more from Green

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What's a Super Bowl without chips and salsa?  Not much.  It's a generally accepted fact that eating whatever you want, and as much of it as you want, is the best part of watching the big game.  It's also generally accepted that in addition to wings, pizza, whatever you choose to barbecue, and beer, chips and salsa are a necessity. 

I've lived in New Mexico (in the 505 area code) most of my life, and I've tasted a LOT of different salsas in said life.  505 Organic Salsa is right up there with the best of the best.  Coupled with the 505 Organic Green Chile Sauce, you've encountered a staple of my diet that might make any lesser human cringe.  I put this stuff on and in almost everything, from eggs to tuna casserole (and if you're thinking yuck, try throwing some 505 Green Chile Sauce into the next one you make...). 

For good old fashioned chips and salsa, there's nothing better than 505 Organic Salsa.  Its signature green chile flavor keeps every bite scrumptious and saliva-inducing.  There are multiple levels of spiciness, if you can't handle the heat (medium is pretty rowdy and hot is scorching).  

The best part of all?  You can enjoy the game knowing that you're benefiting not just yourself, but mother earth as well, as all 505 products are organic.  505 has a flavor for everyone, from their Green Chile Sauce to their Chipotle Honey Roasted Green Chile.  The even make handy packets of their Roasted Green Chile (perfect for camping).  Their salsas come in the regular and chunky variety.  So feel good about yourself AND give your mouth something to rejoice about with 505 Organic Salsa.

Find 505 Salsas at a store near you, or order online.


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Finding the right pen for the job is an exercise in continual frustration.

I've spent countless (well maybe not countless, but quite a few) hours in the office supply section at various local retailers, just staring down the pens.  Which one is going to give me that exact balance between smoothness, continual flow, feel and exactly the right amount of ink for the job, without bleeding AND make me feel good about myself in the process? And I answer: the Pilot BeGreen G-Knock Retractable Pen.

Utilizing the gel ink technology made famous in their G2 line of pens, Pilot has taken great and made it fabulous.  Fabulous because these pens are made from 81.5% recycled content.  In keeping with the G2 tradition of fine writing, and adding in a healthy dose of green technology, Pilot's BeGreen G-Knock series of pens is the perfect buy for the consummate pen aficionado whose eye is set on environmental rehab.

They come in all the important colors; red, blue and black, and are refillable.  Best of all, going green doesn't cost extra. You can buy them for a little over $2 each or, if you need a bunch for the office, on Amazon, where you can pick up a dozen for ~ $12.  

zirikana_bag.jpgTaste is one of the most evocative memory triggers. Yet, I often feel that food can communicate beyond one's known realm of experience. It can teach you about a place you've never been, show you rolling fields of crops in your mind's eye, cast the heat of a summer day on your skin, and put the taste of earth and sky on your tongue. Some foods speak volumes of their birthplace. The Zirikana, Rwanda micro-lot: Rusenyi coffee from Intelligentsia is one. In my longstanding love affair with coffee, this one just made the list of cups I will never forget.

A Bourbon varietal from the Byumba Province, the micro-lot is a special "reserve" offering from the Rusenyi farm. The flavor is so inviting, delicate, and wonderfully wintery that it seems almost at odds with its origin. The crisp light tang of wild blueberries, hints of spiced cider, a touch of cinnamon, clove (and perhaps nutmeg), and a clear helping of molasses can all be found in this cup. But don't take my word for it, give it your own thorough tasting. Words fail the true pleasure of this experience. 

Zirikana is part of Intelligentsia's Direct Trade program. Direct Trade is  a collaborative program between Intelligentsia and the grower encouraging best practices in production, environmental stewardship, handling, and offering 25% above fair trade pricing directly to the grower. So, this is one African indulgence you can feel wholehearted about.

Available from Intelligentsia for $9 per half pound, the micro-lot: Rusenyi Zirikana shouldn't be missed. Intelligentsia has been roasting and distributing award-winning coffees for almost 15 years. Expect to see this micro-lot on their upcoming roster of accolades.

Arber Hair and Body Wash for Men

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I'm the kind of guy who takes 3 minute showers.  And since I have such a limited amount of time, I can't afford to mess around.  I need to get clean and get my hair washed/conditioned in those three minutes, and it'd be nice to smell good at the end. 

Enter Arber Hair and Body Wash.  This stuff is amazing for quite a few reasons.  The first is that it's hair AND body wash. There's no messing with a bunch of bottles that one can't be bothered with in a mere three minutes.   It shampoos and conditions your hair, and as a body wash, it lathers up well. If you use a bath pouf, you hardly need any at all.  But the best part?  When I get out of the shower, my girlfriend routinely tells me I smell great.
 
What else is great about it?  Well, it's made by The Body Shop, which has a history of being good to animals, local farmers, and the environment.  The bottle is made from 30% recycled materials, and is made with an eye toward using the fewest resources possible.  Arber Hair and Body Wash is part of their community trade program, which uses resources from disadvantaged communities around the world.  One of my biggest complaints about the consumer hair and body wash industry is that so few companies care about animal rights.  The Body Shop is not one of those, as my bottle of Arber Hair and Body Wash proudly proclaims: Against Animal Testing.  And on top of all this goodness, since Arber Hair and Body Wash saves you time, it also saves water. 

If you're not a fan of the Arber smell, The Body Shop also offers Kistna Hair and Body Wash.  You can find Arber Hair and Body Wash at The Body Shop in your local mall, or online.   

Quinoa: Vegetarian Superfood

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As a vegetarian, or pseudo-vegetarian as I like to call myself (I eat fish, eggs and cheese), I've run across few foods that are as wonderfully complete and as wonderfully yummy as quinoa.  Quinoa seeds look suspiciously like a grain, but the crop is a closer relative to leafy green vegetables.  I prefer to think of it like a yummier, better-for-you version of rice or couscous.

Quinoa is rich in protein (complete protein, I might add) and relatively low in fat.  It has balanced essential aminos, is high in fiber, phosphorous, magnesium and iron.  And, bumbumbum... it's gluten FREE!


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My favorite quinoa recipe and a few additional resources can be found after the jump:


You can buy quinoa at your local Coop or most places that sell bulk organic foods. You can also order Bob's Red Mill Organic Quinoa Online.



Want to Save Water? Get Vertical!

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I recently became a subscriber to Time Magazine, among a few other choice periodicals.  My subscription proved quickly justified by a story in their December 22nd issue on Vertical Farming. 

According to the article, vertical farming allows us to grow around 15 times more produce per acre than good 'ole conventional medieval farming.  They used lettuce as an example, and I'm guessing quantities may vary depending on the type of produce. But here's another stunner from the article: Time's reporter claims that vertical farming uses just 5% of the water that conventional farming does.  5%

In a world fraught with perilous premonitions about the predicaments of people (particularly the pending water problem), this idea is... well... almost too good to be true.  This is an idea that warrants development.  Let's all get on the bus and start building Wall Street high rises for growing lettuce, instead of bad debt and golden parachutes.

Computer-age gurus that you are, I hardly need to explain that further information can be found by entering "vertical farming" into your Google engine; or if you're looking for easy, by clicking here and here.


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[thx to Time and Chris Jacobs for the pics]

You can see more in this photo essay from Time.



BrandImage 360 Paper Water Bottles

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paper_bottle1.jpegHere's one for the sustainable archives: Paper Water Bottles. Designer BrandImage has pioneered what appears to be a promising solution to our plastic water bottle addiction. We haven't used it, but any idea this good deserves a nod. I'd love to see a major brand step up to the plate and introduce these into production. Dasani? Aquafina? Bueller?

Here's the concept in the designer's own words:

CHALLENGE
Each day, Americans throw out 60 million plastic bottles. Only 14% actually get recycled--
meaning 86% become garbage or litter. We looked at this as a radical problem requiring an
equally radical solution. Could we design a container that would leverage sustainability, be
easy to transport, and enhance the consumer's drinking experience?

SOLUTION
The 360 Paper Bottle is a sustainable vision of the future. It is the first totally recyclable
paper container made from 100% renewable resources. Versatile in its range of consumer
applications and made from food-safe and fully recyclable materials, it decreases energy
consumed throughout the product life cycle without sacrificing functionality. It is paper
packaging that stands up to all liquid categories.


More photos after the jump. [thx to Dieline and happy 1000th post]

Herman Miller Mirra Chair

herman_miller_mirra.jpgA comfortable task chair is worth it's weight in gold. For many of us, it's our most frequently used piece of furniture. If you can't free yourself enough to stay comfortable, your next best move is to find a chair that works with your body instead of against it.

Meet the Mirra chair from Herman Miller. My seat of choice for the past 2 years, I regularly log 10 + ache-free hours a day in one. Sitting in my Mirra is like slipping on my favorite pair of jeans, and it's been like that since day one.

Designers at Studio 7.5, used the results from an extensive 3-D Body Anthropometry study in order to build a chair that's passively adjustable. Say what? Basically, they used data from scans of thousands of actual body types to design a chair that fits just about anyone - with minimal adjustment.

The resulting Mirra is packed with features that allow it to instantly adjust to your body, continuously correcting its support. With it's TriFlex back, AireWeave seat, and Harmonic tilt, Mirra does just what Herman Miller worked to achieve: sit on it, and it fits. Want to fine tune? You can adjust the arms, lumbar support, height, forward tilt, and seat shape until you feel like a cosmonaut adrift in space.

The Mirra's form was not sacrificed for its function. It's a beautiful piece of furniture with a contemporary feel that's at home in any office. The finish fabrics are very durable, easily cleaned, and have required no other maintenance. Best of all, the Mirra is fully recyclable, built using the cradle-to-cradle design protocol. When I finally do retire my beloved Mirra,  it can be disassembled and reborn as a jet-pack for future commuters, or my great grandson's new hoverboard.

This is one instance where exceptional value comes at a price. Expect to invest as much in your Mirra as a modest priced laptop. But believe me, there's no better investment you can make to increase your daily comfort and productivity. And chances are, you'll be using your Mirra long after you've retired that laptop.

Buy it at Sit4Less from ~$550

Goods for Good

goodsforgood2.jpgRecession-shmusession; the spirit of giving looked perfectly healthy from my vantage point in the mall parking lot this weekend. Personally, I felt a tinge of guilt buying our household's 6th iPod knowing that kids all over the world are not only lacking iPods, but basics such as pens and paper. Individually, I feel like I can never do enough. That's why supporting charitable organizations with a few of those holiday dollars is every bit as critical this year as any other.

Goods for Good is an excellent charity with an interesting twist. You can make a huge impact on the lives of many, and it won't cost you a dime. They send excess goods and materials from American companies directly to impoverished children and orphans in Africa.
By focusing on the corporate sector, Goods for Goods has reclaimed and found use for literally tons of office supplies and materials that would have otherwise found their way into a dumpster. You can help by spreading the word and getting your company involved.

Did your printer screw up and misprint the annual promotional calendar? Ask your employer to send them to Africa. How about that new ream of paper that keeps jamming the office copier? Don't toss it, send it to Goods for Good.

Here's your chance to make a big impact in mere minutes: tell your boss about Goods for Good today. If She doesn't listen, send a memo to PR. It's good for you, your company, the environment, and thousands of orphans in Malawi and other villages in need.

They're looking for bulk excess clothing, school supplies, personal hygiene products, etc. And of course, you can donate much needed cash to help get the goods to their final destination. See the Goods for Good website for more ways to help.  

Here's a 4 min. video to share the message:
 

Goods for Good: From Excess to Progress from Melissa Kushner on Vimeo.

Lighting a tree to celebrate the holiday season can prove to be more environmentally unfriendly than cutting one down in the first place. In our home, we do what we can to minimize our holiday carbon footprint. We decorate the existing houseplants, and last year, we decked our halls with Philips LED White Dome Lights.

philips_LED_lights_scene.jpgSimply put, these lights shine with excellence. Not your parent's 1-inch incandescents, these puppies both outlast and outperform them. With a 25,000 hour average bulb life, and sipping a mere 4.8 watts to power 60 bulbs, Philips claims they can save as much as 88% of the energy used by a common strand. Cool to the touch, we're confident they won't harm (or burn down) our tree. And my personal favorite attribute: the color temperature of the LED bulbs has an icy blue coldness that lends a pleasant wintery feeling to our sun-filled home.

Philips_LED_lights.jpgThe holidays are a time to gather with loved ones to celebrate and feel good. This year you can feel a bit better about your decorations using LED based strand lights from Philips.

Pick up a set from Target for around $10.


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