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.

Brelli Umbrella in the City of Angels

brelli umbrella 01 Brelli Umbrella in the City of Angels

Residing in Los Angeles, there’s rarely an opportunity to flaunt an umbrella. Which is a shame, because after spying the 100% biodegradable umbrella from Brelli, not only am I smitten, I’m considering moving to Seattle. Plus there’s the added bonus of getting to ride the SLUT. (I’m not being crude here; for those of you not in the know, it’s the name of their fabulous mass transit trolley.)

But back to the brolley, which is so beautiful it looks like it belongs in a gallery. It’s also the world’s first biodegradable umbrella. The spokes are crafted from bamboo, a renewable resource, and the clear canopy is made from a unique bioplastic which will “fully biodegrade in one to two years in any conventional landfill site”. Plus get this, the gases released during this process can then be captured and used to generate electricity (not sure how one collects gases, other than under a duvet, but it sounds intriguing).

brelli umbrella 02 Brelli Umbrella in the City of Angels

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Climate Change Brings Tropical Virus To Italy

chikungunya 01 Climate Change Brings Tropical Virus To Italy

When you think of Italy, you think caprese salad, Prada, vespas and gelato (or is that just me?). Well, here’s a new association for you: Chikungunya.

Doesn’t sound familiar? That’s because this relative of Dengue fever is normally found only in the tropics. But it’s what some unlucky residents of Castiglione di Cervia got to experience firsthand last summer.

Panic spread in this northern Italian village after about 100 of its residents “fell ill with weeks of high fever, exhaustion and excruciating bone pain,” according to an article in the New York Times. While doctors were initially stumped by the symptoms, fearful residents blamed it on everything from pollution in the river to the government to immigrants.

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George Clooney | The King of Liberal Hollywood

clooney 2 George Clooney | The King of Liberal Hollywood

Only a couple of Hollywood’s leading men impress me: Johnny Depp is one of them, for obvious reasons. The other is George Clooney. Intelligent, compassionate, talented and witty (not to mention easy on the eye), Clooney’s film choices – “Good Night and Good Luck”, “Syriana”, “Michael Clayton” — mirror his real-life views on politics and the world. Dubbed “The King of Liberal Hollywood”, Clooney slams the US’s reliance on oil from the Middle East, is a senior campaigner with the Make Poverty History movement and is dedicated to raising awareness about the crisis in Darfur.

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Lexus GS Hybrid Gets G Rating

This is what I know when it comes to cars: how they look; how they drive; and what they’ve got inside.

Granted, these aren’t the most technical issues, but I’m guessing if I care about these things, others might, too. That’s why I devised the “G” rating system, which we’ll apply to all the hybrid cars on the market. Here’s how it works: we’ll give points out of 10 for each of the following categories: first impression, performance, and special features. A perfect final score would be 30.

First up is the Lexus GS, which pretty much had me at “Lexus”. There’s something about Lexus that I love, and I promise it has nothing to do with memories of cruising the streets of Tokyo in one back in the day. Lexuses are just luxurious. The sleek and sexy GS hybrid is no exception upon first impression, and for that I gave it 10 out of 10.

The GS didn’t disappoint when it came to performance either. Fast, powerful and virtually silent… what else could you ask for in a partner, er… I mean, a car? With amazing braking and suspension, this car was super fun to drive. But back to reality: the GS Hybrid is not the best when it comes to fuel efficiency. 22 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway, which doesn’t wow me. It’s better than a regular GS, which does 17/24 city/highway, but not that much better. So, for performance, the GS hybrid gets an 8.

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Sarah Backhouse | Five Days To Go

sarah gdiet day25 Sarah Backhouse | Five Days To Go

Five days left of my official plant-based experiment. To date, my diary updates have focused on what I’ve been eating (mainly fruits and veggies), how I’ve been feeling (clean and energized), what I’ve been avoiding (soy and sugar) and what I’ve been craving (salmon sashimi and those goddam blinis). Today I want to discuss how a plant-based diet is not only good for your health but also for the planet.

Studies have shown that people who subsist on plant-based diets have lower rates of coronary artery disease, gallstones, lung and colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. According to Vegetarian Nutrition, “the total direct medical costs in the United States attributable to meat consumption were estimated to be $30-60 billion a year.” So, avoiding saturated fats and cholesterol found in animal products seems like a no-brainer.

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Filed Under Fitness/Diet, G Living Tags

Natalie Portman | Mary-Janes and Beyond

natalieportman shoes 01 Natalie Portman | Mary Janes and Beyond

What do you do if you’re an A-list actress who wants to be ethical yet stylish from head to toe? If you’re Natalie Portman, you design your own sustainable shoe line. Portman’s signature Mary-Janes (in provocative patent red) will debut with the rest of her shoe collection in February 2008. Hungry fans can pre-order exclusively at the site of NYC boutique Te Casan as early as January 15th.

natalieportman shoes 02 Natalie Portman | Mary Janes and Beyond

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Ronni Kappos | Bohemian Rhapsody

ronni01 Ronni Kappos | Bohemian Rhapsody

Kerouac had it. So did Ginsberg. Puccini wrote an opera about it. Past residents of Montmartre in Paris or London’s Soho or East Village in Greenwich Village in NYC lived it. All the while struggling artists, writers and actors (that’s you, LA) are experiencing it everyday. I’m talking, of course, about the Bohemian lifestyle Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Lara Miller | Chicago Chic

lara miller Lara Miller | Chicago Chic

Don’t blow off Chicago when it comes green fashion. Thanks to her versatile ethical designs, Lara Miller has been named the Windy City’s “Best Indie Designer”. If you’re already a Miller fan, you’ll be familiar with her trademark “flip” garments like the Jasmine sweater made from 100% hand-loomed bamboo which “can be worn three entirely unique ways: as a cowl neck top, a pullover with an attached capelet or even as a long dress”.

Not only it is imaginative and original, but by buying one, you’re exercising your right to sustainability.

Inspired by architecture, the backbone of Miller’s designs is geometry. Once donned, each angular line caresses the curves of a woman’s body. The line can be twisted, wrapped and flipped upside down to reveal a totally new garment. Organic shapes are grounded by classic pieces with precise fit, which together to create smart, clean sophistication.

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Orlando Blooms in Nepal

orlando bloom Orlando Blooms in Nepal

Orlando Bloom… a dashing young movie star with truckloads of talent, legions of fans and enough dosh to satiate his every whim… who gives back? What a concept. (Lindsay, feel free to take notes.) Seems this compassionate A-lister recently embarked on a four-day UNICEF sponsored tour of Nepal where he visited various program sites in western districts Kaski and Chitwan.

In Kalinka, Bloom was warmly welcomed by villagers, where — despite the country’s dire poverty — promising signs abound. Village facilitator Chali Subedi explained that “six years ago only 84 percent of school-going-age children were enrolled in school. Now every boy and girl goes to school. Previously only 25 percent of the households were taking iodized salt [to prevent iodine deficiency disorders]. The figure now has increased to 38 per cent. Similarly women’s workload has decreased from 17 hours per day to 14 hours a day.” Encouraging stuff.

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Jellyfish Populations Out of Control

jellyfish1 Jellyfish Populations Out of Control

Jellyfish are aquatic invertebrates and they’re found in every ocean in the world. With their gelatinous consistency, tentacles and — in the case of some species (like the box jellyfish) — a nasty sting, they probably don’t rank highly on most people’s list of favorite marine species Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Natalie Portman | Conscience and Style

natalie hollywood Natalie Portman | Conscience and Style

What do you do if you’re an A-list actress who wants to be ethical yet stylish from head to toe? If you’re Natalie Portman, you design your own sustainable shoe line. Portman’s signature Mary-Janes (in provocative patent red) will debut with the rest of her shoe collection in February 2008. Hungry fans can pre-order Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Green Owl | Constructive Musicians

of montreal Green Owl | Constructive Musicians

By Sarah Backhouse

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In the (good) old days, rock bands trashed hotel rooms, destroyed equipment and consumed excessive amounts of everything they could get their hands on. Not so much these days. The current breed of artists seem to prefer saving the planet over screwing it up.

Enter the epitome of this new wave, Green Owl Records.

Green Owl is a Manhattan-based indie label founded by NYC singer-songwriter Ben Brewer (The Exit, The Appletrees), singer-songwriter Ellenike Abreu (The Appletrees) and producer-musician Stephen Glicken. All three are hell bent on presenting music and art in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible way.

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