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.

28 Days Later | G Diet Afterthoughts

sarah backhouse g diet 001 28 Days Later | G Diet Afterthoughts

I know you’ve been suffering withdrawal symptoms since my G diet diary ended, so I thought it was a good time for an update — the results of which may surprise you. You know what’s funny? At the time, I viewed giving up fish and dairy as a short-term sacrifice, something to do for 30 days just to see what it was like. But who would have guessed that this “experiment” would transition into my preferred way of eating. As mentioned at the conclusion of the diet, I still give myself 5% wiggle room (actually more like 2%), which means I no longer choose to eat animals or animal products, but I can as a last resort option at restaurants.

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Coto | Exclusively Yours This Time Around

coto luxe Coto | Exclusively Yours This Time Around

“Exclusive”. There’s something about this adjective that makes otherwise ordinary people go ga-ga. Combine that with “sustainability” and “luxury” and you could send some of them into orgasm. If that sounds like you, here’s something for titillation. Two varietals of luxury cufflinks fashioned from sustainable and repurposed materials. The best part? There’s only 18 of each in circulation — nixing that awful “OMG we’re wearing the same cufflinks” party faux pas. (Not that I’ve ever experienced this.)

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The Magic Kingdom of Mushrooms

mushrooms01 The Magic Kingdom of Mushrooms

Remember when the term “supermodel” meant something? Namely, Linda, Christy, Naomi, Claudia, Cindy and Kate? Now the word is so overused, there must hundreds of so-called “supermodels” in the skies, on the runways and at the end of cigarettes. Well, the same thing is happening with “superfoods”. Suddenly, there seems to be a lot of them out there. Like mushrooms. But are they really a “superfood”? Let’s see…

Before we embark on their health giving properties, here’s a bit of interesting background on the ‘shroom, kindly sent to us by Mushroom Matrix. Did you know that mushrooms are neither a plant nor an animal, but in fact have their own kingdom? In the 1960s, they were given special classification as the “Kingdom of Fungi”. With an estimated 1.5-2 million species on earth, fungi could theoretically outnumber plants 6 to 1. And just like animals, they inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.

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Future Fashions | Top Designers Tackle Sustainability

futurefashion 02 Future Fashions | Top Designers Tackle Sustainability

Sustainable Bottega Veneta? Green Yves Saint Laurent? Ethical Burberry? Socially conscious Marni? Don’t pinch yourself. This isn’t an eco-fashion wet dream. FutureFashion is a runway show comprised of 30 looks from the world’s leading designers using only sustainable materials.

Held recently at Gotham Hall in NYC, FutureFashion is an initiative of leading non-profit and innovator of sustainable business solutions, Earth Pledge. “We are thrilled that the design community has embraced the challenge of designing with sustainable materials.

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Mater Design | Home Accessories With A Mix Of Social Responsibility

mater design Mater Design | Home Accessories With A Mix Of Social Responsibility

These days it’s not enough to furnish your house with exquisite designer furniture. If you really want keep up with Joneses, it’s got to be ethical, too. Luckily, design companies are cottoning on to consumer demand. Take for example Copenhagen-based Mater Design, which launched at the Maison et Object show in Paris in ‘06.

Mater successfully combines “exclusive home accessories and corporate social responsibility,” according to their website. Mater founder and CEO Henrik Marstrand says “For every one of the millions of products we use to improve the quality of our lives, there are associated environmental, ethical and social consequences. While some products have a small environmental bearing, others consume finite resources in vast quantities and are produced under abusive labour conditions and cause environmental damage.” Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Seahorses in the River Thames, Really?

short snout sea horses Seahorses in the River Thames, Really?

When you think of the Thames, a Turner painting might come to mind or Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows or, for a slightly more modern reference, the iconic titles of the BBC’s Eastenders or the opening boat chase in The World is Not Enough. What you don’t necessarily think of are…seahorses.

However, it’s been announced that short-snouted seahorses “have set up residence in the recovering River Thames”. The once heavily polluted river is now much cleaner, thanks to several rehabilitation efforts stretching back to the 1950s. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Salmon Disappearing Faster Than You Can Say Sashimi

salmon Salmon Disappearing Faster Than You Can Say Sashimi

We’re all aware of the crisis in global fisheries. Some of us may even know the details — that a third of the world’s fishing stocks have already collapsed, and that if this trend continues we’d be looking down the barrel of total collapse within fifty years.

But sometimes it takes an event a little closer to home to bring the message home.

For Angelenos, it doesn’t get much closer than the California coastline, where last fall only “about 90,000 adult chinook returned to the Central Valley the second lowest number on record and well below the number needed to maintain a healthy fishery”. This compared with 775,000 salmon in 2002. The Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet in Seattle this week, where they’ll vote to impose a total ban or “the most severe restrictions” on salmon fishing ever seen along the Oregon and California coastlines.

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Billboard Names 10 Greenest Musicians

hollywood billboard green issue radiohead Billboard Names 10 Greenest Musicians

You’ve gotta hand it to Billboard magazine. Not only do they keep us up to date on the music industry’s hitmakers, but they provide an always interesting commentary on popular culture as we know it. Case in point is their current Green Issue (on stands this week), complete with a list of the top 10 green artists, who over the past 12 months have done good by the environment and are encouraging others to follow suit.

Did your favorites make the cut? Here’s a brief summary:

1) Jack Johnson

Super tanned and health radiating, Jack Johnson is as easy on the eye as he is on the environment. The Live Earth veteran has kitted his Brushfire Records recording studio on Larchmont Boulevard (ooh, that’s where I do yoga…I must stalk — I mean, look him up) with denim walls and solar panels. The avid surfer also tours green and makes girls scream. The latter’s not so green, unless you count the green paper it generates for Jack.

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Flax Seeds | Good For the Body, But What About the Taste Buds?

flax seed nutritional benefits 01 Flax Seeds | Good For the Body, But What About the Taste Buds?

I’ve eaten flax before and thought it tasted like the sawdust that covers the floor at the circus. But as it is a superfood, I’m determined to unearth all of its amazing health-giving properties and attempt to talk my palate into trying it again. Because, filled as it is with unique nutritious qualities, flaxseed certainly deserves its superstar status.

Flaxseeds are full of lignans — “up to 800 times the amount as in any tested plant food” — which is a promising cancer fighting agent (especially breast and colon cancer). Flax consumption can help reduce total cholesterol, including the bad kind and triglycerides. Which makes it good news for the heart as well. As flax is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, it can help diabetics reduce their blood sugar levels and ease the painful inflammation associated with arthritis.

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Norway | Eco-Friendly Unless Your Initials are MW

norway 01 Norway | Eco Friendly Unless Your Initials are MW

When it comes to the environment, it’s unfortunate Norway’s progressive attitude is often over shadowed by its stance on whaling (which btw has been limited by a quota system to the non-endangered Minke whale). But all that may be about to change. In an announcement this week, the Labor-led coalition government announced its aim to go carbon neutral by 2030 — a full 20 years earlier than its previous target.

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Nissan EVs To Hit US Roads in 2010

nissan ev 2010 Nissan EVs To Hit US Roads in 2010

Who killed the electric car? Well, anyone who watched Chris Paine’s documentary knows the answer to that: consumers, batteries, oil companies, car companies, the government and the California Air Resources Board. Now the new question is: Who’s bringing it back? Nissan.

The Japanese automaker has confirmed that it plans to sell electric vehicles in the US by the year 2010. According to Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, “the move is largely motivated by stringent emissions legislation in California, lending an added impetus to existing research efforts into alternative energy sources”. The same technology will be used by partner Renault, whose cars will hitting the roads in Europe by 2012. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Radiohead Tour Impacts On The Planet

radiohead 02 Radiohead Tour Impacts On The Planet

Are musical trailblazers Radiohead going to revolutionize the entire world or just the music industry? The band is currently rocking the business side — first with the digital download of their latest album, In Rainbows, released sans label earlier this year, and now the touring aspect. The British five-piece commissioned a carbon audit of their last two U.S. tours in an effort to reduce the impact of their upcoming one.

Oxford company Best Foot Forward compared two different types of American tours: the out-of-town/Amphitheater tour of 2003, and city centers/Theater tour of 2006. To calculate the total footprint of each, the band took into consideration their own output as well as that of their fans — making some assumptions along the way, like “how they travel and how much beer they drank when they got to the show”.

radiohead 01 Radiohead Tour Impacts On The Planet

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