Black Friday a.k.a. the day after Thanksgiving a.k.a. one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Stampedes, traffic jams in parking lots, and BIG sales. I've never been one to brave the shopping crowds; I always devoted the day after Turkey Day to alternating between stuffing my face with leftovers and lying on the couch in a carb and tryptophan coma, but Black Friday is incredibly popular. Over recent years, there's been a Black Friday backlash and Adbusters dubbed the day Buy Nothing Day.
Obviously, shopping on Black Friday is not the eco-friendliest way to spend a day. But, let's say you wake up the morning after Thanksgiving, pumped up on adrenaline and ready to shop 'til you drop. How can you make your Black Friday shopping spree a little greener?
Cheese begins with milk, as most people know. But vinegar is a key ingredient that really gets the process going. Vinegar is what encourages the milk to curdle and give cheese an acidic flavor. Before vinegar, bacteria was used to produce the acid. Using bacteria is a lengthier process and the cheese continues to increase in flavor as it ages. Some of the most expensive cheeses are still made with acid-producing bacteria instead of vinegar.
Many cheeses can be made with vinegar, including the simplest of all, cottage cheese. Cottage cheese does not require rennet, which is an enzyme that helps to harden the cheese curds. This enzyme is derived from calf stomachs, as they have natural enzymes for processing cow milk. But rennet, as well as acid-producing bacteria, is temperature sensitive and requires several steps in processing. Vinegar bypasses several of these steps, leading straight to the cooking step. Harder cheeses also require the time-consuming process of draining, pressing, and drying the cheese, in addition to aging for several months.... read more
Look into getting a local free range turkey. You may need to order one in advance, so start making calls now! Lower your Thanksgiving's carbon footprint, support small farms, and buy one that was humanely raised. (Skipping the turkey is the most eco-friendly option, but for big family get togethers, it's not terribly realistic)
Make as much at home as possible. Things like cranberry sauce often come in cans, creating more waste. Find some fresh cranberries and make your own sauce. (And if you're near cranberry bogs, get some yummy local ones!)
Use up the whole turkey. My husband loves those giblets, but I can't stomach them. You can always use them to cook things like gravy. As for the bones and stuff, consider making some soup the following day. My husband is half Chinese, so his tradition is to make jook (Chinese porridge) the next day with the turkey carcass. Check out this recipe.
The time to think about cooling is when it’s cool, not hot. So begin preparing for a cooler summer now and through the spring. Doing so will have you sitting pretty when the thermostat starts hitting its July and August highs.
The methods you choose will depend on several variables, not the least of which is your own internal thermostat. Some people can tolerate more heat than others. If you’re not afraid of a little perspiration, for example, any number of low-tech solutions may be all you need. As a bonus, low-tech tends to be greener and less expensive than mechanical solutions. If your tolerance to heat is low, or if you live in a climate where the heat is relentless, choose from one of several central air conditioning systems. They are quieter and more efficient than window air conditions and won’t obstruct your windows. They’re also more secure, giving intruders one less way to break into your home.... read more
For years the use of aerosol cans, chemicals and acidic substances made up the majority of cleaning products on the market. However, the eco mentality seems to have gained some ground in the market place. From eco steam carpet care cleaners to eco steam mops, more and more eco-friendly products are appearing on the market.
One problem, a lot of these tools tend to be on the expensive side. There are a number of alternatives to this for example carpet cleaner hire services at a reasonable price that really are worth looking into. However, for some this seems a lot of trouble for just wanting your carpet clean. So I’ve devised this starter guide to becoming eco-friendly without spending a fortune utilising the products within your home.... read more
We may still be struggling to find a way to power the planet without burning everything in sight, but at least there are a few green companies out there that are succeeding. What’s most annoying about the pollution and exploitation involved in the global fashion trade, apart from the obvious, is that it is all completely avoidable. OK, so a few fat cats may earn a couple of million less at the end of the year, but surely it’d be worth it, even for them? A handful of modern fashion designers believe it is, and they’re shaking things up by creating beautiful products, from recycled and re-purposed materials. Not only are their products ethical, but so too are their manufacturing processes. The cynical amongst you will be thinking, as did I, that this is just another gimmick, a passing trend; “Yeh man, let’s make eco-friendly products. We’ll make a fortune!” And maybe it is, but so what? I don’t really care if these companies are in it just to make money. I only care that they are changing people’s perception of the fashion industry. Removing us away from the throw-away society we’ve been championing for the last five decades. These are the designers and companies that are going to take the world of fashion to the where it should be - ethical, sustainable, and fashionable - and, yes, profitable. Let’s take a look at a few of the leading lights.
People Tree – Everyday, Fairtrade Fashion
These guys were one of the first companies to make the step into fair-trade fashion. They only use fair trade materials and natural dyes, and always source locally. Part of their desire to trade fairly means that they work with some twenty developing countries across the globe. Because of their authentic credentials they’ve been able to team up with uber-cool designers and companies, such as Bora Aksu and many others. If you’re looking for the real deal, you’ve found it.
Their complete range of everyday-casual fashion can be purchased directly from their website. Prices range from £20 - £250... read more
Summer’s just gone by and Christmas is already upon us. It happens every year—the holidays come in the blink of an eye. The air is buzzing with excitement as our family and friends prepare Christmas parties and gatherings. It’s always nice to travel for the holidays, away from our daily lives. If you find yourself in the English capital looking for an eco-friendly London hotel, you won’t be disappointed. Whether it’s for New Year’s or Christmas, travelling green will always make you feel better. Here are the top 5 environmentally friendly hotels in London.... read more
Aside from helping conserve the environment around us, there are many pluses sprouting up from increased awareness on eco-friendly how-to’s, habits and just general recycling mentalities. They can be found with how we drive or arrive at a particular destination. Or how we reuse items we took for granted and disposed of in the past. If you stare long and hard at any given task for a good amount of time, there’s a green initiative hiding somewhere inside.
Like moving into a new home or apartment.
Now, no one’s really running through the streets expressing their love for moving, now are they? Truth be told, it’s one process stacked on top of another that’s more or less one big cluster both with packing and unpacking. Some might just opt to let the professionals come in and handle the situation, while others will take the task on their own (and hopefully with a few helping hands). ... read more
In the last 18 months the UK has seen a rise in the number of community solar PV installation projects across the country. With Government schemes such as the FiT (Feed in Tariff) and Renewable Heat incentive, coupled with a drop in installation prices, investing in solar for non-domestic buildings is an attractive option. The community solar movement is fast gathering speed: the visibility of solar panels on the roofs of schools, church halls, housing associations and energy cooperatives is inspiring others to follow suit. Solar is one of the most accessible routes to the micro generation of sustainable low carbon power. And, not only do these kinds of projects mean that communities reduce their carbon emissions, and lower their bills, they also divert power away from the ‘Big Six’ energy companies controlling 99% of UK supplies back into the hands of the local people.
In his seminal book Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered E.F. Schumacher wrote that the future health of mankind, and the planet, depended on us working together on a smaller, more appropriate scale. He believed that the way forward was for communities to take control of their local economies, technologies, and renewable energy generation. In this way, things function on a human, rather than corporate scale: people need to have a say, and a stake in local ownership and local government to feel engaged, connected and valued. Although his book was written nearly half a century ago, it is particularly pertinent today. ... read more
The effects of human activity on the environment are real, and homeowners are increasingly looking for ways to make their homes greener without making dramatic lifestyle changes. By decreasing energy and water use, you can make a significant environmental impact. However, this doesn’t mean that your family doesn’t have to resort to sitting in the dark or hand-pumping water out of a well. By utilizing green appliances in the home, you can make a significant impact.
But what exactly are green appliances? These types of appliances use less electricity and water to run. As a result, your individual home needs are far less than someone who uses old appliances. Overtime, you will see dramatic differences between your family’s electricity and water consumption. Some of the best ways to tell this difference is on a yearly basis. For example, the amount of resources you use for the month of December this year will likely be less than that of last December when you used outdated appliances.... read more