History of Earth Day

Creative Recycling

Recycling: Give & Take Style

Used Tea Bags Life Women from Poverty

Bright Idea Car

green living expo

groovy mind

nature conserve

friendship bag

green living expo

History of Earth Day:

It was in September 1969, at a conference held in Seattle, Washington, that Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson announced that in the coming Spring there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on the environment. He proposed the nationwide environmental protest to thrust the environment onto the national spotlight.

"It was a gamble," Nelson recalled, "but it worked." Five months before the very first April 22 Earth Day in 1970, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the rising tide of environmental events: "Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental problems...is being planned for next spring...when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...." Senator Nelson also hired Denis Hayes as the coordinator.

The year was 1970. Citizens of United States were trying to understand the Kent State shootings and put their arms around the birth of fiber optics. While they were listening to an album called "Bridge over Troubled Water" they were stunned by NASA’s Apollo 13 mission. American’s were mourning a rock star named Jimi Hendrix and starting to pay attention to the environment . Earth Day 1970 preparations were in high gear.

On April 22, 1970, Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in what was to become the first of many Earth Day movements. At the helm was the national coordinator, Denis Hayes. Hayes, with his young and ambitious staff organized coast-to-coast rallies while thousands of college campuses organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. It soon became clear that the varied and passionate nationwide groups that had been fighting against oil spills, factory pollution, power plants, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, wildlife extinction now had a common platform and nationwide attention.

Each year, the April 22 Earth Day marks the anniversaryof the birth of the modern environmental movement.

Biography of Earth Day Founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson:

Gaylord Nelson (1916 - 2005)

FormerWisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson's best-known achievement is the founding of Earth Day in 1970. Described by American Heritage Magazine as "one of the most remarkablehappenings in the history of democracy," Earth Day made environmental protection a major national issue. A distinguished and influential public servant, Nelson served ten years in the Wisconsin Senate, was twice elected Governor of Wisconsin, and, in 1962, began an 18-year career in the U.S. Senate.

Senator Nelson's many achievements included legislation to:

• Preserve the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail

• Mandate fuel efficiency standards in automobiles

• Control strip mining

• Ban the use of DDT

• Ban the use of 245T (agent orange)

• Create the St. Croix Wild and Scenic Riverway and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Senator Nelson also co-sponsored the National Environmental Education Act and wrote legislation to create the Upper Great Lakes Regional Commission and Operation Mainstream/Green Thumb, which employed the elderly in conservation projects. He was the recipient of numerous awards, including two from the United Nations Environment Program.

Nelson became Counselor of The Wilderness Society (1981). During his 14 years of service at The Wilderness Society, Nelson worked to protect America's national forests, national parks, and other public lands. He also focused his attention on U.S. population issues and sustainability. He served as Chairman of Earth Day XXV, which was celebrated April 22, 1995. Senator Nelson was also the Founder of Earth Day Network's Earth Day 2000 Clean Energy Now! campaign.

Born on June 4, 1916, in Clear Lake, Wisconsin, he received his BA degree in 1939 from San Jose State College in California and his LLB at the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1942. He was in the U.S. Army during World War II for 46 months, serving as first lieutenant during the Okinawa campaign. Returning to Madison, Wisconsin, Nelson practiced law from 1946 to 1958.

Senator Nelson died on July 3, 2005 survived by his wife, Carrie Lee, and his three children. On his last Earth Day, although frail and in declining health, he joined his grandson at a school tree-planting ceremony to mark the day. (Source: Earthday.net)


Creative Recycling
New uses for Whole Foods banners found

Creative recycling experts Ken Kobrick and Angela Greene of Passchal Products were recently posed an unusual question…Linda Thomas of the Whole Foods Market (Glen Allen, VA) contacted them in October 08 and asked, “We have large vinyl banners that we use on a regular basis. Unfortunately, they can’t be recycled, so we’re trying to find another use for them. Since you use recycled materials in your bags, would you be interested in using our banners?”

So Ken and Angela came up with a new and artistic way to make good use of the banner material. They incorporated banner material along with the inner tubes of recycled tractor tires into a unique set of high fashion bags specially designed for Whole Foods shoppers.

“Each bag is original with the colorful message that comes directly from the Whole Foods banner.” Every single one of them is different," said Ken Kobrick co-owner of Passchal. Today, April 22nd, Earth Day is launch for the new Passchal Whole Foods Banner bag line. While only available at this time at the Whole Foods stores in the Richmond, VA area “there are plans to expand nationally” said Kobrick. “We are starting with one store at a time, the response has been really good,” he added.

For more information on Passchal handbags visit www.passchal.com. Passchal is a Richmond, Virginia based company. All bags and other products are made from recycled truck & tractor tire inner tubes. Passchal handbags come with light system that illuminates the interior.


Give & Take Styl

Skating around town in your size 7 1⁄2 rollerblades not your idea of fun anymore? Starting a business and in need of a three-draw file cabinet? Looking to find a new home for the videos and cds your kids no longer enjoy? What if there was a place where you could connect with someone in
your neighborhood who either needs what you have or has what you need?

Welcome to Freecycle.org where the mission is simlple: to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources and eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community. Now living clutter free also means keeping your community clean and green.

Freecycle™ was launched on May 1, 2003 by Deron Beal, an environmentalist who at the time was working for a small nonprofit recycler in Tuscon, Arizona. Through his job, he saw firsthand, the items people were discarding and thought that some of the items, while no longer useful to their present owner, would make a welcomed gift for someone in need. The wheels started turning, the give and take idea was massaged, and the freecycle concept took flight.

The Freecycle Network™ as we know it today is made up of nearly 5,000 groups with nearly 6,000,000 members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving and getting stuff for free in their own towns. The Freecycle community uses the power and reach of the internet to connect local individuals looking to give something away with those who would like to acquire it. The guiding principle is that everything be free with no strings attached. It might be described as a virtual yard sale of sorts, where no money ever changes hands, where communities are strengthened and where the evironment is preserved. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer who very closely monitors the interaction between the givers and the takers.

Freecycle exists because of the volunteer moderators who “own” the local freecycle groups and manage its activity. Owners like Erika Muller who has been volunteering and operating New York’s Nassau County group for the last four years. When asked how much time she devotes to managing her Freecycle group, she replied “probably more than 40 hours a week”. That is in addition to her full time job in New York City and raising her family on Long Island. Like the other “owners”, she doesn’t get paid with money, but is rewarded with the result of doing something good for people and great for the environment. “I do it because it is my way of giving back,” she said. “I don’t have lots of money to donate to charity or lots of free time to volunteer somewhere. This is something I can do that fits into my life and lifestyle. I love doing it. I was raised to understand the importance of giving back.”

Muller’s Nassau County group has nearly 8,000 members who, with another 15,000 or so from the two neighboring Suffolk County groups, bring the total Freecycle membership on Long Island to over 23,000. Part of the owner’s responsibility is to enforce the rules—and there are many. All of them aim to keep the members safe (some of the more obvious rules include forbidding the exchange of tobacco, guns, drugs, or pornography) and to make the experience rewarding. The rules, along with Freecycle etiquette tips are posted online.

According to Muller, “the most popular items are those for babies and kids—cribs, toys, clothes, games, DVDs, CDs, and VHS tapes. And maternity clothes too.” On the day we visited our local Freecycle group online, we found a number of posts including one from a member offering a black office chair, another member in need of a microwave, and another looking for a baby-jogging stroller.

In five short years, Deron Beal’s idea is now a success on so many levels. His Freecycle concept has inspired a grass-roots altruistic trend that has spread to over 75 countries and includes thousands of local groups representing millions of members—people helping people. As a result, the Freecycle website reports that “we are currently keeping over 300 tons a day out of landfills! This amounts to four times the height of Mt. Everest in the past year alone, when stacked in garbage trucks!”

Membership is free. To sign up, find your community by entering it into the search box on the network’s website (www.freecycle.org) or by clicking on “Browse Groups” to locate one closest to you. Chances are there is a group already established in your local area, if not, you can volunteer to start one following the posted instructions.

The benefits of the Freecycle Network are many: keeping things out of the local landfills, giving away something that has no use in our life anymore to someone who could extend its usefulness a little longer, giving gifts to people while clearing out our own clutter, and creating, building, and sustaining an environmentally aware community.

The Freecycle Network is a private, nonprofit organization based out of Tucson, Arizona, and stewarded by many volunteers like Erika Muller. Visit www.freecycle.org to find the Freecycle group in your area.


Used Tea Bags Lift Women from Poverty

The artists from Original T-Bag Designs live in an informal settlement located in Mandela Park, South Africa, just outside of Cape Town. Their homes are nothing more than bits of tin and wood nailed together and they have had no formal schooling. But what they do have is grit, imagination, talent, and a desire to make a better life for their families. Leading them on their self-improvement journey is Jill Heyes.

tbagAfter suffering a brain aneurysm at the age of 35, Jill Heyes, an art teacher was just lucky to be alive.  Not long after Jill’s struggle and recuperation, her husband’s job transferred him from England to South Africa. So, with her two small children in tow, the family was now on their way to a new life in a new country.

Driving through town on the way to her beautiful new home, Jill was shocked by the poverty she witnessed and was determined to do something to help. Thelma, a neighbor's maid, saw an opportunity for additional work when Jill and her family moved into the neighborhood.  Jill wanted to help Thelma, not by hiring her to clean, but by teaching her a craft to market and sell.  Thelma gathered five women and started meeting weekly with Jill at the community center.  The group started working with paper mache, moving on to potato printing, and finally, after three years, to creating crafts with used tea bags. Original T-Bag Designs was created!

tbagUsed tea bags come from individuals and groups from all around the world—most come from South Africa where drinking a cup of tea is a ritual that takes place about five times every day.  The bags are then dried in the African sun, emptied of their leaves and carefully ironed. Finally, each tea bag is painstakingly hand-painted with warm shades of bronze, gold, silver, and black—colors that celebrate African culture. 

Finally, the group gathers together to assemble the finished products to create greeting cards, notepads, journals, ornaments, candles, coasters, trinket boxes, and tea light holders. They'll make special designs by request, but ordinarily they just paint "what is in our heads". 


One of the artisans, Nomsa, recently earned enough money from painting tea bags to move from an inadequate shack to a solid new house. Nomsa said, “The most wonderful thing in the world is hearing the rain on the roof and knowing that my children are warm and dry.”

tbag“Everyone earns a very good daily wage,” says Heyes. “We can see the difference in many of their lives as they begin to gain confidence and have pride in themselves.”

The original group of five artists now numbers 23 and supports 125 people. They still make the coasters and greeting cards but continue to expand their offerings. They recently finished a private commission for Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy. They hope to open an on-site teashop where tourists can visit while they paint; eventually, they plan for other craft groups to work at the location.

To learn more or to place an order, visit www.originaltbagdesigns.com.


Bright Automotive Announces World’s First Purpose-Built 100 MPG Vehicle for Commercial and Government Fleets

At an event in Washington DC yesterday, Indiana-based Bright Automotive unveiled the world’s first purpose-built 100 MPG vehicle aimed at commercial and government fleets. Named the IDEA, the multi-use vehicle falls into the light truck classification. The company announced it plans to produce 50,000 vehicles annually by 2013, providing businesses and government agencies with a highly durable, cost-saving and eco-friendly new vehicle, and creating thousands of American jobs. Bright Automotive showed a fully operating concept version of the vehicle to a crowd that included Members of Congress, White House Officials, media, customer and supplier representatives.

“We created the IDEA by starting with a clean sheet of paper, listening to customer needs, and using breakthrough technologies and materials,” said John E. Waters, CEO and President of Bright Automotive. “The IDEA leverages Bright’s highly experienced team and delivers a lower cost of ownership than competing vehicles. At the same time, the IDEA demonstrates technological leadership for the American auto industry and will create thousands of new ‘green collar’ jobs here at home.” Read more at www.brightautomotive.com.