Every year, in the midst of our hectic daily schedules, Earth Day approaches more quickly than we’re prepared for.  It’s a time when we’re reminded to go the extra mile and make a new kind of effort beyond what we consider our daily eco-friendly habits.  We’re caught scratching our heads, thinking “how can I do my part without sacrificing too much of my time?
There are many small and large ways to keep the balance between responsible ecological action and keeping up with the demands of a modern lifestyle, and yet we can offer you two in one: plant some bamboo.
Yes, that dreaded homeowner’s bane that can grow at mythical speeds and lay tornado-like waste to landscaping.  Not quite true, though.  Yes, bamboo is one of the fastest growing plant on earth; some reports have claimed 39 inches in 24 hours in  optimal conditions.  This is actually a good thing, as it’s stalks, or culms, grow to desired height quickly and can be endlessly harvested; it’s the ultimate sustainable woody resource.  But not all bamboo species are “runners,” those that grow out in lines from underground nodes and root balls, defying fences and delicate plants.  It’s quite easy to find “clumping” species that have vertical primary growth like other plants and are non-invasive.  It’s becoming evermore popular and easy to purchase at local nurseries(for those of you in CA’s Bay Area) and online .
Why bamboo for Earth Day?
1)  As stated above, it is an absolutely sustainable resource.
2) It is an excellent C02 “fixer,” devouring the atmosphere-warming gas at incredible rates, and emits 35% more oxygen than the biomass equivalent of trees.
3) Although it thrives with ample water, its hardiness is epic and drought-resistant varieties are easily found.  Frankly, it’s difficult to kill.  It’s the Van Damme of plants, a real hard target.
4) It needs no fertilizer and usually no soil amendment, as long as it drains decently, which means very low energy cost.
5) The variety of uses exceed any other growing thing on Earth.  That’s not an official statement, but seriously, find something else you can make healthy food, medicine, building materials (from bicycles and fishing rods to boats and houses), musical instruments, clothing, paper, fertilizing charcoal, beer and weapons out of.  You will fail.  To see just how versatile this miracle vegetation is, check out this gallery of bamboo products.
6) It’s tall, dark and handsome.  That’s earthy.
And you don’t necessarily have to plant it in a pot or in your yard.  Our cities and suburbs have a surprising amount of abandoned or unclaimed open space that some bamboo plants would take full and beneficial advantage of.  And once it takes hold, the plant’s hardiness makes it easy to break apart root balls to form new clusters which can be harvested for new planting.
Planting bamboo is an easy favor you can do for yourself, your community and shared planet.  It feels good!  No, really; the internodes are smooth and silky to the touch.  Sensual.
-Jeremy Pearson 

Today is the 41st Earth Day and with the current environmental issues plaguing our planet, this day is increasingly more important. In the last year we saw devastating, catastrophic events such as the Gulf Oil Spill, Coal Mine Accidents, and the recent Nuclear Reactor explosions in Japan. The truth is: the Earth is hurting at an alarming rate and Earth Day should be used to bring awareness and make actual change.

This day is as a diving board to make real Earth friendly commitments in our daily lives. Although, today is a holiday, we need to keep in mind every day should be Earth Day. To help you celebrate, we’ve put together a quick list of great simple ways to celebrate Earth Day.

1) Events: There are plenty of them! All over the country you will find fairs and festivals dedicated to living green. This is a great and fun way to celebrate with your whole family. Many events include educational booths, new eco products, live music, and even speakers. This is the perfect way to introduce yourself to new ideas or help get your reluctant family member off the fence. To find events near you check out the Earth Day Network.  And if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, come check us out at the San Francisco Earth Day Festival, Saturday on the Civic Center Plaza. Come say hi and check out our new gear!

2) Volunteer: Today is the perfect day to go get your hands dirty, literally. Many cities and communities have organized Earth Day Clean Ups of their rivers, streams, or streets; others have planned  plant a tree campaigns in their local parks. A quick search on google will find some in your neck of the woods. And if you can’t find anything, organize your friends and family and help your community!

3) Educate: Earth Day was founded on the premise of bringing awareness to the environmental cause. Earth Day is a perfect opportunity to spread  the word and educate! If you have children or are a teacher, the day offers great lessons and activities for your kids. There are a number of great resources for this and fun interactive games to do at home!

4) Community: Now is the time to get active in your community. Join local groups who are working to protect your local parks and wildlife. Or get involved with local or even state policy procedures. You can also start a community network if your town doesn’t have one and focus on a cause both the Earth and your community can benefit from. For more ideas, look to the Earth Day Network and their Pledge an Act for ideas!

5) Kick Your Dirty Habits: You know that one thing in the back of your mind you haven’t quite given up, like switching out your light bulbs or starting a compost bin? Well, today is the day to do it and leave those dirty habits behind! Maybe you’ve been wanting to commute less by car and switch to a bicycle or public transportation or start purchasing more organic and local produce. Make today, the day you commit to these new changes, sort of like an Earth Day New Year’s Resolution. Now is the time to make the change.

As for us, we will be living green and celebrating at Earth Day San Francisco!! So, how will you celebrate?

The earth is what we all have in common,” once stated the famed writer and farmer, Wendell Berry. And he is completely right. Historically speaking, humans and animals have found reasons to become intolerant and draw lines, but one thing we cannot deny is our commonality of Mother Earth. This message is imperative during these trying times of increasing Climate Change and after years of manmade pollution has plagued our planet. Today marks a particular day of importance for our planet, Earth Day and in particular Earth Day is celebrating its 40th year!

The very first Earth Day was planned by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 as a national teach-in for students and the country to call attention to the environmental movement and as a protest against current policies.  The idea sure stuck, as students around the country, some 20 million, gathered together to draw attention to the environment, mainly focusing on the pollution of air and water. Since that fateful day in the year of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Jimi Hendrix’s death, and the Kent State Shootings, Earth Day has continued to grow. In fact, many people point to this day as the onset of the modern environmentalist movement. The original Earth Day and the proceeding public outcry led the federal government to create the Environmental Protection Agency  that same year and influenced the passage of groundbreaking acts such as the Clean Air, Clean Water, an Endangered Species Act. It would be an understatement to call the first Earth Day a success. In fact, it is often highlighted that the original Earth Day gained the support of almost all Americans, something an issue can rarely do, from young to old, Democrats to Republicans, the rich and the well, not so rich…you get the point. It was one of those rare opportunities for the country to pull together.

Over the years Earth Day has grown into almost a national holiday with celebrations and promotions taking place all over the country.  It may have lost its ability to bring commonality to polar opposites, as it is often looked at as a “Hippie Day.” However, Earth Day still meets its original goal of educating the people and drawing awareness to environmental issues. But it doesn’t have to lose the weight it once held with politicos. In this world of human pollution denial, environmental policy drawn on party lines, and growing evidence of climate change, Earth Day and its message are even more urgent.

Today should be utilized, as it always has, to continue to bring attention to the environmental issues our world faces, but also to remind ourselves the importance of our environment everyday. Let Earth Day serve as a reminder to live an eco-friendly life and to continue to support positive environmental policy. You can begin by celebrating Earth Day in a number of ways. Please see last year’s post on How to Celebrate Earth Day for ideas and check the Earth Resource Network for a local event near you. As for us, we will be celebrating in New York City’s Earthfair outside Grand Central Station! If you are nearby, come say hello.

Today, this week, this month, this year, and the rest of our lives should continue with the world on our minds. We owe it to ourselves, our future generations, the animals, and of course our Mother Earth. Today marks the 40th Anniversary of Earth day and it is time we allow it to get back to its roots; to bring our nation and world together in a common goal: protecting the world around us. Just as Berry stated, the Earth really is the one thing we really have in common, so let us use Earth Day to bridge the gaps between us. As the old adage says “we are all in this together,” so let’s work at it together.

-Gina Williams

So your head is pounding, your body is aching, and your stomach is filled with pings of pain. What is this? Could it be a hangover? After last week’s bombardment of Earth Day, it very much feels like a hangover. Ok so maybe we are exaggerating a bit, you aren’t physically having a hangover. However, the constant Earth Day media coverage, fairs, and sales that occurred last week can leave one a bit mentally exhausted. Because of said exhaustion it may cause you to be fed up with the Green Movement in general.

Unfortunately, Americans love to over-expose ideas and tend to focus all their energy on celebrating something in one day and then its over. As if something as big as the place we live and survive on, can be summed up in one day… Last week a ton of hype went around about protecting the Earth and being green conscious, which is a terrific thing, however these ideas should be practiced 365 days a year, not just 1. I mean I know holidays such as Earth Day, bring awareness to the issue, but let us not forget that the issues are much larger than one day every April. The same thing will happen next week when we celebrate Mother’s Day. Everyone will shower all mothers with gifts and dinners, but shouldn’t we be appreciating our mothers all the time? Much as we should be treating our main Mother (Earth), with respect every single day of the year.

Don’t let the overexposure of last week stop you from the ultimate goal. And if you are wondering exactly how you stay green all year long, think about the small things such as recycling, public transportation, bicycling, unplugging your unused electronics, buying from green companies, installing solar panels, eating local….And the list goes on and on. But if you want to do more than just the daily greenie stuff, consider volunteering or donating to a number of great Eco-Friendly Organizations such as Green America, Trees For Change, Green Jobs Now, GreenPeace, and a whole host of others! Or get active in your own community, workplace, or school to make a difference. There are likely local organizations or just start your own committee!

So cure your Earth Day hangover blues, by remembering to respect our planet all year long. It is easier then you think!

New York Skyline Photo By wwarbyTo celebrate Earth Day we are packing our bags and heading south to New York City for the EarthFair 2009! In celebration of planet Earth, Grand Central Station in New York is holding an EarthFair. Tons of great vendors and exhibitors, including yours truly will take over the station for 2 days: April 24th and 25th. There will also be fun live music and delicious food both days as well as children’s entertainment such as face painting. And they will be collecting cell phones for recycling. 

So if you are in the city this weekend please come by and celebrate the planet, eco issues, enjoy live music, eat some great food, and of course come by and see us! We will have a table set up selling our great eco-friendly clothing, footwear, and accessories AND come check out our new artist custom made sneakers! See you there and we wish you a Happy Earth Day!

WHEN: Friday April 24th 12pm-7pm   and   Saturday April 25th 11am-5pm

WHERE: New York Grand Central Terminal    

Inside: Vanderbilt Hall    Outside: 42nd-45th Streets

New York Earth Fair

Earth Day Flag, Planet Earth, Waving Wind Blowing Photo By BL1961The biggest day in the green world is upon us once more! That’s right tomorrow, April 22nd is Earth Day! The first Earth Day was held in 1970 to spread awareness to environmental issues as well as to celebrate our planet. Since then, Earth Day has been growing in popularity and is observed by millions. This year with the Green movement perhaps at its most popular, Earth Day is bound to be ultra exciting. So this year you are wondering, how you should celebrate the holiday?

Earth Day Expo Photo By greenbkThere are literally thousands of festivals, fairs, speakers, and expos going on around the country for Earth Day. Many of these are actually celebrated over the weekend so many can attend. For example, in Los Angeles they are celebrating Children’s Earth Day on April 26th or Boston’s Great Big Green Party held in the Harvard University area on April 24th. There are actually thousands of similar events going on throughout the country. Or how about the New York EarthFair  held in Grand Central Station (AP will be there) which will provide eco-friendly vendors from around the country. To find an event in your area, try checking out The Earth Day Network’s Earth Day Event Search. This database is an impressive list of all Earth Day events being held throughout the country.

Bike Sunday in Mexico City photo by becstarrIf you don’t have time to attend one of these big events, there are also thousands of smaller events. For instance  Chicago restaurants all over the city are serving special eco-friendly menus and Earth Day deals on April 22nd. That way you can celebrate Earth Day while having dinner!  Or how about in giving up your car for the day? In Los Angeles they are promoting Wilshire Center Earth Day–Car Free Day. They are asking residents to chuck the car for the day on Wilshire Boulevard between Western and Harvard from 10am to 5pm. And they are also accepting donations of electronics such as old TVs and computers to be recycled. Check out what’s happening in your city on the Earth Day Network.

spring-2009-cover By Indigenous DesignsAnd if you can’t make it to any event no matter how large or small, try celebrating by using your buying power. Many Green Companies are holding Earth Day Sales such as Indigenous Designs who is offering 40% off all eco friendly clothing and Seventh Generation who is offering special coupons for the holiday on all their green cleaning products. Mainstream companies are also celebrating the Earth this year by offering promotions. Amazon is having a huge sale all month long on eco-friendly products such as cleaners and solar chargers and the Discovery Channel Store has a sale starting April 22nd and running until May on all Earth related products including Planet Earth dvds. 

Student Teacher Photo By peiqianlongOne last great way to celebrate Earth Day is to bring awareness to your workplace or family. If you happen to be a teacher or work with children, consider having a lesson plan about the environment. Here are some great ideas for Earth Day lesson plans to get kids involved! These are also great activities to do with your children at home. If you work in an office setting check out these great green Earth Day office tips. Remember education is the best tool to spreading awareness for environmental issues.

We hope you can spend this year’s Earth Day with one of these many activities, we know we will! We want to wish you a Happy Earth Day and remember to celebrate the Earth all 365 days! 🙂

Today marks the internationally celebrated Earth Day (though at Autonomie we encourage you to be earthy friendly every day of the year 🙂 )

For this Earth Day, we thought we’d share some tips from the good people at Ideal Bite, a daily e-newsletter that offers easy ideas on how to live green. They put together a phenomenal list on how to turn your office green, and what better day than today to actually do it!

Happy Greening and Happy Earth Day!

  • Get a Water Cooler: every year 1.5 million barrels of oil are used to make plastic bottles, and over 75% of those end up in landfills. Do your part, join the efforts of San Francisco, and ban plastic water bottles from your office.
  • Be Computer Savvy: set your office’s computers to sleep mode so that they shut down after 5 minutes of idle use. Also make sure to shut them all down completely at the end of the day and watch the energy savings come in.
  • Get Inked: ink cartridges take eons to decompose and are just filled with terrible toxins. Make sure to recycle your used cartridges and buy the refillable ones instead (which also cost about 75% less so if you have a cranky boss, you know how to spin it!).
  • Quit Bagging it for Lunch: pack your lunch in reusable containers rather than zip lock bags. Yeah, you have to do more dishes at the end of the day, but little plastic baggies are a major landfill problem and usually contain toxins that you really don’t want touching your food!

For the rest of the top 10 ways your office can go green, and other fun and cool ways you can help save the environment, make sure to check out and sign up forIdeal Bite.

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