Monday, October 12, 2009

Links of interest from Washington DC Green Festival

This was the first time I attended the DC Green Festival, now into its sixth year. There were plenty of lectures and panel discussions to choose from, as well as a large exhibit area, with booths divided into sections for home remodeling, food products, clothing, activist groups, etc. Here is a selection of interesting links about stuff I found at the festival:

Community Forklift is a home improvement store that carries used building materials. The site has links to other green businesses in the DC metro area.

Green Building Institute offers courses for green living, with topics ranging from vegetable gardening to green building materials.

DC Green Connection is a meetup for DC area green living enthusiasts.

Planting Empowerment is an organization that offers investments in trees in Panama, ranging from a $50 investment for 2.25 trees to a $1000 investment for 70 trees, up to a $10,000 investment for over 700 trees. From what I understand, these investment should be thought of as 25 year bonds, except the rates are pretty high (just over 7% for the $50 investment, 9.3% for the $1000). Because of the time required to cultivate healthy trees, it takes a pretty long time from the time a tree is planted to realize a sustainable profit from it, and this is reflected in the investment schedules - you'll have to wait the full 25 years to get maximum return. Distributions are typically scheduled for payout beginning in year 8 of the investment.

The nonprofit Center for Community Self-Help and its financing affiliates Self-Help Credit Union, Self-Help Federal Credit Union, and Self-Help Ventures Fund provide financing, technical support and advocacy for those left out of the economic mainstream.

The OmGym Suspension Yoga Set is a useful tool for enjoying the benefits of inversion without the advanced yoga skills required to do an unassisted inversion pose such as a headstand. One could probably use it for many of the same strength training exercises done on Power Rings and the Lifeline Jungle Gym. The inventor demonstrates some other fun applications (besides yoga inversion and strength training) in various videos on the site. What makes the OmGym green is the use of recycled materials.

ReDirect Guide is a sustainable business/lifestyle guide for 3 metro regions that also offers a credit card that funds carbon offsets with every purchase, obtains discounts from green businesses, and funds community banking.

Demilec manufactures green spray foam insulation products, including Sealection 500 insulation which has a 50 STC rating for sound proofing - looks like a great combination with two layers of sheetrock on each side (see the book Home Recording Studio Build it Like the Pros by Rod Gervais). takes unwanted electronic products such as old cell phones and will pay for some of them, unlike municipal electronic recycling programs which offer no chance at all for monetary reimbursement.

Crude is a documentary about the exploitation of the Amazon jungle region of Ecuador by Texaco-Chevron. I suppose I have a lurid fascination for this sort of film. It opens in DC at the E Street Cinema next week, for a one-week run. No, Michael Moore is not involved.

Tapped is a documentary about the bottled water industry. It explained why my previous employer abandoned the distribution of bottled water in favor of reusable canteens and filtered water dispensers. No, Michael Moore is not involved.