Archive for October, 2009


To specially organize this array of links from today’s news, I have provided emoticons indicating how one should feel about the following items:


NYTimes Green Inc.: “Report Notes Few Toxic Cleanup Successes.”


DOE Shows Commercial Builders How to Achieve 50% Energy Savings

Secretary Chu Says Energy Efficiency is Good Economics


Waste Management Creates Greenopolis Site (*cough*Greenwashing?*cough* But it’s still got pretty great stuff on the site.)

..including Two Girls Go Green, and 25 Easy Ways to Be More Resourceful – they are awesome!

…and also this post on Energy Vampires. Seasonally appropriate.

(they need a thumbs up emoticon)

Anyone ever hear of Power Point Karaoke? They are having it in Minneapolis, and Conner is trying it!

And a special thumbs up for the Slacker’s Guide to Decluttering Your Home, found by Regi!




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Green Jobs in Minneapolis/St. Paul, 10/26 – 10/30

(and a couple from elsewhere for good measure)

Conservation Minnesota

Issue Campaign Manager (Minneapolis)

Freshwater Society

Communications Intern (unpaid, Anoka)

City of St. Paul

Education Specialist (20 hrs/wk, $16/hr)

Eureka Recycling

Recycling Collections Fleet Manager (DOQ, Minneapolis – Spanish fluency req’d)


Unpaid EcoTuesday Internships in Oakland, CA:

Business Operations

Social Media


Looking for more jobs? Check last week’s listing.

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Gwyneth Paltrow has a website/slash/e-newsletter called Goop. Its minimalist style is made soft by grays and pinks and charming little icons.


It’s like my generation’s answer to O Magazine. Sort of. It’s got recipes, stuff she likes, and ideas for things to do to live well. It’s a little, well, you know. Celebridiculous. “While I was chatting with my Spanish acupuncturist…” but if you can make it past that, she has an appealing and sweet website and will send you weekly e-mails about things she is doing.

Here is her post about going green. Apart from recommending an item that has a $12,500 price tag? OK, it’s kind of a ridiculous post. But it’s nice to see Gwyneth weigh in, anyway.

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The Indiana Jones of Solid Waste (or the University of Arizona Garbage Project)

So I’m sick in bed. Again. Day what, 4? Me and my Sprite bottle and my packet of saltines, just hangin’ out.

I had the foresight to buy a book a couple weeks ago – something I rarely do because they are heavy to move – called Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You by Dr. Sam Gosling. So far, the chapters introduce spaces and try to figure out something about the people that occupy them. It’s fascinating stuff – and makes me want to clean my house and get rid of the ceramic elephant chia pet.

I just got to a part about the Tucson Garbage Project, or “garbology,” an anthropological study of garbage launched by Dr. William Rathje in 1973. Results from the study were published in Rubbish! The Archaeology of Garbage. Instead of being an environmental self-righteous tirade (read: unpleasant!), garbology is a way of getting “proof” of a record of human behaviors once left only in the realm of unreliable self-reporting. For instance: alcohol consumption is regularly underreported as compared to the evidence of bottles found in garbage (this must have pre-dated widely available glass recycling programs). Interestingly, though perhaps not surprisingly, these misrepresentations lead to a lot of misconceptions about what actually is in the landfill – i.e., actually it’s mostly paper and yard waste, and a lot of construction waste, and not so much on the styrofoam. They call Rathje the “Indiana Jones of Solid Waste.” I like that. That’s funny. Read more from the 1992 New York Times. God bless the internet. A good portion of landfills is made up of newspapers, because the current landfill management policy of dry entombment doesn’t let them biodegrade.

Anyway. Me and Snoop. Hangin’ out. Bored-like. Drop me a line today and tell me what you think your friends’ houses and offices (and trash?) says about them! Or you! Or me! I’m under quarantine. And bored. And did I mention I was bored?


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News Roundup (Courtesy H1N1)

So I might have swineflu. I just got my regular flu shot last week! Arg!

Regardless, I have a lot of time to read this week while I sit around not eating and not moving and not going to work. Check out all the cool things you can learn:

  • GreenKeen posted this awesome guide for college campuses to encourage line-drying of laundry. Chelsea Hodge of Pomona’s class of 2009 wrote this guide after spearheading the drying rack project. (And, if you want to do something less expensive but still awesome in your apartment – I just bought the Frost Drying Rack from Ikea and it is fantastic. So much better than the crap Target one that broke like 80 times.)
  • The White House hosted an Energy Forum today. GreenInc live blogged, and I thought this was the most compelling entry: “Cathy Zoi of the Department of Energy challenges the (friendly, invited) audience to go beyond the cheery atmospherics of what she called ‘an evidence-based revival meeting’ and propose ways to convince more Americans that the country is on the cusp of a new industrial revolution. One immediate answer focuses on the resistance of corporations to investing in an energy innovation even if the payback is just two years.”
  • There goes my chili recipe including canned tomatoes… City Pages highlights Prevention Magazine’s seven most toxic foods. Including canned tomatoes AND microwave popcorn. There go, like, half my staple foods. Sigh.
  • The Washington Post writes about young idealists that head off to farm and find that it is hard.
  • Heavy Table starts a Minneapolis-St. Paul Atlas of Ethical Eating. So far, only eight usual suspects are listed, but I’m excited to see it grow.
  • This morning, I started browsing the Green Career Advisor – and sometime in the last 12 hours, the author deleted the blog. Totally lame, because it had awesome stuff. Wonder what happened?
  • Did you know.. there is a Green Chamber of Commerce based in San Francisco?


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Twin Cities Green Job Postings, 10/13-10/25

Check out these green jobs in Minnesota – everything from youth programs to data analysis. Follow me on Twitter to get up-to-the-minute updates (@easierbeingreen – n.b. only one g).

Sustainable Resources Center

Administrative Assistant ($36k/yr, Minneapolis)

City of St. Paul

Environmental Coordinator ($45-64k/yr)

Park Nicollet

Energy Manager (St. Louis Park)

Minnesota Conservation Corps

Summer Youth Program Coordinator (high $30ks, Maplewood)

Member 1: Field Assistant

Member 2: Home Energy Conservation

Member 3: Youth Outdoors

Met Council

Data Analyst ($42-63k, Eagan, MN)

Want to see some previous listings?

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Adventures in Downsizing

So we are coming up on our move-in/move-out date.

I’m getting a little bit nervous. You know, moving things down three flights of stairs designed for somebody John Adams’s height (aka SMALL). People were totally shorter in 1893… and I’m totally taking my multivitamins today.

We have a giant load going to Goodwill today. We have this incentive program – get rid of 50 things, get to buy something you’ve been wanting for a really long time (hello beautiful Epicurean cutting board made out of scraps of skateboard ramp material!). It’s helping us get rid of crap we never use while simultaneously helping us make the transition from Having Stuff for the Sake of Having Stuff (because in college, you just want stuff to feel like a grownup) to Having Stuff We Actually Like that Makes Our Lives Easier.

I think downsizing is easier if you treat it like a series of games you play with yourself. And yes, I did watch a lot of Mary Poppins as a kid, and no, when I tried, snapping my fingers did not magically make my things clean themselves up. Sigh. Another downsizing game I like is, “If you aren’t sure, put it in a box for a month and see if you miss it.” Unfortunately, that game does not work well for tax forms, but it works well for many things you are keeping for complicated reasons – one part emotional attachment, one part usefulness, one part not sure Goodwill would be able to re-sell it.

Another downsizing game that is fun to play is called Better Homes and Gardens Arrange-a-Room. It’s like playing the Sims, but for real and for free and with no downloading or installing! You have to put in your name and e-mail to register, but then you get to make fun looking things like this:

Loft Floor Plan

Loft Floor Plan

I’m not really sure how to hang art in a loft. Rumor has it that it involves fishing wire and ladders. I’m not sure that I’m interested in doing that. On a random note, I really want to put up a couple of these prints from Berkeley Illustration. Why do I love them so much? Who knows! But I might love them enough to brave fishing wire and ladders.

Another question is whether or not I will bring the bike I haven’t used all summer long. It’s trapped somewhere in my landlord’s garage and I’m not certain of the exact location of the key to my U-lock. But after Devin’s bike post, and after he also sent me this video of a really cute kid having fun on a bike, I’m not sure I can justify leaving it behind. Can I? I will be walking to commute, and walking to the YMCA next door, and the whole idea of moving downtown is to avoid going outside for the next six months into the frozen hell known as Outside in Minnesota in Winter. I guess if I ever want to bike to the nearest grocery store, it might be nice to have.

I will be getting rid of our guest room bed. Anyone in the Twin Cities can have it for free if they want to come pick it up in St. Paul. It comes apart in pieces. It’s full sized and comes with the mattress. It’s the Heimdal from Ikea. It looks like that even not in the catalog:

Ikea bed. Do you want this?

Ikea bed. Do you want this?

If you want it, you should e-mail me about it. It literally comes apart into each metal piece and then slats for the bed frame so that it fits in the back of a Volvo. It might fit in the back of other things, but I happened to move it in the back of a Volvo. (And a pause for a brief message from our sponsors… If you want to move in to my old apartment, you should tell me that, too.)

In other news, the loft walls are unfortunately remaining sage green – and our stuff is largely red. Bummer. Christmas is only going to be one of the next nine months. I’m looking at it as an opportunity to make pillow covers. And duvet covers. And, well… get a new rug, I guess.

Totally randomly – I think about this a lot – When Conservative Values Achieve Liberal Green Goals (from TreeHugger). And speaking of business and environmentalism, do you know how cool Goodwill is? They are awesome. They take your stuff and try really hard to sell it – even by the pound! – even by internet auction! – then donate it overseas or bale it for recycling if it is not suitable for reuse. They promote their job creation initiatives pretty heavily, but are a little quieter about how fantastic they are for the environment, too.

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