Archive for August, 2009

Twin Cities Green Jobs Posting, 8/13 – 8/31

You go away for a few weeks and suddenly everybody starts hiring! Please see green jobs posted in Minneapolis/St. Paul in the last 18 days listed below. A lot of internships, but some entry level (coordinators/assistants/associates). No managers/directors/supervisors in this round, however. For more green jobs listings, check the last post (8/3 – 8/12)

Voyageurs National Park Association (Minneapolis, MN)
Communications Intern (unpaid, 10 hrs/wk) 
Public Policy Intern (unpaid, 10 hrs/wk) 

The Minnesota Project (St. Paul, MN)
Communications & Development Intern (unpaid, 16 hrs/wk) 
Clean Energy Project Intern (unpaid, 16 hrs/wk) 
Agriculture Program Intern (unpaid, 16 hrs/wk) 
Communications & Grant Writing Intern (unpaid, 16 hrs/wk) 

Land Stewardship Project (Minneapolis, MN)
Membership Assistant (salaried, part time) 

Clean Energy Resource Teams (St. Paul, MN)
Events Programming Coordinator ($14.50/hr+ DOQ, full time) 

Great River Greening (St. Paul, MN)
Social Networking Intern (10 hrs/wk) 

Sustainable Resources Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Clerical Assistant/Weatherization ($12/hr, full time) 

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (Minneapolis, MN)
Food & Society Fellows Program Intern (5-10 hours/wk) 

Freshwater Society (Excelsior, MN)
Environmental Intern (15 hours/wk) 

Community Action (St. Paul, MN)
Energy Assistance Associate ($14.26/hr English only, $14.83/hr bilingual Spanish/Somali) 

Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (Deephaven, MN)
Education Intern 

The Xerces Society (Minneapolis, MN)
Midwest Pollinator Outreach Coordinator ($32k-38k/yr) 

St. Paul Smart Trips (St. Paul, MN)
Smart Trips Bicycle Delivery Person ($15/hr + $50 per delivery, 15/hr wk temporary) 

Scott Carver Dakota CAP (Rosemount, MN)
Administrative Assistant – Energy Assistance Program ($12.62/hr ft seasonal)

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DIY Consumer Product Testing – Burt’s Bees – And Coastal Classic Creations Cosmetics!

So in a conspiracy to make me spend money, a lot of my personal care products have run out this week. Being an eco-nerd, I thought, “What a good opportunity to figure out what is more or less toxic using the Environmental Working Group Cosmetic Safety Database!” Brother.

My executive summary of this experience… Burt’s Bees is widely available (Target, Walgreen’s) but is hit-or-miss.

I really loved the Aloe brand of Body Shop facial care – it’s pricey, but is well worth it. Cetaphil, the hypo-allergenic brand of lotion, is also really good. I am wishing I hadn’t switched away from these brands in favor of Burt’s Bees.

I am, however, happy to be rid of my toxic Neutrogena sunscreen and surprisingly toxic deodorant (even though it was aluminum-free!).


Old facial cleanser: 2 Body Shop Aloe Calming Facial Cleanser 

New facial cleanser: Burt’s Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser (unlisted)

NET GAIN/LOSS IN TOXICITY: unknown. Body Shop’s stuff was probably better.



Old facial lotion: 4 Cetaphil

New facial lotion: 6 Burt’s Bees Radiance Day Lotion

NET GAIN/LOSS IN TOXICITY: +2 (bad!) Stick with the Cetaphil!



Old sunscreen: 6 Neutrogena Ultra-Soft Hydrating Sublock (SPF 45)

New sunscreen: 4 Burt’s Bees Chemical-Free Sunscreen (SPF 30)

NET GAIN/LOSS IN TOXICITY: -2 (good! I’m excited to try Burt’s Bees out!)



Old deodorants: 5 Crystal Clean Deodorant  & Trader Joe’s Unscented Deodorant (unlisted)

New deodorants: 2 Tom’s of Maine Lavender Deodorant Stick  & 0 Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal

NET GAIN/LOSS IN TOXICITY: At least -3. (This is very good.)

Overall, including the shampoo I bought on Saturday, I’ve reduced the toxicity of my bathroom by 25%. 

Now, because I am an eco-nerd, I am thinking about implementing an (oh god) product replacement plan – you know, like the kind I recommend at work to businesses who may retire their inefficient electrical appliances in the coming years. I am going to do more research next time about toxicity and quality.

A couple of years ago, I replaced all my cosmetics with Dr. Hauschka brand- I’m looking to upgrade to the Coastal Classic Creations brand. Check out their concealer, blush, eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara. They are all rated 2 or fewer on the Cosmetic Safety Database – in fact, most are rated 0.

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Changing the Filter….

My year-old, clogged air filter.

I travel around the state telling businesses to change the filters in their air handling units once per month to save energy.

This is why my situation is particularly ironic.

Since I moved in in August 2008, my heating/cooling unit’s air filter has not been changed. I will not speculate about how long it had been in place before I moved in. 

I have been thinking about this since reading Neely’s post on the MN Energy Challenge blog. That was May. This is August. My filter has still not been changed. In that time, we have acquired a very sheddy pet rabbit from the Humane Society. His name is Raul and he very successfully pollutes the air with his fur. This is evident when closely examining the filter. This is also evident in the straining noises the air conditioner makes every time it powers on. The air is trying to pass through a barrier stronger than the Great Wall of China

So, you know what they say – when the boyfriend is out of town for the weekend, it is the perfect time to take on those DIY home improvement projects.

I sat in front of the unit for a while before I found the filter. Don’t worry if it takes you a while to find it. It probably took me longer. I pulled it out a little bit, careful to notice which side was which (it is important to notice the direction of the airflow when putting in a new filter). When pulling it out, I noticed that the air conditioner’s asthmatic whistly wheeze immediately stopped. That’s… a bad sign. We have been sneezing. We have been paying ridiculous energy bills. Our house has been unbelievably dusty. Earth to Houston – a dirty filter is a problem.

Then, I wrote down the size of the filter and called around to see who had them. The Ace by my house has them in my size! Score! I bought a year’s supply for $20. Who wants to go buy filters every few months? Not me… now I have my supply handy.

They are surprisingly easy to install, for how long I’ve been dallying.

Easy switch!To make sure this doesn’t happen again….

Bad, disgusting filter.I used the handy-dandy label they included to remind me when to switch my filter next time!

Replacement reminder.In the first ten minutes, I swear my A/C is running less often and for less time – and it’s almost like I can feel the dust getting “vacuumed” out of the air. 

This is my job, folks – if it’s hard for me to make time to care, I certainly understand why it’s hard for you.  But don’t be stupid like me! Make time. Do it. Replace your HVAC filter. It will add to your quality of life – and will probably reduce your energy bills, too!

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Less Toxic Shampoo

So I hear it a lot lately: “Who would want to read a BLOG? Who finds value in THAT?”

Well, and maybe I’ll prove that right today… because I am definitely delving into “who cares” level minutiae. I will probably be embarrassed by this in the near or distant future, and will probably scramble to delete whatever I can hope to remove of the remains of my unfortunate online identity.

OK – now that we got that out there – I ran out of shampoo this week.

Why is shampoo a big deal? Well, shampoo companies design product not to “clean” your hair – but to make it feel silky when you run your hands through it. Unfortunately, chemicals that make things feel silky can be scary (and that’s my thoroughly-trained scientific viewpoint. cough cough). Then they make claims that it is “all natural” because it has grapefruit extract in it as its 13th ingredient. 

So when the bottle of TreSemme I bought a year ago ran out this week, I know I have to seriously investigate my options. A bottle of shampoo is as big a commitment as a year-long lease. 

The Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” Cosmetic Safety Database tells me my shampoo of choice from 2007-2009 contains all kinds of things that are not so good for me – or the shower water I’m discharging into the sewage system – or the people who work for the shampoo factory that TreSemme pays to bottle this product. My TreSemme shampoo, on a scale of 0 (nontoxic) to 10 (super toxic), is a 6. I can do better than that. 

… but the shampoos in the database that are 0s and 1s are like.. glycerin. Bar soap. I grew up in the suburbs, so want at least some of that soft, socially acceptable feel that the scary chemicals make. Luckily, I found a slightly less toxic variety from Aveda: a shampoo rated 4, a conditioner rated 3. They still have scary chemicals, but nothing that has shown up with neurotoxicity in small doses in animal studies. And the shampoo is in the 74th percentile of nontoxicity. That’s good enough for me – for now.

Plus I want to buy from Aveda because they are a company that is, at very least, pledging to be more environmentally friendly. See this GreenBiz article on Aveda’s bottle cap recycling initiative (which is huge, because creating a market for recycled product is the best thing a manufacturer can do for recycling).

I want to support companies that do this not only because I care about the environment, but because being greener means to me that the company cares about its operations, its employees, and its community. I want to give my money to people who care.

And just to maintain the appearance of neutrality – the jury is still out about toxins in shampoo. This article from takes a (well-deserved) potshot at Gwyneth Paltrow for freaking out about the toxicity of shampoo. Science-Based Medicine is “composed of physicians who, alarmed at the manner in which unscientific and pseudoscientific health care ideas have increasingly infiltrated academic medicine and medicine at large, have decided to do their part to examine these claims in the light of science and skepticism.”

Aveda - Rosemary Mint Shampoo & Conditioner

UPDATE: Epic fail. I purchased a shampoo that rates a 6 – actually the same as the TreSemme I was using. Apparently, fragrances and parabens are to blame. Old Shampoo | New Shampoo | Old Conditioner | New Conditioner  At least I’m sitting at a net gain – the conditioner is 2 points less toxic. It smells better, too – darn you, toxic alluring fragrances.

My final word (because I’m blogging like Jerry Springer now): I want my shampoo to have fewer chemicals in it – for my health, the health of the workers making it, and for the health of the area around the factory and the sewage system it will eventually end up in. I want the shampoo bottling/manufacturing company to be environmentally aware in its operations and to be taking action to improve its energy efficiency, water conservation, and waste reduction. I am not sure how much of a difference this choice will make, but if I am going to spend $30 on it and put it on my head and send it into the water treatment facility for a year, I want to make a semi-thoughtful choice.

Greening shampoo is something I’ve been thinking about since reading Razberiswrl‘s April post – she is a sassy, funny, creative mom/student from New Jersey who is going green… while taking her whole family with her, kicking and screaming! Check out her blog!

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Green Jobs Posting 8/3 to 8/12

Minnesota Office of Energy Security
– Management Analyst (full time limited, St. Paul) (posting)

Fresh Energy
– Internet Media Specialist (St. Paul) (posting)

Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
– Executive Director (full time, Minneapolis) (posting)

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
– Electrician (full time, Minneapolis) (posting)

Minnesota Environmental Partnership
– Communications Intern ($10/hr for 20 hour weeks, St. Paul) (posting)

Dodge Nature Center
– Environmental Education Intern ($145 per 40 hour week, West St. Paul) (posting)

Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota
– Sustainable / Green Building Specialist (full time, Minneapolis) (posting)

Seward Co-op Grocery and Deli
– Financial Manager (full time, Minneapolis) (posting)

National Wind
– Wind Developer (DOE, Minneapolis) (posting)

Freshwater Society
– Development Director ($65-75k/yr, Anoka) (posting)

Eureka Recycling
– Business Development Intern (unpaid 15 hours, Minneapolis) (posting)

– Commercial Composting Intern (unpaid 12 hours, Minneapolis) (posting)

– Communications Intern (Focus: Contact Management) (unpaid 15 hours, Minneapolis) (posting)

– Customer Relations Intern (Focus: Paper Co-op) (unpaid 20 hours, Minneapolis) (posting)

– Customer Relations Intern (Focus: Recycling and Solid Waste Hotline) (unpaid 20 hours, Minneapolis) (posting)

– Health and Safety Intern (unpaid 15 hours, Minneapolis) (posting)

– Public Space Recycling Intern (unpaid 15 hours, Minneapolis) (posting)

– Research Intern (Focus: Composting)(unpaid 15 hours, Minneapolis) (posting)

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How to Apply for a Green Job

It’s been a slower-than-usual week for green job postings, so I thought I’d post my humble two cents about how to apply for a green job.

This is from my own unique perspective with only a couple of years’ peripheral hiring experience, so take this with appropriate amounts of salt. I’m mostly just really lucky to have a job right now. There is nothing I know that is rocket science, and there is a lot that I don’t know.

Even so, I know so many people who could use an encouraging word or a leg up right now, and I wanted to throw this out there on the off chance it will help somebody great get hired (aka, you).

1. Show your environmental interest. Past work experience, volunteer experience… if you got it, then bring it to the top of your resume. As a side note, I like hearing about projects in college better than I like hearing about college courses.

2. Prove you have the skills needed for the job. If it’s sales, highlight your customer service experience. If it’s writing, show your marketing and writing experience. If it’s a job working with businesses, show that you have experience working at or working for businesses.

3. Know about the politics of the place you are applying. Avoid walking into political land mines. You may want to emphasize or de-emphasize experiences on certain sides of the aisle.

4. Volunteer for environmental projects and attend environmental events. Familiar faces are more hire-able faces. 

5. As is the case in other job arenas, typos, formatting errors, and procedural gaffes (writing to the wrong person, etc.) can take focus away from you, the candidate. Ask friends, family, and mentors to read over resumes and cover letters.

6. Be patient. All this comes with the caveat that things are just bad right now, and you are probably doing everything right, even if you haven’t yet been hired. The job for you will come, and soon. My last job search took 8 months, over 100 cover letters, a dozen interviews, and a cross-country move… and that was before things got bad.

How about you – do you have job search tips, green jobs or otherwise?

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Minneapolis/St. Paul Green Jobs, 7/27 to 8/2

Green Jobs (image from

Green Jobs (image from


Science Museum of Minnesota
– Interpretive Naturalist (Part Time, near Marine on St. Croix) (posting)

Environment America
– Program Director (DOE, Minneapolis) (posting)

Minnesota Office of Energy Security
– Writer/Editor ($36-39k/yr, St. Paul) (posting)

Looking for more jobs? Search recent posts.

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