Sarah Backhouse

Sarah Backhouse

Ethnically ambiguous with the accent to prove it, I’m thrilled to be on the cutting edge of this brave, new green world.

Triobike: Three is the Magic Number

triobike 02 Triobike: Three is the Magic Number

How cool is mainland Europe’s Northern most country? Let me tell you. They’re so cool, they started the Dogme film movement. They’re so cool, they’re 83% Lutheran. They’re so cool, they can make bikes with a stroller attachment (which are admittedly not as crave worthy a concept as say a Balenciaga bag) into something super desirable. From the country that loves biking as much as they do open rye bread sandwiches, comes the triobike.

As the name suggests, Denmark’s uber stylish triobike comprises three main functions: a carrier bike; a bike; and pushchair (that’s stroller for you guys). Which adds up to an exciting new concept in transportation, especially for parents with a penchant for cycling. Here’s what sets it apart from other kid wheeling bikes. While a regular carrier bike is great when you have kids in it, once they’ve been dropped off why pedal harder than you have to? With the triobike, you drop the kids off to daycare/school/the mine (I’m kidding), leave the front carrier there and bicycle solo onto work. The trio also gives you the flexibility of having your spouse pick up the kids, simply fitting the carrier onto their bikes or walking home with the kids in the stroller.

triobike 01 Triobike: Three is the Magic Number

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Green Yoga | Everything Linked Together

yoga005 Green Yoga | Everything Linked Together

Yoga is to the nineties as aerobics was to the eighties. There are similarities: both increase flexibility, both build strength, both develop muscle tone and both are a great excuse to wear something cute (if lycra G-strings were ever considered cute).

The big difference, of course, is that yoga offers something intangible. Possibly best classified under the umbrella of spirituality, it’s an innate awareness of our interconnectedness to the environment around us. To ensure that yoga doesn’t get Jane Fonda-rized, the Green Yoga Organization can help us to stay grounded to the true meaning of yoga.

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There Are Taxis in LA | Some Are Even Green

hybrid taxi 002 There Are Taxis in LA | Some Are Even Green

Los Angeles doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to transport. Combine our lack of a reliable citywide bus or train system with our insistence on adhering to the California Car Pool (defined by Urban Dictionary as “when each member of a group uses their own car to go to the same destination [even when] the group is together at the start or close enough to share rides”) and you’ll see why our skies are so smoggy. Or not see, as the case may be.

Enter the newly launched eco-friendly taxi service, EcoNation, which offers LA a breath of fresh air — literally. EcoNation is committed to providing chauffeured luxury ground transportation services with new ecological standards. Their current fleet consists of a Compressed Natural Gas Lincoln Town Car, the Toyota Prius Hybrid (natch) and coming soon, a GM Yukon or Chevvy Tahoe Hybrid. A ride in the Prius will cost you a little more than a regular taxi in LA, but with internet access, digital entertainment programming and healthy treats on hand, who cares?

hybrid taxi 001 There Are Taxis in LA | Some Are Even Green

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Natural Back Pain Remedies Worth Trying

natural back Natural Back Pain Remedies Worth Trying

You know you’re getting old when you start experiencing back pain. If middle-age had a calling card, I think it’s safe to say that chronic back pain would be it. As a child, I remember my father being hit every so often, and for a couple of weeks he’d be doubled over and super grouchy. Occasionally he’d seek relief from a chiropractor. Here in the States, it seems people prefer to load up on pills or use high-tech (and highly expensive) gadgetry.

I’m not here to tell anyone how to treat their pain, but it’s interesting to note that Americans spend a whopping $86 billion on back pain each year!

For those of us without that kind of coin, Forbes has some tips that might ease back pain while going easy on the pocketbook.

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Filed Under Fitness/Diet, G Living

The Metamorphosis Collection By Fashion Designer Carol Young

carol young fashion designer 05 The Metamorphosis Collection By Fashion Designer Carol Young

You may think it’s easy for me – shielded away behind my macbook pro — to wax lyrical about being a socially responsible citizen. Sure, I talk the talk. But do I walk the walk? Oh yes, gentle reader, I do. Especially when ethical designer Carol Young’s Los Feliz boutique is literally around the corner from my abode. Not only am I walking the walk, I’m also buying it local, which more than justifies the non-essential purchase of a white moth microfiber cowl neck dress (which I had to get after I was informed by a sales assistant that I resembled “a post-apocalyptic Jacqueline Kennedy”).

carol young fashion designer 01 The Metamorphosis Collection By Fashion Designer Carol Young

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Shark Devouring Humans Defy All Measures To Stop Them

dead sharks 100 million a year 04 Shark Devouring Humans Defy All Measures To Stop Them

When sharks attack humans, it’s big news. But what about when it’s the other way around? Not so much. So let’s review the statistics: last year there were 71 “unprovoked attacks” made by sharks on humans which resulted in a single fatality. Compare that with the 100 million sharks killed by humans every year. Despite Spielberg’s best efforts, it seems sharks are the ones that should be afraid of us.

Research from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature reveals, “more than half the world’s ocean-going sharks face extinction in the near future.” And a lot of this boils down to…shark fin soup. Seriously. In Asia, shark fin soup is considered a delicacy and symbol of respect. That’s why a pound of shark fin fetches $300. Then there’s the superstition that shark cartilage cures arthritis and cancer, furthering the illegal poaching and price hikes.

dead sharks 100 million a year 02 Shark Devouring Humans Defy All Measures To Stop Them Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Inconvenient Truth – The Opera – Inconvenient, Elitist, And No Doubt Expensive

inconvienttruth opera Inconvenient Truth   The Opera   Inconvenient,  Elitist, And No Doubt Expensive

There’s nothing like reaching the common man through the medium of…opera. Yeah right, all that black tie, high ticket prices and knowledge of Italian makes it a real crowd pleaser.

Well sound idea or not, the Associated Press reports that Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli has been assigned the task of turning Gore’s 2006 hit documentary into a 2011 Milan Opera House, full house. The composer is currently artistic director of Verona’s Arena.

algore bono 01 Inconvenient Truth   The Opera   Inconvenient,  Elitist, And No Doubt Expensive Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Walrus Ponders Why The Sea Is Boiling Hot

walrus enviroment heating up 01 Walrus Ponders Why The Sea Is Boiling Hot

The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—Of cabbages—and kings—And why the sea is boiling hot—And whether pigs have wings.” Although, Lewis Carroll’s famed Through the Looking-Glass may appear like hallucinogenic hurdy gurdy, there’s a line in there that’s most prophetic (and no, its not the shoes).

Although not quite “boiling hot,” the sea temperature is certainly rising causing the polar ice sheet to thin, and leaving its occupants including the walrus increasingly without a home. Although exact numbers aren’t known, “recent surveys by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and others put the number at roughly 190,000, with the vast majority of walruses in the Pacific half of the Arctic and sub-Arctic Circle.”

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Mangrove Destruction Leaves Myanmar Exposed

mangrove forest young trees 01 Mangrove Destruction Leaves Myanmar Exposed
photo by apes_abroad (copyleft cc)

With all the natural disasters pummeling the planet over the past few years, you’d be forgiven for mistaking Roland Emmerich’s 2004 “The Day After Tomorrow” for a documentary rather than a blockbuster. The May 2nd cyclone in Myanmar proved particularly devastating: 133,000 dead or missing and a staggering 2.4 million homeless.

It’s saddening to learn that the destruction of coastal mangroves around the Irrawaddy River delta over the past few decades, “amplified the flooding and worsened devastation” caused by cyclone Nargis, according to a recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization. As people moved closer to the coast, “the combination of new settlements and deforestation for fish ponds and farmland set the stage for the disaster”, said Jan Heino, the F.A.O.’s assistant director general for forestry. Since 1975, the mangrove forests of the Irrawaddy Delta have halved while wood harvesting has reduced its density.

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Ciénaga de Zapata | Will Global Warming Bring About an Early Departure?

cuba cienaga de zapata global warming 031 Ciénaga de Zapata | Will Global Warming Bring About an Early Departure?

Cuba’s Zapata Swamp sounds much more impressive in its native Spanish — Ciénaga de Zapata. And impressive it is. The largest and best preserved wetlands in the Caribbean, it’s estimated that “this marsh holds 65 percent of Cuba’s birdlife, including native species the Zapata wren, rail and sparrow, as well as 1,000 plant species.” However, the threat of climate change could result in these wetlands disappearing altogether — in less then 50 years.

Located 100 miles southwest of Havana with a latitude just 22 degrees north of the equator, these tropical wetlands are under siege. Humans live on the fringes of this UNESCO World Heritage site, bringing with them the inevitable by-product of civilization, pollution. Global warming is contributing to the mix by increasing the likelihood of hurricanes — the worst of which struck back in 2001, boasting wind speeds up to 210 km/h.

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Using A Bidet | Why It’s Greener to Wash Than Wipe

bidet Using A Bidet | Why It’s Greener to Wash Than Wipe

The French invented them. The Italians love them. The Spaniards, Portuguese and Greeks can’t live without them. There are more of them in Venezuela than they are beauty queens, while the Japanese are just pleased to combine their dual obsessions of hygiene and hi-tech. Yet here in the U.S. (like bikini bottoms for men and topless sunbathing for women), the bidet is viewed with a fervent puritanical suspicion.

Hopefully, the environmentally conscious among us will lead the movement (no pun intended) towards embracing the brilliant green technology that is the bidet. Here’s a few sobering facts about toilet paper, courtesy of Treehugger: “We use 36.5 billions rolls of toilet paper in the U.S. each year, this represents at least 15 million trees pulped. This also involves 473,587,500,000 gallons of water to produce the paper and 253,000 tons of chlorine for bleaching purposes. The manufacturing process requires about 17.3 terawatts of electricity annually.” Not to mention packaging and transportation. Ouch.

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Not Even Sea Life is Safe | Global Warming Creates Ocean Dead Zones

fish hypoxic Not Even Sea Life is Safe | Global Warming Creates Ocean Dead Zones

photo by AriaFotografia cc

There’s more grim news for fish and other marine life as scientists uncover oxygen deprived “dead zones” — also known as “hypoxic zones” — in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Once again, it appears that global warming is the main culprit.

A study by a team of scientists, led by Lothar Stramma of the University of Kiel in Germany, published in the journal Science, shows that oxygen depleted zones have been expanding over the past 50 years. They warn that the oxygen levels in these zones have reached critical levels and that the “continued expansion of these zones could have dramatic consequences for both sea life and coastal economies.” Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

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