Tag Archives: green tips

Mechanized Insects, Please Buy Me Something Green and Rent A Living Tree

Grasshopper by Mike Libby

Plaid pants aside, I really have found the perfect gift for the man who has everything. Because he most certainly has never had, doesn’t currently have and should definitely have one of the amazing creations by Mike Libby. In Libby, I have found yet another genre-bending artist who takes design, creativity and reuse to an entirely new level. Libby takes real (not live) insects and crustaceans, intact, and mechanizes them. Yep. Puts moving parts in and about and on them to make them, well, really cool. Read an article on his work from 1800recycling.com, where I learned about Libby, or check out Insect Lab and his entire collection and read more about his extensive body of work. I think he and Edouard Martinet should have a show together. In my living room.

Speaking of my living room, there is a sweet little *plastic Christmas tree in its corner, thanks to the generous offer of my neighbor. But I know some of you don’t have tree-giving neighbors and haven’t yet done the one thing everyone expects you to do: (besides go to college, get married and have kids) Put a Christmas tree in your living room. Here’s a new find, a place out of San Jose, where you can rent a living Christmas tree, and if you are so inclined, they’ll tag your tree and you can get the same one year after year. How cool is that?

Now, you’ll need presents to put under that tree. Treehugger, inhabitat, 1800recycling, The Daily Green, and uncommon goods all have fabulous green gift lists, so check them out. Jessica Bates of 1800recycling.com gives us a few tips on eco-friendly gift wrap and Green Halloween made a video on wrapping with fabric, that quite frankly, makes me think twice about ever using tape and scissors again – and I like tape and scissors.

For a gift that needs no wrapping, give a tree dedication from treepeople.org: “A Tree Dedication gift starts at $25 for one tree and the recipient will receive a personalized greeting card. Multiple trees can be dedicated, or for a gift of $100 a special certificate announcing a grove of trees will be sent to the recipient.” I want a grove of trees in my name!

For gifts that give back: often times a buy one and one will be donated scenario. How can you not?

For gifts that don’t require wrapping or the giving of stuff. This is a Jocelyn favorite.

For the kiddies: Green gifts for children from Treehouse gifts in Berkeley.

*Remember how I said that living trees and even cut-down trees are better than plastic? Well, they are, but anything second-hand trumps anything new.

-Jocelyn Broyles


Getting There

I’m going to go look at a new-to-me car after work today, in the hopes that it will be pretty enough, new-ish enough and run well enough that I can buy it, love it, keep it and convert it to compressed natural gas.

Having lived in Costa Rica for the better part of the last decade, I am thrilled with the vast amounts of road, the smooth pavement, the wide lanes – for that matter, the multiple lanes – in both directions. I am currently driving a Honda Accord, which is a great little car, but I want to take full (and non-guilty) advantage of the resources and tarmac available to me here in what we used to affectionately (and rather wistfully) call The Land of Plenty.

That title held a bit of awe, a bit of yearning and a bit of sadness. On our return trips to the US, we would inevitably be drawn to stores: great, vast, housings of any and all and everything you could ever want, at any hour of the day. But the excess led us to be a little sad and a little homesick for our local market that rarely had two of the same product and certainly didn’t hold regular, much less late, hours.

So, upon my move back to the states, I decided that while I would revel (just a little) in the abundance and wealth that is the US free market, I also decided that I would bound my excess with some standards of where my products were made, how they were made, what they were made out of and how those companies making all this stuff ran their operations.

It was handy, that at the same time, I landed this fantastic job and now spend all my days (and nights, and weekends) finding products that I would personally use and telling you all about them. I am making my way towards being more green and living my life more sustainably, one step at a time, getting there by making small decisions (the car in question, a Miata, is about as small as it gets in the automobile category) and helping you get there the same way.

Going green, being sustainable, living a Green lifestyle, it doesn’t have to happen all at once. In my efforts to help us all get there, whether or not that involves a complete overhaul of your vehicle’s fuel intake system, I will be bringing you stories from the green: news, fun projects for you and your kids, fabulous recipes for organic and all-natural face cream, the newest and greenest gadgets, and all manner of ways to get yourself to greener pastures.

All it takes is one step at a time and though I won’t bore you with a blow-by-blow of the gas-to-CNG-Miata project, I will leave you with a few easy tips for greening-up your car:

1. If you live in Sacramento, check out Quick Quack car washes , or if you wash your car at home, do so with a bucket full of water, not a running hose.
2. Simple Green makes a new eco-friendly car-cleaning product, or use just a few drops of any one of the green dish soaps on our website – your car’s paint doesn’t really like soap anyway.
3. Check the tire pressure on your tires once a week – low tires wear faster, and use more fuel.
4. Check out these Green mechanics if you’re near Monterey (and own a Volvo) or near Mountain View
5. Ride your bike or walk, once a week, somewhere you would normally drive.

-Jocelyn Broyles