The Alternative Consumer

This blog focuses on environmental issues, and healthy lifestyle choices -- new products and service options for your self, your friends, family and home. It's all about making smart choices, and living well!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Wal-Mart & Big Biz Influence Our Organics

As the country's biggest discount retailer forays into offering organic choices, Wal-Mart's everyday business practices and their overall impact on our natural resources are worth 5 minutes of examination. From, this report includes an interview with W-M's head of sustainability.

It's most unfortunate and rather ironic that some giants of the food world who have gotten on the organic bandwagon (Kraft, Dole, Dean Foods) have applied values that work against the very health of their American consumers. The fact that the Organic Trade Association's big business constituents applied clout last November and got a bill passed that actually weakened the definition of "organic" -- allowing synthetics into the preparation, processing and packaging -- is appalling and unappetizing. For more


Begley's Best, Really

When I happened upon this link, and noticed a headline, "shorts" and then a link labeled "Begley's Best" I expected to see a short film on or by one of the very first celebrities to embrace conservation causes, Ed Begley. Much to my surprise, it was neither. I guess what I find most offensive is the garish graphic treatment. Oh well, if you try the product, let me know if it's any good.

Wholesome Values at Whole Foods?

Whole Foods is so big, there's gotta be some skinny on them. For some coherent insights on the value(s) of buying organic, see the report from a Field. (sorry, I couldn't help it -- note the name of the author of link)

Art That's All Consuming

I love this year-long, NYC-based, Art Project about Accumulating. Check out some of the 21 individual accumulation projects taking place as we speak, so to speak. My faves are the AOL CD project, and the de-accumulation project (when you LINK, hit the photo of the addressed envelope and check out the Kazoo story that involves Joe Jackson and Kurt Vonnegut, you can't make up better stuff.)

Green Apple Coupons on Line

In my ever-challenging quest in NYC to re-everything: recycle, re-use, re-charge, revise, REDEEM is the order of the day. Besides deriving a small amount of inner peace from recycling things on a daily basis, I figured why not feel guilt free about saving a little bit of money...LINK to reap another kind of green reward for re-ing. Hey, you've earned it.
Also try the sister site,

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Model Prefab Homes - Lean and Green

With names like Side Breeze and Glidehouse, who could resist a mod yet retro prefab that communes with its natural setting? Green architect Michelle Kaufmann creates beauties like this at $132/sf -- from one bedrooms to 5-stories. Pretty fab.
Check out Kaufman's own site
If you're really interested in the Glidehouse, it will be on display beginning May 2006 at the National Building Museum in DC.
more here

Or is the Cottage Life, a Butterfly or free Lustron (no joke, a free home) more to your liking?

Feds Auctioning Land to You and Me

Wanna buy a lighthouse?

Or how about a former nuclear missile site?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Know Watt Clooney Drives?

Of course, The Hot of Cool is eco-friendly, and electro-charged...Name that Car.
You know the one, it's:
a little bigger than a breadbox,
(39 inches wide and 8.5 feet long)
got 2 seats, (passenger sits behind driver)
made of carbon fiber
weighs 3057 pounds
goes from 0 to 60mph in 4 seconds
tops out at 150 mph
battery weighs only 1100 pounds
charge lasts about 80 miles
Made in Britain
Distributed via Spokane, WA
and oh yeah, costs only $85,000
It begins with a T...
And have you seen that cute, smart little hottie at MoMA?...You know, the one with the four wheels...

Organic Spa, Hampton Style

Specializing in alternative treatments and healing therapies, Barbara Close, owner of Naturopathica Health Spa and Pure Beauty Lounge in East Hampton, is the real holistic thing. With an herbal and flower garden -- based on sustainability methods such as crop rotation, soil management and composting -- yielding organic botanicals that form the basis of her beauty products, what more could an alternative galpal ask for? The formulations for her product line are inherently pure, or, as Barbara has said, "We don't 'greenwash' our products by adding extracts to synthetic base products, which can be toxic to the skin." Worth a trip out east, no matter what the weather

Friday, March 24, 2006

Life in the Slow Lane

Had it with fast food and fast times? Leave it to the Europeans to appreciate Slow Food for the Slow Life...kick back, relax and savor the flavor of what passes through those lips...hey, it's a lifestyle thing

Pay Dirt

Conservation pays. For an economic spin on Waste as Resource material, taken to the max, this might make your head spin.
and just in case you didn't catch it, here's the home page of all conservation homepages...check out how sustainable life is on Bowman Island, just north of Vancouver, BC.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Battery's out of Juice?

I've been on a feng shui tear lately. De-cluttering closets (yes, the bane of my existence) and re-organizing drawers. I don't know which is worse, to have or not have places to store things. In my quest for physical and mental clarity, I've uncovered so many things that are of no use to me anymore. So, if you dare go down that road to spring cleaning bliss, and want to help preserve our limited, natural resources, here are a couple of recommendations on where to recycle/unload items that may have no value to you anymore...
for recycling batteries under 2 lbs, and cell phones
Or if you're cleaning out an entire home or building, you may need support that's more extensive

Water - Your Glass may be Half Full

OK, the official, annual Water Day has come and gone but let's not forget the importance of conservation in our own lives, on a daily basis...Inspired by yesterday's Liquid Theme, I uncovered a very interesting site to satisfy my thirst for more knowledge.

Trader Joe's NYC Debut

Just for kicks this past weekend, I thought I'd check out the new Trader Joe's that had just opened its first set of doors in NYC. Much to my surprise when I arrived at about 12noon, there was line of like-minded folks who were waiting to enter the store. Now I'm not a wait in line kinda person but I figured what the heck, it was supposed to be a 15 minute wait and they were handing out samples of food to those who hung in there...nothing like free food to keep people happy.

As I was hanging out, I realized that the building that Trader Joe's occupies was formerly the, a flood of blurry memories whizzed by...the Clash, Prince, dancing til dawn... Well, it was a little scary to realize this was 2006 not, this little trip to TJ's really was a trip.

Not to digress, the line of foodies moved pretty quickly as we meandered into the shop -- mind you, I'd never been to a Trader Joe's before, so I have no other location to compare this one to. All that I can say is, it was a very positive experience. Yes, the place was a bit overcrowded but everyone seemed to be in a good mood. I prefer organic food, and the organic produce (I bought mushrooms, broccoli florets, pears, apples, baby spinach) was priced really reasonably. I also tried TJ's own brand of non-fat organic key lime yogurt -- it cost a mere 69 cents for the individual serving, and it tasted great. Picked up a quart of TJ's 100% Cranberry Juice for $3.99, a bargain! I've shopped at Fairway off the West Side Hiway, 125th St (great value also), and have been a regular at Whole Foods (can be pricey)...I'd definitely make TJ's a regular stop...even though it's a small space, and doesn't stock all of my personal faves -- it's worth checking out...East 14th St, by 3rd Ave. Open 9a-10p every day. Their soon to be opened wine shop is located right next door, I hear they offer bottles of wine for $1.99...Here's the link if you want more of the TJ story.

Underground Helpers

Solutions to agri-business challenges and pharmaceutical breakthroughs may lie right beneath our feet...Continued

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Green and Mean 2006

Top hybrid cars are evaluated here...

And for a list of the Top Greenest Vehicles for 2006...

Or Top Vehicles by Class for 2006...

Amazon Rain Forests Alert!

Study warns of shrinking Amazon and its ramifications, with an eye on the year 2050.

Today is World Water Day

Where would we be without one of our earth's most important natural resources, H2O?