The Good Guide

I try to strive daily to make choices that go along with my values. In this crazy, materialistic world, that can be quite the challenge. Not only do I want to buy environmentally friendly products, but I also don’t want to buy from companies that use child labor and ingredients that are unhealthy. I just need a new shirt or something to clean my counters or one of the endless number of items we seem to find ourselves needing all the time. Maybe I could make it myself, but who has the time for that? 

This is why I love The Good Guide. I first learned about it in one of my environmental policy classes last year. It has been around for a few years and is honestly one of the most convenient apps I’ve ever used. 

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It’s incredibly simple. I  just scan the product and then ratings will pop up. It shows everything that I would like to just see on the label! It shows ratings based on health, environment, and society. It was created and is run by academics at a variety of universities. The founder, Dara O’Rouke of UC Berkeley, leads his team of scientists in the Good Guide organization. 

You know those Staples commercials that say, “Hit the easy button”? 

The Good Guide is my ultimate easy button. It is the perfect way to see if the products you buy match the values you hold dearly. 

What are you waiting for?! Get the Good Guide RIGHT NOW. 

http://www.goodguide.com

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London Calling

I had an amazing time this past weekend in London. I went with an elective class I am taking this semester called Literary London. Some highlights were High Tea at The Dorchester Hotel and tour of the Globe Theater.

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X Factor Denmark

I recently got to attend the dress rehearsal for X Factor Denmark. My host father works for the Danish television station, DR, and was able to get us in for the rehearsal before the live show. He showed me, my sister, and her boyfriend around the station some before we saw the show. I’ve never been to a television station in the United States, so I can’t compare very well. It was extremely interesting though to see different sets and people preparing news and other things. I was shocked at how small the actual set was. The lighting makes the stage seem huge when in actuality it is pretty small. One of my favorite parts of the tour was seeing the original house used on the set of an iconic Danish television show for children. I don’t remember the name of the show, but it seemed comparable to Barney or Sesame Street in the US.

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Canal Tour: Copenhagen Harbor

The Canal Tour of the Copenhagen Harbor was quite a riot. Even though the sun was out it was still very chilly! I had been told there would be a surprise on the tour, but hadn’t really thought much of it. The surprise was that we had three drag queens serving us drinks and food on the boat. My favorite part of the tour was when a man on a bridge waved and blew a kiss to one of the drag queens. I’m not sure if he could tell that he was actually blowing a kiss to a man. The tour itself was a great view of the city. We went to different parts of the city that I hadn’t seen before. One place I liked was the harbor bath designed to look somewhat like a ship itself. Getting to know some more Danes was very fun also. The Danish sense of humor is a little rough around the edges but really great once you get the fact that almost everything is sarcasm.

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Same Place, Different Beach

I went to the beach yesterday because the weather was so beautiful. The sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I have been to the beach here a couple times because it is only a few blocks from where I am living, but I hardly recognized it. It is amazing how the water transformed once the sun wasn’t hidden behind clouds anymore. When the sun comes out, it is the same way for the people as well. Everyone hurries to spend time outside. Enjoying the sunshine is a must.

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Snow

It’s somehow still snowing in Denmark, and I don’t understand how! Or why or when it will end. Ughhhh #scandinavianproblems

On my study tour in Amsterdam, we went to a restaurant, De Culinaire Werkplaats, that is more of a cross between food, fashion, and art. It is a type of conceptual food, designed to make people think about the food of the future. We ate our meal right next to the kitchen and helped create the meals by adding the different ingredients to the plates and serving them. The food was great, but the experience was enchanting. The meal was themed, “Water: The New Champagne?”. The focus was to imagine the world in a future where water can very possibly become as appreciated and expensive as champagne. Hopefully this will never become a reality. Our entire meal was vegetarian, with very little dairy. I normally am a dairy fiend, but I didn’t miss it at all in this meal! It really is amazing how culinary knowledge can make you wonder why people even started to eat meat in the first place.

This first course is called the “Water Bomb”. They joked that Germans often call tomatoes from the Netherlands, water bombs because they think they taste like water. I believe it was composed mostly of beet root. I was horribly skeptical about eating it, but it was so delicious!

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This is “edible paper” they created. She actually made an edible wedding dress for an art exhibit once. The thought of it is mindblowing. It was never worn but just put on display. It challenges the idea that we spend so much money and energy on one dress that is only worn one day and then kept in a closet for decades.

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This plate was called “Low Tide”. It is supposed to be reminiscent of the shore at low tide and the debris that is left behind.

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This final dessert was an Iceberg. As my teacher said, “It is a horrific visual of our sins,” especially when the sweet cherry sauce was poured over the dish looking like blood. Creepy to think about, but super delicious.

I had so much fun photographing our meal because each course was a piece of artwork.

Water: The New Champagne?

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I amsterdam

I returned from my trip to Amsterdam this Saturday. The canals there are so beautiful. Some people call Amsterdam “the Venice of the North”. It is one of the most unique cities I have ever been to.

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MOSA MACC & Cradle 2 Cradle

Through my study abroad program I have been travelling around Northern Europe some. We have been all over Denmark and just recently went to Rotterdam and Amsterdam. It’s been a great experience getting to see what sustainability initiatives look like around this part of the world.

My favorite visit so far was a presentation with a representative from Cradle 2 Cradle.

It is a hard to explain the concept of Cradle 2 Cradle, so I have attached a video that explains it really well.

The whole idea behind Cradle 2 Cradle is to make products that instead of turning into waste, will turn into “food” or create something new. The concept of recycling that we think of today is really just one delay in the process of something becoming waste.

It was one of the most inspiring presentations I have ever seen. Cradle 2 Cradle doesn’t provide all the answers to sustainability, rather it asks the right questions, which sometimes is simply that we need to ask more questions. The positivity underlying the process makes it shine. After the presentation I asked how has the economic crisis effected the promotion of Cradle 2 Cradle. He responded saying, “Never let a good crisis go wasted,” explaining that when businesses are at their lowest points, they are the most willing to learn about new methods and ideas. The crisis has helped spread Cradle 2 Cradle because companies have hit rock bottom and need a new perspective. Anything can be spun positively. The problem is letting negativity go in tough situations.

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This carpet is designed so that it has a positive impact on the environment. It actually absorbs the toxins in the air. When you vacuum the carpet, the toxins get picked up as well and removed from your home.

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The tile company MOSA served us a traditional Dutch desert on samples of their tiles. It was quite delicious, although eating off of the tile was a bit of a challenge.

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