Iowa City Summer of the Arts Goes Green

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To get a sense of the strong community living in Iowa City, attend one of its summer festivals. This weekend, the annual Iowa City Jazz Festival will take over the downtown area and provide residents with delicious food, music, and the opportunity to learn about the environment.

Environmental education may not be what you expect to see at a festival. But, Iowa City’s summer events attract thousands of people, and that generates a lot of trash. To reduce the waste that Iowa City’s festivals send to the landfill, Summer of the Arts (SotA), the organization behind Iowa City’s festivals, has begun a program called Green Initiatives (GI)….

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Taproot Nature Experience Deepens Children’s Connection to the Natural World

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Taproot Nature Experience was founded on the simple idea that kids need to have time outdoors.

Launched in September 2007 by Zac Wedemeyer and his wife, Elesa, this Iowa City-based company has several different programs that connect children with nature: an after-school program; a summer camp; and Sprouts, a program for pre-school-aged children.

Wedemeyer says that kids used to be allowed to go outside more, but now parents are afraid to let their children out of the house alone. As a former elementary-school teacher, he saw firsthand how little time kids spend in nature and how much time they spend watching television and playing video games….

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Iowa Rivers Revival Invites You to Rivers Rock! September 11

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Whether you’re a paddler, a lover of rivers, or someone who wants to find out what all the fuss is about, Iowa Rivers Revival invites you to fall in love with Iowa’s rivers at Rivers Rock! Float and Music Fest on Saturday, September 11….

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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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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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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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Natural Living Expo, March 27 & 28 in Des Moines

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By the end of March, spring will be poking her head out from behind winter’s white dress. Leaves will begin to sprout, wearing a fleeting light-green that will deepen in hue by the time the summer arrives in all her glory. Ah, spring. What better time of year to be thinking about gardening, fresh produce, and delicious natural foods?

And what better event than the Natural Living Expo to entice sun-starved Midwesterners out of hibernation?

The Fifth Annual Natural Living Expo, to be held March 27 and 28 at the Polk County (Iowa) Convention Center, promises to be bigger and even more exciting than in previous years. The Expo features natural, organic, and sustainable companies and products, live entertainment for kids and adults, and a speaker series on topics related to sustainabilty and health/wellness….

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Community Colleges Offer “Green” Classes for Kids and Adults

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Teaching renewable energy at community colleges is nothing new, according to Carolyn Teich, senior program associate from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Such courses have actually been in community college curricula for about 30 years.

But there is also a wave of new courses designed for people who want to live more sustainably. For example, Kirkwood Community College — which primarily offers classes on its Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, campuses — launched a Go Green initiative this past fall in its Continuing Education department.

A team looks at trends in the market to develop new programs for the school, says Kim Johnson, the associate vice president of continuing education programming. Part of her job is to work with that team.

Programs are planned a year in advance, she says. About a year ago, the Kirkwood team discussed the increased emphasis on “green” — especially green jobs — because of the Obama administration’s support of renewable energy technology in the Stimulus package. She also felt the community had an increased interest in sustainability and saving money….

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Benefit for American Red Cross at Devotay This Sunday

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Devotay, 117 N. Linn Street, Iowa City, Iowa, launched Benefit Sundays last month to give back to the community by partnering with a local charity.

This Sunday, the restaurant is partnering with the American Red Cross’ Haiti Relief Fund. According to Devotay line cook, Jeremy Tole, the restaurant had taken 10 benefit reservations for about 25 patrons as of Friday night. They’re hoping for even more people to designate their reservations in the name of this Haiti relief effort.

Haiti is the hemisphere’s poorest nation, and many survivors have no access to water, food, shelter, or healthcare, according to Devotay’s website. The charity proceeds from Sunday’s meal will assist the American Red Cross in their work with earthquake victims in Haiti….

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Farmers’ Markets – Delicious Produce and a Whole Lot More

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Shopping at a farmers’ market — a staple of village life throughout history — is healthier for you while also being a socially and environmentally responsible act for your community. Buying locally grown food direct from the producer ensures that the produce you purchase is fresher — therefore, more nutritious, with superior taste and texture — than anything you’d be able to buy from a supermarket. Keeping food dollars circulating locally directly benefits your local economy. And, by not shipping produce over long distances, you reduce both fuel and excess packaging, which benefits the environment….

After visiting at least a dozen Chicago area farmers’ markets over the past few months, Blue Planet Green Living’s Chicago-based crew has selected two of our favorites for an in-depth look. Among the longest-running and best-attended markets in the metro area, they offer not only a superior selection of quality goods, but also a number of educational and special programs that benefit their communities. …

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Wilson’s Apple Orchard – Eco-Friendly Farming Yields Bumper Crop of Family Fun

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Drive a little more than 4 miles north out of Iowa City on Highway 1. Turn east down Dingleberry Road for a little less than a mile, and take a right down an unpaved road. Soon you arrive at Wilson’s Apple Orchard, a local Iowa City landmark that you won’t soon forget. Ask just about anyone in the Iowa City – Solon area, and they’ll tell you about a family outing they took to Wilson’s when they were kids, about their own child’s recent preschool field trip, or a romantic apple-picking outing with their date. Young and old, Wilson’s Apple Orchard figures into the fond memories of generations of Iowans.

Paul Rasch bought the grounds from previous owners, Robert “Chug” and Joyce Wilson, last year. When asked about the environmental practices he is putting in place in his new venture, Rasch comments that there are three main environmental concerns associated with farming: manure, erosion, and pesticides. Wilson’s Apple Orchard has no livestock, so manure is not a concern. Rasch does no tilling, so the soil is stable. That leaves only pesticides to deal with…

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Farm to Table’s 100-Mile Menu Coming Soon to NYC

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Orchestrated by Great Performances, Farm To Table conducts the 100-Mile Menu, bringing fresh, seasonal, local foods from New York State farms within reach of New York City slickers — coming soon…

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Carbon Day Chicago Promises “Music And More For A Better World”

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This past May, the Illinois State Legislature was among the most recent legislative bodies to designate September 15 as Carbon Day, an official State holiday. State Representative Karen May and State Senator Susan Garrett sponsored the resolution.

Illinois’ Carbon Day festivities will coincide with other activities around the globe. The kickoff event will take place in Chicago at Lincoln Park, and will feature live music, a tree tour with arborist Jose Eduardo Medina, and possibly a speech by a politician involved in environmental issues, according to Brae Hattaway, the coordinator of the event. “We put a lot of effort into getting Carbon Day moving, and we got done really quickly,” said Hattaway, referring to the upcoming Chicago event. “The time to do this is now…”

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Cap Recycling Project Earns State Fair Invitation for Young Environmentalist

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Many of us begin the journey to environmentalism as adults. Others start when they are still children. Recently, Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) had the privilege of interviewing 11-year-old Jack Potter, a soon-to-be 6th grader, who began his environmental journey by collecting and recycling #5 plastic bottle caps. Jack didn’t just collect a few bottle caps, he saved nearly 1,000. And this week at his county fair, he earned the right to exhibit his project at the Iowa State Fair. Jack’s determination to make a difference impressed us, so we asked him to share a bit of his story. — Publisher

BPGL: What was the purpose of your recycling project?

POTTER: My goal for the project was to raise awareness of the fact that plastic caps are almost never recycled. When they’re not recycled, they end up in landfills or in the ocean, and that’s bad for the environment…

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Kiawah Island Golf Resort – An Eco-Friendly Vacation Choice

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Picture yourself at a lush island resort. The melodic call of sea birds and the sound of breaking waves beckon to you. Nature’s splendor surrounds you in all directions. Three bountiful meals await you at your choice of 12 dining venues. Your hotel room features luxurious furniture and every amenity you could ask for. The golf course is minutes from your door. If this sounds like an idyllic vacation spot, it is; South Carolina’s Kiawah Island Golf Resort is all this and more …

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Green Festival in Chicago May 16, 17

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If you’ll be in Illinois this weekend, head on over to Navy Pier to attend Chicago’s third annual Green Festival, May 16 and 17. Billed as the “original green consumer living event,” the weekend will provide “a vision of a cleaner, more efficient future for American businesses, homes, and lifestyles.”…

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My 5: Green Summit, University of Iowa, Iowa City

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On Sunday, Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) joined local environmental organizations to participate in a Green Summit on the University of Iowa campus. The event was part of a campus kickoff for Earth Week, featuring speakers and activities for students and the Iowa City community.
Sponsored by the University of Iowa’s Office of Sustainability, the Green Summit was intended as “an academic conference created to empower student environmental leaders and equip them with practical social, scientific, political and business skills to put their passion into practice.”…

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SIP Global to Host Green Trade Show and Conference

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“We believe the answer for a better future relies on the availability of environmentally friendly products for everyone’s everyday use…. A real shift in the current situation will only occur when manufacturers worldwide understand how important it is — and how profitable it can be — to invest in new products and technologies that will improve and protect our environmental condition.” — Julio Marchi, SIP Global – The Green Foundation

BPGL spoke by phone with Julio Marchi, CEO of SIP Global – The Green Foundation. We wanted to know about SIP Global’s upcoming conference, as well as what the foundation is doing to further green products.

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WaterPartners’ World Water Day Art Show and Sale

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Going to Kansas City? If you’ll be there anytime this month, be sure to check out WaterPartners’ art show and sale at the Crosstown Station (1522 McGee Street), Kansas City, MO. The show began March 4, and will be on display throughout the month. Artwork will be on sale Thursday, March 12, from 6 – 10 p.m.

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Big Green Festival to Promote Sustainable Living (and Fun!)

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Lest anyone labor under the false impression that going green has to be deadly serious business, we wanted to pass along the following announcement about what promises to be a fantastically fun eco-event. Should you happen to be in the the South Manchester area the first weekend in April, you won’t want to miss this delightful day of festiviities. — Julia Wasson

Chorlton’s Big Green Festival, a brand-new date in South Manchester’s calendar, is inviting local residents to get on their bikes and join in Chorlton’s first-ever Big Green Bike Parade….

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