Teen Green: FreeRice

29 08 2008

Studying for SATs, and APs and SAT IIs is not so fun. Actually, it really stinks. So anything that I can do to improve the feeling of sitting down at my desk and tackling a vocabulary problem, is just great. My friend showed my this website FreeRice.com, which is an organization that donates rice to impoverished families around the world. But, there’s a catch. They don’t just donate this rice out-of-the-blue, you have to play a game. This isn’t any ordinary game, though. It is an endless vocabulary game (other subjects too: languages, grammar, art, math, etc.) that gets harder and harder as it goes on, donating 20 grains of rice for every correct answer you get. Today, I played for about 15 minutes, and donated 4,000 grains of rice! Studies show that an average impoverished person eats approximately 400 grams of rice per day. If there are 48 grains of rice in a gram, that means that each person eats 19,200 grains per day. If 5 people (or mathematically, 4.8 people) spent around 10 minutes per day donating 4,000 grains of rice, it could feed one person for an entire day. Apparently FreeRice helps, because not only does it feed hungry families, it helps me with my math (see above for proof).


Teen Green: the FEED Bag

28 08 2008

Another thing I have found on my quest for a bag, is the FEED 100 Bag, a product of the United Nations World Food Program. It is an organic reversible bag that supports a great cause while looking really cool. When you buy a FEED 100 Bag, 100 school meals are contributed to hungry children in Rwanda. A similar bag, the FEED 1 Bag, feeds one child in school for an entire year. Whole Foods Markets is distributing it for around $60 (a hearty price for a bag, I know). If you don’t need to acquire a tote bag, you could always just send your money straight to a charity that deals with this as well (then 100% of your money will get to the cause).

What I’m doing for Earth Day – Making Yogurt!

22 04 2008

At 39 weeks pregnant, my Earth Day contribution is necessarily modest.

Solution I’m trying to come up with: Reduce the amount of non-NYC-recyclable plastics we use.

Now understand that we are great recyclers. My husband takes all the plastic bags, drycleaner bags and yogurt containers to the Park Slope Food Coop’s twice monthly plastic recycling event. However, it often takes us a while to organize a trip over there at the right moment so the pile of recyclables can grow to an alarming extent. We hide the bags in the basement but for some reason, the yogurt containers pile up on the kitchen countertop and it drives me crazy.

So now we are making our own yogurt to avoid having more plastic to recycle.

When I was in college, I had a friend whose parents were from France and I had homemade yogurt at their house for the first time and it was incredible. Ours is just as good. We have tried vanilla-flavored, coffee-flavored and plain and they’re all good. Plus the little 4-oz glass containers are too cute.

The unit cost about $24 at the Coop and uses about 13 watts of power per 32 oz batch (8- 4 oz. servings) and best of all…no plastic yogurt containers hanging around.

Let’s talk about food

15 08 2007

Any building or neighborhood that considers itself sustainable must consider its food source in order to remain truly environmentally and economically sustainable.

For now, let’s consider the following books to get started:


Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser analyzes how the American Fast Food diet came to be. He reveals how corporations have hijacked the American food supply. The first chapter starts out scary and each successive chapter gets more and more unbelievable…but true.


Omnivore’s Dilemma is one of the best books I have ever read…about any subject. Michael Pollan is an investigative journalist who turned his attentions to the American food chain. The length of the food chain in each of 4 chapters gets successively shorter until he describes how he hunted and foraged his own dinner. He covers topics such as organic chemistry, conventional farming, a wonderful chapter about a “grass farm” and leaves the reader with a deep respect for how food arrives on the table.


Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a journal of a year in her family’s life when they decided to grow their own food and eat only locally obtained ingredients in SW Virginia. She describes the arc of vegetable farming from seeds to harvest with love and appreciation and (almost) makes you want to chuck it all and move back to the land.