July 2008

As we mentioned earlier this summer, Autonomie Project has been chosen as a Green Vendor at this years Lollapalooza in Chicago August 1st-3rd! We will have a table set up on Green Street during the entire event.

We just wanted to remind you, if you are going to the concert this year to stop by our booth! Come by and check out our NEW Flip Flops and T Shirts, as well as our Ethletic Sneakers and Purses! Or just stop by to have a chat with us and find out where we are headed next!

So we hope to see you there this year, especially since Lollapalooza has made quite the Green initiative this year! We are off to pack our bags and see you soon Chicago!!!

This week’s recipe is Raw Chocolate Mousse which makes a terrific summer dessert for cookouts, dinner parties, or just to enjoy at home! The recipe has only 4 simple ingredients and takes about 10 minutes to make! You may be shocked by the main ingredient: AVOCADO!! But trust us, by the time you have finished you won’t even remember you have put them in! The avocados replace the cream and oily taste normally put into mousse by milk products. It makes for a healthy and creamy vegan dessert. We know raw food can be a bit scary and avocado isn’t normally associated with desserts, but once you take one bite of this you will be pleasantly surprised and will impress your guests!

Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Prep Time: 10 minutes

  • 4 Ripe Organic Avocados
  • 1 Cup of Sweetener (Agave Nectar or Evaporated Cane Juice)
  • 1 Tbls of Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup of Organic Fair Trade Cocoa Powder (or Carob)
Slice each avocado open and scoop out the insides. Place the inside in a food processor or blender. Next add the sweetener, vanilla, and cocoa powder. Blend or process the mixture until fully blended. The mixture should be smooth and the color of chocolate. You can instantly serve the mousse, however we recommend you let it cool in the fridge for at least an hour. Serve in cups with fresh fruit or mint. Some of our favorite fruits we like to add are strawberries, raspberries, bananas, and sometimes pineapple! Now put your fears behind and delve into this delectable, healthy, and cooling summer dessert!

This past April 2008 a major victory in the anti-sweatshop move was completed. Congress voted in a bill to be signed into law that will extend US Federal Immigration and Labor Laws in the US territory, Mariana Islands. The Mariana Islands have been known to have some of the worst labor abuses in the world.
Location of the Mariana Islands 

The islands were used as a haven for many Chinese sweatshops to set up camp. The products produced there were used to deceive US consumers, since they carried the “Made in USA” tags. People consciously attempting to buy only US made clothing and other goods were mislead by the seemingly sweatshop free items. Throughout the 1990’s, anti-sweatshop activists and lobbyists worked to end these labor abuses and the deception of consumers but to no avail thanks to people like Jack Abramoff

However, thanks to the efforts of many anti-sweatshop groups including Co-op America the Mariana Islands’ workforce is now protected under the same laws as any of us hard working Americans. To learn more about the Mariana Island human rights movement, please check out the blog Unheard No More. For more information on ending sweatshops and how you can help, check out Co-op America’s Ending Sweatshops Guide or Sweatshop Watch.

Also, remember that many times the only way to wake a company up is by boycotting them and supporting companies that participate in fair labor and human rights. Remember Autonomie Project when you are looking for new footwear, bags, or clothing(coming soon) or any of these other wonderful companies listed on SweatFree Communities 2008 Shop with a Conscience Consumer Guide!

New York, New York: It’s the Big Apple, the city of dreams, America’s most populated city and was recently voted this years Favorite Veg Friendly City by the readers of Veg News. New York offers a plethora of great vegan eats ranging from around the world. It’s quite easy to eat vegetarian and even vegan within the city limits, but this week we at AP wanted to share one of our favorite veggie restaurants: Red Bamboo!

With two locations, one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, Red Bamboo is a mecca for all vegan residents and visitors alike. Their menu is based on vegetarian soul and carribean food with heavy influences of great American cooking. They have seriously mastered the mock meat market with the variety they offer! Although not their entire menu is vegan, they mark which items are not acceptable and the menu is easy to read.
Coconut Shrimp

We have had the luxury of eating at both locations, although very similar they have minor differences on their menus. The Brooklyn location is also a bit larger and offers brunch on weekends. The brunch is decent, however the lunch and dinner is what you really want to try. The service is always excellent with helpful and friendly staff. Our last experience here was on a blistering 95 degree day in the streets of NY, where we found solace inside the air conditioned Manhattan location and our waitress was on point with the constant flow of water and ice tea!
Bourbon Chicken Dinner

A few sample items from their menu include: Buffalo Barbecue Wings, Coconut Shrimp, Creole Soul Chicken Sandwich or Appetizer, B B Q Steak Hero, and Codfish Cakes with Mango Salsa! With a variety such as that you can’t go wrong! Check out their full menus for the Manhattan and Brooklyn locations.
Soul Chicken Appetizer(Comes in Sandwich too!)

They also have a few vegan desserts on their menu such as cakes and ice cream, although we haven’t tried them yet and can’t vouch for them. However, based on how delicious their appetizers, sandwiches, and entrees are we don’t doubt they are delicious.

So if you are NY native or are visiting anytime soon, be sure to stop by either location and indulge in some seriously delicious soul vegan food!

Red Bamboo is located at:

140 W 4th St, Manhattan, NY (212) 260-7049

271 Adelphi St, Brooklyn, NY (718)643-4806

Feel free to let us know what you think about Red Bamboo and share your experiences or favorite dishes with us!

Summer is a time for relaxation and vacations. Eco-tourism or Green Travel has been around for a long time, but with the Green Movement taking hold, it is now a part of the mainstream traveler’s mind. So what exactly is Eco-Tourism and how do you take part?

Most people think of hiking through the wilderness or sleeping a tree fort when the words Green Travel are used. This is just simply not true! Although, hiking and camping out is a great way to spend a vacation, it is not the only way to travel the world and still be environmentally friendly! Eco-tourism is defined by a vacation or trip that leaves minimal impact on the environment and culture one and is traveling to. There are plenty of hotels, resorts, and tour companies that boast their Green Travel attributes. But there are a few things you can do to minimize your own travel footprint and still enjoy your dream vacation. Below is a simple 5 step guide to making your summer or year round travels just a little more helpful for the environment!

  1. Alternative Transportation: Instead of the traditional summer road trip or the long flight across the world, try taking an alternate and more environmentally friendly mode of travel such as biking, train travel, bus, or sailboat. Of course if you do decide to drive you can always rent a hybrid or drive a veggie fuel car. Not only will you be helping environment, you will be saving yourself some sweet cash by dodging those ever-rising gas prices. Finally, if you are traveling somewhere by air, try offsetting your carbon impact with one of these companies.
  2. Stay Local: If you really want to make an impact, travel locally. Explore the exciting culture inside your own city or town. Or for a bit more excitement, adventure in the natural habitat close to your home. A good resource for local travel is your city or town’s local paper, chamber of commerce or the National and State Park System. It may seem boring to stay local, but you would be surprised by what your own backyard has in store for you!
  3. Choose Eco-Friendly Companies: When booking a lodging or tour company, make sure to research their environmental practices. You can always contact the particular company yourself or there are a number of websites that do the work for you! Check out these helpful websites when booking hotels, bed and breakfasts, tours, and restaurants. And if you really want to be sure the lodging company you are choosing is in fact Green, there are a number of Green Certification websites, that will assure you are making the greenest choices. Also, a great resource for finding green hotels is IStayGreen.Org, suggested by reader larryvance. This site not only lists hotels, but rates them on their “greeness” and provides social networking between travelers.
  4. Volunteer: Instead of just traveling to exotic locations, try combining your getaway into a experience that will not only help the social or ecological environmental you visit, but will also make you feel involved. There are a ton of organizations that will put you to good use while you explore the world! Instead of just rewarding yourself with just a vacation, reward your soul with a Volunteer Getaway!
  5. Be Responsible: Remember to be responsible when traveling in your own backyard or abroad. Take reusable items such as water bottles and always recycle. You can also conserve energy in your room, by turning out all lights and shutting off electric devices when not needed. Also, you can conserve water and energy by not using hotel laundry service everyday. And lastly, NEVER litter whether you are in a city or out in the wilderness.
Please keep these tips in mind as you plan your next holiday and rest easy as you ride off into our ever greening world. Bon Voyage!

This week’s vegan recipe is another great party dish or backyard cookout item: Spinach Dip. This item is not often offered to vegans and you will surprise any guest vegan or non vegan with its authentic American taste!

Vegan Spinach Dip

Prep Time: 15-20 Minutes Cool Time: 2 Hours

1 Container of Sour Cream Substitute (we suggest Tofutti Sour Supreme or Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet)

1 Cup of Mayonnaise Substitute (we suggest Follow Your Heart Vegenaise)

1 Can of drained Water Chestnuts

1 Package of Thawed Frozen Spinach or 1 Bag of Fresh Spinach Chopped and Steamed

3 Green Onions Finely Chopped

A Clove of Garlic Finely Chopped

1/2 a Cube of Vegan Bullion Flavoring

Salt and Pepper to Taste

A Couple Finely Chopped Carrots (optional)

1 Large Sourdough Round

In a large bowl mix all wet ingredients and the bullion flavoring. Next add all the vegetables and spices and mix! Let the mixture cool for up to 2 hours before serving. Scoop out the sourdough round into a bread bowl. Take the extra bread and cut into cubes. When ready to serve, scoop the dip into the bowl and serve!

If you don’t want to use the bread, we suggest serving crackers or other veggies to dip! Another great idea is to cut large chunks of beets, cucumbers, and peppers and place small amounts of dip on each veggie! This makes a great appetizer for any meal or party!

What's in your mouth?

What's in your consuming?

You take public transit to work. You opt for the fan over the air conditioner. You separate your papers from your plastics from your glass. You’re conscious of your impact on the environment. Or are you?

A new online exam featured recently on National Public Radio called Consumer Consequences looks at this question in a fun but insightful way. The site’s headlining question, “What would the world look like if everyone lived like me?” arguably raises the curiosity of anyone with a few moments to spare. For some, it might be a chance to finally realize the finite resources that surround them, regardless of whether they’ve figured out that climate change might do more than just increase their vacation opportunities.

On the other hand, it might be a chance for all you hardcore environmentalists out there to finally have irrefutable data supporting all those times you opted for the bike over the car. Well, give your environmental ego one last moment of ignorant bliss – your footprint might be much bigger that you think!

So, what's it gonna take?

So, what's it gonna take?

A part of American Public Media’s special series Consumed (which is a truly engaging exploration of the long term sustainability of the all-American lifestyle), Consumer Consequences is a fun and educational interactive game with the mission to help you figure out your daily environmental impact.

First, pick an avatar. Then pick your location: farm, suburb, town or city. Then follow the icons from your home, to your transportation, to your food, to your trash habits and watch as the number of “earths” required to support your level of consumption grows bigger!

Try as one might, even in the most meager of circumstances by American standards, getting below the “1 Earth” mark is a difficult challenge. Particularly since your environmentally religious approach to recycling is outdone by all those trips to the local café. Not to despair though! Don’t forget that we ARE using standards set by a country that, if everyone lived like it, consumes on average “8 Earths” worth of resources.

hey, it's up to you...

hey, it's up to you...

So here’s your chance: the game provides a challenge, or an opportunity we’ll say, to improve your “score” and learn where you can most effectively begin cutting out wasteful and unsustainable practices in your everyday life….which is important. Because this may just be the first exam that you really can’t afford to fail!

...time to get cramming...

...time to get cramming...

If you are interested in Fair Trade and want to help spread the word, you or your business/organization are the perfect candidate for our new Affiliates Program! You can earn money just by posting our banner on your website, while promoting, supporting and encouraging your friends and family to make ethical and environmentally-friendly choices.

We are a tiny organization with no advertising budget, so we heavily rely on you and our loyal customers to help us spread the word. As they say, ‘the rising tide lifts all boats’, so please join us as we do our part in furthering the mission of Fair Trade Fashion! Our Affiliates Program is a way for us to send a little thanks back to you for all of your help.

When you sign up for our Affiliates Program, you can instantly start making money for you personally, your business or your non-profit organization. It’s simple – when you help bring new socially-driven consumers to our website, our Affiliates Program lets you share in our success. Since you get a cut of each sale that you send our way, you can secure an additional revenue stream for your business or provide an excellent fundraising tool for your non-profit organization.

When a visitor follows an AP Affiliate link, banner, product listing or product review (yes, we’ll let you review our products for free!) on your website that results in a sale on our site, you automatically get credited a minimum 10% commission!

Its easy to sign up and shortly after your account will be active and you can log in on our website. Once logged into your account you’ll find instructions for setting up links on your site (either via banner or text links). These links can be featured on as many sites or pages as you like or could be distributed via email or other promotional methods.

Please visit our website to learn how this program works and to sign up today!

You too can become a partner in Fair Trade and make a difference in the world!

Most people understand a vegetarian’s choice to avoid meat products, but many are baffled by a vegan’s choice to avoid eggs. So, why are vegans not eating eggs? The answer to this question of course is not that simple, as people choose to be vegan for many different reasons. However, to understand one main reason vegans abstain from indulging in egg products, let’s take a look at a life of an egg laying hen.

As children we are raised with the idea that our eggs come from happy cute chickens that live in a big hen house and are tended to by the family farm. This is a fantasy that couldn’t be further from the truth for most American hens. Increasingly eggs are harvested in factory farms, much like the meat industry. Chickens used solely for eggs are referred to by the industry as “laying hens.” The laying hens are kept in ultra tight quarters, depending on the factory, but the USDA reports the average floor space provided is somewhere less than a half a foot per hen.

Being this close together causes many hens to have severe health problems. A report conducted by Compassion Over Killing revealed that these hens do not have enough room to even flap their wings and health problems such as osteoporosis, uterine prolapse(the uterus is expelled from the body), and Fatty Liver Hemorrhagic Syndrome. Also due to the tight quarters, hens are known to damage themselves and others by overpecking. But don’t worry the factories have found a way to solve this: they burn off their beaks with a headed blade!!! This is quite possibly the worst injustice and an incredibly painful procedure, as it is done without anesthetic most of the time.

Now these hens are only valuable during their egg laying span. The farms try to keep the hens for maximum egg production and routinely are involved in a practice called “forced molting.” This practice is when the chickens are intentionally starved for up to 14 days, body fat is lost, and egg production begins again. Sometimes they are even kept in complete darkness. This can have severe psychological and health problems for these hens, as well as horrible suffering.

So what happens when the hens can no longer produce eggs? They are shipped off to slaughterhouses to end up on people’s tables. But because of brittle bones and mistreatment, they often are bruised and their bones snap easily. Thus the industry grinds them up and uses them in products such as soup and pot pies, as well as chicken meal. More often, slaughterhouses have enough abused chickens to fill the low grade meat quota, that the egg farms need another way to dispose of the hens. There have been reports of farms using wood chippers, often while still alive! And one part of this whole process that is often forgotten about is the baby boy chicks that  hatch at the factory farms. Since the egg laying chickens are the only part of the puzzle these farms care about, they are discarded as soon as they are born. Some of the more common ways to “dispose” of these poor souls is being thrown into a dumpster until they suffocate or dehydrate, ground up alive, or gassed.

Clearly , the American practice of factory farming is not only cruel, but unnecessary. In fact the European Union has banned the use of these “battery cages” beginning in 2012.  So what can we do about it here in the States?

First step, hit them where it hurts: their money! GO VEGAN and start boycotting the egg industry! If you just can’t give up those eggs, only purchase eggs from small organic local farms that still use humane practices. Or get involved! Most have heard of PETA, but there are a number of other great organizations that could use your help including: Compassion Over Killing, Action for Animals, Vegan Outreach, Farm Sanctuary and a host of others.

So next time someone asks you, “why don’t you eat eggs?” or “what’s wrong with eggs?” you’ll not only have a complete answer, but be able to send them resources.

Summer is typically the season when time slows down, families spend more time together, and the every day rat race is put aside for naps in the grass. At least it’s supposed to be.

These days, as life quickly fills up with commitments, work, and stress, it has become increasingly more difficult to make time for the things that truly matter in life. Summer is now a blur where spending time in the sun seems to be just another item added to the ‘to-do’ list.

Well, leave it to our friends at Conscious Consuming to stop the chaos and remind us all of the important things of life. This week, they are encouraging us all to ‘slow down and green up’ by celebrating US National Downshifting Week July 7th through 13th. The event is a voluntary simplicity awareness campaign that builds on the work of Tracey Smith, the founder of National Downshifting Week in the UK.

To downshift is defined as cutting out unnecessary expenditure, cultivating a simpler lifestyle (thus leaving a lighter environmental footprint), and making more time for the things you truly want to do. Data from the mid-90’s from the Trends Research Institute shows that only about 10% of Americans identify with downshifting, voluntary simplicity, and simple living. In recent days, though, with sky-rocketing gas prices and global economic turmoil, more and more Americans are choosing to cut back their consumption and lead simpler, more fulfilling lives. According to Smith, “a positive approach to living with less helps you re-think ways to enjoy time with your loved ones without reaching for your wallet.”

The dates for National Downshifting Week (July 7-13th) were chosen to coincide with the birthday of America’s most famous downshifter, Henry David Thoreau (born July 12, 1817). To participate, the team at Conscious Consuming encourages you to do anything to live simpler and engage better with your community. Activities include cooking a meal using local, fresh ingredients from you farmer’s market, start composting and/or recycling to lessen the amount of waste you produce, and donating time, items or kindness to someone else in need.

And if you find yourself in doubt that this could truly help lessen your stress and increase your happiness, take a look at this inspiring testimonial from a participant in the UK:

I downshifted because I wanted a better work/life balance. I want to enjoy a life with less stress. Those around me say they wish they were brave enough to try it. We wouldn’t go back to our previous lifestyle with my husband working very long hours. We do have less money but now have more time to cook together from scratch, grow some veggies and spend lots of time together as a family. Our health has improved and we are so much happier. It’s a journey we have enjoyed and are still fine tuning each day. Go on, give it a try, you have nothing to lose but lots to gain.

For more tips and inspiration, visit National Downshifting Week to see what happened last April in the UK or our very own Conscious Consuming to decide how you will spend this week here in the US!

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