Thursday, June 16, 2011


1. aroused, animated, or imbued with the spirit to do something, by or as if by supernatural or divine influence: an inspired poet.
2. resulting from such inspiration: an inspired poem; an inspired plan.
3. inhaled: inspired air.

What does it take to be inspired? Does it take a thought, or a conversation, or a kind act? Does it take someone to tell you that they see goodness within you which inspires you to do more? You would think it was that easy, but unfortunately it isn’t. Because inspiration is nothing without resolve and with resolve comes the desire to accomplish.

The past 2 days have been interesting for me because of the following 2 reasons:

  1. I got called a treehugger after a really long time
  2. A new In-N-Out burger location opened less than 3 miles from my office

The in-n-out is particularly relevant today because besides adding calories and happiness to my life, it sparked a discussion which leads to this blog post. ‘2 billion people in BRIC nations are going to want to live a western lifestyle and consume a similar amount of energy. How does recycling one can, or making one change help?’

My dear friend, as people we spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect combination of lifestyle, information and incentives required to get people to change their behavior towards a more sustainable future. The goal isn't about what you conserve today but to make your everyday actions worthwhile by tapping into the passion you feel for the future. And hopefully the impact of your actions will become an example for someone else.

To #1, and MA thank you for the inspiration. To the rest of you - I’m back.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Draw a line in the sand

It has been a strange time in the world of energy. On the heels of the West Virgina Massey coal mine tragedy followed and an oil spill caused by a coal-carrying ship near Australia. The biggest disaster yet was probably when the BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded on the eve of Earth Day and still remains unresolved.  With these recent events, it has become clearer than ever before than offshore drilling will continue to expand unless government leaders and the oil industry are forced to think otherwise.

This Saturday, environmentalists worldwide are taking the opportunity to focus the world's attention on this crucial issue through a massive coordinated action: Hands Across The Sand.

On June 26th At 11 AM, tens of thousands of individuals across North America will head to nearby beaches to join hands in a massive demonstration of support for clean energy.  Hands across the sand is people drawing a metaphorical line in the sand against offshore drilling.

Isn’t it funny how the meaning of drawing a line in the sand changes as you grow older? It doesn’t involve a sand bucket or an old branch or running away from the water when you see a huge wave coming in. It means taking a stand so that your great-grand kids can experience that someday.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day #40 : Greenwashed or worthwhile?

April 22nd is Earth Day and environmentalists around the world love it. Today, people around the world come together to celebrate our planet and what it has to offer and every year around this time, the green blogosphere starts to buzz (guilty as charged) and twitter about the importance of Earth Day.

Sure, every day should be earth day—but after 40 years, does even a single annual Earth Day actually matter anymore? Is earth day washed up, or as environmentalists like to call it, Greenwashed? Jeff McIntire-Strasburg, Sustainablog echos my sentiments, exactly. (Twitter: @sustainablog
Sustainablog, SUNfiltered)

“I think Earth Day matters even more now that it's become more mainstream. It's an opportunity to come face-to-face with the "green curious," and demonstrate to them that green living doesn't have to mean big, scary changes into our lifestyles...but, rather, rethinking our relationship with the natural world, and incorporating that thought into our short- and long-term actions.

Is it over-corporatized and full of greenwash? Sure. And I definitely believe in the idea that every day should be Earth Day. But as long as there are people out there who have misconceptions about environmentalism, and the motivations of environmentalists, it gives us an opportunity to connect with them, share our ideas, and hear their concerns.”
Should everyday be earth day? Maybe. But until it does, if you chose to celebrate it that one day a year and decided to make one green resolution, what would it be? Here are my top 105easier-than-quitting-smoking resolutions, perfect for the busy or lazy. Take it a step further, be bold and commit your resolution to the Earth Day 2010 Campaign.
Earth day Resolutions for the Busy and Lazy
  1. I will recycle better
  2. I will use my blackberry or iPhone to make notes instead of sticky notes
  3. I will create less trash
  4. I will avoid using aerosol sprays and Styrofoam
  5. I will use fans instead of air conditioners
  6. I will think twice before I print out an email
  7. I will pay  my bills online instead of receiving it in the mail
  8. I will drink one less Gatorade a week
  9. I will embrace green technologies
  10. I will take the train, or bike to work at least one day a week
  11. I will use re-usable grocery bags
  12. I will drink filtered tap water instead of bottled water
  13. I will plant one new tree in my backyard
  14. I will turn off lights, TVs, and other electronic equipment when not in use
  15. I will change the way I think

Have you loved your earth today?


Monday, March 01, 2010

Holi: Celebrate Green

 Not holy as in holier than though, or Holy Cow (great dance club in San Francisco, btw). But, Holi with an I. Indians around the world celebrate the festival of Holi at the end of the winter season to mark the beginning spring. Spring = color which forms the premise of Holi. The two-day festival starts with huge bonfires on the first day followed by people throwing colored powder and water at friends and family on the second day to mark the first day of spring. Holi reminds me of the bright colors of the Carnaval festival celebrated in South America.

Holi trivia: Spring brings a change in temperature which increases bacteria and allergens in the air. In ancient India people threw powders with medicinal properties on each other which boosted their immune systems. A couple of thousands of years later and with commercialization came the mass manufacturing of colors that contain contaminants and chemicals. This slowly progressed to including tomato juice, eggs and grease (yuck, yuck and double yuck) or whatever not-so-fun items teenagers could think of. (Let your imagination go wild here). Now, another couple of thousand years later people are beginning to understand the grossness factor and health hazard to those using them and to the environment.

How can you celebrate eco-friendly, green Holi? By making your own colors instead of purchasing commercial colors. (And if you don't have access to these exact materials listed, use the instructions below to use other natural materials to experiment with creating your own colors.) Kids will enjoy making these as much as playing with them and you can recycle left over color for painting or making holiday cards.

All supplies listed below are common spices found in organic version at regular supermarkets or check at your local Indian store.

Yellow: 2 teaspoons of Turmeric + 4 teaspoons chick pea (besan) flour. The paste is excellent for the skin, btw.

Red/Purple: Grate Beets and add to water overnight. The longer it soaks the darker the color is.

Green: Ground spinach/ Henna powder + Water.

Orange: Buy orange flowers such as Marigold from your local store. Add water and blend.

The Asha organization along with the University of Stanford will be hosting their annual Holi celebration on March 27th, 2010. Click here for tickets and more information. Along with food, music and a fantastic time with friends, your ticket will serve a good cause. An admission ticket pays for a year of education for a child in India.

Happy Holi! Please don't do grease. It is gross. Celebrate green, instead.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Remember: I before E except in Budweiser

Football season = barbeque's + beer. After living in the bay area for 5 years, I am now officially a niners fan and I can’t wait for the season to start. Beer isn’t just the poster beverage for football season, college parties and lazy Sunday afternoons everywhere. No, beer is also a key player in a multi-billion dollar industry that reaches into the far corners of the world.

So why write a green post on beer? Think
carbon footprint. According to the Wall Street Journal the carbon footprint of a six pack of beer is about seven pounds—probably around 5 pounds heavier than the actual six pack. And you might be surprised where the most of that comes from: the number one contributor to the pack's carbon output is the refrigeration it takes to keep the beer cool at stores. Following that is the process of manufacturing bottles, the barley, malt, production and transportation.

Good enough reason to think about ways to go green with beer? Sure. And I’m not just talking
St.Paddy’s day.

Drink draught

Think your favorite bar; the keg sitting under it. Think college, the keg sitting in your living room. How much beer does a keg hold? Depending on the size, possibly hundreds of cans worth. That’s hundreds of saved cans or bottles. The next time you host a barbeque, party or have a stressful day at work- think keg.

Ever try organic brews?
If a beer has an organic label, it means it has been certified by the
USDA as adhering to strict farming regulations. In all probability, the barley and hops have been organically grown. So, no toxic pesticides, artificial fertilizers, chemical preservatives; just fresh, non-toxic ingredients. Non-toxic = good for the planet.

Drink Local

Support your local breweries; drinking local beer helps cut emissions caused by the expansive shipping of imported beers. Drink at your local bar; reduce emissions from driving your own car and the temptation to drive back home.

Recycle, please

If you've just finished off a 12 pack of
Corona (and you're still conscious) make sure to get those cans, bottles and cardboard casing to the recycle bin. Please don’t dump it with regular household trash.

Easy on the disposable cups

Sure, sure, those red plastic cups from Costco make for that totally classic party vibe, but get over it? There are more than enough reusable cups already in existence. Encourage your guests to bring a beer mug- I know I love drinking out of my USC football championship mug. Want an easier option? Use a sharpie to write names on cups so guests aren’t reaching for a new cup with every refill.

Before I go back to that chilled one on my coffee table, here's some interesting beer trivia, courtesy

1978: The year home brewing beer was made legal by President Jimmy Carter.
13: Rank of the U.S. in annual per capita beer consumption in the world—the States are topped by the Czech Republic (#1), Ireland (#2), and even Finland (#9).
5.9: The average percent of alcohol by volume of the world's beers, according to Beer Advocate ABV.
4: The number of solar powered breweries in the U.S.
25,000,000: Organic beer sales in U.S. dollars in 2007.
400: The number of breweries that survived prohibition.
85: Percent of all alcohol consumed by the gallon in the U.S. is beer.
95: Percentage of ingredients that need to be certified organic to earn the beer an organic certification by the USDA.
2: Number of organic beers made by Anheuser Busch, the biggest beer company in the U.S.

I love football. I love barbeque's. I love beer. And regardless of what you hear- I only drink to make my friends sound interesting. (Smile).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Little Black Box

How much time at an average is your computer monitor ON everyday? I average about 8 hours at work, an hour every night and possibly 3 hours on a non-date night.

Greenpeace Brazil is working on a cool project and simple proposition for people who spend too much on their computers; programmers, Facebook stalkers and gaming geeks mostly. Save energy by annulling one pixel of your computer screen. It’s the Greenpeace's Black Pixel Project.

What's the color of your screen got to do with saving carbon emissions? In a nutshell, a monitor uses less energy to display a black page than a white one (in a CRT monitor, it's about 74 watts for an all white web page and only 59 watts for an all black one). This subject was in the news a few years ago when ago it was noted that a black version of Google would save energy. It became so popular that Blackle a black version of Google was created. (No, I didn’t not just make that up).

If you think about it, do you think one pixel can make a difference? According to Greenpeace, blacking out one pixel saves about 0.057 watts per hour, so if one million people join, its about 57 thousand watts per hour. This is the equivalent of about 1400, 40Watt light-bulbs turned off every hour.

The idea is pretty simple; you download a light piece of software that places a black square in your monitor (it can be placed anywhere on the screen). I tried it; look at the pictures that go along with this post. What you pretty much get is a little black box on your screen which eventually you will learn to ignore.

Besides feeling like I’m constantly saving energy, I’ve been moving the box around to entertain myself- I black out emails I want to ignore, cover up faces of men who broke my heart or just move it around for fun when I’m bored.

Little black boxes are cool.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Busy, Lazy and Sick

48 degrees on my car thermostat last week. 86 degrees yesterday. Walking my dog wearing my puffer jacket last Monday, to shorts, t-shirt and flip flops this Monday. Any wonder why I'm sick?

Today is Earth Day, and I can't be bothered. (Whoops, can't believe I just said that). I'm too tired, too sick and too drugged to care. Wasn't this what this blog was about, world saving tips for the busy and lazy? So I'm going to do this post the lazy way, leave you some facts to think about and go take that nap.

I promise to be back, green-skinned and more pleasant once the Nyquil kicks in (smile). Happy earth day!

Not so fun facts that go with my mood:
- By 2030 the number of automobiles in the world will increase by 50%
- Vehicles in the United States release more CO2 than all the energy sources (such as heating, electricity, vehicles, and factories) in all of India
- According to Chevron, the world consumes two barrels of oil for every barrel discovered. It took 125 years to consume the first trillion barrels of oil – the world will consume the next trillion in only 30
- Much of the United States has already warmed, by as much as 4°F
- The five warmest years over last century have likely been: 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004
- The top 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1990
- Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide (the green house gas linked to climate change) in the atmosphere has increased by 35%
- Despite natural emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by volcanoes, for example, human activities are now adding about 7 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year.
- Agriculture and biodiversity are already being impacted by global warming. 10% of all known plant species are under threat of extinction
- People living in cities such as Atlanta, Baltimore, and Cincinnati could by mid-century see a 60% increase in the number of high smog level days
- Each gallon of gasoline burned creates 20 pounds of CO2
- By planting a large tree that creates shade, one can reduce heating and cooling costs annually by up to 40%.