These 7 gifts are perfect for nature lovers

Give back to nature by helping restore forests, oceans and wildlife. Your contribution will boomerang back in countless ways, curbing climate change, teaching kids about the outdoors, feeding endangered monarch butterflies, making space for whales and even helping tree farmers. All you’ll get is that lousy T-shirt. (But this year, they’re actually pretty cool.)

Dreaming of a green vacation? Try using FlipKey

Come mid-January, who isn’t dreaming of a tropical vacation?…We’re talking about solar-powered, LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), foliage-roofed homes in popular vacation spots from Taos to Thailand, the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, Vermont to California.
You can find these gems at a new service called FlipKey, which sorts its properties

How summer music festivals are playing it green

Musicians and concert events are increasingly finding ways to keep a greener profile.

Recently the Finger Lakes Grass Roots Festival organizers in Trumansburg, N.Y., (July 19-22) showed attendees how to sort their trash into recyclable, compostable and “utter trash” containers, something they’ve been doing for the last 14 years, according to promoters.

Kids to Crayola: Help us recycle plastic markers!

Elementary school kids in San Rafael, Calif., are asking Crayola to initiate a recycling program for the millions of markers the company produces every year.
The children, who participate in a green group called Kids That Care, decided to petition Crayola through after realizing that many plastic products, including spent markers, wind up in landfills, said the group’s advisor Land Wilson.

Urban Roots, a film about food and Detroit + a project for schools

In a bygone American era, Detroit shone proudly as a center of industry, home to the Model T and other symbols of American progress. The decline of the car industry in recent decades, though, has cut the city’s population in half and left poor neighborhoods in even more derelict condition. Detroit is now home to thousands of acres of vacant land, most of it unmaintained, left to collect weeds and waste. The result? Many of the city’s residents live in what is termed a
“food desert.”

Don’t let Halloween mask unfair labor practices

If you want to act on your concern for the environment and human rights this Halloween, give treats that come from reputable local or Fair Trade vendors.

That could mean foregoing some familiar brands.

Hershey’s, under fire for some time over allegations that it fails to ensure its cocoa sources treat labor fairly, came out dead last this week on the “Get Child Labor Out of Your Chocolates Scorecard” by Green America.

Swap Halloween costumes: A frighteningly sensible green idea

Imagine Halloween without the costumes. What a charmless, dull and possibly dangerous event it would be. Kids Openly Begging for Treats Day could lead inter-generational strife. Marauding Tots Pressing For Candy would be a PR nightmare, and a clunky acronym. You can see how it could get out of hand.

And yet, Tinkerbell, this Halloween costume business sure could use some re-tinkering.

Too many Halloween costumes, not to mention those buckets of plastic spiders, bats and eyeballs, turn out to be single-use items. Those plastic gee-gaws create about 10 seconds of amusement. A costume is good for a night or two.

Nine ideas for a green Halloween

Skip the plastic pumpkin -- eco-friendly bags are he way to go.

Planning a low-impact, money-saving Halloween is so much more rewarding than trying to turn some other holidays green. You don’t have to argue with relatives about whether or not to have a turkey, or disappoint the kids with gifts to humanitarian causes in their names at Christmas. All you really need to do is think creatively, get holistic about your pumpkin, maybe dust off the sewing machine and take it easy at the store. Here are our best nine ideas to help you get started.

New York’s Botanical Garden is sprouting herbs and celebrities this fall

Calling all New York City edible gardeners and home chefs, The New York Botanical Garden’s Edible Garden exhibit will be finishing up the growing season with a burst of appearances by chefs, including hospitality maven Martha Stewart.

Events will include cooking demonstrations that highlight the value of kitchen gardens and celebrity appearances through mid-October. (Martha takes the stage Sept. 21 at a cocktail party event near her namesake Culinary Herb Garden). Events include

Clearing the air: NYC proposes banning smoking in parks

New York City already has smoke-free restaurants. It may soon have smoke-free parks, beaches and outdoor plazas.
Under a proposal announced Thursday by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Councilmember Gale Brewer, the existing local Smoke Free Air Act that bans smoking in workplaces and indoor gathering spots, would be expanded to include the great outdoors.

Mother Nature can teach the children well

Kayaking with the LEAF program (Photo: The Nature Conservancy)

The kids are heading back to the classroom – if they aren’t already there sitting in rows in front of a blackboard – and parents are plotting how to give their children an academic advantage. Some are buying DVDs, books or computer programs. Some are paying for tutors or study skill seminars. All well and good. But if you want you kids to be smarter, some experts say, push them out the backdoor to play in the dirt, hunt for bugs and pollywogs, and explore the nearby park.

Travelocity: Green hotels get better reviews

Travelocity reports that consumers are rating green hotels higher, on average, than their non-green counterparts. When it recently examined the five-smiley face ratings its users apply to review the hotels they’ve stayed at, it found that overall, consumers were smiling more about the hotels listed as green. Consumers gave 83 percent of “non-green” hotels three or more smiley faces, but they gave “a whopping 94 percent of green hotels three smiley faces or more,” according to a Travelocity news release.

Florida Keys Tourism Council posts updates on oil spill

From Green Right Now Reports

Mindful of the tourists that visit the sunny, sandy Florida Keys year round, the Florida Keys & Key West Tourism Council has added an oil spill info section to its website to keep travelers posted on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

As the growing oil mess continues to float just off the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, weather reporters have been speculating that it could, if it shifted southward, take flight on the gulf currents that carry water out of the area. That could carry oil around Florida and even up the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. to the Carolinas.

Energy-saving, faux ice skating rink debuts in New York City

By Julie Bonnin
Green Right Now

With unpredictable winter weather wreaking havoc on traditional Currier & Ives skating scenes, synthetic ice may be the only thing that can salvage one of winter’s favorite pastimes.

So when skaters flock to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City Saturday for the Nov. 22 opening of a 150-foot rink that features a 17-foot tall stainless steel polar bear at its center, they will be gliding across a surface that feels like ice, but won’t consume huge amounts of water and refrigeration. The faux ice rink will operate through Feb. 28, and for holiday seasons to come.