Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Green" Gadgets

Hey, everyone!  It's Erica, again.  I am far from a “techie,” but I have to admit that I do not know what I would do without my iPod or my smart phone.  So many gadgets are out there that are environmentally-friendly AND cool, but I am clueless as to how far eco-technology has progressed; therefore, I decided to hunt for innovative, new gadgets that support a sustainable lifestyle.  I must admit that I was shocked at the inventions that have been produced lately that I had no idea even existed (I should know about this stuff, as a young person, but no worries, I am just as surprised at what I found as some of you may be)! 

Phone Charger T-Shirts
1.     Phone Chargers on Your T-shirt:  These t-shirts convert sound energy into energy to charge your cell phone or iPod.  Just attach your device on the chest of your t-shirt, and the technology on the stomach of the shirt will do the rest.  Imagine wearing one of these at a concert!

Solar-Powered Cooler
2.      Solar-Powered Cooler and Speakers:  This backpack keeps food and drinks cool with the power of the sun.  Not only that, but it houses two speakers for your music player and various chargers for your other electronic devices.  What a great way to come prepared for a hike or a soccer game!

Soda Maker
3.      Soda Maker:  With this little machine, you can make your own flavored sodas or seltzer water, in the comfort of your own home.  You can choose your own flavors and even mix them to create your own concoction without the use of electricity.  What a refreshing way to reduce the use of plastic containers!

Planter Lamp
4.      Lamps with Built-in Planters:  These Liquid Wood lamps (an organic material) have an LED strip built-in above the planter that serves as a lamp, while you grow your choice of houseplant.  With this eco-gadget, you can fulfill your New Year’s resolution of “greening your thumb” with a functional decoration for your home.
Water-Powered Alarm Clock

5.     Water-Powered Alarm Clock:  Save electricity by simply pouring water into the H2O battery on the side of the clock.  No need to replace old batteries either when your clock stops, just remember to fill it back up with water from your sink.  The only downside is that you cannot blame your clock anymore for making you late!

These are just a few of the many cool, new ways to “go green” this year (see or to find more information about the products listed here).  Whether you are in need of a new gadget, or you simply wish to treat yourself for that one fewer napkin you have been selecting, these ideas are a great way to do so.   What are you waiting for?  Go get your very own “green” gadget!  You and your planet deserve it!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Quote Each Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Hello, everyone!  It’s Erica again, and I’ve been thinking (uh-oh!).  In the rush of our busy lives, often we only have time for worrying about preserving the environment, rather than appreciating it.  Yes, we recycle our plastic water bottles (right?), but sometimes we don’t think about the beauty that we are saving with our actions.  I know that, personally, when I set aside time in my day to take a quick walk, I am more motivated to aid Mother Nature in her constant struggle against us humans.  So, on one of these contemplative treks, I decided that I needed to spread my motivation to those of us who lack this time to return to nature. 
Nothing motivates me more than a good quote.  Perhaps I am alone, due to my oddly intense love for the written word, but I figured that I’d share some of my favorite quotes about the environment with you all (Bear with me, please, if you aren’t the “inspirational speech type”.  You just may find a little something to chew on this week, regardless).

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.  ~Native American Proverb

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.  ~John Muir

Humankind has not woven the web of life.  We are but one thread within it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.  All things are bound together.  All things connect.  ~Chief Seattle

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty.  ~John Ruskin

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice for your soul is alive.  ~Eleanora Duse

Now, I know that words on paper (or your computer screen in this case) are simply words to some, but if you don’t have time to connect with nature physically, then I hope that these quotes give you the inspiration you need to continue your sustainable life.  Any difficult task is made all-the-more difficult when we forget why we are doing it.  Remember that each step that we make towards a “greener” existence helps ensure the nature’s beauty into the future.  With this bit of wisdom in your minds, go forth and conserve!

P.S.  As a follow-up to my previous blog post:
It is always great to stay up-to-date and read about other great ways to live a sustainable life; therefore, articles and other sources that provide inspiration for my blog posts are always encouraged.  I would like to thank Emily for showing me this article and I hope that it inspires you too!
Follow the link below to read the article:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

To the "Greener" Side in 2012

Hello, everyone!  It’s Erica again, but this time the New Year is upon us and our resolutions are in full swing.  Last time, I gave you all some unique ways to “green” your lives in 2012.  So far, I have purchased a stylish eco-tote for all of my purchases and have reduced my napkin usage from four to two napkins per meal.  My resolutions have only begun, but already I feel as if what I am doing is making a difference; however, it has not been completely peaches and cream.  I am only human and naturally, I reach for a pile of napkins or accept the plastic sack that the grocery store clerk offers me. Only when I consciously stop myself and think do I stick with my goals.  As one of our followers has pointed out (Thank you, Chuck for such inspiring input!), a goal on paper is one thing, but to form a habit is an altogether different sort of feat.  We must continue "greening" our lives not only for the month of January, but into the future if we want to really make our actions count. Sounds like an upward climb, eh?  Here are a few unique tips to aid you in your uphill battle:

1. Failure is your friend.  As I stated before, we are all human and we WILL forget occasionally.  Do not be discouraged.  Instead, write your slip-up on a scrap piece of paper and place it somewhere where you can see it for the next week (car dashboard, wallet, etc.).  This small reminder will imprint itself in your memory the next time you respond “Plastic” at the grocery store.
2.  Reward yourself.  Now, I am in no way comparing us as humans to animals, but we all know that even an old dog can learn new tricks if there is a reward involved.  Why shouldn’t we follow the same rule?  Instead of taking your good behavior for granted, treat yourself to a new eco-tote or five minutes with your nose buried in a good book.  Not only will you reinforce your "green" habit, but you will feel great doing it!
3.  Find a Fellow Warrior.  Everything is easier (and more fun) when you have a partner in crime, so enlist a good friend to fight the battle with you.  Challenge each other to see who can commit the most "green"acts in one week.  Write down each eco-friendly step you take and at the end of the week, the losing, but equally important side buys coffee (without stirrers, of course!).  The incentive will ensure your best behavior and keep you repeating your actions.
4.  Form a trigger.  As silly as it may sound, a really great way to form a habit is to create your own personal trigger.  A snap of the finger, a click of the tongue or even a short phrase that you tell yourself will do. Each time that you take a step towards the "greener" side, perform this trigger, without fail; the key is repetition, so it is absolutely necessary to do this.  Proceed for at least a month and you will be well on your way to a shiny new habit. 

Not every one of these tips will work for everyone, but if we can stick to them for a month, we may just find ourselves on the "greener" side!  I hope to see you there!