Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Compact

Similar, but much more committed than the BGT No New Clothing Challenge is The Compact. A group of like-minded San Francisco friends decided to buy nothing new for a year. This excludes neccessities, food, drink - in other words, toilet paper, medicine, and underwear are okay. Everything has to be traded, bought second-hand or lent. Don't worry, we're not suggesting it for you, but it's an interesting idea and probably not as hard as one might think. To learn more about The Compact go to

PS- I read about the compact in an awesome magazine called Good - dubbed the magazine for peope who give a damn. Printed on recyced paper, each edition is a particular theme, and reports on interesting and creative problems, solutions, people, trends, etc. As they say, through a print magazine, feature and documentary films, original multimedia content and local events, GOOD is providing a platform for the ideas, people, and businesses that are driving change in the world. Also when you subscribe, 100% of the proceeds go to a charity of your choice as part of a campaign to give away one million dollars to good causes.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Non-Exclusive Food Co-op

A little natural, organic, vegan, macrobiotic, insert anymore hippie descriptive words, heavenly food co-op in Manhattan. This tiny little shop has bulk laundry detergent, soap, shampoo, pasta, beans, nuts, spices, and even chili lime mangoes. They have a produce section and lots other interesting things to buy. Also, if you become a non-working member at $35 you get a 10% discount all year. ICheck it out. 4th Street between Bowery and 2nd Avenue (south side of street). They are open daily from 11-9.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New NYC Bike Lane

In Chelsea, a new bike lane along 9th Avenue (running between 16th Street to 23rd) is due to be constructed beginning next week. The bike lane will use a row of parked cars as well as cones and planters as a buffer between cyclists and cars. It's a start!

Monday, September 24, 2007

One More Reason to like Boston

After so many ponderings at Shea about why baseball parks don't start recycling, the Boston Red Sox stepped it up, going where other leagues haven't dared. They formed an alliance with the NRDC to reduce the park's carbon footprint. This will include things such as cups made out of corn starch rather than plastic, organic and local food stands, and even a fifth-inning recycling stretch - this would include Fenway park workers coming up the aisles with bins to recycle cups, snacks, and other recyclables. They will begin placing recycling bins throughout the park will happen next week.

Go Go Gadget Hydrogen Car

Virtually all of Iceland’s electricity and heating comes from domestic renewable energy sources -- hydroelectric power and geothermal springs. They are started to use hydrogen to power transportation. Hydrogen is produced with water and electricity, and Iceland has lots of both. Cars are being tested to run on hydrogen, such as the Mercedes Benz A-class F-cell -- an electric car powered by a DaimlerChrysler fuel cell. Fuel cells generate electricity by converting hydrogen and oxygen into water. And fuel cell technology is clean -- the only by-product is water. It's just like a normal car, except the only pollution coming out of the exhaust pipe is water vapor. It can go about 100 miles on a full tank. When it runs out of fuel the electric battery kicks in, giving the driver another 18 miles -- hopefully enough time to get to a refueling station. Filling the tank is similar to today's cars -- attach a hose to the car's fueling port, hit "start" on the pump and stand back. The process takes about five to six minutes. The city will need five refueling stations in addition to the one the city already has to support its busy ring road, according to Arnason. The entire nation could get by on 15 refueling stations -- a minimum requirement. COOL.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

If he can do it, you can do it!

Today I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with my brother Evan. He is a true eco-warrior. When I asked him if he would be willing to join the "No New Clothes Challenge, " he replied, "Meliss, of course I'll join the challenge. I haven't bought any new clothes in over a year. My jeans and my belt that I'm wearing right now are from high school, and my t-shirt is 2 years old. And I'm still lookin fresh to death!" Evan, you are an inspiration to us all! - melissa

Friday, September 21, 2007

Inspirational Reconfiguring

A nonprofit organization, Per Scholas, which recently became an EPA certified organization, is just about as good a group of do-gooders as it gets. The Bronx-based organization was there at the 3d Annual Brooklyn Green conference at Borough Hall today. In a lecture, I found out that they collect computers companies and individuals are throwing out and recycle them down to plastic, glass, metal, and sell those off to be made into other things. The remaining 7% of "schmootz" as the guy called it, is treated so that it is non-toxic. Not only do they save dangerous toxins from entering the landfill and eventually our water and earth, they also sell reconfigured pentium 3's to needy families for very low cost, so that thier kids can do schoolwork, and parents can look for jobs. THEN, when you thought they couldn't get any better, they also offer free training to unemployed persons in the area to rebuild and repair computers - its an 18-week long course and the only requirement is that you show up every day on time. Many of these individuals have gotten subsequent jobs and degrees. I was very inspired by this group. You can make arrangements to drop off your computer to perscholas as well.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

On the Line

A friend to BGT fowarded me this very interesting article about hanging your clothes out to dry. Seems like a no-brainer except many neighborhoods are disgusted by the hideous appearance of such a value-depreciating task. According to the Residential Energy Consumption Survey by the federal Energy Information Administration (thier Christmas parties are a blast), dryers account for 6% of total electricity consumed by U.S. households, third behind refrigerators and lighting. It costs the typical household $80 a year to run a standard electric dryer, according to a calculation by E Source Cos., in Boulder, Colo., which advises businesses on reducing energy consumption. So go ahead, put it all on the line.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Green Baby

So I'm having a baby and if the thought of growing a child in my womb was not enough to keep me up at night, images of diapers in a landfill made me toss and turn.

Before my baby would take it's first steps - it would be leaving a huge carbon footprint on the Earth. So I had to find an answer and fast.

In the last 40 years there has only been two choices in diapers: cloth and disposal. The debate of which is more environmetaly friendly is a controversial one. One disposal diaper takes 500 years to decompose, while the average child goes through 8,000 of them during their diapering years. While cloth diapers although reusable are usually made from industrial cotton, which is grown in conjunction with the heavy use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Also washing requires water, energy and laundry detergent.

The choice seemed impossible to make, until I stumbled across the gdiaper. gDiapers consist of a washable, cotton outer pant and a plastic free flushable refill made from all natural fiber and is 100% biodegradable. Plus they look cute and a box of 120 only cost $4 more then the leading disposal diaper. Don't take my word for it visit their website:
and watch the video!

Hooray - off to bed to dream of my green baby!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tennis Anyone?

Fellow "No New Clothing Challenge" participants Melissa Browning, Noelle Gentile, and Brandie Hayes don their new gear thanks to a second-hand shop in Bolton's Landing, New York. After a riveting day of kayaking on the open waters of Lake George all three ladies were soaked and in desperate need of some dry clothes. In a pinch they happened upon a thrift shop in a nearby church and picked up some tennis skirts for the road!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

We Love Manhattan Brewery

On the way to work today I passed a Manhattan Beer Distributors trucks making a drop-off. On the back of the truck read "A Breath of Fresh Air!" and then I noticed a green sticker that said this truck uses Compressed Natural Gas or CNG. Having no idea what that was I looked it up is a substitute for gasoline. It is considered to be an environmentally "clean" alternative to those fuels. It is made by compressing natural gas (which is mainly composed by methane), in a percantage range of 70% to 98%).
The company, headquartered in the Bronx, operates a fleet of over 500 trucks, vans,
sedans and forklifts and is trying to lower thier emissions all over the city. Here is an interesting article about thier efforts . . .

what it means for us? an easier time breathing. . .

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Green in Unexpected Places

A fascinating article about how the former head of the Sierra Club is now consulting with Walmart to overhaul the world’s largest company to be more sustainable and more importantly reach millions of Americans to start caring about the environment. The point of this post is NOT to suggest shopping at Walmart, but to see that working within the system to make changes it can sometimes be just as if not more powerful than fighting it. . .

Saving the Planet - One Burger at a Time

TOKYO (AFP) - A Japanese government website crashed Wednesday as people raced to take up an offer of a half-price McDonald's hamburger in exchange for pledging to fight global warming. The Japanese unit of the US burger giant Tuesday offered a Big Mac for 150 yen (1.3 dollars), about half the normal price, to anyone demonstrating a commitment to preventing climate change. People were asked to check up to 39 boxes on a form they could download from the environment ministry's website, each listing a way of reducing carbon dioxide emissions blamed for global warming. McDonald's is one of more than 80 companies offering goods or other prizes to help the government's drive to reduce greenhouse gases. Despite being the home of the Kyoto Protocol, Japan is far behind in its requirement under the landmark treaty for cutting emissions by six percent by 2012 from 1990 levels amid a steady economic recovery. The 39 measures range from cutting air conditioning use to simply wiping water off the bottom of a kettle to save energy when heating it on a stove to reducing shower time by one minute – now that’s worth mentioning. (Source - yahoo news)

Strange – but if it works. . .

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Our EcoSpot

After receiving word from Al Gore, BGT spent a long (and fun) day of shooting in the name of the environment, we created a 60-second ecospot which will be entered in a contest. stay tuned!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Clean Green

According to Seventh Generation’s newsletter, The Non-Toxic Times, new study has found that literally dozens of popular household cleaners contain undisclosed toxins that have been linked to asthma, fertility and other problems. The new report, from Montana-based non-profit Women’s Voices for the Earth, examined Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for dozens of top-selling conventional cleaning products and found that most of formulas they studied contain one or more chemicals linked to any number of negative health effects. Since federal regs. do not require cleaning product manufacturers to fully disclose all the ingredients their formulas contain on product labels, an MSDS for a particular product is usually the best and often only way to figure out hazardous contents. In studying cleaning product MSDS, they found that a number of chemicals linked to asthma and reproductive disorders kept appearing. Because manufacturers rarely list al ingredient, there’s only one thing consumers can do: Only buy products whose labels tell you everything they contain. Don’t rely on promises of safety or environmental benefits. Even products marketed as earth-friendly can contain toxic ingredients. What does this mean? Buy Seventh Generation – or start cleaning your floors with hot water, baking powder and lemon juice!

To obtain a free on-line copy of the new study,

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

No New Clothing Challenge

BGT has challenged themselves and others to just say no to brand new clothing. We have presented a challenge to only buy vintage until December 31 in an effort to reduce and reuse.

Morgan P. of Albany, NY (16)has joined the challenge because "I really want to make a difference and change my lifestyle so I recycle and do good for the planet. I would like other people to follow that lifestyle as well because it's not only good for me and my life it's good for everyone else and the earth!!!"

Here are some reasons we found for not buying new clothes.

1. The average American throws away about 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per year.

2. 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of insecticides in the U.S. are used to grow cotton.

3. It takes almost 1/3 of a pound of chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) to grow enough cotton for just ONE T-shirt

for a complete list visit treehugger's green guide section,

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Overfishing for Fish

This months' Arrive Magazine - Amtrak's official publication, was a green one - printed on recycled paper and everything. One of its feature articles was on a group of resaturant owners and chefs concerned by overfishing and the effect it has on the ecosystem. In response to the problem of overfishing and our obsession with fish such as tuna and salmon, they use what is seasonal and plentiful as a solution in thier restaurants. Here are some snippits..."They walk into a market in the middle of February and say, 'Why don't you have any wild salmon?"" Seaver says. They're out to see! You don't walk into a farmers market in the middle of December and say, 'where are the strawberries?'."... Understanding is the start. I will continue my fish mandate, but before I head to the counter, starting through glass at an icy sea of monotony, I will educate myself. What is the season for tuna? (Summer, mostly.) Which salmon should I buy? (Wild. Linecaught.) And maybe, as I learn more, so will my friends. And the fishmonger. And a few more of his customers. Perhaps soon, what the fishmonger stocks won't be flounder, scrod, tuna and salmon. It'll be what the customers really wan: seafood that will be around when they pass their recipes down to their children and grandchildren. Farm-raised tilapia. Wild-caught striped bass. "


Monday, September 3, 2007

It's all about choices

I've been thinking a lot about the choices we all make in life. We literally make thousands of choices each day. When it comes to the environment, there's always a "greener" choice. There's always something you can do to make less of an impact on our already fragile planet. So next time you are faced with a decision to make, be it over a piece of fruit to purchase or how to get home at night, just ask yourself if you are making the "green" choice. The earth will thank you.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

BGT Affiliate Just Launched!

We are thrilled to annouce affiliate team, upstate green team, launched by its charter member and long-time friend Elisabeth Pezzolla. Pezzolla's blog is up and running.

check it out and all thier good work. we look forward to collaboration.