Tag Archives: eco-conscious

7 Telltale Signs You’re A Hardcore Greenie

max-R Outdoor Recycling BinGoing green is a great way to show your love for the environment and to promote a sustainable lifestyle that really helps the planet. It’s also incredibly addictive, so after the first few steps you might find yourself engaged in an increasing number of green activities. You know you’ve become a seriously hardcore greenie if…

You Look for Recycling Bins Instead of Trashcans

Recycling is one of the easiest, most essential ways to go green. It only takes a little effort, it’s great for the environment, and it’s becoming much more widely accepted. If you’re becoming a hardcore green-friendly person, you likely start looking for recycling bins before you ever look for trashcans, because you realize that practically everything is recyclable. Whether you’re out shopping or visiting a friend, you’re loathe to throw away your paper cups, soda cans, or newspapers, and secretly you feel a little appalled when you discover that there aren’t any recycling bins available.

Your Have Reusable Bags Hidden in the Car

You can’t remember the last time someone at a store asked you if you wanted paper bags or plastic ones because your reusable bags are always at hand. You’ve been known to turn around without shopping if you arrive at the store and realize you forgot your fabric bags. To avoid that in the future, you started squirreling reusable bags away in your car.

People who carpool with you (of course you carpool—it’s better for the environment) are likely to find cloth bags in the side pockets of the door, the glove compartment, the trunk, under the seats, and in the hidden cubby console between the front seats. You now use them for everything, from carrying around your gym clothes to carrying your shopping. In fact, you have enough reusable bags that sometimes you lend them to people at the grocery store who insist on using plastic bags.

You Unplug Without Thinking

Many people don’t even realize that their appliances and gadgets still suck up energy even when they’re turned off—but you do. You’ve long suspected that your electricity bills are high and your appliances are wasting energy even if they’re turned off, because they’re still plugged into the wall sockets. Now that you have proof, unplugging is second nature to you.

When you’re a serious greenie, your routine changes. Where once it was enough to simply walk through your home turning off the lights in empty rooms, now you go around unplugging those big energy vampires. You make sure to unplug your computer and all of its components because you know your favorite tech-toy is one of the biggest culprits. You gleefully unplug kitchen appliances, especially the microwave, and you always pull the plug on the TV too.

Of course, if you’re really green, you likely have smart power-strips as well, to save energy even when you’re using your favorite devices.

You Take Marathon Showers

People waste so much water every day! Long baths and showers aren’t special treats saved for stressful days, they are daily occurrences. But you know better. Not only do you turn off the faucet as you brush your teeth so you’re not needlessly wasting water, you’ve turned showering into an Olympic event.

You’ve timed exactly how long it takes you to do everything you need to do in your shower. You don’t waste one single second—or a single drop of water. In addition to installing a low-flow head for your shower and a shower timer, you’ve equipped every faucet with an aerator to conserve energy, water, and heat. You know, as you get all clean and fresh, that you’re doing your part to save water.

You Wanted Solar Energy for Your Birthday

After long dreaming of using solar energy, you finally decided that was all you wanted. You saved up, looked around for the best deals and the most quality work, and decided that solar panel energy was the best choice for you. That’s because you know how efficient solar energy really is. You understand the joy of relying on the sun to give you heat, power, and even hot water. While your panels were your biggest birthday present, you still insisted that anyone who got you a present used recyclable paper, of course.

All Your Gadgets Are Solar-Powered

It wasn’t enough to install solar power on your roof, though. You want everything powered by solar energy because, again, you realize how powerful the sun is. So your kitchen is fully outfitted in appliances powered by solar energy. The fridge uses solar power and all of your other appliances are completely energy-efficient. You’ve got a solar-powered watch and the charger you use for your phone, tablet, and other mobile gadgets is also solar-powered. All your friends are jealous of you when the power goes out because you’re still connected. How cool are you?

You’ve Got the Best Compost Pile on the Block

If you’re a hardcore environmentalist, you’ve been composting since long before it was cool. You’ve discovered a way to compost almost everything. As a result, your grass is lush and all the drought-tolerant plants in your garden thrive. You can easily sustain yourself on the food you grow and you routinely share with your neighbors because you want them to eat healthy too.

Composting is part of your routine. Almost everything that comes out of your home either gets recycled or composted. You try to reuse everything for a good purpose and it works for you. Not only do you know you’re doing your part, but you help to erase your carbon footprint every single day. You even offer to start compost heaps for the neighbors who compliment your lifestyle, your commitment, and your gorgeous greenery.

If you’re a serious greenie who takes the eco-friendly life seriously, then you are unquestionably awesome. You’re kind to the Earth, to your family, and to your neighbors because you know that what you’re doing matters.


Image via Flickr by max-R

8 Things You Didn’t Know About Electric Cars

Tesla Model SAdvocates of the gasoline engine point to the high costs, low speeds and the unproven track record of the electric car as its caveats. However, the facts are clear: electric cars are drastically falling in price, are competing with ordinary driver vehicles for speed, entail far less maintenance and are proving even more reliable than cars using petrol. Bet you didn’t know these astounding facts.

1. Electric Cars Aren’t New Kids on the Block

In fact, electric cars have been around for more than 170 years. Robert Anderson of Scotland is credited with creating the first electric carriage in 1832. Electric cars have, of course, progressed significantly since then, as the technology has improved by leaps and bounds. You now have the option of controlling many of car’s functions from your smartphone. So if it’s cold outside, use your smartphone to start up your car and save yourself some freezing discomfort. Some of the best cell phones of 2013 now have the technology to seamlessly interact with your smart car.

2. Once Upon a Time, Electric Cars Were More Popular than Petrol Cars

Before the twentieth century, there were more electric cars on the road than gas-powered ones. Until the Model T was invented and petrol became readily available, that is. In 1897, all New York City taxis were electric-powered, built by Electric Carriage and Wagon Company in Chicago.

3. Ironically, Electricity Made Petrol More PopularKarma at speed in the fog

At first, petrol cars were less popular because they had to be hand cranked. When the electric starter was installed, it made starting petrol engines easier. So, electricity is what bolstered gasoline engines into popularity.

4. Electric Cars Need Almost No Maintenance

Other than replacing windshield wipers and buying tires, there is virtually no maintenance in owning an electric car. Even the brakes last longer due to the design of electric cars. The Mars Rovers have worked continually for over seven years with no mechanical issues at all.

5. Electric Cars are Speed Demons!

In 1899, the world speed record on land was made by an electric car from Belgium called La Janais Contante. It made history at 68 mph (109 km/h). Today, the world’s fastest electric car reaches speeds of 305 km/h and accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in a mere 2.8 seconds.

6. Electric Cars are More Available, Less Costly All the Time

In 2009, a consumer paid £21,334 for an electric car. Today that price has fallen to £10,990. By 2015, consumers are expected to pay a mere £6,500. Not only are the prices falling, but more vehicles are becoming available. Almost every major auto manufacturer in the world is expected to offer an electric vehicle within two years. Thirteen models are currently available, with 18 to come. The Tesla Roadster, Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf are just a few of the currently available electric cars to choose from.

7. Charging An Electric Car is Easy

Many consumers fear that charging the car will be difficult, expensive, time-consuming or impossible. However, charging electric cars is cheaper than buying petrol at today’s prices and most owners charge their cars overnight and lose no time at all out of their busy schedules. In fact, as your smartphone charges, so can your car! Increasingly, petrol stations are offering fueling stations for electric cars to meet customer demands.

8. Electric Cars are More Efficient With Less Pollutants

Eighty percent of the energy in an electric car goes toward powering the vehicle, while only 14-26 percent of the energy used by a petrol car does so. Additionally, electric cars introduce no pollutants, while petrol vehicles produce nitrous oxide, particulates and many other air pollutants.

Clearly, there is much we can learn about electric cars. Are you in the market?


Image via Flickr by Al Abut

Image via Flickr by Fisker Auto

Don’t Get Greenwashed: 3 Ways To Make Sure Your Eco-dollars Are Going Where You Want Them

 Greenwashing. A particularly evil practice used by companies to fool you into thinking you are buying an environmentally-friendly product or service. Here are three ways to out-smart cunning companies with deep pockets.

1. "Natural" isn’t a regulated term, and products labeled as such are often quite the opposite. Because no laws govern the use of terms such as "derived from natural ingredients" or "all-natural", these phrases are frequently abused. Arsenic and formaldehyde are both naturally-derived, but that doesn’t mean we want them in our products.

2. One or two organic ingredients doesn’t mean the whole product is. Read the ingredients and make sure there’s nothing toxic in there too. Same goes for the omission of one evil while many more remain. No parabens is good, but no phthalates, 1,4-dioxane (sodium laureth sulfate is commonly associated with this nasty probable-carcinogen) or preservatives is better.

3. The outside doesn’t always match the inside. Appliance, energy and auto companies are some of the biggest greenwashers around, and some of the biggest polluters on the planet. An energy-efficient appliance can contain some seriously hazardous parts. Best to check with the company before you buy to make sure you know what you’re getting, and when it comes to the eco-car market check the mpg. If it’s not much different than it’s non-green counterpoint save your money and find one that will reduce your auto-emissions and your dollars spent at the pump.

When making environmentally conscious purchases the rule of thumb is do your homework and don’t believe deceptive advertising practices making claims that are not verified by third-party certification or ingredients. If the product’s green-ness sounds vague, it probably is. Eco-conscious companies making products that are healthy for you and the environment are both careful (many are certified through numerous third-party organizations) and proud. A truly green company will tell you what makes their product great. Whether it’s organic, doesn’t contain toxic chemicals, or is produced sustainably, they will let you know in their labeling. A company trying to spin their product to get your dollars won’t be so forthright, because they can’t.

These tricky practices are not only unfair to you, the consumer, but are also unfair to the many conscientious companies out there providing products and services that are genuinely eco-friendly. If a company truly cares about the environment they wouldn’t spend their money on deceptive advertising, they would use it toward making responsible and environmentally beneficial business choices.

Check out TreehuggerTheDailyGreenEcoVillageGreen and SierraClub GreenHome to find out more ways to avoid greenwashing, ingredient information and to find what you need to know to get products that are good for you and good for the earth.


From KATE of OdeMagazine.com.

Target Goes Au Naturale

We already know that Target has heart. And whether you keep it a secret or brag to your friends, you love the sensory overload of the affordable accessory meets trendy staple meets unnecessary housewares, one-stop shop. Nevermind SuperTargets, with their in-house grocery stores, Starbucks and bakeries. Does it get any more delicious than the All-American bull’s-eye?

For years, Target has been harLoomstate mannessing big name designers for less expensive exclusive colections. From Isaac Mizrahi to Alexander McQueen, Liz Lange to Gryson, legit fashion powerhouses are proudly showcasing their wares on the megastore’s shelves.

Now the Big T is making the eco-friendly crossover, teaming up with personal fave Loomstate — an eco-friendly line that doesn’t succumb to the all too-predictable granola-y vibe. The "edgy eco-friendly fashion line for men and women" uses only 100 percent certified organic cotton in its breezy, laid-back line and closely monitors production every step of the way to ensure ethical manufacturing and work conditions. But again, don’t mistake purity for plain. Their regular collection is a mix of loose beachy knits and casual city looks. The Target pieces follow the same vein, with only slightly simpler designs.

With the tagline "Act Natural!" you can expect the sandy color scheme with splashes of turquoise for the surfer types Loomstate attracts. Target’s line shaves up a pretty penny off of the normal price, offering pieces for just $14.99 to $44.99.

Check out the Loomstate for Target details, launching in sync with Earth Day this month, here.


From Caroline Walker of Tonic. Visit Tonic for your source of positively good news.

An Exclusive Interview with The Duhks, An Eco-Conscious Green Band

If the ethos of Intent.com ever were to have a soundtrack, it just might include a track or two from The Duhks, a five-person band that draws its musical influences from bluegrass, folk rock, Afro-Cuban jazz and soul. This musical quintet—formed by siblings Sarah and Christian Dugas, fiddler Tania Elizabeth, guitarist Jordan McConnell and founder/banjo player Leonard Podolak–have already garnered a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Country Vocal Performance category and a Juno award in their native Canada.

Not only do The Duhks (pronounced “ducks”) know how to rock it, they are rock stars when it comes to creative, eco-conscious sustainability. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of many musical acts that have the dedication to tour on a bio-diesel van, print their records on recycled paper with soy-based ink, support local organic co-ops, recycle on a full-time basis, wear only eco-conscious clothing—and still manage to find the time to fine-tune their musical craft, which they have been doing for the last seven years.

Any progressive band can hop onto the green movement bandwagon and sing a few tunes about saving Mother Earth; this band actually walks the walk, and walks it well. If only more artists were as environmentally conscious as they are.

I spoke with fiddler Tania Elizabeth, the founder of The Duhks Sustainability Project, also known as Green Duhks. Tania speaks to Intent about her dream bio-diesel tour bus, the importance of recycling on tour, and of course, why everyone should listen to The Duhks. Their newest album "Fast Paced World" was released just last year by Sugar Hill Records.

This is the first in a series of semi-monthly interviews we will be doing with the band, as we follow their triumphs and struggles as eco-conscious musicians who want to do good and play good.

INTENT: For people who don’t know about The Duhks, how would you describe your music?

Well, if you like good music, you’re likely to like us! We really do a lot of different kinds of music, and diversity is pretty much our specialty. Everyone in the band comes from different (musical) backgrounds, and we’re constantly exposing each other to all those different genres so it’s a constant evolution that is happening. 

The instrumentation is fiddle, banjo, guitar, vocals and drums. We don’t have a bass player. Our guitar player uses effect pedals and a different kind of set-up on his guitar, which he made himself to produce a bass sound, so he’s more like two players in one. It’s a really unique thing to come see, and I’ve never seen anyone else do anything quite like it. We’re all over North America, Europe, Australia; we’re almost constantly on the road and it’s quite an adventure.

I: So at what point did you start The Green Duhks project?

TE: The Green Duhks evolved over the course of the seven years the band has been together, but it’s only in the last two years that it’s really started to take flight. With the help of Greg Ching, our sustainability coordinator, we really put into action on a lot of the stuff that we have been dreaming about; printing our new record on recycled paper with soy-based ink, selling sweatshop-free and organic tshirts & hoodies, requesting organic food, recycling on a full-time basis, and fueling our van on bio-diesel whenever possible. Obviously, the advent of cell phones, iPhones and GPS units have really made it much easier for us to travel, and also to seek out the things that we need to be sustainable. 

I: What do you think was the biggest challenge in adapting these green policies for your band?

TE: I think the biggest challenge for us has probably been getting the vehicle to tour in. Being a band and not having a lot of start up money, we had to find a vehicle that was large enough for us, and also one where the owners didn’t mind if we put bio-diesel inside the diesel engine. We were fortunate enough to be able to start that about a year and a half ago. Once we actually had the vehicle, the rest was pretty easy.

We have a great team around us to help us achieve our goals, ecological and otherwise. We have a tour manager, and part of his job is make sure that we have the things that we need – seeking out biodiesel, making sure the places we play provide local and organic food, and planning stops where we can stop at local, organic co-ops and support the communities that we are traveling through.

I: In doing this Green Duhks project, do you feel that you’ve converted some people, whether other bands or your listeners, to become more conscious of the environment?

TE: I don’t think it’s really about conversion for us. Personally, I think it’s really about living with integrity. We’re very privileged as North American citizens and I think we have a responsibility, as everyone does, to look at their life and figure out the steps that they can take to improve the situation, whatever those steps may be. 

We’re not out to judge or preach; that’s not why we’re doing it. We just really enjoy what we have, and this is our way of showing our respect and gratitude for the gifts that we have been given in life.

I: So now that you have this Green Duhks project up and running, do you have any big dreams for the future of Green Duhks?

TE: I definitely do have some dreams! (laughs) I’ve always fantasized about having the ultimate eco-tour bus with solar panels on the outside, and having it run on bio-diesel or veggie oil.

I have this dream of buying a used but somewhat newer tour bus and having it completely redone while still recycling and reusing what you can from the inside. And having (the interiors) done in non-toxic material and sustainable products, having hand-made custom bunks and cabinetry would be amazing.  Make it into something that is actually a home, since we spend so much of our lives on the road. 

In this fantasy, at the completion of this project, we would have Natural Home Magazine do a whole spread on our eco-tour bus! Talk about small homes! 

I: What is one action step that musicians and other people can do that will really help our environment?

It’s hard to say this without sounding judgmental, but I know that if people could cut down on their consumption of animal products, it really would make a big difference. Food is such an emotional thing for people. It’s so intimately tied to things like memories of home and childhood, so to try and suggest that people limit or eliminate certain food groups can cause very emotional reactions. 

Ultimately though, it’s not about judging, it’s about being realistic. This is one step we might have to take in the next five, ten years in order to actually survive as a species. think it’s time for us to just go okay, if I want my great-grandchildren to breathe clean air and to be able to have enough food to eat, these are the steps that I need to take. 

On a less controversial note, I would say that recycling is a fantastic step that people can take. Most places in the country support recycling. I think its so great to get your kids involved, and really educate them about where things come from and where they go after you’re done with them. Buying organic food is also incredibly beneficial – even if you do choose to buy meat right now, buying organic meat and free range makes a difference. I think it is the responsibility of human beings to ask themselves “what are significant changes I feel I can adopt long-term?” I think that people know within themselves when they’ve made the right decision. 

I: What big events are The Duhks doing right now?

TE: We just got back from a three-week tour, and we are about to start another one. We’re doing a lot of folk festivals this spring, summer and fall. Please come and visit us at our website, www.duhks.com.  From there you can see a listing of pretty much everything that is officially on the horizon for the band. There’s always something and we’re constantly coming to new towns and playing for people.

I: Any last words before we end the interview?

TE: Come check out our website www.greenduhks.com. Come and check out our music; we got some videos on YouTube, and some great free stuff.

Are you a Southern Californian resident? The Duhks are playing at the Acoustic Music San Diego on February 28. For more information on upcoming shows, visit their Myspace page.

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