Archive for the ‘living simply’ Category

As the worm turns: Kitchen compost made easy

March 22, 2009


Have you heard about composting with worms (vermicomposting) before but been afraid to give it a try? Worried about making a mess or just not liking the idea of worms in your house? Or would your kids love to learn all that worms can do to green your household? We’ve got the workshop just for you!

Urban Worm Girl, who just happens to be a ChiTown Rewards Member, is hosting a “Worm Composting Workshop” in Lincoln Park on Saturday April 4th from 1 – 2 p.m. Don’t miss this special, hands-on opportunity to learn all about the process of composting with worms. You will also have the opportunity to buy supplies and set up your bin on-site: your worms will be ready to start working when you leave!

Come out and learn how to keep composting in the home easy, clean and fun for all. Call (312) 399-4725 or email Stephanie to reserve your spot today!

Eco-friendly bamboo bikes

March 8, 2009

As car sales continue to fall and gas prices remain above the $2/gallon mark, it seems like more and more people are taking up a common childhood activity – biking. Biking is a great way to get around the city- you don’t have to deal with parking, gas, tickets, insurance, or traffic – AND you get some exercise along the way!

If you’re thinking about buying a bike, check out the bamboo bikes from Calfee Design. Calfee Design claims that their bamboo bikes have the lowest carbon footprint of any bike on the market today. Moreover, Calfee Bamboo bikes have won awards for Best Road Bike, Best Off-Road Bike and Peoples’ Choice Award at the American Handmade Bicycle Show.

I-GO and I save!

March 1, 2009

Ever wonder just how much you’re saving by not owning a car? Check out the cost breakdown of one of our members’ yearly driving expenses. Car sharing is about more than just “going green”—it can also save you some dough! And in today’s economy, that’s something we’re all trying to do…

Car sharing in Japan grows as vehicle sales continue to fall

January 19, 2009

According to a recent article in Japan Today, car sharing is catching on in Japan as well as here in the U.S.. The article claims that, “car sharing is shifting into a higher gear in Japan as people try to save on car maintenance costs and be more environmentally friendly at the same time,”.

While car sharing is growing, car sales are down. Vehicle sales in Japan hit a 28-year low in 2008, according to the figures released by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA). Annual sales are expected to fall again in 2009. “We never imagined sales would fall this badly,” said JADA Director, Takeshi Fushimi. “This is a bleak situation.”

What is a bleak situation for auto dealers is great news for Japanese car sharing organizations. According to a survey done by the Eco-Mo Foundation, there were 19 car sharing organizations in Japan, with a total of 522 cars being shared by 3,875 members, as of August 2008. The numbers of cars and car stations more than doubled and the number of registered car sharing members increased by half since the same survey was done in January of 2007. Below is a photo of a car sharing site at a condominium in Japan.

Make your own takeout

January 15, 2009

Treehugger has links to great recipes for familiar takeout dishes that you can make at home, like pad thai, burritos, and General Tso’s. Not only are you saving money and energy, but you can make your favorites even tastier – maybe tonight I’ll make some ultra-spicy Thai…

Protect Your Skin When the Temperature Drops

January 14, 2009


Aside from the occasional I-GO trip, I rely on the CTA and my own two feet to get around. I spend a lot of time outdoors, even in these freezing temperatures. But sub-zero conditions can leave my face flaky, cracked and red. Here are some tips to keep your skin healthy while braving the elements.

1. Prevent flaky skin.First, avoid products that contain alcohol, which is drying. Instead, use a gentle cleanser and switch to a richer moisturizer. Neutrogena products are my personal favorite.

2. Stop a red nose. Unless you’re guiding Santa’s sleigh, no one wants a red nose (which, by the way, is caused by dilated blood vessels). Since sun exposure can also cause redness, wear plenty of SPF 30 sunblock, even in the dead of winter. Kiehl’s makes a good one. And a warm — not hot — compress to the skin for a few minutes should also reduce redness.

3. Keep lips moist and crack-free. There’s no such thing as too much lip balm. It’s your first line of defense against chapped lips. Also avoid licking lips which dries them out even more.

For more tips to keep your skin healthy this winter, check out this post from Real Simple.

Green Your New Year’s Party

December 30, 2008

Having a soiree this New Year’s Eve? I have some fun useful tips for you to make it green and eco-friendly. You can find the full list here, but here are a few fun ideas.

1 . Cut down on paper and use technology. Email invitations or call people to invite them to your party.

2. Get organized with your transportation. Encourage friends coming to the party to use public transportation or car pool to cut down on their driving.

3. Avoid the paper products and instead use real cutlery, glasses and dishes for the party. You will have dishes to wash but think of the garbage you’ll reduce. If you don’t have enough glasses borrow from a neighbor or check with local caterers who will rent out glassware at a reasonable cost.

And here’s another green tip for you…use I-GO to get all your New Year’s Eve goodies. Reserve your car today so you can load up on food and libations at your favorite haunts like Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Costco.

Happy New Year!

Green Parent Chicago: winter activities for the kids

December 22, 2008


Not sure how to keep the little tykes busy this holiday season? Check out Green Parent Chicago’s helpful list of ideas on ways to keep the kids entertained- away from the tube. Ever think you’d go snowshoeing in the city? Well, there’s a first time for everything!

Will Obama help grow an electric car bumper crop in Hawaii?

December 5, 2008


Will Barack Obama’s childhood island state become the first in the nation to fully support a transition to electric vehicles? The President-Elect has made it clear he plans to make sustainability and green-collar jobs top priorities during his administration. Now, Hawaii is attempting to lead the country in adopting use of all-electric vehicles. It’s a refreshing change of pace from the greed and lack of vision we’ve been witnessing on Capitol Hill as the Big Three automakers beg for a bail-out.


This past Tuesday, Hawaii announced plans to become the first state in the U.S. to create a statewide electric recharging network for electric cars. The Hawaiian state government has joined forces with Better Place, an ambitious start-up that I posted about earlier this year, in an effort to make all-electric vehicles a reality by building car charging and battery swapping stations around the islands and purchasing renewable energy from Hawaiian Electric Co., the state’s largest utility.


They plan to have the recharging stations up and running by 2011, and to have built 50,000 to 100,000 charging spots across the state by early 2012. Shai Agassi, Better Place’s founder and CEO, claims the electric cars will cost the same as gas powered cars — at first. However, over time, electric cars will be less expensive to make because they use far less parts than cars with internal combustion engines.


In late November, San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area cities also announced plans to join forces with Better Place to create an electric recharging network by 2012. However, Better Place chose Hawaii as the first statewide rollout for several reasons: the size of the state, the contained environment and consistent climate the island offers, and the abundance of renewable energy resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal and wave power.


Here are two short clips: one of Agassi and Hawaiian Governor Linda Lingle driving one of the Better Place electric vehicles (hopefully, we’ll be seeing more of these cars in the near future), and one of Agassi answering a reporter’s questions about Better Place’s agenda for the Bay Area.




Get the Gift That Keeps You I-GOing

November 28, 2008


In my family, our annual tradition on the Friday after Thanksgiving is to 1) eat leftovers and 2) make our Christmas wish lists. With the economy in the tanker, this holiday my list is not only pared down, but it only include things I actually need. Like an I-GO gift certificate for more I-GO Car Sharing driving credits. What could be better (for me) and easier (for my family) than that? My family can just click here, and their shopping for me is done. It’s not only a great gift to get, but it’s also a great one to give, so add it to your shopping list today!