City Hippy

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

Google Search:

City Hippy

CityHippy has posted its last post now (I now work for EMP plc, run At Home magazine online and more and personally blog over at Why? Click here to find out. We might be back. Keep our RSS feeds, keep us bookmarked, sign up for the news alert on the right. You never know...

We are dedicated to exploring how to live a greener and more ethical life. City Hippy is a growing collective of writers bringing you two types of content:

ARTICLES: Enjoy real content by real people trying really hard to live a greener and fairer life. Generally in-depth with weekly updates at least. Located in main body below.Subscribe:
BOOKMARKS: Follow our web travels & explore our 1400+ links to a greener life across various categories i.e. baby, cosmetics, DIY, furniture, garden & shopping. Short, sharp and frequent updates. Located down to the right. Click here to see our latest three bookmarks.Subscribe:


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

ADVICE: Green my ride

I had an interesting question posed to me this week from Joel in Florida.

I drive a normal car. I wish I could afford a cool green car like the Prius etc but I just can't. Everytime I drive my car I know I am harming the environment. But what can I do? Help me Oh Green One! You are my only hope!

Well it's funny you should ask my Floridian friend.

Published in todays Independent newspaper I found an article titled ' Drive with a clean conscience'.

The article is all about how:

It is possible to drive with a clean conscience - but only if you act now

Well that certainly got the City Hippy's I hope it has yours. Is there some magical way to drive our cars AND save the world? Surely not.

Well as far as this article is concerned there is a way...TA DAH! and it is nothing new to be honest. It is all about making your car carbon neutral.

Simply put, as long as you offset the CO2 cost of your car, ie the amount of CO2 you are pumping into the atmosphere, then you can drive with a cleaner conscience.

And how does one offset the CO2 cost of my car I hear you cry? Well...I kid you just need to plant trees! And you do not even have to get mud on your clothes doing can do it all with the click of your mouse!

You can use the Future Forest Travel Carbon Calculator to figure out how much CO2 your travel produces. Then you can simply plant the recommended amount of trees to offset your carbon contribution.

For me it only works out to be the equivalent of 4 trees a year for my car and train travel. And at only £10 (approx US$15) a tree it is hardly a fortune to put my mind at ease. £40 (approx US$60) to feel better about driving...where do I sign up?

Visit the Future Forest Travel Carbon Calculator or the CO2 Balance Carbon Calculator or even the Climate Care Carbon Calculators. Each one calculates a different way and some came out with larger may be worth doing all three and then planting the average...or you can err on the side of caution and even plant more than you need.

I even recommend planting the trees via a Charity (none of the above three are charities I believe) which is even better. In the UK you can use the Woodland Trust and if you are in the US you can use American Forests.


Technorati tags:

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

NEWS: Crappy nappy update

We have a reader update re the original Crappy Nappy But Happy post on May 19th 2005.

Ted, originally of Texas, USA, recently of London, UK, wrote to tell us that:

Funnily enough we had a damn hard time researching about green nappies.

We ended up getting some test ones through the hospital via a local agency but most of the numbers they had for us to call were out of business. So it took a couple of weeks to get sorted with some tester nappies.

Then when we got the test kit it was useless. The sample cover nappie, which is a terry cloth exterior and then plastic lined, goes over a cotton pad with a disposable degradable liner. Well, the pad didn't soak up any pee and the poo oozed past the liner and padding and out of the cover (which had been washed alot). So the test kit was off putting as it didn't really have any instructions and it didn't really work.

Cleaning poo off baby, clothes and the house 2 or 3 times a day turned us off. I draw the line at shit.

We do our best and do not give our wee one sweets/choco/sugar, salt and try to make his food ourselves from as much organic as we can (about 75% of the time) and if we give him premade stuff we aim for non E numbers and preservative crap.... I try to buy free trade etc... But shit is my limit.

I wish I'd had your site to access as I like the look of those Bamboo nappies. They look and appear to work like the plastic ones.

But yea we gave up with the green stuff from the Hospital/Council as they really weren't much help. The reality was far different from the theory.

We hear you Ted and feel your that you have found the City Hippy site of course you will always be able to refer to us for help on green and fair issues. Hurrah!

And we are gonna put our money where our mouth is. We have two friends who are pregnant and will be giving birth over the next 3-6 months and will be road-testing, (or should that be butt-testing? Ed.), various green and fair nappy/diaper options. Plus I myself am having a baby...well my wife is...I will just be standing there looking useless. And so we will give it all a good go and report back.

We intend to try a variety of systems including Old-fashioned Cloth re-usables, Moltex & Bambo organic disposables and the hybrid re-usable/disposable One Life World system. Watch this space. Will provide as much info on this as possible.

To check out all of these cool green and fair nappy/diaper options and our other related nappy/diaper links visit: The Cityhippy Delicious Diaper links.

Technorati tags:

UPDATE (20/07/05):
Just found a great reply to this 'report' from the Womens Environmental Network. Read it here

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

DEBATE: Big Business Bad?

Spurred on by the Chocolate thread on the FOE LIVING forum site...a new topic seems to have arisen:

Is big business capable of evolution towards a more sustainable business model?

Why do we assume that because big business has generally ignored the people and planet bottom lines that ALL big businesses always will?


By big business, by the way, lets assume we mean publicly traded companies.

City Hippy's answer to kick things off:

Yes we believe that big businesses that are publicly traded can be ethical...saw a recent report from the US (cannot recall or find where - anyone know - think it was from the WSJ?) showing that public companies embracing the triple bottom line (people - planet - profits) are outperforming those focused on profits alone.

Examples...well it seems early days yet as publicly traded companies often seem slow to embrace trends...but Cadbury's buying Green & Black and Dean Foods Purchase of Rachel's Organic (Horizon Organic Brand) seem to indicate big business is starting to wake up and embrace a new business model.


Technorati tags:

Monday, June 13, 2005

DEBATE: Chocolate Money

Someone has posted an interesting topic of debate on the Friends of the Earth LIVING forum.

I wondered what the general feeling was from people regarding Cadburys becoming the new owners of the Green and Blacks range.

Will you still buy Green&Blacks chocolates or switch to other alternatives and if so what might those other alternatives be.

Do you feel companies like Cadburys should be encouraged to get into the fair trade market although having said that i think Green&Blacks only produce two fair trade chocolate bar although they have quite a large range of chocolates and so see this as something to be encouraged however one may feel about large corporations,or do you
see it as a cynical marketing ploy by them in an attempt to hitch themselves to the current consumer interest in fair trade products /produce

This is what we posted in reply...what do you think?

Tricky one this...

Do we support 'big bad evil corps' or continue to support small scale producers...?

Recently, British Gas did a deal to supply Windsave generators to customers.

Now if they are dipping their toe with alternative energy which I suspect they are then if no one buys it the media and British Gas will assume the market is not worth it. This may turn a lot of people off from even considering the alternatives...

Surely the mainstream is the place we want alternatives to be promoted...preaching to the NON-converted!

In this example though windsave benefit from every sale so perhaps its less relevant than the pure takeover of Green & Blacks but the point is well made...

Plus presumably the people behing Green & Blacks have enough money to work on other projects they may have in mind and so it continues...

The question is:

Would you prefer to live in a world where green and fair products are mass-marketed using huge corporate marketing budgets whilst they make money for 'evil corps' and their shareholders...


a world in which the mainstream does not get alternatives promoted to them...

Personally...City Hippy chooses the former...we just want the world to get greener and fairer...if people make money at the same time then the net gain is in societies interest.

I have cross-posted this on our blog to try and whip up huge amounts of debate - that'll be one reply then ;)


Technorati tags:

Friday, June 10, 2005

CITYHIPPY: Newsletter & Delicious

Sorry for posting slow-down...summer is upon us...lots of collective peeps away and outdoors, ie not at their pc's, so small slowdown posting predicted.

Two things:

1) Keep in touch with the site by signing up to the City Hippy Email Alert Newsletter and get extra unique content PLUS freebies as they become available. We will email you when we post new content.

Right now, by signing up to the email alert, you could win two free tickets to the Utopia Launch party in London, UK which promises to be an awesome night. See top right-hand site of the site for signup.

2) Even though we do not post 500 times a day like some sites we do constantly add sites to our Delicious links (see brown box on the right hand side - keep scrolling and you will see it).

Delicious is a new web concept known as social bookmarking and allows us to keep you posted on the myriad of awesome sites we come across on the web.

Plus you can do much more like find out who else bookmarks the same sites as us and what else they bookmark.

Plus search our bookmarks or even just browse them by category (tag).

If you come across any cool sites let us know.

Have a good weekend.


Technorati tags:

Monday, June 06, 2005

REVIEW: Now boarding for Utopia

Thomas More wrote his famous work Utopia in 1516. Nearly 500 years later and whilst the world seems to be heading along a more, not less, dangerous path More's dream has finally become a reality online...ish!

Utopians Online is a fantastic place where like-minded positive people gather, become friends, take action, cement new business partnerships and even find new lovers (GRRRRR!!!).

This site has so much to offer it is hard to know where to begin:
  • Check out people online before contacting them
  • Use the forums to discuss whatever is on your mind
  • Meet the man or woman of your dreams
  • Go to some fantastic parties
  • Get involved with the key campaigns of the day
  • Connect with major activist organisations
  • Make friends from different groups of people
  • Find key partners to help develop your business

To sign up just go to the site @ Utopians Online and register for the 14 day free trial. After two weeks some services become locked unless you upgrade BUT we have it on pretty good authority that in a very short period of time the whole site will become free for those registered. There will always be a premium level though which will get you reduced ticket prices for Utopia Online events etc...

And speaking of tickets...we have two tickets to give away for the Official Utopia Launch Party @ Jacks in London, UK on Fri the 8th of July. This promises to be one awesome bash! These guys are experts at organising parties and I am positive you will have a good time.

We will be giving two tickets to one lucky person (in the next couple of weeks) from the City Hippy Email Alert newsletter so make sure you sign up to the newsletter (see top right of the site) asap to be in with a chance to win the tickets. And if you cannot attend the event for whatever reason then we will reserve a future prize for you...we know we have some great stuff coming up.

City Hippy gives Utopia a rating of 4 out of 5. We did not give it the full five as we are pretty sure the site will just be getting better and better over the next few months. But it deserves it!

City Hippy is already a Utopia member so add us to your buddy list when you sign up.



Technorati tags:

Thursday, June 02, 2005

EVENT: London goes Green...twice!

Two fantastic London (UK) events ahead in June...

London Green Lifestyle Show
This Sunday, on the 5th of June, why not stroll down to Greenwich Park, London, SE10 between 11am and 7pm to enjoy the London Green Lifestyle Show.

Entrance is free and allows visitors to see how London is becoming a greener city and how London is likely to be greener in the future.

The event is organised by the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and promises to be a great day out.

What can you expect at the event?
  • A green home exhibition
  • A children's green circus & carnival
  • Workshops & demonstrations
  • Vehicle innovations
  • A bike doctor and supervised bike parking
  • Recycling & energy efficiency
  • Organic food & drink
  • Live bands
  • Music & entertainment
  • Latest technologies

Plus, and most importantly of all, at least one of the City Hippy collective will be roaming round. Who knows...we may even bump into each other.

West London Green Festival 2005
Two weeks later than the London Green Lifestyle Show it is the turn of West London to put on a green bash...

The West London Green Festival 2005 takes place in Parsons Green on Sunday the 19th of June @ 1:00pm.

Again it is free entry and you can expect to:
  • Find out about organic and wildlife gardening, green living and alternative energy.
  • Find out how to build a very green and sturdy house made of straw.
  • Meet over 30 eco groups and find out how to get more involved and make the world your kind of world
  • Hear some fantastic music from around the globe
  • Watch some great Capoeira demonstrations
  • Eat and drink some great food and drink
  • Wow your kids with free face and hand-painting

Plus, again, at least one member of the City Hippy collective will be milling around and soaking it all up.

Drop us a line if you are going and we can hook up. Hope to see you there.



Technorati tags:

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

INTERVIEW: Debra Lynn Dadd

In the latest installment of City Hippy interviews, we spoke with Debra Lynn Dadd, The New York Times 'Queen of Green', a pioneering advocate for the consumer and for the planet. Located in the U.S., she is the author of Home Safe Home, which is described by the Library Journal as "is the ultimate reference of its kind, written by the leading authority on eliminating toxics in the home."

Debra's website,, contains a plethora of information for the health and environmentally conscious consumer, including Debra's List, which includes more than 1,000 websites for nontoxic, natural, and earth wise products. There's also some great information for people suffering from Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS). We think this is one of the best clearinghouses of information about environmentally friendly products and resources that we've seen!

City Hippy: Debra, thanks for agreeing to speak with us. Can you start by telling us how long you've been involved in "being green?"

Debra: I've been involved in being green since before it was called green. Since 1980.

City Hippy: Wow…1980. You must have felt very alone. What inspired you to get involved?

Debra: I started with an interest in toxic exposures because I became chemically sensitive. I was the first one to identify toxic exposures in the home and write about them for consumers in a small book I self-published in 1982. Tarcher published an expanded version in 1984, and now the fourth major revision of the original book has been published. It's now over 400 pages long and the resource guide has been moved online as Debra's List.

In 1987 I had a major epiphany. Once I removed all the toxic chemicals from my home, I was able to see that I also lived "out in the world," and I could see for the first time that my responsibility extended beyond the environment of my home to the environment of the whole earth.

I believe health and the environment go hand in hand. Our bodies are intertwined into the larger ecosystems of the planet, so to be healthy individually, we also need to create health globally. That goes for social health as well--we can't create health and happiness in our own lives if we seek to benefit ourselves by exploiting others.

City Hippy: That's a great philosophy, and it sounds very similar to ours. In practice what do you think has been your biggest success to date?

Debra: I'm really aware of how much my writing has contributed to the whole expansion of the availability of nontoxic products in particular, and also products with other environmental benefits. When I started in 1980, there were few products to recommend. Now there are so many products it requires a website, and I really need a staff to
evaluate and catalog everything that's available.

City Hippy: Being busier sounds like a sign of credibility to us. We have noticed lots of positive changes to your website recently and presumably the web is a big part of all our futures but overall what is your overall vision for the future?

Debra:At the very least, my vision is for everyone to use green products. But more importantly, there should be a global change in how we view ourselves as participants in life. We live in a world today where the predominant viewpoint is that we are consumers living in an industrial system. All attention is focused on attainment of not only real physical needs, but also perceived physical needs that are created by advertising and too much attention on making money.

In my vision, people of the world would understand that beyond the world of industry, we are participants in the world of nature. Our survival depends not on business or industry or economic systems, but on clean air and water and fertile soil, on trees and flowers, on food and butterflies, and all the systems that support the whole wonderful world of life.

There are also many more important things beyond our physical survival! Long ago I gave up pursuing the material and began to focus more on the ethical, the spiritual, the creative, the loving. The external world changes when we change our internal world. We have all the technology we need to live in an entirely green world, but people need to have a self-determined motivation to actually apply it – in other words, the desire to sustain life needs to supersede the need to hold on to the culture as it is. It sounds like a big shift, but I believe it can and must be done.

City Hippy: That's a beautiful vision, and we share it with you! But you're right that it sounds like a big shift. How do you think we can actually get there?

Debra: We can start with a lot more awareness of who we are as human beings – awareness of our essential spiritual nature, the source of our ethical and loving motivations, and awareness of physical nature as a species living within the ecosystems of the Earth. When we know who we are and that we have the inherent ability to create our world, we will act rightly.

City Hippy: Sounds spot on us to us but what do you think is the biggest obstacle we face to realising this vision?

Debra: I think it's fear of facing the truth about how much destruction each one of us is causing in the world. And also the general message of the environmental movement that "good nature" needs to be separated from "bad humans." In fact, humans are essentially good. All other species live together in harmony in ways that sustain
life. We can do that, too.

City Hippy's final thought:
Debra's vision of the future is inspiring. While it may seem difficult to attain, each of us can move closer to it by vowing to tread a little more lightly on the earth every day – by investing in green products, taking more time to connect with nature, and sharing our experiences and thoughts with others. Small steps can eventually lead to big change.

Technorati tags: