Eco Friendly Road Trips

San Francisco Green Film Festival

Summer's Best Accessory

Green Your Yard Sale

Celebrating National Iced Tea Month in June

nature conserve

Eco Friendly Tips for Summer Road Trips

Essential Safe Products, a company dedicated to teaching about eco friendly, healthier choices for families, is providing some tips for “greening” your summer road trip, including stashing reusable’s in your vehicle, using the open road and watching your speed. With so many options for summer travel, ESP wants to help you plan ahead for a stress-free and enjoyable journey using the following guidelines:

Come Prepared
“Most importantly, those traveling should consider the environmental impact they could be making along the way, either good or bad. If they decide to make a great impact, they could bring their own reusable items for eating responsibly,” said Hannah Helsabeck, President of Essential Safe Products. “A bad impact means they are leaving a trail of non-recycled waste along the way.”
Instead of stopping at fast food restaurants or bringing a lot of disposable items, consider bringing the essentials to eat healthy and eco friendly, from your vehicle. Bring plenty of water, snacks, sandwiches and other food items in reusable, preferably stainless steel, glass and organic cotton holders. The bottles can be refilled, and food holders cleaned at your destinations and refilled. In addition, bring eco friendly utensils, dishes, napkins and cups.

Think Like a Local
If you do decide to stop for food or even souvenirs, sticking with local places instead of major chains helps the local economy, and reduces the carbon footprint of the area. In addition, locally grown produce is known to be fresher and healthier than other options.

Take the Open Road
Another thing to keep your road trip green and save money is to take open roads. Lots of people don’t realize that stop-and-go traffic is just as wasteful as it is irritating. Idling vehicles release harmful gases into the air, contributing to global warming. And contrary to some popular belief, idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than restarting your engine.

Watch Your Speed
In terms of fuel economy, the simple tip of slowing down and obeying the speed limit could be saving you money. Anything over 60 mpg reduces your mileage, while sudden starts and stops from aggressive driving wastes gas.

Car Camping
Since its getting warmer outside, consider staying in your vehicle instead of finding a hotel or motel. Find a camping site that caters to motor homes, which will most likely have amenities such as bathrooms with showers and wi-fi. Camping uses much fewer resources than a hotel room with air conditioning, television, etc.

Skip the Car Completely
Especially if you are planning on driving a long distance, determine if taking public transport is an option. You’ll conserve tons of gas and take the pressure out of your hands by hopping on a bus. Or, switch it up and plan a bike trip instead.

No matter which eco friendly practices you decide work best for your family, you’ll be making a positive difference on the environment by following any of the above.

Essential Safe Products (ESP) shares invaluable knowledge and resources on their website,


San Francisco Green Film Festival Announces Full Program

The San Francisco Green Film Festival (SFGFF) is the West Coast’s leading destination for groundbreaking and compelling films on the urgent environmental issues of our time.  Their mission is to educate and connect communities through forward-thinking programs of environmental films and discussions. Launched in 2011, SFGFF presents an annual film festival each spring, along with year-round community screenings and events in the San Francisco Bay Area. SFGFF brings critical and contemporary environmental issues to local audiences and highlights the vital work of our many partners, including local businesses, schools, and non-profit organizations. Since 2011, they’ve partnered with over 30 community organizations, presented over 150 programs, and inspired over 5,000 attendees.

The third annual San Francisco Green Film Festival will premiere over 20 internationally acclaimed environmentally focused feature films. The highly anticipated festival will take place Thursday, May 30 through Wednesday, June 5, 2013 ending appropriately on United Nation’s World Environment Day.
The 2013 San Francisco Green Film Festival includes over 50 films from around the globe, with over 70 visiting filmmakers and guest speakers covering environmental topics surrounding clean energy, green chemistry, food, housing, trash, water, and art in the environment.
The festival’s main venue and headquarters is New People Cinema in Japantown. Other Festival Venues Include: Goldman Theater at the David Brower Center in Berkeley, Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library Main Branch, Superfrog Gallery in Japantown, and SPUR Urban Center. Lead sponsors of the 2013 event include Earthjustice and Recology.
For ticket information and festival updates please visit
Festival Highlights
Opening Night SF Premiere of Rebels With A Cause, by Bay Area filmmaker Nancy Kelly, the compelling and epic story of those who fought to save the Marin County coast.
Centerpiece screening and Northern California Premiere of More Than Honey, a dazzling in-depth look at honeybee colonies from Academy-Award nominated director Markus Imhoof.
Spotlight of acclaimed documentary filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheimer (Rivers And Tides, 2001) with SF Premieres of two new feature films, Breathing Earth and Garden In The Sea.
Closing Night SF Premiere of Andrew Garrison’s Trash Dance on UN World Environment Day, June 5.
Festival Feature Films
Wednesday, May 22
Tiny - A Story About Living Small -  follows one couple's attempt to build a Tiny House from scratch with no building experience, and profiles other families who have downsized their lives into houses smaller than the average parking space. Fresh off its premiere at SXSW 2013, Tinywill feel perfectly sized for a special outdoor screening in the street-turned-pedestrian plaza atmosphere of Annie Alley. This sneak peek of the 2013 San Francisco Green Film Festival will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers, on Wednesday, May 22 at 7:00 PM at Spur Urban Center.

Thursday, May 30
Rebels with a Cause - officially opens the SF Green Film Festival on Thursday, May 30th. Bay Area filmmakers Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto will attend this SF Premiere. The film celebrates the compelling and epic story of those who fought to save the Marin County coast. Shows Thursday May 30, 7:00 PM at New People Cinema. Opening Night Party to follow at 9:00 PM.

Friday, May 31
Watershed, directed by Bay Area’s Mark Decena, premieres in SF premiere on Friday, May 31st at 6:00 PM. Watershed is co-produced by Jamie Redford and explores the dramatic changes that the Colorado River has undergone and inspires viewers to make more sustainable water choices. Mark Decena and Jamie Redford in attendance.

Dear Governor Cuomo
directed by Jon Bowermaster premieres in SF on Friday, May 31st at 8:00 PM. The film documents a music concert that was urgently produced by environmental activists in an effort to ban hydraulic-fracturing in New York. The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Melissa Leo, Joan Osborne, Citizen Cope, Medeski Martin and Wood and many more "fracktivists". Jon Bowermaster will attend the screening and the film will be followed by a panel discussion hosted by Climate One (Commonwealth Club) on fracking in California.

Saturday, June 1
Garden in the Sea (Jardin en el Mar), directed by internationally acclaimed director and cinematographer Thomas Riedelsheimer is a visually stunning documentary about art, landscape and environmental conservation. The story follows Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias as she creates a commissioned underwater installation in the Sea of Cortez. Shows at 12:00 Noon on Saturday, June 1st.

Terra Blight
, directed by Isaac Brown will premiere in SF at 2:15 PM on Saturday, June 1st. and followed by panel discussion Cradle-to-Cradle. The film exposes the life cycle of computers, from the US gamers who play en masse, to the young Ghanaians who mine toxic waste dumps to salvage metal for their school tuition.

Shored Up
, directed by Ben Kalina looks at the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and lessons learned from continually rising sea levels. Shows at 4:00 PM on Saturday, June 1st.

, directed by Fahad Mustafa and Deepti Kakkar examines the power struggle in Kanpur, India because the balance of supply and demand for electrical power is disrupted. The conflict highlights the effects on paying customers, impoverished Indians who splice power lines for their power and the power companies. This sneak preview is at 6:30 PM on Saturday, June 1st.

A River Changes Course
, directed by Kalyanee Mam follows three Cambodians who struggle to support themselves and their families as the environment rapidly changes. Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2013.This will show at the David Brower Center in Berkeley at 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 1st. Kalyanee Mam in attendance.

La Source
, directed by Patrick Shen documents Josue Lajeunesse’s return to his native Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. He leaves Princeton New Jersey to help a rural community create a viaduct to access clean water. Shows at 8:45 PM on Saturday, June 1st. Patrick Shen in attendance.
Sunday, June 2
Vanishing Point , directed by Stephen A. Smith and Julia Szucs premieres in SF at 11:00 AM on Sunday, June 2nd. This film is about Polar Eskimo’s “finding the way in a shifting world”. With the intrusion of technology and climate change, Vanishing Point looks at the effects on the tradition and lives of the fewer than 1000 Polar Eskimos still living in the northwest region of Greenland and Baffin Island, Canada.

Because I Live Longer than You!
, directed by Henriette Bornkamm and Carl Fechner, premieres in the USA at 1:00 PM on Sunday, June 2nd. Starting when he was 9 years old, Felix Finkbeiner has collaborated with youth internationally to address both environmental and social issues. Whether he challenges politicians regarding environmental policy, works with a 15 year old Nairobi girl to fight against female genital mutilation in her slum, or campaigns with a 13 year old Iraqi boy against child abuse, Felix is inspiring and inspired whose passion gives hope for the future.

Unacceptable Levels
, directed by Edward Brown will premiere in SF at 3:00 PM on Sunday, June 2nd. “It tells the story of toxic chemicals in just about every aspect of our lives, and the egregious lack of regulation. Our ability to protect our families is at stake." - Joan Blades. Followed by panel discussion with the filmmakers and leading experts.

Trashed, directed by Candida Brady will show at 5:30 PM on Sunday, June 2nd. Jeremy Irons takes us through the landscape of trash worldwide that result from over-consumption and wastefulness. The film profiles San Francisco’s adoption of the Zero Waste recycling and explores solutions to this urgent problem. The score for Trashed was composed by Academy Award winner Vangelis.

More Than Honey, directed by Markus Imhoof, is the Festival Centerpiece and shows at 8:00 PM on Sunday, June 2nd. This is the bee movie to end all bee movies. We discover the world from the perspective of the bees. Markus Imhoof will be in attendance at this Centerpiece screening.
Monday, June 3
Bidder 70, directed by Beth Gage and George Gage, premieres in San Francisco just weeks after the film’s protagonist, Tim DeChristopher was released from prison after serving a sentence for an act of nonviolent civil disobedience. Shows at 5:30 PM on Monday, June 3rd and will be attended by Tim DeChristopher and Beth and George Gage.

, directed by Harry Lynch is showing at 8:00 PM on Monday June, 3rd. The film explores the vast landscape of energy generation from coal mines to oil rigs, granted access to a hydro facility and see world’s energy sources and consumption through the metrics and understanding of a trained geologist, Scott Tinker.
Tuesday, June 4
Plastic Paradise, directed by Angela Sun will show at SF Public Library Main Branch at 12:00 Noon on Tuesday, June 4th in the Festival’s Free Youth Program. An island of garbage stars in this film as Angela Sun discovers the Pacific’s mysterious Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

In Organic We Trust, directed by Kip Pastor, the film shows at 5:45 PM on Tuesday, June 4th and investigates the meaning of “certified organic”.

Breathing Earth - Susumu Shingu's Dream
, director Thomas Riedelsheimer’s second film in this year’s festival, will premiere in California at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, June 4th. Following Japanese sculptor Susumu Shingu as he creates art that come to life interacting with the natural elements, specifically, the wind.

Big Boys Gone Bananas!*
, directed by Fredrik Gertten will show at 8:15 PM on Tuesday, June 4th. As a muckraker, Gertten took on the Dole Food Company in 2009 and has since experienced the PR and legal battles that inevitably followed. A discussion on media censorship follows the screening.
Wednesday, June 5
Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth, directed by Frauke Sandig and Eric Black, premieres in SF on UN World Earth Day at 5:30 PM on Wednesday, June 5th. Following six indigenous Maya in Guatemala and Chiapas through their daily and sacred ceremonial lives, the film provided an alternative vision of the world.

Trash Dance
, directed by Andrew Garrison, is an uplifting and inspirational film for SFGFF closing night about garbage workers participating in a dance production. Premieres in SF at 8:00 PM on Wednesday, June 5th. This film has won audiences over at various festivals and the showing coincides with UN World Environment Day. Andrew Garrison in attendance.
Festival tickets are on sale now at the festival website: Tickets are $12 per screening, $100 for a weekend pass, or $200 for a full pass to the festival’s over 50 films and events.  For ticket information, and the full Festival Program please visit:  Even if you are unable to visit the festival, there are several worthwhile films here that will be available on DVD soon.


Summer's Best Accessory

First World Trash, the stylish, eco-friendly fashion accessory brand is saving the world one discarded billboard at a time and looking good while doing it!

All of their bags and accessories are born in the junkyards of America where they salvage seat belts from junked cars and rescue billboards before they are thrown into the landfill.  All materials are deep cleaned, cut and polished in preparation for stitching.  Each bag is individually designed and crafted by owner and designer, Jenelle Malbrough.  All billboard products are tear proof, water resistant, and built to last.  Each product is handmade at the first world trash studio in Queens, NY. 

Why we love First World Trash…Each billboard they salvage is unique and therefore as a result, each First World Trash product is completely unique offering many variations in color, scheme, graphics, images, and fonts.  These folks really know how to make art and fashion come to life from what was once discarded and forgotten.

First World Trash offers the must-have accessories for summer 2013, including fun, colorful Beach Totes, Wine Satchels, and Lazy Boy Totes!  They also offer a great variety of products which make great gifts…like commuter bags, laptop and ipad sleeves, makeup cases, wallets and more.

Because of their unusual manufacturing process, each First World Trash product is perfectly unique because no two products are exactly alike!  First World Trash products are truly “one-of-a-kind!” The accessories range in price from $24 to $160 S.R.P.  Product info is available at:


Green Your Yard Sale

Garage sales and yard sales are a great (and green) way to relinquish items which we once held dear and for which we had great use, but no longer need. offers you these tips for hosting a green garage sale this summer:

Signs are important as they’ll inform those in your community about the date, time and location of your sale. Make your signs on repurposed paper, cardboard, or poster board—try a pizza box top, the side of an empty carton, or a brown paper bag.

Make sure you pack purchases in paper not plastic bags.

Be realistic and reasonable when setting prices—you’ll move more merchandise, find new homes for some of your most treasured items, and you’ll keep items out of the local landfill.

Remove batteries from old electronics. This will ensure that they are disposed of properly and not just discarded by the new owner.

Instead of the time-consuming task of tagging each item at your sale, create pay-one-price sections. If an item doesn’t sell at one price, you can move it to another area.

Consider involving the kids. Have them sell homemade lemonade or organic iced tea to thirsty browsers. (Serve in paper cups, not plastic or styrofoam).

Involve your neighbors! If you can get some of your neighbors to schedule a yard sale on the same day, your block can be a true destination for thrifty shoppers.


- Summer Coolers -
Celebrating National Iced Tea Month In June

It was a scorching hot summer day at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis and festival attendees were uninterested in the hot tea that Richard Blechynden was serving. Attempting to salvage the day, he poured his brewed tea over ice, and the quintessential English tradition of “taking tea” was forever changed. Crediting the “invention” of iced tea to Richard Blechynden is the subject of great debate, but all might agree that his efforts helped to popularize this most refreshing and delicious elixir.

It's cool, refreshing, good for you, and so popular that an entire month has been set aside to celebrate…Summer is here and so is National Iced Tea Month. “June’s National Iced Tea Month is a good time to drink up the many benefits of tea," says Joe Simrany, President of the Tea Council of the USA. “It’s tasty, refreshing, has zero calories and is chock full of health benefits, so it’s a terrific beverage choice. With a multitude of research suggesting that the substances in tea may help the body maintain healthy cells and tissues, contribute to heart health and keep your weight in check, why would anyone choose to drink anything else?”

According to the Tea Association of the USA, approximately 85% of tea consumed in America is iced and over the last ten years, Ready-To-Drink Tea (RTD) has grown by more than 17.5 times. In 2011, Ready-To-Drink sales were conservatively estimated at $3.50 billion.

In the southern US they make sweet tea, in Thailand it is called cha yen, and in Austria the refreshing drink is called “ice” tea, rather than “iced” tea. No matter what you call it, iced tea is a satisfying and refreshing beverage enjoyed the world over.

When you home brew your iced tea you can customize it to your particular preference—some like it sweet, others unsweetened, some prefer fruit infusions like blood oranges or summer peaches, others prefer just a simple lemon wedge or sprig of mint as a garnish. If you don’t homebrew, RTD (ready to drink) teas are a convenient and delicious way to enjoy iced tea. A trip to the convenience store or local supermarket will reveal dozens of brands—each offering something to appeal to the varying tastes of today’s iced tea drinking consumer.

Iced tea fun facts:

  • The oldest known recipe for sweet ice tea was published in 1879 in a community cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia, by Marion Cabell Tyree. This recipe calls for green tea. In fact, most sweet tea consumed during this time period was green tea. However, during World War II, the major sources of green tea were cut off from the United States, leaving consumers with tea almost exclusively from British-controlled India.
  • Today, if you ask for an “Arnold Palmer” you will be served a mix of iced tea and lemonade. It is named after its creator, golf legend, Arnold Palmer.
  • “Texas tea” in the Beverly Hillbilly’s theme song refers to oil--nothing to do with tea at all.
  • In 2003 Georgia state representative John Noel tried to pass a house bill making it mandatory for all restaurants to serve sweet tea. Mr. Noel insists it was an April Fools' Day joke but admits he wouldn’t mind if it became law.
  • The famous “long island iced tea” drink doesn’t contain any tea.

It has been more than 100 years since Blechynden’s cool idea and iced tea remains one of the America’s most beloved beverages.