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Nemo, Non-GMO Valentine’s Day & More Winter Fun

By Green Diva Meg thegreendivas.com
February 13, 2013
File under: Eco-Friendly Activities, Family, Food, Holidays, Lifestyle, Projects, Sustainable Practices, Transportation

When did we start naming winter storms, and who the heck came up with this name anyway? Hard to think about a cute little colorful fish whipping the Northeast into such a frenzy. I don’t generally panic when it comes to snow storms – have lived in NJ or New England for my entire life. I feel like an old geezer, “I remember the blizzard of ’93 . . . we had 3 feet of snow and there were 7 foot snow drifts up against the doors and windows . . . ”

My husband and I LOVE a good snow storm, so we were almost disappointed that we only got a foot of snow!

The only bummer is that I’m in the middle of a week-long test drive of the adorable and surprisingly lovable Ford C-Max Energi and while I’m not the least bit worried about driving in the snow – in MY OWN car – I didn’t want to take any chances with someone else’s car. Not everyone is confident or skilled at driving in the snow and even if I am a particularly good snow-driver, there are those times when the dope with the rear-wheel tank applies the breaks at the wrong time and you find yourself helpless as you see one of these vehicles with their driver’s wide-eyed surprise sliding sideways towards you . . . ahhhhhh. Nope. Keeping this little cute car safely parked till we get the roads cleared up properly.

But, before Nemo, we had a particularly awesome show with an all-girl Green Diva studio. Unfortunately Green Dude Eco-Ed Schwartz, who was supposed to be IN the studio with us for the first time, couldn’t make it because he was too busy driving the porcelain bus (icky flu and we thanked him for not trying to be stoic and for staying home!). Sorry Ed! Feel better soon! But we got to talk to Green Diva Correspondent Maggie Miller from Georgia about the amazing eco-community of Serenbe near Atlanta.

Just before the show, we all got a treat and got to go cruising in the Ford C-Max Energi GD Meg’s been sporting around in this week.

Our only hit of testosterone came in the form of our wonderful friend and green dude, Rodman Schley, host of the TV series, The Urban Conversion. Rodman called in to talk about their fantastic adventure to the White House!

Listen to the full podcast of this week’s Green Divas Radio Show 2.7.13

or read the highlights below

Want to avoid V-Day candy with GMOs?

With Valentines Day upon us its pretty hard to escape all those heart-shaped, pink and red candies. While they may seem temping, many of them contain GMOs. GMO Inside is leading the push to get Hersey and Mars to stop making candy with GMOs in 2013, or at least to start labeling their products as containing GMOs.

GMO Inside is a coalition of businesses and organizations that support a healthy, GMO-free food system. Their most recent campaign is aimed at Hersey and Mars, that combined comprise nearly 70 percent of the U.S. chocolate market. Both companies have also spent more than a million dollars to oppose GMO labeling in California in the November 2012 election.

Because GMO corn, sugar and soy, which are commonly used for many of Hershey’s and Mars candy products, it may be wise to avoid them if you are trying to minimize or eliminate your consumption of GMOs.

Here are a couple of popular Valentine’s Day candies that contain GMOs:

  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Filled Hearts – BUMMER*
  • Hershey Hugs
  • Valentine’s colored M&M’s
  • Valentine’s Snickers

GMO Inside released a Valentine’s Day Villains shopping guide for consumers who want to avoid giving GMO treats to their honeys.

*GD Meg makes her own – here’s her favorite recipe for homemade GF peanut butter cups

Read GD Meg’s post with 9 Ways to Have a Healthy, Green & Low-Stress Valentine’s Day– whether you are in a relationship or not!

Green Diva Correspondent: Maggie Miller

Our Green Diva Correspondent this week Maggie Miller, who called in from Georgia. GD Maggie is a fabulous artist who’s philosophy is to keep her art eco-friendly and sustainable. Some of her designs are in the form of reclaimed and beautifully painted old furniture. See her work on her Etsy site.

GD Maggie told us about the wonderful and interesting town of Serenbe in the heart of Chattahoochee Hill Country, which is about 40,000 acres of rural Georgia and pretty much the last undeveloped stretches of land in the Atlanta area. The founders of Serenbe realized that they had 1,000 acres, which would allowed them the opportunity to create a conscious community — an eco-village that harkins back to the simpler days and is designed for small community living.

This community bases itself on being completely sustainable. According to their website they hold the notion that a community is a living part of its natural surroundings, not something to be at nature’s expense.

One of the coolest parts to this eco-haven is Serenbe Farms — a 25-acre working, organic farm which provides organic produce throughout Atlanta and also to the local restaurants of Serenbe.

The Green Divas Go Cruisin’

GD Meg’s had a special ride this week from the smart folks at Ford, who thought she would look adorable and probably fall in love with their new C-Max Energi. This C-Max is a plug-in hybrid and indeed Ford will have a hard time taking this car back!

Check out GD Meg’s posts her experience with this Ford C-Max Energi:

Green Diva Road Trip- Ford C-Max Review 1: First Date

Green Diva Road Trip- Ford C-Max Review 2: Getting to Know You

Today the rest of us Green Divas got to join in on the fun.  Green Diva Mizar took the wheel and went joy riding around Boonton Township. Green Diva Meg, Mizar, and Jamie all agreed that this was one cool car.

Video of GD Mizar Driving the Ford C-Max

The car also drove well — it had great pick up and was super quiet. The coolest feature was its backing up camera which shows you through lines exactly where to go and to not go. So, for all you people who can’t back up to save their lives this is the car you need to get.

Fun GD video of Ford C-Max Reverse AssistanceReverse

 

 

GD Mizar’s DIY: Coat Rack from Fallen Tree Limbs

This week Green Diva (and re-purposing queen) Mizar gave us a great way to use all those fallen tree limbs — thank you new stormy climate! This has been the year of the storms and trees suffer many casualties. GD Mizar’s DIY this week offers one solution by giving instructions on how to make coat racks out of fallen branches. To learn more see GD Mizar’s latest DIY post on making a coat rack from fallen tree branches.

Listen to the fun 5-min podcast about this GD Mizar DIY coat rack project!

Feature Interview: Rodman Schley

The host of Urban Conversion (and one of our favorite semi-regular guests), Rodman Schley called-in this week to update us on his recent trip to the White House. Rodman along with his wife and kids were given a tour by the White House Assistant Chef, Sam Kass who is also the Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives at the White House. Rodman informed us that only a small portion of the vegetables and fruits grown in the White House Garden are served to the President and his family. Most of it is donated to Miriams Kitchen, a local D.C. soup kitchen. The idea is that everyone should have the same access to the same kinds of food no matter what their socio-economic background is.

Rodman and The Urban Conversion will be screening the one hour White House episode at the Environmental Film Festival in Colorado on February 22. Episodes of The Urban Conservationist will be airing this Spring on PBS.

Listen to the full podcast of this week’s Green Divas Radio Show 2.7.13

 

 
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DIY Treehouse Inventor Creates Ewok World in Rural Oregon

By Kirsten Dirksen
January 31, 2012
File under: Green Building, Projects, Sustainable Practices

In 1974, fresh out of the army (as a Green Beret medic), Michael Garnier went to rural Oregon to try to make a living off the woods. He tried making furniture, fences, pole barns and selling organic, psychedelic picture propellers (to see Fantasy Flakes), but finally it was a treehouse that got him all the attention.

Modeled after the treehouse he had once built for his kids, his first treehouse B&B was completed in 1990 and people began paying to stay. But the county building instructors wouldn’t permit it and told Garnier to tear it down.

Instead, he set out to prove it was structurally sound by performing his own stress test. He invited 66 people, 2 dogs and a cat inside (for a total of 10,847 pounds) . The structure held, but the inspectors weren’t swayed.

Garnier continued to build 8 more treehouses, but without proper permission to use them as lodging, instead of renting them he asked guests to buy a $75 t-shirt first. Finally, nearly a decade later he had his permits, and by then he’d created an entire world in the sky.

Today he has 9 treehouses for rent, 20 staircases, 5 or 6 bridges, several platforms and zip lines for rapid descent and at least one fireman’s pole. Some of his treehouses even have toilets, running water and showers, though he warns guests to “stand when they flush”.

Garnier claims to have the tallest treehouse in the world. His Treezebo stands 37 feet, or 6 stories, above the ground (He also claims that his personal home is the largest treehouse in the world).

Over the years, Garnier has become legend in his industry and helped invent a better way to build a treehouse. Instead of bolting wood to wood (i.e. beams to the tree), Garnier and his colleagues at the World Treehouse Conference (an event he used to host) developed a way to attach steel bolts and cuffs to the tree. Dubbed the Garnier Limb (or G.L.), this open source design can support 8,000 pounds.

Garnier sells GLs of all different types as well as plans to build your own treehouse. His DIY treehouses are for 12 foot trees ($150) and he sells about 30 or 40 plans per year.

In this video, Garnier gives us a tour of his Out ‘n’ About Treesort, talks about the old “contreeversy” and its “publici-tree” and shows us his workshop and his 1800-square-foot personal treehouse home.

 

 

Television producer-turned-blogger-turned-ecogeek, Kirsten Dirksen is co-founder of faircompanies.com a news/blog/video site focused on environmental sustainability for people and the planet.

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The Wind Beneath My Junk

By Chantal O'Keeffe
November 27, 2010
File under: Eco-Friendly Activities, Eco-friendly Decorating, Projects

wind-2.jpg

For years I’ve been dreaming about a wind chime, and from time to time I find lovely ones that are usually out of my budget.

But recently, while driving through some back roads in Virginia, I came across an amazing wind chime made of antique, mismatched silverware, and it got me thinking: Wind chimes can be made, they don’t have to be bought. And they can still be totally amazing. So I got to work.

First, I found a few pieces of leftover silverware, gathered together some wire, and began thinking. What could I use to hang them from?I knew I wanted something cylindrical, made of a material that was tough enough to not bend. …read more of The Wind Beneath My Junk here

 
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