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SUSTAINABLE COSMETICS GURU, DAME ANITA RODDICK, DEAD OF BRAIN HEMORRHAGE

Posted in Conscious Actions, Cool Products, Corporate Responsibility, Eco -Chic, Ethical Business, News Brief, Sustainable Business on September 12th, 2007

RODDICK USED HER SUCCESS AS A BUSINESSWOMAN TO AID ORPHANS IN ROMANIA, SPONSOR FOOD AND SHELTER PROGRAMS FOR THE HOMELESS IN LONDON AND HELP MANY HUMAN GLOBAL RIGHTS AGENCIES.

anitaroddick.jpgThe environment lost a friend yesterday with the passing from a brain hemorrhage of cosmetics entrepreneur, Anita Roddick. Ms. Roddick, the founder of cosmetics manufacturer/retailer, the Body Shop. was 64 years old.

A true eco-warrior, Anita Roddick, was one of the first modern day entrepreneurs to practice sustainable business practices. This was decades before they would fashionably break into mainstream business.

But fashion, or at least the ‘putting on airs’ was not what this courageous cosmetics entrepreneur was all about. Leveraging her position, and the Body Shop’s global network of stores – over two thousand at last count –to fight for what she believed in, was.

This included, in the early days of her career, fighting to ban the then industry standard of testing new product formulas on animals.

Today it is quite common to see the words ‘not tested on animals’ displayed prominently on many of the world’s finest cosmetic and beauty product packages. But this was not the case in the late 1970’s when the Body Shop and Ms. Roddick were starting out.

But then, it wasn’t fashionable either – particularly not for a woman – to use one’s purchasing muscle to bring about real, tangible changes in the lives of those from whom it purchased it’s supplies. Which is precisely what Ms. Roddick did with her now famous “Trade not Aid” campaign.

Believing that it was far better to offer indigenous people a path to financial self-sufficiency than a one time financial handout, the Body Shop, under Ms. Roddick’s leadership, instituted “Trade not Aid”, which was a policy of puerchasing, whenever possible, many of the raw ingredients featured in the company’s proprietary line of sustainable beauty products and cosmetics, from indigenous tribes in remote areas of the world.

A major success, “Trade not Aid”, created a ripple in the continuum that will be felt for generations to come through the contributions of the descendants of those whom the program helped. A more fitting legacy than this one could not hope to achieve.

And to think that it all started in a dingy little store that was in such bad repair that Ms. Roddick had to use common house paint –in this case the green color that would be closely associated with the Body Shop over the years – to cover up the mold that was slowly overtaking the premises.

But humble conditions notwithstanding, this first store was also the birthplace of many of the concepts, which would set the Body Shop apart from other companies in it’s industry.

Perhaps the best known of these was the company’s container recycling campaign, which encouraged Body Shop customers to return empty product bottles to the store for refilling. This enabled the customer to save a little money on the purchase and created less waste to wind up in already overcrowded landfills.

But the story of Anita Roddick does not end with the Body Shop, and her achievements in that context. There is more, far more. In recent years, after relinquishing day-to-day control of the Body Shop to professional managers, Ms. Roddick refocused her boundless energy on a cause close to her heart, that of human rights, specifically, Third World debt relief, aiding orphans in Romania, and closer to home sponsoring food and shelter campaigns for the homeless in London.

It is in these areas where Ms. Roddick’s loss will truly be felt.

RIP “Queen of Green”. You have set an example we will be hard pressed to follow. But try we will.

-LIB

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ECO-FASHON: REALITY OR WISHFULL THINKING?

Posted in Cool Products, Eco -Chic, Sustainable Fashion on August 29th, 2007

FASHION INDUSTRY STRUGGLES TO CREATE A LUXURIOUS LIFE USING
SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS, CLEAN PRODUCTION METHODS, AND FAIR TRADE POLICIES

ecofashion6.jpgEnvironmental entrepreneur, journalist, author and all around eco super-hero Paul Hawken recently said, “green consumerism is an oxymoronic phrase . . . fashion is the deliberate inculcation of obsolescence.” Mr. Hawken you are absolutely right . . . but according to today’s consumer spending reports, Vogue, and Women’s Wear Daily, “fashion” isn’t going anywhere soon.

As the prosperous continue to spend a large amount of environmental resources on the latest, it makes sense to offer eco alternatives . . . and to make them desirable. Yes, the following designers are still catering to consumerism, but they’re doing so with sustainable materials, clean production methods, and fair trade policies. Enjoy this slideshow for the latest in beautiful environmentally conscious and responsible fashion.

Linda Loudermilk (www.lindaloudermilk.com) uses fabrics made of sasawashi, bamboo, sea cell, soya and other exotic self-sustaining plants. All fabrics and subsequent garments are created by meticulously researched sustainable business practices and fair labor standards.

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PARENTS ALERT! EARTH FRIENDLY BACK TO SCHOOL TIPS

Posted in Cool Products, Miscellaneous on August 27th, 2007

RECYCLED PRODUCTS REDUCE WATER POLLUTION BY ONE-THIRD AND AIR POLLUTION BY 75 PERCENT

bush_dunce.jpg Back to school is usually a stressful time for both parent and student. There is so much to be done and usually the way it works out, so little time to do it. At least this was the story around my house for many years and only improved when my daughter finally made it to college. Year after year she would wait seemingly until the last minute to announce that she had lists of things needed for school. The division of labor, the way that it worked out, was that was that I would take her to shop for the expendables – the notebooks, pencils and art supplies – while her mom would oversee the clothes shopping end of things.

So I can appreciate that someone has tied to make things easier for us beleaguered parents. The fact that it is the WWF and that these tips are environmentally friendly is all the better.

-LIB

See if there are things, such as pencils and pens, left over from last year that can be used this fall.

Look for school supplies—folders, notebooks, staples—made of recycled materials. Using recycled products helps save landfill space and cut pollution.

Try finding back-to-school deals on the Web. Ordering school supplies online or by phone saves you a trip to the store as well as the fuel needed to drive from store to store.

Look for the FSC label on pencils and paper. Many paper products are made from trees specifically grown and harvested for papermaking, thus sparing delicate rainforest ecosystems. The Forest Stewardship Council certifies that wood and paper products are grown and managed responsibly.

Purchase supplies with minimal packaging. Packaging makes up about a third of the garbage that piles up in landfills. Also, less processing and packaging means less energy goes into production, and less global warming pollution is created.

Brown bag meals and avoid plastic. Pack school lunches in brown, unbleached, recycled paper bags whenever possible. And if your child has a favorite superhero, there’s a good chance the character is printed on a re-usable lunchbox.

Prepare lunches using local produce. Be aware of the distances food travels and the emissions necessary to ship and truck it there. Although broccoli is grown at nearby farms, the ones that shoppers pick up at the supermarket traverse an average distance of 1,800 miles.

GET THE REST OF THE LIST…

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SONY UNVEILS PROTOTYPE FOR ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY BATTERY

Posted in Alternative Energy, Clean Energy, Cool Products, Eco -Chic, Renewable Energy on August 27th, 2007

NEW BATTERY RUNS ON SUGARS AND IS MADE FROM A VEGETABLE-BASED PLASTIC.

sony-battery.jpgWho’d a thunk it, a battery that borrows its power generation principles from the processes used by living organisms? What a concept, generating electricity from carbohydrates (or sugars) and using enzymes as a catalyst to start the process. Now I am no scientist, nor am I a math guru, but this sounds very holistic (read natural) to me.

What’s next my friends, smart Mp3 players capable of reading your bio-rhythms and programming your entertainment experience to be in sync with your moods? Now, I could sure use one of those today. What about you?

-LIB

Sony Corp. unveiled on Thursday the prototype of an environmentally friendly portable battery that runs on sugars and is made from a vegetable-based plastic.

Test cells from the battery have achieved an output of 50 milliwatts, or enough to power a digital music player, the company said.


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SCOOTING ALL OVER TOWN

Posted in Conscious Actions, Cool Products, Eco -Chic, Global Warming, Miscellaneous, Sustainable Transportation on August 20th, 2007

AN ENVIRONMENTALLY SANE MODE OF TRANSPORT OR THE LATEST FASHION STATEMENT?

SCOOTERS2.jpg All cynicism aside, in today’s era of the three dollar gallon of gas, it is good to see people making creative substitutions for their normal modes of transportation. Scooters are particularly viable in warmer climates where one does not have to concern themselves with snow and freezing rain. Maybe Audrey Hepburn had it right in Roman Holiday, after all, and we just were not paying attention.

-LIB

All over America, riding a scooter is suddenly chic, not to mention economical. Scooter sales are skyrocketing, say manufacturers, with women making up nearly half of the buyers in many cities. Every time gas prices rise, say dealers, the phones start ringing. While the concentration of riders is mostly urban, in cities such as Miami, Seattle and New York, there are emerging pockets of new scooteristas in such unlikely spots as Texas and the Carolinas.

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LEONARDO DICAPRIO TALKS ABOUT THE 11TH HOUR, HIS NEW ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENTARY

Posted in Cool Products, Eco -Chic, Global Warming on August 14th, 2007

“THE 11TH HOUR” EXAMINES MANS INVOLVEMENT IN THE COLLAPSE OF THE PLANET’S ECOSYSTEMS AND OUR POTENTIAL ROLE IN REVERSING THIS DAMAGE.

11.jpg “The 11th Hour” is a story about how humans face an extinction crisis if we continue on the path of business as usual and it examines our involvement in the collapse of the planet’s ecosystems and our potential role in reversing this damage. “The 11th Hour” presents a global call for change and offers fascinating insights, ideas and solutions to a climate crisis in which everything is connected. The documentary features dialogues with experts from all over the world, including former Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev, renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, former CIA head R. James Woolsey, and sustainable design experts William McDonough and Bruce Mau, in addition to over 50 leading scientists, thinkers and leaders who present the facts and discuss the most important issues that face our planet.

Leonardo DiCaprio has been passionate about the environment since he was a child. In 1998, he started the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, followed by LeonardoDiCaprio.org, which foster awareness of environmental issues. The Foundation places particular emphasis on the issues of global warming, alternative and renewable energy sources, and the preservation of the planet’s biodiversity. In 2000, DiCaprio chaired the national Earth Day celebration. During ABC’s “20/20” special on Earthy Day, DiCaprio interviewed President Clinton to address the issues surrounding global warming and the environment. Together, they discussed policies and steps that the administration could take to encourage Americans and U.S. oil companies to adopt greener practices.

MORE (With Interview to Follow)….

Source: Movies Online

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ECHINACEA: IT WORKS

Posted in Alternative Health, Cool Products, Health Watch, News Brief on July 24th, 2007

A REVIEW OF MORE THAN 700 STUDIES HAS CONCLUDED THAT ECHINACEA HAS A SUBSTANTIAL EFFECT IN PREVENTING COLDS AND IN LIMITING THEIR DURATION

EchinaceaPurpureaMaxima1a.UME.JPG Echinacea helps banish colds. Echinacea has no effect on colds. The verdict seems to shift with each new scientific study of the herbal remedy.

In the latest twist, a review of more than 700 studies has concluded that echinacea has a substantial effect in preventing colds and in limiting their duration.

The paper, published in the July issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases, used statistical techniques to combine the results of existing studies and reach conclusions based on the larger sample that resulted. The researchers selected only those trials that used randomized and placebo-controlled techniques: 14 studies involving 1,356 participants for the number of colds and 1,630 for the prevention of colds. The studies varied in the dosages of the herb, the duration it was taken and the species of echinacea used, and the number of participants ranged from 40 to more than 300.

The analysis concluded that echinacea reduced the risk of catching a cold by 58 percent. It also found that the herb significantly shortened the duration of a cold, but there was no general agreement about the magnitude of this effect.

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NOT ALL TOXIC FOOD COMES FROM CHINA

Posted in Cool Products, Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Polluters, Gen. Modified Foods, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Food on July 23rd, 2007

POISONS, PESTICIDES OR MERELY DIRTY OR DECOMPOSED WE NEED MORE FOOD INSPECTION, NOT LESS.

taintedFood_hmed1p.hmedium.jpg This story in a text book example of bad timing comes hot on the heels of the announcement several days ago that the FDA is planning to close at least half of the laboratories charged with ensuring the safety of our food supply.

If this so-called cost-cutting measure / thinly-disguised gift to the food industry is allowed to take place, the day will come, and it is not that far away, when we will only be sure of a product’s purity if we grew it ourselves.

Maybe this is why so many of my baby boomer friends have recently begun raising much of their own produce?

Think about it. Growing your own kills two birds with one stone, it guarantees a pretty consistent supply of poison- free, pesticide-free produce and it solves for once and for all the lingering carbon issue, which surrounds so much organic food today.

Now if I only knew the first thing about gardening. (SIGH)

-LIB

Mexican cantaloupe irrigated with water from sewage-tainted rivers. Candy laced with lead. Chinese toothpaste is not the only concern for U.S. consumers wary of the health risks posed by imported goods.

Producers in other developing nations are big violators of basic food safety standards, even as they woo consumers with a growing appetite for foods like pickled mangoes from India and winter-season fruits and vegetables from Mexico.

China, already under suspicion as the source of tainted toothpaste, contaminated fish and toxic medicine, had the largest number of violations in the past 12 months, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejecting 1,901 shipments of food or cosmetics. But India and Mexico weren’t far behind, with inspectors rejecting 1,787 and 1,560 shipments, respectively.

The biggest reasons? Foods that are unapproved or contain poisons and pesticides. Some are simply dirty, with inspectors finding that the shipment “appears to consist in whole or in part of a filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance or be otherwise unfit for food.”

And those are just the problems that are caught. FDA inspectors only have the money and resources to check about 1 percent of the 8.9 million imported food shipments a year. Many of those inspections target problem products from problem nations, like Indian relishes or Mexican cantaloupe.

The FDA banned all cantaloupe from Mexico in 2002 after four salmonella outbreaks traced to the fruit killed two people in the United States and hospitalized at least 18 others

MORE BAD NEWS….

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POUNDING DOWN HEALTH WITH A KICK AS FRUIT BASED COCKTAILS REPLACE THE GOOEY SYRUPS

Posted in Consciousness, Cool Products, Eco -Chic, News Brief, Sustainable Living on July 16th, 2007

NEW CONCOCTIONS MADE FROM ORGANIC FRUIT AND VEGETABLE PURÉES MIXED WITH A NEW GENERATION OF HERBAL EXTRACT AND ANTIOXIDANT-RICH LIQUORS REPLACE TRADITIONAL COCKTAILS

organiccocktai2l.jpgIn an era of “natural” cigarettes, trans-fat-free chips and low-carb beer, it is probably no surprise that that last guilty pleasure, the cocktail, is trying to atone for its sins. And it isn’t just vegan restaurants serving more vitamin-rich vodka mixes and slinging vegetable gardens in a glass.

Whether absurd or merely inevitable, the idea of healthier tippling has started to catch on among those who have embraced things like organic food and low-sugar diets. Always ready to pounce on a fad, mixologists at trendy bars, restaurants and clubs in New York and Los Angeles have begun creating concoctions from organic fruit and vegetable purées and vitamin-filled sports drinks instead of gooey syrups.

At the same time, a new generation of liquor brands built around herbal extracts and antioxidant-rich ingredients like green tea, pomegranate and the Brazilian açaí berry (the current “it” fruit) have hit the market. Sugary cosmopolitans, apple martinis and mojitos have started to look as dated as “Sex and the City” reruns. A more contemporary alternative would be a drink like Vitamin Dj, mixed from freshly juiced organic carrots, Granny Smith apple juice, elderflower liqueur and vodka, which was introduced a few weeks ago at the Midtown restaurant Django.

MORE….

Source: NY TIMES

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LIME: TRADING DENIM FOR GREENER JEANS

Posted in Cool Products, Eco -Chic, Sustainable Fashion on July 2nd, 2007

greenjeans.jpg Everyone has a secret splurge item, that one non-necessity you’ll go to the mat defending your right to spend good money on. My friend Alison has been known to buy herself a good purse or three. My dad throws his wallet at tools and gadgets. My husband spares no expense on vented summer sneakers that look unfathomably like crushed bugs. Me, I’ve got it bad for jeans.

I am obsessed with jeans. I love the shadow of them hanging on a clothes line, and the tidy weight of them folded in a drawer. I love their comfort, their reliability, and—now that the East Coast has caught up with the West and denim officially qualifies as eveningwear—their versatility. Growing up East Indian in New Mexico, blue jeans were the easiest way for my brother and I to shed our masala geekiness for what the Shaun Cassidy Fan Club newsletter informed us was “Californian Cool.” Better yet, jeans last for years, which is good news to a klutzy girl, and better news to a grace-deficient woman.

But my heart started breaking a few years ago, when I found out about the havoc that denim production wreaks on the environment. The dangers of conventional cotton are no small shakes, and include permanent damage to the soil, water, and farm workers exposed to a toxic cocktail of pesticides. And that’s to say nothing of the elaborate washing process most jeans go through, using dyes and chemicals and pumice stones to get the most coveted rock star finish.

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SOURCE: Lime

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