Archive for May, 2008

Wedding Bells & Green Hotels

by Corey

Two weeks ago the downstair’s toilet in our one month old house overflowed with enough unmentionable sludge to fill a family-sized Jacuzzi forcing us to re-seal the boxes we had yet to unpack and move to a nearby hotel. The problem? The genius who plumbed our home forgot to remove something important from the pipes before he packed up and sent our builder the bill.

So sad, you agree, but my time is precious and I’m reading your blog for a reason. What has this got to do with Earth-friendly celebrating?

Lots.

We’ve been living in a hotel.

… The connection, you see, is that hotels are commonly associated with and utilized widely during celebrations from Valentines getaways to family reunions to corporate offsite events; not to mention weddings (and honeymoons) – which happen to occur most often during this time of year.

So while my husband and I are living in the hotel out of necessity rather than for fun (although my 7 and 3-year-olds would beg to differ), I’ve decided to make lemonade from the lemons (AKA raw sewage), and to share with you what we’ve learned about hotel-life in case you’re planning on celebrating in one any time soon.

Here it is: Going green in a hotel can be challenging. Do what you can.

While tossing your towels on the floor or letting the kids jump on the bed are hotel perks we wouldn’t dare deny you, trying to be consistent with your every-day Earth-friendly habits such as recycling and using CFL’s or LEDs can be hard or darned near impossible if your hotel isn’t eco-savvy or even eco-interested. If this is the situation (as in our case), do what you can by turning off (and, whenever possible, unplugging) lights, your coffee maker, electronics and the heater/ AC when they’re not needed, by avoiding the bottled water (using it will just encourage them to bring you more), asking that a newspaper not be delivered to your room and of course, by not having your linens and towels changed daily. Remember, you can still ask the cleaning crew to make the bed, hang the towels and clean the room (sans cleaning sprays, thank you), while enjoying the same “Ahhhhhh’s” you deserve to feel on your vacation.

Here are a few more ideas:

  • Take short showers. If you’re on your honeymoon, babymoon or anniversary retreat, and you need to cool off (or warm up) try doing so outside the shower first. If you’re near the coast, take a dip in the ocean. Remember that tubs may use more water than showers so if you’re hotel room has a spa-style tub, don’t fill it all the way. If you bathe with your partner, the water inside will be greatly displaced and will fill in all around you.
  • If your hotel doesn’t seem to offer recycling, ask for it. It may be available but not promoted.
  • Avoid using the “samples” and ask that they not be delivered to your room. Instead, bring your own safe/healthy and environmentally sound products with you. Check out www.cosmeticdatabase.com for ideas.
  • Ask for (and use) reusables such as coffee mugs and utensils instead of disposable ones.
  • If you’re eating in the restaurant or ordering room service, avoid ordering more food then you can eat. Most likely, the hotel is not composting leftovers (as you surely are at home, right?) and by ordering less, you’re bound to eat less, which is healthier for you and your bank account.
  • Choose a hotel that’s located in walking distance of the locations and attractions you’re planning to visit. If walking is not an option, look for hotels accessible to public transportation. If a taxi or rental is required, ask for companies that use hybrid or electric fleets. Some hotels even give discounts for choosing hybrids or other alternative fuel rides, so be sure to plan ahead or ask once you’re there.

While there are many independent “EcoLodges” and green hotels available worldwide, if you’re staying the US and Canada check out www.greenhotelsonline.com or look for Kimpton Hotels. Kimpton’s boutique-style, green-savvy, forward-thinking mission is to bridge luxury with sustainability and social responsibility while setting the bar for what the hospitality industry can and should do to promote ecological consciousness. For hotels outside of the US, check out www.eco-indextourism.org, www.greenglobe.org, and www.eco-label-tourism.com.

May 27, 2008 at 5:04 pm Leave a comment

Another milestone

Today, I finished the first, and I hope, last, major edit of our book, Celebrate Green! It’s not as easy as one might hope, to edit a book written by two people. I think we did it as efficiently as possible, but there were still a lot of dangling questions that we had to discuss, research again, e-mail each other and finally, agree on. Our baby is off to the main editor for her to go over, then back to us, then back to other editors. We’re relieved to have this part done, but it’s only another step in the long journey to publication October 1.

May 14, 2008 at 1:08 am Leave a comment

Green up your Mom’s special day

This year, American consumers are expected to spend $15.8 billion on Mother’s Day, down a little from last year. But while the sluggish economy may be partially to blame for the decline in spending, even the National Retail Federation President and CEO, Tracy Mullin, maintains, “Mom has been saying for decades that it’s the thought that counts on Mother’s Day, and this year, kids might actually be listening.”

So this Mother’s Day, how about listening to your moms (for once!) and seek out ways to show them both you care by giving green gifts from the heart.

Here are our top five suggestions for people-mom- and Earth-mom-friendly Mother’s Day gifts:

  • The gift of yourself – Instead of giving your mom something that took resources to make, ship, wrap and dispose of, how about giving of your time, energy and/or talents? Does mom need her garden weeded, her roof de-mossed, or her closet organized? Would she enjoy a hand-knit scarf, a song written just for her, or a card (with heartfelt words) handmade from old family photographs?
  • The gift of ahhh… People-moms and our Earth-mom can always use a little pampering; so what better time than now? Consider a relaxing massage, some 100% beeswax or soy candles, an organic cotton and/or bamboo spa robe, or a gift basket filled with organic pampering products. For more conventional gifts, look for local and organic flowers, organic and fair trade chocolate, or some eco-chic jewelry.
  • The gift of health – For all moms – humanly and planetary – the best gift is the gift of health. Support your moms’ wellbeing with an eco-friendly yoga mat (with recycled plastic yoga mat bag), passes to take Nia classes, or a book on creating a therapeutic garden.
  • The gift of yum – No matter what Mom’s tastes, you’re sure to find something she’ll enjoy and that the Earth with thank you for when you present her with edible (think, no waste) gifts. For starters, how about a home-cooked meal made from organic, local ingredients, a subscription to a local CSA (community supported agriculture), a membership to an organic or biodynamic wine of the month club or a bag of organic, fair trade, shade grown coffee from a woman-owned and -operated farm in the Peruvian Andes.
  • The gift of giving – For gifts that keep on giving, buying your Mother’s Day goodies from sites like Shop The Cause helps to support Fair Trade and creates economic opportunities for women living in poverty worldwide. Or, for the mom who has everything, how about a donation in her name to an organization that feeds and protects women in Darfur through the Solar Cooker Project or plants trees in forests devastated by wildfire.

And because we’re moms and we want to spread the love, we’re offering a sixth, no cost, Earth-friendly way to celebrate your mother. Send her to see this video and be sure she has a hanky when she watches.

May 6, 2008 at 3:59 pm Leave a comment

We’re launching for Mother’s Day

Welcome to The Green Year blog. Since we’re a mom (Lynn) and daughter (Corey), we thought there was something sensational about launching this effort just prior to Mother’s Day as a way to honor all moms.

Our goal here is the same as with all of our offerings, to help you make greener, more eco-friendly, healthier choices for holidays and celebrations.

We hope you’ll visit often, but most of all, we hope you’ll use our suggestions to fuel your own move to green.

Warmly,

Lynn & Corey

May 6, 2008 at 3:58 pm Leave a comment


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