Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Diet Coke-less for 24 hours and counting...

I am pleased to report I had my first Diet Coke-less lunch today. Then after lunch, I was jonesin' an iced coffee so I went and got one and then at the "fixin's" counter NEARLY put an artificial sweetener in...DOH!! Luckily, I caught this bad habit and replaced it with sugar in the raw just in the nick of time. (YUMMMM)

Let me know if you are also trying to kick the artificial sweeteners and how it is going for you.

Your Backyard as a Wildlife Refuge!

This is too cool! I was reading the August 4th, 2008 issue of Newsweek when I saw a really cool article titled "Bring Back the Birds and Bees" by Christina Gillham. It gives some great tips on how to beautify your backyard while also practicing sustainable gardening. Sustainable in the "green" sense means: To keep in existence; maintain.

When making choices on home renovations, buying cars, or gardening we shouldn't only think about what looks pretty but also: what materials will last the longest, what woods can we use to minimize the impact of the renovation on the environment (bamboo, or woods from tree farms), or in terms of gardening, what plants are indigenous to the region and what will live a long time.

Below is the informative article and it says that if you decide to join this movement, your backyard can be certified as a Wildlife Habitat. INCREDIBLE!! If you have kids, what a great way to teach them about nature and (advocate of green's motto) how a little effort by a lot of people can make a big difference.

Also, one more thing before I post the article, they touch on a great way to catch rain water to use for watering your garden instead of using water from the tap: get rain barrels that will collect the water so we can keep the tap water for drinking. After all, drinking water is a scarce resource and one-third of the world's population lives in a water stressed country. It is expected to rise to two-thirds by 2025!

Here's the article and here are links to rain barrels (made out of recycled plastic) & the National Wildlife Federation . If you live in a city and don't have a yard, pass this on to someone who does:

Years of suburban development and unsustainable gardening practices have led to vanishing wildlife populations. The National Wildlife Federation has stepped up its efforts to promote its Backyard Wildlife Habitat program, which certifies homeowners who provide friendly environments for small mammals, birds, butterflies and reptiles.

The program asks residents to raise native plants and trees, which provide animals with food and shelter, and to put out water in the form of a birdbath or small pan for birds to drink and bathe in. Homeowners should also practice sustainable gardening by reducing lawn size, removing invasive plants and keeping rain barrels to collect water that can be used in lieu of the hose. (See for more details.)

David Mizejewski, a naturalist at the NWF, says that the certification, which costs $15, does not have to apply to your entire property. “The idea is to create a movement to get gardeners to adopt some of these principles,” he says. And, listing your home as a certified “wildlife habitat” can’t hurt its value.


Last night I gave The Advocate of Green a makeover. I hope you like it!! I think it reads much nicer now. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

If you like it, help spread the word. My target it to reach 1,000 readers every day!! I can only do that if you love my blog enough to tell all of your friends. Thanks for the support so far!! I'll keep updating whenever I find something great!

love yas,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I have an addiction...

And it is to Diet Coke. I realize that sounds ridiculous. Who gets addicted to Diet Coke? ME!! I have to have one every lunch or else I get a headache. How can something that gives you withdrawal symptoms be good for you? Well it isn't.

Diet Coke contains the artificial sweetener called Asparatame which is made up of "three byproducts: methanol, formaldehyde, and formate." (METHANOL?!?! FORMALDEHYDE?!?!?! How can these ingredients possibly be healthy when one is in anti-freeze and the other is used to preserve dead people? )

Another startling factoid:
'A survey of aspartame studies by Ralph Walton MD of Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine found: "Of the 166 studies felt to have relevance for questions of human safety, 74 had NutraSweet industry related funding and 92 were independently funded. One hundred percent of the industry funded research attested to aspartame's safety, whereas 92 percent of the independently funded research identified a problem."'

So basically, something shady is going on. We are being fed chemicals by these big companies, told they are safe, only to find that when studied independently they are pretty bad for us. REAL NICE FDA....REEEEEEEEEEAL NICE!!

Part of my becoming a 'greenie' means me cleaning up all aspects of my life, including what I put into my body. I think that getting rid of diet coke will be a great start! I am going to keep track of how many days I go without any products containing Aspartame. Join me in eliminating this poison from our diets. I think I speak for everyone when I say "BLECH!!"

Monday, July 28, 2008

Blog Update...

Great news everyone! This whole blog thing is a really great learning experience for me in terms of becoming more computer literate. Yesterday I learned how to redirect my blog to be accessed by this web address:

You no longer need to type in the, longer version which has ".blogspot" in it. Add this link to your favorites and keep checking back. I will continue to try and provide good information at least a few times a week.

Also, you can enter your email address in the left hand column where it says "Get My Blog As An Email" and you will automatically get any updates right in your inbox.

Green it up!

Friday, July 25, 2008

C'mon Mr. Singh. You know you wanna!

The Good News: I found Mr Singh today and told him to shut the door. He says the reason why he keeps it open is because people complain that they are too cold. When I told him my GENIUS, groundbreaking idea of making his air conditioning warmer, he looked at me, head cocked to one side, confused much like this:

The Bad News: He didn't agree to close his door

My Strategy: To go in for lunch every day and kill him with kindness until he closes that darn door!! Stores should be ticketed for air conditioning the sidewalks, I think. The city would make millions and then maybe could lower our taxes (yeah, right!). The day Mr. Singh shuts that door, I will do a victory dance and post it for your all to see.

Easy Green Tip #2: One sugar or two?

When I read this article about coffee stirrers, I thought it was so clever that I just HAD to share it. According to California Coastal Cleanup: plastic stirrers rate sixth in the trash found along California's coast. Next time you go to Starbucks, tell them you want to put your milk and sugar in first and you can avoid using stirrers all together! Or better yet, bring your own "to go" coffee cup. Anyway you slice it stirrers are a pretty unnecessary part of our daily (sometimes 3 cups daily) lives!

Join me in telling Starbucks this idea. If they implement it worldwide, maybe we can eliminate some waste!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mr. Singh, You Are So Wily!

As an update to yesterday's post, I tried to call Mr. Singh again today and no luck. It looks like he's going to get away with it this time. But believe you me (that's a weird saying , isn't it?) Mr. Singh is going to hear it from me if I see his door open again!

Living Green: The Solaire

As many of you may know, my boyfriend Duncan and I live in a building that is considered NYC's greenest. It is called The Solaire and is located in Battery Park City. We haven't always been super-greenies. We used to live in the West Village in an apartment that was extremely energy inefficient (read: falling apart). Watch the video below to see my building, my boyfriend and my dog Peanut who is also very passionate about being green!

PS- don't freak out...our rent is no where near the $7,000 a month "average" they mention at the end. Our rent is actually cheaper than any other "non-green" option in the area and because of all of the green features, we save on things like: water, electricity and washing our clothes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What Exactly Are You Air Conditioning, Mr. Singh?

So this is my favorite lunch spot. It is called Simply Food and it has salads and sandwiches and they are all "make your own" style. The best part is everything is ORGANIC!! YESSSSSSS!!

When I first found it, I couldn't believe my luck. Whether or not you make an effort to eat organic foods, you can't argue the fact that food WITHOUT pesticides are preferable to foods WITH pesticides. As it is across the street from my office and no more expensive than the other not organic option, I choose Simply Food.

The bad news: They are giant energy wasters! Why do stores keep their doors open? Is it because people are so lazy that the extra energy exerted to open the door will change people's minds about going there? It's so weird.

So, I placed a call to the "big boss", Mr. Singh. Apparently he is only there in the mornings from 9:00am-11:00am so I will be calling him tomorrow. Having an organic store isn't only about healthful foods but also BEING organic....duh! Get with the program Mr. Singh!

I'll let you know the outcome.

Have you ever wondered why stores do this? Send me your thoughts!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Greening Up My Work Day: Part 1- Paper

I am a member of my company's "green team" whose goal is to implement various green initiatives to make our company more eco-friendly. One of our main initiatives is to reduce paper consumption by 70% by the end of this year. Can you even believe that? Will it be possible? I think so!! We have come up with some simple, free, and innovative ideas to use less paper and I wanted to share them so that we can save some trees. After all, more trees= more oxygen= more clean breathing, which is definitely a good thing! Here it goes:

1) Decrease your margins!!: There is no logical reason why our default margins are set at 1.00"- 1.25" except for that Microsoft says it shall be so. This means we end up being less efficient with our paper consumption and use more than necessary.

I conducted an experiment: I changed the margins of a 5 page document from 1 inch to .75 inch margins and the document suddenly became 4 pages! Can you believe it? With just one click of a button, I saved a piece of paper! My office has 350 people who work here so if everyone saved 1 piece of paper every day for the whole year that would be equal to 127,750 pieces of paper. 1 tree makes around 83,000 pieces of paper so we have saved more than 1 tree without even trying.

Oh, also, you can sign the petition to tell Microsoft that we don't care about the big ole' margins! What's the deal Microsoft?

In case you don't know how to change your margins follow these steps (it might take you all of 30 seconds to do so make sure to clear your schedule):

  • In Microsoft Word, go to FILE, then PAGE SET UP.
  • Click the DEFAULT key, and you'll be prompted "Do you want to change the default settings for the page set up? This change will affect all new documents based on the normal template."
  • Set each of your margins to .75"
2) It's kind of basic but use both sides of the paper. Set your photocopy machine or printer to make all documents 2 sided. Also, save any paper with only one side used as scratch paper. You can take notes, tape receipts to them for expense report purposes, etc.

3) Recycle!: Aside from using 100% recycled paper to print on, make sure your company recycles. Recycling is mandatory for all businesses and residences in NYC. Make sure your office and apartment building are recycling. The city will provide you with bins if you need them. If you live outside of NYC, check your local government's website to see if they have a similar program in place. It may only take 1 phone call from you to get a program going!

I'll send tips on greening up my work day whenever I discover something new! Stay tuned!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Step 1: Get a tote bag!

How many plastic bags do I get in one day? Today, so far, 4, and this day isn't even over yet! Here's the plastic baggy breakdown:

1) Plastic bag in which to carry my lunch from the salad place to my desk
2) Plastic bag from the shoe repair shop to carry my fabulously resoled shoes
3) Plastic bag from Sid's Bike Shop for some bike accessories
4) Plastic bag from Sports Authority for some excellent biking threads to cruise around NYC in

Last week, while checking out the brand new Whole Foods that opened up across the street from my apartment, I saw this lovely display of tote bags. It was like a colorful tote bag mountain that called my name to remove plastic bags from my life. I bought one pack of 2 bags for $3.00. I keep one folded up in the side pocket of my purse so I can reject every plastic bag offer I get. The tote bag is pretty big (and purple-y)...big enough to fit everything in my aforementioned list of stuff!

This switch is easier than I ever anticipated greening it up would be. It just takes one moment of forethought and BAM! less waste already!!

Also, not to mention, Whole Foods give you a $.10 reduction every time you make a purchase and bring your own bag. I know $.10 isn't much but at least I'm getting something back for being good to the Earth. Especially after reading this article:

I realize ANYTHING I can do to reduce my plastic consumption is a good start!!

There are tons of great tote bag sites online. Here's a site I found with some cuties:

Buy a tote and leave me a comment with your experience!

UPDATE: I got a GREAT question from a fellow greenie. This is from Frank who asks: "I don't have a purse so where do I put my reusable tote?". After some research I found these 2 options:

1) Not bulky and small enough to tie in a knot and put in your pocket. mesh-nylon-tote

2) or these which are a little colorful (especially for men) but specifically made to collapse to be pocket sized: resusable shopping bag

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My quest for greener living...

Hello! If you are seeing this, you are actually reading my blog. I didn't think anyone would actually read it but I was told by a wise blogger friend that "if you blog it they will come." So, here I am.

I call my blog The Green Advocate because, while I am trying to be greener, I definitely don't fit into the hemp-shoe-wearing-drum-circle-loving-hippie category (not that there is anything wrong with just isn't me). But I do think that you can be "green" conscious while not jumping over the edge to abandoning indoor plumbing and living in a tee-pee (again, nothing wrong with that). I am a Green Advocate vs. an Environmentalist and I think everyone can become a Green Advocate just by green-ing up your everyday life a little.

My aim with this blog is to document my everyday challenges during my quest for greener living and my process for finding green solutions. My goal is to hopefully inspire someone out in this unusual thing we call the bloggosphere to do the same. I really believe that a little bit of effort from a lot of people, will make a BIG difference.

Thanks for reading and please email me any ideas or problems you are having in the green department. I will rack my brain until I can suggest a solution.