NC GreenPower

Changing Lives, One Light at a Time

The children of Rizal, Philippines, gather around their solar lantern. Photo credit: One Million Lights website Did you know that over 1.6 billion people around the world depend on burning kerosene to light their homes at night? This is responsible for 1.5 million deaths from burns and respiratory illnesses each YEAR, 62% of which are children. If you know this, you are most likely not one of those 1.6 billion people. This highly toxic and flammable substance is the only source of lighting for many areas around the world, and a very expensive one at that, contributing to the extreme poverty that these areas are facing. Well, what if YOU could help offer an alternative to put an end to …[ MORE ]

Posted in Uncategorized on December 19, 2012

Sustainable Holiday Take 2 – Winter Holidays

The holiday season never stops! Just as we finish the stress of planning and cooking a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, the festivities of the month of December sneak up on us. To ensure you have a sustainable winter holiday season, try to incorporate these tips into your planning and spending: Reuse: Save wrapping paper (especially foil backed and tissue) and ribbons – these items are not recyclable – to wrap future gifts. Use fronts of old cards to create postcards or gift tags. If you get a cut tree, be sure to recycle it Reuse the packing peanuts to mail your next package, or if you don’t want them laying around take them to your nearby UPS store! Keep burned out holiday lights …[ MORE ]

Posted in Uncategorized on December 12, 2012

Peace, Love, & Beer!

Right in the heart of Kinston, North Carolina, Mother Earth was born. A lonely, worn-down brick building was given a second chance. Trent Mooring and Stephen Hill, brought together by their shared passion for home-grown vegetables and hand-crafted beer founded Mother Earth Brewing Co. in 2007. They envisioned a sustainable brewery, researched sustainable building materials and techniques, and Mother Earth was born the following year. Not only is the location and structure of the building recycled itself, but sustainable materials were used for building almost every additional detail. To start, this sustainable brewery contains a six-kilowatt solar array on the rooftop, right off the bat reducing their emissions. The building also contains blue-jean insulation, which is a 100% recyclable product and has …[ MORE ]

Posted in Uncategorized on November 13, 2012

Sustainable Holiday Take 1 – Thanksgiving

It’s finally that time of year when the weather begins to get a little nippy and the leaves start to change colors, hinting that the holiday season is right around the corner. Here are a few friendly tips to make your Thanksgiving Day a green one: 1. Plan Accordingly:  According to the NY Times, it’s estimated that Americans throw away over 100 billion pounds of food, costing over $100 billion dollars a year. To avoid this, determine how many dinner guests you will be having and go from there. Cooking enough to feed an entire village may be a little extreme if you plan on only have a few friends and family members over. Why not lessen the burden and have a potluck? …[ MORE ]

Posted in Uncategorized on November 7, 2012

Driving around town… What’s your MPG?

From Car and Driver: “Starting [in 2010] with 2011 models, the federal government’s fuel-economy standards, which have sat frozen for years, are going to get a big-time thaw—the biggest change since the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) (http://www.nhtsa.gov/fuel-economy) law was created in 1975. The average fuel economy for cars must improve from the current 27.5 mpg, where it has been since 1990, to 37.8 mpg by 2016. The truck standard has to rise from 23.5 mpg to 28.8.” I drive a Toyota Prius. When I bought it five years ago, I was driving a vehicle that needed premium gas, got only about 23 MPG highway, and with all of the driving I was doing for my job at the time, …[ MORE ]

Posted in Uncategorized on November 1, 2012

Buy Local. Eat Local. Live Local!

There’s an ongoing debate about local foods versus organic. A study released this week in the news says that organic food is no more nutritious than conventionally grown food. I don’t buy organic for any perceived increase in the health benefits but to avoid unnecessary pesticides when possible. In 2007, the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) and its many partners sought to answer: Can we build a sustainable local food economy, from farm to fork?  Through the enthusiastic support of thousands of North Carolinians and hundreds of local, regional and statewide organizations, including partners like NC GreenPower, the Local events and outreach have increased participation in the 10% Campaign Farm to Fork program – Building North Carolina’s Local Food Economy – to nearly 6,000 participants, 700 businesses and …[ MORE ]

Posted in Uncategorized on September 5, 2012

Bring Your Lunch!

Bring your lunch… Eat theFood! I’ll never get tired of that clip from Napoleon Dynamite… Okay sorry, back to my point. Talking your lunch to work or school is not only better on the wallet (you will save from $1,000-$2,000 per year!), it’s better on your waistline and the environment. But you don’t have to limit yourself to pb&j or canned tuna. Health Magazine has put together some healthy lunch options that are quite creative. Three good tips I’ll pass along from my experience are: Plan ahead. Take the time to make a good grocery list to cover you for the week and choose things you don’t mind eating more than once. Prep the night before. I can’t tell you how many times I have scrambled …[ MORE ]

Posted in Uncategorized on August 16, 2012

A paperless kitchen?

I read a blog a couple of years ago from Simple Mom on How to Create a Paperless Kitchen. I really thought that it was helpful, but I just didn’t see how I could make it work! I have plenty of towels, but with a cat, sometimes I just don’t want to mix post-litter-box-cleaning hand drying and food drying on the same towel – you know what I mean? Paper towels make up a huge portion of the paper market, second only to toilet paper. According to Ecology.com, world consumption of paper has grown 400 percent in the last 40 years. Now nearly 4 billion trees or 35 percent of the total trees cut around the world are used in paper industries …[ MORE ]

Posted in Uncategorized on August 3, 2012

Buy Local, Help Local….with SHOES!

Let’s start with a scenario… A shoe made out of recycled materials..…that’s pretty sweet! For every one of those shoes bought, a portion of the proceeds going to those in need of shoes…Awesome! What about instead of sending those shoes to other counties (carbon heavy transport) they are first and foremost sent to those in need inthe Triangle area….It can’t get any better!! This scenario is not only plausible but happening! Kinder Soles is a flip-flop company started in Raleigh, N.C. by NC State graduate, Mark Saad. These flip flops are eco-friendly, made of recycled plastics and recycled industrial materials, and the most comfortable pair of shoes I’ve ever owned! It is extremely important to Saad that their carbon footprint is absolutely as low …[ MORE ]

Posted in Uncategorized on July 20, 2012

Reusing and Repurposing – Don’t Toss That!

This week, we are running our weekly Freebie Friday contest with the theme focusing on ways that you can reuse or repurpose items instead of trashing them. Beyond recycling, reusing or repurposing old items is an incredibly important part of the sustainability cycle. There are some very cool uses for random things that you might never have thought of. For instance, you can use a toothpick for a “place holder” on a roll of clear packing tape. We all know how frustrating it is to find the end and get it to tear off evenly. This way, you avoid wasting too much of the roll! Another great idea is to use an empty tissue box to store your plastic grocery bags. You …[ MORE ]

Posted in Uncategorized on July 17, 2012