Category Archives: Green

Green Eggs and Easter

Hold on Easter Bunny – ditch those old wasteful Easter baskets! there is still time to make this Easter local, sustainable, and green…

First, act sustainably and reduce waste by re-using your Easter baskets. Choose a nice, high quality, wooden or tin basket that will last for years. Easter basket painting can also act as a great craft for kids prior to the big day. A neat idea from SuperEco.com is to consider growing your own grass in each basket, instead of using more non-biodegradable grass of the plastic variety. But, if you are going to use plastic grass,  save it and reuse it each year – it will not go bad!

To fill those baskets we suggest, as with most other holidays, buying fair trade local chocolates and candies. You can easily find a candy shop in Houston to buy fine, organic, fair trade candy, but if you are looking for some bags of bulk candy for the kiddos, a good place to find them is Whole Foods or the like. They will have a large selection of fair trade, organic candies. Also, think about hand making your Easter basket gifts. Can you knit, sew, or even braid a friendship bracelet? Let’s face it – kids will love almost anything fun, colorful, and sugar-filled in their basket, so why not act sustainably and save some money by making your own gifts?

Next, let’s focus on the main event – Coloring Easter eggs. Put down the food coloring and step away from the mixing table. Check your fridge for a few simple ingredients that can color your eggs any shade of the spectrum, naturally. Here is a list from suite101.com of some ingredients to make a few colors, but you can go wild with any natural dye combination you can think of: Purple grape juice (for lavender), Red cabbage (for blue), Spinach (for green), Carrot tops, orange peels or lemon peels (for yellow), Coffee or black walnut shells (for brown), Yellow onion skins (for orange), Beets or cranberries (for pink), Red onion skins (for red). Find more instructions on how to color your eggs naturally here.

We hope these few tips will get you thinking about sustainability this Easter. It is important, always, but especially during each holiday, to remember how to stay green while you celebrate. Now that you have all these tips for a sustainable Easter, go out there and celebrate, Easter Bunny style!

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Party for our Planet

Coming up soon, once again, Discovery Green will be hosting this year’s 2010 Earth Day Houston Festival. This free, family friendly, all-day event kicks off at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 3. Developed by Galveston-Houston Association for Smog Prevention, and Mothers for Clean Air, the collaborative event focuses on sustainable living, and educating and encouraging Houstonians to preserve, conserve and enhance the city and the Earth.

For those of you  dedicated “runners-for-the-earth”, the 5K run begins at 8 a.m. sharp. All 5K runners receive an organic cotton Earth Day Houston shirt, and are encouraged to bring any old running shoes for recycling. Along with the run, there will be a 5K walk and a Kids Run. (http://earthdayhouston.org/houston-earth-day-5k.php)

AIA’s Gulf Coast Green Consumer Exhibition will showcase green products to the attendees at Earth Day Houston. Other planned activities include, Earth Zone featuring interactive environmental awareness activities highlighting land, air, water, and renewable energy, a Farmer’s Market in support of locally-grown produce, and The Kids Energy Zone and stage. Also, some fun activities like recycled art projects, green living seminars and demos, plus live musical entertainment will make this celebration a blast! (http://earthdayhouston.org/houston-green-expo.php)

This event will surely be the party worth throwing for our beloved planet. Come show your support for this earth! Word to your Mother Earth.

For Directions and more information visit http://earthdayhouston.org/houston-earth-day-location.php

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Everything is Plastic in 2010, Even the Oceans!

The picture here is the North Pacific Gyre. A gyre is explained as any large system of rotating ocean currents, particularly those involved with large wind movements. Everything moves slowly in a gyre because of weather systems that work to reduce ocean circulation. The North Pacific Gyre sprawls across most of the northern Pacific Ocean and is currently spinning clockwise a huge collection, twice the size of Texas, of plastic, glass and other human trash.

Some of this trash, about 80%, floats out to sea from the continents, where many carelessly throw their soda cans and plastic bottles out car windows. About 20% of the debris collects from fishing boats, cruise ships, and other ocean dwellers, whether intentionally dumped or blown off board by wind. Most debris consists of small plastic confetti-like particles suspended at or just below the surface, with larger pieces floating around in the mix as well.

Finally, in April 2008 Richard Sundance Owen, a building contractor and scuba dive instructor, formed the Environmental Cleanup Coalition to address the issue of North Pacific pollution. Not only does the ECC work to remove plastic debris from our oceans, but strives to remove persistent chemicals and other organic pollutants from the water. Some other groups combating this huge garbage patch are the JUNK Raft, Project Kaisei, the SEAPLEX expedition. You go groups!

So, all this talk about plastic debris in the ocean is old news. But listen, this trash effects our lives more than we realize! The small pieces of plastic, (*shutter*) styrofoam, and other non-biodegradeables is the perfect size for marine life consumption. Much of this plastic absorbs toxic chemicals in our polluted oceans that then end up in the bellies of aquatic birds (their chicks), sea turtles, and even jelly fish and smaller fish. This means that not only is our trash, again, harming the world’s wildlife, but the chemical-absorbed trash is being digested by sea food-eating humans.

When we at OMPP heard about this polluted gyre, we felt disheartened and a little hopeless – which just fueled our motivation for better sustainability practices. We hope everyone learns about the effects of pollution in the gyre and around the world; We need to stop trash! Pollution comes full circle: Trash from our hands to the land – the oceans – the wildlife – back to our own digestive systems. Remember this; Some may see recycling and composting as a burden…but what do you think about that toxic, double TX-size pollution circle floating just west of our land mass?

For more information visit: http://bit.ly/25m0Yy and http://bit.ly/kl07w

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Forget Pink and Red: Make this Valentine’s Day GREEN!!

This year we’ve asked the environment to be our valentine!

When it comes to a holiday like Valentine’s Day, all we want to do is impress our sweetheart. Most of us aren’t thinking about the environmental impact that Valentine’s Day has. This V-Day, be creative with your cards and gifts; be green this Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is the second largest card sending holiday, with around a billion valentines sent globally each year. Although we want you to think your sweethearts keep those cards, ultimately, paper cards create a lot of unnecessary waste. According to Rainforest Web, the United States has under five percent of the world’s population, yet consumes more than thirty percent of the world’s paper: that includes those valentines! So, cut back and choose to send cards made from recycled paper, or tree-free paper (details available: http://tinyurl.com/cfaw2l). It is easiest (and more heart-felt!) to make your own cards out of these special forms of paper. Or, just send an e-card…who needs paper these days anyway!

Chocolate: Over 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold each year. Imagine how much you could help to boost your city’s economy by buying that chocolate from a locally owned shop! Another suggestion is to buy fair-trade chocolates or other food products. Additionally, if you are searching for a gift certificate, make sure you are searching locally. For example, find independent spas that use all natural products. Reserve dinner plans at a local restaurant that uses organic, local, and/or sustainable products. Give an OMPP gift card (Pie is SO romantic!)

Another common V-Day gift, jewelry, will not only hurt your wallet, but comes at a cost to the environment and human life (I.E. “blood diamonds”). Gem and precious metal mining destroy thousands of acres of land a year and release harmful chemicals, needed to process the minerals, into the environment. Cyanide and mercury are among a few dangerous chemicals released in processing gold. Obviously, you can opt to not buy precious gems and metals by choosing jewelry made from nature’s other beauties like shells, glass, and wood. But if your valentine just HAS to have those jewels, find jewelers who are certified to be sourcing products that are mined with the least ecological and social harm. Or buy a unique, used, vintage piece that none of the other gals in town will have!

If you are interested in actively helping out the environment this V-day, Woodland Heights students from Hogg Middle School host a pretty fun annual event http://www.greenvalentine.org/ This 2010 Green Valentine project, they are asking for shovels, wheelbarrows, gloves, etc. and volunteers to plant trees, distribute mulch, prune, and clean up reforested areas around the White Oak Bayou. Don’t worry, you won’t have to get messy before your big Valentine’s date… this event takes place February 13 at 1 pm. Antidote Coffee and breakfast pastries by Dacapo’s will be served too! How can you go wrong?

Wishing you, and yours, a Happy Valentine’s Day! (If you don’t have a valentine this year, pish posh…the environment is your lover!)

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Sustaina-Bowl

With the super bowl right around the corner, we’re all going crazy about who the better team will be – saints or colts?! Or we’re just excited for commercials and high calorie snack food. Staying green around this time of the year may be the last thing you want to worry about while planning your party, but its easier than you may think!

First, we have put together a collaboration of some of the best sustainable and local recipes we could find. A great way to be sustainable for your super bowl party is to “think veggies”. Of course we don’t mean you can only eat veggie trays and crackers. The super bowl deserves some heavy, cheesy snacks – Hey it only comes around once a year! Planet Green has some yummy, filling, veggie recipes for this super bowl like, Baked Potato Skins, Mini Calzones, and Upscale Nachos (these are not your average every day nachos!) Check out those recipes here: http://tinyurl.com/yc5z69u Mother Nature Network also has some delicious sustainable recipes including hearty Vegetarian Chili and flavorful Hummus: http://tinyurl.com/ykshg9m If you just can’t have your super bowl party with out the meat, check out this delicious sounding recipe for Chicken Kebabs with a Yogurt Cilantro Sauce: http://tinyurl.com/ybby86b Use all organic chicken for a perfect party meal. Hungry yet?

Also, keep in mind, “local, local, local”! Make sure you know what veggies are in season in your area and try to use those as main ingredients. Some good veggies this season in Texas include, broccoli, greens, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes! Mmm sweet potato fries with ranch dressing dip – perfect for your party! Use our favorite site for finding your state’s in-season vegetables: http://tinyurl.com/ylkagau If you live in Houston, shop for your fresh vegetables at the Highland Village Farmers Market http:/hvfm.com/

Now, what kind of serving dishes are you using? If you answered styrofoam or plastic, get off our page! – Just kidding, but really…don’t use those! Opt for something more sustainable, like biodegradable or paper plates. These can be torn up and thrown right into your compost, if you have one. If you don’t have a compost, paper plates are still better than styrofoam for numerous reasons such as, styrofoam’s hazardous effects on our health and its inability to biodegrade quickly (see our previous post all about this dangerous plastic). At OMPP we use all biodegradable materials – even down to our cups. Check out http://www.greenhome.com/ where you can order large numbers of sustainable party plates and drink ware for some pretty good prices.

Lastly, anytime you’re throwing a party, consider local and/or organic beer and liquor. One of our favorite local Texas beers is Saint Arnold: Learn more about them and their brewery http://www.saintarnold.com/ We found this blog: http://tinyurl.com/8grvj3 with a great guide of a few organic liquors.

As planning any party can be stressful, we hope our tips can help you to plan the perfect super bowl party this year. Your friends will be GREEN with envy (…sorry, had to)! Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, safe, sustaina-bowl 2010!


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OMPP Hosts National Pie Day!

WHO BETTER TO HOST PIE DAY?: This public celebration of pie will be hosted by Oh My! Pocket Pies in coalition with House of Pies, Katz Coffee, Dacapo’s Pastry Café, Gallery M Squared, Little Miss Cupcake, and more.

WHAT IN TARNATION IS IT?: This family-friendly celebration serves to honor the great American pie, and has scheduled entertainment for all ages! A pie and coffee pairing will showcase samples of Katz various coffees and Oh my! Pocket Pies dessert pies; three hungry contestants will compete for prizes in the House of Pies pie eating contest beginning at 1 pm; local vibraphonist, Harry Sheppard, will perform classic pieces on his magical xylophone; kids can compete for prizes in a pie drawing contest (parents, pick up an entry sheet at Gallery M Squared prior to the event or on event day!); Little Miss Cupcake will be on-site offering special pie-flavored cupcakes made just for National Pie Day!

WHEN IT’S GOING DOWN: Saturday, January 23, 2010
12 to 2 p.m.

WHERE’S THE PIE?: 335 West 19th Street, in the Historic Houston Heights shopping district

CONTACT US: For more information, or to get involved in Pie Day, please contact Joanna at info@ohmypocketpies.com or (281) 902-9820.

ALL FOR PIE AND PIE FOR ALL!: Admission for National Pie Day is free and open to all ages. OMPP will be open, serving a full lunch menu during the event. Little Miss Cupcake will also be selling traditional flavored cupcakes to all!

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Sustainable Countdown 2010!

In 2010, ring in the new year green! Whether you’re deciding on the perfect resolution, hosting a cocktail party, or just staying in to watch the ball drop, there are many ways to celebrate sustainably in 2010.

You may not know it, but this will mark the third year of the energy-efficient ball drop in Times Square. Last year it was remodeled to be the most efficient, fitted with 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LED lights. This huge sparkling crystal uses 20% less energy than the previous model. So, watch that ball drop this year with no need to feel too worried about its energy usage!

Your friends picked you to host the party this year? Make them GREEN with envy! Planet Green gives us an awesome guide on how to go green with cocktails! Use organic liquors when you can, and of course, think locally! Don’t forget about the season: Pick locally grown, seasonal fruit juices and garnishes to use in your cocktails. Cut out the sugary, sweet and sour mix; Make your own cocktail mixes. This ensures that you have the freshest, healthiest ingredients in your mix…you will taste the difference! And of course, reuse and recycle your glass bottles! For more cocktail party tips, and more about going green with wine and beer visit http://planetgreen.discovery.com/go-green/cocktails/green-cocktails-tips.html

Planet Green also offers five suggestions for Green Resolutions for this New Year. 1) Green your energy usage: Sign up for a renewable energy program. Green Power Network can help you find out how to buy green power in your state. http://apps3.eere.energy.gov/greenpower/buying/buying_power.shtml Also, if you haven’t already, opt for paperless bills…this can save 37 pounds of carbon emissions over the year.

2) Pledge to use public transportation, walk or bike. At least one more day per week in 2010, walk, bike, or ride the bus. Opting against driving just one day per week can reduce your carbon emissions by 1000 pounds over the course of the year! Plus, walking and biking can work towards your fitness resolutions too!

3) Reduce your consumption of meat. Vegetarian diets can have 2.52 tons less carbon emissions than those who eat meat; And, remember, Oh My! Pocket Pies is vegetarian friendly! While we would never force anyone to make the dietary switch to vegetarianism, just setting one day per week as “no meat day” could save 720 pounds of carbon emissions over the year. Treehugger.com has some yummy vegetarian recipes to start you off http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/10/cheap-easy-vegetarian-meals-recipes.php

4) Our personal favorite: EAT MORE LOCAL FOOD! We’ve recently written about the economic benefits to buying local, but Planet Green explains that each meal you eat made from local ingredients could save up to 666 pounds of emissions! Eat more local pie 🙂

5) Make your home more energy-efficient. Replace light bulbs with energy-efficient ones, don’t use the dryer, or dry only half your laundry, and unplug all your appliances to prevent them from draining electricity. Also, turning your heat two degrees cooler in the winter and two degrees warmer in the summer can save up to save 1000 pounds of carbon emissions a year.

This year you have the opportunity to make changes in your life, and make a difference in the world! Make 2010 your year for sustainability. Visit http://planetgreen.discovery.com/feature/countdown-sustainable-2010/ for more great tips for sustainable 2010. Happy New Year everyone!

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