Recap: How Eco18 Celebrated ‘Earth Day Weekend’

We here at eco18.com had a great weekend celebrating the Earth with all of the various Earth Day events that were taking place throughout the city. From Battery Park City, to Union Square to Grand Central Station–there was so much to see and do this weekend to commemorate the planet. We especially enjoyed taking in the 2nd Annual Green Festival that took place at the Jacob Javit’s Center. We each went our own way to peruse our favorite topics and give you a round up of trends we are seeing, new products we loved and some of the noteworthy things we learned at the various seminars.

Beauty

Natural beauty is getting a lot of attention lately, so we were excited to check out the beauty brands that were exhibiting, as well as attend some of the talks surrounding green and sustainable beauty. One of the panels we attended was Green Beauty Scentsation, which included our friend, and Green Beauty and Wellness Coach, Rebecca Casciano  and Jody R. Weiss of PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics, moderated by Amy Galper of Buddha Nose. The experts made it a point to remind us that ingredients what we put on our skin very quickly enters our body, so it really does matter what is in the products we’re using–and for that same reason we should have a better understanding of product labels. Jody reminded us that many beauty labels are using the Latin derived names on ingredient lists (an FDA requirement), so just because it’s an unfamiliar word doesn’t mean it is a bad ingredient—we should look up ingredients that are not familiar; while Rebecca pointed out that the same way we want a minimalist list of food ingredients, we should look for the same in our beauty ingredients–not too many and easy to understand.

After listening to the informative panel, it made it that much easier to go around and learn about the various beauty companies exhibiting and take a real interest in what the products were for and what ingredients they contained. Lucky for us, everything there was natural. A few stand out brands were:

Flourish Natural Body Care - a line of shampoos and conditioners that are made in small batches. There are three different scents and everything is all natural with distilled essential oil blends from flowers, leaves, roots and trees. They promise never to use artificial fragrance!

Ginger Chi -  a line of beauty products combining the healing properties of fresh ginger with other essential oils to balance and revitalize Chi

Jing Ai - The Mandarin Chinese phrase for “Pure Love”, Jing Ai is a line of Sierra Glow Duo Bronzers that comes in three shades. The secret formula is infused with certified organic wild rose pedals. It’s a dual purpose makeup that can be used on your cheeks and/or as eye shadow. As a hidden bonus, each bronzer comes with a Wildflower Seed Paper that can be planted in the ground to sprout up wild flowers.

Sweet Bum Bum Naturals - A line created by a grandmother for her daughter and grandchildren, they have a full line that includes: Natural Baby Oil, Organic Baby Bath Spray, Natural Baby Powder, Organic Baby Detergent, Shampoo and Body Wash and Body Lotion; the full line is great for both baby and momma!

SoapBox Soaps -  Great soaps on a mission. Made with Organic Shea Butter, for every bar purchased the company donates another to a child in need.

And not exactly beauty, but we also loved…

Freshwave - household air fresheners that absorb odors for up to 60-90 days. The attractive container is re-fillable and there is a whole collection of natural odor eliminators for home, office and travel.

Carbon Footprint

Sunday afternoon at the Green Festival was a delight. It had a great atmosphere, brands were there to share information about their products and services, and concerned citizens were there to make connections and spread the word about how we can be more responsible and active when it comes to taking better care of our planet.

A favorite getaway in New York State is the Catskill Mountains and the biggest concern for the area is fracking–or hydraulic fracturing–We wanted to get better educated on the process and what it could mean to the beautiful area loved by so many and the potential health consequences. What we learned will be included in future articles, but the two sessions we attended were informative and impassioned. If fracking hasn’t made it on to your list of concerns, it’s about time that it does.

Maura Stephens gave a very informative talk about fossil fuels followed by Alison Rose Levy (AlterNet) and Tanyette Colon (Mothers United for Sustainable Technologies). Three passionate and intelligent women concerned about our planet and how we can mobilize our communities to take action. An inspiring and educational afternoon! We recommend that you check out all of the organizations and the experts to learn more.

Fashion

Responsible Retail Therapy was the name of the game at the Green Fest this week with two different runway shows taking place. The first was Saturday’s Recycled Runway show with fashion designs from the Parsons School of Design in New York City. During the design process, student designers from the organization took pre-existing items bound for landfills and refashioned them into an on-trend line of sustainable garments as part of Parson’s first zero-waste class. Recycled Runway’s goal is to make people question their relationship with waste and the things they interact with everyday, like clothing.

On Sunday we were able to watch the Eileen Fisher’s sustainable fashion presentation that was co-produced by sustainable fashion writer Amy DuFault. The presentation showcased Eileen Fisher’s Ampersand collection consisting of wearable looks with exceptional fabrics and ethical standards. The models for the presentation were journalists who throughout the presentation answered questions about the looks they chose and what wearing sustainable clothing means to them. The models included Jasmin Malik Chua from Ecouterre, Kristen Arnett from the Green Beauty Team and Greta Eagan from Fashion ME Green, among others. The recurring theme throughout the show was recycling and they reinforced this theme with a quote shown on the screen before the presentation as well as on t-shirts that the models wore at the end of the presentation that stated, “We’d like our clothes back now thanks very much”. Throughout the show Eileen Fisher’s team was giving out t-shirts to lucky Twitter followers that were tweeting at the show.

Here are some other great sustainable fashion and accessory lines we found and loved:

Lotus Odyssey - a line with an eclectic mix of fair trade and sustainable accessories (such as scarves, bangles and necklaces) and natural skincare products bought from artisan groups in India. Their tagline “Good Karma Luxury” emphasizes that they don’t sacrifice style for beautiful, fair-trade goods.

Marlandia - a Brazilian line of hand-made, fair trade sandals, tote bags, iPad bags and clutches with a real Latin American flare. These eco-fashion products are each uniquely one-of-a-kind and inspired by the designer for female empowerment.

Vogue Vert – their business model goes beyond green and includes a socially conscience element that allows women in other countries to learn how to make different luxury accessories. They have a team of accessories designers with very credible experience. Their pieces are unique and each have a story behind them. The piece that stood out that we saw was a purse made out of a bombshell from Cambodia. Now that’s a conversation piece!

Michelle Leon – An eco-friendly, animal friendly upscale line of belts, handbags and jewelry using bronze, silver and gold certainly made a huge fashion statement. The handbags featuring sculptured animal clasps and handles were amazing works of art.

Food/Beverage

The food and drink category seemed to be one of the most popular at the show. It was fun to watch people perusing the show carrying a full coconut in hand to sip out of and munching on a variety of kale chips. There was an organic beer and wine tasting pavilion, where for just a few bucks you could do a full tasting tour–which was also nice, as it had a lot of tables set up where you could enjoy the food and drink without the crush of a crowd. The host of food exhibitors, as a whole, represented the continuing shift in the environmentally-conscious part of the food industry. That is, the emergence of gluten, dairy, corn, soy, GMO, and other allergen-free foods. Beside the fact that many of these foods are able to be eaten by a larger number of people, they are actually quite delicious. Long gone are the days when specialty diet-related food manufacturers could get away with a bad tasting sugar and gluten-free cookies!

A few of our favorite foods from around the show:

Hemp Hearts - Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds; Tasty little bites full of nutrients that you can sprinkle on salad, cereal or yogurt.

Beanfields - Bean & Rice Chips; Ridiculoulsy delicious chips that have twice the flavor and half the crap of a Dorito.

DF Mavens - Dairy Free Ice Cream; Their tagline is “The finest dairy-free ice cream in the world.” They could be right.

Transportation

Ford was one of the main sponsors of the Green Festival–which gave them the perfect opportunity to really showcase their green and sustainable initiatives. At the Ford Motor pavilion they illustrated how Ford uses recycled materials to form their car interiors from post consumer plastics (recycled plastic bottles) for their seats to soy oil for their cushions.  This initiative decreases the dependency on petroleum oil making their vehicles 85% recyclable.  Their Fusion and Focus models where exhibited engineered with C Max Energi Atkinson-cycle high mileage gasoline engines that have a 20% increase in fuel economy, hybrid, hybrid electric plug-in and all electric plug-in versions. Ford not only incorporates sustainability in their vehicles, it is part of their corporate philosophy where they issue various Green Community grants. They have reduced their water usage by 62% and have installed the largest rooftop solar panels for a manufacturing plant to run their electrical consumption.  Ford are thinking forward—looking to the future to see how globally, cities can be re-planned to  better use more sustainable electrical vehicles. This initiative is already beginning in New York with a limited introduction of electric taxicabs during Earth Week. By having these cabs in the street, the city will study the viability of having an all-electric taxi fleet in New York thus reducing the cab industry’s carbon footprint.

On the theme of green vehicles, there was also a company exhibiting called Green Bee Electric Vehicle Technology, Inc from Livermore, CA showcasing their 100% electric motorcycles and scooters. The scooters, Metro 2, are convenient for riding around the city at a top speed of 30 miles per hour and do not need to be registered, while their 100% electric motorcycle, Metro 1, acts like a regular motorcycle with top speeds of 55 miles per hour. The Green Bee, as they are called, will also soon be coming out with a four wheel 100% electric that like their other vehicles require no gas and have no emissions.

While Earth Day events focus our attention for one moment in time, it’s the collective everyday moments of concern and action that will eventually protect our planet for future generation.

 

 

 

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