Monday, December 24, 2007

8 Ways to Save Energy at Home

Happy New Year!

For many of us, the new year brings resolutions of better living. We hope that you'll consider taking these easy steps in your life to save energy in your home.

  1. Low-flow shower head. Switch to a low-flow shower head and you have just taken the most effective step in saving water in your home. This cheap fixture will pay for itself in a year in what you save in water bills.

  2. Faucet water saver. This dandy fixture on your kitchen or bathroom faucet lets you adjust the amount of water when washing dishes or brushing your teeth. Those extra seconds will add up to a lot of gallons saved!

  3. Compact fluorescent light bulbs. We all know we should switch from those energy-losing incandescent light bulbs. Each bulb will save over $30 in your electricity bill, and you'll be saving more than 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from contributing to global warming, too. More info

  4. Renewable energy. I opted to get my home electricity from wind energy through my electric utility, costing me 2 cents extra per kilowatt hour. For reducing my climate change impact, I think that's worth it! To find out renewable energy options in your state, ask your utility company or visit

  5. Paperless bills. This is so easy: choose to get your bills online from your utilities, credit card company, bank, and phone company. Sixty-three billion checks are written each year in the United States: imagine how much paper we could save if we all paid bills online?

  6. Offset travel. We've become a traveling society, and all those air miles are building up carbon in our air. Offsetting each trip with clean energy for someone else is easy, and doesn't cost as much as you'd think. There are a dozen different companies out there; ones that I like are and

  7. Wash laundry in cold water. About 90% of energy used to do laundry is to heat water. Your clothes will also last longer when washed in cold water.

  8. Unplug it! More than 5% of a typical home's energy bill comes from electricity "leaked" from appliances that are plugged in and turned off. Unplugging electronics and things like cell phone charges when not in use will save on your electricity bill.

These small changes in your life will do a big part in helping to reduce global warming and save natural resources for future generations.

We at Conscious Consuming hope that this new year will bring health and happiness to you and your loved ones!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Recycle Now Video

Here is a funny movie from Recycle Now with Ed Byrne. Even though I seriously doubt anyone reading this blog isn't recycling, his accent alone makes this video worth it. Plus I love how the Brits place their trash in "rubbish bins," don't you? One of his other You Tube videos is a little risque, so if you want to entice friends to recycle, get them to watch this first, then send them to You Tube and see what pops up!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Last Day to Donate!!!

Today is the last day to donate at Gift It Up! to ensure that your gift cards arrive by December 24th. You can still donate after today, but we can't guarantee the gift cards will get to you on time.

Donations to non-profits in a loved one's name is a great addition to, or substitution for, material gifts this holiday season. Donations show that you care about their values and that you're willing to give who they are, not what they want.

Start a new tradition of caring this year! Donate at today!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A World Consumed by Guilt - New York Times

Here's a great article that talks about the dangers of buying stuff solely on its "eco-friendly" label. We hope that consumers continue to question the truthfulness of a $1,065 canvas bag ("100% recyclable"??) from Barney's!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Nonprofit Highlight: EarthWorks Boston

One thing I like best about working with Gift It Up! is learning about all the great organizations that are working in my backyard. One of these is EarthWorks Boston, which is working to bring nature to the urban community. It does this through three main ways:
  1. Planting fruit trees in open spaces, in conjunction with local neighborhood groups, to revive neglected spaces and share fruit with the community.
  2. Bringing environment to 1,000 kids in the Boston schools through science-based programs in their own schoolyard.
  3. Restoring Boston's own Urban Wilds areas, a total of 250 acres scattered throughout the city.
Donors can give tangible gifts such as dedicating a tree in an underforested area of Boston or giving an hour of environmental education lessons to Boston schoolchildren.

Local organizations like EarthWorks are crucial in making our city a real community. I hope you can join us in supporting them!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Featured Nonprofit: All Paws Rescue

Does someone in the family love animals? If so, donating to a no kill humane society such as All Paws Rescue may be just the kind of gift for the animal lover in your family. Or, of course, you can choose to adopt a dog or cat directly! Who wouldn't want to wake up Christmas morning to wet puppy kisses? Oh, OK, maybe your housemate...

All Paws Rescue, based in Massachusetts, is run by a group of dedicated volunteers. Services include the sheltering of homeless animals, pet placement services, veterinary assistance (including low-cost spay/neutering), and public awareness and Humane education outreach programs. I am a dog person, and have been thinking about animal shelters ever since I saw the indie film "Year of the Dog" this fall. The film portrays one woman's awakening to the fact that animals have feelings, and the reality is that many "shelters" euthanize dogs and cats when they cannot find suitable homes. She goes a little overboard for her love of dogs over the course of the movie, but in the end realizes that following her passion is more important than what people think of her. A good message for all of us conscious consumers, don't you think? You can donate to All Paws Rescue at

She also realizes that eating animals isn't very nice, either. While less than 10% of the US population is vegetarian, all people interested in reducing their carbon footprint should at least be trying to have meat-free meals. Livestock production is the 3rd largest emitter of greenhouse gases (behind only energy production and transportation), according to the Inernational Panel on Climate Change. For great resources on eating fewer animals, visit Go Veg.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Nonprofit Highlight: Free Wheelchair Mission

Free Wheelchair Mission makes an amazing difference in the lives of people with physical mobility issues in the developing world. For under $50, you can buy and ship a wheelchair to someone who might have been bedridden, or might be shunned in their community due to their lack of mobility. These wheelchairs are made with mountain bike tires and backyard lawn chairs. They are low-cost, durable, lightweight, and get the job done. You can visit Free Wheelchair Mission to see a video about the enormous difference a wheelchair can make in a person's life.

There are 100 million people worldwide who need wheelchairs, and Free Wheelchair Mission's goal is to get 20 million wheelchairs out into communities. They have distributed 285,000 wheelchairs to date. Conscious Consuming is proud to have Free Wheelchair Mission participate in Gift it Up! 2007, and we hope you consider this alternative gift opportunity. You can donate at, or email your friends and family a Christmas link about Free Wheelchair Mission.

Gift It Up! on the Tuber Report!

The Tuber Report was awesome enough to take the day off for Gift It Up! Check it out:

Monday, December 03, 2007

Nonprofit Highlight: African Health Foundation

Here's the bad news:
An estimated 12 million children have become orphans due to AIDS in Africa. As you can imagine, this dramatic reduction in adults and parental care has devastating effects on the social stability of these communities.

Over 2 million children in Africa are living with HIV. One of the greatest threats to their health is malaria, which kills 3,000 children every day. A cheap and easy way of preventing malaria is providing $5 bed nets that will keep away infected mosquitoes as the children sleep.

Here's the good news:
Non-profits like African Health Foundation are working everyday to build infrastructure and bring social stability and hope to these communities. Clean water and food are just the beginning, supported by counseling and sports activities for kids that upkeep the mental health of the community. African Health Foundation also brings needed supplies, like those mosquito nets, to the areas of the most need.

You can help. Visit to give to African Health Foundation and many other worthy non-profit organizations.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

5 Green Christmas Tips >> EasterKiwi

Gift It Up! got a mention on 5 Green Christmas Tips on EasterKiwi's blog, next to bunch of other great ideas on keeping your Christmas more environmentally-friendly. Thanks, J!