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The Future Is Female: Mom’s Clean Air Force

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Moms Clean Air Force is a community of over 1,000,000 moms and dads united against air pollution – including the urgent crisis of our changing climate – to protect our children’s health. We arm members with reliable information and solutions through online resources, articles, action tools, and on-the-ground events. We work across the US on national and local policy issues, through a vibrant network of state-based field teams. Our moms meet with lawmakers at every level of government to build support for commonsense solutions to pollution. Moms have passion and power – an unbeatable combination. We are harnessing the strength of mother love to fight back against polluters.

  • Connecting the dots between climate change and children’s health;
  • Building support for standards that limit climate pollution from carbon, methane, and ozone;
  • Protecting children from potentially harmful chemical exposures through education and advocacy focused on toxic chemicals in consumer products and other sources;
  • Bringing the voices of parents to decision makers at the local, regional, and national levels;
  • Driving solutions that support clean, renewable energy for a strong economy and healthy families; and
  • Fostering a national conversation about climate change that moves beyond partisanship, to focus on families and communities.

Moms have passion and power — an unbeatable combination. Moms will do everything we can to keep our children safe and sound. That’s why we are uniting to ensure that our children have clean air right now, and for their future.

At Moms Clean Air Force, we make it easy and fast for busy parents to make their voices heard—while baby naps.

Because sometimes, being a good mom means being an active citizen.


May 28, 2017 |

BitSource Web Development #ExportingCode

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Last week I was fortunate enough to go to Fast Company’s Meeting of the Most Creative Minds conference in Los Angeles. The conference featured several amazingly innovative companies that I will also write about later but my favorite aspect was the other attendees. Most of these companies were based in LA but a few flew from all over the nation (and some even other parts of the world!) and there is one that I cannot get out of my head. BitSource is a company who is breathing life back into a sleepy town in eastern Kentucky. The economy there had heavily relied on the coal industry and had suffered tremendously in the loss. Two former coal miners founded BitSource with a mission to bring back jobs to Appalachia country.

 

The company offers an array of web development services from programming languages to media and VR design to application development (and much more). The founders knew coal miners to be logic-based thinkers willing to work hard and learn. Afterall, when you’re down in a mine and something breaks, there’s no one to guide them in diagnosing and fixing the problems. Coal mining is a highly technical field that relies more on engineering smarts than on physical labor so they knew the laid-off workforce would be primed to learn code and utilize their technical skills. “Appalachia has been exporting coal for a long time.” says Justin Hall, the company’s president who I met at the conference. “Now we want to export code. We’ve got blue-collar coders.”

 

Some of their work includes web design for Big Sandy Resources, Inc. a river dredging company. They worked on-site to capture footage and information about the services and materials that they provide. BitSource created the website and features then trained the BSR team so that they could update and manage the site internally and make change on demand when they add a new service, product, or project. Check it out here! BitSource worked with Hashtag Appalachia and Unity to create an augmented reality application that uses artwork on a garage door as a trigger. The trigger can call any animation or content that they specify when you hold up your phone and engage the trigger by pointing it at the artwork. See a video of the project here: https://vimeo.com/214003642 Another great project BitSource completed is for their city, Pikeville, Kentucky. They created infographics, animations, an interactive map and software solutions for the city’s Office of Economic Development. The projects range even further but you’ll have to check them out to learn what other awesome things their up to.

 

Justin Hall was voted one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business this year and the company is quickly becoming a leader in sustainable redevelopment of our country’s workforce. BitSource provides pragmatic problem-solving, modern project management, and diligent quality assurance and is passionate about their customers. For this and many reasons I wanted to highlight this company.

Coal Miner looking through hole into office of code writers

https://www.wired.com/2017/02/programming-is-the-new-blue-collar-job/

Check out this video from VOCATIV Meet the Company Teaching Coal Miners to Code


May 25, 2017 |

Forget the Wicker Basket and Go for gopicnic Ready-to-eat Meals

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Being a huge fan of ready-to-eat meals all my life, I am always on the look out for new products to try. Just the other day, I was perusing the isles during my usual grocery shopping trip and came across a new ready-to-eat lunch box. Seeing that it was on sale, I was drawn to taking a look. After checking out the products within the gopicnic lunchbox, I was sold – and bought three flavors. Being familiar with the usual high amounts of sodium, fat, and sugars in other ready-to-eat meals, I was surprised to find a different quality (and taste) in the nutrition of these gopicnic products. Quite a pleasant surprise!

GoPicnic logo

gopicnic brands

gopicnic ready-to-eat meals is an innovative company based out of Chicago, IL. First founded in 2006 to provide airlines in the United States with easier food for customers, gopicnic has thrived over the years and is now available in retail stores across the nation (gopicnic, 2012). Priding themselves in having “nutritionally balanced, shelf-stable, ready-to-eat boxed lunches… that require no refrigeration, heating, or preparation,” this company creates delicious meals for on-the-go. Another pride and joy for gopicnic brands is all their products contain “clean ingredients, no trans fat, no high fructose corn syrup, no added monosodium glutamate (MSG), and no artificial flavors or colors.” They are perfect lunches for those with special diets, such as gluten-free, vegan, and/or nut free diets; or simply for the busy consumer needing an affordable, quick, and healthy lunch source. (gopicnic, 2012)

There are many different flavors of these lunchboxes, and I have only to make my way through three of them – Sunbutter & Crackers, Turkey Slices & Cheddar, and Turkey Pepperoni & Cheese.

Sunbutter & Crackers

The sunflower seed paste was creamy and delicious, tasting exactly like sunflower seeds. It paired well with the salty crackers and multi seed and fruit mix. The seed and fruit mix had lots of sunflower seeds and raisins with some dried apple and other seeds. The fruit strip was quite enjoyable with a sweet and tropical flavor to it; and to finish it all off was some guiltless chocolate chip cookies. Four of the five pieces in this lunchbox were made in the USA, with the fruit strip from Canada. All five included foods are gluten-free and peanut allergy safe. My only disappointment is the chocolate chip cookies were a bit too dry for me (but that is just my opinion). Overall, this is my favorite of the flavors I have tried.

Turkey Slices & Cheddar

The turkey slices were not too strong in flavor (thank goodness), but were a bit salty for my liking (270mg of sodium per serving). The cheddar cheese is a dip, or spread if you prefer it, – gluten free and vegetarian, and tastes just like normal cheddar. Both paired well with the light and slightly sweet crackers, which had hints of honey. All three together tasted exactly like the typical lunchable you would buy in the store, but had healthier ingredient lists and nutrition facts. The side of applesauce was unsweetened (and yet still tasty), soft and smooth to the tongue, and even included a plastic spoon. I definitely enjoyed the fruit chews; which were gluten-free and sweet (they were even shaped like little jets). Overall, this was an enjoyable meal.

Turkey Pepperoni & Cheese

The turkey pepperoni slices tasted just like pepperoni slices (which is good), yet they were very slimy and high in sodium. They did pair very well with the asiago cheese dip/spread, which was not very overpowering in flavor. The crackers, whether enjoyed with the cheese and pepperoni or by themselves, were delicious. They had a good seed and sesame flavor and were very crunchy – not to mention, they were made in the USA and are gluten-free. Brownie points! The fruit and nut mix, also made in the USA, was sweet and slightly hot. It was a wonderful mix of flavor choices; and for the grand finale, a sea salt and caramel lollipop. Let me just say, “Wow.” Made in France this delectable pop is super sweet and salty. 53% of it is made from milk, and then sugar, leaving the ingredient list short and to the point. Surprisingly, no artificial flavors or colors for this sweet treat. Overall, this lunchbox had its good and bad parts, but certainly is on the top of my list for that salted caramel lolly.

 

In conclusion, gopicnic read-to-eat meals have been such an enjoyable alternative for my work lunches that I will certainly be going back for more! Everywhere I take these, people are curious. If you want my opinion, two thumbs up all the way! For more information on gopicnic brands and products, you can visit their online shop and website at: gopicnic.com.

I will leave you with a fun fact I found written in one of the adorable picnic-style, reclosable, gingham lunchboxes:

Did you know? … “Crackers were created in 1792 after a baker burned biscuits and heard the ‘cracking’ sound from the oven.” Enjoy!

References

gopicnic. (2012). About GoPicnic. Retrieved May 6, 2014, from gopicnic website

 

 

 

 


August 6, 2016 |

Ecocapsule- World’s Smallest Solar House

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The Ecocapsule (or Eggo-capsule?) is a new form of mini Glamping.

It may not be the prime spot to host a party, but for the chic, pod-dwelling nomads among us, the Ecocapsule is strides beyond a basic shelter and nicer looking than most trailers or RVs. If you’ve ever felt like leaving it all behind, you can live off the grid for up to a year. It’s got a bed, kitchen, bathroom and work area, and a couple windows to let in the breeze. No need to plug into the grid — there’s a wind turbine and bank of solar cells built in to charge a battery for light and heat, and rainwater is filtered and collected into a tank under the floor.

Power Supply

A 750-watt wind turbine and 600-watt solar array collect energy. Assuming outside temperatures stay between -13° and 104°F, the capsule can consistently produce all its own power. A super-efficient climate-control system helps: On its way to the exhaust fan, heated air passes through channels alongside fresh air, warming it up.

Video

Energy Storage

Should energy production dip, a 9,744-watt-hour battery holds five days of power. When the battery is charged, the system uses excess energy from the solar cells to heat up water stores, relieving strain on the water heater come shower time.

ecocap1d_GreenBusinessesRain Collection

Rainwater runs down the capsule and through a ceramic filter into a 145-gallon reservoir beneath the floorboards. When full, it can supply two people for three weeks. Electric pumps circulate water through a membrane filter to trap dirt and bacteria en route to the sink and shower; manual foot pumps stand in when energy is low.

ecocap1a_GreenBusinesses

Courtesy Nice Architects

Smart Interface

A central computer, controlled with a smartphone or tablet, monitors energy and water levels to project how long they’ll last. It’s also hooked up to sensors that record rainfall, humidity, and temperature outside the capsule. In periods with little sun or wind, the computer might suggest adjusting the internal temp or taking shorter showers to stretch the supply.

ecocap1c_GreenBusinesses
View more info on the Ecocapsule listing page.


January 7, 2016 |

Top 20+ Eco-Friendly, DIY Wedding Ideas

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Reprinted with permission from Custommade

Wedding planning can be really (really) stressful. For earth-loving folks, the process can get even trickier, as most classic wedding decorations, favors, and traditions are far from eco-friendly. Luckily, a DIY attitude is all you need to create a wedding celebration that is unique, true to you, and kind to the earth. Whether you’re knee deep in planning or daydreaming about future nuptials, read on for a variety of environmentally friendly wedding ideas.

Paper Products

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Recycled or plantable paper

Any time you choose a paper product for your wedding, seek out recycled or plantable options. Plantable, seed-embedded paper products are a great choice; they’re completely biodegradable, and planting them promotes reforestation, the greening of urban spaces, and sustainable food choices.

E-vites

Whether it’s an engagement announcement, save the date, shower invitation, wedding invitation, or thank you card, you can go greener (and save a ton of money) by choosing paperless e-vites. Pingg, Evite, My Punch Bowl, and Green Envelope all offer pretty, functional digital invitations that prevent you from spending thousands of dollars on stationery.

Eco-friendly confetti

Ditch the plastic confetti and choose lavender or seed-embedded paper confetti. Both biodegradable choices cut down on waste as well as the energy and natural resources it takes to produce plastic products. In the case of seed-embedded paper confetti, you’ll actually give back to the earth by sowing flower or other plant seeds.

Decorations and Signage

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Mason jar hanging lanterns

They’re pretty, economical, and low-waste. Borrow or buy small glass jars, fill them with coffee beans (extra sustainability points for choosing used grounds), place a tea light on top, and attach twine to the lid. Hang the lantern from a tree, beam, or other sturdy surface. Find detailed instructions at Glue and Glitter.

Paper garlands

When it comes to pretty paper garlands, repurpose is the name of the game. Turn newspaper or used books into works of art that’ll last for years. These garlands are low waste, low cost, and easy to make. Round up some recycled paper, scissors, tape, and twine, and then follow these instructions at Project Wedding to make pinwheels, fringes, or other shapes of your choice.

Paper roses

Flowers are a wedding mainstay. Why not craft some that will last long after the big day? Paper roses can adorn virtually any wedding. Recycle old book, magazine, or newspaper pages to create elegant “floral” arrangements that cut down on waste and can be reused at future functions. They may take a little practice before you get the hang of things, but the final product is pretty impressive. Get full instructions at HGTV.

Hanging umbrellas

This one’s easy: Instead of decorating the venue with balloons, which are both wasteful and harmful to birds, sea life, and other animals, decorate with suspended vintage umbrellas. It may require a little digging to find what you’re looking for, but you can rent or borrow colorful umbrellas instead of buying new ones. Get more tips for decorating with umbrellas at Bridal Guide.

Wooden signage

Keep wood scraps out of the landfill and save cash: Turn those cast-offs into handmade signs that direct guests to your wedding, the beverage table, the restroom, or anywhere else they may need to go. Get detailed instructions at Green Bride Guide.

Window seating assignment display

Raid a construction scrap pile for old windows. Though they may be past their prime, old windows make for beautiful display boards for your seating chart. Write out each table assignment in the window’s various panes. Choose washable paint or markers if you want to reuse the window down the road.

Centerpieces & Place Settings
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Chalkboard candle centerpieces

These quick and elegant centerpieces can double as wedding favors at the end of the night, which ups functionality and cuts down on waste. Start by coating glass jars with chalkboard paint. (You can leave an unpainted shape, such as a heart on each jar.) Place a tea light inside, light the wick, and enjoy. Find detailed instructions at Heart Love Always.

Chalkboard flowerpots

Centerpiece flowerpots provide three functions: place settings, table decorations, and favors. Paint small terra cotta pots (preferably used) with chalkboard paint, then write out one guest’s name on each. Fill with herbs or other small plant varieties so your friends and family can remember your wedding for years to come. Get detailed instructions at Green Bride Guide.

Twig name holders

For a simple, low-waste place setting idea, look no further than the local park or wooded area. Gather a few fallen twigs (or small branches you can break into twigs), cut out pieces of recycled paper in the shape of leaves, and write a name on each slip of paper. Poke a twig through each “leaf” to hold it upright. Find detailed instructions at Centsational Girl. At the end of the festivities, toss any unpainted twigs back into the woods where they’ll decompose instead of sitting in a landfill.

Butternut squash flower vases

Perfect for fall weddings, these vases come straight from the earth. Hollow out a butternut squash (be sure to choose one with a flat end so that it can stand upright) and fill it with pesticide-free flowers. At the end of the festivities, bake the squash into a tasty snack or toss it and the flowers into a compost pile. Who says you can’t have your centerpieces and eat them too? For extra sustainability, choose organic, native flowers.

Rustic plant centerpieces

Start by selecting several plastic containers from the recycling bin. Then collect fallen bark from a local park, forest, or backyard. Wrap the bark around the containers, plant some herbs or local flowers inside, and voila! While these instructions call for cutting the plants and inserting them into floral foam, you can plant them in soil for a lasting (and less wasteful) gift.

Flowers

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Button and bead bouquet

This beautiful, one-of-a-kind bouquet will never wilt, which also means you never have to throw it away. It’s made from buttons, beads, feathers, and any odds and other decorative ends you happen to have lying around. Raid your grandma’s button collection (or your jewelry-making friend’s bead collection), then follow these instructions at Offbeat Bride.

Newspaper bouquet

Inexpensive, no-waste, and relatively sturdy, this newspaper bouquet is made from recycled materials instead of pesticide-laden conventional flowers that only last a few days. Personalize the bouquet by choosing pages that represent the couple. The couple can share it in their home to remember the occasion. Find detailed instructions at PopSugar.

Paper flower corsage and boutonniere

Because they don’t perish after the nuptials, these pretty corsages and boutonnieres serve as lasting keepsakes from your special day. They’ are particularly kind to the earth if made with recycled paper. Find detailed instructions at Lia Griffith.

Favors

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Apple cinnamon pancake mix

This simple mix looks pretty in a glass jar wrapped up with ribbon and will keep well until your guests are ready to chow down on a tasty pancake breakfast. Choose organic and local ingredients whenever possible.

Homemade jam

This favor is great for summer weddings when fresh fruit is abundant and in season. Repurpose old glass jars as jam containers and choose organic and local ingredients when possible. And depending on your color scheme, you can match the jam color to your wedding colors. Find full instructions at The Kitchn.

Seedlings, herbs, or succulents

See the instructions in the centerpieces section above. Alternatively, purchase custom seed starter packets or bundled saplings.

Flavored salts

This gift is functional, cute, and sure to be universally loved, since pretty much everyone reaches for the salt occasionally. Follow detailed instructions at The Kitchn. When you’re all done mixing, pour the flavorful salts into small, repurposed glass jars or corked test tubes and tie them with a ribbon for a pretty presentation.

Dress
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Buy a used dress

The environment pays a steep price for the materials and shipping necessary to manufacture new clothing. Go green—and save a whole lot of money—by purchasing a used wedding dress.StillWhite.ca, OnceWed.com, and PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com are all great sources for gently used gowns. Remember, you can always consult a tailor to adjust the fit.

Upcycle a vintage dress

Turn a neglected gown into a work of art by painting it—yes, we’re serious. Start by selecting a used and/or vintage dress, then hand paint it following the instructions at Instructables. Consider the same process for a suit.

The earth doesn’t have to pay for your big day. Save money, reduce waste, and take it easy on the planet by utilizing any or all of these eco-friendly, DIY wedding ideas. Your wedding will make a lasting impression on your guests while leaving Mother Earth free to do her own thing. It’s a win-win!

If this article has you considering a greener wedding, check out these custom wedding invitations.


August 15, 2015 |
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