The Loma Prietan - July/August 2009


by John Maybury

Hot Swedish Bodies

In Sweden a real estate company is researching a way to warm a busy train station with heat captured from the bodies of thousands of railroad passengers who come and go through the station. (Earthweek)

Simple Green

The original all-purpose, nontoxic, biodegradable cleanser, Simple Green, has morphed into more than 20 different varieties, each specifically formulated to cut grease and grime. Simple Green created its first green cleaner in 1975, and since then, all of its cleaning products have been free of chemicals such as ammonia. Simple Green is qualified under EPA and OSHA guidelines as nontoxic and biodegradable; rescue workers have even used it to clean animals after oil spills. Simple Green has donated a million gallons of its products to disaster and humanitarian relief projects. Except for a few ready-to-use products, the formulas are concentrated, so you can use less of them than other cleaners. It also means there's less packaging waste and energy use for shipping. Simple Green's EGBAR Foundation funds community cleanups and environmental education programs, which more than 1.5 million kids have participated in. (

Green Dimes stops junk mail and unwanted catalogs. In the US alone, more than 100 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water will be lost this year to create junk mail. GreenDimes cuts up to 90 percent of your home's junk mail and plants trees through its nonprofit tree-planting partners, all for a one-time fee of $20. The organization already has stopped 3 million pounds of junk mail and planted 425,000 trees, in just over a year. GreenDimes has more than 3,000 different catalogs in its Catalog Screener opt-out database. Also try to block unwanted catalogs.

Good Wood

Bamboo may be the modern world's most perfect plant. Buy everything from plates and bowls to hardwood flooring and furniture made from bamboo, and feel good about supporting a plant that supports your health and the environment. Bamboo stands are known to release 35% more oxygen into the air than other trees. Its fast growth rate (some species grow as much as a foot a day) makes bamboo an excellent choice in replanting deforested areas. Products made from bamboo are incredibly durable, so you get long-lasting value with every purchase. Great bamboo resource, from tabletop products to retail outlets to a brief history of bamboo: For beautiful and affordable bamboo flooring:

Green Staycation

Ditch the road trip and stay close to home this summer: good for your carbon footprint and for your wallet. Hey, you already live in the Bay Area, one of the world's most beautiful places. Bay Nature magazine's free, interactive map shows parks, trails, hikes, and events. (

Feed Feathered Friends

Feeding birds in your backyard helps them thrive, especially important for the females' breeding season. Add unsalted peanuts to the mix for extra protein. US and UK bird lovers put out half a million tons of bird seed a year. (Audubon)

Be the Change

Contemplating a green career change? Not sure how to start? Acterra's "Be the Change" environmental leadership program can give you the training and experience you need to help you toward a new "green" career. Many of our graduates have used the program as a way to ease back into the workforce after a period at home, and others have "greened" their current job or company. The 10- month course starts in September and features monthly seminars that teach participants to be effective change agents where they live, work, worship, or play. The curriculum revolves around environmental information, personal skills mastery, and social change processes — and everyone does a project to put what he or she has learned into practice. We have top-notch speakers and advisors, and the other class members are also emerging leaders with demonstrated skills. All members learn from one another and come away with a group of 25-30 new friends. Come to an info session to learn more about the program, meet others who care about our environment, and talk with "Be the Change" advisors and staff. July 30, 6 to 8 pm, Mountain View City Council Chambers. Contact: Rebecca Araiz Iverson, 650-922-1787.

Meandering Mail: