City Hippy

The diary of our struggle to live a green and fair life.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

NEWS: San Francisco - Judge Saves the Trees!

Who remembers reading Dr.Seuss' book, The Lorax (one of my all time favorites)? The copyright for that great story is 1971, and it's still relevant today. Politicians are still running around (like the Once-ler!) trying to chop down our trees. Luckily there are a few Loraxes around to help put a stop to it!

A federal judge here in Northern CA reinstated the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. It was designed during Clinton's presidency to protect millions of acres of wild forests from logging, roads, and oil exploration.

This is important to us here in the Bay Area because the world's tallest tree, which is the Hyperion at 378 feet, is located right in our Redwood Forest. How lucky are we?!!!

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Hyperion and the other giants are quite lucky to still be standing after the last few decades and especially the last few years: "Redwood experts say the discovery is a bit surprising considering that so much of the state's redwood forests have been logged…the trees were protected less than 30 years ago by an expansion of the national park's boundary."

Here's a statement from Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director, that was sent in a press release:

"Today marks a huge victory for America’s last remaining wild forests and the millions of Americans who have spoken out in support of protecting these special places for future generations. These are increasingly scarce unspoiled places that provide some of the highest quality fish and wildlife habitat, backcountry recreation and clean water supplies in the country.

"The Bush administration replaced the original rule with a policy that left wild forests across the country vulnerable to destructive oil and gas development, commercial logging and road building. The administration has already moved forward with timber sales in roadless areas in Alaska, New Hampshire, and Oregon.

"From policies that prioritize logging over community fire protection to proposals that sell-off National Forests, the Bush administration has worked to weaken or eliminate the core protections for America’s wild forests. They have put the interests of the timber industry ahead of the clean water, recreational opportunities, economic benefits and wildlife habitat that these forests provide the country."

*The Sierra Club was one of the many environmental groups represented by Earthjustice in this lawsuit. For a copy of the judge’s ruling, please call (415) 977-5619 or email

The Sierra Club is headquartered in San Francisco, here is their website if you would like to get involved in all that they do:


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Monday, September 25, 2006

NEWS: Carnival of the Green #46

Carnival of the GreenOne more monday arrives and that can only mean it's Carnival of the Green time.

This week's carnival is to be found at Ecostreet. My pick this week is the interesting Top 10 Eco-Friendly Diet Tips.

More info about the Carnival of the Green re hosting (now booked up into April 07) and posting available here.



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Thursday, September 21, 2006

FEATURE: Help - Rescue Centre Crisis!

A little while ago I was fortunate enough to be invited to an event which recognised the dedicated work of lots of different volunteers in Nottingham. I was particularly proud because one of the Reach Out award winners was a volunteer from the charity I work part time for; there was not a dry eye in the house!

Another volunteer which stood out for me that night was a very humble gentleman called Terry Marsh, AKA ‘Terry the Bird Man’. Although I had heard of Terry I was completely unaware of the level of his devotion and commitment to wildlife until then. It all started 20 years ago when Terry injured his back and had to give up his beloved pet canaries and finches. Local people knew that Terry had a knack with wildlife, especially the feathered kind, and although he wasn’t well someone brought him an injured starling to care for. Naming the starling ‘Rambo’ and nursing him back to health, Terry knew this was the start of something special.

Over the years Terry has been the first port of call for many people in Nottinghamshire (including the police and the RSPB) when they didn’t know what to do with injured birds and wildlife. Now however, all that is at risk and Terry’s sanctuary has reached critical point.
A couple of days ago I called Terry for some advice on what to do with a sick frog. Sure enough he helpfully and patiently described what I should do for the frog’s best welfare but what he told me next was very upsetting.

Despite the recognition and the praise Terry has recently found it very difficult to secure donations and support in order to keep the sanctuary running. He must constantly buy food, bedding and medication in order to care for the animals but unfortunately these costs are higher than the donations coming into the charity. The rescue centre never turns an animal away but now Terry is worried that he won’t even be able to keep its current residents after this Christmas.

After talking to Terry I felt compelled to do something and I hope you will too. Perhaps you could make a donation, tell others about Terry’s work or get in touch with him to ask how you can help?

Take a look at the Terry Marsh website and you’ll understand why his Nottinghamshire Wildlife & Bird Rescue Centre just can’t close!

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

WEEKLY Q: How long we got?

So many predictions of how long we have got to tackle climate change before the last train leaves town...10 years seems to be a good summary of what people are saying including Al Gore.

Have we got 10 years? Ice is melting faster, seas are swelling quicker and temperatures are climbing more swiftly than we can predict.

How long we got? Day After Tomorrow?




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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

EVENT: San Fran's PARK(ing) Day

I love it when activists come up with fun and creative ways to get a point across. Well, if you've been around the blogsphere for a while you may have already heard about the group ReBar and their PARK(ing) Day installations. I'll explain briefly:

Metered parking spaces are transformed into a temporary public space. It becomes a mini retreat for the urbanite to sit down, have a cup of coffee (fair trade of course!), read, relax from all your shopping, meet up with friends, people watch, or just do whatever. The really cool thing is, it's in support with The Trust for Public Land.

PARK(ing) days have already garnered some local, national, and international attention. One of my favorite magazines, Ready Made Magazine, did a story on them in the Summer issue, and the green blog Inhabitat did a really good in depth story on them earlier this year.

So why am I posting all this? Because PARK(ing) day is upon us again! This Thursday, September 21, 2006. Go to the Rebar website for more details and to volunteer if you have the time. I'm going to try and volunteer or at the very least go to the different installations to take photos and post for you to see. From what I gathered from the ReBar website, PARK(ing) days aren't just a San Franciso thing, apparently a group in Italy were inspired as well as an architect firm in Glasgow!

Parking isn't just for cars anymore!


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Monday, September 18, 2006

NEWS: Carnival of the Green #45

Carnival of the GreenAnother monday and that means another Carnival of the Green.

This week's carnival is to be found at Karavans. This week I am loving the EcoStreet primer on renewable energy.

More info about the Carnival of the Green re hosting (now booked up into April 07) and posting available here.



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NEWS: Christmas Lights @ Taraluna

If you recall our recent launch of the Christmas Lights campaign then check out this wonderful effort from Taraluna, a Fair Trade, Organic and Green Gift shop, to give away CFLs with every purchase. What a great idea...



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FEATURE: I am a Pine Tree

Just got this by email from my good pal Paul @ Gingerleaf. It is very green and very cool.

All you have to do is find your birthday to see what tree sign you are. Then look below to find out what it means about you. This is really cool and somewhat accurate.

Jan 01 to Jan 11 - Fir Tree
Jan 12 to Jan 24 - Elm Tree
Jan 25 to Feb 03 - Cypress Tree
Feb 04 to Feb 08 - Poplar Tree
Feb 09 to Feb 18 - Cedar Tree
Feb 19 to Feb 28 - Pine Tree
Mar 01 to Mar 10 - Weeping Willow Tree
Mar 11 to Mar 20 - Lime Tree
Mar 21 (only) - Oak Tree
Mar 22 to Mar 31 - Hazelnut Tree
Apr 01 to Apr 10 - Rowan Tree
Apr 11 to Apr 20 - Maple Tree
Apr 21 to Apr 30 - Walnut Tree
May 01 to May 14 - Poplar Tree
May 15 to May 24 - Chestnut Tree
May 25 to Jun 03 - Ash Tree
Jun 04 to Jun 13 - Hornbeam Tree
Jun 14 to Jun 23 - Fig Tree
Jun 24 (only) - Birch Tree
Jun 25 to Jul 04 - Apple Tree
Jul 05 to Jul 14 - Fir Tree
Jul 15 to Jul 25 - Elm Tree
Jul 26 to Aug 04 - Cypress Tree
Aug 05 to Aug 13 - Poplar Tree
Aug 14 to Aug 23 - Cedar Tree
Aug 24 to Sep 02 - Pine Tree
Sep 03 to Sep 12 - Weeping Willow Tree
Sep 13 to Sep 22 - Lime Tree
Sep 23 (only) - Olive Tree
Sep 24 to Oct 03 - Hazelnut Tree
Oct 04 to Oct 13 - Rowan Tree
Oct 14 to Oct 23 - Maple Tree
Oct 24 to Nov 11 - Walnut Tree
Nov 12 to Nov 21 - Chestnut Tree
Nov 22 to Dec 01 - Ash Tree
Dec 02 to Dec 11 - Hornbeam Tree
Dec 12 to Dec 22 - Fig Tree
Dec 23 to Jan 01 - Apple Tree

TREES (in alphabetical order)
Apple Tree (Love) -- quiet and shy at times, lots of charm, appeal, and attraction, pleasant attitude, flirtatious smile, adventurous, sensitive, loyal, wants to love and be loved, faithful and tender partner, very generous, many talents, loves children and animals, needs affectionate partner.

Ash Tree (Ambition) -- extremely attractive, vivacious, impulsive, demanding, does not care for criticism, ambitious, intelligent, talented, likes to play with fate, can be very egotistic, reliable, restless lover, sometimes money rules over the heart, demands attention, needs love and much emotional support.

Beech Tree (Creative) -- has good taste, concerned about its looks, materialistic, good organization of life and career, economical, good leader, takes no unnecessary risks, reasonable, splendid lifetime companion, keen on keeping fit (diets, sports, etc.).

Birch Tree (Inspiration) -- vivacious, attractive, elegant,friendly, unpretentious, modest, does not like anything in excess, abhors the vulgar, loves life in nature and in calm, not very passionate, full of imagination, little ambition, creates a calm and content atmosphere.

Cedar Tree (Confidence) -- of rare strength, knows how to adapt, likes unexpected presents, of good health, not in the least shy, tends to look down on others, self-confident, a great speaker, determined, often impatient, likes to impress others, has many talents, industrious, healthy optimism, waits for the one true love, able to make quick decisions.

Chestnut Tree (Honesty) -- of unusual stature, impressive, well-developed sense of justice, fun to be around, a planner, born diplomat, can be irritated easily, sensitive of others feelings, hard worker, sometimes acts superior, feels not understood at times, fiercely family oriented, very loyal in love, physically fit.

Cypress Tree (Faithfulness) -- strong, muscular, adaptable, takes what life has to give but doesn't necessarily like it, strives to be content, optimistic, wants to be financially independent, wants love and affection, hates loneliness, passionate lover which cannot be satisfied, faithful, quick-tempered at times, can be unruly and careless, loves to gain knowledge, needs to be needed.

Elm Tree (Noble-mindedness) -- pleasant shape, tasteful clothes, modest demands, tends not to forgive mistakes, cheerful, likes to lead but not to obey, honest and faithful partner, likes making decisions for others, noble-minded, generous, good sense of humor, practical.

Fig Tree (Sensibility) -- very strong minded, a bit self-willed, honest, loyal, independent, hates contradiction or arguments, hard worker when wants to be, loves life and friends, enjoys children and animals, sexually oriented, great sense of humor, has artistic talent and great intelligence.

Fir tree (Mysterious) -- extraordinary taste, handles stress well, loves anything beautiful, stubborn, tends to care for those close to them, hard to trust others, yet a social butterfly, likes idleness and laziness after long demanding hours at work, rather modest, talented, unselfish, many friends, very reliable.

Hazelnut Tree (Extraordinary) -- charming, sense of humor, very demanding but can also be very understanding, knows how to make a lasting impression, active fighter for social causes and politics, popular, quite moody, sexually oriented, honest, a perfectionist, has a precise sense of judgment and expects complete fairness.

Hornbeam Tree (Good Taste) -- of cool beauty, cares for its looks and condition, good taste, is not egoistic, makes life as comfortable as possible, leads a reasonable and disciplined life, looks for kindness and acknowledgment in an emotional partner, dreams of unusual lovers, is seldom happy with its feelings, mistrusts most people, is never sure of its decisions, very conscientious.

Lime Tree (Doubt) - intelligent, hard working, accepts what life dishes out, but not before trying to change bad circumstances into good ones, hates fighting and stress, enjoys getaway vacations, may appear tough, but is actually soft and relenting, always willing to make sacrifices for family and friends, has many talents but not always enough time to use them, great leadership qualities, is jealous at times but extremely loyal.

Maple Tree (Independence of Mind) -- no ordinary person, full of imagination and originality, shy and reserved, ambitious, proud, self-confident, hungers for new experiences, sometimes nervous, has many complexities, good memory, learns easily, complicated love life, wants to impress.

Oak Tree (Brave) -- robust nature, courageous, strong, unrelenting, independent, sensible, does not like change, keeps its feet on the ground, person of action.

Olive Tree (Wisdom) -- loves sun, warmth and kind feelings, reasonable, balanced, avoids aggression and violence, tolerant, cheerful, calm, well-developed sense of justice, sensitive, empathetic, free of jealousy, loves to read and the company of sophisticated people.

Pine Tree (Peacemaker) -- loves agreeable company, craves peace and harmony, loves to help others, active imagination, likes to write poetry, not fashion conscious, great compassion, friendly to all, falls strongly in love but will leave if betrayed or lied to, emotionally soft, low self esteem, needs affection and reassurance.

Poplar Tree (Uncertainty) -- looks very decorative, talented, not very self-confident, extremely courageous if necessary, needs goodwill and pleasant surroundings, very choosy, often lonely, great animosity, great artistic nature, good organizer, tends to lean toward philosophy, reliable in any situation, takes partnership seriously.

Rowan Tree (Sensitivity) -- full of charm, cheerful, gifted without egoism, likes to draw attention, loves life, motion, unrest, and even complications, is both dependent and independent, good taste, artistic, passionate, emotional, good company, does not forgive.

Walnut Tree (Passion) -- unrelenting, strange and full of contrasts, often egotistic, aggressive, noble, broad horizon, unexpected reactions, spontaneous, unlimited ambition, no flexibility, difficult and uncommon partner, not always liked but often admired, ingenious strategist, very jealous and passionate, no compromise.

Weeping Willow (Melancholy) - likes to be stress free, loves family life, full of hopes and dreams, attractive, very empathetic, loves anything beautiful, musically inclined, loves to travel to exotic places, restless, capricious, honest, can be influenced but is not easy to live with when pressured, sometimes demanding, good intuition, suffers in love until they find that one loyal, steadfast partner; loves to make others laugh.



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NEWS: Energy efficient Edinburgh?

The Scotsman reports that Edinburgh is one of the least energy efficient cities in the UK, according to Scottish/British Gas.

However, as one of the commenters on the article says, one of the factors may be all our old buildings. There are a large number of old tenements and Georgian terraces, nevermind the homes in the Old Town. It's not easy to make them energy efficient, even less so if you rent and cannot make alterations to help with this.

There's loads of great advice out there on being energy efficient, but I'd like to see more for people who rent and/or live in listed buildings and who can't make many alterations to their homes. I think that would go a long way to helping Edinburgh residents become more energy efficient.

What are your tips for energy saving in a rented home? After around ten years of renting my tips include getting hold of some good curtains (charity shops or family) and putting foil behind radiators to reflect the heat back in.


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Sunday, September 17, 2006

REVIEW: Gaia Girls

I have been thinking for a while now that what we need are Eco Heroes in literature and movies and lo and behold up pops the brand new Gaia Girls series from Lee Welles.

Despite this book (and the music, secret codes and website) being aimed at a younger audience it does capture adults with all the ease of Harry Potter. Imagine a sort of eco-teen Power Rangers.

Each book, overall there are seven with four initial books introducing each girl and the final three with them working as a team, is focused on a different girl in a different part of the world and each time the girl is given an elemental power: fire, water, earth and air.

The first book, Enter The Earth, is a stormer.

Elizabeth Angier is wise beyond her years and heading into grade five but first she gets to enjoy a great summer down on the family farm. All is bliss until a large agrobusiness moves in nearby and threatens their existence. Boo Hiss, the perfect pantomime villain. As if life isn't complicated enough Elizabeth suddenly seems able to hear Gaia but that priviledge comes at a price: with power comes responsibility.

Cue the action and as you would expect the plot will not let you down. I for one will be lining up for copies of the next books unless I can wangle more review copies. And this would make a great series of movies.

But don't take my word for it. Check out the reviews from Treehugger and SustainableTable.

And if you want more info check out the Gaia Girls website and even the authors MySpace profile.



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Saturday, September 16, 2006

NEWS: Recycle NOT Incinerate

On Wednesday 20th September a protest will be held outside the Nottingham Council House (in Market Square) against the proposed expansion of Eastcroft incinerator in Sneinton.

Nottingham City Council plan to increase the already massive 150,000 tonnes per year to 250,000 tonnes. I don’t know about anyone else but doesn’t this seem ridiculous? Surely they should be putting this time and energy into promoting recycling and providing more accessible recycling facilities? Remember my post in July where I spoke about the difficulties for some Nottingham residents to recycle even though they really want to?

For those who don’t know Nottingham the Eastcroft incinerator is situated near to the Notts County Football ground and shares Sneinton with many residents of the Nottingham city population, a large fruit and veg market and the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

In 2002 NAIL (Nottingham Against Incineration & Landfill) was established and since then have been working very hard to campaign against the expansion of the Eastcroft incinerator. On the NAIL website you can read their aims and objectives and find out how to get involved with their work. It also shows some shocking figures on the amount of toxic chemicals released over our lovely city.

If you happen to be in Nottingham on Wednesday afternoon go along and show your support. You can also keep up to date on how the campaigns are going on the Nottinghamshire Independent Media Centre website.

Make Hay – Web design making a positive difference

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

NEWS: The CityHippy Week

Ladies & Gentleman, it's Friday night, hang on hang on, it is not Friday night! Whats going on? Well me and Mrs Hippy are taking a break and heading into London for a mini-break so I am 'off piste' until after the weekend. Hence the early posting of the CityHippy Week. So without further ado, Ladies & Gentleman, Welcome to...

The CityHippy Week!

STORY OF THE WEEK: CLASSICAL MUSIC FANS SMOKE THE MOST DOPE: What tunes say about you - What is green and relevant about this study is that it turns out that Hip-Hop music fans are the least likely to recycle the least. Interesting...

What else caught my little green eye?

Branson backs biofuels for transport
Richard 'Virgin' Branson is clearly preparing for a low-carbon future. Good on him!

Sun Goes Green
Green going mainstream? Here is all the proof anyone astonishing mainstream green lifestyle section from the UK's largest daily, and might I add, Rupert Murdoch owned, newspaper.

Now climate change is threatening the traditional cottage garden
If this does not mobilise middle-England then I do not know what will.

To receive all the headlines that caught my eye this week make sure you sign up to my 100% spam-free weekly Newsletter (see top right to subscribe). PLUS subscribing also gets you:
The perfect email to get you through the week.

Cityhippy bookmark of the week: Solve climate 'whatever it costs' - BBC - Great article, terrifying but we have to think these things through now to avoid calamity later on. Worth a read

…and that's the way it is folks!



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NEWS: San Francisco's First Green Power Community

Those of you who live in the southeast sector of the city, know that it's not too good of a neighborhood and have been hearing for sometime now about all the new development that will be taking place in order to revitalize that area.

Well I can tell you first hand I do know new housing, public and retail spaces are coming! Many of us have already seen the plans. But what I didn't know and just found out is that San Francisco’s Mayor Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) General Manager Susan Leal announced a new initiative to partner with Lennar BVHP to create San Francisco’s first neighborhood powered entirely by clean, renewable energy! Above is a picture of the current power plant right in the neighborhood, that is so reviled by the residents!

(from press release my contact sent me)
The new “Green Power Community” would be on a 93-acre parcel at a site of the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, where Lennar BVHP is about to begin construction of more than 1,600 new residential units and 300,000 square feet of commercial and retail space. Under the plan, the SFPUC will deliver reliable, 100% renewable and cost-competitive power to new residents and businesses of the current and future developments through its extensive hydropower, solar and other renewable energy generation projects. “A new Green Power Community at Hunters Point is at the core of San Francisco’s clean energy vision and leadership,” said Mayor Newsom. “This partnership will bring clean, reliable, affordable energy to a community too long blighted by toxic industries and polluting power plants.”

The SFPUC has also been a leader in solar development, operating and maintaining the nation’s largest municipal rooftop solar facility in the nation at Moscone Convention Center.

“Green power is the way of the future, not just for Hunters Point, but for San Francisco,” said District 10 Supervisor Sophie Maxwell. “I am so proud to say that the Southeast Community is truly at the cutting edge of clean energy and environmental leadership for the Bay Area.” “Lennar BVHP has been committed to creating an environmentally friendly community at Hunters Point from the beginning,” said Kofi Bonner, President of Lennar Corporation, Northern California. “The possibility of a partnership with the City to provide green power directly to the community’s residents and businesses will help make this new Hunters Point community an environmental showcase for the nation.”

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

WEEKLY Q: Alternative Energy v Nuclear?

This week's question is bound to be a bit of a fire-starter. But it is a murky area that constantly baffles me, as I am sure it does many others.

Why will the UK build new Nuclear instead of investing in Alternative Energy?

Let's assume that without serious government support the required move to greater efficiency, lower energy consumption and renewables will not materialise. That would imply that Nuclear is the only way forward. Anything is better than coal right? James Lovelock would agree as he points out that we simply do not have time for alternatives.

On the other hand Nuclear takes ages to come online and feed into the grid. So has anyone done a study to examine what the state of renewables and the grid could be in the same amount of time it will take for new Nuclear to come online, assuming all the money spent by the government on New Nuclear were spent on renewables? And when I say spent by government I also assume they will have to clear up the future waste themselves as it appears they have to do with the current waste disposal costing £70bn.

I look forward to your responses.



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REVIEW: Green Metropolis

I am a bit of a bookworm and can't resist buying books at any opportunity. However, I have recently become aware of the colossal impact the book industry can have on the environment. Take the first print run of JK Rowling’s latest Harry Potter espisode, this stretched to over two billion pages - or 2.5 million copies - in the UK alone - the equivalent to over 8,000 trees!

Luckily, for the discerning book buyer there is now an ethical choice - - the UK’s first dedicated secondhand book website.

The idea is simple - you can buy, sell and recycle your books all in one place. All books have a set price of just £3.75 (hardbacks and paperbacks). £3.00 goes to the seller, 70p to GreenMetropolis. In addition the site donates 5p from the sale of every book to the Woodland Trust, the UK’s largest tree planting charity.

All you have to do is register for an account. Credit your account with cash and then purchase books. You can also register any books you wish to sell. Unlike most second have bookshops you will find both old and new publications on GreenMetropolis.

Founder Barry Crow, told me he came up with the when he downsized from a 4-bedroom house in Newcastle to a 1-bedroom London flat and found that he had literally accumulated hundreds of books over the years which now had to be given away.

Barry continued, "Whenever possible, I tried to buy my books from charity shops or second-hand book shops, however trying to find a book I actually wanted to read was difficult and any recent releases had to be bought new. The key behind GreenMetropolis was to create a community of readers who were prepared to recycle books by buying, reading and selling on their books via a website."

"I searched the Internet and realised that a comprehensive second-hand book website didn’t exist. So I started planning GreenMetropolis. In addition, it seemed that no other website, including market leaders Amazon, had found an ethical way of recycling books and as well as offering much the same service as a bookshop. "

GreenMetropolis found this way and in 2005, thanks to the members £1,974.50 was donated to the Woodland Trust.

I am a member of bookgroup, The PoshClub, so the site comes in every handy. Any book I need for the club I can purchase and then resell once I have read it. This not only saves me a lot of money but also helps plant trees at the same time.

Need a novel way to recycle your books? Look no further. provides a wonderful service.

Until next time, be as green as you can be


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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

EVENT: SanFran's Green Building Week

The city Of San Francisco has declared September 25-30th "Green Building Week"

In an effort to advance sustainable residential building in the Bay Area, the City of San Francisco has announced plans to support the world's largest ever residential green building conference: West Coast Green. In a Resolution filed July 25th and approved by Mayor Gavin Newsom August 2nd, the Board of Supervisors declared the last week in September "Green Building Week". The Resolution specifically called for The Department of Building Inspection, the Planning Department, the Department of the Environment and the Mayor's Office on Housing to help organize and promote the West Coast Green Conference, as well as future educational events and programs focusing on resource-efficient building.

San Francisco's environmental code requires that all new municipal construction attain the "LEED Silver" standard. The city is also one of the first in the US to provide priority permitting for private sector building projects that meet or exceed LEED ratings, a green building standard established by the US Green Building Council.

"The City of San Francisco is honored to host the first major residential green building event on the West Coast. Green building is increasingly recognized as essential to the health of your citizens, businesses and communities," said Mark Palmer, Green Building Coordinator for the Department of the Environment, City and County of San Francisco. "We look forward to this key event!"

The West Coast Green Conference and Expo balances high and professional conference standards while reaching out to the consumer. "Homeowner Day" (September 30th) is designed to give the public an opportunity to learn first-hand about how to build, renovate and explore within the green residential market, all first-hand.

In addition to multiple presentations by representatives of the City of San Francisco, keynote speakers include Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and trade innovators Ed Mazria and Sarah Susanka. Over 120 other speakers - all leaders in the fields of green architecture, engineering, planning, design and building supply - will address attendees on diverse topics. More than 250 exhibitors will showcase the latest innovations in resource-efficient materials along with green and healthy building products.

I will also be attending as a special guest of one of the supporters. It was very nice of the guys at Sensible City to give me a VIP pass (thank you!).


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Monday, September 11, 2006

FEATURE: Hessian Underpants #2

Issue 2 - The Hardening - of my wicked little comic, Heston WunderKrantz & His Amazing Hessian Underpants, featuring good old me, is now available online. Enjoy. And remember, most amusing comment will get you a guest spot and immortality, in the Christmas Special. Full archive here.

And to make sure you get the exclusive preview, and so much more, make sure you get Al's CityHippy email newsletter (see top right).

Finally as ever much credit is due to fabulously gifted British illustrator Paul Davis for putting mouse to pad and creating this masterpiece.

Please do show your appreciation by tipping us if you enjoy our hard labours.
Also feel free to promote this gritty and witty British eco cartoon on your own site using this Badge:

Heston Wunderkrantz
The real CityHippy

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NEWS: Carnival of the Green #44

Carnival of the GreenAnother monday and that means another Carnival of the Green.

This week's carnival is to be found at Worsted Witch. This week, and I have to say I love the intro paragraph, I am attracted to the relevant Not going to Naples post from Camden Kiwi - I am taking Mrs Hippy on a mini-break this weekend and instead of flying god knows where we are going into central London. Hurrah!

More info about the Carnival of the Green re hosting (now booked up into April 07) and posting available here.



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NEWS: Save Queen's Market

Nothing irkes me more than when I come across a group of regular folks working hard to earn their weekly crust being stamped on by big business.

Queen's Market is located in Upton Park, East London and is 'London's most ethnically diverse market'. The market is under threat from St Modwen Properties Plc but this Saturday you can register your support in what is being billed as 'A postive and peaceful rally against corporate greed.'

Venue: Queen's Market, Upton Park (next to the tube station)
Date: Saturday 16th September 2006
Time: 1.00 - 3.00 pm
Essentials: Cameras, whistles, bright coloured clothing and plenty of smiles!
Contact: John Peasnall - Tel 0208 472 5933
Organised by: Friends of Queen's Market

Interestingly, The New Economics Foundation recently produced a report showing that:
London's street and farmers markets are a powerful local economic force driving London's local economies, providing affordable healthy food and play a key part in the fight back against clone town Britain.
A worthy cause.



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Saturday, September 09, 2006

NEWS: Why not Ronald McPrius?

And so the McHummer saga continues.

It now appears that the McDonalds 'Open for Discussion' CSR Blog that started discussing the issue in response to the Ronald McHummer campaign seems to be reluctant to post comments expressing opposing views.

Both myself and at least one other blogger, Matthew from Enviroblog have posted such comments over 12 hours ago (at least) but they have not appeared yet.

I certainly hope that is an oversight and not evidence of a distinctly closed discussion. That would probably be fatal for that blog's credibility and would speak volumes about McDonalds on a variety of levels.

The point we are all making in our posts and comments is that if McDonalds are really as concerned with environmental issues, as they claim, then why on earth would they seek to promote such an eco unfriendly car, such as a Hummer, to kids using Happy Meals?

Surely an organisation with publicly professed green intentions would seek to promote a more eco-friendly option?

Have been discussing it with Matthew and Nick from TriplePundit and Nick has even suggested alternatives as well as sourcing/producing the funky image above.

Wouldn't it be cool if McDonalds gave out happy meals with toy Priuses, Smart Cars and Tesla Roadsters inside? Gets my vote!



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Friday, September 08, 2006

NEWS: The CityHippy Week

Ladies & Gentleman, it's Friday night! Welcome to...

The CityHippy Week!

STORY OF THE WEEK: Microwave engine gets a boost
Turns out a chap has apparently invented a propulsion system based on a propellant-free microwave engine. Initially useful for space travel this engine has the potential to also free us from our wings and wheels.

What else caught my little green eye?
Greening should start at work - ten steps for UK staff to tackle climate change
As workplaces and work-related transport generate around two-thirds of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions, the TUC has proposed ten simple steps that employees can take at work to cut energy use and protect the environment.

Fragile Earth - a growing series of little books covering big issues
Highlighting the perilous state of our world yet offering imaginative and radical solutions and some intriguing facts, these little books will make you weep and smile. They are regularly revised, keeping you up to date and well armed for the battle with apathy.

Change the world from the comfort of your desk!
Change the World 9 to 5 picks up where the bestselling book 'Change the World for a Fiver' left off; with fifty simple everyday actions which we can all do during our working day to change the world. It’s a simple concept. Change the small things. Encourage your workmates to do likewise. Sit back. Swivel. And watch as not only the quality of office life improves but also the planet’s prospects, the bottom line and – in turn – your boss’s disposition.

To receive all the headlines that caught my eye this week make sure you sign up to my 100% spam-free weekly Newsletter (see top right to subscribe). PLUS subscribing also gets you:

The perfect email to get you through the week.

Cityhippy bookmark of the week: Diamond group campaigns to improve gems' image - Reuters Uh oh...diamond industry fights back, instead of engaging the problem as a business should.

…and that's the way it is folks!



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FEATURE: Norwich - A Fine City

Norwich will always hold a special place in my heart, where I keep memories of happy student days. Back then I had no idea that I would be running my own businesses nor that I would go back to Norwich to tell its citizens about it.

This post is simply a tribute to the lovely people of the city I call my second home and although I’m on a mission to investigate how green a city Nottingham is, I have no doubt of Norwich’s eco credentials.

Given the opportunity to come back to Norwich for a couple of days I decided to set off, armed with Make Hay posters and flyers, to ask for the support of shop and café owners by displaying my poster on their walls. I love talking to people about what we do at Make Hay and have spent hours walking around Nottingham doing just that. I find it a great exercise to help you reinforce your aims and objectives and you’re always guaranteed to meet some interesting people.

I was so impressed by the open mindedness, awareness and generosity of the people I spoke to in Norwich that I felt like I needed to share it. Not once did anyone say they didn’t have time or that they had a policy not to display posters. In fact everyone took the time to listen, asked questions and wished me luck. Some even asked for extra flyers that they could give to a friend or put up at their child’s school.

Therefore in return for their support I thought this would be a good place to give them a mention and for anyone living in Norwich, or for anyone planning on visiting, this post points to some lovely places to visit. So here goes…..

Norwich Art Supplies
Head in the Clouds
The Greenhouse
Burgil Coffee (on Norwich Market)
Norwich Arts Centre
NEAD & The World Shop
Wilkinson Coffee Merchants

In Norwich there’s no shortage of shops and cafés where you can buy organic, local and fair trade produce and in other shops people seem to be aware and sympathetic to these issues. There are other things you notice which show Norwich cares about the environment like paper and can recycling bins in the bus stop and the general cleanliness of the city.

Plenty of scope for a City Hippy Norwich Editor Al! Any takers?

Another fortuitous event that happened to me whilst I was there was to bump into a BBC reporter in an internet cafe so thank you Adam Blenford for my 6 lines of fame on the BBC website!

Well done & thank you Norwich! Truly ‘A Fine City’.

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NEWS: 'McHummer ok' say McDonalds

Corporate social responsibility through the eyes of Vice President, Bob Langert on using Hummers as giveaway toys at McDonalds, something seized upon by the Ronald McHummer site:

Our company, including my staff, is deeply committed to the whole scope of corporate responsibility issues, including environmental protection. So I polled my staff who have or had children. One of them said her children enjoy the little Hummer replicas as toys, just as many kids like toy trucks, regardless of make or model. She drives a MiniCooper, walks with her children to get groceries, bicycles with them on weekends, etc. Another said her grandchildren absolutely love the toy Hummers--that they're fun.

Of course, there's nothing scientific about this poll, but I think it makes an important point. Looked at through children's eyes, the miniature Hummers are just toys, not vehicle recommendations or a source of consumer messages about natural resource conservation, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.

The Judge in the UKs longest ever Libel trial, McLibel, ruled
that they [McDonalds] 'exploit children' with their advertising, produce 'misleading' advertising

My thoughts: Of course giving away a Hummer affects kids as they are more likely to think that Hummers are socially acceptable. And the picture on the giveaway box shows Hummers riding roughshod over the environment. Not exactly eco-friendly.

That is why McDonalds would never give away a toy gun with a meal. Right? Because guns do not dovetail with McDonalds social policy I would hope and accept.

Thanks to EnviroBlog for breaking this news to me.



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Thursday, September 07, 2006

NEWS: San Francisco's Green Job Skills

A Living Library is offering free job training in skills related to Green Jobs! This is for low income residents and members of immigrant communities. What a wonderful opportunity. The program begins in September and goes until June 2007. You can receive training in a number of different areas such as: organic agriculture, bio-diesel fuel production, home energy conservation, water conservation, even computer and internet use. This is for adults 18 years or older. I can’t believe what an awesome opportunity this is for the right individuals looking to make a change in their life and the community. The program is being sponsored by SF City College, SF Park and Recreation and the Mayor’s Office of Community Development along with A Living Library; so take advantage of this opportunity. I hear space is limited. Contact: Babak Jacinto Tondre at for more info or to apply.


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FEATURE: Ethical Weddings Directory

At Ethical Weddings we are excitedly building up our little black (or should that be green?!) book of contacts to go in our Ethical Weddings Directory.

This can mean anything from organic wedding cakes to dressmakers working with fair trade fabrics to vegan shoes and wooden wedding rings to elephant dung stationery!

We are always on the lookout for ethical businesses that could cater for weddings in one way or another (ok, we admit it, we're a bit obsessed!) so if you are such a business - or charity or not-for-profit organisation - we want to hear from you!

One of the best ways to do this is to answer our supplier survey. This way we get to find out a bit more about what you want as a supplier - and you get the option of a 3 month free trial of the Directory! Interested? Click here to start the survey.

If you want to find out more about Ethical Weddings and why we started the website, why not download a copy of our Information Pack?

And if in doubt, just drop us an email - we're happy to discuss any queries you might have.

Look forward to hearing from you!

Take care


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FEATURE: Polar Bear Cannibalism

I defy anyone to say that global warming is hooey - it is not and the following evidence sickens me that mankind and man-made pollution has so adversely affected one of this planets fine species.

The polar bar is having to go longer without ice and the ability to reach it's natural food source and has been turning on it's own kind to sustain itself. This nasty twist is occurring more frequently than scientists had feared with instances of mothers with young cubs being targeted as they are smaller than the males and easier targets.

This nasty trend has added weight to the belief that the polar bear will be extinct before the end of the century. This is absolutely woeful and all I can do is urge you to make the changes that you can in your world and to encourage those around you to do the same - to minimise and slow down this horrid inevitability.

I cannot think of a bright side to this post - just that I wish my green hugs could reach those big white bears - in some way. [Although you would not really want to hug a hungry polar bear methinks he he he - Ed]

Green hugs


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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

WEEKLY Q: An Eco-Footprint Toolkit?

Have just posted the second post in my exclusive Everyday Green series over at The Ecologist Blog and this week it ties in perfectly to the CityHippy Weekly Q series.

In next weeks 'post 3' I intend to start measuring my eco-footprint. I will therefore publish details of what I intend to measure, why and how - an eco-footprint toolkit if you will.

So this weeks question is: What elements of my eco impact do you think I should measure, why and what methods do you recommend for measuring them.

Please do remember that this is a tool not for experts but for regular people to use.

Of course I will be happy to credit you if I use a tool or method you recommend.

The resulting eco-footprint toolkit should be a fantastic, practical and useful starting point for anyone wishing to measure their own eco-footprint.

Once I have a starting point and can assess our eco-footprint I can look at reducing that eco-footprint in an easy and doable way.

I look forward to your responses.



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NEWS: London Paper Goes Green-ish

New freesheet The London Paper launched this week and I was delighted to discover a daily GreenLondon section.

The paper is a NewsInternational paper, hence the tabloid look and the mandatory use of the word 'Pervs' on the front cover he he he.

Currently it seems that their site is still under development as the Green London section does not appear to be working yet.

But today, to give you a sample, with links of my own for more information where I could find them, the GreenLondon section included two headline articles on 'how pollution is affecting Polar Bears fertility' and that 'a majority of adults would eat junk to ensure their kids get organic produce' which I think is from the Soil Association to mark Organic Fortnight. Incidentally just found this great debate about organic versus conventional farming from Waitrose.

And in their smaller 'Green-ish' sub-section I learned that 'Britain used to be a tough place to live in Prehistoric Times', read coverage of 'Al Gore's speech in Finland' and finally discovered the news that 'almost 30 projects to educate people about Climate Change have been approved by the Government' as part of a wider campaign.

Delighted to see a paper devote a whole page every day (from what I can tell) to green issues, ish ;)



UPDATE: I now also recall that the other London Freepaper, Metro, given away in the morning has a weekly (or occasional) green page. I will watch out for the next one and give it the same sort of mention to be fair.

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NEWS: Green City Living Fair

This event sounds great, and it's taking place this Saturday at St George's West Church on Shandwick Place and St John's Church on Princes Street between 2 and 4.30pm. You'll be able to learn all about green city living through discussions, stalls and displays. There will also be stories and activities for children, plus the whole thing is free to attend.

I'd love to go, but I'll be on my hols up in Orkney. I hope the fair goes well though!


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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

NEWS: RIP Steve Irwin

Whilst this happened yesterday I am surprised by how I feel about this chap. Seemed like a really nice guy and definitely one on the side of a greener planet.

A good man is down and gone.

He injected nature's most brutal side in to my consciousness and made me realise that even the most dangerous is just as much a part of our world as we are.

RIP Steve Irwin - Crocodile Hunter and lover of life.

Is that croc smiling or is it me?

He was a wonderful character, he was a passionate environmentalist, he brought entertainment and excitement to millions of people.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard


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NEWS: San Fran's Green Movie Nights

Did you know The San Francisco Urban Alliance for Sustainability has been hosting cool green events for sometime now in the City? Who are they you ask? Well a group of concerned individuals like you and I who decided to come together to create a sustainable model that could be used in an urban environment. And I have to say it’s working! The group has grown to include business owners, eco-preneuers, artists, educators, professionals and even children! All coming together to show you can be “eco in the city”.

One fun event they host monthly is Green Movie night! The first Tuesday of every month they show a variety of documentaries, commentaries, or films around relevant topics of today. They ask for a small donation at the door, but no one is turned away for lack of funds! So bring a pillow, a bowl, and a mug and enjoy the free organic popcorn and tea while making new friends over a movie.


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