Minipost: What’s Your American Dream?

11 11 2010

Due to contracting a virus, going on several job interviews, and injuring one of my key typing fingers, I haven’t posted for a bit. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to leave you hanging, faithful readers. So, make like me this week and head over to One American Dream?, which according to the header is “A documentary project exploring how the traditional idea of the American Dream has changed and what it now means to Generations X & Y.”

I submitted my own version of the American Dream, and you can, too – even anonymously. All responses will be a part of this intriguing feature-length documentary exploring how and why that dream has changed. Be sure to incorporate your ideals of green and/or simple living, if you wish :-).


15 09 2010
Geocache used in the Geocaching sport.

Image via Wikipedia

That’s right, eco. This new type of geocaching highlights the features of a location to inspire conservation awareness among explorers. Each ecocache, or buried container located using a GPS device,¬† contains a description of the site’s importance and an object symbolic of the area. It may even contain instructions for an interactive, ec0-activity. This website, with amusing translation into English (“box made of glass because of rodent”), explains the basics.

It sounds like a great twist to an exciting hobby that’s growing all the time – an estimated 5 million people in the U.S. participate. To get started geocaching or to find locations near you, go to the clearinghouse website: And let me know what’s in the box, if you do.

Getting Started on Green Resolutions

13 01 2009

Today, some web resources to help you get motivated:

  • If you don’t use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) because they’re not warm and homey enough, consider these top picks featured at Low Impact Living.
  • More Green for Less Green has recently posted tips on how to make your own cheaper, greener versions of everything from produce bags to dish soap, not to mention the great ideas for saving on groceries–and no, you haven’t heard it all before!
  • If you resolved to become more aware of and involved in environmental issues, log on to EarthNews, a blog-format news engine supported bySupported by the Environmental Information Coalition and the National Council for Science and the Environment.

Seen and Heard

8 01 2009

Seen: A new element of style. Some creative folks in the Netherlands have created a font that uses up to 20% less ink. Get it free for your computer here. (Thanks to DailyCandy for the tip-off).

Heard: Imperiled bird songs. Audubon published a beautiful and frightening article about Canada’s endangered boreal forest and the North American birds that depend on it for survival. Read about it, and hear the birds sing, at the Boreal Songbird Initiative‘s important website.


13 08 2008

I’m not talking about¬†the Beyonce song. A beautiful partnership has formed between such seemingly divergent fields as law and art to promote awareness and action on behalf of wildlife endangered by climate change. At their website, Irreplaceable: Wildlife in a Warming World, you can view an online version of the traveling photography exhibit featuring works by some of the world’s best nature photographers. You can learn about animals that may be imperilled by climate change, and you can help. A sprinkling of quotes from the esteemed thinkers of the world, past and present, serves to lift the site into a spiritual experience.

Conservation Education On the Web

30 07 2008

All this talk about getting outside is not intended to bash technology. Obviously, I embrace a little technology in my life. Here are two noteworthy websites that allow children and adults to learn more about nature through the internet:

WolfQuest is a video game, free to download on your computer, that illustrates wolf behavior and biology. Hunt, search for mates, and fight other wolves in an addictive format that’s competitive with other video games on the market today. The game has a multiplayer option, and players can talk to wolf biologists online to discuss what they’re experiencing through the game.

Developed by EduWeb, the International Wolf Center and the Minnesota Zoo, WolfQuest was designed as an edutainment tool for children in more urban environments who might not be able to visit large expanses of wilderness and gain nature appreciation that way. So far, it’s been a big hit, especially with girls (an oddity in video game-land). That being said, it’s great for adults, too. You can design your own wolf, down to the fur color, and hunt by scent tracks. What’s not to love?

Wildlife University, run by The National Wildlife Federation, is a set of free online courses for those interested in helping the conservation cause from home. Courses range from endangered species and their legal protections to how to encourage wildlife in your backyard. I’m taking the Leading Communities to Conservation set of courses right now, and have already learned much about how I can contribute to society by using my personal abilities and interests. Courses are self-paced and include do-at-home exercises. Why not take some free education when you can get it?

Anyone have more websites to share for nature-minded folks?

Walkable Cities on the Web

30 07 2008

I just heard of a great site called Walk Score. While the site’s owners are the first to admit that the system isn’t perfect (yet), it does allow you to see the “walkability”–suitability for walking, that is–of a town and its amenities in a sidebar list. The google map is displayed for you as well. Check out your own town, your friends’ and families’ towns, and maybe a town or two you have been curious about. Or, learn about places that you didn’t even know were there. A coffee shop on Second? Who knew?

In addition to being fun to use, Walk Score makes walkable cities cool and encourages the meandering lifestyle. That’s something applaud.

(Thanks to The for the tip)

Regis and Kelly Go Green

25 06 2008

Today’s Live With Regis and Kelly show is part of a “Green Week” series, and it featured several of the tips I’ve discussed here for saving money while going green: cutting down on junk mail to reduce spending; buying in bulk at the grocery store; and using clean greening products (bought or made). Other great ideas include eating out less for lunch to reduce paper (and money) waste and taking fewer short trips by car in favor of bicycling or walking. I was a bit disappointed that the recommendation to plant trees and shrubs around one’s house for greater heating and cooling economy didn’t caution against non-native species, but the intentions were good.

Check out the full list of tips here at the Green Week site by clicking on “Save Money.”

Get Out!

6 05 2008

The outdoorsy fun doesn’t stop with Earth Day. Express your love of America’s extensive trail system–or fall in love for the first time, or again–by attending a National Trails Day event near you. Find it at And show your local park service some love–it’s like an unofficial appreciation day for them, as well. (Yes, I work in a park. A little appreciation never hurt, right?)

UPDATE on 05/08/08: While you’re thinking about the great outdoors, consider signing up for NWF’s Great American Backyard Campout on June 28th.

A few more Earth Day goodies

22 04 2008

Buzzard Swamp, Forest County, PA, Summer 2006I hope everyone’s having a peaceful Earth Day. It can be easy to focus on things like climate warming and endangered species on this day, and those things should be addressed pronto. But I believe that the success of Earth Day, even among those who hardly do anything environmentally-friendly the rest of the year, is a result of the positive message and the community spirit it has spread throughout the nation. So, in that light, here are a few more resources to ponder, today or any day:

  • Oprah’s Earth Day Event. Oprah has been on a green and frugal kick lately, helping me with this blog. Well, she didn’t intend to, but she did. Today’s show featured Al Gore and movie stars discussing everything from composting to Gore’s newly solar home.
  • Glamour’s Eco Guide. Some roll their eyes at my Glamour magazine habit, but in amongst the beauty tips and silly celebrity pages, there are stories each month about women making a difference and causes anyone can support. Here’s the page where a recent issue’s going green how-to extravaganza has made its home.
  • NPR’s All Things Considered did a story on green building today, and as usual, the page is chock full of interactive features and guides for those inspired to try it themselves.
  • The New York Times has an Earth Day super-issue, and it’s worth it for things like this: “Bill Nye, the television host and science educator, lives in a retrofitted, eco-friendly, 1,300-square-foot, 1939 stucco home in Los Angeles.”

I could keep going, but there is enough wonderful information in the links above to keep you busy for quite some time. Happy Earth Day!

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