The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Whither Global Warming?

Photo courtesy of
‘SnOMG #2′
courtesy of ‘[F]oxymoron’

Today, Time took on a question that might be on many people’s minds. Where is global warming, anyway?

The issue is still out there, but “global warming” doesn’t tell the whole picture. While worldwide temperature averages are rising, “global climate change” and “weather weirding” more accurately describe what will happen.

The global part is spot on. Temperature rises affect air and sea currents throughout the world. They also affect the amount of moisture the air can hold; warmer air locks in more, bringing heavier precipitation.

And if the temperature hovers around freezing, as the Time article explains, here in DC we could get more snow.

Sound complex? It is. That’s why scientists the world over are studying changes in the climate, which is a long-term thing, and another point that confuses folks about the term “global warming.”

As the article so aptly states, “Weather is what will happen next weekend; climate is what will happen over the next decades and centuries.” Kudos to Time for shedding some light.

The Daily Feed

Twitter Contest: Nissan Leaf Tour

nissanleaftour_la1

The Nissan Leaf Tour is coming to DC next week so Nissan can show off their new, all-electric, zero-emission* car to one of the most traffic-choked regions in the country during the DC Auto Show. To celebrate, they’ve given us an eco-auto prize pack to give away via Twitter. You can win:

1 – Nissan Leaf tour t-shirt
1 – $150 TerraPass.com gift certificate
1 – Eco Touch car cleaning kit ($49.99 value)

Here’s how to enter:

You have to follow We Love DC on Twitter (so we can DM you for details on shipping your prize).  Then tweet something that mentions @welovedc, @nissanevs, and the #leaftour hashtag.

The winner will be chosen on January 25th.

*Zero-emission, unless the power plant the electricity comes from is coal-based, which most of them around here are.

The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Stay Warm, Save Dough with Free Green Classes

Photo courtesy of
‘Happy and Warm’
courtesy of ‘maxedaperture’

Did someone say “free”?

That’s right — this week, Greater Goods is holding two free classes on how to save money and stay warm, while being green.

On Thursday at 7 p.m., a Green Incentives class will tell you all about alternative energy sources and saving money through tax credits, rebates, and other incentives.

On Saturday at 11 a.m., at the Seal the Deal – Weatherproofing Your Home course, you can learn how to make your place warmer through inexpensive, easy-to-do project such as caulking, weatherstripping, and adding window films and insulation.

Love those? Come back the same time the following Saturday to learn how to clear the air and make a healthier home. And stay happy and warm.

Farm Fresh, Food and Drink, We Green DC

Farm Fresh: AGAINN

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Here’s another feature where WeLoveDC authors Donna (greenie) and Katie (foodie) have paired up to tell you about local area restaurants that take on the challenge of being green. Donna explains the restaurant’s environmentally friendly efforts and Katie tells you if the food tastes any good. It’s a rough life, but someone has to do it, right?

Donna: I don’t want to go overboard about how much I liked AGAINN, but let’s just say that three days after my first visit, I dragged a friend from out of town over there to try AGAINN again. The restaurant’s said to be a modern twist on traditional British Isles pub cuisine, but that makes me think of greasy fish ‘n’ chips, not the savory ham and apple cider pie steaming under a delicate puff pastry crust that I had for dinner.

Katie: I haven’t exactly been subtle about my enthusiasm for DC’s newest gastropub, either. I love the space, the details are impeccable, the drinks, the food, everything. So when I visited and found out that Chef Wesley Morton had constructed a VERY local menu and put a ton of thought into his sourcing, it made me love AGAINN that much more.

Donna: Executive Chef Wesley Morton is from Louisiana, and he grew up on a farm surrounded by cows, figs, oranges, and all sorts of goodness. His family didn’t buy meat at the store; they raised their own food. He’s now continuing that tradition, using food that’s grown and processed locally and animals that are treated humanely. An example is the smoked country ham, cured in Allan Benton’s small family shop in Tennessee. You can order it as a charcuterie, or get a taste of its salty deliciousness atop the soft russet potato dumplings as they melt in your mouth. Continue reading

The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Arlington Resolves to Go Greener in 2010

Photo courtesy of
‘Rosslyn’
courtesy of ‘william couch’

While many folks were recovering on New Year’s Day, Arlington’s leaders were working to save the planet.

That day, right after being elected chairman of the Arlington County Board, Jay Fisette announced a task force to develop a Community Energy Plan that will set goals and find ways to reduce the county’s greenhouse gas emissions.

It will expand Fresh AIRE (Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions), which began efforts in 2007 to lower the county government’s greenhouse gas emissions. So far, the county’s investments in energy efficiency have paid a return on investment of about 20 percent per year in lower costs for government operations.

The task force will include residents, business leaders, property owners, energy and technology experts, schools, federal and state government officials, and regional authorities.

The Daily Feed, We Green DC

What Snowpocalypse Can Do for You

Photo courtesy of
‘Rowhouse Turret with Snow’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

Believe it or not, what’s left of Snowpocalypse can help you save money. By looking at what’s melting on your roof, you can tell if your heat is going through the roof — and launching your utility bill sky high, too.

If the snow on your roof melted quickly, it may mean that your heat is zooming toward the heavens, along with your hard-earned dollars. You can save on heating and cooling simply by insulating your attic. And of course that means you’ll burn less fossil fuel.

Arlington’s Fresh AIRE blog has pictures that show you just what to look for. For starters, try comparing your roof to your neighbors’. It’s just another way to keep up with the Joneses.

We Green DC

Events to Keep You Cozy, Festive and Green

Photo courtesy of
‘Cozy window’
courtesy of ‘Aine D’

As the year is winding down, the green community is going strong. In the second half of the month, there are workshops to keep you warm this winter and cut your energy bills, to make your holiday both green and serene, to let you hear firsthand what happened at Copenhagen, and to share DC’s cleaner transportation options.

Want the full story? Here are the details — plus some bonus green holiday party reminders at the end.

Snug Up Your Home
Wednesday, Dec. 16
6:30 p.m.

Georgetown
2nd District Police Station, 3320 Idaho Ave., NW

At Weatherizing: Healthy, Wealthy And Wise, learn how to keep your home warm this winter — so you stay more comfortable and lower your energy bill. Experts will cover energy basics, health and safety, and hands-on repair, including how to do your own air sealing, caulking, weatherstripping, and more. (It’s easy!) Whether you live in an apartment or a house, you can block out drafts and make your home more energy efficient. CarbonfreeDC and Weatherize DC will show you how. Of course, you’ll also be burning less fossil fuel, for fewer greenhouse gases and a cleaner atmosphere. Good for you, and good for the planet.
Continue reading

The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Oh, Eco-Christmas Tree

Photo courtesy of
‘The So-soes: Chrismas Tree’
courtesy of ‘ATKR’

Is it possible to make a tree more eco-friendly? Yes! A local organic farmer is growing Christmas trees without herbicides or pesticides, or artificial color sprays (wow, I never knew that color wasn’t real).

You can pick one up for $30 to $125, about what you’d find at the corner lot. For the greenest option, check out a live tree you can replant after the holidays (they’ll dig it or you can). Or choose a Colorado blue spruce, Douglas fir, Con-color fir, white pine, Canaan fir, or Charlie Brown tree that just needs love. Wreaths and roping are available, too. Want to give a tree to a teacher, limited-income family or community worker? You can get a discount.

Find yours at the Adams Morgan farmers market on Saturdays until Dec. 19, come to the farm, or arrange to pick it up in Takoma Park (twice weekly until Christmas). To order, call 301-587-2248 or email esiegel2@igc.org.

The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Green Holiday Tips

Photo courtesy of
‘Lights Macro’
courtesy of ‘TPorter2006′

Want to have a glorious and green holiday? Check out these holiday tips that Adrienne Spahr, founder and principal consultant of DC’s own Green Living Consulting, gave at last night’s Green Drinks DC.

Reuse or recycle wrapping paper — more than 8,000 tons of it, equal to 50,000 trees, festoon packages each year. Or wrap presents in creative, reusable materials. Send e-cards, or send cards made from recycled paper. If all cards were made from recycled paper, it would save the equivalent of 248,000 trees.

Buy a locally grown Christmas tree and recycle it. Carry reusable shopping bags. Buy LED holiday lights, to save watts and electricity dollars. If you get new electronics, recycle your old ones or sell them. Buy rechargeable batteries and chargers, and recycle old batteries.

And after the holidays, “regift” that tacky sweater or shrimp deveiner to Goodwill, eBay, Craigslist or Freecycle.

The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Woodbridge Aspires to Have World’s First Green Car Wash

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘constantly_Jair’

The little car wash that could is chugging away in Woodbridge.

Yesterday, groundbreaking ceremonies were held for The Smart Car Wash, which is seeking to become the world’s first car wash to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

The Smart Car Wash will re-use over 90 percent of its water, reduce noise and light pollution, use technology that cuts equipment power requirements in half, and wash cars only with bio-friendly chemicals. Designed with sustainability in mind, it will follow guidelines from the US Green Building Council.

Soon, you’ll be able to get your car green-clean at the Smoketown Shopping Plaza near Potomac Mills.

Special Events, We Green DC

Party Time: It’s a Green Holiday

Photo courtesy of
‘pine tree’
courtesy of ‘pink_fish13′

It’s time for another green holiday here in DC, and the area’s eco-friendly groups are gearing up to celebrate the season. Join in this slew of fun events, help curb global warming — and let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Toast Another Year
Wednesday, Dec. 2

6 – 8:30 p.m.

End of the Year Joint Happy Hour
DC
Local 16, 1602 U St., NW

LiveGreen will be joining DC Net Impact, Young Non-Profit Professionals Network, and DC Public Private Partnership to celebrate the holidays and the end of 2009, and to look forward to the year ahead. Nosh on complimentary hors d’oeuvres and belly up to a cash bar.
Continue reading

The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Mentors Needed to “Green” Girl Scouts

Photo courtesy of
’20091015-IMG_1297′
courtesy of ‘kellyv’

Spiffy uniforms aren’t the only thing green about the Girl Scouts these days. These kids are out to make the planet a better place, and not just by selling those scrumptious Thin Mints.

Scouts in our area are taking on “Forever Green” Community Action Projects to green their schools and communities, and they’re looking for mentors. If you’re willing to give advice on a variety of environmental projects — composting lunch food, creating green spaces, and the like — let them know.

The time commitment is minimal — only two meetings, plus e-mails and phone calls — for projects that wrap up by June. Who knows, maybe they’ll even give you a badge.

The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Something’s Fishy

Photo courtesy of
‘A River Runs Through It’
courtesy of ‘Brian Knight Photography’

Here’s another good reason to use all-natural lotions and potions — they can help you stay a manly man or a girly girl. How’s that?

Well, earlier this week, a new report said that now 80 percent of the male fish swimming in the Potomac River have developed eggs. Since the river provides 90 percent of DC’s drinking water, this is reason to sit up and take notice.

What’s going on? Experts aren’t entirely sure, but they’re pointing an accusing finger at endocrine disruptors in the water. The good news — you can help! Put unused medicines in the trash (not down the drain), and choose personal care products without chemicals.

And guys, remember. If you get pregnant…there is something in the water.

Interviews, We Green DC

He Loves DC: Seth Goldman

Seth Goldman

I’ve long been a fan of Honest Tea. It’s flavorful with a light sweetness, it’s organic, and the company that makes it is socially and environmentally responsible.

Co-founder and TeaEO Seth Goldman brewed the first batches of it in his Bethesda home in 1998. Now with offices in downtown Bethesda, the company makes 37 flavors of bottled drinks, plus tea bags. When I was there in late October, boxes arrived bearing the first bottles of fizzy goodness from the newest line, Honest Kombucha, which is now available at Whole Foods in the mid-Atlantic region.

Plenty of people share my devotion. Last year, sales reached $38 million, and The Coca-Cola Company purchased 40 percent of Honest Tea.

I met Seth recently when Bethesda Green, a nonprofit he co-founded, launched its new Education Center and Green Business Incubator. Here, he shares with We Love DC readers some thoughts on DC, green, and tea.

Donna: How long have you lived in the DC area?

Seth: My wife and I moved to Arlington in 1990, and I worked on Capitol Hill for two and a half years. I went away to graduate school for two years. Then we came back to Bethesda in 1995.

What do you like most about DC?

There’s a lot of openness around community. I’m from Boston originally. It feels like DC doesn’t have the same kind of ethnic neighborhoods, but you don’t have the feeling of being closed off. In DC, whether you’ve been here for a year, or five years, or 10 years, it feels very easy to connect to the community.
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We Green DC

How to Buy Green

Photo courtesy of
‘U Street Organic Cleaners’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

All I wanted was a soft, fluffy bath rug that would keep my shower-fresh tootsies off the cold tile and that wasn’t made in a way that beat up the planet. It seemed a simple enough request.

And so when on my trip to the store I found one with a sign saying “biodegradeable / environmentally friendly,” I snapped it up. True, it had no plastic backing, so it would biodegrade. But it was made of non-organic cotton (each year, 25% of the world’s pesticides go to grow cotton) and viscose, which I hadn’t heard of and hoped was some new environmental fiber. It isn’t; Wikipedia, which I’m using as a source here, says viscose is rayon and its manufacture causes so much pollution they’re closing its factories. So this wasn’t an environmentally friendly choice after all.

Sigh. What’s a greenie to do?

Even when you have the best intentions, it’s often difficult to know what to buy that’s truly eco-friendly. Luckily for us, three fine ladies gave a talk on this topic last Wednesday, at a meeting of the DC EcoWomen’s Green Economy Eco-mmunity. What are their pearls of wisdom?

Continue reading

We Green DC

Four Seasons Tests Way to Make Green Energy from Cars

Photo courtesy of
‘Making energy on the go’
courtesy of ‘snapzdc’

Some day soon, you might power a streetlight simply by driving under it.

The technology that could make that happen was tested yesterday at the entrance to the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown, with a special speed bump laid out in the driveway.

Called MotionPower, this first-of-its-kind energy harvester will convert a car’s motion into electricity. It’s meant for areas where people are slowing down, such as intersections, toll booths, garages, and the like.

Here’s how it works. Metal flaps in the roadway point up diagonally, with the lifted end farthest from oncoming cars. When a car rolls over them, they flatten down — and capture kinetic energy that otherwise would be wasted as brake heat. This doesn’t have any adverse effect on the vehicles, though. You could even validate that if you were to perform a NAP Check via Autoverleden.nl.

The side benefit? It helps slow vehicles, and causes less wear and tear on the car, said Meetesh V. Patel, President and CEO of the Maryland-based company that developed the system, New Energy Technologies, Inc.
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The Daily Feed, We Green DC

It’s a Green Weekend

Photo courtesy of
‘Gingko Rain’
courtesy of ‘geishaboy500′

This weekend has lots of fun green goings-on.

Friday night is the Extreme Green Gala at the stylist Mott House on Capitol Hill, with live bands, organic food, a cash bar, an art show and high-profile environmentalists. The last one was great, with everyone enjoying the patio there. It benefits CarbonfreeDC’s Extreme Green Neighborhood Makeover.

The Green Festival extravaganza is Saturday and Sunday, with 350 green businesses (great for holiday shopping) and dozens of community groups, plus 125 speakers including activist Dr. Cornel West; actor/activist Ed Begley, Jr.; and revolutionary journalist Amy Goodman.

And the Solar Decathlon opens on the National Mall; a small village of solar homes constructed by teams of students will be open for you to roam — and see how good life can be without an electric bill.

Farm Fresh, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

Farm Fresh: Bourbon Steak

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Here’s another installment in the series where WeLoveDC authors Donna (greenie) and Katie (foodie) pair up to bring you a double-hitting feature about local area restaurants that take on the challenge of being green. Donna will explain the logic behind the environmentally friendly trends and Katie will tell you if the food tastes any good. It’s a rough life, but someone has to do it, right?

Katie: So you don’t always think of a steakhouse as environmentally-conscientious, right? Well, Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak goes above and beyond the green call of duty, and plants their own vegetables, and works all of them into the dishes at the restaurant. Donna and I were invited over to the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown to take a tour of the garden and sample some dishes that used the herbs and veggies grown there on the property.

Donna: Last spring, Bourbon Steak created a small garden on its property, in a peaceable little spot just across from the C&O Canal. I was happy we were invited to tour this terraced plot and sample the dishes it flavors. It supplies the restaurant with 62 varieties of herbs, vegetables and flowers — 400 plants in all, some of which came from Amish farms. Look around, and up front you’ll see some plants you recognize, such as thyme, chives, marigold and different kinds of basil. Farther back are the harder-to-find plants that produce curries and other unusual spices.

Katie: So with all these herbs and vegetables grown on the property, could you taste the difference in the food? We headed inside for dinner to find out. Continue reading

We Green DC

Making Bethesda Green

Cutting the vine

When most organizations celebrate an opening, they cut a ribbon. The folks at nonprofit Bethesda Green, which launched its new Education Center and Green Business Incubator yesterday morning, had a different idea. Shiny ribbons made from petroleum aren’t good for the planet, so they strung an invasive vine across the building’s entrance and chopped it up with giant shears.

In doing so, they opened Maryland’s first green business incubator, which will provide offices and support to entrepreneurs and create green jobs for the community. So far eight start-ups are involved, focusing on everything from rain barrels to sustainable food to charging stations for electric cars.

In addition, the new center will be a hub for people like you and me who may like to volunteer for planet-friendly projects. It’s off to a great start. Since forming just last year, this group has led a variety of projects, including adding 15 recycling bins to downtown Bethesda, hosting a local farms tour, researching ways to turn local restaurants’ used cooking oil into biodiesel fuel, collecting 180,000 pounds of used electronics, recycling toner cartridges for businesses and even reusing crayons for kids.

The celebration continues through Saturday, with an open house from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. focusing on sustainability in the community.
Continue reading

The Daily Feed, We Green DC

Bright Ideas for Lower Bills

Photo courtesy of
‘Light Bulbs’
courtesy of ‘Marionaire’

If you want to lower your electric bill, try some simple changes to make your place more energy efficient. This really does work; the changes I made dropped my usage by 18%.

On Saturday from 10 to 2, you can find out how at a Green Your Home Expo on UDC’s outdoor plaza. There, you can learn about various ways to save energy in your own home. They’ll also have live jazz, bicycle eco-tours and farmers market goodies.

And since buildings account for nearly 40% of all carbon dioxide emissions in the US, while you’re lowering your own bill, you’ll also be doing good for the planet.