Posted by: UrbanGreenGirl | March 16, 2009

Move over metrosexual, hello ecosexual!

Ecosexuality; the new trend in dating

Ecosexuality: the new trend in dating

What do Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney and Brad Pitt have in common? They are all ecosexuals! A new term has been coined on the West Coast that puts metrosexuality to shame, it’s called ecosexuality and describes people who look for mates that share the same environmental concern.

If you think environmentally concerned or socially conscious men are limited to the dirty hippie sterotypes, think again. Ecosexuality combines GQ sexiness with a heart for something more than just a big bank acccount and fancy car.

Take the ecosexuality tour with me learning about my past dating experiences, dating sites now catering to ecosexuality and find out if you’re an ecosexual by taking the quiz on my article Ecosexuality; the new trend in dating hosted on Iamthatgirl.com.

Posted by: UrbanGreenGirl | March 9, 2009

Obama admits a diet lesser in meat would reduce greenhouse gases

Obama_new_dietIt’s very rare that you’ll find a political leader, from any party, that will actually, publicly announce, that a main source of greenhouse gas comes from farm animals raised for meat.

Well not only did Obama admit this and that meat is  a very inefficient source of protein (referring to the amount of water and grain to get 1lb of meat protein compared to 1lb of plant protein), he also went on to admitting that Americans could benefit from a change in diet.

In his speech, he then went on to talk about how developing nations now eating a more western, “meat based” diet is wreaking havoc on already scare resources (grains, water, farm land).

Finally, a leader that puts two and two together and comments on how medicare costs and illnesses like heart disease and diabetes could be dramatically reduced with a diet lesser in meat, not to mention, reduce environmental pollution.

But if  the environmental or animal ethics side of a vegan diet doesn’t concern you, what about the world’s poor? You see, to truly understand what is at stake in world food production, we’re at the point where we will have to make a choice between feeding the world’s livestock or world’s people,  we won’t be able to feed both. Even if the entire world switched to a vegan diet, we would still run out of food, but at least it would sustain us longer.

TV kicked to the curb admist digital switch

How many TV 's will be kicked to the curb following the switch to digital?

You are probably already aware that as of February 17th, some US TV stations will switch from analog to digital broadcasting. Although the benefits are obvious in terms of better picture quality, where does this leave all the old CRT and analog TVs, when e-waste is already a mounting problem in United States?

Well, don’t fear as Urban Green Girl has brought you three (3) solutions  to deal with the switch:

To learn about these three green solutions, check out my guest post entitled How to deal with the digital switch like a green girl at Iamthatgirl.com.

Posted by: UrbanGreenGirl | February 17, 2009

Top household cleansers to be sued for non disclosure of chemicals used

Common household cleaners

Common household cleaners that could be dangerous to our health

I’ve talked countless times on here about the health and environmental dangers from using mainstream household cleansers due to their chemical ingredients that often go untested. In how to start your green life I explain some of the dangers and solutions.

Well, I am very proud to announce that I am not the only person worried about these products and the effects they have on our eco-system. Environmentalists are sueing for the disclosure of chemicals in cleaning products that we all have in our houses.

According to the LA Time’s Greenspace:

The makers of Tide, Ajax and other common household cleansers are being asked to come clean about their ingredients. Environmental and health activists announced plans for a lawsuit to make Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and two other major firms reveal the chemical ingredients of their cleaning products and their research on their effects.

“People deserve to know whether the products they use to wash their dishes and clean their homes could be harmful,” said Keri Powell, attorney for Earthjustice, in New York. The nonprofit public-interest law firm, which specializes in pro-environment litigation, will file the lawsuit Wednesday in New York on behalf of six state and national environmental and health groups, including the Sierra Club and the American Lung Assn.

Last September, members of this coalition sent letters to several leading manufacturers reminding them that they are to disclose, twice a year, ingredient and research reports with the New York state’s department of Environmental Conservation.

Not surprisingly, Method and Seventh Generation, makers of more natural cleansers responded positively as opposed to Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Church and Dwight (makers of Arm & Hammer products) that all flat out refused.

To me, if they refuse to abide by a law, it shows they have something to hide.

I will not risk my health by using products from companies who will not disclose chemical ingredients used and fail to show proof that they are safe. For me, I am all about getting back to basics by using vinegar, baking soda and borax to clean my house.

Posted by: UrbanGreenGirl | February 11, 2009

Tips for a green and romantic Valentine’s Day

Tips for an green Valentine's Day

Tips for a green Valentine's Day

Everyone seems to complain about Valentine’s Day and how it’s just another “commercial” holiday to sell chocolates, cards and put pressure on people’s relationships, not to mention  single people!

Although I agree, I view Valentine’s Day differently. I think it’s great to have a holiday dedicated to love. And if you don’t like the commercial aspect, don’t play into.

Instead, here are some green and  eco friendly gift ideas that will guarantee you a romantic night while supporting green and sustainable businesses and eco friendly initiatives.

  1. Choose potted flowers as opposed to cut flowers. Potted flowers travel shorter distances and stay beautiful all year. Of course, if you can, choose locally grown or organic. But let’s be honest here, I don’t think I’ve ever seen organic flowers before.
  2. Choose fair trade and/or organic chocolate. Help give fair wages to those that work in cocoa bean plantations, don’t use pesticides and herbicides which are a threat to you, the eco system and the wildlife.
  3. Choose natural, organic and/or local beauty products. Every woman likes romantic bubble baths with her beau, but not when it contains a cocktail of chemicals damaging her and the environment.
  4. Cook a romantic dinner chez vous using local and organic ingredients.
  5. Buy organic wine. I can’t believe how many varieties exist now  and the prices are very reasonable, starting at $13.  Please note that although the grapes might be organic, sulphites are still needed to prevent bacteria infestations.
  6. Choose conflict-free diamonds from Canada. Although I agree that Valentine’s has become too commercial, I am also a realistic. So men, if you are going to offer your ladies a diamond of some sort, choose conflict free diamonds which are more socially ethical.
  7. Make your own jewellery. Nothing says I love you more than a jewellery creation you made yourself. How you ask? Buy second-hand jewellery from a pawn shop, then get a master jeweller to melt it down and create your own design. Eco and original!
  8. Offer him/her a day at the spa. Offer services as opposed to products which will end up in the landfill. A day at the spa is luxurious, relaxing and romantic if you do it together.
  9. Plant a tree in your lovers’ name in the US, Canada, Amazon or Israel.
  10. Check out Green&CleanMom for 5 more green valentine’s ideas.

Special thanks to Equiterre who provided some of the tips but because they were written in French, I have translated them for you here. For Canadians in Quebec, check out Equiterre’s retailer directory for fair-trade products ranging from chocolates to wine.

Me, Dov Charney, Chantal and Anouk

Me, Dov Charney (American Apparel), Chantal and Anouk

During my last year in university, I met a group of business students who like me, were looking for another business model that incorporated sustainability, social ethics and most importantly, environmental well-being.  With them, I helped organize the first ever Sustainable Business Conference at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.

The first year discussed and debated if going “green” could help the bottom line and private versus public responsibility in achieving sustainable businesses and societies. The event was such a success that it inspired a course on sustainability in the  business faculty. A huge accomplishment in itself!

In its first year, we were able to get many CEO’s and business executives from organizations ranging from Hydro Quebec, Soyummi and Nature’s Path foods to our favourite, the scandalous Dov Charney from American Apparel, known for its non sweat-shop t-shirts.  That in itself was a major crowd drawer.

2005 SBC attendees

2005 SBC attendees

Five years later, the SBC in stronger than ever and its 5th annual Sustainable Business Conference, “Building our Future” will take place on Friday, February 13th. The event will allow attendees to learn about environmentally conscious architecture, construction, and design. If you are considering becoming a consultant in green buildings, sustainable business or curious about the green buildings of the future, this conference is for you.

Tickets are $10 and include a wine and cheese cocktail afterwards. You can purchase them online at jsg-jmsb.ca or at the tables in the lobbies/mezzanines of the GM and Hall buildings of Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve West.

I myself will be attending the wine and cheese afterwards and look forward to passionate discussion on green living and sustainable business with other like minded people. Hope to see you there!

Posted by: UrbanGreenGirl | February 3, 2009

Guest blogging about skin problem solutions with Rose hip oil

Rosehip oil is extracted from the seeds of rosebush

Rose hip oil is extracted from the seeds of rosebushes

Read my first guest post on iamthatgirl.com.

Here I talk about a miraculous product called Rosehip oil which is not only the
best skin moisturizer, but also treats and prevents a myriad of skin problems.

If you are concerned with wrinkles, scars, dry skin, red marks or puffy under eyes, then Rosehip oil is for you!

Via: How to fight  scars, stretch marks, puffy under eyes and wrinkles with Rosehip oil.

The Story of Stuff - Extraction

The Story of Stuff - Extraction

There are (2) two things that have greatly impacted my life; reading Diet for a New America and watching The Story of Stuff.  It was one of the principle reasons I decided to start Urban Green Girl.

The Story of Stuff was one of the most viewed, viral videos of 2007 with over 4 million pages views.  Because of the immense international attention it received, they decided to launch an international version of its coveted online video. Now it contains sub-titles for (10) ten languages including French, Spanish, Hebrew, German, Arabic and Mandarin.

I am so excited as I can finally share this video with my francophone and other international friends for whom it’s been so difficult to explain green living!

So what is this video about you ask?

The Story of Stuff:

From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

Don’t be left out in the cold! Inform yourself today and learn about the impact you have on the world by watching the Story of Stuff.

Watching this video is STEP #1 in starting your green life.

Consumerism - Planned obsolesence

Grass-lined tram and railways in Europe

Grass-lined tram and railways in Europe

I just read a  great article this morning that I wanted to share with you. It’s about green urban design that is not only beautiful but ecological. It seems that certain cities across France, Spain, The Netherlands and The Czech Republic are implementing grass-lined railways in the city.

The benefit, aside from being more beautiful then concrete, is that it helps to reduce urban heat island effect which is when the temperature in cities is more warm than surrounding areas.

This happens because dark surfaces, notably cement, absorb the sun’s heat as opposed to vegetation which cools it down.  The imbalanced ratio of dark surfaces to vegetation in urban sprawls increases the temperature.

The result is higher air pollution due to smog which occurs in hotter climates and increased energy consumption from air conditioning needed to offset the heat.

It also provides a permeable surface for storm water absorption and reduces pollution.  Reading articles like this leave me feeling optimistic for a green future. Not to mention, wanting to travel in Europe!

Posted by: UrbanGreenGirl | January 22, 2009

The Toyota Prius proves not so fuel efficient afterall

Toyota Hybrid vs BMW 520d

A test conducted by The Sunday Times in England proved that a BMW 520d diesel is more fuel efficient than the Toyota Prius hybrid, on a race from London to Geneva, 560miles.  They covered about 200 miles of highways, 200 miles of B roads (windy, mountainous conditions) and 100 miles of urban settings.

In fact, the drive is only 460 miles to Geneva, but they drove an extra 100 miles to give the Toyota Prius some advantage in urban settings.

The results were surprising! The BMW 520d had done the entire trip on 49 litres and averaged more than 50 mpg whereas the Toyota Prius Hybrid averaged only 48.1 mpg.  I should note that Toyota claims that the official fuel consumption for the Prius is 65.7 mpg.

You would think with all the hoopla surrounding the benefits of the Toyota Prius that it would still manage to be more fuel efficient in highway driving than a midsize car.

However, to the Toyota Prius’s defense, it’s main purpose is for city driving where fuel consumption is at it’s highest. Not to mention, this is the type of condition that most of us drive in on a regular basis. We all know that you get more mpg in highway driving as you’re not stopping and going every 5 minutes, so frankly, for the Toyota Prius to have been beaten by less than 2 mpg, it’s really not, in my opinion, that big of a deal.

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