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.

$600 Mil R&D Bill Goes To Consumers

600 million bill california electric natural gas green think tank $600 Mil R&D Bill Goes To Consumers

Fossil fuels are not only damaging to the environment, they’re running out. We need to find energy alternatives and fast. But who will be footing the bill for all this new research and development? Business? The Government?

It seems the correct answer is we the consumers.

According to a Reuters article: “California electricity and natural gas customers will be charged $600 million over the next 10 years to fund a green think tank Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Hunger Crisis May Trigger Social Upheaval

haiti hunger crisis rice field 01 Hunger Crisis May Trigger Social Upheaval

We’ve heard about the riots in Haiti and the suffering in India caused by the price of wheat, rice and maize doubling in the last 12 months, along with soy and corn trading well above average. But why is this happening? And why now? The BBC attributes this to end of the “Goldilocks era for global commodities”, which saw prices stable for some 30 odd years. This, combined with the fact that food buffers are at all time lows, is hitting India and other developing countries very hard.

“33 countries around the world are at risk of social upheaval as a result of acute increases in food and energy prices,” said Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank (via the Chicago Tribune). Rice, lentils and wheat for a family in India can “take as much as 70 percent of a meager monthly salary… with the other 30 percent of the family’s income committed to rent,” which means no vegetables or other necessary food staples. Whereas, in rich developed nations, “people spend an average of 10 to 15 percent of their disposable income on food.” Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Giants Living In The Oceans Off Of New Zealand Spark International Excitement

giant marine creatures new zealand anartic1 Giants Living In The Oceans Off Of New Zealand Spark International Excitement

Not since Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea has there been so much excitement over the discovery of giant marine creatures. And while you might think jellyfish with 12-foot tentacles, 2-foot-wide starfish, huge sea snails and large sea spiders sound like science fiction, they are very much science fact.

Scientists conducting “the most comprehensive survey to date of New Zealand’s Antarctic waters” discovered several new species, including up to eight new mollusks. The sheer size of the creatures was attributed to “cold temperatures, a small number of predators, high levels of oxygen in the sea water and even longevity”.

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Ecover | Better Than Taking an Axe to Your Dishwasher

dishwasher modern Ecover | Better Than Taking an Axe to Your Dishwasher

Not owning a TV is so passe; the new cool in ecological elitism is not owning a dishwasher. Sure, it ages your hands, nurtures obsessive compulsive disorder and sucks all the joy out of a 16-person dinner party, but it’s better for the environment. I’m proud to be a part of the wash-by-hand camp, cleaning up “as you go” and saving water.

But if you do own a dishwasher, don’t take an axe to it just yet< -- if used efficiently, a dishwasher can be a handy appliance.

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Go Green Expo NYC April 25th-27th | The Latest in Cotton & Air Travel

go green expo earth day new york city Go Green Expo NYC April 25th 27th | The Latest in Cotton & Air Travel

The world should be divided into two: BTIT; and ATIT. That’s Before “The Inconvenient Truth” and After “The Inconvenient Truth”. Every day, more people emerge from the ether to whom TIT was a life-altering experience. Take Bradford Rand, the brains behind the Go Green Expo, which will be held in The Hilton New York over Earth Day weekend. A producer of over 600 trade shows, Rand and his team came up with the idea for the expo after a viewing of TIT prompted the question: How can we make a difference?

The Go Green Expo kicks off with a Gala Awards Dinner on Friday April 25th. Patrons paying upwards of $500 will dine on a Rachael Ray created menu, marvel at a Maggie Norris’ Eco Couture fashion show and applaud the awardees including Anderson Cooper, Kevin Wall of Live Earth fame and David Zaslav (the CEO of Discovery Communications).

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Roadrunner | Low Flow Without Low Pressure

roadrunner eco friendly low flow showerhead Roadrunner | Low Flow Without Low Pressure

We’re all guilty of taking long showers. We’ve been told that by our fathers since we were teenagers. But sometimes it’s hard to keep the time down, what when it’s hair wash, leg shave and sugar body scrub day. (Was that too much info? Sorry.) And there’s the issue of running the water until it gets hot. What do you do this time? Pick out your clothes? Brush your teeth? Shiver? I’m obviously busy gathering my various accoutrement for the above mentioned shower. Thankfully, Evolve’s Roadrunner showerhead tackles both of these wasteful water practices head-on Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

I Am Obsessed With Righteous Fashion!

righteous eco fashion 01 I Am Obsessed With Righteous Fashion!

After writing about The House of Organic Sustainable Fashion Show held at the Gold LEED certified Haworth studios in NYC earlier this year, one designer that caught my eye and then stuck in my mind was Swedish label Righteous. Their ultra feminine jersey knits in autumnal hues, cinched at the waist and sporting to-die-for bows were adorable. What’s more, the dresses looked as comfortable to wear as they were fashionable. I was obsessed and needed to know more.

A picture may tell a thousand word, but actual words are also handy when doing research. My first port of call was the Righteous website, which I discovered to my dismay was entirely in Swedish. The closest I’ve ever come to speaking Swedish is buying a lamp from IKEA. Hmmm. My colleague referred me to Babelfish (the website that translate entire websites — which is brilliant), but they didn’t seem to offer Swedish. Stumped again.

But as it turned out, being faced with a website in an alien language had an upside. After much contemplation, I think I learnt my first two Swedish words: I’m (almost) certain Hösten means Fall and Våren means Spring.

righteous eco fashion 04 I Am Obsessed With Righteous Fashion!

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Seattle Mayor Wants To Charge A 20-Cent ‘Green Fee’ For Grocery Bags

seattle mayor grocery bags 20 cent Seattle Mayor Wants To Charge A 20 Cent Green Fee For Grocery Bags

Let’s face it, sometimes it takes a little financial incentive to get people to do the right thing. When you currently bring a reusable bag to the supermarket you are either: given a 5 cent discount (there’s no rhyme or reason as to when or if this occurs); or entered into weekly draw for free groceries (but let’s be honest: since this is only at Traders Joe’s, where most shoppers are socially conscious, you’re chances of winning are slim).

But what happens when one is charged for the privilege of using a disposable bag? We’re about to find out.

In a bold move in keeping with this progressive city, the mayor of Seattle, Greg Nickels, “has proposed implementing a 20 cent ‘green fee’ on disposable shopping bags at Seattle grocery and convenience stores”, making Seattle the first city in country to do so. If the city council approves, the new measure would go into effect January 1, 2009. Just in time for all those New Year resolutions? #1: say no to paper and plastic.

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Posh Spice | Victoria Beckham Says Natralox Not Botox

victoria beckham posh spice natralox natural botox 01 Posh Spice | Victoria Beckham Says Natralox Not Botox

Want to know Posh Spice’s secret? Which one, you ask? Snagging England’s hottest footballer; remaining pin thin after birthing three boys (edamame, apparently); or landing the Juergen Teller-photographed Marc Jacobs campaign for 2008? While answers to these questions may remain as elusive as Posh Spice’s smile, we now at least know what she uses on her dial (that’s face, for you Yanks).

According to the Lancashire Evening Post, Ms. Beckham chooses to combat aging with the natural anti-wrinkle cream, Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

China’s Desperate Olympic-Sized Anti-Pollution Plan

china olympic sized anti pollution plan China’s Desperate Olympic Sized Anti Pollution Plan

What more important in China right now than business? Ensuring that the Olympics go as smoothly as possible. Already under fire from the international community about Tibet and Darfur, China doesn’t want any more adverse publicity to affect the games in the form of pesky pollution. In an effort to fulfill their promise of good air quality in the capital of Beijing, the government is about to embark on some pretty drastic measures.

A two-month plan of combating pollution beginning July 20 will hopefully yield clear skies by the August 8 Olympic start date. According to Du Xiaozhong, deputy director of the city’s environmental protection bureau, 19 heavily polluting plants would be shut down, construction sites involved in excavation or cement work will stop working and one-half of the city’s three million cars will be removed from the roads. Adding up to a serious halt in production.

china olympic sized anti pollution plan 01 China’s Desperate Olympic Sized Anti Pollution Plan

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Cambodia Poachers Get a New Job Title, Ranger and Bodyguard!

spot billed pelicans Cambodia Poachers Get a New Job Title, Ranger and Bodyguard!

From poachers to rangers, a tale of 30 men who help seven species of rare waterbirds enjoy a population comeback of epic proportions. Sounds like the synopsis of a Hollywood blockbuster, but it’s actually real life.

A new report by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reveals that the population of several rare waterbirds from Cambodia’s Tonlé Sap region have rebounded due to a novel project which employs former hunters and egg collectors as park rangers to provide Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

I.D. Magazine | Is America Ready For Sustainability?

jan feb id magazine 01 I.D. Magazine | Is America Ready For Sustainability?

Americans are made of corn and living in a state of denial about sustainability. These are the sentiments of I.D. contributing editor Barbara Flanagan. In the article titled “Too Yellow To Be Green”, she writes: “Corn and denial. We don’t want to know the ingredients of our food, or anything else — like our houses, cars, furniture, or clothing”. What’s more, according to a survey by Insight Express, 72 percent of us don’t know what plastic is made from (petrol, in case you were wondering).

Calling America “a nation that loves freedom from information”, Flanagan continues: “The comfort, speed and sheer bigness of American life depends on a tacit pact between leaders and voters and between manufacturers and consumers. We, the voters/consumers, promise not to get too curious, if you, the leaders/suppliers, just keep the good stuff coming fast and cheap.”

magazine special coverage 02 I.D. Magazine | Is America Ready For Sustainability?

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