Citilogs: Urban Forestry Meets Urban Recycling

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Donald “Stubby” Warmbold and his wife, Maria, have been working to collect unwanted trees from parks and yards to turn them into beautiful pieces of furniture since 1999. They started their cottage industry business, which goes by the name of Citilogs, in Pittstown, N.J. Now they collect trees throughout the East Coast and as far west as Chicago.

Their clients are municipalities or individuals who have removed old, dying trees from their landscaping, or who have removed younger trees to make way for new construction projects. Traditionally, these trees are sent to the dump, but the Warmbolds realized that the wood could be put to good use.

Additionally, they send their wood to Amish craftspeople that use nontoxic glues and finishes, making beautiful and environmentally-friendly pieces of functional art.

Read a full on Citilogs here.

Unique Christmas Ornaments

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Our quest for eco-Christmas gifts continues! With just two weeks to go before Christmas, the rush is on! If you know someone who is an avid collector of Christmas ornaments, why not give them something beautiful, unique, environmentally friendly, and something that will benefit third-world artisans. For example, these beautiful gourd ornaments from Peru, offered by World of Good!

World of Good is a member of the Fair Trade Federation.

Thanks to TreeHugger for the tip on this unique gift.

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Eat a Trout, Save a Trout!



Trout Aloft!

If you love to fish, you need to know about the organization Trout Unlimited. Trout Unlimited is dedicated to protecting Maine Atlantic salmon and brook trout, among other wild, native fish and their habitat.

TU was founded over 40 years ago in Grayling, Michigan, and since then, they have worked hard to ensure that native fish like brook trout thrive in their native habitat.

Their philosophy is “if we take care of the fish, then the fishing will take care of itself,” and their list of accomplishments is long.

They recently achieved the protection of 140,000 acres of forest and rivers in California’s Sierra Nevada range and they also established the “Trout in the Classroom program,” which has educated children in more than 100 schools about the ecosystems that support wild fish.

Check out their Trout Magazine for some great reading about fishing and conservation.

Hawks Aloft, Inc.



Hawks Aloft

The Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) is the fastest bird in the world. At its fastest, it can get flying at over 200 mph!

The Peregrine Falcon is just one of many birds that the non-profit organization Hawks Aloft, Inc. works to protect.

Hawks Aloft cooperates with various governmental and non-governmental organizations throughout the southwestern United States to protect a number of wild birds and their habitat. They focus on education, research, and rescuing injured birds. They also have a great series of educational lectures and activities for kids.

Their team of experts includes avian and wildlife biologists, education specialists, and GIS experts.

If you have questions about a certain bird species, they’ll even put their experts to work for you!

Earthtoys December Emagazine



Earthtoys in Action

The Earthtoys December emagazine is now up! In this edition, you’ll find articles on green building education, Hydrogen Powered Micro Trigeneration Technology, hydrogen hybrid vehicles, and how to build a fall water garden. Additionally, there are some articles on energy conservation with strategies for how you can monitor your personal energy use to see just how much power you use (and lose!) in your home.

Earthtoys is an organization that gives a voice to those working in the alternative energy industry. They have an excellent Alternative Energy Directory featuring hundreds of earth-friendly companies throughout the world.

Fieldstone Energy: Making Waves

I’m a fan of the Earth Toys monthly e-magazine that often promotes unusual eco-friendly companies that you wouldn’t normally hear about.

In their June 2005 newsletter Earth Toys promoted Fieldstone Energy, a company devoted to creating energy from ocean waves and rivers without damaging the environment. Using ocean waves as energy is a cheap alternative source of energy I hadn’t heard much about before.

Their idea is that we tap into the potential energy of rivers without damming their main channel. This involves diverting water from the river into a small alternative channel and through an impoundment area. As the water flows through the impoundment area, it lifts a weighted buoyant device which then moves a type of piston, converting potential energy into kinetic energy.

The article also claims that ocean waves produce a huge amount of uptapped energy. By placing a weighted buoyant device situated over a cylinder in the ocean, the movement of the ways produces energy. The ideas presented in the article are simple and seem to have a good chance of producing large quantities of energy. The Earth Toys article on Fieldstone is still up in their archives and is worth checking out.

I agree that we need to continue to look for creative ways to deal with the inevitable upcoming/ongoing shortage of non-renewable resources, and it’s reassuring that there are people out there doing just that.


PPS, Helping to Protect and Create Public Spaces

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PPS (Project for Public Spaces) is a nonprofit organization that works to protect and create public spaces in urban and rural areas throughout the world.

They’re interested in improving the quality of life of a diversity of people through public markets, open spaces, playgrounds, parks, etc.

In October PPS announced a Request for Proposals for their project, “Diversifying Public Markets and Farmers Markets,” with approximately $1 million in collaborative funding from the Ford Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. You can check out the press release and information for applying for the grant here.

PPS started up in 1975 and for over 20 years has focused on low-income areas. Their projects help to strengthen communities, provide income, and improve the urban environment. Additionally, we all know that parks and urban open spaces are critical to providing much needed oxygen to the urban smog machines.

They also have a very cool website of “Great Public Spaces” with excellent photos of public places throughout the world that help to improve our lives and define our communities.


Green Seal, Certifying Healthy Cleaning Products



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Green Seal is an awesome non-profit that works to certify cleaning products and services that are healthy for families, workers, and the environment. They have worked extensively with the lodging industry, the U.S.’s second largest employer, to improve working conditions for thousands of workers, not to mention the health of travels as well.

If you work in a big office building and are concerned about the environmental health of your building, you should consider checking out their program and start organizing your coworkers to encourage the building owners to start using products certified by Green Seal.

They publish their recommendations in their Choose Green Reports, which are available in PDF format.

Home Energy Saver: Reducing Your Energy Use!

With gas prices through the roof and winter quickly approaching, making changes in our personal energy use is no longer looking like a luxury.

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This just in from the Wall Street Journal!

With gas prices through the roof and winter quickly approaching, making changes in our personal energy use is no longer looking like a luxury. However, most people are inexperienced when it comes to energy efficiency in the home. The Wall Street Journal recently recommended this website, EnergyGuide.com, which has a survey you can take about your home or business. The website then provides you with a personalized list of tips for improving the efficiency of your home.

This site provides both a “fast-track” and an “in-depth” analysis of your home and appliances to help you target where to make changes. Be aware that this is a commercial site and they are trying to sell you stuff.

With this in mind, you might want to check out the “Home Energy Saver” Web site from the U.S. Department of Energy, which is also a good resource to learn about energy efficiency in the home.


Environmental Cattle Ranching with the Quivira Coalition



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Ranching in the western U.S. is a time honored tradition, but if done incorrectly, ranching can severely damage the environment. Ranchers and environmentalists have been at odds for years, scrapping and fighting over issues such as public lands and water rights. Some of the disputes have gotten so heated that guns have been drawn and Forest Service cars burned to the ground. Environmentalist Courtney White finally decided enough was enough and started communicating with ranchers to find some common ground. Thus, the Quivira Coalition was born. The Coalition is now working on what they call “The New Ranch,” which involves restoring and protecting wetlands, land health assessment, and ranchland monitoring. They focus on education and try and involve as many stakeholders as possible to keep the dialogue going. They produce an excellent newsletter which is available on-line.

Good work, guys! Ride ’em on home!

Bioneers, Revolution from the Heart of Nature

Bioneers, Revolution from the Heart of Nature.”

What a great catchphrase! This amazing group of people also goes by the name of “The Collective Heritage Institute.” Just what do they do? Just about anything that involves helping the environment, helping critters and plants, and helping us lead healthier lives with less impact on the environment. They emphasize “restoration” rather “sustainability” and look towards technologies that are inspired by nature.

As environmentalists, we’ve been hearing a lot about the whole “sustainability” thang these days. However, most of us know that we’re not working with a healthy planet to begin with. According to the Bioneers, restoring the environment is a much better way to have an impact than simple conservation. While conservation of course is critical, if we can work to restore land, habitat, etc. that is not completely lost yet, we’ll be doing the planet a huge favor.

The Bioneers have a radio show, a conference, a newsletter, a bookstore,and they emphasize working with youth. Wow! Looks like they’ve got it all covered.

Eco-friendly companies: Green Roof Projects

There’s no doubt that urban environments lack green spaces, especially in the largest cities. However, thanks to human creativity, people are now coming up with unusual ways to add green to the city.

Where? Look up! Green roofs are becoming more and more common in cities such as Chicago, Toronto, and Philadelphia. Roofscapes, Inc. is a company that specializes in building green roofs in big cities. They’re based in Philadelphia and have worked on dozens of green roofs projects such as the Fencing Academy of Philadelphia, and Chicago’s City Hall.

Some of these spaces are actually open to the public (or at least to employees working in the building) and function like a park. Suddenly, life in the city doesn’t look as gray and bleak and gray as it once did!

Kids in Action for Nature

My unofficial motto for this group would be: “Start ’em young. That way they’ll actually give a damn!” So many adults in our world get to the point where they say “yeah, but there’s no point, what can I do about it?!” Action for Nature (AFN) is an organization that gives out “International Young Eco-Hero Awards” to girls and boys around the world, 8 to 16 years of age. Celebrating youth and eco-heroes is where to look for more info.