Earth Day 2011

Hey, order there – Happy Earth Day! Since its inception in 1970, pilule Earth Day has raised awareness to the fragile state of our planet. As a global holiday for over 40 years, malady celebrating Earth Day has become a staple in our minds and hearts. It galvanizes us to stop and think about how we can preserve, protect and preserve in our common goals for the future.

Don’t let anyone tell you that reduce, reuse and recycle, green, eco-friendly and sustainable are meaningless cliches. Yes, they get overused and their definitions can get watered down and greenwashed. But, that’s no reason to throw in the towel. It just means we need to continue to answer the hard questions creatively, and collectively about climate, our health, and the environment.

What I find so remarkable about our common struggle is how we all approach this goal through the eyes of our rich and diverse cultures. Actions come in all shades of green, and once we become infused with knowledge, learn a few tools, and make some changes, we can look into our unique lives and view the future through a new lens. Think of it as the eco-filter that keeps our planet smiling.

Last year, I put together a popular comprehensive ABC guide for Care2, with ideas and tips – some you no doubt have heard about before, and others that may have never even entered through your eco-filter. These simple tips are not rocket science, but collectively they can become the springboard for important discussions and actions about the future of our planet.

OK, pep talk over - Let’s start reciting…

A is for Adjust Your Thermostat B is for Both Sides of the Paper are Usable C is for Cruise Control: To Save You Gas D is for Diaper With a Conscience E is for Eat Organic F is for Fly With an E-Ticket G is for Go Vegetarian Once a Week H is for Hang Dry I is for Invest in Your Own Coffee Cup J is for Junk Mail – Cut it Out of Your Life K is for Keep Your Fireplace Damper Closed L is for Local: The Way To Go M is for Make a Bag And Use It N is for Newspapers – Recycle and Consider Alternatives O is for Old Cell Phones Need a New Life P is for Plastic Bottles Q is for Q-Tips R is for Recycle Glass S is for Shower Instead of Baths T is for Turn Off Computers at Night U is for Use Fewer Paper Napkins V is for Vacations W is for Wash in Cold Water X is for X Out Your Phone Book Y is for Your Enemy is Greenwashing Z is for Zipcars Can Replace Your Car

Credit: NASA

Do Nothing

The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning and evening. It is a little stardust caught; a segment of a rainbow which I have clutched.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

We are a busy bunch these days. I don't know about you, but I spend a chunk of the day on the computer accessing an unlimited supply of information. Some days I am so overloaded that I think my brain has been rewired.

A while back I stumbled onto a website that challenged me to do nothing for two minutes. Ready for yet another computer diversion, I was game. I began listening to the soothing sounds while gazing at the tranquil image on the computer screen, then something very strange happened. At first, I settled into my chair, my breathing slowed and my gaze softened. After about 40 seconds, I got incredibly antsy and grabbed the computer mouse.

Two minutes - sounds so easy. Right? Check out Do Nothing For 2 Minutes, then please come back and share your thoughts.

Here are 5 Ways to Practice The Art of Doing Nothing.

Credit: Ben Scott

DIY Eco-Gift For The X-traordinary Techie On Your Holiday List

Do you have a techie on your list that goes to extraordinary measures to repurpose electronic items that would otherwise be relegated to the landfill? I bet that person has a bunch of dead computers lying around (doesn't everyone). When a dead computer gets thrown away, it does not biodegrade. It just lives in its toxic hole and continues to die a slow death - Yikes!

Computers can be reincarnated, and 62 Projects To Make With A Dead Computer (and Other Discarded Electronics), by Randy Sarafan will have your techie turning dead computers, printers, cell phones, iPods and keyboards from trash into treasure. They'll even learn how to make an iMac terrarium, a laptop digital photo frame, a mouse pencil sharpener, and a slew of amazing new creations.

Who knew?

Photo credit: Amazon (...but buy it locally if you can)

DIY Eco-Gifts For The "i..." Fanatic On Your Holiday List

Let's face it, the iPod/iPhone/iPad has certainly changed the way we do…everything. What's so great about all these iProducts? Apple dubbed iPhones as nothing less than magically revolutionary.

"A revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone. We are all born with the ultimate pointing device; our fingers and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse."

While those of us who are "i" devotees (you know who you are) know that these devices can practically feed themselves, so what don't they do? Well, they can't sing without a dock, speakers or headphones. Plus, they need something to protect their precious apps and me.

Making accessories instead of purchasing gifts saves resources that would otherwise be manufactured, shipped and packaged. All those accessories can add to the cost of your prized gadget. By making these accessories, you can extend the lifespan of the iBaby, keep your gift cash stash in your pocket, and give a nod to the environment. It's a win/win.

CLICK HERE for video tutorials for DIY Speakers, DIY Docks, DIY Car Holder, DIY Stand, and how to make your own iApp.

Also, maybe you missed one of the strangest posts I ever wrote about "his Steveness?" If you did not see the DIY cheesiest iProject the first time around, you can check it out HERE. (What do you think, was this the absolute low point in my writing career?)

Photo: iLounge

DIY Felted Laptop Sleeve

Here’s my latest mantra: Gotta new laptop. Gotta protect it from the elements. Gotta figure out how to make something to cover it. Its gotta be cheap (and stylish), capsule because who can afford a new laptop sleeve once you’ve emptied your pockets for such a beautiful computer specimen? When I travel (even to the local coffee shop), hospital I carry a laptop. It’s my traveling office companion. With my old laptop, that recently died, I would throw it into a tote bag. Not anymore...

I am offering up this DIY project for your traveling office. You and your computer can travel in eco-style with this simple, free and amazingly light laptop sleeve made from an old sweater.

DIY Felted Laptop Sleeve

What you need:

A wool sweater (use only 100% wool) Scissors Yarn Tapestry or yarn needle Pins Washer/Dryer Eco-Friendly detergent Velco dots

What to do:

1. Wash the sweater in a washing machine in hot water with a small amount of detergent two or three times. 2. Place the sweater in a dryer and check the dryer often to see how it’s shrinking. I kept checking every 15 minutes until the width of the sweater was close to the width of the laptop. The material should have a tight fit (felted wool “gives” a little). The sweater will take on a thick, felt-like fabric. You can check if the sweater is ready by snipping the fabric. If it doesn’t fray, it is felted. Since felting wool varies depending upon the weight of the sweater and tightness of the weave, to obtain the correct laptop sleeve size it is important to check often. Also, computers come in different sizes.

3. Leaving the ribbed bottom of the sweater open, cut the sweater to fit the laptop. I cut mine under the armholes.

4. With a piece of yarn and the yarn needle, secure the two cut ends together using a blanket stitch. 5. Turn under and pin both sides of the ribbed end in for a finished look. 6. Sew in place. 7. The laptop sleeve can be left open or Velcro dots can be sewn in to close. 8. Take your laptop and its beautiful new sleeve out for a test drive.