Living

Get trashed

Trash becomes treasure at Seattle fashion show

Photo: Doug BulgerFrugal is fashionable in this economy, and the creative minds behind Haute Trash have discovered the cheapest (and chicest) way to dress in a depression is to put junk on your trunk. From pop-top chain mail to yogurt-cup lids, any dumpster-dive find can become a design inspiration. See all the fab runway garb(age) Friday at RE Store’s annual Haute Trash Recycled Art & Fashion Show. Need a rain check? The work of a number of trashionistas will be on display for the month of April at galleries in three cities.Plan it: Friday, April 17, 8-10 p.m. Tickets are …

Screw Earth Day

Simplify your cleaning routine

Tip #4: Simplify your cleaning routine by tossing out toxic stuff and sticking to the (very cheap) basics. Do you really need a different spray or scrub for every surface in your home? Marketing mavens want you to think so. But the dirty truth is that many mainstream cleaners are major contributors to indoor air pollution and other health problems. Clean up your act by tossing any cleaners with ingredients you can’t pronounce. The only ingredients you really need are white vinegar, castile soap, baking soda, water, and a little elbow grease. Umbra demonstrates how to DIY your own cleaning …

Framing the Question

Umbra advises on gardens and kids

Q. Dear Umbra, I am constructing a garden bed for a local preschool and am considering the various materials I could use. The beds need to be raised and protected by a rigid border. This has aroused two main concerns: the safety of the children and the durability of the materials. I feel the best long-term way to keep large splinters out of tiny hands would be to use the plastic/wood composite decking. However, I have reservations about the volatility of the material, though the EPA report says it is safe. I have read that the Polyolefins in the composite …

In defense of screw earth day

Treehugger lacks sense of humor?

When you “crap all over Earth Day,” you can expect some angry barbs in return. Case in point is Lloyd Alter’s post over at TreeHugger.com about Grist’s “Screw Earth Day” campaign, which we found to be a fair and thoughtful rejoinder. But we think Alter missed the point. Yeah, Grist is cynical about Earth Day — along with lots of other people who work for environmental organizations or cover the environment for a news organization. The “Screw Earth Day” campaign isn’t about crapping on April 22. It’s exactly the opposite: We’re hoping to drive a little more attention to Earth …

Just the Beginning

We need Earth Day more than ever

Rick BassHaving elected Team Obama, and seen a few months of promising leadership, have we achieved Mission Accomplished with regard to righting the environmental wrongs of the Bush administration? You don’t hear the question being voiced so much as instead sense it infiltrating, with an air of unearned relief. Everywhere, after the majestic battle of the long campaign, there is hope, and the feeling that one is no longer a prisoner in one’s own country. It’s sweet. But it’s slightly misplaced: Barack Obama’s got the bully pulpit, but he’s still just one man. It remains to the 290 million of …

Pimp my ride

Brief hybrid electric bike update

That’s a picture of my Hybrid Electric parked next to an especially stupid looking Hummer. Dark tinted windows make it impossible for cyclists to make eye contact with drivers. You’re playing Russian roulette when you cross in front of a car that has them. I noticed that this particular Hummer would not move for days at a time when gas prices were high last summer. A commenter wanted me to post an update on my Hybrid Electric bike. Specifically, he wanted to know how the cheap mountain bike frame was holding out. The answer is just fine. My only complaint …

Screw Earth Day

Bag the paper or plastic debate

Tip #3: Bag the “paper or plastic” debate at the checkout line by toting a reusable bag (or seven) of your own. We Are What We Do.Grist advice guru Umbra Fisk is lucky to go a week without being asked about the “paper or plastic” conundrum faced by anyone who has strolled a grocery-store aisle. Though she assures us that when it comes to the which-is-the-lesser-of-two-evils question, there is no clear lesser, and neither is exactly evil, the best answer by far to this either/or question is “neither.” But that doesn’t mean juggling armfuls of produce and toiletries out to …

With These Savings, I Thee Wed

Say “I do” to a green wedding on a budget

Photo: SimonShaw via Flickr. In two months, I will walk across a lawn in taffeta and heels to stand beside my baby sister as she says “I do.” Which means I have spent the last several months planning parties, calming crises, and trying not to gawk at the huge price tag looming over this blessed event. Weddings are a celebration of love and commitment, but they’re not often so loving on the earth — or the commitment to trim your budget. And trying to save green while you plan a green wedding can cause quite the nuptial nightmare. Is it …

Screw Earth Day

Avoid the bottle blues

Tip #2: Save money (and the planet) by avoiding bottled water. Already heard it? Then get busy converting your friends and family to the anti-bottled-water campaign. Grist has been beating the drum on this one FOREVER… Ashley Braun preached the good word in January 2008, noting: “Production of plastic water bottles requires three times the water the bottle will eventually hold. That’s not even getting into the 17 million barrels of oil or the 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide resulting from plastic bottle production.” If you’re worried about the quality of your tap water, then consider a filter system …

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