TeachingGreen logo
Green Living News
May 2009
In This Issue
Eco-Gadgets & Innovations
Did You Know?
World Wide GREEN Web
L.A. Confidential
Good News!
Support TeachingGreen
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links

Welcome to the May 2009 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:
  • Improve your eco-intelligence with the GoodGuide
...and more!

Eco_gadgetsEco-Gadgets & Innovations

Of all the aspects of modern American life, the most difficult to green for many people is transportation. With very few alternative fuel vehicles currently available and public transportation too time consuming and inconvenient for many Americans, we don't have many options other than choosing a vehicle with good fuel economy, keeping it well-maintained and taking steps to minimize driving when possible.

But what if you could attach a gadget to your tailpipe that would increase fuel economy by up to 12%, thereby decreasing emissions of carbon dioxide by the same amount? Sound too good to be true? Sabertec, an environmental technology company, claims that this is exactly what can be achieved with their innovative product, the BLADE. Not only that, but the BLADE captures toxic Bladeparticulate material (PM) as well.

The BLADE's laboratory fuel economy and emissions testing were conducted by Automotive Testing and Development Services, Inc., a California-based independent testing laboratory accepted by the EPA and licensed by the California Air Resources Board. The testing was conducted on a fleet of vehicles (4-cylinder, 6-cylinder, 8-cylinder and Hybrid vehicles, both foreign and domestic) using the EPA 511 Test Protocol, the most rigorous EPA-recognized test procedure there is.

According to Sabertec, while there are over 100 devices and fuel additives that claim to increase fuel economy, the BLADE is the only aftermarket product ever to show significant carbon dioxide reductions and fuel economy increases by the EPA 511 Test Protocol.

The BLADE retails for $199 and a replacement cartridge costs $20. Cars manufactured after 1997 require a new cartridge every 8,000 to 10,000 miles. Any car manufactured before1996, however, should have its cartridge replaced every 3,000 miles.

For information about how it works, how its installed and a list of installers across the country, visit www.bladeyourride.com.

Did_you_knowDid You Know?

Not All Mulch is Created Equal

Mulch much? Applying mulch to your garden has all kinds of environmental benefits. It helps retain moisture in the soil, allows better water penetration by preventing the soil from crusting, and it helps control weeds, to name a few. However, there are two types of mulch that you should steer clear of: cypress mulch and cocoa mulch.

Cypress Mulch
Cypress to mulch
Once upon a time, cypress mulch was a by-product of the lumber industry. But times have changed. Now, swamps of the Gulf Coast are being clear-cut and whole trees are being used just to make cypress mulch. In the process, the Gulf's natural storm protection is literally being ground into mulch.

Cypress forests are recognized by scientists to be some of the Gulf's best natural protection against storm surges and flooding. Wetlands, which also offer significant protection against flooding, are estimated to reduce storm surge by one foot for every four miles of wetlands. Just one mile of cypress forest, by comparison, accomplishes the same reduction in storm surge.

What you can do: instead of cypress mulch, choose sustainable alternatives such as pine-bark nuggets and farmed eucalyptus.

The Save Our Cypress Coalition is an alliance of 160 conservation groups, religious organizations, businesses, gardening clubs, and civic organizations working to protect Louisiana's cypress forests from the chipper. To learn more about their fight and what you can do to help, visit their website at www.saveourcypress.org.

Cocoa Mulch

If you've ever owned a dog or cat, you probably know that chocolate can be toxic and even fatal to our furry friends. The compounds in chocolate that make it so dangerous for dogs and cats are theobromine and caffeine.
Dog runningTurns out, since cocoa mulch is made from chocolate, it is also toxic if consumed in large enough quantities.

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, approximate levels of theobromine in different types of chocolate are:
  • Dry cocoa powder = 800 mg/oz
  • Unsweetened (Baker's) chocolate = 450 mg/oz
  • Cocoa bean mulch = 255 mg/oz
  • Semisweet chocolate and sweet dark chocolate = 150-160 mg/oz
  • Milk chocolate = 44-64 mg/oz
  • White chocolate is an insignificant source of theobromine
While the odds of your pet (or any pet, for that matter) dying from eating cocoa mulch are low, why tempt fate? Choose an alternative...as long as it's not cypress, of course!

World_wide_green_webWorld Wide GREEN Web

Anyone familiar with the three tenets of eco-friendly living (reduce, reuse, recycle) knows that reducing the consumption of consumer goods is an important part of minimizing one's impact on the environment. But what about the impacts of those products that we must, or least feel compelled to buy?

IndustryOn its surface, a product may seem green; perhaps it's made with a sustainable material such as bamboo. But, unfortunately for the green-minded consumer, it's a lot more complicated than that. Where was the bamboo grown? What chemicals were used to process the raw bamboo? What's the manufacturer's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions? You get the idea.

To answer these questions, websites like GoodGuide are popping up on the Internet. GoodGuide provides "the world's largest and most reliable source of information on the health, environmental, and social impacts of the products in your home." The site rates products on environmental impact, impact on human health, and the company's social performance.

The website boasts a database of over 70,000 food, toy, personal care, & Toys on the assembly linehousehold products. Whether you're looking for toys free of PVC, lead, mercury and other heavy metals, body care products that aren't tested on animals, or companies that on the whole are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, complying with the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, using recycled materials, etc., GoodGuide will point you in the right direction.

And if you have an iPhone, download the GoodGuide, free of charge, and take it with you on your next shopping trip. Check it out at www.goodguide.com.

LA_ConfidentialL.A. Confidential
Events and other stuff for Angelinos:

Upcoming TeachingGreen Workshops:

Making Your Home a Friend to Mother Nature, Part II (Water Quality & Conservation)

Save countless gallons of water around the house and minimize runoff that pollutes our local waters. Testimonial

Sunday, May 17
12:30 - 2:00pm
Pacific Unitarian Church, 5621 Montemalaga Dr., Rancho Palos Verdes 90275
Donations greatly appreciated!

Helping the Earth with Every Bite

Thank Mother Earth for her delicious bounty by choosing foods that nourish the body without harming the Earth.

Date: Tuesday, May 19
Time: 7:00 - 8:00pm
Location: Seed Kitchen Restaurant, 1604 Pacific Avenue, Venice, CA 90291
Cost: Suggested donation $5

Making Your Home a Friend to Mother Nature, Part I (Green Building & Energy Conservation)

Learn how to make your home a model of sustainability, inside and out, and Whole Foods logogive the Joneses something meaningful to keep up with.

Wednesday, May 20
Time: 7:00 - 8:30pm
Location: Whole Foods Market, 2655 PCH, Torrance 90505
Cost: Suggested donation $5

For more information and to register, visit www.teachinggreen.org.

Eco Events Around Town

AltBuild Expo

Presented by the City of Santa Monica, this event features over 150 exhibitors displaying the latest in green building technologies and practices, landscape and water conservation products and interior design products and furnishings. The program will include panel discussions, seminars, and hands-on workshops led by top environmental and urban development experts. 

Date: Friday & Saturday, May 8 & 9
Time: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Location: Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main St, Santa Monica 90401
Cost: FREE

Ballona Wetlands Stewards Cleanup

Come down to Ballona tomorrow and help the Ballona Wetlands Land Trust and Go Ecokids clean up and restore the wetlands. This is a great Ballona Wetlandsopportunity to see the wetlands up close and help restore one of LA's most precious natural resources...our last remaining coastal wetlands.

Date: May 9, 2009
Time: 9:30am - 3:30pm (pizza lunch from 12 - 1)
Location: Ballona Wetlands, at the ball fields on Culver Blvd. between Lincoln Blvd. and I-90.  Click here for directions.

What to bring: long pants, closed-toe shoes, sunscreen, water, snacks and gloves if you have them

South Bay Solar Homes Tour

If you are thinking of installing solar photovoltaic panels on your home, this is an excellent opportunity to learn what you need to know to get the best Solar PV panelssystem for your needs at the best price. Bring your questions and talk to the homeowners of seven South Bay homes powered by solar PV. In addition to learning about the systems themselves, you'll learn how to take advantage of federal and state financial incentives available for solar, and you'll leave with first-hand recommendations for reliable installers.

For a tour schedule and map, visit www.environmentalprioritiesnetwork.com.

Date: Saturday, May 16
Time: 9:30am - 5:30pm
Location: Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance
Cost: FREE

WorldFest 2009 Earth Day Festival

WorldFest is a solar-powered celebration featuring live music, empowering speakers, environmental, humanitarian and animal welfare non-profits, kid's activities and a delicious food court.

Date: Saturday, May 16
Time: 10:30am - 7:00pm
Location: Woodley Park, 6350 Woodley Ave, LA 91406
Cost: Adults $7; 12 & under FREE; parking $5

Kid's ROCK: Music & Nature Festival

Join the Children's Nature Institute and Faith2Green for Kid's ROCK, an outdoor family concert, picnic dinner, and CNI Nature Fair, promising to be an early evening of great music, good food, and hands-on eco-activity at the historic Old Zoo picnic area at Griffith Park.

Date: Sunday, May 17
Time: 3:30 - 7:00pm
Location: Griffith Park Old Zoo, 4730 Crystal Springs Dr, LA 90027
Cost: $15

LA Green Career Conference

This first ever Los Angeles green career conference will feature industry perspective panels, breakout sessions, a free resume review and a social networking hour.

Date: Sunday, June 7
Time: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Location: UCLA, specific location TBD
Registration: $175 (save $50 when you register by May 15 - use coupon code earlyLA09)

To register, click here.

Job Announcement

The Energy Coalition

Project Manager - Energy Specialist

Location: Irvine, CA
Post Date: April 16, 2009
Start Date: Immediately

Position Description:

The Energy Coalition is seeking a full-time Project Manager that will report to the Program Manager. Under the direction of the Director of Programs and Program Manager, the Project Manager will identify opportunities for energy efficiency projects within municipal facilities and provide hands-on assistance to program participants throughout the retrofit process. The Project Manager will work with a dynamic team to provide support and build relationships with municipal customers throughout Southern California.

For more information, visit www.energycoalition.org.

Good_newsGood News!

European Parliament Bans Commercial Trade in Seal Products

STRASBOURG, France, May 5, 2009 (ENS) - The European Parliament voted today to ban most seal products from the European market, Seal Huntereliminating a primary source of revenue for the world's seal hunters. The legislative resolution was adopted with 550 votes in favor, 49 against and 41 abstentions.

An exemption is allowed for indigenous communities. The legislators exempted those seal products resulting from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit and other indigenous communities, which may still be imported and marketed into European Union countries.

Otherwise, the import of seal products is permitted only where it is of an occasional nature and consists exclusively of goods for...

Click here for full article.
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