Tag Archives: greenie

San Jose, CA, Bans Single Use Bags, Including Paper! Read The Treehugger Article Here!

Wow. San Jose doesn’t usually strike most of us here in the Bay Area as forward thinking. (I’m allowed to say that, as I grew up in Almaden Valley.) But San Jose has just put every other plastic-bag-using city to shame with their new and exceptionally strict legislation.

Bags in San Diego from the Christian Science Monitor http://www.csmonitor.com

Going into effect January 1, 2012, stores in San Jose will no longer be able to give away bags; plastic or paper, with exception of some restaurants and thrift stores. San Jose is the largest city in the nation to ban plastic bags.

For all the great details, read Treehugger‘s, The Mercury News‘s, Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal‘s or The Contra Costa Times‘s take on the ban.

So do your part this Christmas and take your own bags to the stores.

-Jocelyn Broyles

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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

Home For The Holidays: California-Made Vodka, Gin, Rum and Whiskey To Help Make It Go Down Smoothly

 

So you’re home for the holidays and you’re trying to go green (and stay sane) during all the hoopla. In an effort to help you along with both of those goals at the same time, I have compiled a list of California-made vodka, gin, rum and whiskey. So next time you need to take someone a hostess gift or find yourself wondering what to order in a bar (or what to put in your flask for the trip to aunt Caroline’s), go green and ask for one of these locally-made spirits:

VODKA:
1. Roth California Vodka, by Roth Distilleries
2. Hangar One, by St. George Spirits
3. Charbay by Charbay

GIN:
1. No. 209 by Distillery No. 209 – The story here is intriguing, take a break and read it.
2. Junipero by Anchor Steam

RUM:
1. Charbay by Charbay
2. Agua Libre by St. George Spirits
3. Eurydice by St. George Spirits and exclusive to San Francisco’s Smuggler’s Cove
4. Sergeant Classic by Essential Spirits Alambic Distillery of Mountain View

WHISKEY:
1. St. George’s Single Malt Whiskey by St. George Spirits
2. Old Potrero by Anchor Distilling, the makers of Anchor Steam beer
3. Charbay by Charbay

And to answer your next question: All scotches, bourbons and whisk(e)ys are whiskey, but not all whiskeys are scotches or bourbons. Are you feeling like you’re in a gray area the color of charcoal? Never fear, I’ll explain it here so that you can actually remember (or at least have somewhere to go look it up and sound smart next time someone asks you the difference). First off, the spelling thing. Whisky is from Scotland only. WhiskEy is from anywhere else. Whiskey (since I’m American, I’m going to spell it with an “e”) is a spirit made from distilled, grain mash, usually barley, rye wheat or corn. Scotch whisky comes only from, you guessed it, Scotland, and Kentucky and Tennessee whiskeys from their respective states. Bourbon whiskey has to be made from at least 51 percent (and no more than 79 percent) corn, must be no more than 160 proof and must be aged for at least two years (most are aged for at least four years) in a charred oak barrel. That’s it. Simple as pie. There are myriad differences in each type of whiskey, based on proof, age, malt and type of barrel, mix of grains, etc. If you’re interested, Wikipedia has the most comprehensive article on the differences between Scotch and Whiskey and Bourbon I found.

Now that you know what kind of booze to order, what drink should you put it in?

GIMLET RECIPE:

“A real gimlet is half gin and half Rose’s lime juice and nothing else,” declairs Terry Lennox in Raymond Chandler‘s The Long Goodbye. Today, the standard is 3:1 – three parts gin to one part Rose’s Lime.

HOT BUTTERED RUM RECIPE:

Three measures dark rum, two measures spiced light rum, 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie seasoning, 1 lemon twist, 1 cinnamon stick. Boil water. Into a glass mug, pour rums and spices. Stir. Add six measures hot water, a tab of butter and the cinnamon stick.

MARTINI RECIPE:

a la James Bond in Ian Flemming‘s Casino Royale:
“Three measures of Gordon’s [gin], one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.
Got it?”

HOT TODDY RECIPE: Six ounces organic apple cider, two ounces whiskey. Heat the cider, pour into glass mug with handle, add whiskey.

If you’re looking for another type of green drink, you might have a good time at San Francisco’s Green Drinks, a monthly meeting of green-minded folks who come together in a social setting to talk about cool green stuff. Order yourself a gimlet with No. 209 and start a trend, or at least do Marlowe proud.


ACE WINNER!

Well, it took us a while (we had a little Halloween Fete get in the way of all else for a couple of weeks) but we finally randomly drew our ACE Hardware gift certificate winner! And the prize goes to Jessi, who would like to see biobags for dogs in her ACE Hardware store. Jessi, we’ll see what we can do! Thank you all for your participation.

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