Posts Tagged ‘Treehugger’

Green Gift Monday

‘Tis the season to be shopping … and The Nature Conservancy is encouraging holiday shoppers to be more environmentally-responsible this year by proclaiming next Monday, November 29th “Green Gift Monday.”

The idea is to direct some of the considerable energy (and money) that many of us spend on holiday shopping toward choosing gifts that are environmentally-efficient, responsible and meaningful (Timberland Earthkeepers boots made with recycled materials, for example).  For inspiration, check out these green gift giving ideas from our friends at The Daily Green, blissmo, and Treehugger.

The Nature Conservancy’s website is chock full of additional gift giving ideas, as well as information and inspiration for making the rest of your holiday season green.

Have other thoughts on how to make your holidays more meaningful and less environmentally-impactful?  Share them with us here.

Room with a View … and a Schwinn

We haven’t been this excited about free hotel amenities since high-speed internet access:  hotels across the country are now getting on the bicycle bandwagon and offering free bike use to hotel guests. 

Photo courtesy of Hotel Occidental

We’ve shared stories before about the benefits of bike sharing; the Green Bike Share program at UC Berkeley, for example, rents bicycles out as an environmentally and traffic-friendly alternative to students … and last summer, Earthkeeper Heroes The Canary Project reported on similar free or low-cost bike rental programs they discovered in places like Seville and Barcelona.

How exciting to learn we don’t have to fly to Spain to get the same experience of sight seeing on two wheels.  Courtesy of our friends over at TreeHugger, here are just a few US destinations willing to give you a bike with your bed:

Boston’s Liberty Hotel
The Bowery Hotel, New York
The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs
San Diego’s Hotel Occidental

Now if we could just do something about those pesky mini-bar charges …

Trees4Love

Candy and flowers are so passé.  Thanks to our friends at Treehugger for uncovering an environmentally-affectionate alternative for showing your love this Valentine’s Day:

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is giving new meaning to loving trees in their Trees4Love campaign in Kenya. Over 5,000 trees are planned to take root in the Karura Forest in Kenya to fight climate change, promote carbon sequestration and help clean up the Karura River. The official loving ceremony will take place, fittingly, on February 14, 2009. This is part of the larger Plant for the Planet: Billion Trees Campaign.

Several thousand people are expected to attend the event and plant trees in memory of loved ones and out of their love for the planet. The Billion Trees Campaign has thus far planted 2.6 billion trees out of their goal of 7 billion by 2009 (one tree for every inhabitant on the planet). Thus far, Ethiopia has planted the most trees of any country for this campaign – over 700 million trees total.

The ceremony is open for anyone to attend and will take place in the Karura Forest from 1pm to 5:30pm.: UNEP Trees4Love.

The Downside of Development

This recent essay on CNN.com by Elizabeth Economy highlights the parallel paths of economic development and environmental crisis in China.  Every day, 14,000 new cars are added to China’s roads and every 7 to 10 days, another coal-fired power plant opens to help fuel the country’s economic growth.  Although a success story in its rapid development, China also serves as a warning as the environmental costs of that development unfold.

The essay is accompanied by this slideshow of dramatic images from China’s Huai River Basin, a rural area heavily impacted by water pollution, taken by photojournalist Stephen Voss.  The essay and photos also appear in the book “What Matters” by David Elliot Cohen.

Treehugger’s Matthew McDermott blogged about the topic earlier this week, suggesting that in light of the environmental damage that sometimes results from economic development, “we need a new meaning for ‘developed,’ a new measurement of wealth.”  It’s an interesting notion: wealth is so often measured, not just in China but throughout the world, by the amount of material goods you have, the size of your home, the number of cars in your garage … the degree to which you’re able to live excessively.  At present, we don’t live in a world that values conservation as much as consumerism.

We look forward to the day when wealth is measured by the weight of your recyclables … or how small your electric bill is … or the number of miles you log on your feet or a bike instead of in a car.  Until then, our thanks to Treehugger for inspiring us to think about it.

Even the Dictionary is Going Green

According to our friends at Treehugger, the 11th edition of the Chambers dictionary is now available — and includes some of our most favorite phrases:

The fact that environmental terms like these are working their way into mainstream culture and language is a positive sign; awareness begets action … and action creates impact.

If the Chambers dictionary editors are open to suggestions for the 12th edition, we’ve got one: it’s a 12-letter word that starts with “E” and means, “keepers of the earth” … 

 

Do Small Steps Count Toward Saving the World?

We were interested to read this recent post on WorldChanging, which poses a question about the role of green consumerism in creating truly notable environmental change. 

The debate centers around a report issued by WWF which suggests that “marketing” approaches to creating environmentally-responsible behavior change are inadequate, and that the consumer-friendly message that small and painless steps can ultimately lead to larger-scale impact is misguided. 

The WWF report and subsequent blog post led to a healthy debate on whether small steps can actually save the world.  Comments following the WorldChanging blog post ranged from “there’s nothing small about individuals taking personal responsibility” to “the huge problems facing us cannot be solved with the use of ‘greener’ bulbs.”  Following WorldChanging’s post, Treehugger also weighed in, stating, “To deride a small step as useless is to deride a single vote as ineffective, but that is what will make change happen.”

Clearly, a hot topic for Earthkeepers everywhere … and we think that’s a good thing.  The more voices lending insight and opinion to the discussion, the more we collectively learn … and the more ideas we generate about how to solve the problem.  Our thanks to WorldChanging for stirring the pot.