TeachingGreen logo
Green Living News
December 2008
In This Issue
Eco-Gadgets & Innovations
Shoppers Beware!
World Wide GREEN Web
L.A. Confidential
Support TeachingGreen
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links

Welcome to the December 2008 edition of TeachingGreen's Green Living News, a monthly newsletter for folks interested in creating a more sustainable society through individual actions and beyond.

Inside this issue of Green Living News:
...and more!

Eco_gadgetsEco-Gadgets & Innovations
Batteries Not Required?
Got a perfectly good cell phone that barely holds a charge anymore? CellphoneHow would you like a phone that never needs to be charged, and thus never runs out of power?

As crazy sci-fi as it sounds, cell phones that run on nothing more than the energy in the sound waves of your voice may soon become a reality.

Professor Tahir Cagin of Texas A&M University and his partners at the University of Houston have found that a certain type of piezoelectric material can covert energy at a 100 percent increase when manufactured at a specific size: around 21 nanometers in thickness.

Piezoelectrics are materials that generate voltage when pressure is applied. They can be used in dance floors, sidewalks and roads to convert mechanical power to electrical power.

Now, using nanotechnology, sound waves, a type of pressure wave that create a disturbance in solids, liquids and gases, may themselves be used to generate an electric current.

Cagin's findings are detailed in an article published this fall in "Physical Review B," the scientific journal of the American Physical Society. While there is still much research to be done, his discovery could lead to the development of self-powered cell phones, laptops and other low-powered electronic devices.

 Shoppers_BewareShoppers Beware!
Toxic Toys to Avoid

Just in time for holiday shopping, researchers with the nonprofit Ecology Center have released their second annual Consumer Guide to Toxic Chemicals in Toys. Toy jewelry

Focusing on chemicals that are associated with reproductive problems, developmental and learning disabilities, hormone problems and cancer, the researchers found that one in three of more than 1,500 toys tested have "medium" or "high" levels of chemicals of concern. These chemicals are lead, bromine, cadmium, chlorine, arsenic and mercury.

The tests revealed that some toys for sale today would be illegal to sell under new Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations going into effect in February 2009. Lead was detected in 20 percent of the toys, and overall, jewelry was found to be twice as likely to contain detectable levels of lead as other products.

If you're thinking that these toxic toys are all made in China, think again. While 21 percent of toys from China were found to have detectable levels of lead, 16 percent of those from all other countries also had detectable levels of lead.

The guide, which can be found at www.HealthyToys.org is searchable by product name, product type, product code, brand, and manufacturer. If a particular toy has not been tested, you can nominate it to be tested or you can vote for a toy that's already been nominated to help prioritize toys for testing.

World_Wide_Green_webWorld Wide GREEN Web
Putting it to Use this Holiday Season

As you speed through the month of December, blood pressure rising by the day, do yourself and the Earth a favor: shop from home. Shopping online saves energy in at least two important ways:
  • One truck delivering hundreds of packages uses much less fuel than hundreds of people driving to shopping malls
  • Retail stores are replaced with warehouses, which use much less energy for heating, cooling and lighting
The other great thing about shopping online is that it is often much easier to find earth-friendly gifts on the Internet than in retail stores. One example: TheJuicyPearGiftShop.com, which sells merchandise made from recycled materials.

All of the items sold at TheJuicyPearGiftShop.com are made from things destined for a landfill, such as:fire hose bag
  • billboards
  • fire hoses
  • rice bags
  • juice boxes
  • pull tabs
  • flip-flop scraps
  • circuit boards
This garbage is transformed into all kinds of beautiful things, including lunch boxes, business card cases, messenger bags (pictured - that's an old fire hose), coasters, clocks, frames, photo albums, jewelry, and more.

Want to do even more to green your holidays? If you are still exchanging gifts with every member of your family, discuss adopting a new family tradition such as picking Secret Santas or enjoying a white elephant gift exchange. It's a win-win for all: the whole family will enjoy a less stressful December with more time to enjoy the season with family and friends; there will be fewer gifts to return; and perhaps best of all, everyone will start the new year with a fatter wallet!

LA_ConfidentialL.A. Confidential

Events and other stuff for Angelinos:

Eco Gift Festival

Date: December 12-14
Time: Fri & Sat, 10:00am - 8:00pm; Sun, 11:00am - 7:00pm
Location: Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Cost: $10/day or $20 for all three days
Parking: $8

Looking for that perfect gift for the eco-minded folks on your holiday shopping list? Or simply interested in giving gifts that are more Earth-friendly?

The Eco Gift Festival in Santa Monica is a three-day event where you can buy everything from clothing to home decor, and have it wrapped (in an environmentally-friendly way, of course!) and shipped from the event via UPS. Visit www.ecogift.com for a full exhibitor list.

Upcoming TeachingGreen Workshop

Making Your Home a Friend to Mother Nature, Part II
(Water Quality and Conservation)Whole Foods logo

Date: Wednesday, December 17
Time: 7:00 - 8:30pm
Location: Whole Foods Market, 2655 PCH, Torrance, CA 90505
Cost: Suggested donation $5
For more info, visit www.teachinggreen.org.

LA Green Drinks

Relax, have a drink, make new friends, network and share ideas with others interested in environmental issues.

LA Green Drinks - West Side: 1st Thursday of the month
LA Green Drinks - South Bay: 2nd Thursday
LA Green Drinks - West Hollywood/Silver Lake: 3rd Thursday
LA Green Drinks - Downtown: 4th Wednesday
LA Green Drinks - Valley: 4th Thursday

For times and locations, visit: lagreendrinks.blogspot.com.


Interested in alternative energy? Concerned about global warming?

Wouldn't it be great if you could meet like-minded individuals who share your pMeetupassions about environmental issues? You can, with www.meetup.com.

To search for groups in your community, just enter the topic(s) you're interested in and your zip. Joining is easy and once you do, you'll be invited to join other meetup group members at relevant events in your area.

It's a great way to meet new friends and organize for a cause!

Support_TGSupport TeachingGreen

Three ways you can help:

1. Bring us your people

Actually, we'll come to you.Compact Fluorescent bulb

In addition to public workshops, we also give presentations for groups, schools, and businesses. Are you a member of a community group, alumni group, Mom's group, church group, or any other kind of group? Have a business you're trying to green and want to get your employees on board?

If so, we would love to come and give a presentation or two for your group! We give presentations on specific issues, such as transportation, food and household toxics, and we also offer a general overview of sustainable living.

Visit www.teachinggreen.org to learn more and to request a presentation.

2. Volunteer or intern with TeachingGreen

We are seeking interns and volunteers to help further our mission of helping people reduce the environmental impact of their personal and professional lives. We need help with curriculum development, fund raising and outreach. Your involvement will help us to grow the organization so that we can reach more people with the message of sustainability.

For more information, contact Kathleen Jacecko at 310-372-7484 or kjacecko@teachinggreen.org.

3. Donate and become a member of TeachingGreen

We are a 501(c)3 organization, so all donations are fully tax-deductible. Your support helps us spread the message of sustainability via workshops, presentations, our wesite and this newsletter. We currenlty operate only in Los Angeles, but even if you don't live here, remember that when we act locally, we help the global environment as well as the local environment.

To make a tax-deductible donation to TeachingGreen, click here.

We hope you find this newsletter helpful and informative, and should you have any suggestions, questions or general comments, we'd love to hear from you.

Kathleen Jacecko


Kathleen Jacecko