her Purple Fig Cleaning Cooperative, we were intrigued by both her green-cleaning methods and her business model. We wanted to know what drives a businessperson to be so generous with the information most companies would keep to themselves. We spoke with May by phone from her Austin, Texas, home.

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My 5: Hector Hernández

March 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, Green Living, My 5, Texas

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Blue Planet Green Living asked Hector Hernandez of the Texas AgriLife Extension Center, “What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?”

HECTOR HERNÁNDEZ:

* Recycle whatever you can in your community: glass, paper, plastic, etc.

* Be more mindful of water usage. Right now, we’re in a drought situation in Texas, so we’re careful when we water the garden plots and make sure we don’t over water….

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Green Living Begins with a Barr Mansion Organic Wedding

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As consumers opt for more earth-friendly choices at home, many are also requesting organic foods at restaurants. But to date, only one venue we know of provides brides and grooms with a fully organic wedding — and all in a setting as gorgeous as any fairytale. Located just outside Austin, Texas, the Barr Mansion is the only certified organic special events facility in the nation. We spoke with Melanie McAfee, co-owner of the Barr Mansion, along with her husband, Mark.

We asked Melanie about the process of going fully organic and what this means to their staff and their clients. But going organic isn’t the owners’ only consideration: They’re striving to buy locally — or at least in the US — and reduce their carbon footprint, all while offering wedding memories to last a lifetime.

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Green Corps Volunteers: “Being the Change” in the World

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“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi.

Caitlin Seeley, 23, from Boulder, Colorado, decided that hand-wringing about climate change and other environmental crises was not going to work for her. She wanted to “be the change,” in Gandhi’s words, rather than waiting for someone else to fix the world’s environmental problems. So, she joined the non-profit, activist group, Green Corps, and is busy “being the change” every day. “Organizing as a career, as a job, enables you to make an important impact on lots of people, communities, and the world,” Caitlin said in her recent interview with Blue Planet Green Living.

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Uptown Eco-Wellness Bazaar, March 21, 2009 in Dallas, TX

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It is no secret that change is the only option for a healthier way of living. But in a timid economy, even the most dedicated consumers begin to ask, “How?” Several Dallas-area artists, designers, and retailers will assemble on March 21st with an answer to that question: The Uptown Eco-Wellness Bazaar. The event offers an abundance of organic, handmade, fair trade selections and services from local small business.

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Dallas Cowboys Go Blue (with a Greener Stadium)

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It’s time for Super Bowl XLIII, and the NFL is powering the entire event with renewable energy, as well as planting trees to offset carbon created by activities related to the big game. For 16 years, “going green” has been a part of planning and producing the Super Bowl. But the Super Bowl isn’t the only green venue in the NFL world.

In a press release last October, the Dallas Cowboys, along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced that the Cowboys were on a path “to be the first sports stadium to gain recognition in the EPA’s National Environmental Performance Track program.” This bold action is in conjunction with the design and construction of the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium, which will be open for business in Arlington, Texas next summer.

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My 5: Elizabeth Frisch, Culture Technologies

January 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Consultants, Ecopreneurs, Engineers, Front Page, My 5, Texas

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Blue Planet Green Living asked Elizabeth Frisch, founder and president of Culture Technologies, “What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?”
* Eat less and lose weight. We eat 30-50 percent more calories than we need! That’s a lot of environment used up to produce that food!…

* Drive less or more fuel efficiently. Bike, walk, carpool, telecommute, trip chain, plan your trips. Buy an electric bike, if it’s too far….

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Culture Change Drives Environmental Improvement

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“What I’m doing is socially engineering organizations by working with employees so they can shift their company culture and drive business performance — and even personal performance,” says Elizabeth Frisch, president of Culture Technologies, Inc. and director of development for A Nurtured World. “

One of the things we’re committed to is inspiring people, enrolling them, and getting them connected with their passions in the workplace. This is just like we do on the consumer side with A Nurtured World, getting people to commit to green living in their home, so that being environmental is not about suffering, deprivation, and something else that is on my To-Do list. Instead, you create space around it, so that it’s this open frontier. There’s all this possibility!”

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My 5: Susan Roothan, A Nurtured World

January 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, My 5, Texas

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Blue Planet Green Living asked Susan Roothaan, Executive Director of A Nurtured World in Austin, Texas, “What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?”
1. Slow down — inside and out. Pay attention to your families. Educate your kids. Don’t rush to the store every five minutes. Don’t run out when you’re bored.

2. Be accountable. Do something measurable. Quit talking about it and do it. There’s a lot of talking and not a lot of This is what I’m going to do and by when….

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My 5: Mike Frisch, 1 House at a Time

December 31, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, My 5, Texas

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Blue Planet Green Living asked Mike Frisch, Founder of 1 House at a Time, in Austin, Texas, “What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?”
These are in no particular order:

* Reduce your own footprint. That’s where you should start.

* Volunteer [with an organization] or start your own volunteer effort.

* Consider a career in which you can make a difference in the environment.

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My 5: Effie Brunson, Rays of Hope

December 31, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, My 5, Texas

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Blue Planet Green Living asked Effie Brunson, Development Director and Founder, Rays of Hope in Austin, Texas, “What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?”
EFFIE BRUNSON:

I’ll give these in reverse order, with the least important first:

5. Plan your trips; drive less.

4. Buy intelligently; be an informed consumer.

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Save the Planet (and Money) by Living Your Values

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“It doesn’t matter if you think you’re an environmentalist,” says Susan Roothaan, executive director of A Nurtured World, “your footprint isn’t proportional to your opinions and views, but to your income level. I’ve seen some conservatives with lower carbon footprints than radical leftists. People’s actions don’t always follow their opinions.”

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