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.

Rain Seeding | 60 Years Later

chinese control weather rain dry ice olympics Rain Seeding | 60 Years Later

“In 1946, three G.E. scientists found that seeding clouds with dry ice or silver iodine could affect precipitation.” So opens the Letter from China in this month’s Green Issue of Vanity Fair. Sixty years later, it’s the Chinese who are using this controversial technology to control the weather.

So preoccupied are the Chinese with having a drizzle-free opening ceremony to this summer’s Olympic Games (a period that usually has a 50% chance of rain) that officials are trying the wring clouds clean of rain in advance, so as to lower the odds. “In the international press this has been written up in tones of suppressed amusement about Olympic anxieties and the wackiness of the Chinese.” However, as the article points out, the Chinese have been carrying out weather-modification efforts across the country for some time now. According to the Chinese Meteorological Administration (C.M.A.), the organization has 39,000 field operators equipped with 7,113 anti-aircraft cannons and 4,991 truck-mounted rocket launchers. “In 2006, they fired a million rounds at the weather, and launched 80,000 rockets”.

Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Strike a Pose | And Buy a Globe From Madonna

madonna globe auction vanity fair green issue Strike a Pose | And Buy a Globe From Madonna

Are you the planet’s biggest Madonna fan? Do you want the world in the palm of your hands? Have you always wanted to play The Pop Star and The Photographer in the privacy of your own home? If you answered yes to any/all of the above and you have a spare $13,000+ lying around, you could be a contender for the globe adorning the front cover of Vanity Fair’s May 2008 Green Issue.

The Material Girl’s autographed orb is being auctioned off on eBay to the highest bidder, with 100% of the proceeds going to Raising Malawi. London-based designer Robbie Doig spent 10 days constructing the giant globe from plaster and marble with a recyclable polystyrene core. The four feet wide, 80 pound globe was suspended from the ceiling of Los Angeles’ Smashbox Studios for the cover shoot: Madge struck a pose while world renowned photographer Steven Meisel shot the singer from all angles. Afterwards, Madonna signed the globe and drew a heart around Africa, the motherland of her son, David Banda.

Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Purely Organic | But Organic What?

macys purely organic Purely Organic | But Organic What?

Why keep toweling off with conventional cotton or snuggling up to man-made fibers? With Earth Day just around the corner, what better way express your love to Mother Earth (and pamper yourself at the same time) than by replacing your sheets and towels with organic varieties?

Of course, it’s not always as easy as it sounds. Haven by Hotel Collection offers the eco-sounding “Purely Organic” collection of towels and sheets. But after reading further, I’m wondering if they Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Jade Yoga | Harmony With No PVC

natural rubber yogamat2 Jade Yoga | Harmony With No PVC

There’s nothing like quite like yoga to help you feel connected to Mother Earth… but many yogis may be horrified to discover that between downward dog and terra firma is a nasty sliver of polyvinyl chloride or PVC.

On the whole, yogis are enlightened when it comes to the environment. Take a look around any class and you’ll see a fair smattering of reusable water bottles, organic vegan health bars and bike helmets. All the more ironic that the majority of yoga mats are made from toxic plastic — destined to inhabit the earth long after you and your practice have moved on to a higher spiritual plane.

Now we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief as manufacturers are coming out with earth-friendly alternatives. There are a number of options out there. My new favorite is the Harmony mat from Jade Yoga which is made from natural rubber, a renewable resource.

Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Filed Under Fitness/Diet Tags

Some Brits Unhappy with Proposed Eco Towns

judi dench unhappy uk eco towns Some Brits Unhappy with Proposed Eco Towns

It sounds like a good idea. Carbon-neutral “eco-towns” that address the dual issues of climate change and affordable housing. So, why is the British government receiving so much flak from celebrities like Judi Dench and er, Tim Henman’s parents? Well, as they say in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location.

Whittled down from 57 sites, the fifteen short-listed locations include: Bordon, Coltishall, Curborough, Elsenham, Ford in West Sussex, Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Iron | It’s Good For You

iron good for you 01 Iron | It’s Good For You

Iron. It’s the sixth most abundant element in the universe and one of the most common on earth. And it’s what Superman’s made of it. (Or was that steel?) For us mere mortals, iron is essential for good health. It transports oxygen to our cells as well as regulating cell growth and differentiation. Too little iron and you’re tired, have low immunity and poor work performance. Too much, however, can result in toxicity and even death. So, how do you make sure you are getting just the right amount? And where from? Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Filed Under Fitness/Diet, G Living

14 Designers Put Their Name on a SIGG

14 designers name on sigg 01 14 Designers Put Their Name on a SIGG

SIGG, the hardest working Swiss reusable aluminum water bottle makers, are back with fourteen more reasons for you to ditch disposable plastic for good. This month, Elle magazine teams up with global warming activist Laurie David in an effort to curtail global warming. Fourteen major designers were commissioned to create one-of-a-kind SIGG water bottles for our sipping pleasure. The bottles will be auctioned off on April 14.

14 designers name on sigg 02 14 Designers Put Their Name on a SIGG

Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Create Your Own Safe Haven for Endangered Pecos Sunflower

pecos sunflowers1 Create Your Own Safe Haven for Endangered Pecos Sunflower

Franz Heigl painted them. So did Claude Monet. Vincent Van Gogh immortalized them forever, while H. Vogel penned a mathematical model for the pattern of their florets.

In case you haven’t guessed, I’m writing about sunflowers. They were given their name because they display heliotropism (or an orientating response to the sun) at bud stage. The heads literally follow the sun from east to west. But did you know that some species of sunflower are endangered? Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Coconut Milk Does A Body Good

coconut milk 02 Coconut Milk Does A Body Good

Creamy and sweet, rich and fatty. A food item described by these four adjectives surely can’t be good for you. Or can it? In the case coconut milk, that’s an affirmative. Whereas most foods high in saturated fats are bad for your waistline and your heart, when it comes to coconut milk the (albeit not super slim) but definitely heart-healthy South Pacific islanders are living testaments to its good all round health properties.

While coconut milk, which is derived from the flesh of the coconut, is high in saturated fat, it’s a “good saturated fat”, one which can be easily metabolized by the body. It doesn’t transform into “bad cholesterol” that can clog up the arteries. That’s because the principle ingredient in coconut milk is the lauric acid — the same stuff found in breast milk — which promotes brain development and healthy bones. What’s more, “it’s anti-carcinogenic, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral”, and can strengthen your immune system and protect you from illnesses like hepatitis C, herpes and HIV.

Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Vegetables | Thank You For Microwaving

microwave vegetables Vegetables | Thank You For Microwaving

Juicers, wheat grass extractors, steamers… these appliances are synonymous with health and well-being. On the other end of the spectrum is the anti-Christ of healthy kitchen appliances — the microwave oven. Banished from the homes of the homeopathic and nixed by naturopaths, the microwave was once just the domain of guilty mothers, lazy fathers and brazen teenagers who stick their nose up at supposed carcinogens in favor of a speedy Pop-Tart Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Filed Under Fitness/Diet, G Living

Yeah Green is Universal | So is Dullness

green is universal studios Yeah Green is Universal | So is Dullness

Want to get up close with a great-white man-eater in “Jaws Lake”? Or test your physical and emotional strength by doing some extreme stunts on “Fear Factor Live”? (It’s worth eating the animal entrails, folks; a former contestant won George Clooney). Or scare yourself silly in the middle of 50-foot fireballs and exploding seaplanes in “Waterworld – A Live Sea War Spectacular”? If any of the above fits your definition of “fun”, read on…

On Saturday April 26th, Universal Studios Hollywood is celebrating Earth Day with a “free, family-friendly, eco-fair”. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Vanity Fair | The Green Issue Pushes Us To Go Green

vanity fair green issue1 Vanity Fair | The Green Issue Pushes Us To Go Green

As of this writing, Vanity Fair’s Green Issue has yet to hit the newsstands. But seeing as how they’ve handily provided an (aptly eco) online version, here are some early highlights. The video introduction from editor Graydon Carter turns out to be harder to play than it is to justify their “green” cover girl Madonna. After 72 attempts, I finally gathered the wherewithal to seek it out on YouTube Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Find us on Google+