24 November 2009

chef mara making vegan chocolate chip cookies

Chef Mara is demonstrating how to make vegan chocolate chip cookies from scratch. After she pressed all of the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet, she used her cookie cutter to form them into heart shapes.

they were delicious!

i shot this video with my iphone and uploaded it to youtube.

eva cassidy is singing "autumn leaves" in the background.

19 November 2009

zipcar 101

Most days, I use a Zipcar to take my 4 yr old to/from school--which has sparked quite a bit of interest from parents and friends. So here's a quick tutorial for the curious.

Zipcar is a car-sharing company, occupying a unique space between renting and owning. As Zipcar says, "it's wheels when you want them" and not when you don't.

After filling out an application*, getting approved and paying an annual membership fee*, you will receive your Zipcar card in the mail. *(Look for Zipcar fee-waiving promotions.) The Zipcar card is what you use to un/lock the car, by pressing it against a device on the windshield. Once inside, you are ready to go: the keys remain inside the cars right by the ignition.

The Zipcars that I use are about 2 blocks from my apt in someone's driveway. All Zipcars remain in their designated spots. So where you pick them up is where you drop them off. My cars du jour are either a Honda Civic or a Mazda 3--both brand new. On days when I want something a little sportier (can you say MiniCooper!) or need a pickup truck to haul things, I can go to the website and find the closest locations for those cars.

ok, so what are the costs? Zipcar charges by the hour (and also has day rates). For my school runs, I get the car for 1 1/2 hours, which runs me about $15 or $9/hr. (I also do food shopping, etc.) The cheapest rate (at least in DC) is $7/hr for a Prius. (The MiniCooper will cost you more, of course!) There are no insurance costs and gas is free. Let me repeat: gas is free. There is a gas card in every car.

So why do I Zipcar? It's a great middle ground between public transportation (which I do) and buying a car (which I don't want to do).

Read this for the green benefits of Zipcarring.

I would love to hear stories from others who have chosen Zipcar over purchasing a car.

photo by chocolate & arugula. feel free to use.

16 November 2009

re-greening africa initiative

The World Wide Web Foundation has initiated a project that will use technology to help farmers grow foods in challenging soils. Through the Web Alliance for Re-greening in Africa, W4RA for short, local developers will be trained to use Web-based platforms to share local innovations.

The idea for this initiative grew out of strategies employed by farmers in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger who raised crops during and after several droughts in the 1980s. Twenty-five years later, the success of their work is clear: more than half a million hectares of previously unusable land literally became fruitful again.

Learn more.

13 November 2009

sustainable spelman

Spelman College just launched its new website, Sustainable Spelman.

check it out!

05 November 2009

american studies association conf in dc

The annual meeting of the American Studies Association starts today in Washington, DC. The theme is "Practices Of Citizenship, Sustainability And Belonging." There are ample sessions on humans and the environment and a couple of papers exploring critical animal studies. Check out the full program here.

One of the most interesting paper titles is "Booker T. Washington's Ecofeminist Approach to the New South," written by Janice Tanemura, University of California, Berkeley. Tanemura is one of the panelists for "The Contradictions of Environmentality" panel, which is also an online session. So if you are unable to attend the conference you can be a virtual participant by reading and commenting on the papers in this session. Check out Tanemura's paper (retitled "Working with Hands: Race and Ecofeminism in the New South" for Social Text) and let's dialogue about it.

01 November 2009

happy world vegan day!

Today is World Vegan Day. I can't think of a better way to celebrate than sharing chocolate & arugula with all the people you know and love.